realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lessons of a Pontiff's Twilight

The meaning of the Pope's suffering is something that Catholics are struggling with - George Weigel wrote an article a few days ago in which he talked about how the Pope "'is living his via crucis,' his way of the cross. It's not something the world has watched a pope do for a very long time. We should recognize it for what it is, and be grateful for the example. "

Peggy Noonan wrote about her meeting with the Pope a few years ago where she described meeting him like "meeting a saint at sunset". I was blessed to meet the Pope myself and receive his blessing a few years ago - I can still vividly remember the soft caress of his hand on my cheek - he was ill enough at the time - using a walking stick and was quite bent over - but was still a vital man, very engaged with the audience and very strong willed. And he possessed the quiet humility of a man who submitted all to God and lived firmly with His embrace.

Update - National Review has an article which quotes from the Pope's 1984 encyclical "On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering" - When the body is gravely ill, totally incapacitated, and the person is almost incapable of living and acting, all the more do interior maturity and spiritual greatness become evident, constituting a touching lesson to those who are healthy and normal.
How true his own words are - his living of them over the last few days is extraordinarily powerful.

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