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"I Accept"
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These words changed the course of the twentieth century. They were spoken by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla twenty-five years ago when he accepted the heavy yoke of being the bishop of Rome.

Cruzando la puerta Santa
"In the obedience of faith, before Christ my Lord, completely trusting in the Mother of Christ and the Church, aware of the tremendous difficulties, I accept." These words changed the course of the twentieth century. They were spoken by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla twenty-five years ago when he accepted the heavy yoke of being the bishop of Rome.

The first time I saw him was at San Juan de Los Lagos, Mexico in 1990. It was only for a few seconds but it was enough to inspire me with enthusiasm and admiration. He has become a point of reference for my whole life.

Since then, I have seen him more than thirty times and each one has been an unforgettable and unique experience. John Paul II is a rock of fidelity. How could we be disappointed by a man who carries the sufferings and problems of all humanity deep within his heart?

He cares for each and every person, calling out to them to build a better world where love and peace take the place of hatred, war, injustice and jealousy.

Presently there is a contrast between the vitality and strength of his faith and the frailty that comes with age and
Juan Pablo II
sickness, yet he still encourages and motivates the millions who hear him each week. His health has some wondering and questioning but his person still conveys that characteristic enthusiasm and optimism. He does not fear death just like he has not been afraid to truly live.

He knows, with the inexplicable certainty of faith, that his final day here in this world is not the end; that on the other side awaits a smiling Woman, the One to whom he consecrated his service, who will be waiting for him with open arms. She will lead him to her Son, to a place where suffering and fatigue no longer exist.

John Paul II gave us the reason why he never quits: "If Christ did not come down from his Cross then why should I come down from mine?" Our Holy Father has an iron will and every day he picks up his cross as Christ´s representative.

"The Church isn´t governed with its feet or hands, the Church is governed with its heart and head," the Pope said when some were asking for his renunciation. And still he goes forward in spite of his limitations and sickness. John Paul II is stronger when he appears weak because his strength is in Him whom he represents.

By now he is a man on his knees, a man of prayer who pulls himself along yet seems to be elevated like an angel. The best way we can show our love for a man who has shown such love and perseverance for twenty-five years is by the love of our prayers.

(October 16, 2003)


PUBLICATION DATE: 2003-10-16


 
 


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