Thursday, May 22, 2008

Up close and personal

Last Fall, after returning from a summer vacation in Poland, I heard about a new book written by Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, the former personal secretary to Pope John Paul II who is now Archbishop of Krakow. It wasn't long before I called a local book store and placed an order for the book, but little did I realize that I would have to wait more than 6 months for delivery.

The original text of the book, entitled A Life with Karol was published in Italian in 2007 so it's understandable that it took some time to do the translations into other languages. It wasn't until earlier this year that the English text was published, thus the reason for the long wait. In the end, not only did I receive two copies of the printed book, but I also received an audio copy of the same book (ordered from two different bookstores).

I'm still reading but already I know that this is a very special opportunity to glimpse the heart of the man who was called to be the successor of Peter and the Shepherd of the universal Church for more than 26 years. Cardinal Dziwisz served as personal secretary to Karol Cardinal Wojtyla for more than 40 years, so who but he would be better suited to introduce us to the heart of this most beloved pope, or to show us a very privileged glimpse at who this man was?

From the day of his election as pope, John Paul II called all the faithful to open wide the doors of our hearts to welcome the love of God. He called out to those who were oppressed because of their faith and to those who were furthest from the ideal of believing in the promise of life that had been proclaimed by Christ himself. He did so in his own personal and charismatic way, choosing to take this message of love to the ends of the world. Never afraid to allow his pastoral heart to guide his decisions and teachings, he taught by word and example about the truth of God's infinite love for each one of his beloved.

During his pontificate, John Paul was renound for his teachings. He is among the most well-published authors and promoted more individuals to the altar of sanctity than any other pope before him. His writings are currently being studied as his own cause for canonization was opened shortly after his death, but a definitive date for his beatification cannot be determined until the study of the postulator's report is complete.

No comments: