Today is the feast of Pope Saint John Paul II, and as I write this post I cannot accurately express the wonderful aching of my heart.
There are so many things I could say about this beloved saint, about his heroic journey toward sainthood, his incredible artistic talent, the ways in which he changed the world.
But I came to this page empty.
I thought I was going to write something completely different- something that I felt more separated from, something that maybe didn’t speak so directly to my own heart.
But I feel moved to do something different and without fear.
I often struggle with accepting the Father’s love for me. My human mind can’t always grasp the concept of His unconditionality. I find this difficult to share with others as a Catholic woman, and as a former missionary. I feel as though I should have it together, know my worth, see God’s love for me at all times- but it’s not always something that comes naturally to me. I know He is there, and that His presence is very real in my life and I am in such awe of His tenderness, but I often need to remind myself of the Father’s love for me; I need to just open my eyes that can be so easily clouded by the fog of my own self-doubt.
When I first started to get to know John Paul II as a saint, he played an instrumental part in outwardly displaying the Father’s love for me. He made it so tangible. The way he loved the Church, the people he would encounter, especially young people- I so strongly saw the way he loved like the Father- with that same unconditional waiting.
As I was trying to focus on what I would write about today- I found a brief account of St. John Paul II’s life and ministry in the Church. When I was reading I was struck by one single line: I have looked for you. Now, you have come. And I thank you. These were the words that those who were around John Paul II were able to gather as he was coming closer to his death. This was after he was told of a group of young people who stayed overnight in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him.
I have looked for you.
Aren’t these the words we so desperately long to hear? Something that so beautifully wounds our heart when we hear it, maybe it’s even a little frightening. As I encounter these words, I can’t help but hear the Father saying them to me. He searches for me- for us- in our weaknesses, trials, our profound confusion of we are created to be. He looks for us.
Now, you have come.
When he was told of the young people showing up, John Paul II took notice. He had been waiting and praying for them, and they came. Just as he acknowledged those he cared for so deeply, the Father realizes us. He sees us when we come to Him. He doesn’t let us stand alone unnoticed, rather He delights in our presence.
And I thank you.
These are such simple words… but filled with immense love and gratitude. He is grateful for us. God, who has created everything good and beautiful, is grateful for us. And He celebrates and thanks us every time we remember His great love for us.
As I finish writing this, I realize this is not so much about St. John Paul II, but I think this is maybe what he would want, something that reflects the way he lived his life and always pointing back to the One who is greater that he, the source of his love here on earth- God the Father. The Father who loves us.
This has served as a great reminder to me, and I hope in some small way it can do the same for you.
The Father looks for us. He sees us. He thanks us in celebration for our arrival. And through it all, He has, and remains always loving us.
St. John Paul the Great, a man who greatly reflected the Father’s love - Pray for us.
The image of John Paul II is from: https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/Story/TabId/2672/ArtMID/13567/ArticleID/14522/The-Legacy-of-St-John-Paul-II.aspx