Sometime last year I was reading our beloved John Paul II's biography by Jonathan Kwitny titled "Man of the Century". It was a fascinating read despite its volume and anyone could not help but be awed by the life of the Pope. JPII had been one of the most famous historical figures—I read his biographies before he passed on!— and rightly, one could believe he is the "man of the century".
I am no theology expert, nor JPII scholar, so I'll just write what are my views and thoughts about il Papa.
Karol Wojtyla, was a reflective man even from his youth. He decided early enough that he was going to be a priest, and was ordained by the time he was 26. Now when I thought about my own life and how poor it became in contrast with our Holy Father's, I felt a deep sense of shame. His is a life lived fully and fruitfully—for the greater glory of God.
I have many diverse interests, from things like philosophy, literature, science, sports, and even mystic saints' writing! Sometimes I feel I don't know where I should be going towards. I spend every day getting up to get to work—which I enjoy—and still feel that somehow, there is something missing in my life. I go to mass every Sunday (and on days of obligation!) and on weekdays when I find the time. I pray before bed and when i wake up. I do my best to pray at noon, but something is missing. I don't have that fire burning within, that fire of the Holy Spirit that led many faithful and saints to God.
I am honored to live during the service of JPII, and count him as one of my personal heroes and role models. It was by reading his works I was first drawn to explore more deeply the teachings of the Church beyond "Sunday Catholicism". I yearn to see Christ in my daily life as he did, I yearn to serve as he did. Yet I could not see Christ in what I do— I could not see how I serve doing what work I am doing. It is sad, no? There are books I read that motivated me for a while and gave a spark to my life. Yet it gave fire that lasts not.
I have spent nearly all of today grieving. JPII left no one unmoved. His passing is more than just an end of an era; it is felt strongly by all Catholics in this world as if a favorite grandfather and the family patriarch has just died. Sometime this afternoon I realized that by our efforts alone, the search is futile. Something tells me that I need to pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate the way God has prepared for me.
So while I have yet to see the way, I am going to live each day conscious of my actions and choices.
Thank you, il Papa, for the gift your life and death has bestowed.
Vaya con Dios!