Feast Day of Pope St. John Paul II
October 22, 2021
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
~ Pope St. John Paul II
Closing Mass for World Youth Day 2002
Some of most cherished moments in a day are those spent reflecting on a post I’m preparing for our blog, In Fiamme. I can get lost reading and reviewing the topic or theme for the day, and in many cases, renewing my faith and fidelity to our mission. Today’s post brought me full circle. My research landed me on last year’s In Fiamme post for the feast day of Pope St. John Paul II. I continue to grow in my understanding of the “feminine genius” which is just one of those magnificent teachings gifted to the world by St. John Paul II.
The feast of St. John Paul II is celebrated on October 22, the anniversary of his papal inauguration. This goes against the traditional feast day for saints, which is commemorated on the anniversary of their deaths, but his papacy, which spanned nearly three decades, was one which stands out among so many others. St. John Paul II saw the fall of communism and through his travels and great effort, he brought countries and religions together like no one else had accomplished and for which he was recognized and respected throughout the world. The whole world realized it had witnessed an extraordinary life.
He is called “John Paul the Great”, and was known for his humility, simplicity, and holiness. The way in which he led his life through these virtues made John Paul II worthy of the title “the Great”. His actions throughout his life and papacy resembled the actions of God in this world. The title “the Great” is not officially pronounced by the church, but rather by public acclimation. St. John Paul II is only the fourth Pope to have been recognized in this way. He joins Pope St. Leo I (reigned 440-61), Pope St. Gregory I (590-604), and Pope St. Nicholas I (858-67), and the first in the modern church to earn this title.
Saint John Paul II and Children
Pope St. John Paul II emphasized a message of putting your love and faith in God above all else. He let that love radiate into his papacy, as well as his daily actions. On his feast day, remember his life and reflect on his words of spiritual conviction:
“What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.”
How do the life and words of Pope St. John Paul II strengthen or move your faith?