Written by Elizabeth
I was incredibly blessed to be in Rome on Divine Mercy Sunday 2014!!! For the canonization of not one but two Popes!! What makes it all the more amazing is that there were two Popes there. Both Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis.
It was astonishing! I have never experienced so many people all in one place nor have I ever experienced so much energy. All for (in the eyes of the world) two old men. Two old men, one named John the twenty-third, another named John Paul the Great. These two men changed the world.
John the twenty-third called the second Vatican council. He started changes in the Church that helped us to grow. His contribution is inestimable. While most of us of my generation do not know much about him. He contributed something important to the world. I guarantee that millions of lives have been changed as a result of the way that he lived out his life. While I do not know as much about this man as I would like personally, I challenge you to learn about this new saint of the Church! Learn about him and most importantly ask him to pray for you! St. John the twenty-third pray for us!
The second man St. John Paul the great is a lot more commonly known. We recognize his contribution to the Church. I can still picture him declaring to the people of the world and especially to young people “Be not afraid!” That message is still so relevant. I cannot tell you how many moments in my life I recall this, I return to that message. His call was and still is so powerful! Now of course we can ask his intercession to live that call out. St. John Paul the great pray for us!
Both of these men changed the world. In fact about 6 million people came to Rome to celebrate their canonization. People of every race and nation. Most of us did not speak the same language. We did not even understand the Mass since it was in Latin. We were crammed into the streets of Rome and standing for hours. To celebrate to rejoice with Heaven that these two men are saints of God!
The moment when it was proclaimed that they were saints, the crowd went wild! It was a celebration! We all rejoiced. Then we got to celebrate the Eucharist in Thanksgiving. We also got to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday with millions of other pilgrims!
The Divine Mercy of God is so incredible! In fact I think it is my favorite feast of the Church! It was so fitting for so many people to gather to celebrate and to join in asking God for mercy upon the world. Our world needs it so much, today more than ever!
After the canonization was all over, in fact hours later I made it to St. Peter’s square! Words cannot describe how much I love that place. Nor can they describe my feelings and emotions to stand there. There in the place where Pope John Paul the second preached, where he was shot, where millions joined for his funeral! Where now less than ten years after his death millions gathered to celebrate him as a saint!
What makes all of this so incredible is that each of these men had a simple choice. A choice that both you and I have. The choice to follow the will of God or not. We all know the alternative. What I experienced just yesterday is what happens when you follow the will of God.
When you respond to God’s call this is what happens. Lives are changed forever. Millions of people gathered not just to celebrate the lives of two men, but to celebrate everything that God did in their lives!
As Saint John Paul the great would say “Be not afraid to open wide the doors to Christ!.”
Saint John Paul the Great and Saint John the twenty-third, Pray for us!