Sacramentum 2020 THeme
Based on Jason Evert’s book,St John Paul the Great: His Five Loves. Our speakers will be unpacking the focus mission of St Pope John Paul II; Young People, Human Love, The Blessed Sacrament, The Virgin Mary, and The Cross.
John Paul II firmly believed that young people are the future of the church and the world. He believed that young people are the ones to be evangelized first, because they are the most in need and are the most receptive to the Gospel message
Jason Evert writes,
“Young people yearn for meaning, truth, love, and freedom, and they get themselves into no small amount of trouble attempting to unravel these mysteries of life … John Paul knew what the youth wanted because he knew them.”
Furthermore, John Paul II was instrumental in establishing World Youth Day in 1987. He remarked in Rome,
“The building of a civilization of love requires strong and persevering characters, ready for self-sacrifice and anxious to open up new paths of human coexistence by overcoming divisions and the various forms of materialism. This is a responsibility of the young people of today who will be the men and women of tomorrow, at the dawn of the third Christian millennium…Dear young people, my friends: be witnesses to the love of God, sowers of hope and builders of peace.”
Much like his love of young people, John Paul II’s love for human was a result of witnessing numerous tragedies which violated it. His deep and authentic connection to real people in the most difficult trials and hardships fostered within him a penetrating appreciation for the dignity of human life and love.
John Paul II concentrated a great deal of time counselling married couples. He was aware that, even through the sacrament of marriage, many couples can experience the degradation of their human dignity when this human love is inadequately expressed.
“The essential reason for choosing a person must be personal, not merely sexual. Life will determine the value of a choice and the value and true magnitude of love. It is put to the test most severely when the sensual and emotional reactions themselves grow weaker, and sexual values a such lose their effect. Nothing then remains except the value of the person, and the inner truth about the love of those connected comes to light.”
The Blessed Sacrament
John Paul II writes in Ecclesia De Eucharistia,
“Every commitment to holiness, every activity aimed at carrying out the Church’s mission, every work of pastoral planning, must draw the strength it needs from the Eucharistic mystery and in turn be directed to that mystery as its culmination. In the Eucharist we have Jesus, we have his redemptive sacrifice, we have his resurrection, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have adoration, obedience and love of the Father. Were we to disregard the Eucharist, how could we overcome our own deficiency?”
At every opportunity he was given, John Paul II would kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He did this to the point where his planners/schedulers would try to hide the whereabouts of Chapels they were passing by to keep on schedule, but they were unsuccessful every time because John Paul II could sense where The Most Holy Sacrament was.
St. John Paul The Great teaches us how important it is to rely on the Blessed Sacrament as a source and model for evangelization.
The Virgin Mary
Every aspect of his life and mission was characterized by and emboldened with Mary’s spirituality of faith, humility, and complete surrender to the will of God, which John Paul II expressed as, “My weakness, His mercy, My yes.”
He fully understood the providential significance that Mary was to play in the coming of the third millennium, as he alludes in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater:
“Following the example of Mary, who kept and pondered in her heart everything relating to her divine Son (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51), the Church is committed to preserving the word of God and investigating its riches with discernment and prudence, in order to bear faithful witness to it before all mankind in every age.”
John Paul II consecrated his life and papacy to Mary’s maternal care and protection. In this same way he consecrated the whole Church and world to her Immaculate Heart so that she might lead, love, and protect everyone as she did him during his lonely childhood years after his earthly mother passed away.
Finally, John Paul II’s dedication to the Cross was profound. The cross was truly with him from the first moment of his life until the very last, such that his entire life may be described as an ongoing crucifixion.
In spite of his many terrible trials, he never became embittered by the suffering he was forced to endure, for he intimately understood the value of redemptive suffering and appreciated the vast wealth of benefits to be reaped from its patience endurance.
He succinctly expresses the true significance of the cross in his encyclical, Salvifici Doloris, which says that:
“This is the meaning of suffering, which is truly supernatural and at the same time human. It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission.”
It is through his 5 loves; young people, human love, The Blessed Sacrament, The Virgin Mary and The Cross, that St. John Paul the Great emulates the teachings of The Church. He leads the way for all Catholics.
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