Friday 22nd September 2017

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . Illuminating The Heart Of A Great Saint

June 17, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN

Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves, by Jason Evert (Totus Tuus Press and Lighthouse Catholic Media: Lakewood, CO 80228, 244 pp. $21.95). Available through www.ignatiuspress.com.

END BOLD INSERT

Just as a great portrait painter captures the soul of the person in his art so that the body, face, eyes, and expression reveal the essence of a person’s character, so too good biography glimpses the soul of a person. Like a masterful painting, this book illuminates the heart of a great saint.
The first six chapters of part I provide an engaging biographical account of Karol Wojtyla from his birth in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920 to his pontificate from 1978 until his death in 2004. Although familiar to many from other biographies, the story of the great Pope’s life never ceases to amaze or lose human interest. This book’s account of the saint’s life traces the hand of God’s Providence in the life of the future Pope who suffered great tragedies in the first 20 years of his life and lived under the scourge of Nazism and Communism.
At eight years old Karol returned from school to learn of his mother’s death. At 14 he lost his older brother, a physician who contracted scarlet fever from a patient, and at 20 he found his father’s dead body upon returning home from work during the Nazi occupation: “I’m all alone. . . . At twenty I’ve already lost all the people I’ve loved” — a vast haunting loneliness that “had opened up immense spiritual depths in him.” Laboring for four years in a quarry, the future Pope called this experience an education “worth more than two doctorate degrees.”
During the Nazi occupation, the college student studying Polish literature at Jagiellonian University felt a change of heart. Because of the war, Karol’s passion for literature and drama underwent a change of vocation, especially when “people around me thought I would choose the priesthood” — a decision inspired by the patriotic Poles who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Poland, noble heroism that reflected “the essence of the priesthood” to the college student.
Secretly studying for the priesthood at night while laboring in the day, the young seminarian knew the price of his vocation as one-third of the Polish priests had already gone to their deaths under Nazism — an introduction to “the culture of death” the future Pope fought throughout his lifetime.
Witnessing the end of the German occupation, the seminarian then confronted another atheistic regime committed to the extermination of religion in Poland. The Communists seized Church property, limited Church publications, imposed censorship on freedom of worship and thought, and imprisoned 2,000 priests. Ordained a priest at 26, Fr. Wojtyla left Poland to begin doctoral studies at the Angelicum in Rome, completing his degree with a dissertation on St. John of the Cross and returning to his native land to begin his priesthood at a rural parish.
Always spied upon by the secret police, the young priest fearlessly taught the faith, organized youth groups, cultivated drama, and held firm to a central tenet of Catholic teaching: “When the laws of a state are not based upon the truth of the dignity of the human person, inhuman conditions and acts inevitably follow.” From the beginning, Fr. Wojtyla defended the civilization of love from the culture of death.
Assigned to a parish in Krakow and then directed to earn a second doctorate, Fr. Wojtyla completed a degree in Christian ethics on the thought of phenomenologist Max Scheler and returned to Poland at age 35 as the chairman of the ethics department at the Catholic University of Lublin. Always eager to win souls and evangelize, the future bishop, cardinal, and Pope — defying Communist orders — organized hiking, kayaking, and camping excursions with “holy defiance” of threats and consequences.
When the Communists refused permission for the building of new churches, Wojtyla — the youngest of the College of Cardinals at 47 — celebrated Mass outdoors in inclement weather as testimony of human dignity, man’s inherent right to worship: “The sight of a bishop and his soggy flock celebrating Mass under umbrellas in a vacant lot made the government look petulant.” Throughout his priesthood the Holy Father fearlessly served God first before he obeyed the state.
Because where a man’s treasure is, there his heart is also as Christ taught, Evert identifies as the treasure of John Paul II’s heart young people, human love, the Blessed Sacrament, the Virgin Mary, and the cross — his five loves. The priest who took students on camping trips became the Pope who organized World Youth Day. Evert explains this special affection for the young as John Paul’s intuitive understanding of their hearts and his admiration of their idealism, their attraction to the good, the true, and the beautiful.
Quoting the Pope’s words, “. . . young people are always searching for the beauty in love. They want their love to be beautiful.” Evert adds, “He knew that their hearts were made for love and their minds were made for truth.” The Pope exhorted the young not to be daunted by the heart’s longing for sainthood, inspiring them “not to be content with anything less than the highest ideals,” and he praised them for their disappointment “with hollow entertainment and passing fads, and with aiming at too little in life.”
Never diluting the truth or pandering to the young, John Paul II boldly proclaimed the Gospel of Life with famous statements like “Without the bond of marriage, sexual relations are a lie” and “Man cannot live without love . . . if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it. . . .” The Pope who championed the civilization of love gave most personal attention to the young and to families.
The Pope expressed his second great love for the magnificence of marriage and “the true gift of self” that husbands and wives give and receive. His praise for the beauty of marriage, Evert explains, cherished “the soul of the woman” and appreciated in human love “a visible sign icon of the inner life of God.”
This wonder at human love inspired the Pope’s theology of the body with its inherent language and meaning that Evert summarizes: “Therefore, the total gift of one’s body should only be offered with a total gift of the persons.” The Pope’s writings and letters on marriage and the family restored its noble, heroic sense of vocation and sacrifice for the cause of life in the anti-family culture of legalized abortion.
John Paul II identified the Blessed Sacrament as another great love, a treasure where his heart lay: “For me, the Mass constitutes the center of my life and my every day. . . . Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy.”
The book captures the Pope’s life of constant prayer throughout the day and night — a sight so moving that Cardinal Schönborn remarked, “I never saw anyone so constantly immersed in union with Christ and God, as though it were a permanent state” — a sentiment also reflected in Cardinal McCarrick’s observation: “I’ve rarely seen anyone in that state of such deep prayerfulness. He wasn’t with us anymore.”
The Holy Father both prayed and wrote before the Blessed Sacrament and often spoke aloud in dialogue with God. To John Paul II the faithful must not only receive the Eucharist but also contemplate it as a source of the profoundest love. He writes that the contemplation of the Blessed Sacrament is like contact with the fire of love: “Love is ignited within us, love is renewed within us.” This love that burns in the Sacred Heart then flows into human hearts, preparing them “in the best possible way for any kind of service.”

The Holy Spirit And Mary

The Pope honors as his fourth great love the Virgin Mary, whose miraculous intercession saved him from the bullet of his assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca — a shot that amazingly missed the aorta by a few millimeters. Marveling at the coincidence of the bullet shot on May 13, 1981, and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima also on that date in 1917, John Paul II witnessed the hand of divine Providence delivering him from death again through the mediation of the Holy Mother.
Formed by the spiritual writing of St. Louis de Montfort, the Holy Father also consecrated his life to the Blessed Virgin with the memorable words “Totus Tuus” (All is yours) and experienced in his own life de Montfort’s words about devotion to Mary as a reciprocal love: “She engulfs him in the ocean of her graces, adorns him with her merits, supports him with her power, enlightens him with her light.”
According to de Montfort, when the Holy Spirit finds devotion to Mary in the soul, He abides there: “He gives himself generously to that soul according to the place it has given to his spouse.”
Loving the cross for its great redemptive power, the Pope taught that suffering “burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good.” Instead of viewing suffering as useless, he considered it as wealth to purchase souls and a power to release love in others to serve the afflicted.
The Pope also lived the life of the cross from the time he was struck by a Nazi truck in Poland, to his assassination, to accidents requiring hospitalization, to Parkinson’s disease, to feeding tubes and colonoscopies. In the midst of all these sufferings the Holy Father offered gratitude for the gift of suffering: “The Pope must suffer, so that the world may see that there is a higher gospel…by which the future is prepared, the third millennium of families….I am indebted to the Blessed Virgin for this gift of suffering and I thank her for it.”
As this inspiring, heart-searching biography shows, sainthood is to give as God gives, to serve as Christ serves, to forgive as God forgives, to love families as God loved His Mother and Father, and to carry the cross as Christ suffered it on Calvary.

+    +    +

(Dr. Kalpakgian is a professor of humanities.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

blogger

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

21 Sep 2017

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics for which he provided his illuminating insights are the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, an appraisal of the situation in which the Church finds herself in contemporary times, and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. (This interview appeared in three parts in The Wanderer in August 2017.) + + + Part 1 Q. We are in the midst of…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: priests must resist pressure on Communion for remarried

Bishop Schneider said that priests should ‘lovingly and respectfully’ tell their superiors that they cannot abandon the Church’s perennial teaching Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said priests have to follow the Church’s constant practice on Communion, even if their bishops and…Continue Reading

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope: “Doctrine” does not come before mercy

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “The door that leads to encounter with Jesus is recognizing ourselves as we are, the truth. Sinners. And He comes”. “I want mercy and not sacrifices” said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the gospel song of the day recalling the conversion of St. Matthew to return

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

A Book Review … Reflections On Our Lady’s Message Of Fatima

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Fatima and the Triumph of Mary: Reflections on the Fatima Message, by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, (World Apostolate of Fatima, 2016); 228 pages, $17.95 available via:http://giftshop.wafusa.org/browse.cfm/4,2578.html. Fatima and the Triumph of Mary is a compilation of articles by Fr. Andrew Apostoli which originally appeared in the World Apostolate of Fatima USA…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Dispelling The False Images Of God

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN The Light Shines on in the Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith, by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, Ph.D. (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2017), 543 pp. $19.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or 1-800-651-1531. For anyone who struggles to make sense of human suffering or to reconcile the unconditional love of God with the weight of…Continue Reading

Who Were The Colombian Martyrs Beatified By Pope Francis?

By ELISE HARRIS ROME, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — During his six-day visit to Colombia, Pope Francis beatified martyrs Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, who provide testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict. Bishop Jaramillo was killed by Colombian Marxist guerrilla forces in 1989, while Fr. Ramirez was…Continue Reading

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Preparing To Enter Into The Awesome Mystery Of The Mass

By JAMES MONTI For every Catholic, there can be no more important event in one’s spiritual life than Holy Mass. For in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist we encounter our God in a more intimate manner than in any other sacrament, sacramental, or form of prayer. I recall hearing of a modern writer who…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. At Our Lady’s July 1917 appearance at Fatima, she stated that a war greater than World War I would break out during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. Ambrogio Ratti chose the name Pius XI when he became Pope in 1922. No doubt Our Lady knew he would be known as Pius XI, but why didn’t she say “the…Continue Reading

The Radical Call To Follow Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 18:25-28 Phil. 2:1-11 Matt. 21:28-32 In the second reading today, St. Paul says we are to have in us the same attitude as Christ. As we continue through the reading we can see the attitude of Christ is marked by humility, obedience, and charity. This essentially repeats…Continue Reading

Professor Josef Seifert… Amoris Laetitia’s “Immense Threat” To The Moral Teaching Of The Church

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: In light of Professor Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the archbishop of Granada — Dr. Maike Hickson of OnePeterFive.com reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

God The Sanctifier Of Men… Other Christs

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In a previous article, I mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us brethren of Christ. It is, by the way, one more reason to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us, our common Mother. The reason is quite simple to understand: Christ is the Head of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading