Saturday 20th September 2014

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

Comment on this Article:

Report: Bishop Cupich of Spokane to succeed Cardinal George in Chicago

The AP broke the story, and local media is now confirming, that Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane will succeed Cardinal Francis George as archbishop of Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago is expected to make the official announcement tomorrow morning at…Continue Reading

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial…Continue Reading

Catholic Education Honor Roll Announced

Today, The Cardinal Newman Society released the list of schools recognized by the Catholic Education Honor Roll as 2014 Schools of Excellence. Since 2004 the Honor Roll has celebrated quality Catholic education throughout the United States. Honor Roll schools receiving…Continue Reading

Hermeneutic of Continuity: Pope Benedict XVI’s 10 Step Guide to Vatican II

pope200

In 2005 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI gave a Christmas address to the Roman Curia that sparked a “Holy Revolution.” The good pontiff’s comments were received as “epoch-making” by many of those faithful to Sacred Tradition.1 At the heart of…Continue Reading

Satanists Sell Out Controversial Oklahoma ‘Black Mass’ Event, Will Stage Exorcism Despite Christian Protests

The Satanist group that will stage a controversial “black mass” at an Oklahoma City civic center has said that all 88 tickets for its Sept. 21 event are sold out. The co-founder of the group revealed that the ritual will…Continue Reading

Catholic League Bowing Out Of New York’s St. Patrick’s Parade

NEW YORK –  The Catholic League says it will sit out next year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York because parade organizers aren’t letting an anti-abortion Catholic group march. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said Thursday that his organization…Continue Reading

Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam

Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick offered Islamic religious phrases and insisted that Islam shares foundational rules with Christianity, during a Sept. 10 press conference in D.C. “In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself…Continue Reading

MURDER OF CATHOLIC NUNS SHOCKS WORLD

The triple murder of three elderly Italian religious sisters in Burundi has their religious family and the local community reeling. The Italian Foreign Ministry has confirmed Monday’s death of a third missionary, Sister Bernadette Boggian, who wasdecapitated, according to a…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

by Hon. Bob Marshall Sept. 8, 2014 New York’s Cardinal Dolan, appointed as Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, praised the decision to allow an openly gay group to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “I have…Continue Reading

Founder: Catholic Studies programs help colleges fulfill call to faithfulness

St. Paul, Minn., Sep 8, 2014 / 06:03 pm (CNA).- University-level Catholic Studies programs are an essential response to the increasingly fragmented college experience, said the man who founded the first such program 20 years ago. “At the heart of…Continue Reading

A ‘dereliction of duty’? Catholics react to Cardinal Dolan’s role in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s decision to act as grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade despite its decision to allow an openly homosexual organization to participate has drawn strong criticism from Catholic writers and outrage from many…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Caves

notredame

The following comes from an Aug. 30 email from the Sycamore Trust, “alumni protecting Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.” Notre Dame is complying with the abortifacient/contraceptive mandate in renewing its student health insurance program for 2014-15. Aetna, the insurer, will now provide students with…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 subscribe 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 145 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope’s Morning Homily: Resurrection Completes Christian Identity

Our Whole Life Is Called to Being With the Lord, To Remain With Him Forever Vatican City, September 19, 2014 (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter Pope Francis focused on the Resurrection as the seal of Christian identity at Mass this morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence. Drawing on the words of St Paul the Apostle from his Letter to…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: The Courage To Admit We Are Sinners

pope516

(Vatican Radio) Having the courage to acknowledge that we are sinners enables us to receive Christ’s caress, His forgiveness, said Pope Francis Thursday morning during Mass at Santa Marta. The day’s liturgy presents the Gospel of the sinful woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and anoints them with perfume drying them with her hair. Jesus is invited to…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary… Our Lady Of La Salette

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Part 1 This is the first of two articles on the apparition of our Lady at La Salette in September 1846, which has a lot to teach us in our own day. At that time, the small nearby town of Corps, in the Grenoble region in southeastern France, was a poor…Continue Reading

The Saint Who Was Never Born

By DONALD DeMARCO St. Raymond Nonnatus came into the world in the early 13th century (1200 or 1204 according to scholars) in Portello, Catalonia (Spain). His appended name, in Latin, means “not born.” He was taken from the womb of his mother by caesarean section after her death. Shakespeare used this notion of not being…Continue Reading

Bluster And Bluff In The Baltic

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “I say to the people of Estonia and the people of the Baltics, today we are bound by our treaty alliance. . . . Article 5 is crystal clear: An attack on one is an attack on all. So if . . . you ever ask again, ‘who’ll come to help,’…Continue Reading

One Thing Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Doesn’t Explain About Benghazi

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY In her memoir, Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included a chapter on the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. But she failed to specifically explain why Ambassador Chris Stevens was there that day. “U.S. ambassadors are not required to consult or…Continue Reading

Violence Begets Violence

By REY FLORES Is it me or is violence becoming more prevalent across our society? Is it because most people have a cell phone nowadays with a camera and are able to share these ever-increasing acts of violence across cyberspace on social media? Perhaps it’s a little of both, but it’s definitely a lot more…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

By Don Fier “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” With these words in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei announcing the upcoming Year of Faith…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I am currently reading Paul Likoudis’ excellent but shocking book Amchurch Comes Out, regarding incidents of immoral conduct among our clergy, the cover-up, and the accompanying damage that has been wrought within the Church. I recall being alarmed while involved with religious education in our then parish in the late 1980s and attending diocesan seminars for teachers and hearing…Continue Reading

Our Attitude Should Be The Same As Christ’s

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 Gospel reading today our Lord asks the question of which son did the will of his father: the one who said he would not go into the field but eventually did or the one who said he would go…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . “And Who Is My Neighbor?” The Embryo And The ALS patient

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 20 bewails his isolation as a result of the scorn of nonbelievers: “The word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.” He describes his temptation to throw in the towel as a prophet tasked by God with a message for mankind: “I say to myself,…Continue Reading

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or . . . Supernatural? Celibacy In The Teachings Of St. Paul

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 St. Paul was not one of the twelve, but he is known as “the Apostle,” certainly because of the richness of his apostolic zeal in teaching, possibly more than all the other apostles put together. He was educated in the faith by Jesus Himself, and after that intense training, he became as zealous…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Mother Teresa Of Calcutta

By CAROLE BRESLIN After returning from a visit to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and giving a retreat to her Missionaries of Charity there, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, told a class of lay faithful, “Americans are living in a dream world.” He spoke of the thousands of people dying on the streets of Calcutta where Mother had begun her work…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading