A Year With John Paul II: Daily Meditations from His Writings And Prayers

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  • Copyright: 2009-07-13
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Called the Pilgrim Pope, a pope of the people, John Paul II connected with his flock from the highest to the lowest. He was one of history's most beloved popes among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, a man whose indomitable spirit touched and taught us all. A Year with John Paul II showcases his most important teachings as well as his inspirational writings, in a daily devotional format that will inspire readers and deepen their reflections and meditations. With a foreword by Cardinal William W. Baum, head of the Holy See's Major Penitentiary and former archbishop of Washington DC, an introduction by Bishop William Murphy, and a moving eulogy composed for the pope's funeral by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), A Year with John Paul II will take readers on a year-long spiritual journey with this deeply religious and inspiring man. Karol Wojyla was born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He survived the Nazi occupation during World War II and was ordained to the priesthood in 1946. He was appointed archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI. On October 16, 1978, he ascended to the papacy, taking the name John Paul II. During his papacy he greeted an estimated sixteen million pilgrims at the Vatican's general audiences. Pope John Paul II died in April 2005.


A Year with John Paul II
Daily Meditations from His Writings and Prayers

Chapter One


January 1

The Legacy of Pope John Paul II

I express the most profound trust that, in spite of all my weakness, the Lord will grant me every grace necessary to face, in accordance with his will, any task, test, or suffering that he sees fit to ask of his servant during his life. I am also confident that he will never let me fail through some attitude I may have, words, deeds, or omissions in my obligations to this holy Petrine See.

The Testament of Pope John Paul II, Undated Page

January 2

You Are a Power

All together you are an enormous power: the power of intelligences and consciences! Show yourselves to be more powerful than the most powerful in our modern world! Make up your mind to give proof of the most noble solidarity with humankind: the solidarity founded on the dignity of the human person. Construct peace, beginning with the foundation: respect for all the rights of man, those connected with his material and economic dimension as well as those connected with the spiritual and interior dimension of his existence in this world. May wisdom inspire you! May love guide you, that love which will suffocate the growing threat of hatred and destruction! Men of science, commit all your moral authority to save humankind from nuclear destruction.

Message to UNESCO, June 2, 1980

January 3

Bonds of Peace

In his address to the United Nations on October 4, 1965, Pope Paul VI stated a profound truth when he said: "Peace, as you know, is not built up only by means of politics or the balance of forces and interests. It is constructed with the mind, with ideas, with works of peace." The products of the mind -- ideas -- the products of culture, and the creative forces of -peoples are meant to be shared. Strategies of peace that remain on the scientific and technical level and merely measure out balances and verify controls will never be sufficient for real peace, unless bonds that link -peoples to one another are forged and strengthened. Build up the links that unite -people together. Build up the means that will enable -peoples and nations to share their culture and values with one another. Put aside all the narrow interests that leave one nation at the mercy of another economically, socially, or politically.

Letter to the General Assembly of the United Nations, June 11, 1982

January 4

Called to Dialogue

You are thus called, as Chris-tians and experts in the social disciplines, to play a role of mediation and dialogue between concrete ideals and realities. It is a role that sometimes requires you to be "pioneers," for you have to point out new paths and new solutions to deal more justly with the burning problems of the contemporary world. Reflection on the democratic system today cannot be limited merely to considering political orders or institutions, but must broaden our personal horizons to the problems posed by the development of science and technology, to those introduced into the economy of finance by the spread of globalization, to the new rules to regulate international organizations, to the questions that have arisen from the growing and rapid development of the world of communications in order to work out a model of democracy that is authentic and complete.

Letter to Cardinal Camillo Ruini for Italian Catholic Social Week, October 4, 2004

January 5

A Missionary Concern

The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion. As the second millennium after Christ’s coming draws to an end, an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its ser-vice. It is the Spirit who impels us to proclaim the great works of God: "For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Cor. 9:16). In the name of the whole Church, I sense an urgent duty to repeat this cry of St. Paul. From the beginning of my pontificate I have chosen to travel to the ends of the earth in order to show this missionary concern. My direct contact with -peoples who do not know Christ has convinced me of the urgency of missionary activity, a subject to which I am devoting the present encyclical. The Second Vatican Council sought to renew the Church’s life and activity in the light of the needs of the contemporary world. The council emphasized the Church’s "missionary nature," basing it in a dynamic way on the trinitarian mission itself. The missionary thrust therefore, belongs to the very nature of the Chris-tian life, and is also the inspiration behind ecumenism: "That they may all be one ... so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21).

Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, December 7, 1990

January 6

The Message of the Star

The theme of light dominates the Solemnities of Christmas and Epiphany, which in the first centuries were -- and still today are in the East -- celebrated together in a single great "Feast of Lights." The light appears in the warm intimacy of the holy night of Christmas Eve; Christ, the Light of Humanity, is born. He is the "Sun that shall dawn upon us from on high" (Luke 1:78). He is the son that came into the world to dispel the darkness of evil and flood it with the splendor of divine love. John the Evangelist writes: "The true light that enlightens every man came into the world" (John 1:9). On today’s Solemnity of the "Epiphany," a word for "manifestation," we are struck by the theme of the light. The Messiah who showed himself in Bethlehem to the lowly shepherds of the region continues to reveal himself as the light of every -people of every time and place. To the Magi, coming . . .

A Year with John Paul II
Daily Meditations from His Writings and Prayers
. Copyright © by Joyce Pope John Paul II. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from A Year with John Paul II: Daily Meditations from His Writings and Prayers by John Paul, John P. Pope
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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