Today, is one of my favorite days in the entire liturgical calender. This is a day that is truly Catholic (big C). In no other church is an entire day and Octave just preceeding it devoted to a reminder of the Divine Mercy of Our Lord. Give thanks to God it is so. I know I do. I am as incredulous as Thomas upon seeing the wounds of the Risen Lord at the realization that the opportunity to obtain the Lord's Mercy is as limitless and bottomless as my seeming capacity to keep screwing up.
Be incredulous and amazed that Our Lord is Risen as He said!
Be also, as the Lord told St. Faustina, not afraid. The Lord will guide you. He will give you the tools you need if you only listen to His Sacred Heart. Not coincidentally, "Be Not Afraid" was a theme of Blessed John Paul II pontificate. Today, in Rome, Pope John Paul II was beatified.
As someone whose maternal grandparents immigrated from Poland it was not a small thing when a Polish Cardinal was elevated to the See of Peter in 1978. I was 10 years old but I remember it well. I remember it because my maternal Grandfather could hardly believe it. Like Thomas he needed to see it to believe it. Unfortunately, 1978 may seem like the stone age to those of us today who are used to internet feeds and satellite TV and EWTN. He had to watch one minute snippets of the news on the evening network TV and see the stories in the daily paper. He still could hardly believe it. Then, one day he heard the Holy Father speaking Polish on the radio and he heard his heavily Pole-accented English and, then, he believed.
It was still not enough to bring him back to Mass or the Sacraments on a regular basis. The changes to the Mass in the years following the Second Vatican Council were too much for him. He couldn't stand the folk guitars, the lousy vestments, the English (he was a Latinist at heart; until the day he died he could recite the Mass in Latin), the women running around in the Sanctuary. He went back to Church for his own funeral.
He did not live to see the changes implemented by the Polish Pope or his sucessor the current Holy Father. He, also, did not live to see his granddaughter rediscover the Faith. I'm sure he had pretty much written me off. On his deathbed, his last words to me were (I'm not kidding): If you have any mistakes, don't name them after me.
The day Blessed John Paul II died was the day I went back to Confession for the first time in 15 years. It was a turning point in a journey back that was making its first tentative steps for about a year. Blessed John Paul II's passing impacted me in ways I can't even explain.
If you think Blessed John Paul II didn't matter, look around. I know in this Archdiocese we owe the existance of more than a couple of our fine priests to the inspiration they received by his pontificate. If the Church survives at all, and it may be reaching for me to say it, it is due in no small way to two Polish people: St. Faustina and Blessed Pope John Paul II, letting the Divine Mercy of Jesus work thru them for the conversion of peoples.
I know I owe my existance and current state in life to a couple Poles as well! :-)
Boże, coś Polskę