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The Example of Pope John Paul II

By Raul Bancod and John Urman

We have just witnessed the culmination of the remarkable life of Pope John Paul II as he passed through the final phase of a life-long Calvary.

In a world that has gone to embrace consumerism, where denial in face of death has become the norm, the Pope had set a shining example by embracing his sufferings as if they were privileges from God. Towards the very end he had lived his life via crucis, or the way of the cross.

This was not the first time the former Archbishop of Krakow exuded this almost divine fortitude and grace. He had learned to live with the harshness of earthly life when he lost his mother when he was ten and his only brother when he was twelve.

During the last world war, he survived the worst deprivations on a Nazi death camp. After the war his persecution continued under the communist totalitarianism that replaced Nazi totalitarianism.

On May 13, 1981, he was shot by a lone communist assailant. On a skiing trip, he broke a hip and knee from which he never fully recovered. And more recently he had to live with the debilitating Parkinson's disease.

But life's harshness did not prevent him to become great and be declared by one newspaper as "one of the greatest moral and spiritual leaders of the last 100 years.

What we have learned from the example of the late Pontiff is that we can also achieve holiness by accepting our crosses in life and live in accordance to God's will.

While many people measure their achievements by the number of the mansions that they have built for themselves or by the fat bank accounts that they have held, John Paul II's achievements can be measured by the number of sufferings that he had endured and accepted gracefully as well as by what he had done for the service of his God and his brothers.

It is this example that gives us the hope that the world may yet change.

About The Author
John Urman and Raul Bancod

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