Why does God allow suffering? Look to the Cross.

In light of the recent horrendous mass murder in the Connecticut elementary school, we all naturally ask the question, Why?. Why did this person commit this violence against innocent children and adults? Why did he feel compelled to act in this way? Why did he have such violent thoughts and malice? But then we also ask the question, why did God allow this tragedy to happen? Why does God permit such evil to occur to the innocent?

To provide a simple answer is to demean the gravity of the question. There are no simple answers. We can turn to God’s goodness, providence, and love to help us understand. In the end we must still admit that we cannot always see God’s intentions and that it transcends our finite human understanding. It is a “mystery”. This does not mean we cannot know some truths about suffering and God’s providence and omnipotence.

It’s a good idea first to talk about what evil is. Evil is not a thing but a privation, namely, a lack of good. And there are two types of evil – moral evil and physical evil. Moral evil is the direct result of sins, actions done against God’s law with the intention to do so. Physical evil such as cancer, earthquakes, or stubbing my toe is also the result of sin but in an indirect way. If we turn to scripture and go to Genesis 3, we recall the Fall when death entered the world through the free choice of Adam and Eve to chose themselves over God. The consequence of this disobedience was death (Gen 2:17) and all the suffering that can happen as a result of this fallen nature.

You might ask why God didn’t create humanity without sin. Well, he did. Adam and Eve were created in a state of grace. However, they were created, as we are, with freewill. For freewill is what makes us human and enables us to love. Love cannot be coerced; it can only be freely given. So as human beings, we have the ability to chose to love or to not and chose moral evil instead.

But back to the question of why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow suffering? To help us in understanding this mystery we must direct our gaze to the Cross. God allows suffering because the blessing and good that results is greater than that would have occurred without it. Look at the Cross. The worst evil ever perpetrated was to execute the innocent only begotten Son of God, the 2nd person of the Trinity. What greater sin is there? Yet through that act of seeming injustice our redemption is obtained.

valaz Christ crucified

How the suffering of others affects us as a whole is a mystery. Presently we see dimly (cf. 1 Cor 13:12), but we do know that God wills for our salvation and for us to be in his loving arms for all eternity.

The words of St. Paul here are fitting:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; 34 who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – Romans 8:18-39

Some people will claim that God is punishing us for our sins. This may be true, but we cannot see the mind of God to know. But if we understand and believe God’s desire for an intimate relationship with us, perhaps we should view the allowing of suffering as a manifestation of God’s mercy. Now, we don’t believe that God directly causes us to suffer – but he can use it for our benefit. After all, when do we as sometimes immature Christians go to God in prayer? When there is a tragedy, or difficulty, or agony. We reach out to God in those moments. Even people that don’t normally view themselves as religious are more likely to invoke the Almighty. God wants us to pray in the good times too.

One final thing I’ll say is this:  In a society where we’ve driven God out of the culture, out of our public life, out of our schools, out of our arts, and relegated him into the corners of our churches on Sundays, is it any wonder that we have individuals who act out in an ungodly manner? When we devalue life and adopt, as Blessed Pope John Paul II called it, “a culture of life”, is it any wonder that we have individuals who act out in a deadly manner?

I’ll leave you with these powerful words from St. Paul again, speaking about our participation in the cross of of Christ:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in current events, Theology


Extra-biblical historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth

As we approach Christmas and we recall the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ child, we know that many people do not believe in him or even believe he existed as a historical figure at all. We of course have the Bible and the historical narratives of the Gospels to show us the historical setting of Jesus. For example, Jesus’s birth happens “In the days of Herod, king of Judea” (Luke 1:5). Also,  it is the days of  Caesar Augustus and Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-2). Even more historical rooting is shown further in Luke’s gospel when John the Baptist (Jesus’ cousin) is first mentioned:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberi-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysani-as tetrarch of Abilene, 2* in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (Luke 3:1-2)

With all that in mind, many do not accept the historical authenticity of the Gospels. But we have more than the Bible that mentions Jesus.  Below are just a sample of some ancient non-Christian sources.

Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD), “the greatest historian” of ancient Rome:

“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD):

“Because the Jews of Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] expelled them from the city.”

“After the great fire at Rome [during Nero’s reign] . . . Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.”

Flavius Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian:

“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (Arabic translation)

Julius Africanus, writing around 221 AD, found a reference in the writings of Thallus, who wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean around 52 AD, which dealt with the darkness that covered the land during Jesus’s crucifixion:

“Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun–unreasonably, as it seems to me.” [A solar eclipse could not take place during a full moon, as was the case during Passover season.]

Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor around 112 AD:

“[The Christians] were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food–but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.” Pliny added that Christianity attracted persons of all societal ranks, all ages, both sexes, and from both the city and the country. Late in his letter to Emperor Trajan, Pliny refers to the teachings of Jesus and his followers as excessive and contagious superstition.

Emperor Trajan, in reply to Pliny:

“The method you have pursued, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those denounced to you as Christians is extremely proper. It is not possible to lay down any general rule which can be applied as the fixed standard in all cases of this nature. No search should be made for these people; when they are denounced and found guilty they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that when the party denies himself to be a Christian, and shall give proof that he is not (that is, by adoring our gods) he shall be pardoned on the ground of repentance, even though he may have formerly incurred suspicion. Informations without the accuser’s name subscribed must not be admitted in evidence against anyone, as it is introducing a very dangerous precedent, and by no means agreeable to the spirit of the age.”

Emporer Hadrian (117-138 AD), in a letter to Minucius Fundanus, the Asian proconsul:

“I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be passed by without examination, so that these men may neither be harassed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the provincials can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere petitions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if anyone would bring an accusation, that you should examine it.” Hadrian further explained that if Christians were found guilty they should be judged “according to the heinousness of the crime.” If the accusers were only slandering the believers, then those who inaccurately made the charges were to be punished.

The Jewish Talmud, compiled between 70 and 200 AD:

“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, `He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.”

[Another early reference in the Talmud speaks of five of Jesus’s disciples and recounts their standing before judges who make individual decisions about each one, deciding that they should be executed. However, no actual deaths are recorded.]

Lucian, a second century Greek satirist:

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the comtempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.” Lucian also reported that the Christians had “sacred writings” which were frequently read. When something affected them, “they spare no trouble, no expense.”

Mara Bar-Serapion, of Syria, writing between 70 and 200 AD from prison to motivate his son to emulate wise teachers of the past:

“What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burying Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.”

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Catholic, History


Holding hands during the Our Father

I was at Mass on a recent Sunday and something occurred to me during the Lord’s Prayer. Most people in the assembly were holding hands, except me and my family, and I realized that if I were an outsider, I would think the Lord’s Prayer was the most important part of the Mass. Let me explain:

Now, the entire Mass is actually centered on the sacrifice of Christ presented in the Eucharist; and all the prayers, words, gestures, actions, posturese, and symbols revolve around that – or at least should. The Mass is the central act of Christian life and these should reflect what we believe in our doctrines. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (The rule of prayer is the rule of faith).

I’ve been trying to figure out why people hold hands at the Our Father at Mass. Perhaps the thinking is that since we say “Our” Father, then we hold hands to show our unity praying with one voice as a community. Well, yes, but many of the other prayers at mass are plural first person as well, and we don’t hold hands during those times. Maybe it got adapted from the basic Orans posture (hands extended with palms up) and then people thought it was an invitation to hold hands. Most people do it now (and when I used to do it) because everybody else does it and they just assume it’s something we’re supposed to do.

Well, the liturgical documents don’t mention it as something we should do. Furthermore, if the reason is that makes it feel more like a community, why at that point? This gets me to my original point: I notice that this is the time when we the response of the assembly is loudest; everybodyis saying it and were all holding hands doing it. It’s as if this were the most important part of the Mass for some people – the only time they get something out of it. I hope that’s not the case, but maybe the hand-holding emphasizes this. Of course it is an important prayer and it is the prayer that Christ gave us, but it is of course not the pinnacle of the liturgical celebration.

Another reason we shouldn’t hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer is that it de-emphasizes the act that comes right after that: the sign of peace. Why would I need to give a sign of peace (shaking hands, etc) with someone if I just held their hand during a prayer? Also, the real community we will participate in is when we receive the Body of Christ. That is when we are mystically joined together in a more real and stronger sense than the holding of hands. That is one of the reasons it is called “communion”.

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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Liturgy and Practices


Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Enmity with Evil


On December 8, the Catholic Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Note that this does not refer to the conception of Jesus in Mary, i.e. the virgin birth. This dogma is a belief of how Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb.

The Catholic Church believes in the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary, wherein she is considered unstained from original sin and actual sin. This is not explicitly told in Scripture, but there are several passages that hint it and support this doctrine. Consider this scripture passage:

[Genesis 3:15] I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The context is after Adam and Eve have sinned and God is punishing the snake. This passage is often spoken as being the protoevangelium or “first gospel” because it is a prophecy concerning Jesus. This “seed” of the woman is Jesus, because he will “bruise” the head of the snake (who represents Satan). Now this “woman” must be Mary as it is her “seed” that is Jesus, since she is his mother.

Now, knowing that the passage refers to Jesus and thus to Mary, we see that God declares there will be an “enmity” between the snake (Satan) and Mary. The word “enmity” can mean “separation” or “total opposition”. Thus we see that Mary will be separated from Satan and sin and will be in total opposition to Satan.

Now consider the following verse:

[Luke 1:28] “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you”

The context of this is where the angel Gabriel greets Mary at the annunciation of Christ. The phrase “full of grace” is translated from Greek word kecharitomene. Now, grace is the very life of God, his Love. So, in other words, Mary is full of God’s love and life. We know that sin is the absence of grace. Therefore, if Mary is full of grace, that means that she is without sin, in opposition with evil.

Protestants will object to this elevation of Mary; that all sin except for Christ. However, this is a fitting doctrine in that it says something about her son Jesus Christ, namely, that she was to be a pure vessel for his incarnation.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Catholic, Mary


What I’ve learned from my 1/2 marathon training

I’m not a runner. I’ve always disliked running (or jogging, if you will) for what seems to be no purpose. I’ve played soccer and basketball, both of which involve running, but only as a tool to play the sport. My wife has always enjoyed running and the last few years has run a full and a half-marathon. I remember how proud I was of her accomplishment and I began to feel a spark of inspiration to start running myself. I also saw the throngs of people of all shapes who were also participating in this arduous trek. I thought maybe I could do that too.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, after realizing I was not getting any younger, that I thought I should try to do it. I got quite discouraged as after running a few minutes I would immediately tire and give up. I kept at it though. I told myself just run one minute longer than the last time. Sometimes I wouldn’t and sometimes I would though. But I kept at it. Then one day I actually made it to three miles. I was elated – not only mentally for accomplishing that but physically with the endorphins.

Last year my mom died, suddenly and unexpectedly. I felt lost, my underpinnings seemingly cut. Perhaps as a way of coping with the loss or of channeling my grief someway, I decided to sign up for the half-marathon. Now, mind you, I had not run an inch over three miles so doing 13. At that time, that was way out of my league. I started researching plans and programs for running the half-marathon. I finally settled on one that was a 10-week program. I did several weeks of running before that just to train my body and get it used to doing this foreign activity. I’m now in my 9th week. Perhaps they’re trite or been said a million times, but I learned several things along the way and I feel that they apply to any goal in life you may have.

Make a plan. You need to set a goal and a plan and schedule to get you to that goal. For me, I found a training program that had a schedule of run days and distances. Whatever your goal is, running or otherwise, it helps to have a road map to get there. Not only do you need to track progress, it’s important to know the investment you’re going to make in achieving the goal. If the goal is something important to you, nurture it. You may also have to sacrifice other things for the sake of your goal. At the same time, make a plan that is achievable.

Expect difficulties but stay committed. Anything worthwhile in achieving is usually going to be challenging. Accept that there will be difficult things you have to overcome. I sometimes felt fear about the long weekend runs – that it would be painful or that I wouldn’t be able to do it. There will be times that you feel like you’re not making any progress or that you’re actually going backwards. Keep at it and take a big picture approach. We often get comfortable in our status quo. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone may make your mind or body rebel. Rise above it. You will grow as a person merely in overcoming. There is so much more in potential inside of us that we don’t tap into. Seek that inner strength – use the gifts that God has given you.

Enjoy the little victories. It is important to recognize when you’ve made progress even if it’s small. Congratulate, praise, and even reward yourself. It will help in overcoming future difficulties and challenges. To do this, you need mini-milestones, small steps. For example, if I’m doing say an 8-mile run, I tell myself it’s eight 1-mile runs instead and I achieve each one incrementally. Also it helps to reflect on the previous times you overcame and when your discipline won out over laziness. A few weeks ago I ran 12 miles. When I look back and realize that a year ago I couldn’t run half a mile, I get quite a sense of accomplishment and a recognition that I can meet challenges and improve.

Be positive. My wife gets on my case because even though I’ve been training for this half-marathon, I still complained about how I hated running or I would moan about a long run that was imminent. She’s right. How your think and feel about the work needed to achieve your goal greatly influences your motivation and success. Visualize succeeding and getting past the obstacles. Uplift and praise yourself. Sometimes you have to trick yourself into liking it. I found that even doing something as simple as smiling while I ran made me have more energy. As noted above, you’ll have challenges, but having a good attitude will go a long way toward meeting your goals.

Have a support system. I trained for the 1/2 marathon by myself – part of my independent streak I guess. In hindsight I should have signed up with a group. Even when I’m running around others I don’t know, whether a 5k race or an afternoon run at the park, I seem to do better. Being around others who are going through the same path will help you in knowing you are not alone, that this is worthwhile, and that it can be done. And when you participate in a group who are sharing the same goal, you can motivate and praise each other. It’s a lot easier to hear it from somebody else than tell it to yourself. One thing to realize though is there are going to be people who are better than you. That’s ok. They may have been doing this a lot longer than you. So don’t beat yourself up. Also, you need loving people around you, who even though may not be working on the same goal, who can encourage you, hold you accountable, and listen to you when you vent about your difficulties or talk about your accomplishments.

The half-marathon is January 16. Nine days away. I don’t know how much I’ll run after I finish 13.1 but I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I could do something I was way outside my comfort zone. What other challenges can I take on?

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Posted by on January 7, 2011 in Fitness


Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI

It’s been a couple days now since the elation and joy in the election of our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as Cardinal Josef Ratzinger. Or as some in the media called him, the arch-conservative, rigid, authoritarian, pit-bull watchdog, grand inquisitor prefect of the CDF. Most of these people have never read any of his books or know anything of substance concerning his personality and views.

Many cafeteria Catholics were hoping for a more “liberal” Pope who would tell them it’s alright to contracept, abort, euthanize, ordain women, etc. My question is, if they already did or supported these things with JP2, what difference would it make to them if they got someone else as pope? Did they want a cafeteria Catholic pope? I mean, the Pope is supposed to be the Rock, as successor of St. Peter, Cephas, the Rock of Matthew 16:16-19. When all the other disciples were using popular opinion to understand who Jesus was, only Peter understood that our faith in Christ should not be the shifting sands of “modernism”. If Jesus himself were elected Pope last Tuesday, there would be outrage that he was too old-fashioned, or not a good listener.

No matter who was selected pope, if you believe and trust in Christ, he would not have let the Church fall into error. This is why the hopes of those who wanted a pope to change infallible truths is so hopeless. Our hope lies in Christ, who said he is the Truth and that his words would never pass away and that he would guide the Church unto all truth.

John Paul II’s passing and the outpouring of affection that filled Rome and the world for this servant of God really made an impact on the electors. The Holy Spirit moved them to understand that the Church needs a shepherd who can challenge the world with the message of the Gospel.

St. Benedict, this pope’s namesake, is the patron of Europe; he helped evangelize Europe with the spread of the monastic life. It is time now to re-Christianize Europe, to stir the hearts of complacent Christians, to bring back the lost sheep who have drifted away in a culture of secularism and relativism.

I pray and hope that Benedict XVI can have the energy, wisdom, and perservence to fight the good fight. He needs to evangelize and pastor and reach out and always be a Rock.

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Posted by on April 22, 2005 in Catholic


Goodbye John Paul II

I got up at 3 a.m. to watch the Funeral of Pope John Paul II. I’m glad I did. It was such a moving, historic, spiritual moment.

And not only that, but it was a moment of witness. In a way, it exemplified the “New Evangelization” that JP2 saw as the part of the implementation of the 2nd Vatican Council. What an awesome way to present the beauty and sacredness of the Catholic faith to all the world.

The Funeral Mass and rites were lead by the dean of the College of Cardinals, and possibly the next Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (from Germany). He’s quite a theologian himself, who also addressed the new evangelization a few years back. I was trying to envision him being the future pope. He just is no JP2, but I’ll let the Holy Spirit figure that out. Anyways, he certainly had a beautiful homily. It closed with these words:

None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi. We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

I was so amazed at the immense crowd of people coming together to pray. They appeared to be mostly young, coming to say goodbye to this wonderful father who reached out to the youth in so many ways. The music was uplifting and the whole Mass was in a sense, heavenly. Tears were in my eyes the whole time. But it was when they processed the coffin into the basilica, saying our last goodbye, as the crowds applauded and acclaimed him “John Paul the Great” and a “make him a Saint immediately”, and as the bells rang, that I was overcome.

John Paul 2, we love you!

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Posted by on April 8, 2005 in Catholic