Monday, October 22, 2012

A Joyful Surprise

There are some days when it is just flat out, awesomely joyful to be Catholic.  Today was one of those days.

Just as I was looking for something positive about the prospects of the upcoming election to write about after several months away (and finding nothing but a healthy dose of political pessimism), walking into mass today left me a little...puzzled.  Initially, anyway.

Why puzzled? Because the vestments and altar cloth were all white.  I found myself thinking, "today's not a major feast..."  I hadn't gotten the memo, and didn't know that last Thursday, October 18, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the addition of October 22 as an optional memorial for the Feast of Blessed John Paul II for the Catholic Church in the U.S., with today being the first celebration.  How very awesome to be surprised by such joyous news, that the man who was such a pivotal figure in forming my generation and in giving us such a clear vision of God's plan for the dignity and power of human life and love, would now be commemorated with a memorial feast.

It was 34 years ago today that the "young" Polish cardinal was inaugurated as the 265th successor to St. Peter and spoke words that echo into eternity, and are so poignant in the present time when it seems that the faith is being threatened by dark clouds encroaching:
"Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development. Be not afraid!"
Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.