Blessed Pope Paul VI will be proclaimed a saint later this year, according to our current Pope. Which means I’m jumping the gun a little here. But I have to share something I ran across today—Pope Paul’s knock-your-socks-off manifesto on how each of us and the Church will love:
“We will love those who are near and those far from us. We will love our own country and we will love that of others. We will love our friends, we will love our enemies. We will love Catholics, we will love the dissidents, the Protestants, the Anglicans, the indifferent, the Mohammedans, the pagans, the atheists. We will love all social classes, but especially those most in need of help, of assistance, of advancement. We will love children and we will love the old, the poor, and the sick. We will love those who mock us, who scorn us, who oppose us, who persecute us. We will love those who merit and those who do not merit to be loved. We will love our opponents: we will want no man to be our enemy. We will love the time in which we live: our culture, our science, our art, our sport, our world. We will love, striving to understand, to have sympathy, to admire, to serve, and to suffer. We will love with the heart of Christ: ‘Come to me, all of you….'”
Whew. How many of us can make that statement with our whole heart? And if not, why not? I’m on retreat this weekend, pondering that question for myself.
The statement begins a 1963 biography of Paul by John G. Clancy called Apostle for Our Time. Written soon after the Pontiff’s election, it traces the influences in the upbringing of young Giovanni Battista Montini that shaped his ability to guide the Second Vatican Council after the death of Pope John XXIII.
Pope Paul’s father was a journalist and political activist who wrote and lobbied relentlessly for freedom and especially the rights of Catholics, even more so as he saw the dictator Mussolini tightening his political grip on the Italian Republic. The Montini home was a gathering place for artists, writers, priests, and statesmen, so the future Pope Paul witnessed first-hand the development of fresh ways to live out eternal truths and the planning that would bring it to fruition in the real world.
Let’s pray for each other that we find the courage, with soon-to-be Pope Saint Paul VI, to admire, to serve, and to suffer with the heart of Christ.
Doesn’t that make life so simple?
Thank you and bless you, Rose, for sharing Pope Paul’s inspirational words.
Yes! Simple is the word. God is one and God is love — so simple! We spend our lives learning to be simple and single-minded.
Pope Paul VI’s manifesto comes as close as we poor human beings can to the bestowing of grace on others. Duke Ellington encapsulated it this way: “Love is unconditional. It’s not ‘Where have you been, it’s how are you?’”
I got one comment via email that said, “Conditional love is an oxymoron.” — Good point!
Lord, make my heart large enough to love this much and especially to love myself unconditionally as you do.
And Paul VI really did — so inspiring to read of his going out with Pius XII when Rome was bombed and getting “blood on his cassock” as they helped the suffering.
Sometimes I have a hard time believing in love but I try with my whole ? please pray that my medication for depression works. And not to many side effects.
Yes, Claire, praying and inviting those who see your comment to pray, too. I’ve just posted on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/virtueconnection/ some of God’s promises that keep us going when we can’t quite find love or faith. (And thanks for liking that page!)
Living in His Presence means you are doing your best to look like Him, and he is always perfect.
Just as toddlers need a hand for balance, God knows you will need him for support, balance, and guidance as you walk in his ways.
From Quiet Moments Alone with God book
Thank you for the reminder (and most of us need it!) that we are not growing in virtue by our own efforts alone, but by being open to His grace.
THIS CAME IN VIA EMAIL:
Rose, I just love your emails. They make me so happy. Thank you for being a light in this world!
I hope you had a wonderful time at your retreat. ❤
Sending lots of love,
AND DEACON JIM EMAILED THIS GEM:
Remember that “conditional love” is an oxymoron!
Thank you very much for this insightful piece especially as it relates to Pope Paul VI. He got out Lord’s message loud and clear as God is love so we also must love others even those that are difficult to love.
Be a Saint, what else is there!
What else, indeed. Being a saint just means becoming what we were born to be.