Skip to comments.Pope John Paul II's Other "Miracles"
Posted on 02/20/2011 2:29:33 PM PST by marshmallow
ROME, FEB. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Pope John Paul II will be beatified May 1 in part because his intercession brought the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's Disease. But the Polish Pontiff has brought about many more miracles -- living miracles, according to Legionary of Christ Brother Randall Meissen.
Brother Meissen has written a book called "Living Miracles: The Spiritual Sons of John Paul the Great" about priests who trace their vocation back to the influence of this Pope.
The book explains what these "JP2 revolution" priests have in common and how God chose to plant and nourish the seed of their vocations through the witness of the Bishop of Rome.
ZENIT: Why do you call these priests "living miracles?" Would they not have become priests had it not been for John Paul II? How does one man -- even if he is the Pope -- have such a profound effect on people as to influence their choice for a state in life?
Brother Meissen: In the broad sense, a miracle is an event which is supernatural in origin, something which defies explanation on the natural plane. Such is the vocation in the lives of these priests. They experienced a call, supernatural in origin, which drove them to follow a path radically at odds with everything naturally apparent to mainstream culture.
But, more specifically, the title of the book expresses my own reaction to the testimonies contained therein. Some of the stories have eerie moments where you can see the hand of God reaching down from the heavens. Father Mark White was still a Lutheran when he entered a Catholic chapel at his college and was awash in mysterious awareness of the presence of God. He says that moment was "the turning point of my whole life." Then, there is Juan Carlos Vasquez, a seminarian and John Paul enthusiast, whose father recovered from Crohn's disease (supposedly incurable) following prayers to John Paul II.
But with those cases aside, throughout the text, the sheer multitude of "coincidences," the number of twists and turns that these individuals experienced stretches belief. Their priestly calling and their zealous ministry to the Church is a living miracle. Furthermore, the whole "JP2 revolution," the effect it has had on the Church, the way it captivated and invigorated a generation of Catholics makes me think that we are still living out John Paul's greatest miracle.
ZENIT: What do the priests influenced by John Paul II have in common?
Brother Meissen: There is great diversity among the priests featured in my book. However, above all, each of them self-identifies with some core aspect of John Paul II's teaching and style of ministry. As I was conducting interviews, I asked scores of priests if they personally considered John Paul II to be a spiritual father. The contrast in reactions was striking. Many priests expressed admiration for John Paul II, but a smaller subset replied with enthusiastic affirmation, "Absolutely!"
I think this point is extremely important when one is talking about John Paul's continued influence on Church culture. A cornerstone of the "JP2 revolution" concerns the culture of optimism and enthusiasm that he created, largely though his own authenticity in living out the Gospel message. In recent years, the Catholic priesthood has gotten its share of bad press. It is easy for some priests to be timid or ashamed of their priesthood. But the priests who are living out the "JP2 revolution" are quite the contrary. They are invigorated and overflowing with delight in their vocation as priests. Their optimism is infectious.
ZENIT: How did you come to write this book? How did you find and select the stories of these "living miracles?"
Brother Meissen: The idea for the book came on a whim. I was speaking with some priests about the existence of a "JP2 generation," and the suggestion came that someone should write a book on the topic. Since I am a hopeless John Paul enthusiast, I couldn't resist the idea.
In a way, the book wrote itself. I sent a few e-mails around to the priests I knew, and they in turn referred me to other priests with stories. I have the impression that these "JP2 generation" priests are like grapes and come in bunches. They generally seemed to be networked with others who share the John Paul spirit.
ZENIT: Which profile in the book struck you the most?
Brother Meissen: The profile of Father Peter Mitchell stands out for several reasons. As a 19-year-old, he decided to tag along with his parish youth group on the trip to the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver. He had two motivations: He wanted to see the mountains and there were some good looking girls signed up for the trip. However, seeing Pope John Paul II was a turning point in Peter's life. He was transformed from living his faith in an ashamed and sheepish kind of way and left with a bold desire to proclaim the Gospel.
Father Mitchell says the experience of the welcoming ceremony for the Pope in Mile High stadium blew him away. The ceremony had been accompanied by torrential rain, but when John Paul started to pray the Our Father, a huge rainbow arched over the stadium.
A day and a half later, during the closing Mass held in Cherry Creek State Park, Father Mitchell decided to accept whatever path God wanted him to follow. He says that he knelt down in the dirt there and started crying as a wall of interior resistance crumbled away. There, he accepted the inspiration of a vocation and resolved to do whatever the Lord wanted.
Now, Father Mitchell teaches at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Nebraska, passing on his spiritual verve to a new generation of seminarians. He also serves a parish, where he sees youth work as a ministry of presence. He is an avid runner, and in the past has lent a hand coaching track at the local public school. Father Mitchell said he wants to show the young people that being a priest is "being fully a man, being fully alive, and fully involved in life."
ZENIT: How did John Paul II influence your own vocation?
Brother Meissen: Back in the year 2000, I was a pre-med student buried in biology and chemistry studies, and I was spiritually adrift. However, as part of the Great Jubilee, I went on a pilgrimage to Rome. Unknown to me, my trip coincided with the annual Corpus Christi celebration when the Pope takes part in a Eucharistic procession through the streets of Rome. I was along the road, craning my neck to see the Pope as he passed by. The Pope was kneeling in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, carried on a flatbed truck with a canopy overtop -- when he had been in better health, the Pope had walked the procession route.
In that moment, as the Pope passed a few meters from where I stood, he looked up at the Blessed Sacrament, and then quickly turned his head and with a piercing gaze looked directly at me. Truth be told, it was a strange sensation to feel that John Paul was looking for me and looking at me. In his deep eyes, filled with purity and peace, I saw reflected the kind of person I wanted to be. After that day, I really began to wrestle with the idea of the priestly vocation. And I also returned home with a consuming curiosity in John Paul II, in his life and his writing.
Within a month, I had chewed my way through George Weigel's mammoth biography of the Pope and I started reading John Paul's writings: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," "Gift and Mystery," and especially his encyclical "The Splendor of Truth." The more I read, the more I wanted to imitate his example. He had something that I wanted. What I had seen in his eyes in Rome arose from a profound union with God.
I was enamored by the Pope's life of prayer, a deeply mystical mixture of Polish piety flavored with the Carmelite spirituality of St. John of the Cross. I wanted to pray like the Pope prayed, and I started sneaking out of my college dorm late at night to pray in the chapel across the street. In the dead of night, in that chapel, dimly lit by a votive candle and the red glow of an exit sign, I grew firm in the certitude of God's call.
There was not a saint pope for 500 years till Pius X (died 1914). After Vatican II the progressives changed all rules for sainthood. They removed the devils advocate and made just 1 miracle enough for being ranked among the blessed. Not only was the number changed , but the the criteria for judging something miraculous was DILUTED ***. Result - JPII beatified more people than ALL the other popes of 1900+ years put together! No surprise that they beatify JPII. It's a joke.
The progressives wanted one of their own as a Blessed, they made one, JPII, the icon of the post Vatican II religion of the effeminates. The pope that presided over the greatest devastation of the Catholic faithful in the history of mankind. I doubt that 1% of Catholics today really practice the faith. I DOUBT that 1%! He presided over a hierarchy and clergy that homofied the priesthood, and dumbed down the few faithful left that still went to mass.
“In the country of blind men, the one eyed man is king”.
***P.S.- this JPII Sister Marie miracle is totally suspect. For one, there was considerable doubt that she even had Parkinson's. Moreover, she did not claim that the cure was instantaneous, the common occurrence for a miracle. She said that she began to feel better some time later, and went back to work. Cures of internal maladies that are hidden from view and whose etiology is uncertain, are often used by shysters and are the favorite of TV evangelists.
At the time, the thought of the end of soviet tyranny seemed miraculous, but his actions to me seem more ones of inspiration, will and dedication to a cause. All very noble - but miraculous?
St. Joseph of Cupertino on the other hand could fly.
I’m a Catholic because of Pope John Paul. Maybe that’s a “miracle,” or maybe it’s just the natural process of reason. Not my job to decide.
George Weigel is cool, and I’m going to take a few days for a massive celebration for JP2’s beatification. Maybe Fidel Castro will coincidentally pass away, and we can have our long delayed Cuba Libre blowout. If not, we can have a “Blessed Pope John Paul II” Cuban blowout.
Gotta check the church calendar, because it would be nice if we could use their kitchen and the picnic pavilion, instead of having it at my house.
St. Joseph of Cupertino is neato, but whom did his flying help, convert, heal, or liberate?
I love Cuba Libres. My Cuban cousins taught me all about them...and also about good cigars! We are an ethnically interesting family.
By flying? Well that’s neat! If you want to come to my Pope John Paul Cuba Libre (esperamos ...) whoop-up and promote St. Joseph of Cupertino, that would be fine. Bring food and some folding chairs.
You’re invited. One of the ladies in my prayer group is on the parish council. When we meet on Wednesday, I’m going to propose a parish-wide JPII celebration. If the council doesn’t think that’s the thing, I’ll work on organizing a Hispanic Ministry fiesta, and if we have to have it on our street, arriba. At least I know where the bathrooms are.
You could bring dolmas, Uncle K. Hispanos don’t use grape leaves unless they originated as Lebanese.
When I first started learning to fly, my first flight instruction had this little metal pendant stuck on the instrument panel. He explained that it was St. Joseph the patron saint of pilots. At the time I was a real playboy - didn't go to church, didn't read the Bible, that was for suckers, but our of curiosity I read up on this Saint Joseph.
It led me to Christ.
If you want to come to my Pope John Paul Cuba Libre (esperamos ...) whoop-up and promote St. Joseph of Cupertino, that would be fine.
If I come, I'll fly.
Wow, amazing. I’ll bet St. Joseph is just thrilled ... and coincidentally, you can celebrate *any* St. Joseph on May 1 ;-).
There are a couple of small airports within five miles of my house. My two oldest sons went on a “Young Eagles” flight about a year ago. My father was a pilot, so it’s in the family. I don’t have good hand-eye coordination or a strong stomach, but Bill and Tom might!
From - Beatification and Canonization - New Advent.org
“Canonization is a precept of the Roman Pontiff commanding public veneration to be paid an individual by the Universal Church.”
From the Holy See
“the Roman Pontiff alone is competent to declare a devotion to a Servant of God.” -(Benedict XVI)
LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE PLENARY SESSION
OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS
The process of the declaration of devotion is always subject to the power and authority of the Holy See.
When we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for seeking the City that is to come (274) and at the same time we are shown a most safe path by which among the vicissitudes of this world, in keeping with the state in life and condition proper to each of us, we will be able to arrive at perfect union with Christ, that is, perfect holiness. (11*) In the lives of those who, sharing in our humanity, are however more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ,(275) God vividly manifests His presence and His face to men. He speaks to us in them, and gives us a sign of His Kingdom,(12*) to which we are strongly drawn, having so great a cloud of witnesses over us - (Lumen gentium EN 50)
From Lumen Gentium it is clear that God alone makes men and women saints. Only the authority to declare devotion to a servant of outstanding virtue belongs to The Holy See.
>>- but miraculous?
St. Joseph of Cupertino on the other hand could fly. <<
"This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification, ... Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character of decrees of beatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always a permission, not a command; while it leads to canonization, it is not the last step. Moreover, in most cases, the cultus permitted by beatification, is restricted to a determined province, city, or religious body (Benedict XIV, op. cit., I, xlii)".
JPII is a media created hero of the world, and the dumb down feelings oriented Catholics which were educated under his watch and Paul VI's.
Why are you mentioning or celebrating Fidel’s death?
Truly these priests are the fruits of the prayers,teachings, and living witness of JPII. Truly he is JP II The Great!
Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character of decrees of beatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always a permission, not a command; while it leads to canonization, it is not the last step. Moreover, in most cases, the cultus permitted by beatification, is restricted to a determined province, city, or religious body (Benedict XIV, op. cit., I, xlii)
See, hear you should have read further and realized that beatification is a step to canonization. Since his beatification is what is happening it is only a short step from there to the canon.
The canonization of confessors or martyrs may be taken up as soon as two miracles are reported to have been worked at their intercession, after the pontifical permission of public veneration as described above. At this stage it is only required that the two miracles worked after the permission awarding a public cultus be discussed in three meetings of the congregation. The discussion proceeds in the ordinary way; if the miracles be confirmed another meeting (super tuto) is held. The pope then issues a Bull of Canonization in which he not only permits, but commands, the public cultus, or veneration, of the saint.
If JPII is to be canonized it is a commanded the public cultus. I don't think Benedict XVI is likely to stop at beatification, but neither you or I actually get to decide.
Actually, if one looks at the timeline of incidents of clerical abuse over the last half century or so, you'll find that the curve starts to spike dramatically upward between about 1959 and 1970. Most of the clergy responsible for those incidents would have been ordained in the 1950s or earlier, i.e. pre-Vatican II, when all was supposedly hunky-dory in the Catholic world.
In contrast, the curve starts to trend downward around 1980, shortly after JPII was elected.
You're going to be a busy man. As time passes and more miracles attributable to JPII begin to accumulate, you'll really have your work cut out explaining away all of them and pouring cold water on all the reports of vocations arising from his pontificate.
What a sad, negative way to spend one's life.
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