A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Blessing

Pope John Paul II gives his blessing from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Very often, we say we want to remember people who die not as they were in their final illness, but as they were in the very fullness of life.

We have many iconic images of John Paul II in the fullness of his life: his rallying of the crowds in communist Poland, his forgiving handshake and gentle talk with the man who had nearly killed him, his confrontations with the powerful, and his comforting of those in need.

But the last image we have of him, when he came to the window of his apartment last Wednesday, even as he struggled against the infirmities that would shortly take his life, is surely among the most powerful.

He cannot talk. He cannot walk. He can barely swallow. He can hardly control the muscles of his face.

Yet he raises his right hand with amazing vigor: raising it in blessing, tracing in the air three times the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, silently reminding the entire world of the source of all grace.

A last image, a last sign, before Christ called him home.