I apologize for the problems with the print in this posting. Something went wrong with the type size and type and I don't know how to fix it!
|My drawing of Blessed Pope John Paul II as he intercedes for us |
Today has been a very special day for me -- Divine Mercy Sunday and the beatification of our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. Let me explain.
First, the beatification: It appears that the greatly loved Pope JPII is well on his way to sainthood. Actually, the people of the Church throughout the world have been asking that he be canonized from the day of his funeral back in 2005. So, he was quickly declared "venerable" which means he led a life worthy of imitation and also means that the process of investigating his life is well under way. The next step is "blessed" which means that the Church believes him to be in Heaven thus we in the Church can name schools and churches after him and hold devotions asking him to intercede for us. The next step is "sainthood" or canonization making Blessed Pope John Paul II a saint. He would then take his place with all the great ones in Heaven and, if you have read my book "Novena Icons" (which you should have!), you would have some understanding of what this means to those of us who are Catholic and Orthodox (don't tell anyone, but I even know Protestants who ask the saints to intercede for them on the quiet!!).
Now for Divine Mercy Sunday. This is the first Sunday after Easter and is a time for the entire Church to be very aware of the limitless mercy of God. Too often we forgot how God is waiting and longing for us to return to Him -- like the Prodigal Son story where the father forgives everything wrong his son has done when the son returns to him asking forgiveness and admitting his failures. This special day in the Church calendar came about because a nun named Sister Faustina, a mystic, heard Christ asking her to request the authorities to establish this feast on the first Sunday after Easter. She believed that Christ asked her to do this because during the years she lived (the first part of the 20th century), the Catholic Church along with many other churches had come to see being a Christian as very much a matter of keeping all the rules. Sister (now Saint) Faustina wanted the world to remember what we are told in scripture: God is rich in mercy.
So, in honour of this special occasion, I did a new drawing of Pope John Paul II and I did it in the style of an icon. I chose to try to portray the Pope as he looked just when the Parkinson's disease was first becoming evident -- just when he started to walk his own way of the cross. In the background there is the icon of Our Lady of Czeshtochowa which I drew a few years ago -- the beloved icon of the Polish people and of the Holy Father. The design on the stole about his neck is a modernistic representation of a shamrock -- a symbol of the Trinity. I tried to make the background appear to be a place neither here nor there -- if you get what I mean. I know I made the face rather sad, but I wanted to indicate something of the nature of intercessory prayer not the state of John Paul II in Heaven!
Next I want to show you some of my favourite images of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
Cover of the magazine published by Salt and Light TV (Toronto) -- once again we see the Pope as he was so often ... at prayer.
Beautiful Painting (I don't know who painted it) of Blessed Pope John Paul II resting in the arms of Our Blessed Mother.
This says so much about his relationship with our Blessed Mother.
Now, here are some recent photos from my cat collection: