mourning our loss

04/3/05 at 8:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Please pray for the soul of Pope John Paul II, whose death is a great loss not only to the more than a billion Roman Catholics all over the world but also everyone whose lives have been touched by this charismatic spiritual leader and tireless peace advocate.

I haven’t been a devout Roman Catholic — that’s an understatement — but while I’ve not agreed with some of the dogmas of the Church and the Pope’s stand on certain issues, I can’t deny that in my heart, I am a Catholic and probably will always be. It is the rites of this Church into which I was baptized that move me, and while my mind is open to different philosophical and religious beliefs that may contradict its teachings, I suppose everything I see is viewed through the lens of this Catholic core, because for many Filipinos, it’s part of who we are.

I have always admired the Pope for his humility in spite of the fact that he is arguably the world’s most powerful leader, his humanity that allows us all to identify with him, his passionate defense of his beliefs, and his tireless efforts to bring a message of hope to everyone in the world, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The man who was born Karol Wojtyla reigned for 26 years as one of the most remarkable and influential popes in history. The Catholic Church is what it is today in large part because of his vision and his determination to push forward with ecumenism and the reforms of Vatican II. Most of all, he was a man who genuinely loved and was loved by millions all over the world.

I’m talking as someone who was once an atheist during most of high school and college. Yet what I’ve come to realize over the years is that it doesn’t matter what religion you follow and what spiritual beliefs you profess, but at the end of the day you have to believe in someone, something greater than humanity and our frail flesh and this material world. It is not enough to always demand that we know with certainty. Sometimes we must believe, without any guarantee that the path we have chosen is the right one or that in the end we will be rewarded for our beliefs.

So let’s join together in mourning the Pope’s death and celebrating the remarkable life he led. He taught us not only how to live, but how to die with dignity.

At the end of the day, life is too short and too precious for us to live without faith.


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