Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

A reminisicence of meeting John Paul II; a Papal poem

Expand Messages
  • Frederick Wagner
    It would not do for the passing of John Paul II to go unremarked here.  His place in history cannot now be fixed , but I hope to live to see him declared a
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 3 7:16 AM
      It would not do for the passing of John Paul II to go unremarked
      here.  His place in history cannot now be fixed , but I hope to
      live to see him declared a saint.

      I met him four years ago in March.  I was in pain at the time
      because of my knees; it never occurred to me at the time that he
      was probably in pain too because of all his ills.

      Judy and I were among about 15 families granted an audience.
      Getting to the Papal apartment was not like walking into a hotel
      lobby!   We waited outside on a stone staircase. There were
      actually two Swiss guards with crossed Halberds blocking the
      doorway at the top of the stairs. I was rather surprised to see
      that they were formidable young men and not Hollywood extras! Six
      feet four or five and fit.   A man in a black suit stepped out of
      the doorway and pulled a list from his breast pocket.  We
      identified ourselves and he let us in.  We went to a cloak room
      and hung up our coats and then followed him up a broad, curving
      grand marble stair case with deep treads and shallow risers to
      the floor above. Eight people could have walked up side by side.
      Two more Swiss guards.  Modern firearms this time, not halberds!
      At the top we were shown into a paneled room that I realized was
      an elevator lobby.  We got into an elevator and rode up two more
      floors.  (By the way, the Pope's third floor windows are on the
      fourth floor above the street.  In Europe, they call our first
      floor the ground floor and our second floor the first floor.)  We
      waited in a hall.  Two more Swiss guards with halberds.  Then
      into an anti- room about the size of a small hotel lobby.  There
      were more men in suits. One of them instructed us to leave
      cameras and purses, etc. on an antique  table (I thought the
      table would have probably fetched something at Christie's!). I
      saw a woman with a panicked look on her face, obviously not
      knowing whether to keep her purse or meet the Pope! Finally she
      went and set her purse on the table with the rest of the personal
      belongings.

      We were shown into the reception room.  We formed a single line,
      a ring around the walls of the room.  In the middle of the far
      wall from where I stood was an ornate chair.  After awhile a door
      opened and in came a group of people who had attended mass in the
      Pope's private chapel.  Then the Holy Father came in and sat
      down.  I found that I was standing directly opposite to him
      so whichever way the line went, I was equidistant from the
      chair.  The line went clockwise. 15 seconds per person?  Time
      lost all meaning.  It sped up; it slowed down!  The closer I got
      the more nervous I became. Finally I got there and went down on
      one knee to kiss his hand. I burbled out something incoherent,
      even to me!  He put in my hand a rosary with the crucifix in the
      design of his own cross. The official camera flashed.  I stood
      and the next person was kneeling.  When the last person had paid
      his respects the Holy Father arose and, waving his cane (which
      was nicer than the average cane), smiled and said, "Grazie
      tutti!"  We applauded him; he then  left by the same door he had
      entered.

      As we filed out, Bishop Dziwisz  (pronounced "Jeevish" ), his
      personal secretary, said a word to each of us at the doorway.
      Then back the way we came. Finally outside, then along the right-
      hand colonnade of St. Peter's square and thence to a trattoria
      for espresso. Back to the normal world. (If such a thing exists
      in Rome!)

      Fritz Wagner

      This too:

      Rhydon Jackson sent me one of John Paul's poems written
      when he was still a bishop. Here it is:

      "Fear which is at the Beginning"

      1.
      Oh, how you are bound, place of my passage,
      with the place of my birth.
      God's design rests on the faces of passersby,
      its depth following the course of ordinary days.

      Sliding into death I unveil the awaiting, my eyes
      fixed on one place, one resurrection.
      Yet I close the lid of my body, and the certainty
      of its decay I entrust to the earth.
      You rise above it slowly, and level Your design
      with the surface of each day,
      and with the shadows of passersby in afternoon streets.
      in the streets of our town at dusk.
      You God, you alone
      can retreive our bodies from the earth.

      2.
      This is the last word of faith going
      to meet the necessity of passing,
      and the word that answers the record
      not contradictory to being (death is contradiction),
      the word held most in suspicion, uttered
      despite everyday deaths,
      despite this planet's history, which became
      our place of passage, the place of death,
      generation after generation

      3.
      Allow the mystery to work in me,
      teach me to act within my body
      suffused with weakness like a herald prophesying death,
      like a cock crowing--
      Allow the mystery to work in me, teach me to act in my soul
      which intercepts the body's fear
      and fears for that body--
      the soul still has its fear for maturity, for acts--
      shadows the human spirit carries forever--
      and of the depth in which it was submerged;
      finally of the divine, that fear
      which is not against hope.

      - Karol Wojtyla, Meditation on Death, 1975
    • pightle2000
      Thanks to Mr. Wagner for his reminisicence. At the very least it could be fairly said that the subjects of John Paul s dissertations -- St. John of the Cross &
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 4 8:04 AM
        Thanks to Mr. Wagner for his reminisicence.

        At the very least it could be fairly said that the subjects of John
        Paul's dissertations -- St. John of the Cross & Max Scheler --
        influenced Voegelin significantly as well. And this is still to say
        nothing of a shared interest in the Ressourcement writings of, for
        example, de Lubac. Scheler's influence has been treated recently by
        William Petropoulos.

        Rhydon Jackson
      • Frederick Wagner
        And don t forget Husserl! I believe John Paul s Christian Personalism was derived from H s Phenomenalism which he studied in Kracow at the Jagdelonian
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 4 8:32 AM
          And don't forget Husserl! I believe John Paul's
          Christian Personalism was derived from H's
          Phenomenalism which he studied in Kracow
          at the Jagdelonian University.

          Fritz Wagner


          On Mon, 04 Apr 2005 15:04:42 -0000, pightle2000 wrote:
          >
          >
          > Thanks to Mr. Wagner for his reminisicence.
          >
          > At the very least it could be fairly said that the subjects of
          > John Paul's dissertations -- St. John of the Cross & Max
          > Scheler -- influenced Voegelin significantly as well.  And this
          > is still to say nothing of a shared interest in the
          > Ressourcement writings of, for example, de Lubac.  Scheler's
          > influence has been treated recently by William Petropoulos.
          >
          > Rhydon Jackson
          >
          >
          > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor -----------------
          > ---~--> Has someone you know been affected by illness or
          > disease? Network for Good is THE place to support health
          > awareness efforts!
          http://us.click.yahoo.com/rkgkPB/UOnJAA/Zx0JAA/VHeqlB/TM -------
          > -------------------------------------------------------------~->
          >
          > In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
          > et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
          > ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
          > —St Augustine   De vera religione
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.