Motherhood, Mary, and Blessed John Paul II

On May 2nd, Pat Ryan of Relevant Radio interviewed me here in Austin (the interview will air in the middle to late June). One of the first questions he asked me was about Blessed John Paul II and how important he is to my ministry with this blog. I shared with Pat that Blessed John Paul II has been a major factor in my life as a whole and especially in my life as a small-time theologian trying to do God’s work for the Catholic Church. If it was not for my friend BK, I may never have grown to love Blessed John Paul II as much.

Karol Józef Wojtyla was born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska on May 18, 1920 in the Polish town of Wadowice. He was the youngest of three children. In 1929, at the age of nine years old, his mother died. At the death of his mother, young Karol Wojtyla said to the Blessed Mother that she now had to be his mother. All through his life, Blessed John Paul II had a great devotion to Our Lady, specifically under her title, Our Lady of Fatima. Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima and also the anniversary date of the assassination attempt on his life in 1981. Blessed John Paul II had such a devotion to the Blessed Mother that he prayed all 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary (20 mysteries in 2002) on a daily basis and he was the first Pope in history to place the letter “M” on his Papal Shield representing Mary the Mother of God. Blessed John Paul II attributed his life being saved in 1981 to the Blessed Mother under her title as Our Lady of Fatima. Tomorrow’s Mondays with Mary will discuss Our Lady of Fatima.

Many people are aware that Blessed John Paul II wrote many magisterial documents in his years as Pope, but what most people don’t know is that Karol Wojtyla was also a poet who wrote poetry as early as 1939. It wasn’t until his election to the papacy in 1978 did these poems come to light. They are the reflections of a man of God who understood his place in the Church and the world. It is my personal opinion that the acting and the poetry transformed him to be the Renaissance Man that he became as a Priest, Bishop, Cardinal, and Pope. The poetry of Blessed John Paul II is published in the only English version approved by the Vatican – The Place Within. Since today is Mother’s Day and he found motherhood to be very important, especially the motherhood Our Lady showed him, I have chosen to give you a taste of his poetry under the title of Mother. There are other poems under this title in book.

Her Amazement at Her Only Child

Light piercing, gradually, everyday events;

a woman’s eyes, hands

used to them since childhood.

Then brightness flared, too huge for simple days,

and hands clasped when the words lost their space.

In that little town, my son, where they knew us together,

you called me mother; but no one had eyes to see

the astounding events as they took place day by day.

Your life became the life of the poor

in your wish to be with them through the work of your hands.

I knew: the light that lingered in ordinary things,

like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days –

the light was you; it did not come from me.

And I had more of you in that luminous silence

Than I had of you as the fruit of my body, my blood.

To All the Mothers Today – Happy Mother’s Day! To my Mother, Joyce Perna – Thank you for always being the shining beacon and foundation of our family. Your love for Carla and I is beyond words. As a grandmother, we get to observe the love you gave to us as children. We love you dearly.

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