Spring 2014 Magazine - Immaculata University - page 12

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I MMA C U L ATA MA G A Z I N E * S P R I N G 2 0 1 4
SALTY SERVANT OF THE LORD
WHEN JOHN PAUL II DIED
ON APRIL 2, 2005, THREE
MILLION PEOPLE CAME TO
ROME THE NEXT WEEK TO
PAY THEIR RESPECTS!
And the calls to canonize John Paul II began
even before he had been buried. People attend-
ing his funeral chanted and held banners saying
“Santo subito, santo subito,” short for “Make
him a saint now.” Their call was heard. He will
be canonized April 27, 2014, the Feast of Divine
Mercy, and joy-filled faithful will call him
“Saint John Paul II.”
Without doubt John Paul II—John Paul the
Great? John Paul, the People’s Pope? John Paul,
Pope of the Jews? John Paul, Pope of Youth?
John Paul, Conscience of the World?—was a
remarkable man! After saying yes to the request
to provide some reflections about John Paul II,
I found myself in a quandary! What more can
be said? Tributes note that he brought us a phi-
losopher’s intellect, a pilgrim’s spiritual intensity
and an actor’s flair for the dramatic. Anyone can
easily find lists of recent editorials, lists of what
world leaders have said about John Paul II, lists
of what religious leaders have said about John
Paul II, lists of what leaders of other faiths have
said about John Paul II!
And then, I remembered the blessing of at-
tending the 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto!
John Paul II set the direction, the theme of that
celebration, with Jesus’ richly significant words:
“You are the salt of the earth … You are the
light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). Surely it
seems the “salt” theme is ever timely and illu-
minating, since John Paul II provided concrete,
tangible witness as a “salty” servant of Christ
and his Church.
Why salt? What are the salient qualities of
salt? What is the nature and function of salt?
And why does John Paul II merit this specific
descriptive? Daily experience provides the
answers to the first two questions: salt preserves,
purifies and seasons! From a biblical perspective
and springing from its preservative nature, salt
is emblematic of loyal, faithful friendship with
God and others.
Salt preserves! John Paul II made it clear
that he knew it was his responsibility to pro-
claim, defend and explain the faith! No pope in
history has published as many homilies, talks,
encyclicals and apostolic exhortations as John
Paul II. The notions of the complementarity of
“faith and reason” peppered his approach! His
Christo-centric vision and intensity of focus is
By Sister Sheila Galligan, IHM, S.T.D.,
Professor of Theology
“SAIŊŦ” John Paul II:
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