6 days till canonization: Suffering & Death


Today, I would like to add just this: that everyone keep the prospect of death in mind and be ready to go before the Lord and Judge – and at the same time Redeemer and Father. So I keep this continuously in my mind, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church – to the Mother of my hope.

Pope John Paul II (Testament of the Holy Father)

Did you know?
Mother Tekla Famiglietti recounts what Pope John Paul II said to her about his illness, “The doctors did what they could and I thank them. But the one thing that is important to me, I can write many encyclicals, but I believe my suffering, my small suffering, can help humanity.”
Pope John Paul II wrote an Apostolic letter on the Christian meaning of human suffering, Salvifici Doloris, in his sixth year of pontificate. In 2002, he gave an address at the end of the Mass for the sick in St. Peter’s Basilica, once again emphasizing the value of suffering, “It is right to fight sickness because health is a gift of God. At the same time, it is also important to be able to interpret God’s plan when suffering knocks at our door. For us believers, the key to the interpretation of this mystery is the Cross of Christ. The Incarnate Word himself met our weakness by taking it fully upon himself on Golgotha. Since that moment, suffering has acquired a meaning that makes it extremely valuable. Since that day, pain, in all its manifestations, has acquired a new and special meaning because it becomes participation in the saving work of the Redeemer (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1521). Only if they are united to his sufferings, do our own acquire full meaning and value. By the light of faith, they become sources of hope and salvation.” (Health Is A Gift Of God; Suffering Has Value)
Death, like birth, is only a transformation. When I die I’m changing my state, that’s all. With faith in God, death is as easy and natural as going to sleep here and waking up there.

Pope John XXIII

Did you know?
During the time Pope John XXIII was the Apostolic Delegate in Turkey and Greece, and then became the Nuncio in France toward the end of World War II, he worked tirelessly to save refugees and immigrants. He did not only preach the way of peace, but also lived through it in such a difficult time.
Before he passed on, Pope John XXIII humbly prepared himself with a profession of faith, a request for pardon, thanked the people around him, and reminded others what counts the most in life. His encyclical Pacem in Terris is also considered as his last testament, as he wrote it two months before his death. (The 40th Anniversary of the Encyclical ‘Pacem in Terris’)