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Pope John Paul II

WHAT I LEARNED FROM POPE JOHN PAUL II
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am not a Catholic, but I felt a deep loss when Pope John Paul II took ill and then died. That's what happens to us with public people--we connect with them even if we didn't know them. Remember when JFK was shot? When Princess Di was killed? We invite these men and women into our hearts, we live through them, and when they die, we are affected. We embrace them, and they become part of our family. All you afternoon soap fans will know exactly what I am talking about!

I learned important life-lessons from Pope John Paul II, and I would like to share some of them with you. He was consistent in his message, never wavering and always being crystal clear about what the Church stood for. Perhaps that explains whay he was always surrounded by so many adoring young people. It was unusual, don't you think, for an 80-year-old man to be cheered and adored by teen-agers and Gen-Xers. But perhaps not so surprising--they knew "where he was coming from," and agree or disagree, the messenger could always be trusted. What an important messgage for us parents!

He was serene in his illness. He was never afraid, even when we all were. He knew he was dying, but it never "defined" him. He saw himself as a Pope who was ill, not a walking illness who happened to be the Pope! He did everyhing he could to retain the spark of holiness with which God created him, and at the end, we knew that the Universe had lost a Master of Holiness. Jewish Tradition might even call him a Tzaddik, a living breathing exemplar of a higher level spirit, an reminder of what you and I might become in our own lives

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