Tuesday, April 08, 2008

John Paul II's Use of Images Recalled

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Pope John Paul II did not only evangelize with words, but also through images, and especially in moments of prayer and suffering, commented a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said this in comments he made on the most recent episode of the weekly Vatican Television program “Octava Dies.”

Father Lombardi recalled Benedict XVI's homily Wednesday at a Mass marking the third anniversary of the Polish Pope's death. The current Pontiff said that “one only had to watch John Paul II when he prayed: He literally immersed himself in God.”

The Vatican spokesman continued: “This was always the case, but we cannot forget how much the images of his silent prayer were desired and requested when, after Sept. 11, the disoriented world sought support, comfort and hope, and how ready he was to provide it. The image of his prayer became a precious service to countless people.”

“Also in the big public Masses, he was not after the crowds, but the Spirit that could animate and guide them, as he explicitly said during some unforgettable celebrations -- on the Pentecost of his first trip to Warsaw, for example. But this was always true, as Pope Benedict recalled. He did not relish the personal triumph; he meditated on the ‘mystery in act.’”

“And finally the suffering," added Father Lombardi. "The frames of the last Via Crucis have been historically defined. We all know them. We have reconsidered them with indescribable emotion, accompanied by the most faithful interpreter of John Paul II’s intentions: Archbishop Stanislaw [Dziwisz].

"Pope Benedict said that ‘that eloquent scene of human suffering and of faith indicated to the world the secret of the whole Christian life.’”

”What use are the images?” Father Lombardi asked in conclusion. “For John Paul II, for Pope Benedict, for us, it is through the images that the Spirit passes.”