Today is the feast of Blessed Pope John Paul II! I had the enormous grace to live during the life of Pope John Paul II, he was the only pope I knew until recently. I was also blessed to be in Rome while Pope John Paul II was dying – I also there while he was lying in state, for his funeral, and for the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

During his last days I was particularly struck by one thing, the pope of the youth was willing to grow old and die. He let us see him as his body succumbed to age and Parkinson’s disease. When the current world practically shouts in our faces “Be young and beautiful always! Youth is everything! Never grow up! Never grow old!” Pope John Paul II showed us that we truly had nothing to fear in this life, even age and death, if our eyes were firmly fixed on the next.

(The picture above is from the Marvel Comic The Life of Pope John Paul II.)