When thinking of a topic for my next blog, I couldn’t think of anything. I prayed and prayed about it hoping God would tell me what to write about. Finally I asked the group of girls I have been getting really close to since November, and one girl said, “Have you done one on JP2 and why/how he means so much to you? Like how he has inpired you? That would be really cool to read!” Oh my gosh! Why hadn’t I ever thought about writing how John Paul the Great inspired me and what he taught me in such a short amount of time? Learning about his life and making a big devotion to him all happened in about 3 months tops. So here is what I learned from John Paul the Great and why it has inspired me
1. Pray the rosary – About a year ago I read Jason Evert’s book “Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves” ( a book I recommend to everyone – seriously, go read it ) and I found out that John Paul the Great prayed a rosary a day, some times more than one. And he explained how every Hail Mary you say, it’s like giving a rose to Mary. When you pray to The Virgin Mary, She takes those prays and rushes them to Jesus, because Jesus would do anything for His mother.
2. Pray to the Virgin Mary – John Paul the Great had a deep love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He prayed to her daily for anything in the world. From his family to things happening around the world.
3. Adore the Blessed Sacrament. Between 5:00-5:30am and sometimes earlier John Paul the Great would wake up to go sit before the Blessed Sacrament. He would kneel, right before the 7:30am mass, on his kneeler with a book opened before him. This book contained notes and letters people had sent or given him seeking prayers for healings and conversions of family members or a successful pregnancy. The prayer he prayed often was “Holy Spirit, I ask you for the gift of wisdom to better know You and Your divine perfections, for the gift of understanding to clearly discern the spirit of the mysteries of the holy faith, for the gift of Counsel that I may live according to the principles of this faith, for the gift of knowledge that I may look for counsel in You and that I may always find it in You, for the gift of fortitude that no fear or earthly preoccupations would ever separate e from You, for the gift of piety that I may always serve You Majesty with a filial love, for the gift of the fear of the lord that I may dread sin, which offends You, O my God.”
John Paul the great would spend hours at a time, sometimes all night, prostrate infront of the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Father believed that authentic prayer is when a peron desires to be as attentie to God as He is to us; when one yearns to hear God’s voice, just as God yearns to hear each person. John Paul once said “ the question is not whether Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather whether Catholics are truly present to God in their midst!”
4. ALWAYS forgive. I know forgiving people is hard, trust me I’ve had my fair share of having to forgive people in my life, but John Paul was shot for Pete’s sake. And after he was well enough to get out of the hospital, he went straight to the prison, to his assassin’s jail cell to see if he wanted to go to confession, so John Paul could forgive him. That is a TREMENDOUS witness! Also the Bible tells us to forgive not seven times but seven times seventy (Matthew 18:22).
5. Be one with nature. He loved being with nature, whether it was hiking, skiing, or just about any sport you could name, he was playing it. He loved to camp with the youth and just be one with nature. I’m a lot like him in this. I love to be outside, whether if it’s with a good book or taking my big professional camera taking nature and scenery photos.
6. Be Yourself – No matter what anyone tells you, just be yourself. Make silly faces, laugh a lot, forgive often, dance and sing like no one is watching. Don’t worry about what anyone tells you or is doing. You do you!!
7. Defend the right to life. I’ve always been a pro-lifer. But know that my best friend (John Paul the Great) is a pro-lifer with me just makes it all better. His devotion to the youth especially babies was just so wonderful. Even though I didn’t know who he was when I was little, seeing pictures of him with babies, seeing the pure joy on his face, brings a smile to my face.
8. My sins and mistakes don’t define me – I am the sum of the Father’s love, not my mistakes. I think that speaks powerful words to a person who has a hard time loving themselves.
9. I am young and I can make a difference in the world – Even though I’m 18 I can totally make a difference in this world. Sharing things on social media that involve the Word of God, Scripture, Saint quotes, etc is one way. Because the message could make someone change their mind about the Catholic Church. Anything is possible.
10. Do NOT be Afraid – I’m that person that worries about everything, scared of the future. But John Paul the Great taught me that I should never be afraid; of anything. Not the future, not school, not my career, or family or friends. Nothing! Because I have a God that is bigger than all my obstacles, He can move mountains. I should give all my worries to God, and Not Be Afraid.
In conclusion, John Paul the Great is literally my best friend. We talk on a daily basis, whether it’s me praying to him, journaling, reading one of his quotes that just struck me at the heart. I challenge all who read this to Pray the rosary, Adore the Blessed Sacrament, Forgive always, Be one with Nature, Be yourself, Defend the right to life, know that your sins and mistakes don’t define you, don’t be afraid, Pray to the Virgin Mary, and know that if you are young, you CAN change the world.
Here are some of his best quotes:
1. “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
2. “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”
3. “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”
4. “Perhaps I love you more”
5. “It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness, He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”
6. “Like Mary you must not be afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to help you become intimate friends with Christ.”