The picture of John Paul II on p. 23 of "U.S. News and World Report" of 4/11/05 says it all. Head thrown back, mouth agape in a grimace of agony at the frustration of not being able to speak on March 30 is a portrait of self-gift that the world has long understood and cannot describe in words. They are responding to this last public gesture with their feet and their exhaustion. 18,000 persons per hour in a 24 hour wait for a 10 second view. It transcends the view. It is a somatic response of whole persons to the embodiment of Christ in Roman time and space. It was simply necessary to go! All the talk of the difficulty in parsing out the encyclicals and documents of John Paul II - and therefore their supposed irrelevancy - is rebutted to the tune of an expected four million people descending on Rome for this funeral tomorrow. Let's see the exact number!This is the actual beginning of the "new springtime of Christianity" that marks the Third Millennium in the real time. He said in "Mission of the Redeemer" #86:
"If we look at today's world, we are struck by many negatiave factors that can lead to pessimism. But this feeling is unjustified: we have faith in God our Father and Lord, in his goodness and mercy. As the thrid millennium of the redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs. In fact, both in the non-Christian world and in the traditionally Christian world, people are gradually drawing closer to gospel ideals and values, a development which the Church seeks to encourage. Today in fact there is a new consensus among peoples about these values: the rejection of violence and war; respect for the human person and for human rights; the desire for freedom, justice and brotherhood; the surmounting of different forms of racism and nationalism; the affirmation of the dignity and role of women.
"Christian hope sustains us in committing ourselves fully to the new evangelization and to the worldwide mission, and leads us to pray as Jesus taught us: `Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven' (Mt. 6, 10)."
Robert Moynihan (Editor, "Inside the Vatican" November 2002, 16-25) affirmed that John Paul II's canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva ended not only the 20th century but an entire millennium and a half:
"The 20th century ended, for the Catholic Church, on October 6, 2002. It ended precisely 40 hears after the opening of the Second Vatican Councl in 1962.
It ended on a warm, blue autumn day in Rome with John Paul II's canonization of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, as a saint.
In so doing, the Pope presented sanctity as the vocation of every baptized person, and so reiterated the central message of the Second Vatican Council.
The 20th century was the century that brought the medieval world to a definitive end...
Having experienced the 20th century, the solution seemed evident: the Church needed to `go to ground' - to de-clericalize... and to have its members intermingle in all aspects of ordinary human life, indistinguishable in any outward way from other members of society except in the excellence of their work, engaged in as a vocation... a vocation to sanctity in the midst of the world....
The Holy Father pronounced the formula of canonization for the Spanish priest at 10,23 a.m. in St. Peter's Square. And so, in a certain sense, we may say that we know the exact minute that the old century and the old world ended: at 10,23 a.m. in Rome on a sunny Octrober morning in the year 2002."
Indeed, the canonization of Escriva marked the existential, again real time, universal call to holiness characterized by secularity. But now, the springtime begins in which people sense the presence of the Spirit. The civilization of love, a culture of life, begins now, on April 8, 2005 at 10 a.m. in Rome. The banquet has been prepared, now come and eat.