Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of Pope St. John Paul II.
Called by some people St. John Paul the Great, John Paul II held the papacy for a whopping 26 years, from October 16th, 1978 to April 2nd, 2005. During that time he published 14 encyclicals, started World Youth Day, led the Church through a special jubilee for the year 2000, visited 129 countries, canonized 483 saints, instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, added the Luminous Mysteries to the rosary, and much more.
Most importantly, he brought the Gospel to the ends of the earth, forcefully preached the Gospel of Life, inspired thousands of young men to enter the priesthood, and inspired a new generation of young people.
And here are some of his best quotes.
1) “The liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands… Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task. […] This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops!”
Homily at World Youth Day, Denver, August 15th, 1993, 6
2) “[W]e are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”
Evangelium Vitae, 28
3) “It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.
“It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
Address at World Youth Day, Rome, August 19th, 2000, 5
4) “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ!”
Homily at Mass for his inauguration as pope, October 22nd, 1978, 5
5) “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.”
6) “There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us.
“And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world.”
Homily in Baltimore, MD, October 8th, 1995, 5
7) “We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”
Angelus given in Adelaide, Australia, November 30th, 1986, 3
8) “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
Homily in Perth, Australia, November 30th, 1986, 4
9) “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself.”
10) “Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”!”
Address at baptismal vigil at World Youth Day, Paris, France, August 23rd, 1997, 9
11) “[O]nly in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life. And so I invite you today to look to Christ.
“When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill your potential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.”
Address to high school students, Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, October 3rd, 1979, 2