Open Wide the Doors for Christ: Weekly Message for 10-22-2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. John Paul II, aptly called St. John Paul the Great by many. Forty-one years ago today, in St. Peter’s Square he preached to believers across the world during the inauguration of his pontificate: 

“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. … Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man’. He alone knows it. So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life” (n.5).

St. John Paul II shepherded many before and during his twenty-six year pontificate to welcome Christ into their lives. I had the grace to be in St. Peter’s Square on three occasions (among many) during my time studying in Rome, for and with St. John Paul II: when he passed away while we were praying the Rosary for him, at his funeral when he entered the Basilica one last time (in his casket) to be laid to rest, and at his canonization. I first saw him in person in 1999 at an audience and I couldn’t believe I was seeing him with my own eyes.

Even though he was in the Vatican and traveling throughout the world to his flock, as I knuckled down on the books I read many of his writings and had the grace to be in his diocese for four years of his Pontificate. Popes Paul VI and John Paul I passed away when I was in elementary school, and I remember that when they told us of his election after Pope John Paul I’s sudden demise, I thought to myself, “let’s see how long this pope lasts…”

In the Book of Revelation, the Lord says he stands at our door knocking (cf. Revelation 3:20). Artists have depicted him standing at a door without a handle because we have to open the door from the inside. St. John Paul II’s words forty-one years ago still ring true today, and he practiced what he preached, which is why we celebrate him today as a canonized saint: open wide the doors of your heart for Christ. 

Are you afraid you’ll open your heart too much? Our retreat guide Be Not Afraid will help you open the doors of your heart for Christ.

May St. John Paul II intercede for you so that you open wide the doors for Christ with boldness, whether in your heart or in society.

Father Nikola Derpich, L.C. 

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Be Not Afraid
Retreat Guide on St. John Paul II

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