Cardinal Re continued his account of prayer and action in Blessed John Paul II as follows (see yesterday's post for part 1):
"Prayer was something spontaneous in him and, at the same time, it was linked to the practices of traditional piety, among which was the hour of adoration every Thursday, the Way of the Cross, which he did every Friday, the daily Rosary. The Eucharist, the crucifix, and Our Lady were the three centers of his piety.
For John Paul II the Mass was the most exalted and most sacred reality; it was the heart of each of his days. In a meeting with priests in 1995 he said: 'the Mass is, in an absolute way, the center of my life and each of my days.'
I have been told that when he was home and the schedule permitted him to be alone in church, he even loved to pray prostrate, stretched out on the floor, as on the day of priestly and episcopal ordination, as an expression of profound adoration and supplication before the infinite grandeur of God.
Cardinal Innocenti related the following story to me about the Pope’s weekly Friday Via Crucis. The Cardinal was the nuncio in Madrid when John Paul II made his first trip to Spain. The Pope had had a very intense Thursday, having dinner at 9:00 p.m. The next day’s program had a small breakfast slated for 6:30 and then a departure for Seville at 7:00. The nuncio woke up early, partly because he was preoccupied about the Pope’s pastoral visit and partly because he had given up his bed and room to the Pope and was sleeping in a small bed in the attic. And so he was already up at 5:00. He went down to the second floor, thinking that the Pope would not be up until 6:30. He saw however that the light was on in little church of the nunciature. He thought that they had forgotten to shut it off the night before. He went to open the church door and was surprised to see the Pope on his knees on the floor before one of the stations of the Via Crucis. Since the day was full of pastoral duties in Seville and Granada the Pope was in church at 5:30 to do the Via Crucis.
I accompanied the Pope to the Holy Land in 2000. On Friday of that week, in the helicopter from Jerusalem to the Lake of Tiberias, the Pope was seated with a Via Crucis book in his hand, praying it in the helicopter as this was the only opportunity he had to do it. In 2000 he did not have the health that he had before, otherwise he would have done the Via Crucis at night.
In regard to petitionary prayer, prayer of adoration, of thanksgiving, and asking forgiveness, I found interesting the answer Pope John Paul II gave to one of André Frossard’s questions during their conversations at Castel Gandolfo in 1982. I translate literally the paragraph from the book Frossard published in November of that year, Be Not Afraid:
There was a time in my life when I thought that it seemed proper to limit petitionary prayer with respect to prayer of adoration (that is, intercessory prayer for a person or situation, to leave more space for prayer of adoration, praise, and thanksgiving). This time has passed. The further I travel the road that Providence has shown me, the more strongly I feel in me the need to have recourse to petitionary prayer, the more expands the circle of the requests I make of God. Be no Afraid!: John Paul II Speaks Out on his Life, his Beliefs, and his Inspiring Vision for Humanity (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984).
John Paul II, with his prayer, embraced the whole world and spoke many times of the 'geography of prayer,' confiding that many times in his prayer he traveled the world, interceding and reflecting on the most oppressed and needy nations. His intercessory prayer for persons and situations always had a universal reach.
There is no doubt that John Paul II was a mystic. A mystic, however, who was attentive to persons and situations. A mystic who influenced the course of history; a Pope whom the world esteemed for his uncontainable dynamism, for the many gestures, the countless initiatives, the great trips, and admired for the work that he accomplished that our modern world might open its doors and hearts to Christ, man’s Redeemer. The inspired motivation behind all of Pope John Paul II’s activity was to bring the men and women of our time nearer to God and to bring God into this world of ours."
(The entire speech may be found here)
(The entire speech may be found here)