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Abba Pater by John Paul II ~ Deo Gratias

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Uploaded on Nov 23, 2010

The mainstay of the Church is the Pope. He is the rock on which the Church rests (Matthew 16:18); and his office secures the maintenance of unity. St. John Chrysostom says that the Church would fail if it were not for its Head, who is the center of its unity, as a ship would be wrecked if deprived of its pilot; and St. Cyprian adds that the enemies of the Church direct their attacks against its Head, in the hope that deprived of his guidance it may be shipwrecked.

"Do not be afraid..." The words of the angel of resurrection, spoken to the women at the empty sepulchre, had become a sort of slogan on the lips of Pope John Paul II, from the solemn beginning of his Peter's ministry. It was recalled by Benedict XVI at Mass, three years after the death of his predecessor: "He repeated them on several occasions to the Church and to mankind en route to 2000 and then through that epoch-making target and beyond, at the dawn of the third millennium", said the Pope: "He always uttered them with unbending determination, first by brandishing the pastoral rod with the Cross on top and then, when his physical energy was dying out, as if clinging on to it, up to that Last Holy Friday, when he took part in the Way of the Cross from his Private Chapel, holding the Cross in his arms."

"We cannot forget that last and silent testimony of his love to Jesus", exclaimed the Pontiff, according to whom "even that telling scene of human suffering and faith, on that last Holy Friday, pointed out to believers and to the world the secret of all Christian life." His "Don't be afraid", explained the Holy Father, "was not grounded on human strength nor on success, but only on God's Word, on the Cross and on the Resurrection of Christ."

"As he was being deprived of everything, lastly even of his speech, his reliance on Christ became more and more apparent," continued Benedict XVI: "As it happened to Jesus, also for John Paul II, in the end, words surrendered to the extreme sacrifice, to the offering of his own life. And death sealed a life that had been completely devoted to Christ, shaped on Him, even physically, in the traits of his suffering and his confident surrender into the arms of the Heavenly Father. 'Let me go to the Father', these were - said those who were close to him - his last words, the accomplishment of a life that had been entirely aimed at seeing and contemplating the face of the Lord." (Pontifical Oriental Institute).

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