The 20th century historical figure that I admire the most would have to be the late Karol Josef Wojtyla or most known as Pope John Paul II. He was a man of few words yet everything that he speaks about is always deemed important by his constituents. Even though he nearly died due to an assassination plot staged before him, he willfully accepted the apology of his assassin and forgave him.
John Paul met with Islamic leaders all over the world, preaching brotherhood and engaging in dialogue. He apologized for past misdeeds of the church, including the Crusades. In Syria in 2001, just four months before the Sept. 11 attacks, he became the first pope to enter a mosque. But his outreach to Islam and other religions worried many in his own church who felt that he was leading it into relativism, the belief that no religion is any more authentic than another. The Vatican’s own doctrinal office appeared to undermine his effort in 2000 with a document asserting the supremacy of Christian faith as a means to salvation. (Bridging Philippines’ Islands of Faith. April 14, 2005)
He is also a humble person in all aspects. When he went to the Philippines, he even took a cab to reach the nearest church and when he was recognized as Pope, a priest accorded him of much attention but he refused to allow such since he does not want to cause any more trouble or panic to the people in the said church.
He was an instrument for the youth to gather and together celebrate the life of Jesus through the World Youth Day celebrations being staged in different countries annually. He was also compassionate about the feelings of others and is always willing to extend a hand to those who needs him. In all of the countries he went to, there is no time that children and their parents will approach him and ask for his blessing and he will give them his holy blessing.
Although he was deprived of a decent education in priesthood, it did not deter him from fulfilling his dream of serving the community and change their lives forever. During his time on being a student and a newly-ordained priest, there was tremor all over Russia; even so, he advocated human rights in a high-risk country such as Russia.
In 1939, Nazi occupation forces closed the Jagiellonian University. All able-bodied males had to have a job. From 1940 to 1944 Wojtyła variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant and a manual laborer in a limestone quarry, and then as a salesman for the Solvay chemical factory to avoid being deported to Germany.His father died of a heart attack in 1941. B’nai B’rith and other authorities have said he helped Jews find refuge from the Nazis. (Holy See Press Office. “His Holiness John Paul II: Short Biography”. Holy See Press Office. Retrieved on 2007-01-14.)
Karol was able to survive the Nazi occupation in Poland and in spite of this; he still successfully surpassed all those because of his undeniable faith and trust to God. All the things that we were able to experience during his childhood, he considers as something that is on the will of God for him.
His courage, determination, humility and willpower to overcome all those things made him the most fitted to be in the position of highest steward to the flock that was left here on Earth.
Pope John Paul II became very liberal to the point that he is allowing women to be ordained as priests in some parts of the world. He also became an instrument for countries to be at peace with each other. His involvement to the Iraq-America war, however, did not become successful because he was not heard by President Bush.
Drawing in parallels with another person is impossible in this case because the way that he served his term as a Pope is very effective and does not need an approval coming from any one else, either ordained or lay person.
Because of his charisma, he was able to capture most hearts of the people and encouraged them to go back to the path the God has traversed and carry the same cross as he is. All the things which he have learned in the past, was used in order for him to function properly. He did not throw away the learning he had back then and instead, utilize them so that we may serve his people well.
He stood in between war-torn countries and negotiated in behalf of the other just to ensure that there will be no more harm. He negotiated with communist country leaders and was able to arrive at justifiable and humane ideals. And when he speaks about something, the entire Catholic Church listens and believes what he is speaking about.
All this makes him incomparable to anyone else. Given all the things that he was able to accomplish in his 26-year of service being the Pope, there is an already a multitude of different intertwining ideologies and perception.
I emulate the person in a way that I have the tendency to drive people in doing well instead of being a burden to the community. It can be in as little as encouraging a classmate to study for the examinations and not depend on his seatmate on that day.
I also want to advocate being of service to God and to others to my fellow students so that there will be an additional learning for us to think about and later on reflect on those and do something to change of modify it.
It was his courage, determination, humility and willpower that make me looks up to him at the very least. There are only a few people who are well-mannered and he was one of them. Regardless of whatever race or nationality or gender a person is, they are always welcome to visit him or go near him during mass celebrations.
Because of this, he was well-loved by the people. It was through his charisma that there are now many people who are devoted in serving God. Through his example, he was able to change the world for the better and did something that will forever be engraved into the minds of the people whose heart he was able to touch.
All the things that I have read about Pope John Paul II made me reflect on things. There are times when I ask myself if I am willing to do such things and there is always a finite yet silent answer. I can do something like those things he was able to do with his constant guidance. Even though I want to start in a small community, like in our locality, I wish to put up some thing that will make people remember Pope John Paul and not me.
Time and again, there are things which will be a hindrance to us but given the right attitude on how to conquer those things; everything will be a success especially if all those are meant for us to do. Although there may be difficult times, we should all have the courage to stand up and defend our rights as a person.
Things will not change overtime; however with the kind of inspiration that I got from doing this project, I am certain that there will come a time where I can do something to alter what is already in this world. With prayer and courage, all is possible.
Courtney from Study Moose
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