Personal Words from a Personal God
We started "The Word Among Us" in 1981 because we felt God telling us: “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37).
We felt that God was asking us to help people come to know him as they meditated on the Scriptures. And so when Pope Benedict XVI issued his exhortation entitled “The Word of the Lord” (Verbum Domini in Latin), we were eager to read it and take its message to heart.
Throughout this document, Benedict places a special emphasis on the way we can encounter Jesus through his word. He doesn’t write only about what the Bible is but about who Jesus is—the eternal Word of God who wants to speak to our hearts every day. So for us, Verbum Domini is a strong confirmation of the message God gave us thirty years ago.
On a more personal level, Benedict’s exhortation recalled my own experience of conversion at a prayer meeting in 1971. From the moment I met the Lord, I found that I couldn’t stop reading my Bible. I carried a pocket-sized New Testament and Psalms everywhere I went, and I was constantly opening it and reading. I read it so much that I wore out the pages in just a few months! To this day, I experience the word of God speaking to me, inspiring me, and drawing me closer to Jesus. I hope that this issue, which focuses on Verbum Domini, will encourage you to take up the Scriptures every day so that you can meet the Lord there, just as I did.
Blessed John Paul. When Pope John Paul II died in 2005, millions of people flooded St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican and began chanting, “Santo subito!” or “Sainthood now!” As I am sure you know, John Paul will be beatified on May 1, just six years after his death.
On a trip to Rome many years ago, Fr. Francis Martin managed to get us front-row seats at a Mass celebrated by John Paul. Watching the Holy Father’s devotion to the Lord during that Mass made a very deep impression on me. I could sense that I was in the presence of a holy servant of God who was pouring himself out for the Lord and his church. For all the good that John Paul did—his many travels, his role in the fall of the Iron Curtain, his writings, his strong advocacy for the sacredness of life—nothing stands out more to me than his love. Everything he said and did showed how much he loved the Lord and how much he loved all people.
To honor John Paul’s beatification, we have included in this issue five brief reflections on his life and legacy. Through these reflections, we wanted to recall some of the most significant contributions that John Paul made to the church and the world. This wasn’t an easy task, either. We spent a couple of hours just debating which topics to focus on, since there are so many! At any rate, I hope these reflections inspire all of us to follow John Paul’s example of holiness, love, and service.
May God bless you in this Easter season. And may Blessed Pope John Paul II intercede for all of us and for the whole church!