Saturday, April 2, 2005
A Tribute to His Holiness John Paul II - The World's Grandfather
I am not Catholic. But today I feel like I am, or like I should be. I spent four wonderful years in a Catholic high school, so sometimes I feel I'm semi-Catholic by default. But it makes no difference that I'm a Lutheran. I suspect it might not make much difference if I weren't a Christian at all. John Paul II was an extraordinary human being, a man of the people and a reminder of the best we all should strive to be. He was a voice of compassion in a world in which the cruellest voices are too often the loudest; he was that whisper in the background that had been there all my life. I knew that I would miss him when he left us. I don't know if I could have anticipated how much.
Upon reflection, I've decided I've regarded Pope John Paul II as the world's grandfather. Perhaps it was his unabashed affection for the common people that moved me most. I wish I could have seen him in person, been a part of one of those enormous crowds pulsing with youthful energy. In spite of a lack of a personal connection, I'll always regard this Pope as a powerful influence, a Lukan model of kindness and morality. His legacy will endure.
The following is my first meager attempt to honor a man who ranks with Abraham Lincoln as a public figure for whom I have boundless admiration and affection. You're missing the melody, but the lyrics are the important part anyway. Here's to you, Holy Father.
1. We gathered in the shadow of the window where you stood
So many times to bring us words of hope.
We sought in solemn silence any signal that we could
Return that comfort to our precious Pope.
Our candles dwindled dimly as your life began to fade.
It seemed a hush enveloped all of Rome.
Yet you strengthened us once more with one last blessing as we prayed,
Whisp'ring, "Children, I am glad that you have come."
In times of crisis, Holy Father,
We have looked to you.
With courage and compassion,
You have shown us what to do.
You said, "Let the children come,"
And we were happy to obey.
We all are orphans today.
2. We cry for little Karol, for the child we never met -
Though in a sense, we saw him every day.
Your life was touched continually by tragedy, and yet
The joy that filled you never went away.
We weep for our defender, for a man known as "Old Friend,"
For a peacemaker and pilgrim we adored.
Now our golden years together have at last come to an end.
We release you to the glory of the Lord.