Karol Josef Wojtyla knows what it means to take the more difficult path through life. He was living in Nazi occupied Poland when he felt the need to study to be a man of the cloth. At the time he made that decision he knew he would have to accomplish this objective in secret. While almost everyone is aware of the horrific price paid by Jews in concentration camps, fewer know how many Polish Christians were rounded up to die as well. To even contemplate his plan was risky. The fact that he was able to carry it out was nothing short of miraculous.
This gives us a small glimpse into the perseverance he still shows today. He has been instrumental in calling the faithful back into fellowship during the most tumultuous time the Catholic church has faced. His being willing to take the hard line and not follow political correctness has served the church well.
He has been plagued with chronic health problems but has not allowed them to sway him from what he feels he needs to do. Whether you agree with him or not, you can't help admiring the steadfast determination he exhibits in everything he does.
While I am not Catholic myself, I respect the witness this man's life has been in his devotion to Christ. A friend of mine who is a priest says he uses the example of this man to spur him on when he feels his own faith is flagging.
That is perhaps the best thing anyone can say of a Christian. How wonderful it is to be someone who can inspire others just by the way you live. I think we should all hope to be such a person.
Today I will be saying a few prayers for healing for Karol and thanks for all he has been able to do as Pope John Paul II.