The last pilgrimage of Karol Wojtyla
in the Virgin Mary Lourde’s Sanctuary
Christ, thoughtful heartbeat. Saint, Saint who suffers
___di Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio ___
PUBLISHED ON NOTIZIA OGGI VERCELLI ON APRIL 4 – AFTER JOHN PAUL DEATH APRIL 2004
In the time of an amen his soul flew lightly like a garland of light. Not before raising his arm in the extreme blessing effort. Faded image in the shadows, projection of that rattle that many days ago made the world tears up and cries in front of St. Peter’s window. Not before having heard the Rosary recited loudly in the square filled with a tearful crowd, like the bright candles lit by the astonished and anguished faithful. Totus Tuus… He will have recited in his mind to the Celestial Mother before turning off the eyes… The Pope of the Luminous Rosary has pierced the darkness to find that fullness of love, that epiphany of charity of which he had told October 25, 1978 in his first pontifical catechesis. Humble follower of his predecessor in pointing out the “seven lamps” of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, intellect, counsel, fortitude, science, piety and fear of God), the sacred mouth of the theological, intellectual and cardinal virtues. He crossed the “Threshold of Hope” (his book) and carved in the lap of the Faith the imprint of a giant with such an immense heart as to embrace the most distant and abandoned populations in his pilgrimages to the living sanctuary of the people of God.
So robust enough not to give in to the first assaults of the agony. So tenacious to not be overcome by fatigue and suffering even on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception during the last grueling pilgrimage to Lourdes. That Amen on the notes of the Rosary is only the faint echo of the Massabielle’s Holy Cave where he still spreads prayers left on August 14th and 15th 2004 on the sun-kissed waves of the Gave, the stream that flows below and beside the Sanctuary of Notre. The Marian devotion of John Paul II pushed him, although on the brink of his existence, to venture on that last journey, a Via Crucis lived in first person under the astonished eyes of the sick, who in his pain first recognized themselves and then lenites were partly felt from it; transfigured like Jesus on Mount Tabor in the divine light. A personal Calvary traveled with the dignity of Christ himself when on the ascent to Golgotha he met the gaze of the Mother: benevolent and compassionate as that which Our Lady addressed to Bernadette Soubirous reciting with her the Rosary from the first apparition. This mystical and thaumaturgical crown, at the same time, was embellished by Karolo Wojtyla with five new Mysteries of Light. As if they were flowers to offer to the Queen of Heaven and Earth. And his filial adoration has already been rewarded in this world in the support he has received in his innumerable struggles for Christianity and whole Humanity. Only those who have been to Lourdes in those sunny days in Assuntion Day remember the signs of pain imprinted on the Pope’s face as they reached the Holy Cave, his desire to kneel at all costs with heroic effort, the ever weaker words of the sermon in the immense prairie quilted by the faithful, everyone fully aware that it would be perhaps the last visit of this extraordinary Pontiff to the French Shrine, perhaps the last pilgrimage at all… How it was!
For this reason those who saw the Pope’s dangling head carried on the winding path of the Esplanade, that crept among the cheering crowd, could not resist the emotion. The tears of joy and compassion flowed from the heart as well as the incessant song in French “You are Peter and on this stone I will build my Church”. Hymns, applause, flags, cries, stadium shouts that shook, thrilled and made strong the suffering Pope. They urged him to continue on the earthly Via Crucis which, as for Jesus, became more and more hard at each station. But the Immaculate Virgin, whom “all her own” had always adored and followed with authentic filial love, seems to have wanted to give him the gift of the Last Grace. As if the exact moment of the end was written by the Sky, as if he had loaded an invisible clock with the punctuality of a Vatican’s Swiss guard. He let him pray and live up to Vespers on the eve of Divine Mercy. The celebration he loved so much, created adn desired by himself to fulfill the request of Sister Faustina, aka Elena Kowalska, who raised him to the honors of the altar, beatifying her in 1993 and canonizeing in 2000. A live surfing on the sacred weaves of Humility, Devotion and Holiness that only the secret of the Rosary can explain. In an almighty Amen.
Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
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