I have not been blogging for the past few days, and may not resume for a few days more for reasons that will become apparent momentarily, but I did want to join the rest of St. Blog’s Parish in commenting — if briefly — on the passing of John Paul II. Co-blogger, Tim Jones, recently posted asking commenters Where Were You? [when you heard of the Pope’s passing]. My answer:
I had just called a friend to inform her that my father had died about a half-hour previously after a long illness. She exclaimed, "He and the Pope together?" That’s when I found out that John Paul had died. Later, I would learn that my dad had preceded the Pope by about twenty minutes.
In the months before my father’s death, from an illness which we had known for some time would be terminal, I found myself thinking it would be lovely that — when the time came — he might pass into eternity on a Carmelite feast day. I have an interest in Carmelite spirituality, a love for St. Therese of Lisieux, and my mother passed away this past December on the feast of St. John of the Cross. It did not look likely, though, since I could think of no upcoming Carmelite feasts and it appeared that my father would die soon.
Unsurprisingly, I underestimated God. With the passing of John Paul II, God created a Carmelite feast for the day of my dad’s birth into eternity. John Paul II was a third-order Carmelite who wrote a doctoral thesis on the spirituality of St. John of the Cross. It is a great grace and comfort that both of my fathers, natural and spiritual, entered the next life together.
Dad, Holy Father: Requiescat In Pace.
Note: For more on the incredible circumstances surrounding the date of John Paul’s death, please see this piece by Mark Shea.