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Friday, June 24, 2005
"Rise, let us be on our way" by Pope John Paul ll
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Since I work at a library, I have the opportunity to read during the periods in the day when there are not many patrons. Yesterday I began, and today I finished, "Rise, Let us be on our Way" by Pope John Paul ll. This work of his was a very quick read with very important wisdom. I'd like to share some of that wisdom now from what I read.

Here is the beginning of the summary of it from the inside cover:
"When 'His hour' had come, Jesus said to those who were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, to Peter, James, and John, his closest disciples: 'Rise let us be on our way' (Mark 14:42). Not only must He 'be on his way' to fulfill His Father's will: they too, must go with Him. That invitation, 'Rise, let us be on our way, is addressed particularly to us bishops, His chosen friends. Even if these words indicate a time of trial, great effort, and a painful cross, we must not allow ourselves to give way to fear..."

First, it is important to understand this book was about the time that Pope John Paul ll was bishop of Kracow in Poland when Communism controlled the country's life. It will be very useful to people discerning vocations. Pope John Paul ll said John 15:9-14 is at the root of every vocation in the Church:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you."

In a few chapters, Pope John Paul ll described parts in the consecration of a bishop. I wanted to share some of those points in this post:
  • As in all ordinations (deacons, priests, and bishops), the man would prostrate himself while the Litany of the Saints is sung.
  • The celebrant lays his hands on the head of the man who is to be a bishop and the co-celebrants do the same. Then the prayer of consecration is said.
  • The Book of the Gospels is placed on the bishop's shoulders to remind him of the burden in proclaiming the Gospel. His head is anointed with oil too. Unlike a priestly ordination where just the hands are anointed, the bishop's head is anointed with Chrism oil.
  • For the consecration to take place, there needs to be proper matter and form like with all Sacraments. In this case, the celebrant must not only speak the words of consecration by lay his hands on the soon-to-be bishop's head (Lumen Genium n. 21)
  • Following consecration, the Book of the Gospels is presented to the bishop. The Bishop is to be a teacher and a "Servant of the Word", who must satisfy his flock for their hunger for the Word.
  • The bishop receives the miter on his head as a reminder to let the light of holiness shine and to prove worthy "to receive the unfading crown of glory" at Christ's Coming (1 Peter 5:4)
  • The final part of the ceremony, before the start of the Mass where the new bishop takes part in, is that the Bishop receives the croiser. It is a reminder for him to guard Christ's flock that has been entrusted to him for the present time.
  • The bishop also receives a ring. He is told: "Take this ring, the sign of your fidelity. In integrity of faith and purity of life, protect the holy Church, bride of Christ." It is a sign of a bond to the Church.

Pope John Paul ll called the greatest responsibilities of a bishop is administering the Sacraments. We see the excellent job that Pope John Paul ll did in his long pontificate by all the souls he brought joy to in so many ways. The first bishops were the apostles, and the bishops of today are also called to live holy lives as Christ did. The bishops of today are the successors of the apostles.

We remember the image of Christ as the Good Shepard, and the bishop is also called to tend to his sheep in such a loving way as Christ did. The cardinals also are called to great holiness and wear red, the color of martyrs, to show they would die for their faith.

One part of the book that remains in my memory are the three images of the Good Shepard that Pope John Paul ll points out: 1. He carries lost sheep back on his shoulders, 2. He leads his flock to green pastures, and 3. He guards his flock with a staff to death if needed.

John Paul ll did an exceptional job at this following in Christ's footsteps with his love for the people. He traveled far more than any pope in history and canonized more people as well, proving that holiness is possible to all peoples no matter if their vocation is to the priesthood or married life or other.

Pope John Paul ll called being a bishop a "spiritual fatherhood", which should be modeled after the step-father of Christ, St. Joseph. The Pope also acknowledged that only God the Father is the perfect father, but we are also called to fatherly love, especially bishops. The Pope continued by saying the greatest ally of the enemies is fear especially fear by the apostles. Scripture mentioned to go forth with nothing because if you have nothing you will not fear to lose anything other than God's love (Matthew 10:9-10). Many dictators control with fear, and if we have fear of losing our possessions, we may just lose our treasure in Heaven. "Where your treasure is, there also your heart shall be," and Pope John Paul ll's heart appeared firmly in the love of going forth to serve (Matthew 6:21). Pope John Paul ll cited Cardinal Wyszynski: "Lack of courage in a bishop is the beginning of disaster."

Yet, the Pope made it clear not to enter the priesthood for power or honor. He said that bishops must, "...Serve by ruling and rule by serving." John Paul ll said that part of the Cross is in the bishop, and we must all pick up our crosses throughout life to go to the Resurrection, so wouldn't it be harder for a bishop to carry his cross than us? Rejoice, as our Heavenly Father shall never ask more of us than what we can give. But, be glad at the what the Lord has offered you and offer up your sufferings so as to only grow closer to the One God, whose divine image we were created in.

I greatly enjoy certain parts, and it was a very easy read. I highly recommend this book. I'm not a good at rating books, but I'll give this one 8.0/10, well worth your time.

Excerpt:

"Truly, there can be no turning one's back upon the truth, ceasing to proclaim it, hiding it, even if it is a hard truth that can only be revealed at the cost of great suffering. 'If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free' (John 8:31b-32): this is our duty and our source of strength! Here there is no room for compromise nor for an opportunistic recourse to human diplomacy. We have to bear witness to the truth, even at the cost of persecutions, even to the shedding of our blood, like Christ himself..." (190 - 191)

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