<%image(20050401-pope.jpg|148|111|pope)%> In a tumultuous week of debate regarding Terri Schiavo and the removal of her feeding tube, I found it ironic that the pope himself has been on a feeding tube. And now after his heart failed him, it has been announced that he is in very grave condition and is said to have worsened as of 3 pm. Even the spokesman for the Vatican was weeping as he shared the news. Though I may not agree with the Pope on everything he stood for, I think it’s worthwhile to reflect on his life, his position on certain issues, and the love that many have for him.
In midst of the debate regarding Terri Schiavo, I think that God had to be sending some sort of message by having the Pope, a man who has always advocated a consistent ethic of human life, resort to a feeding tube for sustenance. To have a man with such power and authority resort to the life-saving means of the very weakest members of our society reveals just how precious every life is. If we would do everything possible to keep the Pope alive and well, should we not do the same? I’m pretty sure that the Pope would never deny the same life-saving means to others that he would take upon himself.
Another thought is the Pope’s legacy of repentance. A slide show on the msn like above really captures his vision for peace and reconciliation. No other Christian leader that I know of has apologized and repented more (for the wrongs that Christians have committed in the name of Christ) than Pope John Paul II. He has repented of the wrongs committed during the 2,000 year existence of the Christian Church. In an American society that is skeptical of the church and it’s tendency to cover up scandals, I think this legacy of the Pope must become our model.
In addition, the Pope himself met with and forgave the man who attempted to kill him. That right there is one of the most powerful testimonies for the power of the Gospel.
As the Pope rests in his apartment, clinging to life, I pray that God would bless him with grace and peace. While he meditates on the death and resurrection of our Lord, I pray that God would bring comfort as the Lord himself suffers by his bedside. I pray that he would have a peaceful entry into fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit, and that the very best parts of his legacy would empower, inspire, and unite the church that he leaves behind.