“Happy birthday, Audrey. I will pray for you at Mass this morning in St Florian Church, Krakow. JPII had served here as vicar of the parish.”
This was the text message I received from a priest who was still in Poland after World Youth Day concluded, complete with a photo of St Florian Church.
|St Florian's Church, Krakow|
When you’re unable to go to the place you’ve always wanted to visit but friends who went remembered you, especially on your birthday -- if I said it didn’t mean anything to me, I would be lying big time.
Really, I don’t need to describe how touched I was (I still am!). I’m trying very hard to push back those tears. Besides, it’s going to be awkward if I were seen crying in the office!
John Paul II has always been one of the few reasons for my tearing up. I used the tense “has” because we all know that, even though he’s no longer on earth physically, he’s still around through the communion of saints. For that, I’m sure he knows about me and how much I love and miss him.
But there is always this voice, maybe it’s just my alter ego, that has been trying its best to get me to give up on John Paul II.
“He’s dead, so please wake up and give up,” said the voice.
“No way! How can you ask me to forget someone who’s made such a deep impression in me ever since my youth?” I retorted.
“You’re just wasting your time,” said the voice. “Why not lavish your love on someone else? It’s a one-sided love anyway, so it won’t make much difference.”
“I’d rather waste my time on someone I could look up to and learn holiness from; someone who is willing to journey with me, not just as a mentor but also a friend. I cannot find anybody else except JPII!” I reasoned.
Because I know, if I were one of his youth in Poland, he would be more than willing to spend time with me and to coach me, just like what he had done with the youth before he was elected pope.
Because I really want to grow closer to the One whom we both call “Abba, Father”.
For all those who remembered me in Poland, I pray that the good Lord would bless them ever more abundantly.
My darling Saint, kindly intercede for them for their generosity and kindness.
And for the priest who remembered me when he was in Krakow (if you’re reading this – you know who you are), thank you from the bottom of my heart. That's the best birthday gift ever.