If anyone exemplified living out the Heroic Minute it was JPII. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as the Pope's personal secretary, devotes an entire chapter in his memoirs A Life with Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope to the Holy Father's daily routine. He notes that:
"John Paul II was a perfectionist, because he always wanted to get as much as he could out of the time available. So he would meticulously plan out the day's activities: prayer, work, meetings, meals (which gave him a chance to talk with guests), and rest."He goes on to describe the Pope's morning routine:
"Anyway, the Holy Father used to begin his day pretty early. He would get up at 5:30, wash up, and go to the chapel for morning adoration, Lauds and meditation. Mass would be at 7:00AM..."
Those who witnessed Saint John Paul II praying in his chapel in the morning before Mass saw a man totally absorbed, seemingly oblivious to the world around him. His prayer involved every ounce of his being: body, soul, mind and heart. Cardinal Dziwisz summarizes his prayer life saying:
"...there was nothing sanctimonious about any of this. He was in love with God. He lived on God. And every day, he would start over again."It was this heroism and total devotion to his prayer time, even during times of illness, injury and suffering, that propelled him to the heights of holiness and made him a compelling witness to the world of a life lived in complete surrender to the Lord.
Let us ask our beloved "Papa" for his intercession to help us as we try and live out the Heroic Minute in our daily lives. May this Heroic Minute lead us into a deeper relationship with the Lord and may that relationship fill us the courage and the zeal to proclaim this good news to our hurting and broken world as Saint John Paul II did.
St. John Paul II, pray for us.
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