Today I was sent an article about Pope John Paul’s spiritual life as expressed by Jason Evert’s new book, Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves. The following is Chapter 9 of that book, “The Blessed Sacrament”. (The book can be order by clicking on the blue link.)
Between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m.—and sometimes as early as 4:00—Pope John Paul II would arise each morning, keeping virtually the same schedule he had as the bishop of Kraków. Although he enjoyed watching the sunrise, the main reason for his early start was to make time for prayer. He prayed the Rosary prostrate on the floor or kneeling, followed by his personal prayers, and would then go to the chapel in order to prepare for 7:30 Mass. According to his press secretary, Joaquín Navarro-Valls, his sixty to ninety minutes of private prayer before Mass were the best part of his day.
At the chapel, he would kneel before the Blessed Sacrament at his prie-dieu. The top of his wooden kneeler could be opened, and it was brimming with notes people had given to him, seeking his prayers for all kinds of petitions, including healings, the conversion of family members, or successful pregnancies. Perhaps thirty to forty new petitions were given to him each day, and he would pray specifically over every one. He said that they were kept there and were always present “in my consciousness, even if they cannot be literally repeated every day.”
He told one of his biographers, “There was a time when I thought that one had to limit the ‘prayer of petition.’ That time has passed. The further I advance along the road mapped out for me by Providence, the more I feel the need to have recourse to this kind of prayer.” Quite often, those who sent the petitions wrote back in thanksgiving for answered prayers. His assistant secretary noted that most of them expressed gratitude for the gift of parenthood. Not only did he intercede before the tabernacle for these individuals as if they were his most intimate friends, he routinely sought information about the progress of the cases. The liturgy would not begin until he had before him the petitions people had asked him to offer on their behalf.
The whole of this article can be read at: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3079/john_paul_ii_and_the_blessed_sacrament.aspx.
On the other hand, Jon’s capacity to waste time means many things remain undone!