I was barely awake when I found myself sitting in front of the tube. The screen scrolled down a solemn prayer, and it bore with it a sad news: Pope John Paul II has past away. My eyes turned misty, and after collecting myself, said a prayer for him.
I confess that I do not consider myself a Catholic, though I was born one. Probably I've read too much books, been exposed to too much radical ideas, and had had enough of the scandals going in the Church, plus the fact that I don't subscribe to some of its doctrines, that I decided to bolt from the congregation for good. I even would casually say to people that I don't have a religion. (Am I throwing the baby with the bath water? I'll ponder about it when the right time comes.)
Yet, this news about the Pope, saddens me. I shouldn't be that affected by his departure than a knowledge that a person has just died. But I am.
The closest the Pope had come near me, was when he visited the country, 1995 I think. Though, I did not attempt to take a peek of him personally, like joining the droves of faithfuls that welcomed him here. Watching him on the tube was enough.
And, in that short hours of parading on the road, amid the excited crowd, I felt a mysterious, almost unexplainable euphoria and realization of who really was this man waving and smiling at the cheerers. Someone I heard said that his aura is the grace bestowed upon him by his office. And I could not deny it. Upon seeing him, I backtracked generations to generations of long ago until I ended up seeing Jesus Christ. It seemed the gap between the time of the Christ and the present time was dissolved. Then the obvious, but now concrete moving evidence: the Pope is the descendant of Christ for our times. He is the present shepherd for millions of souls toward God.
The Pope is gone now. The thread that connects us to Christ is momentarily cut. In spite of this, Pope John Paul II deserves a thankful prayer for his service.
May his blessed soul rest in the presence of God.