I originally planned to post this entry on the anniversary of his death (which occurred thirty-three years ago). But then again, as they say, it's better late than never.
Here's to a figure much maligned by the conservatives and the rabidly traditionalist. Of all the Roman Pontiffs of the 20th century, I think that he's the most maligned. A lot of people have said a lot of things about this man. I say that, despite of how the Council turned out, despite of the evident misunderstanding and misinterpretations made of Second Vatican Council (misinterpretations which were not his fault), this was a very holy man. I hope he gets beatified someday, and I hope to see myself seated next to a die-hard lefevrist or a shrewish traditionalist just for the fun of seeing their anguished expression watching their nemesis glorified to the altars...just because you pray to God in Latin doesn't mean your holier than the others.
Thanks to the blog Whispers In The Loggia, I'm offering the Angelus message which Pope Paul was supposed to deliver on August 6, 1978, something which he never did.
“Dearest Sons and Daughters,
The Transfiguration of the Lord, recalled in today's liturgy,shines a dazzling light into our daily lives and calls us to remember the immortal destiny it foreshadows.
For an instant on the summit of Tabor, Christ unveils the splendor of his divinity, manifesting to his chosen witnesses what he really is: the Son of God, "the radiance of the glory of the Father and the imprint of his substance"; but he also makes visible the transcendent destiny of our human nature, which he took on to save us as something likewise destined, because it is redeemed by his sacrifice of irrevocable love, that we too might participate in fullness of life in the "fellowship of the saints in light." That body, transfigured before the astonished eyes of the apostles, is the body of Christ our brother, but it's also that of our body called to glory; the light which floods inside of it is and will be our inheritance and our splendor. We are called to share that glory because we are "partakers of the divine nature." An incomparable lot awaits us if we have honored our Christian vocation: if we have lived in the logical consequences of word and deed what the responsibilities of our Baptism demand of us.
May the ongoing vacation season be to everyone a fruitful reflection on these stupendous realities of our faith…. Yet also this Sunday, we can't forget the many who are suffering in difficult conditions. We need to speak of the unemployed, who strive to provide for the growing needs of their loved ones with adequate work for their skills and abilities; the starving, whose ranks grow daily in dangerous proportions; and all those, in general, who seek to find a fitting accommodation in economic and social terms.
For all these intentions let us fervently lift our prayer, that it might also grow in us an ever greater fraternal solidarity. Mary, our caring and thoughtful mother, give to everyone your gaze and protection.”