I love the old Pope, John Paul II, who has now passed from us in accomplishing that remarkable Disappearance which is the triumph of every good death; and I am grateful to God that he did not pass until he could see the end of the Twentieth Century, and the humbling of that vicious Perversion that was the scourge of Europe and of the world and of the Church for the greater part of that tragic and ghastly century, that called itself International Communism.
I love the fact that he was an outdoorsman from his early days, taking youngsters kayaking and camping when he was a young priest in Poland. I love that he became an avid skier, both as Archbishop of Krakow and even later, in his fifties and sixties, when he assumed the papacy. The Vicar of Christ on skis! That simple fact alone should bring joy and hope -- even laughter -- not only to "the Faithful," but to all men of good will everywhere.
Speaking of hope, I have just re-read his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Of course it has many good and encouraging things to say, but I have selected just one excerpt, from the chapter of the book bearing the title, "Be Not Afraid." Where there are italics, they are his own.
' At the end of the second millennium, we need, perhaps more than ever, the words of the Risen Christ: "Be not afraid!" Man who, even after the fall of Communism, has not stopped being afraid and who truly has many reasons for feeling this way, needs to hear these words. Nations need to hear them, especially those nations that have been reborn after the fall of the Communist empire, as well as those that witnessed this event from the outside. Peoples and nations of the entire world need to hear these words. Their conscience needs to grow in the certainty that Someone exists who holds in His hands the destiny of this passing world; Someone who holds the keys to death and the netherworld (cf. Rev 1.18); Someone who is the Alpha and the Omega of human history (cf. Rev. 22:13) -- be it the individual or collective history. And this Someone is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) -- Love that became man, Love crucified and risen, Love unceasingly present among men. It is Eucharistic Love. It is the infinite source of communion. He alone can give the ultimate assurance when He says "Be not afraid!" '
Now that we live in a time when an unholy and evil Club of Perverters has decisively taken over the media of the West, and its governments, and its other institutions, and we are caught in a matrix of seduction and insanity which has already led us far into a twilight world of officially sanctioned violence, war, and torture, and imposes a self-slavery upon us -- now, I say, it is good to remember those words and take them to heart, and determine for ourselves (individually and collectively, to use the pope's words) to cross the threshold of hope.
"Be not afraid!"