I am reading Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness. by Eric Metaxas. I am intrigued by the thoughts of Eric Metaxas on Karol Wojtyla. Even Catholics may not recognize that name. He is better known as Pope John Paul II.
His is an amazing story–an example of how a man can rise from a lowly estate to become a man of greatness. I like what Eric says about Karol Wojtyla. Wojtyla was a Poll and grew up of humble means. He grew to leadership in the Polish Catholic Church during the reign of communism in Poland. He continued his ministry as communism tightened its grip on Poland.
His life was a marvel of what God can do when we move down the paths He has chosen for us. Metaxas says, “it was that God’s hand was always at work, and there was no such thing as coincidence.” Wojtyla experienced God’s hand throughout his life.
What brought Wojtyla so quickly to the papacy? One of the cardinals responsible for his election said, “the pope’s fervent, long-held belief that we are created in God’s image, that we are his beloved children, and that all of our rights, freedoms, and responsibilities come to us from him. That underlying belief drove everything from his stand on sexuality, contraception, and abortion, to his ongoing fight against communism. It was all there, in the writings and teachings of his lifetime.”
A Turkish terrorists, named Mehmet Ali Agca, put 4 bullets in the pope and he came close to death. What was the pope’s response? “He thanked God not only for saving his life but also for allowing him to join the community of the sick who were suffering in the hospital.”
Wojtyla came to greatness through utter humility. “He had not sought greatness and had not sought power, but both had come to him as he focused his attention and energy, as Christ taught, on those who were least able to reciprocate.” He was great because he loved the disadvantaged and loved nothing more that being with them, showing compassion, and living to serve.
Lord Jesus, convict us to love the disadvantaged and to be with those less fortunate. Amen!