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Inspired by Pope John Paul II

john paul verticalGrowing up, my friends and I were admirers of Pope John Paul II, whose feast day is Oct. 22. The saint also happens to be my namesake. We loved him because he was larger than life and he wanted to know the youths of the world. Yet, as much as he traveled during his pontificate, he was still inaccessible to most of us. As a saint, he has become much closer to me, and I’ve found it easier to know him personally.

John Paul II waves after arriving at Miami International Airport in 1987. JOE RIMKUS JR. | CNS

One lesson I have learned from this great saint is the importance of good culture. During World War II, Pope John Paul II risked his life reciting plays and poetry by candlelight in clandestine gatherings. As a performer for the Rhapsodic Theater, Pope John Paul II fought the ugliness of Nazism with the beauty of patriotic art, and wrote his own original plays and poetry. He was not a passive consumer, but an active participant in the art that he cherished.

As we look at our daily surroundings and examine our culture, there is clearly an absence of true beauty. Let’s turn to Pope John Paul II for help on two levels: when examining what music, movies or games are deserving of our time and attention; and to discern how we ourselves can contribute to a proliferation of beauty in our art and culture.

Heisler, from St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal, is in his second year of theological studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018