The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways
As we all know, the Pope could have died back when he got shot...and his shooting seemed to have mysterious providential ties with Ronald Reagan's. Not long afterward, the Pope visited Fatima and left the bullet pulled from his own body as a thank offering. Many years later, we learned that the Pope, left motherless as a boy and thus especially devoted to Mary, believed that his shooting had fulfilled one of the Fatima prophecies given to Lucia. In the end, he was one of the prime movers in the collapse of the Soviet empire -- also prophecied at Fatima by Mary. The Pope also seemed mysteriously tied to Mother Teresa, whom he had long supported. After he died, he was determined to see her beatified. He supported the new invention of the Luminous Mysteries of Christ's life, and officially added them to the Rosary. He also supported the cause of his fellow Pole, Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the visionary of the Divine Mercy, and in 2000 granted her old request and instituted the new feast of Divine Mercy Sunday on the first Sunday after Easter. He spoke against euthanasia and forced starvation and dehydration of the sick; and he supported Teresa Marie Schindler Schiavo's fight for life.
Over the last year or so, they have all gone: Ronald Reagan, Sister Lucia, and now Terri. The breath of democratic change has swept across the world again, and has not yet had any new Tiananmen Square. The Pope has written papers on nearly every subject that has ever interested him. He has pushed again and again for ecumenism among the scattered Christian churches, and for better relations with other faiths. He has suffered the humiliation and pain of major illness, believing it his job to offer it all up to God and incidentally setting an example of courage and gentle endurance. And now the rumor goes out that the Pope believes he knows the date of his own death. It is a grace that has been granted before, to those with so little fear that death is something they can pencil into their schedule and the knowledge simply a help in winding up their affairs.
So today, the Pope seems to be sinking. And today, a Polish visionary's Divine Mercy novena is being said in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday. Doubtful prophecies and rumors swirl in the air, just as talking heads rattle on in the MSM and blogosphere.
Maybe the Pope will die. Maybe not. He has outlived many of those who wrote his file obituaries. But maybe it really is time for il Papa to go on ahead of us. Maybe the Lord really did give him a script marked with the time for his exit. Maybe, in his enforced silence, he really is singing "Nunc Dimittis". If so, I am sure that he will be granted the grace of a happy death.
I am not the only one who will miss him. But I will not be sad. Like Terri, he will go to God after fighting the good fight.
(More prayers for a happy and Christian death.)