Yesterday, I told you about the twenty-six years it has been since my mother passed away. Today is another countdown day of sorts: thirty-nine years since the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II at a general audience in Rome. As he was being driven around the crowd, a man shot him. The gunshot wound was life-threatening and the pope was rushed to the hospital for surgery.
We all know that he recovered. What many may not know is that he credited his life being saved to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. The pope believes that Mary caused the bullet to veer its path slightly, thus saving his life from what would have been instantaneous death. He had the surgeons give him the bullet after it was removed from his body and it was incorporated into the crown on the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
Many may not know, or remember, that the pope also went to the prison where his would-be assassin was held in order to meet him and forgive him face to face. Pope John Paul II was instrumental in having the man released from prison after several years.
Traumatic things may happen to us in life yet we are always called to forgiveness. Pope John Paul II’s forgiveness of his would-be assassin was heroic and saintly, to say the least. I don’t know if I could ever do that, though I hope and pray that I would if ever in that same position.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
St. John Paul II, pray for us.
Dear God, save us.