JPII "had already seen the Lord": Italian cardinal

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of John Paul II's death, retiring Rome Cardinal Camillo Ruini said that the late pontiff's intense relationship with God was profound and in a certain sense "he had already seen the Lord".

Marking the conclusion of the diocesan phase of the beatification process for Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ruini described the late pope's faith was that "of a man who, in a certain sense, had already seen the Lord, and who had made the direct experience of the mysterious and salvific presence of God in his spirit and in his life," Zenit reports.

The solemn opening of the diocesan phase took place 28 June 2005, less than three months after the Pope's death.

The Vatican phase will now begin with the elaboration of a report to be prepared by a collaborator of the postulator of the cause, under the guidance of a relator of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

In his homily during the closing ceremony, Cardinal Ruini, the vicar of Benedict XVI for Rome, commented on John Paul II's intense spiritual life.

The cardinal said that Karol Wojtyla's spiritual life was "already strong, intimate and profound in his boyhood, and that [it] never ceased to develop and grow stronger, producing fruits in all dimensions of his life."

Cardinal Ruini added that God never sheltered Wojtyla from the trials of life, but rather was constantly "associating him ever and anew to the cross of his Son ... giving him the courage to love the cross, and the spiritual intelligence to see, through the cross, the face of the Father."

"All those who knew him, from near or only from afar, were struck by the richness of his humanity, by his complete fulfilment as a man," the cardinal said.

"But even more illuminating and important is the fact that such fullness of humanity coincided, in the end, with his relationship with God, in other words with his sanctity."

In another ceremony, Pope Benedict also emphasised the late pope's experience of the Cross the Vatican Information Service added.

"The fruitfulness of [Pope John Paul's] testimony depended upon the Cross," Pope Benedict said.

"In the life of Karol Wojtyla the word 'cross' was not just a word. Ever since his infancy and youth, he had experienced pain and death."

And, "particularly with the slow but implacable progress of his illness which little by little deprived him of everything, his existence became a complete offering to Christ."

Sanctity Began Early for John Paul II, Says Cardinal (Zenit, 2/4/07)
John Paul II was a true Servant of Gogd (Vatican Information Service, 3/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pope John Paul II (Wikipedia)
Pope John Paul II (Vatican)

John Paul II mystery miracle nun identified (CathNews, 29/3/07)
JPII mounts stairway to heaven (CathNews, 12/3/07)
JPII to be credited with three miracles (CathNews, 23/1/07)
JP2 audio cards in sales hit (CathNews, 16/1/07)
John Paul II dream leads to cancer cure (CathNews, 6/11/06)
Vatican may declare John Paul II a martyr (CathNews, 4/7/05)
Polish spies in John Paul II assassination attempt (CathNews, 13/10/06)

4 Apr 2007