Man Called John Paul II
Ure Mezu, Ph.D.
called Carol Wotjyla
called John Paul II, he follows
Footsteps of the Crucified Master.
straight, strong and devout
now is humped-up, frail yet holy.
or so decades ago, athletic and strong,
would slide down ski slopes who now
slides down the steps of Calvary.
he carries the burden of the Ages,
sins of ages yet to come, suffering for all
of body; but when you look into the face
Spark from Heaven ignites the fire of a
beyond words personalized in him.
the spirit shines through, steady as a rock
did ordain the Master to Petrus, the Rock.
is our modern Percival of the Holy Grail.
is a much-traveled knight on the Holy Trail
now has earned the title of Father to all:
Papa, Pere, Pope: in every tongue still holy,
Peter’s visible successor come close to all,
the link between Divinity and humanity.
II has been to all corners of our Globe,
the temper of St. Peter’s Chair,
Christ’s Basilica into native shrines,
each stop, humbly stooping to kiss the soil,
good earth from which we all are formed,
earth, hallowed by the Hand that it did form.
Papa seeks to bridge the religious divide,
make all and sundry sects truly one in God
live in eternity in The One, the Mighty One,
who profess worship to the One Creator:
Olonnwu, Brahman, Yaweh, God, Allah -
whatever name still One, Holy, Indivisible.
II seeking to reconcile the world’s Creeds,
apologies for the Church’s historic errors
Traditional Religions of Africa and Americas,
Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islamism --
whose rites of worship were violated by missionaries
“contempt for cultures and religious traditions,”
cultural artifacts which they carted away to
and prosper their ageing museums of the West,
Picasso’s paintings and New Age art theories,
the Noble Savage to Cubism to Surrealism, et al.
embodies, conveys and dramatizes Christ’s love:
the repentance of your people, Lord,” he prays,
humbly confess their sins, grant them
he leaves behind a legacy of Justice & Unity
he seeks to reconcile all sects, granting that
stem from the One Stock, the One Holy Root,
aside color and creed, tongue and culture,
right grave wrongs of the Christian Church,
right the ills of two millennia of Strife and
and Intolerance and Persecution which
zealots, trusting in their prideful power
centuries past heaped on God’s “little ones” by
to recognize and embrace the Christ in
Dusky Hungry, the Copper-colored Thirsty,
Yellow Natives incapable of self-defense -
unchristian Arrogance that in Christ was but Love.
Paul’s mea culpa also soothes hearts bruised
ages when the Church in ignorance disproved
cum Copernicus’ New World of Science
J-P now supports with social Encyclicals:
the cruel burnings of Inquisition,
crusaders who martyred presumed infidels,
inhumanity of that 1st sale, sanctioned by a Pope,
Africans whose sweat & blood prospered the West
Christ’s suffering and blood redeemed the World.
thought flashes that J-P II making his pilgrimages,
actuality is readying the account to the Mighty One
he prepares the indestructible Church of the Christ
trying to weld into God’s family all world faiths
different climes, tongues, creeds and hymns.
courage, John Paul II is the anointed rock of Christ
compassionate love, he is the visible mercy of Christ
chastity / sanctity, he is the mirrored purity of Christ
this truly post-human and amoral Cyber age
refuses to compromise with all concupiscence.
on moral values, he says “Non!” to Abortion,
“Oui!” to the sanctity of God-ordained Families,
traditional Marriage and to unshakeable Faith.
condemns the moral failings and other lusts of
tempted priests and other religious whose
/ suicides provide ammunition to news media
other agents of the Anti-Christ seeking to undermine
own Church which had withstood two millennia
internal corruption because founded on defensible truths.
the squabble over morality, Christ’s life is the sole mirror
eternal ideals / verities, not a priest’s nor even a pope’s
John Paul II, straight or stooped, upholds Christ’s banner.
I can say I met the living saint called John Paul II,
whom future age will surely call “The Great J-P II”
times, I remember,
our paths did cross:
as envoy to the Imo State Government
‘82 at Enugu, the Eastern Igbo Capital of Nigeria
saw John Paul II alight, stoop and kiss the Igbo soil
too in holy obeisance, courtesied and kissed his ring
looked ever so frail, this friend to the world’s youth,
of a recent near-fatal attack,
us in Nigeria was his first outing,
the shooting by Mehmet Ali Ajah.
then again in ‘93 we encountered ourselves
stretching his hand, he gave to Rose & Sebastian -
names entwined - his Paternal blessings,
in immortal words of Jubilee grace,
through the loving Bishop Ezeonyia of Aba,-
re-sanctification of our 1968 union.
blessed presentation through the Bishop symbolizes
Triune Majesty’s Presence at our Jubilee,
Visit to Mount Carmel Church Altar
Emekuku as our ‘93 Jubilee vows renewed
hallowed sixth day of the ninth month of ‘68.
yet again in Baltimore, our paths in 1995
when chosen as Africa’s delegate
with others thronged Baltimore’s Oriole Stadium
holy presence covered Mary’s land like a mantle.
blessed hush, the smiling sun, the gentle breeze dripped
unction on nations assembled: A Foretaste of Heaven!
on July 25, 2002 came the reply –
Paul II having Read this poem, gave his Apostolic blessings
the Savior’s gift of Peace and Joy.
on his trip in the Jubilee Year 2000 to Christ’s
locus natalis, this man of prayers wears an aura
readying for the final call, having put in order his house,
Church of Christ, thus leaving a Papacy of Peace and
Love and Reconciliation - blessings to one and all.
thus when the hour comes to answer that final call,
man called John Paul II will leave behind a strong
cleansed, reconciled, healed and respected
face the challenges of an irreverent, amoral Age
mores ever so strange, prospects ever so chilling!
so, set to transit into Eternity, aged, beloved, respected,
of prayer, Christ’s envoy, careworn yet hard at work,
incarnates the transcendental mystery of humans as
poet, linguist, philosopher, mystic & hardy witness to
for he is Providence’s Man of Destiny
always lives in the future; who now
all a-wondering, “what manner of man will take up
Shepherd’s staff after
The Man Called John Paul II - Saint!”
March 20, 2000; May 20, 2002