"O God, we praise you!"
This is the sentiment in my heart at having the privilege to witness (via the media) the canonizations of two saintly popes. I was listening to Father Robert Barron's updates from Rome, and he called the current era "the golden age of the Popes." What a blessing for us Catholics to have the encouragement and strength of popes so open to the Holy Spirit, and what a gift our holy Pope-Saints have been to the world!
It's a deep personal joy for me to witness the world's recognition of the pope whom I consider my spiritual father, St. John Paul! I am sure that he continues to pray for us from heaven. (The Italian prayers that the Vatican has released for the new saints speak about St. John Paul looking down on us from a window in heaven. You can find an initial English translation of the two beautiful prayers on Catholic News Service's blog here.)
Today, I imagine St. John Paul II praying for us to live the legacy he has left us, perhaps using the same words that he used for the students at Catholic University in 1979:
"I leave you now with this prayer: that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you, that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian, that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts. Accept His freedom and embrace His truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be the new experience, the powerful experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world.
"God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!"
This is a wonderful day to witness to our joy and faith by sharing the reasons we love our new pope saints--in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook! Let us make the heavenly joy of this celebration on earth resound so loudly that our new saints' examples and words can continue to touch hearts and change lives in the days to come.
St. John XXIII, pray for us! St. John Paul the Great, pray for us!