Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

A seminarian reflects:
‘I saw the love of Jesus Christ flowing from his servant, Pope John Paul II’

by Sean Harrell, for the Inland Register

(From the April 28, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

(Editor’s note: Sean Harrell is a sophomore studying for the Diocese of Spokane at Bishop White Seminary. He offered a reflection at the end of the Spokane Diocese’s Memorial Mass for Pope John Paul II. This article is based on that reflection.)

Three years ago, at World Youth Day in Toronto, I heard a call from Pope John Paul II to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” On that warm Saturday evening, I sat on the stage overwhelmed with happiness to be so near to the Holy Father. That night, I fell in love with that man and who he stood for. That night, I began to take my faith seriously.

Upon returning to Spokane, I started to learn just exactly who Pope John Paul II was. Although at first I fell in love with who he stood for, I began learning about his teachings. These thoughts, reflections, homilies, and letters were overflowing with brilliant understandings of the nature of God and how we, as God’s people, were to live our lives. I began to have a new kind of love and respect for this man that we call our Holy Father.

God was leading me, along with many others, to a conversion of heart through his servant, Pope John Paul. I realized that I could not love the teachings of John Paul, which are those of Christ, and still live my faith in a lukewarm manner. I decided that I had to change. This was an important step toward knowing what my life was really all about.

Following these two steps of my “metanoia,” my change of heart, I began thinking about what God wants all of us to think and pray about: my vocation. After looking back on my life, I realized that there had been many events in my life that pointed me toward priesthood. With the prodding of two of my friends, I looked at Bishop White Seminary and decided that this was where God was calling me to be.

Now, as I continue to discern my call from God during this time of both mourning and rejoicing, I remember all that Pope John Paul gave to the world. I am sure that if I had never had the opportunity to be near the pope or learn about his teachings, I would not have the faith that I now have or even know about my vocation to the priesthood. I rejoice in his many gifts and I mourn his loss, but I will never forget that providential Saturday evening when I saw the love of Jesus Christ flowing from his servant, Pope John Paul II.

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