Pope John Paul II’s beatification this weekend reminded me of the surprising impact his death and the funeral had on me. I was in a fairly barren period in my faith, yet I recall being profoundly moved by coverage of the events.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was announced as the new pope, I was pretty downcast, I recall, having swallowed the ‘God’s rottweiler’ line. I mentioned this recently on a blog thread marking the sixth anniversary of his election, then the next day, while looking for something else, I came across a verse I’d written dated 25/4/05, just six days after he became pope, and the day after his inauguration mass:

Benedict –
Fine speech
Sound words
Good talk
Flow from the God we listen for through you;
Those words, that breath they settle on, infuse
Us with a hope that now we may renew
And say with certainty “The Church is Alive”:
The Church is Alive: alive with love,
Alive with peace, alive with restlessness not ease;
Alive with stirring for the unity we seek;
Alive with yearning, seeking justice for the weak;
Alive with mission, dead to what’s dull;
Alive to life, that we may have it to the full.

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