October brings us the feast day of a remarkable saint and spiritual leader, St. Pope John Paul II. On Oct. 22, we have the privilege to honor and reflect upon the life of a man who embodied the essence of Catholic stewardship and discipleship. His legacy continues to inspire and guide us as we navigate our own paths of faith.
St. Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, was a luminary figure who left an indelible mark on the Church and the world. His deep devotion to Christ, his unwavering commitment to stewardship, and his profound discipleship provide us with a roadmap for living authentically as Catholics in our modern times.
Catholic stewardship, at its core, is about recognizing that all we have is a gift from God and that we are called to use these gifts to serve others and build God’s kingdom. St. John Paul II’s life exemplified this principle. From his early days as a priest in Poland to his pontificate as pope, he demonstrated a profound humility and selflessness. His dedication to the poor and marginalized, his efforts to promote peace and justice, and his advocacy for the sanctity of human life showcased his commitment to stewardship. His encyclical, Laborem Exercens, emphasized the dignity of work and the responsibility we must ensure just working conditions for all. St. John Paul II’s stewardship extended beyond material resources — it embraced the stewardship of time, talent, and relationships, fostering unity and solidarity among all people.
Furthermore, St. Pope John Paul II’s discipleship mirrored the heart of Jesus’ call to follow Him. His deep personal relationship with Christ was evident in his prayer life, his devotion to the Eucharist, and his profound love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He constantly emphasized the importance of encountering Christ in our lives and allowing that encounter to transform us. His devotion to the Holy Rosary and his practice of the Divine Mercy devotion showcased his trust in the mercy and love of God. As disciples, he encouraged us to be unafraid witnesses of the Gospel, courageously proclaiming Christ’s message of hope and salvation to a world in need.
St. John Paul II’s papal motto, “Totus Tuus,” meaning “Totally Yours,” encapsulates his complete consecration to Mary and through her, to Christ. This devotion to the Mother of God teaches us the value of entrusting ourselves completely to God’s will, just as Mary did. In doing so, we learn to navigate life’s challenges and joys with unwavering faith and surrender.
As we celebrate the feast day of St. Pope John Paul II, let us reflect on his life and teachings. Let us be inspired by his dedication to stewardship, reminding ourselves that we are called to use our gifts for the betterment of others and the glory of God. Let us embrace his model of discipleship, striving to encounter Christ daily through prayer, the sacraments, and acts of love and mercy.
May we find in St. John Paul II a guiding light, encouraging us to live as true disciples of Christ in our families, workplaces, and communities. Let us draw strength from his example, especially in times of challenge, and seek his intercession in our journey of faith.
On this feast day, let us pray that the spirit of St. Pope John Paul II continues to ignite our hearts and guide us as we embrace the call to stewardship and discipleship in our lives.