Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way

As is often the case in his books and epistles, John Paul II emphasizes the importance of having Christ as the focus of one’s life in order to carry out the call to be an apostle. This autobiographical book, Rise Let Us Be On Our Way, gives a detailed look at John Paul II’s thoughts, experiences, and memories of becoming a priest and a bishop.
Visiting parishes and getting to know the people he served was extremely important to him as a bishop and later as a pope. Throughout the text John Paul the Great’s affection for his native country of Poland and its people are quite evident. It was very difficult for him to leave his beloved homeland, but his willingness to do so underlines his commitment to serving Christ however and wherever he was called to do so.
One of the parts I found rather amusing and very telling was the section about when he had been on a canoeing trip with his friends and was summoned by the Primate. He reported to him right away and was asked to serve as auxiliary bishop to the archbishop of Kraków. He accepted the position, though he believed at thirty-eight he was too young to take it. Next, he went directly to tell Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, his Ordinary, about his new role. The archbishop took the arm of the auxiliary bishop-to-be and uttered the prophetic words, “Habemus papam”—“We have a pope.”
After having reported to the Primate and his Ordinary, he asked for permission to go back and join his friends on their canoe trip. How humble and telling that after his big “promotion,” his first request was to return and hang out with his friends in the great outdoors. At first, he was told it didn’t seem like a good idea, but later he was granted permission. John Paul II’s love and appreciation for nature and close friendships remained significant throughout his life.
In this work, John Paul the Great used a number of Scripture verses as well as some excerpts from poetry and prayers which support the duties and attitude bishops are called to embrace. He also explains the symbolism of the ring, miter, and the crosier presented during the ordination liturgy for a bishop.
The tone of this book is humble, candid, and at times even conversational. The gratitude John Paul II expressed for his teachers and peers keeps even the more instructional passages from seeming stiff or the least bit condescending. A sharing of wisdom and experience is the thrust of the text.
This is a must-read for every bishop, priest, deacon, and lay leader in the Church.

You can purchase this book here.
I wrote this review of Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way for the Tiber River Blogger Review program.    Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.  I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.
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