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Center for Catholic Education at UD

Life with Christ is a Wonderful Adventure: A Reflection

By Elena Niese

Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure. Pope Saint John Paul II spoke these words in a homily to young people during a visit to the Czech Republic in 1997. However, these words echo throughout John Paul’s life long before this homily was proclaimed.

Pope Saint John Paul II was no stranger to the word adventure. After the Nazi takeover of Poland in 1939, the then Karol Wojtyla created an underground theatre group to continue practicing the art. Wojtyla was quite the talented actor, poet, and writer, so it greatly surprised many of his friends when he left the group to join the priesthood instead. However, the priesthood only increased his adventurous spirit! In fact, his companions often referred to him as “the eternal teen-anger” for the many outdoor adventures he would take with young people as a priest including hiking, skiing, bicycling, camping, and kayaking (USCCB). The pontiff was known to have celebrated mass on an overturned canoe, traveled over 775,000 miles in his papacy, and was even known to sneak out of the watch of his security guards for some outdoor recreation or skiing (Chastity Project)!

However, although John Paul loved immersing himself in high-adrenaline activities, he often referred to the priesthood as his greatest adventure. He states in an address to young people in Italy in 1997:

“With the passing of time, the most important and beautiful thing for me is that I have been a priest for more than 50 years, because every day I can celebrate Holy Mass!”  

Pope Saint John Paul II may have skied until he was 73 years old (Chastity Project), but it was his deep love for prayer, the Eucharist, and the Blessed Mother that propelled him forth in his mission as pope (USCCB). To Pope Saint John Paul II, life with Christ is not only another wonderful adventure, like skiing or hiking, but it is the adventure, the greatest adventure we will ever embark on in our entire lives. As he states in the address at the IV World Youth Day in Santiago de Compostela:

”Discovering Christ, always again and always more fully, is the most wonderful adventure of our life.”

The stories that will follow in our next series of blog posts are a snapshot of this adventure in action. From the stories of full-time summer missionaries, our new Lalanne cohort, a pilgrimage to Poland, and in the simple moments amidst the everyday ordinary, we will explore how Christ manifests Himself in our lives, always again and always more fully. His love for us, our life in Him, is truly an adventure.

How is God calling you to live the adventure, too?

 

Want to see some super fun photos of JPII hiking in the Alps? Click here!

 

Sources:

 

Edited by Emily Niese

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