This day marks the day in Rome when Pope John Paul II is beatified. Beatification is a declaration by the Pope as head of the Church that a person lived a holy life and or a martyr’s death and is now living in heaven. What is the process of beatification? First, there must be a cause arising from the desire of the faithful that someone should be recognized as a saint. If the person’s life is worth investigating, the inquiry begins. The subject is granted the title Servant of God. Secondly, after the state of their holy lives and heroic virtues has been proved, a solemn decree is made by the Pope stating this. The person now has the title Venerable.
The extensive study of the subject’s life, writings, reputation and virtues continues. A miracle (an event inexplicable by natural phenomenon) through the intercession of the venerable person is usually required. This must be authenticated by doctors, scientists, etc. who are not necessarily believers. There can be no natural explanation for the miracle. In the case of Pope John Paul II, a nun who had Parkinson's decease asked for his intercession. She was cured, herself having undergone thorough inquiry including examinations by doctors. There no doubt were other miracles attributable to Pope John Paul. But, only one is chosen as the one for his beatification.
If the faithful still desire, and of course they do, the cause for sainthood is undertaken. When a beatified person is formally declared a saint, the Church is saying that his or her life is exemplary and worthy of imitation.
Today, May 1, is a day of thanksgiving. We should thank God again and again for Blessed Pope John Paul II. He certainly was a gift to the world for the twenty-six and a half years that he served as the Vicar of Christ on earth. Moreover, this is Divine Mercy Sunday, a title given to the Sunday after Easter by Bl. John Paul II. He lifted the suppression of this devotion and eased the way for it to be promoted throughout the world. Also, he died just on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.
Let us try to imitate Bl. John Paul II’s virtues as well as his love for God and for mankind. Let us also pray to him for all of our needs and for the world. May more and more people be open to God’s mercy.