By Clarisel Gonzalez
"Silent Night" is a song that even till this day reminds me of Pope John Paul II.
That's because one of the most beautiful memories I have of the Pope of Young People was his visit to New York City's Central Park in 1995.
He said, in his homily: "I remember a song I used to sing in Poland as a young man, a song which I still sing as Pope, which tells about the birth of the Savior. On Christmas night, in every church and chapel, this song would ring out, repeating in a musical way the story told in the Gospel. It says: "Wśród nocnej ciszy głos się rozchodzi: 'Wstańcie pasterze, Bóg się wam rodzi! Czem prędzej się wybierajcie, do Betlejem pospieszajcie przywitać Pana'". [And, the Pope also sang it] "In the silence of the night, a voice is heard: 'Get up, shepherds, God is born for you!
Hurry to Bethlehem to meet the Lord'". The same story is told in the beautiful
hymn, "Silent Night", which everyone knows. That is a hymn which moves us deeply by reminding us that Jesus, the Son of God, was born of Mary, born to make us holy and to make us adopted sons and daughters of God. It is a hymn to the creative power of the Holy Spirit. It is a song to help us not to be afraid...
The Pope asks you to do this. He knows that you will do this, and for this he loves you.
Then you can tell the whole world that you gave the Pope his Christmas present in October, in New York, in Central Park. Do not be afraid! The power of the Holy Spirit is with you!
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful! Enkindle in them the fire of your love!"
I had not thought about that day in New York in a while. I reflected on that magical moment as I prayed with a group of fellow Catholic school teachers in Puerto Rico during one of our faculty meetings Friday. We prayed for the Pope's health as a group, and the principal, a sister, shared with us how special the Pope was for the Catholic Church, humanity and to her. We recited "Our Father," "Hail Mary" and "Glory Be." Then, we had a moment of silent prayer.
And, I quietly reflected on the hymn "Silent Night." It was my personal gift to the Pope during his time of agony. Silent Night, Holy Night. Pope John Paul II, we love you! Amen.
Rest in Peace.