Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Kraków and former secretary to Blessed John Paul II, was recently interviewed about the late Holy Father and what it was like to work closely with him. He shared incredible stories about the Pope’s prayer life:
…the Holy Father never celebrated the Holy Mass without earlier morning preparation. He did this meditation for at least 15 minutes. And he never left after the Holy Mass without his thanksgiving. Besides – he did not talk with people before the Holy Mass. When we were going with visits or for celebrations, silence had to be before the Holy Mass, ‘silentium,’ concentration, he was getting prepared for a meeting with Lord during the Holy Mass. After the Holy Mass it was similar…
Indeed, as I said, the Holy Father used to look for secluded places for contact with God. From time to time we tried to give him an occasion to go away to spend time with nature. In the beginning he did not talk with people accompanying him, but he was plunged in God, admiring the Creator through creations. He was an artist, a man sensitive to beauty. The beauty of nature helped him to meet with God. Everybody who looked from a distance, not to disturb him, were under impression of his prayer and unity with God.
When he was younger – because later his older age and illnesses came – [he] prayed a lot when lying in the form of the cross either on the floor of the chapel on Franciszkańska Street in Kraków or in Rome. We used to leave him discreetly, but we heard him speaking to God quietly – it was a dialogue with Eucharistic Christ. We heard him praying in the intention of problems, countries where he travelled, their inhabitants. After all he often repeated that the prayer, hands raised upwards are the most important action for the Pope.
Cardinal Dziwisz shares more about Blessed John Paul II’s prayer life and other activities in the interview. These stories speak to the humility and holiness of our beloved Holy Father, and they confirm that he truly lived as a member of the Communion of Saints.