Five years ago today, Pope John Paul II returned home to his Father’s house. When he died, it was like everyone lost a dear friend, a confidant, a teacher. As we remember him on this Good Friday, here are a few lines from a meditation he wrote, found in his book of poetry entitled “Roman Triptych.”
The End is as invisible as the Beginning.
The universe came forth from the Word,
and returns to the Word.
In the very center of the Sistine Chapel, the artist
depicts this invisible End
in the visible drama of the Judgement-
This invisible End has become visible as
the height of transparency:
Omnia nuda et aperta ante oculos Eius!
(All is laid bare and revealed before his eyes)
Matthew’s words are here transfigured in the painter’s vision:
“Come, you blessed… depart from me, you accursed…”
And so the generations pass-
naked they come into the world and naked they return
to the earth from which they were formed.
“From dust you came, and to dust you shall return”;
What had shape is now shapeless.
What was alive is now dead.
What was beautiful is now the ugliness of decay.
And yet I do not all together die,
what is indestructible in me remains!