Credopedia John Paul II: Do not be afraid!


John Paul II: Do not be afraid!

As the “Pope of the Millennium”, John Paul II left a legacy that touched not only Catholics, but also Christians of other denominations and many non-Christians. He is one of those personalities in history who shaped an entire era. With over 26 years in office, his pontificate was the second longest in the history of the Church. But what makes his legacy so significant? And how can his life inspire us today?

mins read | Stani Mičkovicová

Inspiring Legacy of Pope John Paul II

After his election as Pope in 1978, John Paul II inspired the expectant crowd in St. Peter’s Square with the unforgettable words: “Do not be afraid! Open, yes, open the gates wide for Christ!” Right to the end, the Polish Pope testified to the Church and the world that those who love God have nothing to fear. Of no one! And that life with Christ is incomparably more beautiful than life without him.

John Paul II was not a man of compromise when it came to the fundamental principles of faith and morals. He spoke out clearly against abortion, euthanasia and the abuse of human rights. His steadfastness made him a voice of conscience in a rapidly changing world. His life teaches us that true greatness lies in devotion to God and love for our fellow human beings. He challenged us to be courageous, to put our trust in God and turn to Our Lady in all our needs and requests.

Message of Forgiveness

When shots were fired in St. Peter’s Square in Rome in 1981, the world held its breath. The Pope barely survived the assassination attempt. But even in these critical moments of his life, John Paul II. showed extraordinary greatness. In a message he recorded in hospital for the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square just four days after the assassination attempt, he also spoke of Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who had shot him. He said: “I pray for the brother who wounded me and whom I sincerely forgive.” Two years later, he visited him personally in prison. The photo of the Pope, hand in hand with the assassin went around the world. His gesture of forgiveness and mercy touched millions of believers and non-believers worldwide. On March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, convinced that the Blessed Mother herself had saved his life.

Despite the assassination attempt, Pope John Paul II continued his ministry as head of the Catholic Church with full commitment.

Empowering the Youth

For John Paul II, his apostolic journeys around the world were not just diplomatic visits but also an expression of his deep bond with people of all nations and cultures. In 1985, he initiated the first World Youth Day. He knew how to win young people for Christ. For him, they were the “builders of the new civilization of love.” He addressed them with the impressive words that still resonate today: “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives.” (XV World Youth Day, Rome 2000)

The legacy of John Paul II reminds us: Each of us can change the world if we decide to live love and are not afraid to open the doors wide for Christ.