Papa Luciani on Struggle in Life

In his book, Illustrissimi, John Paul I wrote a letter to “The Unknown Painter of the Castle.” The four paintings to which he is referring represent childhood, ¬†adolescence, maturity, and old age. ¬†In the first painting, a sailboat has just left the harbor with a boy aboard playing with the waves, with the rudder in the hands of a dark figure. In the second, a young man stands looking off into the distance, with the waves higher and the rudder in the hands of the angel. In the third, a man is struggling with all his strength against a hurricane, with the rudder in the hands of a dark figure and the angel in the background. In the fourth, an old man is in the boat, with a calmed storm, the harbor in sight, the angel steering and the dark figure in chains.

Luciani makes this comment, “I agree with you that to be good one must struggle, especially in certain, more difficult moments. It is true that two opposing forces fight for the tiller, that is to say for the guidance of our life. It is true that holiness is the fruit of conquest and of victories won day by day at sword’s point.” (Illustrissimi, pg. 135)

He then goes on to describe the struggle all of us are or will wage with sensuality, which he mentions Dante described as a leopard, pride, which Dante described as a lion, and worldliness, described as a she-wolf.

Luciani said life is a voyage in which we know how far we have come but have no knowledge of the distance that remains. This inability to know the distance is a “worrying problem.”

Let us call on the intercession of Papa Luciani when faced with the struggle to maintain our direction, when we struggle with sensuality, and a concern with worldliness.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Papa Luciani (Pope John Paul I). Bookmark the permalink.