The recent Synod in Rome has kept inspiring me to revisit the extraordinary teaching about the family, given by Pope John Paul II in 1981, Familiaris Consortio and, in searching for my copy of that text, my hand lighted upon another Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Europa. This was the last of the five continental Letters which John Paul II wrote; The Church in Europe was promulgated in 2003 and, since this was the text which my hand first took from my book cabinet, I decided that I would re-read this Letter first.
A great gift of understanding and of counsel was given to this Pope and, as I take up this Letter anew - the first re-reading of a 'Wojtylan' text since he was declared a saint, I can now ask for his intercession as I read, asking him to guide my heart and my mind as I enter into this Letter again.
I remember reading this Letter ten years ago and being struck by the clarity and courage with which he wrote it. I ask now that his clarity and courage will enter into me as I seek to respond to the very circumstances about which he wrote.
I would like, in due course, to re-read all Pope John Paul's Letters and, this time, to rely on his heavenly patronage as I read.