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Friends, our Gospel blesses those who hear the word of God and observe it. In this regard, I would like to speak about the response of the Polish people to the word proclaimed by St. John Paul II. The power of the Polish Communist state, and behind that the power of the Soviet Union, is what John Paul faced at the beginning of the 1980s. But he was practiced in the art of facing down oppressive political forces, having grown up under Nazism and Communism.

He spoke of God, of human rights, of the dignity of the individual—frightening at every turn, his handlers worried about diplomatic repercussions. As he spoke, the crowds got bigger and more enthusiastic. This went beyond mere Polish nationalism. At one gathering, the millions of people began to chant “We want God! We want God!” over and over for fifteen minutes. 

There was no controlling this power, born of the confidence that God’s love is more powerful than any of the weapons of the empires of the world, from crosses to nuclear bombs. This is, of course, why Communist officialdom tried vehemently to stop John Paul II. But there is no chaining the Word of God!