Independent, via Fr. Harmon:
But though the crowd numbered millions, it displayed a remarkable unity of purpose. A chant of "Giovanni Paolo"Â rang out; hissing greeted big-screen pictures of President George Bush's arrival. When the Mass finally began, all fell silent. Everyone was rapt and attentive. I saw no weeping: the mood was serious rather than mournful. There was quiet clapping only at the sight of the Pope's coffin on the screen. For most people the cardinals celebrating Mass were only a far-off streak of red. But when Cardinal Ratzinger elevated the Host, and the bells of St Peter's tolled for John Paul, many dropped to their knees.
Several things spring to mind. First, the wind reminded me of the Spirit of God moving. Who knows? Maybe it WAS the movement of the Spirit. Second, it is incredible how loved this pope was. It reminds me of Kierkegaard (as many things do). He was loved much, I reckon, because he loved much. Its the principle (from "Works of Love") that the more you give, the more you have, that the one who is "the most injured of all" is the true possessor of everything.
And it reminds me, as I've noted, of how much fruit can be born of a good death. Archimandrite Vasileios of Stavronakita Monastery (an Athonite monastery) says in "Hymn of Entry" that the vocation of every Christian is to die into God. This is a true saying, worthy of all to be believed. If John Paul showed us anyhting in the last few weeks, he showed us what dying into God can look like, and the kind of life it can give. A shadow of the life given to us by our Lord in his dying for us.