Today's Prayer from Glenn Jordan
Thousands were thronging St Peter’s Square in Rome on this day in 1981 to see Pope John Paul II when a 23 year old man, Mehmet Ali Agca, stepped from the crowd and fired a gun. The Pope was hit four times and was driven at high speed back into the Vatican and from there by ambulance to hospital for 5 hours of surgery.
Pope John Paul II, who had only been pontiff for a matter of months, made a full recovery and visited 50 countries in the first 10 years of his pontificate.
Two years later the Pope visited Agca in prison and spoke with him for about 20 mins. Afterwards he said that whilst he would not reveal what they spoke about, he had forgiven him as a brother’.
In June 2000, with the agreement of the Pope himself, Agca was pardoned by the Italian President and set free after serving 19 years.
Pope John Paul II carried the scars of the attack all his life, but he didn’t appear to carry bitterness or anger towards his assailant.
In what is perhaps the most famous prayer of the Christian Church, Jesus appears to teach his followers that there is a connection between my willingness to forgive and my experience of ultimate forgiveness before God. This is a tough message, demonstrated in all its power by the Pope’s actions towards his attacker.
Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name. Forgive us our sins today as we forgive those who sin against us.