This One Does Not Flee Before Swords
Young Karol Wojtyla, the soon-to-be Saint John Paul the Great, was an accomplished poet and playwright before he was known for anything outside his own flock. He had a favorite poet, Juliusz Słowacki, who wrote in the first half of the 19th Century. Among the work of Juliusz Słowacki was a poem longing for a Slavic Pope:
The Dominican Nuns of Summit New Jersey offer a translation of it, which they entitle “John Paul the Great”, though it was written about a century before he was even a priest. http://nunsopsummit.org/2005/04/1281/
Amid discord the Lord God strikes
An immense bell,
Behold, for a Slavic pope
He opens a throne.
This one does not flee before swords
Like that Italian.
He is daring, like God, he goes to the sword:
The world to him is powder!
His face is radiant with the Word,
A lamp for the servant,
Because of him the advancing race goes
Into the light, where God is.
At his prayers and commands
Not only men—
If he commands, the sun stops,
For power—this is a wonder!
Now he draws near—the new dispenser
Of vigor to the globe:
The blood of our veins goes back into our veins
Under his word;
In our hearts the movement begins of floods
Of divine light,
What thought thinks through him, this is created,
For power—this is Spirit.
And power is needed, that we may raise
This lordly world:
Thus here comes a Slavic pope,
A brother of the people;–
Behold, he already pours the world’s balm
On our breasts
And the angel-choir sweeps flowers
Toward his throne.
He distributes love, as lords today
He displays sacramental power,
The world held in his palm;
To him a dove wings words in hymns,
Bears a report,
Sweet news, that now the Spirit shines
And has His honor;
Above him the beautiful sky is opened
From either side,
For his is grounded in the world and thus are renewed
Both world and throne.
Across nations he acts as brother,
The voice sent forth,
That spirits come to their final end
Through mounds of sacrifices;
Sacramental power avails him for the care
Of the nations,
Power which will be seen through the Spirit
Before the coffin here.
In Spirit thus you soon perceive
A phantom, then a face:
From the world’s wound he casts out all corruption,
He brings health, enkindles love
And saves the world;
He sweeps out the interior of the Churches,
Clears out the entrance,
He shows forth God in the world of creativity,
Bright as day.
(1809 - 1849)
Translation: Copyright by The Dominican Nuns of Summit, New Jersey, 1980