A+ A A-

To Set Fire on Earth


The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man.

jpii777 Have we not the think that one must come to this very place, to this land, on this route, to read again the witness of his cross and his Resurrection?  But if we accept all that I have dared to affirm in this moment, how many great duties and obligations arise?  Are we capable of them?...

The Church brought Christ, the key to understanding that great and fundamental reality that is man.  For man cannot be fully understood without Christ.  Or rather, man is incapable of understanding himself fully without Christ.  He cannot understand who he is, nor what his true dignity is, nor what his vocation is, nor what his final end is.  He cannot understand any of this without Christ.  Therefore Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude of geography.  The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man....  The history of the nation is above all the history of people.  And the history of each person unfolds in Jesus Christ.  In him it becomes the history of salvation.  The history of the nation deserves to be adequately appraised in the light of its contribution to the development of man and humanity, to intellect, heart, and conscience.  This is the deepest stream of culture.  It is culture's firmest support, its core, its strength....

If we reject this key to understanding our nation, we lay ourselves open to a substantial misunderstanding.  We no longer understand ourselves....

All that I embrace in thought and in my heart during this Eucharist and I include it in this unique most holy sacrifice of Christ, on Victory Square.  And I cry...from all the depths of this Millennium...:

Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend,

and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land.



jpii Pope Saint John Paul II "To Set Fire on Earth." From Homily at Holy Mass, Apostolic Journey to Poland, June 2, 1979. Victory Square, Warsaw, Poland.

Used with permission of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The Author

johnpauljohnpaul1Saint Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) was elected Pope in 1978 and served until his death in 2005. Among his many writings are:  Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body, Love and Responsibility, The Splendor of Truth, and The Gospel of Life: Evangelium Vitae.

Copyright © 1979 Libreria Editrice Vaticana
back to top