Blog Template Theology of the Body: Arthur Blessitt, Pope John Paul, and the Heart of Christ

Friday, September 08, 2006

Arthur Blessitt, Pope John Paul, and the Heart of Christ

Do any of you know the story of Arthur Blessitt? The crazy man is a modern saint of the Jesus Movement, and a hero in my family. In short, he was madly in love with Jesus. So, he built a cross and carried it around the world for decades- through Red China, up Mt. Kilimanjaro, across the Amazon, etc. He was a spectacle, and he wanted to be; you see, when people asked him why he was behaving so strangely, he took the opportunity to share with them about the crazy behavior of the God who built a Cross and carried it through the world for the sake of love.

One day, Arthur carried his cross into Rome...into the Vatican...into St. Peter's. He had a private audience with the Pope. And at the end of their talk, Arthur turned to John Paul II and asked him with a smile, "is there anything I can do for you?" The Pope was a little taken aback, apparently. No one had ever asked him that in a private audience. The story goes that there were tears in his eyes. "No one as ever asked me that," he said.

John Paul did proceed to ask Arthur to carry his cross across Poland for the sake of the Pope's own enslaved homeland. But what I love about this story is how clearly it shows us the heart of Jesus- a God with a cross on his back interrupting us to ask, earnestly, "is there anything I can do for you?"

Excerpted from a speech given by Arthur Blessitt, Los Angeles Christian Convention, 1987.