58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2004
I think that it is incumbent on me to preface this review by admitting that it would be extremely difficult for me to award a book written by the Holy Father anything less than five stars. The very high regard I feel for the Papacy and the current occupant of that office may very well cloud my judgment and anyone who reads this review should keep that in mind.
That said, I found this to be a very well written and interesting little book. John Paul II wrote this book for the most part as a book of instruction for his Bishops. Within it's pages he lays out in a very clear way what he thinks the duties of a Bishop are and he does this by telling the story of his years as a Bishop in Poland. The Pope makes it very clear that while the first priority of a Bishop is to preach the Gospel, he must also be a shepherd to his flock. Again and again His Holiness hammers on this point and makes it very clear that he expects his Bishops to get out of their office and be among the people. He is very proud of the fact that even with his Pontifical duties he has visited almost every Parish under his official care as Bishop of Rome.
This book would never have been published in this manner however if it were only useful to Bishops and there is indeed much information here for everyone else. Many people of all faiths are fascinated by the Pope's struggle with the Communist authorities in Poland and many of the stories in this book deal with that subject. There are also a fair number of accounts of the Nazi occupation and the brave efforts of the Polish people to rid themselves of this curse. There is little doubt that the writings of this Pope will be invaluable to future historians as they delve into 20th century Europe. These stories of a courageous people who risked so much in the pursuit of freedom, not only to worship but also the freedom to live their lives in a free and open society are truly inspiring.
Finally, this book although written for the Bishops is not written in a way that will put off the average reader. With the exception of a few references to Church documents that bear their titles in Latin there is little here that will be out of reach to almost any reader. Catholics will of course find this book to be more interesting than will other faiths but people of almost any religious inclination will be able to find inspiration here. This book may be small but it packs a huge punch.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2005
I always have known that the Holy Father is a theological mastermind. I've read many of his encyclicals, but I never read met him as a person until I read this book. It follows his days from bishop-elect to auxillary, then archbishop, cardinal, and finally pope. He speaks of the importance of the role of bishop, and how he fulfilled the job, both instructing his brother bishops to follow certain things, but he also says not to make the same mistakes, and mentions them.
I feel now, that I know Karol Wojtyla the man, and I love him like a father.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2005
This book captured my spirit. I felt the Pope becoming my very own father and arousing my youthful spirit. I felt for the humiliation the Church and the people in Poland experienced during those years of Hitler's invasion and Communism.
John Paul II speaks of his interests, circumstances, the courage of others that influenced him, and God's words confirming him and leading him onward.
All his life journey, like ours, is in the hands of God no matter what prevails.
I was impressed, but not surprised to understand how prayerful and dedicated John Paul II was to the spiritual life, (of Christ)connecting to others, the circumstances he had before him, and rising up to meet them with acceptance.
The book is for all; no matter you are a bishop, a student, or a "nobody". We are all the same to God.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Following his frank and forthright conversations in 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope', Pope John Paul II wrote more explicitly on his vocation and role as a bishop, hoping through his words to both explain to the laity and clergy, as well as teach those who were fellow-bishops (albeit without the papal authority he himself carried) what it is like to be a bishop.
My favourite part of the book is the first section; being someone who has spent the greater part of his life in one form or another of discernment of vocation, it is fascinating to see what vocational aspects are most relavent to a pope. From both the practical aspect of knowing this particular pope, as well as the general aspect of learning more about what his vision of what a bishop and pope should be, John Paul II has provided an interesting insight into why he did the things he did.
Vocation is a mystery, and authority from God is also a mystery. It might not seem so from outside, but it is a heavy burden with which to be entrusted. 'Do you know what you have done?' This is a question that might be asked of the cardinals by a new pope; this is a question we might ask ourselves. However, John Paul II recasts it in asking if we know what God has done for us, in the midst of all the world's troubles and joys.
The gospel of John records, 'You did not choose me, but I chose you.' Pope John Paul II, far from being a perfect person, was nonetheless a good and faithful servant to his vision of what he was chosen to be, and worked to bear the fruit of his ministry that will last. This book explains that this was important to him, and will stand as a testimony of sorts to what he expects the leaders of the church to be and to do.
Leaders of the church are expected to carry a lot of burdens - they must be theologians, pastors, shepherds, colleagues, faithful witnesses and more (and this is before they must be administrators and managers, as well as general workers in the vineyard). There are chapters devoted to each of these roles, cast in caring, theological and spiritual tones.
The audience for this particular work is rather narrow if taken as a direct charge (few of us will become Roman Catholic bishops, after all, and even fewer will become popes). However, this book does give insight into the leadership principles that guided Pope John Paul II in his own words and thoughts, and as such, is an interesting guide as we enter a new era with a new pope.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Pope John Paul II provides a thoughtful meditation combining autobiography with matters of faith and devotion. Although addressed in many respects to his brother bishops, he reminds everyone of the importance of vocation and fidelity and the book speaks to all who seek a more intimate relationship with God. RISE, LET US BE ON OUR WAY begins where his previous book, GIFT AND MYSTERY, leaves off with his ordination as a bishop in the late 1950's. He chronicles the challenges of ministering in then communist Poland. Later, he addresses his participation in Vatican II, a pivotal moment of his spiritual and ministerial life.
The integration of scripture and personal history provides a unique glimpse of not only the pontiff, but of the man who has served as spiritual head of the Catholic Church for many years. He reminds all, clerics and laity alike, of the need for openness and communication with all people. The importance of the pastoral role of bishops, and indeed all people, cannot be minimized.
The book, written in the Pope's unique style, often requires a little effort and rereading in order to fully grasp the richness of his thought, but the richness and scriptural fidelity of his prose make this a valuable addition to anyone's library. It is a book that can speak not only to Catholics, but to anyone who seeks to gain a greater intimacy with God.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2004
When Jesus was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane he said to his followers: 'Rise, Let us be on our way." From this theme, Pope John Paul II tells the story of his life dating from the year 1958 when he became a bishop at 38 years of age after only 12 years of being a priest.
Remember 1958 in Poland. This was ten years before the Russian invasion to put down the brief attempt to overthrow the communist regime. This was a time when the Government was avidly anti-church but the people were devoutly Catholic. Walking a very narrow line, this book covers a period, a life not well knows by those of us on this side of the iron curtain.
Brilliantly written, the utter peacefulness of the man behind the vestments comes through.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2004
In this small book, John Paul has one biblical citation for about every two and one half pages of text. The Bible permeates the Pope's thinking. John Paul also emphasizes the value of heartfelt ancient traditions of Catholic devotion. He especially emphasizes devotion to Mary and prayer and contemplation before the Eucharist. These themes of Scripture, of the emotional pull of traditional forms of piety, of Marian devotion, and of Eucharistic contemplation point the way to renewing the Church here in the United States.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2005
(this is for the audio version of the book)
I listened to this book over Easter weekend, knowing John Paul II was sick, not knowing how soon he would die. As others note, this book is sort of a guide to his bishops about how he expected them to behave and what he expected him to do. But it's also a guide to the flocks, as it were, as to what we should expect of our bishops.
He also gives some details about his own calling and his education as his proceded from priest to Archbishop to Cardinal to Pope. I can count on 2 hands the number of times I've heard a priest (or Archbishop) talk about how they came to realize their vocation and it's fascinating learning John Paul's perspectives on knowledge, culture, theology, world religions, etc.
This book should be required reading for all bishops as well as for those of us who need them to be active members of our churches, not distant figureheads. Wilton Gregory (formerly of IL, now in GA) seems to fit John Paul II's mold of bishops who serve the people, but few others I've met do.
This book is also good for giving us glimpses of Wotyla the man who became Pope, and his love for kayaking and skiing and hiking, and reminds us keenly of the intellect and soul of the Archbishop and Pope who stood against the Nazis and then the Communists, with his faith to guide him in action when fear made others immobile.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2005
I started reading this book after the passing of the late and great John Paul II and it brought me closer to the man and to the essense of who he was: a Pastor.
John Paul II was Pope and Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, but his office was that of bishop, a role he began many years earlier in Poland.
This book traces that journey from Poland to Rome, and John Paul speaks of what it is to be a bishop, taking up the symbols of his office and explaining their deep significance.
What you learn from this book is that John Paul was a man who operated in a meditative way, always from reflection. He took his pastoral responsibilities seriously, and he took human beings seriously.
He writes that as a Pastor of souls he never attempted to put people into catergories, but saw each person as a unique human being and endevoured to understand and love that person. In this way, John Paul was truly Christlike.
This book is well worth reading if a) you want to know more about the person of John Paul II and b) if you wish to understand what the role of a bishop is.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2005
I am certainly not religious...although I found this book to be insightful and interesting...also, I am shocked at the childishness of some people who are reviewing here...reminds me that there really are people out there that trully need to get a life, if you don''t like the pope then fine but to go out of your way to post childish reviews is beyond pathetic its just sad.
Beyond that....as I said before as a non-religious person I found this to be an inspirational and interesting read.