In his Letter to the Elderly, John Paul II wrote, "Sadly, struggles and tribulations are very much a part of everyone's life. Sometimes it is a matter of problems and sufferings which can sorely test our mental and physical resistance, and perhaps even shake our faith. But experience teaches that daily difficulties, by God's grace, often contribute to people's growth and to the forging of their character."
In a world filled with suffering, he embodied the Christian value of facing suffering and even embracing it for a higher good. He wrote that suffering can actually be a source of joy because "faith in sharing the suffering of Christ brings with it the interior certainty that the suffering person.....is serving, like Christ, the salvation of his brothers and sisters."
It was his humanity, rather than his high office, that endeared John Paul II to so many people of all faiths. He openly displayed his humanity to the very end, and did not try to hid his very human limitations. In the end, it was his weakness that was his strength and his greatest gift to a suffering world. May his courageous and faithful witness strengthen your own faith and courage in the face of suffering.