'The future starts today, not tomorrow': 12 quotes to remember Saint Pope John Paul II

A tapestry portrait of Pope John Paul II hanging from St Peter's Basilica during his canonisation ceremony at the Vatican, April 27, 2014.Reuters

Today is the birthday of Saint Pope John Paul II, the late Christian leader who has become an icon of reverence and inspiration to many.

The polish-born Karol Józef Wojtyła was Rome's 264th Pope in the history of the papacy, and its first non-Italian pope in nearly 500 years.

His enduring papacy began in 1978 and ceased with his death in 2005, making him the second-longest serving pope in modern history. He is remembered as both a determined conservative, particularly on issues of contraception and sexual ethics, but also as a reformer who endorsed the developments of the Church's Second Vatican Council.

John Paul travelled far, visiting 129 nations during his office, and developed a reputation as an influential leader and wise moral authority on the world stage. He encouraged positive dialogue with other religious traditions, healing and progressing relations with the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and with Judaism and Islam.

He has been called the spiritual inspiration for the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

The Requiem Mass lamenting his passing in 2005 was the largest gathering of heads of states in history, and is believed to have been the largest ever Christian pilgrimage, bringing over four million pilgrims to the Vatican.

Such was his legacy that he was canonized as a saint in 2014 and became known as Saint John Paul the Great.

Here are 12 quotes to remember the prominent pontiff.

1. The future starts today, not tomorrow.

2. Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.

3. Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.

4. Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

5. I plead with you--never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.

The pope in 1980.Wikimedia Commons

6. Faith and Reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which is soars to the truth.

7. The worst prison would be a closed heart.

8. As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.

9. Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace...Peace will be the last word of history.

10. Limitation of one's freedom might seem to be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it a positive, joyful and creative thing. Freedom exists for the sake of love.

11. We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father's love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.

12. It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.

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