44

4. “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12). How well these words of Christ fit the countless witnesses to the faith in the last century, insulted and persecuted, but never broken by the power of evil!

 

Where hatred seemed to corrupt the whole of life leaving no escape from its logic, they proved that “love is stronger than death”. Within terrible systems of oppression which disfigured man, in places of pain, amid the hardest of privations, through senseless marches, exposed to cold and hunger, tortured, suffering in so many ways, they loudly proclaimed their loyalty to Christ crucified and risen. In a few moments we shall hear some of their striking testimonies.

 

Countless numbers refused to yield to the cult of the false gods of the twentieth century and were sacrificed by Communism, Nazism, by the idolatry of State or race. Many others fell in the course of ethnic or tribal wars, because they had rejected a way of thinking foreign to the Gospel of Christ. Some went to their death because, like the Good Shepherd, they decided to remain with their people, despite intimidation. On every continent and throughout the entire twentieth century, there have been those who preferred to die rather than betray the mission which was theirs. Men and women Religious lived their consecration to the shedding of blood. Men and women believers died offering their lives for love of their brothers and sisters, especially the poorest and the weakest. Many women lost their lives in order to defend their dignity and purity.

 

5. “Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life(John 12:25). A few minutes ago we listened to these words of Christ. They contain a truth which today’s world often scorns and rejects, making love of self the supreme criterion of life. But the witnesses to the faith, who also this evening speak to us by their example, did not consider their own advantage, their own well-being, their own survival as greater values than fidelity to the Gospel. Despite all their weakness, they vigorously resisted evil. In their fragility there shone forth the power of faith and of the Lord’s grace.

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, the precious heritage which these courageous witnesses have passed down to us is a patrimony shared by all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities. It is a heritage which speaks more powerfully than all the causes of division. The ecumenism of the martyrs and the witnesses to the faith is the most convincing of all; to the Christians of the twenty-first century it shows the path to unity. It is the heritage of the Cross lived in the light of Easter: a heritage which enriches and sustains Christians as they go forward into the new millennium.

 

If we glory in this heritage it is not because of any partisan spirit and still less because of any desire for vengeance upon the persecutors, but in order to make manifest the extraordinary power of God, who has not ceased to act in every time and place. We do this as we ourselves offer pardon, faithful to the example of the countless witnesses killed even as they prayed for their persecutors.

 

6. In the century and the millennium just begun may the memory of these brothers and sisters of ours remain always vivid. Indeed, may it grow still stronger! Let it be passed on from generation to generation, so that from it there may blossom a profound Christian renewal! Let it be guarded as a treasure of consummate value for the Christians of the new millennium, and let it become the leaven for bringing all Christ’s disciples into full communion!

 

It is with a heart filled with deep emotion that I express this hope. I pray to the Lord that the cloud of witnesses which surrounds us will help all of us who believe to express with no less courage our own love for Christ, for him who is ever alive in his Church: as he was yesterday, and is today, and will be tomorrow and for ever!

JOHN PAUL II

REGINA COELI

Sunday, 7 May 2000

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

1. This evening at the Colosseum an important event of the Great Jubilee will take place: the Ecumenical Commemoration of Witnesses to the Faith in the 20th Century.

 

The century just ended was marked by dark shadows, but bright lights shone in the midst of them. They are the many men and women, Christians of every denomination, race and age who witnessed to the faith during harsh persecutions, in prison, amid privations of every kind, and many also shed their blood to remain faithful to Christ, to the Church and to the Gospel.

 

The light of Easter itself shines brightly in them: indeed, it is from Christ's Resurrection that the disciples receive the strength to follow the Master in times of trial. This is why the commemoration is taking place in the liturgical season of Easter, whose third Sunday occurs today. And the place chosen speaks for itself: the Colosseum takes us back to the origins of Christianity, when so many early Christians bore their "beautiful witness" and became the seed of new believers.

 

2. Remembering the heroic witnesses to the faith in the 20th century means preparing the future and assuring it solid reasons for hope. The new generations must know the cost of the faith they have inherited, if they are to receive the torch of the Gospel with gratitude and shed its light on the new century and the new millennium.

 

It is also important to stress that this evening's celebration will have an ecumenical character: the testimonies of a number of Christians of various Confessions and Ecclesial Communities will be proclaimed. Their courage in taking the Cross of Christ upon themselves speaks louder than the things which divide us: the ecumenism of the martyrs is perhaps the most convincing (cf. Tertio millennio adveniente, n. 37). Love to the point of sacrifice purifies the Churches from all that can hinder or delay the journey towards full unity.

 

3. Among the lights of Christ's heroic disciples that of Mary, the faithful Virgin, martyr at the foot of the Cross, shines with singular brightness. From the fiat in Nazareth to the one on Calvary, her whole life was patterned by the Holy Spirit on that of her Son in bearing witness to God the Father and to his merciful love.

 

In the first community of Jerusalem Mary represented the living memory of Jesus, of his Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection. When put to the test, every believer and every Christian community find support and comfort in the Blessed Virgin. To you, Mother of Hope, we entrust this day, so that the memory of these witnesses to the faith can help all Christians to walk with greater determination towards the full unity desired by Christ.

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

After leading the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in German and Italian.

 

I extend a cordial welcome to the German-speaking pilgrims. I first welcome the pilgrims from the Diocese of Magdeburg, accompanied by their Bishop Leopold Nowak. May the Lord strengthen you on your faith journey in an environment where many people live as though God did not exist. I wish you great strength and courage!

 

I affectionately greet the faithful from the Diocese of Orvieto-Todi, led by Bishop Decio Lucio Grandoni and their priests. In particular, I congratulate the middle-school children from Acquasparta who have come here on foot with some of their teachers. The Lord bless you!


I thank the many bands from the Province of Rome for their lively concert on the occasion of the Jubilee. I think that St Peter's Square has seldom held so many bands at one time! I extend my best wishes to the musicians, the organizers and their families.

 

I greet the Italian seminarians who are taking part in the meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies, as well as the movement, "Long Live the Elderly", of the Sant'Egidio Community, and the pilgrims who have come by bicycle from Treviso.

 

My thoughts now turn to the many participants in the Jubilee pilgrimage of the Archdiocese of Turin; to the parish groups from Gela and Montegranaro; to the children and their parents from St John Chrysostom Parish in Rome; to the young people confirmed and soon to be confirmed from Valenzano; to the scout group from Atessa (Chieti); and to the children of the De Pino Institute of Maratea, accompanied by the Daughters of Our Lady on Mount Calvary.

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY
OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
TO SPAIN

HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II

Plaza de Colón, Madrid
Third Sunday of Easter, 4 May 2003

 

 

1. "You are witnesses of these things" (cf. Luke 24: 46-48), Jesus said to his Apostles in the Gospel account just proclaimed. This was a difficult and demanding mission, entrusted to men who did not dare to show themselves in public for fear of being recognized as disciples of the Nazarene. Nevertheless, the first reading presented to us Peter who, once he received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, has the courage to proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus to the people and urge them to repent and convert.

 

Since then the Church, with the power of the Holy Spirit, continues to announce this extraordinary news to all people of all times. And the Successor of Peter, a pilgrim on Spanish soil, repeats to you: Spain, following a past of courageous evangelization, continue today to be witnesses of the risen Christ!

 

2. I greet with affection all the people of God who have come from the different regions of the Country and have gathered here to participate in this solemn celebration. I offer a respectful greeting to Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain and to the Royal Family. I cordially thank Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid, for his kind words. I greet the Spanish Cardinals and Bishops, priests and consecrated persons; I also greet with affection the members of the Institutes associated with the new Saints.

 

I am particularly grateful for the presence here of the President of the Government and the Presidents of the Autonomous Communities and of the civil authorities who have offered their precious collaboration so that the various events of this Visit could be accomplished.

 

3. The new Saints are presented to us today as true disciples of the Lord and witnesses of his Resurrection.

 

St Peter Poveda, grasping the importance of the role of education in society, undertook an important humanitarian and educational task among the marginalized and the needy. He was a master of prayer, a teacher of the Christian life and of the relationship between faith and knowledge, convinced that Christians must bring essential values and commitment to building a world that is more just and mutually supportive. His life ended with the crown of martyrdom.

 

St José María Rubio lived his priesthood first as a diocesan priest and then as a Jesuit, giving himself totally to the apostolate of the Word and of the Sacraments, dedicating long hours to the confessional and directing numerous spiritual retreats in which he formed many Christians who would later die as martyrs in the religious persecution in Spain. "Do what God wants and want what God does!" was his motto.

 

4. St Genoveva Torres was an instrument of God's tender love for lonely people in need of love, comfort and physical and spiritual care. The characteristic note that fuelled her spirituality was adoration of the Eucharist for the expiation of sins, which formed the basis of an apostolate full of humility and simplicity, of self-denial and charity.

 

Love and sensitivity to the poor likewise prompted St Angela of the Cross to found her "Company of the Cross" for the most deprived with a charitable and social dimension that made an enormous impact on the Church and society of Seville in her day. Her distinctive traits were naturalness and simplicity, seeking holiness with a spirit of mortification and at the service of God in her brothers and sisters.

 

St Maravillas of Jesus was motivated by a heroic faith that shaped her response to an austere vocation, in which she made God the centre of her life. Having overcome the painful circumstances of the Spanish Civil War, she established new foundations for the Order of Carmel, imbued with the characteristic spirit of the Teresian reform. Her life of contemplation and monastic enclosure did not prevent her from responding to the needs of the persons she dealt with and promoting social and charitable works around her.

 

5. The new Saints have very concrete faces and their history is well known. What is their message? Their works, which we admire and for which we thank God, are not due to their own efforts nor to human wisdom but to the mysterious action of the Holy Spirit who inspired in them an unshakeable adherence to the risen and crucified Christ and the decision to imitate him. Dear Catholic faithful of Spain:  let yourselves be influenced by these marvellous examples!

 

In giving thanks to the Lord for the many gifts he has poured out upon Spain, I invite you to pray with me that new saints continue to flourish in this land. Other fruits of holiness will be produced if the ecclesial communities remain faithful to the Gospel which, in accordance with a venerable tradition, has been preached since the earliest times of Christianity and has been preserved down the ages.

 

New fruits of holiness will be produced if the family remains united as a true shrine of love and life. "Christian and Catholic faith constitute the identity of the Spanish people", I said on the occasion of my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (Address at Santiago, 9 November 1982).

 

To know and to deepen a people's past means to strengthen and enrich their very identity. Do not abandon your Christian roots! Only in this way will you be able to bring the cultural riches of your history to the world and to Europe.

 

6. "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24: 45). The risen Christ enlightens the Apostles so that their proclamation can be understood and transmitted intact to all the generations, so that man, in hearing may  believe,  in  believing,  hope,  and in hoping, love (cf. St Augustine, De Catechizandis Rudibus, 4, 8). In proclaiming the risen Jesus Christ, the Church desires to announce a way of hope to all men and women, and to accompany them to the encounter with Christ.

 

In celebrating this Mass, I invoke upon you all the great gift of fidelity to your Christian commitments. May God the Father grant it to you through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, who is venerated in Spain under many titles, and of the Saints.

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY
OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
TO SPAIN

REGINA CAELI

Plaza de Colón, Madrid
Third Sunday of Easter, 4 May 2003

 

 

At the end of this celebration during which I canonized five new Saints, I would like to thank God who enabled me to make my fifth Apostolic Journey to your nation, a land of faithful children of the Church which has produced so many saints and missionaries. The theme of my first visit was: "Witness of hope", and this time it was "You will be my witnesses". Always remember that the badge of Christians is their authentic and courageous witness of Jesus Christ, who died and rose for our salvation.

 

I would like to repeat my thanks to Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain and to the Royal Family present here, to the President of the Government and to the Nation's Authorities for their help. I express special gratitude to the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid and to all the other Bishops of Spain for their invitation and welcome, as well as to everyone who provided a generous service before and during my Visit.

 

I also greet with deep affection the many priests, the Religious, the many young people, the families and men and women of good will. I am carrying back with me the memory of your faces full of hope, which I encountered in these days, and your commitment to Jesus Christ and his Gospel.

You are the depositaries of a rich spiritual heritage which must revitalize your Christian life, along with your great love for the Church and for the Successor of Peter.

 

With open arms I will hold you all in my heart. The memory of these days will become my prayer as I ask for peace in fraternal coexistence for you all, encouraged by Christian hope that never disappoints. And I say to you with great affection, as I did the first time, "¡Hasta siempre España! ¡Hasta siempre, tierra de María!".

 

Thank you for coming here today, you who have come from all parts of the Spanish territory. Even if it cost you a sacrifice, it was worth it.

 

Today Plaza de Colón has been transformed into a great church in order to accomodate this solemn celebration, during which we prayed with devotion and sang with enthusiasm.

 

We are meeting in the heart of Madrid, close to important museums, libraries and other centres of culture founded on the Christian faith, which Spain, as a part of Europe, was later able to offer to America with its evangelization and subsequently, to other parts of the world. Thus, the place evokes the vocation of Spanish Catholics to be builders of Europe in solidarity with the rest of the world.

 

Spain evangelized and evangelizing Spain, this is the way forward. Do not neglect this mission which ennobled your Country in the past and is the bold challenge for the future.

 

I thank the youth of Spain who came in such large numbers yesterday to show modern society that it is possible to be modern and profoundly faithful to Jesus Christ. They are the great hope of the future of Spain and of Christian Europe. The future belongs to them.... Adiós, Spain!

BENEDICT XVI

REGINA CÆLI

Saint Peter's Square
III Sunday of Easter, 30 April 2006

 


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

In the Easter Season the liturgy offers us  manifold  incentives  to  strengthen our  faith  in  the  Risen  Christ. Today, on the Third Sunday of Easter, for example, St Luke tells how the two disciples of Emmaus, after recognizing him "in the breaking of the bread" (Luke 24: 35), returned to Jerusalem full of joy to tell the others what had happened to them.

 

And just as they were speaking, the Lord appeared, showing them his hands and his feet with the signs of the Passion. Then, in the face of the Apostles' disbelief and wonder, Jesus had them give him some broiled fish and ate it before their eyes (cf. Luke 24: 35-43).

 

In this and in other accounts, one can discern a repeated invitation to overcome incredulity and believe in Christ's Resurrection, since his disciples are called to be witnesses precisely of this extraordinary event.

 

The Resurrection of Christ is central to Christianity. It is a fundamental truth to be reasserted vigorously in every epoch, since to deny it, as has been, and continues to be attempted, or to transform it into a purely spiritual event, is to thwart our very faith. St Paul states:  "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (I Corinthians 15: 14).

 

In the days that followed the Lord's Resurrection, the Apostles stayed together, comforted by Mary's presence, and after  the  Ascension  they  persevered with her in prayerful expectation of  Pentecost. Our  Lady  was a mother and teacher to them, a role that she continues to play for Christians of all times.

 

Every year, at Eastertide, we relive this experience more intensely and perhaps, precisely for this reason, popular tradition has dedicated to Mary the month of May that normally falls between Easter and Pentecost. Consequently, this month which we begin tomorrow helps us to rediscover the maternal role that she plays in our lives so that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the Risen Lord.

 

Let us entrust to Mary the needs of the Church and of the whole world, especially at this time which is marked by so many shadows. As we also invoke the intercession of St Joseph whom we will commemorate tomorrow in a special way, thinking of the world of work, we turn to her with the prayer of the Regina Caeli, a prayer that enables us to taste the comforting joy of the Risen Christ's presence.

***

 

After the Regina Caeli: 

 

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, including those gathered to mark the Beatification of Fr Augustine Kunjachan Thevarparampil taking place at Ramapuram, in Kerala, India. Today's Gospel reminds us that in the name of the Risen Christ we are called to forgive each other's sins and failings. May this Easter Season be a time of joyful reconciliation within families and among nations. Upon each of you present, I invoke God's Blessings of peace and wisdom.

 

I wish you all a good Sunday and a fruitful month of May in the company of the Mother of the Lord.

HOLY MASS FOR THE CANONIZATION OF FIVE NEW SAINTS

Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912)
Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348)
Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira (1360-1431)
Gertrude Comensoli (1847-1903)
Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894)

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

St Peter's Square
Third Sunday of Easter, 26 April 2009

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

On this Third Sunday in the Easter Season, the liturgy once again focuses our attention on the mystery of the Risen Christ. Victorious over evil and over death, the Author of life who sacrificed himself as a victim of expiation for our sins, "is still our priest, our advocate who always pleads our cause. Christ is the victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever" (Easter Preface III). Let us allow ourselves to be bathed in the radiance of Easter that shines from this great mystery and with the Responsorial Psalm let us pray: "O Lord, let the light of your countenance shine upon us".

 

The light of the face of the Risen Christ shines upon us today especially through the Gospel features of the five Blesseds who during this celebration are enrolled in the Roll of Saints: Arcangelo Tadini, Bernardo Tolomei, Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira, Geltrude Comensoli and Caterina Volpicelli. I willingly join in the homage that the pilgrims are paying to them, gathered here from various nations and to whom I address a cordial greeting with great affection. The various human and spiritual experiences of these new Saints show us the profound renewal that the mystery of Christ's Resurrection brings about in the human heart; it is a fundamental mystery that orients and guides the entire history of salvation. The Church therefore, especially in this Easter Season, rightly invites us to direct our gaze to the Risen Christ, who is really present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

 

In the Gospel passage, St Luke mentions one of the appearances of the Risen Jesus (24: 35-48). At the very beginning of the passage the Evangelist notes that the two disciples of Emmaus, who hurried back to Jerusalem, had told the Eleven how they recognized him in "the breaking of the bread" (v. 35). And while they were recounting the extraordinary experience of their encounter with the Lord, he "himself stood among them" (v. 36). His sudden appearance frightened the Apostles. They were fearful to the point that Jesus, in order to reassure them and to overcome every hesitation and doubt, asked them to touch him he was not a ghost but a man of flesh and bone and then asked them for something to eat. Once again, as had happened for the two at Emmaus, it is at table while eating with his own that the Risen Christ reveals himself to the disciples, helping them to understand the Scriptures and to reinterpret the events of salvation in the light of Easter. "Everything written about me", he says, "in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (v. 44). And he invites them to look to the future: "repentance and forgiveness of sins [shall] be preached in his name to all nations" (cf. v. 47).

 

This very experience of repentance and forgiveness is relived in every community in the Eucharistic celebration, especially on Sundays. The Eucharist, the privileged place in which the Church recognizes "the Author of life" (Acts 3: 15) is "the breaking of the bread", as it is called in the Acts of the Apostles. In it, through faith, we enter into communion with Christ, who is "the priest, the altar, and the lamb of sacrifice" (cf. Preface for Easter, 5) and is among us. Let us gather round him to cherish the memory of his words and of the events contained in Scripture; let us relive his Passion, death and Resurrection. In celebrating the Eucharist we communicate with Christ, the victim of expiation, and from him we draw forgiveness and life. What would our lives as Christians be without the Eucharist? The Eucharist is the perpetual, living inheritance which the Lord has bequeathed to us in the Sacrament of his Body and his Blood and which we must constantly rethink and deepen so that, as venerable Pope Paul vi said, it may "impress its inexhaustible effectiveness on all the days of our earthly life" (Insegnamenti, V [1967], p. 779). Nourished with the Eucharistic Bread, the Saints we are venerating today brought their mission of evangelical love to completion with their own special charisms in the various areas in which they worked.

 

St Arcangelo Tadini spent long hours in prayer before the Eucharist. Always focusing his pastoral ministry on the totality of the human person, he encouraged the human and spiritual growth of his parishioners. This holy priest, this holy parish priest, a man who belonged entirely to God ready in every circumstance to let himself be guided by the Holy Spirit, was at the same time prepared to face the urgent needs of the moment and find a remedy for them. For this reason he undertook on many practical and courageous initiatives such as the organization of the "Catholic Workers Mutual Aid Association", the construction of a spinning mill and a residence for the workers and, in 1900, the foundation of the "Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth" to evangelize the working world by sharing in the common efforts after the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth. How prophetic the charismatic intuition of Fr Tadini was and how timely his example remains today in an epoch of serious financial crisis! He reminds us that only by cultivating a constant and profound relationship with the Lord, especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, can we bring the Gospel leaven to the various fields of work and to every area of our society.

 

Love for prayer and for manual labour also distinguished St Bernardo Tolomei, the initiator of a unique Benedictine monastic movement. His was a Eucharistic life, entirely dedicated to contemplation, expressed in humble service to neighbour. Because of his rare spirit of humility and brotherly acceptance, he was re-elected abbot for 27 years, until his death. Moreover, in order to guarantee the future of his foundation, on 21 January 1344 he obtained from Clement vi papal approval of the new Benedictine Congregation called "Our Lady of Monte Oliveto". During the epidemic of the Black Death in 1348, he left the solitude of Monte Oliveto for the monastery of S. Benedetto at Porta Tufi, Siena, to attend to his monks stricken with the plague, and died, himself a victim, as an authentic martyr of love. The example of this Saint invites us to express our faith in a life dedicated to God in prayer and spent at the service of our neighbour, impelled by a love that is also ready to make the supreme sacrifice.

 

"Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him" (Psalm 4: 3). These words of the Responsorial Psalm express the secret of the life of Blessed Nuno de Santa María, a hero and saint of Portugal. The 70 years of his life belong to the second half of the 14th century and the first half of the 15th, which saw this nation consolidate its independence from Castille and expand beyond the ocean not without a special plan of God opening new routes that were to favour the transit of Christ's Gospel to the ends of the earth. St Nuno felt he was an instrument of this lofty design and enrolled in the militia Christi, that is, in the service of witness that every Christian is called to bear in the world. He was characterized by an intense life of prayer and absolute trust in divine help. Although he was an excellent soldier and a great leader, he never permitted these personal talents to prevail over the supreme action that comes from God.

St Nuno allowed no obstacle to come in the way of God's action in his life, imitating Our Lady, to whom he was deeply devoted and to whom he publicly attributed his victories. At the end of his life, he retired to the Carmelite convent whose building he had commissioned. I am glad to point this exemplary figure out to the whole Church particularly because he exercised his life of faith and prayer in contexts apparently unfavourable to it, as proof that in any situation, even military or in war time, it is possible to act and to put into practice the values and principles of Christian life, especially if they are placed at the service of the common good and the glory of God.

 

Since childhood, Geltrude Comensoli felt a special attraction for Jesus present in the Eucharist. Adoration of Christ in the Eucharist became the principal aim of her life, we could almost say the habitual condition of her existence. Indeed, it was in the presence of the Eucharist that St Geltrude realized what her vocation and mission in the Church was to be: to dedicate herself without reserve to apostolic and missionary action, especially for youth. Thus, in obedience to Pope Leo XIII, her Institute came into being which endeavoured to translate the "charity contemplated" in the Eucharistic Christ, into "charity lived", in dedication to one's needy neighbour. In a bewildered and all too often wounded society like ours, to a youth, like that of our day in search of values and a meaning for their lives, as a sound reference point St Geltrude points to God who, in the Eucharist, has made himself our travelling companion. She reminds us that "adoration must prevail over all the other charitable works", for it is from love for Christ who died and rose and who is really present in the Eucharistic Sacrament, that Gospel charity flows which impels us to see all human beings as our brothers and sisters.

 

St Caterina Volpicelli was also a witness of divine love. She strove "to belong to Christ in order to bring to Christ" those whom she met in Naples at the end of the 19th century, in a period of spiritual and social crisis. For her too the secret was the Eucharist. She recommended that her first collaborators cultivate an intense spiritual life in prayer and, especially, in vital contact with Jesus in the Eucharist. Today this is still the condition for continuing the work and mission which she began and which she bequeathed as a legacy to the "Servants of the Sacred Heart". In order to be authentic teachers of faith, desirous of passing on to the new generations the values of Christian culture, it is indispensable, as she liked to repeat, to release God from the prisons in which human beings have confined him. In fact, only in the Heart of Christ can humanity find its "permanent dwelling place". St Caterina shows to her spiritual daughters and to all of us the demanding journey of a conversion that radically changes the heart, and is expressed in actions consistent with the Gospel. It is thus possible to lay the foundations for building a society open to justice and solidarity, overcoming that economic and cultural imbalance which continues to exist in a large part of our planet.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank the Lord for the gift of holiness that shines out in the Church with rare beauty today in Arcangelo Tadini, Bernardo Tolomei, Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira, Geltrude Comensoli and Caterina Volpicelli. Let us be attracted by their examples, let us be guided by their teachings, so that our existence too may become a hymn of praise to God, in the footsteps of Jesus, worshipped with faith in the mystery of the Eucharist and served generously in our neighbour. May the maternal intercession of Mary, Queen of Saints and of these five new luminous examples of holiness whom we venerate joyfully today, obtain for us that we may carry out this evangelical mission. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 July 2015. 12:00 SGT