June 21st, 2010
Holy Mass - San Girolamo della caritá, Rome
Praised be Jesus Christ.
Reverend Fr. Rafael Alonso, dear fathers and religious sisters, dear members all of the faithful…
It really is a gift of Providence to be able to share with you this day of grace in which the Church through the Council for the Laity has recognized the Association Home of the Mother as Public Association of Faithful, affirming also in this way how you are children of the Church and she is your Mother, your home, the place that you come from and toward which you continuously walk.
I address a particularly special greeting to your Founder Father Rafael Alonso, whose sentiments of profound trepidation I can only imagine, along with those of intense thanksgiving.
The generation of life that the Holy Spirit permits through us, poor men, is always an event that surpasses our own capacities and above all our hopes. To see how a work is born, grows and flourishes in one’s own hands, is one of the greatest gifts that God can offer a man on this earth. Then the recognition of the Church definitively affirms that the work is not human but comes from God. That is to say, it germinates from the seed of a charism, from a gift of the Spirit, and like any gift, it is given for a common utility, for the service of the Kingdom and for evangelization.
Today is a historic day for your association which has now become, through the maternity of the Church, adult, not in the human sense of a vague autonomy but rather in the more profound sense of the term which indicates always a greater stature and with this a greater responsibility.
We know very well that to become a Public Association of Faithful implicates in a certain way the very identity of the Church which now publically affirms: these are my children, the association Home of the Mother. They belong to the Church, is Church, and in this association is realized a particular gift of the Spirit that is offered to the whole Church.
The jubilation of this day is not only yours but is shared by the whole Church which cannot but rejoice in her children who wish to be truly anchored in the truth, who desire to walk toward holiness, humble and poor and in love with the Eucharist, with the Virgin Mary and with the Vicar of Christ.
Dear friends, above all and always, conserve the precious gift of humility that the Lord has granted you. Further still, from today onward, cultivate it in a special way so that your faithful testimony may always be ever more evident and welcoming, with a sweet humanity, capable of following Christ with radical firmness and giving this to all your brothers and sisters, especially to the youth, with the gentleness that convinces and which is so often the most effective weapon of every Association, and the most active in evangelization.
As the Gospel has reminded us, we must be always capable of purification, of removing the beams from our eyes to be able to see and thus remove the straw from the eyes of our brother. The reading of this text often focuses on the disproportion between the beam and the reed of straw and such a reading is obviously legitimate. However, the end for which it is necessary to remove the beam is given in that extraordinary expression which the evangelist highlights with the words: and then you will see well. We know that in the New Testament the verb to see, not only in St. John, has the significance of the light that is Christ, the light of the truth and refers ultimately to the matter of faith. Freeing ourselves of the beams and bramble and remaining in humility, means placing oneself in the condition of someone who sees and sees well, and thereby, enlightened by the Lord, becomes light for his fellow-man. Today is a day of light in which your charism, that which has been given to Fr. Rafael, shines in a particular way, and the Church, mother and teacher, has decided to place it on the light-stand to give light to the whole house. You must be profoundly thankful for this reality and know that this does not represent a point of arrival but constitutes rather, necessarily, a point of departure from which, with vigor, loyalty and a spirit of sacrifice, you must take off toward the work of evangelization.
When we say Home of the Mother we think immediately and rightly of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of whom you feel yourselves to be children and who in the reality of the facts is truly Our Mother. However, I permit myself to suggest that through the reciprocity and the theological intimacy that exists between the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Church, above all today, and from today on always, when we say Home of the Mother we should necessarily think also of the Mother Church, of which Mary is a splendid icon. It is she, the Church of the Lord Jesus, the Church of the Pope and the bishops in affective and effective communion with him, the Church of all the faithful of the world and above all the Church of the saints and of the martyrs, who offers us an experience of great maternity and invites you to live constantly an experience of profound filiation which alone is capable of definitively changing the heart of man.
What makes your association attractive is the capacity to conjoin a radical fidelity to the Gospel, to the doctrine of the Church, to Tradition and the Magisterium, with that other testimony of charity that permanently asks, as the Holy Father has so often reminded us, to be guided and nourished by the truth. Just as in the primitive Christian communities the announcement of the Gospel was conjoined to a real experience of communion, of charity and putting things in common, this is what is happening in your association, which, the more faithful it is to the charism recognized now by the Church, the more it will spread.
When on July 29 1982 a group of six young people was founded upon the tomb of St. Peter in Rome with the name of Home of the Mother of the Youth, you would never have imagined that in just twenty-eight years all of this would have happened. The Servant Sisters, the Servant Priests and Brothers, the adults, the foundations, the communication, all are instruments with which you show that you know how to conjoin efficaciously a great fidelity, to an authentic adaptation to the present moment, utilizing all the means at our disposal for the edification of the kingdom.
Fundamentally we must know that it is due to building on Peter, on the Rock, that is, by building on fidelity to the Pope as the only possible point of reference for the one who desires to be in the certainty of walking in the truth. If you had not begun from there, we would surely not find ourselves here today. To build on Peter means to embrace the whole Church, because, as you well know, “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia”; where Peter is, there the Church is. At the same time it means, as is evident today, to let oneself by embraced by the Church, to live the experience of proceeding from a glorious bimillennial history which has enabled the true development of humanity and that we are a chosen part because we belong to her and we belong to Christ.
Together with the maternity of the Church and the paternity of Peter, another sure and inextinguishable strength of your association is that which makes certain and constant reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Home of the Mother” in this sense suggests to us to look constantly toward the Most Holy Virgin who was welcomed by the Lord’s beloved disciple into his home. It is She who first welcomes all of those who make their way to her in faith and love. She was present at the miracle of the Church’s birth, She prayed for each one of the disciples and offered her own life for that community as it was being configured. She rejoices today at the recognition offered by the Holy See to your Founder and to the entire Association.
Let us offer with simplicity all our efforts and our tiredness to the Lord so that nothing be lost and everything go the best way. Under the Sun of the Eucharistic Presence with Peter, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and with the best intention of fidelity to Christ and to the Church, it was never possible that we would fail to see the great light of this day. And with absolute human and spiritual gratitude for the pontifical recognition, we see it represents a fundamental call to become saints. Your presence before me and you yourselves are for me an eloquent sign of this calling. The Lord continues to guide his Church to engender sons and daughters capable of an authentic and uninhibited testimony because He himself wishes to renew his Church for a more convincing and apostolic extension of the Kingdom of God. In joining my heart to yours, my joy to yours and my profound exaltation of spirit to your magnificat, I wish to make patent my appreciation for your association, assuring you of a profound communion of intentions which raises us up, and above all entrusting you daily to the intercession of Mary, “Salus populi romani”, who more than any other is the inspirer and caretaker of every good intention. To her we give this day and the coming days that you will live together up to next Wednesday and the audience in St. Peter’s Square. To her we entrust your whole existence. With one heart we consecrate ourselves to her forever.
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