St. Peter’s in the Vatican, Rome
June 23rd, 2010
Dear brothers and sisters, members of the Home of the Mother and sympathizers:
We have received in these days the Word of God for us, a word that has filled us with joy and recognition of the graces that the Lord has deposited in us.
That Word of the Church has told us that we are the Church and that we are in the heart of the Church, that we are not something strange or a tumor that arose arbitrarily, deserving only of "a kick in the pants" and to be thrown aside as something disposable.
We are Church and this is our great joy. This is our great joy. St. Teresa of Jesus suffered her whole life wondering if she was doing the Work of God and when she died in Alba de Tormes, she also said: “At last I die, daughter of the Church!” It had been for her a suffering throughout her whole life; “All of this that I am doing, is it a dream, an act of rebelliousness, my own idea, a whim?”
Today it is right that we come here to the heart of the Church before this altar which is built right on top of the tomb of St. Peter, to recognize that which began one day as a mysterious path of faith and which we wanted to be founded precisely upon the rock which the Lord chose for his Church.
Here was born the Home of the Mother of the Youth, with the first girls, on June 29 1982, as His Eminence Cardinal Rylko reminded us yesterday, here below at the tomb of St. Peter in front of the little Clementine chapel which is here underneath us; six girls, three of them founders of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, two of them married, one of them Esmeralda, who is about to give birth to her sixth child. Her husband is here with us and she is with us in her heart. How she has suffered at not being able to be here celebrating this day with us. I wish to remember her specially, because she also is one of the foundations, as a sixteen-year-old girl. When I first met her she was already beginning her courtship with Rafa, and she considered very seriously if God might be calling her to the consecrated life and suffered at the thought that she might be lacking generosity. No such thing! She had total openness and generosity before God, as can be seen now too in her openness to life. Her sixth child will be among us soon and two of her older children are also seated here among you. What generosity.
When I first conceived of the Home of the Mother, I did not conceive it in terms of consecration in poverty, chastity and obedience. I thought of the Home of the Mother of the Youth more in terms of totally generous souls with God and open to God, not closed, open to God. They were dynamic young people, dedicated and committed to doing whatever He asked of them. I am not the one who gives the vocation. I have spoken in my life to thousands of young people and not all of them have been generous, but those who have been generous have given their lives to God, be it in the total consecrated life or in the married life with a generous approach to matrimony, not with calculations or selfishness, not in search of the simple satisfaction of one’s passions; and these are the marriages that I have always longed for in the Home because they are completely given to God, in his hands, and they too generate eternal life, because they consist of a testimony, their very lives do, of the love between Christ and his Church. This is something that I have always longed for.
Today we are celebrating the Mass of Mary as Queen of the Apostles. The word “apostle” comes from the Greek “apostolein” which means, “to be sent.” When one is sent, one must get closer to Jesus Christ, not drift away from him; one must go towards him saying to him with total generosity: “Lord, whatever You want, however You want, wherever You want, whenever You want, however much You want, with whomever You want”. If we do this, what dynamism will follow, what strength!
John Paul II is here, underneath. The Home of the Mother has been formed throughout so many years under his magisterium, as has been the case with so many other groups. We are not the only ones, nor are we exclusive, nor are we, perhaps, the best. Without doubt, we’re not the best! Moreover, as I said to you yesterday: I pray that we remain always in humility, in hiddenness.
The Church today celebrates St. Paulino de Nola, a great saint. He was born in France, in Bordeaux. He was known for his amiability, for his intelligence, his capacity for the intellectual apostolate. He was a friend of St. Jerome, St. Augustine and so many of the Fathers who held him as an intimate friend. His generosity is impressive: in the time of the vandals he learned that a son of one of his faithful had been taken prisoner; the mother was a widow and he was the only son, so he offered to change places with the son. Here is extreme love, the comprehension of what true love is. Today there is so much egoism, so much desire to shine; I want to be big, big, the only one, the only one, to have lots of money, money, money… Poor humanity! So many deceptions! If you were to be the last, how much more you would gain! But you will never succeed in being the last because there, in that place, is Jesus Christ. He has made himself the last of all so that we have no fear of approaching Jesus Christ who is there below, the last, the grain of wheat that falls and rots and then bears much fruit. You will find yourself with Christ, you will be blessed, things will go well for you. His word never fails: “Whoever wishes to gain his life will lose it; whoever loses it for Me and for the Gospel, will find it.” If these words were to penetrate deeply into our hearts, right here, how much we would gain!
St. Peter himself is buried here, having been crucified upside-down in the year 64 in the great persecution of Nero. How much we would gain if we were to lose your pride, our vanity, our conceitedness, our impurity, our miseries! If only we had the generosity to risk all for Jesus Christ! We are together here as a little cenacle with the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. Our hearts are supremely grateful first of all to the Most Holy Trinity, to Jesus Christ our Brother, to the Virgin Mary our Mother, and we are thankful also to the Church. As His Excellency Archbishop Mauro Piacenza said yesterday the “Mother” in “Home of the Mother” refers also to the Church; we love the Church.
It was Father Kentenich’s desire when he died and was buried to have on his tombstone these words: “Dilexit ecclesiam”; “He loved the Church.” You also, I ask of you, brothers and sisters, that you love the Church, and because you love the Church, see to it that this Church be more holy. How? By opening yourselves to the one who is Holy so that the holiness of Jesus Christ may enter into our hearts and transform us in Him, so that our spirituality of transformation and identification in Christ be truly verified in our life, because it would be of very little use for us to come together here in order to lead a worldly life, a sad life of materialism and impurity and the satisfaction of our most base desires. Desire great things! Desire to be with Christ! As St. Paul would say, “I wish to be unbound and to be with Christ.” That is, to see myself unbound from all the miseries and fetters that chain the heart to this wretched and mundane world. And to see this humanity sanctified by Christ and find ourselves all together one day in Heaven where our true joy is.
May God our Lord help us, dear brothers and sisters, so that these desires be realized. We need men and women who are truly free and we are set free by the Word of God, which is truth and life. As Jesus Christ himself told us, “The truth will set you free.” We know well that we are children of God and brothers and sisters to our fellowmen and therefore responsible for them too. Let us not be like Cain who said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! You must provide help so that your brothers may live. I pray that the Home of the Mother enter this way. You know something? His Excellency Cardinal Rylko said to me: “From this moment on you are going to have many vocations.” Not just priests and religious. That does not exhaust the vocation to the Home of the Mother. The laity, the lay people must take their place, called as they are by the Lord to the home of the Blessed Virgin our Mother. Yes, certainly I believe that we are going to have many vocations.
May God our Lord hear your prayers, may we be transformed into apostles and witnesses, and with our coherent life may we stir in others the longing to walk this way with us and with all the Church toward the house of the Father. Amen.
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