Papal Homily at Beatification Mass
Augustus Czartoryski and 5 Others Honored by Church
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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the homily John Paul II delivered at the beatification Mass today.
The six new blessed are: Augustus Czartoryski (1858-1893), a priest of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco; Laura Montoya (1874-1949), founder of the Congregation of Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena; María Guadalupe García Zavala (1878-1963), co-founder of the Congregation of Handmaids of St. Margaret Mary and of the Poor; Nemesia Valle (1847-1916), religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Giovanna Antida Thouret; Eusebia Palomino Yenes (1899-1935), religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians; and Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904-1955), a member of the Union of Salesian Cooperators.
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[The Holy Father said in Italian:]
1. "They knew it was the Lord" (John 21:12): Thus, John the Evangelist expressed the reaction of joy of the disciples when recognizing the risen Lord. Jesus manifested himself to them after a night of hard and fruitless work in the Lake of Tiberias. Trusting his word, they threw their nets into the water and brought to the shore a great "quantity of fish" (John 21:6).
Like the apostles, we too are amazed before the wealth of the wonders that God works in the hearts of all those who trust him. In the course of today's Eucharistic celebration we contemplate how much he accomplished in six new blessed: in the priest Augustus Czartoryski; in four women religious: Laura Montoya, María Guadalupe García Zavala, Nemesia Valle, Eusebia Palomino Yenes; [and] in a laywoman, Alexandrina Maria da Costa. They are eloquent examples of how the Lord transforms the lives of believers, when we trust in him.
2. "How lovely is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. ... Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere" (Psalms 84:2,11). Blessed Augustus Czartoryski had these words of the Psalm written as his motto of life on the memento of his first Mass. In them are reflected the rapture of a man who, following the voice of the call, discovers the beauty of the priestly ministry.
In them resounds the echo of the different choices that must be made by anyone who perceives the will of God and wishes to fulfill it. Augustus Czartoryski, a young prince, elaborated an effective method of discerning divine signs. He presented to God in prayer all his questions and underlying doubts and then, in the spirit of obedience, followed the advice of his spiritual guides. Thus he understood his vocation to undertake a life of poverty to serve the littlest ones. The same method enabled him, throughout his whole life, to make such decisions so that today we can say that he fulfilled the designs of Divine Providence in a heroic way.
I wish to propose his example of holiness above all to young people, who today seek to discern the will of God in regard to their lives and wish to proceed faithfully every day according to the divine word. My dear young friends, learn from Blessed Augustus to ardently request in prayer the light of the Holy Spirit and wise guides, so that you will be able to know the divine plan for your lives and be capable of walking always on the path of holiness.
3. "When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus" (John 21:4). It is possible for man not to know the Lord, despite multiple manifestations in the course of history. Mother Laura Montoya, seeing how so many Indians, far from urban centers, lived without knowing God, decided to found the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena, to take the light of the Gospel to the inhabitants of the forests.
This Colombian blessed felt she was the spiritual mother of the Indians, to whom she wished to show the love of God. Her times were not easy as social tensions, then also, bloodied her noble homeland. Being inspired by her pacifying message, let us pray today that our beloved Colombia will soon enjoy peace, justice and integral progress.
4. In the Gospel we heard Jesus' triple question to Peter "Do you love me?" Christ asks this same question of the men and women of all times. Christians must respond with firmness and promptitude to the plans he has for each one. This is what happened in the life of Blessed Guadalupe García Zavala, a Mexican, who, giving up marriage, dedicated herself to the service of the poorest, the needy and the sick, and founded for this reason the Congregation of the Handmaids of St. Margaret Mary and of the Poor.
With profound faith, unbounded hope, and great love for Christ, Mother Lupita sought her own sanctification out of love for the Heart of Jesus and in fidelity to the Church. Thus she lived the motto that she left for her daughters: "Charity to the point of sacrifice and constancy to the point of death."
5. "To manifest the love of God to little ones, to the poor, to every man, in every part of the earth": This was the commitment of Blessed Nemesia Valle throughout her entire life. She left this teaching in particular to her Sisters of Charity of St. Giovanna Antida Thouret, as well as to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Turin. It is the example of a luminous sanctity, reaching out to the high summits of evangelical perfection, and which is translated in simple gestures of daily life entirely spent for God.
The new blessed continues to repeat to all of us: "Holiness does not consist in doing many things or in doing great things. ... A saint is someone who is consumed at his post every day, for the Lord."
6. The Lord says to Peter in a decided and emphatic way: "Follow me." Sister Eusebia Palomino, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, also heard God's call one day and responded with intense spirituality and profound humility in her daily life. As a good Salesian, she was animated by love of the Eucharist and of the Virgin. What was important for her was to love and serve; the rest did not matter, faithful to the Salesian maxim of "Da mihi animas, caetera tolle" [Give me the souls, take the rest].
With the radical nature and consistency of her options, Sister Eusebia Palomino Yenes marked out a fascinating and demanding path of holiness for all of us and, very especially, for the young people of our time.
7. "Do you love me?" Jesus asks Simon Peter. The latter replies: "You know everything, Lord, you know well that I love you." The life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa can be summarized in this dialogue of love. Penetrated and embraced by these longings of love, she did not want to deny anything to her Savior: Of strong will, she accepted everything to show that she loved him. Bride of blood, she relived mystically the passion of Christ and offered herself as victim for sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist that became the sole nourishment of the last 13 years of her life.
In the wake of Blessed Alexandrina, expressed in the trilogy "suffer, love, repair," Christians can find the stimulus and motivation to ennoble everything that is painful and sad in life with the proof of greater love: to sacrifice one's life for the beloved.
8. "Yes Lord, you know that I love you" (John 21:15). Like Peter, and the other apostles on the shore of Lake of Tiberias, these new blessed also made their own, carrying to its extreme consequences, this simple but incisive profession of faith and love. Love for Christ is the secret of holiness!
Dear brothers and sisters, let us follow the example of these blessed! Like them, let us offer a consistent testimony of faith and love in the living and working presence of the Risen One!
[Translation by ZENIT]