"He Gave Us the Strength to Believe in Christ"
VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the homily given today by Benedict XVI at the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor's entire life, and especially of his witness in suffering. Even then we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity, and in any number of ways God's People showed their veneration for him. For this reason, with all due respect for the Church's canonical norms, I wanted his cause of beatification to move forward with reasonable haste. And now the longed-for day has come; it came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!
I would like to offer a cordial greeting to all of you who on this happy occasion have come in such great numbers to Rome from all over the world - cardinals, patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, brother bishops and priests, official delegations, ambassadors and civil authorities, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, and I extend that greeting to all those who join us by radio and television.
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today's celebration because, in God's providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary's month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints! Even so, God is but one, and one too is Christ the Lord, who like a bridge joins earth to heaven. At this moment we feel closer than ever, sharing as it were in the liturgy of heaven.
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (Jn 20:29). In today's Gospel Jesus proclaims this beatitude: the beatitude of faith. For us, it is particularly striking because we are gathered to celebrate a beatification, but even more so because today the one proclaimed blessed is a Pope, a Successor of Peter, one who was called to confirm his brethren in the faith. John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith. We think at once of another beatitude: "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven" (Mt 16:17). What did our heavenly Father reveal to Simon? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of this faith, Simon becomes Peter, the rock on which Jesus can build his Church. The eternal beatitude of John Paul II, which today the Church rejoices to proclaim, is wholly contained in these sayings of Jesus: "Blessed are you, Simon" and "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!" It is the beatitude of faith, which John Paul II also received as a gift from God the Father for the building up of Christ's Church.
Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord" (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter. Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ's resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today's Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus' death, Mary appears at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).
Today's second reading also speaks to us of faith. Saint Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, points out to the newly-baptized the reason for their hope and their joy. I like to think how in this passage, at the beginning of his First Letter, Peter does not use language of exhortation; instead, he states a fact. He writes: "you rejoice", and he adds: "you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet 1:6, 8-9). All these verbs are in the indicative, because a new reality has come about in Christ's resurrection, a reality to which faith opens the door. "This is the Lord's doing", says the Psalm (118:23), and "it is marvelous in our eyes", the eyes of faith.
Dear brothers and sisters, today our eyes behold, in the full spiritual light of the risen Christ, the beloved and revered figure of John Paul II. Today his name is added to the host of those whom he proclaimed saints and blesseds during the almost twenty-seven years of his pontificate, thereby forcefully emphasizing the universal vocation to the heights of the Christian life, to holiness, taught by the conciliar Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium. All of us, as members of the people of God - bishops, priests, deacons, laity, men and women religious - are making our pilgrim way to the heavenly homeland where the Virgin Mary has preceded us, associated as she was in a unique and perfect way to the mystery of Christ and the Church. Karol Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council, first as an auxiliary Bishop and then as Archbishop of Kraków. He was fully aware that the Council's decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church. This was the theological vision which Blessed John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life. A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyła: a golden cross with the letter "M" on the lower right and the motto "Totus tuus", drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyła found a guiding light for his life: "Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria - I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart" (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266).
In his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: "When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, said to me: 'The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium'". And the Pope added: "I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church - and especially with the whole episcopate - I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate". And what is this "cause"? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter's Square in the unforgettable words: "Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!" What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan - a strength which came to him from God - a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty. To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.
When Karol Wojtyła ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its "helmsman", the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call "the threshold of hope". Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an "Advent" spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.
Finally, on a more personal note, I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II. I had known him earlier and had esteemed him, but for twenty-three years, beginning in 1982 after he called me to Rome to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was at his side and came to revere him all the more. My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a "rock", as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined. In this way he lived out in an extraordinary way the vocation of every priest and bishop to become completely one with Jesus, whom he daily receives and offers in the Church.
Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God's people. You often blessed us in this Square from the Apostolic Palace: Bless us, Holy Father! Amen.
19På kvällen samma dag, den första i veckan, satt lärjungarna bakom reglade dörrar av rädsla för judarna. Då kom Jesus och stod mitt ibland dem och sade till dem: "Frid åt er alla." 20Sedan visade han dem sina händer och sin sida. Lärjungarna blev glada när de såg Herren. 21Jesus sade till dem igen: "Frid åt er alla. Som Fadern har sänt mig sänder jag er." 22Sedan andades han på dem och sade: "Ta emot helig ande. 23Om ni förlåter någon hans synder, så är de förlåtna, och om ni binder någon i hans synder, så är han bunden."
24En av de tolv, Tomas, som kallades Tvillingen, hade inte varit med när Jesus kom. 25De andra lärjungarna sade nu till honom: "Vi har sett Herren", men han sade: "Om jag inte får se spikhålen i hans händer och sticka fingret i spikhålen och sticka handen i hans sida tror jag det inte." 26En vecka senare var lärjungarna samlade igen, och Tomas var med. Då kom Jesus, trots att dörrarna var reglade, och stod mitt ibland dem och sade: "Frid åt er alla." 27Därefter sade han till Tomas: "Räck hit ditt finger, här är mina händer; räck ut din hand och stick den i min sida. Tvivla inte, utan tro!" 28Då svarade Tomas: "Min Herre och min Gud." 29Jesus sade till honom: "Du tror därför att du har sett mig. Saliga de som inte har sett men ändå tror."
30 Också många tecken som inte har tagits med i denna bok gjorde Jesus i sina lärjungars åsyn. 31Men dessa har upptecknats för att ni skall tro att Jesus är Messias, Guds son, och för att ni genom att tro skall ha liv i hans namn.
Idag är det en alldeles stor och speciell dag inom Katolska Kyrkan runtom i hela världen. Idag saligförklaras förra Påven Johannes Paulus II av nuvarande Påven Benedictus XVI i St. Peters Kyrkan i Rom!
Det är mycket passande att just denna saligförklaring sker på "Divine Mercy Sunday" ("Den Gudomliga Barmhärtighetens Söndag"), vilken även instiftades av Johannes Paulus II den andra söndagen efter påsk år 2000. Detta skedde i samband med helgonförklaringen av den polska nunnan syster Faustina, den 30/4/2000.
Det var även på denna "Den Gudomliga Barmhärtighetens Söndag":s kväll, (2.a söndagen efter påsk) som Johannes Paulus II lämnade jordelivet och gick hem till Fadern år 2005.
Salige Johannes Paulus II, bed för oss.
Gudomlige, barmhärtige Jesus, Guds Son, bed för oss och förbarma dig över oss.
St. John Joseph of the Cross
St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the seventeenth century in the beautiful island of Ischia, near Naples. From his childhood he was the model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strictest Observance, or Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He became a priest out of obedience, and obtained, as it seems, an inspired knowledge of moral theology. With his superiors' permission he built another convent and drew up rules for that community, which were confirmed by the Holy See. He afterward became Master of Novices. Sometimes later he was made provincial of the province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the eightheenth century by Clement XI. He labored hard to establish in Italy that branch of his Order which the sovereign Pontiff had separated from the one in Spain. In his work he suffered much, and became the victim of numerous calumnies. However, the saint succeeded in his labors, endeavoring to instill in the hearts of his subjects, the double spirit of contemplation and penance bequeathed to his Reform by St. Peter of Alcantara. St. John Joseph exemplified the most sublime virtues, especially humility and religious discipline. He also possessed numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophesy and miracles. Finally,consumed by labors for the glory of God, he was called to his reward. Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples on March 5, 1734. His feast day is March 5th.
Den spiritualitet som är typisk karmelitisk, har rötter ända tillbaka till Profeten Elias tid på karmelberget i Haifa. Den handlar mycket kort om att i ensamhet och avskildhet lyssna på Guds ord, dvs kontemplera det Gud vill säga till vederbörande.
Profeten Elia levde och verkade på berget Karmel under Kung Ahabs regeringstid i Israel. Elia var urtypen för alla efterkommande eremiter, i det att han levde i ensamhet, avskildhet, kontemplativt liv och med apostolisk verksamhet, i det att han följde Guds ord i allt . Det han nog blev mest känd för var hans konfrontation med Baalsprofeterna på berget Karmel.
Det som dagens karmeliter, både de helt kontemplativa, de apostoliska systrarna och bröderna i kloster, samt de sekulära karmeliterna, har gemensamt och har tagit fasta på i profeten Elias efterföljd är detta, att lyssna till Gud i ensamhet, avskildhet och i eftertänksamhet. Sedan följer man Guds uppmaning i sina olika karismer; tex att be för världen i ett helt kontemplativt kloster eller att gå ner från berget likt Elia och vara apostolisk.
När det första eremiterna på berget Karmel hade levt en tid i i kommunitet på 1100-talet, i Elias och Jungfru Marias efterföljd, så kom det i kommuniteten upp att de behövde en regel att leva efter. Då kontaktades den dåvarande Patriarken i Jerusalem, för att få en sådan; vilket de sedermera också fick.
Liksom profeten Elia uppmärksamt dag och natt, ständigt lyssnade till Guds ord, gjorde även Jungfru Maria det. Och eftersom Helige Albertus av Jerusalem satte Jesus Kristus till "husets Herre" så att säga, så blev det naturliga även att "Husets Fru" också då blev den Heliga Jungfrun Maria, Karmels Moder och Drottning som det sedermera kom att kallas. Deras kyrka blev invigd till jungfru Maria av Berget Karmel. För likt Jesu Moder och Profeten Elia, begrundade de Guds ord i sitt hjärta, dag och natt.
Heliga Teresa av Avilas roll inom Karmelitorden, och då främst inom den "oskodda" delen kan inte nog poängteras, då hon när hon levde i den dåvarande orden (numera kallad O.Carm) upplevde att det hade blivit för sekulariserat, och då ville gå tillbaka till ursprunget, dvs till Profeten Elia på berget Karmel. Att vara i ständig bön, och lyssnande till vad Gud hade att säga, i tysthet och avskildhet.
Helige Johannes av Korsets roll i den karmelitiska spiritualiteten är också väldigt viktig och omfattande. Han levde verkligen dagligen att vara inför Herrens ansikte i ständig bön i allt som hände honom. Han gjorde allt till bön... sin fängelsetid, sina vandringar, i sina samtal med ordenssystrarna, ja i allt... Att helt överlåta sig till Gud och lyssna på hans vilja och ord.
Heliga Thérèse av Jesusbarnet (eller "lilla Thérèse" som hon kallas i dagligt tal) som levde på 1800-talet hade också hon en väldigt stark betydelse i den karmelitiska spiritualiteten. Hon gjorde inga "stordåd" i sitt 24-åriga liv som den yttre världen kunde se, men hennes spiritualitet var mminst lika stark som den hos profeten Elia, Heliga Teresa av Avila, Heliga Johannes av korset och många fler, som levat i Karmels anda.
Hon skrev i sina memoarer "självbiografiska skrifter" bla: "Det är inte de stora gärningarna som är viktigast, utan den stora kärleken i de små gärningarna.". Och detta visade hon dagligen i sitt liv. Att älska stort är viktigare än att göra stora saker...
Att lyssna, älska, be och göra Guds vilja var vad hon jorde. Och det var också det som skedde på berget Karmel långt före hennes tid...
Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a prince of Poland, the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, his life was scheduled to cement his father's authority and increase Poland's power.
Casimir realized from an early age that his life belonged to someone else, but to a much higher King than his father. Despite pressure, humiliation, and rejection, he stood by that loyalty through his whole life.
Born the third of thirteen children in 1461, Casimir was committed to God from childhood. Some of that commitment was the result of a tutor, John Dlugosz, whose holiness encouraged Casimir on his own journey.
It may be hard for us to imagine royal luxury as a pressure. But for Casimir, the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalties. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore the plainest of clothes.
Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he lay on the floor not on a royal bed. Even though he was a prince, many of those around him must have laughed and joked at his choices. Yet, in the face of any pressure, Casimir was always friendly and calm.
Though his father must have wondered about him, he must have seen and admired Casimir's strength. He showed that he misunderstood this strength when he sent Casimir as head of an army to take over the throne of Hungary at the request of some nobles there. Casimir felt the whole expedition was wrong but was convinced to go out of obedience to his father. He could not help but feel at every step that it was disobedient to his other Father. So when soldiers started deserting, he was only too glad to listen to the advice of his officers and turn back home. His feelings were confirmed when he discovered that Pope Sixtus IV had opposed the move.
His father, however, was furious at being deterred from his plans and banished Casimir to a castle in Dobzki, hoping that imprisonment would change Casimir's mind. Casimir's commitment to what he believed was right only grew stronger in his exile and he refused to cooperate with his father's plans any more despite the pressure to give in. He even rejected a marriage alliance his father tried to form. He participated in his true King's plans wholeheartedly by praying, studying, and helping the poor.
He died at the age of 23 in 1484 from lung disease. He was buried with his favorite song, a Latin hymn to Mary called "Omni die dic Mariae" which we know as "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary." Because of his love for the song, it is known as the Hymn of St. Casimir though he didn't write it.
Casimir is patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.
Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded that more was needed - the lacking ingredient was people. Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native American peoples, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Indians, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed - for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country. Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988.
Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000 to become only the second recognized American-born saint.
Evangelium (Mark 10:46–52)
Vid den tiden kom Jesus och hans lärjungar till Jeriko. Och när han tillsammans med lärjungarna och en stor folkhop lämnade staden, satt där vid vägen en blind tiggare, Bartimaios, son till Timaios. Då han fick höra att det var Jesus från Nasaret, började han ropa: »Jesus, Davids son, förbarma dig över mig!« Många sade åt honom att hålla tyst, men han ropade ännu högre: »Davids son, förbarma dig över mig!« Jesus stannade och sade: »Kalla hit honom.« De gjorde det och sade till den blinde: »Var lugn. Stig upp, han kallar på dig.« Då kastade han av sig manteln och sprang upp och kom fram till Jesus, och Jesus frågade honom: »Vad vill du att jag skall göra för dig?« Den blinde sade: »Rabbouni, gör så att jag kan se igen.« Jesus sade: »Gå, din tro har hjälpt dig.« Genast kunde mannen se, och han följde honom på vägen.