At the Parish of St. Josemaría in Burgos, Spain (July 1, 2015)

Most excellent and reverend and dear archbishop: And I say with all sincerity that these three adjectives for me are equally important. Most excellent, because of my affection for you. Most reverend, because you have the burden of the episcopate to govern this beloved archdiocese. Most dear, because we all accompany you with our prayer and our thanksgiving for the work you have carried out, and also ask our Lord to continue assisting you along the paths of God to proclaim Jesus Christ with your life.

My dear brothers in the priesthood, and dear sisters and brothers:

I cannot deny that I am moved by celebrating here, in this archdiocese and specifically in this church, the Mass in memory of a saint who came many times, and sometimes for months on end, to this city of Burgos: serving God, serving souls, and loving—ever more and more—the whole Church.

It is true that the Blessed Trinity wishes to work through his saints. And it is also true that the saints attained intimacy with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit by letting the three divine Persons work in them, although frequently they were asked for generosity, for love. God relies, for his plans, on each of his saints. St. Josemaría was always prompt to listen to God’s voice: our Lord had barely entered his life when he announced that he wanted something from him. He took so many words from the Gospel, which nourished his life and gave direction to his apostolate!

The texts that we have listened to were suggested to the Holy See, to the Congregation for Divine Worship, so that they might be used in this Mass. They are texts that always moved St. Josemaría (as did all of the Old and the New Testament), because he saw how close God wants to be to each and every one of us. Therefore he wants all of us, each and every one of us, to draw from these texts the desire to sanctify our ordinary life. The work in which we are engaged should be a sign of trust in God, of love for God. Our work is not only an opportunity to praise God, but also to give witness to so many people—to colleagues, friends, acquaintances, relatives—that ordinary life can be a marvelous dialogue with God that leads us to elevate all that we do to his presence, and to offer it, not only so that we sanctify it, but also so that we help in the sanctification of all souls.

The same thing is true of Psalm 2, which is the Responsorial Psalm for this Mass. My sisters and brothers, let us be sure that God has entrusted the world to us as our inheritance (see Ps 2:8). Let us not distance ourselves from the world, for we have to be placed in the heart of society in order to serve God and to provide very direct services to all men and women. They are waiting for you, they are waiting for us. Therefore we must not be remiss in the service we need to provide to all souls. Also to those who do not understand us, realizing that we too, if it had not been for God’s loving intervention in our lives, would be in the same situation. Therefore, realizing that our Lord has given you, has given us, this world as an inheritance, we have to go out in search of people. And let us not be upset if at times people fail to understand us. Let us persevere in speaking with love because, as St. John of the Cross said: “Love is repaid with love!”[1]

Therefore let us correspond to this God who is so generous and loves us infinitely, by our own dedication, and also, as he did, by serving all people. Don’t pass through Burgos, or wherever you go, anonymously. You have to be a protagonist, entrusting to our Lord everyone that you encounter. That is what St. Josemaría did, who so often asked us: “Are you praying for the people around us, for those traveling in the other cars?” So your prayer should be imbued with the marvelous reality of the Communion of Saints.

Have the certainty that we are daughters and sons of God, children of the All-Powerful, children of infinite love, of the Father who understands us. And who not only understands us, but who when at times we make a mistake, awaits us (as the parable of the prodigal son tells us) with his arms wide open to cover us with kisses, to fill us with joy, with optimism—to begin again! (see Lk 15:11-32). Never be discouraged, even if we experience the depths of our misery. God is with us, God wants to live with us, God wants to walk with us.

And, finally, that marvelous Gospel passage where our Lord himself wants to get into our poor boat. St. Josemaría, seeing the generosity of God, who wants to reach the whole world making use of that boat—so poor, a few old boards!—would reflect: when we see that we have such poor conditions, if our Lord invites us to be close to him, let us follow him. Let us have the conviction that we too can “put out into the deep,” duc in altum (Lk 5:4), into the depths of the oceans of this society of ours. It is our society and we have to go to bring God everywhere, as St. Josemaría used to say, speaking with God more and more, getting to know him ever better, and making him known. We can understand perfectly why Peter, seeing the miracle that our Lord had worked when he said, “lower your nets for a catch” (see Lk 5:3—they couldn’t lift the nets because of the weight of so many fish. How wonderful! He, who was an expert fisherman, saw that the sterility of the past night had been changed, thanks to God’s action, into abundant fruit. May you have the same conviction. Never be discouraged, never! When at times we don’t receive the response that we wanted, because we sought to make people happier. Don’t be discouraged. Persevere with the conviction that God is with us, helping us to love him and also to assist so many people we meet throughout our life to love him more.

I also ask you, of course, to pray for Pope Francis. I had the opportunity, on the 29th, to greet him. He sends his blessing, and he has a great esteem for the work of each and every one of you and is relying on your life. Therefore, if you ever meet with resistance, or we ourselves resist, remember that the Pope is saying to you: Help me! It was one of the questions that he put to me in one of the audiences (don’t think that I am with the Pope all day), but he told me: “Tell people to help me, because the burden is very heavy.” Let us be generous, knowing we are children of our common father and helping him with our prayer, our sacrifice and our nearness.

I could tell you many wonderful anecdotes of St. Josemaría’s stay in Burgos. For he was a man who knew how to love, who knew how to show gratitude, also when our Lord allowed him to suffer setbacks and trials.

In ending, how can I fail to turn to our Mother in Heaven, Holy Mary, who was always so close to God. And don’t think: but she was such an extraordinary person! She was! But our Lady was extraordinary precisely because in that tiny village of Nazareth she attained a sanctity to the level of her fullness of grace. Therefore we don’t have any excuse. If only I could be in this or that place, if only I could do this… No! Realize that our Lady sanctified herself precisely in the place where she was. Who would have said that a woman, a young maiden filled with all virtue, who saw and spoke to God in her daily circumstances, would have the transcendent mission of bringing God to us? Each one of us can do the same. We can bring God with us everywhere.

We turn to you, Holy Mother, asking you to enlighten us, to make us each day more refined, with a greater desire to be better children of God, brothers and sisters of God, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit. May God bless you.

[1] St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 9, 7.

Romana, n. 61, July-December 2015, p. 258-260.

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