At the naming of a church for St. Josemaría, Torun, Poland (August 27, 2010)
My dear sisters and brothers:
The Servant of God John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have often reminded us that our Lord also addresses us through the saints, because by their lives they speak to us of the Christian perfection to which we are all called. Therefore we want to be more aware that we can and should live that exhortation from the Psalm: Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, “Praise the Lord all you peoples.” This exclamation of praise and thanksgiving to God rises up today from our hearts as we participate in this ceremony in Torun. I confess that it is not easy for me to manifest all the joy in my heart upon celebrating the Holy Sacrifice in this church.
My thanksgiving goes out to the Most Blessed Trinity, along with gratitude to my beloved brother, Bishop Suski, who invited me to this solemn ceremony. It fills us all with joy to consider that from this church, which is today being dedicated to St. Josemaría, there will rise up to heaven every day, with the intercession of St. Josemaría, the prayers of the faithful of this beloved diocese. It is difficult to express in words St. Josemaría’s close union with your homeland, Poland, and with the Polish people. He prayed year after year with faith and perseverance for you as early as the thirties of the last century. Although he did not live to see here on earth the beginning of the Prelature’s apostolic work in Poland, he ardently desired that moment, which arrived in the time of my beloved predecessor, the first successor of St. Josemaría at the head of Opus Dei. I recall that even at the beginning of the Work of God he turned his eyes to this country with the ardent hope that the path God had placed in his soul, then still a dream, would become a reality here. Therefore I can assure you that already back then he prayed for you, and now from heaven he intercedes before God for your families and for each one of you.
It seems opportune to briefly recall here some key aspects of St. Josemaría’s message, in line with the Liturgy of the Word for the Mass proper to the saint.
1. The Book of Genesis relates how our first parents were placed in paradise ut operaretur (see Gen 2:15), so that they would assist in the development of God’s creative work. Making use of these words, St. Josemaría preached untiringly about the sanctifying value of human work, through which men and women cooperate in the work of creation. By our daily effort to carry out in a holy way, in a Christian way, the tasks of each day, we can give glory to God. For in our daily work we find, as the Founder of Opus Dei said, that divine, holy “something” hidden in the most ordinary situations, which it is up to each of you to discover, because our Lord does not cease to look at us and speak to us continually.
We Christians can carry out our work with a holy pride, with the joy of serving our Lord and others, in the midst of the world. God awaits us each day among the books, the tools, in front of the computer, in the home, in the kitchen, and also in our relaxation. If we seek him in our daily work, there will burn in us the eagerness to bring him to the people around us, to be apostolic women and men wherever we find ourselves.
St. Josemaría frequently recalled that, to love God with our whole heart and our whole strength, we don’t have to look for extraordinary situations, or for tasks that are unattainable for a Christian. The Servant of God John Paul II, to whom we owe so much throughout the whole world, referred to St. Josemaría as the “saint of the ordinary.” He thus reminded us that our Lord asks of us a joyful and generous struggle to carry out the small duty of each moment with the greatest perfection possible, taking up our various duties with the peace of the children of God, who always assists us so that we can sanctify ourselves, sanctify others, and sanctify our work.
2. As we read in the Epistle to the Romans: All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship [whereby] we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Rom 8:14-15). “Children of God!” exclaimed St. Josemaría with holy pride, “bearers of the only flame that can light up the paths of the earth for souls, of the only brightness which can never be darkened, dimmed or overshadowed.” The certainty of our divine filiation brings heaven close to us, because we have a Father who loves us madly, and who perseveringly awaits us.
The obstacles that we confront in today’s environment are not hidden from us. Nor is there a lack of daily difficulties and sufferings, small and great, in supporting our families, and carrying out our professional and civic duties. But God, who is a good Father, gives his children all they need to be happy and faithful on earth, no matter what happens. Each day, in our family and at work, among our friends, we have to spread to others, with the serenity of one who knows he or she is constantly watched over and protected by our Father God, the message that we are all called by God to personal holiness. And we will bring this joy to men and women with our smile, our affectionate words, our patience in the face of mishaps, with the example of our consistent Christian behavior.
3. St. Josemaría spoke a great deal about God’s closeness to souls, and the closeness of souls to God: a certainty that spurs us to want to help many other people discover the treasure of their divine filiation. In the passage about the miraculous catch of fish, one of the Gospel texts most frequently commented on by St. Josemaría, Jesus invites us to be apostolic. Duc in altum! Set out into the deep!
We should all feel the responsibility to respond to the evangelizing call of Christ and of his Church, to speak about, because we live these truths in our own life, the sacraments, the greatness of marriage and the family. Each of us will carry this out in a different way, in our own environment: as in the boat of the apostle Peter, some at the oars, others at the nets, or in tasks during embarking, and all helping one another with our prayer and mortification. Our Lord is the Master of the Holy Church, of this boat that has plowed the seas of history for more than twenty centuries, which is another reason that fills us with hope and optimism, and responsibility, because each of us is the Church. This is a good moment to ask ourselves what more we can do to push the boat of the Church out into the deep and obtain an abundant catch. God wants to count on each of you to bring the call of his love to this beloved Poland and to the whole world Let us be valiant, I insist, in giving witness to God’s love by our daily life and our words.
The image of the boat is also a reminder that we should all pray daily for the Vicar of Christ on earth, the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Let us do so now, in the Holy Mass, and frequently throughout the day, with the determination to not leave him alone, offering him the company of our prayer and affection.
Before concluding, I ask that you pray for your bishops and your priests, so that they be holy, very holy, and so that they foster tirelessly the search for seminarians in this land that our Lord has blessed, as he always does, with the Cross and with the certainty of the faith. Let us put these desires in the hands of our Mother, our Lady of Czestochowa, who accompanies us constantly with her maternal care along the path of sanctity, the path of intimacy with Jesus Christ.