At the Liturgical Solemnity of St. Josemaría St. Eugene's Basilica, Rome, (June 26, 2015)
My dear brothers and sisters:
1. In the second reading, St. Paul reminds us that "all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ" (Rom 8:17-17).
Every day, but today with greater intensity, I go to St. Josemaría asking him to obtain for us an ever greater love for our Lord, for the Church, for all humanity, through the intercession of our Lady.
The Church is the family of God on earth, born from the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The Father of this great family is our Father God, "from whom all paternity in heaven and on earth takes its name" (Eph 3:15). Jesus, the only-begotten Son, through his incarnation, is our elder Brother, whom we should come to resemble more each day. The Holy Spirit is the Love of the Father and the Son, who has been poured into our hearts. And so that nothing might be missing in this family of the Church, we have been given Mary Most Holy as our Mother. Isn’t all this more than enough reason to give thanks to God with renewed strength?
Let us also give thanks to St. Josemaría, on this day of his liturgical feast, for having passed on to us, through his life and words, a treasure of teachings based solidly on the consideration of our divine filiation, an essential, irreplaceable, foundation for Christian life.
2. In accord with Pope Francis’ intentions, let us take advantage of these months of preparation for the Synod of Bishops on the family next October to pray more intensely for this meeting. To give greater strength to our petitions, I want to let you know that in Opus Dei we are celebrating a Marian year. Through our Lady’s intercession, we are asking the Most Holy Trinity that the Synod’s effort will strengthen people’s understanding of the nature and aims of the family, an absolutely essential institution for the good of the Church and society.
I would like to consider today some aspects of St. Josemaría’s teachings on this topic. We know how ardent his concern was for the good of families. He always looked “upon Christian homes with hope and affection, upon all the families which are the fruit of the Sacrament of Matrimony. They are a shining witness of the great divine mystery of Christ’s loving union with his Church which St. Paul calls sacramentum magnum, a great sacrament (Eph 5:32). We must strive so that these cells of Christianity may be born and may develop with a desire for holiness, conscious of the fact that the Sacrament of Initiation—Baptism—confers on all Christians a divine mission that each must fulfill in his or her own walk of life.”
3. We are very aware (it’s not a new reality) of the attacks that the institution of the family is now undergoing. Many people insist on rejecting the divine plan for the marital union, based on creation and confirmed in our redemption. As St. Josemaría pointed out, the underlying reason for this opposition often seems to be a form of “demographic neo colonialism.” Pope Francis has also recently denounced these efforts: “Let us be on guard against new . . . forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family. They are not born . . . of prayers, of closeness to God or the mission which God gave us; they come from without, and for that reason I am saying that they are forms of colonization. Let’s not lose the freedom of the mission which God has given us, the mission of the family.”
The present situation should challenge us—always with hope and supernatural optimism—to recover and make known the true meaning of the family, in particular of the Christian family, called, as St. John Paul II said, “to take part actively and responsibly in the mission of the Church in a way that is original and specific, by placing itself, in what it is and what it does as an ‘intimate community of life and love,’ at the service of the Church and of society.”
Benedict XVI encouraged Christian families to find in the Eucharist a source of strength and inspiration. “The love between man and woman, openness to life, and the raising of children are privileged spheres in which the Eucharist can reveal its power to transform life and give it its full meaning.”
4. I would like to recall here some other words of St. Josemaría that can serve as a stimulus for all of us. He wrote: “Let’s be frank—the normal thing is for the family to be united. There may be friction and differences, but that’s quite normal. In a certain sense it even adds flavor to our daily life. These problems are insignificant, time always takes care of them. What remains firm is love, a true and sincere love which comes from being generous and which brings with it a concern for one another.”
The kingdom of God is seemingly weak in appearance, like a mustard seed. Certainly it requires our collaboration, with the awareness that it is God’s initiative and gift. As Pope Francis reminded us a few weeks ago: “Our weak effort, seemingly small before the complexity of the problems of the world, when integrated with God’s effort, fears no difficulty. The victory of the Lord is certain: his love will make every seed of goodness present on the ground sprout and grow. This opens us up to trust and hope, despite the tragedies, the injustices, the sufferings that we encounter.” Therefore I invite you to pray every day for the Holy Father, for bishops and priests.
I especially advise the married couples here present, the engaged couples who will marry soon, and all of you, to have a great faith in the action of the Holy Spirit for the good of all families. Teaching people the importance of Confession and the Eucharist is an excellent support for families. These sacraments are an unmatchable treasure for living charity with everyone, and therefore for unity in families.
Let us go to our Lady, who always intercedes for her children. We can make the same request that she made to her divine Son at the marriage feast in Cana: "They have no wine" (Jn 2:3). Mother of ours, obtain for us from Jesus the “good wine” of God’s grace for all families, so that God may be loved and obeyed, in daily life, by fulfilling his saving plan, for the good of all mankind. So be it.
Praised be Jesus Christ!