Words of Bishop Javier Echevarría after the Transfer of Blessed Álvaro del Portillo to the Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, Rome, October 2, 2014
My dear brothers and sisters:
My dear brothers and sisters, Let us give thanks to God for these solemn days we have lived through, saying to God with all our heart: Gratias tibi, Deus, gratias tibi. As Saint Josemaría and our beloved Blessed Álvaro always strove to do, we want to make our whole life into praise for God and an act of love which will lead us to seek specific ways to purify our souls, our bodies, our intentions.
Bishop Álvaro, Blessed Álvaro, was a man of great maturity of will and intellect; with an astonishing simplicity that enabled him to draw close to everyone and serve them. It was wonderful to be in his company because he saw in others Christ himself, and also a sister or a brother. Thus his daily work was a service to God, while realizing it needed to be directed to the service of the people he was dealing with or who were alongside him. We ask our Lord, through the intercession of Blessed Álvaro, and also, naturally, of Saint Josemaría, to make all of us loyal men, loyal women, who will spend their lives cheerfully, with the same simplicity as Blessed Álvaro, who undertook both very important tasks and the everyday tasks that make up a person’s ordinary life. Therefore, invoking his protection, we ask him to guide us, to help us constantly to raise our heart to God, and also to begin again if ever we have failed to respond as energetically as we should have done.
Blessed Álvaro, thank you for all you have done. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your unshakeable faithfulness, even though you had to undergo, as happens to everyone, but specifically to you, moments when you had to face external difficulties that were far from small. At the same time, you never lost your peace or your willingness to accept those crosses, whether big or small. Thank you again. We say it to you with all our heart. Thank you because we would like to tread in the footprints of your faithfulness, in the footprints of your service to God, in the footprints of your apostolic zeal, because you made use of every opportunity to love people, to love them one by one, and to bring them to God in their daily lives. Thank you, and our thanksgiving could go on without ever ending, because we see here the results of a heroic life. How many people have come to thank him, to honor him and, at the same time, to ask for his protection in their life, their work, their family life, their professional life, their rest and their dealings with others. We would also wish, dear Blessed Álvaro, that you pour into our soul the filial devotion you had from your earliest years to our Mother Holy Mary. Teach us to say to her: Sweet Mother, don’t go away, don’t turn your gaze away from me. But we feel that you are telling us: You, don’t go away from her, not even in the slightest way.
May you truly be very Marian, as that point from The Way which moved him so deeply in his youth teaches us: “One always goes to Jesus and one ‘returns’ to him through Mary” (The Way, 495). Let us strive to draw ever closer to her, to be more deeply filled with devotion to the Blessed Virgin so she may take us to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit, and to turn our life into a constant apostolate which will spur us to give our lives generously, to practice constant mortification, to cheerful sacrifice and selfless work, passing everything through our Lady’s hands, so that it may be an offering to God, every day, every moment, every instant. Thank you, dear Álvaro! Thank you, Blessed Álvaro!
Romana, No. 59, July-December 2014, p. 257-260.