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At the Opening of the Academic Year, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome (November 22, 2017)

"A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you . . . and cause you to walk in my statutes" (Ezek 36:26-27). Let us begin this new academic year by entrusting ourselves to the Holy Spirit. He is the one who helps us see our projects, our dreams, with the wisdom of God: a wisdom that is a true medicine, the medicine the world needs. Come, Holy Spirit! We ask that this may be true for everyone: teachers and students, administrators, non-teaching staff. Because where the Holy Spirit is, where he is welcomed, life grows. He wants to live in the midst of us, to make the Campus a more closely united community, a place where one learns to combine professionalism and sincere affection for people.


Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, at the inauguration Mass for the Campus Bio-Medico University, on October 15, 1993, exhorted you to strive to ensure that “the doctrine and love of Christ ... guide and inform more deeply the exercise of the noble medical and nursing professions. For without the guidance and impulse of this doctrine and love,” he said, “they could easily turn into cold and blind techniques.” Words that are still very relevant today. Pope Francis never tires of reminding us that God awaits us in those we find along the path of our life, especially in the weakest, among whom we need to include the sick, the children who are just beginning life, and those who are approaching the end of their earthly life: “To cure the sick, to welcome them, to serve them, is to serve Christ: the sick are the flesh of Christ” (Angelus, February 8, 2015). In this area you have a special mission and a great responsibility.


Everything that is done at the Campus can help restore hope and optimism to people. We need teachers who are true teachers, wise and attentive towards students and patients. Students need to dedicate themselves eagerly to their studies, in order to acquire the knowledge needed to serve society better. We need administrative staff, at all levels, who do their work joyfully, knowing that it will contribute to the success of a joint effort.


 In this regard I like to remember another piece of advice from Blessed Alvaro. Reflecting on the logical difficulties an initiative of this type encounters, especially at the beginning, he said: “I recommend that you work with a spirit of unity and understanding, with optimism; thus you will overcome the obstacles with God’s help. You will be happy and (what is more important) you will attain sanctity and help others to do so, because you will be practicing the commandment of love.” 


I endorse these recommendations. Try to work closely united. Doing so with joy, humility, openness to one’s neighbor, a spirit of constructive criticism, mutual help, and the ability to provide solutions. We dream of the educational and social work that the Campus carries out and will carry out, with an ever greater depth and extension. We rely on the help of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus himself tells us, he (the Holy Spirit) "will guide you into all the truth" (Jn 16:13). Let us never tire of beseeching the Holy Spirit: “Come, Holy Spirit!” Remind us of everything Jesus told us (see Jn 14:26). May the difficulties that might arise help to foster unity and not division. St. Josemaría expressed it in a thousand different ways: “Your charity should be warm and affectionate. Without neglecting prudence and naturalness, try to have a smile on your lips for everyone at all times, though you may be weeping inside. The service you give to others should be unstinting too” (The Forge, 699).


The awareness that we are children of God gives us courage and optimism, as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading: "You did not receive a spirit of slavery, to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship, whereby we cry ‘Abba! Father!’" (Rom 8:15). We also ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of knowing how to learn from each other. And that we not be surprised by the mistakes and limitations of others: each of us has his or her shortcoming and defects, but the Holy Spirit helps us not to be scandalized, but always to look for specific ways to help those who are mistaken. He helps us to always look with the penetrating look of God’s children, that is, to recognize in the other person a brother or a sister.


I don’t want to finish without thanking, once again, the doctors, nurses, and everyone in the Polyclinic who looked after Bishop Javier Echevarría during his final days in the hospital, almost a year ago. You know very well how much he prayed for you during those days. I'm sure that now, from Heaven, God will allow him to be next to each one of you, your families, your work, and your difficulties, to help you overcome them.


Within a year we will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Campus Bio-Medical. During the course of the year before we reach that date, let us thank God for so many realities that have surpassed our dreams, and continue dreaming for the present and the future: dreaming with the dreams of God.

Praised be Jesus Christ.

Romana, No. 65, July-December 2017, p. 273-275.