03 April 2008
To better the world, make an effort above all to change yourselves through an intense sacramental life, especially through approaching the sacrament of penance, and participating assiduously in the celebration of the Eucharist.
To be friends of Christ, and to give testimony of him wherever we are, demands, furthermore, the strength to go against the grain, remembering the words of the Lord: You are in the world but not of the world (cf. John 15:19).
The Christian knows that there is an inseparable link between the truth, ethics and responsibility. Every authentic cultural expression contributes to form the conscience and encourage the person to better himself with the end of bettering society. In this way one feels responsible before the truth, at the service of which one must put one's own personal liberty.
Today, the world needs priests, consecrated men and women and Christian married couples. To respond to your vocation through one of these ways, be generous, help yourselves by having recourse to the Sacrament of Confession and the practice of spiritual direction on your journey as consistent Christians. Seek in particular to sincerely open your heart to the Lord Jesus, to offer him your unconditional "yes".
- Homily, 13 March 2008
It is necessary to present to these young men the fascination of the Consecrated Life, the radicalism of following Christ, obedient, poor and chaste, the primacy of God and of the Spirit, fraternal life in community and total dedication to the mission. Young men are sensitive to suggestions of demanding commitment but need witnesses and guides who can accompany them in the discovery and acceptance of this gift.
1 March 2008
Young people harbour a deep desire for a full life, for genuine love, for constructive freedom; but unfortunately, their expectations are often betrayed and come to nothing. It is indispensable to help the young to make the most of their inner resources, such as dynamism and positive aspirations; to put before them proposals that are rich in humanity and Gospel values; to urge them to integrate themselves into society as an active part of it through work and participation and commitment to the common good.
- Letter to the 26th General Chapter of the Salesians
1 March 2008
1 March 2008
When one renounces everything to follow the Lord, when one gives to him all that one holds dearest, facing every sacrifice, one should not be surprised to become, as happened for the Divine Master, a "sign of contradiction", because the way a consecrated person thinks and acts often ends by clashing with the logic of the world. Actually, this is a cause of comfort since it testifies that the lifestyle of a consecrated person is an alternative to contemporary culture and that he can play a role in it which, in a certain way, is prophetic.
1 March 2008
02 April 2008
We must turn ever anew towards him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole life towards the Lord. And ever anew we must withdraw our hearts from the force of gravity, which pulls them down, and inwardly we must raise them high: in truth and love.
In Baptism he takes us, as it were, by the hand, he leads us along the path that passes through the Red Sea of this life and introduces us to everlasting life, the true and upright life. Let us grasp his hand firmly! Whatever may happen, whatever may befall us, let us not lose hold of his hand! Let us walk along the path that leads to life.
[L]et us direct our gaze today toward Christ. Let us pause to contemplate his Cross. The Cross is the source of immortal life, the school of justice and peace, the universal patrimony of pardon and mercy. It is permanent proof of an oblative and infinite love that brought God to become man, vulnerable like us, even to dying crucified.
- Address at the end of the Way of the Cross, 21 March 2008
If with humble trust we draw near to him, we encounter in his gaze the response to the deepest longings of our heart: to know God and to establish with him a living relationship in an authentic communion of love, which can fill our lives, our interpersonal and social relations with that same love.
Fixing the gaze of our spirit on the glorious wounds of his transfigured body, we can understand the meaning and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day.
It is only by walking with the Lord, by abandoning myself to his openness in the communion of the Church and not by living for myself - either for a happy earthly life or even only for personal bliss - but by making myself an instrument of his peace that I live well and learn this courage in the face of today's ever new and serious, sometimes almost impossible, challenges.
This is true Christian obedience, which is freedom: not as I want, with my own plan of life for myself, but in putting myself at his disposal so that he will make use of me. And in placing myself in his hands I am free. But it is a great leap that is never made once and for all.
But this most necessary dimension of dialogue, that is, respect for the other, tolerance, cooperation, does not exclude the other dimension: the fact that the Gospel is a great gift, the gift of great love, of great truth, which we cannot only keep to ourselves alone. We must offer it to others, realizing that God gives them the necessary freedom and light to find the truth.
In my opinion, the Season of Lent could also be the time for a fast of words and images. We need a little silence, we need room where we are not constantly bombarded by images.
The Sacrament of Penance gives us the opportunity to be renewed through and through with God's power - ego te absolvo -, which is possible because Christ took these sins, this guilt, upon himself. I think there is a great need of this especially today. We can be healed. Souls that are wounded and ill, as everyone knows by experience, not only need advice but true renewal, which can only come from God's power, from the power of Crucified Love.
Every priest, of course, also continues to be a deacon and must always be aware of this dimension, for the Lord himself became our minister, our deacon.