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Pope's Address Upon Proclaiming 4 Saints

6/4/2007 - 6:00 AM PST

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"Friends of Jesus and Witnesses of His Holiness"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the homily delivered Sunday by Benedict XVI during the canonization Mass of Father George Preca, Father Szymon of Lipnica, Father Charles of St. Andrew and Mother Marie-Eugénie of Jesus.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters,
 
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

After Eastertide, after having relived the event of Pentecost, which renews the Church's baptism in the Holy Spirit, we turn our gaze, so to speak, to the "opened heavens" to enter with the eyes of faith into the depths of the mystery of God, one in substance and three in persons: Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

As we allow ourselves to be caught up in this great mystery, we admire the glory of God which is reflected in the life of the saints; we contemplate it above all in those whom I have a short while ago proposed for the veneration of the universal Church: George Preca, Szymon of Lipnica, Father Charles of St. Andrew and Mother Marie Eugénie of Jesus.
 
To all the pilgrims who have come to pay homage to these exemplary witnesses of the Gospel, I extend my cordial greetings.
 
I greet, in particular, the cardinals, the presidents of the Philippines, of Ireland, of Malta and of Poland, my venerable brothers in the episcopate, the government delegations, and the other civil authorities who are taking part in this celebration.
 
In the first reading, taken from the Book of Proverbs, wisdom comes on the scene, standing at God's side as assistant, as "architect" (Proverbs 8:30).

The panorama of the cosmos seen with wisdom's eyes is stupendous. Wisdom confesses: "I played upon the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race" (8:30). Wisdom loves to dwell among men because in them she recognizes the image and likeness of the Creator.

This preferential relationship of wisdom with men makes us think of a celebrated passage in another sapiential book, the Book of Wisdom: "Wisdom," we read there, "is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing that is sullied enters into her. For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring; and passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets" (Wisdom 7:25-27).

This last suggestive expression invites us to consider the manifold and inexhaustible manifestation of sanctity in the people of God through the centuries. God's wisdom is manifest in the cosmos, in variety and beauty in its elements, but its masterpieces are the saints.
 
In the passage from the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans we find a similar image: that of God's love "poured out into the hearts" of the saints, that is the baptized, "through the Holy Spirit" who has been given to them (cf. Romans 5:5). It is through Christ that the gift of the Spirit passes, "Person-Love, Person-Gift," as the Servant of God John Paul II defined him ("Dominum Vivificantem," No. 10).

Through Christ, the Spirit of God comes to us as principle of new, "holy," life. The Spirit puts the love of God in the heart of believers in the concrete form it had in the man Jesus of Nazareth. In this way what St. Paul says about "Christ in you, hope of glory" (Corinthians 1:27) is realized. The "tribulations" are not in contrast to this hope, indeed, they help to realize it through "patience" and "proven virtue" (Romans 5:3-4): It is the way of Jesus, the way of the cross.
 
In the same perspective, of God's wisdom incarnate in Christ and communicated by the Holy Spirit, the Gospel suggested to us that God the Father continues to manifest his plan of love through the saints. Even here there occurs what we have already noted about wisdom: The Spirit of truth reveals God's plan in the multiplicity of the elements of the cosmos and he does it above all through human persons, in a special way through saints.

In effect, "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15) is properly only Jesus Christ, "the holy and just one" (Acts 3:14). He is wisdom incarnate, creator Logos who finds his joy in dwelling among men, in whose midst he has pitched his tent (cf. John 16:15). It pleased God to pour "every fullness" (cf. Colossians 1:19); or as he himself says in today's Gospel passage: "All that the Father has is mine" (John 16:15).

Each individual saint participates in the riches of Christ taken from the Father and communicated at the right time. It is always Jesus' own holiness, it is always him, the "holy one," whom the Spirit forms in "holy souls," making them into friends of Jesus and witnesses of his holiness.
 
George ...

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