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Homily of Pope John Paul II in the Celebration of the Eucharist held in the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, Vatican gardens, June 28, 1979. More than two hundred members of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ were present, including the founde
U. S. A. | WHO WE ARE | SPIRITUALITY

Dear Legionary sons in Christ,

On the day the liturgy commemorates the feast of a great church figure, St. Irenaeus, we gather together in front of this grotto of Lourdes and next to the Lord’s altar. We do so for the purpose of offering him through the Eucharist a tribute of our thanksgiving, our prayerful praise and our renewed fidelity.

Knowing where the vast majority of you come from, the Pope cannot help recalling and reliving so many unforgettable moments spent in your country of origin, Mexico. Your enthusiasm brings back memories of so many warm, cheering crowds right up close.

As I see right before my eyes many members of your religious family with your founder, what comes to my mind are the words from the book of Genesis we just read in the first reading. They speak to us about God’s help in multiplying descendants with the favor of his blessing. It has also been the Lord’s blessing that has fruitfully sowed your foundation not so far back in the past during the year 1941; that foundation which after you received the Decree of Praise just 14 years ago, now accounts for more than 130 priests and almost 700 members. Spread out in different houses and nations, you already work or are preparing to work so as to spread the Kingdom of Christ in society through various forms of apostolate.

Dear sons, you are a young religious family in pursuit of a growing dynamism in order to offer the Church a new contribution of vital energy in the world today. Because I know these ideals of yours my voice wants to invite you, with the gospel emphases we just heard, to imitate the prudent man who built his house on rock.

For you who possess a Christ-centered spirituality as your hallmark trait, to build your individual and communitary building on rock would mean striving always to grow in your sublime knowledge of Christ, looking to him in order to mold into your lives his message, well-rooted in faith and charity with a view to taking care of the interests of Christ at every moment. In this way you will be able to acquire that interior determination which challenges the rain, rivers and winds in order to build the Kingdom of God in today’s society, in the youth – with whom you often work – who are in such dire need for lived out guarantees; for guarantees drawn from an unwavering faith and trust in Christ. The Christ God, who died and rose from the dead, made the principle of new life for us, who is always at our side as the pledge of victory in the face of adversity.

On the same token, an important part of that firmness in your lives will be complete fidelity to the Church and Vatican Council II, without digressions of any shape or form but rather perfect consistency with what the Lord asks of you and the magisterium offers in the present-day.

On this path, fidelity – strengthened by the following great loves which should be a distinguishing mark for all Legionaries, in accord with your own vocation – will be of great assistance: love for Christ in the crucifix and love for the Virgin Mary. If you are faithful to that beautiful program, you should not be afraid: your spiritual building will rest on firm foundations.

In order to remain faithful to those ideals, I remind you to have frequent recourse to prayer. It is the only way to be renewed from within, to acquire new insight to guide your steps, to support personal weakness in the power and firmness of divine power. In short, it is the only way to keep up a permanent youthful spirit in availability to God and others.

Only in this way will you be able to live wholly the overflowing joy of your vocation as those chosen to serve Christ and the Church. A joy that witnesses to the presence of the Lord and nourishes generous dedication to your brother or sister. This is the wish I leave you, and I quote from today’s liturgy: Lord, remember me when you show your kindness to your people; visit me when you effect salvation so that I will see the happiness of your chosen ones, rejoice with the joy of your people and glorify in your inheritance.

One last word: I know that among you are young men who afforded me their generous, enthusiastic collaboration in the Apostolic Delegation during my stay in Mexico. I extend to them the testimony of my deep appreciation and gratitude. I extend the same sentiments also, in the presence of your sister Congregations residing in Rome, to the Clarisa sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who were especially generous during my stay in the Pontifical Representation.

Moreover, let us offer all these intentions at the Lord’s altar.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2005-11-17


 
 


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