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.
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.
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
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
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.