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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Nothing More Beautiful Than Jesus’ Presence
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis’ homily at the Mass in thanksgiving for the Legion of Christ’s 70th anniversary

Mons. Velasio de Paolis
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, papal delegate for the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.

Rome, January 4, 2011. On January 3, 2011, the 70th anniversary of the Legion’s foundation, the papal delegate Cardinal Velasio De Paolis celebrated Mass for the Legionary communities gathered in Rome. Immediately before the Mass he had given a talk he mentions at the beginning of his brief, but very spiritual homily.

An English translation of the homily, which was originally given in Italian, is below. You can also listen to the audio recording here.


We spoke at length a short while ago. Now I would like to say a few words during this Mass, above all to thank the Lord for the gift of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ to the Church. Through this gift, the Church has received men who proclaim the Kingdom of God, or rather, the Kingdom of Christ, the one who proclaimed the presence of the Kingdom of God in the world. It is a gift from God that expresses the eternal love with which God accompanies the Church and all of us.

We celebrate today’s remembrance in the memory of the holy name of Jesus. A name by which we obtain salvation, as the apostle St. Peter proclaims in the Acts of the Apostles. It is a name beloved by every believing heart. It is true that we celebrate Jesus every day, at all times. The entire liturgical year is full of the mystery of Jesus. When the fullness of time had come, the apostle Paul tells us, God sent his Son born of a woman, born under the law to save us from the law and to give us our adoption as sons, so that we can call God “Abba,” Father, as Jesus did.

And it is also true that remembering Jesus’ name has a special characteristic, or rather, a unique resonance in our heart, because Jesus is the name of the eternal Word of God who entered into time. A name that God himself wanted to bear, and a name that is familiar to us because it emphasizes the historic dimension that the eternal Word of God took on in time. He came to be our brother; he has made us brothers. He came to establish the family of God together with so many brothers, to whom he also wanted to associate us. He came to walk with us, to live with us, so that we would feel him close to us as a member of the same family.

We call him Jesus. It is the earthly name of Jesus. The name by which we know him. The name with which we listen to his words. The name with which we saw him climb onto the cross and offer us the gift of his life. The name that now, in glory, is at the right hand of the Father and is present in our history: “I will not leave you orphans.” Jesus walks in time with us. What is more, he told us that he calls us “friends.” It is a familiar name.

Thus, we must accustom ourselves to feeling this presence every day in our life. We are still in the time of his birth. We are celebrating the mystery of the Incarnation, of the eternal Word of God, of the God who walks with us in time. And it is this mystery that we wish to live every day. The medieval saints, especially St. Bernard, were well able to sing the name of Jesus and the mystery of the Incarnation. We know the hymn:

Iesu dulcis memoria
dans vera cordis gaudia
sed super mel et omnia
eius dulcis praesentia.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy Presence rest.

It is the presence of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, that resounds in our ears and gives meaning to our entire life. And when Jesus enters into our life, he transforms everything, and everything becomes wonderful because there is nothing more beautiful, peaceful, joyful, or great than Jesus’ presence among us. And we must learn what it means to love Jesus, what it means to love the Lord. He loved us with a human heart and we are called to love him with our heart transformed by grace, enamored with Jesus. Jesus is everything for us.

St. Bernardine of Siena was the great preacher of the name of Jesus: Iesus hominum Salvator (Jesus, Savior of Men). He is the one who saves us every day, who frees us from our fears, frees us from our selfishness, frees us from our sin, enters into our existence with love, and gives us the strength every day to walk onward without growing discouraged. He bends over us, just as he once bent over the lame, the blind, the crippled, the dead. He bends over us to make our hearts resound with the eternal love that shows us how God accompanies us.

May this name always live in our hearts. May Jesus truly be our light, our strength, our life. Jesus should be everything for us, through whom we should be able to give all our strength and all our energy.



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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