Your Kingdom Come!
Rome, April 8, 2005
Members of ECYD:
To all of you I send
a cordial greeting in these days of such importance for
the Church because of the recent death of our beloved
Pope John Paul II. I am sure that we are
all praying a lot as he makes his final trip
to the house of the Father.
This morning I was able
to attend the funeral mass, along with millions of faithful
from all over the world. Surely, many of you saw
it on television. Not only St. Peter´s Square, but also
the city and the entire world was overflowing with people.
The Pope continues attracting crowds, even after his death. During
these days, there have been lines up to 20 hours
long to see the body of this great saint who
was a man like us with his daily struggles, but
who was able to keep Christ as his BEST FRIEND
before anything else. That´s why he gave his life for
Him up to the last moment, and seconds before dying,
I imagine how heaven must have received John Paul
II. With what enthusiasm must he have given Christ, his
Friend, the eternal and definitive embrace!: "Enter into the joy
of your Lord" (Mt. 25:21). With what joy must the angels,
saints, and martyrs of heaven have welcomed him; all those
whom he canonized during his pontificate! How much peace he
must be enjoying! That is why even though it hurts
us to see him go, we have great serenity and
trust: the Pope is already rejoicing eternally in God and
is interceding for all of us. As one journalist, who
was not much of a believer but was enthused about
the events of these days, put it: "At last, the
Pope has met with the best of his friends."
his work and praying for his soul, as ECYD
members we are called to contemplate the enormous example that
he left us by the way he spent his life,
day by day, to extend the Kingdom of Christ in
I myself had the chance to see firsthand his
limitless surrender when God gave me the opportunity to help
Nuestro Padre in the organization of the Pope´s first
trip to Mexico in 1979. From the first moment, he
won the hearts of all of us. And not only
because of his always lively smile, so full of peace
and joy in the midst of so many sufferings, or
his contagious enthusiasm, but above all, because of his holiness.
The Pope truly believed in the One who had given
him life, and for whom he gave himself totally. And
as I was telling you, he was a man who
had to struggle every day to be better, to fulfill
his spiritual commitments, to wage battle against his defects, and
to overcome and conquer temptations courageously.
This was shown in a
special way in his prayer. When John Paul II went
off to pray, it seemed like everything else moved into
second place. Everyone knows that occasion when he was praying
and one of his secretaries came up to him to
tell him that he had a very important phone call
from a very high world leader. "Is it very urgent?"
asked the Holy Father. "It seems to be, Your Holiness,"
answered the secretary. "If it is so urgent, then I
will have to pray a lot to God for this
intention." And he continued praying. Afterwards, of course, he spoke
with the priest. But beforehand, he saw the problem and
looked for the solution with Christ. In the Eucharist, all
problems are solved!
He was the Pope of the Eucharist. He
went to heaven in the Year of the Eucharist. And
it is not a coincidence: he is telling us that
we have to finish this year not with words, but
with our Eucharistic life. That is why, before the World
Youth Days, the Pope always said: "The Pope awaits you".
And he said it with great enthusiasm. This year, however,
he said: "Christ awaits you." He always wanted it to
be Him, Christ; he wanted us to see Christ. For
this reason, as ECYD members, we know very well
that, in salvation history, we will be what our Eucharistic
life is; we will be what our personal relationship with
Christ in the Eucharist is. Behind a saint, behind an
apostle, there is a soul who has loved Christ in
the tabernacle. The Holy Father governed us from the tabernacle.
He lived his day from the tabernacle. He gave his
life from the tabernacle.
From there, from his profound union with
God, came that extraordinary strength that enabled him fulfill everything
he did in life, from his trips all over the
world to his ability to suffer serenely in the last
moments of his earthly life. He did everything out of
love for his great Friend, for Christ: he made 104
trips, visited 129 nations and 250 Italian cities, and covered
more than three times the distance of the earth to
the moon. He wrote 14 encyclicals, which are the Pope´s
most authoritative way of speaking to us as the successor
of St. Peter and as the Vicar of Christ. He
survived the assassination attempt in 1981, on the day of
Our Lady of Fatima. There are countless other facts we
could mention, and it was all to preach Christ! Certainly,
it impresses us when we read all these statistics of
his pontificate... It was really a marathon, but everything sprang
from silence, from that conversation with Christ in the Eucharist.
How can we forget those Masses that he prepared for
with one or two hours of adoration in front of
the Blessed Sacrament? There he conversed with the Friend, with
the one he is now meeting in that eternal embrace.
From the Eucharist, the Pope touched the heart of God;
he touched the hearts of all men. It was the
presence of the Eucharistic Christ that transformed souls and hearts.
invite you, then, dear ECYD members, to make your
own the words that the Pope always repeated to us:
"Do not be afraid! Open wide your doors to Christ!".
I am convinced that this was what John Paul II
hoped for from all of us: for us to be
unconditional friends of Christ.
The young people were a very beloved
part of the Pope´s heart. All the newspapers lately have
emphasized those words full of tenderness that he spoke to
the youth: "I looked for you. Now you have come
to see me. And I thank you." Will you bear
all the fruits God wants in this moment, as a
consequence of so much love from the Vicar of Christ
for all of you, for the future of hope that
he sees in each one of you? It depends on
us! I know that you are capable of doing anything
for Christ. You are capable of making any sacrifice for
He trusted in you and expected a lot from you;
even now, I am sure, he continues praying intensely for
his beloved young people. And that makes us be very
authentic in our faith and love as Catholics. We have
to fight every day so that we will never fall
into mediocrity, so that we will be valiant and strong
to resist the many enemies that show up and want
to take us away from Christ. We have to spread
the message of the Gospel with courage and make ourselves
worthy of the name we bear. We are Christians! What
greater gift! What greater gift could we have in life?
ECYD members, you have a great mission in the
world and the Church, even starting now. Think about the
admirable examples of saints who, with only a few years
of life behind them, showed the world how important Christ
was for them. Think, for example, about that beautiful letter
that Nuestro Padre wrote us about José Luis Sánchez del
Río (Cf. Letter of October 16, 2004). Even at the
age of 14, he was able to respond to Christ
and win the crown of martyrdom. Perhaps God is not
going to ask you to die as martyrs, but he
will ask you to give yourselves to Christ with full
hands like José Luis did. I do believe that God
is asking us to be martyrs of our duty every
day, because being authentic Christians today means going against the
current. It´s easy to be Catholics in name only, but
to be truly Catholic demands an entire life! And what
joy to be one, don´t you agree? If you will
allow me to express a personal experience, my time in
ECYD gave me the best years that I remember
with the greatest joy, because I discovered a FRIEND, and
what a friend! Christ, who never leaves us alone. Everything
could fail us, everything could turn out bad, but He
will always be there, faithful!
Draw close to Christ, dear young
people of ECYD. Make him your best friend and
entrust your entire being to him. Be apostles at all
times-at home, at school, with your friends and with strangers-always
following the admirable example of this man of God who
was John Paul II.
In these days while the Church asks
us to pray for the eternal repose of the Pope,
don´t stop praying to God for him. And also pray
to him for all of you and for the needs
of the Church and the world. I am convinced that
he will always put our prayers before God.
I cannot end
without inviting you to respond to the Pope´s call to
attend the World Youth Day in Cologne. I am
sure that even from heaven he will enjoy your company
as he always did here on earth.
Keep Mary very close
to you. How greatly the Pope loved Mary! You all
know the motto of his pontificate: "I am completely yours,
O Mary!" I hope that the Blessed Virgin will hold
a very special place in your hearts and in your
lives, just as she did for John Paul II. After
his last operation, not so long ago, when he realized
that he could no longer speak, he asked for a
piece of paper and a pen. There he wrote: "Mary,
I am all yours!" Before her, I pray to God for
all of you and for your families and friends. Don´t
stop keeping me in your prayers as well. May God
bless you very much, and thank you for your prayers!
my priestly blessing, I remain affectionately yours in Christ,