Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of December 3, 2007
5th Day of the Novena for December 8
1st Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm: Psalm 121; Gospel: Mt 8:5-11
Maybe it did not escape to some of you the fact that on 11th February next year will be the 150th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions. For men, but especially for our Lord, it is a very important anniversary. If you read again the letters of God you will realize that even in less important occasions, Our Lady, in the name of God, has always given special importance to the event we were celebrating. Sometimes this happened during important anniversaries, such as the first Eucharist miracle or the Eucharistic miracle that occurred in my hands or for other Eucharistic miracles with the shedding of blood. This means that God keeps in His mind all His interventions, guarding and considering them with respect. I am convinced that He wants that we too, his creatures, place ourselves on his same wavelength. When we have important anniversaries and during the celebration of the great feasts, as the Mother of the Eucharist taught us, we must feel a heartfelt interior participation. It is also important to deal with the external aspects, such as the preparation of rituals, special vestments, the most solemn sacred vessels, decorations, flowers and carpets, but these feasts serve no purpose if you do not participate with your heart and in meditation. That's why many times during major feasts, such as St. Peter and Paul, the canonization of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and on other occasions, Our lady and Jesus said they were not in the places where they were having the big celebrations, but here, in this little thaumaturgic place. This means that God, in His acts, does not need to be surrounded by people who are qualified according to human logic.
I cannot look at and talk about all the various apparitions, at least those recognized by the Church, because I'm not an insider. You know what my style is and that I work exclusively and with a sense of responsibility for the apparitions of the Mother of the Eucharist. However I have read and got interested and seen television reports about other apparitions and I can say that there is a common denominator: God has no need of men and, if He chooses them, they are always among the most simple. In fact, the ones He chooses are children, as was the case for the Lourdes and Fatima apparitions, or ordinary people, such as the Indian Diego in Guadalupe, to whom appeared Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Marisa herself, who is involved with these apparitions that have been defined by God, and I say it again it is the only judgment we are interested in, the most important in the Church history. Don't you believe that all this is well embedded in the celebration of "Year of Humility" beginning on December 8?
It seems to me that God is preparing the path so that men, beginning with us, may be more attentive and ready to hear and perceive His actions in advance. Even the sentence mentioned in Isaiah, in the Old Testament, "Wake up from sleep", which was repeated so many times to our community has this purpose. Waking up from sleep means that we must be aware, in a conscious and responsible way, of God's actions. We should not be there just to count how many apparitions, how many Eucharistic miracles, how many those with shedding of blood and so on, but God asks us to remember these events with no disrespect for the Eucharist. You know how much I love the Eucharist, because I know for sure that it is the actualization of sacrifice, death and resurrection, and it is real presence of Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Trinity is present in the Eucharist. So, without meaning the slightest disrespect for the Eucharist by doing this comparison, I cannot fail to point out that after the consecration we utter the sentence: "This do in remembrance of me". So what I want to say is that the apparitions and Eucharistic miracles are the work of God and are not to be forgotten, but remembered each year.
Remember when I said to you: "Let us remember all that I am telling you now"? So "This do in remembrance of me" means, with respect to the Eucharist, to preserve the memory for these works of God, for it is always the same Divine Person acting. And what happened two thousand years ago is made present nowadays, in every day of our life and continues its effectiveness, for the action is divine and began on the Golgotha and is renewed, repeating itself in every corner of the Earth, even in a small hut or even in a prison. Moreover, and this is really beautiful, how many priests and bishops, imprisoned by the various regimes, managed to have dried grape and minute bits of bread, carefully guarded, and with this misery they were able to celebrate the Eucharist? Memory does not mean remembrance, it means a presence and a reality for us, and the same must be done for these works of God. God forbid that the memory for these events goes into oblivion. You, the younger people, your children and your children's children and so on must keep this memory.
It does not matter if, when God worked, there were a few, simple, humble people because the apparitions of Guadalupe, for example, have had spiritual power and efficacy, the benefits of which branched across the whole Latin America. If America did not fall in the hands of heresy and Protestant schism, it is due to Our Lady's apparitions to this simple, modest and humble Indian. It is due to Our Lady's apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima if, in Europe, positivism, materialism and atheism did not become mass phenomena. If the Church will be reborn powerful, strong, clean and honest before God, you owe it to these Eucharistic miracles, these apparitions.
The subjects are always the same: the little ones and the meek. These humble people would never have gone down in history without the intervention of God. Who would remember an Indian, Bernadette, the little shepherds of Fatima, Marisa or even myself? If we were not, each of us, the recipients of the works and actions of God, and I too have set in it with humility and consciousness, no one could ever think, imagine or fantasize that God would have ordained bishop one of His creature. So much so that the bishops, who sometimes create a clique or a closed group, have said: "We alone can consecrate other bishops and no one else. Has God ordained bishop a priest? It is not possible". In this way theologians are blaspheming. Don't they realize they are offending God? Aren't they aware to show disrespect to God? So have exorcists, even the most famous. The most famous in Italy, and Claudia knows something about it, cursed at this gift of God.
The arrogant people should listen to the little ones but they do not. Jesus in the temple imposed on the teachers of the law because He is omniscient. These humble creatures I have spoken about, to whom Our Lady appeared, were stricken, offended and were not believed. Why do we have to believe what Bertone said, when he had said he spoke with Sister Lucia? Why, instead, Bertone should not believe what I affirm or what Marisa says? But where is the truth of the matter? Do we have to believe him because he wears a red sash? Do we have to believe him because he has a red skullcap? Are we forced to believe him because he holds the most important position, after the Pope, in the Church? What is the reason why we should believe him? We forget that when God wants to show He does so in the most surprising ways. Remember Balaam's donkey, speaking to the prophet, remember what Jesus said on the occasion of his entry into Jerusalem, when the children were hailing at Him and the Pharisees said: "Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!" God can do anything.
There is another thing to consider: the Lord, when He intervenes, always chooses the simplest way because that's what surprises us most. When three little shepherds, Bernadette, Saint Peter and Marisa, were faced by the ecclesiastical authority, they, who belong to different countries and have lived in different times, expressed the same style. We are not the ones who must judge, but God. You priest, theologian, exegete, bishop, cardinal or even Pope, cannot judge the works of God, for it would mean that you are judging God. You have just to think, consider, and if at the end your intellect gives up, you have just to kneel down and say: "My God, I thank you" and repeat Jesus' words: "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children". The Gospel we forget so easily, but we priests and bishops don't we have to preach the Gospel? When Jesus said this, who are you to have difficulty or even repugnance to know the truth through a small and humble person? Truth has always God as the source and origin. St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian of all ecclesiastical history, made a statement that has been forgotten by these people: "The truth, even if it is uttered by the devil, is always coming from God and has always God as the source". So, if this is true, I, as a member of the church hierarchy, invested with Episcopal authority, must not climb on the throne and judge with detachment, arrogance and pride.
The Year of Humility, in the plan and will of God, is not just about us, but is about the whole Church. Coincidentally, the encyclical on hope has been published and this is what leads us to humility because to hope in God means to accept Him and, therefore, only those who blindly hope will be able to recognize God, His work and His will. Be careful not to commit acts of pride. The people who are in state of grace are the most important before God. Remember that God does not treat men according to human categories, but distinguishes them according to the presence and amount of grace in them. In fact, the person most esteemed by God is Our Lady who was described by the angel as 'full of grace'. We do nothing but stay there attached to the Gospel, we are not straying one iota from the Gospel. So the most important person to God is the one who the angel, in His name, presented as 'full of grace'. After her, John the Baptist was called by God as the greatest of men's children. When the precursor was still in Elizabeth's womb, was already sanctified by the grace, a special and important gift. In fact, John the Baptist is not important because is Jesus' precursor, but because he was docile to the grace and the grace went into his heart so plentifully. Yet, those knowledgeable in theology would said, "If Jesus has not yet redeemed men, why is the grace in him?" But do you think that God opens the calendar and begins to calculate the days according to men's time? He has his own calendar.
Now let's go back and talk about the Immaculate Conception. Mary was free from original sin, is full of grace and all the virtues are within her, theological, supernatural and preternatural because the merits of redemption were applied to her in advance, according to our clock. The Eucharist, which is the actualization of Christ's passion, death and resurrection, was celebrated before redemption. Time cannot be impairment to God, in fact, the great theologian would say: "For God there is no past and future, is all present". I do not know if also this year Our Lady will give us the gift, through Marisa's experience, to come among us with her motherly womb quite prominent and visible. Who did appear to the various saints, may I mention St. Anthony of Padua? Wasn't Baby Jesus appearing? I am telling you this to convince you, even if you need not, that nothing is impossible to God. How this will take place? The angel said to Mary, and he said it for us too because she already knew everything: "The power of the Most High will overshadow you; So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God, and you are to name him Jesus".
I hope I have warmed up your heart a little. Life is pretty dull, gloomy, sometimes melancholy, and then I give you my considerations. Keep them as Mary did, as St. Luke described it well in his Gospel where she kept all her things and pondered them in her heart. You and the other members of this community and those who know about these great gifts of God and are living all over the world, think about these works of God, remember the 185 Eucharistic miracles, those with blood effusion, remember how many times, and always in different ways, through which we had the gift of the Eucharist from Jesus and Our lady, the angels and saints. Keep memory of all this, keep it in your heart and pass it on to others. Yes, I think I can say I was a tool so that this memory may be kept fresh. All the various presentations of books containing the letters of God have the purpose to remind us what God has done because decades and centuries will go by, but even in the year three thousand you will have to remember these works of God.
I end my homily by inviting you to think about this reality. I talked about the year three thousand and by that time we will be in Heaven since hundreds of years. Our Lady said that those who will be faithful, who will accept the letters of God, who loves God and neighbor, will receive her visit at the time of death and will be accompanied by her in Heaven. In the year three thousand we all will be in Heaven. Think also about this and then you will be more prepared and ready for a smile. We come to deserve Heaven by doing well. The one who has to cook, may do it well, the one who must iron, may do it well, The one who has to work, may do it well, the one who is a doctor, may do it well and so on. I would like to conclude by saying that jealousy and envy are ugly, but there is a case where you may feel, though it seems counterintuitive, a holy jealousy, or rather, a holy envy. We must be envious of the first of us to soar to Heaven. Who will be? I do not know. I wanted to tell you it will be me, but I know that this is not the will of God. Surely someone is there already and we have already in Heaven so many members of our community and of our families who have gone before us and who are praying for us. But don't you feel to be with them, to sing and praise to God? So here it is, let's pray, as we say in the prayer to Jesus the Sweet Master, 'longing for Paradise' and may God be present in each of us always.