Text of the Eucharistic adoration of March 9, 2019
Feast of Priesthood
"I am Jesus, Sweet Master, the priest is the sweet Christ on earth" (Jesus’ message, October 31, 1993). The priest is the connection between heaven and earth, between the Creator and his creatures. Being a priest involves total immolation, as it was for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the first, sole, supreme, eternal priest who gave all of himself for the souls.
To give oneself totally for the souls, to be their guide, to take them to the path of conversion, to be an example for them as a perfect union with God the Son, to be always available to reprimand and to forgive, are all characteristics that make a priest a good priest, but also a good spiritual father, as was our Bishop for us. Which father, who is a good father, is not willing to accept, welcome, admonish, forgive a child when the occasion arises? Which good father is not willing to give his life for his son, just as the Bishop did, willing to give everything for the souls?
The delicacy, strength and power of the priesthood are enclosed in a few words that Jesus, more than once, addressed to the Bishop: "When you celebrate Mass, Don Claudio, I am in you and you are in Me". This gives us the measure of the role that a priest has on Earth, of how much mystery God puts in the hands of the consecrator, where the second person of the Holy Trinity is willing to become fragile, a humble piece of bread.
The good shepherd guides the sheep and they recognize his voice, the good father educates his children and they recognize his love, the good priest guides the souls and they recognize his teachings.
A priest who does not entrust himself completely to God, who does not dedicate his life to fulfill the will of God, forgetting himself, who does not nourish daily with the Eucharist and who does not cling to the tabernacle in difficult moments is doomed to fall. As the Bishop said: "I myself would never have done it to live this great vocation, important and heavy at the same time, if I had not had His help and the Eucharist. Jesus told me: "When you are distressed, tired or broken down, do cling to the Eucharist and I will give you the strength to continue your mission".
The good priest is recognized by his attachment to the word of God, to the Eucharist and to the cross. This is why the Bishop said: "For the priest or Bishop who wants to follow Christ, the cross should resemble as much as possible that of the Golgotha. The priest or Bishop who truly lives his priesthood follows Christ in the passion, death and resurrection. In this way it makes the Eucharistic mystery within him and this is to the benefit of the souls in order to bring them to God. The priest must live the Eucharistic mystery not only by celebrating Mass, but also by living it in his flesh: this is the importance of sacrifice and resurrection. The Eucharist is passion, death and resurrection and the fullness of priesthood is suffering, death and resurrection".
The captivating love
This was one of the Bishop's favorite passages, because it was his cry of love to God. In Jeremiah's words he found and recognized himself, because they express all the strength and impetus of his passion in exercising his ministry. This is how the soul of the true priest should be, of the shepherd according to the heart of Christ. Jeremiah's soul was totally immersed in God, beyond his own strength; the soul of the Bishop was completely "captivated" by the heart of Christ, annihilated by his power and the cross was imprinted in his heart.
The Bishop's love for Christ was not realized only in words, but was also shining in his daily life, through trials and sufferings he lived in silence, surrendering to God. Strength, energy, charisma that distinguished him made all this tangible. The impetus of his heart sprang from his person and words, his union with God the Son was noticeable. In the suffering, immolation and despair he could not stand back and never managed to stand back, as if an invisible push would seize him and force him to go on, always forward, something he could not get out of: for him it was the love of God, it was his love for Christ that was stronger than all his being, it was the Eucharistic adoration that became necessary to him as his own breath, that "burning fire enclosed in his bones".
Ama et obsequere (love and obey)
This hymn too refers to a psalm much loved by the Bishop: psalm 138. In these words he perceives, from the very depths of his being, the intimate union with God, his creator, and his need to always obey the heavenly Father, the only one who "scrutinizes and knows him". Can we deny him his dedication, his loyalty? Love and obedience was an inseparable pair for the Bishop ordained by God, and he showed it in his everyday life. For this reason, interpreting the rule of Saint Benedict, which can be summarized in two words: ora et labora, we can say that the life of our Bishop is based on two fundamental principles: love and obey. His life was imbued with love for Christ and His Word put into practice, tangibly, towards the Eucharist, the center of everything, towards Our Lady, educator and consoler, towards God to whom everything must tend.
Our spiritual father has always obeyed God, even when this involved putting him in uncomfortable and difficult situations, even when this placed him in a position of heavy criticism on the part of the high ecclesiastics. When he had to choose, he always put God first because those who love God cannot exempt themselves from obeying Him, even if it involves the extreme sacrifice of being unjustly condemned by the ecclesiastical authority. Whoever loves God feels and senses that the obedience to Him is not a choice but a necessary consequence of this love. Here he is, this was our Bishop: love and obey God!