St. Joseph, St. Paul, Paul VI and the Bishop of the Eucharist
Prayer vigil for the feast of priesthood of March 13, 2004
None can love God and the brothers completely if he is not attached to Jesus the Eucharist. Anyone who denies himself and takes his cross likens more and more Christ and flies up to unimaginable spiritual heights. The Bishop ordained by God deeply loves the Eucharist and made it the principal reason of his priesthood. Who lives in a state of grace and feeds on the Source of life he has got the same qualities of Christ and goes the same path, sometimes hindered by the wickedness of the men who don't understand God's plans. Our Bishop's intense spiritual life and virtues are present in three great saints who placed the Eucharist at the centre of their life, defending and protecting it from its enemies. It is surprising to see the resemblance, the contact points and the same love for God and the neighbour shared by our Bishop, St. Joseph, St. Paul and the Pope Paul VI.
Mons. Claudio Gatti deeply loves these three great men because, before him, they protected and loved the most precious treasure: the Eucharist.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EUCHARIST
St. Joseph - St. Joseph is the greatest saint after the Mother of the Eucharist: God placed him in a so high place and gave him the title of "Saint Caretaker of the Eucharist", because he was particularly solicitous in taking care of and adoring Jesus during his life on the Earth. In the letter of God of March 2, 2002 the Mother of the Eucharist revealed us an event never known in two thousand years of history of the Church: "When Jesus died, my beloved spouse was next to me, from the spiritual point of view, and helped me with his sweet words as he had always done during his life". And on March 3 he continued: "Yesterday I began to speak about my beloved spouse Joseph and I told you that during the passion, the death and the resurrection of Jesus, he was next to me, helping and sustaining me". St. Joseph always remained next to Jesus.
St. Paul - The same love for the Eucharist was at the centre of St. Paul's life. He affirmed that there must be union between the servants of God, they must build the Lord's building without antagonism. The building is founded on the Eucharist, the only true foundation and Paul warned the workers to build it correctly, that is by remaining perfectly faithful to Christ's teachings. Paul lived intensely the celebration of the H. Mass and he was aware he could do nothing without the support of the Eucharist: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us" (II Corinthians 4,7).
Paul VI - In Paul VI's life the Eucharist outstands. For Pope Montini in It "is enclosed all the spiritual good of the Church". In the Encyclical letter "Mysterium Fidei" he defines the Eucharist the "Medicine of immortality".
Paul VI, during his pontificate, had felt that something was creeping into the Church and was denting the most precious good of a Christian: the Eucharist. "Te smoke of satan has entered into God's temple", he said in a talk. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the Encyclical letter was to deny in a firm and definite way the opinions of some people who were doubting about the centrality of the Eucharist in the Church.
Paul VI outlines that in the Eucharist, through the transubstantiation, Jesus is really present with his body, blood, soul and divinity under the species of bread and wine and the real presence continues also out of the Mass, so the Eucharist must be kept in a decorous way and must be given to It the cult due with the adoration.
Mons. Pasquale Macchi, his particular secretary, writes: "I wish to reveal that he never deprived himself of the celebration of the H. Mass, neither in the days of sickness, except in the occasion of the surgical operation in 1967. The Pope attended also the last H. Mass of his life with intense devotion and at the moment of the Communion he stretched himself towards the Eucharist "like the hind yearns for the source of water". Paul VI abolished the latin from the liturgy of the H. Mass, just to allow the faithful to follow and love it more and exhorted them to attend daily the eucharistic sacrifice.
Bishop of the Eucharist - The Bishop Mons. Claudio Gatti made the Eucharist the centre of his pastoral life, so he could reach high spiritual peaks and could give all himself to the souls. He speaks about the Eucharist with so much rapture that his words get into the heart of those who listen. The Bishop, as each priest of the Church should do, based his life on the H. Mass which is the greatest kind of prayer getting us closer to the Lord and he tried to bring a renewal, a greater love and a more ardent faith towards the Eucharist.
The Bishop made the Eucharist the reason of his life and he met his responsibilities squarely to defend it from the attacks of God's enemies.
APOSTOLIC ANXIETY AND PREACHING
St. Paul - For St. Paul the centrality of preaching is Christ. In the second letter to the Corinthians we read: "For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" (II Corinthians 4,5). The great love St. Paul had for Jesus, pushed him to preach the Gospel facing persecutions, sufferings and efforts. The anxiety for preaching the Word of God shines through the incisiveness of his words. His only wish is to announce Christ with coherence and clarity and he does not want to dazzle his faithful with polished words to have praise or to let his person stand out: "For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (I Corinthians 9,16).
The effectiveness and strength of Paul's preaching, that gave the Church great spiritual fruits, comes from his deep union with Christ, from the presence of God's grace that supported his mission of evangelisation: "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a New Covenant" (II Corinthians 3,5).
Paul VI - The same apostolic anxiety has always been present in Paul VI. Pope Montini had the difficult task to carry on three of the four sessions of the Vatican Council II and he was compelled to take important decisions that he tried to impose, moved by his great love for the Church and by the consciousness that something had to be changed. All this let him be loved and hated at the same time. On this subject in the Encyclical letter "Ecclesiam suam" can be noticed the concern of Paul VI that the Church adapts itself to the historical and social circumstances in which it carries on its mission. It must search for a kind of dialogue and aperture towards the contemporary civility to reach more easily the heart of those who are far from Christ, but this must not be expressed into a minimization of the Truth; the apostolate cannot get to a compromise respect to the principles of the Christian faith. Only by always remaining faithful to Christ's doctrine the apostolate can be done with strength and vigour.
Bishop of the Eucharist - The great wish of St. Paul and Paul VI of announcing Christ to the men is the same we all have found in our Bishop. The spread of the knowledge and love towards the Eucharist, the preaching of the Word of God are engagements that Mons. Claudio always tried to fulfil with the strength and the authority that are due to him. It was always firmly convinced that approaching the brothers far from Christ does not mean to stoop to compromises, but to explain to the souls the importance of living in a state of grace, which involves sacrifices and a great commitment.
In the Bishop's words we find his great apostolic anxiety: "When Our Lady tells us that elsewhere people do the biblical catechesis, I feel a great joy, because the anxiety of the true priest is that Christ is known, because when he is known, he is so strong and sympathetic, that it is impossible not to love him. One loves Christ who is known, not Christ who is not known. The priest must try to carry on this anxiety and to transmit it in the biblical catecheses that must be wished, prepared and fed by meditation and prayer and must be accompanied by the presence of the Eucharist, which is the only one that can make them living and vital, for this reason the Word of God cannot be separated from the Eucharist".
Our Lady often repeated to us: "You have known thoroughly Jesus the Eucharist, this knowledge is due to the love of your Bishop, the Bishop of the Eucharist, the Bishop of the Gospel; he makes a poem with each line of the Gospel" (Letter of God, 1st January 2000).
St. Joseph - St. Joseph is an authentic example of humility. When the Holy Family appears to our sister Marisa, she tells us that St. Joseph always puts himself one step behind Jesus and his bride and it is always the Mother of the Eucharist who invites him to come one step forward to be next to her. Joseph was called by God to take care of Jesus during the life on the Earth and he fulfilled this task with immense love. He lived the role of spouse and putative father with maturity and responsibility, because he prepared himself with deep humility to fulfil the tasks entrusted to him by God.
St. Joseph's love was fed by humility, he reached the highest spiritual summits because he won his ego, he dominated pride and lived serene and faithful in concealment. He reserved the first place to God, putting his neighbour just after and keeping for himself the last place.
St. Paul - St. John the Baptist said: "Christ must stand out and I have to diminish". St. Paul applied this teaching at the letter in all his life. Humility is also sincerity and truth, the apostle declared openly to have been called by God and to have some gifts, but he immediately admitted that they were not his merits, but had been given to him by God. As a matter of fact, in the first letter to the Corinthians St. Paul writes: "And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (I Corinthians 2,3-5).
Paul VI - Among the many qualities of Paul VI there were surely humility and simplicity. On Christmas 1957 for the construction of new churches he gifted the dearest thing he kept of his episcopal ordination: a marvellous pectoral cross of solid gold with gems and a pastoral ring with a great diamond, gifted by the roman nobility. The Archbishop of Milan, future Pontiff, liked the simple things, he abolished all that was not used to give glory to God, but only to the men, including the gestatorial chair. As a matter of fact, under his pontificate the liturgical vestments lost the rich laces and all that was redundant and superfluous, in order to reach a religious sobriety. To the bishops of the Vatican Council II he gifted a very simple episcopal ring without precious gems: this deed opened a new style. In his testament he wrote: "My funerals have to be pious and simple. I would like my tomb to be in the real earth, with a humble sign indicating the place and inviting to a christian pity. No monument for me".
Bishop of the Eucharist - Being humble, as our Bishop taught us, does not mean to deny our qualities. The humble is the one who recognizes the greatness of the gifts received by the Lord and uses them to serve the neighbour. The Bishop always affirmed that without God's help he would have never been able to carry on the great mission, he never trusted in himself, but in the strength coming from the Eucharist. He invited us to thank God for the deep teachings he gives us because it is the Lord who inspires him. The Bishop always taught us that the Lord must triumph, not the men, for this reason he chose dignified but simple episcopal insignia, avoiding all that can be used only to feed the human vanity.
St. Joseph - The lily is a flower describing the candour and beauty of St. Joseph's soul, who offered his purity to God.
The pure remind the definitive and final condition of man to a world that dips more and more into the disordered pleasures of the flesh: "You will be like the angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22,30).
Purity allows the man to live with God a more intimate relationship and to dedicate himself more generously to serve the brothers, withdrawing from the negative tendencies. St. Joseph was ready and happy to offer to God the lily of his purity, the same lily he offered again with Mary during the years of the married life.
St. Paul - "To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure" (Titus 1,15). St. Paul always exhorted his spiritual children and the communities to live in a chaste way respecting and loving their body. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity, that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honour" (I Thessalonians 4,3). "Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own" (I Corinthians 6,18-20).
Paul VI - The importance of the purity for Paul VI clearly emerges from the encyclical letter "Sacerdotalis Caelibatus", where, speaking about the celibacy of priests, he affirms this is the condition all of us will have in the Paradise: "The precious divine gift of the perfect continence for the Kingdom of Heaven is a particular sign of the heavenly goods, announces the presence on the Earth of the last times of salvation with the advent of a new world and it anticipates in some way the consummation of the reign, affirming its supreme values that one day will shine in all God's children. So it is a witnessing of the necessary trend of God's people towards the last destination of the earthly pilgrimage and an exhortation for everybody to raise the eyes towards the supernal things".
Bishop of the Eucharist - For the Bishop the purity always represented one of the foundations of his life of man and priest. He often underlined the importance of living the purity of soul and body, to shine as immaculate as the stars in the sky, appearing before God's eyes with a candid dress.
CHARITY AND LOVE
St. Joseph - St. Joseph's love towards his chaste bride Mary and his son Jesus emerges in all his actions. Our Lady tells us: "Joseph was happy to offer his sacrifices to God. He loved Him in an extraordinary way. My spouse was full of tenderness and love". Joseph's charity reached dizzy heights; when he left Mary, who was guest in Zachary and Elizabeth's house, to come back to Nazareth, he was torn because he felt the suffering for parting from his bride, but he was happy, because he knew that Mary's stay was a deed of charity towards her cousin Elizabeth, even if nobody understood that deed. Great love towards God and charity cause envy, jealousy, incomprehension and calumnies on behalf of who is not united with the Lord.
St. Paul - The hymn to charity resumes the fervent love that characterized all St. Paul's life: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (I Corinthians 13,1-7).
Pail VI - In Paul VI's biography we read: "The first wish was to serve and satisfy every person who came to him. When he received priests and laymen his attention was all for them, as if each one was the only one; so the time of audiences was protracted well beyond midday and the preparation of speeches and homilies often kept him busy for many hours beyond midnight". All the life of Paul VI was characterized by charity. Paul VI did good, but he did not let it be known by the others. His particular secretary remembers: "Every Friday afternoon the archbishop of Milan went in absolutely private form to visit either the sick or the poor or the handicapped: it was the meeting between Jesus and the humiliated and suffering persons. Nobody knew it: with the chauffeur I accompanied him into very poor houses, sometimes into real hovels or little huts".
Bishop of the Eucharist - Our Bishop never spared himself with anybody and like the great St. Paul "he made all of himself for everybody to save someone at any cost", notwithstanding sometimes tiredness and suffering weighed heavily over his very tried physique. He never closed the door to those who asked his help with sincerity and he let himself be eaten by the souls like a good shepherd. The Bishop's charity towards the suffering and the sick is a pearl set in his life of man and priest: he has always taken care of his sister Marisa and of grandmother Iolanda and he particularly loves the elderly because they are "the pearls of God", as the Mother of the Eucharist calls them. His years of priesthood have been forty-one years of charity and love towards everybody.
FIGURE OF THE FATHER
St. Paul - St. Paul was an authentic spiritual father for all his children he loved and instructed to lead them to holiness and the eternal life: "For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory " (I Thessalonians 2,11-12). An important task of each shepherd who wants to help the souls entrusted to him is the brotherly correction, that, if done with love and accepted with humility, leads to a real spiritual growth. "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death" (II Corinthians 7,10). St. Paul corrects his communities when they distance themselves from his teachings, with the authority and love of a father. He suffers due to the faults of his children and fears that they don't accept the correction and distance themselves from his guide and consequently from Christ; but when he realizes that the grief of his children is fertile, because it leads them to the conversion, his heart explodes for joy for the spiritual fruits gained and forgets his sufferings.
Paul VI - Paul VI, in the encyclical letter "Sacerdotalis Caelibatus", underlined the figure of the shepherd as a father for his spiritual children: "Before being superiors and judges, be for your priests masters, fathers, friends and good and merciful brothers, ready to understand, pity and help. Encourage in all ways your priests to a personal friendship and to a confident opening with you, that does not suppress but in the pastoral charity gets over the relationship of juridical obedience, so that the obedience itself is more willing, loyal and sure.
Go and seek the lost sheep with anxiety to bring it back to the warmth of the sheepfold and try like Christ, up to the end to recall the unfaithful friend".
Bishop of the Eucharist - These words remind us those used by our Bishop in a biblical catechesis: "The authentic priest, who does his best to re-propose Christ's feelings, is the one who allows himself to be completely eaten by the souls entrusted to him. The fatherly responsibility must never come to an end, the real educator, the shepherd, the father of the community entrusted to him by the Lord, in his catecheses, in the biblical catecheses, in the private meetings, must let be felt the strength of exhortation, encouragement, spur and accompanying. The father accompanies the children; the real priest, the real bishop accompanies the souls entrusted to him, warns them, does his best so that they don't make mistakes or fall again into already done mistakes, he is anxious of impeding the souls he leads to do evil".
The Bishop of the Eucharist has always been a good father for all the souls entrusted to him; he has never hesitated for a moment to try to bring the lost sheep back into the sheepfold and to do the brotherly correction, when necessary. His paternity shines in his soul of man and priest because he does not resign himself until even only one of his children has not come back into the Father's house.
ABANDONMENT AND SUFFERING
St. Joseph - St. Joseph always abandoned himself to God even when he felt torn in the soul and feelings and lived humanly incomprehensible or dramatic situations: Mary's maternity, the flight into Egypt and the loss of the Child Jesus.
St Joseph's abandonment to God was perfect and convinced and he always kept in mind Isaiah's words: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55, 8-9). Abandoning oneself to God means saying to Him "Yes" with heart and will, even if the temptation to say "No" is strong.
St. Paul - Christ, after ascending into Heaven, ordained Paul bishop. The apostle accepted the mission to which the Lord called him and to do God's will he found himself in difficult situations. As a matter of fact, he had to face the hostility of those who did not open themselves to the evangelic announcement and tried to oppose it in his preaching. St. Paul vindicated with strength his qualification of apostle and sometimes he felt pressing depression and discouragement, but he always abandoned himself to God, up to giving his life, provided that God's plans became reality. Conscious of his human weakness, he received strength and vigour by God's grace: "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (II Corinthians 12,10).
Bishop of the Eucharist - Our Bishop, like St. Paul, received the episcopal ordination directly by the Lord: God said: "I ordain you bishop" (Letter of God, 27th June 1999) and He put his seal on this ordination with the eucharistic miracle of June 11, 2000. The Bishop was not free of accepting or refusing the fullness of priesthood, but he abandoned himself completely to God's plans. He rejoiced for the immense gift he received, but he also trembled, because he foresaw more calumnies and hostility he would have faced. He chose to follow the Lord with firmness and courage, he embraced the cross and accepted the difficult task of carrying on his hard mission together with Marisa.
"I can do everything by the one who gives me strength": this was repeated by the Bishop together with the victim of love, without ever losing confidence in God's power.
GOD'S LETTERS: ENCOURAGEMENTS TO THE BISHOP OF THE EUCHARIST
St. Joseph: "My beloved Bishop, I am your Joseph. I was charged to tell you that you give much joy to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit with your love and suffering. Sometimes it is difficult to let people understand what you say, but they know that Jesus speaks through you. It gives me joy to know that you love me; I help you from on High as much as I can. Like you, I felt to be the last too, but God placed me in a high place, after Jesus and Mary" (Letter of God, 10th March 2002).
Our Lady: "Each biblical catechesis is great; the one of last Thursday was greatest and most beautiful. What you listened did not come only from Paul, but also from Claudio, from your Bishop. Paul and Claudio. He made a poem of each word of the Holy Scripture. The Bishop tries to let what he says penetrate into your heart. Paul is great, but also your Bishop is great" (Letter of God, 24th February 2002).
Paul VI: "I am the great Paul VI and I love His Excellency Mons. Claudio Gatti, because he said many beautiful words about me. You don't know how many people slandered and defamed me, but since my and your Bishop has started talking about me, about my person, about all that I suffered and all the good deeds I did, many speak good about me and they call me the giant Pope. Oh no, I'm small, but I'm near to the Mother of the Eucharist. Thank you, Excellency, for all the beautiful words you said about me. I just say you not to let yourself go. Also I never let myself go, and you don't know how many bad things were said about me, how many people near to me slandered and defamed me and I was the Pope. I say: don't let yourself go, don't leave the mission, be strong, carry on this mission. No saint and no man of the world suffered like you. Do what our Jesus and our Mother of the Eucharist say. If you let yourself go also your sister and all those who wish you well fall down. I am the Pope you loved much and I help you and pray for you. There is no need to be declared saint by the Church, because God made saints all the three Popes standing here" (Letter of God, 6th August 2003).
The teachings of our Bishop ordained by God are in perfect agreement with those of St. Paul and of Paul VI, he always drew inspiration from them and from the great St. Joseph's life style.
St. Joseph's figure and that of the great Pope Paul VI were rediscovered today in the Church by the letters of God and our Bishop's catecheses.
The Bishop Claudio Gatti, in his forty-one years of priesthood, always obeyed God and kept on carrying on the task entrusted to him by the Lord. The Bishop and the visionary's mission bore many good fruits, but the last part of the path that still has to be gone is the hardest and most difficult.
To us, as community, is demanded much, because much was given. First of all let us learn how to love and then pray, but as our Bishop said in a biblical catechesis, above all we have to become a holy community if we want to take part actively in the mission.
Courage, Excellency, for us you are the Bishop Ordained by God, the Bishop of the Eucharist, the Bishop of Love.