Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of October 8, 2009
Two months after Marisa's departure
Sometimes you see me, sometimes I disappear. My desire is to be always here with you, but we must surrender to God.
I invite you again to reflect with love and attention on the event we are living today: the second month of our little sister Marisa departure to Heaven.
In our hearts, different feelings are transpiring, almost contrasting: joy and pain, suffering and consolation that are not opposed, but merge and unite with each other. You may recall that Our Lady has often said to Marisa: "I will make you happy in Heaven, in Heaven only!" Now we have to enjoy, and even if a part of our heart is moaning, the other must rejoice, because our sister is finally in the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. What emotion is right to feel concerning this sister of ours? Joy, my dear, because at last she is before God, she is enjoying it and she is happy.
During these two months, at least for those who loved her deeply (and I hope all of you are in this condition), the suffering for the physical separation, but not spiritual, was very strong, overwhelming. In other words, I can say it for myself, but it also applies to each of you, the more the days, weeks, months go by, the more this physical separation is felt by both the grown-ups and the smaller ones!
One of Marisa's little nephew, asked me a few days ago: "If I write a letter and then tie it to a little balloon and let it fly to the sky, will my aunt answer me?" Oh, yes! Our sister will reply to everybody, she is close to each of us. As far as I am concerned, her closeness is not only spiritual but also physical. A few days ago, to give us comfort and help, our home was filled with that intense scent some of you have already experienced before.
With a simple example we can say that for Marisa the 'Elevator' is and always will be in operation: Heaven and earth, earth and Heaven. She is almost more on earth than in Heaven. This she told me several times: "When I will fly to Heaven, I will stay close to each of you, especially to you. I will stay close to the children, to our children in the community, to the children around the world". In fact, Marisa has always loved intensely and in a special way the children: she has protected them, has saved, has helped and has healed them. She used to pray and suffer for the children, but she did it did for the adults too.
In recent times, my thoughts focused on the example of this wonderful person who was designated by God as the holiest after Mary and Joseph. Here is the one we had with us! Yet, our sister Marisa, who, we can say, precedes almost all of the Heaven in holiness, lived in obscurity and in the deepest humility.
She was a simple person like a child. She never boasted, actually she felt almost ashamed of the great mystical gifts the Holy Trinity bestowed upon her. I think I can say without fear that in the prayer to Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, dictated by Jesus, is assembled the synthesis of Marisa's spiritual life:
"Help us to be humble and simple,
help us to love all people,
help us to live in a state of grace
to be always ready to receive
Jesus in our hearts."
Here she is, she has achieved everything in the best way, to the best of her abilities and potential. His humility and simplicity were before everybody's eyes.
This is quite clear to those who had the opportunity to meet or know her in some occasions. What was amazing about her is that she lived in a simple and ordinary way the greatness of her supernatural experiences which she never boasted about, but on the contrary, sometimes she even felt ashamed and embarrassed. In fact, she had difficulty to talk about the extraordinary gifts the Lord granted her.
To be humble, you know, is not to deny the received gifts or disavow their greatness, but is to give credit to God and to have therefore an ever deeper love and stronger gratitude for the Lord.
Love all men. Well, this is the characteristic of Marisa's spiritual and physical life. She loved everyone, even those who have persecuted, condemned, made her voluntarily suffer and who judged her with vulgar and heavy sentences. She loved those who loved her, but she did not distinguish between the first and second. This is the greatness of her holiness. I sometimes would ask her: "How can you even love those who make us suffer?" And she would reply: "It is Jesus giving me strength, it is Jesus giving me the grace."
Jesus, her Spouse. I have before me clear images of the frequent meetings between Marisa and her Spouse. Her face was transformed, for we can say that all the love she had was ascending from her heart to her face that became of an impressive brightness. Her smile opened in a beautiful and wonderful way, thus they begin talking with simplicity, sincerity and humility that is the hallmark of great saints.
Love was her reason for existence! On the tombstone you will read: "Love for God". True love is the love of Christ and it is nurtured by suffering. Christ has shown us that He loves us, not with teachings, not with miracles, (He is God and it is not surprising He did them), but He made us touch his love through suffering. What did He say to Thomas, who was incredulous? "Touch my wounds, put your hand in my side!" That is to say: "Look what I did for you all, how much I suffered for you all." Marisa even shared with her Spouse the sufferings of passion that sometimes, and you were aware of it, showed through the shedding of blood from the stigmata. In these situations of terrible suffering her face was sweet, had a blessed expression, and I am not wrong to say this, she almost enjoyed to suffer for God! She knew in fact that from the suffering of passion she shared with her Spouse, many souls would be converted and that the Church would receive new spiritual energies, therefore they were suffering drawing from the good to get to God.
Living in a state of grace. This must remind us the teaching repeated several times by the Mother of the Eucharist: in almost every letter of God the Mother of the Eucharist has said to us: "Live in state of grace", "Come to my Son in a state of grace". Many times Marisa approached and accepted the suffering for the offenses and sacrileges concerning the Eucharist, really committed by those who consecrated the Eucharist - and this is the absurdity - by those who had to love the Eucharist.
Humility, simplicity, love for all men, to live and receive Jesus in a state of grace: here is the spirituality of our sister Marisa! All of this she lived up to the last moment of her life, even though, when she was in hospital, she could not receive the H. Communion every day; but I am sure that Mary, like other times, always brought the Eucharist to her. To God nothing is impossible, so it was the support of the Eucharistic grace to accompany her till the end.
Even the end of her earthly life was, so to speak, similar to Christ's. My beloved, who was at the foot of the Cross at the Golgotha? Those who were healed? Those who had seen the miracles? Were there people to whom He had spoken or taught? No, at the foot of the cross were the Mother, the Mother of the Eucharist, John and a few faithful women. The same thing happened to Marisa. The moment she bowed her head and flew to Heaven, there was Our Lady, Grandmother Iolanda who was her earthly mother, and the people who attended: Titti and other people who were part of the medical care and may well represent the holy women.
I am still waiting to find out some details I have in my heart... I believe the same is for some other person who was near her at the time of departure, but I will be discussing this later. I would like that in your heart you would have the habit to spend the eighth of each month for the remembrance, examples, experiences and lessons we have had from Marisa. In this way we can experience again the great and good things she has done, committing ourselves to walk the beautiful spiritual greatness she has achieved. After the first year from her departure, we will not pursue any further in celebrating this commemoration, but sometimes when fatigue, bitterness, disappointment or suffering are troubling us, let us raise our eyes to Heaven and after greeting God the Father, God Son and God the Holy Spirit, our Mother, let us salute our sister who is around us.
Every night when I go to sleep, the last kiss is for Marisa. The next morning, while waking up, the first kiss I give to her, because she is my sister. Some may think: "What is Jesus thinking about that?" Jesus is happy, is happy about this! It is a sign of love, respect, appreciation and gratitude to the one Christ chose as his bride from the earliest years of her existence.
Finally, my dear, I invite you to listen carefully to Maria Theresa's testimony. She will speak to you at the end of the H. Mass because it is my wish that this miracle may serve, at the appropriate time, for the cause of beatification.
We know that Marisa will be declared a saint by the Church and with her also grandmother Iolanda, but we must give our contribution, so I ask you a little commitment: come here for the novena, at least those who can do it. During these nine days you will alternate prayers, big and small sacrifices; you will offer everything to God for the grace of healing for your Bishop, through the intercession of our sister.
I know that I am asking a lot, but those who can, please come, so that there is always at least one community representative. Let us prepare well for the celebration of 24th and 25th October. I want a nice and big feast, a celebration deeply felt and lived.
My beloved, let us now plunge in the Eucharistic mystery, and when we receive Jesus in our hearts, the union with our sister will be stronger, more beautiful and real.
Praised be Jesus Christ.