March 9, 2006: The Bishop speaks to the community before the Holy Mass
43rd Anniversary of the priestly ordination of Mons. Claudio Gatti
Earlier I said, joking a little, but basically it is the truth, that in these days Heaven has moved to the thaumaturgic place, because it has been really and intensely close to us. In addition to the Mother of the Eucharist, together with saints and angels, even God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit have come.
I cannot tell you everything, because the emotion is still so strong that I need to reread and revise the letter of God in order to meditate on it in my heart. What happened this morning, before Marisa and me, has never happened in the whole Church history. I turned to God, initially with emotion and then spontaneously, because he allowed me and I felt him as a Father, I felt his love. God speaks to some creatures and listens too; he allowed me to open my heart and I said everything we have lived and what we are experiencing: tiredness, discouragement, bitterness, disappointment, loneliness and He listened to me.
In summary, the answer was given by the Mother of the Eucharist: God is trying everything, and we are talking about God, to snatch souls from hell. He certainly did not refer to the laity, because converting a layman is much easier than converting a clergyman. Hell is already full of many priests, many bishops, cardinals and, unfortunately, also Popes. He didn't say it this morning, but he had said it before. He almost asked me for permission, at least this is how I interpreted it, to give him a little more time to convert the priests. In this paternal appeal I felt the love of God, a love that keeps what he promises. Divine love is combined, and He said this, with justice, because when the time comes, He will decide who will have to go to Heaven and who, unfortunately, will have to go to hell.
He also spoke about my future and this is a topic that frequently in our intimate conversations, when I and Marisa are present, is often addressed. The Lord, in addition to having promised me that I will never be alone and that I will always be able to count on the presence, encouragement and assistance of Our Lady, also said that Marisa and grandmother Iolanda will be close to me just to help me carry out the difficult task you all know about. God is also preparing the collaborators: several names have already been designated and today he informed me that another ten are ready; among these there are Italian and foreign priests, bishops and perhaps cardinals. He did not say the names of the latter, but it was already a great encouragement to know that when the time comes I will not be alone, I will be able to count not only on God's help but also, and it is important, on the presence and collaboration of men.
The emptiness that I am feeling now in carrying out this mission, as there are no priests, will be filled; initially they will not be many, but enough to help me carry out the great and burdensome responsibility.
God asked me for time, he asked for prayers. He asked Marisa again for suffering and, believe me, this has always been a sore point for me. Our Lady today said that, lately, I have cried several times when I saw Marisa assaulted by suffering, allow me this expression because I cannot find more fitting words, in a cruel and devastating way.
I could not bear the sight of her suffering and I am sure I was helped, because, in those moments, one cannot remain unmoved: the palpitations increase, the tension seems to release and destroy you inside, it seems as if your brain and heart are going to burst. And perhaps they would have done so if the maternal hand of the Our lady and the fatherly hand of God, as happened so many times, had not intervened to prevent these tensions and very strong emotions from being followed by crisis and tragedy.
God's almost pleading words resound in my ear: "Give me some time". I don't know if you can appreciate: God pleading with a creature; this touched and moved me. Our Lady, after God spoke, said: “This shows the esteem that God has for you”. And I thank him, because when I think of the past 43 years of priesthood, I have always been faithful to him thanks to his help. In fact, the credit is also due to his grace.
It all started on March 9, 1963 with the first Yes on the occasion of my priestly ordination. Everything intensified on July 15, 1971 with the second Yes, on the occasion of the meeting with Marisa, until the third Yes pronounced in the Lourdes grotto on August 12, 1972 when we accepted our mission. All this gave me the great opportunity not to lose my soul. I know that some fellow seminarians and priests I have met are in hell. Nobody could have thought that: their outside life seemed beyond reproach. Remember what Isaiah says: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Is 55:9). And those who were regarded by men as rebels, bad and dishonest priests are, on the other hand, saints for God; instead, those who were regarded by men as good people, even pious, were in fact rapacious wolves in lamb's clothing. Only the judgment of God counts.
God asked for some more time, so let's give it to him. I am sorry that you, Marisa, will be the one who will pay the most. But all of us, starting with the one speaking now, will try to do everything possible and impossible to help you. It is true, our Lord has placed a very heavy cross on our shoulders, but, I think I can say it, this long way of the cross now has only a few stations left. The last station will be concerned with Marisa. It will certainly be her departure for Heaven that she deserves… Indeed I will tell you more: Marisa is already in Heaven. This morning God turned to me and said that once my mission is over, He will take me to Heaven with Him. And Marisa, like little Sara, asked: "And me?" God replied: "My daughter, you are in Heaven already ". All this is humanly inexplicable, but from a supernatural point of view, everything is possible to God. This is an "impossible" that becomes "possible".
So you see, Marisa, when you feel the suffering you will be complaining just like Christ did, because he too complained, as Saint Joseph did and Our Lady recently told us about this too. Christ even screamed, especially in Gethsemane, when he felt alone, crushed by the great trial of abandonment and you too will imitate your spouse on this path.
It is my feast, so it is also your feast, because we are one and the same. This Holy Mass, unlike that of this morning that I offered to Marisa, I offer it to you all, to each one of you for your intentions, so that the Lord may assist us all, bless us and give us the strength to go forward. Now perhaps, humanly we feel like we are recovering a little bit, but we know that the moments will come for you and me when the words: "Enough, my Lord" will blossom again on our lips. Then we will have to support each other, one will have to drag the other, because the goal we must reach, some first, some later, is the Heaven. Then joy will be limitless, happiness will be eternal, there will be no more reasons for tensions and worries, for bitterness and disappointment. In Heaven we will enjoy God for all eternity. The knowledge of God will increase all the time, because the more we know him, the more we will love him. Just think: this is the essence of eternity, that is, knowing God in order to be able to love him, because the more you know someone the more you love.
I thank our Lord for the gift of priesthood, because this was the occasion of my commitment as a good Christian. In these days, in these nights and, above all, this night, I have relived the eve of my ordination: I have always seen the hand of God, in a clear way, taking mine and carry me forward. He led me to Golgotha, under the cross, but I know that near Golgotha there is the empty tomb that reminds us of the Resurrection. When God wills there will be a resurrection for us, but remember: you must live and prepare this resurrection day by day.
Be careful though: now everything is beautiful, because you are all brothers and sisters, we are in a holy, healthy, clean, honest environment, but, unfortunately, you live in an environment where there is no cleanliness. Remember what Our Lady said to us: even if they are surrounded by mud, lilies always remain so, therefore, do not allow evil to soil you.
Know how to avoid and shake off those who throw mud at you or want to drag you into the mud, because we must, you must be as bright beacons that help others who have strayed to find the way. The expression "little apostles" has not been heard for a long time, now we are starting to use it again and above all keep it in mind to make ourselves more and more responsible. Apostles, little apostles, important and essential for the bigger apostles that God has called.
God does not need us, or you, but we do, we need him, that's why you must be close to us and, regardless of where you live and what will happen to each of us, one day, remember, we will always be united by the love for Christ and by the love for the Mother of the Eucharist.
Thank you for listening to me, thank you because you love us, thank you because I hope and wish that you will prove it again in the future and no more empty places among you all, nor empty chairs to indicate people who are no longer here. Now I am going to celebrate the H. Mass.