Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of June 20, 2007
Anniversary of the episcopate ordination
I wanted to talk to you now, after Mass, so that you can face the great event of the episcopal ordination directly accomplished by God. This is why I am wearing the clothes that are typical of bishops, not just for display, but simply because, in this way, you can easily face this reality, not only physically as it happens at this moment, but also morally and spiritually. None of us, including myself, can sincerely say that we understand all the greatness of the gift that God gave to the Church, by personally ordaining a bishop. It is something so great, even greater than our possibilities of understanding, that in the face of the greatness of this gift we most often hide behind the obvious, the ordinary and the repetitive. It would be sufficient to think and make a calculation, even an approximate one, of all the times when God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Our Lady underlined this ordination by God, to say that there was no week or month when this concept was not reiterated. This is because the Lord wants us and the whole Church to understand, and me especially, unworthy of such greatness and such gift, that He has done something so great that historians will speak at length about this gift in the history of the Church.
You know that one of the theological statements concerning the episcopate is this: if there is an apostolic transmission, the subject is legitimately ordained a bishop, namely, a succession that goes from ring to ring to the apostles; all those who find themselves in this succession are validly ordained by a bishop and in turn these bishops ordain others. This is the apostolic succession. But I would like to reflect: what is the reason why we are so attached to the term "apostolic succession"? The apostles are not the determining and effectual cause for which the episcopate was given. Before them, the effectual cause that the apostles were ordained bishops is God. After two thousand years we must reflect on why we are not talking about divine succession. Christ is God, it is He who ordained the apostles; so why are we talking about the apostles and not talking about Christ? Why don't we talk about God who ordained the apostles bishops? Now that this has been said, it seems like a self-evident thing, but even now in the Church they go on repeating the concept of apostolic succession. We cannot but keep in mind in this episcopal succession the One who ordained the apostles and the fact that He was excluded is something to be rectified. Furthermore, if we look at these rings over the centuries, that is, the bishops who had successfully taken their place in the ordination, we see, and history is confirming it, that many of these rings are unworthy; valid consecrators yes, but unworthy, because their conduct was not in conformity with the Gospel. This does not mean that they had not validly ordained, but they are bishops who certainly in their ministry and in their lives did not refer to the teachings of Christ.
You have heard frequently about the rebirth of the Church. This expression is a term embracing many concepts and one of these, which for the first time is exposed tonight, is exactly the following: being God the One who gave the episcopal ordination, He wishes to begin a succession to skip all those unworthy rings. You can see this in our situation: God who directly ordains a priest as a bishop. Now you understand why a dreadful battle has been given and continues to be given against him, with no holds barred, including murder attempts. This bishop is troublesome because he throws away so many certainties, but God is omnipotent and from high in the heavens, just as when He comes to earth, as in this evening to wish us well, He laughs at these little games that men make and can easily thwart them. The Church must be reborn, but to do so it must go back to being the primitive Church. Read the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, there you will find exactly what the characteristics of the Church are: built around the apostles who preach, around the Eucharist, around love and charity. We must return to this. We must wonder whether God is or is not the head of the Church. No one can say otherwise, no one can tell God to stay in Heaven because we take care of the Earth. If only someone dared to think this he would be blasphemous, a blasphemer, offending God and siding with the devil. The rebirth of the Church goes also through an episcopal succession that, going back to the source, is restored in all its purity, generosity, honesty and charity. This is why God ordained a bishop and that is why the bishop ordained another 51 bishops. A new succession begins, not because the former is no longer valid, but because God wants the latter to be clean, honest, upright. There are shepherds from a sacramental point of view validly ordained, but they have the soul of the mercenary, they seek power, wealth and often even illicit pleasures. Instead, God ordained a bishop who in turn ordained bishops and they will order others. How could we call this sequence that has already begun? I like to define it, and it is not a usurpation, "Divine Succession". In two hundred or five hundred years’ time, coming back and going back up to the source, all these streams that formed must return to the source, which is God, so water is the pure one, not the polluted one. This is the reflection that I made today and that the Lord surely put in my heart.
God is working very hard and asks for the contribution of men because He wants them to be his collaborators, but not because he needs them. God does not need me, neither you nor anyone, but He calls us, loves us, respects us and wants us to collaborate with him. Here is then the care, attention and commitment that God put into forming this first bishop. I also reflected on the fact that the apostles were trained and educated by Jesus in about three and a half years, Paul more or less the same time during his retreat in Arabia, but for the bishop ordained by God He took 28 years, perhaps because I'm harder or tougher, I don't know. I tell you this to make you understand how accurate the work of forming this bishop was from God. God reserved the formation care for Himself and for the mother of Jesus, Mother of the Eucharist, who spoke since that famous 15th July 1971 and in subsequent talks. At that time I was a thousand miles away from thinking that I would be ordained bishop, moreover from God, even if, from a human point of view, opportunities were not missed. I told you about when Cardinal Ottaviani, along with five other cardinals, urged me to enter the Vatican to make a career, but Our Lady said: "No, this is not the time to go in the Vatican, you will go in in the future...". I wondered what she meant and every now and then Our Lady would come back with hints: "... you will be important, you will be recognized, you will be powerful ...". Okay, I thought, and as the years went by it happened that the person concerned was in the dark about everything, while Marisa was entrusted with some secrets and one of these, which can now be disclosed, was my episcopal ordination. A few years after our encounter, Our Lady revealed to Marisa, forcing her to secrecy, the future of Don Claudio Gatti. God's designs were slowly being realized until that July 26, 1998 when, in Sardinia, we were at the seaside and Jesus said that I would be ordained bishop, but I still didn't understand by whom and He also said other things. The following year, April 25, Our Lady reiterated: "God told me that if men do not ordain you bishop, He himself will do it", and this thing begun to shake me up a bit; I wondered: "How comes, is God going to ordain me a bishop?" Thus we come to June 20, 1999, when there was the announcement and no one understood anything, just because no one had to understand. It can be said that in a small way it happened as with Our lady at the time of the annunciation: when the archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of the Messiah; as you know, Our Lady already knew this, but she did not know the moment when the promise would be fulfilled. Yours truly knew because it had already been said clearly in other meetings that he would become bishop and that he would be ordained by God, but I did not know the moment when this ordination would take place. When it arrived nothing changed externally and when, later on, on the 24th and 27th of that week, Jesus repeated it, you and those who were present almost had a shock, you were surprised and amazed. Things are born in poverty, in fact the bishop ordained by God did not even have a cross and so I wore a cross loaned to me by Marisa, but what you may not know is that my first cross in my property was cheap. It was an aluminum cross and instead of a gold chain there was a plastic string; Our Lady spoke many times of this cross representing this sense of poverty because the more the Church is poor the more powerful it is because it is based on God.
These are today’s reflections that, fraternally and paternally, I wanted to submit, communicate and give to you. I would really like this day to end with a commitment on your part that will have to be repeated every year: from June 20, the anniversary of the day of ordination, to June 29, the day of the celebration of this divine ordination, you and those who will come after you and who are in every part of the world and are tied to these apparitions, every year you will pray for the Bishop ordained by God and for the bishops ordained by the Bishop ordained by God. These nine days are like the nine days of the apostles who, while waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit, were united with Mary in prayer. For now these bishops are one plus fifty-one, but going forward in the next few years they will become hundreds, thousands and finally we will see a divine succession that will see all shepherds to fulfill the promise that God made in the Old Testament, in Jeremiah: “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding". This is the realization, we must arrive at this, because God wants to get to this. Remember, and the younger ones will pass the hand to those who will come: every year starting this year begins a novena of intense prayer characterized by a great Eucharistic moment to be consumed in the Mass and communion. This announcement will also be in internet and on the next bulletin, so that we truly collaborate in the most active way for the rebirth of the Church. So we will see each other in the coming years, but the most beautiful appointment is the one we will give each other when we are all finally in Heaven. Remember what Jesus and Our Lady said: "I will come to take you at the time of death and I will immediately take you to Heaven". Those who go there first must go and prepare the place. Unfortunately I will take a few years, this was told to me, but God's will be done. As you ascend to Heaven, the former prepare the place for the latter and the latter for the ones after them. Imagine when you arrive in Heaven how many people will meet you with happiness and joy, leading us before the throne of God that we will finally see in the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, with the Mother of the Eucharist ahead of us, on her knees before God thanking him because more children have entered the Heaven, whose population, my dear, must absolutely increase. Unfortunately I think I can say that there are more people in hell, but we have to subvert the situation and make in such a way that there are more people in Heaven, because this is the victory of God who also wants us to collaborate in his achievement. For now, pray, be attentive and vigilant lamps before the altar, pulsating with love and continually feeding these lamps with the oil of charity, prayer, faith and hope.