Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of April 25, 2007
Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist
1st reading: 1 Pt 5:5-14; Psalm 88; Gospel: Mk 16:15-20
The commitment that you are making today can be associated with the image of Formula 1 cars that, at the starting line, are arranged in different positions. At the moment I'm not interested in talking about the finishing line. Perhaps the difference between promise and commitment is not yet clear. The promise is more about horizontal reality: a man and a woman or a boy and a girl promise each other to marry and to celebrate a marriage. With commitment, on the other hand, horizontal reality rises and becomes longitudinal, because the primary relationship is precisely that with God. The promised spouses commit with the Lord to live the marriage preparation with the highest commitment possible, but above all they prepare to live the married life in the best way, beginning to adopt the typical style of the bride and bridegroom who are in union and in the company with Christ, that is to say with Grace, with love and with all the other Sacraments.
The commitment is very important and must arouse, in those who pronounce it, a strong enthusiasm, even if, at times, the circumstances of life can soften or weaken it. You must live the commitment with joy for both yourself and for your spouse to whom you mutually commit to a profound loyalty, sensitivity and honesty.
The starting point, therefore, can be different, but the finishing point is the same for everyone and, at the finish line, which is the day of marriage, in addition to our Lord, the Mother of the Eucharist and your protector saints, other couples already married in this community will also be waiting for you. They will welcome you into the community of married people where the relationships must be reinforced and a communion of experiences must be accepted and practiced. Those who have already lived or are living a married life can take advantage of their experience and share it with others so that, if there are uncertainties, unclear points or problems, they can be solved.
It has already happened and it could happen again that some teachings, for one reason or another, have not been completely understood, so when facing some problems, some uncertainties, they have been resolved with the positive help of friends already married.
The commitment is important because you must tune and listen to the Lord. You have realized that the Lord asks according to people. He will certainly ask you much more than other couples who get married in a Church, but they have a rough and superficial preparation. I am sorry that I could not follow every single couple, as I did with those who preceded you, but you had more time on your side. In fact, even if I could not meet each of you, you had more time to prepare for marriage: you listened to more homilies and participated to a larger number of Bible classes, you attended more apparitions and heard several letters from God; all this is knowledge that not only makes up for, but is also superior to everything I could have told a single couple.
Therefore you must get to a marriage life with a sense of responsibility and growth. Life, if you look at what happens in the world, is often frivolous, superficial and empty. God can fill this void, he can fill this superficiality. Emptiness in the person means inconsistency in marriage. You know what God will give you on the day of marriage: it is a commitment by him, our Lord too undertakes a commitment: "If you will be faithful to me, if you will observe the great commandment of Love, if you spouses will respect the Decalogue and precepts, I, God, commit to give you all the help and graces necessary to properly carry out the triple task of Christian, spouses and, I hope, parent". Christian, spouses and parent are three strenuous commitments involving renunciations and struggles. In life you can also encounter suffering, but you will have the help of God who will push you and take you to the top.
In a world where everything speaks of relativism, one gets married, then there is the separation, then one marries again with another one and then again with another. In a world that preaches all of this as an affirmation of freedom, you stand, instead, as witnesses to the absolute and to the real truth.
We conceive love as something that lasts over time, improving and enhancing the relationship between two beings: between God and man, between a man and a woman in marriage, among friends or among relatives.
Love is the reality of God, it is the nature of God: He is eternal, he does not withdraw and does not put himself in a position of detachment, but he is always present until man keeps him away. Couples strain their union or separate because true love is not present. I refer to couples who get married in the Church. Unfortunately, many approach the altar in mortal sin, do not confess and thus do not regain the grace; if they have no grace, God does not give them gifts. The grace of marriage is there if it is there the basis of the sanctifying grace, if there is the grace of love. On the contrary, if the sanctifying grace is lacking there can be no grace in the marriage. From this you have misunderstandings, divergences and difficulties that you too could have. But the difference is that you are committed to overcome them. Some often use it as a shield to regain their freedom, to mean that if love is present or not, after all, it is the same thing. Love is a guarantee of God, of His presence. So if you want to be good spouses and good parents, first you must be good Christians. You need to care about each other's spiritual life, not just the physical or natural life. You must give each other a testimony, you must practice the correction, as you have been taught. Be united in prayer that cannot be limited to a hasty sign of the cross, but it must be expressed, and this was asked to you by Our Lady, at least with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be at the beginning and at the end of the day. However this is not enough. You receive the best energies by participating in the Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration and by reciting the Holy Rosary: all this is an effort and a commitment that you should not underestimate. It could happen, because the demands of life impose it, work demands it, that sometimes you cannot participate in the H. Mass, but you will realize that without the Eucharist, the life has a different taste, without the Eucharist the strength weakens, there is more confusion, more uncertainty.
To be a parent, according to the teaching of the Gospel, is very difficult today. You all are in the world and if you look at how other children or youngsters or young people are, you will find substantial differences. Therefore, as it happens when traveling in some countries like Africa, where particular vaccinations are needed, so you have to vaccinate your children and the vaccination is formation. Remember, the best formation is the preventive one, that is, to anticipate to the children what they will experience, because when they will live certain experiences they will know how to behave and behave in the best way. The community is praying for you and will continue to pray.
The Bishop likes to hold all of your wedding invitations together not only as a simple collection, but as a commitment of mine. In fact, for the couples, for the married people, prayers change substantially, we no longer pray for the individual, but for the whole family and for the small community born with God’s blessing. As far as I am concerned, there will be a constant and daily prayer and little by little you will approach the Yes of Love; there is also another guarantee for you and it is here on my left (indicating Marisa). I know how much she is suffering in this last period and, at times, believe me, I am shocked, impressed by the vehemence of this suffering, but I can assure you that in the talks between Marisa and the Lord, where I participated, this request was always presented to God: "I have children who get married, I would like, when I am a little bit better, to accompany them to the altar, if this is possible; otherwise take me first". Sure enough, because it was thus said, that on June 29 she will still be among us. However, I am praying to snatch a grace from God, so that she may come down and participate in this great feast with the whole community, otherwise it would be too hard. We managed to snatch graces from our Lord and we should be able to snatch this one too. I hope that she will also be present for the other two marriages, but without big pain like now. God will let us know what he has decided as they did not comment on this yesterday. You can count on her: regardless that she is still alive or in the house of the Father. You can count on Our Lady and St. Joseph too. You can also count on grandmother Iolanda: you all have known her, you know who she is and you can also experience her protection, as her grandchildren have experienced.
It is important that you keep all that you have been told today in your heart, so in 10 or 25 years’ time and if God will allow it, even in 50 years, you will remember these teachings and pass them on to your children, your grandchildren. When you will celebrate, one after the other, the silver wedding and then the gold wedding and who knows, since life is getting longer, even the diamond wedding, you will talk about the Bishop dressed in white and the most important seer in the world; we hope to hear all this from Heaven because it is there that, many times during the day, our thought and our desire go. So, at last, we too could say that we have achieved that happiness that Marisa and I have never met during our earthly life.