Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of October 25, 2009
Marisa's mystical wedding
First reading: Song 2:8-14, 5:2-10, 13, Psalm 62. Second reading: Rom 8:35-39, Gospel: John 12:22-28
Before you start I want you to look at the two paintings here before you: at the left you see Marisa, Jesus and the Mother of the Eucharist; in the other, the one painted by Franca, you see the Mother of the Eucharist and Jesus.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Mother of the Eucharist and his daughter Marisa and it is nice to unite mother and daughter. But, at the same time, we cannot forget the union existing between the Son and the Mother. And there is a profound difference. We all know that children, to a different extend, look like their parents. They say: "You are all like your mom, you are all like your dad". So much for the strictly human relationship. Take a mother and her son: it is said that the child has the DNA, resemblance, characteristics and good habits of his mother; and now look at the painting we asked Franca to make: a very beautiful painting. Franca was able to highlight what Marisa wanted, namely the physical resemblance between Jesus and Mary. You know that in nature, a child inherits half of the genes from the mother and half from the father. Jesus, from a physical point of view, inherited the DNA from the Mother, so He is the person who most of all resembles his mother since he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, without any male presence and collaboration. But there is another difference. Let us take, from the 33rd canto of Dante's Paradise, the prayer of St. Bernard: "Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son!" What is Dante hinting to? With regard to the spiritual reality, namely what in the soul is, it is Our Lady resembling Jesus and not vice-versa. Jesus is God, hence He has perfection and virtues always present eternally, then He is the reference point. Our Lady, however high, great and holy, is in a subordinate position to that of the Son.
Regarding the difference between Marisa and Our Lady it is the exact opposite: Marisa resembling the Virgin in the richness of her soul. God has grown this soul in a wonderful way and enriched it with the highest and most beautiful qualities that she, with her commitment, made them even greater. God, as in an enclosed garden, of which He is jealous, put in Marisa's soul such richness and such a truly great and beautiful spiritual variety. We see Our Lady resembling Jesus, Marisa resembling Our Lady and therefore, by the transitive property, she too is resembling Jesus. This resemblance, which involves the deep connection between Jesus the Eucharistic, the Mother of the Eucharist and the victim of the Eucharist where can we see it?
"Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice. My beloved spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely"". (Song 2:8-14)
When you will read the readings you will discover that all these songs have in common a talk about love. The Song of Songs is the most beautiful chant to the love between bride and groom characterized by seeking, moving and wishing for the meeting time and moved by sorrows and suffering when, unfortunately, the meeting is deferred or there is a temporary separation. What the song wants to highlight is love. Love in Marisa, in the Mother of the Eucharist and in Jesus the Eucharistic have the same root, they come forth from God and have the same finish: man. Love is never something that remains with the one feeling it, but needs to expand, to go beyond the loved person. Love is something that makes you think of others, even if it means you have to forget yourself. This is true love!
We recognize in these three people exactly what I have described: neither Jesus nor Mary, nor Marisa have never thought of themselves. Had they thought of themselves, Jesus would not have incarnated and would not have suffered and the Mother of the Eucharist, at the Annunciation, with the knowledge of what she and her Son would have encountered, would have failed to deliver her yes, for this very reason the Magnificat is called the hymn of love by Our Lady.
Marisa too, if she would have said no to God and yes to the human, she certainly would have had an easier life with less suffering. But remember: to God we cannot say no, if He is asking for our cooperation.
That is the characteristic that these three people have in common: love, reach out to others and not just that, think of the other virtues as well.
Purity! Purity is daughter of love, it connects us with God: "He who has clean hands and pure heart", as Scripture says, is closer to God. Purity is a virtue that must be defended. Marisa defended her purity from the attacks of some men and even getting knife stabs for which she was taken to hospital. They did not cause major damage, as Our Lady took immediate action to turn those two persons away. Twice she has been in this situation. She could have been a new S. Maria Goretti, but in God's plan was written otherwise. When there was the massacre of the innocents John and Jesus were spared, not special privileges, but because God had other plans for them. If Jesus, the Son of God, had fallen into the hands of Herod's henchmen He could not have accomplished the work of redemption. Similarly, John the Baptist could not carry out his duties as a precursor of Christ. Marisa was also saved from martyrdom, but she was not spared, during the whole of her life, the daily, incessant and never-ending immolation, I would say even harder and stronger than a normal martyrdom, with which, in a short time, you stop suffering and end up flying to Heaven. When the martyrdom takes tens of years, as it was for Marisa, then the title of martyr is fully and wholly appropriate.
Suffering. The suffering that saves and redeems the world held these three people tied up. Among themselves there is a special relationship: bride and groom, Son and Mother, daughter and Mother.
It's good to dwell on these three people and see that they really have everything in common.
Honesty and righteousness. Let us put aside Jesus and Mary for a moment, as they are the tangible example of honesty and sincerity. Who is greater and higher than Marisa as far as honesty is concerned? I think it is difficult to find people who can be held up as examples of honesty as Marisa was.
Generosity, obedience to the Father. Jesus, is written in the Scriptures, entered the world saying: "Father I have come to do your will." Our Lady says: "Be it done unto me according to your word". And Marisa, also, uttered the very words of Our Lady: "Be it done unto me what You want". When we invited her to ask God for a break to her pain, she would reply, sometimes in a strong way: "This is my mission and I want to pursue it". This is honesty pursued to extremes, it is obedience to the Father who has made her life an unremitting sacrifice.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Maybe tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword? Just as it is written: For your sake we are killed all day long, we are treated like sheep for slaughter. But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:35-39)
In the passage in Romans, the one we often sing, it is said: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" The world today, unfortunately, is going badly because has turned away from Christ. Marisa can sing and say Paul's words: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword? No, absolutely not! In the Old Testament is written: "For his sake we are killed all day long, we are treated like sheep for slaughter". When a man, whoever he may be, whatever office he may have, whatever responsibility he may exercise, is shut to God, then he will treat badly all those who resemble God. This is why we, including you all, are in a fairly hard time, we still suffer and many times the suffering is caused by relatives, friends and acquaintances.
"We are treated like sheep for slaughter". This is another lesson that Our Lady and Marisa gave me way back in 1971: "We drag our flesh, without a bitter word of rebellion coming from our mouth".
I have never heard from Marisa the slightest hint of rebellion, tired she was, of course, but this is human. Christ himself prayed to the Father: "Take away this cup from me", and then He said: "Thy will be done". It is human to be afraid of suffering, and who says he has no fear of suffering is dishonest and hypocrite, because suffering is scary. If Christ is scared by it, all men too are scared.
"Philip went and told Andrew, and Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus replied:" The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from Heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." (John 12:22-28)
In the Gospel there is this beautiful request Christ is asking the Father: "The time has come for the Son of man to be glorified". We have celebrated the triumph and glorification of Jesus the Eucharist on January 10, 2002. Our Lady told us that the Eucharist had his victory in the world; we celebrated the triumph of the Mother of the Eucharist on October 24, 2003. Today is the feast of the Mother of the Eucharist. On the same day, the same date, not in the same year, we glorify Marisa. Or rather, it is not us glorifying her, but is God glorifying her. Three years ago, God the Father in person asked me for some duties and one of these was to celebrate Marisa's ascent to Heaven in the most solemn way, more than a wedding. Yesterday I pointed out that no wedding was so beautiful when it comes to decorations, flags and the whole atmosphere. That's why we should not live this day as a separation, but as a union, not with pain but with joy. And the joy is to be authentic. Remember, what Marisa can do now she could not have done when she was alive. God said it many times and was also confirmed by Our Lady: "When you will be in Heaven, you will be much more powerful than you are now". So now we can trust and surrender to her power. Why do I say power? Because God himself has also revealed this: Marisa is one of the people closest to the throne of God. Just think, among hundreds of millions of souls who are in Heaven, Marisa is among those enjoying greater closeness to God. And you know, my dear, that closeness to God is conquered by love. After Jesus and Mary, there are those who have loved most: well Marisa is one of them and certainly occupies one of the first places. And then, let us plead with her, so we will feel calmer, more peaceful and more united.
This community could be, for the events we are living, in a fraying and detached situation, instead it is now more united. So now we let us go on with this spirit of unity. We must be stronger and more united, we must be truly one heart and one soul, for God wants this and has given us everything necessary so that we can really be united: union is one of the manifestations of love. Love unites, selfishness divides, love makes us more like God, selfishness makes us more like the devil. Love is the gateway to Heaven, it is the virtue which will stay in Heaven. And on this, probably, we should undertake a study wondering if, in Heaven, love increases. I have already given you an answer: in my opinion, since it is the only remaining virtue, love will increase in Heaven. I deduce it from the fact that love makes us more like God. Marisa often said, in her supernatural experiences, while addressing Our Lady: "I see you more and more beautiful"; and I wondered: why is she more and more beautiful? Because she loves more, loves God more and by loving God more, she looks more and more like He is. Hence the soul becomes more beautiful. The growth of love is unstoppable, so is unstoppable the growth in the likeness of God, but we can never attain the perfection of the Mother of the Eucharist and, I might add, even Marisa's spiritual greatness, but we can get close.
At times, when exchanging greetings, I said: "I wish you all and I hope to meet again in Heaven", but now I rectify it and say: " I wish you all and I hope to meet again in Heaven, but closer to God than we could have though and dreamed, because it is possible. And there is only a secret: love, love, love!"
Praised be Jesus Christ!