Cardinal Franc Rodé, C.M.

Lauds – XXIV Ordinary Sunday, Lichen, September 16, 2007

Meditation by His Eminence Father Cardinal Franc Rodé, C.M.

“If we have died with him we shall also live with him;
if we persevere we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful” (2 Tm 2, 11-13)

The passage of the letter of St. Paul to Timothy which has been proclaimed in our assembly today, splendidly introduces the context of this day of joy and great celebration of the beatification of the Servant of God Father Stanislaus Papczyński, Founder of the Congregation of the Marian Fathers, the father of the poor, as he was called, the defender of least. In him, in fact, we can read the incarnation of this ideal proper for each baptized person, and particularly for every consecrated person.

Saint Paul had taken these verses from a liturgical hymn of one of the very first Christian communities. The “conditions” underlined here are applicable to Christians of every point in time. It is an invitation to live an identification of total unity with Christ; an invitation to live in His death and in His resurrection: that is to say in His labors and sufferings, as well as in His triumph over every death that leads to the resurrection to the true life and authentic joy.

We live in a time where questions and uncertainty seem always more numerous, where men and women of our time seem to have lost every stronghold but Christ continues to call each one to be conformed to His image. Above all we consecrated must avoid the throw-away attitude so greatly spread today, it makes it impossible for faith to penetrate life and rather life gets rid of faith. The existence and the being of the Christian must be unified to their central core: to stay close to Jesus Christ.

The Lord asks to his consecrated to be witnesses in the world; to be visible and credible instruments of his presence of salvation; visible signs of his singular love for every man and for every woman. It is not only in words, but above all through a particular style of life, with a free heart and a creative spirit that you make known to those you meet along your journey of the merciful love of God. To do this, as Father Papczyński wrote to his religious, it is necessary “to get up and follow Him.” “Look to the good rule so to imitate Christ: get up and follow Him. If you do not get up you will not be able to follow Him, even if it seems to you that you are following in his footsteps. If, in the nooks and crannies of your will, you still hide the pockets of self-love and other similar things, you are not following Christ; you are not truly imitating Christ, although you wear a cassock, although you took vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, which you are so proud of. Get up and follow Him, because if you do not get up, you will never follow Him.” (cf.Inspectio Cordis)

Let’s get up and imitate Him, in order to edify our “interior being” (cf. Eph 3,16) as Apostle Paul says, seeking for intimacy with the Lord of life, faithfully maintaining our readiness for His work to be fulfilled in us. This can be done through the prayer, the knowledge of the Word of God, the Eucharistic encounter and the Sacrament of reconciliation; through authentic witness of fraternal life in the community, the readiness to obedience, courage in poverty and fortitude in fruitful chastity. In this way we will render a clear and constant witness of Christ’s Resurrection, making concrete acts of life and of love for the little ones and for the poor, as Father Papczyński, so that all will know in whom to place their true hope, in fact, “the love of his purity and of his gratuitousness – as the Holy Father Benedict XVI wrote in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est – “it is the best testimony of God in which we believe and from which we are pushed toward love” (DCE n. 31).