Papal sermon on sanctification by formula

Here you can read the papal sermon on canonization on May 15, 2022 in full and in the official German translation. Vatican News has included the Pope’s additions.

We have heard some of the words that Jesus addressed to himself before he left this world to the Father, words that express what it means to be a Christian: “As I have loved you, you must love one another” (John 13:34). This is the commandment Christ left us, the basic criterion for whether we are truly his disciples: the commandment to love. Let us focus our attention on the two essential elements of this commandment: Jesus’ love for us – as I have loved you – and the love He demands of us – so that you must love one another.

God’s love

First: how much I love you. How did Jesus love us? To the end, to complete surrender. It is said that he said these words on a dark night, the atmosphere in the attic was one of feelings and anxieties: an emotion because the Master was about to bid his disciples farewell, anxiety because he announced that one of them would betray him. We can imagine the sadness that Jesus carried in himself, the darkness in the hearts of the apostles, and the bitterness when Judas left the morsel his master dipped him in the room to enter the night of betrayal. And only at the hour of betrayal does Jesus affirm his love for his own. Because in the darkness and storms of life, this is the essential thing: God loves us.

Brothers and sisters, let this declaration be at the heart of our confession of faith and our expressions of faith: “We did not love God, but he loved us” (cf. 1 Jn 4,10). We must never forget that. The focus is not on our own abilities and merits, but rather on the unconditional and free love of God that we do not deserve. Our Christianity does not begin with education and business, but rather with the desire to discover that we are loved, before any response from us. While the world often tries to convince us that we are only worth when we achieve results, the Bible reminds us of the truth of life: We are loved. And that is our value, we are loved. As one of the spiritual teachers of our day wrote: “Even before man saw us, we saw God’s loving eyes. Even before anyone heard us weep or laugh, we heard our God, who is attentive to our ears. Even before anyone in this world spoke to us, he was The voice of eternal love is already speaking to us ”(Henry Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love). We loved first, we waited. This is our identity that God loves.

Seek holiness in “road dust”

This fact requires us to turn around the ideas we often have about holiness. Sometimes by insisting so much on our pursuit of good works, we have created a model of holiness that depends so much on ourselves, on personal heroism, the ability to compromise, and sacrifice for a prize. This is also the Pelagian view of holiness. In this way, we made holiness an elusive goal, separating it from everyday life, instead of seeking and embracing it in everyday life, in the dust of the road, in almost concrete life, and like Saint Teresa of Avila, she would say to her sisters “among the cooking pots.” Being a disciple of Jesus and walking the path of holiness means above all allowing yourself to be transformed by the power of God’s love. Let us not forget the priority of God over the self, the soul over the body, and grace over works. Sometimes we give too much importance to self, body, and business.

The love we receive from the Lord is the power that changes our lives: it expands our hearts and makes us ready for love. That is why Jesus says – and this is the second aspect – “As I have loved you, you must also love one another.” This is not just a call to imitate the love of Jesus; This means that we can only love because he loved us, because he gives our hearts his own spirit, the spirit of holiness, and the love that heals and changes us. Therefore, in every situation and with every brother and sister we meet, we can make love decisions and perform acts of love. Because we are loved, we also have the power to live. As he loved us, I can also love others. It sounds complicated, but it’s very simple.

Serve and give yourself

What does it mean concretely to live this love? Before leaving us this commandment, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; Having said it, he sacrificed himself on the cross. To love: to serve and lay down one’s life. Service means not prioritizing one’s interests; To get rid of the poison of greed and competition. to fight the cancer of indifference and the sting of selfishness; To share the talents and gifts that God has given us. Let’s specifically ask ourselves: “What do I do for others?” – It means love. Let us live everyday things in a spirit of service, with love and without fuss, without asking for anything.
Then give life, which consists not only in giving something to others, as a part of one’s possessions, but in giving oneself. I like to say to people who ask me: Do you believe? Do you touch the body of the sufferer? Do you look into the eyes of the people you believe in? Yes, it is about touching the suffering body of Christ and looking at it in our suffering brothers and sisters.

It’s about letting go of selfishness and making existence a gift, seeing the needs of those who live next door, mediating for those in need, maybe listening a little, and having a little time to make a phone call. Holiness is not a little heroic gesture, it is a lot of love every day. “Are you faithful or faithful? Be a saint by living your devotion joyfully. Are you married? Be saints through your love and care for your husband or wife as Christ did for the church. Are you a worker Be a saint by performing your work of service to your brothers and sisters with integrity and skill. Are you Father or mother, grandfather or grandmother? Be saints by patiently teaching children to follow Jesus. Do you hold a position of responsibility? How many here in the square? Be saints by fighting for the common good and forsaking your own interests.” (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, 14)! This is holiness, that simple.

Saints as role models

To serve the gospel and to brothers and sisters, to sacrifice his life without return, and without seeking earthly glory: we too are called to do the same. Our companions on pilgrimage, who have been sanctified today, lived holiness like this: they enthusiastically accepted their calling – priests, consecrated and laity – surrendered themselves to the Gospel, discovered great joy, and shone again the splendor of the Lord in history. Let us also experience it, because each of us is called to holiness, to a unique and unrepeatable holiness. Every saint is a shining reflection of God in the world. Holiness is not a copy. Yes, the Lord has a love plan for every person, he cherishes a dream for your life. Record! And do it with joy!

Here you can find the updated version of the sermon in Italian on the web at vatican.va; Here are the Pope’s words at the Synod of Regina.

(Vatican News – Public Relations)

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