John Paul II's Homily After Beatification of 5

“Allowed Themselves to Be Guided by the Word of God”

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 3, 2004 ( Here is a translation of John Paul II’s homily today, delivered during the solemn Mass in which he proclaimed blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740); Joseph-Marie Cassant (1878-1903); Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774-1824); María Ludovica De Angelis (1880-1962); and Charles I of Austria (1887-1922).

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[In Italian]

1. “‘Verbum Domini manet in aeternum’ — The Word of the Lord remains for ever.”

The exclamation of the Song of the Gospel refers us to the very foundations of the faith. In the face of the passage of time and the continual alterations of history, the revelation that God has offered us in Christ remains stable forever and opens a horizon of eternity on our earthly journey.

This is what the five new blessed experienced in a singular way: Peter Vigne, Joseph-Marie Cassant, Anna Katharina Emmerick, María Ludovica De Angelis, Charles of Austria. They allowed themselves to be guided by the Word of God as by a luminous and sure light, which never failed to illuminate their path.

[In French]

2. By contemplating Christ present in the Eucharist and in his salvific passion, Father Peter Vigne was led to be an authentic disciple and faithful missionary of the Church. May his example give the faithful the desire to draw audacity for the mission from the love of the Eucharist and adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament! Let us pray that he will touch the hearts of young people so that they will accept to consecrate themselves totally to him in the priesthood or religious life, if they are called by God. May the Church in France see in Father Vigne a model so that new sowers of the Gospel will arise.

3. Brother Joseph-Marie always put his trust in God, in contemplation of the mystery of the passion, and in union with Christ present in the Eucharist. In this way, he was permeated with the love of God, abandoning himself to him, “sole happiness on earth,” and detaching himself from the goods of the world in the silence of a Trappist monastery. In the midst of trials, with his eyes fixed on Christ, he offered his sufferings for the Lord and the Church. May our contemporaries, in particular the contemplatives and the sick, discover, following his example, the mystery of prayer, which raises the world to God and gives strength in trials!

[In Spanish]

4. “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”

These words of St. Paul invite us to collaborate in the building of the Kingdom of God, from the perspective of faith. They may well be applied to the life of Blessed Ludovica De Angelis, whose life was totally consecrated to the glory of God and the service of her fellowmen.

Prominent in her figure are the heart of a mother, her leadership qualities, and the very audacity of saints. She had a concrete and generous love for sick children, enduring sacrifices to alleviate them; for her collaborators at the La Plata Hospital she was a model of joy and responsibility, creating a family atmosphere; for her sisters in the community, she was a genuine example of a Daughter of Our Lady of Mercy. In all this, she was sustained by prayer, making of her life a continuous communication with the Lord.

[In German]

5. Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick showed and experienced in her own flesh “the bitter passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” The fact that, from being the daughter of poor peasants, who constantly sought closeness to God, she became the famous “mystic of Muenster” is a work of divine grace. Her material poverty is contrasted with her rich interior life. As much as by her patience to endure her physical weaknesses, we are impressed by the strength of character of the new blessed and her firmness in the faith.

She received this strength from the Holy Eucharist. In this way, her example opened the hearts of poor and rich men, educated and humble people, to complete loving passion toward Jesus Christ. Still today she communicates to all the salvific message: “By his wounds you have been healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24).

6. The decisive duty of the Christian is in seeking the will of God in everything, in knowing it and carrying it out. This daily challenge was addressed by the man of state and Christian Charles, of the House of Austria. He was a friend of peace. In his eyes, war was “something horrible.” Ascending the throne in the midst of the storm of the First World War, he tried to take up the peace initiative of my predecessor Benedict XV.

From the beginning, Emperor Charles understood his task of sovereign as a holy service to peoples. His first need, in his political conduct, was to follow the call of Christians to holiness. That is why he considered the idea of social love important. May he always be a model for us all, in particular for those today who have a political responsibility in Europe!

[In Italian]

7. Together with the whole Church, we praise and thank the Lord for the wonders he has done in these good and faithful Servants of the Gospel. May Mary Most Holy, whom this month of October we invoke in a special way with the prayer of the rosary, help us in turn to become generous and courageous apostles of the Gospel. Amen!

[Translation by ZENIT]

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