VATICAN CITY, OCT. 3, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says the Word of God was the “sure light” that guided the Church’s newly beatified: Peter Vigne, Joseph-Marie Cassant, Anna Katharina Emmerick, Maria Ludovica De Angelis and Charles I of Austria.
The Pope, appearing fatigued, pronounced the full formula of beatification of the Servants of God during a solemn Mass today in St. Peter’s Square. Aides read the parts of the homily that were in French, Spanish and German.
In his homily, he emphasized that “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 these “good and faithful Servants of the Gospel” experienced in “a singular way,” as 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,” the Pope said to the faithful crowding in the square. The beatified are now a step away from canonization.
Devotion to the Eucharist is another aspect shared by the new blessed, as is the case of French priest Peter Vigne (1670-1740), founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
“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,” the Pope’s homily said. “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!”
“May the Church in France see in Father Vigne a model so that new sowers of the Gospel will arise,” the Holy Father exhorted.
The French priest and Trappist monk Joseph-Marie Cassant (1878-1903) also “put his trust in God, in contemplation of the mystery of the passion, and in union with Christ present in the Eucharist,” the Pope said in the homily.
“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!” he exclaimed.
The Eucharist was also the source of firmness in the faith, despite many trials and sufferings, of German nun and mystic Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774-1824), “who experienced in her own flesh ‘the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ,'” John Paul II observed.
“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,'” said the Pope, quoting 1 Peter 2:24.
The work of Italian nun Maria Ludovica De Angelis (1880-1962), whose missionary life was spent in Argentina, “was sustained by prayer, making of her life a continuous communication with the Lord,” the Holy Father said.
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control” are the words of St. Paul which, John Paul II affirmed, “may well be applied” to the new blessed “whose life was totally consecrated to the glory of God and the service of her fellowmen.”
Concern for the service of others was also a constant in the life of Charles of Austria (1887-1922), an emperor and king, in his mission as a man of state and as a Christian.
In fact, for Charles of Austria, “a friend of peace” in the midst of the First World War, his “first need, in his political conduct, was to follow the call of Christians to holiness,” the Pope recalled.
That is why Charles “considered the idea of social love important” and sought “the will of God in everything,” the Holy Father recalled.
“May he always be a model for us all, in particular for those today who have a political responsibility in Europe,” he exhorted.
Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, celebrated the Mass, at which the Pope presided. John Paul II knelt during the consecration and Communion.
At the end of the Mass, and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father spoke in Italian, French, German and Spanish, and greeted the pilgrims present, among them members of the religious families to which some of the new blessed belonged.
The Pope addressed a special greeting to the son of Blessed Charles of Austria, the Archduke Otto, present with his family in the sanctuary, next to the altar, in St. Peter’s Square.
In his close to 26 years of pontificate, John Paul II has proclaimed 1,338 blessed and 482 saints.