“The Beatification of the Servant of God, Alvaro del Portillo, faithful collaborator and first successor of Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer at the head of the Opus Dei, is a moment of special joy for all the faithful of that Prelature, as it is also for you, who for so long were a witness of his love of God and of others, of his faithfulness to the Church and to his vocation.”

These are the first words that the Holy Father sent to Bishop Javier Echevarria, prelate of Opus Dei, on the occasion of the Beatification of Alvaro del Portillo.

The Pope’s message was read at the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration of the Beatification, which took place in Madrid on Saturday.

Francis said he joined himself to their “joy” and “thanked God who embellishes the face of the Church with the holiness of His children.”

The Holy Father’s note points out that Don Alvaro learned, from Saint Josemaria Escriva, to fall in love with Christ increasingly every day. “Yes, to be enamoured of Christ. This is the path of holiness that every Christian must follow: to let himself be loved by the Lord, to open his heart to His love and to allow Him to guide our life,” he says in his letter.

Francis also explains that he likes to recall the short prayer that the Servant of God repeated frequently: “Thank you, I’m sorry, help me more!” These are words that bring us closer to the reality of his interior life and his dealing with the Lord, and which can also help us to give a new impulse to our own Christian life, notes the Pope.

In the first place, thank you. “Alvaro del Portillo was conscious of the many gifts that God had given him, and he thanked God for that manifestation of his fatherly love. But he did not stop there. Gratitude for the Lord’s love awakened in his hearty desires to follow him with greater selflessness and generosity, and to live a humble life of service to others,” observes the Pope.

In the second place, I’m sorry. Francis explains in his letter that Don Alvaro “often admitted that he saw himself before God with empty hands, unable to respond to so much generosity. However, the admission of human poverty is not the fruit of despair but a confident abandonment in God who is our Father.” He also mentioned that, “the Servant of God Alvaro knew the need we have of divine mercy, and he dedicated much of his personal energy to encourage persons to approach the Sacrament of Confession, the Sacrament of joy.”

And, finally, help me more. As the Pontiff recalls, “beating in the heart of the new Blessed was the desire to take the Good News to all hearts. So he went to many countries fomenting projects of evangelization, without being hindered by difficulties, moved by his love of God and of his brothers.” And so, the Pope acknowledges that one “who is very much in God is able to be very close to men.”

Thank you, I’m sorry and help me more! Expressed in these words is the tension of an existence centred in God, of someone who was touched by the greatest Love and who lives totally in that love.

Finally, in his letter to the Prelate of Opus Dei, the bishop of Rome says that the new Blessed “sends us a very clear message; he tells us to trust in the Lord, who is our brother, our friend who never disappoints us and who is always at our side,” adding that “he encourages us not to be afraid to go against the current and to suffer for proclaiming the Gospel. In addition, he teaches us that in the simplicity and ordinariness of our life we can find a sure path of holiness.”