At a Mass for the canonization of seven saints today, Pope Francis drew from the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy to emphasize that saints are saints because they persevere in prayer.
Being steadfast in prayer as Christ asks us isn’t easy, the Pope acknowledged, pointing to the image from the First Reading, which recounted Moses’ weariness as he held his hands up during Joshua’s battle with Amalek. When Moses’ hands grew too heavy, Aaron and Hur supported him.
“There is an important message in this story of Moses,” the Holy Father said, and it is “commitment to prayer demands that we support one another. Weariness is inevitable. Sometimes we simply cannot go on, yet, with the support of our brothers and sisters, our prayer can persevere until the Lord completes his work.”
The Pope recognized in his homily that “each of us grows weary.”
“Yet,” he said, “we are not alone; we are part of a Body! We are members of the Body of Christ, the Church, whose arms are raised day and night to heaven, thanks to the presence of the Risen Christ and his Holy Spirit. Only in the Church, and thanks to the Church’s prayer, are we able to remain steadfast in faith and witness.”
The Pope reminded that prayer is not about taking refuge in some sort of ideal world, far from daily life, or escaping into a “false, selfish sense of calm.”
“[T]o pray is to struggle,” he said, “but also to let the Holy Spirit pray within us. For the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray. He guides us in prayer and he enables us to pray as sons and daughters.”
Turning then to the example of the saints, the Pontiff said they are “men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer. Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them.”
Good fight of faith
The seven saints canonized today include a priest that Pope Francis has proposed as a model for evangelization, Father José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero from Argentina.
As well, the Pope canonized a Mexican boy martyred during the Cristero War, José Sánchez del Río, and the spiritual sister of St. Therese of Lisieux, the French Carmelite Elizabeth of the Trinity.
The first martyr of the La Salle Brothers was canonized, Salomon Leclercq, who died during the French Revolution.
There was also a Spanish bishop from the 20th century, Manuel González García, and two Italians: Father Lodovico Pavoni, who especially ministered to poor youth, and Alfonso Maria Fusco, who founded an order of religious particularly dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
The saints, Pope Francis said, “struggle to the very end, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them.”
“The seven witnesses who were canonized today also fought the good fight of faith and love by their prayers,” Francis said. “That is why they remained firm in faith, with a generous and steadfast heart. Through their example and their intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer. May we cry out day and night to God, without losing heart. May we let the Holy Spirit pray in us, and may we support one another in prayer, in order to keep our arms raised, until Divine Mercy wins the victory.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-mass-for-canonization-of-7-blesseds/