NOVA ET VETERA
from issue no. 10/11 - 2009

Archive of 30Giorni

Introduction



by Gianni Valente


Benedict XVI during the Mass celebrated on the parvis of the Cathedral in Paul VI Square in Brescia, Sunday, 8 November 2009, during the pastoral visit to Brescia and Concesio [© Osservatore Romano]

Benedict XVI during the Mass celebrated on the parvis of the Cathedral in Paul VI Square in Brescia, Sunday, 8 November 2009, during the pastoral visit to Brescia and Concesio [© Osservatore Romano]

“Many expect dramatic gestures from the Pope, energetic and decisive interventions. The Pope does not believe that he must follow any other line than that of trust in Jesus Christ, whose concern for His Church is greater than that of anyone else’s”. Thus spoke Paul VI during his visit to the Pontifical Lombard Seminary, 7 December 1968. Adding that “this awaiting is neither sterile nor inert; rather it is attentive awaiting in prayer. This is the condition Jesus chose for us, so that He might fully carry out His work”. Benedict XVI recalled these words of his predecessor during his visit to Brescia on 8 November last, in the homily of the Mass celebrated on the parvis of the Cathedral. 30Days chose to take them up again on its cover, because they now seem even more topical in describing the condition of the Church in the world. And for the same reason the story of Cecilia Eusepi, recounted by Stefania Falasca in an article published in issue 4 of 1997, is presented again on the following pages.
Cecilia, whose beatification process is underway, was a girl who lived at the beginning of last century in a town of lower Tuscia in the Viterbo area. A child of the peasant Italy of the time, who died at only eighteen years old, consumed by tuberculosis, who in her short life had not done anything special. One of those who Charles Péguy would enroll in the company of “saints of no exercises”: those “who did not even think of exercising themselves (they didn’t even have to think of it), having been greatly exercised by God”. Those who didn’t introduce into their vocation even “a hint of invention of true and proper exercise”, having received everything as gift, that made them humble.
Cecilia closely followed St Theresa of Lisieux on her little way. Surprising, in particular, is just how “childish and trustful” – so the reproposed article states – is the way in which Cecilia speaks of Jesus. Trust is a sign and fruit of the predilection that the Lord manifests in his saints. Not as intent or predisposition, rather as an effect, evidencing having been taken into His arms by the One who loves us beforehand. The trust mentioned by St Bernard, in the Memorare, turning to the Virgin Mary (‘Ego tali animatus confidentia’). The same as that which Saint Theresa of Lisieux writes about (‘Confiance! C’est la main de Jésus qui conduit tout! Confiance! La confiance fait des miracles!’). That which crosses the passio of the first Christian martyrs. And of which St John Chrysostom highlighted the unique and intimate connotation of a certain helplessness, mild and meek, in terms that apply throughout the whole earthly life of God’s people: “While we are lambs, we will win and, even if we are surrounded by many wolves, we will succeed in overcoming them. But if we become wolves, we will be defeated, because we will lack the aid of the pastor. He doesn’t tend wolves, but sheep. This is why he will go away and leave you alone, because you prevent him from showing his power. It is as if Christ had said: do not be disturbed by the fact that, sending you among the wolves, I command you to be like lambs and doves. I could have told you the opposite, and saved you all suffering, preventing you from being exposed as lambs to the wolves and making you stronger than lions. But it is necessary that it be like this, because this makes you more glorious and manifests my power. He said the same thing to Paul: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, because my power is manifested fully in weakness’ (2Cor 12, 9). So it is I therefore who wanted you so meek. So when He says: “I am sending you out like lambs” (Lk 10, 3), He wants to make it clear that they must not lose heart, because He knows well that with their mildness they will be invincible for everone” (Homilies on the Gospel of St Matthew, Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings, Thursday of the XXXIV week of Ordinary Time).


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