S. John Paul II Homil. 8699
1. Here I am again in front of this Cross, where I have so often come as a pilgrim, in front of the Cross that has remained as the most precious relic of our Redeemer for all of us.
When, close to Krakow, Nowa Huta was springing up, an enormous industrial complex and a new city, a new Krakow, it may not have been noticed that it was springing up beside this Cross, this relic that we have inherited with the ancient Cistercian abbey from the time of the Piasts. It was the year 1222, the time of Prince Leszek Bialy, the time of Bishop Ivo Odrowaz, the period before the canonization of Saint Stanislaus. At that time, on the third centenary of our Baptism, the Cistercian abbey was founded here and the relic of the Holy Cross was then brought, and has been for centuries the goal of pilgrimages from the Krakow area, from Kielce to the north, from Tarnow to the east, and from Silesia to the west. All this occurred in a place where tradition says there once stood Stara Huta, as it were the ancient historic mother of the present-day Nowa Huta.
127 I wish to greet here once more the pilgrims from Krakow, those from Silesia, and those from the Diocese of Kielce.
Let us go together, pilgrims, to the Lord's Cross. With it begins a new era in human history. This is the time of grace, the time of salvation. Through the Cross man has been able to understand the meaning of his own destiny, of his life on earth. He has discovered how much God has loved him. He has discovered, and he continues to discover by the light of faith, how great is his own worth. He has learnt to measure his own dignity by the measure of the Sacrifice that God offered in his Son for man's salvation: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3,16).
Even if times change, even if what was once countryside near Krakow has given way to the emergence of a huge industrial complex, even if we are living in an age of dizzy advances in the natural sciences and equally amazing advances in technology, nevertheless the truth about the life of the human spirit, which is expressed by means of the Cross, knows no decline, is always relevant, never grows old. The history of Nowa Huta is also written by means of the Cross—first by means of the ancient Cross of Mogila, the heritage of centuries, and then by means of the other Cross, the new one, which has been raised close by.
Where the Cross is raised, there is raised the sign that that place has now been reached by the Good News of Man's salvation through Love. Where the cross is raised, there is the sign that evangelization has begun. Once our fathers raised the Cross in various places in the land of Poland as a sign that the Gospel had arrived there, that there had been a beginning of the evangelization that was to continue without break until today. It was with this thought also that the first Cross was raised in Mogila, near Krakow, near Stara Huta.
The new wooden Cross was raised not far from here at the very time we were celebrating the Millennium. With it we were given a sign that on the threshold of the new millennium, in these new times, these new conditions of life, the Gospel is again being proclaimed. A new evangelization has begun, as if it were a new proclamation, even if in reality it is the same as ever. The Cross stands high over the revolving world.
Today, before the Cross of Mogila, the Cross of Nowa Huta, let us give thanks for the new beginning of evangelization that has been brought about here. And let us all pray that it may be as fruitful as the first evangelization—indeed, even more fruitful.
2. The new Cross that sprang up not far from the ancient relic of the Holy Cross in the Cistercian abbey proclaimed the birth of the new church. This birth is deeply engraved on my heart and, when I left the see of Saint Stanislaus for the see of Saint Peter, I took it with me as a new relic, a priceless relic of our time.
The new Cross appeared, when the land of the old countryside near Krakow that became the site of Nowa Huta saw the arrival of new men to begin new work. People did hard work here before that. They worked in the fields. The land was fertile and so they worked with pleasure. Some decades back industry began, great industry, heavy industry. People arrived here, coming from various places; they came to expend their energy here as workers in the iron industry.
It was they who brought with them the new Cross. It was they who raised it as a sign of their will to build a new church. This very Cross before which we are now standing. It was my good fortune, as your Archbishop and Cardinal, to bless and consecrate in 1977 this church that was born from a new Cross.
This church was born from the new work. I would make bold to say that it was born from Nowa Huta. For we all know that man's work bears deeply engraved on it the mystery of the Cross, the law of the Cross. In it comes true what the Creator said after the fall of man: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" (Gn 3,19). Both the old work in the fields, which makes wheat grow, but also thorns and thistles, and the new work in the blast-furnaces and the new foundries are always carried out "with the sweat of one's brow". The law of the Cross is engraved on man's work. It was with the sweat of his brow that the farmer worked. It is with the sweat of his brow that the iron-worker works. It is with the sweat of his brow—the terrible sweat of death—that Christ agonizes on the Cross.
The Cross cannot be separated from man's work. Christ cannot be separated from man's work. This has been confirmed here at Nowa Huta. This has been the start of the new evangelization at the beginning of the new millennium of Christianity in Poland. We have lived this new beginning together and I took it with me from Krakow to Rome as a relic.
128 Christianity and the Church have no fear of the world of work. They have no fear of the system based on work. The Pope has no fear of men of work. They have always been particularly close to him. He has come from their midst. He has come from the quarries of Zakrzowek, from the Solvay furnaces in Borek Falecki, and then from Nowa Huta. Through all these surroundings, through his own experience of work, I make bold to say that the Pope learned the Gospel anew. He noticed and became convinced that the problems being raised today about human labour are deeply engraved in the Gospel, that they cannot be fully solved without the Gospel.
The problems being raised today—and is it really only today?—about human labour do not, in fact, come down in the last analysis—I say this with respect for all the specialists—either to technology or even to economics but to a fundamental category: the category of the dignity of work, that is to say, of the dignity of man. Economics, technology and the many other specializations and disciplines have their justification for existing in that single essential category. If they fail to draw from that category and are shaped without reference to the dignity of human labour, they are in error, they are harmful, they are against man.
This fundamental category is humanistic. I make bold to say that this fundamental category, the category of work as a measure of the dignity of man, is Christian. We find it in its highest degree of intensity in Christ.
.Let this suffice, dear brothers. It was not on one occasion alone that I met you here as your Bishop and dealt more abundantly with all these themes. Today, as your guest, I must speak of them more concisely. But remember this one thing: Christ will never approve that man be considered, or that man consider himself, merely as a means of production, or that he be appreciated, esteemed and valued in accordance with that principle. Christ will never approve of it. For that reason he had himself put on the Cross, as if on the great threshold of man's spiritual history, to oppose any form of degradation of man, including degradation by work. Christ remains before our eyes on his Cross, in order that each human being may be aware of the strength that he has given him: "he gave (them) power to become children of God" (Jn 1,12).
This must be remembered both by the worker and the employer, by the work system as well as by the system of remuneration; it must be remembered by the State, the nation, the Church.
When I was with you, I tried to give witness to this. Pray that I may continue to give that witness in the future also, all the more now that I am in Rome; pray that I may continue to give that witness before all the Church and before the modern world.
3. I am thinking with joy of the blessing of the magnificent church at Mistrzejowice, now that its building is well advanced. You all know that I remember the beginning of this work at Mistrzejowice, its very beginning; and all the stages of the building that followed. Together with you I go back in prayer and heart to the tomb of Father Joseph, of holy memory, the priest who began this work, putting all his strength into it and sacrificing all his young life on its altar. I thank all those who are continuing this work with so much love and perseverance.
At this moment my thoughts go also to the Krzeslawice Hills. The efforts of many years are slowly bearing fruit. With all my heart I bless this work and all the other churches rising or about to rise in this area and in the other constantly growing quarters.
From the Cross of Nowa Huta began the new evangelization, the evangelization of the second Millennium. This church is a witness and confirmation of it. It arose from a living awareness and responsible faith and must continue to serve that faith.
The evangelization of the new millennium must refer to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. It must be, as that Council taught, a work shared by bishops, priests, religious and laity, by parents and young people. The parish is not only a place where catechesis is given, it is also the living environment that must actualize it.
The church whose building you are bringing to a conclusion with so much effort but also with so much enthusiasm is rising in order that by its means the Gospel of Christ may enter into the whole of your lives. You have built the church; build your lives with the Gospel.
May Mary Queen of Poland and Blessed Maximilian Kolbe help you in this continually.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
1. Today all of us gathered here together find ourselves before a great, mystery in the history of the human race: Christ, after his Resurrection met the Apostles in Galilee and spoke to them the words which we have just now heard from the lips of the deacon who proclaimed the Gospel: "Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world" (Mt 28,18-20).
These words contain a great mystery in the history of humanity and in the history of the individual human person.
Every person goes forward. He or she goes forward towards the future. Nations also go forward. So does all humanity. To go forward, however, does not only mean to endure the exigencies of time, continuously leaving behind the past: yesterday, the years, the centuries. To go forward also means being aware of the goal.
Could it be perhaps that the human person and humanity itself journey only through this world and then disappear? Could it be perhaps that everything for a human being consists only in what is built, conquered, and enjoyed in this world? Beyond the conquests and the totality of life here (culture, civilization, technology) is there nothing else—awaiting a human person? "The form of this world is passing away." Is the human person going to pass away along with it?
The words that Christ spoke in his farewell to the Apostles express the mystery of human history, the history of each person and of all persons, the mystery of the history of humanity.
Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is an immersion into the living God, into "Him who is" as the Book of Genesis puts it; into "Him who was, who is, and who will be" according to the Book of Revelation (1:4). Baptism is the beginning of an encounter, of a unity, of a communion for which earthly life is merely a preface, an introduction. The fulfilment and completion belong to eternity. "The form of this world is passing away". Therefore we must find the "world of God" to arrive at our destination, to find fulfilment in life and in the human vocation.
Christ has shown us the way and, in his farewell to his Apostles, he has reconfirmed this once more. He told them and the whole Church to teach and carry out all that he commanded: "And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world".
2. We always listen to words with the greatest emotion. They were spoken by the risen Redeemer to delineate the history of humanity and at the same time the history of each human person. When he says "make disciples of all nations", we see before our mind's eye the moment when the Gospel was first brought to our nation; the beginnings of its history when the first Poles were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual profile of the history of our motherland is traced out by these very words of Christ spoken to the Apostles. The spiritual profile of the history of each one of us is also traced out in about the same way.
130 A human person is a free and reasonable being. He or she is a knowing and responsible subject. He or she can and must, with the power of personal thought, come to know the truth. He or she can and must choose and decide. That Baptism, which was received at the beginning of Poland's history, makes us more conscious of the authentic greatness of the human person. "Immersion into water" is a sign of being called to participate in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. At the same time it is an irreplaceable affirmation of the dignity of every human person. The very fact of the call itself already testifies to this. If he or she is called to such a participation, the human person must possess an exceptional dignity.
Likewise the whole historical process of a person's knowledge and choices is closely bound up with the living tradition of his or her own country where, down through all generations, the words of Christ echo and resound along with the witness of the Gospel, Christian culture, and the customs that derive from faith, hope and charity. A human being makes his choices with knowledge and with interior freedom. Here tradition is not a limiting factor but a treasure, a spiritual enrichment. It is a great common good which is confirmed by every choice, by every noble deed, by every life authentically viewed as Christian.
Can one cast all this off? Can one say no? Can one refuse Christ and all that he has brought into human history?
Certainly not. It is true that man is free. But the basic question remains: is it licit to do this? In whose name is this licit? By virtue of what rational argument, what value close to one's will and heart would it be possible to stand before yourself, your neighbour, your fellow-citizens, your country, in order to cast off, to say no to all that we have seen for one thousand years? To all that has created and .always constituted the basis of our identity?
One time Christ asked the Apostles (this took place after the promise of the institution of the Eucharist and many left him): "Do you too wish to go away?" (Jn 6,67). Allow the Successor of Peter, before all of you gathered here together, before all of our history, before modern society, to repeat today the words of Peter which constituted his reply to the question of Christ. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!" (Jn 6,68)
3. Saint Stanislaus was, as historical sources confirm, the Bishop of Krakow for seven years. This Bishop, a fellow-citizen of ours, born in Szeczepanow not far away from here, assumed the See of Krakow in 1072. He left it in 1079, suffering death at the hands of Boleslaus the Bold. The day of his death, the sources say, was 11 April and this is the day on which the liturgical calendar of the universal Church commemorates Saint Stanislaus. Poland the solemnity of this Bishop Martyr has been celebrated for centuries on 8 May and it continues thus even now.
When I, as the Metropolitan of Krakow, began with you to prepare for the ninth centenary of the death of Saint Stanislaus, which occurs this year, we all were still under the influence of the one thousandth anniversary of the Baptism of Poland which was celebrated in the year of our Lord 1966. Under the influence of this event and remembering the figure of Saint Adalbert, who also was a bishop and a martyr, whose life was connected in our history with the epoch of our Baptism, the figure of Saint Stanislaus seems to point (by analogy) to another sacrament, which is part of the Christian's initiation into the faith and into the life of the Church. This is the sacrament, as is well known, of the anointing or Confirmation. All of the jubilee studies of the mission of Saint Stanislaus in our thousand years of Christian history and all the spiritual preparation for this year's celebrations have reference to this sacrament of Confirmation.
This analogy has many aspects. Above all it parallels the normal development of a Christian life. Just as a baptized person comes to Christian maturity by means of this sacrament of Confirmation, so Divine Providence gave to our nation, after its Baptism, the historical moment of Confirmation. Saint Stanislaus, who was separated by almost a whole century from the period of the Baptism and from the mission of Saint Adalbert, especially symbolizes this moment by the fact that he rendered witness to Christ by his own blood. In the life of each Christian, usually a young Christian because it is in youth that one receives this sacrament—and Poland too was then a young nation, a young country—the sacrament of Confirmation must make him or her become a "witness to Christ" according to the measure of one's own life and proper vocation. This is a sacrament which is especially associated with the mission of the Apostles inasmuch as it introduces every baptized person into the apostolate of the Church (especially into the so-called apostolate of the laity).
This is the sacrament which brings to birth within us a sharp sense of responsibility for the Church, for the Gospel, for the cause of Christ in the souls of human beings, and for the salvation of the world.
The sacrament of Confirmation is received by us only once in our lifetime (just as Baptism is received only once). All of life which opens up in view of this sacrament assumes the aspect of a great and fundamental test: a test of faith and of character. Saint Stanislaus has become, in the spiritual history of the Polish people, the patron of this great and fundamental test of faith and of character. In this sense we honour him also as the patron of the Christian moral order. In the final analysis the moral order is built up by means of human beings. This order consists of a large number of tests, each one a test of faith and of character. From every victorious test the moral order is built up. From every failed test moral disorder grows.
We know very well from our entire history that we must not permit, absolutely and at whatever cost, this disorder. For this we have already paid a bitter price many times.
131 This is therefore our meditation on the seven years of St Stanislaus, on his pastoral ministry in the See of Krakow, on the new examination of his relics, that is to say his skull, which still shows the marks of his mortal wounds—all of this leads us today to a great and ardent prayer for the victory of the moral order in this difficult epoch of our history.
This is the essential conclusion of all the hard work for this centennial, the principal condition and purpose of conciliar renewal for which the Synod of the Archdiocese of Krakow has so patiently worked, and also it is the main prerequisite for all pastoral work, for all the activity of the Church, for all tasks, for all duties and programmes which are being or will be undertaken in the land of Poland.
That this year of Saint Stanislaus would be a year of special historical maturity in our nation and in the Church. in Poland, a year of a new and knowledgeable responsibility for the future of our country and of the Church in Poland—this is the vow that I desire today, here with you my venerable and dear brothers and sisters, to make, as the first Pope of Polish stock, to the Immortal King of the ages, the Eternal Shepherd of our souls and of our history, the Good Shepherd!
4. Allow me now to sum up by embracing spiritually the whole of my pilgrimage to Poland, from its beginning on the eve of Pentecost at Warsaw to its conclusion today at Krakow on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. I wish to thank you, dear fellow-countrymen, for everything. For having invited me and for having accompanied me along the whole course of the pilgrimage, through Gniezno of the Primates and through Jasna Gora. I thank again the State authorities for their kind invitation and their welcome. I thank the Authorities of the Provinces of Poznan, Czestochowa, Nowy Sacz and Bielsko, as well as the Municipal Authorities of Warsaw and—for this final stage—the Municipal Authorities of the ancient royal City of Krakow, for all that they have done to make possible my stay and pilgrimage in Poland. I thank the Church in my homeland: the Episcopate, with the Cardinal Primate at its head, the Metropolitan of Krakow and my beloved brother Bishops, Julian, Jan Stanislaw and Albin, with whom it was granted to me to work for many years in preparing the Jubilee of Saint Stanislaus. I thank the whole of the clergy. I thank the religious orders of men and women. I thank you all and each one in particular. It is our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks.
I too wish now, on this last day of my pilgrimage through Poland, to open my heart wide and to speak aloud my thanks in the magnificent form of a Preface. How great is my desire that my thanksgiving will reach the Divine Majesty, the heart of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
My fellow-countrymen, with the greatest warmth I again give thanks, together with you, for the gift of having been baptized more than a thousand years ago in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the gift of having been immersed in the water which, through grace, perfects in us the image of the living God, in the water that is a ripple of eternity: "a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (Jn 4,14). I give thanks because we human beings, we Poles, each of whom was born as a human being of the flesh (cf. Jn Jn 3,6) and blood of his parents, have been conceived and born of the Spirit (cf. Jn 3,5). Of the Holy Spirit.
Today, then, as I stand here in these broad meadows of Krakow and turn my gaze towards Wawel and Skalka, where nine hundred years ago "the renowned Bishop Stanislaus underwent death", I wish to fulfil again what is done in the sacrament of Confirmation, the sacrament that he symbolizes in our history. I wish what has been conceived and born of the Holy Spirit to be confirmed anew through the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which our fellow-countryman St Stanislaus shared in a special way.
Allow me, therefore, like the Bishops at Confirmation, to repeat today the apostolic gesture of the laying on of hands. For it expresses the acceptation and transmission of the Holy Spirit, whom the Apostles received from Christ himself after his Resurrection, when, "the doors being shut" (Jn 20,19), he came and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20,22).
This Spirit, the Spirit of salvation, of redemption, of conversion and holiness, the Spirit of truth, of love and of fortitude, the Spirit inherited from the Apostles as a living power, was time after time transmitted by the hands of the bishops to entire generations in the land of Poland. This Spirit, whom the Bishop that came from Szczepanow transmitted to the people of his time, I today wish to transmit to you, as I embrace with all my heart yet with deep humility the great "Confirmation of history" that you are living.
I repeat therefore the words of Christ himself: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20,22).
I repeat the words of the Apostle: "Do not quench the Spirit" (1Th 5,19).
132 I repeat the words of the Apostle: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" (Ep 4,30).
You must be strong, dear brothers and sisters. You must be strong with the strength that comes from faith. You must be strong with the strength of faith. You must be faithful. Today more than in any other age you need this strength. You must be strong with the strength of hope, hope that brings the perfect joy of life and does not allow us to grieve the Holy Spirit.
You must be strong with love, which is stronger than death. You must be strong with the love that: "is patient and kind;... is not jealous or boastful;... is not arrogant or rude... does not insist on its own way;... is not irritable or resentful;... does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends (1Co 13,4-8).
You must be strong with the strength of faith, hope and charity, a charity that is aware, mature and responsible and helps us to set up the great dialogue with man and the world rooted in the dialogue with God himself, with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit, the dialogue of salvation.
That dialogue continues to be what we are called to by all "the signs of the times". John XXIII and Paul VI, together with the Second Vatican Council, accepted this call to dialogue. John Paul II confirms this same readiness from the first day of his pontificate. Yes, we must work for peace and reconciliation between the people and the nations of the whole world. We must try to come closer to one another. We must open the frontiers. When we are strong with the Spirit of God, we are also strong with faith in man, strong with faith, hope and charity which are inseparable, and ready to give witness to the cause of man before the person who really has this cause at heart. The person to whom this cause is sacred. The person who wishes to serve this cause with his best will. There is therefore no need for fear. We must open the frontiers. There is no imperialism in the Church, only service. There is only the death of Christ on Calvary. There is the activity of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of that death, the Holy Spirit who is always with all of us, with the whole of mankind, "until the end of the world" (Mt 28,20).
5. Again, there is in Warsaw, on Victory Square, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where I began my pilgrim ministry in the land of Poland; and here in Krakow on the Vistula, between Wawel and Skalka, there is the tomb of "the Unknown Bishop" of whom a marvellous "relic" is preserved in the treasure house of our history.
And so, before I leave you, I wish to give one more look at Krakow, this Krakow in which every stone and every brick is clear to me. And I look once more on my Poland.
So, before going away, I beg you once again to accept the whole of the spiritual legacy which goes by the name of "Poland", with the faith, hope and charity that Christ poured into us at our holy Baptism.
I beg you
— never lose your trust, do not be defeated, do not be discouraged;
— do not on your own cut yourselves off from the roots from which we had our origins.
I beg you
133 — have trust, and notwithstanding all your weakness, always seek spiritual power from him from whom countless generations of our fathers and mother have found it.
— never detach ourselves from him.
— never lose your spiritual freedom, with which "he makes a human being free".
— Never disdain charity, which is "the greatest of these" and which shows itself through the Cross. Without it human life has no roots and no meaning.
All this I beg of you
— recalling the powerful intercession of the Mother of God at Jasna Gora and at all her other shrines in Polish territory;
— in memory of Saint Adalbert who underwent death for Christ near the Baltic Sea;
— in memory of Saint Stanislaus who fell beneath the royal sword at Skalka.
All this I beg of you.
Beloved boys and girls!
Great is my joy on seeing you here, so numerous and so full of fervour, to celebrate with the Pope the liturgical solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord!
I greet you all and each one individually with the deepest tenderness, and I thank you for having come to renew your Holy Communion with the Pope and for the Pope. I thank also your parish priests, always dynamic and zealous, and your parents and relatives, who have prepared you and accompanied you.
I have still before my eyes the impressive sight of the immense multitudes met during my journey in Poland; and now here is the spectacle of the Children of Rome, here is your marvellous innocence, your sparkling eyes, your restless smiles!
You are the favourites of Jesus: "Let the children come to me!", the divine Master said, "Do not hinder them!" (Lc 18,16).
You are also my favourites!
Dear boys and girls! You prepared for your First Communion with such commitment and diligence, and your first meeting with Jesus was a moment of intense emotion and deep happiness. Remember for ever this blessed day of First Communion! Remember for ever your fervour and your pure joy!
And now you have come here, to renew your meeting with Jesus. You could not make me a finer and more precious gift!
Many children had expressed the desire to receive First Communion from the hands of the Pope. Certainly, it would have been a great pastoral consolation for me to give Jesus for the first time to the boys and girls of Rome. But that is not possible; and then it is better for each child to receive his First Communion in his own parish, from his own parish priest. But at least it is possible for me to give Holy Communion today to representatives of yours, keeping all the others present in my love, in this vast and magnificent Upper Room! And this is for me and for you an immense joy which we will never forget! At the same time I wish to leave with you some thoughts, which can help you to keep your faith always limpid, your love for Jesus in the Eucharist always fervent, and your life innocent.
1. Jesus is present with us.
This is the first thought.
135 Jesus rose again, he ascended to heaven: but he willed to remain with us and for us, in every place on earth. The Eucharist is really a divine invention!
Before dying on the Cross, offering his life to the Father as a sacrifice of adoration and love, Jesus instituted the Eucharist, changing the bread and the wine into his own Person and giving the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops and Priests, the power of making him present in Holy Mass. Jesus, therefore, willed to remain with us for ever! Jesus willed to be closely united with us in Holy Communion, to prove his love to us directly and personally. Each one can say: "Jesus loves me! I love Jesus".
St Teresa of the Child Jesus, recalling the day of her First Communion, wrote: "Oh, how sweet was the first kiss that Jesus gave my soul!... It was a kiss of love, I felt loved and I said in my turn: `I love you, I give myself to you for ever'... Teresa had disappeared like a drop of water lost in the ocean. There remained only Jesus: the master, the King" (Teresa di Lisieux, Storia di un'anima.Ediz. Oueriniana, 1974, Man. A, Chap. IV, page 75). And she began to weep with joy and consolation, to the amazement of her companions.
Jesus is present in the Eucharist to be met, loved, received and consoled. Wherever there is the priest, Jesus is present, because the mission and greatness of the Priest is precisely the celebration of Holy Mass.
Jesus is present in large cities and in little villages, in mountain churches and in the distant huts of Africa and Asia, in hospitals and prisons; Jesus in the Eucharist was even present in the concentration camps!
Dear children! Receive Jesus often! Abide in him; let yourselves be transformed by him!
2. Jesus is your greatest friend
Here is the second thought.
Never forget it! Jesus wishes to be our closest friend, our companion along the way.
You have, certainly, so many friends; but you cannot always be with them and they cannot always help you, listen to you, console you.
Jesus, on the contrary, is the friend who never abandons you. Jesus knows you one by one, personally. He knows your name. He follows you, accompanies you, walks with you every day. He participates in your joys and consoles you in moments of grief and sadness. Jesus is the friend we cannot do without when we have met him and understood that he loves us and wants our love.
136 You can speak and confide in him; you can address him with affection and confidence. Jesus even died on the Cross for our sake! Make a pact of friendship with Jesus and never break it! In all the situations of your life, turn to the Divine Friend, present in us with his "Grace", present with us and in us in the Eucharist.
And be also messengers and joyful witnesses of your friend Jesus in your families, among your companions, in the places where you play and spend your holidays, in this modern society, so often so sad and dissatisfied.
3 Jesus is waiting for its
Here is the last thought.
Life, long or short, is a journey towards Paradise: there is our fatherland, there is our real home; there is our appointment!,
Jesus is waiting for us in paradise! Never forget this supreme and consoling truth. And what is Holy Communion but an anticipation of Paradise? In fact, in the Eucharist it is Jesus himself who is waiting for us and whom we will meet one day openly in Heaven.
Receive Jesus often in order never to forget Paradise, to be always on the march towards the house of the Heavenly Father, to enjoy Paradise a little already!
This had been understood by Domenico Savio, who at the age of seven got permission to receive First Communion, and on that day wrote his resolutions: "First I will confess very often and I will receive Communion whenever the confessor gives me permission. Second: I wish to sanctify feast days. Third: my friends will be Jesus and Mary. Fourth: death but not sins."
What little Domenico wrote so many years ago (in 1849) still holds good now and will hold good for ever.
Beloved boys and girls, I conclude by saying to you, keep yourselves worthy of Jesus whom you receive! Be innocent and generous! Undertake to make life beautiful for everyone. With obedience, kindness, good manners! The secret of joy is goodness!
And to you, parents and relatives, I say anxiously and confidently: love your children, respect them, edify them! Be worthy of their innocence and of the mystery enclosed in their soul, created directly by God! They need love, delicacy, a good example, maturity! Do not neglect them! Do not betray them!
137 I entrust you all to Mary Most Holy, our Mother in heaven, the Star of the sea of our life: pray to her every day, you children! Give your hand to Mary, Most Holy, so that she May lead you to receive Jesus in a holy way.
And let us also address a thought of affection and solidarity to all suffering children, to all boys and girls who cannot receive Jesus because they do not know him, to all parents who have been tragically deprived of their children or are disappointed and grieved in their expectations.
In your meeting with Jesus pray for everyone, commend everyone, invoke grace and assistance for everyone!
And pray also for me, you who are my favourites!
S. John Paul II Homil. 8699