Speeches 1964 - Thursday, 3 December 1964
My dear friends in Christ,
Our meeting together today is an occasion of both joy and significance. We rejoice in the fact that Our pilgrimage to Bombay has made it possible to greet the representatives of so many Christian Churches and communities of India. We rejoice too that our meeting takes place in an atmosphere of fraternal charity and mutual understanding which is a sign that the Holy Spirit has been working in a special way in the minds and hearts of all those who bear the glorious name of Jesus Christ. It is with joy that We express Our gratitude to God for His pouring out of the gifts of His Spirit, especially in these days. For if the divisions which exist among Christians are a cause of pain to all who desire to serve their Lord faithfully, the fact that so many initiatives have already been taken to repair these divisions is a source of joy and consolation. The Catholic Church also is taking her own proper initiative towards the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ. We have emphasized this in a number of Our addresses and letters.
Most recently We solemnly reaffirmed this in the decree on Ecumenism which We, together with the Fathers of the Catholic Church gathered in Council, promulgated at the session of the Second Vatican Council which has just ended. However, the initiatives which We are taking are not to be made in isolation. Rather it is Our hope that Our efforts can accompany yours, can mingle with yours so that together, in humility and charity and mutual understanding, we can seek out the ways by which Christ’s will «that all may be one» can one day be fully realized.
We are well aware that in our efforts to achieve renewal within the Catholic Church and sincere dialogue with those who are not in full communion with her, We must remain faithful to the truth which We have received from the Apostles and Fathers of the Church. The pastoral office to which God has called Us particularly demands that. But We are also confident that fidelity to Christ and to His Gospel, which is the touchstone of all sincere ecumenical activity, will bring it about that God, Who will never be wanting to those who serve Him in love, will crown the efforts of all of us with blessings of true peace and reconciliation among Christians themselves, even as He has reconciled us to Himself in the Blood of His Son.
It is in the name of this divine Son that We have come as a pilgrim to the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay. It is in the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ that We thank you, the representatives of the Churches and communities of India, for coming to meet Us here. We send Our greetings to all your people and pray that God may bless you. May He bless also the efforts of all of you who are gathered here to study and work together in a spirit of fraternal understanding. We encourage these efforts and hope that they will be deepened and broadened in their outlook and results, confident that He who is the Lord of the Church will lead her to that fullness towards which, in the course of time, He wills His Body to grow and increase.
This visit to India is the fulfilment of a long cherished desire. Yours is a land of ancient culture, the cradle of great religions, the home of a nation that has sought God with a relentless desire, in deep meditation and silence, and in hymns of fervent prayer. Rarely has this longing for God been expressed with words so full of the spirit of Advent as in the words written in your sacred books many centuries before Christ: «From the unreal lead me to the real; from darkness lead me to light; from death lead me to immortality» (Br. 1, 3, 28).
This is a prayer which belongs also to our time. Today more than ever, it should rise from every human heart. The human race is undergoing profound changes and is groping for the guiding principles and the new forces which will lead it into the world of the future. Your country also has entered into a new phase of her history and in this period of transition you too feel the insecurity of our age, when traditional orders and values are changed, and all efforts must be concentrated on building the future of the nation not only on a stable material basis, but on firm spiritual foundations. You, too, are engaged in the struggle against the ills that darken the lives of innumerable people all over the world: against poverty, hunger and illness; you too are fighting the relentless battle for more food, clothing, housing, for education, for a just distribution of the wealth of this world. Are we not all one in this struggle for a better world, in this effort to make available to all people those goods which are needed to fulfil their human destiny and to live lives worthy of the children of God?
Therefore we must come closer together, not only through the modern means of communication, through press and radio, through steamships and jet planes, - we must come together with our hearts, in mutual understanding, esteem and love. We must meet not merely as tourists, but as pilgrims who set out to find God - not in buildings of stone but in human hearts. Man must meet man, nation meet nation, as brothers and sisters, as children of God. In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must also begin to work together to build the common future of the human race. We must find the concrete and practical ways of organisation and cooperation, so that all resources be pooled, and all efforts united towards achieving a true communion among all nations. Such a union cannot be built on a universal terror or fear of mutual destruction; it must be built on the common love that embraces all and has its roots in God, who is love.
The occasion of Our visit is the Eucharistic Congress. The Eucharist is the commemoration of Jesus Christ and his love for God the Father in heaven, and for all men, a love unto death. This love of Jesus is not a matter of the past; it is meant to remain present and to live in every human heart. Christ is dear also to this country, not only to those who are Christians - they are a minority - but to the millions of people who have come to know and love Him as an inspiration of love and self sacrifice. His words will always ring in the hearts of all men of good will: «The Son of man has come not to have service done to him, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many». Before he went to die he told his disciples: «I have a new command to give you, that you love one another» - and he gave them the sign by which they should be recognised by all: mutual love.
This is the meaning of the Congress: true love must be renewed in our midst and must become the inspiring force of all our efforts. We need peace and stability in our world, we need food, clothing and housing for millions, we need honesty and devotion and untiring work for bettering man’s condition, but all these efforts must be animated by true love.
I pray that the words of the motto of this Congress - «order your lives in love» - remain imprinted in your hearts, and become a living seed that Will grow and bear fruit. May God awaken this love in all of us and unite us through that invisible, yet unbreakable bond which should bind all those who are sheltered in the love of God. May He make of us the one family of His children.
Gentlemen, Members of the Consular Corps Bombay,
We are most happy to meet you here in what might be considered Our home in Bombay. The work that you are called to do produces benefits not only for your own countries but also contributes much to the development and progress of this noble nation of India. Mutual respect and cooperation such as yours cannot but produce beneficial results and serves as a further proof of the brotherhood of nations which is a guarantee for peace and prosperity. People everywhere are most desirous of creating an atmosphere in which they are able to grow, develop and progress. We wish you well in your task and We encourage you to find more securely the bonds that unite all men in the one family of God. Upon you and your work We invoke an abundance of heavenly blessings and graces.
We come to repay Your Excellency’s exquisite kindness in welcoming Us personally upon Our arrival in India. We repeat Our profound thankfulness for this thoughtful and generous gesture, as well as for all the gracious favours which Your Excellency, and the Government of India, have so considerately granted, both on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress, and of Our pilgrimage to this great religious and spiritual assembly.
With respect and homage, We express Our admiration of the Indian Nation. We salute it in the person of Your Excellency, Head of State and President of India. We salute it in the persons of the Right Honourable Prime Minister, and the Honourable Members of the Government of India. Under such wise guidance, India is advancing towards greater prosperity, and ever more cordial relations with the other nations of the world. We pray that true peace, founded on justice and love and so ardently desired and promoted by the Indian people, may reign between individuals, between families and communities, and between the peoples of the earth.
Permit Us, finally, to express the wish that the moral and civic virtues, which the world has admired in the great modern Indians such as Gandhi and Nehru, may be those which ensure the prosperity, the concord and the honour of the Indian people, which will always nobly characterize its human countenance, and which will make it exemplary and celebrated throughout the whole world.
We ask God to recompense the countless kindnesses shown to Us with His choicest favours and most abundant graces.
We thank you from Our heart for your very kind words of greeting. As President and Head of State, your are the personification of this great country, already so dear to Us, and now dearer still by reason of Our meeting with its people and their rulers.
Our spiritual pilgrimage has had a most auspicious beginning, and We rejoice in this opportunity, both to participate personally in the important international assembly being celebrated in Bombay, and to move among the beloved people of India and manifest to them Our deep affection and interest.
May Your Excellency ever enjoy divine assistance in the performance of your high duties, and every heavenly favour for yourself and your family. May India be blessed by God with His richest graces, with brotherly love and peace.
Venerable Brothers and beloved sons,
Let us seriously contemplate the fact that Jesus Christ is present.
Jesus Christ, alive.
Jesus Christ. He Who is the eternal and consubstantial Son of God; Who is also the Son of Mary, true man, our Brother.
He is here in the Eucharistic Mystery which this Congress celebrates. He is really present, not merely represented, not only invoked remembered. He Himself is here, real and unique; only under the sacramental appearances is He multiplied. And He is multiplied in order to be communicated to each of us.
We cannot remain silent; We must exclaim: Glory to Thee, O Lord! Thanks to Thee, O Friend of men! O Master! O Bread of Life! O Saviour! We humbly acknowledge Thee! We believe in Thee! We love Thee!
Contemplating in Our heart the Blessed Eucharist considered as “ a pledge of future glory “, that glory in which we shall see God as He is in His very essence, We recall the words of a great poet, son of this land which today, O Jesus, is your home:
“ Day after day, O Lord of my life, shall I stand before thee, face to face?
With folded hands, O Lord of all worlds, shall I stand before thee, face to face?
Under thy great sky, in solitude and silence, with humble heart, shall I stand before thee, face to face?
In this laborious world of thine, tumultuous with toil and with struggle, among hurrying crowds, shall I stand before thee, face to face ” (Rabindranath Tagore).
How is this possible?
It is possible because divine powers have been communicated to some among us. The Priesthood of Christ was transmitted to some of His disciples, who thus became instruments of His action, heirs of His mission, vicars of His work.
This other mystery of the presence of Christ among men is also celebrated here today. It is celebrated in Our humble person as the Vicar of Christ; it is celebrated in the holy persons of you, O Bishops and priests here present.
Priests of Christ! Bishops, successors of the Apostles! Let us together confess our humbleness and our greatness, just as Mary, the exquisite Mother of God, while proclaiming her humility as His handmaid, exalted the great things which God did to her and with her.
Let us take notice of the event which is now taking place here through Our hands, transformed into the instrument of the hand of God, namely: the event of transmission. We have transmitted the fulness of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ to these Our Brothers, whom we shall from now on call Bishops, that is: the Pastors and Shepherds, of the believers, and for the people who do not yet believe.
We have transfused into them the Holy Spirit.
We have transmitted to them Our episcopal powers.
We have associated them with Ourself in Our awesome mission, the mission of evangelizing souls, the mission of sanctifying them, the mission of guiding them.
And We have chosen them from the five parts of the world, so that it may be clear that We are obedient to the love of Christ; that immense love, pouring forth upon all peoples, upon all the men of this earth. From this point on the globe, which has been the source and fountainhead of numberless streams of peoples and of civilizations, We greet India, We greet all of Asia, We greet the world. You, the new Bishops, are Our greeting. Just as Christ, Whose ministry We now personify, said to His disciples when He had made them Apostles, that is, messengers of His word and His grace, so We say to you, who are consecrated to that same mission: “ Go, preach the message: The kingdom of heaven is at hand! . . . ” as you enter the house that welcomes you, salute it thus: “ Peace be to this house! ” (Mt 10, 7, 12).
You are bearers of peace: how humble and how human is your mission! It is not arms, nor riches, nor pride of conquest and glory that are your strength, but the Word of God, the Gospel!
Let your words echo the message of the divine truths, which as through a glass, darkly, are evoked by the words adopted by this great nation: «Truth alone triumphs, not falsehood. The divine path to liberation has been laid with truth, which the seers who have overcome desire tread, and wherein also is that supreme treasure to be gained by truth» (Mundaka Upanishad).
But even more, love is your strength.
Shepherds of souls, you have nothing to ask; but you have everything to give: your own selves.
Your authority derives from this, that you can call every man you meet your friend; and if he responds to you, you will call him brother and son.
Your wisdom will be twofold: divine and human. As your prophecy, you will have the doctrine which the divine Master taught us. You will have the ability to understand the heart of man, his greatness, his folly, his sufferings, his misery; your knowledge and science will be the science of life.
Go, then, Shepherds, on all the roads of the earth; go, reveal to the peoples their dignity, their freedom, their mission on this earth and in the next world. Your journey will not be an easy one, but do not fear, for the Lord is with you.
Wheresoever you go, there will be renewed the mystery of that Presence of God which we celebrate: here today. Thus, with the elect, the faithful who will come to surround you, you will mark off each hour of human history, until the end of time, with this supreme desire and this supreme certitude: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” (Ap 22,20).
Invoking this grace from the loving heart of Our Eucharistic Master, We bestow upon you all Our affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
My dear sons and daughters,
The holy Father has come to visit you. Why have I come? I come because Our Lord Jesus Christ sends men to you. Because you are favourite children, of whom He has asked the greatest sacrifices, to whom He has entrusted the heaviest Crosses. But also because you are those whom He consoles, with His love, His graces, His choicest blessings. I have to assure you of my sympathy for you in your sufferings, and my compassion for your sorrow. Above all, I exhort and encourage you to give full value to your pains. Accept them with patience, piety, and resignation for God’s holy will. By your patience you will win your souls, and you will fill up in your flesh what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His body, which is the Church. Pray for this patience and resignation through the intercession of Our Mother, Mary, whom We have recently proclaimed Mother of the Church, She will not despise your petition, but in Her mercy will hear and answer you. To call down the comforting and consoling graces of God, to obtain the powerful assistance of the Mother of Jesus, and to show you once again my special love and paternal interest, I gladly impart to you and to all your loved ones, My special Apostolic Blessing.
My dear Children,
Thank You for your warm welcome. I have come all the way from Rome to see you, and to tell you how truly I love you as our Holy Father.
In this orphanage, you are cared for, protected, fred and sheltered. Thank God for these graces, and ask Him to reward all those who help you: your teachers, their assistants, and all the good people who, by their offerings and prayers, give you this home and this chance to prepare yourselves for an industrious and happy life.
Be sure to work hard, and not to waste time: study and obey your superiors, because this is what God wishes you to do. Always remember that the Holy Father loves you and prays for you; that He does everything He can to help you; and in your prayers, ask God to help and strengthen Him in carrying out His difficult tasks.
I call down God’s very best graces upon you all, and with a heart filled with fatherly love, I bless you, your families, your teachers and guardians, all those whom you love and who love you.
«Sinite parvulos . . .»
MY DEAR Children, We are happy to be able to stop for this brief visit with you because Our affection for you is great. You are gathered here today to pay loving homage to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This is for you wonderful opportunity and We urge you not to waste this chance to strengthen your faith and deepen your love for the Church, for your Schoolmates and all Catholics, and for the Peoples of the whole world. Catholic means universal, of the whole world, and you must learn to look further than your own family, or group, or City, to the entire Nation of India, to all Asia, to the great earth itself. We are happy to see you, and We thank you for the beautiful welcome you have given to Us. May God reward you. May He bless your families and teachers and all those who are dear to you. In His name, We lovingly impart to you all, as a pledge of numerous divine graces, Our fatherly Apostolic Blessing.
My dear Students,
I have the greatest joy in being able to see you and meet you. As the Holy Father, I love every human being, every adopted son of God; but above all I love youth. You are the hope of the future; you are young, strong, full of life and energy and ambition. Be sure that I follow your plans and your progress with fatherly interest, and that I wish you every happiness and success.
One thought I would leave with you today. Always try to know Jesus and to know Him better. Study His life, His deeds and His words, so that you may the better copy His example and follow Him, for He is «the Way, the Truth and the Life». Try to compare Our Lord’s teachings with your own experiences in life, and then make your actions and thoughts similar to His; have the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus. Our purpose in life, as you know, is to know, love and serve God on earth, so as to be happy with Him forever in heaven. Work, then, ever to know Jesus better, and you will not fail to love and serve Him faithfully and well.
With this recommendation, I promise you that I will pray for you all; and I ask you also to say a prayer for me. As a mark of my love, I gladly bestow upon you all, upon families, your teachers, and all those you bear in your hearts, my affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
Through you We wish to extend to all the members of this Hospital Our sincere gratitude for this opportunity of visiting with you: the many doctors without whose selfless dedication this grand work of assisting the sick could hardly be carried out, the nurses, whose generous sacrificing labour makes more effective the work of the doctor, and whose personal interest eases the suffering and demoralization of the patient, above all, the Government of India, which maintains this great institution for the assistance of its citizens. This is indeed a noble work. We have visited your blood bank, and in this We see an example of true brotherhood whereby men, regardless of race, caste or creed, give of their own life substance to succour the needs of those less fortunate. We cannot but encourage this wonderful work and invoke upon it the Blessing of Almighty God. With great interest and affection have We visited the children’s wards. It grieves us to see the young suffering, and Our heart goes out to them and their familiar. In their name and in the name of all suffering children the world over, We express appreciative thanks for all the work being done on their behalf. And now that We are present here in the nurses quarters, We somehow sense that We are making contact with the heart of any hospital. The nursing profession is not an easy one. It requires complete dedication, patience, perseverance and an un-selfish love of neighbour. Jesus Christ, the great Healer, wept at the suffering of the sick, and he extended his healing hand to comfort them and make them whole. It is from him that We beg special graces and heavenly assistance on all doctors and nurses, whose help continues even now his consoling mission. To share with you in this wonderful task entrusted to you, Mr. Dean, We are making a gift to your hospital. We hope in some slight way such instruments will prove most effective as you fulfil your mission for the sick.
From Our heart filled with love for all of you, in the name of Jesus, We now impart to you, your loved ones and in particular the aged and the sick entrusted to your care Our paternal Blessing.
Friday, 4 December 1964
Eucharistic Congress committee and Civic Community.
Dear Members of the Eucharistic Congress committee,
We greet you with paternal joy, and We thank you for the cordial welcome you have offered Us in Our visit to the Eucharistic Congress of Bombay. Our heart is filled with admiration and gratitude for your great achievement in preparing and organizing this great international religious event, We thank you most sincerely for the self-sacrificing generosity with which you have dedicated your talents, time and in many cases your personal contributions, to the success of this universal act of worship and veneration of Our most Blessed Saviour in the sacrament of His love for men. Asking Our Eucharistic Master to reward you with His choicest favours and graces, We willingly bestow upon all of you here present, upon your families and loved ones, and upon all your collaborators and benefactors, Our special paternal Apostolic Benediction. Honoured representatives of the Civic Community of this beautiful city of Bombay, to you We wish to extend a special word of greeting and thanks. The magnificent site of the Oval and the other Eucharistic Congress preparations could not have been possible without your generous support and collaboration. We thank you from the depths of Our heart, and We invoke upon you and your city abundant blessings and favours of Almighty God. Jai Hind.
We are grateful to you for this meeting, since it affords Us an opportunity to express Our admiration for this great city, the Gateway of India. In Our memory, Bombay will remain as the symbol and epitome of the great Continent of Asia, with its ancient cultures and traditions, with its vast populations, with its earnest desire for peace.
This immense metropolis facing the sea has found its way into Our heart, and We embrace its people with truly paternal affection. We wish them well in all their undertakings for greater prosperity in harmony with all the peoples of India and of the world. We encourage the efforts made by the municipal, civic and national authorities for the greater welfare and happiness of al citizens, in respect of the dignity of the human person and of its inalienable and sacred rights.
It is then through you that We salute with benevolence and good will the population of Bombay, as well as the entire Indian people; and upon you and an abundance of choicest graces and favours.
Gentlemen of the Press,
Although Our pilgrimage to Bombay is brief and filled with appointments, We have desired to dedicate a short period to a meeting with you. We thank you for your intense work in regard to Our visit, reminding you that the Press which you represent can be a most potent instrument for great good. Always be faithful to the truth, remembering your responsibility to the public and eventually to history.
We entrust to you Our special message to the world. Would that the nations could cease the armaments race, and devote their resources and energies instead to the fraternal assistance of the developing countries! Would that every nation, thinking «thoughts of peace and not of affliction» and war, would contribute even a part of its expenditure for arms to a great world fund for the relief of the many problems of nutrition, clothing, shelter and medical care which affect so many peoples!
From the peaceful altar of the Eucharistic Congress, may this Our anguished cry go forth to all the governments of the world, and may God inspire them to undertake this peaceful battle against the sufferings of their less fortunate brothers!
My dear children,
I am very happy to meet you all, especially the altar boys, and to tell you how much I love you, how often I pray for you, and how proud I am to be your Holy Father.
I have come from Rome to join you in adoring and loving Our blessed Lord in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, Always have a warm and deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Visit Our Lord as often as you can. Receive Him frequently in Holy Communion. Ask Him to make you good, to make you holy, to make you ever more and more like Himself.
You altar boys are the closest ones to Jesus in the Tabernacle, when you serve the priest at Holy Mass. You must therefore be especially pure and good. I would ask you, and all the other boys and girls, to think seriously whether Our Lord is calling you to serve him by means of a vocation. Pray to Jesus to send many good workers into His harvest of souls, to bring men and women to know, love and serve Him here on earth, and to be happy with Him for ever in Heaven.
I am going to give you all my blessing. I will ask Our Lord to grant you His richest graces, and to bless also your dear parents, your brothers and sisters, your priests, teachers and all those you love.
Saturday, 5 December 1964
Beloved sons and daughters,
We cannot conclude Our visit to India without paying special homage to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Here at Mount Mary in Bandra We join you in hailing her as Queen and Mother of all India, To her loving maternal care We entrust this great continent with its people, praying her to show herself a mother, so that He Who became her Son and our Saviour may accept our prayers through her intercession.
Here, too, We hail Our Lady as Mother of the Church, the beautiful title which We had the honour of recognizing to her in the recent session of the Vatican Ecumenical Council. To her We entrust the entire Church in the world, begging her maternal protection and loving care.
Let us, then, all together raise our voices to salute her in this holy shrine: Hail, Mary! Full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Confident of her prayers and intercession, We affectionately bestow upon you all, your families and loved ones, Our paternal Apostolic Blessing.
Most dearly beloved sons,
Our heart is filled with gladness and consolation as We greet you with special affection.
We salute you as associates in Our ministry: «cooperatores ordinis nostri». Like Saint Paul writing to Timothy, We have longed to see you, that We might be filled with joy; and We remember you without ceasing in Our prayers night and day.
Moreover, We greet you as workers, our future workers, of the Gospel; of that Good News which gives men eternal happiness. Like the Apostles, you leave all things and follow Jesus, Who said: «If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me»; and you do this the more cheerfully and willingly, because that cross is the Cross of Jesus.
Understand your vocation; first, with regard to Christ, Who calls you to follow Him as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, strive to be found trustworthy. Then, as regards the Church, «obey your superiors and be subject to them, for they keep watch as having to render an account of your souls; so that they may do this with joy». As far as the world is concerned, remember that you are lights set high on candlesticks, so that your light may shine before men and they may see your good works.
To strengthen you in your vocation, We invoke the assistance of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, Mother of the Church; and in pledge of copious divine graces We impart to you all Our Apostolic Blessing.
Speeches 1964 - Thursday, 3 December 1964