Father Pierino Ghi s.j.- Morning Catechism
Saint Catherine of Siena didn’t even know how to read or write…however she did know how to memorize a prayer that her Mother taught her. One night she woke up, and taking something like a pen into her hand she began to write and composed a prayer to the Holy Spirit, and so she was given the gift to read and write. Recite this prayer with me, and certainly the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of Mary, will work many true miracles of grace here among us; of course he has already performed miracles in these days, but surely the Holy Spirit will descend on each one of us today. “ Oh Holy Spirit, come into my heart, with your strength , oh Living God. Grant me charity and, with fear of the Lord, free me from every evil thought. My Holy Father, My Sweet Jesus, Christ Love, Christ Love”. While I was thinking of what she was saying, a passage from the Word of God came to my mind, which I think is worth both for me and for all of you. From the book of Deuteronomy (32, 10). “He found him in a desert land”. The Lord has found everyone of us in a desert land, some of us scorched by drugs, others by alcohol, and others by mortal sins. “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness”. : Think of the rowdiness in the dance clubs, or places even worse. “…He shielded him”. One girl called me the other day “I was desperate, I went to a prayer group, when Jesus passed in the Eucharist I felt shielded by His love”…Beautiful! “He cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye”, This is Jesus’ Love for you…God’s Love for you. “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young”. Look at how great God’s tenderness is; This is why the Pope has written the stupendous encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”, God is Love. “Spreading out its wings, catching them” Who has brought you here? Was it not the divine eagle who is the Lord Jesus? It is not you who brought yourself here, But it is the strength of God’s Love which has guided you. “The Lord alone did lead him”. This phrase intoxicated St. Therese of the Child Jesus; she said “Only God, only Jesus leads me”. “There was no foreign god with him”. Boys and girls, when the Lord takes us out of a scorched land, He carried us to this Oasis, to many Oasis, because you are in many places all over the world, and he has placed guards to look after you. He has placed barriers of fire around you, and I can say that, despite my poverties, in 50 years of priesthood the Lord has truly defended me. “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and eat the produce of the field”. Brothers and sisters, mums and dads, and you children, have you ever lacked anything from the time you’ve entered the Community??? Nothing! Because God nourishes us with gifts of the earth and with the gift of all gifts, which is the Eucharist. “He made him suck honey out of the rock”. Let us truly thank Jesus who has taken us on eagles wings. When I returned from the Holy Land after 3 months of prayer, I went into the mountains with some friends: on the way back we stopped at an open space; on a spire there was an eagle with its little ones looking at us, and when we approached it, the eagle took its little ones upon its wings and carried them away. How much this simple fact says: It is really Jesus who gives us the grace, the strength for overcoming all our difficulties. You, parents, who have children in this Community or in another one, thank the Lord for this journey that your children are making, and at the same time listen to the Word of God, and when the Eucharist passes, we’ll thank Jesus and let him heal us. Last Tuesday I gave a catechism on Radio Maria. When I finished the catechism, a woman gave testimony: Her husband was an alcoholic; one day she managed to bring him to a prayer group and during one of the meetings they read a passage from the Canticle of Canticles: “For your love is better than wine.”, suddenly the man feels cured of the alcohol and from that moment on he never drank again. As long as we are here and listen to the Word, the Word of God heals us, believe me! Ours is not an abstract God, I can experiment the Love of my God. Now I will read you all a passage taken from the Letter of St. Paul “You are brought together by something tangible”, You have come here, but this is not just a stage full of singers, musical instruments and decorations, “You are brought together by something tangible”, and another passage from the Old Testament which is written “You are brought together on Mount Zion , to the city of the Living God, The Celestial Jerusalem. I invite you all to imagine being before Jesus Crucified, with his open side, pierced by a lance, from which blood and water flow forth. Anyone who has been to Jerusalem can easily imagine the place…but Jesus Crucified is here and present among us. The Crucifix where it’s written: Jesus’ Love for me. When I was a young student, I often had in front of me an image of Jesus Crucified, and under it there was written “Jesus, crushed for our sins”. Brothers and sisters, if you are here free of drugs and alcohol, it is not because of your merits, but because Jesus has loved you, this is the truth: if Jesus hadn’t called us we would all be consumed. The drug is strong, but the Blood of Jesus is more powerful! And when you say “I can’t do it!”, don’t escape, because there is the Blood of Jesus that wants to re-clothe and sober you! Listen to what St. Bernard says: “What is more effective in healing the wounds of the conscience and in purifying the depths of the soul? What is more powerful than the frequent meditation upon Jesus’ inflictions and sufferings?” , if we are able to concentrate and meditate upon Christ’s Passion and hide ourselves within his wounds, we will find that it is the best remedy against impure temptations. There is no remedy more powerful than this to fight the demon of impurity, who is terrible. Impurity is demolishing many marriages; it attacks everything. So let’s stay close to Jesus, to his open wound, let’s try to speak to him from the heart, the way that friends speak to one another. Last year I told all of you that this hill is a Holy Terrain and that the Lord doesn’t just want to heal us, but he also wants to bring us to holiness, and there is nothing more powerful than the Virgin Mary, that you pray: the Virgin Mary who remains faithful at the foot of the cross, who meditates on the Blood of Jesus, and who offers herself as the sweetest Mother so that we may walk towards Holiness. Dear youth, mums and dads, let us not lament anymore, instead let us treasure the cross and the suffering in order to enter this ocean of peace where we will find holiness. During these days a group of words have come to my mind, which have been with me since childhood: swallow, suffer and love, but next to this phrase there is yet another one “always smile”. Smile: Because it is in the joy that we become saints. Swallow, suffer, love and always smile! I want to speak also of marriage with all of you, because the devil has launched terrible attacks towards marriage, whether it be from the diabolical laws approved by certain states and countries, or from disagreement among the husband and wife. The devil attacks everyone: young and old couples. It is a temptation that is invading everyone and for this reason there is a great value in what the Pope says, “Deus Caritas Est” , because Love comes from God and from him also Love between married couples. Dear boys and girls, I don’t know each of you, but I think that many of you have gone in search of Love elsewhere, a false love, because there wasn’t love in the family. What has Jesus done through Sr. Elvira through this wonderful work of the Cenacolo? A miracle! He has chosen you and he has shown you what true Love is! Its more than 1 year now that I have been explaining on “Radio Maria” the Canticle of Canticles. Like the Holy Father says also, today, people take the verses of this book as profane songs, pretty songs that excite the human love; but the Church, God himself has made them. In his encyclical, the Pope says that these love songs describe the depths of God’s relationship with man and the man’s relationship with God. In this sense the Canticle of Canticles have become Christian Literature, like that of the Judaic, a flow of conscience and of mystical experience. While having to explain the Canticle of Canticles every month on the radio I asked Jesus to give a great pureness of heart, for myself and also for the listeners. It is with this goal of a pure heart, that I would like to enter a subject which today rather excludes and despises this pureness: premarital chastity, dominion of the body, a body which is a temple of God. Man is inseparably united with God, and it profanes God when a man unites with a woman who is not his own. Dear young people, be prideful of chastity even if you must fight, even if someone says that you are stupid, remember that these are words that want to destroy the project of God in us. Pureness of heart is necessary for entering into the Kingdom of God: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. Matrimony is holy, because it is a call of God. The man and the woman form one body alone and this unity is blessed from God. I implore you , young people, for the sake of the Blood of Jesus, fight, fight, fight! You’ll struggle as slowly as you would do climbing Mount Everest, but the air becomes cleaner and cleaner. The Virgin Mary is present in this moment, placing her hand upon your heads, it is Mary who pulled you out of the lion’s pit. It is Mary who defends you all. Adults, you want to pray, because matrimonial fidelity is a gift from God. These girls and boys are angels because they pray. Here right in front of me, there are girls who have consecrated themselves because they have prayed. Parents, reintegrate prayer in the family life. Television is filthy, it’s destroying the family. I beg of you, husbands and wives, pray together, forgive yourselves, for the sake of the Blood of Jesus. Twice a year I have the Festival of Children, and it happens that some children come close to me and ask me: “Pray that daddy will come back, pray that mommy and daddy won’t argue anymore”, and the prayer of the innocent goes up to heaven. If you all could only leave this gathering heeding just one thing: make space for prayer in the family, and see that the family will completely change, there will be more hope. I frequently hear people saying: “I prayed, I prayed and the Lord didn’t perform a miracle”, The Lord has his plans and he works in us. We invoke the Holy Spirit upon this Community, so that he may strengthen all of you young people in you fight, because the devil is like a lion who searches to devour someone. Why does St. Peter compare the devil to a lion? Because the lion is very cunning…very sly: the female goes to hunt, while the male lion stays where he is, it would seem as if he’s not even there, but then at the right moment he attacks the prey, which has wandered far from the herd. The devil is a “lion in search of someone to devour”. So I beg all of you, for the sake of the Blood of Jesus, be reconciled and be missionaries of unity in your families.