Changed by love
Saint Louis Guanella
On Sunday, 23 October, World Mission Day, Guido Maria Conforti, Louis Guanella and Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro were canonized by Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Square. The following is an excerpt of the Pope’s Homily.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
For various reasons, our Sunday Liturgy today is enriched by thanksgiving and supplication to God. While we are celebrating World Mission Day with the whole Church – an annual event aiming to awaken enthusiasm and commitment to mission – we praise the Lord for three new Saints: Bishop Guido Maria Conforti, priest Louis Guanella and religious Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro. I joyfully greet all those present, in particular the official Delegations and the many pilgrims who have come to celebrate these three exemplary Disciples of Christ.
The human and spiritual testimony of St Louis Guanella is a special gift of grace for the whole Church. During his earthly life he lived with courage and determination the Gospel of Love and the “great commandment”, which today too, the Word of God has recalled. Thanks to the profound and continuing union with Christ, in the contemplation of his love, Don Guanella, led by Divine Providence, became a companion and teacher, comfort and support to the poorest and weakest. The love of God aroused in him the desire for the good of the people who were entrusted to him in the routine of daily life. He paid caring attention to each one and respected the pace of their development. He cultivated the hope in his heart that every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, by tasting the joy of being loved by Him – Father of all – can receive and give to others the best of himself. Today, let us praise and thank the Lord, who gave us a prophet and an apostle of love in St Louis Guanella. In his testimony, so full of humanity and attention to the least, we recognize a bright sign of the presence and charitable action of God, the God – as we heard in the First Reading – who defends the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the poor person obliged to give his garment in pledge… his only covering for the night (cf. Ex 22:20-26). May this new Saint of love be for everyone, especially for the members of the Congregations founded by him, a model of profound and fruitful synthesis between contemplation and action that he himself lived and put into practice.
We can summarize his whole human and spiritual life in his last words on his death-bed: “in caritate Christi”. It is Christ’s love that illumines the life of every person, revealing through the gift of himself to others that nothing is lost but is fully realized for our happiness. May St Louis Guanella obtain that we may grow in friendship with the Lord to be bearers of the fullness of God’s love in our time, to promote life in all of its forms and conditions, and to ensure that human society increasingly become the family of God’s children.
“I love you, Lord, my strength”, we have just proclaimed this, dear brothers and sisters, in the Responsorial Psalm. These three new Saints are an eloquent sign of this passionate love for God. Let us follow their example, let us be guided by their teachings so that our whole life may become a witness of authentic love of God and neighbor. May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Saints, and the intercession of St Guido Maria Conforti, of St Louis Guanella and St Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro obtain this grace for us. Amen.
Excerpt taken from (©L’Osservatore Romano – 26 October 2011)