Sunday, June 12


In this solemnity, the liturgy invites us to praise God not only for a miracle he has done, but for how he is; for the beauty and goodness of his being, whence his action descends. We are invited to contemplate, so to speak, the Heart of God, its deepest reality, which is to be Unity in the Trinity, the highest and deepest Communion of love and life. All Scripture tells us about Him. Indeed, it is He Himself who speaks to us of Himself in the Scriptures and reveals Himself as the Creator of the universe and Lord of history. Today we have heard a passage from the Book of Exodus in which even – quite exceptionally – God proclaims his own name! He does this in the presence of Moses, with whom he spoke face to face, as with a friend. And what is this name of God? It is always touching to hear him say, “The Lord, the Lord, the merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in grace and faithfulness” (Ex 34.6). They are human words, but suggested and almost uttered by the Holy Spirit. They tell us the truth about God: yesterday they were true, today they are and always will be; they make us see with the eyes of the mind the face of the Invisible, they tell us the name of the Ineffable. This name is Mercy, Grace, Fidelity.

Dear friends, being here in Savona, how not to rejoice with you for the fact that this name is exactly what the Virgin Mary presented, appearing on March 18, 1536 to a farmer, son of this land ? “Madonna di Misericordia” is the title with which she is revered – and for some years now we have a great image of her in the Vatican Gardens as well. But Mary did not speak of herself, she never spoke of herself, but always of God, and she did so with this name so old and always new: mercy, which is synonymous with love, grace. Here is the whole essence of Christianity, because it is the essence of God Himself. God is U in whom is all and only Love, but precisely in being Love is openness, acceptance, dialogue; and in his relationship with us sinful men is mercy, compassion, grace, forgiveness. God created everything for existence and His will is always and only life.

For those in danger, it is salvation. We heard it recently in the Gospel of John: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3.16): the whole Trinity acts in this surrender of God in the Person of the Son: the Father who puts at our disposal what is most dear to him; the Son who, consenting to the Father, strips himself of his glory to give himself to us; the Spirit coming out of the peaceful divine embrace to water the deserts of mankind. For this work of His mercy, God, willing to take our flesh, wanted to need a human “yes,” the “yes” of a woman to become the Mother of His incarnate Word, Jesus, the human face of the Divine Mercy. . Thus Mary became and continues to be forever the “Mother of Mercy”, as she also became known here in Savona.

Throughout the history of the Church, the Mother of God has done nothing but invite her children to return to God, to trust in Him in prayer, to knock with confident insistence on the door of their merciful Heart. . In fact, he wants nothing more than to pour out on the world the overabundance of his Grace. “Mercy and not righteousness,” begged Mary, knowing that she would no doubt have heard her Son Jesus, but equally aware of the need for the conversion of the hearts of sinners. That is why he invited prayer and penance. Therefore, my visit to Savona, on the day of the Holy Trinity, is above all a pilgrimage, through Mary, to the sources of faith, hope and love. A pilgrimage that is also a memory and tribute to my venerable predecessor Pius VII, whose dramatic history is inextricably linked to this city and its Marian Shrine. After two centuries, I come to renew the expression of gratitude of the Holy See and of the whole Church for the faith, love and courage with which your fellow citizens supported the Pope in his forced residence. , imposed by Napoleon Bonaparte, in this town. There are many testimonies of the demonstrations of solidarity made to the Pope by the Savoneses, sometimes even at personal risk. These are events that the people of Savona remember today with pride. As your bishop rightly observed, that dark page in the history of Europe has become, by the power of the Holy Spirit, rich in grace and teachings, even to this day. It teaches us the courage to face the challenges of the world: materialism, relativism, secularism, never giving in to commitments, willing to pay personally to remain faithful to the Lord and His Church. The example of serene firmness given by Pope Pius VII invites us to keep our trust in God unaltered in trials, aware that, although he allows difficult times for his Church, he never abandons him. The story lived by the great Pontiff in your land invites us to always trust in the intercession and maternal assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The appearance of the Virgin, at a tragic moment in the history of Savona and the tremendous experience that the Successor of Peter lived here, contribute to transmitting a message of hope to the Christian generations of our time, encouraging us to trust in the instruments of Grace that the Lord puts at our disposal in every situation. And among these means of salvation, I would like to remember above all prayer: personal, family and community prayer. On today’s feast of the Trinity I like to emphasize the dimension of praise, contemplation, adoration. I am thinking of young families and I want to invite them not to be afraid to experience, from the first years of marriage, a simple style of domestic prayer, favored by the presence of young children, very inclined to turn spontaneously to the Lord. and the Virgin Mary. I urge parishes and associations to give time and space to prayer, because activities are pastorally sterile if they are not constantly preceded, accompanied, and supported by prayer.

And what about the Eucharistic celebration, especially the Sunday Mass? The Lord’s Day is precisely at the center of the pastoral care of Italian bishops: Sunday must be rediscovered in their Christian roots, beginning with the celebration of the Risen Lord, found in the Word of God and recognized in the rupture of the Eucharistic Bread. And then also the Sacrament of Reconciliation asks to be revalued as a fundamental means for spiritual growth and to be able to face with strength and courage the current challenges. Along with prayer and the sacraments, other inseparable instruments of growth are works of charity that must be exercised in living faith. I also wanted to dwell on this aspect of the Christian life in the Encyclical God caritas est. In the modern world, which often makes beauty and physical efficiency an ideal to be pursued in every way, as Christians we are called to find the face of Jesus Christ, “the most beautiful among the children of man” (Sal 44.3), precisely in people who suffer and are excluded. Unfortunately, there are many moral and material emergencies that concern us today. In this sense, I take this opportunity to send a greeting to the prisoners and staff of the Penitentiary Institute “Sant’Agostino” in Savona, who have long been living in a situation of particular hardship. An equally warm greeting to the sick of the hospital, residences or private residences. […]

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