"The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer. Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them. They struggle to the very end, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them", said Pope Francis today as he introduced the qualities of the seven new saints who were canonized during the mass in St Peter's Square.
The facade of the basilica was adorned with the images of the new
saints: Solomon Leclercq (1745-1792), of the Christian Brothers,
martyred during the French Revolution; Joseph Sánchez del Río
(1913-1928), a young martyr of the anti-clerical Mexican regime; Manuel
González García (1877-1940), bishop of Palencia, founder Eucharistic
Union and Reparation of the Congregation of the Eucharistic Missionary
Sisters of Nazareth; Ludovico Pavoni (1784-1849), priest, founder of the
Congregation of the Sons of Mary Immaculate; Alfonso Maria Fusco
(1839-1910), priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St.
John the Baptist; Joseph Gabriel del Rosario Brochero (1840-1914),
Argentinean priest, very dear to Pope Francis; Blessed Elizabeth of the
Trinity Catez (1880-1906), a Carmelite nun whose meditations on the
Trinity amazed theologians like Hans Urs von Balthasar.
In his homily, in front of 80,000 faithful, the Pope stressed several
times that with the canonization these holy men and women "attained
the goal. Thanks to prayer, they had a generous and steadfast heart.
They prayed mightily; they fought and they were victorious".
The Pope was inspired by the prayer of Moses in the battle against
Amalek (Exodus 17.8 to 13), which allowed the victory of the Jewish
people. To keep his arms raised in prayer, Moses was supported by Aaron
"This is an important message in this story of Moses: commitment to
prayer demands that we support one another. Weariness is inevitable.
Sometimes we simply cannot go on, yet, with the support of our brothers
and sisters, our prayer can persevere until the Lord completes his work"
"The “battle” of perseverance cannot be won without prayer. Not
sporadic or hesitant prayer, but prayer offered as Jesus tells us in the
Gospel: “Pray always, without ever losing heart” (Lk 18:1). This is the
Christian way of life: remaining steadfast in prayer, in order to
remain steadfast in faith and testimony.. "
" True, each of us grows weary. Yet we are not alone; we are part of a
Body! We are members of the Body of Christ, the Church, whose arms are
raised day and night to heaven, thanks to the presence of the Risen
Christ and his Holy Spirit. Only in the Church, and thanks to the
Church’s prayer, are we able to remain steadfast in faith and witness".
"This is the mystery of prayer: to keep crying out, not to lose
heart, and if we should grow tired, asking help to keep our hands
raised. This is the prayer that Jesus has revealed to us and given us in
the Holy Spirit. To pray is not to take refuge in an ideal world, nor
to escape into a false, selfish sense of calm. On the contrary, to pray
is to struggle, but also to let the Holy Spirit pray within us. For the
Holy Spirit teaches us to pray. He guides us in prayer and he enables us
to pray as sons and daughters”.
“The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of
prayer” – he concludes – “Men and women who struggle with prayer,
letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them. They struggle to the
very end, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their
own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them. The seven
witnesses who were canonized today also fought the good fight of faith
and love by their prayers. That is why they remained firm in faith, with
a generous and steadfast heart. Through their example and their
intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer. May
we cry out day and night to God, without losing heart. May we let the
Holy Spirit pray in us, and may we support one another in prayer, in
order to keep our arms raised, until Divine Mercy wins the victory".
Before the conclusion of the Mass, Pope Francis thanked all those
present, including official delegations from Argentina, Spain, France,
Italy, Mexico, countries of origin of the new saints.
"May the example
and intercession of these luminous witnesses - said the Pope – support
the efforts of each in their respective areas of work and service, for
the good of the Church and the civil community".
Francis also recalled that tomorrow is World Day against Poverty.
"Let us join forces, moral and economic - he said - to fight together
against poverty that degrades, injures and kills many brothers and
sisters, by implementing standard policies for families and for work."