Around noon, this May 14, more than four thousand pilgrims from the Institute of the Pious Philippine Teachers and from the Italian dioceses of Viterbo and Civitavecchia-Tarquinia, packed the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican. In his speech, the Holy Father invited them to follow the example of Saint Lucia Filippini, “who never ceased to be a disciple of Jesus Master and to be before her chair, the Cross.”
Renato Martinez – Vatican City
“Saint Lucia, in this way she transmitted to others what she kept in her heart: not sermons, not theories, but content and life, content of life. Her mission as an educator was not different from her mystical experience”, Pope Francis said in his speech to the pilgrims from the Pontifical Institute of the Pious Philippian Teachers and from the Italian dioceses of Viterbo and Civitavecchia-Tarquinia, whom he received in audience with the this Saturday morning, May 14, in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican.
The Jubilee Year a moment of grace
In greeting the pilgrims, the Bishops and priests, the Mayors and other Authorities, and especially the First Communion children, the Holy Father shared his joy for the 350th anniversary of the birth of Saint Lucia Filippini. “This Jubilee Year is a precious moment for each one of you – the Pontiff specified – it is like going back to the source to draw new energy for the future; but it is also an opportunity to give thanks to the Lord and ask him to be channels of that same grace that Saint Lucia welcomed and generously distributed to so many people”.
“You don’t teach what you know, but what you are”
In this context, Pope Francis proposed two brief reflections: one addressed to the Institute of the Philippian Pious Teachers; the other for all the devotees of Saint Lucia. Addressing the Pious Teachers, the Holy Father recalled that the nuns have a demanding mission, being Teachers. “A proverb says that you don’t teach what you know, but what you are. We transmit to others what we are inside. It is not enough to fill your head with ideas, that is not educating; to educate is to transmit life. And being teachers is living a mission. On the other hand, if we make good speeches, but life goes in another direction, we run the risk of being just actors playing a role.
Santa Lucia transmitted what she kept in her heart
In this sense, the Pontiff pointed out that the example of their Foundress can help them live this mission. “Saint Lucia is usually represented with the Crucifix in her hand or in the act of pointing to it. She knew how to teach so many, first of all, because she herself never ceased to be a disciple of Jesus Master and to be before her chair, the cross. She had the God who gives life before her eyes and she felt called to make a gift of life. In this way, she transmitted to others what she kept in her heart: not sermons, not theories, but content and life, content of life. Her mission as her educator was no different from her mystical experience.”
Live the consecration as a call to service
Pope Francis also gave the Sisters some advice in the face of the difficulties of religious life, of the lack of vocations: “first of all, we are not called to ‘put Jesus at the center’, as if we were the protagonists; we are called in the first place to remove ourselves from the center, which is yours. Live the consecration as a call to service. This is what allows Jesus to work in us as he wants and teach us to overcome resignation and nostalgia, to read our complex times, to courageously embark on new paths at the rhythm of the times”. It will do you good to remember the image of Saint Lucy with the Crucifix in her hand: not for us, but for Him it is the center; and we will be good teachers if we continue to be disciples, called every day to serve, with joy.
“God cannot stop being my father”
A second thought, the Holy Father addressed to all those who celebrate Saint Lucia Filippini. “This woman herself had a secret: she lived with constant trust in God, because She, she said, ‘she cannot stop being my father.’ I would like to repeat these words to you: She cannot stop being my father. Often, in life, we worry because we have to leave many things behind: some securities, the years of youth, a bit of health, perhaps loved ones… Well, if in life there are people and things that sooner or later we have to leave behind, there is a presence that will never abandon us, a fundamental certainty that will always be with us and that nothing and no one can erase: God cannot stop being my father.
Let us keep this good news in our hearts, which feeds confidence. I wish you can announce it to those you know, to rekindle hope in them too. There is so much need today; it is a mission that concerns each one of us.