'He has loved me and He has done himself for me' (Gal 2, 20)
Piazza Santo Stefano, April 4th 2009
It is easy to deceive ourselves about love; to confuse it with its imitations or its substitutes; to be dragged by its superficial current appearence and never be involved by its great mistery.
Why is it so easy to fall into this delusion? Because it is easy to reduce our freedom to our spontaneity. Spontaneity is a psycho-physical reaction to an outer or inner incitement, freedom is the action of the person who behaves at the light of the known truth. Spontaneity is to let one's ego be robbed by what you feel for an instant, freedom is becoming owners of oneselves in order to decide for good. Spontaneity is, as you have just listened to, 'existing just for an instant, just now - and severing oneself from the eternity'. Taking everything in a moment and losing everything immediately'. Freedom is the ability to project one's life in continuity, in loyalty: because man is integrity and continuity.
But, so, does really loving mean to be actually free and true? Yes, dear young, these two greatnesses - freedom and ability to love - go together.
Whom can we address these great questions to: but what's the real love? But what does being really free mean? Who can be our interlocutor? Let's go on with our reflection and prayer. Let's listen to and look at our interlocutor.
We have seen our interlocutor: he's Christ crucified. We have seen which book we can learn from the science of real love: the Cross. Why do you have to address your questions to Christ?
Dear young, pay attention to me now, as I am going to say, or rather as I will try to stammer the biggest things.
Just God himself can show you the truth of the love: what it is, what really loving means. Because 'God is love'.
Yes, you will say, but 'no one has never seen God'. (Gv 1,18). We need someone to disclose Him; someone who tells us about this Love. If love is not disclosed to man, man can't meet Him, if he can't experience Him and make Him his own, his life is without sense: man remains for men an insoluble mistery.
Dear young, this is Christianity: Love has made himself visible. Love is Jesus Christ who gives Himself on the Cross.
Dear young, this is Christianity: the chance given to men to know, meet, experience, own the true Love who has disclosed Himself on the Cross. And this chance, this liberation of your freedom is offered to you by the Church.
We have come to this basilica asking ourselves: what does loving really mean? The answer is: it means Christ crucified; the real love is Christ crucified.
In order to give the chance to each man and woman to experience, own the Love which is Christ crucified, God has invented, instituted the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the real presence, under the sign of the bread, of the love which is Christ crucified: 'the sacrament of the passion of God'.
Dear young, stay together with Christ in the Holy Communion; purify the eyes of your heart looking at the Eucharist for a long time; let your life be moulded by it.
Dear young, as you have heard, apostle Paul has had words of exhortation for you: 'I exhort....' (Rom 12,1-2). Indeed, he has even used the imperative: 'Behave... as sons of the light... look for what is pleasant to God' (Ef 5,11). The truth of love is demanding, and we feel weak. We have been put in front of us a too high top for our little efforts!
We have been told: this is true Love; love you too as Christ has loved'; 'Christ has been all the freedom, without trace of slavery; be free you too as He was'. Each of us has been put in front of Love!
Dear young, there is a fine but momentous mistake in this way of reading the book of the Cross: to think that book reminds us an event belonging just to the past times. A book of memories and good examples. It's not like this!
Christ has not lived only in the past: He lives now. Christ was not just once, He is always. He desires to reach each of you, and live in each of you.
I know you have not often been told about the operating Presence of Christ in you, but this Presence is the keystone of the life of the one who has met Love.
Where does Christ operate? How does He live in you? He operates in His Church; He lives in each of you by means of the Holy Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
What a great thing this is, dear young! Christ in each of you; each of you in Christ. And so, dear young, if you want to understand yourselves to the end, get closer to Christ with your hopes and fears, with your passion for good and your frailties. Go into Him with all yourselves, so as to take possession of all His ability to love.
Dear young, the event happened on the Cross, the act of love which it expresses, doesn't pass by with time and it is not circumscribed by space. It remains. Yesterday, today, forever. Always present in the Eucharist, and in each of you if you become disciples of God. You will live and behave in the same love that drove Jesus to give Himself.
On the tree of the cross Paul the apostle, Francesco and Chiara, Giovanni Bosco and Luigi Orione, mother Teresa from Calcutta and Giovanni Paolo II have flowered. This evening God asks you to let Him operate in you to the point that each of you can say: 'it is not me who lives, but Christ lives in me'. 'Me-no more me': here it is the real secret of our happiness.
This happens in accordance with the vocation peculiar of each one. The way by which Christ lives in marriage love is different from the way he lives in virginal love and in pastoral love. If you put a chrystal in front of a luminous rising, it refracts the colours of the iris that are all inside the white light. The unique real Love - that one of Christ on the Cross - refracts itself in the love of the new-wed couple, in the love of the consacrated virgin, in the love of the pastor.
And therefore, dear young, at the end of this waking I am going to suggest you: during the Easter days, remain in front of Christ crucified, and contemplate Him for a long time; purify your behaviour, your thoughts, your heart, by a good Easter Confession. And say to Christ in all sincerity: 'How do you want my life to become an act of love? In marriage? In consacrated virginity? In priesthood? God, what do you want me to do?'. Being free just for oneselves would be horrible: the hell.
La traduzione, non rivista dal Cardinale Caffarra, Ŕ di Stefania Floridia.