(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Rite of Canonization for four new saints on Sunday, elevating Fr Vincent Grossi; Sister Mary of the Immaculate Conception; and Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, a married couple, to the honours of the altar.
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During his homily, the Holy Father focused on the theme of ‘service,’ and the call to follow Jesus on the path of humility and the Cross. The Prophet Isaiah depicts the Servant of the Lord, who “fulfils God’s plan through his humble, quiet presence and his suffering.” The Servant of the Lord, the Pope explained, is Jesus, whose “life and death, marked by an attitude of utter service, were the cause of our salvation and the reconciliation of mankind with God.”
In the Gospel, where James and John seek to claim places of honour in God’s kingdom, Jesus warns the Apostles that they must not follow the example of the “Gentiles” who lord it over their subjects. Rather, the Lord says, “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.” These words, the Pope said, “show us that service is the way for authority to be exercised in the Christian community.” Jesus Himself is the ideal to be followed. “He shows us that He enjoys dominion because He is a servant, glory because He is capable of abasement, kingship because He is fully prepared to lay down His life.”
And so, Pope Francis said, “there can be no compatibility between a worldly understanding of power and the humble service which must characterize authority according to Jesus’ teaching and example. Ambition and careerism are incompatible with Christian discipleship; honour, success, fame and worldly triumphs are incompatible with the logic of Christ crucified.” Christ’s glory “is not born of ambition or the thirst for power;” rather, it “is the glory of one who loves men and women, who accepts them and shares in their weakness, who offers them the grace which heals and restores, and accompanies them with infinite tenderness amid their tribulations.”
The saints canonized on Sunday, the Pope said, “unfailingly served their brothers and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the divine Master”: Saint Vincent Grossi as “a zealous parish priest”; Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, by devoting her life “to serving the least of our brothers and sisters”; Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin by practicing “Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters, among whom was Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily with the prayer that “the radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over us and sustain us by their powerful intercession.”
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