"We are living through difficult days because the persecution against the Church is raging more than ever, but this should not frighten you, brave and good young people. Always remember that the Church is a divine institution and it cannot come to an end." PGF
How true Pier Giorgio's quote is to this day! Our Church is persecuted, both from within and without. Are we an imperfect people? Yes!! But we are an imperfect people in love with Perfection, in love with Christ. And that makes all the difference.
When Jesus said to Simon Peter, "And now I tell you, that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18), He knew that the Church would come upon troubled times and persecution. But He also knew that our frailties and sins are not able to destroy us if we stay connected to Him, and the way we do that is by living a sacramental life. When we baptize our children, receive the Eucharist, confirm our faith, choose a vocation, confess our sins and comfort the sick, we are saying to the world that we believe: "Look not upon our sins, but on the faith of your Church."
If we have a fault, however, it is in the fact that we sometimes receive the sacraments without truly considering their meaning. Take for example, the beauty of baptism, as witnessed by Sr. Jane Reilly, CSJ, a missionary from our Diocese who has lived and ministered in the Dominican Republic for some thirty years now: “The role of godparent in the Dominican culture is a sacred commitment. It is a promise to participate actively in accompanying the child that was baptized. To underscore that this is a lifelong process, the godparents of each child receive a small coffee plant or a fruit tree and they are enjoined to attend to their godchild with the same attention as one needs to attend to a sapling so that it will bear fruit. Just as a tree needs attention, water, sun, fertilizer and pruning to give fruit, so too the child needs the water of baptism, the nutrition of the Word of God and the sacraments, the warmth of love and the formation in Christian values so as to give fruit in service to God and others. The godparents plant the tree in the house of the godchild and together they watch it grow and bear fruit.”
How beautiful! And yet we sometimes are guilty of bringing our children to the baptismal font without much thought, just as a ritual. The same holds true for the other sacraments, and this is where Bl. Pier Giorgio understood the truth. He received because HE BELIEVED! And because of this he was a staunch defender of a Church he loved, no matter the persecution.
The next time you go to Mass, believe what you receive, and so become the true Body of Christ...
Bl. Pier Giorgio, pray for us!