Christ is the most precious good we have to be shared with others (Special GMG 2011)
The answers to the questions are prepared by the theologian Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno, Central Assistant of the Apostolic Movement.
The youth of the Movement as immediate preparation for the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid, will dedicate two special appointments to the deepening of the Holy Father Benedict XVI Message.
The answers to the questions are prepared by the theologian Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno, Central Assistant of the Apostolic Movement.
Q. How can we have an operative charity and a dynamic faith?
A. What is a dynamic faith? It is a faith that is not firm in what you thought yesterday, you believed yesterday, because the faith of yesterday supported your life yesterday. Today, you have new meetings, a new life, new relationships, new perspectives, and whatever is new today needs a new faith. How is the faith alimented? By listening / a personal encounter of / with Christ. How did Jesus aliment his faith? Through the personal encounter with his Father. If you read the gospel you realize that every day Christ Jesus found himself in front of new situations and had to take new decisions. If he has to go to Nazareth it is a decision; if he has to go to Jerusalem it is another decision; if he has to go onto the cross it is another decision. The dynamic faith helps you make the right decision according to God in every particular circumstance of your life. The active charity is transforming your life into a gift of love, before the person you meet on your way. To every person he met on his way every day Jesus showed a particular charity, a particular love and a particular sensitivity. The Samaritan is a woman that does not believe in a true and authentic, but she also refuses to love. You may even not believe, you may also have an out of phase relationship, but before a gesture of love you cannot refuse to accept. What did Jesus ask this woman? To be able to draw with her pitcher and drink. The woman answered him that there was no communion of love among them. This woman is unable to have this active charity. Then Jesus gradually, with all his love, revealing her all his mercy, leads this woman to believe in him. However, many times, before a person who needs a very small gesture of love, we are unable to offer him it; whereas, we are always called to find and offer reasons to love another person. Because there are lots of reasons.
Q. Jesus testified to the Father and we must testify to Christ. Why cannot we witness directly the Father?
A. You can testify the Father through Christ. Do you know the Father? No. Jesus Christ revealed him to you. Christ Jesus unraveled the mysteries of the Father. In the third chapter John tells you that God loved the world so much so to give his only son. If you did not have Christ what would you know of the love of God? You would know little. You would know that God has a truth that he teaches you through the prophets, he tells you that he has a love of salvation, but where they does the depth of God’s love arrive? Through Christ you know till where the depth of the love of the Father reaches, till giving his son to die for us on the Cross. How far does your love your reach? How far you are able to love? What does the Pope ask youth and all Christian people? To show that there is a love beyond the limit. We all feel lost, limited in love, while Christ shows you that there is a love beyond the limit, beyond the limits of death itself, because in the Eucharist he surpassed even the limit of death. He gave you his live body for your life. So we must have this certainty that there is the Christ who has shown you all the power of the Father’s love and that you are called to testify in Christ this same power, you must love as Christ loved. This is the Christian strength, surpassing the limit of love every day. We have a society that is afraid to love, we must have this strength of loving without fear. You draw this power in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and you have this chance to love without fear, to give yourself without fear. What is the vocation? A boy or girl who are called to consecrate his life to Christ; it is the courage to love without fear, to love fully, to surrender to Christ.
Q. In his message, the pope says that in love for the Lord you will find yourselves. Is this what loving without fear means? Being able to find yourselves?
A. Finding yourselves means that Christ gives you your truth. You can have a truth or a lie. The world gives you your falsehood, Christ instead gives you your truth. He reassembles, regenerates, recreates, heals, raises, elevates and divinizes you, he makes you one thing in him, he makes you his Body, his Blood, his life, his thought; as you walk towards Christ you find your truth that is the truth of your nature, of your created essence. Who are you? If you read the book of Genesis, chapter one, it is written that God made man in his image: “In the image of God he created him.” He made a created God. This is the truth on man. Now, Christ not only makes a created God of you, but he makes you a God by making you share in the nature of God. It is as if in Christ you were kneaded not of earth but of God. There is this power of the Holy Spirit that regenerates you, re-creates you and renews you. This is your truth, that only Christ can give you. There is no other person in the world that can give you the truth. Now as you approach Christ, you conform to him, you find this holiness in your life. This is the essence of Christianity, here is why Christ is the source of your life, of your truth, of your existence, of your very recreated and renewed nature in the Holy Spirit.
Q. How does one become witness of Christ? Is being missionaries, evangelizers and preachers something that comes after being witnesses?
A. How did Christ become a witness of the Father? By manifesting his being fully in the Father. The Father is the eternal truth, the uncreated love, piety, compassion, mercy, pardon, grace and justice. God is charity, our Pope writes referring to the first letter of John. If you read the life of Christ, you see that He lived and not only said these things; he showed them and by showing them he evangelized. You read in the Gospel: “If your enemy forces you to go one mile with him you will go for two.” It is one of Christ’s words that he said before crucifixion, but He made the two miles with the cross on his shoulders. Christ manifests and evangelizes. Who was the centurion evangelized by? By Christ? No. Christ did not even say a word to the centurion. The centurion: “He saw him die like this,” and seeing him die so he said: “Truly this was the Son of God.” Evangelization is not a word that you announce, it is a fruit that you give of your life. Yesterday, the Inspirer of the Apostolic Movement said that we must make the love of God be perceived. She wanted to say to us that the other gets converted through our fructification. You must produce a good fruit and that good fruit that you produce becomes word, becomes a proclamation and becomes gospel. Christ did not preach forgiveness, he did it, he gave it, he died for the forgiveness. He did not preach love, he loved till the end. Christ did not give up by talking, he gave up fulfilling his cross. It is your life that is a gospel, it is your life that is word, it is your life that becomes example, it is your life that drags on, it is your life that attracts, it is your life that converts, it is your gift of grace that leads to the resurrection of a heart. That is how Christ did and if we enter into this logic of Christ, things will get better even for us.
Q. Why is the love for others a tool with which we are recognized as Christ’s disciples? Why can salvation be obtained through love?
A. Love is a gift. Who must you give your love to? Certainly not to yourself, because if it is a gift it is for others. Who did the Father give his love to? He gave it to the Son, he bore him, and asked his son to give himself wholly to us. What did Christ do, he came into our world and gave himself. Who did Christ give himself to? To all those who were in need: blind, lame, paralyzed, dead, lepers, sinners, hungry, thirsty and sick of various kinds. Who did Christ show all his love to? To his executioners. Our strength is that ability to exceed the limit of love. The other is the person you must love. What did Jesus ask the Samaritan woman? A gesture of love: “Give me your pitcher that I may quench my thirst?”. And what did the Samaritan woman answer? “No, between you and me there is no communion and I cannot love you.” The most beautiful parable is the one of the good Samaritan: it is between two enemies: a Jew and a Samaritan. But it is the Samaritan the one who loves that Jew who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and ran among some robbers. It is the non-believer the one who loves the believer, and this is upsetting. Love is always towards the other, it is not towards us. If you study you must do it for love, if you teach you must teach for love, if you give science to those who do not have to give it for love, with love and with holiness. This is the mystery that we must achieve. When you love, the other is aware that he is loved by you and opens to the faith, opens to hope and opens to charity. Jesus made the difference with the Pharisees because they did not love: they judged and condemned. Christ loved and people make the difference and run to him because they knew they would be loved. And all those who went to Christ to ask for a gesture of love, have received it.
Q. When can we consider ourselves true friends of Christ?
A. Jesus says it in the Gospel of John: “You are my friends if you do what I have commanded you.” The moment I am doing the will of Christ, I am a friend of Christ. Friendship is in the fulfillment of his will, in doing his will, in observing the gospel. We live the gospel and we are friends of Christ. It is this friendship that saves because in friendship Christ becomes yourself, works through you, acts through you, lives through you, does through you, walks through you and wills through you. Whatever is humanly impossible becomes possible through this friendship you have with Christ. He comes and takes possession, takes dwelling in you and does the works of the Lord. Christ becomes your mouth, becomes your ear, becomes your mind, becomes your arm, becomes your foot, becomes your heart and becomes your life. Try to hear with your ear the cry of a poor and try to hear it with the ear of Christ. You do not hear it with your ear, with the heart of Christ you sense it and then you bend over. In the parable of the good Samaritan the priest that passes does not have the ear of Christ and does not hear the cry of that derelict, and moves on. But not even the Levite has the ear of Christ and moves on. On the contrary, the Good Samaritan, who has the ear of Christ, does not move on, he stops, takes care, brings him to the hotel door, talks to him and says to the hotelier to take care of him. See what the difference of ear does? It does wonderful, big and sublime things. When we have the ear of Christ, we also have the eye of Christ. When on Monday the Inspirer passes among us, she has the ear of Christ, she hears the cry of the heart and then she sees the heart that cries, and she comes close and gives a word, a consolation, a peace, because she sees and hears with the heart and the eye and the mind of Christ. We would need this to start a new relationship with our brothers that is a relationship of grace, truth, peace, love, holiness, understanding, since we hear the cry of the poor, of the derelict, of the stranger and of the sick. We need to have this friendship so that we and Christ become one, and the most unheard of miracles happen in our lives.
Q. We often think of the WYD as a pilgrimage. But what is the difference?
A. The pilgrimage is a journey to a place where you know that there is a source of holiness, a source of grace, a source of forgiveness and remission of sins. In the pilgrimage you go to a place where you receive. At the WYD instead one goes to give. You go to bring the richness of your love, the freshness of your youth, the beauty of your faith, you go to bring Christ, go to show Christ in that world where others show you Christ. So there is a confrontation with the way you see Christ, bring Christ, hear Christ within you, and the way of the others, so that by this communion of faith, your faith will be strengthened and the faith of others is also strengthened. Faith is lived together. A community is what lives the Faith and the pope wants you young to be a community, to live of true faith; and it is nice that the comparison exists; it is holy that this comparison happens. Together we share our impressions of faith, our truths of faith in order to grow together and together bear witness to Christ in this world today, tomorrow and forever. Many times your fault is that you often isolate yourselves in the faith, and every one lives his faith in his intimate, this powerful comparison does not exist among us. Where there is isolation the faith is always in danger, there. A single drop of water does not help, you cannot do anything; but if you put together a thousand drops of water you can already quench the thirst of a person; if you put a million you can water a field, if one put millions and millions of drops of water the river overflows and it floods all the earth. You who go to Madrid go to join your drops of faith to all the other drops of faith that come from all parts of the world and you will see, you will wonderful things and the works that you bring will truly be beautiful, because there is this powerful faith that explodes and that emerges from all of your hearts.
Q. How can we make the beauty of the friendship of Christ be known to the young people that do not know it?
A. If I ask myself how a peach tree goes about showing the beauty of its fruit, I can write a thousand books. On the contrary, if I go to a garden around June when peaches begin to mature, there you smell the perfume of those ripe peaches and you do not need anything because you see. I do not need the inspirer to talk to me about her friendship with Christ, I see it. If I came into this Church as a Martian I would say: “But this woman has someone behind her and she is filled with this great love.” You feel the smell of this friendship in her, you perceive it. Why do not the others see the friendship of Christ, as everything that is visible is seen? Because many times we are closed in our thoughts, in our sorrow, in our little things in life, in the small vices, small habits, small transgressions, for which the other does not see you as a friend of Christ, because he does not see you do His will. In these cases, you can talk and say whatever you want, but the friendship with Christ is not seen. Either we produce the fruits of this friendship or the other knows that we do not have Christ as a friend. It is a matter of being. Friendship is doing the will of Christ, and when you do the work of Christ the other realizes it, suffices an answer you give to other, it is enough to say: I cannot do this because I am a friend of Christ. My friend does not want me to do this. You gave a great testimony to the world because you attested that you are a friend of Jesus Christ. It is then that the world changes. The other must see who you are. The inspirer always says to us, “Show Christ, be exemplary in everything”, that is, do what Christ tells you. This is the gospel, purity of love.
Q. Holiness is not in big but in little things. What must our way of life be in little things, in gestures, in meetings and in the ways to call other young people to become friends of Christ?
A. You come here this evening to attend this meeting. You prepare yourself five minutes before, read the pope’s speech and say I want to ask a question in order to grow in this principle that the pope announces me. You have lived a moment of holiness and this moment also helps others. If you came here in a bad mood, because forced, obliged, almost pulled by the hair, you wasted an evening because you did not hear, you do not care about what I say. You could have stayed home and you could have asked the question by email. It is a small thing. Again: you come to Mass; it is a holy moment of prayer, but you do not pray, you are distracted, you disturb others. You have wasted a moment of holiness. Another example: you meet a friend, you can say a good or a bad word, you can drag her to the good, you can lead her to evil. It is a meeting of sin or of grace. Life is not made up of great things, it is made of small moments, small things, small meetings and small relationships. If we sanctify these little things, you sanctify your whole life, because life is in small things: in a meeting, in a glance, in a smile, in an answer. Observe the gospel. Christ Jesus did not do great things; he did all the little things of the everyday life. He met the Samaritan woman and asked her for a glass of water, a small thing. From the response of the Samaritan woman the speech began and in that little time that he had to spend by the well he seized the moment and changed the life of women and revolutionized an entire world. Little things. Even on the cross, Christ does small things: he prays for his executioners: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”; he gives his mother to the disciple: “Woman, behold your son, son behold your mother”; he cries to the Father his love. Little things. Life is made of small things, and these save us and say our degree of love for the Lord. If we sanctify the moment, we sanctify the entire existence.
Question from the Web. The preparation of the GMG is sometimes exploited to attack the pope and the church even in the media or on social networks. Is it better to ignore this provocation or to replicate?
A. The problem is your faith. When Christ was operating, the world of evil always contrasted him. If Christ makes so powerful a miracle as to drive out an evil spirit and liberate a man from a diabolical possession and is accused of being in league with Satan, is there anything you can do in the church that is not countered? Evil always contrasts where there is a principle of good. Even if you come to church you will be opposed by someone who does not want you to come to church. What must we do? We must persevere on our way. You understood that this is a holy way, it is a good way. Follow it! When you decide to do a holy thing, do it forever! You will always have a contrast. All the saints were contrasted, were criticized, were humiliated, were slandered, were persecuted and were mistreated. But you go ahead, because this is the way of man’s salvation. If you organize something and you think that there are no contrasts you are wrong, because the world will always put the pole in your way to block your journey. The death of Christ is the most powerful sign of the contrast of the world. When Jesus did the miracle of raising Lazarus, which shook heavens and earth, what did Caiaphas say: “We must kill him, because if we let him act the whole world will run behind him.” The strength of faith is going on to the end. The world is overcome with the faith. You must have the power to crucify the world with the faith. But when you crucify the world with the faith, the world crucifies you physically, with slander, criticism and murmuring.
From the Web. When you lose faith and prayer, how to start to turn our lives on again? Can the GMG help?
The GMG does not exist in itself, because it is not a person. The GMG is you. If you go to WYD and encounters a desperate boy or a girl that lost the faith and with your wisdom and your knowledge you can do as Christ did with the Samaritan woman, then faith can be born in the heart. But if you go there without this spirit of communion, of evangelization, of faith and love, the other person passes by you and you do not even see him. A classic example: many people come to this place on Monday and how many of these people pass by us and we do not even notice them. We do not have Christ’s eyes to see, the ears of Christ to hear and Christ’s heart to love them. The problem is that we always speak in the plural. The Apostolic Movement itself is also an abstract entity, because, in itself, it does not exist. You exist, I exist, individually. If individually the opportunity is lost the other person is lost, even if he came into the AM which is a place of holiness, a place of truth, a place of welcome and a place of friendship. But who is to do these things? It is the single. If the individual loses this occasion, there is nothing to do. We always like Jesus at the well. You can see the woman and not ask for anything or if she gives you a negative answer you leave, or you start talking to her to bring her to the faith. This is the dialogue of salvation. But this is not done by a movement or by a GMG but it is done by a single person, because you will meet person with person in Madrid. It is up to you to understand that you go there to bring a richness that is in your heart, a powerful wealth. Faith is born from person to person. If you read the gospel according to John, you realize that, at the beginning, the evangelist gives you the rules of the faith. John the Baptist testifies on Christ: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, Andrew and John hear that Christ is the Lamb of God and follow him and stay with Him one day. Where does the faith of these men start? From the words of John the Baptist. Andrea says it immediately to Peter, Jesus says it to Philip, Philip says it to Nathanael. In one day Christ has already five disciples. Transmission from mouth to mouth, heart to heart: that is how faith is born! Many times we live one year, two years, five years and we do not say anything to anyone. We lost five years of faith, because we lived only for ourselves and not for others. The AM is this moment in which you give the faith to your brother through an encounter that can happen in a thousand ways.
Directions for the preparation of the meeting given by Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno:
– The Holy Father’s message for the 26th World Youth Day
– Prayer for the preparation for WYD
– Homily of the Holy Father for the World Youth Day, Palm Sunday 2011