Intervention of His Excellency Monsignor Antonio Ciliberti
(Catanzaro, PoliteamaTheatre, March 14, 2007)
After what His Eminence the Cardinal said in a such a deep and incisive way, nothing should be left to me but be quiet in a careful contemplation of the wealth of those values that he has radiated through the splendor of his word.
I wish simply to collect the feelings we all share in this moment of grace, in order to express to him, immeasurable, our communal gratitude. In fact, tonight he really made us new men in Christ.
Your Eminence, this audience is the real picture of this ineffable truth. Here they are: they are new men and women, made this way by Christ the Lord.
Here, perhaps through the mediation of the apostolate of the Apostolic Movement, have succeeded, they who were in search, to meet Jesus; and now they are illuminated by the splendor of His Face.
Yes, like Zacchaeus, who perhaps entangled in the poverty of wealth from which they were influenced, but deeply frustrated by that poverty of wealth; they have felt an irrepressible need to go outside and above, waiting to be able to admire the splendor of the light .
And, as for Zacchaeus, Jesus goes to that man who feels in the depths of his soul, this irrepressible need.
The initiative comes from Him. When Zacchaeus on the Sycamore listened to the voice of Jesus and crossed the splendor of the light of those divine eyes; he felt in the heart a deep consubstantiation.
And when the rapport was of a personal relationship with him, of course, that Christ that, mysteriously but truly, had entered his life, radically transformed his life.
I know well that the men, as Pascal used to say, quoted by His Eminence; that have been searching and have met the Lord, are really very happy men.
Tonight, in the splendour of the light of your eyes, in the joy of the depths of your soul, there is this utmost bliss, personified by Christ alive and present in the poverty of your flesh.
Nevertheless, this need, as a fundamental root, (His Eminence said it eloquently), is present in every man; for man has, as the ultimate goal, the research and the consequent possession of the bliss. But what does the happiness to which man has the right consist of?
The masters of wisdom, ennobled by the Christian revelation, simply reiterate that the constitutive object of the utmost happiness, is something that in its simplicity has the flavor of what is absolute; and absolute is that which, in order to be, does not need to rely on others .
It must be something eternal, because what ends up in time is its same finitude; it is cause of disturbance and, therefore, of dissatisfaction.
What is substantially absolute, what is the eternal? What is the infinity? It is simply he, God, who dwells in the heights of heaven, but that came to meet man. It suffices to open the heart and soul, to go forward to meet Him; for in Christ, God, made our brother; the man who aspires to bliss, realizes this bliss in fullness.
Augustine, quoted several times, could say in truth: “Lord, you made us for yourself, and our hearts will always be restless until they rest in you.” How happy is the man who can say, like St. Francis, already mentioned, My God is my everything, He is the real part of our heritage.
The Apostolic Movement, in the humility of its service and mission, has first ad intra, the task of going towards its Lord to be able to welcome him in the life experiences of its everyday life. And strong with this ineffable presence, in Christ it must draw the strong commitment of its coherent mission in history that is concretized in making visible the Lord through its own testimony.
In doing so, we will really be the authors of the new civilization, the one that we all hope and strongly want. But these feelings of deep gratitude that, in a concise way, as an expression of feelings that are in the soul of each one of us concerning His Eminence the Cardinal, I want to extend them, dutifully, to those who prepared this very interesting convention: to the President of the Movement, to the one who, with a mother’s heart, inspired it; to the national Assistant, to the regional Assistant, to the diocesan Assistant, to all members of this Movement, in a missionary attitude in which we find ourselves with a single purpose: the one of being in the Church, to announce Christ the only Saviour, yesterday, today and forever.
Therefore, as Bishop of this Church, I feel the joy, but also the duty to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Apostolic Movement and the wish that, more and more every day, true to its charisma, may welcome Christ in the mystery of its own life and radiate him into the world through the personal testimony.
The Apostolic Movement is the visible sign of the presence of the Spirit of God that, in a particularly helpful way, loves our Church and has brought forth from its bosom, with its charisma, the richness of this association. I find the visible signs of the goodness of this Movement, unequivocally, dear brothers and sisters, not only in your presence, but above all in your Christian identity.
“Pusillus grex” (small flock) that is growing more and more every day, to be salt, leaven, yeast, and light.
But allow me that, tonight, I may point out a fact that for me is an irrefutable datum in the simplicity of its evidence: it is the presence of many vocations that have acquired experience in the Movement and that are maturing the priestly dimension of total consecration in the service of the brothers for the Lord.
I know well that a vocation is a gift, because it is an actual grace, and this gift comes from God. Of course, it is not a contrivance or construction of the imagination of a man. Who does God offer his gifts to? To those who are willing to welcome them and make them fructify. Nevertheless, the gift is always the sign of divine benevolence and I call everybody his children, in a special way those who are ready to accept this gift.
The presence, then, of so many vocations coming from the experience of the Movement, but that never claim to be priests of the Movement, but priests of the one Church, available to obedience and sincere cooperation, this is the seal of the Truth that the Movement is not the work of man, but it is the work of the Spirit of God.
Therefore, tonight I invite you all to give thanks to God for having so clearly benefited us with this immeasurable gift that, with commitment, responsibility and constant joy, we would like to make it fructify in the one Church which is the one of Christ the Lord. Thank you.
We are here, willing to listen to the reflections of His Excellency on:
“Jesus Christ the true hope of man”