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Question

Thank you, Father Angelo.

Here (in the United States, Ed.) it is day after day a great grace. It is moving to see lines of young people waiting to go to Confession before the well-attended weekday mass.

It is moving that they organized 19 buses for the March for Life in Washington DC, in which I participated: all yeasted by Rosaries, prayers and Holy Mass.

It is moving to meet young people who have recently converted thanks to an encounter with their current girlfriend, for example: guys who come from broken homes and who want to start a family doing things properly, without rushing the times and with a level head. And they are the most beautiful people because they are also the most attentive to difficult situations: even towards me a few days ago when I went to the hospital for health problems (luckily nothing serious).

And even the most able to enjoy little things, like sharing the table (which is rare here: everyone eats in front of the TV. Sometimes my roommates hardly speak to me).

Rosmini was right when he said that Christianity and the sacramental practice are the greatest civilizing forces: you immediately see how who lives a life of grace, lives a transfigured life. Those who do not care about it lose a lot, I just say this.

A hug and thank you for listening.

In the Lord and in Mary,

D.


Priest’s answer

Dear D.,

1. I take advantage of the private email you sent to inform me about a beautiful experience you had in conjunction with your stay in the United States for study and work reasons.

There is a statement of yours that deserves to be emphasized because it is a real pearl.

2. You were able to participate in the March for Life in Washington DC: all yeasted by Rosaries, prayers and Holy Mass.

You were able to share with many young people not only the public witness of the faith, but also the table.

You lived a beautiful experience of communion and a statement by Rosmini came to your mind: “Christianity and the sacramental practice are the greatest civilizing forces”. “And you immediately see – you continue – how who lives a life of grace, lives a transfigured life. Those who do not care about it lose a lot”.

3. It is something evident and within everyone’s reach: by listening to and feeding on the Word of God and the Gospel, men assimilate thoughts of peace. Men learn to look at each other as brothers, as members of the same family.

This is very helpful in bringing about that necessary unity among men because it is a source of peace and well-living.

4. Furthermore, it is true that the main task of the Church is that of worship and prayer.

But it should be noted that precisely in the exercise of this task, she transforms consciences, make people brothers (Baptism), commits them to give the best of themselves (Confirmation), urges them to union and charity (Eucharist), purifies them of resentments and hatred (Penance)…

It is appropriate to say that if the Sacraments were not there, they would have to be invented!

5. The Second Vatican Council says: “Christ, to be sure, gave His Church no proper mission in the political, economic or social order. The purpose which He set before her is a religious one. But out of this religious mission itself comes a function, a light and an energy which can serve to structure and consolidate the human community according to the divine law.” (Gaudium et spes, 42).

6. But already in Mater et Magistra, published 4 years before Gaudium et spes, John XXIII had said: “Hence, though the Church’s first care must be for souls, how she can sanctify them and make them share in the gifts of heaven, she concerns herself too with the exigencies of man’s daily life, with his livelihood and education, and his general, temporal welfare and prosperity.” (MM, 3)

In fact, the Church extends over time the mission of Jesus “giving effect to those principles which Christ Himself established in the Church He founded. When He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”, “I am the light of the world”, it was doubtless man’s eternal salvation that was uppermost in His mind, but He showed His concern for the material welfare of His people when, seeing the hungry crowd of His followers, He was moved to exclaim: “I have compassion on the multitude.” And these were no empty words of our divine Redeemer. Time and again He proved them by His actions, as when He miraculously multiplied bread to alleviate the hunger of the crowds.” (MM 4)

7. John XXIII added: “Let men make all the technical and economic progress they can, there will be no peace nor justice in the world until they return to a sense of their dignity as creatures and sons of God, who is the first and final cause of all created being. Separated from God a man is but a monster, in himself and toward others; for the right ordering of human society presupposes the right ordering of man’s conscience with God, who is Himself the source of all justice, truth and love.”(MM 215)

And he also observed that “The most perniciously typical aspect of the modern era consists in the absurd attempt to reconstruct a solid and fruitful temporal order divorced from God, who is, in fact, the only foundation on which it can endure. In seeking to enhance man’s greatness, men fondly imagine that they can do so by drying up the source from which that greatness springs and from which it is nourished. They want, that is, to restrain and, if possible, to eliminate the soul’s upward surge toward God. But today’s experience of so much disillusionment and bloodshed only goes to confirm those words of Scripture: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain to build it.” (MM 217).

One wonders: how do atheists not notice this?

I thank you for giving me the opportunity to reaffirm the great principle of St. Thomas: that “grace does not destroy nature but perfects it” (Summa theologiae, 1, 8, ad 2).

Human nature was wounded by original sin.

Grace not only does not destroy it, but heals and elevates it.

I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo


Translated by Chiara P.