Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saint February 14 : St. Valentine : SHARE #history of #Saints with this name



Information:

Patron: Marriage, Love
Feast Day:February 14
In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. The 1st -
A Roman Priest during the reign  of Emperor Claudias II who persecuted the church at that particular time," an edict prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died."
Valentine was caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius II. 
"One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter, Julia, was blind.  Valentine gave Julia lessons because she needed someone to read material for her to learn it. Valentine then became friends with Julia through his work with her when she came to visit him in jail.
Emperor Claudius came to like Valentine, too, so he offered to pardon Valentine and set him free if Valentine would renounce his Christian faith and agree to worship the Roman gods. Not only did Valentine refuse to leave his faith, he also encouraged Emperor Claudius to place his trust in Christ. Valentine’s faithful choices cost him his life. Emperor Claudius was so enraged at Valentine’s response that he sentenced Valentine to die. Valentine prayed with and healed Julia, and Asterius himself became Christian as a result.
Valentine used his time in jail to continue to reach out to people with the love that he said Jesus Christ gave him for others.
Before he was killed, Valentine wrote a last note to encourage Julia to stay close to Jesus and to thank her for being his friend. He signed the note: “From your Valentine.” That note inspired people to begin writing their own loving messages to people on Valentine’s Feast Day.
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius' daughter. He inspired today's romantic missives by signing it, "from your Valentine." Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine's tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century "the Gate of St. Valentine," as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.
The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.
The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine's Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, "half-way through the second month of the year." Chaucer wrote in his "Parliament of Foules" (in Old English): "For this was on Seynt Valentyne's day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." For this reason, the day was dedicated to "lovers" and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.
Another literary example of St. Valentine's Day remembrances is found in Dame Elizabeth Brews "Paston Letters" (1477), where she writes to the suitor, John Paston, of her daughter, Margery: "And, cousin mine, upon Monday is St. Valentine's day and every bird chooseth himself a mate, and if it like you to come on Thursday night, and make provision that you may abide till then, I trust to God that ye shall speak to my husband and I shall pray that we may bring the matter to a conclusion." In turn, Margery wrote to John: "Unto my right well beloved Valentine John Paston, Squyer, be this bill delivered. Right reverend and worshipful and my right well beloved Valentine, I recommend me unto you, full heartily desiring to hear of your welfare, which I beseech Almighty God long for to preserve until His pleasure and your heart's desire." While speaking of the amorous flavour of Valentine's Day, no mention is made of the saint. The love of our Lord, depicted beautifully in the image of His most Sacred Heart, is a sacrificial, self-less, and unconditional love. Such is the love that each Christian is called to express in his own life, for God and neighbour. Clearly, St. Valentine-no matter which one-showed such a love, bearing witness to the faith in his dedication as a priest and in the offering of his own life in martyrdom. On this Valentine's day, looking to the example of this great saint, each person should offer again his love to the Lord, for only by doing so can he properly love those who are entrusted to his care and any other neighbour. Each person should again pledge his love to those loved ones, praying for their intentions, promising fidelity to them, and thanking them for their love in return. Never forget Jesus said, "This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:12-13). St. Valentine fulfilled this command, and may we do the same. 



SOURCE: Edited with info from Catholic Enclopedia - Updated Feb 14

#PopeFrancis "Look at the Blessed Mother from within our own sufferings..." at Mass in Mexico FULL TEXT - Video

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016.  - AFP
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. - AFP
14/02/2016 00:

On his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis, celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.
Below please find the full text of the official English translation of the Holy Father's Homily. 
APOSTOLIC VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO MEXICO
Homily of Pope Francis at Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saturday 13 February 2016 
            We have just heard how Mary went to meet her cousin Elizabeth.  She sets out without delay, without doubts, without lessening her pace, to be with her relative who was in the last months of her pregnancy.
            Mary’s encounter with the angel did not hold her back since she did not consider herself privileged, or make her hesitate in leaving those around her.  On the contrary, it renewed and inspired an attitude for which Mary is, and always, will be known: she is the woman who says “yes”, a “yes” of surrender to God and, at the same time, a “yes” of surrender to her brothers and sisters.  This is the “yes” which prompted her to give the best of herself, going forth to meet the others.
            Listening to this Gospel passage in this place has a special significance.  Mary, the woman who gave her “yes”, wished also to come to the inhabitants of these American lands in the person of the Indian Saint Juan Diego.  Just as she went along the paths of Judea and Galilee, in the same way she walked through Tepeyac, wearing the indigenous garb and using their language so as to serve this great nation.  Just as she accompanied Elizabeth in her pregnancy, so too she has and continues to accompany the development of this blessed Mexican land.  Just as she made herself present to little Juan, so too she continues to reveal herself to all of us, especially to those who feel, like him, “worthless” (cf. Nican Mopohua, 55).  This specific choice, we might call it preferential, was not against anyone but rather in favour of everyone.  The little Indian Juan who called himself a “leather strap, a back frame, a tail, a wing, oppressed by another’s burden” (Ibid.), became “the ambassador, most worthy of trust”.
            On that morning in December 1531, the first miracle occurred which would then be the living memory of all this Shrine protects.  On that morning, at that meeting, God awakened the hope of his son Juan, and the hope of his People.  On that morning, God roused the hope of the little ones, of the suffering, of those displaced or rejected, of all who feel they have no worthy place in these lands.  On that morning, God came close and still comes close to the suffering but resilient hearts of so many mothers, fathers, grandparents who have seen their children leaving, becoming lost or even being taken by criminals.
            On that morning, Juan experienced in his own life what hope is, what the mercy of God is.  He was chosen to oversee, care for, protect and promote the building of this Shrine.  On many occasions he said to Our Lady that he was not the right person; on the contrary, if she wished the work to progress, she should choose others, since he was not learned or literate and did not belong to the group who could make it a reality.  Mary, who was persistent – with that persistence born from the Father’s merciful heart – said to him: he would be her ambassador.
            In this way, she managed to awaken something he did not know how to express, a veritable banner of love and justice: no one could be left out in the building of that other shrine, the shrine of life, the shrine of our communities, our societies and our cultures.  We are all necessary, especially those who normally do not count because they are not “up to the task” or “they do not have the necessary funds” to build all these things.  God’s Shrine is the life of his children, of everyone in whatever condition, especially of young people without a future who are exposed to endless painful and risky situations, and the elderly who are unacknowledged, forgotten and out of sight.  The Shrine of God is our families in need only of the essentials to develop and progress.  The Shrine of God is the faces of the many people we encounter each day…
            Visiting this Shrine, the same things that happened to Juan Diego can also happen to us.  Look at the Blessed Mother from within our own sufferings, our own fear, hopelessness, sadness, and say to her, “What can I offer since I am not learned?”.  We look to our Mother with eyes that express out thoughts: there are so many situations which leave us powerless, which make us feel that there is no room for hope, for change, for transformation.
            And so, some silence does us good as we pause to look upon her and repeat to her the words of that other loving son:
Simply looking at you, O Mother, to have eyes only for you, looking upon you without saying anything, telling you everything, wordlessly and reverently. Do not perturb the air before you; only cradle my stolen solitude with your loving Motherly eyes, in the nest of your pure ground. Hours tumble by, and with much commotion, the wastage of life and death sinks its teeth into foolish men. Having eyes for you, O Mother, simply contemplating you with a heart quietened by your tenderness that silence of yours, chaste as the lilies.
And in looking at her, we will hear anew what she says to us once more, “What, my most precious little one, saddens your heart?” (Nican Mopohua, 107). “Yet am I not here with you, who have the honour of being your mother?” (Ibid., 119).
            Mary tells us that she has “the honour” of being our mother, assuring us that those who suffer do not weep in vain.  These ones are a silent prayer rising to heaven, always finding a place in Mary’s mantle.  In her and with her, God has made himself our brother and companion along the journey; he carries our crosses with us so as not to leave us overwhelmed by our sufferings.
            Am I not your mother?  Am I not here?  Do not let trials and pains overwhelm you, she tells us.  Today, she sends us out anew; today, she comes to tell us again: be my ambassador, the one I send to build many new shrines, accompany many lives, wipe away many tears.  Simply be my ambassador by walking along the paths of your neighbourhood, of your community, of your parish; we can build shrines by sharing the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that Mary accompanies us.  Be my ambassador, she says to us, giving food to the hungry, drink to those who thirst, a refuge to those in need, clothe the naked and visit the sick.  Come to the aid of your neighbour, forgive whoever has offended you, console the grieving, be patient with others, and above all beseech and pray to God.
            Am I not your mother?  Am I not here with you?  Mary says this to us again.  Go and build my shrine, help me to lift up the lives of my sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters

Saint February 14 : St. Cyril and St. Methodius : Patrons of #Ecumenism, #Unity of #Eastern and Western Churches



Information:
Feast Day:
February 14
Born:
827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)
Died:
February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Patron of:
Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia
BISHOPS AND CONFESSORS, APOSTLES TO THE SLAVS

These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.
At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his  metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.
Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#PopeFrancis " I know that by looking into the eyes of the Blessed Virgin I am able..." FULL TEXT - Video in Mexico


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the Catholic Bishops of Mexico on Saturday, the first full day of his Apostolic visit to the country. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father's prepared remarks, in their official English translation.
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I am pleased to have this opportunity of meeting you the day after my arrival here in this beloved country, which, following in the footsteps of my predecessors, I also have come to visit.
How could I not come!  Could the Successor of Peter, called from the far south of Latin America, deprive himself of seeing la Virgen Morenita?
I thank you for receiving me in this Cathedral, a larger casita (“little house”) and yet always sagrada (“sacred”), as the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe had requested.  I also thank you for your kind words of welcome. 
I know that here is found the secret heart of each Mexican, and I enter with soft footsteps as is fitting for one who enters the home and soul of this people; and I am deeply grateful for you having opened your doors to me.  I know that by looking into the eyes of the Blessed Virgin I am able to follow the gaze of her sons and daughters who, in her, have learned to express themselves.  I know that no other voice can speak so powerfully to me of the Mexican heart as the Blessed Mother can; she guards its highest aspirations and most hidden hopes; she gathers its joys and its tears.  She understands its various languages and she responds with a Mother’s tenderness because these men and women are her own children.
I am happy to be with you here, near Cerro del Tepeyac, in a way close to the dawn of evangelization in this continent.  Please allow la Guadalupana to be the starting point of everything I will say to you.  How I wish She herself would convey to you all that is dear to the Pope’s heart, reaching the depths of your own pastoral hearts, and through you, to each of the particular Churches present in this vast country of Mexico. 
The Pope for some time has nourished a desire to see la Guadalupana  just as Saint Juan Diego did, and successive generations of children after him.  And I have desired, even more, to be captured by her maternal gaze.  I have reflected greatly on the mystery of this gaze and I ask you to receive in these moments what pours forth from my heart, the heart of a Pastor.
A gaze of tenderness
Above all, la Virgen Morenita teaches us that the only power capable of conquering the hearts of men and women is the tenderness of God.  That which delights and attracts, that which humbles and overcomes, that which opens and unleashes, is not the power of instruments or the force of law, but rather the omnipotent weakness of divine love, which is the irresistible force of its gentleness and the irrevocable pledge of its mercy.
A rather inquisitive and famous literary figure of yours, Octavio Paz, said that in Guadalupe great harvests and fertile lands are no longer prayed for, but instead a place of rest where people, still orphaned and disinherited, may seek a place of refuge, a home.
With centuries having gone by since the founding event of this country and the evangelization of the continent, it may be asked: has the need been diluted or even forgotten for that place of rest so ardently desired by the hearts of Mexicans entrusted to your care?
I know the long and painful history which you have gone through has not been without much bloodshed, impetuous and heartbreaking upheavals, and violence and incomprehension.  With good reason my venerable and saintly predecessor, who felt at home here in Mexico, wished to remind us: “Like rivers that are sometimes hidden and plentiful, converge at times and at others reveal their complementary differences, without ever merging completely: the ancient and rich sensitivity of the indigenous peoples loved by Juan de Zumárraga and Vasco de Quiroga, whom many of these peoples continue to call fathers; Christianity, rooted in the Mexican soul; and modern rationality of the European kind, which wanted so much to exalt independence and freedom” (John Paul II, Address, Welcoming Ceremony, 22 January 1999).
And in this history, the maternal place of rest which continually brought life to Mexico, although sometimes seeming like “a net of a hundred and fifty-three fish” (cf. Jn 21:11), was never without fruit, was always able to heal the divisions which threatened.
For this reason I invite you to begin anew from that need for a place of rest which wells up from the spirit of your people.  The restful place of the Christian faith is capable of reconciling a past, often marked by loneliness, isolation and rejection, with a future, continually relegated to a tomorrow which just slips away. Only in that place of faith can we, without renouncing our own identity, “discover the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God” (John Paul II, Homily, Canonization of Juan Diego).
Bow down then, quietly and respectfully, towards the profound spirit of your people, go down with care and decipher its mysterious face.  The present, so often mixed with dispersion and festivity, is it not for God a preparatory stage, for him who alone is fully present?  Familiarity with pain and death, are they not forms of courage and pathways to hope?  And the view that the world is always and uniquely in need of redemption, is this not an antidote to the proud self-sufficiency of those who think they can do without God? 
Naturally, for this reason it is necessary to have an outlook capable of reflecting the tenderness of God.  I ask you, therefore, to be bishops who have a pure vision, a transparent soul, and a joyful face.   Do not fear transparency.  The Church does not need darkness to carry out her work.  Be vigilant so that your vision will not be darkened by the gloomy mist of worldliness; do not allow yourselves to be corrupted by trivial materialism or by the seductive illusion of underhanded agreements; do not place your faith in the “chariots and horses” of today’s Pharaohs, for our strength is in “the pillar of fire” which divides the sea in two, without much fanfare (cf. Ex 14:24-25).
The world in which the Lord calls us to carry out our mission has become extremely complicated.  And even the proud notion of cogito, which at least did not deny that there was a rock on the sand of being, is today dominated by a view of life which more than ever many consider to be hesitant, itinerant and lawless because it lacks a firm foundation.  Frontiers so passionately invoked and upheld are now open to the irony of a world in which the power of some can no longer survive without the vulnerability of others.  The irreversible hybridization of technology brings closer what is distant; sadly, however, it also distances what should be close. 
It is in this very world that God asks you to have a view capable of grasping that plea which cries out from the heart of your people, a plea which has its own calendar day, the Feast of crying out.  This cry needs a response: God exists and is close in Jesus Christ.  Only God is the reality upon which we can build, because, “God is the foundational reality, not a God who is merely imagined or hypothetical, but God with a human face” (Benedict VI, Address to CELAM, 13 May 2007).
Observing your faces, the Mexican people have the right to witness the signs of those “who have seen the Lord” (cf. Jn 20:25), of those who have been with God.  This is essential.  Therefore, do not lose time or energy in secondary things, in gossip or intrigue, in conceited schemes of careerism, in empty plans for superiority, in unproductive groups that seek benefits or common interests.  Do not allow yourselves to be dragged into gossip and slander.  Introduce your priests into a right understanding of sacred ministry.  For us ministers of God it is enough to have the grace to “drink the cup of the Lord”, the gift of protecting that portion of the heritage which has been entrusted to us, though we may be unskilled administrators.  Let us allow the Father to assign the place he has prepared for us (Mt 20:20-28).  Can we really be concerned with affairs that are not the Father’s?  Away from the “Father’s affairs” (Lk 2:48-49) we lose our identity and, through our own fault, empty his grace of meaning.
If our vision does not witness to having seen Jesus, then the words with which we recall him will be rhetorical and empty figures of speech.  They may perhaps express the nostalgia of those who cannot forget the Lord, but who have become, at any rate, mere babbling orphans beside a tomb.  Finally, they may be words that are incapable of preventing this world of ours from being abandoned and reduced to its own desperate power.
I think of the need to offer a maternal place of rest to young people.  May your vision be capable of meeting theirs, loving them and understanding what they search for with that energy that inspired many like them to leave behind their boats and nets on the other side of the sea (Mk 1:17-18), to leave the abuses of the banking sector so as to follow the Lord on the path of true wealth (cf. Mt9:9).
I am particularly concerned about those many persons who, seduced by the empty power of the world, praise illusions and embrace their macabre symbols to commercialize death in exchange for money which, in the end, “moth and rust consume” and “thieves break in and steal” (Mt 6:19).  I urge you not to underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the Church.
The magnitude of this phenomenon, the complexity of its causes, its immensity and its scope which devours like a metastasis, and the gravity of the violence which divides with its distorted expressions, do not allow us as Pastors of the Church to hide behind aondyne denunciations.  Rather they demand of us a prophetic courage as well as a reliable and qualified pastoral plan, so that we can gradually help build that fragile network of human relationships without which all of us would be defeated from the outset in the face of such an insidious threat.  Only by starting with families, by drawing close and embracing the fringes of human existence in the ravaged areas of our cities and by seeking the involvement of parish communities, schools, community institutions, political communities and institutions responsible for security, will people finally escape the raging waters that drown so many, either victims of the drug trade or those who stand before God with their hands drenched in blood, though with pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened.
A vision that can build
In the mantle of the Mexican spirit, God, with the thread of mestizocharacteristics, has woven and revealed in la Morenita the face of the Mexican people.  God does not need subdued colours to design this face, for his designs are not conditioned by colours or threads but rather by the permanence of his love which constantly desires to imprint itself upon us.
Therefore, be bishops who are capable of imitating this freedom of God who chooses the humble in order to reveal the majesty of his countenance; capable of reproducing this divine patience by weaving the new man which your country awaits with the fine thread made of the men and women you encounter.  Do not be led by empty efforts to change people as if the love of God is not powerful enough to bring about change. 
Rediscover the wise and humble constancy that the Fathers of faith of this country passed onto successive generations with the language of divine mystery.  They did this by first learning and then teaching the grammar needed to dialogue with God; a God concealed within centuries of searching and then brought close in the person of his Son Jesus Christ, who is our future and who is recognized as such by so many men and women when they behold his bloody and humiliated face.  Imitate his gracious humility and his bowing down to help us.  We will never comprehend sufficiently how, with the mestizothreads of our people, God has woven the face by which he is to be known.  We can never be thankful enough.
I ask you to show singular tenderness in the way you regard indigenous peoples and their fascinating but not infrequently decimated cultures.  Mexico needs its American-Indian roots so as not to remain an unresolved enigma.  The indigenous people of Mexico still await true recognition of the richness of their contribution and the fruitfulness of their presence.  In this way they can inherit that identity which transforms them into a single nation and not only an identity among other identities.
On many occasions, much has been said about a supposedly failed future of this nation, about a labyrinth of loneliness in which it is imprisoned by its geography as well as by a fate which ensnares it.  For some, all of this is an obstacle to the plan for a unified face, an adult identity, a unique position among the concert of nations and a shared mission.  
For others, the Church in Mexico is also regarded as being either condemned to suffer the inferior position to which it was relegated in some periods of its past, as for example when its voice was silenced and efforts were made to eradicate it; or condemned to venture into expressions of fundamentalism thus holding onto provisional certainties while forgetting to nest its heart in the Absolute and be called in Christ to unite everyone and not just a portion (cf. Lumen Gentium 1:1).
On the other hand, never cease to remind your people of how powerful their ancient roots are, roots which have allowed a vibrant Christian synthesis of human, cultural and spiritual unity which was forged here.  Remember that the wings of your people have spread on various occasions to rise above changing situations.  Protect the memory of the long journey undertaken so far and know how to inspire the hope of attaining new heights because the future will bear a land “rich in fruit” even if it involves considerable challenges (Num13:27-28).
May your vision, always and solely resting upon Christ, be capable of contributing to the unity of the people in your care; of favouring the reconciliation of its differences and the integration of its diversities; of promoting a solution to its endogenous problems; of remembering the high standards which Mexico can attain when it learns to belong to itself rather than to others; of helping to find shared and sustainable solutions to its misfortunes; of motivating the entire nation to not be content with less than what is expected of a Mexican way of living in the world. 
A vision that is close and attentive, not dormant           
I urge you to not fall into that paralyzation of standard responses to new questions.  Your past is a source of riches to be mined and which can inspire the present and illumine the future.  How unfortunate you are if you sit on your laurels!  It is important not to squander the inheritance you have received by protecting it through constant work.  You stand on the shoulders of giants: bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful unto the end, who have offered their lives so that the Church can fulfil her own mission.  From those heights you are called to turn your gaze to the Lord’s vineyard to plan the sowing and wait for the harvest.
I invite you to give yourselves tirelessly and fearlessly to the task of evangelizing and deepening the faith by means of a mystagogical catechesis that treasures the popular religiosity of the people.  Our times require pastoral attention to persons and groups who hope to encounter the living Jesus.  Only the courageous personal conversion of our communities can seek, generate and nourish todays disciples of the Lord (cf. Aparecida, 226, 368, 370).
Hence it is necessary for us Pastors to overcome the temptation of aloofness and clericalism, of coldness and indifference, of triumphalism and self-centredness.  Guadalupe teaches us that God is known by his countenance, and that closeness and humble bowing down are more powerful than force.
As the wonderful Guadalupana tradition teaches us, la Morenita gathers together those who contemplate her, and reflects the faces of those who find her.  It is essential to learn that there is something unique in every person who looks to us in their search for God.  We must guard against becoming impervious to such gazes but rather gather them to our hearts and guard them.
Only a Church able to shelter the faces of men and women who knock on her doors will be able to speak to them of God.  If we do not know how to decipher their sufferings, if we do not come to understand their needs, then we can offer them nothing.  The richness we have flows only when we encounter the smallness of those who beg and this encounter occurs precisely in our hearts, the hearts of Pastors.
The first face I ask you to guard in your hearts is that of your priests.  Do not leave them exposed to loneliness and abandonment, easy prey to a worldliness that devours the heart.  Be attentive and learn how to read their expressions so as to rejoice with them when they feel the joy of recounting all that they have “done and taught” (Mk 6:30).  Also, do not step back when they feel humiliated and can only cry because they “have denied the Lord” (cf.Lk 22:61-62), and offer your support, in communion with Christ, when one of them, disheartened, goes out with Judas into “the night” (cf. Jn 13:30).  As bishops in these situations, your paternal care for your priests must never be found wanting.  Encourage communion among them; seek the perfection of their gifts; involve them in great ventures, for the heart of an apostle was not made for small things.
The need for familiarity abides in the heart of God.  Our Lady of Guadalupe therefore asks for a casita sagrada, a “small holy home”.  Our Latin American populations know well the diminutive forms of expression and use them willingly.  Perhaps they need to use the diminutive forms because they would feel lost otherwise.  They have adapted themselves to feeling small and have grown accustomed to living modestly.
When the Church congregates in a majestic Cathedral, she should not fail to see herself as a “small home” in which her children can feel comfortable.  We remain in God’s presence only when we are little ones, orphans and beggars.
A “small home”, casita, is familiar and at the same time “holy”, sagrada, for it is filled by God’s omnipotent greatness.  We are guardians of this mystery.  Perhaps we have lost the sense of the humble ways of the divine and are tired of offering our own men and women the casita in which they feel close to God.   On occasion, a disregard for the sense of omnipotent greatness has led to a partial loss of reverential fear towards such great love.  Where God lives, man cannot enter without being invited in and he can only enter “taking off his shoes” (cf. Ex 3:5), so as to confess his unworthiness.
Our having forgotten this “taking off our shoes” in order to enter, is this perhaps not the root cause of that lost sense of the sacredness of human life, of the person, of fundamental values, of the wisdom accumulated along the centuries, and of respect for the environment?  Without rescuing within the consciences of men and women and of society these profound roots and the generous efforts to promote legitimate human rights, the vital sap will be lacking; and it is a sap that comes only from a source which  humanity itself cannot procure.
A holistic and unified vision
Only by looking at la Morenita can Mexico be understood in its entirety.  And so I invite you to appreciate that the mission which the Church entrusts to you demands a vision embracing the whole.  This cannot be realized in an isolated manner, but only in communion.
La Guadalupana has a ribbon around her waist which proclaims her fecundity. She is the Blessed Virgin who already has in her womb the Son awaited by men and women. She is the Mother who already carries the humanity of a newborn world.  She is the Bride who prefigures the maternal fruitfulness of Christ’s Church.  You have been entrusted with the mission of enrobing the Mexican nation with God’s fruitfulness.  No part of this ribbon can be despised.
The Mexican episcopate has made significant strides in these years since the Council; it has increased its members; it has promoted permanent formation which is consistent and professional; there has been a fraternal atmosphere; the spirit of collegiality has matured; the pastoral efforts have had an influence on your local Churches and on the conscience of the nation; the shared pastoral initiatives have been fruitful in vital areas of the Church’s mission, such as the family, vocations, and the Church’s presence in society.
While we are encouraged by the path taken during these years, I would ask you not to lose heart in the face of difficulties and not to spare any effort in promoting, among yourselves and in your dioceses, a missionary zeal, especially towards the most needy areas of the one body of the Mexican Church.  To rediscover that the Church is mission is fundamental for her future, because only the “enthusiasm and confident admiration” of evangelizers has the power to attract.  I ask you, therefore, to take great care in forming and preparing the lay-faithful, overcoming all forms of clericalism and involving them actively in the mission of the Church, above all making the Gospel of Christ present in the world by personal witness.
Of great benefit to the Mexican people will be the unifying witness of the Christian synthesis and the shared vision of the identity and future of its people.  In this sense, it is important for the Pontifical University of Mexico to be increasingly involved in the efforts of the Church to ensure a universal perspective; for without this, reason, which tends to compartmentalize, will renounce its highest ideal of seeking the truth. 
The mission is vast, and to carry it forward requires multiple paths.  I strongly reiterate my appeal to you to preserve the communion and unity that exist among you.  Communion is the essential form of the Church, and the unity of her Pastors offers proof of its truth.  Mexico and its vast, multifaceted Church, stand in need of bishops who are servants and custodians of that unity built on the word of God, nourished by his Body and guided by his Spirit who is the life-giving breath of the Church.
We do not need “princes”, but rather a community of the Lord’s witnesses.  Christ is the only light; he is the well-spring of living water; from his breath comes forth the Spirit, who fills the sails of the ecclesial barque.  In the glorified Christ, whom the people of this country love to honour as King, may you together kindle the light and be filled by his presence which is never extinguished; breathe deeply the wholesome air of his Spirit.  It falls to you to sow Christ in this land, to keep alive his humble light which enlightens without causing confusion, to ensure that in his living waters the thirst of your people is quenched; to set the sails so that the Spirit’s breeze may fill them, never allowing the barque of the Church in Mexico to run aground.
Remember: the Bride knows that the beloved Pastor (cf. Song 1:7) will be found only where there are verdant pastures and crystal clear streams.  She does not trust those companions of the Bridegroom who, sometimes out of laziness or inability, lead the sheep through arid lands and areas strewn with rocks.  Woe to us pastors, companions of the Supreme Pastor, if we allow his Bride to wander because we have set up tents where the Bridegroom cannot be found! 
Allow me a final word to convey the appreciation of the Pope for everything you are doing to confront the challenge of our age: migration. There are millions of sons and daughters of the Church who today live in the diaspora or who are in transit, journeying to the north in search of new opportunities.  Many of them have left behind their roots in order to brave the future, even in clandestine conditions which involve so many risks; they do this to seek the “green light” which they regard as hope.  So many families are separated; and integration into a supposedly “promised land” is not always as easy as some believe.                               
Brothers, may your hearts be capable of following these men and women and reaching them beyond the borders.  Strengthen the communion with your brothers of the North American episcopate, so that the maternal presence of the Church can keep alive the roots of the faith of these men and women, as well as the motivation for their hope and the power of their charity.  May it never happen, that, hanging up their lyres, their joys become dampened, they forget Jerusalem and are exiled from themselves (cf. Ps 136).  I ask you to witness together that the Church is the custodian of a unifying vision of humanity and that she cannot consent to being reduced to a mere human “resource”.  
Your efforts will not be in vain when your dioceses show care by pouring balm on the injured feet of those who walk through your territories, sharing with them the resources collected through the sacrifices of many; the divine Samaritan in the end will enrich the person who is not indifferent to him as he lies on the side of the road (cf. Lk 10:25-37).
Dear brothers, the Pope is sure that Mexico and its Church will make it in time to that rendezvous with themselves, with history and with God.  Perhaps some stone on the way may slow their pace and the struggle of the journey may call for rest, but nothing will make them lose sight of the destination.  For how can someone arrive late when it is their mother who is waiting?  Who is unable to hear within themselves that voice, ‘am I not here, I who am your Mother’?