Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – The bishop Alvaro del Portillo (1914-1994), first successor of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer at the helm of Opus Dei, was beatified in Madrid, Spain this morning. The Holy Father sent a message to Bishop Javier Echevarria, current Prelate of Opus Dei, which was read during the ceremony, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato,S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The message was signed 26 June, the feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer.
“I like to recall the short prayer that the Servant of God repeated frequently, especially in personal celebrations and anniversaries: 'Thank you, I’m sorry, help me more!' These are words that bring us closer to the reality of his interior life and his dealing with the Lord, and which can also help us to give a new impulse to our own Christian life”, writes the Pope.
“Firstly, thank you. It is the immediate and spontaneous reaction of the soul before God's goodness. … And God always precedes us. Alvaro del Portillo was aware of the many gifts God had given him, and he thanked God for that manifestation of his fatherly love. But he did not stop there. His gratitude for the Lord’s love awakened in his heart the wish to follow him with greater selflessness and generosity, and to live a humble life of service to others. Particularly evident was his love for the Church, bride of Christ, whom he served with a heart stripped of worldly interests, free of discord, always welcoming to all, and always seeking the positive in others, what unites and what builds”.
Secondly, there is the phrase “I’m sorry”. Francis explains in his letter that Don Alvaro “often admitted that he saw himself before God with empty hands, unable to respond to so much generosity. However, the admission of human poverty is not the fruit of despair … but instead means opening oneself to His mercy, His love … that does not humiliate, nor does it sink into the abyss of despair; rather, it lives us from our prostration and enables us to walk with more determination and joy. The Servant of God Alvaro knew the need we have of divine mercy, and he dedicated much of his personal energy to encourage persons to approach the Sacrament of Confession, the Sacrament of joy.”
Finally, “help me more. Yes, the Lord never abandons us. … His grace never fails us, and with His help we can proclaim His name to all the world. Beating in the heart of the new Blessed was the desire to take the Good News to all hearts. He went to many countries encouraging evangelisation projects, without being hindered by difficulties, moved by his love for God and for his brothers. … The first condition for proclaiming Christ is to love them, as Christ loved them before us. From there, the Lord awaits us. We cannot keep our faith to ourselves; it is a gift that we have received in order to be able to give it and share it with others”.
“Blessed Alvaro del Portillo sends us a very clear message; he tells us to trust in the Lord, who is our brother, our friend who never disappoints us and who is always at our side,” concludes the Holy Father. “He encourages us not to be afraid to go against the current or to suffer for proclaiming the Gospel. In addition, he teaches us that in the simplicity and ordinariness of our life we can find a sure path of holiness”.