Sanctuary of Oropa



Mary, we need you.
John Paul II - 16 July 1989.

Homily of John Paul II

"There, we learned that the ark was in Ephrata, we found fields laar".
(Ps 131/132,6).

These words, dear brothers and sisters, today's liturgy places on our lips. In them, the psalmist speaks of the Ark of the Covenant, in which were kept the tablets of the law, delivered by God to Moses. Appropriately, though, the Church in this that we are celebrating the Solemnity of Mary (Our Lady of Caramel) apply to the Virgin symbol of the ark: Mary who kept in her womb the Word Incarnate, the Word, which did not come to abolish the law, but to bring to completion (cf. Mt 5:17), Mary, whose body, whose mind, whose hearts are "temple of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son who makes us understand and live the divine law.

Like the Psalmist who, with exultation, announcing he had found the ark of the Lord, "at Ephrata", "camps Iaar," so we, rejoicing, we proclaim today to have found Mary, the Ark of the New Alliance, here, in his beautiful and ancient shrine of Oropa.
"The Lord has chosen Zion - continues the psalm - he wanted for his dwelling." The Lord has chosen Oropa - we might add - he desired as the home of Mary and in Mary and through Mary he wants to live in a special way here in this sanctuary.

So we get in this house of God, following the example of countless multitudes of the faithful who come up here for so many centuries. We enter this place beloved by God and Mary in devout worship and bow down before the infinite majesty of God, who delights the intercession of Mary, especially to lower his mercy in this holy place, and radiation from here, ever new energies of grace, that illuminate the minds about the truth that saves, strengthens the will in fulfilling God's commandments, to reinforce the communion of men among themselves and with God.
Even today we, like King David surrounded by his people, let us rejoice, thanking the Lord for giving us this shrine, the long and rich history of devotion and piety, which is woven around this time, reverb benefits for the whole surrounding region. Thank you for giving us Mary.
And also thank Mary for being pleased to manifest itself here not only to hearts already enlightened by faith, but often even those "in search", which alerted to the need for a radical conversion. How many people have found within the walls of this shrine, the joy and peace of the encounter with God! In the eyes of the Mother who read the final word, which has dissolved the mists of doubt and gave the necessary extra energy to the will wavering. Here at the feet of the Mother, they found the strength to renounce evil suggestions to fully adhere to the indications demanding, but at the same time liberating, of the Gospel.

Marian shrines are, by their nature, radiation centers of Christianity, intended to reconcile the brothers, and to spread the faith. It is essential, therefore, that those who stand here in prayer pose questions that the Bishop of the diocese, Monsignor Giustetti dear, addressed to himself and to you in his pastoral letter last year: "Our community - he asks - are composed of adults and very brave believers of the faith? Is not become prevalent, the number of young people and adults called "distant"? We let them to their fate or infer stronger stimulus to an attitude missionary? are fundamental questions, dear Brothers and sisters, are urgent matters, from which every Christian should feel responsible requested. I, too, because I assure you become aware of the height of your vocation and duties flowing from it. No one is Christian only for himself. The gift of Faith is given to us because there we witness, through word and life, in front of the brothers.

Strive, therefore, to derive from the same devotion to this shrine an ever greater missionary! See that light, that Mary is giving you in this place, not only fill your souls, but in many ways overflow, expand and enlighten even the "far"! Ask here to Mary this exuberance, this vitality of our faith. The love and mercy towards his brothers, on the one hand, and awareness of your responsibility towards them, on the other, build in you a kind of holy restlessness, which leads you to a continuous search for ways and means better suited to communicate to them the light that God makes you enjoy, through Mary, in this sanctuary.

"Behold the dwelling of God is with men He will dwell among them" (Revelation 21:3)

Man carries within itself an irrepressible need for the absolute. After all, every man - he knows it or not know - want to live where God dwells How many times the Scripture presents and celebrates the universal yearning of the religious heart "to live in the house of the Lord"!
Our eternal bliss, perhaps not consist in living in God? Living where God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, "so that" there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
But, to some extent, this happens right here on earth by faith: the transcendent God becomes somehow "inherent" in the heart and conscience of man who believes. This is primarily through the sacrament of the Eucharist, in which the presence of God among us and in us buy the actual size of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Have to understand, then, the desire to live near the place where God lives, so that the man's house is joined to the temple with the "house of God"? How not to find just that we try to meet such a desire?
This is precisely what is done for centuries in this as in many other shrines: to provide hospitality to pilgrims wishing to live at the "house of God." This emanates quite naturally and logically from one intensely lived Christian spirituality. Explain why the commitment that the ecclesial community has always made from Biella to authenticate and highlight the work of this place of worship, the Christians of the past generations have created and willed as "Domus Mariae". It is the intimate nature of the Christian faith works and inspires the human character and social structures that maintain a vital relationship with this faith, without which they abandoned their end and lose the energy that sustains.

"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you! "! (Lk 1,28).

I am here to greet the lady and to greet you. All together now hail Mary with these kind and thoughtful words of the angel Gabriel.
Bow down before our Mother. Let us pause in front of his revered image in devout meditation. Completes’ in its pure beauty, pure mirror of divine Beauty.
Let us thank him for his presence among us, for your prayers and for her maternal care. We feel deeply happy under his gaze. This reminds us of the wonderful joy in writing engraved on the facade of the old basilica: "O quam beatus, o Beata, quem viderint oculi tui": "Oh, really is happy, or the Blessed Virgin, the one on which your eyes alight." "Here I am - says Maria - I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38). Blessed Virgin, we will serve God with you, like you. So be it!".


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