The beatification of the Servant of God Álvaro delPortillo, faithful collaborator of St Josemaría Escrivá and his first successorat the head of Opus Dei, is a moment of special joy for all the faithful of thePrelature, and also for you, who were for so long a witness of his love for Godand others, and his fidelity to the Church and to his vocation. I too wish tounite myself to your joy and to thank God, who embellishes the face of theChurch with the holiness of her children.
His beatification will take place in Madrid, the citywhere he was born and spent his childhood and youth. Here his life began totake shape in the simplicity of family life, through friendship and service toothers, as when he went to outlying districts to help provide human andChristian formation to so many people in need. And in this city, above all,there took place the event that definitively marked the course of his life: hismeeting with St Josemaría Escrivá, from whom he learned to fall more in lovewith Christ every day. Yes, to fall in love with Christ. This is the path toholiness that every Christian has to follow: to let ourselves be loved by the Lord,to open up our hearts to his love, and to allow him to be the one who guidesour lives.
I like to recall the aspiration that the Servant ofGod would often repeat, especially for personal celebrations and anniversaries:"Thank you; forgive me; help me more!” These words bring us closer to thereality of his interior life and his relationship with the Lord, and can also helpto give a new impulse to our own Christian life.
In the first place, Thank you. This is the soul’s immediate, spontaneous reaction on experiencingGod’s goodness. It cannot be otherwise. He always goes ahead of us. Howeverhard we try, his love always gets there first, touches and caresses us first, Hebeats us to it. Álvaro del Portillowas aware of the many gifts God had given him, and thanked God for thatmanifestation of his fatherly love. But he did not stop at that: hisrecognition of Our Lord’s love awakened in his heart desires to follow him withgreater commitment and generosity, and to lead a life of humble service toothers. Especially outstanding was his love for the Church, the Spouse ofChrist, whom he served with a heart devoid of worldly self-interest, far from discord,welcoming towards everyone and always seeking in others what was positive, whatunited, what was constructive. He never spoke a word of complaint or criticism,even at especially difficult times, but instead, as he had learned from StJosemaría, he always responded with prayer, forgiveness, understanding andsincere charity.
Forgive me.He often confessed that he saw himself empty-handed before God, incapable ofresponding to so much generosity. But to admit our poverty as human beings isnot the result of despair but confident abandonment in God who is our Father.It means opening ourselves to his mercy, his love, which is able to regenerateour life. His love does not humiliate us, nor cast us into the depths of guilt,but embraces us, lifts us up from our prostration and enables us to go forwardwith more determination and joy. The Servant of God Álvaro knew the need wehave of God’s mercy, and devoted a lot of his own energy to encouraging thepeople he met to go to the sacrament of Confession, the sacrament of joy. Howimportant it is to feel the tenderness of God’s love, and discover that thereis still time to love!
Help me more.Yes, the Lord never abandons us, he is always at our side, he journeys with us,and every day he expects new love from us. His grace will not fail us, and withhis help we can take his name to the whole world. The heart of the new Blessed beatwith the desire to bring the Good News to all hearts. And so he travelled tomany countries to foster new projects for evangelization, undeterred by difficulties,moved by his love for God and his brethren. One who is very immersed in God isable to be very close to other people. The first condition for announcingChrist to them is to love them, because Christ loves them before we do. We haveto leave behind our selfish concerns and love of comfort, and go out to meetour brothers and sisters. That is where Our Lord is awaiting us. We cannot keepour faith to ourselves: it is a gift we have received to give away and sharewith others.
Thank you, forgive me, help me! These words expressthe thrust of a life that is centered on God. It is the life of someone who hasbeen touched by the greatest Love and who lives totally on that love; someonewho, while experiencing their own human weakness and limitations, trusts inGod’s mercy and wants all mankind, their brothers and sisters, to experience ittoo.
Dear brother, Blessed Álvaro del Portillo is sendingus a very clear message. He is telling us to trust in the Lord, that he is ourbrother, our friend, who never lets us down and is always at our side. He isencouraging us not to be afraid to go against the current and suffer forannouncing the Gospel. He is also teaching us that in the simplicity andordinariness of our daily lives we can find a sure path to holiness.
I ask all the faithful of the Prelature, priests andlay-people, as well as all those who take part in its activities, to please prayfor me. At the same time, I give them all my Apostolic Blessing.
May Jesus bless you, and may the Holy Virgin watchover you.