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12 June, 20

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Prayer, charity and joy in Paul VI

The profile of holiness is reflected in the homilies and discourses of St. Paul VI, whose feast is celebrated on May 29, the day of his ordination to the priesthood. His texts are best understood through prayer, his own prayer before disseminating them, and the prayer that their reading awakens in us.

Prayer, charity and joy

I once read that the profile of sainthood goes through the prayercharity and joy. I found this profile in the homilies and speeches of St. Paul VI. These texts are best understood through prayer: his own prayer before spreading them, and the prayer that their reading awakens in us. But every prayer, if it is an authentic dialogue with God, has its immediate culmination in daily life. Praying to go out to meet people, those close to us and those far away from us, as Jesus in the Gospel. Prayer and charity are part of a great adventure, human and divine, of a heart full of joy, in love with Christ and the Gospel. Churchas that of Paul VI.

Sanctification Paul VI 1

Paul VI was the 262nd pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City from June 21, 1963 until his death on August 6, 1978. He was canonized by Pope Francis in 2018.

The homily of Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, delivered on January 1, 1961, can be understood from the simplicity of an interior life, full of common and supernatural sense, in dialogue with the modern world. It deals with the value of time, in the day when some people formulate their well-intentioned resolutions. Montini underlines a widespread mistake: that of becoming attached to the instant, enjoying it with greater intensity so that happiness does not escape. However, the Milanese prelate reminds us that this is not a realistic attitude because it tends to be closed to the future.Life has value because of the hopes that sustain it, it has value because of the goals it sets for itself, it has value because of the future it projects, because of the programs that try to organize its activity.". The bishop reminds us that as long as there is life, there is future. Only people of prayer, of continuous dialogue with God, are capable of sanctifying time and giving it eternal value.. The present, or rather the eternal present, will come later. Today is the time of the future because, as Montini points out, "life is made for God's conquest". To conquer it, you have to know it, you have to treat it by means of the prayer. Then comes another step: the charity.

True Christian charity

On May 1, 1972, Paul VI addressed a speech to the participants in the IV National Congress of the Companions of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and reminded them that charity is the test of authenticity of Christianity, for "charity is the test of authenticity of Christianity.Charity is always relevant. Charity has not lost its function in the modern world. Charity remains". Nevertheless, the Pontiff recognizes that modern society is much more sensitive to the application of justice than to the exercise of charity, probably because it has sometimes been accused of being complicit in the injustices. Faced with the same objection, St. John Paul II would respond that charity is a "superabundance" of justice. In any case, charity requires a pedagogy. It is clearly found in the Gospel: "As you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me."(Mt 25:40). If we Christians are aware that the poor are Christ, in the many faces of the poor, we will be able to see them in the many faces of the poor, in the many faces of the poor, in the many faces of the poor. povertyWe will not dwell on a supposed opposition between charity and justice. What is really important, according to Paul VI, is that the mysterious presence of Christ in the needy educates and purifies the souland makes you understand that the love of God is like "a devouring fire" (Is 30:27). Indeed, joy is a great fire, as Paul Türks points out in his biography of St. Philip Neri.

Prayer, charity and joy. It can all be summed up in one word: love.

It is precisely the liturgy that bursts with joy at Christmas. A feast on which Paul VI became close to the parishioners of a Roman parish, Sancta Maria Regina Mundi in Torre Spaccata, when he celebrated Mass with them at dawn on December 25, 1971.


A Pope, who has celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in the Vatican, leaves sleep behind to go with the first light of day to a distant parish. Paul VI, as bishop of RomeHe wants to get to know his parishes up close, instead of being satisfied with the coldness of the reports. The Pontiff allows himself to be seen by the faithful immersed in the great metropolis, and that morning he confided to them: "... he is not a man of the cloth.I will confess one thing to you, I have also come to console myself, to have a beautiful Christmas, and my most beautiful Christmas consists in being able to be with those whom the Lord has given me as brothers and sisters and children.".

Closeness and charity go hand in hand, and fraternity is the best recipe against the temptations of the solitude and discouragement. But it would be insufficient if Christmas did not serve us to live the coming of Christ. The greatness of Christianity consists in the fact that a God became flesh to become our friend and companion. From this, Pope Montini gives a simple and concise definition of Christianity: "The greatness of Christianity consists in the fact that God became flesh to become our friend and companion.It is God's love for us". Therefore, being a religious person should consist of nothing more than responding to the love.

In this regard, Paul VI recalled in his homily that "many see religion as something oppressive, difficult, tiresome. No! Religion, being in contact with Christ and with God, is something that fills us with happiness and joy. Why? Because it is love.

Antonio R. Rubio Plo
Degree in History and Law
International writer and analyst
@blogculturayfe / @arubioplo

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