With the reading of the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 16, verses 13 to 20, the Cuban cardinal meant what Christ represents to the one who follows him, to his Church. To the biblical reading he added a fragment of the Cuban Ecclesial Encounter (ENEC), celebrated in 1986, which with poetic precision describes the presence of Jesus in the life of the Christian: “Christ is everything to us, he is ‘the way, the truth and the life’; light; the head; the cornerstone; the foundation; the good shepherd; the door; the last and definitive word to men; the sole mediator; the unique cause of our salvation; our peace.”
“In Christ,” he said, “man finds his complete dignity: we know who we are, we have, we can, we value, when we accept Christ. By any way man can be lost: by the way of Christ no one has ever been lost. Christ delivers, heals, forgives, sanctifies, vivifies, reconciles, gathers, saves.”
In his Sunday allocution he praised the constant attachment to Jesus of the female religious communities present in Havana. “They,” he said, “give all the beats of their hearts to those who gave them the greatest show of love they have ever received.” He counseled, “If anyone wants to know what true love is, talk to the nuns.” Likewise, he celebrated those couples who with their daily testimony tell the world that Christ is family and “transmit love in the style of the Holy Family”.
Recalling that next Sunday, August 30, the Ninth to the Virgin of Charity begins, the Archbishop of Havana invited everyone to imitate Mary in her gesture of always magnifying God. In this regard he commented on the usual human attitude that leads us to overcome by difficulties and absorb by fears, an attitude that opposes that assumed by Our Lady when she puts God as the first greatness of life.
“And we,” he helped ask us, “do we remember to praise God? Shall we thank you for the wonders you do for us? For every day he gives us, because he loves us and always forgives us, for his tenderness? And for giving us his Mother, for the brothers and sisters he puts us on the road, because Heaven has opened us up? Do we thank God, praise God for these things? If we forget good, the heart shrinks. But if, like Mary, we remember the wonders that the Lord performs, if at least once a day we magnify him, then we take a big step forward. Once a day we can say, ‘I praise the Lord’, ‘Blessed be the Lord’: it is a small prayer of praise. This is praise to God. The heart, with this little prayer, will dilate, joy will increase. Let us ask Our Lady, the gate of Heaven, for the grace to start each day by looking up to heaven, to God, to say, ‘Thank you!’, as the children say to their parents.”
Before concluding, he invited families to read together next Sunday, August 30, the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verses 26 through 38. He also assured interested parties that if they call the phone number 7862-4000, preferably in the morning, and give their address or that of the nearest Church, a guide from the Ninth will be sent to our Lady of Copper Charity.
Below we offer in full the allocution of the Cardinal and Archbishop of Havana, Archbishop Juan de la Caridad García.