Rome, 7 March 2019
My dearest children: may Jesus watch over my daughters and sons for me!
St Josemaria exhorted us with his word and his example to sentire cum Ecclesia; to live completely in tune with the Church. Doing so leads us to rejoice with her joys and suffer with her sufferings.
In difficult years, when St Paul VI went so far as to say that “the smoke of satan” was getting in through the cracks in the Church, our Father stressed to us that those were “times to pray” and “times to make atonement”. I would like this same exhortation to ring out in our souls now too, in the present situation – different from but no less difficult than those ones – when, together with doctrinal confusion and errors in practice, there are very painful divisions. For this reason also, let’s try to be good children of the Church, helping the Pope with our prayer in his mission as the visible principle of the unity of faith and communion.
My daughters and sons, consideration of the difficulties of the present time, which are admittedly serious, cannot lead us to an attitude of pessimism or despair. Above all because, although the Church is made up of weak women and men, she is the People of God, the Body of Christ, and the universal Sacrament of salvation. To take another angle, as Don Javier used to say to us – and as we all have experience – “How many good people there are in the world!”
In our prayer for the Church let us often have recourse to St Michael the Archangel, as Pope Francis asked us to a few months back; to St Joseph, patron of the universal Church, especially on 19 March; and always to Our Lady, Mater Ecclesiae.
At the beginning of this Lent, a very affectionate blessing from