The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, presided over Mass today before canonizing Br. Antonio de Sant'Ana Galvao, the first native-born Brazilian saint. During the Mass, he addressed the faithful with a brief homily.
Benedict began his homily by inviting all present to "rejoice in the Lord . . . Let all of us praise him, peoples of Brazil and America." The Pope momentarily turned his attention to those who were following his journey on television, saying, "Be sure of this: the Pope loves you, and he loves you because Jesus Christ loves you."
Turning his attention to Br. Galvao, the Holy Father asked all present to "give thanks to God for the lasting benefits obtained through the powerful evangelizing influence that the Holy Spirit impressed upon so many souls through Br. Galvao." Benedict said that Br. Galvao is an excellent of example of how people should behave before the Eucharist: they should be, like Br. Galvao, "in a constant attitude of adoration." This is because God "reveals Himself through His word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist." The Eucharist "contains all the spiritual wealth of the Church . . . it is the source of Life for mankind."
Br. Galvao is also an example to all because of "his willingness to be of service to the people whenever he was asked." Because he truly loved those who came to him, "the conversion of sinners was therefore the great passion of our saint." By being united to our neighbor and our God, "we will thus become bearers of that peace which the world cannot give."
"Mary, Mother of God and our Mother," Benedict continued, "stands particularly close to us at this moment." Br. Galvao "prophetically affirmed the truth of the Immaculate Conception." Mary is the "definitive seal of our encounter with God our Savior."
Benedict then drew attention to a sentence found in Br. Galvao's consecration, "Take away my life before I offend your blessed Son, my Lord!" These words are "the words of an impassioned soul, words that should be part of the normal life of every Christian." In fact, "the world needs transparent lives, clear souls, pure minds that refuse to be perceived as mere objects of pleasure." Such clarity is "necessary to oppose those elements of the media that ridicule the sanctity of marriage and virginity before marriage."
According to the Holy Father, "Our Lady has been given to us as the best defense against the evils that afflict modern life." Moreover, "Marian devotion is the sure guarantee of her maternal protection and safeguard in the hour of temptation."
In closing, the Pope recalled his words from World Youth Day 2005, "Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world!" He finished his homily by asking the faithful to "give thanks to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit from Whom, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we receive all the blessings of heaven."