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Intervention of Mons. Angelo AMATO, Titular Archbishop of Sila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (VATICAN CITY)

Jesus invited one and all of his disciples to holiness of life: “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). The Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to be, in Christ, “be holy and faultless in love” (cf. Eph. 1:4). The Second Ecumenical Vatican Council called the faithful to the universal vocation of holiness: “In the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification’ (l Ts 4:3)” (LG 39). The sanctity of the faithful is a gift of the Holy Spirit, Divine trinitarian love, in the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. From the beginning of Christianity, the saints, confessors and martyrs, have been numerous in the Eastern Church. In the last year, the two most recent beatifications in the Middle East have occurred respectively in Nazareth and in Kfifan in Lebanon. In Nazareth, on 21 November 2009, Sister Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas was beatified, a native of Jerusalem and founder of the entirely Arab Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary, apostolically active in many places in the Middle East. In Kfifan, north of Beirut, Br. Estefan Nehme was beatified on 27 June, a professed religious of the Lebanese Maronite Order. The faithful who participated at the beatification of Br. Estefan numbered more than 100,000.
Other than witnesses to the faith and of the communion within the Church, the blesseds and the saints have a triple function. First and foremost are the authors of an authentic inculturation of the Gospel: their existence demonstrates that it is possible to be perfect disciples of Christ in their land and in their culture. In the second place, they are witnesses to a victorious interreligious dialogue: in fact their lives are characterized by the heroic exercise of charity, the true universal language of humanity, understood and appreciated by all, even by non-Christians. In the third place, they are credible missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in that they live in harmony between word and action.

[00171-02.02] [IN111] [Original text: Italian]


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