Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi

Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi

January 11, 2016
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

For many contemporary people, God has not only disappeared, but his absence is not even seen as a problem, the pope's representative in Canada told a national student gathering.

"In the horizon of many of our contemporaries, today, God has somehow disappeared, is absent," Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi said Dec. 30 in Montreal.

Moreover, God's absence is no longer "perceived as a problem" and "brings forth the night with its accompanying darkness," Bonazzi said.

Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio to Canada, spoke to more than 700 university students gathered at St. Joseph's Oratory for Catholic Christian Outreach's annual Rise Up conference.

He urged the students to be pregnant with God so others might be awakened to love in Christ.

"The way to learn how to love has been lost and, consequently, the true meaning of love," he said. "This is the context in which, as disciples of Jesus, you are called to live and witness your faith."

Because the true meaning of love is no longer understood, neither is the meaning of pain, he continued. Canada has thus "arrived at the point of presenting as an act of dignity and compassion to administer death to someone, in order to spare them from suffering."

Bonazzi urged the young people to purify themselves and draw close to God so they can bring him to others.

"The kingdom of God is God himself who builds it and only those who receive God can give God," he said.

"This is precisely the gift given to us in the mystery of Christmas and which is renewed in every Eucharist: We receive God and so can give him.

"We become capable of living the highest human experience, the highest human activity: by God's grace, to bring forth God."

Quoting Origen, a third century Church father who compared a Christian to a pregnant woman who carries new life within her, Bonazzi said the "Christian is one who walks in the world 'pregnant with God.'"

The Christian carries "another life in his life, learning to breathe with the breath of God, to feel with the mind of Christ, as if he had two hearts, his own and another with a stronger beat that will never be extinguished," he said.

"In this very moment, again, God is looking for mothers in order to take flesh.

"Dear young people, you are called to be mothers and fathers who carry God," he said.

The nuncio said it is Christ himself, the Word of God, who abides in us, makes us strong and calls us to be "salt of the earth."

"Yes, in this world full of great lights and frightening shadows, rich in extraordinary potentialities and threatened by serious dangers, you are called to be evangelical salt," he said.

ACT IN UNITY

The call to be salt of the earth is conjugated in the plural, emphasizing the importance of living and acting "in unity," he noted. "Alone we can do nothing; we are inevitably destined to lose taste and to be thrown outside."

It is "within the Church that the Spirit divinizes us," he said. "Having become Church, you will act always in the plural, that is to say as a 'we-communion."'

Even when you act "singly," with God's grace "you will be able to fulfill the plan of God, to overcome the great challenges of the world and to meet the deepest yearnings of people."

SPIRITUAL DENSITY

"It is of little importance if, as 'salt-Church,' you are few in number compared to the multitude waiting to be seasoned: it is enough that you are authentic, rich in divine strength," he said.

"Indeed, in the kingdom of God, what matters is not the quantity of what we do but the spiritual density of what we are."

Bonazzi called on the students to draw close to their contemporaries and to share with them.

"To draw close does not mean losing one's own identity or downplaying it, but having the courage to embrace - with love and without complicity with evil - the situations we encounter, changing them from within, following the example of Jesus."