Preserve in the midst of your people, we ask, O
Lord, the spirit with which you filled the Bishop Saint Charles Borromeo, that
your Church may be constantly renewed and, by conforming herself to the
likeness of Christ, may show his face to the world.
The humanity of today's saint is brought out in an
address celebrating 400 years since he was raised to the altars. Here are three
paragraphs of the Pope 2010 talk (the rest may be read at the link below):
love of St Charles Borromeo was first and foremost the love of the Good
Shepherd who is ready to give his whole life for the flock entrusted to his
care, putting the demands and duties of his ministry before any form of
personal interest, amenity or advantage. Thus the Archbishop of Milan, faithful
to the Tridentine directives, visited several times his immense Diocese even
the most remote localities, and took care of his people, nourishing them ceaselessly
with the Sacraments and with the word of God through his rich and effective
preaching; he was never afraid to face adversities and dangers to defend the
faith of the simple and the rights of the poor.
However it is impossible to
understand the charity of St Charles Borromeo without knowing his relationship
of passionate love with the Lord Jesus. He contemplated this love in the holy
mysteries of the Eucharist and of the Cross, venerated in very close union with
the mystery of the Church. The Eucharist and the Crucified One immersed St
Charles in Christ's love and this transfigured and kindled fervor in his entire
life, filled his nights spent in prayer, motivated his every action, inspired
the solemn Liturgies he celebrated with the people and touched his heart so
deeply that he was often moved to tears.
His contemplative gaze at the holy
Mystery of the Altar and at the Crucified one stirred within him feelings of
compassion for the miseries of humankind and kindled in his heart the apostolic
yearning to proclaim the Gospel to all. On the other hand we know well that
there is no mission in the Church which does not stem from "abiding" in the
love of the Lord Jesus, made present within us in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Let us learn from this great Mystery! Let us make the Eucharist the true centre
of our communities and allow ourselves to be educated and moulded by this abyss
of love! Every apostolic and charitable deed will draw strength and fruitfulness
from this source!
Pope Benedict XVI