Homily for Bl.Marie Alphonsine’s anniversary
The homily delivered by Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem on the first anniversary of the beatification of Mother Mary Alphonsine, foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary:
We all remember the great celebration that was held in Nazareth during the beatification of Mother Mary Alphonsine, already a year ago. It was an unforgettable moment with feelings of great emotion when her image was unveiled, and still imprinted in our hearts to this day.
However, this anniversary invites us to go beyond emotions, to truly live what Blessed Marie Alphonsine lived during her time on earth.
The Beatitudes proclaimed today, are the pearls of the Gospel. But often, they seem to be at the peak of an inaccessible height, with the perfection they reveal.
It is true that to live the Beatitudes is not easy. So much in the world is in radical antagonism with the Gospel teaching. Christ proclaims: “blessed are the poor,” while all are in pursuit of money. It is the same with “blessed are the merciful,” while strength and power are often set in values. What is the truth? What is true happiness?
In his great mercy, the Lord leads people among our men and women who live the Beatitudes, and shows us that by his grace, they are accessible to all.
Mother Marie Alphonsine, daughter of Jerusalem, was one of them. Her life is an open Gospel, because it speaks of Christ, in her prayer, her love of God and neighbor, charity, humility, and silence.
She was a simple woman, modest, with moderate education as her diary attests. But it was that the Blessed Virgin, chose her to found the Sisters of the Rosary. In this regard, the reading of St. Paul to the Corinthians explains: “Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor 1:26-27)
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.” (Mt 5: 11) Blessed Marie Alphonsine also experienced the Gospel regarding persecution, even within her family, who objected to her religious vocation. But the Lord was her joy who fulfilled her desire, as reflected in the responsorial Psalm: “One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit his temple. For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock.”(Ps 27:4-5)
Let us rejoice together in communion with the Saints, in whose joy Blessed Marie Alphonsine partakes. “Arise, Jerusalem! Stand on the heights and look toward the east: see your children gathered from east to west by the word of Holy God, they rejoice because God remembers.” She is now in glory, where she contemplates the beauty of Christ, with her mother, Mary.
Lord, give us the grace to imitate her sincere piety, her deep humility, interior silence, and thus enjoy her peace.