Thought for the Day – 10 May – Friday of the Third Week of Easter, C and the Memorial of Blessed Ivan Merz (1896-1928)
Excerpt from the Beatification Homily
St John Paul II (1920-2005)
Sunday, 22 June 2003
Dear brothers and sisters, the just man, surrounded by divine light, becomes in turn a lamp which radiates light and gives warmth. This is what we learn today from the figure of Ivan Merz.
A gifted young man, he made a good return on his rich natural talents and obtained great human success – it can be said that he had a very successful life. But that is not the reason why he is today declared Blessed. What makes him one of the choir of the Beati is his success in God’s eyes. The great aspiration of his whole life was “never to forget God, to desire always to be one with Him”. In all his activities Ivan Merz sought “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” and he allowed Christ to make him his own (cf. Phil 3:8,12).
At the school of the liturgy, the source and summit of the Church’s life (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10), Ivan Merz grew to the fullness of Christian maturity and became one of the principal promoters of the liturgical renewal in his country.
Taking part in Mass and drawing nourishment from the Body of Christ and the Word of God, he drew the inspiration to become an apostle of young people. It was not by chance that he chose as his motto “Sacrifice – Eucharist – Apostolate”. Conscious of the vocation he had received in Baptism, he made his whole life a “race” towards holiness, the “high standard” of Christian life (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31). For this reason, as the First Reading says, “his memory will not disappear and his name will live through all generations” (Sir 39:9).
The name of Ivan Merz, has meant in the past, a programme of life and of activity, for an entire generation of young Catholics. Today too, it must do the same!
…Do not seek a more comfortable life elsewhere, do not flee from your responsibilities and expect others to resolve problems but resolutely counter evil with the power of good.
Like Blessed Ivan, strive for a personal encounter with Christ which sheds new light on life. May the Gospel be the great ideal guiding your approaches and your decisions! Thus you will become missionaries in word and deed, signs of God’s love and credible witnesses of the merciful presence of Christ. Never forget: “one does not light a lamp and put it under a bushel” (cf. Mt 5:15).
Dear brothers and sisters, who take part with such fervour in this celebration, may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, keep your heart and your spirit in the knowledge and love of God and of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!