Homily of Cardinal Geraldo Majella on the Beatification of Sister Dulce

Photo Credit Ariane Fonseca

My brothers and sisters in Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Blessed are you, Sister Dulce, because you believed in the word of the Lord, and you became holy in love without limits. God proved in love to those most humble and needy. Therefore, you are called blessed Dulce of the poor!

It is a moment of much emotion for our Archdiocese of São Salvador of Bahia living the event of the Beatification of Sister Dulce.

We are thankful from the heart moved that the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI having elevated to the high honors someone that lived here, she loved our people especially those suffering the most. To those he gave a major test of love, giving all of her life for them.

Today, we are celebrating the holiness of God that desire to see reproduced in each one of his children. We are celebrating the victory of love of God in the heart of this creature so tiny and fragile to realize such miracles of love. What is the holiness of God. God is the infinite love and therefore He is the truth, He is the justice, He is the mercy, He is forgiveness, He is kindness.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians of Ephesus, so exhorted: In Christ, God chose us, before the foundation of the world, in order to be holiness and integrated before him in love. … Be imitators of God as dear children. Live in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself to God for us as an offering and sweet smelling sacrifice. (Eph 1:4, 5:1-2)

Christian holiness consists in union with Christ. The Vatican II Council, in the conciliar constitution, Lumen gentium, affirms that “The Church is indefectively holy. Christ, Son of God, that with the father and the Spirit is proclaimed “the only holy one, loved the Church as his wife, giving himself for her in order to sanctify her and unite her to himself, as his body, filling her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for th Glory of God.”

Therefore, we are all members of the Church, such that those that belong to the hierarchy how much they are directed by her, are called to holiness, according to the words of the Apostle: in as much as it is the will of God: your santification (ITh4:3; cf Eph 1:4)

All the faithful should be saints in their moral conduct, because they should act in conformity with what is in the order of being; as creatures that live in the Church is holy. The Church is holy because Christ, “the holy one”, loves her as his spouse and gives himself for her to sanctify her. With this one says that the holiness of the Church follows completely the holiness of Christ and of his love for her, love that seeks the impells the sacrifice of the cross, in order that she may be his wife. Holiness and santification suppose therefore union and unification with Christ.

Union is santification with Christ has as result, his test across love to those like us.

Thus today we contemplate the holy life of Sister Dulce, with all the fruits in favor not only those lacking everything, especially health, but also as witness of her union with God, across the hearing and contemplation of his Word and of daily communion of his Body and his Blood in the celebration of the Eucharist that is the offering of the redemptive sacrifice of Christ the celestial Father.

But dear brothers and sisters, living holiness as I have already said not is the privilege for some person, but it is the duty of all baptized Christians. In the first Letter of Peter 1:15-16, the apostle tells us: “As he is holy that calls you, making you saints, also you in your conduct. For it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy’ (Lv 11:44ss; 19:2)”. The Word of God does not say some, but all that hear the Word of God, converted themselves in following Jesus.

Some stand out more clearly by a special gift to become an example and challenge to society that lives without caring about the disadvantaged and needy. Sister Dulce was privileged in thisrespect, not to put limits on the Love of God and neighbor.

We desire that this beatification may be in our Archdiocese of a special manner a strong moment of faith, of bringing to conscience our baptismal compromise, of making us missionaries of fraternal charity with all persons.

Paul advises us: If you speak languages of men and of angels, but you do not have love, I would be like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let us give thanks to God Because raised and continues to raise in our midst, imitators of Blessed Dulce.

Cardinal  Geraldo Majella Agnelo

Archbishop Emeritus de São Salvador da Bahia

translated from Portuguese

not an official translation