Homily of Pious XII for the canonization
Saint Maria Goretti

[Translated by Antonella Nappo]

Everybody knows the hard fight of this defenceless virgin who was victim of a violent and blind assault on her angelical purity. Even so, the little girl could say to the Divine Redeemer the following words extracted from a precious book entitled The Imitation of Jesus Christ: "If I am subjected to many and great afflictions and then murdered, I must not be afraid of everything provided that your grace is with me. It is my force, it gives me advises and help. Elijah is stronger than his enemies".

So, she sacrifices her life without losing the glory of the virginity backed up by the Celestial Grace. Also, she places her noble and courageous will in the Celestial Grace.

Pious XII

During the life of this humble girl, we can see something worthy of the Heaven and something that deserve to be admired and respected nowadays. Thanks to this little girl, fathers and mothers learn how to bring up their children, how to teach them rectitude, holiness and courage and how to follow catholic precepts.

So, when their virtues will be in jeopardy, they will be able to win the fight, helped by the Celestial Grace, without injuries or foulness. Childhood and youth learn to avoid unguarded moments made of fleeting joys, empty pleasures and charming vices.

Young learn to find the Christian moral perfection helped by their enthusiasm and efforts for overcoming obstacles. Everybody can reach the perfection thanks to the Grace of God, practising efforts, work and prayer.

Surely, everybody is not destined to be martyred; but everybody is called to have the Christian virtue. Virtue requires force. Without reaching the same peak of courage showed by this angelical girl, we have to practise a persevering activity for all our life. This is the reason because we speak about a slow and prolonged martyrdom and the following divine affirmation of Jesus Christ is a confirmation: The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and violent persons prevail.

Letís fight supported by the holy grace and by saint Mary Goretti, virgin and martyr. She follows us from the Sky where she enjoys the eternal beatitude obtained by the divine Redeemer. Thanks to her intercession, everybody will follow the same glorious way with force and realism.

Be faithful till the death, God will fight for you, alleluia! Do not be afraid of murderers: they kill bodies because they cannot do anything else. The winner is who believes in Me. He will never know a second death.

Trust in God, be faithful, and trust in God!

My God, you are the source of innocence, of purity, and you have given young Maria Goretti the grace of martyrdom; please, give us, thanks to her intercession, the courage for respecting your commandments like that girl who received the right reward to have defended her virginity till the death.

Pious XII - Rome, June 24, 1950

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