In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
I have spoken to you lately of one of our young men who is dying step by step in a hospital; his name is George, and I asked for your prayers. I payed him a visit a few days ago; he is coming near the end of his life; his body is almost gone, but his spirit has come to life in a way in which few meet death. As I was sitting with him, he said unto me: “I am the happiest man in the world because I am surrounded with such Love”. This is the summing up of years of illness and his facing death: he is the happiest man in the world because he is surrounded by so much Love…
You remember the first Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit – who are they? The poor in spirit are those who have come to understand that they had brought nothing into the world: neither their existence, nor their lives, nor the qualities of their soul, their mind, their body: that all that was a gift of God; and that it is the love of others that has nurtured and protected them through the early days of their lives, through their youth and in spite of all the hardships of life what has made it possible for them to live, to survive, to hope, to struggle was the support and the love of others and of God. And those who have understood this – that all that they are, all that they have is the divine gift and a human gift, have truly entered the Kingdom of God which is the Kingdom where Love prevails because Love has conquered, where life eternal prevails because life has conquered.
And so, already now George has entered into the Kingdom of God which gradually opens up to him; but he will have to enter it through the narrow gates of death, and it is at this point that he will need more prayers than ever, because he may at a certain moment no longer be able to perceive the presence and the tenderness of those who love him and will have to enter alone into that depth into which his parents, his sister, his relatives, his friends are not yet able to enter with him.
How important it is for us to learn in this example of a real human being the extraordinary power and importance of our human Love: I am the happiest man in the world because I am surrounded with such a Love… But is it really necessary that a man, a woman, a child should stand at the threshold of death to be able to perceive it? Why is it that we are so desperately alone? Because we do not find Love around us to support us? How is it that we are not that Kingdom of God which is the Kingdom of victorious, triumphant Love, even when we proclaim that we believe in Christ as our God, our Saviour and our example? We must make haste, we must make haste because in our midst there are such that are gradually moving towards eternity: are they surrounded with that love that may make them say in life and on the threshold of death that they are the happiest people in the word?
You have heard today the words of the Apostle quoting Christ, a saying which is not recorded in the Gospel, that it is a happier thing to give then to receive…If receiving Love has worked such a miracle in George, what wonderful joy it must be for anyone who can give Love in such a way that another should feel perfect happiness in life and in death! Are we taking advantage of this gift which is ours? Because it is for us to give; we are free to give – why don’t we? Let us reflect on this; and let us pray for George with all our heart (praying) for him, who is more fulfilled than anyone of us, that when the time comes for him to enter through the narrow gate of death, it should be a final triumph of life, and that he should meet that Perfect Love which is God, and take us, together with him, in his heart into eternity. And then it will be his turn to be the one who gives, it will be our turn to receive with gratitude and humility in response to what we have given so little.
I want to say now a few words in Russian for those for whom English is not familier.