Yesterday RSCJ and young people connected with us from ten countries began gathering in Tarnow in Poland, at our convent there, for an international pre-World Youth Day meeting. Over four days of sharing prayer, pilgrimage, activities and their cultures and experiences the group will undoubtedly grow and learn much, individually and together. They will then travel to Krakow to join over two million other young Catholics - and the pope - for the main WYD events.
Today we celebrate the feast of St Mary Magdalene, the foremost witness of love, par excellence. She had experienced the deep and unconditional love of Love Incarnate, and had responded with a passionate, blazing love of her own. Because of this love she became an ardent disciple, drinking in every word Jesus said, wanting, no doubt, to tune her heart in with his; to love as he loved. And because of this love she was able to stand at the foot of his cross, silently and unwaveringly supporting Jesus in his agony; she was able to gaze steadfastly on the pain and suffering caused by evil, and, despite and from her own heart-piercing grief and pain, go on loving.
Nothing, said St Madeleine Sophie once, blots out sin like love, and this was certainly true on Calvary, and needs to continue to be true today. Love is what lies at the heart of our call as RSCJ, and, fundamentally, as people of God, who is All Love. Our only response can be to seek to muffle sin and evil with love and goodness, and to be witnesses to love's restorative, reparative power to all those we encounter. May the example and prayers of St Mary Magdalene help us in this, and be especially with the seventy young Witnesses of Love gathering in Tarnow.