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Sermon of Fr. Beaupère based on I Cor. (3:5-9)

Yesterday, during the afternoon’s meditation that I enjoyed thanks to the cruel sun of Castel Gandolfo, I read and reread these verses written by Paul the apostle.
(Note; Fr. Beaupère was part of an AIF contingent waiting in the heat to hear the Pope recite the Angelus at midday. Fr Beaupère fainted because of the heat and was whisked away; hence the afternoon of enforced meditation.)

I was saying to myself, with the planter is the waterer. The seed is thrown to the ground – where it dies in order to give life – is the first stitch in this golden chain which leads from the yesterday’s origins to today’s flowering. I would like to remind you of this grain mentioned yesterday during our first Eucharistic celebration in this chapel: that grain being the prayers which Fr. Paul Couturier said each day at his mass for mixed marriages, as they were then called.

This seed from Lyons fell on fertile soil from which came the crops where many spiritual gardeners, protestant and catholic, pastors, priests and interchurch families have worked hard. Together they have made the spring come into bud.

I have been particularly familiar with the genealogy of those gardeners who have come from Lyons and France. But I am certain that if you look carefully you will find comparable genealogies in the different countries which we represent here. 
Let us leave as a secret with God the name of these sowers and planters who come to my mind, and, after them, those who watered the crop, and whose role we understand even better in this time of mid-summer heat.

(Note; Rome was in the middle of an August heat wave reaching 40C at the time this sermon was delivered.)

Saint Paul’s message does not tell us to list the spiritual guides who have brought us to this “better world” of Rocca di Pappa. (Note; the centre where the second international conference was held is called “Centro Mondo Migliore” or better world centre.)
This message reminds us above all – whatever the quality of the work of the spiritual gardeners – that it is only the Lord who gives growth, night and day, whether we are awake or whether, sometimes, our eyelids are heavy with tiredness like those of the three witnesses of Jesus’ fight at the garden of Gethsemane.

Let us not forget the past. But, strong in this past, let us look forward to the future. 
The interchurch families’ movement has about four decades behind it: forty years that is the age of an adult. The challenges are constant but the perspectives change all the time and are different in different countries, cultural and ecclesiastical worlds etc...

We have not come here, to Rocca di Pappa, to analyse the detail but to bring to the front of our minds, assembled together as we are, that only the Master gardener gives growth in the garden of Interchurch families.

The design of this garden calls not only for humble wild flowers but also carefully composed banks of flowers, and also for the soft green of young trees at the feet of venerable oaks. One could elaborate the description: diversity is richness but Paul’s message is that this floral symphony gains its grace only from the Master gardener to whose service we are all, great and small, firmly committed.

Fr. Renée Beaupère
Monday 28.07.2003