“The act with which we transfer the mortal remains of the Servant of God Maria Cristina Ogier to this basilica takes place on the day in which the Church commemorates the Baptism of the Lord, the event with which, in meeting with John the Baptist, her Precursor , he manifests himself to humanity, and is revealed to us by the sign of the Spirit and by the voice of the Father, as the Son of God made man for our salvation.
In the account of the Gospel according to Matthew, particular emphasis is given to the dialogue between Jesus and the Baptist, who would like to refuse to perform on the Son of God that gesture that he proposes in view of the conversion of sinful humanity. But Jesus opposes John’s refusal: “It is better that we fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15). Jesus was sent by the Father to share the human condition and to save it from within, and this is justice, i.e. the will of the Father, which must be fulfilled, and which the Son will fulfill to the point of identifying himself on the cross with humanity devoted to death, making this act of sharing the premise of resurrection and eternal life. To fulfill this will, Jesus will be enlightened and enlivened by the Spirit who descends upon him at the moment of Baptism, and he will allow himself to be guided by the word of the Father, who reveals him to us as “my beloved Son” (Mt 3, 17).
We have already gathered a series of elements which illuminate the mystery of Jesus and, at the same time, that of those who belong to him, because they follow him in full conformity with him. They therefore help us to understand the secret of those who, like Maria Cristina Ogier, leave us exemplary signs of following the Lord: identification with the events of the human condition as a prerequisite for his redemption; the search for God’s will for its full fulfilment; welcoming the gift of the Spirit as the principle that gives shape to our life; listening to and obedience to the word of God.
All this illuminates the words of the book of the prophet Isaiah proclaimed in the brief reading of this liturgical prayer: «It is too little for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel. I will make you a light to the nations, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Is 49:6). These are words placed in the context of the second song of the Servant of the Lord (Is 49,1-13) and describe his mission. They are read on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord because that baptismal event is a revelation and the first step of the Lord’s mission, a bond that is made explicit in the Gospel of Luke, in which these words contribute to composing the song with which Simeon welcomes the child Jesus in the Temple and reveals his mission to Mary and Joseph. But the New Testament tradition does not fail to refer these same words to the mission of the apostles, as Paul and Barnabas explicitly do in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:47). From Jesus to the disciples, in a continuity of mission that reaches up to our days and which makes us responsible for communicating the truth to every man. To be light for others, as a sign of God’s love for humanity; This too seems to me an indication that we see shining in the testimony of our Servant of God and that we ask that the Church evaluate her in her exemplary nature.
The short but intense life of Maria Cristina Ogier contains the message of one who witnessed the presence of the Lord who meets us on the roads of life and asks us to welcome him and accompany him as lame, blind, sick, even rich in goods but at the time himself poor in the joy of being able to enjoy it, poor in what is necessary but rich in hope.
Faith in germ, with precocious flowering, goes through the progress of Maria Cristina’s years day after day, with human failures, the limits of a body reduced in the functions of walking and even writing, devastating pain. She was an optimistic young woman, joyful and always ready to console those in need. Everything was welcomed by her and lived in faith. In her diary we read: «I accept everything from the Lord». This sentence refers to the sad prospect of remaining in a wheelchair and blind, no longer being able to assist the needy, as she had put the Lord first in her life.
Maria Cristina lived in the desire for Paradise and called death “a benevolent friend who will unite me forever with my Lord”. She never relied on her own strength, but totally on God. Emblematic of her spirituality are these words: “Why did you use so much clemency and so much love with me, I little gnat of the earth?”.
Maria Cristina’s last letter is dated December 26, 1973, thirteen days before her death. It is addressed to the Franciscan Fr. Pio (Luciano) Conti, missionary doctor in the Amazon River. She had made friends with him and for him she had stubbornly used her energies to realize the dream of having a riverboat reach him as an ambulance. The words of the letter are dripping with suffering, but also with great hope. And they conclude with this humble request: “pray for me and I pray for you, we both need it badly”.
The young age of the Servant of God does not confine her to a personal stereotype. The thing that surprises and fascinates when reading the life of this young woman is to be able to see images of real life that speak to every age and every condition of belonging.
We entrust to the wisdom and prudence of the Church the task of showing us how in the future we will be able to look to his testimony in order to draw fruit from it for our Christian life”.
Joseph Card. Betori