Homily of Fr Johannes Fenninger FSO

During the celebration of Mother Julia's 24th anniversary, church of St Anthony, Bregenz

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Several years before her death, Mother Julia expressed the wish that the following text should one day be written on her tombstone: "God's merciful and just love seeks you, watches over you, and waits for you. Go to Him in the Holy Eucharist." These words are like a testament that Mother Julia left us; a testament with which she lets us look deeper into her intimate union with the Eucharistic Lord.

God's merciful and just love seeks you; Mother Julia allowed herself to be sought and found by God's love. On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1934, it happened - the young Julia was only 23 years old - that all at once, intensely and clearly, she felt the call to give herself completely to Jesus as the Bride of Christ; without hesitation she did it. This act of giving herself was for her - as she described it - like a Holy Covenant with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Later, the promise of the consecrated and all the members of The Work would also be called a Holy Covenant with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Again and again Mother Julia felt the invitation to go one step further in her devotion to God. Once - it was in July 1943 - she found herself in a very difficult situation. She felt that all her initiatives for building up the charism given to her by God were paralyzed. She was distressed; she saw her days passing by without being able to develop herself for anything meaningful. At the same time, she knew herself surrounded by many dangers. At that time she wrote profound words to her spiritual companion, which are a precious spiritual treasure for us today: 

I strive to adapt myself to everything and to everybody’s character, without giving in to unlawful and insincere behaviour; acting with understanding, silence and forgiveness. I strive to take to heart whatever I recognize to be my duty, to do everything as perfectly as possible, to make good use of the time given to me and above all to sanctify it; to live in God’s presence, to love Him in the temple of my soul… to work, to pray, to suffer, to offer so that Christ’s kingdom may come and reign.”

Aren't these touching words like a little path to holiness? They were written because Mother Julia, in a situation of human hopelessness, let herself be sought and found by God's merciful and just love.

“God’s merciful and just love watches over you.” Mother Julia would have had enough human reasons to doubt precisely God's watchful and caring love for us humans: experiences such as the two world wars or even the encounter with many signs of decay in the church would have been enough to perceive God as sleeping and not really interested in us. In fact, in the face of hard trials, many people begin to despair of God's just and merciful love. Mother Julia did not allow herself to be confused; the more it raged within her and around her, the more she sought and found her refuge in the Lord. Today she also calls us to take refuge in the Lord in the Holy Eucharist precisely when it is stormy:  „Go quickly to Him in spirit in every stressful situation, with every doubt and in every experience. Lay all before Him, and leave it to Him! In this way you will become one with Him, the solitary, obedient, waiting and watching Lord Jesus!“, she once wrote in a letter. This is a really good spiritual tip: in case of tensions, insecurities and doubts of any kind, not to consult myself first, but to step in front of the tabernacle in spirit first, in order to get advice from HIM in the Holy Eucharist. And I will notice that He is indeed watching over me intensely.

God’s merciful and just love waits for you. When we learn that some person is waiting for us, we are normally urged not to make him wait any longer. The good Lord waits for us in the daily fulfilment of our duties; He waits for us in the needs of our fellow human beings. This is clear to all of us. At a certain moment in her life Mother Julia was able to recognize more deeply that God waits for us in a special way in his Eucharistic form: in adoration, in the celebration of Mass, in the reception of Communion. Somehow I hear Mother Julia whispering to me: tell the faithful not to let the Lord wait for them unnecessarily in the Eucharist. It is precisely in the Eucharist that he wants to pour out his merciful and just love upon us in measureless excess.

I would like to invite you to plan an extra time for Eucharistic Adoration today or in the next few days, and during this time to thank the Lord in a special way for the life and example of Mother Julia. And when you go to the Thalbach Church for adoration, make a visit to Mother Julia's grave; there internalize once again the saying on her tombstone: God's merciful and just love seeks you, watches over you, and waits for you. Go to Him in the Holy Eucharist.  Amen.