Għad irridu nibdew naħsdu l-frott ta’ din l-għotja ta’ imħabba kbira ta’ Fr Nicholas

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Il-Ġimgħa, 13 ta’ Awwissu 2021: Omelija mill-Arċisqof Charles J. Scicluna fil-Quddiesa Funerali ta’ Dun Nicholas Cachia. Knisja Parrokkjali tas-Siġġiewi, Malta.

L-omelija tal-Arċisqof Charles Jude Scicluna

“Wieħed mis-serafini ttajjar lejja, ġamra nar f’idu li hu kien qabad bi mqass minn fuq l-artal u messli fommi biha u qalli: ‘Ara din missitlek; xofftejk ħżunitek għabet, dnubek inħafer’. Imbagħad smajt leħen lili jgħidi: ‘Lil min se nibgħat? Min se jmurilna?’ U jiena weġibt: ‘Hawn jien, ibgħat lili’” (Iż 6:6-7).

Minn fuq l-artal ta’ din il-parroċċa għażiża ddedikata lill-patrun tiegħu San Nikola, Fr Nicholas żamm u għożż il-ġamra li fejqitu u ħeġġitlu ’l qalbu. Dik il-ġamra li s-serafin qabad minn fuq l-artal, Fr Nicholas sabha wkoll minn fuq l-artal tal-Ewkaristija ta’ din il-parroċċa għażiża tas-Siġġiewi. U dik il-ġamra mhux biss naddfitu minn dnubietu fil-misteru kbir tal-ħniena tal-Mulej imma matul iż-żmien qanqlet fih il-mistoqsija: “Lil min se nibgħat? Min se jmurilna?” U fl-ispirtu tad-devozzjoni vera u b’imitazzjoni ta’ Santa Marija u ta’ San Ġużepp, imma mhux inqas ta’ San Nikola, Fr Nicholas tgħallem jgħid: “Hawn jien. Ibgħat lili”.

Kemm-il darba fil-ħajja tiegħu, mhux biss bħala seminarista meta rċieva d-djakonat imbagħad il-presbiterat, imma wkoll meta ntbagħat Ruma jistudja t-teoloġija biblika, l-ispirtwalità, ukoll meta rritorna Malta fid-djoċesi maħbuba tiegħu, id-disponibbiltà tiegħu lejn l-isqfijiet li fihom kien jagħraf b’fidi kbira l-vuċi tal-Mulej li kontinwament qed jistaqsi: “Lil min se nibgħat? Min se jmurilna?” U Fr Nicholas għal diversi drabi, anke kultant f’diffikultajiet mhux żgħar, kien iħobb jirrepeti mingħajr ħafna diskors: “Hawn jien. Ibgħat lili”.

Meta sirt isqof talabni li jissieħeb mal-familja tal-Insitute of Priestly Formation li huma ddedikati għall-formazzjoni tas-seminaristi u tas-saċerdoti. Kien qatta’ parti mis-saċerdozju tiegħu jsegwi u jmexxi tant nies fid-djoċesi u fis-seminarju maġġuri ta’ Malta. U meta telaq, ħalla ħafna orfni, ħalla ħafna nies jimmissjaw it-tbissima ħelwa tiegħu u l-kelma soda tiegħu.

It-teżi tiegħu, kif nafu, iddedikaha lir-Ragħaj it-Tajjeb u inti u tgħaddi minn paġna għall-oħra ta’ dan il-ktieb, tirrealizza li kien ħiereġ mhux biss mix-xjenza imma wkoll mill-qalb li, wara kollox, Fr Nicholas hu u jippreżenta r-Ragħaj it-Tajjeb bħala mudell għalina s-saċerdoti, kien iltaqa’ mar-Ragħaj it-tajjeb, kien persważ li Ġesù ta ħajtu għalih. U din il-persważjoni qatt ma fixklitu hu u jħares lejn id-dgħufija tiegħu, lejn dnubietu, lejn il-limitazzjonijiet tiegħu imma mlietu b’ġenerożità kbira li wasslitu għall-maturità spiritwali profonda u għolja.

L-aħħar ktieb li kiteb u li wasalli lbieraħ hu ddedikat għall-preparazzjoni biex wieħed jikkonsagra ruħu lil San Ġużepp, 33 Days … with St Joseph, ispirat mid-dokument sabiħ tal-Papa Franġisku Patris Corde – Il-Qalb ta’ Missier. Fuq Youtube tistgħu ssibu wkoll intervista twila iżjed minn siegħa li Fr Nicholas ta fuq dan il-ktieb lejlet li ħareġ fi Frar li għadda, ħames xhur qabel mal-Mulej sejjaħlu għalih.

Imma f’mument minnhom f’dik l-intervista Fr Nicholas jgħid: ‘Iddeċidejt li fl-aħħar tal-ktieb nirrepeti t-talba li s-saċerdoti tal-Institute of Priestly Formation jitolbu kuljum: St Joseph, Father of the interior life, obtain for us the virtues of your heart: simplicity, detachment and love of the heavenly life.

Is-sempliċità, id-distakk u l-imħabba għall-ħajja moħbija. Dawn il-virtujiet aħna ngħarfuhom f’San Ġużepp imma ’l quddiem il-Mulej jurina kemm mexxa lil Fr Nicholas ukoll f’din it-triq. Niftakar li kien jikkomunika miegħi bl-imejl jew bit-telefown regolarment dwar il-marda tiegħu, dwar ix-xewqa tiegħu li jiddedika ħajtu lill-missjoni tal-Institute for Priestly FormationNiftakar li meta l-marda ma ridiet tmur b’xejn, għidtlu: ‘Fr Nicholas, nitolbok pjaċir offri t-tbatijiet tiegħek għas-saċerdoti u għas-seminaristi u għall-vokazzjonijiet’. Hu kien iħobb ifakkarni f’din it-talba tiegħi u fl-impenn li ħa.

Fr Nicholas, fil-festa tal-Qalb ta’ Ġesù tad-19 ta’ Ġunju 2020, offra lilu nnifsu bħala vittma lill-Ħniena Divina, lill-imħabba kollha ħniena tal-Mulej.

I would like to thank Fr Juan Carlos for being such a good friend of Fr Nicholas. Fr Juan Carlos hu u jipprepara l-aħħar vjaġġ ta’ Fr Nicholas li fih segwih ukoll sa hawnhekk, skopra fil-kamra ta’ Fr Nicholas kwadru tal-Ħniena Divina. Wara dan il-kwadru sab mitwija din it-talba tremenda fejn Fr Nicholas, fil-festa tal-Qalb ta’ Ġesù tad-19 ta’ Ġunju 2020, offra lilu nnifsu bħala vittma lill-Ħniena Divina, lill-imħabba kollha ħniena tal-Mulej. Dawn huma affarijiet li jagħmluhom nies mhux biss ta’ fidi imma ta’ mħabba kbira. U nemmen li għad irridu nibdew naħsdu l-frott ta’ din l-offerta, ta’ din l-għotja, ta’ din l-imħabba.

Imma x’jiswa l-kliem tiegħi jekk Fr Nicholas fil-konklużjoni tat-teżi tiegħu kiteb żewġ paġni li semmihom epilogue li huma talba lir-Ragħaj it-Tajjeb. Jiena u naqrahom u nitlob fuq dawn iż-żewġ paġni li kiteb snin ilu, mhux biss għaraft il-karattru ta’ Fr Nicholas imma wkoll kemm il-Mulej ħa din it-talba bis-serjetà. U f’dawn il-ftit snin – għalina jidhru ftit imma Alla għandu mod stramb kif ikejjel il-ħajja tagħna u jiżinha – il-Mulej wasslu għall-maturità kbira.

Help me, Jesus, to listen always to your voice, keep me from straying away from you and give me the courage to return to you when, through my frailty, I do stray away.

Kellu mhux biss il-konfort ta’ sħabu imma I would like to thank you, Fr Juan Carlos, for giving Fr Nicholas also the plenary indulgence and the blessing of the Holy Father before he died. U din hi t-talba li kiteb Fr Nicholas u li ppubblika fi tmiem tat-teżi tiegħu. I’m going to read it for your benefit, Fr Juan Carlos, I will explain because I am going to read it in English as Fr Nich wrote it but at least you know where does this come from. You may have read it already but towards the end of the book he published I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, the image of the Good Sheperd as a source for the spirituality of the ministerial priesthood, this book actually led him to your family and to such good friends. He wrote this beautiful prayer and I will not add anything to it except to invite you to follow his prayer, a prayer that we priests should actually borrow from Fr Nich and repeat on a regular basis.

“May I now address myself to you, o Jesus, the good and great Shepherd of the flock you have led me along this whole work, you have instructed me and taught me the way of life. You have led me into the mystery of your love for all. I give you thanks, I give thanks to God the Father of my Lord and Good Shepherd Jesus Christ for this experience”. Today we could say for this earthly life. “You know me, Good Shepherd and you call me to form part of your flock. You love me and you show me the path of life. You shepherd me in the good and green pastures of your word and your sacraments. You have laid down your life for me, your sheep.

Yes, dear Jesus, grant me the grace to be always grateful for your loving work of salvation for me. Help me, Jesus, to listen always to your voice, keep me from straying away from you and give me the courage to return to you when, through my frailty, I do stray away. Do not allow me to go after other voices, others whose voice I do not know. Grant me dear Shepherd and guardian of my soul, that I may remain always united to the flock which you have redeemed by your own blood. I give you thanks, I give thanks to God also o Christ my Good Shepherd because you called me in a special way to be associated with you in ministry to your Church and the ministerial priesthood.

May the work I have just finished remain a dead letter, may it become flesh in my own life as a priest. May I be so much united to you that I learn from you the attitudes of the Good Shepherd: the attitudes of love, generosity, service, availability, selflessness. May I learn to shepherd the flock you have entrusted to my care as you yourself would like to shepherd it. Teach me your love for the flock, your attention, your care, your apprehensiveness, your restless watching. Give me, Lord a shepherd’s heart like your own which is so devoted and God-inspired.

May I never seek my own glory, my own honour, my own interests but only yours. May I never forget that the sheep do not belong to me but to you. May I always recall that you have paid a very dear price for the redemption of your sheep, a price of your own blood. O Lord Jesus may it never happen that, through my bad example or through my lack of interest, some of the sheep are led astray. May I always protect them from those who come as ravaging wolves to scatter and to kill. O Good Shepherd, inspire me always to lay down my life for them in union with you every day on every occasion for every person.

Help me live out and imitate the Eucharistic mystery which I celebrate with your people. I pray also, dear Jesus, for my bishop and my fellow priests of the Church in Malta. May we be always united together in union with the Pope and the Universal Church, that we may be a sign and instrument of unity in our society. May we together seek to follow you always, to be attentive to your spirit’s work, to your Church to have the courage to implement it. May we learn more to encourage and sustain each other’s efforts in the building up of your kingdom. I pray finally that at the end when you appear as the chief Shepherd, I may be worthy to receive you, to receive from you the crown of glory and share with the sheep you have entrusted to me in your glory forever, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Agħtih, o Mulej il-mistrieħ ta’ dejjem, id-dawl ta’ dejjem jiddi fuqu, jistrieħ fis-sliem. Ammen.

✠ Charles Jude Scicluna
    Arċisqof ta’ Malta

Sors: www.knisja.mt

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