Dear European Girl Guides,
Like every year on All Saints’ Day, you have come to Paray-le-Monial, the City of the Sacred Heart, to entrust yourselves to Jesus Our Lord who told a humble nun of the Visitation, Saint Margaret Mary: “This is the Heart that loved men so much that it spared nothing until it exhausted itself and consumed itself to show them its love. And as a gratitude I receive from most of them nothing but ingratitude, through their irreverence and sacrilege, and through the coldness and contempt they have for me in this Sacrament of Love“. Not only from the various provinces of France, the eldest daughter of the Church, but also from each of the countries that make up the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe, you have walked along the paths of the Charollais, your heart filled with faith and love, and your gaze fixed on Jesus, up to this magnificent Romanesque basilica. In the Gospel that has just been proclaimed, you have just heard from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus the commandment of God: “Hear Israel, the Lord your God is the only Lord. You will love your God with all your heart, with all your strength and with all your soul». It is the Word of Life, the Shema Israel, that is to say the prayer that the adult Jew must say morning and evening, covering his eyes with his hand out of respect for God, the Lord, and also to better focus on these sacred words. This was the prayer of Jesus, of the Virgin Mary, his Most Holy Mother, of Saint Joseph, of the apostles and the holy women of the Gospel. It is also ours, because Christians also affirm that God, our Creator, is unique, that he has incarnated and made himself visible in Jesus Christ, and that we must love him with all our heart.