In his apostolic exhortation on the call of holiness in today’s world, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis wrote: “The saints are distinguished by a spirit of prayer and a need for communion with God. They find an exclusive concern with this world to be narrow and stifling, and, amid their own concerns and commitments, they long for God, losing themselves in praise and contemplation of the Lord” (147). It was because his life was so deeply marked by constant prayer and, as a result, minced with the abundant fruit of useful apostolic labour, that we decided to bring in our midst the precious relic of Blessed Nazju Falzon at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre here in the island nation of Malta.

In fact, Blessed Nazju recently came to visit us at the Oncology Centre. Here I would like to publicly thank Fr Anton Farrugia OFM who helped so that this would take place. Blessed Nazju’s visit animated within us the great spirit of prayer. As a matter of fact, in each and every ward, including the day ward, the administration section and the reception area whereby his relic was put for prayer and veneration, many took the time to stop and pray before it. In their innermost core they must have intensely felt that this humble man, whose life was like that fragrant incense burning in front of God’s holy throne of grace, was generously interceding for them and their loved ones.

Regarding intercessory prayer, within the same apostolic exhortation, the Holy Father observes: “Prayer of intercession has particular value, for it is an act of trust in God and, at the same time, an expression of love for our neighbour… Intercessory prayer is an expression of our fraternal concern for others, since we are able to embrace their lives, their deepest troubles and their loftiest dreams. Of those who commit themselves generously to intercessory prayer we can apply the words of Scripture: ‘This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people’ (2 Mac 15:14).” (no. 154).

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