Showing posts with label Roman Catholic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roman Catholic. Show all posts

Monday, January 02, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2012 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The ceremony also marked today's forty-fifth World Day of Peace, which has as its theme: "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace".

Extracts from Benedict XVI's homily are given below:

"On the first day of the year, the liturgy resounds in the Church throughout the world with the ancient priestly blessing that we heard during today's first reading: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace'. ... In order to be blessed, we have to stand in God's presence, take His Name upon us and remain ... in a space lit up by His gaze, diffusing grace and peace".

"The shepherds of Bethlehem had ... the experience of standing in God's presence, they received His blessing ... in a stable, before a 'babe lying in a manger'. From this child, a new light issues forth, shining in the darkness of the night. ... Henceforth, it is from Him that blessing comes, from His name - Jesus, meaning 'God saves' - and from His human face, in which God, the almighty Lord of heaven and earth, chose to become incarnate, concealing His glory under the veil of our flesh, so as to reveal fully to us His goodness.

"The first to be swept up by this blessing was Mary the virgin. ... Her whole life was spent in the light of the Lord, within the radius of His name and of the face of God incarnate in Jesus, the 'blessed fruit of her womb'. ... The mystery of her divine motherhood that we celebrate today contains in superabundant measure the gift of grace that all human motherhood bears within it. ... The Mother of God is the first of the blessed, and it is she who bears the blessing; she is the woman who received Jesus into herself and brought Him forth for the whole human family".

"Mary is the mother and model of the Church. ... The Church also participates in the mystery of divine motherhood, through preaching, which sows the seed of the Gospel throughout the world, and through the Sacraments, which communicate grace and divine life to men. ... Like Mary, the Church is the mediator of God's blessing for the world: she receives it in receiving Jesus and she transmits it in bearing Jesus. He is the mercy and the peace that the world, of itself, cannot give, and which it needs always, at least as much as bread".

Jesus Christ, the path of peace

"The Church too, on the first day of the year, invokes this supreme good in a special way; she does so, like the Virgin Mary, by revealing Jesus to all, for as St. Paul says, 'He is our peace', and at the same time the 'way' by which individuals and peoples can reach this goal to which we all aspire".

"'Educating Young People in Justice and Peace' is a task for every generation, and thanks be to God, after the tragedies of the two great world wars, the human family has shown increasing awareness of it, as we can witness, on the one hand, from international statements and initiatives, and on the other, from the emergence among young people themselves, in recent decades, of many different forms of social commitment in this field. For the ecclesial community, educating men and women in peace is part of the mission received from Christ, it is an integral part of evangelisation, because the Gospel of Christ is also the Gospel of justice and peace".

"In the face of the shadows that obscure the horizon of today's world, to assume responsibility for educating young people in knowledge of the truth, in fundamental values and virtues, is to look to the future with hope. And in this commitment to a holistic education, formation in justice and peace has a place. Boys and girls today are growing up in a world that has, so to speak, become smaller, where contacts between different cultures and traditions, even if not always direct, are constant. For them, now more than ever, it is indispensable to learn the importance and the art of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, dialogue and understanding. Young people by their nature are open to these attitudes, but the social reality in which they grow up can lead them to think and act in the opposite way, even to be intolerant and violent. Only a solid education of their consciences can protect them from these risks and make them capable of carrying on the fight, depending always and solely on the power of truth and good. This education begins in the family and is developed at school and in other formative experiences. It is essentially about helping infants, children and adolescents to develop a personality that combines a profound sense of justice with respect for their neighbour, with a capacity to address conflicts without arrogance, with the inner strength to bear witness to good, even when it involves sacrifice, with forgiveness and reconciliation. Thus they will be able to become people of peace and builders of peace.

"In this task of educating young generations, a particular responsibility lies with religious communities. Every pathway of authentic religious formation guides the person, from the most tender age, to know God, to love Him and to do His will. God is love, He is just and peaceable, and anyone wishing to honour Him must first of all act like a child following his father's example. ... In God, justice and mercy come together perfectly, as Jesus showed us through the testimony of His life. ... Jesus is a way that can be travelled, open to everyone. He is the path of peace. Today the Virgin Mary points Him out to us, she shows us the Way: let us walk in it!".
HML/ VIS 20120102 (1090)

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Saturday, March 24, 2007


Do we give God a chance to work in our lives? Or do we expect instant results? We live in the what I call the "INSTA syndrome", instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant mash taters, instant everything. We want what we want, and we want it right now!

When a web page takes five seconds to load, we get upset. When we have to wait in line at the supermarket, we get irritated. And if we're in line at the bank behind an elderly person, we quickly forget that we will be old someday too. Unless we kill ourselves from our own impatience first.

Something to think about, your status in society reflects whether you have to wait or make others wait for you. The lower your “status”, the more you have to wait on other people. The most "important" people make others wait for them.

God is the most important being in the entire universe. He's at the top. So it stands to reason that all of us have to wait for Him. But that's not how we like it, so we get all worked up and try to hurry him along.

When we don't give God a chance to work out a solution and insist on an immediate answer, you're telling Him to obey you, to hurry up because your way is best. Some people get through their entire life and never learn that lesson. They think that God is like their bell-boy.

Genesis tells us that God created everything in six days, and on the seventh day he rested. Don't you think this all-powerful being could have created everything in one day? Sure he could have! But God did not rush, and he won't allow us to rush him either.

If you ask God to act in your life, you may try to impose a deadline on him. You may believe that the opportunity of a lifetime has come up, and if you don't get God's intervention right away, you'll miss it altogether.

Fortunately for us, God knows the future. In my own life, I have prayed those kinds of desperate prayers. God knew what was best for me, though, and looking back, I see the wisdom of his delay. And sometimes, what I thought was the opportunity of a lifetime would have, instead, turned out to be a lifetime of misery.

Many of us want a "drive-through" life, but nothing worthwhile can be done in a rush. Fast food may be fast, but it's certainly not the tastiest, most nutritional meal you can eat. If we don't give God a chance to do things his way, in his time, we risk stepping outside his will ... into failure.
When you give God a chance--both time and opportunity to work--you're obeying him, and obedience always brings blessings.

So don’t give up, take it slow and give God time to work. Remember He who began a great work in you, will be faithful to complete it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life - A Bumpy Ride

Peter uses an eye-catching phrase to describe the excitement he and James and John felt on Mount Tabor: “ Lord it is wonderful for us to be here.”

It all started three years earlier when the Apostles met Jesus. It was a meeting that changed their lives. It was the greatest thing that could have happened to them. For three years they were with Him practically day and night. They ate, drank and literally walked the length and breath of Galilee with Jesus. They witnessed countless miracles, listened to numerous sermons, they were familiar with Him yet they did not know Him.

There are so many of us, husbands and wives, parents and children, living under the same roof, breaking bread on the same table, sleeping in the same room and we still do not know each other. Something goes wrong and we are astonished that that person could have done such a thing. We are amazed to know that the person is capable of such nobility and heroism. It is possible to spend an entire lifetime with someone and at the end still not know him or her, we can spend a whole lifetime in the Catholic Church and still not know Christ personally.

Jesus takes them up the mountain, there was nothing but rocks, stones, silence and solitude. There was nothing to distract or disturb them. It was easy for them to give Jesus their total attention. It was in that atmosphere of peace and quiet that Jesus reveals himself to them. Their eyes were opened and they saw Him in all His glory. He was transfigured and they were completely overwhelmed.

What a moment it was! They were so happy, they just wanted to stay there forever and never leave. “Let’s pitch tent here, away from the pain and suffering and ugliness of the world.” But Jesus’ work was not finished and theirs had hardly begun. So the vision ended and He led them down the mountain, back to earth to finish life’s work, back to face the challenges thy had not even imagined when they said “yes” to Jesus a short time ago.

We can all relate to this experience. Each one of us have had one of the rare moments of transfiguration., the first love, the proposal, the wedding day, the first child, graduating from school or college, getting your driving license, your first car, first pay check. We have been to the top of the mountain at least once. Life did not stop. Like Peter, when we have our moment, our response is to hold on to the moment, freeze time.

Let’s follow the plot. Moses and Elijah are speaking to Jesus, they are talking about the road to Jerusalem. It is the road that leads to Calvary and suffering and death. In this transfiguration moment, life was not standing still, it did not last forever, for anyone.

The feelings that a couple feel at the beginning of their relationship are not quite the same feelings, one maybe two years later. They may be better, hopefully deeper and richer. But they may also be worse. The feelings are never the same. We grow older, loved ones die, the job gets boring, the neighbourhood has changed. The “transfiguration” did not last. In its place we have a sense of loss, the loss of the wonderful, the loss of expectation.

The next stage begins here for those who persevere. It comes with reflection and prayer and often a lot of pain. It begins when we share the burdens with each other, with sympathy and wisdom. Life is not lived on the mountaintops but in the valleys. Slowly we begin to see a different light – the losses, the sicknesses, the disappointments, the addictions, the weaknesses and failures, the baggage we take on the journey. We catch a glimmer of what Moses and Elijah were talking about. It was necessary for Jesus to come down the mountain and hit the road to Jerusalem and climb Mount Calvary and carry on, beyond death to Resurrection, from suffering to transfiguration. It will be the same for us, we follow a crucified leader.

As life unfolds we come to understand that the price of the things e hold most dear is far greater than we had imagined in the beginning. Everything looked so simple when we said ‘yes’ or “I do.” The price of our lives and dreams become clearer, we experience the desire to ask for a refund, to run away and retreat to a place that is warm, comfy and safe. This is how we can “relate” to Jesus, we know He has gone through it all. He knows what it is to be worn out and afraid, to feel that you have had enough and cant take anymore, to want to run away and not come back. He tells us “Have courage, fear not. I am with you every step of the way.”

So we hit the road together. There is no avoiding the road to Jerusalem. It takes us up another mountain called Calvary, to certain death and beyond, to Resurrection and final glory. We should never forget the voice of God ringing in our ears saying to us “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”

Life is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. The desert experiences are simply the only way to the next oasis which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could have possibly have been without it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who are convinced of their basic dependency on God, whose lives are emptied of all that doesn't matter, those for whom the riches of this world just aren't that important. The kingdom of God is theirs.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are those who know that all they are is a gift from God, and so they can be content with their greatness and their smallness, knowing themselves and being true to themselves. For they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are those who wear compassion like a garment, those who have learned how to find themselves by losing themselves in another's sorrow. For they too shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the merciful, those who remember how much has been forgiven them, and are able to extend this forgiveness into the lives of others. For they too shall receive God's mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are those whose hearts are free and simple, those who have smashed all false images and are seeking honestly for truth. For they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are the creators of peace, those who build roads that unite rather than walls that divide, those who bless the world with the healing power of their presence. For they shall be called sons and daughters of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those whose love has been tried, like gold, in the furnace and found to be precious, genuine and lasting, those who have lived their belief out loud, no matter what the cost or pain. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.