Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Pope Francis: A true Christian has to endure humiliations with joy and patience
Pope Francis said on Friday the proof of whether we are true Christians is shown by our ability to endure humiliations with joy and patience. Speaking at his morning mass in the Vatican's Santa Marta guesthouse, the Pope stressed this need for sacrifice in the Christian's life of faith.
Listen to the report by Susy Hodges:
In his homily at the mass, the Pope began with the Gospel account from St. Luke where Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was to illustrate his reflections on what is demanded of a Christian who follows the Lord. It was after this question and Peter's correct answer, the Pope continued, that Jesus revealed to the disciples his Passion, his death and his resurrection and he recalled Peter's horrified reaction to this news in the gospel account from St. Matthew. He said "Peter was frightened and scandalized just like many Christians" who declare "this will never happen to you, I will follow you up to this point."
Pope Francis said "this is the temptation of a spiritual well-being." Like the young rich man in the gospel "who wanted to follow Jesus but only up to a certain point." He said "the scandal of the Cross continues to block many Christians" who, rather than following this path of the Cross, complain about the wrongs and insults they've had to endure.
The Pope said "the proof if somebody is a true Christian is his or her ability to endure humiliations with joy and patience." This, he concluded, is our choice, "whether to be a Christian of well-being or a Christian close to Jesus" who walks along the path of the Cross.
Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/09/27/pope_francis:_a_true_christian_has_to_endure_humiliations_with_joy/en1-732269
of the Vatican Radio website
Friday, September 27, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Pope will be invited to address European Parliament
CWN - September 26, 2013
Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis on October 11. Citing an anonymous source in the European Union, CNA said that Schulz would ask the Pontiff to address the legislative body.
Blessed John Paul II addressed the European Parliament in 1988. Pope Benedict XVI was invited to address the body, but never made an appearance.
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
Laos: officials say Christians must renounce faith or leave district
CWN - September 25, 2013
Officials in Atsaphangthong announced their policy on September 21, in response to complaints about a large number of conversions to Christianity. The Christians living in the area have said that they will resist the policy, citing their right to religious freedom under the country's constitution.In the Atsaphangthong district of Laos, civic officials have announced that Christians must either renounce their faith or face expulsion from the area, the Fides news service reports.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Bl. Julian Maunoir, SJ
Born : Oct 1, 1606
Died : Jan 28, 1683
Beatified : May 20, 1951
Julian Maunoir was born in Brittany, in a small hamlet in Rennes. At fourteen he entered the Jesuit college in Rennes for his studies. When his superiors came to know of his interest for a spiritual life, they instructed him in mental prayer and spoke often to him about the Jesuit missionaries in China, Japan, and Canada. Julian entered the Society in Paris at nineteen with the Canadian mission in mind. He studied philosophy at La Fleche and later assigned to the college at Saint-Ives at Quimper, Brittany where he taught Latin and Greek. He resolved to study the difficult Breton language in order to teach the faith to the neglected Breton peasants. He worked hard at it and within two months he was sufficiently fluent to be able to preach in Breton, a success he attributed to our Lady whose help he implored. He continued preaching to the Breton peasants in the hamlets until he went to Tours to begin his theological studies prior to ordination.
Julian was torn between two mission fields: was it to be Canada or Brittany? While he entered the Society to go to Canada, yet he felt God was especially calling him to Brittany. The solution came when he contracted a fever which almost killed him. His left arm became inflamed and gangrene set in. He received the Last Sacrament on Christmas Eve, where he vowed to devote his life preaching God's salvation to the Bretons if his health was restored. The infection ceased, the swelling receded , and within a few days he was out of bed. There was no doubt what God was asking of him. He was ordained in 1637 and returned to Brittany in 1640 and was assigned again to Quimper.
Fr Maunoir had a mission to fulfill but did not know how to begin it. He met the former priest, Fr Nobletz , the one-time itinerant missionary of Lower Brittany, now retired because of poor health and decided to use the same methods to reach out to the poor, hardworking peasants and fishermen. Fr Maunoir together with his companion, Fr Pierre Bernard visited the cities and towns of the mainland as well as the offshore islands, preaching and hearing confessions. As many of the Bretons were ignorant of their faith, Fr Maunoir insisted on giving them a good foundation in Christian doctrine. His mission usually lasted four to five weeks focusing on God, the purpose of life, the commandments, the sacraments. He used visual aids in catechizing the people, with charts depicting the life of Christ, the seven deadly sins, hell and so on. From Fr Nobletz he also learned the need for instructional hymns to teach the faith and moral values and composed most of the hymns, setting them to well-known tunes.
Fr Maunoir's mission bore great fruit and his audiences were not just single parishes but several parishes came together, totalling 10,000 to 30,000 individuals. On these occasions he asked the parish priests whose parishioners were attending the mission to help in hearing confessions, catechizing, and distributing Holy Communion. When these priests saw the fruit resulting from these missions, seven asked their bishop's permission to help the "Good Father" as Fr Maunior was called. Fr Maunior was so overjoyed that he immediately began training his assistants. In 1651 there were seven; by 1665 there were 300, and by 1683 almost 1000. Fr Maunoir organized them into the "Breton Missionaries" who carried on his work after his death.
Fr Maunoir gave forty-three years of his life to the Breton people to whom he gave some 400 missions, an average of ten a year. He would take off one month each year to rest and write spiritual books. During his final years, 1681 and 1682, he gave only six missions a year because of ailing health. When he sensed his end was near at the end of 1682, after completing a mission at Scrignac, he asked his companion to return with him to Plevin. Upon arrival, he went to bed because of sheer exhaustion and contracted pneumonia. After weeks of pain, "Good Father", the "Apostle of Brittany" returned his soul to the God who gave him life. The bishop at Quimper arranged for Fr Maunoir to be buried in the cathedral, but finally acquiesced to the people of Plevin's wish to have him buried in the Plevin parish church.
St. John de Brébeuf, SJ (1593–1649)
From Voices of the Saints
How I grieve, my God, that you are not known, that this savage country is not yet wholly converted to faith in you, that sin is not yet blotted out!
—John de Brébeuf
Some saints I feel I know a little better because I have met someone like them. But I have never met anyone like St. John de Brébeuf, the Jesuit missionary and martyr. Large and handsome, his presence commanded attention. A brilliant student, gifted linguist, and competent manager, he could make things happen. I have met others like that, but none like this saint who was willing to endure anything if only he could thank Christ by giving his life for the salvation of others.
Even though weakened by tuberculosis, John joined the Canada mission in 1625. For a quarter of a century with only a four-year interlude, he evangelized the Hurons in Quebec. He lived with them, embraced their customs, mastered their language, and wrote a catechism for them.
At first he had little success because the odds were stacked against him. The Indians viewed him as member of a conquering race. They also blamed him for rampant diseases and everything else that went wrong. But John persevered with the good humor you see in this letter inviting other Jesuits to join the mission:
When you reach the Hurons, you will find us with hearts full of love. We shall receive you in a hut, so mean that I have scarcely found in France one wretched enough to compare it with. Fatigued as you will be, we shall be able to give you nothing but a poor mat for a bed. Besides you will arrive when fleas will keep you awake most of the night.
Instead of being a great theologian as you may be in France, you must reckon on being here a humble scholar, and then good God! with what masters—exposed to the laughter of all the savages. The Huron language will be your St. Thomas and your Aristotle. Glib as you are, you must decide for a long time to be mute among the barbarians.
Without exaggeration, you will pass the six months of winter in almost continual discomforts—excessive cold, smoke, the annoyance of the savages who surround our fireplace from morning until evening looking for food.
For the rest, thus far we have had only roses. As we have Christians in almost every village, we must expect to make rounds throughout the year. Add to all this that our lives depend upon a single thread. Your cabin might burn down at any moment or a malcontent may cleave your head open because you cannot make it rain.
Here we have nothing that incites toward good. We are among peoples who are astonished when you speak to them of God.In 1649, the Iroquois attacked the Huron village where John was living. They brutally martyred him, Gabriel Lalement, his companion, and their converts. Their suffering is indescribable: bludgeoned, burned with red-hot hatchets, baptized with boiling water, mutilated, flesh stripped off and eaten, hearts plucked out and devoured. But John de Brébeuf had his prayer answered. He traded his life for the seven thousand souls he had converted and baptized.
My God and my savior Jesus, what return can I make to you for all the benefits you have conferred on me? I make a vow to you never to fail, on my side, in the grace of martyrdom, if by your infinite mercy you offer it to me some day.
—John de Brébeuf
Excerpt from Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi.
Viet bishop asks international help to counter government propaganda campaign
CWN - September 18, 2013
In an interview with the AsiaNews service, the bishop underlined the "dangerous and worrying situation" in his diocese, where the Church is under attack and the faithful are fearful after violent assaults by police on peaceful demonstrators. "We want peace, freedom, and dignity of human rights," the bishop said.
Thousands of Catholics in the northern Vietnamese diocese risked another police raid on September 16 by demonstrating at a shrine close to the place where police clubbed dozens of protesters just a week earlier.
The dispute in the Vinh diocese traces back to requests by Catholic lay people for the release of two human-rights activists who were arrested in June and remain in jail, being held without charges. Government officials had promised that the two men would be released, but have not fulfilled that promise.
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
Vietnamese authorities step up campaign to control Catholic Church
CWN - September 23, 2013
Parishioners in the Thai Ha parish, administered by Redemptorist priests, are protesting what they insist is an illegal seizure of land. The Redemptorists have clashed with government officials repeatedly about the expropriation of property, which has been continuing piecemeal for years.
In Saigon, local television crews have given extensive coverage to the Vietnam Committee for Solidarity of Catholics, a pro-government group set up by the Communist Party in 1955 with the goal of establishing a "patriotic Church" after the model established by the Chinese Communist Party. Catholics suspicious of the group were concerned to see that 500 priests, religious, and lay people attended the 2-day meeting of the state-sponsored group.
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
CWN - September 24, 2013
The retired Pontiff wrote and 11-page personal letter to Piergiorgio Odifreddi, the author of a book responding to Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth. With Benedict's permission, substantial portions of the letter have been published in the Italian daily La Repubblica.
For La Repubblica, the letter from Benedict XVI was the 2nd lengthy contribution from a Roman Pontiff in recent days. Earlier this month the paper published a long letter by Pope Francis, responding to an editorial comment by Eugenio Scalfari. In each of these cases the papal message was addressed to a prominent Italian non-believer, and the appearance of the second letter, from Benedict XVI, has prompted speculation that the past and president Pontiffs are coordinating their efforts to reach out to a secular audience.
In his letter to Odifreddi, Benedict XVI welcomes an "open dialogue" on questions of faith, and addresses the Italian writer's points on Biblical scholarship and the understanding of Jesus. The retired Pontiff strongly defends the role of faith as a companion of scientific reason, and questions whether secular scientists sometimes overreach the boundaries of their own fields, venturing into "science fiction" to explain matters that strictly empirical analyses cannot explain.
Benedict takes Odifreddi to task for using mathematical logic as, in effect, his own religion. He remarks: "I'm amazed that with one stroke you eliminate freedom, which… is the fundamental principle of the modern era."
Pope-emeritus Benedict also addresses the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and his own role in addressing the scandal. "I never tried to cover up these things," he assures Odifreddi.
The retired Pope reminds Odifreddi that sexual abuse is not a problem unique to the Catholic Church. He points out that the proportion of priests guilty of abuse is similar to the proportion of abusers in other fields—although he concedes that this is not a comforting statistic. He concludes that "one must not stubbornly present this deviance as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism."
CWN - September 24, 2013
"The new text has been devised for use by Ordinariates throughout the English-speaking world as a way of putting into practice Pope Benedict XVI's vision of allowing former Anglicans who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church to do so whilst retaining aspects of their spiritual and liturgical traditions," according to the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
"For some time, the Ordinariate has had its own liturgy, approved by the Holy See, for marriages and funerals and the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham already provides a daily office in the Anglican tradition," said Msgr. Andrew Burnham. "But the introduction of this new Ordinariate Use is very important because it means that we now have our own distinctive liturgy for the Mass which brings to the Roman rite beautiful Anglican words which have been hallowed for generations. It gives the Ordinariate unity and a corporate identity."
- Tuesday, 11 October 2011 05:57
- 0 Comments
In speaking at a Charterhouse on October 9, Pope
Benedict contrasted modern life and the monastic life saying that society
"throws light on the specific charism of the Carthusian monastery as a
precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift which contains a
profound message for our lives and for all humanity. I would summarise it in
these terms: by withdrawing in silence and solitude man, so to speak, 'exposes'
himself to the truth of his nakedness, he exposes himself to that apparent
'void' I mentioned earlier. But in doing so he experiences fullness, the
presence of God, of the most real Reality that exists. … Monks, by leaving
everything, … expose themselves to solitude and silence so as to live only
from what is essential; and precisely in living from the essential they
discover a profound communion with their brothers and sisters, with all
journey, a lifelong search. … Becoming a monk requires time, exercise,
patience. … The beauty of each vocation in the Church lies in giving time to
God to work with His Spirit, and in giving time to one's own humanity to form,
to grow in a particular state of life according to the measure of maturity in
Christ. In Christ there is everything, fullness. However we need time to
possess one of the dimensions of His mystery. … At times, in the eyes of the
world, it seems impossible that someone should spend his entire life in a
monastery, but in reality a lifetime is hardly sufficient to enter into this
union with God, into the essential and profound Reality which is Jesus
Holy Father told the monks at the end of his homily. "You, who live in
voluntary isolation, are in fact at the heart of the Church; you ensure that
the pure blood of contemplation and of God's love flows in her veins".
Monday, September 23, 2013
May your good guardian angel always watch over you; may he be your guide on the rugged path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and sustain you with his hands so that you may not stumble on a stone. May he protect you under his wings from all the snares of the world, the devil and the flesh.