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Posts Tagged ‘Intimacy’

The Church is God’s Call to Be Part of His Family

In Uncategorized on 2014/09/05 at 12:00 AM

 “A mystery,” Pope Francis said, “that we all live and in which we all take part.” The Pope, who will discuss this topic in light of Vatican Council II texts, began from the parable of the prodigal son that illustrates God’s plan for humanity.

In spite of the rain that suddenly fell on Rome this morning, Francis followed his custom of winding through St. Peter’s Square in the Popemobile, greeting the tens of thousands of people present and, before beginning his catechesis, he joked with them, praising their endurance in spite of the inclement weather.

In his teaching, the Holy Father explained that God’s plan is “to make of all of us one family of his children, [a family] in which each one feels close to and loved by him … feels the warmth of being the family of God. The Church—not an organization born out of an agreement between some persons but … the work of God, born of this love and progressively built in history—has her origin in this great plan.”

The Church, the pontiff explained, “is born of God’s desire to call all men and women to communion with him, to friendship with him, even further, to participate as his children in his very divinity. The word ‘Church’ itself, from the Greek ‘ekklesia’, means ‘convocation’. God calls us, urges us to leave selfishness behind, the tendency to be wrapped up in oneself, and calls us to be part of his family. This call has its origins in creation itself. God created us so that we might live a relationship of profound friendship with him and, when sin cut off that relationship with him, with others, and with creation, God did not abandon us. The entire story of salvation is the story of God seeking humans, offering us his love, gathering us to him. He called Abraham to be the father of many; He chose the people of Israel to forge a covenant that embraces all peoples; and he sent, in the fullness of time, his Son so that his plan of love and salvation might be fulfilled in a new and eternal covenant with all of humanity.”

“When we read the Gospel we see that Jesus gathers a small community around him that welcomes his word, follows it, shares his journey, becomes his family. And with this community He prepares and builds his Church.” It is a Church whose origin lies in the “supreme act of love on the Cross, in Jesus’ opened side from which flow blood and water, symbol of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism. In the family of God, in the Church, the lifeblood is God’s love that is made concrete in loving him and others, all, without distinction or limits. The Church is a family in which we love and are loved.” The Church is made manifest, as on Pentecost, “when the gift of the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of the Apostles and compels them to go out and begin the journey to proclaim the Gospel, to spread God’s love.”

The Pope observed that, even today, “there are some who say: ‘Christ yes, the Church no’. Like those who say: ‘I believe in God, but not in the priests’. But it is precisely the Church that brings us Christ and brings us to God. The Church is the great family of the children of God. Of course it also has human aspects. there are defects, imperfections, and sins in those who make her up, pastors and faithful. Even the Pope has them, and many. But what is beautiful is that, when we realize that we are sinners we encounter the mercy of God who always forgives. He never forgets us. He gathers us up in his love of forgiveness and mercy. Some say that sin is an offence against God, but it is also an opportunity for the humility to realize that there is something better: God’s mercy. Let’s think about this.”

“How much do I love the Church? Do I pray for her? Do I feel part of the family of the Church? What am I doing to make it a community in which everyone feels welcomed and understood, feels God’s mercy and love that renews life? Faith is a gift and an act that has to do with us personally, but God calls us to live our faith together, as a family, as the Church.”

“Let us ask the Lord, particularly in this Year of Faith, that our communities, that all the Church, be ever more truly families that live and bring the warmth of God,” the Holy Father concluded.

VIS 130529

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“Mother! Call her again and again”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/05/08 at 12:00 AM
Mother! Call her again and again. She is listening, she sees you in danger perhaps, and with her Son’s grace she, your holy Mother Mary, offers you the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace. Call her, and you will find yourself with added strength for the new struggle. (The Way, 516)

If we want to understand Mary’s role in the Christian’s life and to feel attracted to her, to be in her company, we don’t need to go into the theological theory, even though it is an inexhaustible mystery that she is the Mother of God.

We have to love God with the same heart with which we love our parents, our brothers and sisters, the other members of our family, our friends. And we must love Mary with that same heart, too.

How does a normal son or daughter treat his mother? In different ways, of course, but always affectionately and confidently, never coldly. In an intimate way, through small, commonplace customs. And a mother feels hurt if we omit them: a kiss or an embrace when leaving or coming home, a little extra attention, a few warm words. (Christ is passing by, 142)

Divine Revelation Does Not Follow Earthly Logic

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/12/21 at 9:11 AM

Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis to the Messianic Hymn of Jubilee, Jesus’ prayer of praise recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which constitutes the “apex of a path of prayer in which Jesus’ profound and intimate communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit and His divine filiation clearly emerges “.

Already at the opening of the hymn, the Pope observed, Jesus addresses God by calling him Father, a term that expresses “Jesus’ awareness and certainty of being ‘the Son’ in close and constant communion with Him. This is the central point and the source of Jesus’ every prayer. … The name of ‘Father’ is followed by a second title: ‘Lord of heaven and earth'”, which “recalls the great biblical narration of the history of God’s love for human beings that began with creation. Jesus … is the pinnacle and the fullness of this history of love. … Through the expression ‘Lord of heaven and earth’ we also recognize how, in Jesus, the one who reveals the Father, the possibility of access to God is opened to humanity”.

But, to whom does the Son want to reveal the mysteries of God? “Divine revelation”, the pontiff explained, “does not occur within earthly logic, according to which humans are the wise and powerful who posses important knowledge and transmit it to those who are more simple. … God’s style is another: His communication is addressed precisely to the ‘childlike’. … And what is this childlikeness that opens humans to a filial intimacy with God and to welcoming His will? … It is the pureness of heart that allows us to recognize the face of God in Jesus Christ. It is keeping our hearts as simple as those of children, without the presumptions of those who are locked in themselves, thinking they have no need of anyone, not even God”.

“In Matthew’s Gospel, after the Hymn of Jubilee, we encounter one of Jesus’ most moving pleas: ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Jesus asks that we go to Him, the true wisdom, to the one who is ‘meek and humble of heart’; He proposes His ‘yoke’, the path of evangelical wisdom, which is neither a doctrine to learn nor an ethical proposal, but rather a Person to follow: He himself, the only-begotten Son, in perfect communion with the Father”.

“We also can address God with the confidence of sons and daughters”, Benedict XVI concluded, “calling Him Father when we pray. But we have to keep the heart of a child, the heart of those ‘poor in spirit’, in order to recognize that we are not self-sufficient … that we need God, that we have to seek Him, listen to Him, speak to Him. Prayer opens us to receiving the gift of God, His wisdom who is Jesus himself, in order to accept the will of the Father in our lives and to find consolation in the weariness of our journey”.

Vatican Information Service #20111207

Meditative Prayer

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/29 at 12:00 AM

Practice meditation for a fixed period and at a fixed time. Otherwise we would be putting our own convenience first; that would be a lack of mortification. And prayer without mortification is not at all effective. (Furrow, 446)

Overcome any sluggishness you may feel, and the false excuse that prayer can wait for later. Let us never put off this vital source of grace until tomorrow. Now is the right time. God, who is a loving spectator of everything we do, watches over our most intimate needs. You and I, I tell you once again, we need to confide in him as we might confide in a brother, a friend, a father. Tell him, as I am telling him now, that he is all greatness, all goodness, all mercy. Tell him also, ‘This is why I want to fall in love with you, despite my rough manner and poor hands, soiled and ill‑treated by the dust and grime of this earth’…

Each day without fail we should devote some time specially to God, raising our minds to him, without any need for the words to come to our lips, for they are being sung in our heart. Let us give enough time to this devout practice; at a fixed hour, if possible. Before the Tabernacle, close to him who has remained there out of Love. If this is not possible, we can pray anywhere because our God is ineffably present in the heart of every soul in grace. (Friends of God, 246.249)