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Posts Tagged ‘Pope Benedict’

Human Intelligence Can Find Key to Understanding the World in Sacred Scripture

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/03/01 at 12:00 AM

 The Holy Father focused on the phrase “Creator of heaven and earth”, explained in light of the first chapter of Genesis.

“God,” the Pope said, “is the source of all things and the beauty of creation reveals the omnipotence of the loving Father. As the origin of life … He cares for what has He has created with unceasing love and faithfulness. Creation, therefore, becomes the place in which to know God’s omnipotence and goodness and becomes a call to faith for believers so that we might proclaim God as Creator. … In the light of faith, human intelligence can find the key to understanding the world In Sacred Scripture. Particularly … in the first chapter of Genesis, with the solemn presentation of divine creative action … The phrase ‘and God saw it was good’ is repeated six times. … Everything God creates is good, and beautiful, full of wisdom and love. God’s creative action brings order and infuses harmony and beauty into it. In the story of Genesis, it later says that the Lord created with His word and ten times in the text the phrase ‘God said’ is repeated… Life springs forth, the world exists, so that everything might obey the Word of God.”

“But does it still make sense to talk about creation,” the Pope wondered, “in this age of science and technology? The Bible isn’t intended to be a natural science manual. Its intention is to reveal the authentic and profound truth of things. The fundamental truth revealed in the stories of Genesis is that the world isn’t a collection of opposing forces, but has its origin and stability in the Logos, in God’s eternal reason, which continues to sustain the universe. There is a plan for the world that springs from this reason, from the Creator Spirit.”

“Men and women, human beings, the only ones capable of knowing and loving the Creator,” are the apex of all creation. “The creation stories in Genesis … help us to know God’s plan for humanity. First, they say that God formed man out of the clay of the ground. … This means that we are not God; we have not made ourselves; we are clay. But it also means that we come from the good earth by an act of the Creator. … Beyond any cultural and historical distinctions, beyond any social difference, we are one humanity, formed from the one earth of God who … blew the breath of life into the body He formed from the earth. … The human being is made in the image and likeness of God. … We carry within us His life-giving breath and all human life is under God’s special protection. This is the deepest reason for the inviolability of human dignity against any temptation to judge the person according to criteria of utility or power.”

In the first chapters of Genesis, “there are two significant images: the garden with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the serpent. The garden tells us that the reality that God has placed the human being within is not a savage forest, but a place that protects, nourishes, and sustains. Humanity must recognize the world, not as property to plunder and exploit, but as a gift from the Creator … to cultivate and care for respectfully, following its rhythms and logic, in accordance with God’s plan. The serpent is a figure derived from oriental fertility cults that fascinated Israel and that were a constant temptation to forsake the mysterious covenant with God.” That is why, “the serpent raised the suspicion that the covenant with God was a chain that … took away freedom and the most beautiful and precious things in life. The temptation becomes the building of a world of one’s own without accepting the limits of being a creature, the limits of good and evil, of morality. Dependence on the love of God the Creator is seen as a burden to be overthrown. … But when our relationship with God is distorted, when we put ourselves in His place, all our other relationships are altered. Then the other becomes a rival, a threat. Adam, after have succumbed to temptation, immediately accuses Eve. … The world is no longer the garden in which to live in harmony, but a place to exploit, one in which … envy and hatred of the other enter into our hearts.”

The Pope emphasized one last element of the creation stories. “Sin begets sin and all the sins of history are related. This aspect leads us to speak of what is called ‘original sin’. What is the meaning of this reality, which is so difficult to understand? … First, we must keep in mind that no person is closed in upon themselves. … We receive life from others, not only at birth, but every day. The human being is relational: I am only myself in you and through you, in the loving relationship with the You of God and the you of the other. Sin alters or destroys our relationship with God … taking the place of God … Once that fundamental relationship is altered, our other relationships are also compromised or destroyed. Sin ruins everything. Now, if the relational structure of humanity is altered from the beginning, all humans enter the world characterized by the alteration of that relationship; we enter into the world changed by sin, which marks us personally. The initial sin disrupts and damages human nature. … And humanity cannot get out of this situation alone, cannot redeem itself. Only the creator can restore the correct relationships. … This takes place in Jesus Christ follows the exact opposite path of Adam. … While Adam does not recognize his being as a creature and wants to supplant the place of God, Jesus, the Son of God is in perfect filial relation to the Father. He lowers himself, becomes a servant, walks the path of love, humbling himself even to death on the cross in order to restore the relationship with God. Christ’s Cross becomes the new Tree of Life.”

“Living by faith,” Benedict XVI concluded, “means acknowledging God’s greatness and accepting our smallness, our creatureliness, letting God fill us with His love. Evil, with its burden of pain and suffering, is a mystery that is illuminated by the light of faith, giving us the certainty of being able to be freed from it.”

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Pope Benedict XVI’s Final General Audience: “I asked God to enlighten me to make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church.

In 13 History on 2013/02/28 at 12:00 AM

Vatican City, 27 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, Benedict XVI celebrated his last general audience. In St. Peter’s Square, crowded with tens of thousands of people wishing to bid him farewell, the Pontiff said: “Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this, my last general audience. Thank you, I am truly moved! And I see the Church is alive! I think we also have to thank the Creator for the beautiful weather that He is giving us now, even in winter.”

Following is the entire text of the Holy Father’s words.

“Like the Apostle Paul in the Biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart that I have to especially thank God who guides and builds up the Church, who plants His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His People. At this moment my heart expands and embraces the whole Church throughout the world and I thank God for the ‘news’ that, in these years of my Petrine ministry, I have received about the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and for the love that truly circulates in the Body of the Church, making it to live in the love and the hope that opens us to and guides us towards the fullness of life, towards our heavenly homeland.”

“I feel that I am carrying everyone with me in prayer in this God-given moment when I am collecting every meeting, every trip, every pastoral visit. I am gathering everyone and everything in prayer to entrust it to the Lord: so that we may be filled with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding in order to live in a manner worthy of the Lord and His love, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).”

“At this moment I have great confidence because I know, we all know, that the Gospel’s Word of truth is the strength of the Church; it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews, bearing fruit, wherever the community of believers hears it and welcomes God’s grace in truth and in love. This is my confidence, this is my joy.”

“When, on 19 April almost eight years ago I accepted to take on the Petrine ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me: this certainty for the life of the Church from the Word of God. At that moment, as I have already expressed many times, the words that resounded in my heart were: Lord, what do You ask of me? It is a great weight that You are placing on my shoulders but, if You ask it of me, I will cast my nets at your command, confident that You will guide me, even with all my weaknesses. And eight years later I can say that the Lord has guided me. He has been close to me. I have felt His presence every day. It has been a stretch of the Church’s path that has had moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments. I felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the See of Galilee. The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and light breezes, days when the fishing was plentiful, but also times when the water was rough and the winds against us, just as throughout the whole history of the Church, when the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I always knew that the Lord is in that boat and I always knew that the boat of the Church is not mine, not ours, but is His. And the Lord will not let it sink. He is the one who steers her, of course also through those He has chosen because that is how He wanted it. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. And that is why my heart today is filled with gratitude to God, because He never left—the whole Church or me—without His consolation, His light, or His love.”

“We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired precisely in order to strengthen our faith in God in a context that seems to relegate it more and more to the background. I would like to invite everyone to renew their firm trust in the Lord, to entrust ourselves like children to God’s arms, certain that those arms always hold us up and are what allow us to walk forward each day, even when it is a struggle. I would like everyone to feel beloved of that God who gave His Son for us and who has shown us His boundless love. I would like everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer, which can be recited every morning, say: ‘I adore you, my God and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for having created me, for having made me Christian…’ Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith. It is the most precious thing, which no one can take from us! Let us thank the Lord for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but awaits us to also love Him!”

“It is not only God who I wish to thank at this time. A pope is not alone in guiding Peter’s barque, even if it is his primary responsibility. I have never felt alone in bearing the joy and the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed at my side so many people who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all, you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your advice, and your friendship have been precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my secretary of state who has accompanied me faithfully over the years; the Secretariat of State and the whole of the Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in their various areas, serve the Holy See. There are many faces that are never seen, remaining in obscurity, but precisely in their silence, in their daily dedication in a spirit of faith and humility, they were a sure and reliable support to me. A special thought goes to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I cannot forget my Brothers in the episcopate and in the priesthood, consecrated persons, and the entire People of God. In my pastoral visits, meetings, audiences, and trips I always felt great care and deep affection, but I have also loved each and every one of you, without exception, with that pastoral love that is the heart of every pastor, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I held each of you in prayer, with a father’s heart.”

“I wish to send my greetings and my thanks to all: a pope’s heart extends to the whole world. And I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes the great family of Nations present here. Here I am also thinking of all those who work for good communication and I thank them for their important service.”

“At this point I would also like to wholeheartedly thank all of the many people around the world who, in recent weeks, have sent me touching tokens of concern, friendship, and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone. I feel this again now in such a great way that it touches my heart. The Pope belongs to everyone and many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world’s notables—from heads of states, from religious leaders, from representatives of the world of culture, etc. But I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their hearts and make me feel their affection, which is born of our being together with Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write to me the way one would write, for example, to a prince or a dignitary that they don’t know. They write to me as brothers and sisters or as sons and daughters, with the sense of a very affectionate family tie. In this you can touch what the Church is—not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian ends, but a living body, a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ who unites us all. Experiencing the Church in this way and being able to almost touch with our hands the strength of His truth and His love is a reason for joy at a time when many are speaking of its decline. See how the Church is alive today!”

“In these last months I have felt that my strength had diminished and I asked God earnestly in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its seriousness and also its newness, but with a profound peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, agonized choices, always keeping in mind the good of the Church, not of oneself.”

“Allow me here to return once again to 19 April, 2005. The gravity of the decision lay precisely in the fact that, from that moment on, I was always and for always engaged by the Lord. Always—whoever assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and entirely to everyone, to the whole Church. His life, so to speak, is totally deprived of its private dimension. I experienced, and I am experiencing it precisely now, that one receives life precisely when they give it. Before I said that many people who love the Lord also love St. Peter’s Successor and are fond of him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion; because he no longer belongs to himself but he belongs to all and all belong to him.”

“’Always’ is also ‘forever’–there is no return to private life. My decision to renounce the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I am not returning to private life, to a life of trips, meetings, receptions, conferences, etc. I am not abandoning the cross, but am remaining beside the Crucified Lord in a new way. I no longer bear the power of the office for the governance of the Church, but I remain in the service of prayer, within St. Peter’s paddock, so to speak. St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example to me in this. He has shown us the way for a life that, active or passive, belongs wholly to God’s work.”

“I also thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have received this important decision. I will continue to accompany the Church’s journey through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and His Bride that I have tried to live every day up to now and that I want to always live. I ask you to remember me to God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals who are called to such an important task, and for the new Successor of the Apostle Peter. Many the Lord accompany him with the light and strength of His Spirit.”

“We call upon the maternal intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the entire ecclesial community. We entrust ourselves to her with deep confidence.”

“Dear friends! God guides His Church, always sustaining her even and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the path of the Church and of the world. In our hearts, in the heart of each one of you, may there always be the joyous certainty that the Lord is beside us, that He does not abandon us, that He is near and embraces us with His love. Thank you.”

VIS 130227

God Doesn’t Consider As Much the Qualities of the Chosen as their Faith

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/02/15 at 9:11 AM

Pope Benedict commented on the Gospel of St. Luke that narrates the call of the first disciples, a call “preceded by Jesus’ teaching to the multitude and by a miraculous catch of fish.” While the crowd gathered on the shore of Lake Gennesaret to listen to Him, Jesus?seeing Simon disheartened because he hadn’t caught anything the whole night?asks if He can board his boat to preach to the people a little way from the shore. Once finished preaching, Christ orders Simon to go out to sea with his companions and to cast their nets. Simon obeys and the nets are filled with an incredible amount of fish. “The Gospel writer shows that the first disciples followed Jesus, trusting in Him, acting on His Word, while accompanied by prodigious signs. … This is the pedagogy of God’s call, which doesn’t look as much at the quality of the chosen as at their faith, as in Simon’s case.

“The image of the catch,” the Pope emphasized, “recalls the Church’s mission … Peter’s experience, certainly unique, is also representative of the call of each Apostle in the Gospel, who should never lose heart in proclaiming Christ to all people, even to the ends of the earth. today’s text also brings us to reflect on the vocation to the priesthood and to consecrated life. This is God’s work. Human beings are not the authors of their own vocation, but respond to a divine call. Human weakness should not lead us to fear God’s call. It is necessary to be confident in His strength, which acts precisely in our weakness. We must trust ever more in the power of His mercy, which transforms and renews us.”

“May this Word of God also reignite in us and in our Christian communities the courage, confidence, and enthusiasm to announce and witness to the Gospel. Challenges and difficulties don’t dishearten us: it falls to us to cast our nets with faith. The Lord will do the rest,” concluded the Holy Father.

After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI noted that many Asian countries are celebrating the Lunar New Year. Peace, harmony, and thanksgiving to heaven,” he observed, “are the universal values that are celebrated in this happy circumstance, and they are wished for by all so as to build their family, society, and their nation upon them. I wish for those peoples the fulfilment of their aspirations for a happy and prosperous life. I send a special greeting to the Catholics of those countries that, in this Year of Faith, they may be guided by Christ’s wisdom.

Lastly, he spoke of the World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated tomorrow, 11 February, on the liturgical feastday of Our Lady of Lourdes. “The solemn ceremony,” he said, “will take place in the Marian Shrine in Altotting, Bavaria, Germany. I am near to all the ill in prayer and affection and I spiritually join with those gathered in that sanctuary that I love so much.”

VIS 130212

Pope on Twitter…His First Three Answers to Questions

In 07 Observations on 2012/12/14 at 1:00 AM

 

Vatican City, 13 December 2012 (VIS) – @Pontifex, Pope Benedict XVI’s Twitter account, attracted over a million and a half followers on its first day of existence. The Pope, after his first tweet at the end of the usual Wednesday general audience, responded during the course of the day to three questions posed by members of the public from three different continents.

The first was: “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?”.

The Holy Father’s answer was “By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need”.

Shortly afterwards a second question was added:

“How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?”.

“We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful”,

responded Benedict XVI.

The final tweet, posted around 6 p.m., was:

“Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you”,

in response to: “Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?”

Vatican Information Service 121213

Pope Benedict XVI hit the 1 million Twitter follower mark on Wednesday.  The 85 year old  pope is tweeting simultaneously in Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Polish and Arabic. The words the Pope uses are his alone, culled from his speeches, homilies or catechism lessons. For English version, please go to www.twitter.com/pontifex

The Pope blessed his online fans and urged them to listen to Christ.

The Idea of Sainthood Has Often Been Distorted

In 07 Observations on 2012/10/04 at 9:11 AM

“We increasingly experience the failure of our efforts and our personal shortcomings, despite our best intentions. In the final analysis, the world in which we live, in spite of its technical progress, does not seem to be getting any better. There is still war and terror, hunger and disease, bitter poverty and merciless oppression. And even those figures in our history who saw themselves as ‘bringers of light’ – without being fired by Christ, the one true light – did not manage to create an earthly paradise, but set up dictatorships and totalitarian systems, in which even the smallest spark of true humanity was choked”.

“At this point we cannot remain silent about the existence of evil. We see it in so many places in this world; but we also see it – and this scares us – in our own lives. Truly, within our hearts there is a tendency towards evil, there is selfishness, envy, aggression. Perhaps with a certain self-discipline all this can to some degree be controlled. But it becomes more difficult with faults that are somewhat hidden, that can engulf us like a thick fog, such as sloth, or laziness in willing and doing good. Again and again in history, keen observers have pointed out that damage to the Church comes not from her opponents, but from uncommitted Christians”.

“Dear friends, again and again the very notion of saints has been caricatured and distorted, as if to be holy meant to be remote from the world, naive and joyless. Often it is thought that a saint has to be someone with great ascetic and moral achievements, who might well be revered, but could never be imitated in our own lives. How false and discouraging this opinion is! There is no saint, apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has not also known sin, who has never fallen. Dear friends, Christ is not so much interested in how often in your lives you stumble and fall, as in how often you pick yourselves up again. He does not demand glittering achievements, but He wants His light to shine in you. He does not call you because you are good and perfect, but because He is good and He wants to make you His friends. Yes, you are the light of the world because Jesus is your light. You are Christians – not because you do special and extraordinary things, but because Christ is your life. You are holy because His grace is at work in you”.

“This gathering shines in more ways than one – in the glow of innumerable lights, in the radiance of so many young people who believe in Christ. A candle can only give light if it lets itself be consumed by the flame. It would remain useless if its wax failed to nourish the fire. Allow Christ to burn in you, even at the cost of sacrifice and renunciation. Do not be afraid that you might lose something and, so to speak, emerge empty-handed at the end. Have the courage to apply your talents and gifts for God’s kingdom and to give yourselves – like candle wax – so that the Lord can light up the darkness through you. Dare to be glowing saints, in whose eyes and hearts the love of Christ beams and who thus bring light to the world. I am confident that you and many other young people here in Germany are lamps of hope that do not remain hidden. ‘You are the light of the world'”.

Pope Benedict To German youth in Freiburg, Germany
(Vatican Information Service; 20110925 (1040)

The Closeness of God Transforms Reality

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/09/29 at 9:11 AM

The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during this morning’s general audience to Psalm 23 which begins with the words: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. “Addressing the Lord in prayer implies a radical act of confidence, the awareness of entrusting oneself to God Who is good”, he said.

Psalm 23 is an example of such confidence. “The Psalmist expresses his tranquil certainty that he will be guided and protected, sheltered from all danger because the Lord is his shepherd. … The image evokes an atmosphere of trust, intimacy, tenderness. The shepherd knows his sheep individually, he calls them by name and they follow him because they recognise and trust him. He takes care of them, protects them like a treasure, and is ready to defend them in order to guarantee their wellbeing, to ensure they live in peace. They shall want nothing if the shepherd is with them”.

The Psalm describes the oasis of peace to which the shepherd leads his flock. The setting is a desert landscape, “yet the shepherd knows where to find pasture and water, which are essential for life, he knows the way to the oasis in which the soul can be ‘restored’ with new energies to start the journey afresh. As the Psalmist says, God guides him to ‘green pastures’ and ‘still waters’ where all things are in abundance. … If the Lord is the shepherd, even in the desert, a place of scarcity and death, we do not lose our certainty in the radical presence of life”.

The shepherd adapts his rhythms and his needs to those of his flock. “If we walk behind the ‘Good Shepherd'”, the Pope said, ” however difficult, tortuous and long the paths of our life may seem, we too can be certain that they are right for us, that the Lord guides us and that He is always close”.

Hence the Psalmist adds: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me”. Benedict XVI explained how, although the Psalmist here uses a Hebrew expression which evokes the shadows of death, he nonetheless proceeds without fear because he knows the Lord is with him. “This is a proclamation of unshakeable trust and encapsulates a radical experience of faith: the closeness of God transforms reality, the darkest valley loses all its perils”.

This image concludes the first part of the Psalm and opens the way to a change of scene. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”. The Lord is now presented “as the One Who welcomes the Psalmist with generous hospitality. … Food, oil, wine are the gifts that enable us to live, they bring joy because they lie beyond what is strictly necessary, an expression of the gratitude and abundance of love”. In the meantime the enemies look on powerlessly because “when God opens His tent to welcome us, nothing can harm us”.

The Psalmist goes on “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long”. The Psalmist’s journey “acquires fresh meaning and becomes a pilgrimage towards the Temple of the Lord, the holy place in which he wishes ‘to dwell’ forever”. Likewise, living near God and His goodness is what all believers long for, the Holy Father said.

This Psalm has accompanied the entire history and religious experience of the People of Israel, but only in Jesus Christ is its evocative strength “fulfilled and fully expressed: Jesus is the ‘Good Shepherd’ Who goes in search of the lost sheep, Who knows His sheep and gives His life for them. He is the way, the way that leads to life, the light that illuminates the dark valley and overcomes all our fears. He is the generous host Who welcomes us and saves us from our enemies, preparing the banquet of His Body and His Blood for us, and the definitive banquet … in heaven. He is the regal Shepherd, King in meekness and mercy, enthroned on the glorious seat of the cross”.

Psalm 23 invites us to renew our trust in God, the Pope concluded, “to abandon ourselves completely in His hands. Let us, then, trustingly ask the Lord to allow us always to walk on His paths, even along the difficult paths of our own times, as a docile and obedient flock; let us ask Him to welcome us into His house, at His table, and to lead us to ‘still waters’ so that, in welcoming the gift of His Spirit, we may drink from His spring, source of that living water which ‘gushes up to eternal life'”.

AG/                                                                                                   VIS 20111005 (810)

Young Catholics meet a man who understands them By Colleen Carroll Campbell

In 10 Colleen Carroll Campbell on 2012/09/09 at 9:11 AM

There was an unusual intimacy in Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks to the 25,000 cheering young pilgrims who converged for last week’s papal youth rally in New York. Appearing happy and at home with his young listeners, Benedict spoke to them as too few of their elders do: He spoke as one who understands them from the inside.

This is important to young Catholics, whose affection for the pope and attraction to traditional Catholic teachings and devotions often is dismissed as naiveté or rigidity. At 81, Benedict understands a fundamental truth about fervent young Catholics that many of their middle-aged elders miss: Their enthusiasm for the faith is not about rejecting the world. It is about embracing a radical commitment to God that inspires them to influence the world with Gospel values.

Read more: https://2cornucopias.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Colleen Carroll Campbell is a St. Louis-based author, former presidential speechwriter and television and radio host of “Faith & Culture” on EWTN. Her website is www.colleen-campbell.com.

BREAKING NEWS from Pope Benedict

In 13 History on 2011/10/17 at 9:48 AM

Excerpts from the APOSTOLIC LETTER   

VATICAN CITY, 17 OCT 2011 (VIS) – Made public today was “Porta fidei”, the Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio data” with which Benedict XVI proclaims a “Year of Faith”….  

  “The ‘door of faith’ is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into His Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace”.

 “Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. … Whereas in the past it was possible to recognise a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people”.

 “In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith”….

 

“It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers. … I would also like to emphasise strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: ‘if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church’….

 

 “A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with Him. This ‘standing with Him’ points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. … Profession of faith is an act both personal and communitarian. It is the Church that is the primary subject of faith. In the faith of the Christian community, each individual receives Baptism, an effective sign of entry into the people of believers in order to obtain salvation”.

 

 “Evidently, knowledge of the content of faith is essential for giving one’s own assent, that is to say for adhering fully with intellect and will to what the Church proposes. Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God. The giving of assent implies that, when we believe, we freely accept the whole mystery of faith, because the guarantor of its truth is God who reveals Himself and allows us to know His mystery of love….. 

  

 “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of Vatican Council II. … It is in this sense that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. … The Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith”.

 

 “In this Year, then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith, especially for those concerned with the formation of Christians, so crucial in our cultural context. To this end, I have invited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by agreement with the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See, to draw up a note, providing the Church and individual believers with some guidelines on how to live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelisation…. 

   

 “One thing that will be of decisive importance in this Year is retracing the history of our faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin. While the former highlights the great contribution that men and women have made to the growth and development of the community through the witness of their lives, the latter must provoke in each person a sincere and continuing work of conversion in order to experience the mercy of the Father which is held out to everyone”…. 

    

“Having reached the end of his life, St. Paul asks his disciple Timothy to ‘aim at faith’ with the same constancy as when he was a boy. We hear this invitation directed to each of us, that none of us grow lazy in the faith. It is the lifelong companion that makes it possible to perceive, ever anew, the marvels that God works for us. Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end”.

 

auntie joanna quote

In 11 Joanna Bogle on 2011/09/24 at 6:06 AM

I came across this quote

…from the Holy Father and I love it.”The generally prevailing idea is that Christians have to observe an immense number of commandments, prohibitions, precepts, and other such restrictions, so that Christianity is a heavy and oppressive way of living, and it would therefore be more liberating to live without all these burdens. But I would like to make it clear that to be sustained by this great Love and God’s sublime revelation is not a burden, but rather a set of wings – that it is truly beautiful to be a Christian. It is an experience that gives us room to breathe and move, but most of all, it places us within a community since, as Christians, we are never alone: first of all, there is God, who is always with us; secondly, we are always forming a great community among ourselves: a community of people together on a journey, a community with a project for the future. All of this means that we are empowered to live a life worth living. This is the joy of being a Christian; that it is beautiful and right to believe!”

Benedict XVI It is Necessary to Restore the Primacy of God in the World

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/09/14 at 6:00 AM

 In his homily (if 9/11, the Holy Father referred to the Gospel narrative of the bread from heaven. The reaction of Jesus’ disciples, many of whom abandoned Him at that time is, he said, similar to our own resistance before “the total gift Christ makes of Himself. Because welcoming this gift means losing ourselves, allowing ourselves to be absorbed and transformed to the point of living in Him”.

Our difficulty lies in the fact that “we often confuse freedom with a lack of constraints, with the conviction that we can do everything alone, without God Who is seen as a restriction to our freedom, But this illusion soon turns to disappointment, creating disquiet and fear”.

Some ideologies leave God to one side, or simply tolerate Him as a private choice which should not interfere with public life. They seek to organise society on the foundation of the economy and the force of power. However, said the Pope, “history has dramatically shown us” the failure of attempts to ensure material well being and peace while ignoring God and His revelation.

For this reason, “it is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives, because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good”.

The Eucharist, a source for positive social development.  The starting point for the restoration of the primacy of God must be the Eucharist, in which “God gives Himself to us, so as to open our lives to Him”.  Eucharistic communion “supports and transforms daily life”. Moreover, the history of the Church is replete with saints “whose lives are an eloquent sign of how, from communion with the Lord, from the Eucharist, there arises a new and intense sense of responsibility at all levels of community life, a positive form of social development which focuses on human beings, especially the poor, the sick and the needy”.

“Eucharistic spirituality is, then, the true antidote to the selfishness and egoism that often characterise daily life”. Likewise, it is “the heart of an ecclesial community that knows how to overcome divisions and conflicts, and to make use of its various charisms and ministries, placing them all at the service of the unity of the Church”.

Eucharistic spirituality is also the path by which to restore dignity to man and, therefore, “to the work he does, at the same time seeking to conciliate work with a time for rest and for the family, and to overcome the insecurity of precarious work and the problems of unemployment”.  “There is nothing that is truly human that cannot be fully experienced in the Eucharist”, the Holy Father concluded. “May daily life, then, become a place for spiritual development, so as to experience the primacy of God in all circumstances”.

Vatican Information Service, Holy See Press Officehttp://www.visnews-en.blogspot.com/