Search A Catholic Life:

Saturday, May 29, 2010
Improvements in Blog Loading Speeds
edit_button

Thank you for all of your patience with the load speeds of the blog. Tonight I was able to make some slight modifications to the display settings and page elements of the blog. As a result, you will should see improvements in the site's loading speeds. Any comments - positive or negative - on the site's loading speeds will be appreciated.

Additionally, at this time I would especially invite you to share your general comments about the blog and general suggestions.  I am looking to continue investing time in this site even as I expand my Catholic apostolate work with other new and exciting projects.  Some of which, I will be promoting in the near future.

Regards,

Matthew
Read more >>
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Whit Embertide
edit_button

Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5)

Ember Days this Pentecost: May 26, 28, and 29

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Read more >>
Monday, May 24, 2010
Prayers for Philip Gerard Johnson
edit_button

Please pray for this seminarian who is in great need of our prayers.  Here us a copy of the article that I read.
 
I’ve written before about Philip Gerard Johnson, a terrific young man who was serving as a US naval officer when – as he records on his blog – he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in 2008. His response was to enter a seminary, in the hope that he would be allowed the time to fulfil his greatest ambition: celebrating Mass in the traditional form of the Roman Rite that he loves so much.
Philip has completed a year at seminary and was due to start a summer placement – but the latest scan shows that his tumour has grown and so he’ll be spending his time recuperating at a parish in North Carolina after gruelling treatment. As he says in his latest post, he’ll be taking “harsh chemotherapy drugs with very unpleasant side effects, and there are significant risks of internal bleeding and blood clots involved when taking them”.

It’s a sad irony: a seminarian who represents the future of the Church, finds his own future threatened by illness. His blog, In Caritate Non Ficta, abounds with a good humour and spiritual serenity that very, very few of us could muster in his circumstances. Actually, given some of the recent comments that have appeared on this blog (and I have to take my full share of blame for this) it seems that even those of us in perfect health can’t manage even a shred of Philip’s charity.

This latest medical setback makes me wonder whether, given the exceptional circumstances, the Church can’t hurry things on a little. (Maybe it’s a silly comparison, but John Henry Newman had been a Catholic for less than 18 months when he was ordained deacon one day and priest the next.) However, that’s really none of my business. What is my business, I think, is to encourage Christian readers of the blog to pray for Philip; and perhaps he will pray for us, too.
 
http://philipgerardjohnson.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-name-is-philip-johnson-and-i-am.html
Read more >>
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Book Review: Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
edit_button

I was recently given the opportunity to review the newly released book, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life by Karina Lumbert Fabian and her father, Deacon Steven Lumbert.  As state in the opening paragraph of the text, "In their collaboration, Why God Matters, Deacon Steven Lumbert and his daughter, Karina Lumbert Fabian, delineate the Catholic Faith as experienced by a par of average, everyday people like the great majority who make up the 24% of Americans who share this religion.

The text was an extremely quick read as I read the 113 pages in 2 hours.  The book is not an academic work but rather is composed of extremely short (under 10 page) chapters describing the presence of Catholicism in each author's individual life.  Throughout the text are references before each chapter to not only the Catechism of the Catholic Church but also the writings of the saints.

A quick and easy read that is available for sale on Amazon.com.  Please view the item at Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Read more >>
Monday, May 17, 2010
ICKSP: May 25th Mass in Honor of the Divine Infant King
edit_button

Read more >>
Friday, May 14, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass in Gran Plaza de la Avenida dos Aliados (Porto)
edit_button

Below are several images from today's Mass by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Porto. This is the Holy Father's last Mass in Portugal during this trip.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"It is written in the book of Psalms, … ‘His office let another take’. One of these men, then […] must become a witness with us to his resurrection" (Acts 1:20-22). These were the words of Peter, as he read and interpreted the word of God in the midst of his brethren gathered in the Upper Room following Jesus’ ascension to heaven. The one who was chosen was Matthias, who had been a witness to the public life of Jesus and his victory over death, and had remained faithful to him to the end, despite the fact that many abandoned him. The "disproportion" between the forces on the field, which we find so alarming today, astounded those who saw and heard Christ two thousand years ago. It was only he, from the shore of the Lake of Galilee right up to the squares of Jerusalem, alone or almost alone at the decisive moments: he, in union with the Father; he, in the power of the Spirit. Yet it came about, in the end, that from the same love that created the world, the newness of the Kingdom sprang up like a small seed which rises from the ground, like a ray of light which breaks into the darkness, like the dawn of a unending day: it is Christ Risen. And he appeared to his friends, showing them the need for the Cross in order to attain the resurrection.

On that day Peter was looking for a witness to all this. Two were presented, and heaven chose "Matthias, and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:26). Today we celebrate his glorious memory in this "undefeated city", which festively welcomes the Successor of Peter. I give thanks to God that I have been able come here and meet you around the altar. I offer a cordial greeting to you, my brethren and friends of the city and the Diocese of Oporto, to those who have come from the ecclesiastical province of Northern Portugal and from nearby Spain, and to all those physically or spiritually present at this liturgical assembly. I greet the Bishop of Oporto, Dom Manuel Clemente, who greatly desired this visit of mine, welcomed me with great affection, and voiced your sentiments at the beginning of this Eucharist. I greet his predecessors, his brother Bishops, all the priests, women and men religious, and the lay faithful, and in particular those actively involved in the Diocesan Mission, and, more concretely, in the preparations for my visit. I know that you have been able to count on the practical cooperation of the Mayor of Oporto and the public authorities, many of whom honour me by their presence; I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to greet them and to express to them, and to all whom they represent and serve, my best wishes for the good of all.

"One of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection," said Peter. His Successor now repeats to each of you: My brothers and sisters, you need to become witnesses with me to the resurrection of Jesus. In effect, if you do not become his witnesses in your daily lives, who will do so in your place? Christians are, in the Church and with the Church, missionaries of Christ sent into the world. This is the indispensable mission of every ecclesial community: to receive from God and to offer to the world the Risen Christ, so that every situation of weakness and of death may be transformed, through the Holy Spirit, into an opportunity for growth and life. To this end, in every Eucharistic celebration, we will listen more attentively to the word of Christ and devoutly taste the bread of his presence. This will make us witnesses, and, even more, bearers of the Risen Jesus in the world, bringing him to the various sectors of society and to all those who live and work there, spreading that "life in abundance" (cf. Jn 10:10) which he has won for us by his cross and resurrection, and which satisfies the most authentic yearnings of the human heart.

We impose nothing, yet we propose ceaselessly, as Peter recommends in one of his Letters: "In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet 3:15). And everyone, in the end, asks this of us, even those who seem not to. From personal and communal experience, we know well that it is Jesus whom everyone awaits. In fact, the most profound expectations of the world and the great certainties of the Gospel meet in the ineluctable mission which is ours, for "without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5) and who encourages us: ‘I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Mt 28:20)" (Caritas in Veritate, 78).

Yet even though this certainty consoles and calms us, it does not exempt us from going forth to others. We must overcome the temptation to restrict ourselves to what we already have, or think we have, safely in our possession: it would be sure death in terms of the Church’s presence in the world; the Church, for that matter, can only be missionary, in the outward movement of the Spirit. From its origins, the Christian people has clearly recognized the importance of communicating the Good News of Jesus to those who did not yet know him. In recent years the anthropological, cultural, social and religious framework of humanity has changed; today the Church is called to face new challenges and is ready to dialogue with different cultures and religions, in the search for ways of building, along with all people of good will, the peaceful coexistence of peoples. The field of the mission ad gentes appears much broader today, and no longer to be defined on the basis of geographic considerations alone; in effect, not only non-Christian peoples and those who are far distant await us, but so do social and cultural milieux, and above all human hearts, which are the real goal of the missionary activity of the People of God.

This is the mandate whose faithful fulfilment "must follow the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and of self-sacrifice even unto death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection" (Ad Gentes, 5). Yes! We are called to serve the humanity of our own time, trusting in Jesus alone, letting ourselves be enlightened by his word: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide" (Jn 15:16). How much time we have lost, how must work has been set back, on account of our lack of attention to this point! Everything is to be defined starting with Christ, as far as the origins and effectiveness of mission is concerned: we receive mission always from Christ, who has made known to us what he has heard from his Father, and we are appointed to mission through the Spirit, in the Church. Like the Church herself, which is the work of Christ and his Spirit, it is a question of renewing the face of the earth starting from God, God always and alone.

Dear brothers and sisters of Oporto, lift up your eyes to the One whom you have chosen as the patroness of your city, the Immaculate Conception. The angel of the Annunciation greeted Mary as "full of grace", signifying with this expression that her heart and her life were totally open to God and, as such, completely permeated by his grace. May Our Lady help you to make yourselves a free and total "Yes" to the grace of God, so that you can be renewed and thus renew humanity by the light and the joy of the Holy Spirit.

[After the Mass ended, the Pope directed this greeting from the balcony of the Municipal Palace]

Brothers and sisters, my dear friends,

I am happy to be among you and I thank you for the festive and cordial welcome which I have received here in Oporto, the "City of the Virgin." To her motherly protection I entrust you and your families, your communities and institutions serving the common good, including the universities of the city whose students have gathered to show me their gratitude and their attachment to the teaching of the Successor of Peter. Thank you for your presence and for the witness of your faith. I also thank again those who worked in various ways preparing and realizing my visit, especially the preparations made in prayer. I would have happily prolonged my stay in your city, but it is not possible. So let me take my leave of you, embracing each one of you affectionately in Christ our Hope, as I give you my blessing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Image Sources: All images found via Daylife and include AP and Reuters photos
Read more >>
Solemn Ambrosian Rite from the Pantheon
edit_button





Following my coverage as of late on the Ambrosian Rite, I wish to share this video from a Solemn Ambrosian Rite Mass celebrated on May 2, 2010, in the Pantheon.
Read more >>
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass in Fatima
edit_button

Image Source: Pope Benedict XVI says Holy Mass to mark the 93rd anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. Source is Reuters


Dear Pilgrims,

"Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations [...], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed" (Is 61:9). So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this "home" from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times. I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary's presence and maternal protection. I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that "I love" Jesus, that the Church and priests "love" him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary's maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.

These are the "people whom the Lord has blessed". The people whom the Lord has blessed are you, the beloved Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, with your pastor, Bishop Antonio Marto. I thank him for his words of greeting at the beginning of Mass, and for the gracious hospitality shown particularly by his collaborators at this Shrine. I greet the President of the Republic and the other authorities who serve this glorious Nation. I spiritually embrace all the Dioceses of Portugal, represented here by their Bishops, and I entrust to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth. In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt. May our great hope sink roots in the lives of each of you, dear pilgrims, and of all those who join us through the communications media.

Yes! The Lord, our great hope, is with us. In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself. After experiencing the mercy and consolation of God who did not forsake them along their wearisome return from the Babylonian Exile, the people of God cried out: "I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being exults in my God" (Is 61:10). The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God's presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: "My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour". She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophecied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for "his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation" (Lk 1:47, 50).

This holy place is the proof of it. In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady "come from heaven", the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: "How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me". And Francisco could say: "What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!" (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).

Brothers and sisters, in listening to these innocent and profound mystical confidences of the shepherd children, one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see. To such persons, the Pope says, as does Jesus: "Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?" (Mk 12:24). The Scriptures invite us to believe: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (Jn 20:29), but God, who is more deeply present to me than I am to myself (cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, III, 6, 11) - has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses. For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf. Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000). Yes! God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart.

Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man. He has the power to inflame the coldest and saddest of hearts, as we see in the case of the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:32). Henceforth our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth. The enthusiasm roused by his wisdom and his saving power among the people of that time was such that a woman in the midst of the crowd - as we heard in the Gospel - cried out: "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!". And Jesus said: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" (Lk 11:27-28). But who finds time to hear God's word and to let themselves be attracted by his love? Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith? Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one's life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world.

"Their descendants shall be known among the nations, [...] they are a people whom the Lord has blessed" (Is 61:9) with an unshakable hope which bears fruit in a love which sacrifices for others, yet does not sacrifice others. Rather, as we heard in the second reading, this love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:7). An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima's prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: "Where is your brother Abel [...] Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!" (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end... In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: "Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?" (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

©Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Read more >>
Pope Benedict XVI's Address at the Apparition Shrine in Portugal
edit_button

Dear pilgrims,

All of you, standing together with lighted candles in your hands, seem like a sea of light around this simple chapel, lovingly built to the honour of the Mother of God and our mother, whose path from earth to heaven appeared to the shepherd children like a way of light. However, neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: we receive it from Jesus. His presence within us renews the mystery and the call of the burning bush which once drew Moses on Mount Sinai and still fascinates those aware of the light within us which burns without consuming us (cf. Ex 3:2-5). We are merely a bush, but one upon which the glory of God has now come down. To him therefore be every glory, and to us the humble confession of our nothingness and the unworthy adoration of the divine plan which will be fulfilled when "God will be all in all" (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). The matchless servant of that plan was the Virgin full of grace: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38).

Dear pilgrims, let us imitate Mary, letting her words "Let it be done to me" resound in our lives. God ordered Moses: "Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground" (Ex3:5). And that is what he did: he would put his shoes back on to free his people from slavery in Egypt and to guide them to the promised land. This was not about the possession of a parcel of land or about the national territory to which every people has a right; in the struggle for the freedom of Israel and in the exodus from Egypt, what appears central is above all the freedom to worship, the freedom of a religion of one’s own. Throughout the history of the chosen people, the promise of a homeland comes more and more to mean this: the land is granted in order to be a place of obedience, a window open to God.

In our time, in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out forever, the highest priority is to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God. And not to any god, but to the God who had spoken on Sinai; the God whose face we recognize in the love borne to the very end (cf. Jn 13:1) in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Dear brothers and sisters, worship Christ the Lord in your hearts (cf. 1 Pet 3:15)! Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today, just as the Church which gives birth to humanity as the family of God sings on the night of the Easter Vigil.



Brothers and sisters, in this place it is amazing to think how three children entrusted themselves to the interior force which had enflamed them in the apparitions of the Angel and of our heavenly Mother. In this place where we were repeatedly requested to recite the rosary, let us allow ourselves to be attracted by the mysteries of Christ, the mysteries of Mary’s rosary. The recitation of the rosary allows us to fix our gaze and our hearts upon Jesus, just like his Mother, the supreme model of contemplation of the Son. Meditating upon the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries as we pray our Hail Marys, let us reflect upon the interior mystery of Jesus, from the Incarnation, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection; let us contemplate the intimate participation of Mary in the mystery of our life in Christ today, a life which is also made up of joy and sorrow, of darkness and light, of fear and hope. Grace invades our hearts, provoking a wish for an incisive and evangelical change of life so that we can say with Saint Paul: "For me to live is Christ" (Phil 1:21) in a communion of life and destiny with Christ.



The devotion and affection of all of you, the faithful who have come here from all around the world, is clear to me. I bring with me the worries and hopes of our times, the sufferings of our wounded humanity and the problems of the world, and I place them at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima: Virgin Mother of God and our own dear Mother, intercede for us before your Son, that the family of nations, both those called Christians and those who do not yet know the Saviour, may live in peace and harmony, in order that they come together as the one people of God, to the glory of the most holy and indivisible Trinity. Amen.

Image Sources: Reuters Photos
Read more >>
Ancient Ambrosian Rite Vespers
edit_button

I have blogged previously on the ancient Ambrosian Rite, and I am pleased to see that Vespers in the ancient Ambrosian rite took place in Rome earlier this month. Below is the video of the occassion. And, please read my prior post if you have not yet done so on The Traditional Ambrosian Rite.

Read more >>
Sermon by St. Leo the Great on the Ascension of Christ
edit_button



Image: Resurrection of Christ by Garofalo, 1510-1520
 

Psalms 46: 6

Alleluia, alleluia. V.: God is ascended with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Alleluia. V.: (Ps. 67. 18). The Lord is in Sinai, in the holy place; ascending on high He hath led captivity captive.


I. The Ascension completes our faith in Him, who was God as well as man

The mystery of our salvation, dearly-beloved, which the Creator of the universe valued at the price of His blood, has now been carried out under conditions of humiliation from the day of His bodily birth to the end of His Passion. And although even in "the form of a slave" many signs of Divinity have beamed out, yet the events of all that period served particularly to show the reality of His assumed Manhood. But after the Passion, when the chains of death were broken, which had exposed its own strength by attacking Him, Who was ignorant of sin, weakness was turned into power, mortality into eternity, contumely into glory, which the Lord Jesus Christ showed by many clear proofs in the sight of many, until He carried even into heaven the triumphant victory which He had won over the dead. As therefore at the Easter commemoration, the Lord's Resurrection was the cause of our rejoicing; so the subject of our present gladness is His Ascension, as we commemorate and duly venerate that day on which the Nature of our humility in Christ was raised above all the host of heaven, over all the ranks of angels, beyond the height of all powers, to sit with God the Father. On which Providential order of events we are founded and built up, that God's Grace might become more wondrous, when, notwithstanding the removal from men's sight of what was rightly felt to command their awe, faith did not fail, hope did not waver, love did not grow cold. For it is the strength of great minds and the light of firmly-faithful souls, unhesitatingly to believe what is not seen with the bodily sight, and there to fix one's affections whither you cannot direct your gaze. And whence should thisGodliness spring up in our hearts, or how should a man be justified by faith, if our salvation rested on those things only which lie beneath our eyes? Hence our Lord said to him who seemed to doubt of Christ's Resurrection, until he had tested by sight and touch the traces of His Passion in His very Flesh, "because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed John 20:29 ."

II. The Ascension renders our faith more excellent and stronger

In order, therefore, dearly-beloved, that we may be capable of this blessedness, when all things were fulfilled which concerned the Gospel preaching and the mysteries of the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ, on the fortieth day after the Resurrection in the presence of the disciples, was raised into heaven, and terminated His presence with us in the body, to abide on the Father's right hand until the times Divinely fore-ordained for multiplying the sons of the Church are accomplished, and He comes to judge the living and the dead in the same flesh in which He ascended. And so that which till then was visible of our Redeemer was changed into a sacramental presence , and that faith might be more excellent and stronger, sight gave way to doctrine, the authority of which was to be accepted by believing hearts enlightened with rays from above.

III. The marvellous effects of this faith on all

This Faith, increased by the Lord's Ascension and established by the gift of the Holy Ghost, was not terrified by bonds, imprisonments, banishments, hunger, fire, attacks by wild beasts, refined torments of cruel persecutors. For this Faith throughout the world not only men, but even women, not only beardless boys, but even tender maids, fought to the shedding of their blood. This Faith cast out spirits, drove off sicknesses, raised the dead: and through it the blessed Apostles themselves also, who after being confirmed by so many miracles and instructed by so many discourses, had yet been panic-stricken by the horrors of the Lord's Passion and had not accepted the truth of His resurrection without hesitation, made such progress after the Lord's Ascension that everything which had previously filled them with fear was turned into joy. For they had lifted the whole contemplation of their mind to the Godhead of Him that sat at the Father's right hand, and were no longer hindered by the barrier of corporeal sight from directing their mind.' gaze to That Which had never quitted the Father's side in descending to earth, and had not forsaken the disciples in ascending to heaven.

IV. His Ascension refines our Faith: the ministering of angels to Him shows the extent of His authority

The Son of Man and Son of God, therefore, dearly-beloved, then attained a more excellent and holier fame, when He betook Himself back to the glory of the Father's Majesty, and in an ineffable manner began to be nearer to the Father in respect of His Godhead, after having become farther away in respect of His manhood. A better instructed faith then began to draw closer to a conception of the Son's equality with the Father without the necessity of handling the corporeal substance in Christ, whereby He is less than the Father, since, while the Nature of the glorified Body still remained the faith of believers was called upon to touch not with the hand of flesh, but with the spiritual understanding the Only-begotten, Who was equal with the Father. Hence comes that which the Lord said after His Resurrection, when Mary Magdalene, representing the Church, hastened to approach and touch Him: "Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father John 20:17:" that is, I would not have you come to Me as to a human body, nor yet recognize Me by fleshly perceptions: I put you off for higher things, I prepare greater things for you: when I have ascended to My Father, then you shall handle Me more perfectly and truly, for you shall grasp what you can not touch and believe what you can not see. But when the disciples' eyes followed the ascending Lord to heaven with upward gaze of earnest wonder, two angels stood by them in raiment shining with wondrous brightness, who also said, "You men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This Jesus Who was taken up from you into heaven shall so come as you saw Him going into heaven Acts 1:11 ." By which words all the sons of the Church were taught to believe that Jesus Christ will come visibly in the same Flesh wherewith He ascended, and not to doubt that all things are subjected to Him on Whom the ministry of angels had waited from the first beginning of His Birth. For, as an angel announced to the blessed Virgin that Christ should be conceived by the Holy Ghost, so the voice of heavenly beings sang of His being born of the Virgin also to the shepherds. As messengers from above were the first to attest His having risen from the dead, so the service of angels was employed to foretell His coming in very Flesh to judge the world, that we might understand what great powers will come with Him as Judge, when such great ones ministered to Him even in being judged.

V. We must despise earthly things and rise to things above, especially by active works of mercy and love

And so, dearly-beloved, let us rejoice with spiritual joy, and let us with gladness pay God worthy thanks and raise our hearts' eyes unimpeded to those heights where Christ is. Minds that have heard the call to be uplifted must not be pressed down by earthly affections , they that are fore-ordained to things eternal must not be taken up with the things that perish; they that have entered on the way of Truth must not be entangled in treacherous snares, and the faithful must so take their course through these temporal things as to remember that they are sojourning in the vale of this world, in which, even though they meet with some attractions, they must not sinfully embrace them, but bravely pass through them. For to this devotion the blessed Apostle Peter arouses us, and entreating us with that loving eagerness which he conceived for feeding Christ's sheep by the threefold profession of love for the Lord, says, "dearly-beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul 1 Peter 2:11 ."

But for whom do fleshly pleasures wage war, if not for the devil, whose delight it is to fetter souls that strive after things above, with the enticements of corruptible good things, and to draw them away from those abodes from which he himself has been banished? Against his plots every believer must keep careful watch that he may crush his foe on the side whence the attack is made. And there is no more powerful weapon, dearly-beloved, against the devil's wiles than kindly mercy and bounteous charity, by which every sin is either escaped or vanquished. But this lofty power is not attained until that which is opposed to it be overthrown. And what so hostile to mercy and works of charity as avarice from the root of which spring all evils ?

And unless it be destroyed by lack of nourishment, there must needs grow in the ground of that heart in which this evil weed has taken root, the thorns and briars of vices rather than any seed of true goodness. Let us then, dearly-beloved, resist this pestilential evil and "follow after charity ," without which no virtue can flourish, that by this path of love whereby Christ came down to us, we too may mount up to Him, to Whom with God the Father and the Holy Spirit is honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Read more >>
Ascension Thursday 2010
edit_button


Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God: that we, who believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have ascended on this day into heaven, may also ourselves dwell in mind amid heavenly things. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal; Collect for Ascension Thursday
Image Source: Ascension by Rembrandt, 1639
 
Ascension Thursday in the liturgical year marks the 40th day after Easter Sunday and the day we celebrate Our Lord's Glorious Ascension into Heaven. The Ascension has three principal parts: the departure of Jesus from earth, His going up into heaven, and taking His place at the right hand of the Father. To begin, let us again meditate on the Sacred Account of Our Lord’s Ascension:


In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit."

When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away.
Acts 1:1-12
I am trying to put myself in the disciples place. They had been with Jesus for 3 years, saw Him suffer and die, and then they rejoiced to see Our Risen Lord. Imagine the pain in them when they knew that Our Lord was leaving them - this time they would not see Him until they would die and stand before Him in Judgment. It must have been terribly lonely and painful for them at first, but then as we look at John 14:1-3, we see the reason that Our Lord was to ascend:

Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be.

The Ascension has been called the capstone of the life of Jesus, but Jesus is not gone completely! He has promised to remain with us till the end of the ages, and He does this by the Holy Eucharist. Jesus Christ is in the Holy Eucharist. When Jesus was speaking of the Eucharist, His disciples were murmuring about having to eat His flesh. Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?" (Jn.6:61-62). Jesus is still with us and shall remain with us. He looks out for us and loves us. Jesus is Our God forever and ever!

Let us go forth this day still in the Easter Joy. We are sinners, but, if we are repentant and seek Our Lord in the Sacrament of Confession, then we can be forgiven. Jesus gave us the Sacraments and the Church through His disciples for this day - the day He would ascend bodily into Heaven. How glorious it must have been!

As Our Lord ascended, He rose to sit forever at the right-hand of the Father, since He abides eternally in the Father’s bliss, which is termed as “the right hand.” And, while many of us are familiar with the image of Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father, the Scriptures do in one instance mention Christ standing – not sitting – at the right hand of the Father. This instance is during the stoning of Stephen. Reflecting upon this St. Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (Hom. xxix in Evang.), "it is the judge's place to sit, while to stand is the place of the combatant or helper. Consequently, Stephen in his toil of combat saw Him standing whom He had as his helper. But Mark describes Him as seated after the Ascension, because after the glory of His Ascension He will at the end be seen as judge."

As stated in Question 58: Article 4 of the Summa by St. Thomas Aquinas:

Christ is said to sit at the Father's right hand inasmuch as He is on equality with the Father in respect of His Divine Nature, while in respect of His humanity, He excels all creatures in the possession of Divine gifts. But each of these belongs exclusively to Christ. Consequently, it belongs to no one else, angel or man, but to Christ alone, to sit at the right hand of the Father.

Chapel of the Ascension with the footprints of Christ

http://www.atlastours.net/holyland/chapel_of_the_ascension.html

"Regarding the place from which Christ ascended, Sulpicius, bishop of Jerusalem, says, and the 'Gloss' also says, that when a church was built [on the Mount of Olives] later on, the spot where Christ had stood could never be covered with pavement; and more than that, the marble slabs placed there burst upwards into the faces of those who were laying them. He also says that footmarks in the dust there prove that the Lord had stood on that spot: the footprints are discernible and the ground still retains the depressions his feet had left.

Reflection from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:

"In the Ascension the Savior did not lay aside the garment of flesh with which He had been clothed; for His human nature would be the pattern of the future glory of other human natures, which would become incorporated to Him through a sharing of His life. Intrinsic and deep was the relation between His Incarnation and His Ascension. The Incarnation or the assuming of a human nature made it possible for Him to suffer and redeem. The Ascension exalted into glory that same human nature that was humbled to the death." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ)
Read more >>
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Papal Mass in Lisbon's Commerce Square
edit_button


Homily at the Mass in in Lisbon's Commerce Square, also known as Palace Square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Young Friends,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). These words of the risen Christ take on a particular significance in this city of Lisbon, from which generations upon generations of Christians – bishops, priests, consecrated and lay persons, men and women, young and not so young – have journeyed forth in great numbers in obedience to the Lord’s call, armed simply with the certainty that he had entrusted to them: “I am with you always”. Portugal has gained a glorious place among the nations for the service rendered to the spreading of the faith: in all five continents there are local churches that owe their origin to Portuguese missionary activity.

In times past, your departure in search of other peoples neither impeded nor severed your bonds with what you were and what you believed. On the contrary, with Christian wisdom you succeeded in transplanting experiences and characteristic elements, opening yourselves up to the contribution of others so as to be yourselves, through an apparent weakness which is actually strength. Today, as you play your part in building up the European Community, you offer the contribution of your cultural and religious identity. Indeed, just as Jesus Christ joined the disciples on the road to Emmaus, so today he walks with us in accordance with his promise: “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” We too have a real and personal experience of the risen Lord, even if it differs from that of the Apostles. The distance of centuries is overcome and the risen Lord presents himself alive and at work, acting through us, in the Church and the world of today. This is our great joy. In the living river of ecclesial Tradition, Christ is not two thousand years distant from us, but is really present among us: he gives us the Truth and he gives us the light which is our life and helps us find the path towards the future.

Present in his word, present in the assembly of the people of God with its Pastors, and pre-eminently present in the sacrament of his Body and Blood, Jesus is here with us. I greet the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, whom I thank for the affectionate words that he addressed to me at the start of the celebration, in the name of his community that has made me so welcome. I in turn embrace the almost two million sons and daughters who form that community. To all of you here present – dear brother bishops and priests, beloved consecrated women and men and members of the lay faithful, dear families and young people, baptized and catechumens – I address my fraternal and friendly greeting, which I extend to those who are united with us through radio and television. I warmly thank the President of the Republic for his presence, as well as the other authorities, especially the Mayor of Lisbon, who has been good enough to confer upon me the keys of the city.

Lisbon – friend, port and shelter for the great hopes that were placed in you by those who set off from here, hopes that were cherished by those who visited you – today I wish to make use of these keys that you have given me so that you may be able to base your human hopes upon divine Hope. In the reading that has just been proclaimed, taken from the First Letter of Saint Peter, we heard: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame”. And the Apostle explains: Draw near to the Lord, “that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious” (1 Pet 2:6,4). Brothers and sisters, those who believe in Jesus will not be put to shame: he is the Word of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and this Word is attested by a “great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues,” a multitude pictured by the author of the Apocalypse “clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Rev 7:9). This countless multitude includes not only Saints Verissimus, Maxima and Julia, martyred here during the persecution of Diocletian, Saint Vincent, deacon and martyr, the principal patron of the Patriarchate, Saint Anthony and Saint John of Brito who set off from here to sow God’s good seed in other lands and among other peoples, and Saint Nuno of Santa Maria, whom I added to the ranks of the Saints just over a year ago. It is formed of the “servants of our God” from all times and places, on whose forehead the sign of the cross has been inscribed with “the seal of the living God” (Rev 7:2), that is to say, with the Holy Spirit. I am referring to the initial rite administered to each one of us in the sacrament of Baptism, through which the Church gives birth to the “saints”.

We know that she also has quarrelsome and even rebellious sons and daughters, but it is in the saints that the Church recognizes her most characteristic features, it is in them that she tastes her deepest joy. They all share the desire to incarnate the Gospel in their own lives, under the inspiration of the eternal animator of God’s People – the Holy Spirit. Focussing her attention upon her own saints, this local Church has rightly concluded that today’s pastoral priority is to make each Christian man and woman a radiant presence of the Gospel perspective in the midst of the world, in the family, in culture, in the economy, in politics. Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic. Perhaps we have placed an excessive trust in ecclesial structures and programmes, in the distribution of powers and functions; but what will happen if salt loses its flavour?



In order for this not to happen, it is necessary to proclaim anew with vigour and joy the event of the death and resurrection of Christ, the heart of Christianity, the fulcrum and mainstay of our faith, the firm lever of our certainties, the strong wind that sweeps away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation. The resurrection of Christ assures us that no adverse power will ever be able to destroy the Church. Therefore our faith is well-founded, but this faith needs to come alive in each one of us. A vast effort at every level is required if every Christian is to be transformed into a witness capable of rendering account to all and at all times of the hope that inspires him (cf. 1 Pet 3:15): only Christ can fully satisfy the profound longings of every human heart and give answers to its most pressing questions concerning suffering, injustice and evil, concerning death and the life hereafter.

Dear brothers and sisters, dear young friends, Christ is always with us and always walks with his Church, accompanies her and guards her, as he has told us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). Never doubt his presence! Always seek the Lord Jesus, grow in friendship with him, receive him in communion. Learn to listen to his word and also to recognize him in the poor. Live your lives with joy and enthusiasm, sure of his presence and of his unconditional, generous friendship, faithful even to death on the cross. Bear witness to all of the joy that his strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries. Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him. With your enthusiasm, demonstrate that, among all the different ways of life that the world today seems to offer us – apparently all on the same level – the only way in which we find the true meaning of life and hence true and lasting joy, is by following Jesus.

Seek daily the protection of Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. She, the all-holy one, will help you to be faithful disciples of her Son Jesus Christ.

© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Commentary on the Papal Mass:

Unfortunately, it seems that despite the holy words mentioned above and the pictures within it, this Mass was another occassion of liturgical abuses and irreverence to our Lord Jesus Christ.  For example, look at the irreverence toward Our Blessed Lord, truly present in the Holy Eucharist.  Our Lord has come down from Heaven to dwell among us in the Heavenly Sacrament and instead of receiving it as one ought - whilst kneeling - these women take as it one would take ordinary bread.

How truly sad such an occassion is! In general, I have found the outdoor Papal Masses to be truly deficient in regards to inspiring piety and reverence. No longer do Catholics think as they did many generations ago in that the Papal Mass was truly the Heavenly Court and the Faithful were present at the Heavenly Liturgy. Compare today's Mass in Portugal to several other former Papal Masses:




Pope Benedict XVI - Portugal, 2010

Blessed Pope John XXIII


Venerable Pope Pius XII

Venerable Pope Pius XII


Pope St. Pius X - 50th Anniversary of Ordination Mass


I see this as an occassion to pray for the revival of Traditional Catholicism and true values that don't change with time, such as reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and piety.
Read more >>
Pope's Address Upon Arriving to Portugal
edit_button


Image Source: Getty Images

Mr President,
Distinguished Authorities,
Dear Brother Bishops,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Only now has it been possible for me to accept the kind invitations of the President and my Brother Bishops to visit this beloved and ancient Nation, which this year is celebrating the centenary of the proclamation of the Republic. As I set foot on Portuguese soil for the first time since Divine Providence called me to the See of Peter, I feel greatly honoured and I am moved to gratitude by the respectful and hospitable presence of all of you. I thank you, Mr President, for your kind words of welcome, giving voice to the sentiments and the hopes of the beloved Portuguese people. To all, whatever their faith or religion, I extend a greeting in friendship, especially to those who were unable to be here to meet me. I come as a pilgrim to Our Lady of Fatima, having received from on high the mission to strengthen my brothers as they advance along their pilgrim journey to heaven.

Since the earliest days of their nationhood, the Portuguese people have looked to the Successor of Peter for recognition of their existence as a Nation; in due course, one of my predecessors was to honour Portugal, in the person of its King, with the title "most faithful" (cf. Pius II, Bull Dum Tuam, 25 January 1460), for long and distinguished service to the cause of the Gospel. As for the event that took place 93 years ago, when heaven itself was opened over Portugal -- like a window of hope that God opens when man closes the door to him -- in order to refashion, within the human family, the bonds of fraternal solidarity based on the mutual recognition of the one Father, this was a loving design from God; it does not depend on the Pope, nor on any other ecclesial authority: "It was not the Church that imposed Fatima", as Cardinal Manuel Cerejeira of blessed memory used to say, "but it was Fatima that imposed itself on the Church."

The Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths that constitute for humanity -- so lacking in love and without hope for salvation -- the source of hope. To be sure, this hope has as its primary and radical dimension not the horizontal relation, but the vertical and transcendental one. The relationship with God is constitutive of the human being, who was created and ordered towards God; he seeks truth by means of his cognitive processes, he tends towards the good in the sphere of volition, and he is attracted by beauty in the aesthetic dimension. Consciousness is Christian to the degree to which it opens itself to the fullness of life and wisdom that we find in Jesus Christ. The visit that I am now beginning under the sign of hope is intended as a proposal of wisdom and mission.

From a wise vision of life and of the world, the just ordering of society follows. Situated within history, the Church is open to cooperating with anyone who does not marginalize or reduce to the private sphere the essential consideration of the human meaning of life. The point at issue is not an ethical confrontation between a secular and a religious system, so much as a question about the meaning that we give to our freedom. What matters is the value attributed to the problem of meaning and its implication in public life. By separating Church and State, the Republican revolution which took place 100 years ago in Portugal, opened up a new area of freedom for the Church, to which the two concordats of 1940 and 2004 would give shape, in cultural settings and ecclesial perspectives profoundly marked by rapid change. For the most part, the sufferings caused by these transformations have been faced with courage. Living amid a plurality of value systems and ethical outlooks requires a journey to the core of one’s being and to the nucleus of Christianity so as to reinforce the quality of one’s witness to the point of sanctity, and to find mission paths that lead even to the radical choice of martyrdom.

Dear Portuguese brothers and sisters, my friends, I thank you once more for your cordial welcome. May God bless those who are here and all the inhabitants of this noble and beloved Nation, which I entrust to Our Lady of Fatima, the sublime image of God’s love embracing all as children.

© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Read more >>
Friday, May 7, 2010
Prayer in the Catholic Educational System
edit_button

Zenit offers the following article in response to some of the comments of Cardinal Sean Brady. I have emphasized some especially key points.

Teaching prayer in Catholic schools is not an extra feature, but rather an essential part of the institutions, which children have a right to receive, said Cardinal Sean Brady.

The archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland stated this today at a conference on the theme, "Catholic Schools: Envisioning a Future," near Kilkenny. The conference was organized by the Diocese of Ossory and will end Saturday.

He invited his listeners to renew their commitment to "respecting and promoting the right of children in our schools to be led and formed in authentic worship of God in the Catholic tradition."

"This is not some optional extra," the prelate asserted. "Children and their parents have a right to expect a Catholic school to provide children with a formation in prayer and worship."

He appealed to the leaders of the educational institutions "reflect seriously and with commitment on this essential part of our shared duty of stewardship."

"A Catholic school without worship and prayer is a contradiction in terms," the cardinal said. "It is also a school which is failing in its fundamental obligation to parents and children."

As people of faith, he said, "we should particularly cherish" the "right of a child to know and to love God."

The whole truth

"Children also have a right to know God's love for them," Cardinal Brady added.

He continued: "They have a right to receive the truth and life which God offers them in the Sacred Scriptures, in the sacraments and in prayer.

"If we really believe that Jesus Christ reveals the whole truth about the human person, then children have a right to receive that truth.

"If we really believe that the message of Jesus Christ is the key to a better world and the source of our eternal hope, then children have a right to be part of a school community in which Jesus and his message are lived, respected and promoted."

Image Source: Fr Seward at St. Gregory the Great School (Oxford)
Read more >>
Sunday, May 2, 2010
How is the New Commandment "New"?
edit_button

In the Old Testament, God already gave the commandment to love, so what makes Christ's "new commandment" something new?

Benedict XVI answered this question today in Turin where he celebrated Mass this morning during a one-day trip to the city.

"What is new is precisely this 'loving as Jesus loved,'" he explained. "The Old Testament did not give any model of love but only formulated the precept to love. Jesus, however, gave himself to us as model and source of love. This is a love without limits, universal, able to transform all the negative circumstances and all the obstacles into occasions for progress in love. [...]

"Giving us the new commandment, Jesus asks us to live his own love, which is the truly credible, eloquent and efficacious sign that announces to the world the Kingdom of God."

Source: Zenit

Image Source: AP Photos. Pope Benedict XVI, white figure at center on stage, prays in front of the Holy Shroud in Turin's cathedral, Italy, Sunday, May 2, 2010. Benedict XVI prayed before the Shroud of Turin, believed to be Christ's burial cloth.
Read more >>
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Solemn High Mass for the Feast of St. George
edit_button



Solemn High Mass for the Feast of St. George at St. Mary's Church, Chislehurst, 23 April, 2010. Celebrant is Fr. Charles Briggs, (Parish Priest, Chislehurst) Deacon is Fr. Tim Finigan (Parish Priest, Blackfen) and Sub-Deacon is Fr. Christopher Basden (Parish Priest, Clapham Park.).

The background music (used with permission) is Mass I from Chants of the Ordinary, Volume I, by Cantus Angeli, directed by Nick Gale. Copies of the CD can be obtained from Gregorian Chant.
Read more >>

Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address:



Copyright / Disclaimer

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”