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Monthly Archives: January 2013

THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH: TO FORM ISLANDS OF FAITH IN TODAY’S WORLD

THE HOLY FATHER SEES THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH TODAY AS THAT OF FORMING ISLANDS WHERE FAITH IN GOD AND THE INTERIOR SIMPLICITY OF CHRISTIANITY ARE ALIVE AND RADIANT

…Time and again the Pope has insisted that we need to understand the Church as ‘Communion’. The root of this communion comes from the personal holiness of all the individual Christians. Sometimes people mistakenly think that holiness belongs to a particular group in the Church, such as the clergy or the consecrated religious, but ‘Lumen Gentium’ spoke of a universal call to holiness proper to each member of the Church. Thankfully holiness doesn’t depend on our own personal strength or goodness. ‘Lumen Gentium’ speaks of holiness in a realistic way when it says that “the followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to his own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus, because in the Baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way, they are really made holy.” Ultimately therefore holiness depends on how fully we accept the Lord’s call in our everyday lives.

THREE PATHS TO HOLINESS

If we want to know how to respond to the Lord’s call in a fruitful way, not surprisingly the Pope suggests a number of traditional paths to this holiness. In his first encyclical, ‘Deus Caritas Est’ he proposes the three fundamental activities of the Church as paths to holiness, “proclaiming the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments and exercising the ministry of charity.” The proclamation of the Word of God entails not just giving catechesis or preaching to people. It is mainly in the way we live our lives, in the phrase attributed to St Francis, we need to preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary to use words. Likewise, it is through our active participation in the sacraments that we can become holy. If we are nourished by the Eucharist and by prayer then we can live holier lives. This will necessarily be reflected in our works of Christian charity towards our brothers and sisters.

Indeed the true mission of the Church is to be a sacrament of salvation, as Pope Benedict said in a homily in Berlin in September 2011, “the Church as the Second Vatican Council expresses it, is the ‘universal sacrament of salvation’, existing for sinners, for us, in order to open up to us the path of conversion, healing and life. That is the Church’s great perennial mission, entrusted to her by Christ.

PROTECTIVE ZONES

This universal sacrament of salvation is a true hope for today’s generation where so many people are suffering. The Church can be a place of shelter and healing. In his book ‘Light of the World’, the Pope spoke of the mission of the Church today as forming “islands where faith in God and the interior simplicity of Christianity are alive and radiant; oases, Noah’s arks, to which people can always come back for refuge.” According to the Pope, these ‘protective zones’ can be found in liturgical spaces, parishes, movements, pilgrimages and exercises of piety, and we must labour towards providing an open, vital and authentic Christianity so that these ‘protective zones’ can be available for everyone who needs them so that the Church can truly present Christ as the Light of the World to everyone in our generation.
– This is an excerpt from an article by Neil Xavier O’Donoghue, published in “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, issue January 2013. For subscriptions etc., contact “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

 
 

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THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY SINGLE SIN: TURNING TOWARDS ONE’S OWN PLEASURE AND PRIDE, LACK OF SUBMISSION TO GOD’S WILL – QUOTES BY ST THOMAS AQUINAS

[On] 28th January, the Church celebrates the feast of the great St Thomas Aquinas, a priest and Doctor of the Church. He was born in 1225 and became a member of the Dominican Order. He travelled between Paris and Italy, teaching and writing prolifically. After he died in 1275 he has come to be esteemed as one of the greatest Catholic theologians of all time. Here are some of his words for our prayerful reflection:

• “There are two sides to every sin: the turning of the will towards fleeting satisfaction and the turning away from everlasting value. As regards the first, the principle of all sins can be called lust – lust in its most general sense, namely, unbridled desire for one’s own pleasure. As regards the second, the principle is pride – pride in its general sense, the lack of submission to God.”

• “Prayer is not made to God in order to get the eternal plan of providence changed, because this is impossible. Its purpose is that people should obtain what they desire from God.”

• “These things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what we ought to believe; to know what we ought to desire; and to know what we ought to do.”

• “The entire universe is one dominion and realm, governed by one Ruler, who is the First Mover, the First Truth, the First Truth – God, blessed forever and ever.”

• “Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works.”

• “If, then, you are looking for the way which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.”
– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris

[A NOTE ON SINNERS AND SALVATION:
Some feel they do not ‘agree’ with the Bible’s emphasis on sin…in order to accept Jesus as Saviour (which we need to for us to get saved by what He did for us), we need to have faith, which includes consciously avoiding sin at any cost. We do so by changing all our ways by means of our free will. Jesus has opened the door to Heaven for us by His obedience to the Father’s Will. It is accomplished. Where sin put an insurmountable wall between ourselves and eternal life, we can now be saved again. If we want, so to speak. For this we need to daily submit ourselves to the Father’s Will too, in all things, if we want to be saved. Our Lord’s life was humility and service, (works) if we accept Jesus as our Saviour and have faith, we have to imitate Him daily in all things. (This is not part of the above “Spiritual Thought”, but has been added by the administrator of this blog who is a miserable sinner and at the same time worried about many sinners outside the Fold taking sin too lightly. These added lines are meant as a plea to those brethren not to trivialise sin. Please.♥)]

 
 

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ALL PEOPLE THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL (HYMN)

A HYMN BASED ON PSALM 100

All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
him serve with fear, his praise forth tell,
come ye before him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed,
without our aid he did us make;
we are his folk, he doth us feed
and for his sheep he doth us take.

O enter then his gates with praise,
approach with joy his courts unto;
praise, laud and bless his name always,
for it is seemly to do so.

For why the Lord our God is good:
his mercy is for ever sure;
his truth at all times firmly stood,
and shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
the God whom heaven and earth adore,
from men and from the angel-host
be praise and glory evermore.
– William Kethe

 
 

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THE GREATEST GOOD OF ALL IS TO BE UNITED WITH THE HEART OF JESUS

WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE BUT MUD AND DUST

O, Christian, do you want to be truly holy and perfect? You must intimately unite your heart to the Heart of Jesus. For all perfection consists in the union between man and God, and the most perfect union is that between hearts. This union is greatly desired by the Heart of Jesus, who redeemed you with His Blood and wants You for Himself in both time and eternity, and this must also be the desire of your heart and your every care. United to this Heart, O, how much glory you will give to God, your every smallest action will add to the glory of Jesus Christ, and be directed to add to His greatness. And a host of advantages would come to you too! Because without this Heart, who are you? What can you do? What do you possess? Nothing, and united to Him who are you? What can you do? What do you possess? Everything. O, how much good you will do to everyone around you! A soul loved by God can do in an hour of prayer what others cannot accomplish with a year of labouring.

TRANQUILLITY IN THE MIDST OF STORMS

If you are united to the Heart of Jesus the angels and the saints will be with you, Mary and all of paradise will lovingly and gladly watch over you, no created thing will do you harm, and even the worst misfortunes will be turned to your good, not even the devil will be able to take you away from Jesus. Unity with His Heart will mean joy even in unhappiness, tranquillity even in the midst of storms, hope in misfortune, and you will lack nothing even if everyone abandons you. By this union, the actions you do that the world considers unimportant will be, thanks to the merits of Jesus Christ, transformed into the precious stones that will form part of your heavenly crown. By this union, all your works, prayers and sufferings, will serve to continuously elevate your throne, which you will one day sit on in your heavenly home.

JESUS TAKES AS MUCH CARE OF YOU ALONE AS HE DOES OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE

So how can this union come about? Here are the main ways. Total detachment, inviolable fidelity, interior sacrifice, perfect self control, constant generosity and complete abandon, these are the signs the divine Heart wants to see in a heart united to Him. Living faith is needed, you must also see and listen to the One who is near you, you must see all things through the Heart of Jesus, and the Heart of Jesus in all things, and remember, that Heart is King of all, watches all hearts and counts the number of beats yours makes.

TRUST IN JESUS ONLY

Trust in Him then, entrust Him with your heart, your hopes, the success of your endeavours, your health, your life and your death. Believe that He takes as much care of you as He does of the whole universe, and He wants good things for you, even more than you do yourself. With fervent love, that Heart is constantly telling you, “I love you,” and you ought to respond by saying every moment, “I love you.” As a result, acts of love done for Him will become as natural to you as breathing is. Think that He is love, and lives for love, and He is always searching for love. He really knows how to love, in every situation, and so it is by learning to love that we come to know Jesus, and the more we love Him, the more we will possess Him. Therefore, give yourself to Him without reservation and He will give Himself for you completely. May your heart be completely transformed by His, that you may share in an ever deeper union with Him, both on earth and in eternity.

WITHIN THE HOLY HEART OF JESUS

But where can this union take place? Exactly within the Heart of Jesus, here is where you must fly and remain like the loving dove. Within that Heart that is so contrite on your behalf because of your faults, you must weep for your sins and ask forgiveness of God. Within that Heart that is horrified by the smallest offence to His divine majesty, you must hate and flee from your smallest venial sins and faults. Within that Heart that was so mortified and afflicted for love of you, you must bear all your pains and mortify yourself. Within that Heart, so incomparable and incredible in its generosity, you must fight against all your vices and quell all your passions, and resist at all times the urgings of your corrupt nature.

PEACE, REST AND JOY

Within that infinitely holy Heart you must practice all virtue and good works, all your acts, both internal and external, always doing them in conformity with His holy actions. Within that Heart you will find the peace, rest and joy that comes from God, and it can become the centre of your life. So, what are you waiting for? Break every other tie and unite yourself to His Heart, enter into it and never leave it again. Remember that the greatest good to be had in heaven or on earth is to be united with the Heart of Jesus Christ, just as the greatest evil on earth or in hell is to be separated from it.
– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 
 

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PRAYER OF REPARATION BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

With that deep and humble feeling which the Faith inspires in me, O my God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, I love You with all my heart, and I adore You who are hidden here. I do so in reparation for all the irreverences, profanations, and sacrileges which You receive in the most august Sacrament of the Altar.

I adore You, O my God, but not so much as You are worthy to be adored. Please accept my good will and help me in my weakness. Would that I could adore You with that perfect worship which the angels in heaven are able to offer You. O Jesus, may You be adored, loved, and thanked by all people at every moment in this most holy Sacrament. Amen.

 
 

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PLEASE DO YOUR PART: HELP THE CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND MARRIAGE

This campaign invites all UK citizens to make a stand. Everyone is asked to participate, whether Catholic, Church of England, Baptist, Methodist, of another Christian denomination, people of other faiths, etc.
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CATHOLIC BISHOPS POSTCARD CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND MARRIAGE

The UK government will soon publish the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill” which, if passed, will fundamentally alter the meaning of marriage. We urge you to ‘Speak Out for Marriage’ and defend the definition that has played a fundamental role in society for centuries. The most effective way of defending marriage at this point is by contacting your local MP in order to make your views known.

The Catholic Bishop’s Conference has launched a postcard campaign entitled ‘Speak Out for Marriage’. [The text on the postcards follows below. Please print it out, fill it (your name and address), put it in an envelope, address it to your MP at the House of Commons (the address is given below), and post it. Alternatively, copy and paste the text below and email it to your MP. If you are unsure who your MP is, please type your postcode into the website http://www.theyworkforyou.com (external link), which will tell you who your MP is. Thank you so much.]

TO BE ADDRESSED TO:

MP ………………………
House of Commons
Westminster
London SWIA 0AA

TEXT:

Dear Member of Parliament,

As a concerned constituent I urge you to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

• Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of the family and. provides the best circumstances in which to raise the next generation.

• This is why society has recognised marriage as having an identity distinct from any other relationship, however much love or commitment may be involved; marriage is about the common good.

• No mainstream political party promised such a radical change in its last election manifesto. There is therefore no mandate for it.

Please vote against it and let me know your views.

Name: ………………………

Address: ……………………

………………Postcode…….

 
 

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O JESUS CHRIST, LET ME BE FULLY YOURS BECAUSE OF THE SUFFERINGS YOU WENT THROUGH FOR ME

WELCOMING CHRIST FULL-HEARTEDLY INTO OUR LIVES

Seal up, O Christ, your words in my soul, that it may sin not against You: gather up the Blood You shed for me, and pour it into my heart; let my love be wholly Yours as a return for all Your sufferings for me. It was me You did seek; for me You did fight; for me You did bear the mockings, and all that cost You so dear: let me be all Yours, since You have ransomed me so dearly.

God [born into this world] has no house, no cradle ready for Him, so do you prepare Your heart for His dwelling place. Let it be warm with love, for the Babe [born for you] is chilled; but still, if it be only tepid, the shivering Infant will bring it greater heat. The more He suffers from cold for us, the more strongly does He prove His love, and so deserves our love still more. In the rigorous winter weather which He bore for us, he chose to wear no clothes to protect Him; but naked was He born, and naked died upon the cross for us, because both in His birth and death, He manifested the greatest excess of love.

You must have ready a crib, then, in which to rock Him to sleep, which symbolises the repose of contemplation. See that you treat Him well, for He is the Son of a mighty King and of a Virgin, and loves to dwell in the breasts of virgins, for the food that pleases Him is mortified and crucified nature. He has many poor brethren, and those who love Him must love them too, for His sake. Give them your alms, for they are the brothers of your Creator. When our Lord comes to be born in your soul, keep careful guard over Him, and may He protect and save you for His mercy’s sake.
– St John of Avila

 
 

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STS TIMOTHY AND TITUS – PRAYER MEDITATION

STS TIMOTHY AND TITUS +96-97

“Pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1Tim 6:11-12)

REFLECTION:
Virtue does not consist in starting to do good but in carrying it out to the end.
The reward is promised not to those who begin well but to those who end well.
– St Isidore

PRAYER:
Glorious Sts Timothy and Titus, you proclaimed the Gospel with courage and wisdom. Pray that I may lead a good life and reach heaven, my true home. Amen.

 
 

PRAYER FOR LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR

Loving Father, our Creator,
teach us to love our brothers and sisters
of every age, nation, race and colour.
Give us the grace
to obey the words of Jesus, who said,
“Love one another as I have loved you.”

Give us, Father, the grace
to understand the sufferings of others
as we understand our own.

Bestow on us
the gift of true brotherhood.
Help us, Father, to work together
to make the world a place where you will be
adored by all your people in peace and joy.
Amen.

 
 

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WE ARE CALLED TO HELP BUILD A NEW AGE IN WHICH HOPE LIBERATES FROM SHALLOWNESS AND SELF-ABSORPTION

AN INVOCATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Let us invoke the Holy Spirit: He is the artisan of God’s works. May His gifts shape us! Just as the Church travels the same journey with all humanity, so too may we answer the call to exercise the Spirit’s gifts amidst the ups and downs of our daily life.

Empowered by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith’s rich vision, we are called to help build a world in which God’s gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished – not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed.

A new age in which hope liberates from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty.

The Lord is asking us to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his faith, hope and love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity. Amen.
– Pope Benedict XVI

 
 

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