Archive for February 2013

Last Tweets from Pope Benedict XVI   Leave a comment

Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.

— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 28, 2013

If only everyone could experience the joy of being Christian, being loved by God who gave his Son for us!

— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 27, 2013

In these momentous days, I ask you to pray for me and for the Church, trusting as always in divine Providence.

— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 24, 2013

Posted February 28, 2013 by ouidaofs in Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI’s Last Angelus   Leave a comment

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for your affection!Last Angelus

Today, the second Sunday of Lent, we have a particularly beautiful Gospel, the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke puts particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John, the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).

The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, “This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him” (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new “exodus” (9:31) , not to the promised land as in the time of Moses, but to Heaven. Peter’s words: “Master, it is good that we are here” (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine says: “[Peter] … on the mountain … had Christ as the food of the soul. Why should he come down to return to the labours and pains, while up there he was full of feelings of holy love for God that inspired in him a holy conduct? “(Sermon 78.3: PL 38, 491).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back to the path, to action. “The Christian life”, I wrote in my Message for Lent, “consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love “(n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to “climb the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church. Indeed, if God is asking me to do this, it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.

***
I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days. As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

Posted February 25, 2013 by ouidaofs in Benedict XVI

Why the Pope had decided to resign.   Leave a comment

Today I received my e-mail subscription of The Moynihan Letters, Letter No. 14, “February 17, 2013, Sunday — Next-To-Last Angelus.” In this Letter, the writer, Richard Monynihan, presented his thoughts on why Pope Benedict XVI has decided to resign. The writing is prose that is poetry, a beautiful meditation. As I read, I too longed for God, I longed to ascend the steps of my interior castle, toward the Lord, while I yet live. Yes, while I yet live. Mr. Monyihan began his writing with a simple explanation:

“It is because he wants to pray.

“It is because he wants to ascend the steps of his own interior castle, toward the Lord, while he yet lives.

“It is because he wishes to make through this gesture a final statement, which is this: that the human person, in prayer, in communion with God, is moving toward that which is the end of all our seeking.

“That it is in prayer, in conversation with the hidden, but real, God, that the greatest, final work of any man or woman is accomplished.

“For it is prayer that draws us into the very life of the divinity.

“Benedict is not ending his mission as a man. In some ways, it is just beginning now. For we will all know that, in that small convent in the Vatican gardens, there will be living, though hidden from our eyes, a man in communion with God, supplicating God, listening to God, being silent with God. And in this sense, there will be a pulsing power beyond all the powers of this very technological world which will ascend and descend, from Benedict to God, and from God to Benedict, while he yet lives.

“Benedict is retiring to a life of prayer, but in that prayer, he is giving to the Church, and to the world, the greatest gift that he could give.”

And that is why, tonight in Rome, there was a rainbow over the city, as if to pose a heavenly counter-sign to the lightning bolt that struck the cathedral dome last Monday.

A week that began with mist and rain and thunder ended with cardinals walking toward their last gathering with the Pope, and a rainbow over the eternal city, beginning from the Archangel Michael, above the Castel Sant’Angelo.

I took this as a sign, though no one in the media may report it.
—————————
SOURCE: Material quoted from The Moynihan Letters by Dr. Robert B. Moynihan, founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican magazine.

Posted February 17, 2013 by ouidaofs in Benedict XVI, Prayer

Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth — visualized   Leave a comment

Posted February 12, 2013 by ouidaofs in Pro Life

For Electing the Supreme Pontiff – April 18, 2005   Leave a comment

Homily of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, Mass for the Election of the Supreme Pontiff, St. Peter’s Basilica, 18 April 2005

At this moment of great responsibility, let us listen with special attention to what the Lord says to us in his own words. I would like to examine just a few passages from the three readings that concern us directly at this time.

The first one offers us a prophetic portrait of the person of the Messiah – a portrait that receives its full meaning from the moment when Jesus reads the text in the synagogue at Nazareth and says, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4: 21).

At the core of the prophetic text we find a word which seems contradictory, at least at first sight. The Messiah, speaking of himself, says that he was sent “to announce a year of favour from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God” (Is 61: 2). We hear with joy the news of a year of favour: divine mercy puts a limit on evil, as the Holy Father told us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: encountering Christ means encountering God’s mercy.

Christ’s mandate has become our mandate through the priestly anointing. We are called to proclaim, not only with our words but also with our lives and with the valuable signs of the sacraments, “the year of favour from the Lord”.

But what does the prophet Isaiah mean when he announces “the day of vindication by our God”? At Nazareth, Jesus omitted these words in his reading of the prophet’s text; he concluded by announcing the year of favour. Might this have been the reason for the outburst of scandal after his preaching? We do not know.

In any case, the Lord offered a genuine commentary on these words by being put to death on the cross. St Peter says: “In his own body he brought your sins to the cross” (I Pt 2: 24). And St Paul writes in his Letter to the Galatians: “Christ has delivered us from the power of the law’s curse by himself becoming a curse for us, as it is written, “Accursed is anyone who is hanged on a tree’. This happened so that through Christ Jesus the blessing bestowed on Abraham might descend on the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, thereby making it possible for us to receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Gal 3: 13f.).

Christ’s mercy is not a grace that comes cheap, nor does it imply the trivialization of evil. Christ carries the full weight of evil and all its destructive force in his body and in his soul. He burns and transforms evil in suffering, in the fire of his suffering love. The day of vindication and the year of favour converge in the Paschal Mystery, in the dead and Risen Christ. This is the vengeance of God: he himself suffers for us, in the person of his Son. The more deeply stirred we are by the Lord’s mercy, the greater the solidarity we feel with his suffering – and we become willing to complete in our own flesh “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Col 1: 24).

Let us move on to the second reading, the letter to the Ephesians. Here we see essentially three aspects: first of all, the ministries and charisms in the Church as gifts of the Lord who rose and ascended into heaven; then, the maturing of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God as the condition and content of unity in the Body of Christ; and lastly, our common participation in the growth of the Body of Christ, that is, the transformation of the world into communion with the Lord.

Let us dwell on only two points. The first is the journey towards “the maturity of Christ”, as the Italian text says, simplifying it slightly. More precisely, in accordance with the Greek text, we should speak of the “measure of the fullness of Christ” that we are called to attain if we are to be true adults in the faith. We must not remain children in faith, in the condition of minors. And what does it mean to be children in faith? St Paul answers: it means being “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4: 14). This description is very timely!

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An “adult” faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceipt from truth.

We must develop this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith – only faith – that creates unity and is fulfilled in love.

On this theme, St Paul offers us as a fundamental formula for Christian existence some beautiful words, in contrast to the continual vicissitudes of those who, like children, are tossed about by the waves: make truth in love. Truth and love coincide in Christ. To the extent that we draw close to Christ, in our own lives too, truth and love are blended. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like “a clanging cymbal” (I Cor 13: 1).

Let us now look at the Gospel, from whose riches I would like to draw only two small observations. The Lord addresses these wonderful words to us: “I no longer speak of you as slaves…. Instead, I call you friends” (Jn 15: 15). We so often feel, and it is true, that we are only useless servants (cf. Lk 17: 10).

Yet, in spite of this, the Lord calls us friends, he makes us his friends, he gives us his friendship. The Lord gives friendship a dual definition. There are no secrets between friends: Christ tells us all that he hears from the Father; he gives us his full trust and with trust, also knowledge. He reveals his face and his heart to us. He shows us the tenderness he feels for us, his passionate love that goes even as far as the folly of the Cross. He entrusts himself to us, he gives us the power to speak in his name: “this is my body…”, “I forgive you…”. He entrusts his Body, the Church, to us.

To our weak minds, to our weak hands, he entrusts his truth – the mystery of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; the mystery of God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3: 16). He made us his friends – and how do we respond?

The second element Jesus uses to define friendship is the communion of wills. For the Romans “Idem velle – idem nolle” [same desires, same dislikes] was also the definition of friendship. “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn 15: 14). Friendship with Christ coincides with the third request of the Our Father: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. At his hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus transformed our rebellious human will into a will conformed and united with the divine will. He suffered the whole drama of our autonomy – and precisely by placing our will in God’s hands, he gives us true freedom: “Not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26: 39).

Our redemption is brought about in this communion of wills: being friends of Jesus, to become friends of God. The more we love Jesus, the more we know him, the more our true freedom develops and our joy in being redeemed flourishes. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!

The other element of the Gospel to which I wanted to refer is Jesus’ teaching on bearing fruit: “It was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. Your fruit must endure” (Jn 15: 16).

It is here that appears the dynamism of the life of a Christian, an apostle: I chose you to go forth. We must be enlivened by a holy restlessness: a restlessness to bring to everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. Truly, the love and friendship of God was given to us so that it might also be shared with others. We have received the faith to give it to others – we are priests in order to serve others. And we must bear fruit that will endure.

All people desire to leave a lasting mark. But what endures? Money does not. Even buildings do not, nor books. After a certain time, longer or shorter, all these things disappear. The only thing that lasts for ever is the human soul, the human person created by God for eternity.

The fruit that endures is therefore all that we have sown in human souls: love, knowledge, a gesture capable of touching hearts, words that open the soul to joy in the Lord. So let us go and pray to the Lord to help us bear fruit that endures. Only in this way will the earth be changed from a valley of tears to a garden of God.

To conclude, let us return once again to the Letter to the Ephesians. The Letter says, with words from Psalm 68, that Christ, ascending into heaven, “gave gifts to men” (Eph 4: 8). The victor offers gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift of Christ to humankind, to build up his body – the new world. We live out our ministry in this way, as a gift of Christ to humanity!

At this time, however, let us above all pray insistently to the Lord that after his great gift of Pope John Paul II, he will once again give us a Pastor according to his own heart, a Pastor who will guide us to knowledge of Christ, to his love and to true joy.
Amen.

The Vatican

Posted February 11, 2013 by ouidaofs in Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger, Relativism

“A Huge Percent of Catholic Woman Use Birth Control, You Know”   Leave a comment

My friend says: “A huge percent of catholic women use birth control, you know, and it is considered a health matter.”

So being pregnant is a health issue, to be avoided for good health? (I would say that using artificial contraceptions cause health issues – I could name a few I experienced during my Protestant, contraception-using days.) And a huge percent of Catholic women use birth control? I have a couple of questions and some comments concerning this alleged, huge percent of Catholic women using birth control.

1. What percentage of Catholic women who attend Mass weekly and who are married use artificial contraception?

2. What percentage of converts to the Catholic faith use artificial contraception?

The point of the first questions being that the devout Catholic wife, practicing her faith (weekly or daily Mass and observing other sacraments of the Church), daily, quality time in prayer, who knows, respects and follows the teachings of the Church, will not use artificial contraception.

The point of the second question is that converts have embraced the Catholic faith by choice, after receiving much teaching and doing much study, often converting at great personal sacrifice. Often they know much more about the Catholic faith than do cradle Catholics who were poorly catechized, especially if they came along from about 1960 on. Converts have a great love, loyalty and gratitude towards the Catholic Church and are often more scrupulous in trying always to adhere to the teachings and beliefs of the Church, including not using artificial contraception.

I suspect that a large percentage of Catholics using birth control are cradle Catholics, who are Catholic in name only and do not fit the descriptions under the last two paragraphs above.

As to that ridiculous statistic floating around that 98% of Catholic woman use birth control, start with this as far as debunking (there are many, many more on internet): http://www.lifenews.com/2012/02/13/figure-that-98-of-catholic-women-use-birth-control-debunked/

Here’s a bit of history on the use of artificial contraceptions:

“Few realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception.” http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

In a related (yes, related) subject, here is a good booklet on abortion:
http://www.catholic.com/sites/default/files/straight_talk_about_abortion.pdf

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