22 ottobre 2014

John Paul II

OCTOBER 22 - SAN JOHN PAUL II HOMILY - NEW YORK 1995


OCTOBER 22 - SAN JOHN PAUL II 

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY  TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

RECITATION OF THE HOLY ROSARY  

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, Saturday, 7 October 1995 

Dear Cardinal O’Connor and my other Brother Cardinals and Bishops, 
Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
and Distinguished Guests,

1. It is a great joy for me to be here once more in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which is a kind of spiritual landmark for all New Yorkers; in a sense, for all Catholics in the United States.
From this "house of God", I greet the "household of God in the Spirit" (Cf. Eph. 2: 19): all who have been given "a new birth... unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1Pt. 1: 3). In the first place I hail my dear friend Cardinal O’Connor, the Shepherd of this huge Archdiocese, whose dauntless leadership you all know. I greet all of you who have prayed the Rosary with me here today on the very Feast of the Holy Rosary, especially the sick and the handicapped. I offer respectful greetings as well to the civil authorities of City, State and Nation.
2. I am pleased that Cardinal O’Connor has invited two very special categories of people to pray together this afternoon: representatives of the Religious Institutes in the Archdiocese, and families from every one of the over four hundred Parishes. These vocations complement each other. The family, the typical lay vocation, witnesses to God’s presence in history, through the mutual love of the spouses and their service to life. Religious, living the radical consecration of the evangelical counsels, bear witness that God is absolute and that his Kingdom of justice, peace and love is our supreme destiny. Both vocations therefore play an essential part in the Church’s mission and in the great enterprise of humanizing the world.
3. Dear Religious, by following Christ along the "narrow and hard way" (Cf. Mt. 7: 14), you experience how true it is that "with him is plenteous redemption": copiosa apud eum redemptio (Ps. 131(130): 7). For some of you, perhaps, this has been a cross made heavy by temptations to doubt the meaning and purpose of your witness, by attacks on the religious life and on the Church herself. But, your fidelity has withstood the challenges from within and without, and remains a singular example to a world so much in need of the "newness of life in Christ" (Cf. Rom. 6: 4) which is made present through the self-giving love that inspires your entire lives (Cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 1).
Every day in my prayer I praise and thank the Father of mercies for the heroic efforts of so man women and men Religious who live by "the law of the Spirit, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8: 2). We must beseech God that, by his grace and through the intercession of Mary and your holy founders and foundresses, a new Pentecost will take hold in consecrated life so that it will become clear to everyone, especially the young, that religious life is a vital, necessary force in the Church. To each one of you and to all the faithful Religious of the United States, in words taken from the Letter to the Hebrews I say: "Do not, then, surrender your confidence; it will have great reward" (Hebr. 10: 35). Society needs your prophetic and unmistakable testimony of God’s closeness.
4. Dear Families, Dear mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, grandparents: I was supposed to come to New York last year for the celebration of the United Nations’ Year of the Family. In the "Letter to Families" which I wrote on that occasion, I indicated that "the family is placed at the center of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love" (John Paul II, Letter to Families, 23). The family therefore is at the heart of the Church’s mission and of her concern for humanity.
When a man and a woman bind themselves to each other without reservation in their decision to be faithful "in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad", to the exclusion of every other physical love, they become cooperators with the Creator in bringing new life into the world. You parents can look with love at your children and say: this is "flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2: 23). Your life is defined by your fatherly and motherly desire and duty to give your children the best: a loving home, an upbringing, a healthy and positive start on the road of life, now and for eternity. Above all, through Baptism you make it possible for your children to become God’s beloved sons and daughters, mystically united with Christ, incorporated into his Church! Consider how important it is for you to foster the life of faith and the life of grace in yourselves and in your children. Beneath the high altar of this Cathedral, together with the former Cardinals and Archbishops of New York, there is buried the Servant of God Pierre Toussaint, a married man, a one-time slave from Haiti. What is so extraordinary about this man? He radiated a most serene and joyful faith, nourished daily by the Eucharist and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. In the face of constant, painful discrimination he understood, as few have understood, the meaning of the words: "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk. 23: 34). No treasure is as uplifting and transforming as the light of faith.
From many points of view, these are difficult times for parents who wish to pass on to their children the treasure of the Catholic faith. Sometimes you yourselves are not sure what the Church stands for. There are false teachers and dissenting voices. Bad examples cause great harm. Furthermore, a self-indulgent culture undermines many of the values which are at the basis of sound family life.
5. There are two immediate things which the Catholic families of America can do to strengthen home-life. The first is prayer: both personal and family prayer. Prayer raises our minds and hearts to God to thank him for his blessings, to ask him for his help. It brings the saving power of Jesus Christ into the decisions and actions of everyday life.
One prayer in particular I recommend to families: the one we have just been praying, the Rosary. And especially the Joyful Mysteries, which help us to meditate on the Holy Family of Nazareth. Uniting her will with the will of God, Mary conceived the Christ Child, and became the model of every mother carrying her unborn child. By visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Mary took to another family the healing presence of Jesus. Mary gave birth to the Infant Jesus in the humblest of circumstances and presented him to Simeon in the Temple, as every baby may be presented to God in Baptism. Mary and Joseph worried over the lost Child before they found him in the Temple, so that parents of all generations would know that the trials and sorrows of family life are the road to closer union with Jesus. To use a phrase made famous by the late Father Patrick Peyton: The family that prays together, stays together!
6. The second suggestion I make to families is to use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn about the faith and to answer the questions that come up, especially the moral questions which confront everyone today. Dear Parents, you are educators because you are parents. I exhort and encourage the Bishops and the whole Church in the United States to help parents to fulfill their vocation to be the first and most important teachers of the faith to their children. And I wish to say a special word of thanks to all those who make sacrifices, sometimes heroic sacrifices, to ensure that Catholic children receive formation in the faith either through the Catholic School system or through Religious Education Programs in your parishes. I know that the Archdiocese of New York is proud of its Catholic schools and its Religious Education Programs. Immense effort goes into these undertakings, in the face of great odds. May God reward everyone involved!
7. Families in difficulties or couples in irregular situations also have a claim on the Church’s pastoral care. Other stronger and spiritually mature families can play a wonderful role in bringing encouragement and help to such couples and families. Every strengthening of family bonds is a victory for society. I appeal to all of you to promote respect for the mystery of life and love which God has entrusted in a special way to families.
And to Religious, I appeal to you to be, in the heart of the Church in the United States, what the Second Vatican Council called you: "a blazing emblem of the heavenly kingdom" (Perfectae Caritatis, 1).

God bless you all!
God bless the Church in New York!

POPE JOHN PAUL II - OCTOBER 22


POPE JOHN PAUL II -  OCTOBER 22

Also known as

Karol Wojtyla
Juan Pablo II
John Paul the Great
Memorial

22 October
2 April on some calendars
Profile

For many years Karol believed God was calling him to the priesthood, and after surviving two nearly fatal accidents, he responded to the call. He studied secretly during the German occupation of Poland, and was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these years he came to know and practice the teachings of Saint Louis Marie Montfort and Saint John of the Cross. Earned his Doctorate in theology in 1948 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy.
Parish priest in the Krakow diocese from 1948 to 1951. Studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow. Taught social ethics at the Krakow Seminary from 1952 to 1958. In 1956 he became a professor at the University of Lublin. Venerable Pope Pius XII appointed Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in Krakow on 4 July 1958. Servant of God, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow on 30 December 1963.
Wojtyla proved himself a noble and trustworthy pastor in the face of Communist persecution. A member of the prepatory commission, he attended all four sessions of Vatican II; is said to have written Gaudium et spes, the document on the Church in the Modern World. He also played a prominent role in the formulation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Following the Council, Pope Paul VI, appointed Karol Wojtyla cardinal on 26 June 1967.
In 1960 he published Love and Responsibility. Pope Paul VI, delighted with its apologetical defense of the traditional Catholic teaching of marriage, relied extensively on Archbishop Wojytla’s counsel in writing Humanae Vitae. In 1976 he was invited by Pope Paul VI to preach the lenten sermons to the members of the Papal Household.
In 1978, Archbishop Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI. He took the name of his predecessors (John, Paul, John Paul) to emphasize his desire to continue the reforms of Vatican II.
John Paul II is the most traveled pope in history, having visited nearly every country in the world which would receive him. As the Vicar of Christ he has consecrated each place that he has visited to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On 13 May 1983 he went to Fatima to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He later repeated the consecration of the world to Mary in union with all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, in fulfillment of Our Lady‘s promises at Fatima.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II began a lengthy catechisis on the Blessed Virgin Mary during his weekly Angelus addresses, culminating with his instruction on Our Lady’s active participation in the Sacrifice of Calvary. This active participation of Our Lady at Calvary is called the co-redemption. Already in 1982 and 1985 he had used the term “corredemptrix” in reference to Our Lady in public addresses. This is significant, for he is the first Pope to do so since Pope Benedict XV at whose prayer Our Lady came to Fatima to reveal Her Immaculate Heart. Since the time of Pope Benedict XV, this terminology was under review by the Holy See; the present Pope’s usage is a confirmation of this traditional view of Mary’s role in salvation history.

Born
18 May 1920 as Karol Wojtyla at Wadowice, Poland
Papal Ascension
16 October 1978
Died
2 April 2005 at Rome, Italy of natural causes
Venerated
19 December 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI (decree of heroic virtues)
Beatified
1 May 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI at Rome, Italy
the beatification miracle involved the cure from Parkinson’s disease of a man in France
Canonized
27 April 2014 by Pope Francis
the canonization miracle involved the healing of a Costa Rican woman who suffered from a brain aneurysm
Readings
O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen. - official prayer to ask favors through the intercession Pope John Paul II
God is always on the side of the suffering. His omnipotence is manifested precisely in the fact that he freely accepted suffering. He could have chosen not to do so. He could have chosen to demonstrate his omnipotence even at the moment of the Crucifixion. In fact, it was proposed to him:
“Let the Messiah, the King of Israel come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” (Mark 15.32)
But he did not accept that challenge. The fact that he stayed on the Cross until the end, the fact that on the Cross he could say, as do all who suffer,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15.34)
If the agony on the Cross had not happened, the truth tha God is Love would have been unfounded. Yes! God is Love and precisely for this he gave his Son, to reveal himself completely as Love. Christ is the One who “loved…to the end.” (John 13.1) “To the end” means to the last breath. - Pope John Paul II from Crossing The Threshold of Hope
To save means to liberate from evil. This does not refer only to social evils, such as injustice, coercion, exploitation. Nor does it refer only to disease, catasrophes, natural cataclysms, and everything that has been considered disaster in the history of humanity. To save means to liberate from radical, ultimate evil. Death itself is no longer that kind of evil, if followed by the Resurrection. And the Resurrection comes about through the work of Christ. Through the work of the Reddemer death ceases to be an ultimate evil; it becomes subject to the power of life. The world does no have such power. The world, which is capable of perfecting therapeutic techniques in various fields, does not have the power to liberate man from death. And therefore the world cannot be a source of salvation for man. Only God saves, and He saves the whole of humanity in Christ. - Pope John Paul II, from Cross the Threshold of Hope
The essential usefulness of faith consists in the fact that, through faith, man achieves the good of his rational nature. And he achieves it by giving his response to God, as is his duty – a duty not only to God, but to himself. Christ did everything in order to convince us of the importance of this response. Man is called upon to give this response with inner freedom so that it will radiate that veritatis splendor (splendor of truth) so essential to human dignity. Christ wants to awaken faith in human hearts. He wants them to respond to the word of the Father, but he wants this in full respect for human dignity. In the very search for faith an implicit faith is already present, and therefore the necessary condition for salvation is already satisfied. - Pope John Paul II, from Crossing the Threshold of Hope
What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith…Joseph of Nazareth is a “just man” because he totally “lives by faith.” He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness. Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God. We see how the word of the Living God penetrates deeply into the sould of that man, that just man. And we, do we know how to listen to the word of God? Do we know how to absorb it into the depths of our human personalities? Do we open our conscience in the presend of this word? - Pope John Paul II from Daily Meditations
On my pastoral journeys around the world I always try to meet representatives of the Jewish community. But a truly exceptional experience for me was cartainly my visit to the synagogue of Rome. The history of the Jews in Rome is a unique chapter in the history of the Jewish people, a chapter closely linked for that matter to The Acts of the Apostles. During that memorable visit, I spoke of the Jews as our elder brothers in the faith. These words were an expression both of the Vatican Council’s teaching and a profound conviction of the part of the Church…. The New Convent has its roots in the old. The time when the people of the Old Covenant will be able to see themselves as part of the New is a question to be left to the Holy Spirit. We, as human beings, try only not to put obstacles in the way. Forgive us, Lord, when we fail to foster genuine understanding between Christians and Jews. - Pope John Paul II from Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Many people today are disoriented and lost in search of genuine fellowship. Often their lives are either too superficial or shattered by brokenness. Their work often is dehumanizing. They long for an experience of genuine encounter with others, for true fellowship. Well, is this not precisely the vocation of a parish? Are we not called to be a warm, brotherly family together? Are we not people united together in the household of God through our common life? Your parish is not mainly a structure, a geographical area or a building. The parish is first and foremost a community of the faithful. This is the task of a parish today: to be a community, to rediscover its identity as a community. You are not a Christian all by yourself. To be a Christian means to believe and to live one’s faith together with others. For we are all members of the body of Christ…. For fellowship to grow, the priest’s role is not enough, even though he plays an essential role. The commitment of all parishioners is needed. Each of their contributions is vital. - Pope John Paul II from Draw Near to God

21 ottobre 2014

The approach to Mount Sinai, painting by David Roberts

RELATIONSHIPS AND DATING IN THE BIBLE


RELATIONSHIPS AND DATING IN THE BIBLE

Does the Bible say anything about dating? No, but it does describe relationships.

If "dating" is defined as two single friends of the opposite sex doing things together for fun without any attraction or romantic desire or intimacy involved at all, there is no issue to discuss regarding dating. They are spending time as friends. The Bible describes and gives directions concerning friendship. But for most, the issue of dating involves "romantic attraction and desire." Therefore "dating" must be approached by what the Scripture says regarding romantic desire and marriage, the only relationship in which romantic desire is to be fully expressed. Also, in our culture, through "dating" people will often find a life partner and marry. How men and women view a "date" and "dating" can have a profound effect on their future. "Dating" is not a relationship, it is a method people employ in our culture to get to know others of the opposite sex that was not employed in Biblical times. The Bible does not talk about "dating," but it does talk about relationships. However, the Bible does describe three kinds of relationships with the opposite sex and gives certain characteristics of each relationship (there are others such as parent/child and sibling, but they don't clarify the issues of dating).
One kind of relationship the Bible describes is friendship.
Proverbs gives several characteristics of friends and friendships. Prov.17: 17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” Prov.18: 24 says, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Prov.27: 6 says, “When a friend rebukes you, that rebuke can be trusted.” Prov.27: 9 says, “The pleasantness of having a friend springs from his earnest counsel.” Prov.27: 10 says, “Do not forsake your friend.” These verses bring out the fact that the Lord blesses friendship and encourages us to develop them. Friendship involves three foundational elements, commitment to fulfill the responsibility of a friend, care and concern for the welfare of your friend, and affection. The word "friend" means someone you like who also likes you. This liking involves a "friendship kind of" affection based often on personality and common likes and interests.
A second kind of relationship is “brother-sister in Christ.”
If we have accepted Christ as our Savior we have become children of God. God is our Father and other Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should treat other Christians as such. Our Father deeply loves and desires that we show love to each other, that is seek each other's highest spiritual good. 1 Jn.3: 1 says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" Gal.5: 13 says, “Rather serve one another in love.” Heb.10: 24 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” God desires that we serve one another in love by giving of ourselves to help each other grow in Christ as fellow-believers. This love is based on our relationship with Christ and is not dependent on feelings we may or may not have for a fellow-believer. Brother-sister relationships in Christ involve two foundational elements, commitment to fulfill the responsibility of a fellow-believer in Christ and care and concern a believer is to have toward other believers. It can involve affection as we work together in Christ, but affection is not a necessary element. We are commanded in the Scriptures to show love to all believers, but we are not commanded to make all believers our friends.
A third relationship God describes in the Bible is marriage.
Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman that binds them together for life. Gen.2:24 says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." This verse tells us that marriage involves the husband and wife severing ties of intimate relationships with parents to cleave to each other. It involves coming together into a permanent bond of unity. It means becoming physically intimate with each other as one flesh. Marriage involves three elements, commitment, care and concern, and emotion. When a Christian marries he or she is making a commitment to fulfill the responsibility God ordains for the husband or wife to fulfill. He or she is making a commitment to have care and concern for the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental welfare of his or her marriage partner. It also involves the joy of romantic desire/attraction and intimacy and sexual desire/attraction and intimacy. The Song of Songs, the dialogue between King Solomon and his bride, is a celebration of the romantic and physical love between a husband and wife. It shows that God desires that they enjoy the blessings of the union He created. Song of Songs 1:2 says “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.” Husbands and wives are to rejoice in each other’s love both romantically and sexually.
Each of these three relationships have two common characteristics, a commitment to the responsibilities of that particular kind of relationship and a genuine care and concern for the other person in a particular kind of relationship. Friendship and marriage have a third characteristic - affection and attraction, although the nature of the affection and attraction is different. Of these three relationships, the Scriptures only speak of romantic attraction and desire being expressed in marriage. Song of Songs gives a beautiful picture of the feelings and expression of romantic desire and attraction. Song of Songs 4:10-11 says "How delightful is your love my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice." Only in marriage may a man and woman enjoy expressing their romantic and sexual desires toward each other.
What about a romantic relationship without moving toward marriage?
Isn't there another kind of relationship described in Scripture where a man and woman can share romantic intimacy with some physical intimacy without moving toward marriage? No. This kind of relationship does not exist in the Scriptures. What is the difference between romantic desire and romantic intimacy? Romantic desire and attraction is the feeling and desire one has when he or she is attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Romantic intimacy is when those desires are expressed and shared with someone else with the same desires through dating experiences that develop a romantic closeness usually with some physical intimacy expressed. Where does romantic intimacy fit into these relationships God has described? The purpose for romantic intimacy and romantic expression is for marriage and that is where it is to come into full bloom. It is like a flower bud that exists before marriage and is only opened up in a full way when it is time for it to bloom (in marriage). Why? Romantic intimacy involves the most fragile part of our being - our hearts. Once our feelings are expressed and shared, the deepest part of us becomes vulnerable to another.
Song of Songs 4:9 describes the vulnerability of expressing romantic desire to another when it says "You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes..." When romantic desire and attraction are expressed and reciprocated it "steals the heart" and makes it vulnerable. Without the commitment and resultant security of marriage, our hearts can easily be crushed.
The bride of Solomon in the Song of Songs celebrates the unity of romantic and physical intimacy as she proclaims in 1:2 "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth - for your love is more delightful than wine." The Hebrew word translated "love" in that verse is literally "lovemaking," showing love sexually.
In God's beautiful plan for man and woman, romantic intimacy and physical intimacy come to full expression together only within the protective bond of marriage. Based on the Scriptures we have seen thus far, we can draw some important conclusions that can give you guidance regarding dating. The first is that God desires for you to experience friendships with others before marriage. And it is a friendship-type relationship (with romantic desire, but not romantic intimacy) with a believer of the opposite sex that moves directly into engagement (preparation for marriage). Second, in the Scriptures, no relationships are moved to the engagement/marriage stage unless the person is mature enough to be married. In Gen.28: 1-3 Isaac calls for his son Jacob when he is mature enough to fulfill his responsibilities as a husband and commands him to seek a wife. Third, romantic intimacy should not be experienced without the commitment of marriage to go with it. Romantic and physical intimacy is to be expressed only in marriage between a husband and wife. The Song of Songs shows us that romantic intimacy and physical intimacy are expressed together in marriage. This brings us to how "dating" fits into God's Word. It all depends on one's definition and purpose of a "date."
What is a "date"?
I have chosen to use the term "dating" and redefine it rather than not using the term and using a phrase such as "spending time together" because the term "dating" is such a powerful one in our culture which needs to be dealt with. I define dating in two ways depending on the purpose and focus of the time together. The first is “relationship dating” where two people of the opposite sex who are attracted to each other (romantic desire) get together with the focus on getting to know each other to build a solid relationship without involvement in romantic intimacy. The second is romantic dating where two people of the opposite sex who are attracted to each other (romantic desire) get together with the focus on building romantic intimacy with each other and also getting to know each other.
Which of these two fits within the Biblical Guidelines? The kind of relationship where you focus on getting to know each other as you would in a friendship, which I call “Relationship Dating.” Two people who are attracted to each other (romantic desire) should develop and maintain a friendship-type relationship and be careful at first not to focus on their attraction and romantic desire and allow it to drive their relationship. They should focus on getting to know each other and relating together in a healthy way, giving their relationship time to develop and themselves time to grow in their care and concern for each other. They should spend time together in activities that promote them getting to know each other and enjoying each other as friends rather than activities that fuel their romantic desires and/or express them. They drive their relationship by their mutual care and concern for each other rather than their romantic feelings for each other.
If I “relationship date” not focus our relationship on romantic intimacy, will I be able to build a solid foundation for marriage if we grow to love each other and want to get married? Absolutely yes. How does “relationship dating” establish a Biblical foundation for marriage? It allows you the time and opportunity to develop the kind of love that God desires in marriage if that is where the relationship leads.
Loving one’s spouse according to the Scriptures involves four elements: 1. A genuine care and concern resulting in self-sacrificial attitudes and actions to meet the needs of your spouse 2. A commitment to fulfill your God-ordained marriage responsibility to your wife or husband 3. A romantic and sexual desire and attraction 4. A commitment to separate oneself from others of the opposite sex for exclusive and permanent romantic and physical intimacy
"Being in love" is a phrase our culture uses for the romantic and sexual attraction that a man can feel for a woman (or a woman for a man) mixed in with care and concern which drives him or her to want to marry the other person. True Biblical love is much more balanced and focused on genuine care and concern and faithful fulfillment of marriage responsibility. A key question for those wondering if they have real "love" (as God defines it) that will last a lifetime in marriage is "Am I ready to commit myself to this person to sacrifice myself for this person, to care for and be concerned about this person, to be exclusive with and united to this person, and fulfill my God-ordained responsibility to this person for life?
If a couple is ready to do this, then they are ready to love each other for a lifetime. To come to this commitment, a couple needs to focus their energy on developing this kind of love for each other based of a strong care and concern for each other and a commitment to fulfill their responsibilities in marriage rather than on strong passionate romantic feelings which eventually calm down and change after marriage. Often a couple will make a marriage commitment based on very powerful romantic feelings fueled by romantic intimacy experienced in dating (with or without sex), rather than a strong and healthy loving relationship based upon a solid knowledge of each other. If they have built a foundation of genuine care and concern, they will have a solid foundation on which to build a marriage and drive their changing feelings.
How one views "dating" and how one "dates" a potential marriage partner establishes either a weak foundation or a strong foundation for a relationship that one wants to last for a lifetime. Our focus is on "how do a Christian man and woman develop the kind of love relationship which will lead to and make a strong marriage and thus last a lifetime?" If they are going to use "dating" as a method, then they need to "relationship date." The other articles in this section on our website "Dating and the Bible" give many principles on relationship dating that will build a foundation that can lead to a marriage that will last for a lifetime.
These principles are for those who are in their college years and beyond.


AND IT WAS NIGHT. THE REAL STORY OF ORIGINAL SIN - by Sandro Magister


AND IT WAS NIGHT. THE REAL STORY OF ORIGINAL SIN

It is one of the most overlooked and rejected dogmas. But for Benedict XVI, it is "overwhelmingly obvious." He has talked about it three times in eight days. Without it, he says, Christian redemption "would lose its foundation" 

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, December 11, 2008 – Three times in eight days, Benedict XVI has insisted on a dogma that has almost disappeared from ordinary preaching, and is rejected by the neomodernist theologians: the dogma of original sin. 
He did this on Monday, December 8, at the Angelus for the feast of the Immaculate Conception; on the previous Wednesday, December 3, at the weekly audience with thousands of faithful and pilgrims; and again at the general audience on Wednesday, December 10. 
At the Angelus for the Immaculate Conception, pope Joseph Ratzinger said: 
"The mystery of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which we solemnly celebrate today, reminds us of two fundamental truths of our faith: original sin first of all, and then the victory over this by the grace of Christ, a victory that shines in a sublime manner in Mary Most Holy. 
"The existence of what the Church calls 'original sin' is, unfortunately, overwhelmingly obvious, if we only look around ourselves, and above all within ourselves. The experience of evil is, in fact, so significant that it raises within us the question: where does this come from? Especially for a believer, the question is even deeper: if God, who is absolute Goodness, has created everything, where does evil come from? The first pages of the Bible (Gn. 1-3) respond precisely to this fundamental question, which tests every human generation, with the story of creation and of the fall of the progenitors: God created everything for existence, and in particular he created the human being in his own image; he did not create death, but this entered the world through the envy of the devil, who, rebelling against God, also drew men into deceit, inducing them to rebel (cf. Wis. 1:13-14; 2:23-24). This is the drama of freedom, which God accepts completely for the sake of love, while promising that there will be a son of woman who will crush the head of the ancient serpent (Gn. 3:15). 
"From the beginning, then, 'the eternal counsel' – as Dante would say (Paradiso XXXIII, 3) – has a 'fixed aim': the Woman predestined to become the mother of the Redeemer, the mother of Him who humiliated himself to the utmost, in order to restore in us our original dignity. This Woman, in the eyes of God, has always had a face and a name: 'full of grace' (Lk. 1:28), as the angel called her when visiting her in Nazareth. She is the new Eve, wife of the new Adam, destined to be mother of all the redeemed. As Andrew of Crete wrote: 'The Theotókos Mary, the common refuge of all Christians, was the first to be liberated from the primitive fall of our progenitors' (Homily IV on the Nativity, PG 97, 880 A). And today's liturgy affirms that God has 'prepared a worthy dwelling for his Son, and in anticipation of his death, has preserved her from all stain of sin' (Collect Prayer). 
"Dear friends, in Immaculate Mary we contemplate the reflection of the beauty that saves the world: the beauty of God that shines on the face of Christ." 

* * *
But the pope went even deeper into the topic of original sin, in the general audience on Wednesday, December 3. 
Every Wednesday since the beginning of the Pauline Year, Benedict XVI has dedicated his weekly catecheses to illustrating the life, writings, and teaching of the apostle Paul. This was the fifteenth catechesis in the series. In the two before it, the pope had explained the doctrine of justification, and the connection between faith and works. This time, instead, the opening topic of was the analogy between Adam and Christ developed by Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians, and even more in the letter to the Romans. By using this analogy, Paul evokes the sin of Adam in order to give the greatest possible emphasis to the saving grace given by Christ. 
As generally happens in the Wednesday catecheses, Benedict XVI used a text written by expert contributors. But as on other occasions, he departed from it. And this time, he did so more extensively than usual. Beginning in the third paragraph, he addressed those present directly, improvising. 
He did the same thing at the audience on the following Wednesday, December 10. He had a written text in his hand, but he spoke almost entirely off the cuff. Early in the address he returned to the topic of original sin: 
"Dear brothers and sisters, in following St. Paul we saw two things in the catechesis last Wednesday. The first is that our human history has been tainted from the beginning by the abuse of created freedom, which intends to emancipate itself from the divine will. And in this way it does not find true freedom, but opposes itself to the truth, and as a result falsifies our human realities. Above all, it falsifies the fundamental relationships: with God, between man and woman, between man and the earth. We said that this tainting of our history is spread through the entire fabric, and that this inherited defect has increased, and is now visible everywhere. This was the first thing. The second is this: we learned from St. Paul that there is a new beginning in history and of history in Jesus Christ, He who is man and God. With Jesus, who comes from God, there begins a new history formed by his yes to the Father, and thus founded not on the pride of a false emancipation, but on love and truth. 
"But now the question arises: how can we enter into this new beginning, into this new history? How does this new history reach me? With the first tainted history, we are inevitably connected by our biological origin, we all belong to the one body of humanity. But communion with Jesus, the new birth in order to enter to become part of the new humanity, how does this take place? How does Jesus come into my life, into my being? The fundamental answer of St. Paul, and of the entire New Testament, is: he comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. If the first history gets underway, so to speak, with biology, the second gets underway in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Christ. This Spirit created, at Pentecost, the beginning of the new humanity, of the new community, the Church, the Body of Christ." 

* * *
These improvisations are an important element for understanding the thought of Benedict XVI. They highlight the things that are closest to his heart, the ones that he wants to impress most deeply in the minds of his listeners. 
Original sin, this dogma that is so overlooked today, is one of these truths that Pope Ratzinger feels the need to revitalize. 
And this is how he explained this to the faithful in the catechesis on December 3, the one most extensively dedicated to the topic, reproduced in its entirety here: 

ADAM AND CHRIST: FROM ORIGINAL SIN TO FREEDOM 

BY BENEDICT XVI 

Dear brothers and sisters, in today's catechesis we reflect on the relationship between Adam and Christ, delineated by St. Paul in the well-known page of the Letter to the Romans (5:12-21), in which he instructs the Church on the essential lines of the doctrine of original sin. In fact, already in the First Letter to the Corinthians, referring to faith in the resurrection, Paul introduced the encounter between our forefather and Christ: "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive... The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:22.45). With Romans 5:12-21, the encounter between Christ and Adam is more articulated and illuminating: Paul reviews the history of salvation from Adam to the Law and from the latter to Christ. Adam is not at the center of the scene with the consequences of sin on humanity, but Jesus Christ and grace that, through him, was poured in abundance on humanity. The repetition of "all the more" in regard to Christ underlines how the gift received in Him surpasses by far Adam's sin and the consequences brought on mankind, so that Paul can add at the end: "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20). Hence, the encounter Paul traces between Adam and Christ brings to light the inferiority of the first man vis-à-vis the prevalence of the second. 
On the other hand, it is appropriate to make evident the incommensurable gift of grace in Christ that Paul attributes to Adam's sin: It could be said that if it were not to demonstrate the centrality of grace, he would not have hesitated to discuss sin that "came into the world through one man and death through sin" (Romans 5:12). Because of this if, in the faith of the Church the awareness matured of the dogma of original sin it is because it is indissolubly connected with the other dogma, that of salvation and freedom in Christ. The consequence of this is that we must never treat the sin of Adam and of humanity in a way that is detached from the salvific context, namely, without understanding it on the horizon of justification in Christ. 
However, as men of today we must ask ourselves: What is this original sin? What does St. Paul teach, what does the Church teach? Is this doctrine still tenable today? Many think that, in the light of the history of evolution, there is no longer a place for the doctrine of a first sin, which then spread to the whole history of humanity. And, consequently, the question of the Resurrection and of the Redeemer would also lose its foundation. 
So, does original sin exist or not? To be able to respond we must distinguish two aspects of the doctrine on original sin. There is an empirical aspect, namely, a concrete, visible, I would say tangible reality for all, and a mysterious aspect, regarding the ontological foundation of this fact. The empirical fact is that there is a contradiction in our being. On one hand, every man knows that he must do good and he profoundly wants to do so. However, at the same time, he also feels the other impulse to do the contrary, to follow the path of egoism, violence, of doing only what pleases him even while knowing that he is acting against the good, against God and against his neighbor. In his Letter to the Romans Saint Paul expressed this contradiction in our being thus: "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do" (7:18-19). This interior contradiction of our being is not a theory. Each one of us experiences it every day. And above all we always see around us the prevalence of this second will. Suffice it to think of the daily news on injustice, violence, falsehood, lust. We see it every day: It is a fact. 
As a consequence of this power of evil in our souls, a filthy river has developed in history, which poisons the geography of human history. The great French thinker Blaise Pascal spoke of a "second nature," which is superimposed on our original good nature. This "second nature" makes evil appear as normal for man. Thus even the usual expression: "this is human" has a double meaning. "This is human" might mean: This man is good, he really acts as a man should act. However, "this is human" might also mean falsehood: Evil is normal, it is human. Evil seems to have become a second nature. This contradiction of the human being, of our history should provoke, and provokes even today, the desire for redemption. And, in fact, the desire that the world be changed and the promise that a world be created of justice, peace, goodness is present everywhere: In politics, for example, all speak of this need to change the world, to create a more just world. It is precisely this expression of the desire that there be a liberation from the contradiction we experience in ourselves. 
Hence, the fact of the power of evil in the human heart and in human history is undeniable. The question is: How is this evil explained? In the history of thought, except for the Christian faith, there is a principal model of explanation, with several variations. This model says: being itself is contradictory, it bears within it good and evil. In ancient times this idea implied the opinion that two equally original principles existed: a good principle and an evil principle. This dualism was insurmountable; the two principles are on the same level, hence there will always be, from the origin of being, this contradiction. The contradiction of our being, therefore, reflects only the contrariety of two divine principles, so to speak. In the evolutionist, atheist version of the world the same vision returns in a new way. Even if, in such a concession, the vision of being is monistic, it is implied that being as such from the beginning bears in itself evil and good. Being itself is not simply good, but open to good and evil. Evil is equally original as good, and human history would develop only the model already present in the whole of the preceding evolution. That which we Christians call original sin is in reality only the mixed character of being, a mixture of good and evil, according to this theory, it belonged to the very fabric of being. Deep down, it is a despairing vision: If it is so, evil is invincible. In the end, only self-interest matters. And every progress would necessarily have to be paid for with a river of evil and whoever wishes to serve progress must accept to pay this price. Politics, deep down, is based precisely on these premises: And we see the effects. This modern thought can, in the end, only create sadness and cynicism. 
And so we ask again: What does faith say, as witnessed by St. Paul? As a first point, it confirms the fact of the competition between the two natures, the fact of this evil whose shadow weighs on the whole of creation. We heard Chapter 7 of the Letter to the Romans, we can add Chapter 8. Evil simply exists. As explanation, in contrast with the dualisms and monisms that we considered briefly and found desolating, faith tells us: There are two mysteries of light and one mystery of night, which is, however, shrouded by the mysteries of light. The first mystery of light is this: Faith tells us that there are not two principles, one good and one evil, but only one principle, the creator God, and this principle is good, only good, without a shadow of evil. As well, being is not a mixture of good and evil; being as such is good and because of this it is good to be, it is good to live. This is the happy proclamation of faith: there is only one good source, the Creator. And because of this, to live is good, it is a good thing to be a man, a woman, life is good. Then a mystery of darkness, of night follows. Evil does not come from the source of being itself, it is not equally original. Evil comes from a created liberty, from an abused liberty. 
How was this possible, how did it happen? This remains obscure. Evil is not logical. Only God and the good are logical, are light. Evil remains mysterious. It has been presented in great images, as does chapter 3 of Genesis, with the vision of two trees, of the serpent, of sinful man. A great image that makes us guess, but it cannot explain how much in itself is illogical. We can guess, not explain; nor can we recount it as a fact next to another, because it is a more profound reality. It remains a mystery of darkness, of night. However, a mystery of light is immediately added. Evil comes from a subordinate source. With his light, God is stronger and, because of this, evil can be overcome. Therefore, the creature, man, is curable.; but if evil comes only from a subordinate source, it remains true that man is curable. And the Book of Wisdom says: "the creatures of the world are wholesome" (1:14). 
And finally, the last point, man is not only curable, he is in fact cured. God has introduced healing. He entered in person into history. To the permanent source of evil he has opposed a source of pure good. Christ crucified and risen, the new Adam, opposed the filthy river of evil with a river of light. And this river is present in history: We see the saints, the great saints but also the humble saints, the simple faithful. We see that the river of light that comes from Christ is present, is strong. 
Brothers and sisters, it is the time of Advent. In the language of the Church the word Advent has two meanings: presence and expectation. Presence: The light is present, Christ is the new Adam, he is with us and in our midst. The light already shines and we must open the eyes of the heart to see the light and to enter the river of light. Above all to be grateful for the fact that God himself has entered history as new source of goodness. But Advent also means expectation. The dark night of evil is still strong. And that is why we pray in Advent with the ancient people of God: "Rorate caeli desuper." And we pray with insistence: Come Jesus; come, give force to light and goodness; come where falsehood, ignorance of God, violence and injustice dominate; come, Lord Jesus, give force to the good of the world and help us to be bearers of your light, agents of peace, witnesses of truth. Come Lord Jesus! 

20 ottobre 2014

Saint Paul of the Cross

SAINT PAUL OF THE CROSS - OCTOBER 19, OCTOBER 20 IN USA


SAINT PAUL OF THE CROSS - OCTOBER 19, OCTOBER 20 IN USA

Founder of the Passionist Congregation 1694-1775

Feastday Memorial: Oct 19 in the Universal Church and Oct. 20 in the USA 

"When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. " (Holy Bible, 1 Corinthians 2, 1-2)
"...but we preach Jesus crucified..."
-St Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1, 23)
Welcome to this website which is devoted to St Paul of the Cross. St Vincent Strambi, Paul's first biographer writing only 11 years after his death, stated that the Holy Spirit raised up Paul of the Cross to help people find God in their heart. Paul was convinced that God is most easily found by us in the Passion of Jesus Christ. He saw the Passion as being the most overwhelming sign of God's love for us, and at the same time our best means for union with Him.
St Paul is most notable for his fervent love for God and his special devotion to the Passion of Jesus. Inspired and led by God, Paul travelled throughout Italy, preaching missions with a particular emphasis on the passion of Jesus. Along with his preaching vocation he was also inspired by God to found a order of Priests and Nuns devoted specifically to the Passion of Jesus. Thus, by the express will of God and through Paul's continual prayers and sacrifices, he eventually became the founder and was elected the first Superior General of the "Congregation of Discalced Clerks of the Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord", more commonly known as the Passionists.
The devil, knowing in advance all the glory that the members of the Passionist Congregation would give to God, and of all the souls that would be snatched from him through their continual acts of sacrifice and penance, sought in earnest to inspire as much opposition as possible, in a hellish effort to block its foundation. And so it was that through many years of toil, sacrifices and sufferings that Paul, with the help of God, eventually founded the Passionist Congregation of Priests, and a few years later the Passionist Nuns.
Paul often spent many hours in prayer and adoration before Jesus crucified. Throughout his many travels while preaching missions and making foundations of his Passionist Order, he always carried with him a large wooden crucifix in honor of our Lord's Passion, thus he became known by the popular name of "Paul of the Cross". Undoubtedly the two greatest characteristics of St Paul were his fervent devotion to the Passion of Jesus and also his extraordinary sacrifices and penances that he made for the conversion of sinners.
Throughout his religious life, Paul continuously sacrificed and made special penances and mortification's for the success of his preaching missions, that many souls may be converted. An example of his many penances was that he went barefoot in all his travels throughout Italy, regardless of the harsh seasons and climates. And God, Who was pleased with the heroic sacrifices and devotion of His servant, chose to perform countless extraordinary miracles through Paul's intercession and prayers. As he went about doing good, the frequent extraordinary signs from heaven that accompanied him were a sign to all that God was with him in a most remarkable way. Like his holy predecessors the Apostles, immense crowds gathered and followed him as he went about preaching from town to town. His great love for God and his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary radiated to the crowds with remarkable unction through both his words and his actions, thereby causing countless conversions everywhere he went. His austere manner of life, full of sacrifices and penances, encouraged the people to make reparation to God for their own sins.
~St Paul of the Cross, pray for us! 
Most recent articles: The extraordinary supernatural gifts given to St Paul of the Cross and also St Paul of the Cross and his miracles with the crucifix and also Venerable Father John Baptist -Brother of St Paul of the Cross and 2nd foundation stone of the Passionist Congregation and also The practice of holiness in the words of St Paul of the Cross and St Paul of the Cross on Sickness and suffering and also Words and Quotes of St Paul of the Cross

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Words and sayings of Saint Paul of the Cross:
"I want to set myself on fire with love...I want to be entirely on fire with love...and I want to know how to sing in the fire of love."
"Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother--everything to you."
"Oh Love, oh fire of charity; how powerful You are!"
"I enjoy remaining on the Cross. How beautiful it is to suffer for Jesus!"....."I rejoice in the nails that hold me crucified"
"Ah, my Supreme Good. What were the sentiments of your Sacred Heart when You were scourged? My beloved Spouse, how greatly did the sight of my grievous sins and my ingratitude afflict You! Oh, my only Love, why do I not die for You? Why am I not overwhelmed with sorrow? And then I feel that sometimes my spirit can say no more but remains thus in God with His sufferings infused into the soul- and sometimes it seems as if my heart would break.”
"Your crosses dear God, are the joy of my heart. How beautiful to suffer with Jesus!"
I hope that God will save me through the merits of the Passion of Jesus. The more difficulties in life, the more I hope in God. By God's grace I will not lose my soul, but I hope in His mercy."
"I am a bottomless pit and deserve no light, so unworthy am I."
"Christ Crucified is a work of love. The miracle of miracles of love. The most stupendous work of the love of God. The bottomless sea of the love of God, where virtues are found, where one can lose oneself in love and sorrow. A sea and a fire or a sea of fire. The most beneficial means of abandoning sin and growing in virtue, and so in holiness."
"At holy Communion I had much sweetness. My dear God gave me infused knowledge of the joy which the soul will have when we see him face to face, when we will be united with Him in holy love. Then I felt sorrow to see Him offended and I told Him that I would willingly be torn to pieces for a single soul. Indeed, I felt that I would die when I saw the loss of so many souls who do not experience the fruit of the Passion of Jesus.”
"Oh my Love, what happened to Your heart in the Garden! Oh, what suffering; what shedding of blood! What bitter agony, and all for me!".
"I felt pain in seeing my dear God so offended. I could faint from seeing so many souls lost for not feeling the fruit of the Passion of Jesus. A desire to convert all sinners will not leave me."
"Oh good Jesus, how swollen, bruised, and defiled with spittle do I behold Thy
countenance! O my Love! Why do I see Thee all covered with wounds? Oh
infinite sweetness, why are Your bones laid bare? Ah, what sufferings! What
sorrows! O my God, why are You all wounded? Ah, dear sufferings! Dear wounds! I wish to keep you always in my heart."
"Oh Jesus, my Love, may my heart be consumed in loving Thee; make me
humble and holy; give me childlike simplicity; transform me into thy holy
love. O Jesus, life of my life, joy of my soul, God of my heart, accept my heart as an altar, on which I will sacrifice to Thee the gold of ardent charity, the incense of continual, humble and fervent prayer, and the myrrh of constant sacrifices! Amen."
"The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus, which are the miracle of miracles of the Love of God"
"Oh my good God, how gentle You are! How sweet You are! Oh dear cross, I embrace you and press you to my heart!"
"We ought to glory in nothing other than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are blessed and don't know it. You have Jesus Crucified with you."

-Words of St Paul of the Cross


POPE FRANCIS: CLOSING MASS SYNOD ON THE FAMILY AND BEATIFICATION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD PAUL VI


CLOSING MASS OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SYNOD ON THE FAMILY 
AND BEATIFICATION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD PAUL VI

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter's Square 

Sunday, 19 October 2014 

We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21).
Goaded by the Pharisees who wanted, as it were, to give him an exam in religion and catch him in error, Jesus gives this ironic and brilliant reply.  It is a striking phrase which the Lord has bequeathed to all those who experience qualms of conscience, particularly when their comfort, their wealth, their prestige, their power and their reputation are in question. This happens all the time; it always has.
Certainly Jesus puts the stress on the second part of the phrase: “and [render] to God the things that are God’s”. This calls for acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other. This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises.
God is not afraid of new things! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways. He renews us: he constantly makes us “new”. A Christian who lives the Gospel is “God’s newness” in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this “newness”!
“Rendering to God the things that are God’s” means being docile to his will, devoting our lives to him and working for his kingdom of mercy, love and peace.
Here is where our true strength is found; here is the leaven which makes it grow and the salt which gives flavour to all our efforts to combat the prevalent pessimism which the world proposes to us. Here too is where our hope is found, for when we put our hope in God we are neither fleeing from reality nor seeking an alibi: instead, we are striving to render to God what is God’s. That is why we Christians look to the future, God’s future. It is so that we can live this life to the fullest – with our feet firmly planted on the ground – and respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way.
In these days, during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops, we have seen how true this is. “Synod” means “journeying together”. And indeed pastors and lay people from every part of the world have come to Rome, bringing the voice of their particular Churches in order to help today’s families walk the path the Gospel with their gaze fixed on Jesus. It has been a great experience, in which we have lived synodality and collegiality, and felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church. For the Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.
For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul “we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Th 1:2). May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in true freedom and humble creativity, continue to guide the journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015. We have sown and we continued to sow, patiently and perseveringly, in the certainty that it is the Lord who gives growth to what we have sown (cf. 1 Cor 3:6).
On this day of the Beatification of Pope Paul VI, I think of the words with which he established the Synod of Bishops: “by carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods… to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society” (Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo).
When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!
In his personal journal, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour” (P. Macchi, Paolo VI nella sua parola, Brescia, 2001, pp. 120-121). In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.
Paul VI truly “rendered to God what is God’s” by devoting his whole life to the “sacred, solemn and grave task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ” (Homily for the Rite of Coronation: Insegnamenti I, (1963), 26), loving the Church and leading her so that she might be “a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation” (Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, Prologue).