Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Francis on Paul: “This great pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle…”

“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! 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 notes, 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.”

                                       —From the homily of Pope Francis for the Beatification of Pope Paul VI.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Marianist Monday

The Marianists of the Province of Meribah are very excited about our Holy Father's announcement that 2015 is to be the year of Consecrated life. The Marianists have served in our Diocese over the years and are still a viable presence.

Present in this meeting is Marianist Brother Michael McAward from the Province of Meribah who works in the General Administration.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blessed Paul VI

Look upon him
In the crown with which his mother has crowned him
on the day of his marriage,
on the day of the joy of his heart.
Songs 3:11

In praise and thanksgiving for the life and heroic virtues of Blessed Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini).

To the glory of God most holy and of our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, for the profit and edification of the Church, in the name of all the pastors and all the faithful, we now pronounce this profession of faith, in full spiritual communion with you all, beloved brothers and sons.

We believe in one only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of things visible such as this world in which our transient life passes, of things invisible such as the pure spirits which are also called angels, and creator in each man of his spiritual and immortal soul. - Credo of Paul VI

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Prayerful Pause

In the middle of it all, Lord,
whatever "all" might be...

In the thick of what confounds me
and hijacks my attention...

Apart from all the nonsense
that clutters up my day...

Regardless of my problems,
my anxieties and fears...

In spite of doubt that simmers
in my mind and in my heart...

Aside from what distracts me
and disturbs my concentration...

Please, Lord...

Help me make some quiet time
and find a place where I can spend it...

Help me share with you the whole
of what my soul holds deep inside...

Help me lay aside the burdens
and the troubles of my day...

Help me rest with you beside me
in the Spirit of your peace...

Help me find in you the hope I need
to face the day ahead...

In the middle of it all,
whatever "all" might be,
be everything I need, Lord,
be all my heart desires...


H/T A Concord Pastor Comments

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Sunday Word

If you are racing around doing a million things, it's not to late to pause and take a look atthe readings for the twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The Pharisees in the Gospel are convinced they can trick Jesus into making a statement that isn't "politically correct" -- that is, denying the emperor's right to levy taxes. But already the Pharisees betray their ignorance -- for their political question assumes Jesus had a political agenda. Since they were always trying to find ways to maneuver within and around Roman authority to their best advantage, the Pharisees naturally assumed that Jesus must also have an outline of politically motivated moves guiding his ministry.

But Jesus was not concerned with politics -- he was concerned with justice. He didn't just want to bring the kingdom of God into Roman-ruled Palestine. He wanted Roman-ruled Palestine to help bring in the kingdom of God. Jesus' vision was not just another version of political and cultural organization -- supplanting the Roman state with a Jewish state, or even 1800 years later, a United States.

Jesus weaned people away from the spirit of power and awakened them to the power of Spirit. Jesus wanted to wake people up to the possibility that there was so much more available to them -- more love, more joy, more justice, more power -- through salvation and a right relationship with God. "Give to God what is God's" does not imply a separation of "church" and "state" -- it is a radical mandate for a re-evaluated life and a renewed creation.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“Those who love the barque of Peter ought to stay out of the engine room!”

Here is Fr. Robert Barron quoting Cardinal Newman. Fr. Barron brings to all the hand-wringing and garment-rending over the the synod a bracing blast of common sense.

Here we go, Fr. Barron:

One of the great mysteries enshrined in the ecclesiology of the Catholic Church is that Christ speaks through the rather messy and unpredictable process of ecclesiastical argument. The Holy Spirit guides the process of course, but he doesn’t undermine or circumvent it. It is precisely in the long, laborious sifting of ideas across time and through disciplined conversation that the truth that God wants to communicate gradually emerges. If you want evidence of this, simply look at the accounts of the deliberations of the major councils of the Church, beginning with the so-called Council of Jerusalem in the first century right through to the Second Vatican Council of the twentieth century. In every such gathering, argument was front and center, and consensus evolved only after lengthy and often acrimonious debate among the interested parties. Read John Henry Newman’s colorful history of the Council of Nicaea in the fourth century, and you’ll find stories of riots in the streets and the mutually pulling of beards among the disputants. Or pick up Yves Congar’s very entertaining diary of his years at Vatican II, and you’ll learn of his own withering critiques of the interventions of prominent Cardinals and rival theologians. Or peruse John O'Malley’s history of the Council of Trent, and you’ll see that early draft statements on the key doctrines of original sin and justification were presented, debated, and dismissed—long before final versions were approved.

Until Vatican II, these preliminary arguments and conversations were known only to the participants themselves and to certain specialist historians who eventually sifted through the records. The great teachings of the Councils became widely known and celebrated, but the process that produced them was, happily enough, consigned to the shadows. If I might quote the great Newman, who had a rather unsatisfying experience of official ecclesial life in Rome: “those who love the barque of Peter ought to stay out of the engine room!” This is a somewhat more refined version of “those who enjoy sausage ought never to watch how it is made.” The interim report on the Synod represents a very early stage of the sausage-making process and, unsurprisingly, it isn't pretty. Two more weeks of discussion will follow; then a full year during which the findings of the Synod will be further refined, argued about, and clarified; then the Ordinary Synod on the Family will take place (the one going on now is the Extraordinary Synod), and many more arguments and counter-arguments will be made; finally, some months, perhaps even a year or so, after that, the Pope will write a post-Synodal exhortation summing up the entire process and offering a definitive take on the matter. At that point, I would suggest, something resembling edible sausage will be available for our consumption; until then, we should all be patient and refrain from bloviating.