Friday, July 5, 2013

Consecration of the Vatican to St. Michael the Archangel

 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks, that stand before the Lord of the earth.~Apocalypse 11:4

 But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come such as never was from the time that nations began even until that time. ~Daniel 12:1

Here we witness the two popes together, like Saints Peter and Paul or like Moses and Elias. From Vatican Radio:
To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael Archangel, at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel’s protection.

Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger: 

In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael - which means "Who is like God" - is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him.  
We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day.
(Read article.)
 Here is the full text of Pope Francis' new encyclical "Light of Faith." To quote Our Holy Father:
There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God. Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fr. Hardon on the Precious Blood

From Abbey-Roads:
There are certain words and phrases in the revealed statement that we have just read that we should begin to unravel in order to understand something of the depth of meaning behind those two simple words, Precious Blood. Peter begins by reminding the faithful to remember the hardest thing in this life for us is to remain mindful of the truths of faith. Because what we believe on God's revealed Word is twice removed from the common experience that we have in this world. What we believe is first of all not immediately perceptible to the senses. Moreover, what we believe is not even penetrable to the naked reason. The word, remember, is an imperative: keep in mind. Arouse your faith in what and how you were redeemed. And it is the how we were redeemed that is the foundation stone of the mystery of the Precious Blood. God took on a human nature so that in that human nature He could die. In order to die, the soul had to separate from the body. But for the Body to have the soul separate, the body itself had to be deprived of His Blood. Theologically speaking and physiologically speaking, the All-Holy Son of God who became Man to redeem us could only have died by being drained of His Blood. Christ, listen, could not have died of some disease. Christ could not have died because of some mortal illness. All illness, disease, the natural debilitating of the body is the result of sin. Let me emphasize this. All our illness, our disease, our sickness, our wasting away of our body for all of us this is our faith - is the result of our sinful nature. Not so with Christ. That draining of the human body of His Blood was the one way that Christ, Sinless Son of God and Son of Mary that He was, the one way that He could die.

Why does Peter identify the Blood of the Lamb of God as “Precious?” Well, it is surely Precious because it is the Blood of no human being. It is the Blood of the living God who took on human nature, capable of shedding His Blood. Why was the Blood of Christ Precious? Because it is the Blood of God who took on human nature in order to be able to suffer and to bleed and, let us add, in order to bleed to death. Why Precious? Because it is the Blood of the living God.

Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation, and that not only for priests, but for every follower of Christ. I really believe, and I hesitate even saying this, but I really believe that one of the symptoms of modern society (and I would even include, sadly, modern Catholic society) one of the symptoms of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood. Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is first- veneration, it is secondly- invocation, and it is thirdly- imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain, is first of all to be veneration on our part, which is a composite of knowledge, love and adoration. We are to study to come to a deeper understanding of what those two - I am afraid for many people - casual words, Precious Blood, really mean.

To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must (otherwise the mystery will be lost on us), we must get some comprehension of the gravity of sin, of the awfulness of offending God, because it required the Blood of the Son of God to forgive that sin. We are living in an age in which to sin has become fashionable. But we believe that we are here for only a very short time. We further believe that Christ when He told us the way that leads to damnation is broad and many there are who walk that way, that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and there are few who walk that way. I am watching every syllable I am saying. The Church has never pronounced infallibly on the number lost and the number saved, but she has canonized St. John of the Cross and made him a Doctor of the Church. Says John of the Cross: "I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost." - Devotion to the Precious Blood
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