Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Legacy of Pope Benedict

Faith and the future. From Fr. Angelo:
In his first encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est, “On Christian Love” (December, 25, 2005), Pope Benedict began his exposition on the three theological virtues, and there distinguishes the love of God from its counterfeits in relativistic society.  Modern secular society has exalted erotic love, or desire, and has accused the Church of destroying it.   But Pope Benedict directs our attention toward Jesus Christ and His friendship and proclaims that it is the Church, and only the Church, that saves desire from being closed off from the highest values of the soul.  Desire is purified, exalted and fulfilled when man, like Christ, becomes a gift to another in an act of oblation.  This kind of love is not simply an instinct or intuition, much less is it merely spontaneous passion.  It is not a love that revolves around the ego.  This kind of love is shaped by faith in Jesus Christ and is the result of communion with Him. (Read entire post.)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pope Francis on Salvation

From Scott Richert:
And now Pope Francis has arrived at the crux of the matter, the part that will surprise both those who trumpet "the spirit of Vatican II" and those who denounce the council as a departure from tradition. We can only be Christians through the Church,
Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: "Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy." And the Mother Church that gives us Jesus gives us our identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging. Identity means belonging. This belonging to the Church is beautiful.
This is why the missionary activity of the Church is so essential: We cannot know Christ outside of the Church. We are called to preach the Gospel to all nations, because that is the only way they can know Christ. Unless the Church is growing, preaching the Gospel and adding new members, we are not doing what we are called to do as Christians:
Think of this Mother Church that grows, grows with new children to whom She gives the identity of the faith, because you cannot believe in Jesus without the Church. Jesus Himself says in the Gospel: "But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep." If we are not "sheep of Jesus," faith does not come to us. It is a rosewater faith, a faith without substance.
"Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Yet we can know Christ only through the Church. (Read entire article.)

Friday, April 19, 2013


We can never sink so low that Jesus cannot raise us up. From Fr. Mark:
The first phrase of this week's Collect merits attentive consideration: Deus, qui in Filii tui humilitate iacéntem mundum erexísti. It is by the utter humiliation of the Son that the world, cast down by the machinations of the devil and by sin, is raised up and rendered capable of communion with the Father. In the Incarnation, and in the bitter sufferings of His blessed passion, the Son emptied Himself; it is the mystery of his kenosis, that is, of His terrible abasement, His becoming, as it were, nothing, and all of this or our sakes.

Universal and Particular Import of the Liturgy
All that is said in the sacred liturgy in a universal sense can be applied in a particular sense as well. The graces the Church asks for herself universally, belong to each of her children. How necessary it is, then, to apply the texts of the liturgy to one's own life and experience, lest they remain remote and without any impact on one's here and now.

The Word Hidden and Despised
Any soul cast down and brought low by the world, the flesh, and the devil, can hope to be raised up by the humility of Christ. There is no degradation that cannot be turned into an exaltation by the effect of the Passion of Jesus Christ. The psalmist says, "My soul lies in the dust; by Thy Word revive me" (Psalm 118:25). The Word, by which the soul cast down into the dust is quickened and raised up, is none other than the Word made flesh, the Word brought, as it were, to nothing in the humiliations of His bitter passion, death, and burial. So disfiguring were the humiliations of Our Lord's passion that He became as one unrecognizable:
There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. (Isaias 53:2-3)
In the Most Holy Eucharist
The extreme humiliation of the Son in His passion, His self-emptying, and utter hiddenness, though completed in history, and swallowed up in the glory of the resurrection and ascension, remain, nonetheless, mysteriously present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Word made flesh hides Himself beneath the appearances of a fragile piece of bread, nearly weightless, and translucent. One cannot contemplate the Sacred Host without, at the same time, seeing the humility of the Son, by which we are raised up.

Sacrament of the Divine Humility
Mother Mectilde speaks often of the anéantissement, the ennothingment of the Son of God in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Eucharist is the sacrament of the divine humility. It is the descent to the altar of the Word made flesh, the crucified Word, the glorious Word, risen and ascended into heaven. There, upon the altar, the substance of a little piece of bread becomes the very substance of the Body and Blood of Christ, leaving only the appearance of bread to serve as veil concealing the awful Mystery. (Read entire post.)
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