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Showing posts with the label Pope Benedict XVI

'Abide in me as I abide in you.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday of Easter, Year B

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The Red Vineyard, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 15:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansedby the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide …

'The seed of eternal life.' Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year B

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Baptistry, St Mark's, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 1:7-11 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

John the Baptist proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

In countries where the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated this year on Monday 8 January, eg the Philippines and the USA, there is only one reading before the Gospel and the Creed is omitted. Fea…

'Following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church.' Sunday Reflections, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

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Apostle Peter in Prison, Rembrandt [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) GospelMatthew 16:13-20 (NRSV,Catholic Ed)
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heav…

'The Lord goes up with shouts of joy.' Sunday Reflections, The Ascension

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The Ascension, Andrea della Robbia[Web Gallery of Art]
For Readings for the Ascension and the Seventh Sunday of Easter and for Reflections on the Ascension click on the following:
The Ascension

Three White Cottages in Saintes-Maries, van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
A work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human being who stands in wonder before the visible reality, and who seeks to discover the depths of its meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colors and sounds. Art has the capacity to express and to make visible man’s need to go beyond what he sees; it manifests his thirst and his search for the infinite. In fact, it is like a door opened to the infinite — to a beauty and a truth that goes beyond the everyday. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, carrying them higher(Pope Benedict XVI).

'Those who lose their life for my sake will save it.' Sunday Reflections, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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Apostle Peter in Prison, Rembrandt, 1631
Gospel Luke 7:9:18-24 (NRSV, Catholic Ed,Can)
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.
Sir Thomas More, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527

On 12 June 2013 the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland stated in …

'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.' Sunday Reflections, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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Feast in the House of Simon (detail), Paolo Veronese, 1567-70
Gospel Luke 7:36 – 8:3 or 7:36-50 NRSV, Catholic Ed,

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.”
“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the d…

'But Christ is risen, he is alive and he walks with us.' Sunday Reflections, Easter Sunday 2016.

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The Resurrection of Christ, Rembrandt, c.1639 Alte Pinakothek, Munich [Web Gallery of Art
At the Mass during the Day
Gospel John 20:1-9 (NRSV, Catholic Ed., Can.)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who rea…

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Lent, Year C

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Three Temptations of Christ (detail), Botticelli, 1481-82 .Sistine Chapel,Vatican 

Gospel Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Can.)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’ Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, …

'Be on guard . . . be alert at all times.' Sunday Reflections, First Sunday of Advent, Year C

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Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt, 1633, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston [Web Gallery of Art]

We begin Year C, which highlights St Luke's Gospel.
Gospel Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

Jesus said to his disciples

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth…

'What do you want me to do for you?' Sunday Reflections, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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Christ Healing the Blind, Nicolas Colombel,1682 [Web Gallery]

Gospel Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV, CatholicEdition, Can)

They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
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Fr John Burger is an American Columban served as a member of the Colu…

'Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.' Sunday Reflections, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (6 April 1901 - 4 July 1925)
Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all. GospelMark 9:30-37 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Can,)  They went on from there and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know it;for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.”But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them,“Whoever welcomes one such child in my nam…

Living the Faith with a Young Heart

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+JMJ+ AMDG
"Dear young people, you bring us the joy of Faith and you tell us that we must live the Faith with a young heart." ~ Pope Francis
Blessed Chiara died in 1990 at the age of eighteen from a form of bone cancer.  When she was diagnosed with the illness, she united her sufferings to Christ's Passion, declaring quietly, "It's for You, Jesus; if You want it, I want it, too."  She fought her illness for two years, always smiling and comforting others ~ truly radiating Christ.

When asked how her eyes were so luminous, she responded simply, "I try to love Jesus as much as I can."

Before her death, Chiara told her mother, "Young people…they are the future. You see, I can’t run anymore, but how I would like to pass on to them the torch, like in the Olympics! Young people have only one life and it’s worthwhile to spend it well."
"With all the strength of my soul I urge you young people to approach the Communion table as often as you can. …

Blessings to Pope Benedict XVI: "The Love of Christ Urges Us On

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I have always loved the writings of our Holy Father. In fact, I just bought his Infancy Narratives as an audiobook. I wish that those who criticize the man  - within our Church as well as outside the Church - would read his words without preconception.


Keep Reading...

Making a Mystic a Doctor of the Church

With the upcoming October 7th announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will pronounce that 12th century German mystic St. Hildegard of Bingen is a doctor of the church—as well as announcing that same honor being bestowed upon St. John of Avila—there is a renewed interest in the understanding of “mysticism” with our church.

The church’s history with mystics actually goes back to the Jewish roots of the faith.
Mysticism itself can best be explained as man’s need to connect with God in ways that transcend his mere day-to-day experiences. Man wants to know God intimately, deeply, privately—to fill that place within his heart which God created for His own indwelling. St. Augustine perfectly captured this earthly feeling when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest with Thee.” Augustine’s life (354-386), as told in his Confessions, reflects the ways in which man experiences earthly restlessness and pursues Divine intimacy. 
Jewish mysticism, which dates back thousands of years, has a…

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for August 2012

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Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for August 2012

General Intention Prisoners.That prisoners may be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity. Missionary Intention Youth Witness to Christ.That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Posted by at 

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for July 2012

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Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for July 2012
From the website of the Apostleship of  Prayer
General Intention - Work Security
That everyone may have work in safe and secure conditions.


Mission Intention - Christian Volunteers That Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to the love of Christ.

World Communications Day 2012

The Daughters of St Paul are a religious congregation with a particular mission to evanglising through the media. In the past, this has been typically the print media and then audio-visual media. Nowadays it includes the electronic media. One of their sisters in the United States has a blog which reflects their engagement with electronic media: Windows to the Soul Blog. I have in the past found it an interesting blog because of posts offering reviews of films or observations about how films, sometimes unexpected films, provide a way of exploring questions of a spiritual nature.

Another of their sisters has written a reflection on silence to mark the World Communications Day: The Sounding Silence. I was particularly taken by this paragraph, referring to Pope Benedict's message 2012 World Communications Day entitled Silence and Word: Path for Evangelisation:
The Pope wrote exclusively about silence as it relates to interpersonal communication and the sharing of “advice, ideas, infor…

The Presence of Parents: Always a Gift, Even for Teenagers

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Toward the end of my daily commute to work, as I head 40 miles an hour down a state highway,  I have often seen a white Volvo parked at the edge of a driveway, its motor running and lights on. I often wondered if it was a unmarked police car. But then again, what police officers do you know who drive Volvo cruisers? Then, one day I was running late and a school bus stopped just before the driveway. I stopped too. A little girl got out of the Volvo, the bus drove off and then her father drove out the driveway.

Mystery revealed. Dad waits with his daughter in the car until the bus comes, then heads off to work.

These family rituals are so important.

Our family now consists of two working parents and two busy teenagers. (Boys who do not like their pictures taken) Long gone are the days when my husband and I would load our sons, in their pajamas, into the double stroller and walk to the ice cream parlor for an evening treat. Gone too, are the days when our sons and I …

What a Holy Life Looks Like

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Today the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury will visit with Pope Benedict in Rome. Let us pray for them and for a fruitful meeting that helps the cause of Christian unity. The following is part of a speech that Archbishop Rowan Williams gave when Pope Benedict visited him in London in 2010:
Our task as bishops is to preach the Gospel and shepherd the flock of Christ; and this includes the responsibility not only to feed but also to protect it from harm. Today, this involves a readiness to respond to the various trends in our cultural environment that seek to present Christian faith as both an obstacle to human freedom and a scandal to human intellect. We need to be clear that the Gospel of the new creation in Jesus Christ is the door through which we enter into true liberty and true understanding: we are made free to be human as God intends us to be human; we are given the illumination that helps us see one another and all created things in the light of divine love and intelligence. As…

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for March 2012

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General Intention - Contribution of Women
That the whole world may recognize the contribution of women to the development of society.

Weaving a Dream
By Mercy B. Gawason

The author is a young Subanen who works with Subanen Crafts. She and her companions at Subanen Crafts recently visited Negros Occidental and dropped by the Misyon editorial office in Bacolod City. The word 'Subanen' means 'people of the river'. The Subanens live in the mountains of western Mindanao. This article is in the March-April 2012 issue of Misyon, the online magazine I edit for the Columbans in the Philippines . . .

Mission Intention - Persecuted Christians
That the Holy Spirit may grant perseverance to those who suffer discrimination, persecution, or death for the name of Christ, particularly in Asia.
'I only want a place at the feet of Jesus'
Clement Shahbaz Bhatti (9 September 1968 - 2 March 2011)
The first anniversary of the assassination of Clement Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan, the only Chr…