Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ministering Spirits Sent Forth to Serve

…the Church honors the figures of three angels with a liturgical cult; these are called by name in Sacred Scripture.

The first is Michael the Archangel (cf. Dan. 10:13-20; Rev. 12:7; Jude 9). His name is a synthesis that expresses the essential attitude of the good spirits. "Mica-EL" in fact means: "Who is like God?" In this name, therefore, we find expressed the salvific choice thanks to which the angels "see the face of the Father" who is in Heaven.

The second is Gabriel: a figure bound especially to the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God (cf. Lk 1:19-26). His name means: "my power is God" or "power of God," as if to say that the culmination of creation, the Incarnation is the supreme sign of the omnipotent Father.

Finally, the third archangel is called Raphael. "Rafa-EL" means: "God heals." He is made known to us by the story of Tobias in the Old Testament (cf. Tob. 12:15-20), etc.), which is so significant for what it says about entrusting to the angels the little children of God, who are always in need of custody, care, and protection.

If we reflect well, we see that each one of these figures, Mica-EL, Gabri-EL, and Rafa-EL reflects in a particular way the truth contained in the question posed by the author of the Letter to the Hebrews: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to possess salvation?" (Heb. 1-14).

-Blessed John Paul II, General Audience for August 6, 1986

On the feast of the Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, let us thank our guardians for their care and protection and join with them in praising our Lord!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Message of the Holy Father Spreads Far and Wide

Earlier this month, the Vatican teamed up with Apple in order to develop new methods of communication, so that the works and words of Pope Benedict XVI can be spread throughout the world. Apple is working with the Vatican to produce iTunes tracks and eBooks of the Holy Father’s general audiences. The eBooks will include his messages alongside illustrations from Vatican art collections!

In other Vatican-outreach news, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications will release a new documentary film on the history of Vatican II next week. Read this article for more on this project, which includes unpublished footage and pictures taken from over 200 hours of material from the Vatican film archives.

Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, Pray for Us!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Those Who Know Christ Must Proclaim Him

The last two posts addressing the Lineamenta for the upcoming Synod on the New Evangelization introduced us to the purpose behind the Synod, what the New Evangelization is exactly, and what the Church is up against in this secular culture. The Lineamenta concludes on a very positive note, with some direction on where to begin discerning and concrete questions for Bishops and local Churches about what works and what doesn’t.

Changes in society today have led to “an extensive process of reflection and rethinking” on how to consistently approach the Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation) as formational experiences and community celebrations. There is an “educational emergency” which needs to be addressed as well, because transmitting “to new generations the basic values for living and right conduct is becoming more arduous”—especially the idea that every human life holds a unique dignity.

There is also a need to look at the local church and the family. How do these sacred units contribute to the formation of future generations and their older members? The spiritual nature of the New Evangelization shouldn’t be forgotten either—for people “are able to evangelize only when they have been evangelized and allow themselves to be evangelized, that is, renewed spiritually through a personal encounter and lived communion with Jesus Christ.”

And finally, one of the most important questions is: how do we make the “initial proclamation” to others? The Church and her communities are asked to discern how to present the Christian faith in the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” today. How can we live as witnesses in a culture that refuses to listen for the Truth?

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

These words are from the Gospel today, as the Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

The “Divine Physician” called Matthew to Himself, and He reaches out to us in the same way. So that we can be perfectly fulfilled in Oneness with Him.

St. Matthew, please pray for us, that we may be as open as you to the fullness of Christ. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

St. Andrew Kim and Companions, Pray for Us

This evening I am thinking of the saints of beloved Korea and, among them, of St Andrew Kim Taegon, whom you have chosen as your patron. We can imagine that he often paused to meditate on the divine Teacher's words. At the crucial hour, encouraged by the Lord's prayer, he did not hesitate to "lose" everything (cf. Phil 3: 8) for him. He was faithful unto death. It is said that, while he was waiting to be executed, he encouraged his brethren in the faith with expressions that impressively echoed Jesus' prayer to the Father for his disciples. "Do not let misfortunes frighten you", he begged them; "do not lose heart and do not shrink from serving God, but, following in the footsteps of the saints, promote the glory of his Church and show yourselves true soldiers and subjects of God. Even if you are many, be of one heart; always remember charity; support and help one another, and wait for the moment when God will have mercy on you."

-Homily of Blessed John Paul II, March 2001

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Challenging Richness of Our Tradition

The Catholic Tradition is beautiful in its richness! It is also quite challenging, because there is just so much to know.

The Year of Faith website can at least give us a head start. Browsing through, you will find many articles and resources about the Catholic Tradition. One of these resources even draws upon Catechesis by the Holy Father on Christian Prayer!

We should continue to pray for our Church as She embarks on the Synod on the New Evangelization and this Year of Faith. And we should also become a part of it ourselves by making a commitment to learn more about our Faith, so that we can grow and share what we learn with others.