Friday, May 29, 2015

The Vita Consecrata Series

In his 1996 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, Saint John Paul II relayed the fruits of a Synod of Bishops on “The Consecrated Life and its Mission in the Church and in the World.”

Out of thanksgiving for the gift of consecrated life to the Church—in its many forms—the late Holy Father reflected on the consecrated life and what the Lord wishes to accomplish through it in the Church today: 

The Consecrated Life, deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy Spirit. By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one — are made constantly “visible” in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven.

St. John Paul II wrote this exhortation as a source of encouragement for all members of the Church, and so we thought it might be fitting to reflect on his words as we continue to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life.

In the coming weeks, we will walk through the document piece by piece, hopefully growing in appreciation of what consecrated life is and what role it plays in the Church and in the world.

Please join us! And St. John Paul II, please pray for us!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fellow JPII Admirers

Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you are an admirer of Saint John Paul II. Well, you aren’t the only one! Catholic Pulse, a Catholic news website, contains a number of articles about John Paul II by famous Catholic commentators and theologians. Everything from Theology of the Body to the New Evangelization is covered! Check out the site here.

Saint John Paul II, Pray for Us!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Holy Spirit Comes

Pentecost, Jean Fouquet

The Holy Spirit comes at the price of Christ's “departure.” While this “departure” caused the Apostles to be sorrowful, and this sorrow was to reach its culmination in the Passion and Death on Good Friday, “this sorrow will turn into joy.” For Christ will add to this redemptive “departure” the glory of his Resurrection and Ascension to the Father. Thus the sorrow with its underlying joy is, for the Apostles in the context of their Master's “departure,” an “advantageous” departure, for thanks to it another “Counselor” will come. At the price of the Cross which brings about the Redemption, in the power of the whole Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes in order to remain from the day of Pentecost onwards with the Apostles, to remain with the Church and in the Church, and through her in the world.

-Saint John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Family, A Communicating Community

Visitation, Fra Angelico, 1434

This past Sunday, the Church celebrated the 49th World Communications Day. In his message for the occasion, Pope Francis explored the theme, “Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love.”

According to the Holy Father, “it is in the context of the family that we first learn how to communicate.” As can be seen in the story of the Visitation, we first learn to communicate in the womb, “where we begin to familiarize ourselves with the outside world within a protected environment, with the reassuring sound of the mother’s heartbeat.”

We continue to do this in our families, where we learn to accept each other’s differences, to speak the language that we receive from those who came before us, and most importantly, to pray. Even more specifically,

…we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one other yet are so important to each other. This greatly helps us to understand the meaning of communication as recognizing and creating closeness. When we lessen distances by growing closer and accepting one another, we experience gratitude and joy.

In the family we learn to go beyond ourselves and to open our doors to others. We also experience our own limits and the limits of others. We learn to respect one another, to apologize, and to forgive. We learn how to become a “force for dialogue and reconciliation in society,” Pope Francis writes.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy Birthday St. John Paul II!

For more on Saint John Paul II's origins, consider visiting our permanent exhibit, A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II.

On this day in 1920, our beloved Saint John Paul II was born. Named Karol Józef Wojtyła after his father, this young babe grew into one of the greatest saints of our time.

As pilgrims to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine know, little Karol’s childhood was marked by great suffering. Yet, he never forgot his origin in the love of his parents and in the love of God.

Let us praise the Father for this day in history—who knows where the Church would be without it!

Saint John Paul II, Pray for Us!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Mission In The Ascension

The Ascension, Giotto, 1305

At the Ascension the Risen Christ speaks to the Apostles one last time about the coming of the Holy Spirit. He says: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Act. 1, 8).

…The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church’s mission. The Apostles received this mission from Christ. The Holy Spirit gave them the power to fulfill it by word and deed even to the shedding of their blood. Martyrdom is the ultimate testimony to the truth about Christ crucified and risen. Following in the footsteps of the Apostles the Church has inherited the same mission, and she fulfills it in the midst of all the nations.

-Saint John Paul II, 1989