Monday, June 29, 2015

Papal Intentions For July

As we prepare for the month of July, let us remember Pope Francis’s intentions in our prayers.

His universal intention is that “political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.”

The Holy Father also asks us to pray that, “amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.”

So let us join Pope Francis in praying for political responsibility and Latin American Christians this month.

Saint John Paul II, Pray for Us!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Christian Home

The Holy Family by Giorgione, 1500

When I think of Christian homes, I like to imagine them as being full of the light and joy that were in the home of the Holy Family. The message of Christmas is heard in all its forcefulness: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will." "And may the peace of Christ triumph in your hearts," writes the Apostle. It is a peace that comes from knowing that our Father God loves us, and that we are made one with Christ. It results from being under the protection of the Virgin, our Lady, and assisted by St. Joseph. This is the great light that illuminates our lives. In the midst of difficulties and of our own personal failings, it encourages us to keep up our effort. Every Christian home should be a place of peace and serenity. In spite of the small frustrations of daily life, an atmosphere of profound and sincere affection should reign there together with a deep-rooted calm, which is the result of authentic faith that is put into practice.
-Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By
St. Josemaría Escrivá, canonized by our beloved St. John Paul II, please join us in praying for a greater respect for the sacrament of marriage in America today, especially as we prepare for Domestic Church Day.

Monday, June 22, 2015

God Entrusted The World To Us

In his first Encyclical [Saint John Paul II] warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption.” Subsequently, he would call for a global ecological conversion. At the same time, he noted that little effort had been made to “safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology.” The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.” Authentic human development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and “take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system.” Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is. 
-Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

Friday, June 19, 2015

Unbounded Generosity

Welcome to the fifth and final part of the Vita Consecrata Series! Thank you for joining us as we finish walking through Saint John Paul II’s reflection on what the consecrated life is and what role it plays in the Church and in the world.

In his conclusion for the exhortation, the late Holy Father responds to those who do not understand what the point of consecrated life is in today’s world. He relates their questioning to the Gospel story of the anointing at Bethany:
The precious ointment poured out as a pure act of love, and thus transcending all “utilitarian” considerations, is a sign of unbounded generosity, as expressed in a life spent in loving and serving the Lord, in order to devote oneself to his person and his Mystical Body. From such a life “poured out” without reserve there spreads a fragrance which fills the whole house. The house of God, the Church, today no less than in the past, is adorned and enriched by the presence of the consecrated life. What in people's eyes can seem a waste is, for the individuals captivated in the depths of their heart by the beauty and goodness of the Lord, an obvious response of love, a joyful expression of gratitude for having been admitted in a unique way to the knowledge of the Son and to a sharing in his divine mission in the world.
Consecrated religious reveal “the fatherly face of God and the motherly face of the Church” in the world. They are a gift, one that should be respected, supported through prayer, and encouraged as young people discern their own vocations. Our world needs these “joyful witnesses and prophets of the beneficent power of God’s love,” St. John Paul II writes, and it needs men and women who “are able to sow seeds of peace and fraternity.” 

With prayers to the Holy Trinity and to our Blessed Mother, the late Holy Father ends his exhortation by encouraging consecrated religious to become more like Christ, to whom they belong. As we conclude this series, let us pray for this in the life of those who have given themselves completely to Him. 

Saint John Paul II, in this Year of Consecrated Life, Pray for Us!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dear Christian Families

Dear Christian families, proclaim joyfully to the whole world the wonderful treasure which you, as domestic churches, possess! Christian couples, in your communion of life and love, in your mutual self-giving and in your generous openness to children, become, in Christ, the light of the world. The Lord asks you daily to be like a lamp which does not remain hidden, but is put "on a stand, and ... gives light to all in the house" (Mt 5:15). 
-Saint John Paul II, 2003

Monday, June 15, 2015

Servitium Caritatis

Welcome to part four of the Vita Consecrata Series! Thank you for joining us as we walk through Saint John Paul II’s reflection on what the consecrated life is and what role it plays in the Church and in the world.

After exploring the nature of consecrated life in previous chapters, the late Holy Father spends the third chapter of the exhortation reflecting on how consecrated religious serve as a “Manifestation of God’s Love in the World.” He writes:
In the image of Jesus, the beloved Son “whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world” (Jn 10:36), those whom God calls to follow him are also consecrated and sent into the world to imitate his example and to continue his mission. Fundamentally, this is true of every disciple. In a special way, however, it is true of those who, in the manner that characterizes the consecrated life, are called to follow Christ “more closely,” and to make him the “all” of their lives.
Consecrated persons are on mission “by virtue of their very consecration,” John Paul II writes, and they have the “prophetic task of recalling and serving the divine plan for humanity.” This is made possible through an intimate relationship with God, a solid experience with dialogue in fraternal life, and a deep understanding of the challenges of their time. In other words, there must be a close union between contemplation and action in their lives. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us

Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Saint John Paul II was particularly fascinated by the Mystery of the Divine Heart—the gentle and lowly heart of Jesus which poured forth blood and water as a fountain of mercy for us. 
One way to meditate upon the “riches of the Heart of Christ,” is by praying the beautiful litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pray it here today. And perhaps make this prayer a part of your daily devotion, especially during the month of June, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
                                                 Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. 
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. 

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us. 
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother's womb, have mercy on us.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Join Us For Domestic Church Day

The future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.   
-St. John Paul II
In preparation for the World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia this coming September 22 to 25, the Saint John Paul II National Shrine invites families to a Domestic Church Day on Saturday, June 27, 2015. This will be a day of pilgrimage for families in order to strengthen their marriages and grow the bond of their love. It will include a barbecue picnic and lawn games on the beautiful shrine grounds. Priests will be available to hear confessions, and the shrine will hold a unique ceremony during which couples can touch their wedding rings to a first class relic of St. John Paul II. The day will conclude with a vigil Mass in the shrine’s chapel. See our website for more details.
Saint John Paul II, Pray for Us! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Signum Fraternitatis

Welcome to part three of the Vita Consecrata Series! Thank you for joining us as we walk through Saint John Paul II’s reflection on what the consecrated life is and what role it plays in the Church and in the world.

As we saw in our last post, John Paul II spends much of the first chapter describing the connection between the consecrated life and the life of the Trinity. In the second chapter of the exhortation, he notes how the consecrated life can “be credited with having effectively helped to keep alive in the Church the obligation of fraternity as a form of witness to the Trinity.”

Not only do religious communities witness to the Trinity through their communion with the Church, but they also provide this witness in the different cultures that they find themselves in:

Placed as they are within the world's different societies — societies frequently marked by conflicting passions and interests, seeking unity but uncertain about the ways to attain it — communities of consecrated life, where persons of different ages, languages and cultures meet as brothers and sisters, are signs that dialogue is always possible and that communion can bring differences into harmony.

The Good News inspires “a self-giving love towards everyone,” and that is what consecrated religious witness to when they live in solidarity with others in their own communities. This is true of consecrated life in all of its different forms, and as St. John Paul II writes, it should remain true despite any difficulties that communities face.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Church Draws Her Life From The Eucharist

"As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (I Cor 11: 26).

With these words St. Paul reminds the Christians of Corinth that the "Lord's Supper" is not only a convivial meeting but also, and above all, the memorial of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. Those who take part in it, the Apostle explains, are united with the mystery of the death of the Lord, and indeed, "proclaim" him.

Thus, there is a very close relationship between "building the Eucharist" and proclaiming Christ. At the same time, entering into communion with him in the memorial of Easter also means becoming missionaries of the event which that rite actualizes; in a certain sense, it means making it contemporary with every epoch, until the Lord comes again.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are reliving this wonderful reality in today's Solemnity of Corpus Christi, during which the Church does not only celebrate the Eucharist but solemnly bears it in procession, publicly proclaiming that the Sacrifice of Christ is for the salvation of the whole world.

Grateful for this immense gift, her members gather round the Blessed Sacrament, for that is the source and summit of her being and action. Ecclesia de Eucharistia vivit! The Church draws her life from the Eucharist and knows that this truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery in which she consists.

-Homily of Saint John Paul II, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, 2004

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Confessio Trinitatis

Welcome to part two of the Vita Consecrata Series! Thank you for joining us as we walk through Saint John Paul II’s reflection on what the consecrated life is and what role it plays in the Church and in the world.

In the first chapter of the exhortation, the late Holy Father reflects on “The Origins of the Consecrated Life in the Mystery of Christ and of the Trinity.” He first notes the unique and sacred connection that consecrated religious have with the Transfiguration:

All are equally called to follow Christ, to discover in him the ultimate meaning of their lives.... But those who are called to the consecrated life have a special experience of the light which shines forth from the Incarnate Word. For the profession of the evangelical counsels makes them a kind of sign and prophetic statement for the community of the brethren and for the world.

Just like the Apostles who were present on Mount Tabor, consecrated religious share in a “special grace of intimacy,” which makes possible the demands of total self-giving and shapes them as tangible signs of God’s divine love.

The source of this grace lies in the Holy Trinity. As St. John Paul II says, “they are in fact an expression of the love of the Son for the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.” The chastity of consecrated religious reflects the infinite love between the three Divine Persons. Poverty according to the example of Christ is “an expression of that total gift of self which the three Divine Persons make to one another.” And obedience reflects the harmony between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Papal Intentions For June

As the month of June begins, let us remember Pope Francis’s intentions in our prayers.

His universal intention for the month is for immigrants and refugees, that they “may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.”

The Holy Father also asks us to pray for vocations, or more specifically, “that the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.”

So let us join Pope Francis in praying for immigrants, refugees, and vocations this month.

Saint John Paul II, Pray for Us!