Friday, May 25, 2012

"IT IS THE LORD...."John 21 : 7

The Holy Father reminds us that St. Paul highlights through the story of the conversion of Lydia, that to properly receive and assimilate the Word of God as it is preached and taught to us, we must first open our hearts to the Word and embrace the Truth. The heart indicates that the first act by which one comes to faith is God's gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.......the heart, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface and to understand, that what has been proclaimed, is the word of God."

Nowhere is this better demonstrated than at the first Pentecost. Immediately after the receiving of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles begin to preach to the masses and with great effect.

The Church is the essential realization of Faith. The Baptism of each individual builds up the Mystical Body of Christ which the Church is.
"Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God."

The Holy Father draws our attention to the vast numbers of people in modern society who, without any faith, are "searching" for some ultimate truth. This quest can lead them to the mystery of God, and finally to the fullness of revealed Truth. Their quest begins from an indelible summons written on the human heart, from, and leading to, the One who already sets out to meet us when we are sincere.

The CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH , that authentic fruit of the Second Vatican Council, is the ideal vehicle for conveying full and reasoned systematic knowledge of the Faith to which assent of the heart and mind, with God's grace, can be given. It was described by Blessed Pope John Paul II as making "a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church........a sure norm for teaching the Faith." Here, says Pope Benedict XVI, "...we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the CATECHISM provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the Faith and made progress in doctrine, so as to offer certitude to believers, in their life of faith."

The CATECHISM he says provides a veritable encounter with the Person who lives within the Church. Beginning with the Creed the CATECHISM proceeds to examine and expound upon the Sacraments through which Jesus Christ is present, operates and continues to build His Church. The liturgy and sacraments give efficacy to the Creed and its profession. And the moral teaching of the CATECHISM is similarly given vitality by being placed in context with faith, liturgy and prayer, providing the fully developed Christian Life.

To facilitate the use of the CATECHISM during the YEAR OF FAITH the Holy Father has asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare a document in co-operation with the other Curial Dicasteries providing Catholics, and thus the whole Church, some guidelines on how to live the Year of Faith most effectively and appropriately at the service of faith and evangelization.

Pope Benedict XVI notes the Church's ability and readiness to confront the spirit of the age with its great skepticism and selective preference to consider only quantifiable "science" at the expense of faith. Yet the Holy Father reminds us that there can be no conflict between Faith and Science because both pursue Truth, though by different routes.

HISTORY will , in the Holy FATHER's view, be of decisive importance in the Year of Faith. Understanding the two thousand year history of the Communion of Saints lived out in Christ's Church will provoke in each person a sincere and continuing work of conversion as we recall the lives of the saints, the failures of the sinners and experience the mercy of the Father held out to everyone.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


were assembled for the Second Vatican Council

Now the Holy Father invites all of the Bishops of the world to join with him during the Year of Faith in recalling God's generous and precious gift of Faith. He calls for the year to be celebrated in "a worthy and fruitful manner". He desires all the faithful to intensify their reflection on the Faith, so that all believers may more consciously and vigorously adhere to the Gospel. He emphasizes the importance of this especially in these times of radical change we are all experiencing. The Holy Father sees the public profession of our Faith, in our families and homes, our schools, churches and Cathedrals right around the world, as giving us strength through God's grace, so that we may know our Faith better, and better transmit it to future generations. He requires all religious communities new and old, to find ways to make a public profession of the Credo.

The Holy Father goes on to emphasize that he desires every believer to profess their Faith in its fullness with renewed conviction and with confidence and hope. Inevitably of course, this leads him to the subject of the celebration of the Faith through the Sacred Liturgy. (One is reminded of Father John Zuhlsdorf's theme on WDTPRS? Blog - Save the Liturgy - Save the World.)The Holy Father quotes the Council's document" Sacrosanctum Consilium ": that the Eucharist is "the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed......and the source from which all its power flows." At the same time, he prays that the witness of Faith affecting the lives of believers may grow in credibility - especially in the Year of Faith.

Chaplain Mike Dalton celebrates Holy Mass in the field during WWII .
These times as a whole, are therefore seen to be as demanding as the separate occasions Saint Thomas Aquinas envisaged, when he wrote :" It is not necessary for salvation to confess one's Faith at all times and in all places, but in certain places and at certain times, when, namely, by omitting to do so, we would deprive God of due honor, or our neighbor of a service that we ought to render to him : for instance, if a man on being asked about his Faith, were to remain silent, so as to make people believe either that he is without Faith, or that the Faith is false, or so as to turn others away from the Faith; for in such cases as these, confession of Faith is necessary for Salvation." ( Summa Theologica , 2-2,3,2. 13th Cent.)

The exceptional witness of early Catholics in those very first centuries after the Resurrection, the Holy Father recalls especially their reverence for and familiarity with the Creed. So great was that reverence and familiarity, that they could and did, recite the Creed from memory. It had been learned by heart. Upon being received into the Church they recited it as a group and then individually, one by one, before the copy of it was formally presented to them.

So we see that the object of the Year of Faith is that every believer should make his own, the task of re-discovering the content of the Faith, professing it, celebrating it , living it and praying it - in sum, being totally renewed as a true follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"We Proclaim your Death O Lord, and profess Your Resurrection"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The  Fullness of God's Love for us.

"The Year of Faith is" the Holy Father tells us, a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world." He expands on this explanation of its purpose by referring to the great mystery of the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ which reveal so dramatically the fullness of God's Love for us and open the way for our conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins.

He goes on to quote Saint Paul:

"We were buried......with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life."(Rom. 6:4)

Then the Holy Father tells us that Through Faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the Resurrection." We are given a deeper appreciation of this great reality by considering the words of Pope Leo XIII in "Tametsi"(All Saints Day, 1900):
...He is the origin and source of all good, and just as mankind could not be freed from slavery but by the sacrifice of Christ, so neither can it be preserved but by His power."

 In a wonderful reflection upon a variety of writings of Saint Paul, Pope Benedict explains that "Faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6) becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man's life.

The LateFather John Hardon S.J.
A remarkable example of a life of Faith working through love.

This is a crucial insight. It is something we have always understood implicitly, but here it is so succinctly expressed that we are able to address its implications more effectively. It is a brilliant expression of the appropriate understanding of Jesus as the "Way". It reveals to us with unavoidable clarity how we must follow the "Way".

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman's words should leave us unsurprised that we are always able to learn more from the life of Christ: "Every passage in the history of Our Lord and Saviour is of unfathomable depth, and affords inexhaustible matter of contemplation. All that concerns Him is infinite, and what we first discern is but the surface of that which begins and ends in eternity."(Discourses to Mixed Congregations - 19th Cent.)

Moving on the Holy Father explores the implications of this insight, and takes up the ancient formula : " Caritas Christi urget nos" that is " The Love of Christ impels us" (2Cor. 5:14), showing that it is precisely the working of Faith through love, that propels evangelization in every generation and to the ends of the earth. He urges us in effect to re-kindle the fire of apostolic zeal which will fuel the new evangelization. And, he shows that this very act of living out the implications of Faith, itself further develops that Faith and the grace and joy which follow and causes in those evangelized the opening of their hearts and minds to the Divine message.

Two lives exemplifying Faith working through love
in the service of Jesus Christ
The Holy Father quotes the great Saint Augustine to the effect that believers "strengthen themselves by believing". And he shows that in the Saints life we see a continual quest to "search for the beauty of Faith until such time as his heart would find rest in God". He points out that the mighty writings of Saint Augustine still, after some 1,600 years are leading people to the "door of Faith".

Pope Benedict concludes this section:"Only through believing, then, does Faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one's life apart from self abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


To all my readers at:

THANK YOU FOR READING, AND, if you choose to read another of my Blogs than your regular one, I would be very happy.

If you chose to “FOLLOW” any one of them via Networked Blogs or Google I would be delighted!
God Bless you all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

"".........AND FOLLOW ME."


Some three hundred and fifty years before the Motu Proprio "PORTA FIDEI", Father Nicola Avancini S.J. Wrote his " THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" , which has become known as Avancini's Meditations.

JESUS BIDS THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW HIM TO TAKE UP THEIR CROSS                                              
                                                       AND FOLLOW HIM

For Thursday of the Seventeenth Week after Pentecost (EF Calendar of course) at No. 325 he describes beautifully what is necessary to truly follow Christ:


I "Then Jesus said to His disciples: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself" (Matt. XVI: 24).The will to do this is left to our free choice. None are compelled, none are excluded. A good and serious will, however, is needed, and not one that is changeable. Let him that has such a will first of all, "deny himself", not by depriving himself only of external things, but of his private judgment, his own will, affections and desires that are base, whatever else that belongs to the Old Man, and by the killing of self love. This is the first beginning of all Christian perfection. Dear God! How true it is that hitherto I have learnt nothing and how much there is to learn! When will be the time to begin? If I remain as changeable as I am at present, the time will never come.

II "And take up His cross".

This is the second rule in this short summary of the way to perfection. By the cross we are to understand all adversities of mind and body. We must "take it up", whatever it includes, however long it lasts, and however wide it's arms, whether our souls are raised to the seventh heaven or cast down in the depths of humiliations, always, constantly, humbly, and in whatever circumstances. If we had been standing beside Christ crucified, and He had asked this of us would we have denied it to Him Who was dying for us? Then let us not deny it to Him now, for He asks it of us always, we owe it to Him always, and He deserves it always.

III. "And follow Me".

And so the summit of perfection is contained in the three words: Self-denial, Endurance, and Action. Perfection is not reached by practicing these virtues for a number of years only. We must follow Christ indefinitely, animated by His example as He goes before us, like a soldier following his general, a servant following his lord, and a son following his father. How long must it be for? We are not told; therefore it must be till death. Along what path? We do not know this either. It may be along one that is smooth, or it may be along one that is rough, anyway, it is not for us to choose one any more than another. How have we faced up to it so far? And what about our life in the future?"

There it is. We all like to think of getting closer to Christ as St.John did at the Last Supper - resting our head at last forever secure and at peace on His breast, or perhaps, collapsing at His feet, sinful and truly sorrowful, in the sure and certain hope of His Mercy and Forgiveness. But He wants us up and doing whatever is necessary to follow Him.

So, we have paused in our consideration of PORTA FIDEI, to consider the fundamental requirements for following Our Divine Lord, received from His own lips. Next time we shall return to the consideration of the text of PORTA FIDEI.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Jesus calls "us to conversion through the forgiveness of sins."

Quoting from the Council's Dogmatic Constitution "LUMEN GENTIUM" ("LIGHT OF THE PEOPLES"), the Holy Father presents a passage of rare beauty and great significance- "While "Christ, "holy, innocent and undefiled"(Heb.7:26)knew nothing of sin(Cf. 2Cor.5:21), but came only to expiate the sins of the people(Cf. Heb. 2:17).........the Church........clasping sinners to its bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal". The Church, "like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God "announcing the cross and death of the risen Lord until He comes."

What a brilliant image! Truly lyrical language, deep with significance for the salvation of us all. It called to my mind the statuary once common around insurance companies depicting a hastily clad woman in classical attire clutching her children , and herself shielded and protected by the strong arms of her husband as they both look back anxiously at some dreadful threat.

Here we are given a similar image of Christ the Saviour protecting His Bride the Church and His children her faithful, as she struggles on protecting them against the agents of the Evil One.

The passage concludes: "But by the power of the Risen Lord it is given strength to overcome, in patience and in love, it's sorrow and it's difficulties, both those that are from within, and those that are from without,so that it may reveal in the world, faithfully, although with shadows, the mystery of its Lord until, in the end, it shall be manifested in full light."

From this inspiring consideration, the Holy Father proceeds to unfold the rationale for the Year of Faith - "a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world." The revelation of God's Love for us through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus for our salvation, calls us to conversion through the forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31). He shows how Saint Paul demonstrates that this Love " ushers us into new life" (Rom. 6:4) . Through Faith this new life transforms human existence " according to the radical new reality of the Resurrection." The journey of Faith, is never completely finished in this life, he tells us,as "to the extent that he freely cooperates, man's thoughts and affections, mentality and conduct are slowly purified and transformed." Faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6) becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man's life.( Cf. Rom. 12:2, Col. 3- 9:10, Eph. 4: 20-29, 2Cor. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Now that we have completed our overview of PORTA FIDEI, we return to the text for careful reflection.

Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pope Benedict recalls Our Lord’s expectation of His disciples and calls us to reflect on how dire the situation might be if we do not meet the Saviour’s expectations.

On the Mount of the Beatitudes

But what were they? 

Let us recall the times and the scene: Jesus had been preaching and teaching in Galilee with great effect. So great indeed, that people were flocking to hear Him from all over Galilee and the Decapolis, from Judea and Jerusalem itself, from Syria and even from across the Jordan. So great were the numbers, that Jesus ascended a low mountain which, even to-day, commands a wide plain. From here he delivered the Sermon on the Mount and gave the world the Beatitudes.

 But after the Divine revelation of the Beatitudes, He had still more to say to the disciples, listen to the Lord of the World as He speaks:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.”(Matt. 5:13) 

He goes on: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in Heaven. ( Matt.  5: 14-16)

Jesus‘ expectations of those disciples in far off Galilee some 2,000 years ago are the very same for us to-day, it is as if we were sitting at His feet on that slope and , eyeball to eyeball with God made man. An electrifying thought!

The Holy Father moves our thoughts along. He recalls the Samaritan woman at the well and says that we must, like her, get close to Jesus and draw from Him, the water of salvation. In Jesus we must renew our knowledge and realization of the Word of Life and the Bread of Salvation. In this call by the Holy Father, and reflecting on his remarks shortly before, we see a great reality. We can never assume that “we have arrived” at the fullness of Christian life, rather, we must always be striving to grow in our knowledge and closeness to Christ. 

This is true not only for the individual but for the Church as a whole. For the society in which we live is continually evolving, often in ways that are not immediately apparent, but over time, come to confront us with unpalatable situations. In very recent years, in many places, the social order was well founded on Christian principles. Over time these have been subverted to the point where they are now openly challenged. So there can be no standing still in the Christian life .We must live in reality as “the salt of the earth” instilling and defending what is right and be the “light of world” leading men to Christ.


For this reason the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict has announced the YEAR OF FAITH:
The YEAR OF FAITH will commence on 11th October, 2012.  But why this date?

It is the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
From the very beginning of his Pontificate, The Holy Father has been deliberate in his efforts to correct and root out the false “spirit of the Council” concept which relies upon a Hermeneutic of Rupture – spreading the false idea that the Council radically broke with the Church’s Tradition and brought into being a New Church – thus its servants speak of “the pre- Vatican II Church” and “the Post-Conciliar Church”. His Holiness has definitively refuted this proposition. By careful argument he has shown that in fact the only true view of the Council’s reality is provided by the adoption of a Hermeneutic of Continuity.

 For the Church is in fact the same throughout all time .Christ established one Church to last until He come again. No Council has the power to alter her Divine constitution or her infallibly taught Doctrine. Vatican II certainly did not. Nor did it do, or require many of the aberrations attributed to “the spirit of the Council”. Pope Benedict sees rightly that the Council was the work of the Holy Spirit and therefore he is keen to recover its authentic teachings, which have often been obscured by the fabrications of the false “spirit of the Council” activists. So by commencing the YEAR OF FAITH on the 50th Anniversary of the day the Council opened, he is drawing attention to the importance of the authentic teaching of the Council in the life of Faith.

For the same reason Blessed Pope John Paul II launched the Catechism of the Catholic Church on that same day and 2012 will see the 20th Anniversary of that great achievement – an authentic fruit of the Council as Pope Benedict reminds us.

The YEAR OF FAITH will end on 24th November, 2013 the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King. It will provide a year of particular reflection upon, and re-discovery of the Catholic Faith. A proper relationship with Christ in the Church which He founded- the one true Church – will always recognize this Universal Kingship of Christ. ( In fact it is emphasised in the Title of our sister Blog VEXILLA REGIS and in its sub-title : VEXILLA REGIS – “The BANNERS OF THE KING” and, CHRISTUS VINCIT, CHRISTUS REGNAT, CHRISTUS IMPERAT, CHRISTUS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SUAM DEFENDAT  - “CHRIST CONQUERS, CHRIST REIGNS, CHRIST RULES , CHRIST FROM ALL EVIL DEFENDS HIS PEOPLE”)

Pope Benedict also recalls that in October, 2012 the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops he has convened will have as its theme “THE NEW EVANGELISATION FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH”
He also asks us to note that in 1967 his Predecessor Pope Paul VI also announced a YEAR OF FAITH to commemorate the 19th centenary of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. Pope Paul saw it as a “consequence of the Council and a necessity of the post Conciliar period”. Pope Paul recognised the particular problems of that time, of universal political and societal upheaval and of difficulties in the profession of the true Faith and its correct interpretation. To-day, in very different times, the crises though different are no less acute and Faith is in need of renewal and re-invigoration as always.
In succeeding posts we will continue to follow the development of the Holy Father’s thought in PORTA FIDEI.