"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
I would like to share with you the importance of listening to God as shared by one of the brothers. This is done through reference to various passages of Scripture.
The first passage is know as Shema Yisrael. This is the centrepiece of Jewish morning and evening prayer services. This prayer is found in the book of Deuteronomy 6:4 “Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God. The LORD is the only God.” As we can see, the first word is “Listen.” This is the beginning and end of prayer - to be open to listening attentively.
This is again highlighted in the story of God calling out to Samuel. Samuel is asleep and hears a voice calling in the night. Samuel assumes it is Eli calling him and he runs to wake up Eli and ask him what he wants. Eli tells him that he did not call him and instructs Samuel to return to sleep. This happens a second and a third time. On the third occasion Eli realises that it is God calling Samuel (who was sleeping in the room containing the Ark of the Covenant) and instructs him as follows- “Go lie down," Eli told Samuel. "When he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD. I'm listening.'" (1Sam 3:9).
Samuel does as instructed and the Lord instructs him.
We now see the same theme appearing in the New Testament. At the baptism of Jesus: A voice came out of the cloud and said, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him!" (Luke 9:35)
And when one of the scribes ask Jesus which is the most important commandment what is the first word Jesus says?
“Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. “ (Mar 12:29). Listen.
Sometimes when we pray we are so busy listing our petitions that we don’t wait for the answer. We don’t join with Samuel in saying “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.” We need to spend time in the School of Silence in the presence of the Lord and listen to wait he moves our hearts towards. Let us pray that we can find the time, courage, and patience to do so.
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
Sunday, 26 September 2010
This morning we joined the prayer vigil being held outside “Marie Stopes House” close to Warren Street station in London. This has been based here since 1925. Of interest is that nowhere do they mention abortion on the site. I had a peak at there most recent available financial report (for the financial year ending 31 December 2008) and the first item mentioned under significant activities is: “significantly expanding delivery of family planning services including prevention of unsafe abortions (providing the
equivalent of 592,715 safe abortions in 2008, an increase of 29% over 2007)”
There is no mention of how many abortions where provided in the UK, but as the cost of the procedure during the first 12 weeks of the baby’s life is around £510, you can be assured that this is a major portion of there income. This is typical of the abortion industries advertising techniques. They present themselves as offering a variety of services, but the cash cow is the abortion.
This is so sad. Marie Stopes was a racist eugenicist who saw birth control and abortion as a way of preventing “inferior races” from pro-creating, and she is celebrated! This is just wrong.
In her Radiant Motherhood (1920) she called for the "sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [to] be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory."
She contributed a chapter manifesto to The Control of Parenthood (1920), comprising a sort of manifesto for her circle of Eugenicists, arguing for a "utopia" to be achieved through "racial purification":
Those who are grown up in the present active generations, the matured and hardened, with all their weaknesses and flaws, cannot do very much, though they may do something with themselves. They can, however, study the conditions under which they came into being, discover where lie the chief sources of defect, and eliminate those sources of defect from the coming generation so as to remove from those who are still to be born the needless burdens the race has carried.” (Marie C. Stopes, "Racial and Imperial Aspects, (section) II", p. 207 et seq. (this quotation, see p. 208-09), in The Control of Parenthood, various authors, James Marchant, ed., 1920.)
Please join us in the 40 Days for life campaign. We need to pray for healing and pray that mothers will value the beauty of their vocation. Let’s make sure that the door to Mary Stopes and other providers stays closed (as in the picture below, taken today) and not open like in their logo.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
The Little Fish
"Excuse me," said an ocean fish.
"You are older than I, so
can you tell me where to find
this thing they call the ocean?"
"The ocean," said the older fish, "is the thing
you are in now."
"Oh, this? But this is water. What I'm seeking
is the ocean," said the disappointed fish
as he swam away to search elsewhere.
To further aid this meditation let us remember that when the references are made to "the Kingdom of God" in the Gospels the word used for “Kingdom” is not a noun. It is a verb! The Hebrew word is malkut; it means the active lordship of the king. We can say then that the Kingdom of God does not lie after death, but exists on earth when we allow Gods will to rule our lives (see Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI for more on this).
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Pope Benedict’s personal style is quiet and ingratiating. His evident humility, and the deference with which he treats others, make it impossible for the public to continue thinking of him as the media had portrayed him. The people of Great Britain did not see a stern, rigid ideologue. They saw a mild, self-deprecating man who treated them with respect—and, because he respected them, told them the truth. ...
Pope Benedict was gentle but relentless in challenging the basic ideas that sustained that distinctively Protestant imperial era. In his historic address at Westminster Hall—with every living former prime minister in attendance—the Pope suggested that St. Thomas More, who had been condemned to death in that same hall, was a model for Church-state relations. At Lambeth Palace, speaking to Anglican bishops with the Archbishop of Canterbury at his side, he proposed Blessed John Henry Newman as a model for ecumenical affairs. Now obviously if St. Thomas More was right, then King Henry was wrong to have him executed, and to break with the Holy See. If Cardinal Newman was right, then today’s Anglican prelates can make themselves right by entering the Catholic Church. The Pope did not draw out these conclusions, but his implications were inescapable.
Indeed, the impact of Pope Benedict’s message to Great Britain was heightened by the things he did not say—because he did not need to say them. In his address to Anglican prelates he did not focus on Anglicanorum Coetibus, with its bold invitation for Anglicans to enter into the Catholic Church. But surely that apostolic constitution was on the minds of the Anglican bishops who were listening as he spoke about the path to Christian unity. At Westminster Hall, when he praised the anti-slavery crusade led by William Wilberforce, he did not mention today’s battle to end abortion, but only a very dull politician would fail to notice the parallel. When he mentioned that Westminster Abbey is dedicated to St. Peter, he could rely on those who listened to realize that St. Peter’s successor was now in the building. And when he recalled the great heritage of British Christianity dating back to the times of St. Edward the Confessor and the Venerable Bede, it required very little imagination to notice that those happy days were before the split that gave rise to the Church of England.
Throughout the trip, Pope Benedict was quietly, humbly, but persistently staking a claim. He was not coming to Britain as a visitor from outside, hoping to be welcomed by the nation’s leaders. He was claiming, as St. Peter’s successor, to be the rightful moral leader of this old Christian society. He was inviting Britain to end its 400-year flirtation with Protestantism and reclaim its Catholic heritage. He was promising that a nation founded on the truths of the Catholic faith could be a prosperous, pluralistic, and successful modern society.
The Pope was making an astonishingly bold series of claims, really. He made them with disarming humility, so that his audiences did not take offense. Still the challenges were unmistakable. Now with the Pope back in Rome, a stunned British society has time to digest the papal message, to realize the implications of what he said, to sit up and think.
The full text is at: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=462
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
"The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension." (35, Caritas in Veritate, Benedict XVI)
We are made to give, but also to receive (as was pointed out yesterday). But we need to understand that being motivated to act only in our own interest, in a selfish way that is only directed at receiving will never fulfil our needs, it will never complete us.So many of us are trying to get as much money or as many possessions as we can. We become driven for the next purchase or paycheck, always fooling ourselves that it will make us feel better... it goes without saying, and we all know, it never does. I heard a clip of Prince at a concert saying "Money won't buy you happiness, but it'll sure pay for the search." I hate to say it, but this is blatantly false. It can only pay the passage towards diversion. Anthony De Mello, SJ, gave a presentation where he used the quote "True happiness is not caused, it just is." We need to be able to find the direction. We need to be able to give, to give of ourselves in sharing the suffering of others. Also, not forgetting, to be able to share their happiness also. This sharing of happiness can be difficult at times. The all too human traits of jealousy and envy poke their heads out at these times. We need to turn to God for the humility to be able to see everything we receive as gift and then share these gifts with others, at the same time as sharing in the joy of their gifts.
I will just end with another quote from the same passage in the encyclical:
"Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that follows from being selfishly closed in upon himself, and it is a consequence - to express it in faith terms - of original sin." (Ibid)
Let's pray for the humility to accept God's hand in our lives and be able to fulfil our true natures while we reach for the eternity of heaven.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Mr Uche, Dear young friends, thank you for your warm welcome.
Heart Speaks unto heart, as you know I chose these words so dear to Cardinal Newman as the theme of my visit. In these few moments that we are together I wish to speak to you from my own heart, and I ask to open your hearts to what I have to say.
I ask each of you first and foremost to look into your own heart, think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and also love it is meant to give, after all we were made for love. This is what the Bible means when it says that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We were made to know the God of love, the God who is father, son and Holy Spirit, and to find our supreme fulfilment in that Divine love that knows no beginning or end.
We were made to receive love, and we have. Every day we should thank God for the love we have already known. For the love that has made us who we are. The love that is shown us what is truly important in life. We need to thank the Lord for the love we have received from our families, our friends, our teachers, and all those people in our lives who have helped us to realise how precious we are in their eyes, and in the eyes of God.
We were also made to give love, to make the inspirational for all we do, and the most enduring thing in our lives. At times it seems so natural, especially when we feel the exhilaration of love, when our hearts brim over with generosity, idealism, the desire to help others to build a better world -- but at other times, we realise it is difficult to love. Our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride. The Blessed mother Theresa of Calcutta, the great missionary of charity reminded us that giving love, pure and generous love, is the fruit of a daily decision.
Every day we have to choose to love and this requires help. The help that comes from Christ, from the wisdom found in his word. And from the Grace which he bestows us in the sacraments of his church. This is the message I want to share with you today. I ask you to look into your hearts, each day, to find the source of all true love. Jesus is always there. Quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice. Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer, but this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline.
It requires time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak.
Even amidst the business and stress of our daily lives we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God. And in silence that we discover our true self.
And in discovering our true self we discover the particular vocation which God has given us for the building up of his church and the redemption of our world. Heart speaks unto heart. With these words from my heart, dear young friends, this is word’s from my heart.I assure you of my prayers for you.
That our lives will bear fruit of the cross, of the civilisation of the cross, I ask you to pray for me, for my Ministry as the successor of Peter, and for the needs of the church throughout the world. Upon you, your families and friends, I call on you God's blessing of wisdom, joy and peace.
Monday, 20 September 2010
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Saturday, 18 September 2010
Friday, 17 September 2010
Thursday, 16 September 2010
16/09/2010 12:00 pm
Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh, Thursday, 16 September 2010
I am delighted to welcome you to the United Kingdom, and particularly to Scotland, on your first visit as Pope. I recall with great pleasure the memorable pastoral visit of the late Pope John Paul II to this country in 1982. I also have vivid memories of my four visits to the Vatican, and of meeting some of your predecessors on other occasions. I am most grateful to them for receiving, over the years, a number of members of my family with such warm hospitality.
Much has changed in the world during the nearly thirty years since Pope John Paul's visit. In this country, we deeply appreciate the involvement of the Holy See in the dramatic improvement in the situation in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere the fall of totalitarian regimes across central and eastern Europe has allowed greater freedom for hundreds of millions of people. The Holy See continues to have an important role in international issues, in support of peace and development and in addressing common problems like poverty and climate change.
Your Holiness, your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage, and of the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace, and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world. We are all aware of the special contribution of the Roman Catholic Church particularly in its ministry to the poorest and most deprived members of society, its care for the homeless and for the education provided by its extensive network of schools. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Religion has always been a crucial element in national identity and historical self-consciousness. This has made the relationship between the different faiths a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states. It is, therefore, vital to encourage a greater mutual, and respectful understanding. We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established.
I know that reconciliation was a central theme in the life of Cardinal John Henry Newman, for whom you will be holding a Mass of Beatification on Sunday. A man who struggled with doubt and uncertainty, his contribution to the understanding of Christianity continues to influence many. I am pleased that your visit will also provide an opportunity to deepen the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the established Church of England and the Church of Scotland.
Your Holiness, in recent times you have said that 'religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified'. Today, in this country, we stand united in that conviction. We hold that freedom to worship is at the core of our tolerant and democratic society.
On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom I wish you a most fruitful and memorable visit.
What makes the headlines in the British press today ???Cardinal Waler Kasper’s remark about Britain as "Third World” with “a new and aggressive atheism”, sex abuse scandals, Richard Dawkins' protests and how much it costs British taxpayers … You look at the biggest newspapers and you see how much excited they are about the visit. The Independent (Irish newspaper group controlled by Tony O'Reilly) doesn’t even bother to mention that fact on the first pages. The Guardian (owned by Guardian Media Group (Scott Trust) concentrated on the victims of sex abuse scandals. The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Group (Barclay brothers)) wasn’t so negative today and even place a photo of a 9-year old cancer-battled schoolboy Anton McManus who wrote to ask for the Pope's blessing - telling him: "If anyone can help me God can”…. and they give “Our distinguished guest must be allowed to exercise it” – wow, what generosity! But of course they must reffered to another animosity against the Papal’s past: “he is expected to recognize this by referring to the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a gesture rendered all the more poignant by the fact that as a very young man he served, briefly and unwillingly, in Hitler's armed forces”. The best so far was “The Times” (News International owned by Rupert Murdoch). They prepared a 16-page souvenir of Papal visit but of course did not resist to refer to the “Third World” remark on the first page. To be read carefully though as it’s a mish mash of everything – an article by Edward Stourton portraying the Pope as countercultural, willing to mix in the political arena (why not?), pointing to the abuse scandals hence “Catholics are no longer willing to give their leaders the benefit of the doubt” (well, would they give it to any politician?)… and of course a reference to the BBC pool that says 63% of British Catholics think that women should have more authority and status in the Church (see the adverts encouraging Pope to ordain women priests). If I do my math correctly there are 6 million Catholics in Britain but only around 1.5 million are regular church goers (that’s 25%) … now, it all depends on who you ask … the lapsed Catholics or the most faithful … I am sure you will get different opinions.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Il Bambina is the child Mary. The statue you see in the photos is a copy of one in the Parish Church in Xaghra which was brought from Marseilles in 1878.
|Archbishop Vincent Nichols|
|Archbishop Paul Cremona|
|Il Bambina bringing some blessings to London|
|Traditional Maltese dress|
|Archbishop Paul with the choir|
|Ladies in traditional clothing|
|Proof I was there :-)|
|The Rainbow that appeared during Salve Regina|
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Sunday, 12 September 2010
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Reflection: This year I am moved again by the sacred month of Ramadan and the awareness that the feast of Yom Kippur is approaching. Despite not being part of either of these celebrations, I am struck by their call to deeper conversion. As people from the Muslim and Jewish faiths enter into this time of fasting and prayer, my own Christian faith is challenged. I find myself again having to confront this mystery that is God. God who is fundamentally beyond my understanding and yet who moves people of all faiths to live more profound lives. I am challenged to ask myself; am I really living from the depth of my Christian belief? Does my life reflect that I follow Jesus and want to be like him?
Prayer: Lord as I begin this week I spend a moment in silence, bringing to my awareness the choices I will be faced with. Help me to live my life in word, thought and action, so as to best reflect your love in the world.
(From the Jesuit Institute of South Africa - click the picture of Black Jesus in the sidebar to link to them)
Monday, 6 September 2010
Let us make God great in public and in private life. This means making room for God in our lives every day, starting in the morning with prayers, and then dedicating time to God, giving Sundays to God. We do not waste our free time if we offer it to God. If God enters into our time, all time becomes greater, roomier, richer.
Friday, 3 September 2010
Transforming facts into meanings - three unrealities: the past, present and future - On William Blake
(The above is taken from the book Subversive Orthodoxy by Robert Inchausti)
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
A quote from Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI before he became Pope) that made my day much more reflective.
"Something I constantly notice is that unembarrassed joy has become rarer. Joy today is increasingly saddled with moral and ideological burdens, so to speak. When someone rejoices, he is afraid of offending against solidarity with the many people who suffer. I don't have any right to rejoice, people think, in a world where there is so much misery, so much injustice. I can understand that. There is a moral attitude at work here. But this attitude is nonetheless wrong. The loss of joy does not make the world better - and, conversely, refusing joy for the sake of suffering does not help those who suffer. The contrary is true. The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the impetus and courage to do good. Joy, then, does not break with solidarity. When it is the right kind of joy, when it is not egotistic, when it comes from the perception of the good, then it wants to communicate itself, and it gets passed on. In this connection, it always strikes me that in the poor neighborhoods of, say, South America, one sees many more laughing happy people than among us. Obviously, despite all their misery, they still have the perception of the good to which they cling and in which they can find encouragement and strength. In this sense we have a new need for that primordial trust which ultimately only faith can give. That the world is basically good, that God is there and is good. That it is good to live and to be a human being. This results, then, in the courage to rejoice, which in turn becomes commitment to making sure that other people, too, can rejoice and receive good news."
From Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium: An Interview With Peter Seewald
Thanks to "Aggies Catholics" blog