Quote

I Am Love, by Keith JohnsonAnyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. When this awareness is keen it makes whoever possesses it long to be enlightened by the divine light, and this longing is so intense that it seems to penetrate his very bones. He loses all consciousness of himself and is entirely transformed by the love of God.

From the treatise On Spiritual Perfection by Diadochus of Photice

Just a little nugget of wisdom from today’s Office of Readings.

Pope’s Sunday Angelus

Sacred Heart of Jesus by ChambersBelow is the Vatican Radio translation of Pope Francis’ remarks to the faithful before praying the Angelus with them in St. Peter’s Square.

Dear brothers and sisters!

The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest human expression of divine love. Just this past Friday, in fact, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the feast that sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety highly prizes symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which salvation for all humanity gushed forth.

In the Gospels we find several references to the Heart of Jesus, for example, in the passage where Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. (Mt 11:28-29)” Then there is the key story of the death of Christ according to John. This evangelist in fact testifies to what he saw on Calvary: that a soldier, when Jesus was already dead, pierced his side with a spear, and from the wound flowed blood and water (cf. Jn 19.33-34). John recognized in that – apparently random – sign, the fulfillment of prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb slain on the cross, flow forgiveness and life for all men.

But the mercy of Jesus is not just sentiment: indeed it is a force that gives life, that raises man up! [This Sunday]’s Gospel tells us this as well, in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is just arrived in Nain, a village in Galilee, at the very moment in which a funeral is taking place. a boy is buried, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately fixes itself on the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her, the Lord was moved with great compassion for her (v. 13).” This “compassion” is the love of God for man, it is mercy, i.e. the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our poverty, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: a mother, in fact, experiences a reaction all her own, to the pain of her children. In this way does God love us, the Scripture says.

And what is the fruit of this love? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain, “Do not weep,” and then called the dead boy and awoke him as from a sleep (cf. vv. 13-15). The mercy of God gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. The Lord is always watching us with mercy, [always] awaits us with mercy. Let us be not afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy! Let us never forget this: He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!

Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her immaculate heart – a mother’s heart – has shared the “compassion” of God to the full, especially at the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. May Mary help us to be meek, humble and compassionate with our brethren.

After the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke these words to Pilgrims:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today in Krakow are proclaimed Blessed two Polish women religious: Zofia Czeska Maciejowska, who, in the first half of the 17th century, founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Margaret Lucia Szewczyk, who in the 19thcentury founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows. With the Church in Krakow we give thanks to the Lord!

I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present today: church groups, families, schools, associations, movements.

I greet the faithful from Mumbai, India.

I greet the Family Love Movement of Rome, the confraternities and volunteers of the Sanctuary of Mongiovino, near Perugia, Umbria, the Young Franciscans of Umbria, the “House of Charity” in Lecce, the faithful of the province of Modena, whom I encourage [in their work of] reconstruction [the region was hard-hit by an earthquake in 2012], and those of Ceprano. I greet the pilgrims of Ortona, where we venerate the relics of the Apostle Thomas, who made ​​a journey “from Thomas to Peter”! Thank you!

I wish you all a good Sunday, and a good lunch!

Love’s work is done

Grunewaldcrucifixion

CRUX fidelis,
inter omnes
arbor una nobilis;
nulla talem silva profert,
flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
dulce pondus sustinens!
FAITHFUL Cross!
above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!

And it was night. Jn13:30  There is a chill that grips the heart as one reads those three words.

Judas moves into the shadows to betray his Master, His Lord.

As he closes the door of the upper room, he shuts fast the door of his heart to God’s mercy and grace. As he moves from light to darkness he seals his descison with that terrible kiss of betrayal.

The evil one has done his work, in those early hours of the morning, in the night, under the cover of darkness. Conniving, orchestrating, his lying lips pressed against the ears of those in his power, whispering fear, whispering hate.

The evil one has done his work.  Jesus: falsely charged and cruelly driven before his captors to that dreadful place of execution.

Jesus: fastened to that tree of torture by Love, it is Love that holds Him fast on that tree of death.

Hate has done it’s work, now Love will show His power.

Love in vulnerability has shattered those bonds that hate holds hostage.

It is finished. Jn 19:30  The Sacrifice complete, mankind is freed from that curse of old.  Love’s work is done.

They Picked Up Stones

By guest blogger Dr. David Delaney

Thursday’s Gospel reminds me of the dangers of the fallen heart.  The Pharisees, the teachers of the law, were so sure that they knew the fullness of the Law (Jn 8:51-59).  However, when faced with the Law’s fullness, Jesus who is the Law, they could not recognize Him.  He did not conform to their limited understanding of God.  They refused to step back and ask themselves if this might be a new Prophet, even the Messiah.  Their hearts were closed to a re-evaluation of their interpretation of the law; they did not consider if they understood it only partially.

I can’t help but see a parallel here to recent criticisms of our Holy Father Francis from some Catholics who are concerned about his liturgical sensibilities.  I share their concern for authentic liturgy.  I strongly believe that a liturgy that helps us to understand we are at once on earth and in heaven, is necessary for the new evangelization.  However, a group of these “liturgically sensitive” Catholics seems to have allowed this concern to affect the openness of their hearts to our newly elected Vicar of Christ and have given themselves up to suspicion and even contempt.  Like the Pharisees, some have even taken to calling him the equivalent of “possessed.”

Pope Francis is going to be full of surprises for all of us.  Before Pope Francis, we had two great teaching popes who used their personal gifts to bring a new synthesis of the faith to the contemporary world.  Francis will be another great teaching Pope, but he will be more sparing in his use of words.  He will use words, but he will demonstrate them in action in ways that will surprise most of us, and unfortunately, his demonstrations will become a stumbling block to others who have not fully understood the teaching of his predecessors.

Blessed John Paul the Great emphasized in his writings the necessity of acting in love, in accord with the teachings of Christ through His Church.  His message that we must not be afraid, gave us the hope that Christ was still faithful to His promises, the He is still alive in His Church. Benedict XVI, perhaps the greatest theological intellect to grace the papal office since St. Gregory the Great (though JPII was not far behind), emphasized the need for faith.  He fought especially against the dictatorship of relativism by which the enemy seeks to undermine the reasonableness of belief.  Benedict demonstrated that greatness of intellect does in fact bring one to deep faith in Christ.  A most important message for our time.

By most accounts of those who know him, Pope Francis like his predecessors, is a very intelligent man of great faith, humility, love and holiness.  However, his personal style is more like his name’s sake.  While St. Francis was a great evangelist, we have nothing of his writings.  He was a man of living out the words he preached (though there is no evidence he said “preach always and if you must, use words”).  I believe that this is what we will see from Pope Francis.  He will teach using few words, which will be followed by provocative acts of love and humility.

Expect to see love lived out in ways that will teach us anew what it means to be a Christian.  For those of us who have read the words of the previous popes, but not yet let these words fully penetrate our hearts and convict us by how we live, expect to be a little bit uncomfortable.  However, we must let our hearts be docile and trust in Christ that He is still leading His Church through Pope Francis.

I believe that this is the papacy of love; it is the necessary final step in experiencing the new springtime in the Church, the fruits of the last 30 years of preparation for this new evangelization.  When as faithful Catholics we begin to allow our actions to authentically witness to Christ, the pagan empire will begin its Christian conversion once again.  Let us open our hearts to Christ in His Vicar.  Let us not be one of the Pharisees who begins to pick up stones…

Dr. Delaney is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas.  He previously wrote for the now defunct Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex blog.

What more can He give?

Our Christian faith is truly an incredible, amazing, astounding, thing!

Of all the religions in all the world, which among them can claim the truths we as Christians profess?

The following quote brings home that most wonderful of truths:  truly, we have a God who loves each of us in such a personal way!

I will serve you, because I came ‘to serve and not to be served.’
I am a friend, and a brother and sister, and a mother;
I am everything, and all I want is an intimate friendship with you.
I have become poor for you,
a beggar for you,
been crucified for you,
buried in a sepulchre for you.
In Heaven I intercede before God the Father for you;
and on earth I am His ambassador to you.
You are everything to me, brother, co-heir, friend.
What more do you want?

St John Chrysostom

Sometimes when we are going through many trials and difficulties, we forget how close the Lord really is to us. How much He cares for us, how much He has done for us.

Jesus is Love in action! He has proven His love.

Can we prove our love for Him?