Category Archives: Papal Address

Open to the Light of Christ

“Through Christ we know that we are not destined to wander into an abyss, or the silence of nothingness or death, but that we are pilgrims on a journey to the promised land.”

With these words, Pope Benedict XVI greeted the seminarians gathered in the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena to participate in the Eucharistic celebration. In the joyful climate of World Youth Day last month, the Holy Father invited all of the men to live these years of preparation in interior silence, constant prayer, and assiduous study in order to understand if the path they are on–a path that “requires audacity and authenticity”–is the right choice for their lives.

Mary, Model of Meditation

Today, as we celebrate the Queenship of Mary, I thought I would offer you the following excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday Audience last week, in which he continued his series of reflections on prayer, which truly is the lifeblood of all vocations in Christ:

“Today, I do not wish to speak about the whole journey of faith, but only about a small aspect of the life of prayer, which is a life of contact with God; namely, about meditation. And what is meditation? It means to ‘remember’ all that God has done and not to forget all His benefits (cf. Psalm 103:2b). Often, we see only the negative things. We also need to remember the good things, the gifts that God has given us; we need to be attentive to the positive signs that come from God, and remember these. Therefore, we are speaking about a kind of prayer that the Christian tradition calls ‘mental prayer.’ We are more familiar with vocal prayer, and naturally the mind and heart must also be present in this prayer, but today we are speaking about a meditation that consists not in words but in our mind making contact with the heart of God.

“And here Mary is a true model. The Evangelist Luke repeats numerous times that Mary, for her part, ‘kept all these things, pondering them in her heart’ (2:19; cf. 2:51). She keeps them; she does not forget. She is attentive to all that the Lord has said and done to her, and she ponders; that is, she makes contact with diverse things–she dwells deeply upon them in her heart. Continue reading Mary, Model of Meditation

The Word of God and the Consecrated Life

My men’s group has been reading Verbum Domini (“Word of the the Lord”), a 2010 apostolic exhortation by Pope Benedict XVI. This document synthesizes and puts the Pope’s stamp on the deliberations of the 2008 Synod of Bishops at the Vatican devoted to the topic of the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

This past week, we came to paragraph 83, which is devoted specifically to the relationship between the Word and consecrated life. Leaving out only the footnotes, that section is reproduced below:

With regard to the consecrated life, the Synod first recalled that it “is born from hearing the word of God and embracing the Gospel as its rule of life.” A life devoted to following Christ in his chastity, poverty and obedience thus becomes “a living ‘exegesis’ of God’s word.” The Holy Spirit, in whom the Bible was written, is the same Spirit who illumines “the word of God with new light for the founders and foundresses. Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it,” thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel. Continue reading The Word of God and the Consecrated Life

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

On May 15, 2011, the Church throughout the world will celebrate the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

This year’s theme is “proposing vocations in the local Church,” which brings home the importance of promoting vocations in our own families, parishes, and dioceses. The Church desires that young people feel “welcome” in the Church and learn to take responsibility for responding to God’s call in their lives.

In anticipation of the World Day, last November Pope Benedict published a message for the event, in which he wrote,

“Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by ‘other voices’ and his invitation to follow him by the gift of one’s own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations. It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration, and to enable hem to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond ‘yes’ to God and the Church. I encourage them, in the same words which I addressed to those who have already chosen to enter the seminary: ‘You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalization: they will always need the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with him and through him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity.'”

For the entire text of the Holy Father’s message, click here.

Pope’s 2011 Lenten Message

This week the Vatican released the 2011 Lenten Message of Pope Benedict XVI. The message’s title is taken from St. Paul: “You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him” (Colossians 2:12).

The message in its entirety may be viewed here. (Scroll down for the English translation.)

As the title suggests, this year’s focus is on the relationship between Baptism and Lent. The Holy Father writes:

“The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin and, at the same time, allows us to experience in our lives ‘the mind of Christ Jesus,’ is given to men and women freely. . . .

“Hence, Baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptized, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptised to reach the adult stature of Christ.

“A particular connection binds Baptism to Lent as the favorable time to experience this saving Grace. . . . Continue reading Pope’s 2011 Lenten Message