Categories
Church

Pope Benedict on Devotion to the Blood of Christ

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2009 (VIS) – At midday
today, before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled how the
first
Sunday of July was once dedicated to devotion to the Most Precious
Blood
of Christ, a tradition confirmed “by Blessed John XXIII who, in
his
Apostolic Letter ‘Inde a primis’ of 30 June 1960, explained its
significance and approved its litanies”.

 

 
Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the
Pope
pointed out that “the theme of blood, associated with that of the
Pascal
Lamb, is of primary importance in Sacred Scripture”, and he
recalled
Christ’s words at the Last Supper: “this is my blood of the
covenant,
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of
sins”.

 

 
“It is written in Genesis that the blood of Abel killed by
his
brother Cain calls to God from the earth. Unfortunately, today as
yesterday, this cry has not ceased as human blood continues to
flow
because of violence, injustice and hatred. When will men learn
that life
is sacred and belongs only to God? When will they understand that
we are
all brothers? To the cry for spilt blood which rises from so many
parts of
the earth, God responds with the blood of His Son Who gave His
life for
us. Christ did not respond to evil with evil, but with good, with
His
infinite love.

 

 
“The Blood of Christ is the pledge of God’s faithful love
for
humankind. By gazing at the wounds of the crucified Christ each
man, even
in conditions of abject moral poverty, can say: ‘God has not
abandoned me,
He loves me, He gave his life for me’, and thus rediscover
hope”.

Categories
Church Reflections

OR: Saturday of the 7th Week of Easter

I wrote this yesterday while sitting in a coffee shop in Houston, away from a computer or an Internet connection.

The Office of Readings for [yesterday] (Saturday of the 7th Week of Easter) had two interesting readings: the first was the entire third letter of St. John (don’t worry, it is only 14 verses) and the second was from a sermon from “a sixth-century African author”.
The third letter of John is telling of some unrest in the developing church. John writes to Gaius, first discussing those that help the brothers even though they are strangers. Later, he voices frustration that the leader of the local church (who according to St. John loves being a leader) not only doesn’t help fellow members of the faith who travel into his area, but forbids, on pain of excommunication, anyone from the church to assist. 
The sixth-century author writes more of the unity of the church. The author mentions that at the first Pentecost (the birthday of the Church, which [was celebrated today]), the apostles could speak all languages and that was seen as a sign of the Spirit. Yet today (both in the sixth and twenty-first centuries), few after their confirmation are blessed with such a gift. What are we to reply when we are quested about this disparity?
We do, in fact, speak all languages, as we are members of the Church, the body of Christ, and the Church speaks all languages. Ergo, God’s promise of speaking in tongues is true in our unity. Our gifts are not only the gifts which we are individually blessed with, but the gifts of the entire community.
Additionally, therefore, as we benefit from the gifts given to all, we are to share our gifts with the community. 
While our Christian church is quite fragmented–Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, these new “Faith” preachers, etc–and our common efforts to reflect the unity we are called to aren’t always actually helpful (e.g. some Christian denominations making a very public action of transferring ministers of one faith into another), we must strive to that unity. 
How are we to do this? Through dialog, discussion, prayer. We must represent our faith true to our understanding, but open to others. We must look at Scripture, tradition and the intersection of these things with open minds and hearts. We must strive to understand the correct role of the Bible, the correct role of Tradition, the reason for both the words in Scripture and the root of Tradition. We do not need to look exactly alike, but there must be a common standard.
For the Church, we see the unity in the role of Peter quite important, but more so, the source and summit of our faith–the Eucharist–the humble bread and wine being transformed through the power granted to the priest as part of the one sacrifice on the Cross into the Body and Blood of Christ that we are mandated to consume and share.
It’s a long road, but one that must be traveled, if we’re to witness to the Glory of God the Father through Jesus Christ.
The Office of Readings–the entire office actually–is so full of wisdom. The entire Liturgy of the Church directs us to a life enhanced to the fullness of the Word–Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Categories
Church Current Events

Holy Thursday

The Triduum starts. Tonight, we celebrate the life of Jesus Christ, the priesthood and Eucharist He established and the command He gives us to serve all.

Lent ends before Evening Prayer, which is only said by those who do not participate in the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper tonight. While Lent is over, it doesn’t mean go and do whatever you gave up for Lent. Wait until after the Vigil :-).

Categories
Church

In those days a decree went out…

A blessed Christmas to everyone!

Tonight, tomorrow and truly until early January, we celebrate in a specific way the incarnation of God. God the Son, the only of the Father, nine months having passed from when the Angel approached Mary and informed her of God’s great role for her in the salvific plan, was born into this world.

Jesus the Christ came into our imperfect world and made it perfect. He didn’t remove the imperfection; he instead gave us the path of perfection, the path toward him and our eternal salvation that was are compelled to walk. Our Creator did not impact our free will and we are free to not follow Christ, but if we are true to ourselves, true to our nature, we cannot choose any course of action beside the one that follows the path of Jesus Christ.

Whether we celebrate Christmas surrounded by the beauty of St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill, or in a barn-looking church, or solely within our own homes, we should take note and celebrate that no matter when the first Christmas truly occurred (we all admit that December 25th was probably not the actual date, save some awesome divine providence), that all of human kind is changed now that our own creator, our God, took the form of the creation and walked as one of us.

His incarnation is the first of many things Jesus shared with all of us. He knew family, homelessness, good friends, betrayal, power, powerlessness, sadness, joy, but more core to us than any of those things, he shared with us our human existence.

Through him, we can know what it is to be divine. We make the mistake quite often to say that our goal in life is to be good Christians, to be good Christ-like folks. This is incorrect. Our goal within this life on earth is to be Christ to other people. Through our hands, our actions, our words, we can become Christ to other people. His incarnation mingled humanity and divinity. Humanity was joined with divinity through his birth, and divinity was joined with humanity through the first Pentecost.

During this Christmas season, let’s take a break from all of the craziness that exists in the world and this time of year, and think about what it means to have Word made Flesh.