31 December 2007

Mary is Mother, but a Virgin Mother; Mary is a virgin, but a Mother Virgin. If either of these aspects is ignored, the mystery of Mary as the Gospels present her to us, cannot be properly understood.

- Homily, 1 January 2007
The Church, like the Virgin, does none other than show Jesus, the Saviour, to everyone, and reflects to each one the light of his face, the splendour of goodness and truth.

- Angelus Address, 1 January 2007
When man allows himself to be enlightened by the splendour of truth, he inwardly becomes a courageous peacemaker.

- Angelus Address, 1 January 2006

30 December 2007

What sense does it make to celebrate Christmas if we don't acknowledge that God has become man? The celebration becomes empty.

- General Audience, 19 December 2007
The Child, adored 2,000 years ago by the shepherds in a cave of Bethlehem, never stops visiting us in our daily life as we, like pilgrims, walk toward the Kingdom.

- General Audience, 19 December 2007
The vigilance of Advent means to live unter the eyes of the Judge and to prepare ourselves and the world for justice. By living under the eyes of the God-Judge, we can open the world to the arrival of his Son, preparing our hearts to welcome "the Lord who comes."

- General Audience, 19 December 2007
The Christian significance of waiting for justice implies that we begin to live under the eyes of the Judge, according to the criteria of the Judge; that we begin to live in his presence, rendering justice in our lives. By being just, putting ourselves in the presence of the Judge, we await Justice.

- General Audience, 19 December 2007
On one hand, Christmas is a commemoration of the incredible miracle of the birth of God's only Son, born of the Virgin Mary in the cave of Bethlehem. On the other hand, Christmas exhorts us to keep watch and pray, waiting for our Redeemer, who will come "to judge the living and the dead."

- General Audience, 19 December 2007
[O]ne can lose the way even at Christmas, one can exchange the true celebration for one that does not open the heart to Christ's joy.

- Angelus Address, 16 December 2007
Yes, joy enters the hearts of those who put themselves at the service of the lowly and poor. God abides in those who love like this and their souls rejoice. If, instead, people make an idol of happiness, they lose their way and it is truly hard for them to find the joy of which Jesus speaks. Unfortunately, this is what is proposed by cultures that replace God by individual happiness, mindsets that find their emblematic effect in seeking pleasure at all costs, in spreading drug use as an escape, a refuge in artificial paradises that later prove to be entirely deceptive.

- Angelus Address, 16 December 2007
The mystery of Bethlehem reveals to us God-with-us, the God close to us and not merely in the spatial and temporal sense; he is close to us because he has, as it were, "espoused" our humanity; he has taken our condition upon himself, choosing to be like us in all things save sin in order to make us become like him. Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.

- Angelus Address, 16 December 2007

17 December 2007

In trial and in sickness, God mysteriously visits us, and if we abandon ourselves to his will, we can experience the power of his love.

- Homily, 2 December 2007
Gathered every Sunday in the Lord’s House, we are consumed by Christ’s love and truth and empowered to bring hope to the world.

This sacrament of initiation, far more than a social ritual or welcome into a particular community, is the initiative of God.

When men and women are drawn away from the Lord’s dwelling place they inevitably wander in a wilderness of individual isolation and social fragmentation.

Teach us, Mary,
to believe, to hope, to love with you;
show us the way that leads to peace,
the way to the Kingdom of Jesus.
You, Star of Hope,
who wait for us anxiously in the everlasting light
of the eternal Homeland,
shine upon us and guide us through daily events,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen!
- Address, 8 December 2007
And it is today, in the present, that our future destiny is being played out. It is our actual conduct in this life that decides our eternal fate. At the end of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness - or lack of it - to the Child who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because he is the criterion of the measure that God has given to humanity. The Heavenly Father, who expressed his merciful love to us through the birth of his Only-Begotten Son, calls us to follow in his footsteps, making our existence, as he did, a gift of love. And the fruit of love is that fruit which "befits repentance", to which John the Baptist refers while he addresses cutting words to the Pharisees and Sadduccees among the crowds who had come for Baptism.

- Angelus Address, 9 December 2007

15 December 2007

At stake is the relationship between existence here and now and what we call the "hereafter": this is not a place in which we end up after death; on the contrary, it is the reality of God, the fullness of life towards which every human being is, as it were, leaning. God responded to this human expectation in Christ with the gift of hope.

- Homily, 1 December 2007
In fact, if God is lacking, hope is lacking. Everything loses its "substance".

- Homily, 1 December 2007
Advent, therefore, is a favourable time for the rediscovery of a hope that is not vague and deceptive but certain and reliable, because it is "anchored" in Christ, God made man, the rock of our salvation.

- Homily, 1 December 2007
It is faith in Christ that enlightens Christians regarding sickness and the condition of the aged person, as in every other event and phase of existence. Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave human suffering a transcendent value and meaning. Faced with suffering and sickness, believers are invited to remain calm because nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of Christ. In him and with him it is possible to face and overcome every physical and spiritual trial and to experience, exactly in the moment of greatest weakness, the fruits of Redemption. The Risen Lord manifests himself to those who believe in him as the Living One who transforms human existence, giving even sickness and death a salvific sense.

- Address to the 22nd International Congress of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care,
17 November 2007

01 December 2007

Christians are called to assume the condition of a "servant", following in Jesus' footsteps, that is, spending their lives for others in a free and disinterested way. It is not the search for power and success but humble self-giving for the good of the Church that must mark our every action and our every word. True Christian greatness, in fact, does not consist in dominating but in serving.

- Homily, 24 November 2007
Jesus wants you to be his true friends, and for this it is necessary for you to cultivate a close relationship with Him constantly in prayer and docile listening to his Word. He wants you to be his witnesses, and for this it is necessary for you to be committed to living the Gospel courageously and expressing it in concrete acts of love of God and generous service to your brothers and sisters. The Church needs you too and is counting on your contribution.

18 October 2007
[source]
[S]tudy constitutes a providential opportunity to advance on the journey of faith, because a well-cultivated intelligence opens the heart of man to listen to the voice of God, emphasizing the importance of discernment and humility.

9 November 2007
To believe in study" means to recognize that study and research - especially during the university years - have an intrinsic power to widen the horizons of human intelligence, as long as academic study remains demanding, rigorous, serious, methodical and progressive.

9 November 2007
[I]t is ever more necessary to repropose the example of the Christian Martyrs, both from ages past and from our own times, whose life and witness, culminated in the outpouring of blood, manifest the love of God in a supreme way.

8 November 2007
This "body" of Christ that embraces the humanity of all times and places is the Church.

28 November 2007

The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but always remains well rooted in a past event.

-Angelus Address, 27 November 2005

23 November 2007

[source]

Wahoo!

Today the Press Office of the Holy See announced news of great joy: the second Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, will be presented Friday next, the Feast of the Apostle Saint Andrew:
VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2007 (VIS) - The new Encyclical of Benedict XVI, "Spe salvi," will be presented in the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Friday, November 30. The document will be presented by Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.
I don't know about you, but I'm very excited about this. I know what I'm doing a week from today...

20 November 2007

[N]ot even death can make the believer's hope fruitless, because for our sake Christ entered the sanctuary of Heaven, and it is there that he desires to lead us, after having prepared a place for us (cf. Jn 14: 1-3).

- Homily, 5 November 2007
It is consoling and salutary, in praying for the deceased, to meditate upon Jesus' trust in his Father and thus to let oneself be enveloped by the serene light of this absolute abandonment of the Son to the will of his "Abba".

- Homily, 5 November 2007
In their Saints the Christian faithful discover the ripe fruit of a faith that has marked their history. This patrimony is passed on down the centuries with various expressions in popular piety and art, together with the moral, civic and social values of their national identity.

15 November 2007



Hat tip to the American Papist.
Only through a deep spirit of prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit are we able to understand the Bible.

- General Audience, 14 November 2007
In truth, to converse with God and with his word means to be in heaven's presence, that is to say, in God's presence.

- General Audience, 14 November 2007

What am I doing?

[source]

Shall we go for a ride?

We must never forget that the Word of God transcends time. Human opinions come and go. What is very modern today will be very antiquated tomorrow. On the other hand, the Word of God is the Word of eternal life, it bears within it eternity and is valid for ever. By carrying the Word of God within us, we therefore carry within us eternity, eternal life.

- General Audience, 7 November 2007
The privileged place for reading and listening to the Word of God is the liturgy, in which, celebrating the Word and making Christ's Body present in the Sacrament, we actualize the Word in our lives and make it present among us.

- General Audience, 7 November 2007
We must not read Sacred Scripture as a word of the past but as the Word of God that is also addressed to us, and we must try to understand what it is that the Lord wants to tell us. However, to avoid falling into individualism, we must bear in mind that the Word of God has been given to us precisely in order to build communion and to join forces in the truth on our journey towards God. Thus, although it is always a personal Word, it is also a Word that builds community, that builds the Church. We must therefore read it in communion with the living Church.

- General Audience, 7 November 2007
He wants to make us - sometimes through periods of emptiness and inner isolation - attentive and capable of "hearing" his silent presence not only "above the star-strewn vault", but in the innermost depths of our soul. It is here that the spark of divine love glows that can set us free for what we truly are.

- Address after a Vatican Concert
[T]rue joy is rooted in that freedom which, basically, God alone can give.

- Address after a Vatican Concert
The Lord desires to give each one the grace of a beautiful and good existence and the hope that makes it possible to find life's true meaning through the dangers of daily life.

- Address to the Bishops of Gabon
Yes, true hope is only born from the Blood of Christ and blood poured out for him. There is blood which is the sign of death, but there is also blood that expresses love and life.

- Homily, 21 October 2007
God cannot change things without our conversion, and our true conversion begins with the "cry" of the soul imploring forgiveness and salvation. Christian prayer is not, therefore, an expression of fatalism or inertia; on the contrary, it is the opposite of evasion from reality, from consoling intimism. It is the force of hope, the maximum expression of faith in the power of God who is Love and does not abandon us.

- Homily, 21 October 2007
Faith assures us that God hears our prayers and grants them at the appropriate moment, although our daily experience seems to deny this certainty.

- Homily, 21 October 2007
[T]he power that changes the world and transforms it into the Kingdom of God, in silence and without fanfare, is faith - and prayer is the expression of faith. When faith is filled with love for God, recognized as a good and just Father, prayer becomes persevering, insistent, it becomes a groan of the spirit, a cry of the soul that penetrates God's Heart. Thus, prayer becomes the greatest transforming power in the world. In the face of a difficult and complex social reality, as yours certainly is, it is essential to strengthen hope which is based on faith and expressed in unflagging prayer.

- Homily, 21 October 2007
Truth is not dependent upon consensus but precedes it and makes it possible, generating authentic human solidarity.

- Address to the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea

29 October 2007

It [unbloody martyrdom] is the silent and heroic testimony of many Christians who live the Gospel without compromises, fulfilling their duty and dedicating themselves generously in service to the poor. This martyrdom of ordinary life is a particularly important witness in the secularized societies of our time. It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, have to fight tirelessly; the race to spread the Gospel that commits us until death.

-Angelus Address, 28 October 2007
...baptism commits Christians to participate boldly in the spread of the Kingdom of God, cooperating if necessary with the sacrifice of one's own life.

-Angelus Address, 28 October 2007
...the supreme witness of giving blood [martyrdom] is not an exception reserved only to some individuals, but a realistic possibility for all Christian people.

- Angelus Address, 28 October 2007

27 October 2007

Celibacy is really a special way of conforming oneself to Christ's own way of life. This choice has first and foremost a nuptial meaning; it is a profound identification with the heart of Christ the Bridegroom who gives his life for his Bride.

...priests should be conscious of the fact that in their ministry they must never put themselves or their personal opinions in first place, but Jesus Christ. Any attempt to make themselves the center of the liturgical action contradicts their very identity as priests. The priest is above all a servant of others, and he must continually work at being a sign pointing to Christ, a docile instrument in the Lord's hands. This is seen particularly in his humility in leading the liturgical assembly, in obedience to the rite, uniting himself to it mind and heart and avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality. I encourage the clergy always to see their eucharistic ministry as a humble service offered to Christ and his Church.

09 October 2007

At the end of life, death deprives us of all that is earthly, but not of that Grace and that sacramental "character" by virtue of which we are indissolubly associated with Our Lord and Savior's Paschal Mystery. Emptied of all but clothed in Christ: thus do we cross the threshold of death and are presented to the just and merciful God.

- Homily, 4 November 2006

30 September 2007

Praying for others is a great act of charity.

- Homily, 23 September 2007
Today, as yesterday, Christian life demands the courage to go against the tide, to love like Jesus, who even went so far as to sacrifice himself on the Cross.

- Homily, 23 September 2007
Love is the essence of Christianity, which makes the believer and the Christian community a leaven of hope and peace in every environment and especially attentive to the needs of the poor and needy. This is our common mission: to be a leaven of hope and peace because we believe in love. Love makes the Church live, and since it is eternal it makes her live for ever, to the end of time.

- Homily, 23 September 2007
Christ has not enriched us with his richness but with his poverty, with his love that brought him to give himself totally to us.

- Angelus Address, 23 September 2007
God has made himself small for us. God comes not with external force, but he comes in the powerlessness of his love, which is where his true strength lies. He places himself in our hands. He asks for our love. He invites us to become small ourselves, to come down from our high thrones and to learn to be childlike before God. He speaks to us informally. He asks us to trust him and thus to learn how to live in truth and love. The child Jesus naturally reminds us also of all the children in the world, in whom he wishes to come to us.

-Homily, 8 September 2007
Making a pilgrimage means setting out in a particular direction, travelling towards a destination. This gives a beauty of its own even to the journey and to the effort involved.

-Homily, 8 September 2007
The genealogy with its light and dark figures, its successes and failures, shows us that God can write straight even on the crooked lines of our history. God allows us our freedom, and yet in our failures he can always find new paths for his love. God does not fail. Hence this genealogy is a guarantee of God’s faithfulness; a guarantee that God does not allow us to fall, and an invitation to direct our lives ever anew towards him, to walk ever anew towards Jesus Christ.

-Homily, 8 September 2007
Volunteering is not only "doing": It is first of all a way of being, which begins in the heart, from a grateful way of viewing of life, and it encourages us to "give back" and share the gifts we have received with our neighbor.

- Wednesday Audience, 12 September 2007
To look at Jesus with the eyes of Mary means to meet God who is Love, who was made man and died on a cross for us.

- Wednesday Audience, 12 September 2007

09 September 2007

"In which hand is the nut?"


[Photo credit]
In the Church we learn to love, teaching ourselves to accept our neighbour freely, to show caring attention to those in difficulty, to the poor and to the lowliest. The fundamental motivation that unites believers in Christ is not success but goodness, a goodness that is all the more authentic the more it is shared, and which does not primarily consist in having or in being powerful, but in being.

-Homily, 2 September 2007
Following Christ means feeling oneself a living part of his body which is the Church. One cannot call oneself a disciple of Jesus if one does not love and obey his Church. The Church is our family in which love for the Lord and for our brothers and sisters, especially through participation in the Eucharist, enables us to experience the joy of already having a foretaste, now, of the future life that will be totally illuminated by Love.

-Homily, 2 September 2007
The way of humility is not the way of renunciation but that of courage. It is not the result of a defeat but the result of a victory of love over selfishness and of grace over sin. In following Christ and imitating Mary, we must have the courage of humility; we must entrust ourselves humbly to the Lord, because only in this way will we be able to become docile instruments in his hands and allow him to do great things in us.

-Homily, 2 September 2007
Do not follow the way of pride but rather that of humility. Go against the tide: do not listen to the interested and persuasive voices that today are peddling on many sides models of life marked by arrogance and violence, by oppression and success at any cost, by appearances and by having at the expense of being. How many messages, which reach you especially through the mass media, are targeting you! Be alert! Be critical! Do not follow the wave produced by this powerful, persuasive action. Do not be afraid, dear friends, to prefer the "alternative" routes pointed out by true love: a modest and sound lifestyle; sincere and pure emotional relationships; honest commitment in studies and work; deep concern for the common good. Do not be afraid of seeming different and being criticized for what might seem to be losing or out of fashion; your peers but adults too, especially those who seem more distant from the mindset and values of the Gospel, are crying out to see someone who dares to live according to the fullness of humanity revealed by Jesus Christ.

-Homily, 2 September 2007
It was Mary's humility that God appreciated more than anything else in her.

-Homily, 2 September 2007
God also seeks young people today. He seeks young people with great hearts who can make room for him in their lives to be protagonists of the New Covenant. To accept a proposal as fascinating as the one Jesus offers us, to make the covenant with him, it is necessary to be youthful within, to be capable of letting oneself be called into question by his newness, to set out with him on new roads. Jesus has a fondness for young people, as the conversation with the rich young man clearly shows (cf. Mt 19: 16-22; Mk 10: 17-22); he respects their freedom but never tires of proposing loftier goals for life to them: the newness of the Gospel and the beauty of holy behaviour. Following her Lord's example, the Church continues to show the same attention. This is why, dear young people, she looks at you with immense affection, she is close to you in moments of joy and festivity, in trials and in loss. She sustains you with the gifts of sacramental grace and accompanies you in the discernment of your vocation. Dear young people, let yourselves be involved in the new life that flows from the encounter with Christ and you will be able to be apostles of his peace in your families, among your friends, within your Ecclesial Communities and in the various milieus in which you live and work.

-Homily, 2 September 2007
Mary, Mother of the "Yes", you listened to Jesus,
and know the tone of his voice and the beating of his heart.
Morning Star, speak to us of him,
and tell us about your journey of following him on the path of faith.

Mary, who dwelt with Jesus in Nazareth,
impress on our lives your sentiments,
your docility, your attentive silence,
and make the Word flourish in genuinely free choices.

Mary, speak to us of Jesus, so that the freshness of our faith
shines in our eyes and warms the heart of those we meet,
as you did when visiting Elizabeth,
who in her old age rejoiced with you for the gift of life.

Mary, Virgin of the Magnificat
help us to bring joy to the world and, as at Cana,
lead every young person involved in service of others
to do only what Jesus will tell them.

Mary, look upon the Agora of youth,
so that the soil of the Italian Church will be fertile.
Pray that Jesus, dead and Risen, is reborn in us,
and transforms us into a night full of light, full of him.

Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, Gate of Heaven,
help us to lift our eyes on high.
We want to see Jesus, to speak with him,
to proclaim his love to all.

Dear young people, if the Lord calls you to live more intimately at his service, respond generously. You may be certain: life dedicated to God is never spent in vain.

The Holy Spirit is with you and will never leave you. Nothing is impossible to those who trust in God.

Mary, dear young people, knows your noblest and deepest aspirations. Above all, she well knows your great desire for love, with your need to love and to be loved. By looking at her, by following her docilely, you will discover the beauty of love; not a "disposable" love that is transient and deceptive, imprisoned in a selfish and materialistic mindset, but true, deep love.

-Prayer Vigil with Young People, 1 September 2007
Let me tell you again this evening: if you stay united with Christ, each one of you will be able to do great things. This is why, dear friends, you must not be afraid to dream with your eyes open of important projects of good and you must not let yourselves be discouraged by difficulties. Christ has confidence in you and wants you to be able to realize all your most noble and lofty dreams of genuine happiness. Nothing is impossible for those who trust in God and entrust themselves to him.

With love and conviction, I repeat to you young people present here, and through you to your peers throughout the world: Do not be afraid, Christ can fill your heart's deepest aspirations! Are there dreams that cannot come true when it is God's Spirit who inspires and nourishes them in your heart? Can anything block our enthusiasm when we are united with Christ? Nothing and no one, the Apostle Paul would say, will ever separate us from God's love, in Christ Jesus Our Lord (cf. Rom 8: 35-39).

The Pope is close to you, he shares your joys and your pain, and he especially shares in the most intimate hopes that are in your soul. For each one of you he asks the Lord for the gift of a full and happy life, a life filled with meaning, a true life.

Being in the great company of the Saints and moving forward with them can change the world, creating centres in the outskirts, so that the company of Saints may truly become visible and thus the hope of all may become realistic, and every one may say: "I am important in the totality of history. The Lord will help us".

Therefore, the parish, the living cell of the Church, must also really be a place of inspiration, life and solidarity which helps people build together centres in the periphery. And I must say here, there is often talk about the Church in the suburbs and in the centre, which would be Rome, but in fact in the Church there are no suburbs because where Christ is, the whole centre is there.

Wherever the Eucharist is celebrated, wherever the Tabernacle stands, there is Christ; hence, there is the centre and we must do all we can to ensure that these living centres are effective, present and truly a force that counters this marginalization.

The living Church, the Church of the little communities, the parish Church, the movements, must form as many centres in the outskirts and thus help to overcome the difficulties that the leading politics obviously cannot manage to resolve, and at the same time, we must also think that despite the great focuses of power, contemporary society itself is in need of solidarity, of a sense of lawfulness, of the initiative and creativity of all.

Yes, there is hope today too; each one of you is important because each is known and desired by God and God has his plan for each one. It is our task to discover and respond to it, so that despite these precarious and marginalized situations, we will be able to put into practice God's plan for us.

Pilgrimage means more than just journeying to a shrine. The journey back to our everyday life is also fundamental.

-Welcome Ceremony in Austria, 7 September 2007

07 September 2007

Caption contest

[Photo credit]

Papal visit to Austria

Here are a couple of the photos that are coming from the Pontiff's visit to Austria.
His Emminence, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, is wearing the same cape that I have. The soccer players want me to wear it every game, but I won't pull it out until it cools down a bit. [photo credit]

I really like this one. [photo credit]

I won't be able to keep track of the visit to Austria this weekend, but you can always try these good folks:

The Vatican site (The English text of the welcome address is already up, and it looks like the rest will be posted soon as the English spot is already up for them)

Vatican Radio

The Schonborn Site

Amy has good coverage, thoughts and links, as usual

The Cafeteria is Closed

I'll post what I can when I can.

05 September 2007

[Photo credit]

I'm quite surprised

The English texts of the Holy Father's words - even the question and response session - from Loreto are up on the Vatican web site already!

I still wonder why it took so long when he went to Italy. No matter. It seems somebody's working faster, and may God bless them for it!

01 September 2007

From Loretto

[photo source]
True friendship with Jesus is expressed in the way of life: it is expressed with goodness of heart, with humility, meekness and mercy, love for justice and truth, a sincere and honest commitment to peace and reconciliation. We might say that this is the "identity card" that qualifies us as his real "friends"; this is the "passport" that will give us access to eternal life.

He is the One Redeemer and invites everyone to the banquet of immortal life; but on one and the same condition: that of striving to follow and imitate him, taking up one's cross as he did, and devoting one's life to serving the brethren. This condition for entering heavenly life is consequently one and universal.

[T]he temptation to interpret religious practice as a source of privileges or security is always lying in wait. Actually, Christ's message goes in exactly the opposite direction: everyone may enter life, but the door is "narrow" for all. We are not privileged. The passage to eternal life is open to all, but it is "narrow" because it is demanding: it requires commitment, self-denial and the mortification of one's selfishness.

I would therefore be against having to choose between either playing football or studying Sacred Scripture or Canon Law. Let us do both these things. It is great to do sports. I am not a great sportsman, yet I used to like going to the mountains when I was younger; now I only go on some very easy excursions, but I always find it very beautiful to walk here in this wonderful earth that the Lord has given to us.

Every place has its own Saint. This is good because in this way we see the range of colours of God's one light and of his love which comes close to us. It means discovering the Saints in their beauty, in their drawing close to me in the Word, so that in a specific Saint I may find expressed precisely for me the inexhaustible Word of God, and then all the aspects of parochial life, even the human ones.

All the Saints also always come with God. It is important - Sacred Scripture tell us from the very outset - that God never comes by himself but comes accompanied and surrounded by the Angels and Saints.

Christianity is not a highly complicated collection of so many dogmas that it is impossible for anyone to know them all; it is not something exclusively for academicians who can study these things, but it is something simple: God exists and God is close in Jesus Christ.

We were thought of and desired; thus, there is an idea that preceded me, a feeling that preceded me, that I must discover, that I must follow, because it will at last give meaning to my life.

The Kingdom of God is God himself, God close to us who became very close in Christ. This is the Kingdom of God: God himself is near to us and we must draw close to this God who is close for he was made man, remains man and is always with us in his Word, in the Most Holy Eucharist and in all believers.

We have to care for people but above all - this is our mandate - for their souls.

[I]t is necessary for us to know our sheep, to be on good terms with the people entrusted to us, to have human contact and not to lose our humanity, because God was made man and consequently strengthened all dimensions of our being as humans.

The first imperative is to be a man of God, in the sense of a man in friendship with Christ and with his Saints.

The three imperatives are: to pray, to provide care, to preach. I think we should find the balance between these three basic imperatives and keep them ever present as the heart of our work. Prayer: which is to say, without a personal relationship with God nothing else can function, for we cannot truly bring God, the divine reality or true human life to people unless we ourselves live them in a deep, true relationship of friendship with God in Jesus Christ.

Our life has a meaning which we must not produce ourselves but which precedes us and guides us.

The Ten Commandments reinterpreted, relived in the light of Christ, in the light of the life of the Church and of her experiences, point to certain fundamental and essential values. Together, the Fourth and Sixth Commandments suggest the importance of our body, of respecting the laws of the body and of sexuality and love, the value of faithful love, of the family; the Fifth Commandment points to the value of life and also the value of community life; the Seventh Commandment regards the value of sharing the earth's goods and of a fair distribution of these goods and of the stewardship of God's creation; the Eighth Commandment points to the great value of truth. If, therefore, in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Commandments we have love of neighbour, in the Seventh we have the truth.

In the Christian tradition, "conscience", "con-scientia", means "with knowledge": that is, ourselves, our being is open and can listen to the voice of being itself, the voice of God. Thus, the voice of the great values is engraved in our being and the greatness of the human being is precisely that he is not closed in on himself, he is not reduced to the material, something quantifiable, but possesses an inner openness to the essentials and has the possibility of listening. In the depths of our being, not only can we listen to the needs of the moment, to material needs, but we can also hear the voice of the Creator himself and thus discern what is good and what is bad. Of course, this capacity for listening must be taught and encouraged.

23 August 2007


In prayer, we have to direct our heart to God to surrender to him as an offering that should be purified and transformed. In prayer, we see everything in the light of Christ, we let down our guard and we submerge ourselves in the truth and in listening to God, nurturing the fire of our love.

- Wednesday Audience, 22 August 2007

09 August 2007


The faithful one lifts his eyes to the Lord and waits for a divine reaction, to perceive a gesture of love, a look of benevolence.

- General Audience, 15 June 2005
"Adult" is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth.

- Homily before the Conclave, 18 April 2005
Those who believe are never alone - neither in life nor in death.

- Inaugural Homily, 24 April 2005
When God disappears, man is not greater; He loses divine dignity, the splendor of God in his face."

- Homily, 16 August 2005
Christianity is full of undiscovered dimensions and it shows itself fresh and anew if one poses his questions again fundamentally."

- Vatican Radio Interview, 15 August 2005
I would like to show them how beautiful it is to be Christian, because the widespread idea which continues to exist is that Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep and, hence, is something toilsome and burdensome - that one is freer without such a burden. I want to make clear that it is not a burden to be carried by a great love and realization, but it is like having wings. It is wonderful to be a Christian with this knowledge that it gives us a great breadth, a large community. As Christians we are never alone - in the sense that God is always with us, but also in the sense that we are always standing together in a large community, a community for The Way, that we have a project for the future - and in this way a Being which is worth believing in. This is the joy of being a Christian and is the beauty of believing.
- Vatican Radio Interview, 15 August 2005
It [the Christian faith] is a very rich legacy. We need to be worthy of it.

Even when the believer feels lonely and is surrounded by risks and hostility, his faith must be serene because the Lord is always with us; his power surrounds us and protects us.

- General Audience, 3 August 2005
Hence faith is a gift, but at the same time it is a task.

- Homily, 26 May 2006
Faith does not mean accepting a certain number of abstract truths about the mysteries of God, of man, of life and death, of future realities. Faith consists in an intimate relationship with Christ, a relationship based on love of him who loved us first (cf. I John 4:11), even to the total offering of himself.

- Homily, 26 May 2006
A strong faith must endure tests. A living faith must always grow. Our faith in Jesus Christ, to be such, must frequently face others' lack of faith.

To believe means first to accept as true what our mind cannot fully comprehend. We have to accept what God reveals to us about himself, about ourselves, about everything around us, including the things that are invisible, inexpressible and beyond our imagination. This act of accepting revealed truth broadens the horizon of our knowledge and draws us to the mystery in which our lives are immersed.

- Homily, 28 May 2006
What we believe is important, but even more important is the One in whom we believe.

- Homily, 28 May 2006
Believing means surrendering ourselves to God and entrusting our destiny to him. Believing means entering into a personal relationship with our Creator and Redeemer in the power of the Holy Spirit, and making this relationship the basis of our whole life.

- Homily, 28 May 2006
Believing means creating a very personal bond with our Creator and Redeemer, by virtue of the Holy Spirit who works in our hearts, and making this bond the foundation of our whole lives.

Faith, therefore, which is a very personal human act, remains a choice of our freedom which can also be rejected.

Truly, those who believe are never alone.

- Homily, 12 September 2006
First, faith is simple. We believe in God - in God, who is the Beginning and the End of human life. We believe in a God who enters into a relationship with us human beings, who is our origin and future. Consequently, faith is, always and inseparably, hope: the certainty that we have a future and will not end up as nothing. And faith is love, since God's love is 'contagious'. A second thing also becomes clear: The creed is not a collection of propositions; it is not a theory. It is anchored in the event of baptism - a genuine encounter between God and man. In the mystery of baptism, God stoops to meet us; he comes close to us and brings us in turn closer to each other.

- Homily, 12 September 2006
Faith is not meant to instill fear; Rather it is meant - surely - to call us to accountability. We are not mean to waste our lives, misuse them, or spend them selfishly.

- Homily, 12 September 2006
We cannot bring to the world the Good News which is Christ himself in person if we ourselves are not deeply united with Christ, if we do not know him profoundly, personally, if we do not live on his Words.

- At the Close of the Papal Spiritual Exercises, 5 March 2006
To the extent that we nourish ourselves on Christ and are in love with him, we feel within us the incentive to bring others to him: indeed, we cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves; we must pass it on.

Learning to sing, in choral singing, is not only an exercise of physical hearing and of the voice; it is also an education in inner hearing, the hearing of the heart, an exercise and an education in living and in peace. Singing, whether in unison, in a choir and in all the choirs together, demands attention to the other, attention to the composer, attention to the conductor, attention to this whole that we call music and culture. Hence, singing in a choir is an education in life, an education in peace, it is "walking together."

26 July 2007

Love is therefore the "heart" of Christian life; indeed, love alone, awakened in us by the Holy Spirit, makes us Christ's witnesses.

-Angelus Address, 15 July 2007
Every good Christian knows that vacations are an appropriate time for relaxation and also the nourishment of the spirit through more extended periods of prayer and meditation, in order to grow in one's personal relationship with Christ and to conform increasingly to his teachings.

-Angelus Address, 15 July 2007

18 July 2007

A Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI

Stay with us, Lord, keep us company, even though we have not always recognized you. Stay with us, because all around us the shadows are deepening, and you are the Light; discouragement is eating its way into our hearts: make them burn with the certainty of Easter. We are tired of the journey, but you comfort us in the breaking of bread, so that we are able to proclaim to our brothers and sisters that you have truly risen and have entrusted us with the mission of being witnesses of your resurrection.

Stay with us, Lord, when mists of doubt, weariness or difficulty rise up around our Catholic faith; you are Truth itself, you are the one who reveals the Father to us: enlighten our minds with your word, and help us to experience the beauty of believing in you.

Remain in our families, enlighten them in their doubts, sustain them in their difficulties, console them in their sufferings and in their daily labours, when around them shadows build up which threaten their unity and their natural identity. You are Life itself: remain in our homes, so that they may continue to be nests where human life is generously born, where life is welcomed, loved and respected from conception to natural death.

Remain, Lord, with those in our societies who are most vulnerable; remain with the poor and the lowly, with indigenous peoples and Afro-Americans, who have not always found space and support to express the richness of their culture and the wisdom of their identity. Remain, Lord, with our children and with our young people, who are the hope and the treasure of our Continent, protect them from so many snares that attack their innocence and their legitimate hopes. O Good Shepherd, remain with our elderly and with our sick. Strengthen them all in faith, so that they may be your disciples and missionaries!

Young people are not afraid of sacrifice, but of a meaningless life. They are sensitive to Christ’s call inviting them to follow him. They can respond to that call as priests, as consecrated men and women, or as fathers and mothers of families, totally dedicated to serving their brothers and sisters with all their time and capacity for dedication: with their whole lives. Young people must treat life as a continual discovery, never allowing themselves to be ensnared by current fashions or mentalities, but proceeding with a profound curiosity over the meaning of life and the mystery of God, the Creator and Father, and his Son, our Redeemer, within the human family. They must also commit themselves to a constant renewal of the world in the light of the Gospel.

13 May 2007
The family was and is the school of faith, the training-ground for human and civil values, the hearth in which human life is born and is generously and responsibly welcomed.
Christians should be aware that they are not following a character from past history, but the living Christ, present in the today and the now of their lives. He is the living one who walks alongside us, revealing to us the meaning of events, of suffering and death, of rejoicing and feasting, entering our homes and remaining there, feeding us with the bread that gives life. For this reason Sunday Mass must be the centre of Christian life.
13 May 2007
If we do not know God in and with Christ, all of reality is transformed into an indecipherable enigma; there is no way, and without a way, there is neither life nor truth.

13 May 2007
Only those who recognize God know reality and are able to respond to it adequately and in a truly human manner.

To be disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ and to seek life “in him” presupposes being deeply rooted in him.

Ultimately, it is only the truth that can bring unity, and the proof of this is love.

Authentic cultures are not closed in upon themselves, nor are they set in stone at a particular point in history, but they are open, or better still, they are seeking an encounter with other cultures, hoping to reach universality through encounter and dialogue with other ways of life and with elements that can lead to a new synthesis, in which the diversity of expressions is always respected as well as the diversity of their particular cultural embodiment.

13 May 2007
It is evident that in the end he [Tertullian] lacks simplicity, the humility to belong to the Church, to accept his weaknesses, to be tolerant of others and with himself. When you evaluate your thoughts in terms of your greatness, in the end it is your greatness that is lost. The essential characteristic of a great theologian is the humility to stay with the Church, to accept her and one's own faults, because only God is holy. We, on the other hand, are always in need of forgiveness.

07 July 2007

Humble handmaiden of the Lord, the Virgin is the model of the spiritual person, totally free because she is immaculate, immune to sin, and completely holy, dedicated to the service of God and neighbor.

-Angelus Address, 1 July 2007
Christian freedom, therefore, is completely different from arbitrariness; it is following Christ in the gift of self, right up to the sacrifice on the cross.

-Angelus Address, 1 July 2007
He [Jesus] did not live his freedom, however, as license or dominion. He lived it as service. In this way he "filled" with content a freedom that would have otherwise remained an"empty" possibility to do or not do something. As the life itself of man, freedom takes its meaning from love. Who is more free? The one who holds onto all possibilities for fear of of losing them, or the one who "resolutely" gives himself in service and thus finds himself full of life because of the love that he has given and received?

-Angelus Address, 1 July 2007

29 June 2007

On Peter and Paul

On this Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul be sure to go back and read what His Holiness had to say about them in his catechetical series on the Apostles:

28 June 2007

When they feel that their freedom is respected and taken seriously, adolescents and young people, despite their changeability and frailty, are not in fact unwilling to let themselves be challenged by demanding proposals: indeed, they often feel attracted and fascinated by them.

From the outset the disciples recognized the Risen Jesus as the One who is our brother in humanity but is also one with God; the One who, with his coming into the world and throughout his life, in his death and in his Resurrection, brought us God and in a new and unique way made God present in the world: the One, therefore, who gives meaning and hope to our life; in fact, it is in him that we encounter the true Face of God that we find what we really need in order to live.

Missionary commitment remains the first service that the Church owes to humanity today to
guide and evangelize the cultural, social and ethical transformations; to offer Christ's salvation to the people of our time in so many parts of the world who are humiliated and oppressed by endemic poverty, violence and the systematic denial of human rights.

This is the very time for opening oneself with trust to the Providence of God, who never abandons his People and who, with the power of the Holy Spirit, guides them toward the fulfilment of his eternal design of salvation.

20 June 2007

Another book by Benedict

The Holy Father's Wednesday Audience Addresses on the Apostles will be published soon. This, and more, via Amy.

If you haven't yet read these addresses, shame on you!

Within each address Pope Benedict XVI offers a brief biographical sketch of the Apostles and proposes several things we can learn from the example of their lives. Each of these addresses is both educational and highly spiritual.

Order your copy today! A must read for every faithful Catholic!

17 June 2007

We travel on the highways of the world knowing that he is beside us, supported by the hope of being able to see him one day face to face, in the definitive encounter.

-Homily, 7 June 2007
Precisely because this is a mysterious reality that surpasses our understanding, we must not be surprised if today too many find it hard to accept the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It cannot be otherwise. This is how it has been since the day when, in the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus openly declared that he had come to give us his flesh and his blood as food (cf. Jn 6: 26-58). This seemed "a hard saying" and many of his disciples withdrew when they heard it. Then, as now, the Eucharist remains a "sign of contradiction" and can only be so because a God who makes himself flesh and sacrifices himself for the life of the world throws human wisdom into crisis.

-Homily, 7 June 2007
[photo credit]

Viva il Papa!!!

[photo credit]

15 June 2007

He [Saint Francis of Assis] was not only an environmentalist or a pacifist. He was a convert.

Assisi bound

VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2007 (VIS) - On Sunday, June 17, Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to Assisi, Italy, for the eighth centenary of the conversion of St. Francis.

The Pope will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 7.30 a.m. After landing at the heliport of Rivotorto, he will make a private visit to the Shrine of St. Damian. At 10 a.m., he will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration in the Lower Square of St. Francis then pray the Angelus. At 12.30 p.m., he will make a private visit to the tomb of St. Francis.

At 4 p.m., he will meet the German Poor Clare Capuchin Sisters in the hall of the convent before going on to the Upper Basilica of St. Francis to meet participants in the general chapter of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Conventual and the community of the convent.

Following a meeting with priests, deacons, religious, superiors and students of the pontifical seminary of Umbria in the Cathedral of San Rufino, he will make a private visit to the shrine of Porziuncola and the chapel of St. Francis.

At 6 p.m., he will meet with young people on the square in front of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.

His return to the Vatican is scheduled for 7 p.m.
[photo credit]
Adoration of the love of God, which has found in the symbol of the 'pierced heart' its historical-devotional experience, continues to be vital for a living relationship with God.

Gazing at the side pierced by the lance, where shines God's boundless will for salvation, cannot then be considered as a passing form of veneration or devotion. The adoration of God's love, which found historical-devotional expression in the symbol of the pierced heart, remains irreplaceable for a living relationship with God.

14 June 2007

Historical analysis is never an end in itself; it seeks not only to get to know the past, but it firmly points toward conversion and to an authentic witness of Christian life on the part of the faithful. It is a guide for today.

-Wednesday Audience, 13 June 2007
Only when charitable activity takes the form of Christ-like self-giving does it become a gesture truly worthy of the human person created in God's image and likeness. Lived charity fosters growth in holiness, after the example of the many servants of the poor whom the Church has raised to the dignity of the altars.

Every act of charity should be inspired by a personal experience of faith, leading to the discovery that God is Love.

Love finds it greatest fulfilment in the gift of self.

09 June 2007

A few good resources

In honor of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have compiled a few links to some worthwhile reading on the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar by the Holy Father:

Sacramentum caritatis

Homily, Corpus Christis (2006)

Angelus Address on Corpus Christi (2006)

Homily, World Youth Day

Homily, Conclusion of Eucharistic Congress at Bari

Homily, Corpus Christi (2005)
His homily for Corpus Christi 2007 is not yet available at the Vatican web site in English, though it is available in Italian.
"You can go faster than this, you know."
The more deeply you know him, the more strongly will you be united to him and the more faithful you will be to your priestly commitments, all the more and better will you be able to serve people, the more fruitful will your dialogue with them, the more accessible will appear the peace that you will propose in situations of tension and conflict, the more consoling will be the comfort that, in the name of Christ and his Church, you offer to those persons who undergo trial and are without defense.

You know that the Christian faith can never be reduced to a mere intellectual knowledge of Christ and his doctrine; it must always express itself in the imitation of the examples that Christ gave us as Son of the Father and Son of man.

30 May 2007

[Photo credit]

Only in him, the Word spoken for us by the Father, is found that combination of truth and love which contains the full meaning of life.

-Homily, 22 April 2007, at the tomb of St. Augustine
Serving Christ is first of all a question of love.

-Homily, 22 April 2007, at the tomb of St. Augustine
Only those who live a personal experience of the Lord's love are able to exercise the task of guiding and accompanying others on the way of following Christ.

-Homily, 22 April 2007, at the tomb of St. Augustine
I am convinced that humanity today stands in need of this essential message, incarnate in Jesus Christ: God is love. Everything must start from here and everything must lead to here, every pastoral action, every theological treatise.

-Homily, 22 April 2007, at the tomb of St. Augustine
Only the person who experiences the love of God in Christ and places himself on this path to live it among humanty, becomes his disciple and missionary.

Thus, he touches us and we touch him. The humility of God's Incarnation - this is the important step - must be equalled by the humility of our faith, which lays down its self-important pride and bows upon entering the community of Christ's Body; which live with the Church and through her alone can enter into concrete and bodily communion with the living God.

To truly know this God is to become really familiar with this Jesus Christ and reach the point of saying "yes" t him with all its consequences.

In every life conversion has its own form, because every human being is something new and no one is merely a copy of another.

Your exuberance, enthusiasm, idealism and encouragement to face new challenges boldly serve to give the People of God a renewed openness, make the faithful more dynamic and help the community to grow, to progress, and to become more trusting, joyful and optimistic.

The witness of a priestly life well lived brings nobility to the Church, calls forth admiration among the faithful, and is a source of blessings for the communty; it is the best way to promote vocations, the most authentic invitation to other young people to respond positively to the Lord's call.

In places where society no longer sees any future or hope, Christians are called to proclaim the power of the Resurrection.

At some stage in people's lives, Jesus comes and gently knocks at the hearts of those properly disposed.

It is the Pope's mission to renew in the hearts of people everywhere that light which does not grow dim, because it seeks to illumine the depths of every soul that seeks the true good and peace that the world cannot give. All that this light needs is a heart open to the desire for God.

God does not force us, he does not oppress our individual freedom; he simply asks for opennes in the inner sanctum of our conscience, through which pass all our noblest aspirations, as well as the affections and disordered passions which tend to obscure the message of the Almighty.

Rome represents the pagan world and therefore all peoples who are outside the ancient people of God. In fact, the Acts [of the Apostles] conclude with the arrival of the Gospel in Rome. We can say, hen, that Rome is the concrete name of the catholicity and missionary spirit of the Church; it expresses fidelity to the origins, to the Church of all times, to a Church that speaks in all languages and goes out to meet every culture.

The Church is holy, not because of its own merits, but because, animated by the Holy Spirit, it keeps its gaze fixed to Christ to become conformed to him and his love. The Church is catholic because the Gospel is destined for all people and for this reason, already at the beginning, the Holy Spirit gives the Church the ability to speak in different tongues. The Church is apostolic because, built upon the foundation of the apostles, it faithfully conserves their teaching through the uninterrupted chain of apostlic succession. The Church, moreover, is missionary by its nature, and from the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit does not cease to move it along the roads of the world to the ends of the earth and to the end of time.