03 May 2007

For the Feast

In honor of the Feast of the Apostles Philip and James, which we celebrate today, be sure to have another read of Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on Saint James the Less and Saint Philip.

02 May 2007

Papal Prayer Request

VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2007 (VIS) - In greetings at the end of today's general audience, the Pope referred to his forthcoming apostolic trip to Brazil, which is due to begin on May 9.

Addressing pilgrims in Portuguese, Benedict XVI said: "Following my meeting with Latin-American youth and with the bishops of that continent, I hope to be able to preside at the canonization of Blessed Antonio de Santa Ana Galvao, and to inaugurate in Aparecida the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean."

The Holy Father invited those present "to seek the protection of Our Lady for the success of this event, which is so significant for all of Latin America. May this important ecclesial meeting be an encouragement to the disciples of Christ to welcome with courageous faith and renewed hope the conclusions of this great assembly."

The Lord took his wounds with him to eternity. He is a wounded God; he let himself be injured through his love for us. His wounds are a sign for us that he understands and allows himself to be wounded out of love for us. These wounds of his: how tangible they are to us in the history of our time! Indeed, time and again he allows himself to be wounded for our sake. What certainty of his mercy, what consolation do his wounds mean for us! And what security they give us regarding his identity: "My Lord and my God!". And what a duty they are for us, the duty to allow ourselves in turn to be wounded for him!

Many times we feel like useless servants, and it is true. And, despite this, the Lord calls us friends; he makes us his friends; he gives us his friendship.

- Homily before the Conclave, 18 April 2005
Therefore, all that remains now is for me and all of us together to accept from providence the will of God and to do our best to correspond to it, helping one another in the fulfillment of our respective duties at the service of the Church.

- Address to Cardinals, 22 April 2005
God's yoke is God's will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down upon us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found - this was Israel's joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: God's will does not alienate us, it purifies us - even if this can be painful - and so it leads us to ourselves.

The Lord's ways are not easy, but we are not made for ease.

Let yourselves be inflamed by the fire of the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost will renew your hearts. Through you, may other young people everywhere come to recognize in Christ the true answer to their deepest aspirations, and may they open their hearts to receive the Word of God Incarnate, who died and rose from the dead for the salvation of the world.

Among Christians, fraternity is not just a vague sentiment, nor is it a sign of indifference to truth. It is grounded in the supernatural reality of the one Baptism which makes us members of the one Body of Christ.

The Ten Commandments are not a burden, but a sign-post showing the path leading to a successful life.

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.

When we abandon ourselves to the living God, when in humility of mind we have recourse to him, a kind of hidden stream of divine life pervades us.

The way of an authentically Christian life equals faithfulness to the promises of holy Baptism.

- Meeting with the People, Rynek Square, Wadowice, Poland, 27 May 2006
We are not listening to any person: we are listening to Jesus. We are not asked to commit to just anything; we are asked to commit ourselves to the words of Jesus.

Our priority condition to the following of Christ, therefore, is abnegation, detachment from all that is not him. The Lord wants men and women who are free, not bound, able to give up everything to follow him and to find in him alone their very all.

Belonging to the Lord means to be on fire with his incandescent love, to be transformed into the splendor of his beauty: Our littleness is offered to him as a sacrifice of sweet fragrance so that it becomes a witness of the greatness of his presence for our epoch, which has great need to be inebriated by the richness of his grace.

To belong to Christ means to keep the flame of love always burning in our heart, continually fed by the richness of faith, not only when this brings with it interior joy but also when it is joined to difficulty, aridity and suffering. Prayer is the nourishment for the interior life, intimate conversation of the consecrated soul with the divine Spouse.

We need to recognize our mission in history and to strive to carry it out. What is needed is not fear, but responsibility - responsibility and concern for our own salvation, and for the salvation of the whole world.

What matters is to put Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so that our identity is characterized essentially by the encounter, by communion with Christ and his Word. In his light, every other value must be recovered and purified of possible dross.

It has to do with an interior change of life. It demands that I no longer be closed in considering my self-realization as the principal purpose of my life. It demands that I give myself freely to an Other - for truth, for love, for God who, in Jesus Christ, precedes me and points out the way.

The holiness of God was no longer recognized, and consequently contempt was shown for the sacredness of human life.

At the end of life, death deprives us of all that is earthly, but not of that Grace and 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 the baptized cross the threshold of death and are presented to the just and merciful God.

What on the outside is simply brutal violence, from within becomes an act of total self-giving love.

In fact, being Christian is only possible with our gaze fixed on the cross of our Redeemer.

Yes, the Cross reveals the fullness of God's love for us. Love that was crucified, that did not end with the scandal of Good Friday but culminates in the joy of the Resurrection and the Ascension to Heaven, and the gift of the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of love through which, even tonight, sins are remitted and forgiveness and peace are granted."

With the Cross, Jesus opens wide the door of God, the door between God and men. Now it is open. But also from the other side the Lord knocks with his Cross: He knocks at the door of the world, at the doors of our hearts, which so often and in such great numbers are closed to God. And he speaks to us more or less in this way: If the proofs that God gives of himself in creation do not succeed in opening you to him; if the word of Scripture and the message of the Church leave you indifferent - then look at me, your Lord and your God.

01 May 2007

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.

Even if, as I said, it is not necessary to go to confession before each Communion, it is very helpful to confess with a certain regularity. It is true: Our sins are always the same, but we clean our homes, our rooms, at least once a week, even if the dirt is always the same; in order to live in cleanliness, in order to start again. Otherwise, the dirt might not be seen but it builds up. Something similar can be said about the soul, for me myself; If I never go to confession, my soul is neglected and in the end I am pleased with myself and no longer understand that I must always work hard to improve, that I must make progress. And this cleansing of the soul which Jesus gives us in the sacrament of confession helps us to make our consciences more alert, more open, and hence, it also helps us to mature spiritually and as human persons.

...to prepare for Easter with a good confession continues to be a duty which must be fully appreciated, as it offers us the possibility to begin our life again and this new beginning is realized in the joy of the Risen One and in the communion of forgiveness that it gives us. Conscious that we are sinners, but trusting in divine mercy, let us allow ourselves to be reconciled by Christ to experience more intensely the joy that he communicates to us in his resurrection."

There is no contradiction between God's law and human freedom: God's law correctly interpreted neither attenuates nor, even less, eliminates man's freedom. On the contrary, it guarantees and fosters this freedom because, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, 'freedom ... attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude' (no. 1731)."

- Papal Address to Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, 27 April 2006

It's his feast-day

If you haven't already done so, be sure to offer a special prayer today for our Holy Father on this, his name-day.

30 April 2007


Thomas is at it again.

Who said nobody cares about the Pope?

Rome, Apr. 30, 2007 (CWNews.com) - More than 1 million copies of the new book by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), Jesus of Nazareth, have been sold in just 2 weeks.

The Italian edition of Jesus of Nazareth has sold 510,000 copies, while the German edition has sold 480,000, and the Polish edition 100,000, the latest figures show. The book went on sale on April 16, the Pope's 80th birthday.

The English-language version of the book, to be published by Doubleday, is due to appear on May 15.
My dear young friends, love the word of God and love the Church, and this will give you access to a treasure of very great value and will teach you how to appreciate its richness. Love and follow the Church, for it has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness.

The Church does not become older in the course of the years. On the contrary it grows younger, because she is forever moving toward the Lord, meaning she is going toward the spring from which youth, newness, refreshment, and the strength of life comes.

- Vatican Radio Interview, 15 August 2005
The Church is totally of the Spirit, but it has a structure, the apostolic succession, which has the responsibility to guarantee the Church's permanence in the truth given by Christ, from which the capacity to love also proceeds.

Do not be afraid to build your life on the Church and with the Church.

The barque of the Church is forever being buffeted by the wind of ideologies that penetrate it with their waters, seemingly condemning it to sink. And yet, precisely in the Church's suffering, Christ is victorious. In spite of everything, faith in Him always draws new strength. Today also the Lord commands the waters, and shows himself as Lord over the elements. He stays on his boat, the ship of the Church. Thus even in the ministry of Peter there is revealed the weakness of what comes from man, but also the strength of God.

The Church, at its core, is a Eucharistic community, and therefore a communion in the Body of the Lord.

The Life

To live a chaste life also means to give up the need to belong, to take on a lifestyle that is sober and modest.

In fact, sound catechesis relies on the support of strong Christian families which are never selfish in character, constantly directed toward the other and founded upon the sacrament of matrimony.

In the mystery of baptism, God stoops to meet us; he comes close to us and brings us in turn closer to each other.

The great explosion of the Resurrection has seized us in baptism so as to draw us on.

"It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). I live, but I am no longer I...No, this phrase is an expression of what happened at baptism. My "I" is taken away from me and is incorporated into a new and great subject. This means that my "I" is back again, but now transformed, broken up, opened through incorporation into the other, in whom it acquires its new breadth of existence.

Baptism means precisely this, that we are not dealing with an event in the past, but that a qualitative leap in world history comes to me, seizing hold of me in order to draw me on.

Hard at work

It's good to know even the Pope keeps a cluttered desk when he's working.
The meaning of this last gesture is twofold. Above all, ascending on 'high', he unequivocally reveals his divinity: He returns to where he came from, that is, to God, after having fulfilled his mission on earth. Moreover, Christ ascends to heaven with the humanity he had assumed and which has resurrected from the dead: That humanity is ours, transfigured, divinized, made eternal. The Ascension, therefore, reveals the "supreme vocation" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 23) of ever person - called to the eternal life of the kingdom of God, kingdom of love, light and peace."

We rejoice that Christ our savior has taken his place at the right hand of the Father, because where he has gone, we hope to follow.

Adoration is recognizing that Jesus is my Lord, that Jesus shows me the way to take, and that I will live well only if I know the road that Jesus points out and follow the path he shows me. Therefore, adoration means saying: "Jesus, I am yours. I will follow you in my life, I never want to lose this friendship, this communion with you." I could also say that adoration is essentially an embrace with Jesus in which I say to him: "I am yours, and I ask you, please stay with me always."

In the sacred host, he is present, the true treasure, always waiting for us. Only by adoring this presence do we learn how to receive him properly - we learn the reality of communion, we learn the Eucharistic celebration from the inside.

We could say that Advent is the time in which Christians must awaken in their hearts the hope of being able, with the help of God, to renew the world.

During Advent, the Christian population relives a double movement of the spirit. On one hand, it raises its gaze to the final goal of pilgrimage in history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, recalling his birth in Bethlehem with emotion, it bends down before the crib. The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but always remains well rooted in a past event.

In Advent, the liturgy often repeats and assures us, as though seeking to defeat our mistrust, that God "is coming"; He comes to be with us, in each one of our situations; he comes to live among us, to live with and in us; he comes to the distances that divide and separate us; he comes to reconcile us with himself and with one another. He comes in the history of humanity to knock on the door of every man and woman of good will to offer individuals, families and peoples the gift of fraternity, concord and peace.

Whoever places himself at the service of the Gospel, if he lives the Eucharist, makes progress in love of God and neighbor and thus contributes to building the Church as communion. We can affirm that "Eucharistic love" motivates and founds the vocational activity of the whole Church, because, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est, vocations to the priesthood and to other ministries and services flourish within the people of God wherever there are those in whom Christ can be seen through his Word, in his sacraments and especially in the Eucharist.

It is indispensable that, within the Christian people, every ministry and charism be directed to full communion; and it is the duty of the Bishop and priests to promote this communion in harmony with every other Church vocation and service.

The Good Shepherd, therefore, invites us to pray to the heavenly Father, to pray unitedly and insistently, that he may send vocations for the service of the Church as communion.

Now, docile and faithful listening can only take place in a climate of intimate communion with God which is realized in prayer.

In order to foster vocations, therefore, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord. The care of vocations, therefore, demands a constant "education" for listening to the voice of God.

This intense communion favours the growth of generous vocations at the service of the Church: the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom.

The Eucharist is the source of the ecclesial unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his passion: "Father...that they also may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21).

The mission of the Church, therefore, is founded on an intimate and faithful communion with God.

29 April 2007

The purpose of this blog

This blog will be a labor of love in recording many of my favorite passages from the words and writings of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. With each day my love and admiration for this holy man grows and I desire to share this love with others.

The title of this blog - A Beggar for Love - is taken from the homily he delivered at the Penitential Celebration with the Youth of the Diocese of Rome on 29 March 2007.

It seems to me that at the heart of His Holiness lies the heart of a poet. His writings are especially evocative and beautiful and I want to help others hear the words, the teachings and the wisdom of our current Holy Father.

I will label each quotation I post and so this blog will - I hope - also be a sort of database to serch when looking for quotes on a particular subject.

May the words of our Holy Father inspire and build up our faith.

Ad multos annos, gloriosque annos, vivas, vivas vivas!
In the heart of every man - a beggar for love - is a thirst for love.

- Homily, 29 March 2007