Quote of the Week



A lot happens in the parish at the beginning of September.  Everyone is busy getting ready to begin programs and carry out events.  It is so important that we don’t forget that prayer accomplishes far more than activity (although both are necessary).  St. Teresa gives some great advice for us busy folks.  Let us take moments and be sure to offer up all our ministry endeavors and seek the wisdom and strength we need from God, the giver of all good gifts.
“Much more is obtained by a single word of the “Our Father” said from the heart every so often, than by saying the whole “Our Father” many times but hastily and distractedly.”
 ~St. Theresa of Avila

“One of the most beautiful experiences a person can have in the Church is that of being able to see and touch the work of the Lord in people’s lives, of experiencing the fact that God is not some abstract entity, but a reality so great and strong as to fill man’s heart to overflowing; a living Person Who is close to us, Who loves us and asks to be loved”.  ~ Pope Benedict XVI


The Buzz Word of the Third Millennium

Evangelization is a buzz word that we hear a lot about.  We use to think of it as something you did to people who were not Catholic or Christian.  However, today we know that we need to evangelize to those around us not about who Jesus is and what He is inviting everyone to, but we need to evangelize with our lives.

Jesus the Evangelist

I sometimes get the impression that we don’t think of Jesus as being an evangelizer as much as we think of Him as the one we “evangelize about”.  The General Directory of Catechesis in paragraph 34 said:

He [Jesus Christ] was the first and supreme evangelizer. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God, as the urgent and definitive intervention of God in history, and defined this proclamation “the Gospel”, that is, the Good News. To this Gospel, Jesus devoted his entire earthly life: he made known the joy of belonging to the Kingdom, its demands, its magna carta, the mysteries which it embraces, the life of fraternal charity of those who enter it and its future fulfillment.

How Are You Evangelizing?

Today, at a day and age where sin is bringing scandal to the Church and this Church of sinners is being seen by the world as equally wounded and captive to sin (at least in some respects).  We need to evangelize by the way we live our faith in the grocery store, at the beach, in the movie theater, at a wedding, and at a friends bachelor party.  Today there truly is an urgent and definitive need to proclaim the Gospel and help others experience it as good news in our world.  Don’t get me wrong, lots of “good news” is happening.  We just need to pray and seek to make the joy of Jesus and his grace present in all aspects of society.

Be Committed to Prayer

Through a life of prayer Christ will do great things in and through us.  Let us ask Our Lady to assist us in being the evangelizers we are called to be:

We ask you, Mary, to help us to fulfill this mission of evangelization which your Son has given to his Church and which falls to us. Mindful of your role as Help of Christians, we entrust ourselves to you in the work of carrying the Gospel ever deeper into the hearts and lives of all the people. We entrust to you our missionary mandate and commit our  cause totally to your prayers. To Jesus Christ your Son, with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit be praise and thanksgiving forever and ever.  Amen (prayer from catholic.org)


“The person who possesses Christian meekness is affectionate and tender towards everyone: he is disposed to forgive and excuse the frailties of others; the goodness of his heart appears in a sweet affability that influences his words and actions, presents every object to his view in the most charitable and pleasing light.”

~ St. Francis de Sales (Feast Day is January 24)


Pope Benedict XVI has constantly spoken about the need to strive for holiness and for Christ’s disciples to aim to be saints.

“What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.”


“Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception.  That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

‘The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.'”

~ Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph # 491


Fire of Advent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 187

“Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time.”


 

 

“The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings.  There is no more excellent way of praying.”

-Pope Leo XIII


Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.

~ Pope Paul VI in Evangelization in the Modern World Paragraph 14


Indeed the primordial mission of the Church is to proclaim God and to be his witnesses before the world.  This involves making known the true face of God and his loving plan of salvation for man, as it has been revealed in Jesus Christ.  To prepare such witnesses, it is necessary for the Church to develop a profoundly religious catechesis, nourished on the Gospel, which will deepen man’s encounter with God and forge a bond of permanent communion with Him.

~ General Director for Catechesis, Paragraph 23


“There cannot be too great an effort on the part of Christian parents to prepare for this ministry of being their own children’s catechists and to carry it out with tireless zeal…help parents to perform their task: the service they are doing to catechesis is beyond price.”

~ Pope John Paul II in Catechesi Tradendae (On Catechesis in Our Time)


On her First Communion, in which Therese received Love Himself personally for the first time, she writes, “It was a kiss of love, I felt myself loved, and I replied, ‘I love You and I give myself to You forever.” In her little notebook Therese wrote down all the days on which she received Jesus in Holy Communion. Her second meeting with Jesus was equally as intimate. Of this wedding Therese recalled the words of St. Paul, “It is no longer I who life, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).


In His recent visit to Great Britain Pope Benedict XVI spoke specifically to children when he said the following:

“I hope that among those of you listening to me today there are some of the future saints of the twenty-first century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness…When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best.”


He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.

~Catechism of the Catholic Church #2559


Pope Clement I, third successor of St. Peter, writes: “It was through envy and jealousy that the greatest and most upright pillars of the Church were persecuted and struggled unto death…. First of all, Peter, who because of unreasonable jealousy suffered not merely once or twice but many times, and, having thus given his witness, went to the place of glory that he deserved. It was through jealousy and conflict that Paul showed the way to the prize for perseverance. He was put in chains seven times, sent into exile, and stoned; a herald both in the east and the west, he achieved a noble fame by his faith….”

“Around these men with their holy lives there are gathered a great throng of the elect, who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures. Through jealousy women were tormented, like Dirce or the daughters of Danaus, suffering terrible and unholy acts of violence. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize.”


If the question be asked: How ought man to use his possessions? the Church replies without hesitation: “As to this point, man ought not regard external goods as his own, but as common so that, in fact, a person should readily share them when he sees others in need. No one, certainly, is obliged to assist others out of what is required for his own necessary use or for that of his family, . . . But when the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, it is a duty to give to the poor out of that which remains. (#35-36)

~  Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Workers)


I found this a few months back from a Catholic News agency speaking about the end of the Year of the Priest where thousands of priest where gathered in Rome.  This following is from a Q& A session Pope Benedict had with priests…

Another priest, this time from Europe, asked the Pope to speak on “the profundity and authentic significance of ecclesiastical celibacy” also in view of the “worldly criticisms” to which it has been subjected. The Holy Father said that “a great problem of modern Christianity is that we no longer think of the future of God: the present moment of this world seems sufficient. … In this way we close the doors to the true greatness of our existence. The meaning of celibacy – as an anticipation of the future – is precisely to open these doors, … to show the reality of the future which we must live here in the present, and in this way bear witness to our faith. We truly believe that God exists, … that we can found our lives on Christ and on the life to come”. On the subject of worldly criticism, the Pope noted how “for the agnostic world … celibacy is a great scandal because it shows that God is considered to be real and is lived as a reality. … Celibacy is a definitive ‘yes’, it is allowing oneself to be taken by the hand of God, giving oneself into the Lord’s hands, into His ‘self’. Thus it is an act of faithfulness and trust, an act which presupposes the faithfulness of marriage, … which is the biblical form, the natural form, of being man and woman, foundation of the great Christian culture and of other great cultures of the world. If this is lost, the roots of our culture will be destroyed. Thus celibacy confirms the ‘yes’ of marriage with its ‘yes’ to the world to come. This is how we wish to proceed and actualise this scandal of a faith which founds all of existence on God. … We pray to the Lord to help us free ourselves from secondary scandals, to make this great scandal of our faith present: the trust, the power of our life founded in God, in Christ Jesus”.


As the kernel and center of His Good News, Christ proclaims salvation, this great gift of God which is liberation from everything that oppresses man but which is above all liberation from sin and the Evil One, in the joy of knowing God and being known by Him, of seeing Him, and of being given over to Him. All of this is begun during the life of Christ and definitively accomplished by His death and resurrection. But it must be patiently carried on during the course of history, in order to be realized fully on the day of the final coming of Christ, whose date is known to no one except the Father.[23]

~Pope Paul VI in Evangeli Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World) paragraph 9.  


We live in a society in which it seems that every space, every moment must be ‘filled’ with initiatives, activity, sound; often there is not even time to listen and dialogue. Dear brothers and sisters! Let us not be afraid to be silent outside and inside ourselves, so that we are able not only to perceive God’s voice, but also the voice of the person next to us, the voices of others.

~ Pope Benedict XVI


This is a little lengthy for a quote but it is worth it.

…[A] renewed “theology of work” can shed light upon and study in depth the meaning of work in the Christian life and determine the fundamental bond between work and the family, and therefore the original and irreplaceable meaning of work in the home and in rearing children.(66) Therefore the Church can and should help modern society by tirelessly insisting that the work of women in the home be recognized and respected by all in its irreplaceable value. This is of particular importance in education: for possible discrimination between the different types of work and professions is eliminated at its very root once it is clear that all people, in every area, are working with equal rights and equal responsibilities. The image of God in man and in woman will thus be seen with added luster.

While it must be recognized that women have the same right as men to perform various public functions, society must be structured in such a way that wives and mothers are not in practice compelled to work outside the home, and that their families can live and prosper in a dignified way even when they themselves devote their full time to their own family.

Furthermore, the mentality which honors women more for their work outside the home than for their work within the family must be overcome. This requires that men should truly esteem and love women with total respect for their personal dignity, and that society should create and develop conditions favoring work in the home.

~ POPE JOHN PAUL II’s APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO (ON THE ROLE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY IN THE MODERN WORLD)


“Do you want many graces? Go and visit the Blessed Sacrament often. Do you want few graces? Visit the Blessed Sacrament rarely. Do you want none at all? Then never pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament,”

– St. John Bosco


If God seems slow in responding, it is because He is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. God withholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for His greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart.

— St. Augustine


The prayer of listening makes things simple but it also makes us vulnerable, and that is frightening. Listening makes us open to Christ, the Word of God, spoken in all things: in the material world, the Scriptures, the Church, and sacraments and, sometimes most threateningly, in our fellow human beings. To listen at prayer is to take the chance of hearing the voice of Christ in the poor, the weak, those whom we love and those whom we do not love.

— Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Listening at Prayer


“There is a school in Heaven, and there one has only to learn how to love. The school is in the Cenacle; the Teacher is Jesus; the matter taught is His Flesh and His Blood,”

– St. Gemma Galgani


Thus the Church, at once “a visible organization and a spiritual community,” travels the same journey as all of humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world: it is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God.

~ Gaudium et Spes # 40 (The Church in the Modern World)


“Martyrdom makes disciples like their Master, who willingly accepted death for the salvation of the world, and through it they are made like him by the shedding of blood. Therefore, the Church considers it the highest gift and supreme test of love. And while it is given to few, all however must be prepared to confess Christ before humanity and to follow him along the way of the cross amid the persecutions which the Church never lacks” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 42, Austin Flannery translation).


The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (CT, no. 5).  These ends are evident in this framework—designed to guide catechetical instruction for young people of high-school age wherever and however it takes place: in Catholic high schools, in parish religious education programs, with young people schooled at home, or within the context of the catechetical instruction which should be part of every youth ministry program. The Christological centrality of this framework is designed to form the content of instruction as well as to be a vehicle for growth in one’s relationship with the Lord so that each may come to know him and live according to the truth he has given to us. In this way, disciples not only participate more deeply in the life of the Church but are also better able to reach eternal life with God in Heaven.

~ The  Introduction of The Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age developed by the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Let them constantly keep in mind, that they have been sanctified and strengthened for the duties and for the dignity of their state by a special sacrament, the efficacious power of which, although it does not impress a character, is undying. To this purpose we may ponder over the words full of real comfort of holy Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who with other well-known theologians with devout conviction thus expresses himself: “The sacrament of matrimony can be regarded in two ways: first, in the making, and then in its permanent state. For it is a sacrament like to that of the Eucharist, which not only when it is being conferred, but also whilst it remains, is a sacrament; for as long as the married parties are alive, so long is their union a sacrament of Christ and the Church.”[83]

~ Pope Pius XI in CASTI CONNUBII On Christian Marriage


“Parents are the most influential agents of catechesis for their children. They have a unique responsibility for the education of their children; they are the first educators, or catechists. They catechize primarily by the witness of their Christian lives and by their love for the faith. One way that parents communicate Christian values and attitudes to their children is by loving each other within the context of a Christian marriage and their love for Christ and his Church. Their participation in the life of the parish – above all in the Sunday Eucharist – their willingness to evangelize and serve others, and their dedication to daily prayer demonstrate the authenticity of their profession of faith.”

~ The National Directory For Catechesis


One may not take as the ultimate criteria in economic life the interests of individuals or organized groups, nor unregulated competition, nor excessive power on the part of the wealthy, nor the vain honor of the nation or its desire for domination, nor anything of this sort. Rather, it is necessary that economic undertaking be governed by justice and charity as the principal laws of social life.  (#38-39)

~ Pope John XXIII in Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher)

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