Death Makes One Face Reality.
This Monday, November 3rd, Benedict XVI celebrated the traditional Mass for the souls of deceased Cardinals and Bishops who passed away during last year.
During the homily the Pontiff said death "forces us to look reality in the face, it compels us to recognize the transience of what appears so great and strong to the eyes of the world. In the face of death all reasons for human pride fall away, and what is really worthwhile emerges" “God is the true wisdom that never ages," the Holy Father said. "He is the authentic wealth that does not decay; he is the joy to which the depth of each human heart aspires."
In closing, the Pope said the deceased bishops and cardinals "passed from death to life because they chose Christ [...] and consecrated themselves to the service of others. And therefore, even if they have to accept their share of redress due to human frailty -- which marks us all, helping to keep us humble -- their faithfulness to Christ allows them to enter into the freedom of the children of God."
He added, "Let us pray that we, pilgrims upon the earth, always keep our hearts and eyes turned toward the final goal to which we all aspire, the house of the Father, heaven." Vatican City. Nov. 4, 2008 (Zenit.org).
Pope urges Obama to help build a better world.
The Holy Father sent a telegram to Barack Obama who won USA presidential election this Tuesday. He promises Obama his prayers so that God assists him in his "weighty responsibilities at the service of the nation and the international community. The message expresses the Pontiff's wish that the abundant blessings of the Lord "support you and the people of the United States in your efforts, together with all men and women of good will, to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice."
Vatican City. Nov. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).
Christianity is not a comfortable faith, but it has the hope of Resurrection.
During the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke of the Resurrection as the central point in Pauline theology.
He began his address citing a passage from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians: "And if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. … You are still in your sins."
"With these heavy words […] St. Paul makes clear how decisive is the importance that he attributes to the resurrection of Jesus," the Pontiff said. "In this event, in fact, is the solution to the problem that the drama of the cross implies. On its own, the cross could not explain Christian faith; on the contrary, it would be a tragedy, a sign of the absurdity of being. […]
"Here is the central key to Pauline Christology: Everything revolves around this gravitational center point. The whole teaching of the Apostle Paul departs from and always arrives at the mystery of the One whom the Father has risen from the dead."
The Holy Father said that Paul's emphasis on the Resurrection and his proclamation of that fundamental Christian truth has "important consequences for our life of faith."
He explained: "We are called to participate from the depths of our being in the whole of the event of the death and resurrection of Christ. The Apostle says: We 'have died with Christ' and we believe 'that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.'
"This translates into sharing the sufferings of Christ, as a prelude to this full configuration with him through the resurrection, which we gaze upon with hope."
The Pontiff noted. " To live in faith in Jesus Christ, to live truth and love implies renunciations every day; it implies sufferings. Christianity is not a path of comfort; it is rather a demanding ascent, but enlightened with the light of Christ and with the great hope that is born from him."
In fact, he continued, citing St. Augustine "Christians are not spared suffering; on the contrary, they get a little extra."
But, the Bishop of Rome affirmed, it is "only in this way, experiencing suffering, [that] we experience life in its depth, in its beauty, in the great hope elicited by Christ, crucified and risen." Vatican City. Nov. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).-
Religions can and should be a factor of peace.
The Pope said when he received the letters of credence from the new Egyptian ambassador to the Holy See.
He praised "the efforts carried out by Egypt and its government officials to gradually reach this noble objective :the reconciliation of peoples and peaceful co-existence among everyone." "This is what the Holy See asks, and knows that this is also the desire of Egypt," affirmed the Bishop of Rome.."
Benedict XVI affirmed that Egypt has always been known as a land of welcome for innumerable refugees, Muslims and Christians, who have sought security and peace in that land.
The Pope mentioned the regular meetings between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Al-Azhar Al Sharif university in Cairo. He said these meetings have contributed to "a reciprocal understanding and respect between Islam and Christianity." Vatican City. Nov. 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).-
It is necessary to find a common ground for building a more fraternal world.
Benedict XVI greeted participants from the first meeting of the Catholic-Muslim forum at its conclusion. “This gathering is a clear sign of our mutual esteem and our desire to listen respectfully to one another” said the Pope.” I can assure you that I have prayerfully followed the progress of your meeting”.
”The theme which you have chosen for your meeting "Love of God, Love of Neighbour: The Dignity of the Human Person and Mutual Respect" is particularly significant. It presents love of God and love of neighbour as the heart of Islam and Christianity alike. This theme highlights even more clearly the theological and spiritual foundations of a central teaching of our respective religions.”
”I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need. God calls us to work together on behalf of the victims of disease, hunger, poverty, injustice and violence”
“Only by starting with the recognition of the centrality of the person and the dignity of each human being, respecting and defending life which is the gift of God, and is thus sacred for Christians and for Muslims alike -- only on the basis of this recognition, can we find a common ground for building a more fraternal world, a world in which confrontations and differences are peacefully settled, and the devastating power of ideologies is neutralized.”
”God's name can only be a name of peace and fraternity, justice and love. We are challenged to demonstrate, by our words and above all by our deeds, that the message of our religions is unfailingly a message of harmony and mutual understanding.”
”Dear friends, let us unite our efforts, animated by good will, in order to overcome all misunderstanding and disagreements. Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other which even today can create difficulties in our relations; let us work with one another to educate all people, especially the young, to build a common future. May God sustain us in our good intentions, and enable our communities to live consistently the truth of love, which constitutes the heart of the religious man, and is the basis of respect for the dignity of each person. May God, the merciful and compassionate One, assist us in this challenging mission, protect us, bless us and enlighten us always with the power of his love.” Vatican City. Nov. 6, 2008
Organ donation is a unique testimony of charity.
“The act of love, which is expressed with the gift of one's own vital organs, is a genuine testament of charity that knows how to look beyond death so that life always wins.” expresed Benedict XVI when he addressed the participants in the international congress "A gift for life. Considerations on organ donation.
” In a time such as ours, frequently marked by various forms of egotism, it is more and more urgent to understand how it is necessary to enter into the logic of gratitude to correctly understand life” “Tissue and organ transplants represent a great conquest of medical science, and are certainly signs of hope for those suffering serious, and often grave, illnesses” adds the Pontiff .
However, he explains that it is important “ that the multiplication of transplant petitions don't change around the ethical principles upon which it rests. “ As I said in my first encyclical” he explains,” the body can never be considered as a mere object (cf. "Deus Caritas Est," No. 5)”,” one can only donate if this act doesn't put one's own health and identity in serious danger, and if it is done for a valid moral and proportionate reason” Benedict XVI affirms.
As for the creation and destruction of human embryos, the Holy Father emphasised that “The very idea of considering the embryo as therapeutic material contradicts the cultural, civil and ethical foundations on which the dignity of the person rests.”
The Pontiff explained. "Respect for the life of the donor should be assumed as the primary criterion. In the case of vital organs, it must be certified beyond a doubt that the donor is truly dead"
"Informed consent," said the Pontiff, "is a precondition of freedom so that the transplant can be characterized as being a gift and not interpreted as a coercive or abusive act The Pope affirms that “ Any reasons for the buying and selling of organs, or the adoption of utilitarian and discriminatory criteria, would clash in such a way with the meaning of gift that they would be invalidated, qualifying them as illicit moral acts.
Organ transplants that are in line with the ethic of giving require the commitment of all sides to invest every possible effort in formation and information, so as to increasingly awaken consciences to a problem that directly affects the lives of so many.
Vatican City. Nov. 7, 2008
"Shared Faith Is a Wonderful Source of Strength and Unity."
With these words, Benedict XVI when received the new ambassador from Lithuania to the Holy See. The Pope also expressed his desire that Christians work together in the defence of marriage and family life, the protection of human life from conception to natural death, and the promotion of effective solidarity with the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, and all those on the margins of society.
"These values will strike a chord with all those, especially the young, who are seeking answers to their profound questioning about the meaning and purpose of life," said Benedict XVI "They will appeal to all who are discriminating enough to reject the world-view built upon relativism and secularism, and who aspire instead to live in a manner befitting the true nobility of the human spirit." Vatican City. Nov. 7, 2008.
Care of the Church Buildings is important. The Holy Father expressed his concern about the care given to houses of worship. He said that the material temple is important because it is an expression of that "spiritual edifice," which is the Christian community.
For this reason, he added, every community "has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony." Vatican City. Nov. 9, 2008
Benedict XVI joins the Jews in their pain.
In the 70 th. anniversary of Kristallnacht, or "Night of Broken Glass." the Pope lamented the Nazi program that killed or arrested thousands of Jews and destroyed synagogues during the nights of Nov. 9-10, 1938.
After reciting the Angelus together with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, he invited "to pray for the victims of that time and to join with me in manifesting a deep solidarity with the Jewish world."
"The memory of these things must serve to prevent similar horrors from ever happening again and must lead us to dedicate ourselves, at every level, to fight against every form of anti-Semitism and discrimination, educating the younger generations in respect and reciprocal acceptance.” He said. Vatican City. Nov. 9, 2008.
Pontiff calls on all to restore peace to Congo.
After reciting the Angelus together with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope called attention to the ongoing conflict taking place in the North Kivu region of Congo.
"Bloody armed skirmishes and systematic atrocities have caused and continue to cause many casualties among innocent civilians," he lamented. "Destruction, looting and violence of every type have forced tens of thousands of persons to abandon even what little they had to survive. The number of refugees is estimated at more than 1 and a half million."
"To all and to each one I desire to express my special nearness, as I encourage and bless those who are working to alleviate their sufferings, among whom are the pastoral workers of the Church of that region," the Pontiff stated. "To families and their loved ones I offer my condolences and assure my prayers."
The Pontiff also called "upon all to work together to restore peace, respect for law and the dignity of every person to that land, for too long martyred." Vatican City. Nov. 9, 2008.
A prayer for the Holy Father
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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