The Holy Father´s Week: February 8, 2010

A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities
by Maribel de Torres | Source:

He always spoke with God and about God.  The Holy Father said in the general audience about Saint Dominic, born in Spain in 1170 and founder of the Order of Preachers, known also as the Dominican Friars.  
“In the life of saints, love of the Lord and of neighbour, the seeking of God's glory and the salvation of souls always go together “ the Holy Father affirmed.
 “This great saint reminds us that a missionary fire must always burn in the heart of the Church"  
"Christ is, in fact, the most precious good that men and women of all times and all places have the right to know and to love!” 
Dominic was sent by the Pope to preach to the Albigensians, a heretical group that denied the incarnation of Christ, the resurrection of the body and the value of marriage and the sacraments. 
He “accepted this mission enthusiastically, which he carried out precisely with the example of his poor and austere existence, with the preaching of the Gospel and with public debates. He dedicated the rest of his life to this mission of preaching the Good News” The Holy Father said.
Embracing a life of poverty, “First of all, Dominic and the Friars Preachers presented themselves as mendicants, that is, without vast properties of land to administer. This element rendered them more available for study and itinerant preaching and constituted a concrete witness for the people.”
He placed emphasis on theological study, prayer and community life for his friars.
With his sanctity, he indicates two indispensable means for apostolic action to be incisive, Benedict XVI noted, first of all, Marian devotion. The Dominicans promoted the prayer of the rosary, a beautiful means of contemplating, through the eyes of Mary, the truth revealed in the mysteries of the life, death and Resurrection of her son.
In the second place “the value of intercessory prayer for the success of apostolic work. Only in Paradise will we understand how much the prayer of the cloistered effectively supports apostolic action!” the Pope exclaimed.
St. Dominic was canonized in 1234. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2010
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On the divine call to follow Christ. Before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father reflected on the divine call received by Isaiah, St. Peter and St. Paul. “In these three experiences we see how the authentic encounter with God brings man to recognize his own poverty and inadequacy, his limitations and his sin. But this fragility notwithstanding, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms man's life and calls man to follow him.” He explained.
 "The humility that Isaiah, Peter and Paul bear witness to, invites those who have received the gift of a divine calling not to focus on their own limits, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and on his surprising mercy, to convert the heart and continue, with joy, to 'leave everything' for him."
"Man sees the appearance but the Lord sees the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7), and renders men who are poor and weak, but who have faith in him, intrepid apostles and proclaimers of salvation.” the Pope affirmed
He asked Mary to “awaken in everyone the desire to say his own "yes" to the Lord with joy and total dedication” and invited all priests to revive their generous availability to respond to the Lord's call every day with the same humility and faith that Isaiah, Peter and Paul had.
“Let us overcome all fears and hesitation that we may rediscover how much God longs to bless us!” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2010

Other papal messages and activities

Benedict XVI´s Lenten message for 2010 has as its theme: "The Justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ."
In common usage, he said, justice "implies 'to render to every man his due.' [...] “In reality, however, this classical definition does not specify what 'due' is to be rendered to each person.”
“Material goods are certainly useful and required” the Holy Father explains, “yet "distributive" justice does not render to the human being the totality of his "due." Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God.”
We can detect a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause.
“ Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes "from outside," in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved.”
Jesus warns us against his way of thinking.
“Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious cooperation with evil.” Benedict XVI affirms. “This is egoism, the result of original sin.”
“ Does man have any hope of justice then?” the Pope asks. 
“The fact that "expiation" flows from the "blood" of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the "curse" due to man so as to give in return the "blessing" due to God.” 
“Thanks to Christ’s action, we may enter into the "greatest" justice, which is that of love (cf. Rm 13, 8-10), the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected.” the Holy Father continues.
“Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship.” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 4, 2010
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Benedict XVI received the bishops of England and Wales who are in Rome on their five-yearly "ad limina" visit. The Pope acknowledged the many signs of faith and devotion among the Catholics in the United Kingdom, and said he is looking ahead with anticipation to his upcoming visit there. The Pope plans to visit the United Kingdom in September.
He reminded the bishops that fidelity to the Gospel “in no way restricts the freedom of others -- on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth”. 
“Continue to insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society” he said.
He highlighted Cardinal John Henry Newman's example, and urged the bishops "to hold up to your priests his example of dedication to prayer, pastoral sensitivity towards the needs of his flock, and passion for preaching the Gospel." VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2010

On the World Day of Consecrated Life, the Holy Father recalled during his vespers homily that the "purpose of this day is threefold: first of all to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; in the second place, to promote the knowledge and appreciation by all the People of God; finally, to invite all those who have fully dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels that the Lord has operated in them." "If it did not exist," he said, "how much poorer the world would be!” 
The Pope noted that we venerate the Virgin Mary “as the first and perfect consecrated one” , “ Virgin, poor and obedient, totally dedicated to us because totally of God.” In her school, and with her maternal help, we renew our "here I am" and our "fiat." VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2010

Seven new Bishops. The appointments made by Benedict XVI include two new appointments for Africa and three for the Americas.  VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2010

The Pope noted the group of martyrs being celebrated by the liturgy this week: St. Blaise, St. Agatha and St. Paul Miki and his companions. "May the courage of these heroic witnesses of Christ help you, dear young people, to open your hearts to the heroism of sanctity," the Holy Father said in his traditional greeting to young people, the sick and newlyweds at the end of the general audience.   VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2010

“Sport can make an effective contribution to peaceful understanding between peoples” Benedict XVI said in a message he sent to the host dioceses of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
 Vancouver, British Columbia, will host to the XXI Winter Olympic Games beginning Feb. 12 . Also in Canada the X Paralympics for athletes with physical and visual disabilities is set for March. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 4, 2010

The Church offers the world a positive and inspiring vision of human life. In an audience with the bishops from Scotland who are in Rome for their five-yearly visit, Benedict XVI said that “"All too often the Church's doctrine is perceived as a series of prohibitions and retrograde positions, whereas the reality, as we know, is that it is creative and life-giving, and it is directed towards the fullest possible realization of the great potential for good and for happiness that God has implanted within every one of us."
He urged them: "Be sure to present this teaching in such a way that it is recognized for the message of hope that it is”. and to call Catholics to complete fidelity to the magisterium.
The Holy Father confirmed his intention to visit Scotland in September. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2010

Benedict XVI received Guatemala’s new ambassador to the Holy See. The Pontiff expressed his appreciation for the actions that this Country has undertaken to reinforce democracy and urged the nation to fight against corruption, poverty and hunger. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2010

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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