Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Prayer for the Dead



Almighty, Everlasting God, who hast dominion over the living and the dead, and showest mercy unto all whom Thou knowest will be Thine by faith and works: we humbly beseech Thee that they for whom we have resolved to pour forth our prayers, whether this present world still detain them in the flesh, or the world to come hath already received them stripped of their bodies, may, by the grace of Thy fatherly love, and through the intercession of all the Saints, obtain the remission of all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto Thee.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord graciously hear us.
Amen.
And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Prayer found at the Blessed Virgin Mary tomb

This powerful prayer was found in the tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary among the other things found therein when her assumption was discovered. The following are the powers of this prayer; - whoever reads it or hears it read or who ever carries a copy on this prayer with them will be saved from an unprovided death, from fire, from water, from dangerous falls and will be saved in battle. Moreover, the prayer is powerful in childbirth, in wounds, accidents and every disease, by its virtue everyone who recites (or carries it) and say one Pater (Our Father), Ave (Hail Mary) and Credo (Apostles Creed) in honour of Mary, The Immaculate Virgin, every day, she will appear to them three times before death, but particularly at the hour of death.

Prayer
 
O, most benign Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Father, God Almighty, God of Angels, only Son of the Most Glorious Virgin Mary, help me, a poor sinner, and assist me in every difficulty in which I am present.
 
Glorious Virgin, Mother of God, woman above every dignity, worthy of every praise, intercede for me, a poor sinner, with your own loving Son. 
 
Most honourable lady, mother of the human race and of angels, protect me from every evil, past, present and to come. I pray you, fruit of the patriarchs, light of the angels, compatriot of angels, sublime meditation of angels and archangels, beauty of virgins, river of the Trinity, not to desert me at the fearful hour of death.
 
May my soul hear, as it parts from my body, your comforting words in the presence of your beloved Son and you, and may I get eternal glory and abide with him. 
 
O Star of the Sea, gate of Heaven, temple of God, palace of Christ, harbour of health, flower of every nation, hope of the faithful, well of mercy, light of virgins, you converse and delight the angels and archangels, you are the temple in which is every joy of the human race depends.
 
O most honourable Blessed Benign Lady you strengthen us in every task. O mother of mercy look on me with eyes of mercy. I place myself under the patronage and protection of your holy hands , my soul and body, my thoughts words and deeds, that I may please your beloved Son and You. 
 
AMEN
 
 
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
AMEN.
 
One Our Father (Pater)
One Hail Mary (Ave)
One Apostle Creed (Credo)

Prayer found at the tomb of Jesus Christ our Risen Lord



The following Prayer was found in the tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ in the year 803 and was sent from the Pope to the Emperor Charles as he was going to battle, for safety. They who repeat it every day, or hear it repeated or keep it about them shall never die a sudden death, nor be drowned in water, nor shall poison have any effect on them, and if read over a woman in labour she will be delivered safely, and be a glad mother, and when the child is born lay this on his or her right side, and he or she shall not be troubled with any misfortunes, and if you see any one in fits, lay it on his or her right side, and he or she shall stand up and thank the Lord. They who shall repeat it in any house shall be blessed by the Lord and he that will laugh at it will suffer; believe this for certain, it is true as the holy Evangelist had written it they who keep it about them shall not fear the lightning or thunder,and they who shall repeat it every day shall have three days warning, before death.


Prayer


O Adorable Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST dying on the gallows tree for our sins,
O holy Cross of JESUS see me in my thoughts;
O holy Cross of JESUS ward off from me all weapons of danger;
O holy Cross of JESUS ward off from me all that are evil;
O holy Cross of JESUS protect me from my enemies;
O holy Cross of JESUS ward off from me a dangerous death, and give always life;
O Crucified JESUS of Nazareth, have mercy on me now and forever;
In Honour of Lord JESUS CHRIST, and in Honour of his Sacred Passion, and in honour of his Holy Resurrection and God like ascension, which he likes to bring me right to Heaven.
True as  JESUS CHRIST was born on Christmas day in the stable;
True as  JESUS CHRIST was Crucified on Mount Calvary on Good Friday;
True as the Three Wise Kings brought their offerings on the thirteenth day;
True as he ascended into Heaven so the honour of Jesus will keep me from enemies visible and invisible now and for evermore.
O Lord JESUS, have mercy on me,
Mary and Joseph, pray for me.
Nicodemus and Joseph who took our Lord down from the Cross and buried him, pray for me.
O Lord JESUS CHRIST through thy sufferings, for truly Your soul was parting out of this sinful world, give grace that I may carry my Cross patiently without dread and fear when I suffer without complaining and that through thy sufferings I may escape all dangers now and for evermore.
AMEN. 

In the Name of the FATHER, and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.
AMEN.

1. Entrance to outer room, hewn in rock.
Entrance to the tomb.

 2. Low threshold to graves. 
A step down to the right half of the tomb, which is slightly lower than the left half.

 3. Short low rock walls.

  4. Finished loculus (burial place).
Where Jesus' body laid for 3 days.

 5. Pillow cut in rock.
Rocky mass had been smoothed and sloped into a pillow for the head.

 6. Weeping chamber.
Flat area intended for the mourners to sit and mourn while looking at the body on the other side of the short rock walls.

 7. Rough ledge.

 8. Unfinished loculus (burial place).
John 19:41 states that Jesus was laid in "a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid."

9. Small window.
 Covered when the stone door is rolled into place.


Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great

Invoked for Souls in Purgatory and for Living Sinners
Our Lord told St. Gertrude the great, that the following prayer would release 1,000 Souls from Purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accured to them during their lives.
 
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Please recite the prayer as many times daily.

 
 
 



St. Gertrude the Great was born in Germany in 1263. She was a Benedictine nun, and mediated on the Passion of Christ, which many times brought floods of tears to her eyes. She did many penances, and Our Lord appeared to her many times. She was taken back by Our Lord to His heavanly kingdom in 1334.
 
Feast day on 16 November.
Patroness of Cloistered Nuns, Travellers, and the West Indies.
Other prayers of St.Gertrude the Great
 
Prayer to Our Lady, taught to St. Gertrude

O most chaste Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that unspotted purity wherewith thou didst prepare for the Son of God a dwelling of delight in thy virginal womb, that by thine intercession I may be cleansed by every stain of sin.

O most humble Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that most profound humility whereby thou didst merit to be raised high above all the choirs of the angels and the saints, that by thine intercession all my negligence may be expiated.

O most loving Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that ineffable love which united thee so closely and so inseparably to God, that by thine intercession I may obtain an abundance of all merits. Amen.
 
* * * * * *
 
Prayer to the Sacred Heart, written by St. Gertrude
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary.

O my adorable and loving Savior, consume my heart with the burning fire with which Yours is aflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your love. Let my heart be united with Yours. Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things. May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions. Amen.
 
* * * * * *
 
Prayer to Our Lady, taught to St. Gertrude
O most chaste Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that unspotted purity wherewith thou didst prepare for the Son of God a dwelling of delight in thy virginal womb, that by thine intercession I may be cleansed by every stain of sin.
O most humble Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that most profound humility whereby thou didst merit to be raised high above all the choirs of the angels and the saints, that by thine intercession all my negligence may be expiated.
O most loving Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that ineffable love which united thee so closely and so inseparably to God, that by thine intercession I may obtain an abundance of all merits. Amen.

* * * * * * 


"It was revealed to St. Gertrude that reading and meditating on the Passion are far more useful and efficacious than all other spiritual exercises. As those who handle flour cannot avoid contracting some whiteness, so no one, however imperfect his devotion may be, can occupy his mind with the Passion of Our Lord without receiving some benefit therefrom. And, however cold and lukewarm our devotion, Our Lord will look upon us with greater long-suffering and mercy if we never omit the memory of His Passion."
(Taken from St. Gertrude the Great, Tan Books, 1976.)
 
No.1 
O Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal sweetness and jubilee of those who love Thee, remember all the presentiment of grief Thou didst endure from the moment of Thy conception, and especially at Thy entrance into Thy Passion, when Thou didst say: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death"; and when, by reason of Thy overwhelming dread and anguish and grief, Thou didst sweat, as it were, drops of Blood trickling down upon the ground. Remember all the bitterness of Thy sorrow when Thou wast seized upon by the Jews, accused by false witnesses, condemned by Thy three judges, buffeted and smitten, spit upon, scourged, and crowned with thorns. O sweetest Jesus, I implore Thee, by all the sorrows and insults Thou didst endure, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

No.2
O Jesus, paradise of the delights of God, remember now all the dread and sorrow Thou didst endure when Pilate pronounced on Thee sentence of death; when the godless soldiers laid the heavy Cross on Thy Shoulders, and fastened Thee thereon with rude and blunted nails, cruelly stretching Thy sacred Limbs so that all Thy Bones could be numbered; I beseech Thee, vouchsafe to pronounce a merciful sentence on me in the day of judgment, and deliver me from all punishment. Amen.
 
No.3
O Jesus, Heavenly Physician, remember now the languor and the pain Thou didst endure when lifted upon the Cross, when all Thy Bones were out of joint, so that no sorrow was like to Thy sorrow, because, from the sole of Thy Foot to the top of Thy Head, there was no soundness in Thee; when, notwithstanding, Thou didst put away the feeling of all Thine own griefs, and pray to Thy Father for Thine enemies, saying: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." By this, Thy charity and Thy mercy, grant that the dignity and worth of Thy Passion may be the entire remission of all my sins. Amen.
 
No.4
O Jesus, mirror of the eternal splendor, remember now that sadness which filled Thy Heart when Thou didst behold in the mirror of Thy Divinity the reprobation of the wicked and the multitude of the lost; and by the depth of the compassion Thou didst show to the robber on the cross, saying: "This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise," I beseech Thee, O compassionate Jesus, show me Thy mercy in the hour of my death. Amen.
 
 
No.5
O Jesus, King most beloved, remember now the mournful desolation of Thy Heart, when Thou, forsaken by all, wert mocked as Thou didst hang on the Cross; when Thou didst find none to comfort Thee but Thy beloved Mother, who stood by Thy Cross to the last, and whom Thou didst commend to Thy disciple, saying: "Woman, behold thy son," and to the disciple: "Behold thy Mother." I beseech Thee, O compassionate Jesus, by that sword of anguish which then pierced her heart, do Thou condole with me and console me in all my tribulations. Amen.

No.6
O Jesus, inexhaustible fountain of pity, remember now that bitterness which Thou didst endure when, Thy strength being exhausted and Thy sacred Body dried up, Thou didst feel that burning thirst, and hadst not one drop of water to cool Thy parched Tongue, but only vinegar upon hyssop; I beseech Thee that Thou wouldst extinguish in me the thirst of carnal concupiscence and worldy delights. Amen. 

No.7
O Jesus, mighty King, remember now that when Thou wast plunged into the bitter waters of Thy Passion until they closed over Thy Head, Thou wast forsaken and didst cry out with a loud voice, saying: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" By this Thine anguish and dereliction, I beseech Thee, forsake me not in my last agony. Amen.
  
No.8
O Jesus, strong Lion of the tribe of Juda, remember now the sorrow and the woe Thou didst endure, when all the forces of Thy Heart and of Thy Flesh failed Thee utterly, and Thou didst bow Thy Head and cry: "It is consummated." By this Thine anguish and Thy woe, have mercy on me at the end of my life, when my soul shall be troubled, and my spirit disquieted within me. Amen. 

No.9
O Jesus, splendor of the Father's glory and figure of His substance, remember now that earnest commendation with which Thou didst commend Thy Spirit to the Father, saying: "Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit!" and when, Thy most sacred Body being torn and Thy Heart broken, and all the bowels of Thy compassion laid bare for our Redemption, Thou didst give up Thy Spirit; I beseech Thee, the Life of all that live, to submit to death, that Thou wouldst mortify and kill in my soul whatever is displeasing to Thee. Amen. 
 
No.10
O Jesus, true and fruitful Vine, remember now the lavish, the excessive profusion wherewith Thou didst shed Thy Precious Blood, when on the Cross Thou didst tread the winepress alone, and wast crushed as a cluster of ripe grapes; when Thou didst give us water and Blood from Thy pierced Side, so that not one drop remained in Thy Heart. Then wast Thou hung up as a bundle of myrrh, and Thy tender Flesh grew pale, and Thy moisture was all dried up within Thee, and the marrow of Thy bones consumed. By this Thy most bitter Passion, and by the shedding of Thy most Precious Blood, I beseech Thee, O most loving Jesus, wash my soul at the hour of my death with the water which flowed from Thy Sacred Side, and adorn it with comeliness in the Precious Blood of Thy sweetest Heart, and render it acceptable in Thy Sight in the fragrant odor of Thy Divine Love. Amen.
 
 
Oblation
Accept, O compassionate Jesus, this my prayer with that exceeding love wherewith Thou didst endure a bitter Death, and didst offer it, together with all the fruit of Thy most sacred Humanity, to God the Father on the day of Thine ascension; and by the depth of those Wounds which scarred Thy flesh and pierced Thy Hands and Feet and Heart, I beseech Thee, raise me up, who am steeped and sunk in sin, and render me well-pleasing to Thee in all things. Amen.
 
* * * * * *
The Litany of St. Gertrude the Great
Antiphon:
Lord Jesus! In union with that love which drew Thee down upon earth and caused Thee to fulfill the work of our Redemption, I offer Thee this prayer:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy, Christ, hear us.Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy, Mary, pray for us.
All ye holy choirs of Angels, pray for us.
All ye Saints and Elect of God, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude, pray for us.
Thou chaste virgin, pray for us.
Thou beloved daughter of the Heavenly Father, pray for us.
Thou chosen bride of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Thou temple of the Holy Ghost, pray for us.
Thou joy of the Holy Trinity, pray for us.
Thou fragrant flower in the hand of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Thou ever-blooming spring flower, Thou rose without thorns, pray for us.
Thou chaste dove without the stain of sin, pray for us.
Thou earthly seraph, pray for us.
Thou living sanctuary, pray for us.
Thou strong protection of all who venerate thee, pray for us.

Jesus Christ, Spouse of Saint Gertrude, have mercy on us.
Through her humility, have mercy on us.
Through her charity, have mercy on us.
Through her untiring patience, have mercy on us.
Through the ardent love she bore Thee, have mercy on us.
Through the delight with which Thou didst dwell in her heart, have mercy on us.
Through the love which Thou hast for her, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou hast chosen her from eternity, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou didst so sweetly attract her to Thyself, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou so delightfully didst unite her to Thyself, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou so complacently dwelt in her heart, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou didst end her life with a happy death, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou hast conferred on her eternal life, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou lovest and rejoicest all the blessed, have mercy on us.

Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy virgin Saint Gertrude,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray: O Lord Jesus, by the love Thou didst bear to the virginal heart of Saint Gertrude and by which Thou hast promised that no sinner who would honor and love her should die a sudden and unprovided death, grant me, I beseech Thee, this grace, and let me so love Thee and repent of my sins that with faith and confidence I may expect a happy death. Amen.
O God, Who in the heart of the holy virgin Gertrude didst provide for Thyself a pleasing abode, through her merits do Thou cleanse from our hearts every stain of sin and grant that we may enjoy fellowship with her for evermore, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
 
* * * * * *
 
 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Pray...Pray...Pray...Praise the Lord, Ask Him, Seek Him, and Listen to Him.

Even a simple, brief and spontaneous prayer can be powerful, if said meaningfully and whole heartedly.
We can pray where ever we may be, it is not only restricted to sacred places.
Try your best to be still and silence when in prayer.
Everything can be dealt by prayer, if we truly BELIEVE and  TRUST in Lord when we seek him in prayer. In prayer everything is POSSIBLE.
Alway remember to thank God for all that has been provided for us in our daily life, and for all prayers answered. We should thank God for all things or event whether it is good or bad as the Lord knows the plans he has for us, each of it has a reason to happen and it's part of God's plan for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
When in prayer, ask the Lord, seek the Lord and listen to the Lord.
In prayer, praise the Lord, say Alleluia to the Lord. The Lord loves us and is delighted when his creations praises and honor him......Glory to God in the Highest. "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!" (Psalm 34:8)
Pray with a clear mind and pure heart, ask the Lord to cleanse and get rid of all undivine attribute that have settled in us. Repent for our sins whether petty or serious, a SIN is a SIN and it is the work of the evil one. Always tell the TRUTH and shame the devil.
Be honest to the Lord, when we talk to Lord in prayer.
Pray for the strength and guidance to overcome obstacles in our life. Ask God, through his Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world to have Mercy on us and grant us Peace.
Pray for our family, friends, church, community and nation. Pray for people in need, the poor, those in trouble and those in grief.
Inspire others to pray by asking the Lord to shine his Divine Love and Mercy on those around me and those who have given up on prayer.
Singing hymns and worship songs, is also another way to praises and celebrate the Lord.
When praying or worship in large group, pray loudly, clear and in audible tone.
 
Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
 
The holy scriptures, The Word of Truth which is the Word of the Lord is a rich source of prayers. We can use verses and psalm for the scriptures as part of our prayer or as it is as a prayer.
Pray to the Lord "If it is you WILL Lord, Let it be DONE unto Me, Amen.". 
Remember it is important to end every prayer with "AMEN", which means "So be it; truly".
Read the bible scriptures daily (our daily bread, word of truth from the Lord), based on the daily missal, or can be obtained from the Christian/Catholic calendar or from the following website; http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/inspiration.asp.
Ponder on the meaning that the reading bring and share it with your loved ones and people you meet.
 
 
Lord, have mercy (2x)
Christ have mercy (2x)
Lord have mercy (2x) 
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.
 
 
Always remember our Lord for his sorrowful passion that save us, thank the Lord for his Love and Mercy on us and for the whole world.
 
"God doesn't expect the impossible from us,
He wants us to expect the impossible from Him."

Prayer of Mother Teresa

Dear JESUS, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life
may only be a radiance of Thine.

Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
the light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine:
it will be You shining on others through me.

Let me thus praise You in the way You love best:
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words,
but by my example, by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.
Amen.

Saint Joseph's prayer for Workers (Patron of Workers)

Glorious Saint Joseph, you are the pattern of all who work. Obtain for me, please, the grace to work conscientiously and to put devotion to duty before my selfish inclinations. Help me to labor in thankfulness and joy, for it is an honor to employ and to develop by my labor the gifts I have received from almighty God. Grant that I may work in orderliness, peace, moderation and patience without shrinking from weariness and difficulties. I offer my fatigue and perplexities as reparation for sin. I shall work, above all, with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill-spent, of talents unemployed, of good undone, and of empty pride in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. For Jesus through Mary, all in imitation of you, good Saint Joseph. This shall be my motto in life and in death.
Amen.

Saint Joseph's prayer for the whole Church (Protector of the Church)

O Glorious Saint Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, and the head of the Holy Family. You have been chosen by Christ's Vicar as the heavenly Patron and Protector of the Church founded by Christ.

Protect the Sovereign Pontiff and all bishops and priests united with him. Be the protector of all who labor for souls amid the trials and tribulations of this life; and grant that all peoples of the world may be docile to the Church without which there is no salvation.

Dear Saint Joseph, accept the offering I make to you. Be my father, protector, and guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me purity of heart and a love for the spiritual life. After you example, let all my actions be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart. Finally, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.

Amen.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Intention to St. Jude


St. Jude, Apostle and martyr, you are a faithful intercessor to all who seek your help with their needs. I now call upon you with gratitude, and I ask you to come to my assistance. Help me in my time of need. Strengthen my faith, and keep me always aware of God’s love. I promise to share the hope of your intercession, so that others will seek your care.
Amen.  

Friday, 19 October 2012

Pope Benedict XVI Homily @ Opening of the Year of Faith Holy Mass

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI

Saint Peter's Square
Thursday, 11 October 2012
 
 
 
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves - and I greet them with particular affection - this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of the Book of the Gospels with the same book that was used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history.
The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and complete convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is “the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith” (12:2).
Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ, consecrated by the Father in the Holy Spirit, is the true and perennial subject of evangelization. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). This mission of Christ, this movement of his continues in space and time, over centuries and continents. It is a movement which starts with the Father and, in the power of the Spirit, goes forth to bring the good news to the poor, in both a material and a spiritual sense. The Church is the first and necessary instrument of this work of Christ because it is united to him as a body to its head. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21), says the Risen One to his disciples, and breathing upon them, adds, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v.22). Through Christ, God is the principal subject of evangelization in the world; but Christ himself wished to pass on his own mission to the Church; he did so, and continues to do so, until the end of time pouring out his Spirit upon the disciples, the same Spirit who came upon him and remained in him during all his earthly life, giving him the strength “to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” and “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).
The Second Vatican Council did not wish to deal with the theme of faith in one specific document. It was, however, animated by a desire, as it were, to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man. The Servant of God Paul VI, two years after the end of the Council session, expressed it in this way: “Even if the Council does not deal expressly with the faith, it talks about it on every page, it recognizes its vital and supernatural character, it assumes it to be whole and strong, and it builds upon its teachings. We need only recall some of the Council’s statements in order to realize the essential importance that the Council, consistent with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, attributes to the faith, the true faith, which has Christ for its source and the Church’s Magisterium for its channel” (General Audience, 8 March 1967). Thus said Paul VI in 1967.
We now turn to the one who convoked the Second Vatican Council and inaugurated it: Blessed John XXIII. In his opening speech, he presented the principal purpose of the Council in this way: “What above all concerns the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be safeguarded and taught more effectively […] Therefore, the principal purpose of this Council is not the discussion of this or that doctrinal theme… a Council is not required for that… [but] this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs of our time” (AAS 54 [1962], 790,791-792). So said Pope John at the inauguration of the Council.
In the light of these words, we can understand what I myself felt at the time: during the Council there was an emotional tension as we faced the common task of making the truth and beauty of the faith shine out in our time, without sacrificing it to the demands of the present or leaving it tied to the past: the eternal presence of God resounds in the faith, transcending time, yet it can only be welcomed by us in our own unrepeatable today. Therefore I believe that the most important thing, especially on such a significant occasion as this, is to revive in the whole Church that positive tension, that yearning to announce Christ again to contemporary man. But, so that this interior thrust towards the new evangelization neither remain just an idea nor be lost in confusion, it needs to be built on a concrete and precise basis, and this basis is the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the place where it found expression. This is why I have often insisted on the need to return, as it were, to the “letter” of the Council – that is to its texts – also to draw from them its authentic spirit, and why I have repeated that the true legacy of Vatican II is to be found in them. Reference to the documents saves us from extremes of anachronistic nostalgia and running too far ahead, and allows what is new to be welcomed in a context of continuity. The Council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient. Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change.
If we place ourselves in harmony with the authentic approach which Blessed John XXIII wished to give to Vatican II, we will be able to realize it during this Year of Faith, following the same path of the Church as she continuously endeavours to deepen the deposit of faith entrusted to her by Christ. The Council Fathers wished to present the faith in a meaningful way; and if they opened themselves trustingly to dialogue with the modern world it is because they were certain of their faith, of the solid rock on which they stood. In the years following, however, many embraced uncritically the dominant mentality, placing in doubt the very foundations of the deposit of faith, which they sadly no longer felt able to accept as truths.
If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago! And the reply to be given to this need is the one desired by the Popes, by the Council Fathers and contained in its documents. Even the initiative to create a Pontifical Council for the promotion of the new evangelization, which I thank for its special effort for the Year of Faith, is to be understood in this context. Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path. The first reading spoke to us of the wisdom of the wayfarer (cf. Sir 34:9-13): the journey is a metaphor for life, and the wise wayfarer is one who has learned the art of living, and can share it with his brethren – as happens to pilgrims along the Way of Saint James or similar routes which, not by chance, have again become popular in recent years. How come so many people today feel the need to make these journeys? Is it not because they find there, or at least intuit, the meaning of our existence in the world? This, then, is how we can picture the Year of Faith, a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world, taking with us only what is necessary: neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money, nor two tunics – as the Lord said to those he was sending out on mission (cf. Lk 9:3), but the Gospel and the faith of the Church, of which the Council documents are a luminous expression, as is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published twenty years ago.
Venerable and dear Brothers, 11 October 1962 was the Feast of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. Let us entrust to her the Year of Faith, as I did last week when I went on pilgrimage to Loreto. May the Virgin Mary always shine out as a star along the way of the new evangelization. May she help us to put into practice the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom […] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:16-17). Amen.
 
 


Thursday, 18 October 2012

World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the second last Sunday in October annualy. On this day Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.  "Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).  As Pope John Paul II said , World Mission Sunday is “an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world.” (Redemptoris Missio 81).

It reminds us to have an attitude of responsibility for all to be missionaries through our prayers, our good works and financial contributions. Mission must be the passion of every Christian, a passion for the salvation of the world and a passionate commitment to work for the coming of the Father's kingdom. Pray and reflect upon how we can become more involved in this call to be missionary, as the baptized People of God.


Jesus the Missionary

Jesus was a missionary. As the Word of God, he is the light of all nations. As the Word made flesh, he brought God's own life into our midst. Before returning to the Father, he sent the Church to continue the mission given him by the Father and empowered her with his Spirit: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (Jn 20:21).
Taken from To the Ends of the Earth: A Pastoral Statement on World Mission.


The Missionary Church

The Church, therefore, is missionary by her very nature. She continues the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit by proclaiming to the ends of the earth the salvation Christ offers those who believe in him. We are faithful to the nature of the Church to the degree that we love and sincerely promote her missionary activity.
Taken from To the Ends of the Earth: A Pastoral Statement on World Mission.


The Church's mission is to proclaim the salvation of Christ to the ends of the earth.

Let us ask the Lord to help us rediscover the importance of nourishing ourselves not only with bread, but with truth, love, Christ, the body of Christ.

Pope Benedict's Message for World Mission Sunday 2012

The theme of  World Mission Sunday 2012 message is taken from the Motu proprio, Porta fidei with which Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the Year of Faith: “called to radiate the word of truth” that the Christ has given us.
The Pope’s message (below) is divided into 4 parts, which is preceded by an introduction that places this year’s World Mission Sunday in the context of the 50th anniversary of the second Vatican Council, the Conciliar declaration Ad gentes, the Year of Faith and the Synod assembly on the New Evangelization.
 
The 4 parts of the message are dedicated to:
~ Missionary ecclesiology;
~ The priority of evangelizing;
~ Faith and proclamation;
~ Proclamation that becomes charity.
 
Concluding his message, Pope Benedict XVI invokes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the work of evangelization ad gentes, and particularly on those who dedicate their labour to its cause, so that - by the grace of God - the work of evangelization ad gentes might ever more decisively make its way in the world and in human history.




MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
FOR WORLD MISSION DAY 2012



“Called to radiate the Word of truth” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 6)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This year the celebration of World Mission Day has a very special meaning. The 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council and of the opening of the Year of Faith and of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New Evangelization contribute to reaffirming the Church's desire to engage with greater courage and zeal in the missio ad gentes so that the Gospel may reach the very ends of the earth.

The Second Vatican Council, with the participation of Catholic Bishops from all the corners of the earth, was a truly luminous sign of the Church’s universality, welcoming for the first time such a large number of Council Fathers from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania. Scattered among non-Christian peoples, missionary Bishops and indigenous Bishops, pastors from communities brought to the Council the image of a Church present on all the continents and interpreted the complex realities of what was then called the “Third World”. Enriched by their experience of being pastors of Churches, young and in the process of formation, motivated by passion for spreading the Kingdom of God, they contributed significantly to reaffirming the need and urgency of the evangelization ad gentes, and hence to placing the Church's missionary nature at the centre of ecclesiology.

Missionary Ecclesiology
Today this vision is still valid, indeed, it has experienced a fruitful theological and pastoral reflection and, at the same time, is presented with new urgency because the number of those who do not know Christ has grown: “The number of those awaiting Christ is still immense”, said Bl. John Paul II in his Encyclical Redemptoris Missio on the permanent validity of the missionary mandate and he added: “we cannot be content when we consider the millions of our brothers and sisters, who like us have been redeemed by the blood of Christ but who live in ignorance of the love of God” (n. 86). In announcing the Year of Faith, I too wrote that “today as in the past, he (Christ) sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 7). Such proclamation, as the Servant of God Paul VI said in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, “is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced” (n. 5). We therefore need to recover the same apostolic zeal as that of the early Christian communities, which, though small and defenceless, were able, through their proclamation and witness, to spread the Gospel throughout the then known world.

No wonder, therefore, that the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent Magisterium of the Church insist in a very special way on the missionary mandate, which Christ entrusted to his disciples and which must be a commitment of all the People of God, Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious and lay people. The duty of proclaiming the Gospel in every corner of the world is primarily incumbent on the Bishops, directly responsible for evangelization in the world, both as members of the Episcopal College and as Pastors of the particular Churches. In fact, they “have been consecrated not only for a particular diocese but for the salvation of the entire world” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, n. 63), “preachers of the faith, who bring new disciples to Christ” (cf. Ad Gentes, n. 20) and make “visible the missionary spirit and zeal of the People of God, so that the whole diocese becomes missionary” (ibid., n. 38).

The priority of evangelizing
The mandate to preach the Gospel, therefore, for a pastor does not end with his attention to the portion of the People of God entrusted to his pastoral care or in sending out priests or lay people fidei donum. It must involve all the activities of the particular Church, all her sectors, in short, her whole being and all her work. The Second Vatican Council clearly pointed this out and the subsequent Magisterium reaffirmed it forcefully. This requires the regular adjustment of lifestyles, pastoral planning and diocesan organization to this fundamental dimension of being Church, especially in our continuously changing world. And this also applies for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as for Ecclesial Movements: all the components of the large mosaic of the Church must feel strongly called into question by the mandate of the Lord to preach the Gospel, so that Christ may be proclaimed everywhere. We pastors, men and women religious and all the faithful in Christ, should follow in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who, as “a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles” (Eph 3:1), worked, suffered and struggled to bring the Gospel among the Gentiles (cf. Col 1:24-29), sparing no energy, time or means to make the Message of Christ known.

Today too the mission ad gentes must be the constant horizon and paradigm of every ecclesial endeavour, because the identity of the Church herself is constituted by faith in the Mystery of God who revealed himself in Christ to bring us salvation, and by the mission of witnessing and proclaiming him to the world until he comes. Like St Paul, we should be attentive to those who are distant, to those who do not yet know Christ or who have not yet experienced the fatherhood of God, in the awareness that missionary “cooperation includes new forms — not only economic assistance, but also direct participation” to evangelization (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, n. 82). The celebration of the Year of Faith and of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization will be favourable opportunities to relaunch missionary cooperation, especially in this second dimension.

Faith and proclamation
The eagerness to proclaim Christ also urges us to read history so as to perceive the problems, aspirations and hopes of humanity which Christ must heal, purify and fill with his presence. His Message is ever timely, it falls into the very heart of history and can respond to the deepest restlessness of every human being. For this reason all the members of the Church must be aware that “the immense horizons of the Church's mission and the complexity of today’s situation call for new ways of effectively communicating the Word of God” (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, n. 97). This demands, first of all, a renewed adherence of personal and community faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 8).

In fact, one of the obstacles to the impetus of evangelization is the crisis of faith, not only in the Western world, but among most of humanity, which, however, is hungering and thirsting for God and must be invited and brought to the bread of life and the living water, like the Samaritan woman who goes to Jacob’s well and converses with Christ. As John the Evangelist recounts, this woman’s story is particularly significant (cf. Jn 4:1-30): she meets Christ, who asks her for a drink but then speaks to her of a new water which can satisfy thirst for ever. At first the woman does not understand, she remains at a material level, but slowly she is led by the Lord to make a journey of faith which leads her to recognize him as the Messiah. And St Augustine says about this: “after having welcomed Christ the Lord in her heart, what else could [this woman] have done other than leave her pitcher and run to the village to announce the good news?” (cf. Homily 15, 30).

The encounter with Christ as a living Person, who satisfies the thirst of the heart, cannot but lead to the desire to share with others the joy of this presence and to make him known, so that all may experience this joy. It is necessary to renew the enthusiasm of communicating the faith to promote a new evangelization of the communities and Countries with a long-standing Christian tradition which are losing their reference to God so that they may rediscover the joy of believing. The concern to evangelize must never remain on the margins of ecclesial activity and of the personal life of Christians. Rather, it must strongly characterize it, in the awareness that they are those for whom the Gospel is intended and, at the same time, missionaries of the Gospel. The core of the proclamation always remains the same: the Kerygma of Christ who died and rose for the world’s salvation, the Kerygma of God's absolute and total love for every man and every woman, which culminated in his sending the eternal and Only-Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, who did not scorn to take on the poverty of our human nature, loving it and redeeming it from sin and death through the offering of himself on the Cross.

Faith in God, in this project of love brought about in Christ, is first and foremost a gift and a mystery which must be welcomed in the heart and in life, and for which we must always thank the Lord. However, faith is a gift that is given to us to be shared; it is a talent received so that it may bear fruit; it is a light that must never be hidden, but must illuminate the whole house. It is the most important gift which has been made to us in our lives and which we cannot keep to ourselves.

Proclamation becomes charity
“Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”, said the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 9:16). This word has a strong resonance for every Christian and for every Christian community on all the continents. Mission awareness has also become a connatural dimension for the Churches in mission lands, the majority of which are young, even though they themselves are still in need of missionaries. Many priests, men and women religious from every part of the world, numerous lay people and even entire families leave their countries and their local communities and go to other Churches to bear witness to and to proclaim the Name of Christ, in which humanity finds salvation. It is an expression of profound communion, sharing and charity among the Churches, so that every man and woman may hear or listen again to the saving proclamation and approach the sacraments, source of true life.
Together with this lofty sign of faith that is transformed into love, I remember and thank the Pontifical Mission Societies, instruments for cooperation in the universal mission of the Church across the world. Through their action, the proclamation of the Gospel also becomes an intervention on behalf of one’s neighbour, justice for the poorest, the possibility of education in the most remote villages, medical aid in isolated places, emancipation from poverty, the rehabilitation of the marginalized, support for the development of peoples, overcoming ethnic divisions, and respect for life in all its stages.

Dear brothers and sisters, I invoke on the mission of evangelization ad gentes and, in particular, on its workers, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that God’s grace may enable it to advance firmly in the history of the world. Together with Bl. John Henry Newman I would like to pray: O Lord, accompany your missionaries in the lands to be evangelized, put the right words on their lips and make their labours fruitful". May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelization, accompany all Gospel missionaries.

From the Vatican, 6 January 2012, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI