Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Don’t Be Afraid of the Truth!

Posted: 27 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Acts 7:51-8, 1 / Jn 6:30-35
What an extraordinary circumstance we find in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, a whole crowd of people so disturbed by what St. Stephen was saying that they ground their teeth, put their hands over their ears, tried to drown him out with their shouting, and finally killed him. How afraid they must have been to hear what he had to say. The truth he spoke could have set them free, but they closed their hearts to it, and in doing so they closed their hearts to the Lord who only wanted to give them life.

It happens all the time, people ducking and dodging to avoid the truth, as if it were an enemy. To be sure, the truth can sometimes wound us very deeply. But if we receive it and accept it, it can free us both from foolish illusions and from sinful paths. “The pain will be more than we can bear,” we silently object. But we are wrong, for God never gives us more than we can manage. With every challenge comes the grace to face the challenge and to prevail.
Trust in the power of God’s grace, embrace the truth, and be free!
Today's Inspirational Quote:
"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible,
but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore."
-- Vincent Van Gogh

Prelate Laments Murder of Iraqi Christians

Says Probable Motive Was to Force Church's Exodus
KIRKUK, Iraq, APRIL 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Kirkuk is lamenting the murder of three Christians Sunday night, and is stating that despite this tragedy, the Church will remain in Iraq.

Archbishop Louis Sako told Aid to the Church in Need today that although the killers have not been arrested, it is clear that the murders "were premeditated and that one probably key motive was to force Christians to leave."Susan Latif David and her mother-in-law, Muna Banna David, were killed by a group of armed men who entered their home in the Domeez section of Kirkuk. Both were Chaldean Catholics, and Susan was newly married to a man who owns a restaurant near the cathedral.In another part of the city, Basil Shaba, a recently engaged Syrian Orthodox, was killed in a similar attack Sunday evening. His brother, Thamir, and father, Yousif, were also injured.

The archbishop described the funeral, reporting that it was filled with people expressing "tears and sadness" for these three "innocent loved ones."He said: "People were crying. We are all so sad. We only hope that the blood of the martyrs will one day bring us peace and stability."The prelate noted that leaders from Kirkuk united to condemn the attacks, and that many came to the funeral, including the mayor and leading sheikhs.

He added that the city's police chief personally told him that he is committed to "do everything to ensure that those responsible will be arrested."Archbishop Sako said that attacks could be linked to "ongoing uncertainty over Kirkuk's political future either as part of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north or under the jurisdiction of Baghdad."Despite the tragedy, the prelate asserted: "We will not leave Iraq. We have a mission to stay here."We have to give witness to our Christian values. Even if they try to kill us we will stay."

Monday, 27 April 2009

Spokesman: Franciscans a Gift or All

Father Lombardi Comments on Order's Charism
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The charism that God gave the Franciscans 800 years ago constitutes a gift for all humanity, says a Vatican spokesman.Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this during the most recent edition of the Vatican Television program "Octava Dies," in which he reflected on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the approval of the monastic rule of St. Francis by Pope Innocent III.

Benedict XVI marked the anniversary April 18 by receiving in audience at the pontifical residence at Castel Gandolfo members of the Franciscan family upon the conclusion of their "Chapter of Mats," which began April 15 in Assisi. The gathering was organized on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the approval of the monastic rule of St. Francis by Pope Innocent III.

Explaining the Franciscan charism, Father Lombardi underlined that "all the saints of the Church have the Gospel as a rule of their own life, but in the figure of Francis, it shows through with particular transparency.""In the poverty, simplicity and charity of Francis," he continued, "Christians have always easily recognized the authenticity of evangelical inspiration, and also, beyond the walls of the Church, men of all religious or human faiths have taken a genuine and strong message of life and peace."The spokesman said the Franciscans had "an extraordinary charism," and that the order has always wanted "from the beginning to submit itself to the discernment of the authority of the Church."He noted that the order has always sought to insert "the little 'us' of the community of friars into the great 'us' of the one and universal Church."

Father Lombardi recalled Christ's request to St. Francis to "repair my Church," and Benedict XVI's words last week in which he urged the order to "go and continue repairing the house of the Lord, his Church!"The spokesman reiterated the Pontiff's invitation to the Franciscans to "continue helping the pastors of the Church to renew the flock of the Lord."He added that the order is "a gift for all," and one that contributes to the "eternal youth of the Church and peace of the human family."
Today's Inspirational Quote:
"It is the responsibility of every adult to make sure that children hear what we have learned from the lessons of life and to hear over and over that we love them."
-- Marian W. Edelman

Are You Working Only for Perishable Food?

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Acts 6:8-15 / Jn 6:22-29
One of the nastiest mistakes we can make is to forget about some especially tasty leftovers in a dark corner of our refrigerator. Eventually they reappear, and it’s not a pretty sight! What warmed our heart and delighted our palate only days before has been transformed into a ghastly mess which threatens to walk out of the refrigerator on its own power. The costly ingredients and the hours of preparation are a total loss.

One wonders how much of our labor and striving falls into that same category — huge efforts leading to nothing. Jesus warns us about that in today’s gospel, “You should not be working for perishable food, but for food that remains unto life eternal.” Indeed so.
The problem is that we forget to ask that simplest of all questions: Is what I’m doing taking me where I really want to go? Will it last, or will all my hard work turn to dust in my hands? Even when we remember to ask the question, we sometimes get the wrong answer, because we answer too fast.

So take some time every day to look at what you’re doing and where you’re going. Remember the big vision that Jesus gave you. Being faithful to that vision and to Him and He will keep you on track and keep you moving forward. And when your days are done, there will be more in your hands and in your heart than dry dust and spoiled leftovers. Much, much more, indeed!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"One has to handle these negative experiences alone.

You can't get help from your friends or family.

You're finally alone with it, and you have to come to grips with misfortune and go on."

-- Shirley Temple Black

Let Him Raise Up What’s Best in You!

Posted: 24 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Acts 3:11-15, 17-19 / 1 Jn 2:1-5a / Lk 24:35-48
The resurrection of Jesus thoroughly transformed the Apostles. Not only were they able to step outside their fears and preach the good news of Jesus courageously, but they were able to look at the world and at their fellow countrymen with more generous hearts. After both the anguish and the fright of Jesus’ death, followed in turn by the vindication of Jesus’ resurrection, they could easily have settled into a vengeful “I told you so” attitude.

Instead, they extended to one and all the hand of friendship and forgiveness, just as Jesus had done to them when they didn’t deserve it either. That was a real change of heart and a dawning of wisdom for those men who had so often bickered about who would get the best places in Jesus’ kingdom.

It’s the kind of change of heart and dawning of wisdom that we all hope for, and it can be ours if we lay ourselves open to the touch of God’s grace.
Open your heart to the risen Lord, and let Him raise up what’s best in you.

Pope's Holy Land Trip Seen as "Bridge for Peace"

JERUSALEM, APRIL 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land next month is being billed by a Web site of Israel's Ministry of Tourism as a "Bridge for Peace.""Holy Land Pilgrimage: A Bridge for Peace" is the official slogan used on the ministry's official Web page of the Pope's May 11-15 visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The site is presented in seven languages, and does not include information on the Pontiff's May 8-11 visit to Jordan."His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a mission of peace and reconciliation," the site explains. "The Pontiff’s visit to Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority) in Jerusalem is another expression of his solidarity with the Jewish people and his acknowledgement of the horrors of the Holocaust."

Friday, 24 April 2009

Church wins right to challenge ‘Allah’ ban

Posted by admin
Friday, 24 April 2009 16:15
By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider
After a lengthy battle that lasted over a year, the Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia finally won the right to challenge the government’s ban on the right to use the word “Allah” to mean "God" outside of Islam.

The High Court today granted leave to the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, as the publisher of Catholic newspaper The Herald, in his application for a judicial review.

Catholic Church claims the word “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam and wants the court to overturn the home minister’s order declaring it as such.

A lawyer for the Catholic Church, Derek Fernandez, said it was supposed to be a “simple, straightforward matter” but became complicated as more and more parties got involved in the suit.
Several state Islamic councils including from Penang as well as certain Sikh religious groups had sought and were granted permission by the court early this year to intervene in the Catholic Church’s suit despite the latter’s objection.

The archbishop had originally filed the suit early last year and refreshed his application two months ago, on Feb 16, following the home minister’s renewal of the newspaper’s annual publishing permit for 2009.
Justice Lau Bee Lan from the Appellate and Special Powers division made her decision on the matter in chambers this morning.

She also set May 28 to hear the Catholic Church’s application to stay the home minister’s directive and to allow it to use the word “Allah” until the court rules conclusively that it cannot.
The leading lawyer for the Catholic Church, Porres Royan, explained to The Malaysian Insider that until the court approves the stay, the “status quo is preserved”.

Holy See and League of Arab States Sign Agreement

Interreligious Dialogue Initiatives Given Focus
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican Secretariat of State signed a memorandum of understanding today together with the League of Arab States.A Vatican press release reported that this agreement was signed in the Apostolic Palace by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, and Amre Moussa, secretary general of the league.

The statement explained that this agreement, which came into effect with the signatures of the two parties, "further consolidates the bonds of cooperation that exist between the Holy See and the League of Arab States, especially on the political and cultural levels, in favor of peace, security, and regional and international stability.""Moreover," the report continued, "it proposes instruments of consultation between the two parties, giving attention also to initiatives of interreligious dialogue."Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's Secretary of State was present to represent the Holy See, along with other Vatican officials, including Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Monsignor Alberto Ortega; Monsignor Christophe El-Kassis, Monsignor Nicolas Thevenin and Monsignor Lech Piechota.A delegation from the League of Arab States was headed by Walid Al Gargani.

Some member countries of the league were also represented by their ambassadors to the Holy See.The League of Arab States, seated in Cairo, was started in 1945, and is comprised of 22 countries, including: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Kuwait.Pope John Paul II sent the first apostolic delegate to the league in 2000. Currently, this position is held by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, who is also the apostolic nuncio in Egypt.
Today's Inspirational Quote:
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
-- John Wooden

Thursday, 23 April 2009

God Doesn’t Look Back, So Don’t You!

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT(Catholic Exchanged)
Acts 5:27-33 / Jn 3:31-36
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us a scene that should be quite familiar to all of us. The apostles were spreading the Good News of Jesus, that God is a loving father who never looks backward but always forward, and who wants to help people find life instead of condemning them for not finding it. That is wonderfully good news, but the high priests couldn’t hear it because they were still stuck in an argument about the past, an argument which made them so angry at the apostles that they wanted to kill them. And the tragic result of their staying stuck in the past was that they locked God out of their present.

It can happen to us all, cherishing old grievances, harboring old wounds, waiting to get even. As a wise man once said, “Harboring old grievances is like taking poison and then waiting for our enemy to get sick.” Living in the past is the surest way of locking God and everyone else out of our present, and that would be the greatest tragedy of our life.

Even when our past presses heavily upon us, there is a way of escaping it, and that is to give it to the Lord for his healing. Give it to the Lord to dispose of as he sees fit. Give it all to him, and let him help you build a new life, a life with a future that’s worth waiting for and worth working for!

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

-- Joseph Chilton Pearce

Pope Affirms Love is the Key to Knowledge of God

Urges Spiritual Battle Against Greed to Solve Economic Crisis
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming the words of a eighth century writer, who noted that although intellectual study can help, only when we love God can we truly know him.

The Pope said this today at the general audience in St. Peter's Square, in which he continued a catechesis series about great writers of the Church in the Middle Ages, speaking today about the monk and abbot, Ambrose Autpert.
He explained, "The Church lives in people and whoever wants to get to know the Church, to understand its mystery, must consider the people who have lived and who continue to live its message, its mystery."

The Pontiff noted that Autpert lived in an age when "strong political tensions" influenced life inside the monasteries, motivating him to write with the intention of helping his monks live virtuously. The abbot "intended to train the monks specifically on how to address the spiritual battle on a daily basis."

In a treatise on the conflict between vice and virtue, the Holy Father said, "He presents 24 pairs of combatants in a kind of juxtaposition: each vice tries to persuade the soul with subtle reasoning, while the respective virtues refute such insinuations preferably using the words of Scripture."

Benedict XVI pointed out in particular the monk's description of greed and the corresponding virtue of contempt of the world. He explained: "This contempt of the world is not a contempt of creation, beauty and goodness of creation and the Creator, but a contempt of the false vision of the world presented and insinuated to us by our own greed.
"This greed affirms that the value of 'having' is the supreme value of our being, of our living in the world and our image of ourselves as important. And so greed falsifies the creation of the world and destroys the world."

He observed that like St. Paul, Autpert sees greed as the root of all evil. The monk notes that this vice influences the rich and powerful as well as the souls of his monks.
The Pope added: "I offer this reflection, which, in light of this global economic crisis, is revealed in all its relevance. We see that from this very root of greed this crisis is born.
"Ambrose foresaw the objection that the rich and powerful would raise, saying: but we are not monks, these ascetic standards don't apply to us. And he answers: 'It is true what you say, but also for you, in your own way and to the best of your ability, the hard and narrow way applies to you, because the Lord has proposed only two doors and two ways -- the narrow gate and the wide, the hard and comfortable; he did not indicate a third door or a third way.'"
The Pontiff affirmed that even rich people must "fight against greed, against the desire to possess, to appear, against the false notion of freedom as the right to dispose of everything according to one's own will," and they must also "find the authentic path of truth, of love and in this way the path of moral rectitude."

The abbot wrote that the piety that frees the "soul from attachment to earthly and transient pleasures" should be "united with the deep study of the sacred sciences, especially the meditation of Sacred Scripture."

The Holy Father noted the example of Autpert, who emphasized that "every theological search for truth relies on love," and prayed to God, "When you are scrutinized intellectually by us, you're not discovered as you truly are; it's only when you are loved that we reach you."
Benedict XVI continued: "Autpert understood that with mere theological research God can not be known as he really is. Only love can reach him. Let us listen to this message and ask the Lord to help us live the mystery of the Church today, in this our time."

Finding Bioethics in the Bible?

Pontifical Biblical Commission Considers Moral Questions
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission are considering the role of the Bible in giving orientation for moral dilemmas.
During their annual plenary assembly, which began Monday and runs through Friday, the group is dedicated to the consideration of "Inspiration and Truth in the Bible," a theme that draws from the October synod of bishops on the Word of God.

The work of the commission, which is overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is being directed by Jesuit Father Klemens Stock, secretary, and the prefect of the congregation, Cardinal William Levada.

Father Stock spoke with L'Osservatore Romano about the efforts of the plenary assembly. They are dedicated to publishing in various languages a document that was already released in Italian on the relationship between the Bible and moral acts.
According to Father Stock, the document, "The Bible and Morality: Biblical Roots of Christian Conduct," aims to offer guidelines for the study of moral questions that the Bible does not explicitly address. He noted the importance of this goal as more and more moral questions arise that Biblical authors could not have imagined, such as in the realm of bioethics.

"Today many moral problems arise that were unknown to the authors of the Bible," he said. "This [document] proposes the question of if the Bible has something to offer to resolve them, even though one cannot find in it ready-made answers."
The Jesuit noted that the document "indicates some criteria that can give guidance in the search for just norms for current problems." It does this, he said, based on the basic criteria of the Bible: "conformity with the biblical vision of the human being and conformity with the example of Jesus."

"The biblical vision highlights the dignity of the human person and his call to intimate communion with God," Father Stock said. "For another thing, Jesus is the example of perfect conduct. His behavior and his teachings are the reference point for Christian behavior."

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Do You Give Courage Or Take It Away?

Posted: 20 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT(Catholic Exchanged)
Acts 4:32-37 / Jn 3:7-15
Life is full of things that can get us down and even cause us to despair. The list of potential tragedies is almost endless: catastrophic illness, accidental death or maiming, inescapable poverty, mental illness, senility. On and on the list goes, but probably the most common source of weariness and despair is the simple ordinariness and repetitiveness of daily life. Sometimes that can overwhelm us all.

That’s why the nickname the apostles gave to Joseph the Levite is such high praise. They called him Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” What a positive and hope-filled man he must have been, to be awarded a name like that. And what an impact he must have had upon the people whose lives he touched, helping them to transcend their weariness and their fears, helping them instead to engage fully the soul-stretching challenges which life brings to us all.

Being a real encourager is major heart work. It comes from a heart that is profoundly convinced of the immense spiritual power available to those who are connected to the Lord, and it comes from a heart that truly wants to help others to thrive. Being an encourager is at the center of our vocation as Christians. It’s a precious gift that is yours to give every day. Why not give it — today!
Today's Inspirational Quote:
"The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life,
the clearer we should see through it."
-- Jean Paul

Benedict XVI Notes Ecclesial Spirit of St. Francis

Says the Gospel Was the Founder's Rule of Life
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming that the "charm" and "enduring relevance" of St. Francis stems from his life centered around the Gospel, by which he attracts many people to Christ.

The Pope said this Saturday at the pontifical residence at Castel Gandolfo, in an audience with members of the Franciscan family concluding their "Chapter of Mats," which began in Assisi on Wednesday. The gathering was organized on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the approval of the monastic rule of St. Francis by Pope Innocent III.

Reflecting on the conversion of the saint, the Pontiff noted that he "experienced the power of divine grace and he is as one who has died and risen," motivating him to leave all of his "previous wealth, any source of pride and security."

He added: "The leaving of everything at that point becomes almost necessary to express the abundance of the gift received. A gift so great as to require a total detachment, which itself is not enough; it requires a entire life lived according to the form of the holy Gospel."
Thus, the Holy Father stated, the "rule and life of the Friars Minor is this, to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Francis, he affirmed, "defined himself entirely in the light of the Gospel." He added: "This is his charm. This is his enduring relevance."
Thus, Benedict XVI said, St. Francis "has become a living gospel, able to attract to Christ men and women of all ages, especially young people, who prefer radical idealism to half-measures."

In the Church

He stated, "Charism and institution are always complementary for the edification of the Church."
The Pontiff observed that like many religious groups and movements forming during that time, "Francis could have also not gone to the Pope."
He continued: "Certainly a polemical attitude towards the hierarchy would have won Francis many followers.

"Instead, he immediately thought to put his journey and that of his companions into the hands of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter. This fact reveals his true ecclesial spirit."
The Holy Father added: "And the Pope recognized and appreciated this. The Pope, in fact, on his part, could have not approved the project of the life of Francis."
He acknowledged the intent of the Franciscans to "renew this gesture of your founder," eight centuries later.


Benedict XVI urged his listeners, "While you praise and thank the Lord who has called you to be part of such a great and beautiful family, stay attentive to what the Spirit says to it today, in each of its components, to continue to proclaim with passion the Kingdom of God, the footsteps of your seraphic father."
He encouraged them to "see the face of Christ in our brothers and sisters who suffer and bring to all his peace."

Concluding, the Pope said, "Go and continue to repair the house of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Church."
He continued: "Like Francis, always start with yourselves. We are the first house that God wants to restore.
"If you are always able to renew yourselves in the spirit of the Gospel, you will continue to assist the pastors of the Church to make more and more beautiful the Church's face, that of the bride of Christ. The Pope, now the same as then, expects this of you."

Monday, 20 April 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the
paint on it you can."

-- Danny Kaye

Let the Spirit Surprise You!

Posted: 19 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT (Catholic Exchanged)

Acts 4:23-31 / Jn 3:1-8

Since that day long ago when we first opened our eyes, our minds have been bombarded with images of the vast array of things large and small that fill our world. Ants and elephants, Renoirs and refrigerator art, scowling faces and laughing ones have competed for our attentions and have found their way into the storerooms of our memories. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the barrage of images that assault our eyes from television and film.

It’s like living in a candy store where everything is free and our eyes are bigger than our stomach. It’s easy to get stuck there and to forget what real food looks like. It’s easy to get stuck on the outside of life, with all its powerful attractions, and never to see what lies hidden beneath the surface, deep inside. The Spirit is with us always, calling us to life, but too often we fail to hear that call because our heads and hearts are so full of surface noise.

How right Jesus was when He said, “Flesh begets flesh, and Spirit begets spirit.” Spirit is what our hearts hunger for, but we starve our hearts without noticing it, and then we feel sad without knowing why. It’s time to turn down the “noise” and to watch and listen for the Spirit. Some wonderful surprises are in store for those who do.

On the Resurrection and the Eucharist

"He Nourishes Us Spiritually and Infuses Us with Strength"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the greeting Benedict XVI gave Easter Monday, April 13, before praying the Regina Caeli with the people gathered in the courtyard of the pontifical residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In these days of Easter we shall often hear Jesus' words resound: "I am risen and I am with you always." Echoing this good news, the Church proclaims exultantly: "Yes, we are certain! The Lord is truly risen, alleluia! The power and the glory are his, now and forever." The whole Church rejoices, expressing her sentiments by singing: "This is the day of Our Lord Jesus Christ". In fact, in rising from the dead, Jesus inaugurated his eternal day and has opened the door to our joy, too. "I will not die," he says, "but will have everlasting life."

The crucified Son of man, the stone rejected by the builders, has now become the solid foundation of the new spiritual edifice which is the Church, his mystical Body. The People of God, which has Christ as its invisible Head, is destined to grow in the course of the centuries until the complete fulfillment of the plan of salvation.

Then the whole of humanity will be incorporated into him and every existing reality will be penetrated with his total victory. Then, as St. Paul writes, he will be "the fullness of him who fills all in all" (cf. Eph 1: 23), and "God may be everything to everyone" (1 Cor 15: 28).

Thus it is right for the Christian community to rejoice all of us because the Resurrection of the Lord assures us that the divine plan of salvation, despite all the obscurity of history, will certainly be brought about. This is why his Passover truly is our hope. And we, risen with Christ through Baptism, must now follow him faithfully in holiness of life, advancing towards the eternal Passover, sustained by the knowledge that the difficulties, struggles and trials of human life, including death, henceforth can no longer separate us from him and his love.

His Resurrection has formed a bridge between the world and eternal life over which every man and every woman can cross to reach the true goal of our earthly pilgrimage.

"I am risen and I am with you always." This assurance of Jesus is realized above all in the Eucharist; it is in every Eucharistic Celebration that the Church and every one of her members experience his living presence and benefit from the full richness of his love. In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the risen Lord is present and mercifully purifies us from our sins; he nourishes us spiritually and infuses us with strength to withstand the harsh trials of life and the fight against sin and evil.

He is the sturdy support in our pilgrimage towards the eternal dwelling place in Heaven. May the Virgin Mary, who experienced beside her divine Son every phase of his mission on earth, help us to welcome with faith the gift of Easter and make us faithful and joyful witnesses of the risen Lord.

[After the Regina Caeli, the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims to this Regina Caeli. My dear friends, our song of joy on the night of Jesus' Resurrection "Rejoice heavenly powers! Exult all creation!" continues to resound throughout these eight days of solemn celebration. The Lord of heaven and earth has arisen in glory! His splendor continues to shine upon the human race, giving strength to the weak, relief to the suffering and comfort to the dying. I pray that Christ's gift of new life will grow in your hearts and lead you along the way of eternal salvation. God bless you all! To all of you once again, Happy Easter!

© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Sunday, 19 April 2009

sometimes there is a voice of an angel
touching the hearts of people round the world...charice


Are You Missing the Most Important Part?

Posted: 17 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Acts 4:32-35 / 1 Jn 5:1-6 / Jn 20:19-31
A man bought the very last seat for the Superbowl. It was a rotten seat, closer to the blimp than to the field, but early in the first quarter, he noticed an empty seat on the 50 yard line. He scrambled down and somewhat furtively sat in the seat. “Excuse me,” he asked, “is anyone sitting here?”
“No,” said the man on his right.
“That’s incredible. Who in his right mind would pass up a seat like this for the Superbowl?”
“Well, actually,” said the man, “the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to be here with my dear wife, but she passed away. This is the first Superbowl in twenty years that we haven’t been together.”
“How sad!” said the other fellow. “But couldn’t you find someone to come with you, a relative or a close friend?”
“No,” said the man, “they’re all at the funeral!”
+ + +

That fellow was missing something — in the head and the heart — and he didn’t even notice. It happens all the time. It happened to the apostles.
For three years, Jesus had tried in hundreds of different ways to prepare them to face his death and not be afraid of what came next. Think of all the miracles: Raising Lazarus from the tomb, silencing the storm at sea, feeding the 5000, healing countless lepers. All that and so much more should have made them confident that Jesus was bigger than death and that death would have no final power over Him. But it didn’t work that way.

On Easter morning Peter and John had seen the empty tomb and Mary Magdalene had talked with Jesus nearby. But still they didn’t get it. Paralyzed with fear and despairing of the future, they hid in a locked and darkened room and did absolutely nothing.
And so, on Easter night, Jesus came to them and tried yet again to free them from their fears. “Here,” he said, “look at my wounds. Touch them. It is I: Jesus. I’m not a ghost. I’m alive, and whoever believes in me, even though he die, will live with me forever. So don’t ever be afraid again!”Jesus has spoken those very words to each one of us. But have we heard him in our hearts? The patterns of our lives can give us an answer: Are we serene, hopeful, and of good spirit even when our troubles come in large doses? Sometimes we are, but often we’re not. So how deeply do we really believe in the Resurrection and what it promises us?

What stories do our faces tell? Stories of crushed spirits or frightened hearts? Hearts untouched by our risen Lord whom we haven’t dared to trust or hope in? Sometimes that’s what our faces reveal. Isn’t it a mystery how many sad and grouchy faces find their way into churches? How can that be if we really believe Jesus is risen?
Remember the old story about the grandpa who asked his grouchy twelve year old granddaughter, “Are you happy, dear?”
“Oh yes, grandpa,” she replied.
“Then why don’t you tell your face!”
+ + +
Jesus is risen, to walk with us till our journey is done and then to carry us home. If we dare to trust him, every day of our journey can be a happy one — no matter how rocky the road. That’s the wonderful life God wants for us here and now. So why not tell your face and your heart!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

I will always love you....



Today's Inspirational Quote:

"There is only one success -- to be able to live your life in
your own way."

-- Christopher Morley
'In your will Lord is my peace'

Let Him Guide You

Posted: 16 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT (Catholic Exchanged)

Acts 4:1-12 / Jn 21:1-14

In the days immediately following Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostles weren’t quite sure what to do next, so they made their way back to their boats and went fishing. And they caught nothing until Jesus intervened and showed them where the fish were. The abundant catch they made then is legendary.

But this gospel is about something a lot more important than fish. The abundant catch is a metaphor for the abundance of God’s gifts, most especially the gift of His friendship, which we call grace. And when exactly did they find that super-catch of fish? When they let the Lord, who sees all things clearly, guide them.

If we develop the habit of listening to the Lord who at every moment dwells within us, He will guide our hands and strengthen our hearts to know the good and to do it.

Trust that and listen.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose
a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can.
But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything."

-- Mary Hemingway

Let Him Raise Up What’s Best in You!

Posted: 15 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT

Acts 3:11-26 / Lk 24:35-48

The resurrection of Jesus thoroughly transformed the Apostles. Not only were they able to step outside their fears and preach the good news of Jesus courageously, but they were able to look at the world and at their fellow countrymen with more generous hearts. After both the anguish and the fright of Jesus’ death, followed in turn by the vindication of Jesus’ resurrection, they could easily have settled into a vengeful “I told you so” attitude.

Instead, they extended to one and all the hand of friendship and forgiveness, just as Jesus had done to them when they didn’t deserve it either. That was a real change of heart and a dawning of wisdom for those men who had so often bickered about who would get the best places in Jesus’ kingdom.

It’s the kind of change of heart and dawning of wisdom that we all hope for, and it can be ours if we lay ourselves open to the touch of God’s grace.

Open your heart to the risen Lord, and let Him raise up what’s best in you.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:
"If you don't learn to laugh at trouble,
you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old."
-- Edgar Watson Howe

He’ll Help You Remember

Posted: 14 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT (Catholic Exchanged)
Acts 3:1-10 / Lk 24:13-35
There’s something thrilling about attending a wedding, a baptism, or a graduation. All of life’s possibilities seem stretched out before us, and most of their costs are still hidden from view. It’s so much like the beginning of a summer day: soft breezes, sweet smells, lush lawns and flowers. And then before you know it, it’s fall and time to prepare for the siege of winter.

If we’re working hard to be faithful to God and to one another, to do our best and to share our gifts, we get tired. And sometimes after a while, things that used to be easy and even a joy become a burden instead. Somewhere along the line, we lose the joy and we find ourselves echoing those two apostles in today’s gospel, “We used to hope,” but not anymore.
How does that happen? Is it simply a matter of working too hard and getting tired? Not really. The real problem is losing our vision, our sense of purpose, which can come only from a trust-connection with the Lord.

If you find yourself burning out and finding life burdensome, spend some time renewing your vision and remembering where you’re going. And the only place to do that is in His presence. He’ll help you remember, and He’ll give you back your joy.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Pope's Homily for Easter Sunday

Christ "Is Our Hope, He Is the True Peace of the World"
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the homily Benedict XVI gave at Easter Mass today in St. Peter's Basilica.* * *Dear Brothers and Sisters,"Christ, our Paschal lamb, has been sacrificed!" (1 Cor 5:7).

On this day, Saint Paul’s triumphant words ring forth, words that we have just heard in the second reading, taken from his First Letter to the Corinthians. It is a text which originated barely twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and yet – like many Pauline passages – it already contains, in an impressive synthesis, a full awareness of the newness of life in Christ. The central symbol of salvation history – the Paschal lamb – is here identified with Jesus, who is called "our Paschal lamb".

The Hebrew Passover, commemorating the liberation from slavery in Egypt, provided for the ritual sacrifice of a lamb every year, one for each family, as prescribed by the Mosaic Law. In his passion and death, Jesus reveals himself as the Lamb of God, "sacrificed" on the Cross, to take away the sins of the world. He was killed at the very hour when it was customary to sacrifice the lambs in the Temple of Jerusalem. The meaning of his sacrifice he himself had anticipated during the Last Supper, substituting himself – under the signs of bread and wine – for the ritual food of the Hebrew Passover meal. Thus we can truly say that Jesus brought to fulfilment the tradition of the ancient Passover, and transformed it into his Passover.On the basis of this new meaning of the Paschal feast, we can also understand Saint Paul’s interpretation of the "leaven". The Apostle is referring to an ancient Hebrew usage: according to which, on the occasion of the Passover, it was necessary to remove from the household every tiny scrap of leavened bread.

On the one hand, this served to recall what had happened to their forefathers at the time of the flight from Egypt: leaving the country in haste, they had brought with them only unleavened bread. At the same time, though, the "unleavened bread" was a symbol of purification: removing the old to make space for the new. Now, Saint Paul explains, this ancient tradition likewise acquires a new meaning, once more derived from the new "Exodus", which is Jesus’ passage from death to eternal life. And since Christ, as the true Lamb, sacrificed himself for us, we too, his disciples – thanks to him and through him – can and must be the "new dough", the "unleavened bread", liberated from every residual element of the old yeast of sin: no more evil and wickedness in our heart."Let us celebrate the feast … with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth".

This exhortation from Saint Paul, which concludes the short reading that was proclaimed a few moments ago, resounds even more powerfully in the context of the Pauline Year. Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the Apostle’s invitation; let us open our spirit to Christ, who has died and is risen in order to renew us, in order to remove from our hearts the poison of sin and death, and to pour in the life-blood of the Holy Spirit: divine and eternal life. In the Easter Sequence, in what seems almost like a response to the Apostle’s words, we sang: "Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere" – we know that Christ has truly risen from the dead. Yes, indeed! This is the fundamental core of our profession of faith; this is the cry of victory that unites us all today.

And if Jesus is risen, and is therefore alive, who will ever be able to separate us from him? Who will ever be able to deprive us of the love of him who has conquered hatred and overcome death?The Easter proclamation spreads throughout the world with the joyful song of the Alleluia. Let us sing it with our lips, and let us sing it above all with our hearts and our lives, with a manner of life that is "unleavened", that is to say, simple, humble, and fruitful in good works. "Surrexit Christus spes mea: precedet suos in Galileam" – Christ my hope is risen, and he goes before you into Galilee.

The Risen One goes before us and he accompanies us along the paths of the world. He is our hope, He is the true peace of the world. Amen!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Just give a moment in time...Charice


Charice, thanks for visiting us here in Rome...God bless


just give one moment in time
by Charice (16 years old)

God bless all the youth...

"Happy Easter!!! :))

a voice heard from l'Acquila camp site:
"Everybody prays... and yet Jesus Christ sends us an earthquake"

Easter Reflections

"With OUR EYES we see

The beauty of Easter as the earth awakens once more...

With OUR EARS we hear

The birds sing sweetly to tell us Spring again is here...

With OUR HANDS we pick the golden daffod

ilsand the fragrant hyacinths...

But only with OUR HEARTS can we feel the MIRACLE of GOD'S LOVE

which redeems all men...

And only with OUR SOUL can we make our 'pilgrimage to God'

and inherit His Easter Gift of ETERNAL LIFE
Easter poem called 'Easter Reflections' by Helen Steiner Rice.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Papal Address at End of Way of the Cross

"Gaze on the Lifeless Face of the Crucified One"
ROME, APRIL 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a transcription and translation of the reflection Benedict XVI offered today at the end of the Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum.* * *

At the end of his dramatic Passion narrative, the Evangelist Saint Mark tells us: "The centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, and said: ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’" (Mk 15:39). We cannot fail to be surprised by the profession of faith of this Roman soldier, who had been present throughout the various phases of the Crucifixion. When the darkness of night was falling on that Friday so unlike any other in history, when the sacrifice of the Cross was already consummated and the bystanders were making haste to celebrate the Jewish Passover in the usual way, these few words, wrung from the lips of a nameless commander in the Roman army, resounded through the silence that surrounded that most singular death.

This Roman army officer, having witnessed the execution of one of countless condemned prisoners, was able to recognize in this crucified man the Son of God, who had perished in the most humiliating abandonment. His shameful end ought to have marked the definitive triumph of hatred and death over love and life. But it was not so! Hanging from the Cross on Golgotha was a man who was already dead, but that man was acknowledged to be the "Son of God" by the centurion, "on seeing that he thus breathed his last", as the Evangelist specifies.

We are reminded of this soldier’s profession of faith every time we listen anew to Saint Mark’s Passion account. This evening, like the centurion, we pause to gaze on the lifeless face of the Crucified One at the conclusion of this traditional Via Crucis which, through radio and television coverage, has brought many people together from every part of the world. We have re-lived the tragic event of a man unique in the history of all times, who changed the world not by killing others but by letting himself be killed as he hung from a cross.

This man, seemingly one of us, who while he was being killed forgave his executioners, is the "Son of God", who, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant … he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:7-8).The anguish of the Passion of the Lord Jesus cannot fail to move to pity even the most hardened hearts, as it constitutes the climax of the revelation of God’s love for each of us. Saint John observes: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). It is for love of us that Christ dies on the cross!

Throughout the course of the millennia, a great multitude of men and women have been drawn deeply into this mystery and they have followed him, making in their turn, like him and with his help, a gift to others of their own lives. They are the saints and the martyrs, many of whom remain unknown to us. Even in our own time, how many people, in the silence of their daily lives, unite their sufferings with those of the Crucified One and become apostles of a true spiritual and social renewal! What would man be without Christ? Saint Augustine observes: "You would still be in a state of wretchedness, had He not shown you mercy. You would not have returned to life, had He not shared your death. You would have passed away had He not come to your aid. You would be lost, had He not come" (Discourse 185:1).

So why not welcome him into our lives?Let us pause this evening to contemplate his disfigured face: it is the face of the Man of sorrows, who took upon himself the burden of all our mortal anguish. His face is reflected in that of every person who is humiliated and offended, sick and suffering, alone, abandoned and despised. Pouring out his blood, he has rescued us from the slavery of death, he has broken the solitude of our tears, he has entered into our every grief and our every anxiety.Brothers and Sisters! As the Cross rises up on Golgotha, the eyes of our faith are already turned towards the dawning of the new Day, and we begin to taste the joy and splendour of Easter. "If we have died with Christ", writes Saint Paul, "we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Rom 6:8). In this certainty, let us continue our journey.

Tomorrow, on Holy Saturday, we will watch and pray together with Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, and we will pray with all who are suffering; we will pray above all with those who suffer in L'Aquila, hit by the earthquake. We will pray so that in this dark night, the star of hope will appear to them, the light of the Risen Lord.

I wish all of you, even now, a Happy Easter in the light of the Risen Lord!

What’s Next? Jesus Knows!

Posted: 10 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT (Cathoilc Exchanged)
Acts 10:34a, 37-43 / Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8 / Jn 20:1-9
Long ago there was an exceedingly clever court jester at the court of the Caliph of Baghdad. For YEARS he’d never failed to amuse the court whenever they called him. But one day, in a split second of carelessness, he offended the caliph who ordered him put to death. "However," said the caliph, "in consideration of your many years of fine and faithful service, I’ll let you choose how you wish to die."
"Oh mighty Caliph," replied the jester. "I thank you for your great kindness. I choose death … by old age."
+ + +
Wouldn’t we all! But that just delays the big question: Then what? What comes after you finally die at the age of 110 on the tennis court?
Only Jesus has the answer. He says, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he die, will live with me forever." It sounds good. But Jesus knew — as we know — that talk is cheap.

So instead of just talking, he gave us a sign, something very tangible: Nothing less than his own dying, being buried in the ground for three days, and then being raised from the dead.
He gave us this as the guarantee that his promise can be trusted. And that’s what we’re celebrating this morning: That Jesus IS risen, and that those of us who believe in him and who reshape our lives in his image will rise with him and be with him for all eternity.

That’s why we’re so very glad on Easter day! And that’s why we pray from the bottom of our hearts, "Thank-you, Lord! Thank-you for the whole eternity we’re going to spend with you!"

Funeral day....

My deep condolence to all my neighbours who has died in the earthquakes.
With all my unity and prayers...
Today's Inspirational Quote:
"We can learn a lot from trees:
they're always grounded but never stop reaching heavenward."
-- Everett Mamor

A blessed Good Friday

He Gave Us the Very Best He Had!
Posted: 09 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Is 52:13-53:12 / Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9 / Jn 18:1-19:42
From the earliest times, this day has been known as Good Friday.
On first glance, it seems a strangely ironic name for such a tragic day. But upon deeper reflection on the Passion story, the name makes ultimate sense. For on this day, God showed us exactly how good He is, and how worthy He is of our total trust: He gave us the very best that He had, His own Son.

Speak your thanks to Him from deep inside, and entrust to Him your life, your hopes, and your dreams — all that you are, and all that you are yet to be. God is faithful, and will never betray your trust.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Pontiff: Eucharist Can Become Love Lived Daily

Urges Attention to Mystery to Transform World
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging Catholics to enter into the mystery of the Eucharist, to experience God's love and to learn how to love others by fixing their gaze on Christ.The Pope said this in the homily of today's Holy Thursday Mass, in which he reflected on the liturgy and the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist. He exhorted his listeners to "give great inner attention to the mystery of this day, to the words in which it is expressed," to listen in a new way to the institution narrative, "on the basis of Scripture and in contemplation of the Lord himself.

"This narrative, he explained, is a prayer, and "only in the course of the prayer is the priestly act of consecration accomplished, which becomes transformation, transubstantiation of our gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ."The Pontiff affirmed that "the offering that we have placed in God's hands returns from him blessed and transformed."Gaze upon ChristThe Holy Father noted that in this liturgy, "The praying Church gazes upon the hands and eyes of the Lord."He continued: "It is as if she wants to observe him, to perceive the form of his praying and acting in that remarkable hour, she wants to encounter the figure of Jesus even, as it were, through the senses. […]"Let us look at those hands with which he healed men and women; the hands with which he blessed babies; the hands that he laid upon men; the hands that were nailed to the Cross and that forever bear the stigmata as signs of his readiness to die for love.""The Lord teaches us to raise our eyes," said Benedict XVI, "and especially our hearts."He added, "He teaches us to fix our gaze upwards, detaching it from the things of this world, to direct ourselves in prayer towards God and thus to raise ourselves."

The Pope exhorted his listeners to pray "that no evil will enter through our eyes, falsifying and tainting our very being." Pray, he said, "for eyes that see whatever is true, radiant and good; so that they become capable of seeing God's presence in the world.""Let us pray that we will look upon the world with eyes of love," he added, "with the eyes of Jesus, recognizing our brothers and sisters who need our help, who are awaiting our word and our action."

Breaking bread
The act of breaking the bread "is the act of the father of the family who looks after his children and gives them what they need for life," the Pontiff affirmed.He continued: "Dividing, sharing, brings about unity. Through sharing, communion is created. In the broken bread, the Lord distributes himself."The gesture of breaking also alludes mysteriously to his death, to the love that extends even to death."The Holy Father explained that when "Jesus transforms the bread, he no longer gives earthly bread, but communion with himself."He added: "This transformation, though, seeks to be the start of the transformation of the world -- into a world of resurrection, a world of God."Yes, it is about transformation -- of the new man and the new world that find their origin in the bread that is consecrated, transformed, transubstantiated."

Christ's love
Benedict XVI noted that "in Jesus' act of breaking the bread, the love that is shared has attained its most radical form: Jesus allows himself to be broken as living bread."Thus, the Eucharist "can never be just a liturgical action," he said, but must become "love in daily life.""In Christian worship, the two things become one -- experiencing the Lord's love in the act of worship and fostering love for one's neighbor," he affirmed.The Lord prepares a banquet for us, said the Pope, "in the midst of the threats of this world, and he gives us the glorious chalice -- the chalice of great joy, of the true feast, for which we all long -- the chalice filled with the wine of his love."He affirmed: "The blood of Jesus is his love, in which divine life and human life have become one. Let us pray to the Lord, that we may come to understand ever more deeply the greatness of this mystery."Upon concluding, the Pontiff prayed: "Lord, today you give us your life, you give us yourself. Enter deeply within us with your love."

The Silence and Courage of the Resurrection Witnesses

Biblical Reflections for Easter Sunday
By Father Thomas Rosica, CSBTORONTO, APRIL 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).

- Easter is the promise that death will visit each of us. But more important, it is the assurance that death is not the last word. The Resurrection of Jesus prompts us to recall, from the darkest moments of grief to life's smallest trials, how much God comforts us and gives us the strength to persevere. The Easter mysteries give us a new identity and a new name: we are saved, redeemed, renewed; we are Christian, and we have no more need for fear or despair. Through the powerful Scripture readings of the Triduum, and especially the Gospels of the Easter Vigil and Easter morning, we catch glimpses of just what resurrection means. How can we give expression to the conquest of death and the harrowing of hell?

We must honestly admit to ourselves that there are no words. Therefore we turn to the experiences of the women at the tomb in Mark's Resurrection account and to Mary Magdalene, witness of the Risen Lord, to find images and words to describe what has happened.

The Silence of the Women
Mark's Gospel text for the Easter Vigil [16:1-8] leaves us more than perplexed. We read that after discovering Jesus' tomb to be open and empty and hearing the angelic message about the resurrection and a future meeting with him in Galilee, the women "went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." Is it possible that Mark's Gospel can really end with 16:8? Early Christian editors, puzzled by such a shocking ending, supplied two more conventional endings for the Gospel; the longer of these is printed in most bibles as Mark 16:9-20. Nevertheless, the question lingers: What can we say about a resurrection story in which the risen Jesus, himself never appears? How could Mark differ so much from Luke's masterful resurrection chapter [24] or John's highly developed portraits of the first witnesses of the resurrection [20-21]?Rather than dismiss the strangeness of Mark's ending, let us reflect carefully on what Mark's Gospel offers us.

First of all, we never see the Risen Jesus, himself. We are offered instead a rather haunting scene. It early morning, still dark, and the women arrive at the tomb for a near impossible task. The tomb is already opened and they are greeted by someone from heaven who commissions them: "Go and tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him as he told you." [16:7]The fear and trembling that accompanies the women prevents them from telling anyone about what they have seen. Of what are they afraid? By remaining silent, are they disobeying the message of the angel to "Go and tell…?"

What are we to make of the silence of the women? Mark's resurrection story contains an initial declaration and summary statement of all of Jesus' teaching in the Gospel: "Do not be alarmed!" [16:6]. The reader is told to abandon every fear. Second, the reader is told: "you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him" [16:6]. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was not the final, definitive moment of his life. As Christians, our faith is not placed in a crucified, dead man, nor in an empty tomb, but in a risen, living Lord who lives among us with a whole new type of presence. "He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you" [16:7].

The message of the resurrection in Mark's Gospel is given to us. The event is simply too great to be presented with meager words!Mark's resurrection account is constructed to unsettle us–to undo the ease that makes us forget that the call to discipleship is the call to the cross. Throughout the entire Gospel, we are invited to view our lives in the shadow of the cross. The women go to the tomb, drawn unconsciously by the powerful and enticing mystery of God about to be revealed to them. They flee from the tomb [16:8] shocked by the awesome message of Jesus' resurrection. Faced with this rather incredible news of the resurrection of the crucified Jesus, the silent and fearful flight of the women is not only understandable but also highly appropriate. Is it not also the same for you and for me? When faced with the awesome power of God at work in our lives, raising those dead parts back to life and restoring our dashed hopes and crushed spirits, a response of silence and fear, wonder and awe, is also understandable and at times appropriate –even for us.

The Witness of Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany (sister of Martha and Lazarus), and the unnamed penitent woman who anointed Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36-48) are sometimes understood to be the same woman. From this, plus the statement that Jesus had cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2), has risen the tradition that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute before she met Jesus. But in reality we know nothing about her sins or weaknesses. They could have been inexplicable physical disease, mental illness, or anything that prevented her from wholeness in mind and body. Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the Gospels as being among the women of Galilee who followed Jesus and His disciples, ministered to him, and who, according to each of the evangelists, was present at His crucifixion and burial, and went to the tomb on Easter Sunday to anoint His body.

Jesus lived in an androcentric society. Women were property, first of their fathers, then of their husbands; they did not have the right to testify; they could not study the Torah. In this restricting atmosphere, Jesus acted without animosity, accepting women, honoring them, respecting them, and treasuring their friendship. He journeyed with them, touched and cured them, loved them and allowed them to love him. In our Easter Sunday Gospel [John 20 :1-18], we peer once again into the early morning scene of sadness as Mary Magdalene weeps uncontrollably at the grave of her friend, Jesus. We hear anew their conversation: "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" "…Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means, Teacher). ... "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"

Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her. (John 20:15-18)Because of her incredible message and mission, Mary Magdalene was fittingly called "Apostola Apostolorum" (Apostle to the Apostles) in the early Church because she was the first to see the Risen Lord, and to announce His Resurrection to the other apostles.

For Jesus, women were equally as able as men to penetrate the great religious truths, live them and announce them to others. There is no secret code about this story, which is still astonishingly good news more than 2,000 years later. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia![The readings for Easter Sunday are Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; John 20:1-9 or Mark 16:1-7 or Luke 24:13-35]

Remember and Give Thanks!

Posted: 08 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14 / 1 Cor 11:23-26 / Jn 13:1-15
As the last supper drew to a close, Jesus had less than 24 hours to live. It was time to speak His last words to His friends. But what could He say, when the sadness was so great? So He simply acted. First, He gave them his own body and blood as food, so that as long as they lived, they’d never be without the comfort and strength of His presence. Then He washed their feet — a tender reminder of His undying affection and a quiet plea for them to do the same for each other. He fed them, He washed their feet, and then He went out to die.

This evening, in Catholic churches in every corner of the world, priests, bishops, and even the pope at St. Peter’s in Rome, are doing yet again what Jesus did on that first Holy Thursday, not out of nostalgia, but as a holy remembering — remembering that we’ll never be alone because He’ll always be near, and remembering that our vocation is to take care of one another as He always takes care of us.
Remember and give thanks!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Pope Sends Vatican Firemen for Earthquake Aid

Caritas Workers Bring Hope To Area of Grave Destruction
ROME, APRIL 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is sending aid to earthquake victims in the form of Vatican firemen, while Caritas workers move forward to assist the affected towns.Eight rescue workers, sent by the Holy See with the express permission of the Pope, have been collaborating since Monday to help victims of the earthquake in the Abruzzo region, said the corps' commander, Domenico Giani, on Vatican Radio.

The earthquake, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale, struck close to the city of L'Aquila, around 70 miles northeast of Rome. Officials report 228 dead, 15 people missing, and around 1,000 injured. The official explained: "During the night, no sooner than the tragedy was known, I spoke with our superiors, with Bishop Renato Boccardo and Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, secretary and president respectively of the Governor's Office for Vatican City State. Then we informed the Holy Father, the Secretary of State and the whole Secretariat.""It seemed to us obligatory, at this time of great sorrow, that a team of our firemen should be present to give a hand," he added, explaining that the Vatican security forces "are also prepared in this area of security and civil protection."

Team approach
The Vatican sent a structural engineer to the area, and an eight-member team, with resources for civil protection and aid for the population. The team is working in collaboration with the Italian emergency services in one of the most affected areas, the village of Onna, where 41 of the 250 inhabitants perished. Giani said, "They worked throughout the night, recovering bodies, but now they are dedicated above all to helping the population, recovering what can be salvaged and giving moral support.""The Holy See," he added, "with its different structures --

Cor Unum, Caritas -- always takes aid in the name of the Holy Father, when there is an emergency." "In this case," he said, "in addition to material and economic aid, professional help has also been provided." The engineer, Paolo De Angelis, explained on Vatican Radio that the situation "is disastrous" and that despite this, "solidarity between persons" is being manifested.He continued: "We have been received very positively: this is the message we wished to bring, a message of solidarity which the population has fully welcomed."The present climate among the inhabitants is one of consternation. Here above all what people need is consolation, as they have been left without anything by the earthquake."

Grave destruction
Father Vittorio Nozza, the director of Caritas in Italy, told ZENIT that the earthquake's destruction has been very grave, and "not one single house was spared from demolition."He arrived today to L'Aquila and met with the diocesan bishop, Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari, and with the regional director of Caritas, Alberto Conti.

He said Caritas is meeting with each of the parish priests of the area "to hear firsthand what the most urgent needs are."They agreed "to divide the affected territory into seven areas to facilitate a homogeneous aid intervention." A coordination center for Italian and diocesan Caritas is to be established immediately which will work not only during this time of emergency but also in the long-term for the region's reconstruction. They stated the goal to provide places of shelter for children, the elderly and the sick, so that adults can dedicate themselves to reorganizing their daily life. The priest said: "There is much composure in the villages we have been to, but in places where they have lost one or more loved ones, the question is very strong: Where is God?

We answer this question with prayer and our closeness." Father Dionisio Rodriguez, local Caritas director and pastor in Paganica, a town close to L'Aquila, plans to celebrate Easter Sunday Mass on a sports field for the earthquake victims."Easter Sunday offers a sign of hope and optimism," he said, "People aren't feeling much joy at the moment, but Easter Sunday provides us with a sign of life and renewal."

The Road to Courage Is Paved with Trust

Posted: 07 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Is 50:4-9 / Mt 26:14-25
Jesus never sinned, but the gospels tell us that he experienced plenty of temptations. Surely the greatest temptation of all must have come at the very end, when his apostles deserted him and seemed to have learned nothing of what he’d tried to teach them. The temptation to despair must have been tremendous. But even as he found himself left to die alone, Jesus did not despair and he did not turn back. He entrusted himself wholly into the hands of his Father, and he went forth to die.

The words of Isaiah must have been ringing in his ears, “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”
None of us will ever have to face the extremes of suffering that Jesus faced, but at times our desperation can be very real, and the temptation to despair or to run away can be powerful. There is only one possible way of addressing those moments successfully, and that is to entrust ourselves into our Father’s hands just as Jesus did.
Put yourself entirely in his hands, and hold nothing back. He will hold you gently and give you his strength.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Somebody once said we never know what is enough

until we know what's more than enough."

-- Billie Holiday

He Thought You Were Worth Dying For!

Posted: 06 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Is 49:1-6 / Jn 13:21-33,36-38
As the Last Supper moved inexorably to its end, Jesus told his apostles, “One of you is going to betray me.” How much more accurate it would have been to say, “All of you are going to betray me”! Judas, of course, sold out his master for 30 pieces of silver and identified him for the soldiers by kissing him! But the rest of them were just as bad, fleeing and leaving Jesus all alone in those most terrible hours of his whole life. And Peter, amidst many curses three times denying that he even knew Jesus!

What a sorry lot, betraying their best friend and teacher! Many of us would say that they weren’t worth dying for, but that’s not what Jesus thought. From the beginning he’d known them from the inside out, and he had no illusions in their regard. But he also saw in them more than they yet saw in themselves. He saw their capacity for growing into greatness. And as the ultimate faithful friend, he was determined to stick with them and see that greatness come to be.

The Lord never gives up on any one of us. Never! All he asks in return is that we not give up, on ourselves, or on one another. He has the power to make you grow large and grow whole, and he wants to give that power to you. Trust him, open your heart, and take it!

Pope Expresses Sorrow for Earthquake Victims

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing dismay for victims of an earthquake that struck Italy early this morning.The earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, struck close to the city of L'Aquila, in the Abruzzo area, in the Apennine mountain chain. Currently, 91 deaths have been confirmed, and some 1,500 more people are injured by the disaster that rocked 26 towns in the area 70 miles northeast of Rome. Officials estimated that 100,000 people have been displaced.A telegram sent on behalf of the Pope by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari of L'Aquila, expressed the Pontiff's sorrow for the victims.

The telegram affirmed: "The dramatic news of the violent earthquake which struck the territory of the archdiocese has filled the Supreme Pontiff's heart with consternation, and he charges Your Excellency to pass on the expression of his heartfelt participation in the suffering of the beloved people affected by the tragic event."Giving assurances of his fervent prayers for the victims, especially the children, His Holiness asks the Lord to bring comfort to their families and, while giving affectionate words of encouragement to the survivors and the people who in various ways are helping in the rescue operations, he sends everyone his special apostolic blessing."

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Pray for our neighbour here..victims of earthquakes: 150 died this morning

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back."

-- Charlie Brown

Go Light Your World

Posted: 05 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT (Catholic Exchanged)
Is 42:1-7 / Jn 12:1-11
Isaiah 42:3 - “…A smoldering wick he shall not quench.”
Today, how about trying a sermon in science? Light a candle. Then with your lighter still handy, blowout the candle. Now touch the flame of the lighter to the trail of smoke.
The flame should “jump” from the lighter to the candlewick.
This little sermon in science is actually a great promise to us. As Easter is drawing close to us now, we all know some people who will show up in church for their once- or twice-a-year visits.
The promise of the candle is that God has not abandoned any of these people. Indeed, the flame is still smoldering within their soul, even if it is not able to be seen as clearly as we would hope it would be.

The challenge of this Easter season, as it approaches us, is to bring that flame from our soul to the souls of those who are smoldering. We need to trust that Jesus, with the flame of His Spirit inside us, will be willing to jump from us to them. We just need to get close enough to let that happen.

Here during Holy Week, let’s take the time we need to prepare ourselves to bring that flame of faith into the hearts of those who desperately need it in our world today. And when the Lord has someone drawn near us because of the warmth of the fire of His Spirit within us, let’s open ourselves up so that the flame of faith can jump from us to those around us.

May the holiness of this week fan the flame of faith in you that you may be a firebrand burning brightly for others to see. May His Easter joy, won through His Sorrowful Passion, Fill you with a light of His glory.

On Preparation for World Youth Day in Madrid

"The Pilgrim Cross Brings the Message of Christ to All Youth"
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today after Palm Sunday Mass, before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. During his address, a delegation from Sydney handed over the World Youth Day Cross to a group of young people from Madrid.
* * *
Yesterday, April 4, the U.N.'s 4th international day for increasing anti-personnel mine awareness was observed. At the present moment, ten years after the treaty banning the use of these devices came into effect, and after the treaty banning cluster bombs was recently presented for signatures, I would like to encourage the countries who have still not yet done so to sign without delay these important instruments of international humanitarian law, which the Holy See has always supported. Moreover, I express my support for any measure intended to guarantee necessary assistance for the victims of these devastating weapons.

Furthermore, I would like to remember, with deep sorrow, our African brothers and sisters, who met their deaths a few days ago in the Mediterranean Sea, while they were trying to find refuge in Europe. We cannot resign ourselves to such tragedies that, unfortunately, repeat themselves time and time again! The phenomenon's dimensions make coordinated strategies between the European Union and African countries more and more urgent, as well as the adoption of adequate humanitarian measures to impede migrants having recourse to lawless traffickers. As I pray for the victims, that the Lord welcome them into his peace, I would like to observe that this problem, subsequently aggravated by the global crisis, will be solved only when African populations can relieve themselves from suffering and wars with the help of the international community.

I now address a special greeting to the 150 delegates -- bishops, priests and lay people -- who in recent days participated in the international meeting on the World Youth Days, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Thus, there begins the journey of preparation toward the next international gathering of youth, which will take place in August 2011 in Madrid. I have already indicated its theme: "Rooted and Built Up in Christ, Solid in Faith," which is taken from Colossians 2:7. As is tradition, the young people from Australia will give to the young people from Spain the World Youth Day cross, the "pilgrim cross," which brings the message of Christ to all the youth of the world. This "passing on of witness" takes on a highly symbolic value, with which we express immense gratitude to God for the gifts received at the great meeting in Sydney and for those that we will receive at the meeting in Madrid.

Tomorrow the cross, accompanied by the icon of the Virgin Mary, will depart for the Spanish capital, and will be present there for the great Good Friday procession. After this a long pilgrimage through the dioceses of Spain will begin, and will end again in Madrid in the summer of 2011. May this cross and this icon of Mary be for all a sign of Christ's invincible love and that of his and our Mother!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

A blessed Holy Week and Easter to you


Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord

Posted: 03 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT
This homily was given by Pope John Paul II on Palm Sunday, 2003.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mk 11: 9).
The liturgy of Palm Sunday is like a formal entrance into Holy Week. It combines two contrasting moments: the welcome of Jesus in Jerusalem and the drama of the Passion; the festive “Hosanna” and the repeated cry: “Crucify him!”; the triumphal entry and the apparent defeat through death on the Cross. The liturgy thus anticipates the “hour” in which the Messiah was to suffer greatly, to be put to death, and on the third day to rise again (cf. Mt 16: 21), and prepares us to live fully the paschal mystery.

Rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem! / Behold, your king comes to you” (Zec 9: 9). In welcoming Jesus, the city with the vivid memory of David rejoices; the city of the prophets, many of whom were to suffer martyrdom for the truth; the city of peace, which, down through the ages, has known violence, war and deportation.

In a certain way, Jerusalem can be considered the city-symbol of humanity, especially at this dramatic beginning of the third millennium that we are living. The Palm Sunday rites thus acquire a special eloquence of their own. The words of the Prophet Zechariah ring out as a consolation: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! / Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! / Behold, your king comes to you; /triumphant and victorious is he, / humble and riding on an ass, / …the battle bow shall be cut off, / and he shall command peace to the nations” (Zec 9: 9-10). Today we are celebrating, for today Jesus, the King of peace, enters Jerusalem.
Then, on the descent from the Mount of Olives, the children and young people of Jerusalem ran to meet Christ, acclaiming him and waving festive branches of olive and palm.
Meeting him today are the young people of the whole world, who are celebrating the 18th World Youth Day in every diocesan community.

I greet you with great affection, dear young people of Rome, and also you, who have come on pilgrimage from various countries. I greet the many people in charge of youth ministry who are taking part in the Convention on the World Youth Days, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. And how could we fail to express our fraternal solidarity to your peers who are so sorely tried by war and violence in Iraq, in the Holy Land and in various other regions of the world?

Today, with faith and joy, we acclaim Christ who is our “King”: the King of truth, freedom, justice and love. These are the four “pillars” on which it is possible to build true peace, just as Bl. Pope John XXIII wrote 40 years ago in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris. In spirit, I present to you, young people of the whole world, this historical Document, which is more timely than ever: read it, meditate on it, strive to put it into practice. Then you will be “blessed”, because you will be true children of the God of peace (cf. Mt 5: 9).

Peace is the gift of Christ, which he obtained for us with the sacrifice of the Cross. To achieve it effectively it is necessary to climb with the divine Teacher up to Calvary. And who can guide us better in this ascent than Mary who, as she stood at the foot of the Cross, was given to us as our mother through the faithful apostle, St John? To help the young discover this marvellous spiritual reality, I chose as the theme of my Message for World Youth Day this year the words of the dying Christ: “Behold, your mother!” (Jn 19: 27). Accepting this testament of love, John opened his home to Mary (cf. Jn 19: 27), that is, he welcomed her into his life, sharing with her a completely new spiritual closeness. The intimate bond with the Mother of the Lord will lead the “beloved disciple” to become the apostle of that Love that he drew from the Heart of Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“Behold, your mother!” Jesus addresses these words to each of you, dear friends. He also asks you to take Mary as your mother “into your home”, to welcome her “as one of yours”, because “she will discharge her ministry as a mother and train you and mould you until Christ is fully formed in you” (Message for WYD, n. 3; ORE, 19 March 2003, p. 6). May Mary make it so that you respond generously to the Lord’s call, and persevere with joy and fidelity in the Christian mission!

Down through the centuries, how many young people have heard this invitation and how many continue to hear it in our time, too.
Young people of the third millennium, do not be afraid to offer your lives as a total response to Christ! It is he, he alone who changes life and the history of the world.
“Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15: 39). We have once again listened to the clear profession of faith expressed by the centurion, who “saw that he thus breathed his last” (ibid.). What he had seen prompted the surprising witness of the Roman soldier, the first to proclaim that this crucified man “was the Son of God”.
Lord Jesus, we too have “seen” how you suffered and died for us. Faithful until the last, you rescued us from death with your death. With your Cross you have redeemed us.
O Mary, sorrowful Mother, you are a silent witness of these decisive moments for the history of salvation.

Give us your eyes so that on the face of the crucified One, disfigured by pain, we may recognize the image of the glorious Risen One.
Help us to embrace him and entrust ourselves to him, so that we be made worthy of his promises.
Help us to be faithful today and throughout our lives. Amen!

Vatican Affirms Buddhist Shared Value of Poverty

Expresses Hope for Stronger Bonds of Dialogue
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 3, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The interreligious dialogue council sent a message to Buddhists to affirm a mutual value of poverty, and a desire to strengthen bonds of friendship so as to share spiritual treasures.The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue published this message to Buddhists today, on the occasion of the feast of Vesak, in which they commemorate the major events of the life of Gautama Buddha.This year the festival will be celebrated on April 8 in Japan and Taiwan, May 2 in Korea and May 8 in all other countries of the Buddhist tradition.

The message, signed by the council's president, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and secretary, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, expressed the hope that this feast will "once again bring joy and serenity to the hearts of all Buddhists throughout the world."They noted the opportunity to "strengthen the existing bonds of friendship and to create new ones" between Catholics and Buddhists, in order "to share with each other our joys, hopes and spiritual treasures."The message affirmed that "together we are able not only to contribute, in fidelity to our respective spiritual traditions, to the well-being of our own communities, but also to the human community of the world."It noted the challenge "before us all represented, on the one hand, by the ever more extensive phenomenon of poverty in its various forms and, on the other hand, by the unbridled pursuit of material possessions and the pervasive shadow of consumerism."

Two types
Quoting an address of Benedict XVI, the council stated that poverty can be of two types: a poverty "to be chosen" and a poverty "to be fought."It explained: "For a Christian, the poverty to be chosen is that which allows one to tread in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. By doing so a Christian becomes disposed to receive the graces of Christ, who for our sake became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty we might become rich."We understand this poverty to mean above all an emptying of self, but we also see it as an acceptance of ourselves as we are, with our talents and our limitations. Such poverty creates in us a willingness to listen to God and to our brothers and sisters, being open to them, and respecting them as individuals."We value all creation, including the accomplishments of human work, but we are directed to do so in freedom and with gratitude, care and respect, enjoining a spirit of detachment which allows us to use the goods of this world as though we had nothing and yet possessed all things."Cardinal Tauran wrote that the other type of poverty is a deprivation, "which God does not desire and which should be fought; a poverty that prevents people and families from living as befits their dignity; a poverty that offends justice and equality and that, as such, threatens peaceful co-existence."Continuing to quote the Pope, he noted the other kinds of poverty seen in advanced wealthy societies, the "affective, moral, and spiritual" types, seen in "people whose interior lives are disoriented and who experience various forms of malaise despite their economic prosperity."

The council addressed the Buddhists, saying: "We wish to thank you for your inspiring witness of non-attachment and contentment. Monks, nuns, and many lay devotees among you embrace a poverty 'to be chosen' that spiritually nourishes the human heart, substantially enriching life with a deeper insight into the meaning of existence, and sustaining commitment to promoting the goodwill of the whole human community."

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Israel Approves 1st Arab Christian College

Mar Elias University to Be Established in Nazareth

HAIFA, Israel, APRIL 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- After gaining a long-sought approval from the Israeli government, the nation's first Arab Christian university is set to be established in Nazareth.

The Mar Elias College has been operating near Haifa as an offshoot of the University of Indianapolis. But after the March 29 approval from the government it is now the first Arab Israel private college and thus stands to serve the 120,000 Arab-speaking Christians in Israel (who are just 2% of the nation's 20% Arab-minority).

According to a press release from the Friends of Mar Elias group, students of every department will be required to take "peace studies" some hours a week, focusing on how "peaceful coexistence and cooperation in multiethnic regions, like in the Middle East, [can] be advanced and secured."

Seeking funds

The Friends of Mar Elias report that a challenge for the institution is financing, as tuition from students "mostly from families with modest income, [does] not cover the running costs," and the college will not receive state grants.

Nevertheless, the statement reported that the "project has been enjoying political support from different camps."

It noted: "The president of Israel [...] considers the realization of the Mar Elias College as an important contribution to the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs in Israel; the European Union values the project, especially in view of the bilateral Action Plan E.U.-Israel, as important for three goals of bilateral cooperation: regional development,support of minorites and advancement of women; [and] the U.S. administration expressed its great interest in the recognition and support of the college."

Do You Hear Mainly What You Want to Hear?

Posted: 02 Apr 2009 09:00 PM PDT

Jer 20:10-13 / Jn 10:31-42

For too many of us too often, conversation is a game whose only goal is winning. It’s a deadly game, and both truth and love are its victims. How clearly we can see that in today’s gospel. Jesus wanted to give His listeners life, but all His listeners wanted was to win an argument. It was a short-sighted, fear-driven choice to be sure, and it left them empty-handed in the end.

Jesus is making the same offer to us now. “Come with Me,” He says, and I’ll show you the way to a life that’s not only full and rich but everlasting as well. Just walk with Me, listen to Me, watch what I do, and then you do the same. It will take some close listening and some re-thinking of old habits, but “I’ll help you,” says Jesus.

What a great offer Jesus is making to all of us: To be our mentor as we try to grow up and grow whole. But our selective listening, our hearing only what we want to hear or expect to hear, can frustrate even Jesus’ best efforts. If the re-thinking that we’re supposed to be doing in Lent is to have any value, our listening skills have to improve and our hearts have to become much more open, and much less fearful.

Trust the Lord and take the risk of listening to everything He has to tell you. After all, He knows it all. Wouldn’t you be foolish not to listen?