Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Pope speaks on the World Communications Day: Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization

Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization 

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As we draw near to
World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections
concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its
importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially
necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two
aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to
be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between
people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive,
communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or
because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they
complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning.

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Jesus Christ is our light

Baptism of Christ AVerrocchio.jpgThe days following the feasts of the Epiphany (Theophany) and the Baptism of the Lord, the Church focuses her attention on a relationship with the Lord as the Way, the Light and the Truth. The biblical narratives at Mass this week have us praying with the scenes of Christ the healer. With His baptism, Jesus’ ministry inaugurated and his light now shines more brightly for us to see the path to salvation.

Jesuit Father Steven Bonian tells us that “In … Syriac Spirituality we find St. Ephrem speaking
in mystical poetry of the light of Christ residing in every Christian: the same
light that Moses saw on the mountain at the burning bush; that gleamed through
Mary at his incarnation, and the river Jordan at his baptism. Ephrem envisions
that we too will shine forth with Christ’s light at our resurrection – for all

It is very important for us to come to know Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in his true light: as he really lives in the light of the Trinity. It is the
ultimate grace from God the Father to have Jesus revealed to us in his true
Light. This grace can only be given to those who are willing to seek it: ‘ask
and it will be given to you,’ the Lord says.”

The Visitation as a model for Christian life

Visitation LRobbia.jpgAdvent is moving us closer and closer to the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of God–Jesus. Among the rich readings of sacred Scripture we have in the Liturgy, there is today’s that recalls for us Mary’s visiting her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. The Visitation is the second of the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

Looking at what is given to us to meditate on, the vocation of woman is brought out. Looking around us the culture does’t offer too many exceptional models of woman for us to take inspiration. 
This morning we prayed the Sacrifice of the Mass with the young women of New York’s Dominican Academy, Dominican Father Ignatius Schweitzer said he noticed six characteristics which portray Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as a fitting role model for all people, but noteworthy of women. While Mary may be a little removed from some Christians real experience, I think the lack is filled with Mass readings today.
The six characteristics are:
1. Mary is a woman of faith;
2. Mary puts her faith into action;
3. Mary takes the initiative;
4. Mary brings joy to Elizabeth;
5. Mary is a community-builder;
6. Mary is a caring mother.
It is up to us to flesh out the details of these characteristics because TODAY the Savior is recognized.

Create a space for silence, Bishop Hugh Gilbert tells us

Silence is misunderstood by so many people today. Some friends and family think that being silent is horrible, or that it is a punishment for something. Silence may have been used as a weapon, but in reality, it is not and silence ought not be used as such, ever. The new bishop of Aberdeen (Scotland), Hugh Gilbert, delivered his first pastoral letter on the subject of silence. As a Benedictine he is attune to the contours of silence as Saint Benedict exhorts followers of his Rule for Beginners to live in an atmosphere of silence. Could what Bishop Hugh offers be of assistance to us?

We live in a noisy world. Our towns and cities are full of noise. There is noise in the skies and on the roads. There is noise in our homes, and even in our churches. And most of all there is noise in our minds and hearts.

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard once wrote: ‘The present state of the world and the whole of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and I were asked for my advice, I should reply: “Create silence! Bring people to silence!” The Word of God cannot be heard in the noisy world of today. And even if it were trumpeted forth with all the panoply of noise so that it could be heard in the midst of all the other noise, then it would no longer be the Word of God. Therefore, create silence!’

‘Create silence!’  There’s a challenge here. Surely speaking is a good and healthy thing? Yes indeed. Surely there are bad kinds of silence? Yes again. But still Kierkegaard is on to something.

There is a simple truth at stake. There can be no real relationship with God, there can be no real meeting with God, without silence. Silence prepares for that meeting and silence follows it. An early Christian wrote, ‘To someone who has experienced Christ himself, silence is more precious than anything else.’ For us God has the first word, and our silence opens our hearts to hear him. Only then will our own words really be words, echoes of God’s, and not just more litter on the rubbish dump of noise.

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Forgiveness Has Implications in This Life, the Next

Last Sunday’s Mass readings centered our attention on fraternal charity, fraternal correction. We have to heal the person who causes harm because he or she needs the healing more. The Rule of St Benedict and Pope Benedict had something to say about it. This coming Sunday’s reading continues the theme of forgiveness. The Church in her wisdom keeps on reminding us of the facts that make up the Christian journey and how to live within these “facts” so that we thrive. 

Basilian Father Thomas Rosica’s reflections on this coming Sunday’s readings on forgiveness are appropos.

What does it mean, “to forgive”? First of all forgiveness implies that there is something to forgive. Whether it’s something big or small, the need for forgiveness means somebody has done something wrong. The Greek word used for “forgiveness” in today’s parable means “to send away” or “to make apart.” Forgiveness “sends away” whatever has been keeping people apart. Anger or feelings of vengeance are “sent away.” By forgiving, one is no longer under the control of that past sinful act he suffered. We know that Jesus demands boundless forgiveness of his disciples. Forgiving and showing mercy, however are not always simple matters.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the people will be reconciled immediately. Nevertheless, it begins the healing process and helps to remove feelings of revenge. To ignore Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness has serious implications in this life and in the next. Do we really believe that our eternal destiny and salvation are harmed or hindered by our inability to forgive while we are on this earth? How do we do justice and show mercy? These are certainly not easy questions for us to answer and they surface in us a myriad of emotions that are also present in this parable.

The Church is called to break down the barriers that divide peoples, to build up relationships of trust and to foster forgiveness and reconciliation among peoples who have become estranged. As followers of Jesus we must be prophets of justice and peace, and always passionate about the suffering of humanity in our times.

Father Thomas Rosica, CSB  

“Forgiveness Has Implications in This Life, the Next

Biblical Reflection for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time A”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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