Tag Archives: Christ

Saint Martin I, pope

St Martin I, pope.jpgMerciful God, our Father, neither hardship, pain,nor the threat of death could weaken the faith of Saint Martin. Through our faith, give us courage to endure whatever sufferings the world may inflict upon us.

The Mass collect is appropriate today when prejudice and suffering is prevalent due to one’s adherence to the Church’s teaching.
Pope Saint Martin I was the 7th century pontiff who held firm to the orthodox teaching that Christ had a divine and a human natures and wills. Speaking of Christ’s nature is not commonly heard at the dinner table, never mind from the pulpit these days but at one point, there was significant dissent among the people of God. Every-now-and again you encounter monothelitism (a slightly different form of monophysitism which rejected the human nature of Christ) in university and parochial settings. Beware!

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Because Christ exists

“Because this Christ exists,” Father Luigi Giussani¬†writes in his book on Charity, “there is no longer any man who doesn’t interest¬†me.”

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The Son of Man must be lifted up…
“The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which, the day after the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection raised over the tomb of Christ, is exalted and honored, in the manner of a memorial of His paschal victory and the sign which is to appear in the sky, already announcing in advance His second coming” (Roman Martyrology)

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Today is a most glorious feast, one in which no Christian can ignore and claim to be a faithful follower of the Word made Flesh, the Savior of the world. It is only by and through the cross is life given and death killed. Nevertheless, this way of following was difficult for the Twelve, the Apostles, the disciples, indeed, all peoples who were attracted to Jesus and his call Life: the cross is a non-negotiable in following the path Christ has set for us. In time Christians would accept the cross as the Tree of Life, a triumph over death.
Sometime between AD 148-155 Saint Justin Martyr speaks of the cross as the standard symbol of Christians (First Apology 55-60) and by AD 211 we know that Tertullian told his students that Christians rarely do anything of substance without making the sign of the cross (De Corona 3:2) thus making the sign of the cross is a ancient symbol of blessing and one which grasps our hearts and minds and clearly identifies to Whom we belong.
We adore you O Christ, and praise you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Let us lift up our voices high;

With radiant faces let us cry:
Christ, through your cross you made death die!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Joy to you, Cross of Christ the Lord,
Throne of our God be all adored:
Endless the songs your saints afford.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
O holy Cross, life-giving Tree
Through which the Church has victory:
By you, our Lord has set us free.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Praise to the Father, Christ the Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three-in-One
From ransomed souls Christ’s blood has won.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, WLP
888 with Alleluias; GELOBT SEI GOTT

Recognizing what Pope Benedict has done for the Church … Julián Carrón

This coming Monday is the fifth anniversary of the election
of Pope Benedict XVI. Communion and Liberation is encouraging people to attend
Mass, pray a Rosary, or attend Eucharistic Adoration on that day to pray for
the Holy Father, in thanksgiving for his witness to Christ.

The following
letter is from Father Julián Carrón, the President of Communion and Liberation,
sent to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica (April 4, 2010).

Let Us Return,
Wounded, to Christ

Father Julián Carrón

Julian Carron.jpg

None of us has ever been as dismayed
as we are in front of the heart-wrenching story of child abuse. Our dismay
arises from our inability to respond to the demand for justice which springs
from the bottom of our hearts.+The request to assume responsibility, the
acknowledgement of the evil committed, the reprimand for the mistakes made in
the handling of the affair – all of this seems to us to be totally inadequate
as we face this sea of evil. Nothing seems to be enough. And so we can
understand the frustrated reactions that have been coming forth at this time.

has all served the purpose of making us stand face to face with our demand for
justice, acknowledging that it is limitless, bottomless – as deep as the wound
itself. Since it is infinite, it can never be satisfied. So the
dissatisfaction, impatience and even the disillusionment of the victims are
understandable, even after all the injuries and mistakes have been admitted:
nothing can satisfy their thirst for justice. It’s like entering into an
endless struggle. From this point of view, the ones who committed the abuse are
paradoxically facing a challenge similar to that of the victims: nothing can
repair the damage that has been done. This in no way means that their
responsibility can be lifted, and much less the verdict that justice may impose
upon them; it would not be enough even if they were to serve the maximum

If this is the case, then the most burning question, which no one can
escape, is as simple as it is unavoidable: “Quid animo satis?” What can satisfy
our thirst for justice? This is where we begin to feel all our powerlessness,
so powerfully expressed in Ibsen’s Brand: “Answer me, God, in the jaws of
death: Is there no salvation for the Will of Man? No small measure of
salvation?” In other words, cannot the whole force of human will succeed in
bringing about the justice that we so long for?

This is why even those who
demand it most, those who are most insistent in calling for justice, will not
be loyal to the depth of their nature with its demand for justice if they do
not face this incapacity that they share with all men. Were we not to face it,
we would fall prey to an even crueler injustice, to a veritable assassination
of our humanity, because in order to keep on crying out for the justice that we
formulate according to our own measurement, we have to silence the voice of our
hearts, thus forgetting the victims and abandoning them in their struggle.

is the Pope who, paradoxically, in his disarming boldness, has not fallen prey
to reducing justice to any sort of human measure. To begin with, he admitted without
hesitation the gravity of the evil committed by priests and religious, urged
them to accept their responsibility for it, and condemned the way certain
bishops in their fear of scandal have handled the affair, expressing his deep
dismay over what had happened and taking steps to ensure that it not happen
again. But then, he expressed his full awareness that this is not enough to
respond to the demand that there be justice for the harm inflicted: “I know
that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed
and your dignity has been violated.” Likewise, even if the perpetrators serve
their sentences, repent, and do penance, it will never be enough to repair the
damage they did to the victims and to themselves.

Benedict XVI’s recognition of
the true nature of our need, of our struggle, is the only way to save our full
demand for justice; it is the only way to take it seriously, to take it fully
into consideration. “The demand for justice is a need that is proper to man,
proper to a person. Without the possibility of something beyond, of an answer
that lies beyond the existential modalities that we can experience, justice is
impossible… If the hypothesis of a ‘beyond’ were eliminated, that demand would
be unnaturally suffocated” (Father Giussani).

So how did the Pope save this
demand? By calling on the only one who can save it, someone who makes the
beyond present in the here and now, namely, Christ, the Mystery made flesh.
“Jesus Christ … was Himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, He still
bears the wounds of His own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your
pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including
your relationship with the Church.”

Calling on Christ is not a way to seek a hiding
place to run off to in the face of the demand for justice: it is the only way
to bring justice about. The Pope calls upon Christ, and steers clear of a truly
dangerous shoal, that of distancing Christ from the Church, as if the Church
were too full of filth to be able to bear Him. The Protestant temptation is
always lurking. It would have been very easy to give in to, but at too high a
price – that of losing Christ. Because, as the Pope recalls, “it is in the
communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ.” And so,
aware of the difficulty both the victims and the guilty have “to forgive or be
reconciled with the Church,” he dares to pray that, by drawing near to Christ
and sharing in the life of the Church, they “will come to rediscover Christ’s
infinite love for each one of you,” since He is the only one able to heal their
wounds and rebuild their lives.

This is the challenge facing all of us who are
incapable of finding an answer for our sins and for the sins of others: agreeing
to take part in Easter, which we celebrate during these days, as the only way
to see the re-blossoming of hope.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Cross, San Francesco, Arezzo.jpg

God the Father has exalted

Jesus Christ, the Lord of all,

Who has emptied self of glory,

Took our human nature’s thrall;

In obedience, He was humbled

Taking even cross and death;

Now creation shouts in wonder

“Christ is Lord” with ev’ry breath!

As the Cross is boldly

And the faithful now embrace

What was once a thing so shameful,

Now the hope of all our race,

Let us, marked with Cross, and

Shout this news throughout the earth:

Through the Cross, our God has conquered!

Through it, come to His new birth!

87.87. D, no tune

James Michael Thompson, (c) 2009, World Library Publications

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]yahoo.com.
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