Tag Archives: faith

Lord, increase our faith –educate us to see

mustard seedThe Church hears in the gospel for the 27th Sunday Through the Year Lord’s reference to the parable of the Mustard Seed (Luke 17:5-10). The teaching of the Mustard Seed also appears in Mark 4:30-32 and Matthew 17:20.

When the apostles say to Jesus, “Increase our faith,” He responds, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Today, we could easily hear in the desire of the apostles: educate us to see, to know, to experience this Kingdom you are talking about. Perhaps we can relate the concern the apostles present to what Saint Anselm famously said, ours is a “Fides quaerens intellectum” (a faith seeking understanding; or, faith is a trust in God, a love for God, the lens by which we we seek to know what a deep trust in God means in a concrete way connecting the dots of life).

The holy bishop of Hippo tells us,

A mustard seed looks small. Nothing is less noteworthy to the sight, but nothing is stronger to the taste. What does that signify but the very great fervor and inner strength of faith in the Church?

Sofia Cavalletti taught us, “The person who at a certain point becomes aware of the dynamic nature of the Kingdom of God, which is like a mustard seed, will gradually come to see this dynamism filling the universe and empowering man and his history” (Religious Potential of the Child, 165). Hence, the teaching is a recognition that faith as a gift of God is enclosed within our hearts, “like the pearl of great value and the mustard seed.”

This education in the faith may be connected with a reflection Father Luigi Giussani has,

“As a result of the education I received at home, my seminary training, and my reflections later in life, I came to believe deeply that only a faith arising from life experience and confirmed by it (and, therefore, relevant to life’s needs) could be sufficiently strong to survive in a world where everything pointed in the opposite direction, so much so that even theology for a long time had given in to a faith separated from life. Showing the relevance of faith to life’s needs, and therefore – and this ‘therefore’ is important –showing that faith is rational, implies a specific concept of rationality. When we say that faith exalts rationality, we mean that faith corresponds to some fundamental, original need that all men and women feel in their hearts.” (Luigi Giussani, The Risk of Education, pp. 11-12).

Indeed, Lord, increase in us the desire to be with you.

Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”)

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Pope Francis published his first encyclical today. Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), comes in the middle of the Year of Faith. The Pope told bishops,  “It’s an encyclical written with four hands, so to speak, because Pope Benedict began writing it and he gave it to me. It’s a strong document. I will say in it that I received it and most of the work was done by him and I completed it.”

The full text is here: Lumen Fidei.pdf

Pope Benedict set out to write encyclicals on the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Two have been done and Lumen Fidei completes the course of study.

Thus Deus Caritas Est on charity in 2005 and Spe Salvi on hope in 2007. 

Pope Benedict’s, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), published in 2009 focused on Catholic social teachings of the Church.

Lumen Fidei was presented Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. Their presentation is here in various languages.

When the Church is closed off, it gets sick…we need many witnesses


A Saturday May 19th Q&A session with the various members of ecclesial movements and Pope Francis was inspiring to me. More than 120 thousand attended the events. The pope said much; much of it not available in print but what is available is here due the translations of the Vatican Information Service. It is hard to nail the pope down on all the things he said because a fair of amount of talks are off-the-cuff. This 3 minute video presentation by Rome Reports gives a good sense as to what we are supposed to be about. Nevertheless, there is enough to reflect on and to see where we find ourselves viz-a-viz Francis’ response.

Q: “How were you able to achieve certainty of faith in your life, and what path can you indicate to us so that each one of us can overcome our fragility of faith?”

A: “I have had the good fortune to grow up in a family where the faith was lived in a simple and concrete manner … The first proclamation is in the home, within the family, right? And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and so many grandmothers in the transmission of the faith. … We do not find our faith in the abstract, no! It is always a person who preaches it to us, who tells us who Jesus is, who gives us the faith, who gives us the first announcement. … But there is a very important day for me: September 21, 1953. I was almost 17. It was the ‘Students’ Day’…. Before going to the festival, I went to my parish and met a priest I did not know, but I felt the need to confess. … After confession I felt that something had changed. I was not the same. I felt a voice call me: I was convinced that I had to become a priest. This experience of faith is important. We say that we must seek God, go to him to ask for forgiveness … but when we go, He is already waiting for us. He is the first one there! … And this creates wonder in the hearts of those who do not believe, and this is how faith grows! With an encounter with a Person, with an encounter with the Lord.”

Regarding fragility: “Fragility’s biggest enemy curiously enough, is fear. But do not be afraid! We are weak, we know it but He is stronger! If you are with him, then there is no problem! A child is fragile–I see many today–but they are with their fathers and their mothers so they are safe! We too are safe with the Lord; we are secure. Faith grows with the Lord, out of the very hands of the Lord.”

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Francis: live an intense relationship with Jesus

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The homily of Pope Francis at St Paul outside the Walls.

It is a joy for me to celebrate Mass with you in this Basilica. I greet the Archpriest, Cardinal James Harvey, and I thank him for the words that he has addressed to me. Along with him, I greet and thank the various institutions that form part of this Basilica, and all of you. We are at the tomb of Saint Paul, a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart. These are the three key ideas on which I would like to reflect in the light of the word of God that we have heard: proclamation, witness, worship.

In the First Reading, what strikes us is the strength of Peter and the other Apostles. In response to the order to be silent, no longer to teach in the name of Jesus, no longer to proclaim his message, they respond clearly: “We must obey God, rather than men”. And they remain undeterred even when flogged, ill-treated and imprisoned. Peter and the Apostles proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.

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Christian faith through lens of the Creed presented at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross, Branford, CT

In the Year
of Faith please join Father David Borino and Benedictine Sister Zita Wenker for
a discussion “Christian faith through lens of the Creed” on Saturday, December
1, 10:30 to 2:00pm.

The discussion will be held at the Monastery of the
Glorious Cross
61 Burban Drive, Branford, CT 06405

The day includes Mid-day prayer and Mass in the
Monastery Chapel, the presentations and time for Q&A. Please bring a brown
bag lunch.

Father David Borino is a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford and
Sister M. Zita Wenker, OSB is a Benedictine nun of Jesus Crucified residing at the Monastery of the
Glorious Cross (61 Burban Drive, Branford, CT 06405). Both presenters bring pastoral and theological expertise to the
exploration of what we believe Catholic faith to be through what we profess
Sunday after Sunday in the Creed.

The day is free, open to the public with a
good will offering taken.

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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