Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

May is the Month of the Blessed Mother

We begin the month of May and therefore the month of Mary.

“The correct Marian devotion guarantees to faith the coexistence of indispensable ‘reason’ with the equally indispensable ‘reasons of the heart,’ as Pascal would say. For the Church, man is neither mere reason nor mere feeling, he is the unity of these two dimensions. The head must reflect with lucidity, but the heart must be able to feel warmth: devotion to Mary (which ‘avoids every false exaggeration on the one hand, and excessive narrow-mindedness in the contemplation of the surpassing dignity of the Mother of God on the other,’ as the Council urges) thus assures the faith its full human dimension.” (Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report, Ignatius Press, 1985)

What Marian devotions will you take part in this month?

St Andrew

A later tradition … tells of Andrew’s death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion. At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus. In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as “St Andrew’s cross”.

This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew:

“Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

“Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you…. O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs!… Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!”.

Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality. It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

Here we have a very important lesson to learn:  our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them.

It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about him to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.

Benedict XVI
Audience, June 14, 2006

Image: Fr. Kevin Kim’s

Pastors need to face humanity

In life I wonder desire to know what is going on in reality. By what authority do pastors admit when they are in front of other people? The person in the hospital bed, the husband about to be without a job, the student about to be dismissed from university studies because she committed an act of plagiarism, the senior person facing dementia and cancer? What is the occasion for pastoral leadership and by what light is reality judged (evaluated) and addressed? Is it ideology or reality? Too often the clergy are without a method, or a reasonable measure of leadership or a substantial spiritual life.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his message to the Presidents of Europe’s 34 Episcopal Conferences, exhorted them “not to be afraid of facing up to the present-day pastoral challenges, being in position to listen to the concrete conditions of man’s personal and social life, ready to proclaim the Gospel of hope to all. The Gospel is a light entrusted to Christians of the third millennium so that, through a courageous and credible witness it may give light to the whole house (cf. Mt 5,15)“.

Mercy is central

Indeed, mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love. May this merciful love also shine on the face of the Church and show itself through the sacraments, in particular that of Reconciliation, and in works of charity, both communitarian and individual. May all that the Church says and does manifest the mercy God feels for man, and therefore for us. When the Church has to recall an unrecognized truth or a betrayed good, she always does so impelled by merciful love, so that men and women may have life and have it abundantly (cf. Jn 10:10). From Divine Mercy, which brings peace to hearts, genuine peace flows into the world, peace between different peoples, cultures and religions.

Pope Benedict XVI
Regina Caeli message,
Divine Mercy Sunday, March 30, 2008

At Benedict XVI’s 90th

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI today celebrated his 90th birthday though the actual b’day was yesterday. Here is a photo taken by L’Osservatore Romano at the monastery where he lives – to the Pope’s left is his brother, Mons. Georg Ratzinger. Others are family and friends from Bavaria.

Thanks to JL.

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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