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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:57 AM||comments (2)|
Click this link to read what Pope Francis had to say at this week's General Audience in St Peter's Square:
|Posted on January 16, 2014 at 2:39 AM||comments (3)|
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning!
Here is Pope Francis' message from Wednesday's general audience in Rome:
Last Wednesday we started a brief cycle of catecheses on the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism. And on Baptism I would like to pause again today, in order to stress the important fruit of this Sacrament: it makes us members of the Body of Christ and of the People of God. St Thomas Aquinas states that whoever receives Baptism is incorporated in Christ, almost like one of his limbs, and becomes aggregated to the community of the faithful (cf. Summa Theologiae, III, q. 69, art. 5; q. 70, art. 1), that is, the People of God. In the school of the Second Vatican Council, we say today that Baptism allows us to enter the People of God, to become members of a People on a journey, a people on pilgrimage through history.
In effect, as from generation to generation life is transmitted, so too from generation to generation, through rebirth at the baptismal font, grace is transmitted, and by this grace the Christian People journeys through time, like a river irrigating the land and spreading God's blessing throughout the world. From the moment that Jesus said what we heard in the Gospel Reading, the disciples went out to baptize; and from that time until today there is a chain in the transmission of the faith through Baptism. And each one of us is a link in that chain: a step forward, always; like a river that irrigates. This is what the grace of God is like and our faith, which we must transmit to our sons and daughters, transmit to children, so that once adults, they can do the same for their children. This is what Baptism is. Why? Because Baptism allows us to enter this People of God that transmits the faith. This is very important. A People of God that journeys and hands down the faith.
In virtue of Baptism we become missionary disciples, called to bring the Gospel to the world (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 120). “All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization.... The new evangelization calls for personal involvement” (ibid.) by everyone, the whole of the People of God, a new kind of personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. The People of God is a disciple People – because they receive the faith - and a missionary People – because they transmit the faith. And this is what Baptism works in us: it gives us Grace and hands on the faith to us. All of us in the Church are disciples, and this we are forever, our whole lifelong; and we are all missionaries, each one of us in the place the Lord has assigned to us. Everyone: the littlest one is also a missionary; and the one who seems to be the greatest is a disciple. But one of you might say: “Bishops are not disciples, Bishops know everything; the Pope knows everything, he is not a disciple”. No, the Bishops and the Pope must be disciples, because if they are not disciples, they do no good. They cannot be missionaries, they cannot transmit the faith. We must all be disciples and missionaries.
There exists an indissoluble bond between the mystical and the missionary dimension of the Christian vocation, both rooted in Baptism. “Upon receiving faith and Baptism, we Christians accept the action of the Holy Spirit who leads to confessing Jesus as Son of God and calling God 'Abba', Father,.... All of us who are baptized ... are called to live and transmit communion with the Trinity, for evangelization is a calling to participate in the communion of the Trinity” (Final Document of Aparecida, n. 157).
No one is saved by himself. We are the community of believers, we are the People of God and in this community we share the beauty of the experience of a love that precedes us all, but that at the same time calls us to be “channels” of grace for one another, despite our limitations and our sins. The communitarian dimension is not just a “frame”, an “outline”, but an integral part of Christian life, of witness and of evangelization. The Christian faith is born and lives in the Church, and in Baptism families and parishes celebrate the incorporation of a new member in Christ and in his Body which is the Church (cf. ibid., n.175b).
On the subject of the importance of Baptism for the People of God, the history of the Christian community in Japan is exemplary. It suffered severe persecution at the start of the 17 century. There were many martyrs, members of the clergy were expelled and thousands of faithful killed. No priest was left in Japan, they were all expelled. Then the community retreated into hiding, keeping the faith and prayer in seclusion. And when a child was born, the father or mother baptized him or her, because the faithful can baptize in certain circumstances. When, after roughly two and a half centuries, 250 years later, missionaries returned to Japan, thousands of Christians stepped out into the open and the Church was able to flourish again. They survived by the grace of Baptism! This is profound: the People of God transmits the faith, baptizes her children and goes forward. And they maintained, even in secret, a strong communal spirit, because their Baptism had made of them one single body in Christ: they were isolated and hidden, but they were always members of the People of God, members of the Church. Let us learn a great deal from this story!
|Posted on January 9, 2014 at 3:48 PM||comments (1)|
It's not the first time the Pope has made this plea. Do you even know the date of your Baptism? If not try to find out and make sure you celebrate it and encourage your family members to do the same!
To read about the Pope's thoughts on this, click this link: http://t.news.va/en/news/a-date-to-remember
|Posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
Pope Francis, during today’s General Assembly, spoke about the sacrament of Reconciliation and admitted that even the Pope needs to go to Confession regularly; every two weeks in fact!
The Pope spoke again about the importance of the sacrament and said that the Church is not the master of forgiveness but is its servant. He also said that priests need to recognise that they too are in need of forgiveness and healing and, as a result, they must exercise their ministry with humility and mercy.
Here are the Pope’s words:
‘Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today I would like to speak again on the forgiveness of sins by reflecting on the power of the keys, which is a biblical symbol of the mission Jesus entrusted to the Apostles. First and foremost, we recall that the source of the forgiveness of sins is the Holy Spirit, whom the Risen Jesus bestowed upon the Apostles. Hence, he made the Church the guardian of the keys, of this power.
The Church, however, is not the master of forgiveness, but its servant. The Church accompanies us on our journey of conversion for the whole of our lives and calls us to experience reconciliation in its communal and ecclesial dimension. We receive forgiveness through the priest. Through his ministry, God has given us a brother to bring us forgiveness in the name of the Church. Priests, who are the servants of this sacrament, must recognize that they also are in need of forgiveness and healing, and so they must exercise their ministry in humility and mercy. Let us then remember always that God never tires of forgiving us. Let us truly value this sacrament and rejoice in the gift of pardon and healing that comes to us through the ministry of priests.’
|Posted on November 13, 2013 at 11:56 AM||comments (2)|
Pope Francis, at today’s General Audience, spoke of the importance of Baptism, stating that “through the Sacrament, we are immersed spiritually in the death of Jesus Christ and we rise with him as a new creation.”
Our Baptism is the day we are born in Christ to a new life. Do you know the date of your Baptism? Do you celebrate it in the same way you celebrate your birthday? If not it is certainly something worth thinking about.
Here are Pope Francis’ words in English:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today I would like to continue our catechesis on the Creed by turning to the Sacrament of Baptism. Each Sunday when making our Profession of Faith, we pray: I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Let us look at each of these words. I confess – This solemn declaration highlights the importance of Baptism and affirms our identity as children of God. In the Sacrament, our faith is also linked to the remission of sins. When we confess our sins, we renew and strengthen our Baptismal identity. Baptism, then, is the point of departure for a lifelong journey of conversion sustained by the Sacrament of Penance. One Baptism – The word Baptism literally means immersion. Through the Sacrament, we are immersed spiritually in the death of Jesus Christ and we rise with him as a new creation. Regenerated by water and the Holy Spirit, we are illuminated by grace which dispels the darkness of sin. For the forgiveness of sins – Baptism forgives original sin and personal sin. The door to a new life is opened and the mercy of God enters our lives. But human weakness remains. The Church teaches us to confess our sins with humility, because only in forgiveness, received and given, do our restless hearts find peace and joy.”
|Posted on October 9, 2013 at 8:49 AM||comments (2)|
In today’s General Audience Pope Francis reflected on the meaning of the Church being ‘catholic’ and what this means for us.
The Pope said “We can understand this catholicity in three ways. First, the Church is Catholic because she proclaims the apostolic faith in its entirety; she is the place where we meet Christ in his sacraments and receive the spiritual gifts needed to grow in holiness together with our brothers and sisters. The Church is also catholic because her communion embraces the whole human race, and she is sent to bring to the entire world the joy of salvation and the truth of the Gospel. Finally, the Church is catholic because she reconciles the wonderful diversity of God’s gifts to build up His people in unity and harmony.”
He then encourages us to seek the Lord’s help in our journey of faith saying, “Let us ask the Lord to make us more catholic – to enable us, like a great family, to grow together in faith and love, to draw others to Jesus in communion with the Church, and to welcome the gifts and contributions of everyone, in order to create a joyful symphony of praise to God for his goodness, his grace, and his redemptive love.”
So the Pope is encouraging us to live out our faith and grow together in faith and love. He is also encouraging us to continue in the New Evangelisation and draw people to the Church, a ministry that is expected of all of us. And finally, the Pope wants us to be a welcoming Church, welcoming the contributions of all people so that we can create a ‘joyful symphony’ to praise God for all His goodness, grace and love.
|Posted on September 18, 2013 at 8:45 AM||comments (2)|
Read the Pope's General Audience message, below (from news.va):
'Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today I wish to return to the image of the Church as our Mother, by reflecting on all that our earthly mothers do, live and suffer for their children.
First, our mothers show us, through their tenderness and love, the correct path to follow in life, so that we may grow into adulthood. So too the Church orients us on the path of life, indicating the way that leads to maturity.
Second, our mothers know how and when to accompany us with understanding through life and to help lead us back when we wander off the right path. The Church also accompanies us in mercy, in understanding, never judging us or closing the door, but offering forgiveness to help us return to the right course.
Third, as our mothers never grow tired of interceding for us, no matter our failings, so too the Church stays with us always and, through prayer, puts into the hands of the Lord all our situations, difficulties and needs. And so we see in the Church a good Mother who indicates the path to walk in life, who always accompanies us in patience, mercy and understanding, and who places us in God’s hands.
I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience. In a particular way, I welcome the Inter-Ministerial Delegation of the Vietnamese Government for Religious Affairs. I welcome also all those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, India, Canada and the United States. May Jesus Christ confirm you in faith and make you witnesses of his love and mercy to all people. May God bless you!'
|Posted on June 28, 2013 at 10:40 AM||comments (1)|
The Pope has a new drinking buddy! A shiny new blue mug presented to him by Mary's Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow.
If you missed this story on Wednesday please click the link, below, to read Magnus's account of a most memorable encounter.
|Posted on June 26, 2013 at 9:33 AM||comments (1)|
Pope calls on us as ‘living stones’, which are used to build the Church, to be active in our communities; to be lively and joyous as People of God.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today I would like briefly to refer to one more picture that helps us to illustrate the mystery of the Church: that of the temple (cf. Lumen Gentium, 6).
What does the word, ‘temple’ call to mind? It makes us think of a building, a construction. In particular, it recalls to many minds the history of the People of Israel narrated in the Old Testament. In Jerusalem, the great Temple of Solomon was the locus of the encounter with God in prayer. Within the Temple was the Ark of the Covenant, a sign of God's presence among the people, and inside the Ark were the Tablets of the Law, the manna and the rod of Aaron, a reminder that God had always been in the history of his people, had always been with them on their journey, always directed their stride – and the Temple recalls this story. We, too, when we go to the temple, must remember this story – my story – the story of each one of us – of how Jesus encountered me, of how he walked with me, how Jesus loves and blesses me.
That, which was prefigured in the ancient Temple, is realized in the Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit: the Church is the “house of God”, the place of His presence, where we can find and meet the Lord; the Church is the temple in which dwells the Holy Spirit, who animates, guides and sustains her. If we ask ourselves, “Where can we meet God? Where can we enter into communion with Him through Christ? Where can we find the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our lives?” the answer is, “in the People of God, among us, for we are Church – among us, within the People of God, in the Church – there we shall meet Jesus, we shall meet the Holy Spirit, we shall meet the Father.
The ancient temple was built by the hands of men: they wanted to “give a home” to God, to have a visible sign of His presence among the people. With the Incarnation of the Son of God, the prophecy of Nathan to King David is fulfilled (cf. 2 Sam 7.1 to 29): it is not the king, it is not we, who are to “give a home to God,” but God Himself who “builds his house” to come and dwell among us, as St. John writes in the Prologue of his Gospel (cf. 1:14). Christ is the living Temple of the Father, and Christ himself builds His “spiritual home”, the Church, made not of stone materials, but of “living stones” – of us, our very selves. The Apostle Paul says to the Christians of Ephesus: you are “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: in whom all the building, being framed together, groweth up into a holy temple in the Lord.(Eph 2:20-22)” How beautiful this is! We are the living stones of God, profoundly united to Christ, who is the rock of support, and among ourselves. What then, does this mean? It means that we are the Temple – the Church, but, us, living – we are Church, we are [the] living temple, and within us, when we are together, there is the Holy Spirit, who helps us grow as Church. We are not isolated, we are People of God – and this is the Church: People of God.
It is, moreover, the Holy Spirit with His gifts, who designs the variety – and this is important – what does the Holy Spirit do in our midst? He designs the variety – the variety, which is the richness of the Church and unites everything and everyone, so as to constitute a spiritual temple, in which we offer not material sacrifices, but us ourselves, our life (cf. 1 Pt 2:4-5). The Church is not a weave of things and interests; it is rather the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Temple in which God works, the Temple in which each of us with the gift of Baptism is living stone. This tells us that no one is useless in the Church – no on is useless in the Church! And should anyone chance to say [to you] “Get home with you, you’re useless!” that is not true. No one is useless in the Church. We are all needed in order to build this temple. No one is secondary: “Ah, I am the most important one in the Church!” No! We are all equal in the eyes of God. But, one of you might say, “Mr. Pope, sir, you are not equal to us.” But I am just like each of you. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. No one is anonymous: all form and build the Church. Nevertheless, it also invites us to reflect on the fact that the Temple wants the brick of our Christian life, that something is wanting in the beauty of the Church.
So I would like for us to ask ourselves: how do we live our being Church? We are living stones? Are we rather, so to speak, tired stones, bored, indifferent? Have any of you ever noticed how ugly a tired, bored, indifferent Christian is? It’s an ugly sight. A Christian has to be lively, joyous, he has to live this beautiful thing that is the People of God, the Church. Do we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, so as to be an active part of our communities, or do we close in on ourselves, saying, “I have so many things to do, that’s not my job.”?
May the Lord grant us His grace, His strength, so that we can be deeply united to Christ, the cornerstone, stone of support for all of our lives and the life of the Church. Let us pray that, animated by His Spirit, we might always be living stones of the Church.
|Posted on June 19, 2013 at 7:17 AM||comments (1)|
The Pope, in his general audience on Wednesday morning before a packed St Peter’s Square, told the gathered that the Church is a living body and that the body has a head which is Jesus who guides, supports and nourishes it. He encouraged people to overcome personal interests and divisions in order to understand each other better. He said that divisions are often caused by conflicts and this is not good because it separates us from each other and separates us from God. We must overcome these to love God and the people close to us more.
The Pope spoke again about the damage done by gossiping. This is a repeat of previous talks and homilies and is clearly a point the Holy Father wants us to take on board. Today he said “never gossip about others, never!”
The Pope then encouraged us all to pray for Christian unity.
Pope Francis, in his 19 June general audience told the many thousands gathered that the Church was a living body that had Jesus as its head and that it is Jesus who guides, feeds and supports it. He lamented the divisions within Christianity which he says “wounds this Body” and suggested “the Body must be united to survive”.
He talked about St Paul’s conversion and how St Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, developed the idea that the image of the body helps us to understand the deep Christ-Church bond. The Pope said, “First, the body brings our attention to living reality. The Church is not a charitable, cultural or political association, but a living body that lives and acts in history. And this body has a head, Jesus, who guides, feeds and supports it. This is a point I want to emphasise: if the head is separated from the rest of the body, the whole person cannot survive. So it is in the Church, we must remain bound ever more deeply to Jesus. But not only that: just as the body needs the lifeblood to keep it alive, so we must allow Jesus to work in us, that His Word guide us, that His presence in the Eucharist nourish us, animate us, that His love gives strength to our love of neighbour.”
The Pope continued, “Dear brothers and sisters, let us remain united to Jesus, let us trust in Him, direct our life according to His Gospel, nourish ourselves with daily prayer, listening to the Word of God, participation in the Sacraments.”
The Pope then turned back to St Paul, saying “St Paul says that as members of the human body, although different and many, we form one body, as we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body. In the Church, therefore, there is a variety, a diversity of tasks and functions, there is no dull uniformity, but the richness of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes. But there is communion and unity: we are all in a relation to each other and we all come together to form one living body, deeply connected to Christ….it means remaining united to the Pope and the Bishops who are instruments of unity and communion, and also means overcoming personal interests and divisions, in order to understand each other better, to harmonise the variety and richness of each member; in a word, to love God and the people who are next to us more, in the family, in the parish, in the associations.”
The Pope then spoke about times when parts of the body separate: “Conflicts, when they don’t end well, separate us from each other, they separate us from God. Conflict can help us to grow but can also divide us. We must not travel the path of division, of conflict among us, no we must all be united – with our differences – united because that is the path of Jesus! Unity is beyond all conflict. Unity is a grace that we must ask of the Lord so he may save us from the temptations of the division, from internal struggles and selfishness, from gossip. How much damage gossip does! How much damage! Never gossip about others, never!”
The Pope then referred to specific divisions among Christians: “Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity. Let me tell you something, today, before leaving home, I spent 40 minutes more or less, half an hour, with an evangelical pastor. And we prayed together seeking unity. But we Catholic must pray with each other and other Christians. Pray that the Lord gifts us unity! Unity among ourselves!”
The Pope then suggested that Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit “to build unity”.