Friday, August 31, 2007

Cardinal Lustiger R.I.P.

Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, passed away. Here is the NYT sory of his death: Here's information about his life:

Following the tremendous success of World Youth Day 1997 in Paris, Cardinal Lustiger was interviewed by Communio (24,4. Winter 97). (Thanks for this goes to the following:

Here are some highlights: The secret of Word Youth Day in Paris is not that we looked for something we thought would attract the youth, but only the truth, the purity, and the beauty of the Good News of Christ.It was evident to the young people that the pope did not welcome them in his own name, but in the name of Christ, by exercising his apostolic ministry as Peter's successor.

What brought together these hundreds of thousands of teenagers, what they lived, was the mystery of Salvation, the freedom brought by Christ the Savior. Through the liturgy, Christ himself touched their hearts. Remember the words of Irenaeus: "Omnem novitatem attulit, afferens semetipsum" [In becoming present himself, he brought all novelty]. Something new occurs every time Christ becomes present in the midst of his people.

People objected that the liturgy would not respond to young people's need to celebrate, and that we would risk meeting with failure--if we did not pervert the liturgy altogether. However, the event itself proved that nothing could have been further from the truth.

The liturgy is the place par excellence where the Church communicates the word of God and his presence in the sacraments; it is the means by which Christ reveals himself to men--today as always. Teaching the faith must go straight to the core: the Paschal mystery of Christ in its ecclesial dimension.

Gregory: Now isn't this what I've always said?

The ten virgins

Today's gospel is from Matthew 25:

Today’s reading continues the “stay awake” admonition of Jesus from yesterday. Here, there is a kind of depiction of two kinds of people that goes back to Aesop and the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. Here there are those who have provided for themselves with care. They are preserved against the day of want. The others have been negligent in their preparations---when the day of want comes, that being their failure to let their little lights shine because they have no oil, they are rejected. Since the oil represents their spiritual preparedness, the rather un-Christian refusal to share is not really that, but rather it shows that when it comes to the holiness of our lives, it belongs to us alone, and cannot be shared. Each follower of Christ has to prepare themselves for the day of judgment and if we cannot show the oil of holiness, then the possibility of being rejected by Christ becomes a tragic reality. Stay awake!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Be watchful and ready

Click on this URL for today's readings: Matthew 24: 42-51

It is often hard to stay awake. It is emotionally taxing to be in a constant state of alert. Soldiers on guard during time of war have to be constantly alert, to fall asleep while on guard duty can result in the guard being executed for his failure to stay awake.

In so many places in the gospel, and in today’s reading, Jesus urges us by command and parable to keep our minds constantly focused on him---but the cares of life and the distractions to which we give ourselves over cause us to lose our spiritual alertness. This is not like in the Xmas song Here comes Santa Claus where we better watch out because Santa is coming tonight---that only demands that we keep alert for one night.

Our eyes must be kept fixed upon the Lord, ever watching for him to break into our lives and give us the rewards of honest servants: Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at his employment. Amen I say to you, he will place him over everything he owns.

A thought on the Eucharist

Here's a quote about the Eucharist from John MacQuarrie (Paths in Spirituality): The Eucharist sums up in itself Christian worship, experience and theology in an amazing richness. It seems to include everything. It combines Word and Sacrament; its appeal is to spirit and to sense; it brings together the sacrifice of Calvary and the presence of the risen Christ; it is communion with God and communion with man; it covers the whole gamut of religious moods and emotions. Again, it teaches the doctrine of creation, as the bread, the wine, and ourselves are brought to God; the doctrine of atonement, for these gifts have to be broken in order that they may be perfected; the doctrine of salvation, for the Eucharist has to do with incorporation into Christ and the sanctification of human life; above all, the doctrine of incarnation, for it is no distant God whom Christians worship but one who has made himself accessible in the world.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The drouth is ended

(Yes, drouth is a correct, alternate spelling.) We hadn't had rain since about the middle of July. It was sprinkling and thundering often during the day, but really didn't rain significantly. I was eating dinner at a friend's house yesternight and it was just sprinkling again, until I stepped outside and chanted Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum. (Drop down from heaven above and let the clouds rain the just one.) It immediately began to pour.

Beheading of St. John the Baptist

It's kind of strange to celebrate some one's beheading, but that's what we do today. We know the story of John's death, and how Herod embarrassed himself in front of his guests. It pays to not make gestures that you can't carry through.

Here is an interesting item:

Cardinal Ruini: Go to the Holy Land
ROME, AUG. 28, 2007

Benedict XVI's vicar for the Diocese of Rome is encouraging people to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land.Cardinal Camillo Ruini made his appeal Monday from Romes' Fiumicino airport, before leaving for a pilgrimage to Lourdes.In a press conference, the cardinal encouraged pilgrimages to the places mentioned in the Gospels.Pilgrims' trips to the Holy Land, he said, are "a basic condition to favor the peace and serenity of the holy places. We must all work to overcome the fears that stop the faithful who wish to go to the Holy Land.""Maybe they are unfounded fears," Cardinal Ruini added, "but understandable ones. While we go to Lourdes we ask the Lord for peace in the Holy Land."

It is difficult for us to imagine, but the Christians of the Holy Land really depend on the tourist trade to support themselves. When I was returned from there last November, people asked me if I had been afraid anywhere on the pilgrimage. I never was---anywhere. Even when there was one sticky situation, when they saw that we were pilgrims, they made way for us happily. I would urge everyone who can to go to the Holy Land. Just our presence there is a great support for the Christian people there, and the presence of Christians there is a moderating influence between the secular Jews who run the State of Israel, and the Palestinians. Deus lo vult!