|Br Roger of Taize |
(1915 - 2005)
"Those who surrender themselves to you with a trusting heart, O God, are happy. You sustain us in joy, in simplicity, in mercy."
Sharing with my beloved brother the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew his concerns for the future of creation (cfr Encylical Letter. Laudato Si, 7-9) and taking up the suggestion by his representative, the Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si on the care of our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to set up also in the Catholic Church, the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, will be celebrated on the 1st of September, as the Orthodox Church has done for some time now.
As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through. Therefore, first of all we must draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation, always remembering that for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us.” (ibid., 216). The ecological crisis therefore calls us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (ibid., 217). Thus, “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”(ibid).
The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of the Day on the same date as the Orthodox Church will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our orthodox brothers. We live in a time where all Christians are faced with identical and important challenges and we must give common replies to these in order to appear more credible and effective. Therefore it is my hope that this Day can involve, in some way, other Churches and ecclesial Communities and be celebrated in union with the initiatives that the World Council of Churches is promoting on this issue.
Whilst I look forward to the widest possible cooperation for the best start and development of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, I invoke the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of St. Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation. I support this pledge along with my Apostolic Blessing which I impart with all my heart to you, my dear Cardinals, and to all those who collaborate in your ministry.
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.Pour out upon us the power of your love,that we may protect life and beauty.Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.O God of the poor,help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.Bring healing to our lives,that we may protect the world and not prey on it,that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,to be filled with awe and contemplation,to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creatureas we journey towards your infinite light.We thank you for being with us each day.Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.They came forth from your all-powerful hand;they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.Praise be to you! Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made.You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,you became part of this earth,and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory.Praise be to you! Holy Spirit,by your light you guide this worldtowards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail.You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good.Praise be to you! Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe,for all things speak of you.Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made.Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of yourlove for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.Enlighten those who possess power and moneythat they may avoid the sin of indifference,that they may love the common good,advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.The poor and the earth are crying out.O Lord, seize us with your power and light,help us to protect all life,to prepare for a better future,for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.Praise be to you!Amen.
The Irish Church will celebrate a National Eucharistic Congress on the weekend of 26th-27th September 2015 at Knock Shrine, Co Mayo. The Congress will serve both as a spiritual preparation for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress 2016 in Cebu next January, and as an opportunity to focus in the light of our Eucharistic communion, on some of the important pastoral questions in the life of the Church at the present time. In many countries, in the year before the next International Eucharistic Congress, a National Congress is held, to provide an opportunity for the whole Church to participate in the preparatory journey of the host country.What is actually happening over the weekend?
The theme for the National Congress, echoing the theme of IEC2016, is “Christ, our Hope” (Col 1:27). It is our intention that, in so far as possible, this theme would be reflected in all homilies and presentations given at the National Eucharistic Congress.
The National Eucharistic Congress, which is free of charge, will have a particular focus on Marriage and the Family as well as the Year of Consecrated Life and the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy.
We look forward to welcoming you to Knock on 26th and 27th September. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Knock, we pray that the National Eucharistic Congress will be a time of great joy and hope for all and one that will lead each of us into a deeper relationship with Christ, our Hope.
|Tissot - Insidious questions of the Pharisees and Herodians|
‘This people honors me with their lips,8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
but their hearts are far from me;
7in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’ Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’*
Fr Richard Gibbons might be the driving force behind the dramatic changes taking place at Knock Shrine, but he’s quick to stress that even before he became parish priest in 2012 there was talk that things would have to change.
“The shrine just kind of basically ploughed along as it was doing for a good few years,” he says, explaining that towards the end of his nine years there as curate he and then parish priest Msgr Joseph Quinn took to discussing the future of the shrine.
Following Msgr Quinn’s sudden death from a heart attack at the age of 65, Fr Richard was given the job as parish priest and rector. “We decided to look at the whole place, because we needed to restructure. The financial crisis had caused us problems – we were financially a basket case, with no money and running at a loss. So, we just restructured the whole place from top to bottom, set up committees, got expertise and all that.
“This brought us to look at the whole situation of Knock – what we’re doing, what we’re offering, and where we need to be in terms of the renewal of the Church in the country,” he says.
The first step in this was a wide information-gathering exercise. “We decided then to interview everybody that came here and consult and all the rest of it – every pilgrim, every bishop, priest, religious, parishioner, visitor, everybody! We conducted roughly a year and a half of consultation with everybody,” he says, asking what they thought Knock was and wasn’t doing well, what it could improve on, what more it could do for pilgrims, and in general what it should be doing.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
"Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,(47) immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.......after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory......
“But even though, according to nature, your most holy and happy soul is separated from your most blessed and stainless body and the body as usual is delivered to the tomb, it will not remain in the power of death and is not subject to decay. For just as her virginity remained inviolate while giving birth, when she departed her body was preserved from destruction and only taken to a better and more divine tabernacle, which is not subject to any death . . . Hence I will call her holy passing not death, but falling asleep or departure, or better still, arrival. . . .
"Your stainless and wholly immaculate body has not been left on earth; the Queen, the Mistress, the Mother of God who has truly given birth to God has been translated to the royal palaces of heaven. .
"Angels and archangels have borne you upwards, the impure spirits of the air have trembled at your ascension. The air is purified, the ether sanctified by your passing through them. . . the powers meet you with sacred hymns and much solemnity, saying something like this: Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, elect like the sun? [cf. Cant 6:9] How you have blossomed forth, how sweet you have become! You are the flower of the field, a lily among the thorns [Cant 2.1] . . . Not like Elijah have you entered heaven, not like Paul have you been rapt to the third heaven; no, you have penetrated even to the royal throne of your Son himself . . . a blessing for the world, a sanctification of the universe, refreshment for those who are tired, comfort for the sorrowing, healing for the sick, a port for those in danger, pardon for sinners, soothing balm for the oppressed, quick help for all who pray to you. . .
“Good Mistress, graciously look down on us; direct and guide our destinies wheresoever you will. Pacify the storm of our wicked passions, guide us into the quiet port of the divine will and grant us the blessedness to come.”
Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,for the Almighty has done great things for me.Holy is his name,and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.He has shown the power of his arm,he has routed the proud of heart.He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.