Category Archives: Spirit of service

POPE FRANCIS ON CHRISTIAN LIFE, FAITH AND SERVICE Audiovisual summary and text.

POPE FRANCIS ON CHRISTIAN LIFE, FAITH AND SERVICE
Audiovisual summary and text.

Dear brethren in Christ, I encourage you to read and meditate on Pope Francis’ beautiful during his Mass at Azerbaijan in which he spoke about Christian faith as a way of life which consists in service.

Below you have the Vatican translation of the homily. God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.

+++HOMILY STARTS HERE. TITLES AND FORMATTING MINE.+++

The word of God presents us today with two essential aspects of the Christian life: faith and service. With regard to faith, two specific requests are made to the Lord.

  1. GOD INVITES US TO T HAVE FAITH AND BE PATIENT, OPENING OUR HEARTS TO HIM SO HE COULD DO WONDERS IN US AND THROUGH US.

The first is made by the Prophet Habakkuk, who implores God to intervene in order to re-establish the justice and peace which men have shattered by violence, quarrels and disputes: “O Lord, how long”, he says, “shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (Hab 1:2). God, in response, does not intervene directly, does not resolve the situation in an abrupt way, does not make himself present by a show of force. Rather, he invites patient waiting, without ever losing hope; above all, he emphasizes the importance of faith, since it is by faith that man will live (cf. Hab 2:4). God treats us in the same way: he does not indulge our desire to immediately and repeatedly change the world and other people. Instead, he intends primarily to heal the heart, my heart, your heart, and the heart of each person; God changes the world by transforming our hearts, and this he cannot do without us. The Lord wants us to open the door of our hearts, in order to enter into our lives. And this act of opening to him, this trust in him is precisely “the victory that overcomes the world, our faith” (1 Jn 5:4). For when God finds an open and trusting heart, then he can work wonders there.

  1. WE SHOULD NURTURE OUR FAITH, ASKING IT FROM GOD AND PUTTING OUR PART SO THAT IT MAY BEAR FRUIT.

But to have faith, a lively faith, is not easy; and so we pass to the second request, which the Apostles bring to the Lord in the Gospel: “Increase our faith!” (Lk 17:6). It is a good question, a prayer which we too can direct to the Lord each day. But the divine response is surprising and here too turns the question around: “If you had faith…”. It is the Lord who asks us to have faith. Because faith, which is always God’s gift and always to be asked for, must be nurtured by us. It is no magic power which comes down from heaven, it is not a “talent” which is given once and for all, not a special force for solving life’s problems. A faith useful for satisfying our needs would be a selfish one, centred entirely on ourselves. Faith must not be confused with well-being or feeling well, with having consolation in our heart that gives us inner peace. Faith is the golden thread which binds us to the Lord, the pure joy of being with him, united to him; it is a gift that lasts our whole life, but bears fruit only if we play our part.

  1. FOR FAITH TO GROW AND BEAR FRUIT, IT MUST BE LIVED THROUGH A LIFE AND DEEDS OF SERVICE.

And what is our part? Jesus helps us understand that it consists of service. In the Gospel, immediately following his words on the power of faith, Jesus speaks of service. Faith and service cannot be separated; on the contrary, they are intimately linked, interwoven with each other. In order to explain this, I would like to take an image very familiar to you, that of a beautiful carpet. Your carpets are true works of art and have an ancient heritage. The Christian life that each of you has, also comes from afar. It is a gift we received in the Church which comes from the heart of God our Father, who wishes to make each of us a masterpiece of creation and of history. Every carpet, and you know this well, must be made according to a weft and a warp; only with this form can the carpet be harmoniously woven. So too in the Christian life: every day it must be woven patiently, intertwining a precise weft and warp: the weft of faith and the warp of service. When faith is interwoven with service, the heart remains open and youthful, and it expands in the process of doing good. Thus faith, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel, becomes powerful and accomplishes marvellous deeds. If faith follows this path, it matures and grows in strength, but only when it is joined to service.

  1. SERVICE CONSISTS NOT ONLY IN BEING FAITHFUL TO OUR DUTIES OR CARRYING OUT SOME GOOD ACTION. IT IS A WAY OF LIFE, THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN WAY OF LIFE: SERVING GOD IN ADORATION AND PRAYER; BEING OPEN AND AVAILABLE; LOVING OUR NEIGHBOUR WITH PRACTICAL DEEDS; PASSIONATELY WORKING FOR THE COMMON GOOD.

But what is service? We might think that it consists only in being faithful to our duties or carrying out some good action. Yet for Jesus it is much more. In today’s Gospel, and in very firm and radical terms, he asks us for complete availability, a life offered in complete openness, free of calculation and gain. Why is Jesus so exacting? Because he loved us in this way, making himself our servant “to the end” (Jn 13:1), coming “to serve, and to give his life” (Mk 10:45). And this takes place again every time we celebrate the Eucharist: the Lord comes among us, and as much as we intend to serve him and love him, it is always he who precedes us, serving us and loving us more than we can imagine or deserve. He gives us his very own life. He invites us to imitate him, saying: “If anyone serves me, he must follow me” (Jn12:26).

And so, we are not called to serve merely in order to receive a reward, but rather to imitate God, who made himself a servant for our love. Nor are we called to serve only now and again, but to live in serving. Service is thus a way of life; indeed it recapitulates the entire Christian way of life: serving God in adoration and prayer; being open and available; loving our neighbour with practical deeds; passionately working for the common good.

  1. WHERE THERE IS NO SERVICE, LIFE IS USELESS, OUR HEARTS GROW LUKEWARM WITH A MEDIOCRE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND WE THINK AND LIVE LIKE MASTERS, CONVERTING SERVICE INTO AN END IN ORDER TO GAIN PRESTIGE AND A PEDESTAL TO SELF-GREATNESS.

For Christians too, there are no shortage of temptations which lead us away from the path of service and end up by rendering life useless. Where there is no service, life is useless. Here too we can identify two forms. One is that of allowing our hearts to grow lukewarm. A lukewarm heart becomes self-absorbed in lazy living and it stifles the fire of love. The lukewarm person lives to satisfy his or her own convenience, which is never enough, and in that way is never satisfied; gradually such a Christian ends up being content with a mediocre life. The lukewarm person allocates to God and others a “percentage” of their time and their own heart, never spending too much, but rather always trying to economize. And so, he or she can lose the zest for life: rather like a cup of truly fine tea, which is unbearable to taste when it gets cold. I am sure, however, that when you look to the example of those who have gone before you in faith, you will not let your hearts become lukewarm. The whole Church, in showing you special affection, looks to you and offers you encouragement: you are a little flock that is so precious in God’s eyes.

There is a second temptation, which we can fall into not so much because we are passive, but because we are “overactive”: the one of thinking like masters, of giving oneself only in order to gain something or become someone. In such cases service becomes a means and not an end, because the end has become prestige; and then comes power, the desire to be great. “It shall not be so among you”, Jesus reminds all of us, “but whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (Mt 20:26). This is the way the Church grows and is adorned. Returning to our image of the carpet, and applying it to your fine community: each of you is like a magnificent silk thread. Only if you are woven together, however, will the different threads form a beautiful composition; on their own, they are of no use. Stay united always, living humbly in charity and joy; the Lord, who creates harmony from differences, will protect you.

May we be aided by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and by the saints, especially Saint Teresa of Calcutta, the fruits of whose faith and service are in your midst. Let us recall some of her noble words to summarize today’s message: “The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace” (A Simple Path, Introduction).

[01527-EN.02] [Original text: Italian]

HOMILY SOURCE: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-mass-in-azerbaijan/

ORIGINAL PHOTO CREDIT AND SOURCE: Santísimo Cristo del Amor (Seville) by Julio Dominguez (photographer) in http://www.galeon.com/juliodominguez/2015/DSC07858.JPG

AUDIO SOURCE: “Canon in D Major” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

 

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August 22: QUEENSHIP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

August 22:
QUEENSHIP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Today we celebrate the joyous memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother. It was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1954 based on the fact that that Mary is intimately associated with the Redemption carried out by her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason, she also participates in the glorious and universal kingdom of Christ. It is a truth which has been affirmed since antiquity by the piety of the faithful, and taught by the Magisterium of the Church
(cf Pius XII, Encyclical, Ad caeli Reginam, 11 October 1954).

Diapositiva2.PNG

1. MARY IS THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
As St. John Paul II wrote in his Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater:

“The Mother of Christ is glorified as ‘Queen of the Universe’: She who called herself the ‘handmaid of the Lord’ at the Annunciation remained faithful to what this name expresses throughout her earthly life. In this she confirmed that she was a true ‘disciple’ of Christ, who strongly emphasized that his mission was one of service: The Son of Man ‘came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Matt 20:28). In this way Mary became the first of those who, ‘serving Christ also in others, with humility and patience lead their brothers and sisters to’ that King to serve whom is to reign’ (Lumen gentium, 36), and she fully achieves that ‘state of royal freedom’ proper to Christ’s disciples: To serve Christ is to reign with Him… Her ‘glory in serving’ is completely compatible with her royal exaltation. Taken up into heaven; she does not cease her service for the sake of our salvation.
(John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 25 March 1987).”

2. THE CORONATION OF MARY AS QUEEN OF HEAVEN, THE LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE OF HER IMMACULATE CONCEPTION AND ASSUMPTION, IS THE GLORIFICATION OF HER CONTINUOUS ‘FIAT’ DURING HER ENTIRE LIFE, HER FAITHFUL AND LOVING UNION WITH AND SERVICE TO THE TRIUNE GOD, PARTICIPATING WITH THE GLORY AND REGALITY OF HER SON, JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE.

It is the logical consequence of the dogma of the Assumption which we celebrated last week. Our Lady departed for heaven in her final glorification to be crowned by the Blessed Trinity as Queen of all Creation:
“The immaculate Virgin, preserved fire from all guilt of original sin; on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son; the ‘Lord of Lords’ (Rev 19:16), and the conqueror of sin and death
(Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 59).”

Though not the source of grace, she is the channel through which grace is distributed to everyone.

Dear friends, let us greet our Mother with loving words, glances and affection and thank her for all she has done to keep us close to the Most Blessed Trinity. Our Lady’s Queenship extends over heaven, earth and purgatory. She is a true Mother to all of us who never hesitates to do what is necessary for the good of her children. Let us have recourse to Mary in all our needs, as St. Bernard said:

“If temptation storms or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star: Call upon Mary! If you are tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship o f your soul, turn your eyes to Mary. If troubled by the enormity of your crimes, ashamed of your guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, you begin to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her name be even on your lips, ever in your heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life
(Homily on the Holy Name of Mary).

Queen of Heaven and Earth, our Mother, you are also the Queen of our life, pray for us, Oh Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!

SEE AS WELL: AUGUST 22: OUR LADY, MOTHER AND QUEEN. DIVINE OFFICE 2ND READING in https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2017/08/21/august-22-our-lady-mother-and-queen-divine-office-2nd-reading/

-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness
Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.

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POPE FRANCIS ON THE KINDNESS OF LOVE.

Love is kind

POPE FRANCIS ON THE KINDNESS OF LOVE.

As a continuation of Pope Francis’ explanation of the Pauline Hymn to Charity, he affirms in “Amoris laetitia,” nn. 93-94 that love, which is KIND, is at the SERVICE OF OTHERS.

“’Patience’ is not a completely passive attitude, but one accompanied by activity, by a dynamic and creative interaction with others. The word indicates that love BENEFITS and HELPS others. For this reason, it is translated as “kind”; love is EVER READY TO BE OF ASSISTANCE.

Love is MORE THAN A MERE FEELING. Rather, it should be understood along the lines of the Hebrew verb ‘to love’; it is ‘TO DO GOOD'”.

Have a great week ahead, God bless! Fr. Rolly A.

ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/Pope_Francis_with_a_newly_married_couple_at_the_general_audience_in_Paul_VI_Hall_Jan_20_2016_Credit_Daniel_Ibanez_CNA_1_20_16.jpg

HOLY THURSDAY: “HE LOVED THEM TO THE END (Jn 13:1).”

Holy Thursday

HOLY THURSDAY:
HE LOVED THEM TO THE END
(Jn 13:1)”

 

The Sacred Paschal Triduum begins during which the Church solemnly celebrates the greatest mysteries of our redemption by means of special celebrations of the Last Supper (Holy Thursday), the Passion and Death of Our Lord (Good Friday), and His Glorious Resurrection (Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday).

 

On HOLY THURSDAY, we celebrate THE EVENING MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER during which three principal mysteries are commemorated, namely:

 

  1. the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist;
    2. the institution of the Sacrament of the Priestly Order;
    3. and the commandment of the Lord concerning fraternal charity.

 

The Gospel of St. John (13:1-15) which we read in today’s Mass recounts the teachings of Our Lord during the Last Supper. He omits the institution of the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders which he already reported in the other Gospels (see Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-25, Lk 22:19-20)  and by St. Paul (1 Cor 11:23-26) to emphasize the intensity of Jesus’ emotions who knew what was about to transpire and that His Passion and Death were imminent. Jesus wanted those last moments spent with His Apostles to be filled with a special tone of tenderness and intimacy.

 

And so St. John reports Jesus’ surprising example by washing the feet of the Apostles ─a humiliating task reserved only to the household servants─ to underline the fact that if Jesus Himself has come “to serve and not to be served” (Mk 10:45), so should be His disciples. “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do (Jn 13:15).”

 

WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON BEHIND THE EVENTS ─the institution of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Sacred Orders and the commandment concerning fraternal charity─ WHICH OCCURRED DURING THE LAST SUPPER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHICH WE COMMEMORATE TODAY?

 

The main reason can be found in these words of St. John: “when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart Out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, HE LOVED THEM TO THE END (Jn 13:1).”

 

JESUS LOVES US TILL THE END with:

 

– an IMMENSE love capable of HUMBLING and FORGETTING  HIMSELF in order to SERVE and MAKE US PURE AND HAPPY ;

 

– a NEVER-ENDING love which eagerly seeks to be UNITED and REMAIN WITH US ALWAYS;

 

– an INTENSE love which wants to PERPETUATE and COMMEMORATE His PRESENCE and TOTAL SELF-GIVING…

 

ALL THESE THROUGH THE SACRAMENTS OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST AND OF THE HOLY ORDER!

 

Dear friends, Holy Thursday is a great day to contemplate Jesus’ immense love for each one of us especially in the Holy Eucharist.  But let us not forget that love requires correspondence and reciprocity.  Let us also examine ourselves if our love for God and for those around us is one which is humble and self-forgetful; a love which knows how to give one’s self and to serve the others; a love which seeks union and intimacy with the Beloved.

 

“Jesus has remained in the Eucharist to remedy our weaknesses, our doubts, our fears, our anxieties; to cure our loneliness, our perplexity, our discouragement; to accompany us on our way; to uphold us in our struggle. Above all, he is there to teach us to love, to draw us to his Love. ‘When you contemplate the Sacred Host exposed on the altar in the monstrance, think how great is the love, the tenderness of Christ. My way to understand it is by thinking of the love I have for you. If I could be far away, working, and at the same time at the side of each one of you, how gladly I would do it!

But Christ really can do it! He loves us with a love that is infinitely greater than the love that all the hearts of the world could hold. And he has stayed with us so that we can join ourselves at any time to his most Sacred Humanity, and so that he can help us, console us, strengthen us, so that we may be faithful (St. Josemaría, The Forge, 838. Cf. 832, 837)’ (Javier Echevarría, Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the Year of the Eucharist, Oct. 6, 2004).”

SEE AS WELL:

  1. THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/14/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-agony-in-the-garden/
  2. THE JEWISH AND ROMAN TRIALS: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/15/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-jesus-sufferings-during-the-jewish-and-roman-trials/
  3. THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/16/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-3-the-scourging-at-the-pillar/
  4. THE CROWNING WITH THORNS: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/21/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-crowning-with-thorns/
  5. HOW TO MEDITATE ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/13/how-to-meditate-on-the-passion-of-our-lord/
  6. SUMMARY OF CATHOLIC TEACHING. THE PASSION AND DEATH ON THE CROSS: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/19/summaries-of-catholic-teaching-topic-10-the-passion-and-death-on-the-cross-of-our-lord-jesus-christ/

 

Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in www.fb.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness or sign-up to our website,www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com, so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks! Fr. Rolly A., priest of Opus Dei.

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If you wish to help and donate to my diverse advocacies (socio-humanitarian, church in distress, maintenance), please visit: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/donate/

Thanks and God bless! Fr. Rolly A.

 

ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Giotto, “The Last Supper” in https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ef/3f/35/ef3f35bd5845dee4bdea651fe0966c1a.jpg (background removed)

Gold leaf background: https://www.colourbox.com/preview/2631241-shiny-yellow-leaf-gold-foil-texture-background.jpg

SUGGESTED READINGS FOR PERSONAL MEDITATION:

St. Josemaría, “The Eucharist, Mystery of Faith and Love”,  in http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/christ_is_passing_by-chapter-9.htm

 

BENEDICT XVI, Homily Missa in Coena Domini, April 13, 2006 in http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20060413_coena-domini.html

 

BENEDICT XVI, Homily Missa in Coena Domini, March 20, 2008 in http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20080320_coena-domini.html

 

Pope Francis’ General Audience. ON THE ARROGANCE OF POWER, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY, POLITICS, SERVICE & GOD’S MERCY.

Pope Francis' General Audience. On Mercy. Politics. Service.png

Pope Francis’ General Audience.
ON THE ARROGANCE OF POWER, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY, POLITICS, SERVICE & GOD’S MERCY.

Dear brethren in Christ, below you’ll find a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address at this morning’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Feb. 24, 2016.

In it, Pope Francis underlined that:

“Wealth and power are realities that can be good and useful to the common good, if put at the service of the poor and of all, with justice and charity.

However, as too often happens, if they are lived as privilege, with egoism and arrogance, they are transformed into instruments of corruption and death.

If the dimension of service is lost, power is transformed into arrogance and becomes domination and oppression.

The exercise of authority leads without respect for life, without justice, without mercy becomes cupidity that wishes to possess everything.

[But] mercy can heal the wounds and change history .Open your heart to mercy! Divine mercy is stronger than men’s sin.”

Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in www.fb.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness or sign-up to our website,www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com, so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks! Fr. Rolly A., priest of Opus Dei.

If you wish to DONATE for several causes:

  1. Help, Health & Hope for Kids Socio-medical fundraising for Filipino sick, poor and streetchildren. For more info see: https://www.facebook.com/hhh4kids/

2. Church in distress: Financial Help for Iglesia del Señor San José (Seville, Spain);see http://www.iglsrsjose.org/

3. The maintenance of this page.

You may send money indicating your choice to the following PAYPAL link:

https://www.paypal.me/cs4h

Thanks and God bless you for your kindness and generosity.
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo

+++SPEECH BEGINS HERE. TITLES AND CAPS MINE+++

THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

  1. THE ARROGANCE AND ABUSE OF POWER OF THOSE IN AUTHORITY.

We continue with the catecheses on mercy in Holy Scripture. In several passages there is talk of the powerful, of kings, of men who are “up there,” and also of their arrogance and their abuse of power. WEALTH AND POWER ARE REALITIES THAT CAN BE GOOD AND USEFUL TO THE COMMON GOOD, IF PUT AT THE SERVICE OF THE POOR AND OF ALL, WITH JUSTICE AND CHARITY. HOWEVER, AS TOO OFTEN HAPPENS, IF THEY ARE LIVED AS PRIVILEGE, WITH EGOISM AND ARROGANCE, THEY ARE TRANSFORMED INTO INSTRUMENTS OF CORRUPTION AND DEATH. It is what happened in Naboth’s vineyard, described in the First Book of Kings, chapter 21, on which we reflect today.

Recounted in this text is that Ahab, the King of Israel, wanted to buy the vineyard of a man named Naboth, because his vineyard was adjacent to the royal palace. The proposal seems legitimate, even generous but, in Israel, landed properties were considered inalienable. In fact, the Book of Leviticus prescribes: The land shall not be sold irrevocably; for the land is mine, and you are but resident aliens and under my authority. “The land shall not be sold irrevocably; for the land is mine, and you are but resident aliens and under my authority” (Leviticus 25:23). The land is sacred, because it is a gift of the Lord, which, as such, is protected and conserved, in as much as sign of divine blessing, which passes from generation to generation and is a guarantee of dignity for all. Therefore, one understands Naboth’s negative answer to the King: “The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral heritage.” (1 Kings 21:3).

King Ahab reacts to this refusal with bitterness and contempt. He feels offended, he, the King, is powerful! He feels diminished in his authority as sovereign, and frustrated in the possibility of satisfying his desire for possession. Seeing him so vexed, his wife Jezebel, a pagan queen who had enhanced idolatrous worship and had the Lord’s prophets killed (Cf. 1 Kings 18:4), — she wasn’t mean, she was evil! — decides to intervene. The words with which she addresses the King are very significant. Hear the evil that is behind this woman: “Do you now govern Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be cheerful. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite” (v. 7). She puts the accent on the King’s prestige and power that, according to her way of seeing it, is questioned by Naboth’s refusal. A power that, instead, she considers absolute, and which makes every desire of the powerful King become an order. The great Saint Ambrose wrote a small book on this episode. It is called “Naboth.” It would do us good to read it in this Season of Lent. It is very beautiful; it is very concrete.

 

  1. IF THE DIMENSION OF SERVICE IS LOST, POWER IS TRANSFORMED INTO ARROGANCE AND BECOMES DOMINATION AND OPPRESSION.

Recalling these things, Jesus says to us ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.’ (Matthew 20:25-27). IF THE DIMENSION OF SERVICE IS LOST, POWER IS TRANSFORMED INTO ARROGANCE AND BECOMES DOMINATION AND OPPRESSION. It is precisely this that happens in the episode of Naboth’s vineyard. Jezebel, unscrupulously, decides to eliminate Naboth and puts her plan into action. She makes use of the deceitful appearances of a perverse legality: she sends letters in the name of the King to the elders and nobles of the city ordering that false witnesses accuse Naboth publicly of having cursed God and the King, a crime to be punished with death. THE STORY ENDS THUS, WITH NABOTH DEAD THE KING CAN TAKE POSSESSION OF HIS VINEYARD. AND THIS IS NOT A STORY OF OTHER TIMES, IT IS A STORY OF TODAY, OF THE POWERFUL WHO, TO HAVE MORE MONEY, EXPLOIT THE POOR, EXPLOIT THE PEOPLE. IT IS THE STORY OF THE TRAFFICKING OF PERSONS, OF SLAVE LABOR, OF THE POOR PEOPLE THAT MOONLIGHT AND WITH A MINIMUM SALARY TO ENRICH THE POWERFUL. IT IS THE STORY OF CORRUPT POLITICIANS WHO ALWAYS WANT MORE AND MORE AND MORE! Therefore, I was saying that it would do us good to read Saint Ambrose’s book on Naboth, because it is a timely book.

 

  1. THE EXERCISE OF AUTHORITY LEADS WITHOUT RESPECT FOR LIFE, WITHOUT JUSTICE, WITHOUT MERCY BECOMES CUPIDITY THAT WISHES TO POSSESS EVERYTHING.

See where the exercise of authority leads without respect for life, without justice, without mercy. And see to what the thirst for power leads: it becomes cupidity that wishes to possess everything. In this regard, a text of the prophet Isaiah is particularly illuminating. In it, the Lord puts one on guard against the avidity of rich landowners that always want to possess more houses and lands. The prophet Isaiah says:

‘Ah! Those who join house to house, who connect field with field,
Until no space remains,and you alone dwell in the midst of the land’
(Isaiah 5:8).

  1. MERCY CAN HEAL THE WOUNDS AND CHANGE HISTORY. BUT OPEN YOUR HEART TO MERCY! DIVINE MERCY IS STRONGER THAN MEN’S SIN.

And the prophet Isaiah was not a Communist! GOD, HOWEVER, IS GREATER THAN THE INIQUITY AND DIRTY GAMES PLAYED BY HUMAN BEINGS. In his mercy, He sent the prophet Elijah to help Ahab to convert. Now we turn the page, and how does the story continue? God sees the crime and knocks on Ahab’s heart and, faced with his sin, the King understands, humbles himself and asks for pardon. How good it would be if the exploiting powerful of today did the same! The Lord accepts his repentance; however, an innocent man was killed, and the offense committed will have inevitable consequences. The evil done, in fact, leaves its painful traces, and the history of men bears the wounds.

In this case also, mercy shows the masterful way that must be followed. MERCY CAN HEAL THE WOUNDS AND CHANGE HISTORY. BUT OPEN YOUR HEART TO MERCY! DIVINE MERCY IS STRONGER THAN MEN’S SIN. Ahab is the example of it! We know its power, when we recall the coming of the Innocent Son of God who became man to destroy evil with His forgiveness. Jesus Christ is the true King, but His power is completely different. His throne is the cross. He is not a King that kills but, on the contrary, He gives life. His coming to all, especially the weakest, overcomes solitude and the destiny of death to which sin leads. With his closeness and tenderness, Jesus Christ leads sinners into the area of grace and forgiveness. And this is God’s mercy.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Greeting in Italian

I give a cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to greet the Bishops Friends of the Focolare Movement, gathered for the annual congress, exhorting them to keep always alive, in the apostolic ministry, the charism of unity, in communion with the Successor of Peter. I greet the faithful of the diocese of Cremona, accompanied by the Bishop, Monsignor Antonio Napolioni; the John XXIII Community with the Bishop of Rimini, Monsignor Francesco Lambiasi and the former workers of the Videocon of Anagni.

I hope that in this Holy Year of Mercy all will live every form of power as service for God and for brothers, with the criteria of love of justice and of service to the common good.

Finally, I greet young people, the sick and newlyweds. Lent is a favorable time to intensify the spiritual life: may the practice of fasting be of help to you, dear young people, to acquire greater mastery over yourselves; may prayer be for you, dear sick, the means to entrust your sufferings to God and to always feel Him close; may works of mercy, in the end, help you, dear newlyweds, to live your conjugal existence opening it to the needs of brothers.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

 

AUDIENCE SOURCE: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-mercy-changing-history/

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.cruxnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Pope-Francis-Papacy-717×450.jpg

 

 

February 2: THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD

Feb. 02 - Presentation of Our Lord

 

February 2
THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD

Happy feast of the Presentation of Our Lord! This feast was first observed in the Eastern Church as “The Encounter”. It would later be observed in the West during the 6th century, wherein in Rome, it acquires a more penitential character, whereas in Gaul (France) with solemn blessings and processions of candles, popularly known as “Candlemas”.

The presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and, with the offerings of the Virgin Mother and the prophecy of Simeon, the events now point towards Easter.

WHAT DOES THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD SIGNIFY?

Today’s Gospel recounts to us that ““When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord (Lk 2:22-24).”

  • According to the Jewish law, the first-born male had to be presented to the Lord forty days after his birth. The ancient law had two precepts regarding the birth of first-born sons. According to Leviticus, a woman who bore a child was unclean. The period of legal impurity ended, in the case of a mother of a male child, after forty days, with a rite of purification. With regard to first-born sons, it is written in the Book of Exodus: The Lord said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me all the first-born; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast; is mine’ (cf Ex 13:2,12-13; Lev 12:2-8).
  • This offering was a living reminder of God had delivered the people of Israel from their captivity in Egypt. Every first-born male, then, belonged to God and had to be set apart for the Lord, that is, dedicated to the service of God. However, once divine worship was reserved to the tribe of Levi, first-born who did not belong to that tribe were not dedicated to God’s service, and to show that they continued to be God’s special property, a rite of redemption was performed. The Law laid down that the Israelites should offer in sacrifice some lesser victim as a symbolic form of ransom.

 

  • And this is what Our Lady and St. Joseph did. They observed the Mosaic Law even if they know that Jesus is Himself the Son of God, the Messiah, the One who is to save all people of their sins. With the Holy Spirit acting in their souls, Simeon and Anna are the only people who recognize the Messiah in this ordinary infant.

PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES OF THIS FEAST

  1. Our Lady, with all her humility, prepared her soul to present the Son of God to the Father and to offer herself to Him. By doing so, she renewed her FIAT, her “be it done unto me according to Thy Word.” WE, TOO, CAN LEARN FROM HER HUMILITY, AND THAT OF ST. JOSEPH AS WELL, BY OFFERING OUR LIFE AT GOD’S DISPOSITION, convinced that all we are and all we have, we have received as gifts from Our Lord.
  2. Simeon’s and Anna’s examples of awaiting for the Messiah are for us as well a lesson to follow. They aspired for what is most important in this life: to see and live for the Messiah. WE, TOO, SHOULD ASPIRE TO SEEK, FIND, DEAL AND LOVE JESUS AND LIVE FOR HIM IN THIS LIFE IN ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE.

 

  1. At the same time, today’s feast is an open invitation for us to:
  • RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD. COMMITTED CATHOLICS, 24/7! NOT JUST AN HOUR A DAY, BUT 24/7, ever vigilant to do that which God asks from each one of us throughout the entire day;
  • LIGHTING UP as lit-candles the environment where we move about by our struggle to be better Christians;
  • and OFFERING HIM our thoughts, our works, our joys, our sorrows, our tiredness, our rest: everything we are and we do, for Love, for His Honor and Glory, and for the good of many souls.

Today we could make our own Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s beautiful prayer:

 “Today, Oh my queen, I also, in imitation of thee wish to offer my poor heart to God… Offer me as thine to the eternal Father and to Jesus, and pray him that through the merits of his Son, and by thy favour, he may accept me, and take me for his own
(St Alphonsus Liguori, Glories of Mary, II, 6).”
Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in http://www.fb.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness or sign-up to our website,www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com, so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks! Fr. Rolly A., priest of Opus Dei.

P.S. Favor please: to help more people and and to avoid again by FB to share my posts to groups, kindly help me share them to your Catholic groups. God bless you for your kindness!

PHOTO SOURCE: Miguel Jacinto Melendez, Cantico di Simeone in https://recoleccion.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/jezusovo_darovanje_svecnica_0.jpg?w=529

 

 

4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. MARY’S FAITHFUL FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S WILL.

Advent 7. 4th Sunday. Mary. God's will

4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT.
MARY’S FAITHFUL FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S WILL.

The Gospel of last Sunday presented to us the figure of St. John the Baptist  . During this 4th Sunday of Advent, the Gospel presents to us the figure of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary  during her visitation to her cousin, Elizabeth (Lk 1:39–45).

If we are to recall the previous events, Mary had just received God’s message through Archangel Gabriel that she was going to be the Mother of God: a divine calling to which she responded generously with her “Fiat”, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1: 38),” thereby making God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 a palpable reality: God became man to be with us out of love and for our salvation.  Upon learning from the angel that her cousin St Elizabeth is soon to give birth and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid.

  • The fact that she, being the mother of God, “set out to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah” in order to assist her cousin, Elizabeth, who in her advanced age, miraculously conceived a son, tell us a lot about her great HUMILITY and SPIRIT OF SERVICE.
  • She didn’t think at all that as the mother of God, she has all the right to be served…nor did she regard the difficulties such trip would involve: but just that, without hesitating and procrastinating, she swiftly went to her cousin’s aid to a town now thought to be Ain-Karim, a 90-km bumpy road trip, which at that time would have taken 4-5 days of travel.

 “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.’”

  • It is noteworthy that St. Elizabeth used the same words with which the Archangel Gabriel greeted Mary. St. Bede comments that this is “to show that she should be honoured by angels and by men and why she should indeed be revered above all other women (In Lucae Evangelium expositio).”
  • Furthermore, Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary “THE MOTHER OF MY LORD”, thereby demonstrating that Mary is TRULY THE MOTHER OF GOD.

MARY IS THE FINAL POINT OF THE ADVENT SEASON she teaches us how to prepare ourselves and receive the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. She is truly the model of the dispositions which we creatures should have towards our Creator: complete submission, total self-giving and, loving and faithful fulfillment of God’s will. Through her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring on the Redemption.

This is a motive for us to elevate our hearts to the Most Holy Trinity, thanking Him, for giving us Mary, the Mother of God, who had a complete disposal to fulfill God’s Will.

In the book, “God and the world”, Peter Seewald asked the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger-, the future Pope Benedict XVI: “WHAT DOES MARY MEAN TO YOU, PERSONALLY?” The Cardinal’s response was: “AN EXPRESSION OF THE CLOSENESS OF GOD. IT IS WITH HER INVOLVEMENT THAT THE INCARNATION BECOMES REALLY CONCRETE AND COMPREHENSIBLE.”

Mary’s entire willingness to say YES to God had, as a result, the “PHYSICAL ENTRANCE” of God in the history of mankind. And as we thank Our Mother for this, we, too, should ask ourselves: AM I ENTIRELY AT GOD’S DISPOSAL, IN SO FAR AS DOING WHAT HE WANTS FROM ME IN EVERY MOMENT OF MY LIFE? Let us not forget that “THIS IS THE KEY TO OPEN THE DOOR AND ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: qui facit voluntatem Patris mei qui in coelis est, ipse intrabit in regnum coelorum — HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER… HE SHALL ENTER!”

But the question arises: HOW DO I COME TO KNOW GOD’S WILL? God’s will is made known to us in many different ways: through His many INSTRUMENTS: the Church and her priests; in spiritual direction and Confession; through one’s parents who have the primary obligation in educating their children in the faith; through one’s well-formed conscience and its correct judgments; but above all, through PERSONAL PRAYER.

In one of the many conversations Our Lord had with St. Faustina, He said: “When you reflect upon what I tell you in the depths of your heart, you profit more than if you had read many books. Oh, if souls would only want to listen to My voice when I am speaking in the depths of their hearts, they would reach the peak of holiness in a short time (St. Faustina, Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul, n. 584).”

We could easily turn deaf to what God wants from us and unfortunately we lose the great opportunity to carry out what is good, not only for us, but for a lot of people. Mary’s generous response exemplifies this perfectly, as well as the lives of many saints: St. Augustine, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa de Avila, St. Josemaria….and so on. “MANY GREAT THINGS DEPEND — DON’T FORGET IT — ON WHETHER YOU AND I LIVE OUR LIVES AS GOD WANTS (St. Josemaria, “The Way” nn. 754-755).”

Hence, we should ask ourselves frequently during the day: “AM I DOING WHAT GOD WANTS FROM ME RIGHT NOW?” “AM I DOCILE TO GOD’S INSINUATIONS IN MY SOUL?”

A Christian who really seeks to follow Christ must untiringly strive to do God’s will, overcoming our love of comfort, tiredness and selfishness, for this is what Jesus Himself did, thereby giving us a clear path to follow: “MY FOOD IS TO DO THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME, AND TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK (Jn 4:34).”

LET US ASK THE HELP OF OUR LADY, who is both our Mother and Teacher, SO THAT WE, TOO, MAY GENEROUSLY RESPOND  AND BE DOCILE TO GOD’S WILL MANIFESTED TO US IN MANY DIFFERENT OCCASIONS THROUGHOUT THE DAY and thus, like Her, LIVE OUR LIVES FOR GOD.

A Happy 4th Sunday of Advent to all of you…may God bless and keep you and your loved ones safe from all harm. And if you haven’t done so yet, I sincerely encourage you –for I want God and you to be happy−, respecting your freedom at the same time, to approach the Sacrament of Confession, so as to be able to receive Our Lord in your heart and in the Holy Communion this Christmas 😀

Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in www.fb.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness or sign-up to our website www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.clydemonastery.org/StoneStories/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BVM-Visitation-web.jpg

 

3rd Sunday of Advent: “GAUDETE” OR REJOICE! SUNDAY

Gaudete Sunday

3rd Sunday of Advent
“GAUDETE” OR REJOICE! SUNDAY.

This coming Sunday marks the 3rd Sunday of Advent, also known as “Gaudete” (Latin for “Rejoice!” or “Be glad/happy!”) Sunday. This is the reason why in some ADVENT WREATHS, there is a PINK CANDLE which differentiates it from the rest. In some Churches as well, instead of using the purple vestments, PINK priestly vestments will be utilized (if the church has them).

The Church encourages us to be glad and happy and for what reason? The answer can be found in the Entrance Antiphon of the Holy Mass: REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS; AGAIN I SAY, REJOICE. INDEED, THE LORD IS NEAR! (Phil, 4:4-5)

THE NEARNESS OF OUR LORD IS THE REASON OF OUR JOY. At the same time, Scriptures also reminds us that THE TRUE and LASTING OBJECT OF OUR HAPPINESS IS NOTHING ELSE BUT GOD. REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS!

Pope Benedict XVI commenting on these words of St. Paul said: “If the loved one, love, the greatest gift of my life, is close to me, if I can be convinced that the one who loves me is close to me, even in situations of suffering, JOY THAT REMAINS IN THE DEPTH OF MY HEART IS EVER GREATER THAN ALL SUFFERINGS (Benedict XVI, FIRST GENERAL CONGREGATION OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS, Oct. 3, 2005).”

With the words of St. Paul, OUR MOTHER CHURCH TELLS US TO REJOICE BECAUSE BECAUSE THE LORD IS CLOSE TO EACH ONE OF US; much better, He is IN US, in our SOUL IN GRACE or when we receive Him in HOLY COMMUNION; He is WITH US in the TABERNACLE and if we are keen enough to seek Him, He is with us IN ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND EVENTS OF OUR LIFE. We need to be aware of the -hidden but real- presence of Christ in us, in our daily affairs and in the Eucharist which is a fountain of real and profound joy.

However, this interior joy disappears when we separate ourselves from Our Lord and start living only for our self. “For a Christian, joy is a treasure. ONLY BY OFFENDING GOD DO WE LOSE IT, BECAUSE SIN IS THE FRUIT OF SELFISHNESS, AND SELFISHNESS IS THE ROOT OF SADNESS. (St. Josemaria, “Christ is Passing By”, n. 178).” “You are unhappy? Think: there must be an obstacle between God and me. You will seldom be wrong. (St. Josemaria, “The Way”, n. 662).” “You are not happy because you make everything revolve around yourself as if you were always the centre: you have a stomach-ache, or you are tired, or they have said this or that …HAVE YOU EVER TRIED THINKING ABOUT HIM, AND THROUGH HIM, ABOUT OTHERS? (St. Josemaria, Furrow, n. 74).”

Selfishness, egotism, living for one’s self, ultimately result to sadness, in spite of all the worldly pleasures which a materialistic, individualistic and hedonistic lifestyle could provide. The reason is simple: THE MATERIAL CAN NEVER BE ABLE TO SATISFY THE SPIRITUAL LONGINGS OUR HEART WAS MADE FOR. IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS, WHAT WE NEED IS NOT AN EASY, COMFORTABLE LIFE, BUT RATHER, A HEART WHICH IS IN LOVE (cf. St. Josemaría, Furrow, n.795).

Moreover, SADNESS HAS NEFARIOUS CONSEQUENCES: it leads one to seek worldy compensations to fill in the void he has in his soul; his dealings with others are characterized by anger and pessimism; it gives way to impurity, envy, egotism, indifference, division and so on…Hence, WE HAVE TO FIGHT AGAINST SADNESS as well. How? Let us seek God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Joy, the Sacrament of Confession so as to be able to receive the fountain of Joy in the Sacrament of the Holy

DON’T FORGET THAT AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS HERE ON EARTH IS THE RESULT OF THREE INSEPARABLE ELEMENTS:

  • UNION WITH GOD;
  • INTERIOR STRUGGLE TO OVERCOME ONE’S SELF FOR LOVE OF GOD AND OTHERS;
  • AND, LIVING A LIFE OF SERVICE FOR OTHERS.

Behold, “I knock at your door, listen to me, open up to me (Rev 3:20).” Let us not be deaf to Our Lord who invites us to attain real happiness. Only can we hear his invitation if we silence the mundane noise in brought about by our worldly lifestyle. Only when we clean our heart inside out, purifying it from sin and removing what is not essential, can the Lord have a place in our heart.

Dear friends: Let us end with a prayer making use of the words of Benedict XVI: “LORD MAKE US BE SENSITIVE TO YOUR PRESENCE, HELP US TO FEEL NOT TO BE DEAF TO YOU, HELP US TO HAVE A FREE HEART AND BE OPEN TO YOU (Benedict XVI, First General Congregation of the Synod Of Bishops, Oct. 3, 2005).” “O GOD, WHO SEE HOW YOUR PEOPLE FAITHFULLY AWAIT THE FEAST OF THE LORD’S NATIVITY, ENABLE US, WE PRAY, TO ATTAIN THE JOYS OF SO GREAT A SALVATION, AND TO CELEBRATE THEM ALWAYS WITH SOLEMN WORSHIP AND GLAD REJOICING
(Opening Prayer, Mass of 3rd Sunday of Advent).”

-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei, CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness. Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.

If you have friends who do not have a Facebook account but you think would benefit from our posts, they can receive our posts by email once they follow us and subscribe in www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com

PHOTO SOURCE: beckydurham.net

POPE FRANCIS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

Christ the King Pope Francis Angelus 2015

POPE FRANCIS
ON THE SOLEMNITY OF JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

 

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for all the faithful everywhere to pray for persecuted Christians on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered beneath the window of the Papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace, which overlooks St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father recalled the beatification in Barcelona on Saturday of Bl. Federico da Berga and his 25 Companions, who were martyred during the course of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.

“They were,” said Pope Francis, “priests, young professed friars awaiting ordination, and lay brothers belonging to the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans): let us entrust to their intercession the many of our brothers and sisters who, sadly still today, in many different parts of the world, are persectuted because of their faith in Christ.”

Pope Francis also asked the faithful TO PRAY FOR THE SUCCESS OF HIS UPCOMING VISIT TO KENYA, UGANDA AND THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, which begins this Wednesday, Nov. 25. “I ASK YOU ALL TO PRAY FOR THIS VOYAGE,” he said, “THAT IT MIGHT BE FOR ALL OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THOSE LANDS, AND ALSO FOR ME, A SIGN OF CLOSENESS AND OF LOVE.”

Ahead of the Angelus on Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King, with faithful pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the focus of the Holy Father’s remarks was THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S KINGSHIP: A KINGSHIP THAT OPPOSES ITSELF TO THE WORLDLY LOGIC THAT PRIZES AMBITION AND REWARDS RUTHLESSNESS, EXPRESSING ITSELF IN HUMILITY AND SELFLESSNESS, AND AFFIRMING ITSELF SILENTLY BUT EFFICACIOUSLY WITH THE FORCE OF TRUTH.

“THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD SOMETIMES BUILD THEMSELVES ON ARROGANCE, RIVALRY, OPPRESSION; THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST IS ‘A KINGDOM OF JUSTICE, LOVE AND PEACE’,” HE SAID. THE HOLY FATHER WENT ON TO SAY, “[T]O REIGN AS HE DOES MEANS TO SERVE GOD AND THE BRETHREN – A SERVICE THAT FLOWS FROM LOVE: TO SERVE FOR LOVE’S SAKE IS TO REIGN: THIS IS THE REGALITY OF JESUS.”

Pope Francis concluded, saying, “BEFORE SO MANY LACERATIONS IN THE WORLD, AND THE TOO MANY WOUNDS IN THE FLESH OF MEN, WE ASK THE VIRGIN MARY TO SUSTAIN US IN OUR COMMITMENT TO IMITATING JESUS, OUR KING, MAKING PRESENT HIS KINGDOM WITH ACTS OF TENDERNESS, COMPASSION AND MERCY.”

NEWS SOURCE: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/11/22/pope_francis_angelus_address_for_christ_the_king_sunday/1188688

PHOTO SOURCE: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, “Cristo Rey” (Museo del Prado, Madrid) in http://www.mossenjoan.com/cristrei/Cristrei1.JPG

29th Sunday of O.T. (B) SERVIAM! I will serve!

29th Sunday of OT B - Serviam

29th Sunday of O.T. (B)
Serviam! I will serve!

“Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.”

Dear friends, the words written above comprise the opening prayer of this Sunday’s Mass in which our Mother Church wishes to remind us of our VOCATION AND MISSION AS CHRISTIANS TO SERVE GOD AND OTHERS, CONFORMING OURSELVES TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S EXAMPLE WHO CAME “TO SERVE AND NOT TO BE SERVED”

  1. In the present day society, men and women struggle to occupy the highest places of power, of influence, of honor, of authority…perhaps forgetting that their mission is to serve the others and not to take advantage of their position to subjugate, dominate and oppress those below them.

Our Lord’s logic goes against this widespread tendency. He proposes to his followers the following words of today’s Gospel (Cf. Mk 10: 35-45):

You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. FOR THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY (Mk 10:43–45).”

  • Our Lord did not come to be served but to serve! See Our Lord’s humility and love? The Son of God Himself, one in being with the Father, Creator of all things and Redeemer of mankind, bows down before man in order to serve him: the Creator serving his creature! But not only that, He also gives His Life for mankind in order to save us.
  • God’s greatness consists in His humility, in his willingness to make Himself small, whether be it in Bethlehem or Calvary or in the Tabernacle. And all these, He did out of love for us, Only with a humility and love like this shall we learn to serve others as well.
  1. THIS SPIRIT OF SERVICE WAS TO BE CARRIED OUT THROUGH SUFFERING. As we see in the 1st reading (Is 53:10–11) which refers to Our Lord Jesus Christ as the Servant of God who gives his life “as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.”
  • If we are to imitate Our Lord in serving others, we must be ready to renounce and sacrifice ourselves. On the contrary, a proud person will only think of his interests and will flee from anything that would require him to abase himself for others.
  1. CONFIDENCE IN APPROACHING GOD: Our Lord God, the High Priest, is at our service, at our entire disposal. He did not only suffered and died for us but He knows as well our weaknesses because He became one like us except in sin and so He encourages us to confidently approach Him, the “throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help (Heb 4:14–16).”
  • If God gave His Son, and His Son gave His Life for all of us, what would He not give us in order to attain authentic happiness? God serves us listening to our pleas and helping us through his grace.
  • May we be able to serve others by lending them our time to listen to their sorrows and our hand to help them in the way we could.

Let us ask God so that we may follow His example and mission in serving others. Let us “[d]iscover Our Lord behind each event and in every circumstance, and then, from everything that happens, you will be able to draw more love for God and a greater desire to respond to him. He is always waiting for us, offering us the possibility to fulfil at all times that resolution we made: Serviam! I will serve you.” May we repeat many times during the day, SERVIAM! I will serve You Lord in the people you have placed beside me, overcoming my pride and love of comfort.

May the Virgin Mary, “Ancilla Domini” (Handmaid of the Lord), help us in our resolve to grow daily in the spirit of service for love of God and the good of many souls.
May we know how to out ourselves “out cheerfully, discreetly and generously each day, serving others and making their lives more pleasant. To act in this way is to practise the true charity of Jesus Christ.
(St. Josemaria, Forge, n. 150)

-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei, CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness. Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.

If you have friends who do not have a Facebook account but you think would benefit from our posts, they can receive our posts by email once they follow us and subscribe in http://www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com

PHOTO SOURCE:  Juan de Mesa, Cristo del Amor (Parroquia del Divino Salvador) in http://cofrades.sevilla.abc.es/profiles/blogs/obras-de-juan-de-mesa-1-parte