Pope Francis’ address today, June 28, 2017, to a delegation from the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions (CISL) in the Vatican this morning, before his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, on the occasion of the 18th National Congress on the theme: “For the Person, For Work” (June 28 – July 1, 2017).
According to its website, CISL is the second largest Confederation of Trade Unions in Italy. It is composed of 19 major National branch (sector) federations: e.g. metalworkers, chemical, textile workers, public employees, service, agricultural workers, etc., and 9 other, as we say, secondary Federations), and affiliates salaried, white and blue collar employees, through its branch or sector federations.read more
Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Irenaeus, June 28,2017
Born near Smyrna, Asia Minor (present day Izmir, Turkey), Irenaeus was an early missionary to the city of Lugdunum (Lyons) in Gaul. Suceeding the martyred Pothinus as the second bishop of Lyons, he defended the Church against the Gnostic heresies. Many Christians were led astray by Gnosticism’s adherents, who claimed that Christ himself was a Gnostic teacher. But at its heart, Gnosticism denied the central Christian doctrines: creation, the Incarnation, and the Trinity. The Gnostics envisioned a dualistic universe ruled by both a good spirit and an evil force responsible for the creation of matter. Against this, Irenaeus proclaimed the Christian God “who holds all things in being, and gives being to all creatures.” Irenaeus’ great work was the Adversus Haereses, a refutation of Gnostic theology, which spread rapidly in Latin translation. Irenaeus’ writings were a significant force in Gnosticism’s demise. Through his thorough refutation of the Gnostic claims, Irenaeus “emerges as the first great Church theologian who created systematic theology” (Pope Benedict XVI). He died in the year 202 A.D.read more
Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Cyril of Alexandria, June 27,2017
Cyril succeeded his uncle in the See of Alexandria in 412 A.D. Nestorius, his counterpart in Constantinople, was preaching sermon in which he called Mary the “Christ-bearer” rather than the traditional title “God-bearer” (Theotokos). Cyril responded to Nestorius by explaining the danger of the term “Christ-bearer”: it divided the human and the divine in the person of Christ, threatening the meaning of the Incarnation, God-bearer-man. Cyril’s assessment was confirmed at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. Cyril, bishop of Alexandria in Egypt, is remembered in the East as the “pillar of the Faith.” In his copious writings he conscientiously cited the Church Fathers, in particular Athanasius. He urged the heretical bishop Nestorius to revise his erroneous Christology. With fatherly sternness, Cyril reminded Nestorius: “It is essential to explain the teaching and interpretation of the Faith to the people in the most irreproachable way, and to remember that those who cause scandal even to only one of the little ones who believe in Christ will be subjected to an unbearable punishment.” Cyril died in 444 A.D. and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1882 A.D.read more
Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time & Blessed Raymond Lull, June 26,2017
Jesus warns us, “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” The only adequate way of approaching reality, of approaching our life, is through a gift that comes to us through the mercy of God. The Lord said to Abram, “Go forth to a land that I will show you.” Because Abram obeyed and accepted this new measure for his life that came from God, the Lord made of him a great nation and made his name great.read more
Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time A & Blessed Jutta of Thuringia, June 25,2017
The prophet Jeremiah sensed the “terror on every side,” former friends intent on taking their “vengeance on him.” Yet, despite his terror, Jeremiah declares with faultless faith, “The Lord is with me; my persecutors will stumble; he has rescued the life of the poor.” Mindful of this historical precedent, Jesus Christ commands, “Fear no one; do not be afraid of those who kill the body.” But how is it possible to live fearlessly? Saint John tells us that perfect love casts out fear. The love that Jesus Christ offers is so perfect and total that “even all the hairs of your head are counted.” Through our embrace of the overflowing, “gracious gift of Jesus Christ,” we can live unafraid.read more
Readings & Reflections: The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus & St. John Fisher, June 23,2017
“The term ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person…. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is a wonderful historical expression of the Church’s piety for Christ…. It calls for a fundamental attitude of conversion and reparation, of love and gratitude, apostolic commitment and dedication to Christ and his saving work” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy # 166, 172). “The Sacred Heart of Jesus… ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that… love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception” (CCC:478). “The essential nucleus of Christianity is expressed in the Heart of Jesus; in Christ the whole of the revolutionary newness of the Gospel was revealed and given to us: the Love that saves us and already makes us live in God’s eternity. Even our shortcomings, our limitations, and our weaknesses must lead us back to the Heart of Jesus. His divine Heart calls to our hearts, inviting us to come out of ourselves, to abandon our human certainties to trust in him and, following his example, to make of ourselves a gift of love without reserve” ( Pope Benedict XVI).read more
Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time & St. Thomas More, June 22,2017
St. Thomas More was, of course, a man for all seasons . . .
. . . a classical scholar, a humanist, a statesman, a politician, a man of prayer, the author of the famed Utopia, a theologian, and a lawyer by profession.
And yet, St. Thomas More is also a man for our times and a model for us today as we strive to serve God in our social, religious, and familial relationships.
His contemporaries knew him to possess a keen wit, a merry sense of humor, and a great common sense. He was a warm and friendly man who always seemed more concerned about the needs of his friends than his own needs. His friendship extended to looking after the poor in his village and to singing in his church choir.read more
Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time & St. Aloysius Gonzaga, June 21,2017
Aloysius was born at Castiglione, Mantua, Italy, of the wealthy and connected Gonzaga family. From early childhood, he accompanied his father on military exercises as a preparation to defend the family estate in the ducal wars. Aloysius took on the rough language of the soldiers, but was horrified when he was told of their crude meanings. At the age of seven, he sought solace in daily prayer in Mary. Deeply sensitive to the spiritual dangers of his lavish, but violent, surroundings, he fasted and sought mortification. After reading the stories of the Jesuit missionaries in India, he declared to imitate their simplicity and sacrifice. At seventeen, he renounced his title, entered the Jesuits, and began studies in Rome. He was studying in Rome when the plague struck. He begged alms for the victims and tended the sickest patients. When he succumbed to the disease himself, he is said to have exclaimed, “We are going!” – to which a fellow Jesuit remarked. “He talks of going to heaven as we talk of going to Frascati!” He died in 1591 A.D. at the age of twenty-three, holding a crucifix.read more
Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time & St. Paulinus of Nola, June 20,2017
We become perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect when we “test the genuineness of our love” by showing concern for others – especially by loving our enemies. We love them with the love that we receive from Jesus, who “for your sake became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich,” In Christ we are rich enough to love our enemies.
Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time & St. Romuald, June 19,2017
Brutal territorial wars raged in Italy of Romuald’s day. A native of Ravenna, Italy and after he witnessed his father kill a man in a duel, Romuald sought solace in monastic life in a Cluniac monastery. But his desire for strictness exceeded that of his fellow monks. Influenced by the hermit Marinus and the writings of the desert Fathers, Romuald conceived a love for solitary prayer. Longing for martyrdom, he repeatedly tried to undertake a mission to Hungary, but fell ill each time he set out. Again, it was the writings of the Desert Fathers that inspired Romuald to begin his work of founding hermitages throughout northern Italy, thus reviving the ancient tradition of solitary prayer. His greatest foundation was at Camaldoli, where he established a new monastic community rooted in the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monks live in simple hermitages and come together for liturgy and communal meals. Romuald died in 1027 A.D.read more
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