Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI receives bishops of Angola and Sao Tomé

 Pope Benedict XVI received the bishops of Angola and Sao Tomé on Saturday, who are here in Rome for their ad limina visits. In greeting the bishops, the Holy Father recalled his March, 2009 visit to Luanda, during which he said he was able to celebrate Jesus Christ in the midst of a people who never tire of seeking to love and serve with generosity and joy. Pope Benedict also used the occasion to explain that his recent decision to proclaim the Year of Faith from October 2012 to November 2013, was so that the whole Church might demonstrate to all a more beautiful and credible face, that the face of the Lord might show through the Church more clearly.
At the heart of the Holy Father’s remarks to the bishops, however, was a threefold warning and encouragement for the bishops: against the temptations of the spirit of the age and mores of society, and for the strength to be authentic witnesses to the Gospel, especially as regards the basic structure and life of the family – noting that the bishops have made marriage and family as the pastoral priorities of their current three-year cycle of pastoral initiatives. The Pope called on the bishops to help couples acquire the necessary human and spiritual maturity to take their mission as Christian spouses and parents responsibly, reminding them that their spousal love should be lived as it is: unique and indissoluble as the covenant between Christ and his Church. “This precious treasure,” said Pope Benedict, “is to be safeguarded at all costs.”

The second major area of concern for the Holy Father was the danger, especially among the recently baptised, of a heart still divided between Christianity and African traditional religions. Noting that many people do not hesitate to resort to practices incompatible with Christian faith and morals in order to deal with life’s trials, the Pope Benedict condemned as abominable the practice of witchcraft, which often leads to the marginalization and even murder of children and the elderly. “Mindful that human life is sacred in all its phases and situations,” he said, “continue, dear bishops, to raise your voice in favor of their victims.”

Finally, the Holy Father mentioned the tangible remnants of tribalism in the attitudes of ethnic communities that tend to be closed, and not to accept people from other parts of the nation. The Pope expressed his appreciation to those of the bishops who accepted a pastoral mission outside the confines of their language or regional group, and he thanked the priests and the people who welcomed and helped them. Then, offering affectionate greetings to all the members of their local Churches, and entrusting the whole Church in Angola and Sao Tomé to the protection of the Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict imparted his Apostolic Blessing. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Just look at this humility! The Pope! Not in the papal car as he should be, but in a bus, together with other people, in the middle of other religious leaders, as if he was one of them! But he is not, he is the Pope, he is the leader of the Catholic Church!

Alberto Pizzoli/ AFP/ Profimedia

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the Eve of Assisi

The Pope today in the Paul VI audience hall.

AFP/ Filippo de Monteforte

The Vatican Railway Station: off to Assisi

2011-10-26 Vatican Radio
The Vatican Railway Station is usually quite a dull place, mainly used for good trains. But on Thursday 27th October an exceptional air of excitement will pervade the air and a splash of colour will invade the platform .
Benedict XVI will board a train there which will make its way to the Umbrian hill top town of Assisi where Saint Francis once lived and prayed.
But not just Benedict , with him the various delegations of different religions who will attend the 2011 “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”,pilgrimage. Among them Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and other representatives of different religious traditions. Hence the colourful picture I mentioned or rather imagined.
This railway came into being through the signing of the Lateran Pacts when the Pope of the time Pius XI, founder of our radio station, was able to reach an agreement with the Italian State to set up iup a Vatican railway . Although by the way he himself never travelled on it.
Curiously an earlier Pope, Pius IX often travelled by train across the Papal States. Naturally before the loss of temporal power in 1870.
So the first Pope to use this railway station for passenger traffic was Pope John XXIII on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Loreto and Assisi on the 4th October 1962 “ to ask for heavenly help”, on the eve of the inaugural date of the Second Vatican Council. It would begin a week later .
Of course it has since been used as a passenger train first by Blessed John Paul II , the first occasion time being in November 1979 , and on another occasion on a pilgrimage to Assisi on the 24th January 2002 and then by our present Pope . He too has used it on many an occasion , so Thursday’s train ride will not mark a first.
Point of fact , the Vatican Railway Station and line sounds a bit exaggerated. It’s only one branch line in the Vatican and 180 metres long; by British standard that’s around 197 yards. So not even as long as Saint Peter’s Basilica which is a good deal more!
Of course it’s connected to the Italian Railway system and the link up with Rome outside the gates is a bit longer, roughly 150 metres taken up in great part by a long travertine viaduct which anyone in Rome can spy . One which goes by the wonderful name of ‘Gelsomino’, meaning Jasmine!

If you happen to be curious about the entrance from Rome to the Vatican, it’s through a massive iron gate in the Vatican Walls which is only opened when a train is expected, no little barriers there for trains that as I mentioned earlier are mainly goods trains. After all the Vatican needs plenty of supplies as there are shops there. In fact the station itself has been turned into a shop ! A pity in my opinion for such a lovely station in the typical 1930’s architecture with a fountain in front .

I'm Veronica Scarisbrick .


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Canonizations - 23.10.11


Pope: On World Mission Sunday, three new saints who loved God and neighbor
Benedict XVI canonized Msgr.Guido Maria Conforti, founder of the Xaverian Missionaries, Don Luigi Guanella, founder of the Servants of Charity and the Daughters of Our Lady of Providence, who serve the disabled; Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, founder of the Congregation of the Servants of St. Joseph. All three have testified "passionate love for God and neighbor." Before the Angelus, the Pope asks for prayers for the meeting in Assisi on 27 October.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Thanksgiving" and "prayer" but also "praise of the Lord" for the coincidence of 85th World Mission Sunday, "an annual event that aims to awaken enthusiasm for and commitment to mission," with the announcement of three new saints who were an "eloquent sign" of "a passionate love for God…and neighbor."

These were Benedict XVI’s words during his homily at the Mass for the canonization of three saints: Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931), archbishop-bishop of Parma, founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (Xaverian Missionaries) ; Louis Guanella (1842-1915), priest, founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and the Institute of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, dedicated to the care and education of disabled people; Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro (1837-1905) , founder of the Congregation of the Servants of St. Joseph.

The Pope focused primarily on the Gospel message of the day (Matthew 22:34-40) where Jesus speaks of the "similarity" of the first commandment, to love God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves. "Jesus - explained the pope - suggests that love of neighbor is as important as love of God In fact the visible sign that the Christian can show the world to witness God's love is love of for his brothers and sisters'. He added: "How providential is then the fact that today the Church should indicate to all members three new saints who allowed themselves to be transformed by divine love, which marked their entire existence. In different situations and with different charisms, they loved the Lord with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves "so as to become a model for all believers" (1 Thess 1.7). "

Guido Maria Conforti, "since .... he was a boy, had to overcome the opposition of his father to enter the seminary, he displayed strength of character to follow the will of God, in his complete response to Caritas Christi, in his contemplation of the Crucified, which drew him. He felt a strong urge to proclaim this love with those who had not yet received the announcement, and the motto 'Caritas Christi urget nos' (cf. 2 Cor 5.14) summarizes the program of the missionary Institute to which he, having just turned thirty, gave life: a religious family placed entirely at the service of evangelization, under the patronage of the great apostle of the East St. Francis Xavier. "

"He, in first place, testified and experienced what he then taught his missionaries, namely, that perfection consists in doing God's will, on the model of Jesus Crucified. Saint Guido Maria Conforti kept his inner gaze fixed on the cross, which drew him softly to Him, by contemplating him it he saw the horizon of the world open up before him, he saw the 'urgent 'desire, hidden in the heart of every man, to receive and to welcome the announcement of the only love that saves. "

In St. Luigi Guanella, said the Pope, God "gave us a prophet and an apostle of charity. In his testimony, so full of humanity and care for the least, we recognize a luminous sign of God's presence and beneficial action: the God - as echoed in the first reading - who protects the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the poor who must give a pledge of his cloak, the only cover that has at night (cf. Ex 22.20 to 26). May this new saint of charity for all, especially for members of the congregations he founded, be a model of a deep and fruitful synthesis between contemplation and action, as he himself lived and practiced".

Of St. Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, the Pope recalls that she began her mission through work, just like St. Paul who worked and evangelized. "This is how the Servants of St. Joseph were born, in the humility and simplicity of the Gospel, which in the house of Nazareth is presented as a school of Christian life."

"Mother Bonifacia, who dedicated herself with great joy to the apostolate and began to receive the first fruits of her efforts, also lives this experience of abandonment and rejection of her disciples, and in that learning a new dimension of discipleship: the Cross. She embraces it with endurance that gives hope by offering her life for the unity of the work that was born of her hands. "

"We commend ourselves to her intercession and ask God for all workers, especially those who carry out the most modest jobs which are sometimes not appreciated enough, that in their daily work see the friendly hand of God and bear witness to his love, turning their fatigue into a song of praise to the Creator

"Let us be drawn - concluded the Pope - by their examples, let us be guided by their teachings, so that our whole existence becomes a witness of authentic love for God and neighbor."

Before the conclusion of the Mass, during the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI wanted to greet those present and give an "encouragement to the members of the institutions" founded by three new saints.

He then asked everyone to pray to the Virgin for the meeting in Assisi on 27 October, attended by leaders of world religions and non-religious personalities in search of peace.

"To the Virgin Mary - said the pope - who guides the disciples of Christ on the path of holiness, we now turn in prayer. We entrust the Day of reflection dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world to her intercession: a pilgrimage to Assisi, 25 years since that convened by Blessed John Paul II. "


Friday, October 21, 2011

100 years ago - Wedding of Archduke Karl of Austria and Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Born August 17, 1887, in the Castle of Persenbeug in the region of Lower Austria, his parents were the Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony, daughter of the last King of Saxony. Emperor Francis Joseph I was Charles’ Great Uncle.
Charles was given an expressly Catholic education and the prayers of a group of persons accompanied him from childhood, since a stigmatic nun prophesied that he would undergo great suffering and attacks would be made against him. That is how the “League of prayer of the Emperor Charles for the peace of the peoples” originated after his death. In 1963 it became a prayer community ecclesiastically recognized.

A deep devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began to grow in Charles. He turned to prayer before making any important decisions.

On the 21st of October, 1911, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma. The couple was blessed with eight children during the ten years of their happy and exemplary married life. Charles still declared to Zita on his deathbed: “I’ll love you forever.”
Charles became heir to the throne of the Austro‑Hungarian Empire on June 28, 1914, following the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Today's Audience - 19.10.11

Pope: God's kindness is forever, the "star of hope" even in the darkest hours of life
During the general audience, Benedict XVI speaks of Psalm 136, which is a thanksgiving for God's intervention in the history and lives of everyone. God who "after the dark days of Nazi and Communist persecution " delivered us, He is "faithful" and desires the salvation of all his creatures.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Just as when "after the dark days of Nazi and Communist persecution" God delivered us, so He is the "star of hope" for the personal story of the salvation of each one of us. We must always "remember the things he has done in our life and if today I am in the dark night of my soul tomorrow he will free me because His mercy is everlasting, His love endures forever. " "Having the memory of the goodness of the Lord becomes hope, even in darkness memory leads to hope."

This is the lesson we learn from Psalm 136, illustrated today by Benedict XVI to 30 thousand people in St. Peter's Square for the general audience.

"It is a psalm called the Great Hallel, which sings of the goodness of God and his wonders in the history of the people of Israel", it "summarizes the whole history of salvation of which the Old Testament bears witness" it is "a solemn prayer of thanksgiving traditionally sung at the end of the Passover meal and was probably sung by Jesus at the end of the Last Supper, before going to the Garden of Olives and Golgotha. "

"Along the psalm God’s intervention throughout the history of mankind is sung," "the help and constant providence of God for his people and every creature", "we celebrate the Lord who does great wonders." "The beginning is the creation with which God manifests Himself in all His goodness and beauty."

Then " the feast of Easter is immediately mentioned, when speaking of God's intervention in history and the liberation from slavery": "we are in the original moment in the history of Israel, God has intervened forcefully to free his people." But it is not over, there is the fear of the pursuing Egyptians and the obstacle of the sea: "the power of the Lord who wins the danger of natural and military forces of man" is shown, "the mighty hand of the Lord is revealed in all its saving power: the oppressor is overwhelmed by the water while the people of Israel pass".

The stay in the desert shows that "his love endures forever", it is a time in which Israel experiences difficulties, but lives "guided by the Lord with filial confidence." A time when "the Lord as the shepherd of Psalm 23 for 40 years has led his people, educated and loved them, leading them to the promised land, defeating the enemies who wanted to prevent them from attaining salvation."

"In the celebration of the Lord’s love the land that the people should live on as a legacy is mentioned," "a right of property which refers to the paternal patrimony." "One of the characteristics of God is giving. Now the wandering life, of living in tents is over for Israel, a period of happy stability of living in houses, and planting vines has begun".

And in two thousand years, the goodness of God has always accompanied the history of the Church too. Stressing that one of the prerogatives of God is to "gift" the Psalm ends with "the invitation to praise God, the God who created and enters into human history to bring salvation to all." One who "fills the universe with his presence for good, caring for life and giving bread ", "the invisible power of the Lord sung in the Psalms is revealed in the smallness of the bread, the" bread of life ", the Eucharist, that accompanies us in our lives as believers, "anticipating the joy of the final messianic banquet in heaven."


Image by Evandeo Inetti/ Zumapress/ Profimedia

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Calling the Pope "nazi"

Sarandon calls pope “Nazi”; ADL calls for apology

Anti-Defamation League calls on Sarandon to apologize for “disturbing, deeply offensive and completely uncalled for attack on the good name of Pope Benedict XVI.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 6:08 AM 
Memo to Susan Sarandon, vis-a-vis your “Nazi pope” comments this weekend:
Joseph Ratzinger was a victim of the Nazi horror.
When he was a young boy his family was forced to relocate due to his father’s outspoken criticism of the Nazis. Surreptitiously listening to Allied radio broadcasts behind closed doors and drawn curtains—strictly forbidden, of course—Ratzinger and his family learned what was really happening in the war, contrary to German propaganda.
At 14 Ratzinger was briefly conscripted into the Hitler Youth—membership was compulsory—but he refused to attend meetings.
At seminary, a Nazi professor urged him to attend the Hitler Youth just once to get documentation for a tuition reduction—but when he saw Ratzinger’s unwillingness to go even once, he relented and helped Ratzinger get the reduction without attending even once. Eventually Ratzinger was able to get a dispensation from Hitler Youth activities by arguing that it was incompatible with his pre-seminary life.
In 1943, while in seminary, he was conscripted into an antiaircraft unit, but eventually deserted, ending the war as a POW.

In a Jerusalem Post article defending Ratzinger against the slur of Nazi complicity, Sam Ser wrote:
As prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger played an instrumental role in the Vatican’s revolutionary reconciliation with the Jews under John Paul II. He personally prepared Memory and Reconciliation, the 2000 document outlining the church’s historical “errors” in its treatment of Jews. And as president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Ratzinger oversaw the preparation of The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, a milestone theological explanation for the Jews’ rejection of Jesus.
Jewish support for Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, has been considerable. Rabbi Israel Singer, vice president of the World Jewish Congress, called the newly elected pope “an old friend in new white robes,” adding,
“He was the one who gave the theological underpinnings to the gestures of Pope John Paul. He has already thought through the theological implications of what he says.”


Hindus critical of Susan Sarandon for branding Pope 'Nazi'
Nevada (US), Oct 18 : Hindus are critical of Oscar winner Hollywood star Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking), 65, for reportedly labeling His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as a Nazi.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this comment against a fellow religious leader was unnecessary, unacceptable and uncalled for. Apology to hurt Roman Catholic community would help, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, added.

As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Sarandon should be spreading love and not making hateful comments about the biggest religious leader of the world who headed Roman Catholic Church with about 1.17 billion adherents, Zed argued.


Sarandon also drew strong criticism from the Jewish community.
"Ms. Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust," The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights anti-Semitism, said in a statement while also calling on Sarandon to issue an apology to the Catholic community.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today's Audience - 12.10.11

Pope calls for respect for the rights of all in Egypt, especially minorities
Appeal of Benedict XVI who was "deeply saddened" by events in Cairo, "attempts to undermine peaceful coexistence." Support the efforts of the civil and religious authorities "for a society based on justice”. In his general audience, he comments on Psalm 126, which reminds us that, even in the midst of pain, "God is always present."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In Egypt, the rights of all must be respected, especially minorities. This was the appeal launched by Benedict XVI, at the end of his general audience during which he said he was "deeply saddened by the violence perpetrated in Cairo last Sunday," and expressed his support for "the efforts of Egyptian authorities, civil and religious, in favour of a society which respects the human rights of everyone, and especially minorities, to the benefit of national unity. " The Pope said he was close to the "pain of the families of the victims and the entire Egyptian people, torn by attempts to undermine the peaceful coexistence between its communities, which is important to preserve, especially in this time of transition." "I urge the faithful - he concluded - to pray that society may enjoy a true peace based on justice, freedom and respect for the dignity of every citizen."

Earlier in his catechesis, the Pope illustrated that even though our history is marked by "pain, uncertainty, moments of crisis" it is "a history of salvation," because in our history and our lives "God is already present. " This was the lesson that Benedict XVI outlined from a reading of Psalm 126, of which he spoke today, his series on prayer.

Benedict XVI described the prayer as "festive, in the joy that sings the wonders of God": "The Lord has done great things for us." It is the memory of the "exhilarating experience of salvation," "when the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion." It starts from a situation of suffering and need in which God works salvation and "restores" things as to even better than they were before.

This is what happens to the people of Israel returning to their homeland from Babylonian exile. It was the end of their deportation to a foreign land. "The fall of Jerusalem and the deportation had been a devastating experience for the chosen people. On the political and social level, but also on a religious one: the loss of the promised land, the destruction of the temple, the end of the Davidic dynasty" are perceived as a failure of the divine promises, "the people of the alliance painfully question a God that seems to have abandoned them".

"Their return indicates the new-found friendship with God," "the experience of his mercy." "We should look more often - the Pope said – how throughout the events of our life the Lord has protected us, we must be mindful of the good things that the Lord gives us, we are always attentive to the problems and difficulties and often do not perceive the beautiful things given to us by the Lord. Instead by focusing on the good things received, the memory of the good, helps us in our darkest hours. "

This, "celebration of the joy of a restored fate," in first part of the Psalm, in the second part, appears as something yet to be built, " this contradiction is explained with the difficult return home, which leads once more to the request for divine intervention ". "The consoling experience of liberation from Babylon is still incomplete, it has already taken place, but is not yet fulfilled, pending a full implementation, this is the reason for particular images that refer to the reality of life and death, redemption, joy, tears and distress.

There is "the experience that is renewed every year in the agricultural world: the difficulty of sowing and the joy of the harvest, you sow what could you throw into bread, you throw the seed but do not know where it will fall, if the birds will eat it , if it will take root, if it will become an ear of corn". "Throwing the seed is an act of trust that the farmer repeats year after year, he sows the seed and when the fields are filled with a harvest here is the joy”.

"The exile to Babylon is like pain and other situations of crisis, the apparent distance from God, but in the New Testament, the message becomes clearer: the believer through silence and the pain is like a grain of wheat, like the woman who endures the pains of childbirth in order to arrive at a new life: we must always remain open to hope and steadfast in our faith in God. "
At http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope-calls-for-respect-for-the-rights-of-all-in-Egypt,-especially-minorities-22887.html
Pic. by Evandro Inetti/ Zumapress/ Profimedia

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pastoral visit to Calabria II

Images from Telepace transmission.

Pastoral visit to Calabria I

Pope Benedict: no future without charity

2011-10-09 Vatican Radio

This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI denounced a “vicious” criminality that wounds the social fabric of the Italian region of Calabria and called on Catholics to take strength and courage from their faith, to overcome the obstacles of injustice, to care more for each other and the common good.
The Holy Father was on a one day pastoral visit to the diocese of Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno, which lies in the heartland of the region home to the infamous Ndrangeta mafia. Calabria is Italy’s southernmost region, and one of its’ poorest and least developed with an unemployment rate touching 27%. The setting for Sunday’s mass was particularly poignant, a disused plastics factory, one of the many empty warehouses in the industrial complex just outside the town.
Welcoming Pope Benedict Sunday, Mayor Gianni Speranza spoke of a land of “extraordinary potential and resources” but also of “unacceptable unemployment, and dramatic injustice and violence”. He said “We cannot allow the dominion of the mafia and organised crime to grow stronger, or healthy industries be taken over by illegality”. “Your presence”, the Mayor concluded “gives courage and a voice to all of those who so desperately need it”.
In his homily Pope Benedict responded “never give in to the temptations of pessimism and retreat in on yourselves. Rely on the resources of your faith and your human capacities; strive to grow in the ability to collaborate, to take care of each other and the public good”.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today's Audience - 5.10.11

Pope: Even in the "valley of darkness," God is always close to his flock
At the general audience, Benedict XVI says Psalm 23 3 speaks ill of "confidence" in the Lord who is the Shepherd who "knows his sheep one by one, calls them by name, treasures them, is ready to defend them, so nothing is lacking them ". Appeals for the peoples of the Horn of Africa, where "every day people die from disease and lack of food, water."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - As "difficult, long or tortuous as the paths our lives may appear”, even in the desert "against the scorching sun rationalism," if we follow our shepherd "we will be safe", "completely abandoning ourselves to His hands" we will reach and abide in His tent receive His hospitality and live with Him in joy without end.
This is the meaning of one of the most "familiar and universally loved" Psalms, Psalm 23 which begins "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want", to which Benedict XVI dedicated his address to the 30 thousand people in St. Peter's Square for the general audience.
The gathering also saw a fresh Papal appeal for “prayers and practical help" for the peoples of the Horn of Afrca affected by drought, especially for the children who "die every day from disease and lack of food, water."
Earlier in his speech, the Pope had said prayer "always implies an act of faith" to a God who is good and merciful. In the psalm, which Benedict XVI spoke of today there is "a reference to sheep, the shepherd knows his sheep one by one, calls them by name, holds them as a valuable asset, is ready to defend them, they lack nothing" if he a with them. The sheep are "calm and confident because the place is safe, the water is fresh and the shepherd is with them."
The Psalm refers to "a largely desert land, beaten by the scorching sun, where the semi-nomadic Middle Eastern shepherd lives with his flock in the parched plains that stretch around the villages. But the shepherd knows where to find fresh grass and water, essential for life, he knows where the oasis is that brings refreshment to the soul and where we can replenish our strength and renew our energy to continue our journey".
As the psalm says, "God leads towards 'green pastures' and 'still waters', where everything is abundant, everything is given abundantly. If the Lord is the shepherd, even in the desert, a place of absence and death, there is still the certainty of the radical presence of life, so much so, that we can say, "I shall not want." The pastor, in fact, has the welfare of his flock at heart, he adjusts to their pace and this own needs to those of his flock, he goes and lives with them, guiding them along the 'right' paths, that is right for them, careful of their needs and not his own. The safety of his flock is his priority and he obeys this in guiding it. "
And if the flock moves after sundown, "when visibility becomes uncertain, it is normal that the sheep are restless, there is a risk of stumbling, of being left behind or getting lost, and there is also the fear of possible attackers”. This is the valley of "darkness", defined by the Hebrew phrase that evokes the darkness of death. "Yet, the psalmist goes safely, without fear, because he knows that the Lord is with him." He has an "unshakable faith", "the nearness of God transforms reality, the dark valley loses all danger, it is emptied of all threat”.
In the second part of the psalm, we are still in the desert, and we are in the tent where the Lord welcomes "with the signs of a generous and attentive hospitality. The divine host prepares the food”, "it is a gesture of sharing not only food but also life, an offering of communion and friendship that creates ties and expresses solidarity. And then there is the generous gift of scented oil for the head, which relieves the burning of the desert sun, refreshes and soothes the skin and raises the spirit with its fragrance. Finally, the filled cup adds a note of celebration, with its fine wine, shared with abundant generosity. Food, oil and wine are the gifts that bring joy and give life because they go beyond what is strictly necessary and express the gratitude and the abundance of love. "
The enemies "can only look on, unable to intervene because what they considered their prey has been taken to safety, has become a sacred, untouchable guest. When God opens his tent to greet us, nothing can harm us. "
"Then, when the traveller continues his journey divine protection is prolonged and accompanies him." But it is a journey that takes on a new meaning, and becomes a pilgrimage to the Temple of the Lord, the holy place where the psalmist wants to "live" forever and where he also wants to "return".
The images in this psalm, the Pope added, "have accompanied the history and religious experience of the people of Israel," but "is in the Lord Jesus that all the evocative power of our Psalm reaches completeness, finds fullness of meaning: Jesus is the 'Good Shepherd' who goes in search of the lost sheep, who knows his sheep and gives his life for them, he is the path, the right path that leads to life, the light that illuminates the dark valley and vanquishes all our fear. He is the generous host who welcomes us and keeps us safe from our enemies preparing the banquet of his body and his blood and the final messianic banquet in Heaven. "

From http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope:-Even-in-the-valley-of-darkness,-God-is-always-close-to-his-flock-22821.html

Evandro Inetti/ Zumapress/ Profimedia

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Today's Angelus - On the day of the Guardian Angels

Angels exist because God takes care of mankind

These were the Pope's words during his first Angelus in St. Peter's Square following his return from Castel Gandolfo. "Those who have authority in the Church have a big responsibility"

The Pope reminded us of "the great responsibility of everyone in every era who is  called to work in the vineyard of the Lord, especially if they hold a role of authority," and the necessity to renew our "complete faith in Christ."
This was said before the recital of the Angelus from the window of his studio in St. Peter's square. In fact, yesterday afternoon Benedict XVI returned to the Vatican from Castel Gandolfo after the summer period.
Pope Ratzinger commented on a passage from chapter 21 in Matthew's gospel, and "the particularly severe admonition of Jesus to the chief priests and the elders of the people. The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
"Christ, he underlined, is "the stone that the builders rejected because they judged it an enemy of the law and dangerous for public order, but He, rejected and crucified, was risen and became the corner stone on which the foundation of every human existence and of the entire world could rest safely."
The Christian God accepts being humbled, ending on the cross, but he is a just God, who punishes sinners when necessary. The Pope made it clear, before the Angelus recited from the window of his studio in St Peter's square, commenting on the Gospel of St Matthew's passage in the vineyards. "God," he said, "gave himself unto us, and agreed to undergo the unfathomable mystery of weakness and manifest his omnipotence in his faithfulness to a design of love that, in the end, must include the just punishment of sinners."
Angels do exist, guardian angels exist and they manifest the presence of God who is always close to man.” The Pope said before the recital of the Angelus at the window of his studio in St. Peter's square, remembering that the Church dedicates this Sunday to guardian angels."
And he reminds us of the supplications to the Virgin Mary in Pompeii, so that the world may be free from evil.
- "Dear Friends", the Pope said, "the Lord is always with us and working in the story of mankind and he gives us the unique company of the presence of his Angels whom today the Church venerates as Guardians, that is, ministers of the divine here to care for every man. From birth until the time of death," he added, "human life is surrounded by their constant protection. And the Angels form a circle," around the Madonna who, "in the first Sunday of October" "from the shrine in Pompeii" for "the whole world" receives supplications "so that evil may be overcome and God's goodness revealed in its entirety."


Day of the Guardian Angels

Angels are servants and messengers from God. "Angel" in Greek means messenger. In unseen ways the angels help us on our earthly pilgrimage by assisting us in work and study, helping us in temptation and protecting us from physical danger.

The idea that each soul has assigned to it a personal guardian angel has been long accepted by the Church and is a truth of our faith. From the Gospel of today's liturgy we read: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father" (Matthew 18:10). The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "the existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith (328)." From our birth until our death, man is surrounded by the protection and intercession of angels, particularly our guardian angel: "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life (336)." The Church thanks God for our helpers, the angels, particularly on this feast day and September 29 which is the feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael, archangels. Today's feast appeared in Spain during the sixteenth century. It was extended to the universal Church and made obligatory in 1670.

"Be alert in your every action as one should be who is accompanied by angels in all your ways, for that mission has been enjoined upon them. In whatever lodging, in whatever nook or corner you may find yourself, cherish a reverence for your guardian angel. In his presence do not dare to do anything you would not do in mine. Or do you doubt his presence because you do not see him? Would it really help if you did hear him, or touch him, or smell him? Remember, there are realities whose existence has not been proven by mere sight.

"Brethren, we will love God's angels with a most affectionate love; for they will be our heavenly co-heirs some day, these spirits who now are sent by the Father to be our protectors and our guides. With such bodyguards, what are we to fear? They can neither be subdued nor deceived; nor is there any possibility at all that they should go astray who are to guard us in all our ways. They are trustworthy, they are intelligent, they are strong — why, then, do we tremble? We need only to follow them, remain close to them, and we will dwell in the protection of the Most High God. So as often as you sense the approach of any grave temptation or some crushing sorrow hangs over you, invoke your protector, your leader, your helper in every situation. Call out to him and say: Lord, save us, we are perishing." — St. Bernard


With thanks to  

The shadow

The shadow
Even when we can not see him, his hand is always there!

At God's service