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Never lose hope, warrior of God!

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” [Matthew 21:22]

Image@cyber-missionaryfacebook

What is Faith? A MUST SEE!

Excellent reading!

Catholicism Pure & Simple

By Archbishop Chaput (Source: Archdiocese Philadelphia)

In leading us into the Year of Faith, which began October 11, Pope Benedict calls on each of us as believers to “rediscover [God’s] joy,” to “radiate [God’s] word,” and to make our Christian witness “frank and contagious.”

Now those are wonderful words, but how do we actually live them? We need to begin by realizing that we’re not being asked to do the impossible – only the uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Benedict is asking us to examine our hearts and our habits of life without excuses or alibis. He’s asking us to tear down the cathedral we build to ourselves, the whole interior architecture of our vanities, our resentments and our endless appetites, and to channel all the restless fears and longings of modern life into a hunger for the Holy Spirit. If you think that sounds easy or pious, try it this…

View original post 539 more words

An ethereal celebration.

A stained glass window at St. George’s Cathedral in London.

Last week-end at Mass Fr. Jonathan highlighted the fact that we are not only family members of our own parishes, but that we belong to the extended diocesan family too. We were all duly encouraged to head up-town to St George’s  Cathedral in London to celebrate the inaugural Mass of the Year of Faith with parishioners from across the Southwark diocese. And what a wonderful celebration it was!

It was the first time I experienced such unbelievably beautiful and uplifting music at Mass. The music certainly left no-one with any doubt that we were praising and worshipping God Himself. The choir was second to none, accompanied by an organist, a pianist as well as someone who played the trumpet. The first time ever I have heard a trumpet being played at Mass! What a joy. It added a quality and glow to the celebration that  I thought I would only expect to hear in Heaven one day.

We celebrated with forty-nine priests and  four bishops, and perhaps a thousand or more fellow Catholics. It was a wonderful occasion marked by many not just in London, but all over the world.  Only good things to come from this auspicious year marked by the Church and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

I snuck a quick photo of the stained-glass window on located to the left of the benches we were sitting while the sun shone through. This just added to the already wonderful experience.

100 Catholic books to read during the Year of Faith.

I came across this list of books via Luke Coppen (editor of the Catholic Herald) on Twitter. Some excellent reading methinks.

1. The Bible (Revised Standard Version translation)                                                 
2. The Lord. Romano Guardini
3. To Know Christ Jesus. Frank Sheed
4. The Life of Christ. Fulton Sheen
5. Jesus of Nazareth. Joseph Ratzinger
6. The Four Cardinal Virtues. Josef Pieper
7. What Happens at Mass. Jeremy Driscoll
8. The Confessions. Augustine
9. Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word. Erasmo Leiva Merikakis (2 Volumes)
10. Fundamentals of the Faith. Peter Kreeft
11. Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis
12. The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis
13. The Essential Pope Benedict. John Thornton and Susan Varenne, eds
14. The Theology of the Body. Pope John Paul II
15. The Fulfillment of All Desire. Ralph Martin
16. A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist. Abbot Vonier
17. I Believe in Love. D’Elbee
18. Heart of the World. Hans Urs von Balthasar
19. The Birth of the Church: John: Volume IV. Adrienne von Speyr
20. Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Pope John Paul II
21. Life on the Lordship of Christ. Raniero Cantalamessa
22. The Eucharist: Our Sanctification. Raniero Cantalamessa
23. On Being Catholic. Thomas Howard
24. By What Authority? Mark Shea
25. Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. David Currie
26. Crossing the Tiber: Stephen Ray
27. The Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli.
28. The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien
29. The Cost of Discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
30. Where We Got the Bible. Henry Graham
31. Called to Communion. Joseph Ratzinger
32. The Spirit of the Liturgy. Joseph Ratzinger
33. The Seven Storey Mountain. Thomas Merton
34. The Dialogues. Catherine of Siena
35. The Lamb’s Supper. Scott Hahn
36. The Handmaid of the Lord. Adrienne von Speyr
37. The World’s First Love. Fulton Sheen
38. Love and Responsibility. Karol Wojtyla
39. The Splendor of Love. Walter Schu
40. Witness to Hope: George Weigel
41. The Feminist Question. Francis Martin
42. Healing the Original Wound. Benedict Groeschel
43. A Refutation of Moral Relativism. Peter Kreeft
44. In Search of Wisdom. Leon Kass45. The Problem of Pain. C.S. Lewis
46. The Great Divorce. C.S. Lewis
47. Making Sense Out of Suffering. Peter Kreeft
48. God Is Near Us. Joseph Ratzinger
49. Confession. Adrienne von Speyr
50. Parochial and Plain Sermons. John Henry Newman
51. Triumph. David Crocker III
52. The Evidential Power of Beauty. Thomas Dubay
53. The Lord’s Prayer. Romano Guardini
54. Saints for Sinners. Alban Goodier
55. Love’s Sacred Order. Erasmo Leiva Merikakis
56. The Four Loves. C.S. Lewis
57. The Weight of Glory. C.S. Lewis
58. Flannery O’Connor. Collected Works
59. The Return of the Prodigal Son. Henri Nouwen
60. The Ecumenical Jihad. Peter Kreeft
61. The Unseriousness of Human Affairs. Lames Schall
62. Evangelium Vitae. Pope John Paul II
63. Fides et Ratio. Pope John Paul II
64. Woman in the Church. Louis Bouyer, ed
65. Catholic Bio-Ethics and the Gift of Human life. William E. May
66. Marriage: The Bedrock on Which Civilization Is Built. William E. May
67. The Clash of Orthodoxies. Robert George
68. Letters to a Young Catholic. George Weigel
69. Death on a Friday Afternoon. Richard John Neuhaus
70. Why Humanae Vitae Was Right. Janet Smith, ed
71. 20thCentury Martyrs. Robert Royal
72. Testimony to Hope. Xavier Nguyen
73. The Divine Comedy. Dante (Sayers translation)
74. Arise From This Darkness. Benedict Groeschel
75. Orthodoxy. G.K. Chesterton
76. Thomas Aquinas. G.K. Chesterton
77. Saint Francis. G.K. Chesterton
78. Edmund Campion. Evelyn Waugh
79. Brideshead Revisited. Evelyn Waugh
80. A Simple Path. Mother Teresa
81. The Rise of Christianity. Rodney Stark
82. The Manuel of Prayer
83. Fire Within. Thomas Dubay
84. Architects of the Culture of Death. Donald Demarco and Benjamin Wiker
85. Transformation in Christ. Dietrich von Hildebrand
86. The Hidden Manna. James O’Connor
87. Introduction to the Devout Life. Francis DeSales
88. Perelandra. C.S. Lewis
89. The Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis
90. Back to Virtue. Peter Kreeft91. The Crisis of Islam. Bernard Lewis
91. What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis
92. The Bible and the Quran. Jacques Jomier
93. What Difference Does Jesus Make? Frank Sheed

Essential Catholic Reference Books:

1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church
2. The Documents of Vatican II
3. The Faith of the Early Fathers. William Jurgens, ed (3 Volumes)
4. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
5. Butler’s Lives of the Saints (4 Volumes)
6. United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
7. The Encyclicals of Pope John Paul II

 

A new provocation from the Sword of Peter.

Image

Lots to chew over here. The Rock is still standing tall and unwaveringly firmly planted. Any other takes on this?

 

 

Let’s celebrate the start of the Year of Faith.

From the Southwark Diocesan website

What better way to celebrate than to celebrate the Eucharist together. Be part of a universal celebration this Saturday.

Loads more information to be found here: Archdiocese of Southwark

A bit of reading to do during the Year of Faith.

Papa Bene has asked that the faithful read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

  • Everything that the Church believes is  contained in this impressive publication. If you’d prefer to receive bite-size chunks at a time, click on the link on the left of this block and sign up for daily mails from flocknote. Not an easy read, but amazing just the same.
  • YOUCAT is a new publication aimed at teenagers. Both available at any reputable bookshop. Click on the link and take a look at the resources available on-line.  Hip, happening and user-friendly! Irresistible ..This is how our Pope introduced this publication to the youth: (my emphasis)

Today I recommend for your reading an unusual book. It is unusual both because of its content and because of the way it came to be. I would like to tell you a little about how it was written, because then it will be clear why it is so unusual.

You could say that it came to be from another work, whose origins go back to the 1980’s. It was a difficult time for the Church and for society worldwide. New guidance was needed to find the path to the future. After the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and in a changed cultural situation, many people were confused about what Christians actually believe, what the Church teaches, whether in fact she can teach anything at all, and how everything can find its place in a culture that had changed from its very foundations. Is it still reasonable today to be a believer? These were the questions that even good Christians were asking.

At that time Pope John Paul II made a bold decision. He decided that bishops from all over the world should together write a book in which they would answer these questions. He gave me the task of coordinating the work of the bishops and seeing to it that from the contributions of the bishops a book would result—a real book, not just a haphazard collection of all sorts of documents. This book would have the old-fashioned title Catechism of the Catholic Church but would be something entirely new and exciting. It would show what the Catholic Church believes today and how one can with good reason believe.

I was alarmed by this task. I must admit that I doubted whether something like this could succeed. For how was it possible that authors scattered all over the world could together produce a readable book? How could men who not only geographically but also intellectually and spiritually lived on different continents create a text with an inner unity, one that would also be understandable throughout all those continents? And there was the further difficulty that these bishops would not be writing as individual authors but would be in contact with their brother bishops and with the people in their dioceses.

I must admit that even today it still seems to me to be a miracle that this project finally succeeded.’
Furthermore…he expounds after discussing the process by which he and Pope John Paul worked on the Catechism : (my emphasis)

So I invite you: Study this Catechism! That is my heartfelt desire.

This Catechism was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands of you a new life. It places before you the Gospel message as the “pearl of great value” (Mt 13:46) for which you must give everything. So I beg you: Study this Catechism with passion and perseverance. Make a sacrifice of your time for it! Study it in the quiet of your room; read it with a friend; form study groups and networks; share with each other on the Internet. By all means continue to talk with each other about your faith.

You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination. You need God’s help if your faith is not going to dry up like a dewdrop in the sun, if you want to resist the blandishments of consumerism, if your love is not to drown in pornography, if you are not going to betray the weak and leave the vulnerable helpless.
If you are now going to apply yourselves zealously to the study of the Catechism, I want to give you one last thing to accompany you: You all know how deeply the community of faith has been wounded recently through the attacks of the evil one, through the penetration of sin itself into the interior, yes, into the heart of the Church. Do not make that an excuse to flee from the face of God! You yourselves are the Body of Christ, the Church! Bring the undiminished fire of your love into this Church whose countenance has so often been disfigured by man. “Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord!” (Rom 12:11). When Israel was at the lowest point in her history, God called for help, not from the great and honored ones of Israel, but from a young man by the name of Jeremiah. Jeremiah felt overwhelmed: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jer 1:6). But God was not to be deterred : “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak” (Jer 1:7).
I bless you and pray each day for all of you.

Benedictus P.P. XVI

 Youcat website

 

THIS IS AN EXCERPT OF THE INTRODUCTION TO THE COMPENDIUM ON THE VATICAN WEBSITE:

”The Compendium is not a work that stands alone, nor is it intended in any way to replace the Catechism of the Catholic Church: instead, it refers constantly to theCatechism by means of reference numbers printed in the margins, as well as by consistent reliance on its structure, development and contents. In fact, theCompendium is meant to reawaken interest in and enthusiasm for the Catechism,which, in the wisdom of its presentation and the depth of its spirituality, always remains the basic text for catechesis in the Church today.

Like the Catechism, the Compendium has four parts, corresponding to the fundamental laws of life in Christ.

The first part, entitled “The Profession of Faith”, contains a synthesis of the lex credendi, the faith professed by the Catholic Church, as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed which is further elaborated by the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. In the liturgical profession of the Creed, the Christian assembly keeps the principal truths of the faith alive in memory.

The second part, entitled “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery”, presents the essential elements of the lex celebrandi. The proclamation of the Gospel finds its authentic response in the sacramental life, through which Christians experience and witness, in every moment of their existence, the saving power of the paschal mystery by which Christ has accomplished our redemption.

The third part, entitled “Life in Christ”, recalls the lex vivendi, through which the baptized manifest their commitment to the faith they have professed and celebrated, through their actions and ethical choices. The Christian faithful are called by the Lord Jesus to act in a way which befits their dignity as children of the Father in the charity of the Holy Spirit.

The fourth part, entitled “Christian Prayer”, summarizes the lex orandi, the life of prayer. Following the example of Jesus, the perfect model of one who prays, the Christian too is called to the dialogue with God in prayer. A privileged expression of prayer is the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus has taught us.”

Benedict XVI: ‘Being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians’

Pope Benedict XVI has said that to evangelise means to help people understand that God himself has responded to their questions, and that his response – the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ – is available to them as well.

“Our role in the new evangelisation is to cooperate with God,” the Pope told more than 260 cardinals, bishops and priests who are members of the world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation. “We can only let people know what God has done.”

In a 21-minute, off-the-cuff reflection during morning prayer at the synod’s opening session today, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of prayer in the Church’s push for a new evangelisation, the meaning of evangelisation, and sharing the Gospel through both proclamation and charity.

The Pope examined the use of the word “evangelion”, the Greek term that is the root of the English word “evangelisation”, and which is itself translated as “Gospel”.

In the Book of Isaiah, he noted, the Hebrew equivalent of the word describes “the voice that announces a victory, that announces goodness, joy and happiness”, transmitting the message that “God has not forgotten his people”, and that he intervenes with power in history to save them.

In the New Testament, the Pope said, “evangelion” is the good news of the incarnation of Christ, the coming of God’s son into the world to save humanity.

For the people of Israel suffering under Roman rule, it was truly good news that God spoke to his people and came to live among them, the Pope said. News of Jesus’s birth was the answer to those who questioned whether there really was a God; whether he knew his people and the circumstances of their lives; and whether he had any power to change their situation.

People today have the same questions, the Pope said: “Is God a reality or not? Why is he silent?”

When Christians evangelise, they must remember that their “faith has content”, and that what they believe and seek to share with others is outlined in the Creed, he said. They must use their intelligence to reflect on the tenets of their faith and use their mouths to proclaim it.

Because faith isn’t an abstract notion, Christians also must live their faith and share it with the world through acts of charity and love, the Pope said.

“Being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians,” he said. “We pray that faith becomes like a fire in us and that it will set alight others.”

The synod formally opened on yesterday with a Mass in St Peter’s Square.

During his homily, Pope Benedict said that the “Church exists to evangelise” by sharing the Gospel with people who have never heard of Christ, strengthening the faith of those who already have been baptised and reaching out to those who “have drifted away from the Church”.

“At various times in history,” he said, “divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the church’s evangelising activity”, as happened, for example, with the evangelisation of the Americas beginning late in the 15th century.

“Even in our own times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the Church a new effort to announce the good news,” the Pope said.

The modern effort to proclaim salvation in Christ to the modern world found “a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council”, which opened 50 years ago on Thursday, October 11.

The Pope said the synod was dedicated to helping people strengthen their faith and to helping those who have drifted away “encounter the Lord, who alone who fills existence with deep meaning and peace; and to favour the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life”.  ( Catholic Herald)