UNBORN WORD of the day


TWO WOMEN WHO BROUGHT US “CORPUS CHRISTI”: HISTORY & MYSTERY
April 8, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: John Paul II, Mary, Saints, The Eucharist

You may have never heard of Blessed Juliana of Cornillon  (Juliana of Liege), 1192 -1258. She was an Augustinian nun who was the first promoter of a feast day in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. She has been recognized as the person primarily responsible for the introduction of the Corpus Christi feast day during the middle ages. According to Acta Sanctorum, she had a unique and extraordinary devotion. She said the Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55) nine times a day; once for each month that Our Lord spent in the womb of His mother. (The Magnificat was proclaimed by Mary while she was pregnant.) One can not help but see the beautiful connection here in Juliana’s spiritual life between her devotion to the Body of Christ in the womb and the Body of Christ upon the altar.

Which leads us to the second woman: Mary the Mother of Jesus. In his encyclical letter ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA, On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church, John Paul II discusses Mary and the Eucharist:

“In a certain sense Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s body and blood.”

“As a result, there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived “through the Holy Spirit” was “the Son of God” (Lk 1:30-35). In continuity with the Virgin’s faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine.”

“Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45). Mary also anticipated, in the mystery of the incarnation, the Church’s Eucharistic faith. When, at the Visitation, she bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a “tabernacle” – the first “tabernacle” in history – in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating his light as it were through the eyes and the voice of Mary. And is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion?”(#55)

“The Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat!” (#58)



WHAT JOHN PAUL II SAID 5 YEARS AFTER ISSUANCE OF HIS “GOSPEL OF LIFE” ENCYCLICAL – PART II
April 7, 2009, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II

respect-life-memorial-garden1

Conceptual sketch of “Our Lady of Guadalupe Respect Life Memorial Garden” St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

Our last post gave reflections by John Paul II on his “Gospel of Life” Encyclical, 5 years after its issuance. Here are more of those reflections, taken from the second half of his discourse. John Paul II called for an APOSTOLATE OF LIFE:

An authentic apostolate of life cannot be simply delegated to specific movements, however praiseworthy, that work in the sociopolitical field. It must be an integral part of the Church’s pastoral ministry, whose task is to proclaim the ‘Gospel of Life’. For this to be effective, it is important to set up educational programs, as well as services and special structures for guidance and support.”

“…it should be given practical expression by offering services that will enable anyone in trouble to find the necessary help.”

“…efforts should be made so that these services become a ‘sign’ and a message.”

“Just as the community needs places of worship, it should sense the need to organize, especially at the diocesan level, educational and operational services to support human life, services that will be the fruit of charity and a sign of vitality.”

“…accompanied by the changing of mentalities and morals on a vast scale, in an extensive and visible way. In this area the Church will spare no effort nor can she accept negligence or guilty silence.

“I turn in particular to those young people…may they be the first agents and beneficiaries of the work that will be done in the context of the apostolate of life.”

“May every person of good will feel called to play an active part in this great cause. May he be sustained by the conviction that every step taken in defending the right to life and its concrete advancement is a step towards peace and civilization.”

UNBORNWORDoftheday Comments on John Paul II’s reflections: John Paul called for “an authentic apostolate of life” that he said “must be an integral part of the Church’s pastoral ministry”. He describes this apostolate of life in terms of education, services and structures that will present a sign and deliver a message borne of charity, all “in defending the right to life and its concrete advancement”. It seems to us that the Pope was envisioning a New form of comprehensive Pastoral Outreach for the 21st century. A New pastoral ministry combining education and services “especially at the diocesan level” which would “support human life”. This seems to be a radical challenge from John Paul the Great to “every person of good will”. Are we up to it? Are we willing? Remember his sobering warning: “…the Church will spare no effort nor can she accept negligence or guilty silence”.





WHAT JOHN PAUL II SAID 5 YEARS AFTER ISSUANCE OF HIS “GOSPEL OF LIFE” ENCYCLICAL – PART I
April 5, 2009, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II

john-paul-ii-holding-child

At a Vatican symposium in early 2000 commemorating the 5th anniversary of his prophetic “Gospel of Life” Encyclical Letter , John Paul made some interesting comments about the document (Latin title is: Evangelium Vitae). Here are two of those comments.

“I started from a vision of hope for humanity’s future.”

“…a document which I consider central to the whole Magisterium of my Pontificate and in thematic continuity with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI of venerable memory.”

John Paul also gives the following two facts about the Gospel of Life:

  1. “The persistent difficulty which this message encounters in a world marked by serious signs of violence and decadence.”
  2. “The unchanging validity of this message and also the possibility of it being accepted in a society where the community of believers, with the concerned involvement of people of good will, courageously and unitedly express its commitment.”

John Paul then called the Encyclical’s message: “a reference point for civil salvation”.

In our next post we will present Part II of this reflection & John Paul’s expectation for ACTION by all of us!