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Sunday 13 October 2013

The Wounds of Love

Many Catholics forget that Christ in glory bears the wounds of His Passion.

His Glorified Body is Perfect, but with the holes in His Hands, Feet, His open Side...


Are these merely a proof of His Passion and Resurrection?

Are these the physical medals of spiritual warfare?

Are these the signs of Christ's victory over Death?

Yes, but more....

I think these are the wounds of love.

What do I mean?

When one loves another person, one allows oneself to become open and vulnerable. The only way to truly love is through sacrifice and dying to self. Most of these wounds of love are invisible.

Married couples go through times of unrequited love, even in their covenant state. The ebb and flow of emotions and the moving of romantic love into love of the will require heroic decisions in times of dryness.

These times cause wounds, like the wounds one may feel when one loves someone who does not return that love.

The saints who had the stigmata loved Christ so much they shared in His Passion.

The stigmata for some was invisible. Some people today bear invisible wounds of love.

Christ has loved all humans, each person ever created. Not all return His Love. Yet, He loves.

His Passion is the absorption of rejection.

Perfect Love is daily rejected. But, like the patient and long-suffering lover who continues to love despite hurt and rejection, Christ loves each one of us forever.

Perfect Love wears the wounds of love.

All Is Gift

From my children's Bible

Everything is his gift. If we can realise that everything is God’s gift, how happy will our hearts be! Everything is his gift. He is our strength! Saying “thank you” is such an easy thing, and yet so hard! How often do we say “thank you” to one another in our families? These are essential words for our life in common. “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”. If families can say these three things, they will be fine. “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”. 

from the Pope's Sermon today

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website 

from None Today And from The Pope's Sermon

Love is strong as death,
jealousy as relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.
Love no floods can quench,
no torrents drown.

I will love you, Lord, my strength:
– my protector, my sign of salvation.

Ze’ev Raban [1890-1970] was a leading exponent of the Bezalel school style in painting, sculpture and the decorative arts. He was born Wolf Rawicki in Poland. Under the influence of Boris Schatz, the founder of the Bezalel Academy, Raban moved to the land of Israel in 1912, and joined the facility of the academy. Raban designed the decorative elements of such important Jerusalem buildings as the King David Hotel, the Jerusalem YMCA, and Bikkur-Cholim Hospital. He also designed a wide range of day-to-day objects, including playing cards, commercial packaging, bank notes, tourism posters, jewelry, and insignia for Zionist institutions. Raban also designed a wide range of Jewish objects including menorahs, temple windows and Torah arks.

from here

This was the experience of the Virgin Mary. At the message of the angel, she does not hide her surprise. It is the astonishment of realizing that God, to become man, had chosen her, a simple maid of Nazareth. Not someone who lived in a palace amid power and riches, or one who had done extraordinary things, but simply someone who was open to God and put her trust in him, even without understanding everything: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). That was her answer. God constantly surprises us, he bursts our categories, he wreaks havoc with our plans. And he tells us: trust me, do not be afraid, let yourself be surprised, leave yourself behind and follow me!

Today let us all ask ourselves whether we are afraid of what God might ask, or of what he does ask. Do I let myself be surprised by God, as Mary was, or do I remain caught up in my own safety zone: in forms of material, intellectual or ideological security, taking refuge in my own projects and plans? Do I truly let God into my life? How do I answer him?


Mary said her “yes” to God: a “yes” which threw her simple life in Nazareth into turmoil, and not only once. Any number of times she had to utter a heartfelt “yes” at moments of joy and sorrow, culminating in the “yes” she spoke at the foot of the Cross. Here today there are many mothers present; think of the full extent of Mary’s faithfulness to God: seeing her only Son hanging on the Cross. The faithful woman, still standing, utterly heartbroken, yet faithful and strong.

And I ask myself: am I a Christian by fits and starts, or am I a Christian full-time? Our culture of the ephemeral, the relative, also takes its toll on the way we live our faith. God asks us to be faithful to him, daily, in our everyday life. He goes on to say that, even if we are sometimes unfaithful to him, he remains faithful. In his mercy, he never tires of stretching out his hand to lift us up, to encourage us to continue our journey, to come back and tell him of our weakness, so that he can grant us his strength. This is the real journey: to walk with the Lord always, even at moments of weakness, even in our sins. Never to prefer a makeshift path of our own. That kills us. Faith is ultimate fidelity, like that of Mary.

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website 

Christ, Bringing Division and Reconciliation

Having discussions with a friend who does not believe in institutional religion provides an interesting background for the discussion of tolerance. St. Paul brought Christianity to Malta through a miracle, and right now, I think I need a miracle to help me. The spiritual person of the day may not be able to make the distinction between true and false religions. He may not be able to accept a group of people who claim to have The Truth. But, that is what the Catholic Church claims. We have the Fullness of Truth. To compromise or pretend this is not the case would be lying. The love affair with tolerance stops some people from taking that step into the Catholic Church.

I would like to quote Venerable Fulton J. Sheen twice from one of his talks.

First he notes this: There is no other subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the subject of tolerance and intolerance. Tolerance is always supposed to be desirable because it is taken to be synonymous with broadmindedness. Intolerance is always supposed to be undesirable, because it is taken to be synonymous with narrow-mindedness. This is not true, for tolerance and intolerance apply to two totally different things. Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons. We must be tolerant to persons because they are human; we must be intolerant about principles because they are divine. We must be tolerant to the erring, because ignorance may have led them astray; but we must be intolerant to the error, because Truth is not our making, but God's. And hence the Church in her history, due reparation made, has always welcomed the heretic back into the treasury of her souls, but never his heresy into the treasury of her wisdom. 

and then, this....

Now this is precisely the attitude of the Church on the subject of the world conferences on religion. She holds that just as the truth is one in geography, in chemistry, and mathematics, so too there is one truth in religion, and if we are intolerant about the truth that two times two equals four, then we should also be intolerant about those principles on which is hinged the only really important thing in the world, namely, the salvation of our immortal soul. If the assumption is that there is no Divinity, no oneness about truth, but only opinion, probability, and compromise, then the Church must refrain from participation. Any conference on religion, therefore, which starts with the assumption that there is no such thing as truth, and that contrary and contradictory sects may be united in a federation of broad¬mindedness, must never expect the Church to join or cooperate. 

As we grew from childhood to adolescence, the one thing that probably did most to wreck our faith in Santa Claus-I know it did mine -was to find a Santa Claus in every department-store window. If there were only one Santa Claus, and he was at the North Pole, how could there be one in every shop window and at every street corner? That same mentality which led us to seek truth in unity should lead us in religious matters to identically the same conclusion. 

The world may charge the Church with intolerance, and the world is right. The Church is intolerant-intolerant about Truth, intolerant about principles, intolerant about Divinity, just as Our Blessed Lord was intolerant about His Divinity. The other religions may change their principles, and they do change them, because their principles are man-made. The Church cannot change, because her principles are God-made. Religion is not a sure of beliefs that we would like, but the sum of beliefs God has given. The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell. She will be intolerant about her infallibility, for "Lo," says Christ, "I am with you all the days even unto the end of the world." And while she is intolerant even to blood, in adhering to the truths given her by her Divine Founder, she will be tolerant to those who say she is intolerant, for the same Divine Founder has taught her to say: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." 

My friend is a wonderful, loving person, but she cannot understand or accept a religion which claims to have the Fullness of Truth. I can only agree with her great spiritual quest to find the Truth and listen to her profound understanding of human nature and the need for the purification of the soul.

But, in the end, faith is a gift. So, pray for her. We Catholics take so much for granted. Those who have grown up with no philosophical framework or metaphysical perspective may be searching and may have may opportunities for grace. But, a time comes for decision.

In the end, the dividing line is Christ Himself. Either one accepts Him as God and Man and Saviour, or one does not. One then must be open to accepting His Church as the place which He established on earth to help us with our salvation.

Pray for a miracle, please.

St. Paul's Bay

Today, I went to St. Paul's Bay where St. Paul traditionally was shipwrecked and came onto the island of Malta as reported in Acts. Here is a snippet from this website below. I went to the small church seen in the photo, which is supposedly the site of the bonfire where the snake bit St. Paul, but it was locked up. The same was true for the larger church. Sadly, that church was locked at well.

I said a prayer on the porch.

The welcome given to the survivors is described in the Acts of the Apostles (XXVIII) by St. Luke:
"And later we learned that the island was called Malta.
And the people who lived there showed us great kindness,
and they made a fire and called us all to warm ourselves... "
As the fire was lit, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake but he suffered no ill effects. The islanders took this as a sign that he was a special man. This scene is depicted in many religious works of art on the Islands.
According to tradition, the Apostle took refuge in a cave, now known as St. Paul's Grotto in Rabat, Malta.
During his winter stay, he was invited to the house of Publius, the Romans' chief man on the Islands. It was here, according to tradition, that Paul cured Publius' father of a serious fever. Publius is then said to have converted to Christianity and was made the first Bishop of Malta. The Cathedral of Mdina is said to stand on the site of Publius' house.