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Friday 18 April 2014

Caravaggio for A Meditation for This Day

One of my favorite poems for today

by John Donne

LET man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th' intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.
Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul's form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom'd us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They're present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look'st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I'll turn my face. 

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 172-173.

Good News on Good Friday

Late yesterday, Dr. James Dobson won an injunction against the Obama Administration’s abortion pill mandate. This brings our win-loss record to 16-1.

Continuing with the Pope Emeritus

Moving towards the section on love, Benedict develops ideas which came to fruition in his encyclical on love, examined on this blog. Follow the tags under love, marriage, and socialism.

The sacred and the so-called profane, that is spirit and matter, were redeemed on the Cross. Love, as the Pope Emeritus points out, must include not only the spiritual relationship with God, but real involvement in the lives of others. Whether we are married or not, this involvement demands our time and energies in order to make love real.

Benedict notes that love means a fundamental "yes" to another person.  He quotes Pieper, a great author I taught in days past,writing that love states to another person, "it is good that you exist". This affirmation of a person's goodness and the commitment which follows indicates a moving out of one's self into love.

The existence of another person is confirmed, writes the Pope Emeritus, in love.

How wonderful for those who experience this. Some of us have not experienced the intimate love which should accompany a good marriage. Some of us have experienced love in friendship. Some have experienced love through parents.

For those who have not, this love becomes an act of faith and an act of hope. I believe God loves me, therefore, I am loved and can love, despite a lack of intimate love in my life from a human.

Christ loves us intimately. That is one of the messages of the Cross.

The Pope Emeritus notes that by saying yes to another person, one affirms one's self as well. How wonderful. The person who loves, even in unrequited love, experiences an affirmation of being, as one recognizes that love is from God.

The happiness of love, therefore, expands from this mutual affirmation. And, as Benedict points out, love, by nature, is creative. For a married couple, this creation most often is seen in the children born of the couple. But, not always is love expressed in such a way. A loving marriage may be infertile, for God's reasons, or by choice.

Such marriages then become a force of creativity for the community, for the Church, such as that of the Maritains.

All love affirms existence and is creative by nature, by the spirit. And, in this love, one wants to sacrifice, to die for the other.

I feel sadness for those who have never been open to love. They live in the shadow of grace and life.

Today, contemplating the Cross, one sees love in action.

Meditate on The Cross

Vatican on Divine Mercy Sunday Indulgence and Criteria

(One may add the Novena and chaplet which starts today.)

Apostolic Penitentiary

On 29 June, the Apostolic Penitentiary published the Decree in which the Holy Father attached a plenary and a partial indulgence to the devout observance of the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday. In an audience given to the Pro-Penitentiary Major and the Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the 13 June, the Holy Father approved the content of the Decree. The Decree was published in the press on 3 August and announced by the Holy Father at the Sunday Angelus on 4 August.DECREE
Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy
"O God, your mercy knows no bounds and the treasure of your goodness is infinite..." (Prayer after the "Te Deum" Hymn) and "O God, you reveal your almighty power above all by showing mercy and forgiveness..." (Prayer for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time), in these prayers Holy Mother Church humbly and faithfully sings of Divine Mercy. Indeed, God's great patience with the human race in general and with each individual person shines out in a special way when sins and moral failures are forgiven by Almighty God Himself and the guilty are readmitted in a fatherlike way to his friendship, which they deservedly lost.
Duty of honouring Divine Mercy
The faithful with deep spiritual affection are drawn to commemorate the mysteries of divine pardon and to celebrate them devoutly. They clearly understand the supreme benefit, indeed the duty, that the People of God have to praise Divine Mercy with special prayers and, at the same time, they realize that by gratefully performing the works required and satisfying the necessary conditions, they can obtain spiritual benefits that derive from the Treasury of the Church. "The paschal mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify man, to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in man, and through man, in the world" (Encyclical Letter Dives in misericordia, n. 7).
It is God's Mercy that grants supernatural sorrow and resolution to amend
Indeed, Divine Mercy knows how to pardon even the most serious sins, and in doing so it moves the faithful to perceive a supernatural, not merely psychological, sorrow for their sins so that, ever with the help of divine grace, they may make a firm resolution not to sin any more. Such spiritual dispositions undeniably follow upon the forgiveness of mortal sin when the faithful fruitfully receive the sacrament of Penance or repent of their sin with an act of perfect charity and perfect contrition, with the resolution to receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as they can. Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in the parable of the Prodigal Son that the sinner must confess his misery to God saying: "Father I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Lk 15,18-19), realizing that this is a work of God, "for [he] was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found" (Lk 15,32).
Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday
And so with provident pastoral sensitivity and in order to impress deeply on the souls of the faithful these precepts and teachings of the Christian faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, "Divine Mercy Sunday" (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Decree Misericors et miserator, 5 May 2000).
The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during his first public appearance: "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you'. When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you'. And then he breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'" (Jn 20,19-23).
Plenary Indulgence
To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbour, and after they have obtained God's pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.
Pardon of others who sin against us
Thus the faithful will more closely conform to the spirit of the Gospel, receiving in their hearts the renewal that the Second Vatican Council explained and introduced: "Mindful of the words of the Lord: 'By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another' (Jn 13,35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the men of this age with an ever growing generosity and success.... It is the Father's will that we should recognize Christ our brother in the persons of all men and love them with an effective love, in word and in deed (Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes, n. 93).
Three conditions for the plenary indulgence
And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences:
plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Fatherand the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!");
A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.
For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill
In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you).
If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the PlenaryIndulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the Indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence.
Duty of priests: inform parishioners, hear confessions, lead prayers
Priests who exercise pastoral ministry, especially parish priests, should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Church's salutary provision. They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions. On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass or Vespers, or during devotions in honour of Divine Mercy, with the dignity that is in accord with the rite, they should lead the recitation of the prayers that have been given above. Finally, since "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 5,7), when they instruct their people, priests should gently encourage the faithful to practise works of charity or mercy as often as they can, following the example of, and in obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ, as is listed for the second general concession of indulgence in the "Enchiridion Indulgentiarum".
This Decree has perpetual force, any provision to the contrary notwithstanding.
Archbishop Luigi De Magistris,Tit. Archbishop of Nova
Major Pro-Penitentiary

Fr Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv.,Regent

Continuing with Benedict

The Pope Emeritus continues in his book on faith, hope, and love, with amazing insights into love.
Love is an affirmation of a person's goodness. Benedict notes that through love, a person is affirmed, with a "yes" to their existence. Likewise, the person who loves, in return, is affirmed in that love. The entire world is renewed.

One the Cross, Benedict shows us that Christ affirms each one of us in our goodness and existence. He said "yes" to suffering and dying for us, and, therefore, affirms our being. The Cross is the expression of Divine Love.

Benedict notes that to have an all-accepting Christ, who is not also a judge, minimizes both love and the sacrifice on the Cross.

Affirmation is forgiveness and forgiveness leads to truth, to conversion.

As the Pope Emeritus writes, love shows us reality, the truth of ourselves.

Today, as we contemplate the Cross, let us be grateful for our personal affirmation.

For all Trads to listen to today....

from a reader-

Why I miss London-my old parish-sigh.....