These words show us God’s way and the way of Christians: it is humility.  A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!

This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation.  Only in this way will this week be “holy” for us too!

We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up.  We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver.  We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted.  We will hear Peter, the “rock” among the disciples, deny him three times.  We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified.  We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns.  And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God.

This is God’s way, the way of humility.  It is the way of Jesus; there is no other.  And there can be no humility without humiliation.

from radiovaticana.va

Posted on Ave Maria, Pope Francis Support

 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendor of true love,
We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalized
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Re-awaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.

- – - – - – - – - -

On March 25, in fact, we celebrate solemnly in the Church the Annunciation, the beginning of the Mystery of the Incarnation. The Archangel Gabriel visits the humble Maiden of Nazareth and announces that she will conceive and give birth to the Son of God. With this Announcement, the Lord enlightens and reinforces Mary’s faith, as He will later do also for her husband Joseph, so that Jesus can be born in a human family.

This is very beautiful: it shows us how profoundly the Mystery of the Incarnation, as God willed it, includes not only the conception in the mother’s womb but also the reception in a true family. Today I would like to contemplate with you the beauty of this bond, the beauty of this condescension of God.

more in insidethevatican.com

Posted on Ave Maria

 

Symbolically calling on the entire global Roman Catholic church to take up his papacy’s central message of compassion and pardon, Pope Francis on Friday announced that he is convoking a jubilee year to be called the Holy Year of Mercy.

Jesus Anointed At Bethany_smIn his homily at the penitential service Friday, Francis gave another wide-ranging reflection on the role of mercy and pardon in church teaching.

Recounting the Gospel reading of the day — in which a woman described as sinful washes Jesus with her hair and tears — Francis said, “Every gesture of this woman speaks of love and expresses her desire to have an unshakeable certainty in her life: that of being forgiven.”

“And Jesus gives this certainty, welcoming her and demonstrating to her the love of God for her, truly for her,” the pope said.

Continuing the story to talk about Simon, the Pharisee who owned the house, Francis said he was a “lord” who “cannot find the path of love.”

For him, the pope said, “all is calculated, all [is] thought. He stands at the threshold of formality.”

“It is an ugly thing, formal love,” Francis continued. “It cannot be understood.”

“The call of Jesus pushes each of us to never stop at the surface of things, especially when we are dealing with a person,” the pope said later. “We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see of how much generosity everyone is capable.

“No one can be excluded from the mercy of God,” Francis continued, repeating: “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God!”

“The church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one,” the pope said. “Its doors remain wide open, so that those touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness.”

“Better must be the love of the church expressed toward those who convert,” he said.

excerpts from ncronline.org “Francis announces new global jubilee, the Holy Year of Mercy”

Jesus of Nazareth

related reading: Pope Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy could be a truly great jubilee

Posted on Pope Francis Support

 

Killing Jesus

killingjesus.nationalgeographic.com is a digital experience to support National Geographic Channel’s Killing Jesus, a three-hour docudrama premiering March 29, which is Palm Sunday. The show is based on the best-selling book of the same name.

An immensely detailed, immersive website tells the story from three different perspectives: Son of God (the view of Christ and his disciples); Son of Man (the view of the Jewish priests of the time); and Threat to Rome (taking in political/economic implications). Each perspective is represented by a different crown: thorns, religious headdress and Roman laurels. This technique provides users with a panoramic perspective of Jesus’s life, allowing them to explore events from every conceivable angle.

Posted on Ave Maria

 

Taken from Arts & Faith: Lent - Ash Wednesday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Preparation
The union in openness of body and mind and heart that is prayer begins with attention to each.

First your body: Sit upright, legs crossed or not, feet on the floor or not, lower back pressed against the chair. Or not. Breathe.

Now the mind: As you are able, let these words spill through the mind and down your spine into the earth. Let your thoughts puff away with each breath. As new ones come—tethered as they are to joy or pain—hold them like wounded birds. Then set them aside to heal. Breathe.

And the heart: Vulnerability means able to be wounded. Of course there is resistance. Notice it. With your breath and with energy, pull back the vines and push open your heartgate. Breathe.

Tilt your chin up to the heavens and, with eyes open or closed, look back at the One who looks at you with great affection.

Breathe.

Clown or Visitor?
Possibly the strangest and most impactful of Ignatian insights is this: trust in your holy desires. The imagination is sign language for our inarticulate desires. Our imaginations are raised Braille texts for our blind desires to finger.

As we begin to pray with the image, we trust our imaginations and our desires and ask: Where do you find yourself as you contemplate the scene? Which role are you drawn into? What happens?

Perhaps, for example, you are the clown, alone in your cell this Ash Wednesday, basking in the light. Trust your imagination. Let a story unfold.

  • How does the light feel on your knees and hands? Are there birds singing outside or people on the street? Do swaying branches scrape the stone?
  • How did you get here? What happened the night before?
  • Were you cast into this isolation by another, or did you come of your own accord? How do you feel?
  • Are your arms crossed, back arched, head bowed as in the painting? What might you be protecting? What are you resisting? What do you want?
  • Has anyone come to see you? Who would you want to be there?
  • What might you say? What do you want to say? What do you want?
  • Who might you ask to stay with you in your inner room?
  • How does the visitor respond—in words or feelings or images or memories?

It is only by basking in the light that we store up courage to face the darkness.

But perhaps you are the visitor.

  • How did you enter the room? How did the door feel against your hands? The bars as you lean against them from above?
  • How does the room feel—warm and sad, contrite and quiet, cool and hopeful?
  • Does the man turn to look at you as you enter? Are you expected? Welcomed?
  • Do you walk toward and sit beside him? Stand before him and embrace him? Stand some paces apart in quiet company?
  • Are words needed? What do you do want to say? What does he need to hear?
  • Do your words, your distance, your embraces have an impact? How does he respond? Was it what you were hoping for?
  • How do you feel?

We are not strong enough. Even when our love is not received we face the darkness together—from love, trusting in love, walking toward love.

Speak with the Lord about the story you and he have painted with your imagination. Speak as one friend speaks to another.

Posted on Ave Maria

 

Presentation of Christ in the Temple by Giotto di Bondone

In the account of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple, wisdom is represented by two elderly persons, Simeon and Anna: persons docile to the Holy Spirit, led by him, inspired by him. The Lord granted them wisdom as the fruit of a long journey along the path of obedience to his law, an obedience which likewise humbles and abases, but which also lifts up and protects hope, making themcreative, for they are filled with the Holy Spirit. They even enact a kind of liturgy around the Child as he comes to the Temple. Simeon praises the Lord and Anna “proclaims” salvation (cf. Lk 2:28-32, 38). As with Mary, the elderly man holds the Child, but in fact it is the Child who guides the elderly man. The liturgy of First Vespers of today’s feast puts this clearly and beautifully: “senex puerum portabat, puer autem senem regebat”. Mary, the young mother, and Simeon, the kindly old man, hold the Child in their arms, yet it is the Child himself who guides them both.

 Here it is not young people who are creative: the young, like Mary and Joseph, follow the law of the Lord, the path of obedience. The elderly, like Simeon and Anna, see in the Child the fulfilment of the Law and the promises of God. And they are able to celebrate: the are creative in joy and wisdom. And the Lord turns obedience into wisdom by the working of his Holy Spirit.

 At times God can grant the gift of wisdom to a young person, but always as the fruit of obedience and docility to the Spirit. This obedience and docility is not something theoretical; it too is subject to the economy of the incarnation of the Word: docility and obedience to a founder, docility and obedience to a specific rule, docility and obedience to one’s superior, docility and obedience to the Church. It is always docility and obedience in the concrete.

an excerpt from a homily by Pope Francis, 2 February 2015 on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Posted on Ave Maria

 

Cardinal Tagle and Pope FrancisMost Holy Father,

In the name of the Archdiocese of Manila, of the millions of Filipinos here gathered tonight, in the name also of the people from government, the military, the police, the security people, from the mass communications, from the parishes, and the many benefactors who worked tirelessly for your pastoral visit, and in the name of every Filipino whom you have strengthened in faith these past days, I once again say to you:muchisimas gracias. Thank you very much. Maraming, maraming salamat po.

I know many people want to say thank you to you: the street children, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the informal settlers, the laborers, the farmers, the fisherfolk, the sick, the abandoned elderly people, the families of missing persons, the victims of discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking, the Filipino migrant workers and their families, the survivors of natural calamities and armed conflict, the [non-Catholic Christians], the followers of non-Christian religions, the promoters of peace, especially in our beloved Mindanao, and the whole of creation that grows, all of us want to say again and again, maraming salamat po, Santo Padre. (Thank you very much, Pope).

You often end your meetings and encounters by saying, “I ask you to pray for me.” We, Filipinos, promise: we will pray for you. But we also want to assure you, to remind you that Jesus, Jesus prays for you.

Jesus himself said to Peter, “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your own faith will not fail.” Your Holiness, you are blessed. Jesus prays for you. How blessed you are. And we, your beloved Filipinos, unite ourselves with Jesus in praying for you to God, the Father.

You arrived in the Philippines 3 days ago. Tomorrow, you will go. Every Filipino wants to go with you. Don’t be afraid. Every Filipino wants to go with you – not to Rome – but to the peripheries.

We want to go with you to the shanties, to the prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, the sciences, culture, education, and social communication. We will go to those worlds with you to bring the light of Christ.

Jesus is the center of your pastoral visit and the cornerstone of the visit. We will go, Holy Father, with you where the light of Jesus is needed.

Here in Luneta, the Quirino Grandstand, where heroes are revered, where newly elected presidents take office, and popes meet the Filipino people, here in this place of new beginnings, please, Holy Father, send us as your missionaries of light. Send us.

Before you go, Holy Father, send us, your beloved Filipinos, to spread the light of Jesus, and wherever you see the light of Jesus shining, even in Rome, even in Santa Marta, remember: the Filipino people are with you in spreading the light of Jesus.

Mabuhay ka, Santo PadreSabihin po natin (Let us say): MabuhaySanto Papa! Mabuhay si Kristo! (Long live Christ!) Let the light of Christ shine.

the full transcript of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s message to Pope Francis during the pontiff’s concluding Mass in the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Sunday, January 18 from rappler.com

Posted on Pope Francis Support

 

excerpts from Pope Francis’ full homily to Bishops, Priests, Religious and Seminarians in Manila

All pastoral ministry is born of love. All consecrated life is a sign of Christ’s reconciling love. Like Saint Therese, in the variety of our vocations, each of us is called, in some way, to be love in the heart of the Church.

To be an ambassador for Christ means above all to invite everyone to a renewed personal encounter with the Lord Jesus (Evangelii Gaudium, 3). This invitation must be at the core of your commemoration of the evangelization of the Philippines. But the Gospel is also a summons to conversion, to an examination of our consciences, as individuals and as a people.

Filipino culture has, in fact, been shaped by the imagination of faith. Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary. This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential. It is the way in which your people has inculturated the Gospel and continues to embrace its message (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 122). In your efforts to prepare for the fifth centenary, build on this solid foundation.

Christ died for all so that, having died in him, we might live no longer for ourselves but for him (cf. 2 Cor 5:15). Dear brother bishops, priests and religious: I ask Mary, Mother of the Church, to obtain for all of you an outpouring of zeal, so that you may spend yourselves in selfless service to our brothers and sisters. In this way, may the reconciling love of Christ penetrate ever more fully into the fabric of Filipino society and, through you, to the farthest reaches of the world.

full text at catholicnewsagency.com

Posted on Pope Francis Support

 

Baptism of Christ, St. John Altarpiece - Giovanni Bellini“He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth.

He who comes from heaven is above all.

And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.

He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.”

Posted on Ave Maria

 

Adoration Of The Kings BY Burne Jones

The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East: our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great “books” which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us. As the Psalm says in referring to the Law of the Lord: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Listening to the Gospel, reading it, meditating on it and making it our spiritual nourishment especially allows us to encounter the living Jesus, to experience him and his love.

more on Pope Francis’ homily

Posted on Ave Maria, Pope Francis Support

 

Locutions to the World

The beginning locutions are very special; focusing on the Fatima Vision (released by the Vatican (June 2000).

Concerning Private Revelations: These are private revelations and there is no need to believe them. If these revelations help your faith, then receive them. If not, you can set them aside. We are called to believe only public revelations.

The locutions are posted twice a week. Visit their site at www.locutions.org.

Ave Maria Online Magazine
Extravagant displays of devotion to Mary gets curtailed as world culture emphasizes the rational, scientific and technological aspects of life. There seems to be no more time for the more affective expressions of religion.

  Then, after a while, people get fed up with the absolutely rational and logical culture, and rediscover religion and the affective part of the human soul and its needs.

  And Mary is one of those.

Pledge to pray the rosary
For Our Lady of Fatima
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Love and support for Pope Francis
The Church is certainly a human and historical institution with all that entails, yet her nature is not essentially political but spiritual: the Church is the People of God, Holy People of God making its way to encounter Jesus Christ. Only from this perspective can a satisfactory account be given of the Church's life and activity.

  Christ is the Church's Pastor, but his presence in history passes through the freedom of human beings; from their midst one is chosen to serve as his Vicar, the successor of the Apostle Peter.

  Yet Christ remains the center, not the Sucessor of Peter: Christ, Christ is the centre.

Pledge 3 Hail Marys for Pope Francis
3 Hail Marys for Pope Francis
Offer up 3 Hail Marys for Pope Francis today

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A Million Roses for the World
A gift of love, faith and goodwill from the people of the Philippines. Pope Pius IX once said: “Give me an army praying a million rosaries a day and we will conquer the world.” We are not out to conquer the world…but to save it for God to whom it rightly belongs.

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