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

 

Papal Itinerary for January 2015

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Manila from Sri Lanka, the first leg of his Asian trip, by plane past 5 p.m. on January 15, and will go on a motorcade to his residence. The following morning, January 16, Pope Francis will be officially welcomed by President Benigno S. Aquino III at Malacañan Palace on J. P. Laurel Street in Manila. The Pope will also meet Philippine authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.

After the Palace reception, Pope Francis will go on a motorcade to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) in Intramuros for a Mass with bishops, priests, and women and men religious. Later, he will have an encounter with families at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

In Leyte Province in Eastern Visayas, Pope Francis will visit the Archdiocese of Palo. He will offer Mass near Tacloban Airport in the morning of January 17 and will have lunch with the poor and survivors of natural calamities at the residence of the Archbishop of Palo. Afterwards he will bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor in Palo, and visit the Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration (Palo Cathedral) to meet with priests and women and men religious.

On January 18, the Pope will meet religious leaders and young people at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila. In the afternoon, he will go on a motorcade for the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal (Luneta) Park.

Pope Francis will leave for Rome on January 19.

The official itinerary is as follows:

January 15, 2015

Arrival from Sri Lanka – Villamor Air Base (5:45 p.m.)

Motorcade to official residence

January 16, 2015

Welcome Ceremony – Malacañan Palace, Manila (9:15 a.m.)

Courtesy Visit to the President

Meeting with Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps (10:15 a.m.)

Motorcade to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral)

Holy Mass with Bishops, Priests, and Women and Men Religious – Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) (11:15 a.m.)

Motorcade to the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay

Meeting with the Families – Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay (5:30 p.m.)

January 17, 2015

Departure for the Archdiocese of Palo – Villamor Air Base (8:15 a.m.)

Arrival at Tacloban Airport (9:30 a.m.)

Holy Mass near Tacloban Airport (10:00 a.m.)

Lunch with the Poor and Survivors of Calamities at Gonzagahaus (Residence of the Archbishop of Palo) – Palo, Leyte (12:45 p.m.)

Blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor – Palo, Leyte (3:00 p.m.)

Meeting with the Priests and Women and Men Religious at Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration (Palo Cathedral) – Palo, Leyte (3:30 p.m.)

Departure for Manila (5:00 p.m.)

Arrival at Manila – Villamor Air Base (6:15 p.m.)

January 18, 2015

Brief Meeting with Religious Leaders – Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila (9:45 a.m.)

Meeting with the Youth – Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila (10:30 a.m.)

Motorcade to Rizal Park, Manila

Concluding Mass, Rizal Park, Manila (3:30 p.m.)

January 19, 2015

Motorcade from official residence

Leave-taking ceremony at Villamor Air Base (9:45 a.m.)

Departure for Rome – Villamor Air Base (10:00 a.m.)

from varsitarian.net

Posted on Pope Francis Support

 

Mary is so closely united to Jesus because she received from him the knowledge of the heart, the knowledge of faith, nourished by her experience as a mother and by her close relationship with her Son. The Blessed Virgin is the woman of faith who made room for God in her heart and in her plans; she is the believer capable of perceiving in the gift of her Son the coming of that “fullness of time”(Gal 4:4) in which God, by choosing the humble path of human existence, entered personally into the history of salvation. That is why Jesus cannot be understood without his Mother.

Likewise inseparable are Christ and the Church – because the Church and Mary are always together and this is precisely the mystery of womanhood in the ecclesial community – and the salvation accomplished by Jesus cannot be understood without appreciating the motherhood of the Church. To separate Jesus from the Church would introduce an “absurd dichotomy”, as Blessed Paul VI wrote (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 16). It is not possible “to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church” (ibid.). For the Church is herself God’s great family, which brings Christ to us.

Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God who became man, was put to death, rose from the dead to save us, and is now living in our midst. Where can we encounter him? We encounter him in the Church, in our hierarchical, Holy Mother Church. It is the Church which says today: “Behold the Lamb of God”; it is the Church, which proclaims him; it is in the Church that Jesus continues to accomplish his acts of grace which are the sacraments.

This, the Church’s activity and mission, is an expression of her motherhood. For she is like a mother who tenderly holds Jesus and gives him to everyone with joy and generosity. No manifestation of Christ, even the most mystical, can ever be detached from the flesh and blood of the Church, from the historical concreteness of the Body of Christ. Without the Church, Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.

Dear brothers and sisters! Jesus Christ is the blessing for every man and woman, and for all of humanity. The Church, in giving us Jesus, offers us the fullness of the Lord’s blessing. This is precisely the mission of the people of God: to spread to all peoples God’s blessing made flesh in Jesus Christ.

And Mary, the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus, the first and most perfect believer, the model of the pilgrim Church, is the one who opens the way to the Church’s motherhood and constantly sustains her maternal mission to all mankind. Mary’s tactful maternal witness has accompanied the Church from the beginning. She, the Mother of God, is also the Mother of the Church, and through the Church, the mother of all men and women, and of every people.

an excerpt from Pope Francis’ Homily in the Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Posted on Ave Maria, Pope Francis Support

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born for us, born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, fulfilling the ancient prophecies. The Virgin’s name is Mary, the wife of Joseph.

Humble people, full of hope in the goodness of God, are those who welcome Jesus and recognize him. And so the Holy Spirit enlightened the shepherds of Bethlehem, who hastened to the grotto and adored the Child. Then the Spirit led the elderly and humble couple Simeon and Anna into the temple of Jerusalem, and they recognized in Jesus the Messiah. “My eyes have seen your salvation”, Simeon exclaimed, “the salvation prepared by God in the sight of all peoples” (Lk 2:30).

Yes, brothers and sisters, Jesus is the salvation for every person and for every people!

Today I ask him, the Saviour of the world, to look upon our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, who for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict, and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution. May Christmas bring them hope, as indeed also to the many displaced persons, exiles and refugees, children, adults and elderly, from this region and from the whole world. May indifference be changed into closeness and rejection into hospitality, so that all who now are suffering may receive the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigours of winter, return to their countries and live with dignity. May the Lord open hearts to trust, and may he bestow his peace upon the whole Middle East, beginning with the land blessed by his birth, thereby sustaining the efforts of those committed effectively to dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

May Jesus, Saviour of the world, protect all who suffer in Ukraine, and grant that their beloved land may overcome tensions, conquer hatred and violence, and set out on a new journey of fraternity and reconciliation.

May Christ the Saviour give peace to Nigeria, where [even in these hours] more blood is being shed and too many people are unjustly deprived of their possessions, held as hostages or killed. I invoke peace also on the other parts of the African continent, thinking especially of Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and various regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I beseech all who have political responsibility to commit themselves through dialogue to overcoming differences and to building a lasting, fraternal coexistence.

May Jesus save the vast numbers of children who are victims of violence, made objects of trade and trafficking, or forced to become soldiers; children, so many abused children. May he give comfort to the families of the children killed in Pakistan last week. May he be close to all who suffer from illness, especially the victims of the Ebola epidemic, above all in Liberia, in Sierra Leone and in Guinea. As I thank all who are courageously dedicated to assisting the sick and their family members, I once more make an urgent appeal that the necessary assistance and treatment be provided.

The Child Jesus. My thoughts turn to all those children today who are killed and ill-treated, be they infants killed in the womb, deprived of that generous love of their parents and then buried in the egoism of a culture that does not love life; be they children displaced due to war and persecution, abused and taken advantage of before our very eyes and our complicit silence. I think also of those infants massacred in bomb attacks, also those where the Son of God was born. Even today, their impotent silence cries out under the sword of so many Herods. On their blood stands the shadow of contemporary Herods. Truly there are so many tears this Christmas, together with the tears of the Infant Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Holy Spirit today enlighten our hearts, that we may recognize in the Infant Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, the salvation given by God to each one of us, to each man and woman and to all the peoples of the earth. May the power of Christ, which brings freedom and service, be felt in so many hearts afflicted by war, persecution and slavery. May this divine power, by its meekness, take away the hardness of heart of so many men and women immersed in worldliness and indifference, the globalization of indifference. May his redeeming strength transform arms into ploughshares, destruction into creativity, hatred into love and tenderness. Then we will be able to cry out with joy: “Our eyes have seen your salvation”.

With these thoughts I wish you all a Happy Christmas!

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
CHRISTMAS – 25 December 2014

Posted on Pope Francis Support

 

Advent JoyJohn is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever. Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.

However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts. When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart. When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine. In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find a place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you. The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away. The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart, and yet it is still also in mine. […]

The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence. Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying: “I speak out in order to lead him into your hearts, but he does not choose to come where I lead him unless you prepare the way for him.”

To prepare the way means to pray well; it means thinking humbly of oneself. We should take our lesson from John the Baptist. He is thought to be the Christ; he declares he is not what they think. He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory. If he had said, “I am the Christ,” you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke. But he did not say it; he acknowledged what he was. He pointed out clearly who he was; he humbled himself. He saw where his salvation lay. He understood that he was a lamp, and his fear was that it might be blown out by the wind of pride.

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

Posted on Ave Maria

 

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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