Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, January 28, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church


Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 320
Reading I
Heb 10:19-25
Brothers and sisters: 
Since through the Blood of Jesus 
we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary 
by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, 
that is, his flesh,
and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” 
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, 
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 
and our bodies washed in pure water.
 
 Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, 
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
We should not stay away from our assembly, 
as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, 
and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Responsorial Psalm
24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
R.    (see 6)  Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
    the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
    and established it upon the rivers.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
    or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
    who desires not what is vain.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
    a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
    that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Alleluia
Ps 119:105
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
Mk 4:21-25
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; 
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, 
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given; 
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint January 28 : St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church and Dominican Patron of Catholic Universities, Colleges, and Schools


Born:
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
Died:
7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
Canonized:
July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:
Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:
Catholic universities, colleges, and schoolsToday, January 28, we celebrate the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church, patron saint of universities and students, and the greatest teacher of the medieval Catholic Church. Alternately referred to as the Angelic Doctor and the Universal Doctor, the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas greatly influenced not only Church doctrine, but schools of theological and philosophical thought. Candidates for the priesthood are instructed to model themselves after this holy man, and Pope Benedict XV declared that his teachings were the teachings of the Church, herself. By universal consent, this holy man is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and divine revelation.
Thomas was born in Aquino, Italy (the name “Aquinas” is not his surname, but translates as “of Aquino”), the son of the Count of Aquino. At the ago of five years old, his father placed him in the care of the monks at the Benedictine Monastery at Monte Casino. He was immediately observed to excel at the scholastic life, and his teachers were astounded not only by his eagerness to learn and aptitude for difficult concepts, but also by the virtuous manner in which he lived his life. As he grew older, he was sent to Naples to continue his studies, where he first encountered the philosophy of Aristotle.
His father, who had hoped he would enter the Benedictine Order upon reaching the age of consent was dismayed to learn that Thomas had other plans. Renouncing all his worldly ties and possessions, Thomas entered the Dominican Order in Naples. His family, for their part, did all in their power to convince him otherwise, first kidnapping him, and later sending him all manners of temptation (including “impure women”) to lead him astray. However, Thomas remained constant in his pursuits of the Lord, and maintained perfect chastity throughout his life (which is why he is referred to as the “Angelic Doctor.”)
Upon ordination, Thomas left Naples and traveled to Paris and Cologne, Germany, where he studied under the tutelage of Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the "dumb ox" because of his silent ways and huge size, but his brilliance as a student was evident in his writings. While he pursued his philosophical and theological writings, Thomas held two tenures as professor at the University of Paris. During that time, he resided at the court of Pope Urban IV, under whose direction he combated all forms of heresy and adversaries of the Church. Thomas similarly directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, traveling between them as frequently as needed. He received his doctorate at the age of 31.
While a gifted preacher, the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas (which fill twenty volumes) are considered his greatest contribution to the Catholic Church. His writings reconcile the unity of faith and reason, of those things revealed by God, and those things discovered through natural human knowledge. The breadth and depth of his theory encompass the entirety of the natural order, as a cherished and divine gift granted to us by God. Pope John Paul II affirmed the importance of this tradition, saying: "The whole living tradition of the Church teaches us this: faith seeks understanding, and understanding seeks faith. Both the need to understand and the need to believe are deeply rooted in man's heart. It is for this reason that the Church herself was the point of departure for the creation of universities.” Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI asserted, “With his charism as a philosopher and theologian, he [Thomas] offered an effective model of harmony between reason and faith, dimensions of the human spirit that are completely fulfilled in the encounter and dialogue with one another. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he [Thomas] argued; hence there can be no contradiction between them.” Prior to his death, Saint Thomas Aquinas undertook to deal with the entirety of Catholic theology. His most acclaimed work, the Summa Theologiae, although incomplete summarizes the theological underpinnings of our faith in a scientific and rational manner. Saint Thomas ceased writing this work following a supernatural encounter with the Lord while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. During Mass, he is said to have heard the voice of Jesus asking him what he most desired. Thomas is said to have replied, “Only you, Lord,” following which he experienced something which he never revealed. Following that experience, he stopped writing, explaining, “I cannot go on… All I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” Saint Thomas fell ill (likely from overwork) at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova, and died peacefully while providing commentary on the Song of Songs. His remains were placed in the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse in 1369.
Prayer for Guidance
O creator past all telling, you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe. You we call the true fount of wisdom and the noble origin of all things. Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born, The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin. You make eloquent the tongues of children. Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness. Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember; make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak. Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth. You are true God and true man, and live for ever and ever. Amen.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog
SEE ALSO: 

Novena to St. Thomas Aquinas - Patron of Students - Powerful Prayers to Share!

Free Catholic Movie : Saint Vincent Pallotti - FULL Film - 1985

St. Vincent Pallotti - Faithful Radical - Film produced by the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 150th anniversary of the Union of Catholic Apostolate in 1985.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Pope Francis says "To remember is a condition for a better future of peace..." FULL TEXT



On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Pope Francis says "To remember is a condition for a better future of peace..."
At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day,  on the anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. 
 

 FULL TEXT:
Today, the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Extermination Camp of Auschwitz, we celebrate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and all those persecuted and deported by the Nazi regime. Remembrance is an expression of humanity. Remembrance is a sign of civilization. To remember is a condition for a better future of peace and fraternity. Remembrance also means being careful because these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that are intended to save a people and end up destroying a people and humanity. Be aware of how this road of death, extermination and brutality began. 
***************
 Pope Francis visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, during his visit to Poland in 2016. He became the third Pope to visit the site, after Pope St John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He prayed in silence in the cell of St Maximilian Kolbe, who gave his life for a fellow prisoner in the camp; and later met with Auschwitz survivors. (Edited from VaticanNews and Vatican.va)

Bishops of Germany Release Statement Rejecting Assisted Suicide for Patients in its Institutions "God is a Friend of Life" FULL TEXT



Assisting people in the dark moments of their lives - promoting hospice and palliative work, preventing assisted suicide

Declaration by the Permanent Council of the German Bishops' Conference

The Permanent Council of the German Bishops' Conference dealt extensively with the question of assisted suicide and the public discussion at its video conference (January 25-26, 2021). At the end of its deliberations, the Permanent Council declares:

“With its judgment of February 26, 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court declared Section 217 of the Criminal Code to be unconstitutional. This made business-like aiding and abetting suicide a criminal offense. The court is of the opinion that respect for human dignity requires that the possibility of voluntary suicide be kept open. The individual is also given the right to accept help in suicide. At the same time, the judges also see that freedom of decision can be restricted, especially at the end of life. That is why they give the legislature the possibility of regulating assisted suicide in such a way that freedom of choice is preserved, but at the same time people are protected against hasty or even externally determined implementation of a wish to die.

Immediately after the verdict was published, the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference and the chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany issued a joint statement that made critical comments.

The judgment and the resulting discussion about a new legal regulation challenge the church in its pastoral care, but also as a provider of services and institutions of welfare care. The Permanent Council of the German Bishops' Conference takes a very differentiated view of these challenges. From a Christian point of view, too, human freedom to shape life according to one's own ideas in every phase of life is of fundamental importance. A free legal system that is committed to protecting human autonomy is a valuable asset. This self-determination, respected by the rule of law, must of course also apply in death. However, this does not make assisted suicide an ethically acceptable option. The German bishops are aware that there can be situations in life in which people develop suicidal wishes or even feel pressured to commit suicidal acts. Such situations elude a final moral judgment from outside.

A look at current suicide research shows, however, that a suicide wish in most cases is the result of fear, despair and hopelessness in extreme situations and therefore cannot be understood as an expression of self-determination. In these situations, respect for self-determination does not mean accepting the desire or decision to commit suicide unquestioningly or viewing suicide as a normal form of dying.

 For Christians, life is a gift entrusted to them by God. It is beyond our availability and therefore needs to be preserved until the end. We therefore expect that all efforts will be directed towards creating better opportunities for a tolerable end to life. Palliative care and hospice work must be promoted. Professional help with depression is also crucial. Especially life in dark moments, in despair or in serious illness retains its dignity. We want to stand up for this as a church - especially with our institutions - and support people so that they do not lose faith and hope. God is a friend of life who - as the prophet Isaiah says - does not break the kinked reed and does not extinguish the smoldering wick (cf. Is 42: 3).

The Permanent Council is therefore of the conviction that making assisted suicide possible is not the right answer to the life situations of people who develop or intend to commit suicide. In this situation it is about the development of life prospects and especially not about helping people to commit suicide. In addition, we consider the subtle pressure to consent to assisted suicide out of fear of becoming a burden to others at the end of life as a great danger. We believe that this pressure could no longer be kept away from the sick and the dying if assisted suicide became a normal model of dying.

Christian pastoral care approaches the person with an open mind. It is based on the Christian message of hope and is on the side of life. Pastoral workers accept people for who they are and at the same time offer them guidance. The doctors, nurses and carers in our church and charitable institutions have also committed themselves to promoting life in this way. Making it possible to offer assisted suicide in these facilities would not be compatible with the essence of our commitment to life. "

FULL TEXT Official Release Internet Translation: https://www.dbk.de/presse/aktuelles/meldung/menschen-in-den-dunkeln-momenten-ihres-lebens-beistehen-hospiz-und-palliativarbeit-foerdern-assistierten-suizid-verhindern

RIP Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue - Death of the Beloved Emeritus Bishop of Lancaster, England at Age 86



Death of Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue Emeritus Bishop of Lancaster, England.
 It is with sadness that we were informed today of the death of Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue. He died peacefully this morning in Nazareth House, Drommahane, Mallow, Co. Cork, in the Republic of Ireland.
Bishop Patrick was born at Mourne Abbey, Co. Cork, 4th May 1934, his parents were Daniel and Sheila O’Donoghue. He was ordained Priest 25th May 1957, ordained as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Westminster 29th June 1993.
He was installed as the fifth Bishop of Lancaster 4th July 2001, and retired 1st May 2009, returning to Ireland.Bishop Patrick’s health declined in recent years, but particularly over recent months.He had requested to be buried close to his parents in Mourneabbey. 
The Requiem Mass will be celebrated in the church of St.Michael the Archangel, Analeentha, Co.Cork. It will be live-streamed. Details will be made available on Monday 25th JanuaryFor anyone who knew him or worked closely with him during his time as Bishop of Lancaster, it was clear how completely he had given his life to the Lord.He was an immense gift to us, serving with courage, wisdom and above all with charity. 
How fitting it is that he should be called to the highest vocation during this year devoted to the great father-figure, Patron of the Universal Church, and patron of a happy death, Saint Joseph.We express our gratitude for the Sisters and Staff of Nazareth House who have cared for him especially in recent times. Please keep his family in your prayers.
Source: 
Bishop Padrick’s coat of arms carries the shepherd’s crook, the pelican feeding her young on her own flesh, the Lancashire rose, the image of Our Lady of Furness, the Book of the Gospels and three flames denoting the Most Holy Trinity and the fire of Pentecost. His motto simply states from the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the poor’.
A Requiem Mass will be arranged for Bishop O’Donoghue in Lancaster Cathedral in the near future.

LISTEN to the Official Theme Song for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal - Just Released "There's a rush in the air" (Há Pressa no Ar)


Official theme song for World Youth Day 2023 has been released “Há Pressa no Ar” is the theme song. It recalls Mary’s visitation to meet her cousin Elizabeth and her “yes” to the Angel Gabriel at the annunciation of the birth of Our Lord. 
World Youth Day (WYD) 2023, is scheduled to take place in Lisbon, Portugal. The song was released on January 27, 2021.
It is entitled “Há Pressa no Ar” ("There's a rush in the air"), the song was inspired by the WYD 2023 theme: “Mary rose up and went with haste” (Lk 1:39). 
According to VaticanNews, Young people from all over the world are invited to identify with Our Lady when singing the song, “disposing themselves to serve, to the mission and to the transformation of the world”. The lyrics also evoke the "party" of WYD and the joy that comes from Jesus.
 
 
The theme song was recorded in two versions: one in Portuguese and the other in an international version that includes Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian. 
 The lyrics to the WYD 2023 theme song were authored by João Paulo Vaz, a priest, while the music was composed by Pedro Ferreira, a teacher and musician, both from the Diocese of Coimbra in the center region of Portugal. The muscial arrangements were made by the musician Carlos Garcia. “Há Pressa no Ar” was selected through a national contest open to the participation of Portuguese people of legal age. 
Participants in the contest were required to take their inspiration from the WYD 2023 theme, set by Pope Francis; the aims of WYD, highlighting the theme of evangelization; and the Portuguese culture. Over one hundred entries were sent in to the Local Organization Committee (LOC) and were evaluated by a jury of Arts and Music professionals. The producing process was completed in 2021 with the participation of young people from all over the country, as well as some participants in the competition who, despite not being selected, were involved in the final recording. 
 Pedro Ferreira, 41, composed a melody “thought to congregate, to gather a community” in a small room alone by the piano. Alongside some other friends from the “Parish Band,” his musical group, Ferreira asked Fr. João Paulo Vaz to write the lyrics. Fr. Vaz recalls not changing the melody. With “a guitar in my hands, I started writing, just like I usually do,” said the 51-year-old priest. 
 The song style is “a popular song, cheerful, young, easy to learn and easy to translate and to adapt” according to the requirements of the national contest. Fr. Vaz recalls that the theme of the Portuguese edition: “Mary rose up and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) helped him revise his own relationship with Our Lady, and then the lyrics creative process became “a very deep time of praying.”
Edited from VaticanNews.va

Archbishop Martin, Primate of Ireland Apologizes to Survivors of Mother and Baby Homes "For that I am truly sorry and ask the forgiveness..." FULL TEXT



Statement by Archbishop Eamon Martin on the publication of Research Report on Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland
26. JAN, 2021
The month of January 2021 will go down in history as the time when the people of Ireland – north and south – came face to face with a stark reality of our past which we preferred would remain hushed and hidden – the way we stigmatised and harshly judged many vulnerable pregnant women in crisis and treated them and their children in such a cold and uncaring manner.  We made them feel guilty and ashamed.

As a Catholic Church leader in Ireland it is I who now feel embarrassed and guilty over the way in which we in the Church contributed to, and bolstered, that culture of concealment, condemnation, and self-righteousness.  For that I am truly sorry and ask the forgiveness of survivors.  How did we so obscure the love and mercy and compassion of Christ which is at the very heart of the Gospel?  Shame on us.

The persistence and the powerful testimonies of these same courageous survivors has lifted the lid on this dark chapter of our shared history and exposed our hypocrisy to the glaring light.

The important work of Dr McCormick, Professor O’Connell and their team is another step on the journey towards revealing the full truth of our past.  I thank them for their Report and encourage everyone to spend time with it, reflecting in particular on the striking oral history section which grounds their research in the testimonies of mothers and their children.

The story of Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Ireland – north and south – touches the lives of countless families across this island.  No doubt it will rekindle troubling memories and raise difficult questions for many of us.  However we can all play a part in the journey towards healing and reparation.  We can also ensure that lessons are learned for the present and the future.  No mother or child today should be made to feel unwelcome, unwanted or unloved.  No father today should shirk his responsibilities.  No priest or bishop or religious sister or any lay member of the Church today should deny the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.  No family today should shun their child to protect some misguided notion of “respectability” in the parish and community.  We still have so much to learn and so much work to do.

It is clear from the Research Report that there is scope for further investigation or inquiry into aspects of this complex story.  I encourage all in leadership within the Church and State to extend their full cooperation with the work of the independent investigation announced today so that those who have been most impacted can be helped to find hope and peace for the future.

ENDS

RIP Bishop Anthony Banzi - Death of Humble Bishop from Tanzania, Africa after Battle with Cancer


Death of Humble Bishop from Tanzania, Africa after Battle with Cancer.
Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania Kassim Majaliwa has called on Tanzanians to honor the legacy of Late Bishop Anthony Banzi, whose pastoral services were marked by humility.
He made the comments during the burial ceremony of Bishop Banzi who passed on 20th December, 2020 Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), in Dar es Salaam, where he was receiving treatment. The funeral service of the departed Bishop, aged 74, was held at St Anthony of Padua Cathedral, Tanga Catholic Diocese.
Representing President Magufuli, Majaliwa said Bishop Banzi was a true man of God who devoted his life to teaching and guiding people to God.
In a farewell Mass held at Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) headquarters, Kurasini, Dar es Salaam, presided over by Lindi Catholic Diocese Bishop Bruno Ngonyani, the Nuncio for Tanzania His Grace Marek Solczyński read a condolence message from Pope Francis who thanked God for Bishop Banzi’s years of ministry in the world.
Bishop Banzi was born on October 28, 1946 in Tawa Parish, Catholic Diocese of Morogoro, and served the church for 47 years as priest, and 26 years as bishop.
Image Source: Diocese of Tanga, Tanzania

United Nations Includes the Geneva Consensus Declaration Signed by 34 Countries to Protect the Unborn



UN includes the Geneva Declaration for the Protection of Life.
The document states is no international right to abortion - with a commitment to protecting life, improving women's health and strengthening the traditional family that are among the goals of the Geneva Consensus Declaration. The Full Text can be viewed on the US Government website here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/geneva-consensus-declaration-english.pdf

The UN General Assembly has included the “ Geneva Consensus Declaration ” signed by 34 countries in October 2020 in its minutes - to see the Full Document on the UN Website click here:
https://undocs.org/en/A/75/626 
The Institute for Marriage and Family (IEF), of Vienna, noted that the US circulated the declaration as an official document of the United Nations in mid-December and presented it to the General Assembly. The undersigned states emphasize that there is no right to abortion and that the classic family is the basis of society. The goals formulated in the declaration include improving health care for women and protecting national sovereignty. There could be no international obligation to finance abortion, the statement said. The declaration is not binding, but documents the attitude of the signatory states, in which a total of 1.6 billion people live.
While, it can be assumed that UN organizations will continue to promote abortions, many member states that have signed the declaration could hold the UN accountable in the event of abuse of abortion. The “Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women's Health and Strengthening Families” was jointly initiated by Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, Uganda, the USA and Hungary.

Pope Francis explains "the Bible should not be read like a novel, it must be accompanied by prayer – “so that a dialogue takes place between God and man” FULL TEXT


POPE FRANCIS

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 27 January 2021

  Catechesis on prayer - 22. The prayer with the Sacred Scripture

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today I would like to focus on the prayer we can do beginning with a Bible passage. The words of the Sacred Scripture were not written to remain imprisoned on papyrus, parchment or paper, but to be received by a person who prays, making them blossom in his or her heart. The Word of God goes to the heart.

The Catechism affirms that: “prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture” – the Bible should not be read like a novel, it must be accompanied by prayer – “so that a dialogue takes place between God and man” (no. 2653). This is where prayer leads you, because it is a dialogue with God. That Bible verse was written for me too, centuries and centuries ago, to bring me a word of God. It was written for every one of us. This experience happens to all believers: a passage from the Scripture, heard many times already, unexpectedly speaks to me one day, and enlightens a situation that I am living. But it is necessary that I, that day, be present for that appointment with that Word. That I may be there, listening to the Word. Every day God passes and sows a seed in the soil of our lives. We do not know whether today he will find dry ground, brambles, or good soil that will make that seed grow (cf. Mk 4:3-9). That they become for us the living Word of God depends on us, on our prayer, on the open heart with which we approach the Scriptures. God passes, continually, and through the Scripture. And here I return to what I said last week, to what Saint Augustine said: “I am afraid of God when he passes”. Why is he afraid? That he will not listen to him. That I will not realize that he is the Lord.

Through prayer a new incarnation of the Word takes place. And we are the “tabernacles” where the words of God want to be welcomed and preserved, so that they may visit the world. This is why we must approach the Bible without ulterior motives, without exploiting it. The believer does not turn to the Holy Scriptures to support his or her own philosophical and moral view, but because he or she hopes for an encounter; the believer knows that those words were written in the Holy Spirit, and that therefore in that same Spirit they must be welcomed and understood, so that the encounter can occur.

It irritates me a little when I hear Christians who recite verses from the Bible like parrots. “Oh, yes… Oh, the Lord says… He wants this…”. But did you encounter the Lord, with that verse? It is not a question only of memory: it is a question of the memory of the heart, that which opens you to the encounter with the Lord. And that word, that verse, leads you to the encounter with the Lord.

Therefore, we read the Scriptures because they “read us”. And it is a grace to be able to recognize oneself in this passage or that character, in this or that situation. The Bible was not written for a generic humanity, but for us, for me, for you, for men and women in flesh and blood, men and women who have a name and a surname, like me, like you. And the Word of God, infused with the Holy Spirit, when it is received with an open heart, does not leave things as they were before: never. Something changes. And this is the grace and the strength of the Word of God.

The Christian tradition is rich in experiences and reflections on prayer with the Sacred Scripture. In particular, the method of “Lectio divina” has been established; it originated in monastic circles, but is now also practised by Christians who frequent their parishes. It is first of all a matter of reading the biblical passage attentively: this is Lectio divina, first and foremost reading the Bible passage attentively, or more: I would say with “obedience” to the text, to understand what it means in and of itself. One then enters into dialogue with Scripture, so that those words become a cause for meditation and prayer: while remaining faithful to the text, I begin to ask myself what it “says to me”. This is a delicate step: we must not slip into subjective interpretations, but we must be part of the living way of Tradition, which unites each of us to Sacred Scripture. The last step of Lectio divina is contemplation. Words and thoughts give way here to love, as between lovers who sometimes look at each other in silence. The biblical text remains, but like a mirror, like an icon to be contemplated. And in this way, there is dialogue.

Through prayer, the Word of God comes to abide in us and we abide in it. The Word inspires good intentions and sustains action; it gives us strength and serenity, and even when it challenges us, it gives us peace. On “weird” and confusing days, it guarantees to the heart a core of confidence and of love that protects it from the attacks of the evil one.

In this way the Word of God is made flesh – allow me to use this expression - it is made flesh in those who receive it in prayer. The intuition emerges in some ancient texts that Christians identify so completely with the Word that, even if all the Bibles in the world were to be burned, its “mold” would still be saved because of the imprint it has left on the life of the saints. This is a beautiful expression.

Christian life is at the same time a work of obedience and creativity. A good Christian must be obedient, but he or she must be creative. Obedient, because he listens to the Word of God; creative, because she has the Holy Spirit within who drives her to be so, to lead her on. Jesus, at the end of one of his parables, makes this comparison – he says, “Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure – the heart - what is new and what is old” (Mt 13:52). The Holy Scriptures are an inexhaustible treasure. May the Lord grant to all of us to draw ever more from them, though prayer.


Special Greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. May the Holy Spirit lead us to appreciate more deeply the light that Sacred Scripture shines upon our daily lives. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. God bless you!

Je salue cordialement les personnes de langue française. Je vous invite à lire et à prier chaque jour quelque versets de la Parole de Dieu, pour donner force, sérénité et paix à votre vie. Et que Dieu vous bénisse !

[I cordially greet the French-speaking faithful. I invite you to read and pray every day a few verses of God's Word, to give strength, serenity and peace to your life. God bless you!]


I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. May the Holy Spirit lead us to appreciate more deeply the light that Sacred Scripture shines upon our daily lives. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. God bless you!


[I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. The Holy Spirit leads us to receive more and more the Holy Scriptures as a lamp that illuminates the steps of our daily life. On you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. God bless you!]


Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Gläubigen deutscher Sprache. Wählen wir jeden Morgen ein Wort der Bibel als unseren Begleiter für den Tag. Es wird uns helfen, Gottes Willen besser zu verstehen und zu leben. Der Heilige Geist leite euch auf their Wegen.


[Greetings to the German-speaking faithful. We choose a Bible phrase each morning as a companion for our day. It will help us to better understand God's will and to live it. The Holy Spirit will guide you on your journey.]

Saludo cordialmente a los fieles de lengua española. Los animo a acercarse a la Palabra de Dios con obediencia y creatividad. En ella encontramos un tesoro inagotable al que podemos acceder todos los días mediante la oración, y ella nos irá trasformando y llenándonos de gran alegría. Que el Señor los bendiga.

I cordially greet the Spanish-speaking faithful. I encourage you to approach the Word of God with obedience and creativity. In it we find an inexhaustible treasure that we can access every day through prayer, and it will transform us and fill us with great joy. May the Lord bless you.

De coração, saúdo os ouvintes de língua portuguesa. Que nada vos impeça de viver e crescer na amizade do Senhor Jesus, e testemunhar a todos a sua grande bondade e misericórdia! Desça generosamente a sua Bênção sobre vós e vossas famílias.

[From the bottom of my heart, I greet the Portuguese-speaking listeners. Nothing prevents you from living and growing in the friendship of the Lord Jesus, and witnessing to all his great goodness and mercy! May His Blessing generously descend upon you and your families.]


أحيّي المؤمنينَ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية. الكتّابُ المقدس هو كنزٌ لا ينضب. ليهبْنا الرّبُّ يسوع أن نستقي دائمًا منه ونزداد ، وذلك بالصّلاة. ليباركْكُم الرّبُّ جميعًا ولْيَحمِكُم دائمًا من كلِّ شر!

[Greetings to the faithful of the Arabic language. The Bible is an inexhaustible treasure. May the Lord grant us to draw more and more to you through prayer. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil!]


Pozdrawiam serdecznie Polaków. Dzisiaj w liturgii obchodzimy wspomnienie św. Anieli Merici, założycielki Towarzystwa św. Urszuli. Z jej duchowości wyrosły liczne zgromadzenia sióstr Urszulanek, obecnych także w Polsce. Św. Aniela, zainspirowana Słowem Bożym, pragnęła, aby siostry, bezgranicznie oddane Bogu i ubogim, z odwagą puedejmowały pracę wychowawczą wśród dzieci i młodzieży. Zachęcała: „Trzymając się starych dróg (…) czyńcie życie nowe!”. Życzę, aby za jej przykładem, codzienna lektura Pisma świętego pomagała wam świadczyć z radością o waszej wierze. Z serca wam błogosławię.

[I cordially greet the Poles. Today we celebrate the liturgical memory of Sant’Angela Merici, founder of the Compagnia di Sant’Ursola. Numerous Congregations of Ursaline flourished from his spirituality, also present in Poland. Inspired by the Word of God, St. Angela desired that the sisters, unreservedly devoted to God and the poor, courageously take on the educational work among children and young people. He recommended, "Keep the old way (…) and make new life!" Following his example, I hope that daily reading of Scripture will help you to joyfully witness to your faith. I bless you from the bottom of my heart.]

* * *

I extend a cordial greeting to the faithful of the Italian language. Tomorrow is the liturgical memory of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of Catholic schools. His example pushes everyone, especially the students, to see in Jesus the only teacher of life; while his doctrine encourages you to rely on the wisdom of the heart to fulfill your mission.

Finally, my thoughts go, as usual, to the elderly, the young, the sick


APPEAL

Today, the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Extermination Camp of Auschwitz, we celebrate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and all those persecuted and deported by the Nazi regime. Remembrance is an expression of humanity. Remembrance is a sign of civilization. To remember is a condition for a better future of peace and fraternity. Remembrance also means being careful because these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that are intended to save a people and end up destroying a people and humanity. Be aware of how this road of death, extermination and brutality began. 

FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va