An extract from the Pope's letter to the International Commission against the Death Penalty.
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS)- This morning the Holy Father
received in audience a delegation from the International Commission
against the Death Penalty. Below we offer extensive extracts from the
letter the Pope gave to Federico Mayor, president of the Commission, to
greet and offer his personal thanks to all the members of the
aforementioned International Commission, the group of countries that
lend their support, and all those who collaborate in its work.
would like to take this opportunity to share with you some reflections
on what the Church contributes to the humanistic efforts of the
Commission. The Church's Magisterium, based on the Sacred Scripture and
the thousand-year experience of the People of God, defends life from
conception to natural end, and supports full human dignity inasmuch as
it represents the image of God. Human life is sacred as, from its
beginning, from the first instant of conception, it is the fruit of
God's creating action."
“States kill when they apply the death
penalty, when they send their people to war or when they carry out
extrajudicial or summary executions. They can also kill by omission,
when they fail to guarantee to their people access to the bare
essentials for life. … On some occasions it is necessary to repel an
ongoing assault proportionately to avoid damage caused by the aggressor,
and the need to neutralise him could lead to his elimination; this is a
case of legitimate defence. However, the presuppositions of personal
legitimate defence do not apply at the social level, without risk of
misinterpretation. When the death penalty is applied, it is not for a
current act of aggression, but rather for an act committed in the past.
It is also applied to persons whose current ability to cause harm is not
current, as it has been neutralised – they are already deprived of
“Nowadays the death penalty is inadmissible, no
matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offence against the
inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, which
contradicts God's plan for man and society, and his merciful justice,
and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective. It does not
render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance."
the rule of law, the death penalty represents a failure, as it obliges
the state to kill in the name of justice. … Justice can never be wrought
by killing a human being. … With the application of the death penalty,
the convict is denied the possibility of to repent or make amends for
the harm caused; the possibility of confession, by which a man expresses
his inner conversion, and contrition, the gateway to atonement and
expiation, to reach an encounter with God's merciful and healing
justice. It is furthermore frequently used by totalitarian regimes and
groups of fanatics for the extermination of political dissidents,
minorities, and any subject labelled as 'dangerous' or who may be
perceived as a threat to its power or to the achievement of its ends".
death penalty is contrary to the sentiment of humanitas and to divine
mercy, which must be the model for human justice. … There is discussion
in some quarters about the method of killing, as if it were possible to
find ways of 'getting it right'. … But there is no humane way of killing
“On the other hand, life imprisonment entails
for the prisoner the impossibility of planning a future of freedom, and
may therefore be considered as a sort of covert death penalty, as they
deprive detainees not only of their freedom, but also of hope. However,
although the penal system can stake a claim to the time of convicted
persons, it can never claim their hope".
“Dear friends, I
encourage you to continue with your work, as the world needs witnesses
of God's mercy and tenderness, and may the Lord Jesus grant the gift of
wisdom, so that the action taken against this cruel punishment may be
successful and fruitful."
"Sanctity is made up of heroic acts. Therefore, in our work we are asked for the heroism of finishing properly the tasks committed to us, day after day, even though they are the same tasks." Saint Josemaría
1. Há vidas que sabem a morte. Há mortes que sabem a vida.
Faz hoje, dia 24 de Março, 35 anos que D. Óscar Romero, Arcebispo de S. Salvador, foi assassinado.
A morte foi arrebatá-lo no meio da Missa e no auge da missão. A Missa celebra a entrega de Cristo pela humanidade. A missão de Óscar Romero foi uma entrega, em Cristo, para que a humanidade dos mais pobres fosse respeitada.
Ninguém o aconselhava a ser assim. Aliás, todos lhe recomendavam que não fosse assim. Era mais normal. Mais cómodo. Mais tranquilo. Provocaria menos ondas e muito menos danos.
Ninguém obrigou D. Óscar Romero a fazer o que fez. Ele é que se sentiu obrigado a proceder como procedeu.
2. Eis o modelo de um cristão (e, a fortiori, de um bispo) cuja actualidade não pára de crescer. A muitos títulos, é um exemplo para todos. Permitia-me destacar apenas três características que avultam da sua trajectória.
Foi Óscar Romero, em primeiro lugar, um homem de profunda espiritualidade. A sua acção era o corolário da sua oração. Foi junto de Deus que sentiu o alento, o estímulo e o apoio para anunciar a verdade e denunciar as injustiças.
Afirmou-se, em segundo lugar, como alguém estruturalmente independente em relação ao poder. Esta liberdade, que escorre no Evangelho, não o inibia de conviver com os poderosos, mas fazia-o sem subserviências.
Como os apóstolos da primeira hora, não calava o que via e ouvia (cf. Act 4, 20). Alinhado foi só com a sua consciência, jamais com interesses.
Finalmente, recusou ser neutral, ainda que à custa da própria vida. Foi a voz dos sem voz, o eco dos espezinhados e amordaçados. Envolveu-se. Empenhou-se. Não recuou nem perante as ameaças. Não pensou no que outros podiam pensar. Não andou às curvas, mas em linha recta. Não trazia máscaras. Foi autêntico. Foi firme. Foi ele. Foi Cristo nele.
3. Óscar Romero conseguiu ver Deus no lugar onde Deus Se encontra: no ser humano, particularmente nos mais desfavorecidos.
Profundamente espiritual, votou a sua vida a Deus e devotou o seu sangue pelo próximo. Porque era Homem de Deus, tornou-se um Homem para os homens: um Homo Dei é sempre um Homo homnibus.
A sua palavra interpela-nos ainda hoje quando nos diz que «temos cristãos de missas dominicais e de semanas injustas».
Não vacila nos princípios: «Jamais pregamos a violência. Só a violência do amor, a que deixou Cristo cravado numa cruz, assume cada um para vencer os seus egoísmos e para que não haja desigualdades tão cruéis entre nós. É a violência do amor, a da fraternidade, que converte as armas em foices para o trabalho».
4. A Igreja e o mundo precisam de pastores assim: cheios de Deus, cheios de amor, cheios de humanidade. Capazes de amar até ao fim. Capazes de perdurar para lá do fim.
D. Óscar foi morto por causa da sua verticalidade. Recebeu ameaças sucessivas para que se calasse. Não se calou. Humilde, considerava não ser digno da «graça do martírio».
Mas as balas surgiram e irromperam, cruéis, pela Igreja em que oficiava.D. Óscar Romero levou a Eucaristia à vida e à morte. Foi alguém que leu o Evangelho nos livros e o reescreveu na (sua) existência.
Morreu com um tiro no coração. Porque era o seu coração que mais incomodava.
Curiosamente é no coração das pessoas que D. Óscar subsiste. E é no coração de Deus que D. Óscar se mantém vivo e vivificante.
Vale a pena viver assim. Vale a pena morrer assim. Tanto mais que quem assim morre nunca se ausenta. Permanece para sempre!
A humildade requer coragem pelos seguintes motivos:
– É preciso ter humildade para amar quando todos odeiam.
– É preciso ter humildade para ser alegre quando todos estão zangados.
– É preciso ter humildade para ter paz quando todos querem guerra.
– É preciso ter humildade para não desanimar quando todos estão desistindo.
– É preciso ter humildade para “fazer o bem sem olhar a quem” quando tantos nos enganam.
– É preciso ter humildade para ser bom quando o mundo é mau.
– É preciso ter humildade para ser fiel a Deus quando todos o abandonam.
– É preciso ter humildade para ser manso quando todos te chamam de covarde.
Jesus' radical act of self giving stands at the centre of our lives. In the Gospel , Jesus compare Himself to a grain of wheat that died in order to bear much fruit. The great loss of Jesus' own life, has become the very ground of our hope. Often we too are at a loss to explain our own losses: our sufferings and our pain. Dying to self is a gradual process. "Every act of love involves dying to selfishness. Every act of kindness involves dying to meanness. Every act of humility involves dying to pride. Every act of courage involves dying to cowardice. Every act of forgiveness involves dying to bitterness."
Quanto mais as condições de vida
de uma pessoa são frágeis e vulneráveis, mais a pessoa merece ser reconhecida como
preciosa. E deve ser ajudada, amada, defendida e promovida na sua dignidade. Sobre isso, não se pode negociar.
If you committed a fault which deserved the contempt of those who
witnessed the deed, be heartily sorry for having offended God and for
having given bad example to your neighbors; accept the shame as a means
sent by God to atone for your sins and to make you humbler and holier.
If you are distressed and sad for having been exposed to
dishonor, conclude that you are not truly humble, but still poisoned by
pride. Ask the Lord insistently to cure you and save you from this
poison, for if God does not have pity on you, you certainly will fall
into other abysses.
When you feel the sting of impatience and are overtaken by sadness in
tribulations and humiliations, stand firm against this temptation.
Remember your many sins, for which you deserve much harsher punishments
than those you are now enduring. Adore the infinite justice of God and
receive his blows with docility; these are your sources of mercy and
If only you could understand how good is to be wounded in this wretched
life by the hand of such a sweet Father as God, certainly you would
abandon yourself completely into his hands. Repeat often with St
Augustine: “Here in this life, burn and cut in me whatever you wish; do
not spare me any suffering here; forgive me and spare me the sufferings
of eternity.” To refuse tribulations is to rebel against the justice of
our Father God, to reject the chalice that he mercifully offers us and
from which Christ himself – although innocent – wanted to drink first.
"Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord's words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)” This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy. I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey."
Terça-feira, 17 de março: na Missa em
Santa Marta o Papa Francisco afirmou que a “casa de Jesus” é uma casa
de misericórdia, portanto, não é um lugar onde os cristãos possam fechar
as portas. Jesus – referiu o Santo Padre – tem misericórdia total para
A reflexão do Papa começa pela água, protagonista das leituras
litúrgicas do dia: na leitura do Profeta Ezequiel “a água que cura”
vinda do riacho surgido na porta do templo, que se transforma numa
enorme torrente cheia de peixes, aonde todos se podem curar; no
Evangelho de S. João é a água do tanque de Betzatá, aonde durante 38
anos esteve um paralítico que nunca soube imergir-se quando as águas se
mexiam, e assim, encontrar a cura. Jesus cura-o e desencadeia a crítica
dos doutores da lei, porque a cura dá-se num sábado. Este episódio
acontece muitas vezes hoje em dia – observou o Papa Francisco:
“Um homem ou uma mulher – que se sente doente na alma, triste… num
certo momento sente que as águas se mexem, é o Espírito Santo que faz
mexer algo ... E toma coragem e vai. E quantas vezes, nas comunidades
cristãs encontra as portas fechadas: ‘Mas tu não podes, não, tu não
podes. Tu erraste aqui e não podes. Se quiseres vir, vem à missa no
domingo, mas fica ali, não faças nada’. E aquilo que o Espírito Santo
faz nos corações das pessoas, os cristãos, com psicologia de doutores da
O Papa Francisco afirmou que lhe faz mal pensar nisto e sublinhou
logo de seguida que a Igreja tem sempre as portas abertas: “É a casa de
Jesus e Jesus acolhe”.
E o Santo Padre continuou dizendo que a casa de Jesus ”não só acolhe” mas vai encontrar as pessoas:
“E se as pessoas estão feridas, o que é que Jesus faz? Repreende-a
porque está ferida? Não, vai e carrega-a sobre os ombros. E a isto
Na conclusão da sua homilia o Santo Padre reafirmou que ninguém pode
fechar a porta do coração a um homem ou a uma mulher “que tem vontade de
melhorar, de voltar a ser parte do povo de Deus depois de o Espírito
Santo ter mexido no seu coração”.
“Que a Quaresma nos ajude a não cometer o erro de quem desprezou o
amor de Cristo pelo paralítico somente porque era contrário à lei” –
disse o Papa Francisco na prece final da sua homilia:
“Peçamos hoje ao Senhor para cada um de nós e para toda a Igreja, uma
conversão em direção a Jesus, uma conversão em Jesus, uma conversão à
misericórdia de Jesus e, assim, a Lei será completamente realizada,
porque a Lei é amar a Deus e ao próximo, como a nós mesmos”. (RS)
In our hearts, we know that every event in our lives is providential and that each of us plays a critical role in the unfolding of the story God has written. We believe that God’s will is anchored deep within our soul, and so too is the desire to know it and to live it.
In these pages, acclaimed Catholic author Anthony Esolen claims that the story of your life has already been written — and can be discovered — by considering the life and person of Jesus. Only in God does the world possess meaning, and therefore only in relation to God are our lives genuine stories.
Here, Esolen offers a brilliant reflection — in ways that only he can — upon what it means for any of us, and for all of us together, to dwell in a world of stories. And he shows how we can take events in the life of Christ as the touchstone for all that happens to us on our journey from time to eternity.
Indeed, this book will finally awaken in you the unshakable confidence that despite even the tragic stories of this life, the good things you’ve known and loved are not gone forever: all that is lost will be found; all will be restored; all will be perfected. Truly, there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1). Like the star that led the Magi to Jesus, the wisdom in these pages will lead you to Christ. It will instill in you hope that in-creases every step of your way.
Em 1892 uma amante do teatro chamada Mabelle Webb
mudou-se para Nova Iorque com o seu filho de três anos. Abandonou o pai da
criança, um mero vendedor de bilhetes de combóio, afirmando que “ele não
gostava do teatro” e impediu-o de desempenhar qualquer papel na vida do filho,
recusando até o seu apelido. Introduziu logo o rapaz no mundo das artes de
palco, treinando-o nos ramos de música e dança. O jovem abandonou a escola aos
13 anos e entrou para o teatro, acabando por se tornar uma figura popular de
Hollywood, desempenhando personagens parecidas consigo: sofisticados,
condescendentes, mimados. Foi sempre o “pequeno Webb” da sua mãe. Ela era
conhecida por ter um papel excessivo na sua vida e viveu com ele até morrer aos
91 anos. Eram sufocantemente próximos. Quando ela morreu, na sua tristeza ele
deixou a sua saúde deteriorar-se. Nunca casou, mas levou uma vida homossexual
discreta, com o conhecimento da sua mãe.
Clifton Webb nasceu assim.
Em 1934 um rapaz de 13 anos, excepcionalmente bonito,
estava num cinema londrino a ver filmes de terror. O seu lar feliz tinha sido destroçado
quando era mais novo, por causa de um arranjo profissional que obrigava o pai a
ficar na cidade enquanto ele era educado pela irmã, a ama e, mais tarde, uma
tia. Era vulnerável e isso não passou despercebido a um jovem estudante de
medicina. Depois de terem visto um filme sobre múmias, o estudante convidou-o a
voltar com ele para o seu apartamento, para lhe dar uma experiência de
mumificação, se estivesse interessado.
O rapaz concordou. Mais tarde, na sua biografia, escreveria
que nessa altura não “sabia nada” da vida. O estudante deu-lhe uma bebida com
droga, despiu-o totalmente e embrulhou-o com ligaduras, dos dedos dos pés até à
cara, deixando apenas os seus órgãos genitais descobertos. Depois pegou numa
faca fria e encostou-a aos seus órgãos genitais, sussurrando que poderia
matá-lo ou mutilá-lo, se quisesse, mas claro que não o faria, porque não era
isso que queria. O coração do rapaz acelerou, aterrorizado. Pensava que ia
morrer. O estudante abusou dele, libertou-o, deixou-o vestir-se e ir-se embora.
“Ao menos agora já sabia”, escreveria, trinta anos mais tarde. Nunca chegou a
casar. Entrou para o mundo dos espectáculos e tentou ter casos com uma ou duas
mulheres, mas não duraram. Eventualmente passou a viver com outro homem.
Dirk Bogarde nasceu assim.
Em 1949 um juiz no Bronx apresentou um menino de 10 anos
com uma escolha. Podia ir viver para um centro de detenção de menores, ou ser
enviado para longe da família, para uma escola de actores. Escolheu a escola de
actores. Em termos práticos, parece ter sido a melhor opção. Os seus pais,
imigrantes sicilianos, já não tinham mão nele. Tinha sido expulso do colégio
católico onde andava e juntara-se a um gangue de rua, vindo a ser condenado por
assalto à mão armada. Mais tarde viria a ser conhecido como “Switchblade Kid”
[Navalhas]. Uma das relações que teve com uma actriz acabou numa gravidez
abortada. Durante vários anos, com a sua voz de veludo, pele morena e olhos
grandes, era o quebra-corações em Hollywood. Também teve casos com homens e
produziu e representou numa peça de teatro em que constava uma violação
prisional em que ele fazia de violador. Nunca teve uma vida familiar normal.
Sal Mineo nasceu assim.
Em 1933 um rapaz de 13 anos que tinha conseguido um papel
num espectáculo em Broadway decidiu permanecer em Nova Iorque, longe da sua
família. O seu pai era um alcoólico abusivo e violento e a mãe gastava grande
parte das finanças em viagens para descobrir a sua linhagem aristocrática. Mais
tarde diria que não se lembrava de nada da sua infância, para além de não ter
estado no mesmo sítio por muito tempo. Tornou-se um grande actor, com mais de
20 papéis principais em alguns dos melhores filmes feitos nos Estados Unidos. O
pai que tanto odiava contribuiu para o seu sucesso, uma vez que sempre que
precisava de uma imagem mental de teimosia e ignorância, contra os quais
revoltar-se com uma fúria incontrolável, pensava nele. Era uma alma caridosa
que procurou no realizador John Huston o pai que nunca tivera, de facto. Também
esteve envolvido com outros homens e acabou por morrer prematuramente devido ao
uso excessivo de álcool e drogas.
Montgomery Clift nasceu assim.
Era inevitável, quando nasceu Rock Hudson, que os seus
pais se iriam divorciar quando ele ainda era novo, e que seria criado numa
quinta por avós de quem não gostava. Era inevitável, quando Tab Hunter nasceu,
que a sua mãe divorciaria o pai que abusava deles e lhes retiraria o seu
apelido. Era inevitável, quando Raymond Burr nasceu, que a sua mãe
divorciar-se-ia do seu pai canadiano, mudando-se para a Califórnia, criando o
filho com os seus pais. Alcoolismo, ódio, solidão, pais ausentes, violação e
abuso sexual, atenção excessiva das mães, tudo isto é inevitável quando um
certo tipo de rapaz nasce.
Um dos alunos mais emocionalmente perturbados que conheci
enquanto professor gostava de falar durante as aulas, de forma totalmente
irrelevante, sobre como o actor Elijah Wood lhe dava banho em pequeno. O seu
pai tinha-se suicidado quando ele tinha apenas nove anos e a mãe voltou a casar,
com um homem que ele odiava. Tudo isso era inevitável, claro. O rapaz nasceu
Os únicos rapazes que não nasceram assim são os rapazes
normais que, se lhes dermos a possibilidade, jogam aos polícias e ladrões,
formam equipas de futebol, constroem carrinhos de rolamentos, passeiam pela
floresta, caçam pequenos animais, memorizam tudo sobre o que mais lhes
interessa, brincam com fogo, electricidade ou catapultas e começam a reparar
nas meninas bonitas que durante anos tentaram ignorar. Esses são socialmente condicionados,
mas de forma mágica, tendo em conta que o mesmo comportamento pode ser
encontrado entre rapazes de todas as idades e em todos os locais e culturas
conhecidas pelo homem.
In the hustle and bustle of life, it is important to have the courage to stop and choose. The season of Lent serves this very purpose. During Mass at Santa Marta on Thursday morning Pope Francis placed emphasis on the need to ask those questions, important for Christian life and to know how to make the right choices.
Interpreting the Readings for the day after Ash Wednesday (Deut 30: 15-20; Ps 1; Lk 9:22-25), the Pontiff explained that “at the beginning of the Lenten journey, the Church makes us reflect on the words of Moses and of Jesus: “You have to choose”. It is thus a reflection on the need we all have, to make choices in life. And Moses, Francis emphasized, “is clear: ‘See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil’: choose”. Indeed “the Lord gave us freedom, the freedom to love, to walk on his streets”. We are free and we can choose. However, the Pope indicated, “it’s not easy to choose”. It’s more comfortable “to live by letting ourselves be carried by the inertia of life, of situations, of habits”. This is why “today the Church tells us: ‘You are responsible; you have to choose’”. And thus the Pontiff raised some questions: “Have you chosen? How do you live? What is your lifestyle, your way of living, like? Is it on the side of life or on the side of death?”.
Naturally the response should be to “choose the way of the Lord. ‘I command you to love the Lord’. This is how Moses shows us the path of the Lord: ‘If your heart turns back and if you do not listen and you let yourself be drawn to prostrate yourself before other gods and serve them, you will perish’. Choose between God and the other gods, those who do not have the power to give us anything, only little things that pass”.
Returning to the difficulty of choosing, Francis said he was aware that “we always have this habit of going where the people go, somewhat like everyone”. But, he continued, “today the Church is telling us: ‘stop and choose’. It’s good advice. And today”, the Pope continued, “it will do us good to stop during the day and think: what is my lifestyle like? Which road am I taking?”.
After all, in everyday life we tend to take the opposite approach. Many times, he said, “we live in a rush, we are on the run, without noticing what the path is like; and we let ourselves be carried along by the needs, by the necessities of the days, but without thinking”. And thus came the invitation to stop: “Begin Lent with small questions that will help one to consider: ‘What is my life like?’”. The first thing to ask ourselves, the Pope explained, is: “who is God for me? Do I choose the Lord? How is my relationship with Jesus?”. And the second: “How is your relationship with your family: with your parents; with your siblings; with your wife; with your husband; with your children?”. In fact, these two series of questions are enough, “and we will surely find things that we need to correct”.
The Pontiff then asked “why we hurry so much in life, without knowing which path we are on”. He was explicit about this: “because we want to win, we want to earn, we want to be successful”. But Jesus makes us think: “What advantage does a man have who wins the whole world, but loses or destroys himself?”. Indeed, “the wrong road”, the Pope said, is that of always seeking success, one’s own riches, without thinking about the Lord, without thinking about family”. Returning to the two series of questions on one’s relationship with God and with those who are dear to us, the Pope emphasized that “one can win everything, yet become a failure in the end. He has failed. That life is a failure”. So are those who seem to have had success, those women and men for whom “they’ve made a monument” or “they’ve dedicated a portrait”, but didn’t “know how to make the right choice between life and death”.
And to emphasize the concept, Francis explained that “it will do us good to stop for a bit — five, 10 minutes — and ask ourselves the question: what is the speed of my life? Do I reflect on my actions? How is my relationship with God and with my family?”. The Pope indicated that we can find help in “that really beautiful advice of the Psalm: ‘Blessed are they who trust in the Lord’”. And “when the Lord gives us this advice — ‘Stop! Choose today, choose’ — He doesn’t leave us on our own; He is with us and wants to help us”. And we, for our part, need “only to trust, to have faith in Him”.
Repeating the words of the Psalm, “Blessed are they who trust in the Lord”, the Pope then urged that we be aware that God does not abandon us. “Today, at the moment in which we stop to think about these things and to take decisions, to choose something, we know that the Lord is with us, is beside us, to help us. He never lets us go alone. He is always with us. Even in the moment of choosing”. And he concluded with these instructions: “let us have faith in this Lord, who is with us, and when He tells us: ‘choose between good and evil’ helps us to choose good”. And above all “let us ask Him for the grace to be courageous”, because “it takes a bit of courage” to “stop and ask myself: how do I stand before God, how are my relationships in the family, what do I need to change, what should I choose?”.
Pope Francis, Morning meditation, Thursday, 19 February 2015
If you do some extraordinary mortification, try to remain immune from
the poison of vainglory, which often destroys all the merits; do that
mortification for the right motive: because it is unbecoming for a poor
sinner like yourself to live at your convenience and pleasure and
because you have so many debts to pay before the divine justice.
Reflect that you need penitential works to check the violence of the
passions, keeping you within the limits of duty, as bridle and bit are
necessary to tame an impetuous horse.
Being worldly means losing your name and having the eyes of your soul
“tinted dark”, anaesthetized, until you no longer see the people around you.
This is the sin that Francis spoke about on Thursday, 5 March, during Mass at Santa
“Today’s Lenten Liturgy
offers us two stories, two judgements and three names”, Francis began. The two
stories are those of the parable, narrated by Luke (16:19-31), of the rich man
and of the poor man named Lazarus. In particular, the Pope stated, the first
story is “that of the rich man, who was clothed in purple and the finest
linen”, who “took good care of himself”, and “feasted sumptuously every day”.
The text, Francis indicated, “doesn’t say he was bad”, but rather that he had
“a comfortable life, he gave himself a good life”. In fact, “the Gospel doesn’t
say that he overindulged”; instead his
was “a quiet life, with friends”. Who knows, perhaps “if he had parents, he
surely sent them things so they would have the necessities of life”. And maybe
“he was a religious man, in his way. Perhaps he recited a few prayers; and
surely two or three times a year he went to temple to make sacrifices and gave
large offerings to the priests”. And “they, with their clerical cowardliness,
thanked him and made him sit in the place of honour”. This was the social
lifestyle of the rich man presented by Luke.
Then there is “the
second story, that of Lazarus”, the poor mendicant who lay at the rich man’s
gate. How is it possible that this man didn’t realize that Lazarus was there,
below his house, poor and starving? The wounds that the Gospel speaks of, the
Pope said, are “a symbol of the many needs he had”. However, “when the rich man
left the house, perhaps the car he left in had windows tinted dark so he couldn’t
see out”. But “surely his soul, the eyes of his soul were tinted dark so he
couldn’t see”. And thus the rich man “saw only his life and didn’t realize what
was happening” to Lazarus.
In the final analysis,
Francis affirmed, “the rich man wasn’t bad, he was sick: afflicted with
worldliness”. And “worldliness transforms souls, makes them lose consciousness
of reality: they live in an artificial world”, which they create. Worldliness
“anaesthetizes the soul”, and “this is why that worldly man wasn’t able to see
This is why, the Pope
explained, “the second story is clear”: there are “so many people who end their
lives in a difficult way” but “if I have a worldly heart, I will never
understand this”. After all, “with a worldly heart” is is impossible to
comprehend “the necessities and needs of others. With a worldly heart you can
go to Church, you can pray, you can do many things”. But what did Jesus pray
for at the Last Supper? “Please, Father, protect these disciples” so that “they
do not fall in the world, do not fall into worldliness”. And worldliness “is a
subtle sin, it’s more than a sin: it’s a sinful state of soul”.
“These are the two
stories” presented by the Liturgy, the Pontiff recapped. “The two
instead, are “a curse and a blessing”. The First Reading from Jeremiah
(17:5-10) reads: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh
whose heart turns away from the Lord”. This, Francis stressed, is the
of the “worldliness we saw” in the rich man. And how will this man end
Scripture defines him as “‘a shrub in the desert: he shall not see any
come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness’ — his
soul is a desert — ‘in an uninhabited salt land’, where no one
can live”. And all of this “because, in truth, the worldly are alone
selfishness”. Then in the text of Jeremiah there is also a blessing:
is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a
planted by water”, while the other “was like a shrub in the desert”.
then, is “the final judgement: nothing is more treacherous for a heart
difficult to heal: that man had a sick heart, so battered by this
lifestyle that it was very difficult to heal”.
After the two stories
and the two judgements, Francis also spoke about “the three names” offered in
the Gospel Reading: “they are that of the poor man, Lazarus, that of Abraham,
and that of Moses”. Another key to understanding is that the rich man “had no
name, because the worldly lose their name”, which is merely a feature “of the
well-off crowd who need nothing”. On the other hand are “Abraham, our father;
Lazarus, a man who struggles because he is good and poor and has so much pain;
and Moses, the man who gives us the law”. But “the worldly have no name. They
didn’t listen to Moses”, because they only need extraordinary manifestations.
In the Church, the
Pontiff continued, “everything is clear, Jesus spoke clearly: this is the way”.
But “at the end there is a word of consolation: when that unfortunate worldly
man, in torment, asks that Lazarus be sent with a bit of water to help him”,
Abraham, who is the figure of God the Father, responds: “Son, remember...”.
Thus “the worldly have lost their name” and “we too, should we have a worldly
heart, we have lost our name”. However, “we are not orphans. Until the very
end, until the final moment, there is the assurance that we have a Father who
awaits us. Let us trust in Him”. And the Father turns to us, calling us ‘son’
and ‘daughter’, even “in the midst of that worldliness: son”. And this means
that “we are not orphans”.
In the opening prayer,
Francis said, “we asked the Lord for the grace to turn our hearts toward Him,
who is Father”. And thus, the Pope concluded, “let us continue the celebration
of Mass thinking of these two stories, of these two judgements, of the three
names; but above all, of that beautiful word that will always be said until the
final moment: son”.
Do not worry about matters not under your care, for which you do not
have to render an account to men or God. Involvement in these matters
reveals a concealed pride and vain presumption; it feeds and swells
vanity; it causes endless worries, uneasiness, and distractions.
On the contrary, minding only yourself and your own duty will give you peace and tranquility, as it is written in The Imitation of Christ:
“Do not involve yourself in matters which are no concern of yours;
thus, you will have little to trouble your mind, and that but rarely.”#2
When you have the chance to render some low and humble service to your
neighbor, do it joyfully; do it with the humility you would have if you
were the servant of all. From this practice you will draw vast
treasures of virtue and grace.
If they have caused you a great injury, if they have provoked you,
instead of raging in fury against the offenders, turn your eyes to
heavens, turn your eyes to the Lord. In his infinite and loving
providence, he arranged things thus, either to make you atone for your
sins, or to destroy your pride; he is encouraging you to make acts of
patience and humility.
Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to
become involved. Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints
of time. The sower, when he sees weeds sprouting among
the grain does not grumble or overreact.
Have you received great talents from God? Are you considered someone
great? Fight, then, to know yourself as you really are; become aware of
your weakness, incapacity and nothingness; you must become smaller than
a child. Do not seek the approval of men, and do not yearn for honors;
reject both the one and the other.
«Toda a gestação,
toda a obra divina profunda,
faz-se no caos,
na obscuridade da fé.»
formaste-me do caos,
do pó da terra,
nasceste na noite, pobre,
redimiste-me na Cruz,
na maior obscuridade e sofrimento.
As grandes Tuas obras fazem-se neste caos,
Também na minha vida acontece assim:
é a partir de situações sem esperança,
de aparente fracasso,
que Tu Senhor tomas nas tuas mãos
e crias algo de novo,
na minha vida,
na vida de quantos me rodeiam.
A luz surge das trevas.
Ajuda-me Senhor a saber sempre esperar a Tua voz
que diz às minhas trevas:
“faça-se a luz!”
«A visão do mundo em que vivemos,
a miséria e o abismo da maldade humana
servem para atenuar sempre de novo
o gozo da vitória da luz.
A humanidade luta ainda no barro
e é pequeno o rebanho
que conseguiu pôr-se a salvo
nos mais altos cumes do monte.
A batalha entre Cristo
e o Anti Cristo não diminuiu.
Nesta batalha os seguidores de Cristo
têm o seu lugar.
E a sua arma principal é a Cruz…»
tu és Transparência e Luz,
Verdade e Vida.
O Mal é escuridão e opacidade,
fardo pesado e morte.
A vida diz-me que convivem lado a lado
a verdade e a mentira
e que diariamente nos temos de confrontar com elas.
Temos de fazer opções que nos dão a vida
ou no-la tiram,
produzem no nosso interior
tristeza e desânimo ou alegria e esperança.
Não deixes, meu Deus,
que nos enganemos a nós próprios
dirigindo-nos a Ti com falsas intenções,
nem buscando seguranças vazias de generosidade,
nem querendo que faças a nossa vontade,
quando não estamos disponíveis
para correr o risco
de abandonarmos a nossa vida
nas Tuas mãos.
Dá-nos um coração puro
que nos faça olhar para a vida
com a Luz que vem de Ti
e encontrar sempre e em tudo a verdade que és Tu.
Não deixes que o mal nos seduza e engane.
No matter how high the degree of grace and virtue you have achieved, no
matter how great the gift of prayer God has given you, even if you have
lived one thousand years in innocence and with fervor and devotion, you
must always walk vigilant and distrust yourself, especially in the
matter of chastity. Remember that you carry within yourself
concupiscence, an inextinguishable source of sin; think that you are all
weakness, inconstancy, infidelity.
Be always on guard against yourself; close your eyes to
avoid seeing or hearing what could stain your soul; always run away from
dangerous occasions; abstain from useless conversation with the
opposite sex, and carry on the necessary dealings with the most
scrupulous modesty and prudence.
Finally, since without the grace of God you can do
nothing, continually ask God to have mercy on you, that you do not
remain on your own for a moment.
With Archbishop Oscar Romero's cause of canonization moving forward, we offer an article by Fernando Saenz, with his memories of March 24, 1980, the day Romero was assassinated.
While it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, an anecdote is also sometimes worth more than a thousand speeches. So even though I don't know how to put down in words the memory I preserve of Archbishop Romero, I think the small details of his final day on earth, although not exhausting his rich personality, can be an eloquent testimony that transcends the limits of my words.
In El Salvador, the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross organizes every month a gathering for priests. Archbishop Romero used to attend these quite frequently. I was then delegate vicar of Opus Dei in El Salvador (which I ceased being when the Pope named me auxiliary bishop of Santa Ana a few years later).
About 10.30 that morning I went to pick him up at the Archbishop's offices, then located in the present minor seminary. Before leaving, Archbishop Romero suggested that we could take advantage of that meeting with priests to study a document on the formation of seminarians. We went by car to San Diego beach, where a house had been lent to us for the activity with priests. Due to a misunderstanding, unfortunately the house was locked when we arrived.
So the priests who had arrived had to sit on the grass in the small garden attached to the house. There, sitting under the shade of some palm trees, we read and discussed the document Archbishop Romero had brought with him. Afterwards we put down a table cloth on the ground and enjoyed a pleasant meal and conversation. After some time, the caretaker arrived and apologized for the confusion; he brought out some chairs for us, which we heartily thanked him for.
We continued our get-together, and I remember, among other things, that Archbishop Romero pointed out to the pastor of the San Salvador cathedral that the liturgical vestments used there, which were quite old and of great historical value, were at risk from the urban guerilla squads that frequently entered the church. He suggested to him that, while the unrest in the country continued, it might be a good idea to transfer them somewhere else for safe-keeping.
Archbishop Romero, who many only know through his bold weekly commentaries (after his homily on Sundays) about the dramatic events then afflicting the life of our country, was a good and simple bishop, and his life of piety was obvious both in the rich spiritual content of his preaching and in such material details as concern for the vestments and objects used for God's worship.
I also recall that during that brief gathering, Archbishop Romero spoke with the parish priest of San Jose de Guayabel about the possibility of planting corn and beans in the land around his parish to provide food for those studying at the seminary. The conversation with the priests touched on many topics, including Padre Pro and the Mexican "cristeros."
About 3 in the afternoon, he suggested that it might be good to end our gathering. He wanted to return right away to the city, since he had a commitment there. I dropped him off at the Divine Providence Hospital about 3:30 or 4. Soon afterwards, during the Offertory of the Mass he was celebrating, he was shot with an explosive bullet.
Whenever I remember that day, what stands out in my memory are the less well-known virtues of Archbishop Romero: his concern for priests, his sincere piety, his simplicity. These are qualities I often had a chance to observe in him, also in that last meeting in his life when no one knew he would soon be meeting with death.
Œuvre profondément originale et emblématique de la période Art déco, la basilique nationale du Sacré-Cœur plonge aussi ses racines dans l’art néo-byzantin ou néo-romain autant que dans les mouvements esthétiques germaniques, Bauhaus et Deutscher Werkbund.
Même si l’on redécouvre aujourd’hui la richesse du langage plastique développé par la basilique, celle-ci reste un enfant mal-aimé de Bruxelles.
Anachronique lors de son achèvement, son style, en rupture totale avec la tradition, fait l’éloge de la forme et des volumes épurés et offre une ornementation dépouillée tirée du seul mélange des matériaux dont la quasi-monochromie favorise les jeux de lumière. Aussi semble-t-elle désespérément monumentale et froide. Sa situation, au milieu d’un îlot central difficile d’accès, renforce encore cette impression. En pleine révolution liturgique après le concile de Vatican II, la hiérarchie catholique la traite comme un héritage encombrant du passé, peu en phase avec l’esprit du temps.
Cet édifice colossal est la sixième plus grande église du monde. À 53 mètres de hauteur se trouve une plateforme d'où les visiteurs peuvent contempler le centre de la ville de Bruxelles ainsi que les campagnes du nord et de l'ouest de la ville.
Hoje, 22 de Fevereiro de 2015 pelas 17 horas. Apenas oração.
Be convinced that you are not a good adviser of yourself; fear and
distrust your opinions as coming from polluted and contaminated soil.
Aware of this, ask advice from a wise and upright person; prefer to be
directed by one better than you, rather than to follow your own whim.
Uma noite de Inverno,
cumpria, como de costume, o meu oficiozinho.
Estava frio, era noite...
De repente, ouvi ao longe
o som harmonioso de um instrumento musical.
Então imaginei um salão bem iluminado,
todo resplandecente de dourados,
de donzelas elegantemente vestidas,
dirigindo-se mutuamente cumprimentos e cortesias mundanas.
A seguir, o meu olhar pousou na pobre doente que amparava;
em vez de uma melodia,
ouvia, de vez em quando, os seus gemidos queixosos;
em vez de dourados,
via os tijolos do nosso claustro austero,
mal iluminado por uma luz muito frouxa.» «Não consigo exprimir o que se passou
na minha alma;
o que sei é que o Senhor a iluminou
com os reflexos da verdade,
que ultrapassavam de tal maneira
o brilho tenebroso das festas da terra,
que não podia acreditar na minha felicidade...
Ah! para gozar mil anos de festas mundanas,
não teria dado os dez minutos gastos
no cumprimento do meu humilde ofício de caridade!...
Se no sofrimento, no meio do combate,
se pode gozar já, por um instante,
de uma felicidade que ultrapassa todas as felicidades da terra,
o que será no Céu,
quando virmos, no meio de uma alegria
e de um repouso eternos,
a graça incomparável que o Senhor nos concedeu?...
orienta o meu coração,
não para as verdades efémeras,
mas para as que não passam nesta vida
nem na vida eterna.
The Prelate of Opus Dei has issued a brief statement about the
upcoming beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, soon to be declared a
martyr by Pope Francis.
The Holy Father Francis has authorized the Congregation for the
Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree of martyrdom for the Servant of
God Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez. Archbishop Romero (El Salvador:
1917-1980) was assassinated out of hatred for the faith on March 24,
1980, while celebrating Holy Mass.
On learning of the news, Bishop
Javier Echevarria said: "The martyrs present a challenge to all men and
women, both believers and non-believers, but they are a shining light
especially for those who have placed their hope in God. I am sure that
Archbishop Oscar Romero is going to be a deeply beloved saint.
met Archbishop Romero in Rome," the Prelate of Opus Dei said, "during
one of his visits to Saint Josemaria, in 1970. He was a pious person,
detached from his own interests and dedicated to his people. His
struggle for sanctity was palpable. Archbishop Romero was one of the
first bishops who, following the death of Saint Josemaria in 1975, wrote
to Paul VI asking that his cause of canonization be opened. I am
certain that now, from Heaven, he continues interceding with his good
friend Saint Josemaria for this portion of the People of God that is
Saint Josemaria and Archbishop Romero had known one
another since 1955. The Archbishop of San Salvador had great esteem for
the spirit of Opus Dei and had frequent contact with the apostolic work
of the faithful of the Prelature in El Salvador. In 1970 he came to Rome
and had several conversations with Saint Josemaria. As Fr. Antonio
Rodriguez Pedrezuela recounts in his book A Sea Without Shores,
the founder of Opus Dei was concerned that the Archbishop have the
opportunity to rest during his stay in Rome, because he realized the
tense situation he faced back in El Salvador.
The affection was
mutual, and when the founder of Opus Dei died, Archbishop Romero, in his
postulatory letter for Saint Josemaria's cause of canonization,
expressed his gratitude "for having received from him encouragement and
strength to be faithful to the unchangeable doctrine of Christ and to
serve the Holy Roman Church with apostolic zeal."
In the same
letter he wrote: "Msgr. Escriva's life was marked by a continuous
dialogue with God and a deep humility. One could see that he was a man
of God and that he dealt with people with great refinement, affection
and good humor." A letter addressed to Blessed Alvaro del Portillo a few
months after the founder's death shows that his affection and esteem
for Saint Josemaria had only grown stronger.
He also had a deep
friendship with Archbishop Fernando Saenz, who was Vicar of Opus Dei in
El Salvador, and later his successor as archbishop of San Salvador. The
day he was assassinated, Archbishop Romero spent the morning with
Fernando Saenz at a recollection for priests organized by Opus Dei.
Afterwards Fernando Saenz accompanied the Archbishop to the church where
he was to celebrate Mass. Saenz recalls: "They killed him during the
offering of the bread and wine. It was, as it were, a marvelous external
sign of his having offered his life for his people, for the poor, for
justice, for peace."