Pope Francis

Friday, 27 February 2015

Humility, abasement, service to others

If a thought, if a desire takes you along the road of humility and abasement, of service to others, it is from Jesus.

Pope Francis

The practice of Humility - 29

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.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Archbishop Romero's Last Hours on Earth

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.

Published in El Adelanto Bañezano, August 1995

Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur, Koekelberg, Belgique

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.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Sobre a cólera

É impossível encolerizar-se contra o próximo se de antemão não se está contra ele no próprio coração, e se não se o desprezou, julgando-se superior a ele.

Papa Francisco

"Jorge Bergoglio, Papa Francisco, Corrupção e pecado, seguido de Sobre a acusação de si mesmo", Gradiva Breve, pag. 110


Cette église de style classique date de 1788.

Hoje, 21 de Fevereiro de 2015 pelas 17 horas. Apenas oração e uma leitura de algumas palavras do Papa Francisco.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The practice of Humility - 28

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.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus, Manuscrito C. 29vº - 30rº

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.
Ajuda-me, Senhor!


He who kneels before God can stand before anyone

God longs for us to spend time with Him in prayer. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Through His love for us He will provide for all our needs.

Prayer is

Prayer is spending time with the Father.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Archbishop Oscar Romero is going to be a deeply beloved saint

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.

Opus Dei - "Archbishop Oscar Romero is going to be a deeply beloved saint"

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.

"I 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 Opus Dei."

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."


Oscar Romero received spiritual direction from Opus Dei

On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot during the celebration of Mass by the death squadrons of El Salvador’s military government. Today his reputation is undergoing a second assassination: Critics have responded to the floating of his name for beatification by wrongly charging the man with supporting violence, communism, and heresy. Those who would make the archbishop a radical hero have offered their own version of these claims in approving tones. Both are wrong.

Murals and t-shirts showing Romero alongside Salvador Allende and Che Guevara are common in Central America, yet his visage sits somewhat uncomfortably beside theirs. Romero did not hesitate to condemn capitalism, but at the same time he was an anti-communist. In his sermons he cautioned against the dangers of atheistic, materialist Marxism. In one of his homilies, Romero chastised leftists for criticizing American imperialism while turning a blind eye to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

While the left has come to glorify Romero, right-wing politicians in El Salvador have accused him of inspiring leftist guerrilla violence. In reality, Romero sought a peaceful solution to El Salvador’s troubles. In his third pastoral letter, written in 1978, Romero condemned leftist guerrilla violence as “terrorist” and “seditious.” In the fourth letter written one year later, the archbishop of San Salvador reminded the nation that violence was justifiable only in extreme situations when all other alternatives have been exhausted, citing Catholic just war theory.

The twentieth century was a difficult one for the Latin American Church. In the 1970s and 1980s, military juntas ruled most of the region. In Argentina, the bishops’ close ties to the dictatorship of Jorge Videla and their silence on the tortures and disappearances in the country led many Argentineans to lose their trust in the Church. By contrast, in Nicaragua many clerics supported armed revolution against the Somoza dictatorship and supported the Marxist Sandinistas.

Even a man as saintly as Dom Helder Camara—the bishop who defended Brazil’s poor against the country’s military dictatorship—believed that Marx should do for Christianity in the twentieth century what Aristotle did for medieval Thomism. By contrast, in a 1978 homily Romero said: “Since Marxist materialism destroys the Church’s transcendent meaning, a Marxist church would be not only self-destructive but senseless.”

Romero avoided the blinkered anti-communism of Argentina’s bishops and defended the vulnerable against military violence, seeing the hypocrisy of rulers who claim to be Christians yet persecute the people. At the same time, he understood the dangers of Marxism, condemning the Marxist guerrilla movement that terrorized El Salvador’s ruling class. Ernesto Cardenal, the Trappist monk who in the 1980s was a minister in Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, wrote that before becoming a Christian, one first must become a Marxist-Leninist. Romero rejected this: His personal hero was Pope Pius XI for resisting fascism and communism at the same time.

Romero also stood apart from liberation theology, distinguishing between the liberation of communism and the liberation Christ offers. In the 1980s, some Latin American priests inspired by Marxism wanted to deny Communion to the wealthy. Romero resisted this saying in a 1979 homily: “We are not demagogically in favor of one social class; we are in favor of God’s reign, and we want to promote justice, love, and understanding, wherever there is a heart well disposed.”

Few know that Romero received spiritual direction from an Opus Dei priest and personally knew the future saint and Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva. When the latter died in 1975, he wrote a letter to Paul VI asking the Pope to jumpstart his canonization process, writing: “Monsignor Escriva . . . was able to unite in his life a continuous dialogue with Our Lord and a great humanity; one could tell he was a man of God, and his manner was full of sensitivity, kindness, and good humor.” As recommended by Opus Dei priests, Romero wore a cilice on Fridays as a form of self-mortification until his death.

One of the firmest supporters of Romero’s beatification has been Pope Benedict XVI. Both before and after his election to the papacy he has expressed his enthusiasm for the cause, going so far as to say that he has “no doubt” that Romero will be declared blessed someday.

During his 1983 pilgrimage to El Salvador, John Paul insisted on visiting Romero’s tomb despite the pleas of Latin American bishops and the Salvadoran government. John Paul II asked local priests to open the door of the cathedral which was locked up by the military. He immersed himself in prayer for a long time in front of Romero’s tomb.

John Paul II again demonstrated his affection for Oscar Romero by insisting—again against the wishes of many churchmen—that during the 2000 Jubilee Year celebration in Rome’s Coliseum Romero’s name be mentioned among the great martyrs of the Americas.

It is a name we are likely to hear again.


Pope Francis Knows: Oscar Romero is the People’s Saint

In another extraordinary break with recent conservative orthodoxy, Pope Francis clears the leftist Salvadoran archbishop for sainthood. 

On Tuesday, Pope Francis decreed that the 1980 assassination of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, was a Martyrdom for the Faith.
Such a designation clears the way for Romero’s beatification, the final step before being declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

There is much that this former Archbishop of San Salvador shares with Pope Francis.
Both are seen as champions of the people, with an especially keen sense of the godlessness of any system that oppresses and subjugates the poor.
Both are unlikely leaders in the Roman Catholic Church, given their support for conservative theology and “order” prior to their elevation as leaders in the Church.
Both surprised their supporters in taking a much more critical stance toward the abuses of capitalism than would have been expected of a conservative leader.

Preaching “good news to the poor” was part of Jesus’ own self-understanding.
Jesus’ critique of society was received as radical and societally upsetting to the powers-that-be in his own day, no less than in our own.
When it came time to appoint a new Archbishop in San Salvador, Romero was selected because he was perceived to be the “safest” candidate who would support the status quo – the small, wealthy magnates who controlled the economy and benefited greatly from the subjugation of the people.

But then, the leaders of El Salvador, backed by the United States, looked on in horror as the mild-mannered, almost wimpy Roman Catholic prelate became the emboldened, passionate, and fearless “voice of the voiceless,” as he was called.
His defense of the common, ordinary people of El Salvador, and his attendant condemnation of violence and oppression by their leaders, made him dangerous and revolutionary in the eyes of the ruling party and its allies.  Something had to be done about his increasingly harsh and popular challenge to the existing systemic oppression of the people.
By 1979, government death squads began their killing rampage. Such was the backdrop as, on Sunday, March 23, 1980, Romero took to his pulpit and preached a sermon in which he called on El Salvadoran troops and national guardsmen to defy orders and stop killing their brother and sister citizens:  “In the name of God, then, and in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise daily more loudly to heaven, I plead with you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: put an end to this repression!”

The next day, as Romero celebrated mass in the small, humble chapel of a convent where he lived, he was felled by a single sharp-shooter assassin’s bullet through his heart as he stood at the altar.
The assassin was never apprehended, and those who planned the assassination were never named or held accountable.
The next few years would see over 75,000 El Salvadoran people killed in one of the longest, bloodiest conflicts in the history of this hemisphere.

Last summer I visited El Salvador, where the people continue to be oppressed, now by two violent gangs that in effect rule the country, while the government and police are impotent (and possibly uninterested) in stemming the violence.
I visited Romero’s humble apartment at the convent where he lived, whose two tiny rooms barely have enough space for his bed, reading chair and lamp.
I stood at the altar where he died, saying mass, and preaching that “a life offered for others is a sure token of resurrection and of victory.”

Oscar Romero, now 35 years dead, is alive and well and living in the hearts of the everyday people of El Salvador.
Congregations are named for him, prayers are said in his name, and his image is ubiquitous, despite attempts to quell his legacy and power, even in death.
His proclamation of non-violence and God’s love for the poor and the oppressed sustains people throughout El Salvador to this very day.
The ruling powers-that-be continue to try to bury his words and memory, but his liberating message lives in the hearts of the people.

Perhaps the thing that most unites Pope Francis and Oscar Romero is their shared belief that faith can never be separated from secular politics and economics.
Pope Francis’ condemnation of the abuses of capitalism is reviled as radical and Marxist by the world’s powers-that-be with the same vehemence that greeted Romero’s critique.
Much of Francis’ current challenge to the structures of society that oppress the poor are worthy of the old Southern criticism of clergy who had the audacity to bring faith to politics and question the secular status quo, “Now he’s gone from preaching’ to meddlin’!”  There is no sign that Pope Francis is going to stop meddlin’.

Pope Francis’s declaration that Romero is a martyr because of his faith, not just his politics, speaks volumes about the way in which this new Pope understands the relationship between what we believe and how we act in the world.
Using faith to critique politics and economics will not make Francis any friends among those who benefit from oppressing the poor, but it will make him the people’s Pope.
And he will be in good company.
One day, the Roman Catholic Church will proclaim Romero to be what he already is in El Salvador:  the People’s Saint.

Homilia integral do Papa Francisco na Missa com os Cardeais, hoje, 15 de Fevereiro de 2015 - Três conceitos-chave: a compaixão de Jesus perante a marginalização e a sua vontade de integração.

Os três conceitos-chave: a compaixão de Jesus perante a marginalização e a sua vontade de integração.

«Senhor, se quiseres, podes purificar-me». Compadecido, Jesus, estendeu a mão, tocou-o e disse: «Quero, fica purificado» (cf. Mc 1, 40-41). A compaixão de Jesus! Aquele «padecer com» levava-O a aproximar-Se de cada pessoa atribulada! Jesus não Se retrai, antes, pelo contrário, deixa-Se comover pelo sofrimento e as necessidades do povo, simplesmente porque Ele sabe e quer «padecer com», porque possui um coração que não se envergonha de ter «compaixão».

Ele «já não podia entrar abertamente numa cidade; ficava fora, em lugares despovoados» (Mc 1, 45). Isto significa que, além de curar o leproso, Jesus tomou sobre Si também a marginalização que impunha a Lei de Moisés (cf. Lv 13, 1-2.45-46). Não teme o risco de assumir o sofrimento alheio, mas paga por inteiro o seu preço (cf. Is 53, 4).

A compaixão leva Jesus a agir de forma concreta: a reintegrar o marginalizado. Temos aqui os três conceitos-chave que a Igreja nos propõe na liturgia da palavra hodierna: a compaixão de Jesus perante a marginalização e a sua vontade de integração.

Marginalização: Moisés, ao tratar juridicamente a questão dos leprosos, reclama que sejam afastados e marginalizados da comunidade, enquanto persistir o mal, e declara-os «impuros» (cf. Lv 13, 1-2.45-46).

Imaginai quanto sofrimento e quanta vergonha devia sentir, física, social, psicológica e espiritualmente, um leproso! Não é apenas vítima da doença, mas sente que é também o culpado, punido pelos seus pecados. É um morto-vivo, como «se o pai lhe tivesse cuspido na cara» (cf. Nm 12, 14).

Além disso, o leproso suscita medo, desprezo, nojo e, por isso, é abandonado pelos seus familiares, evitado pelas outras pessoas, marginalizado pela sociedade; mais, a própria sociedade o expulsa e constringe a viver em lugares afastados dos sãos, exclui-o. E o modo como o faz é tal que, se um indivíduo são se aproximasse de um leproso seria severamente punido e com frequência tratado, por sua vez, como leproso.

A finalidade desta legislação era «salvar os sãos», «proteger os justos» e, para os defender de qualquer risco, marginalizava «o perigo» tratando sem piedade o contagiado. De facto, assim decretou o sumo sacerdote Caifás: «Convém que morra um só homem pelo povo, e não pereça a nação inteira» (Jo 11, 50).

Integração: Jesus revoluciona e sacode intensamente aquela mentalidade fechada no medo e autolimitada pelos preconceitos. Contudo Ele não abole a Lei de Moisés, mas leva-a à perfeição (cf. Mt 5, 17), declarando, por exemplo, a ineficácia contraproducente da lei de talião; declarando que Deus não gosta da observância do sábado que despreza o homem e o condena; ou, quando perante a mulher pecadora, não a condena, pelo contrário salva-a do zelo cego de quantos já estavam prontos para a lapidar sem dó nem piedade, convictos de aplicar a Lei de Moisés. Jesus revoluciona também as consciências no Sermão da Montanha (cf. Mt 5), abrindo novos horizontes para a humanidade e revelando plenamente a lógica de Deus: a lógica do amor, que não se baseia no medo mas na liberdade, na caridade, no zelo salutar e no desígnio salvífico de Deus: «Deus, nosso Salvador, quer que todos os homens sejam salvos e cheguem ao conhecimento da verdade» (1 Tm 2, 3-4). «Prefiro a misericórdia ao sacrifício» (Mt 12, 7; cf. Os 6, 6).

Jesus, novo Moisés, quis curar o leproso, quis tocá-lo, quis reintegrá-lo na comunidade, sem Se «autolimitar» nos preconceitos; sem Se adequar à mentalidade dominante do povo; sem Se preocupar de modo algum com o contágio. Jesus responde à súplica do leproso sem demora e sem os habituais adiamentos para estudar a situação e todas as eventuais consequências. Para Jesus, o que importa acima de tudo é alcançar e salvar os afastados, curar as feridas dos doentes, reintegrar a todos na família de Deus. E isto deixou alguém escandalizado!

Jesus não teme este tipo de escândalo. Não olha às mentes fechadas que se escandalizam até por uma cura, que se escandalizam diante de qualquer abertura, qualquer passo que não entre nos seus esquemas mentais e espirituais, qualquer carícia ou ternura que não corresponda aos seus hábitos de pensar e à sua pureza ritualista. Ele quis integrar os marginalizados, salvar aqueles que estão fora do acampamento (cf. Jo 10).

Trata-se de duas lógicas de pensamento e de fé: o medo de perder os salvos e o desejo de salvar os perdidos. Hoje, às vezes, também acontece encontrarmo-nos na encruzilhada destas duas lógicas: a dos doutores da lei, ou seja marginalizar o perigo afastando a pessoa contagiada, e a lógica de Deus que, com a sua misericórdia, abraça e acolhe reintegrando e transformando o mal em bem, a condenação em salvação e a exclusão em anúncio.

Estas duas lógicas percorrem toda a história da Igreja: marginalizar e reintegrar. São Paulo, ao pôr em prática o mandamento do Senhor de levar o anúncio do Evangelho até aos últimos confins da terra (cf. Mt 28, 19), escandalizou e encontrou forte resistência e grande hostilidade sobretudo da parte daqueles que exigiam, inclusive aos pagãos convertidos, uma observância incondicional da Lei mosaica. O próprio São Pedro foi duramente criticado pela comunidade, quando entrou na casa de Cornélio, um centurião pagão (cf. Act 10) .

O caminho da Igreja, desde o Concílio de Jerusalém em diante, é sempre o de Jesus: o caminho da misericórdia e da integração. Isto não significa subestimar os perigos nem fazer entrar os lobos no rebanho, mas acolher o filho pródigo arrependido; curar com determinação e coragem as feridas do pecado; arregaçar as mangas em vez de ficar a olhar passivamente o sofrimento do mundo. O caminho da Igreja é não condenar eternamente ninguém; derramar a misericórdia de Deus sobre todas as pessoas que a pedem com coração sincero; o caminho da Igreja é precisamente sair do próprio recinto para ir à procura dos afastados nas «periferias» da existência; adoptar integralmente a lógica de Deus; seguir o Mestre, que disse: «Não são os que têm saúde que precisam de médico, mas os que estão doentes. Não foram os justos que Eu vim chamar ao arrependimento, mas os pecadores» (Lc 5, 31-32).

Curando o leproso, Jesus não provoca qualquer dano a quem é são, antes livra-o do medo; não lhe cria um perigo, mas dá-lhe um irmão; não despreza a Lei, mas preza o homem, para o qual Deus inspirou a Lei. De facto, Jesus liberta os sãos da tentação do «irmão mais velho» (cf. Lc 15, 11-32) e do peso da inveja e da murmuração dos «trabalhadores que suportaram o cansaço do dia e o seu calor» (cf. Mt 20, 1-16).

Consequentemente, a caridade não pode ser neutra, indiferente, morna ou esquiva. A caridade contagia, apaixona, arrisca e envolve. Porque a caridade verdadeira é sempre imerecida, incondicional e gratuita (cf. 1 Cor 13). A caridade é criativa, encontrando a linguagem certa para comunicar com todos aqueles que são considerados incuráveis e, portanto, intocáveis. O contacto é a verdadeira linguagem comunicativa, a mesma linguagem afectiva que comunicou a cura ao leproso. Quantas curas podemos realizar e comunicar, aprendendo esta linguagem! Era um leproso e tornou-se arauto do amor de Deus. Diz o Evangelho: «Ele, porém, assim que se retirou, começou a proclamar e a divulgar o sucedido» (cf. Mc 1, 45).

Amados novos Cardeais, esta é a lógica de Jesus, este é o caminho da Igreja: não só acolher e integrar, com coragem evangélica, aqueles que batem à nossa porta, mas ir à procura, sem preconceitos nem medo, dos afastados revelando-lhes gratuitamente aquilo que gratuitamente recebemos. «Quem diz que permanece em [Cristo], deve caminhar como Ele caminhou» (1 Jo 2, 6). A disponibilidade total para servir os outros é o nosso sinal distintivo, é o nosso único título de honra!

Nesta Eucaristia, que nos vê reunidos ao redor do altar do Senhor, invoquemos a intercessão de Maria, Mãe da Igreja, que sofreu em primeira mão a marginalização por causa das calúnias (cf. Jo 8, 41) e do exílio (cf. Mt 2, 13-23), para que nos alcance a graça de sermos servos fiéis a Deus. Ensine-nos Ela – que é a Mãe – a não termos medo de acolher com ternura os marginalizados; a não temermos a ternura e a compaixão; que Ela nos revista de paciência acompanhando-os no seu caminho, sem buscar os triunfos dum sucesso mundano; que Ela nos mostre Jesus e faça caminhar como Ele.

Amados irmãos, com os olhos fixos em Jesus e em Maria nossa Mãe, exorto-vos a servir a Igreja de tal maneira que os cristãos – edificados pelo nosso testemunho – não se sintam tentados a estar com Jesus, sem quererem estar com os marginalizados, isolando-se numa casta que nada tem de autenticamente eclesial. Exorto-vos a servir Jesus crucificado em toda a pessoa marginalizada, seja pelo motivo que for; a ver o Senhor em cada pessoa excluída que tem fome, que tem sede, que não tem com que se cobrir; a ver o Senhor que está presente também naqueles que perderam a fé ou se afastaram da prática da sua fé; o Senhor, que está na cadeia, que está doente, que não tem trabalho, que é perseguido; o Senhor que está no leproso, no corpo ou na alma, que é discriminado. Não descobrimos o Senhor, se não acolhemos de maneira autêntica o marginalizado. Recordemos sempre a imagem de São Francisco, que não teve medo de abraçar o leproso e acolher aqueles que sofrem qualquer género de marginalização. Verdadeiramente é no evangelho dos marginalizados que se descobre e revela a nossa credibilidade!


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Again Lent

Observing Lent in your family doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Here are some simple things you can do to help your kids grow during this season with little to no prep work at all.
40 ways 40 days
  1. Go to Mass as a family on Ash Wednesday. This is so great because even the smallest members of the family can have ashes.
  2. Read the scripture about when Jesus goes into the desert.
  3. Motivate your children to do good deeds and make sacrifices. We often do the crown of thorns, but a sacrifice jar with beans is easier to set up.
  4. Give something up for Lent as a family, even if you kids are young enough that you don’t “have” to. We always give up candy as a blanket sacrifice, and then decide on other things. Other good “blanket sacrifices” are no music in the car, no eating out, or drinking only water during Lent.
  5. Set up an almsgiving box- you simply set out a box, and take 1 thing from your own pantry every day of Lent. At the end of Lent, take the box to a food pantry.
  6. Set up an offering jar- all you need is a jar or piggy bank of some kind. Spare change goes into the jar for the length of Lent, and then is donated.
  7. Add extra prayers to your daily life. Maybe this is extra prayers in the morning or at bedtime. If you have older kids, encourage them to set extra goals for personal prayer as well.
  8. Pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary together- daily, weekly, whatever works for you. If this feels overwhelming with little kids, try just 1 decade.
  9. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet together- this is also a faster option than a rosary for those with littles.
  10. Light Lenten candles on your dinner table each night (much like an Advent wreath, but for Lent)
  11. Make pretzels together. If you don’t have time to do this from scratch, get the Pillsbury bread sticks in a can and make them that way.
  12. Go to daily Mass. You decide how often this might be doable at this current stage of your life.
  13. Go to adoration. Even if you can’t stay long with little kids, it’s still worth going.
  14. Go to confession as a family.
  15. Read the penitential Psalms.
  16. Count down the days of Lent with a printable Lenten calendar for your kids- a lot easier than making paper chains!
  17. Bury the Alleluia- this can also be very easy. I offer a printable way to do this here.
  18. Attend stations of the cross at your church. We especially love to do this on Good Friday.
  19. Cook simple meatless meals together with your kids. This will be a good sacrifice opportunity for you. ;-)
  20. Listen to the stations of the cross on CD. We love listening to ours at home, and this is a great for car trips, especially if you’re traveling to see family on Easter.
  21. Sing “The Lent Song” with your kids.
  22. Wash your children’s feet on Holy Thursday.
  23. Encourage better attention during Mass by assigning each member of the family 1 reading to pay special attention to. Have everyone give a re-cap of “their” reading on the way home in the car. Have a family discussion if anyone had thoughts about the readings.
  24. On Good Friday, have an hour of silence at your house from 3-4 (because Jesus died at 3). Allow your kids to read spiritual books during this hour of silence.
  25. 40 bags, 40 days. You pick the size of the bag (Paper bag, Wal-Mart bag, trash bag, lunch sac) and you get rid of 1 bag full from your house every day. Donate what you get rid of. This is an excellent exercise in living simply.
  26. Lenten cleaning- rather than the idea of “Spring cleaning”, clean 1 area of your home every day during Lent. Your house is beautiful and clean for Easter!
  27. Sing a Lenten hymn together each day as a family. We like to do this in the morning. You can sing the same hymn each morning until everyone has learned the words, then move onto another one.
  28. Attend extra activities happening at your parish, such as Friday fish fries.
  29. Do some of the works of mercy together with your kids.
  30. Watch a Lenten movie together as a family- I like The Greatest Adventure Easter Story for little kids.
  31. Read 1 Saint story per day. (I like this set because the stories are short, and there’s a picture for each one)
  32. Read the Bible together as a family daily. This can be done in the morning at breakfast, and doesn’t have to take long. You can just read a paragraph each day. I suggest starting…
  33. Basically, make sure you’re including more prayer, fasting, and almsgiving than during ordinary time.
  34. Decide 1 day of the week during Lent to go “screen free” as a family.
  35. Light a candle at church on Sunday.
  36. Put a purple table cloth out for the length of Lent. Explain liturgical colors to your kids.
  37. During Holy Week, read the story of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and the crucifixion from the Bible.
  38. Memorize a new prayer together as a family.
  39. Join Holy Heroes Lent adventure- easiest. thing. for mom. ever.
  40. And the number 1 easy thing that takes no extra effort that I really want you to do is…. Save all of the Easter celebrating for Easter!

Broken things

Todos os caminhos

Todos os caminhos da Terra podem ser uma ocasião de encontro com Cristo.

(S. Josemaria) 


Friday, 13 February 2015

O Trabalho: Caminho de santidade

Todo o trabalho humano honesto, tanto intelectual como manual, deve ser realizado pelo cristão com a maior perfeição possível: com perfeição humana (competência profissional) e com perfeição cristã (por amor à vontade de Deus e em serviço dos homens).

Porque, feito assim, esse trabalho humano, por humilde e insignificante que pareça, contribui para a ordenação cristã das realidades temporais – a manifestação da sua dimensão divina – e é assumido e integrado na obra prodigiosa da Criação e da Redenção do mundo: eleva-se assim o trabalho à ordem da graça, santifica-se, converte-se em obra de Deus, operatio Dei, opus Dei.


Think good thoughts and good will find you


Thursday, 12 February 2015

The practice of Humility - 27

Perform all your actions, no matter how small they may be, as attentively, precisely and diligently as possible; acting lightly and rashly is the result of presumption.  The truly humble person is always vigilant to avoid failing, in even the smallest things.

For the same reason always practice ordinary exercises of piety; shun the unusual practices suggested by your nature.  The proud seeks always to stand out, the humble, on the contrary, is glad doing what is common and ordinary.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Don't speak hurtful words

Some people make cutting remarks,  but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:18 NLT


A martyr’s death is a grace of God that
I do not believe I deserve.
But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life,
Let my blood bring liberty.
Let my blood be a seed of freedom,
Let my blood be a seed.
Let my blood be a seed of freedom,
Let my blood be a seed.
Let my death, if accepted by God,
Be for my people’s liberty,
And a sign, that hope will soon be,
Soon be reality.
Let my blood be a seed of liberty,
Let my blood be a seed.
Let my blood be a seed of liberty,
Let my blood be a seed.
You may say if they accomplish killing me,
That I pardon and bless those who succeed,
Would indeed they might be convinced,
Not to waste their time.
A bishop will die...
Let my blood be a seed of freedom,
Let my blood be a seed.
Let my blood be a seed of freedom,
Let my blood be a seed.
A bishop will die,
But the Church, God’s people,
Will survive.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Óscar Romero

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980)[1] was a bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador, and declared a martyr by Pope Francis on 3 February 2015. He became the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. His spiritual life drew much from the spirituality of Opus Dei. In 1980, after attending an Opus Dei recollection, Romero was assassinated while offering Mass.

Catholics in El Salvador often refer to him as "San Romero". Even outside of Catholicism, Romero is honored by other Christian denominations, including the Church of England and Anglican Communion through the Calendar in Common Worship, as well as in at least one Lutheran liturgical calendar. Archbishop Romero is also one of the ten 20th-century martyrs depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London. In 2008, Europe-based magazine A Different View included Romero among its 15 Champions of World Democracy.

On 12 March 1977, Rutilio Grande, a progressive Jesuit priest and personal friend of Romero who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. His death had a profound impact on Romero, who later stated, "When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path'". Romero urged the government to investigate, but they ignored his request. Furthermore, the censored press remained silent.

Tension was noted by the closure of schools and the lack of Catholic priests invited to participate in government. In response to Fr. Rutilio's murder, Romero revealed a radicalism that had not been evident earlier, speaking out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture.

In 1979, the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power amidst a wave of human rights abuses by paramilitary right-wing groups and the government in an escalation of violence that would become the Salvadoran Civil War. Romero criticized the United States for giving military aid to the new government and wrote to President Jimmy Carter in February 1980, warning that increased US military aid would "undoubtedly sharpen the injustice and the political repression inflicted on the organized people, whose struggle has often been for their most basic human rights." Carter, concerned that El Salvador would become "another Nicaragua", ignored Romero's pleas and continued military aid to the Salvadoran government.

As a result of his humanitarian efforts, Romero began to be noticed internationally. In February 1980, he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Louvain. On his visit to Europe to receive this honor, he met Pope John Paul II and expressed his concerns at what was happening in his country. Romero argued that it was problematic to support the Salvadoran government because it legitimized terror and assassinations.

Archbishop Romero denounced the persecution of members of the Catholic Church who had worked on behalf of the poor: "In less than three years, more than fifty priests have been attacked, threatened, calumniated. Six are already martyrs--they were murdered. Some have been tortured and others expelled [from the country]. Nuns have also been persecuted. The archdiocesan radio station and educational institutions that are Catholic or of a Christian inspiration have been attacked, threatened, intimidated, even bombed. Several parish communities have been raided. If all this has happened to persons who are the most evident representatives of the Church, you can guess what has happened to ordinary Christians, to the campesinos, catechists, lay ministers, and to the ecclesial base communities. There have been threats, arrests, tortures, murders, numbering in the hundreds and thousands....But it is important to note why [the Church] has been persecuted. Not any and every priest has been persecuted, not any and every institution has been attacked. That part of the church has been attacked and persecuted that put itself on the side of the people and went to the people's defense. Here again we find the same key to understanding the persecution of the church: the poor." (Óscar Romero, Speech at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, Feb. 2, 1980).

By the time of his death, Archbishop Romero had built up an enormous following among Salvadorans. He did this largely through broadcasting his weekly sermons across El Salvador. In these sermons, he listed disappearances, tortures, murders and much more each Sunday. This was followed by an hour-long speech on radio the following day. On the importance of these broadcasts, one writer noted "The archbishop's Sunday sermon was the main source in El Salvador about what was happening. It was estimated to have the largest listenership of any programme in the country". Similarly, his diocesan weekly paper Orientación carried lists of cases of torture and repression every week.

Romero preached that "“The most profound social revolution is the serious, supernatural, interior reform of a Christian.” He also emphasized: "The liberation of Christ and of His Church is not reduced to the dimension of a purely temporal project. It does not reduce its objectives to an anthropocentric perspective: to a material well-being or to initiatives of a political or social, economic or cultural order, only. Much less can it be a liberation that supports or is supported by violence.”

Romero was a strong advocate of the spiritual charism of Opus Dei. He received weekly spiritual direction from a priest of Opus Dei. In 1975 he wrote in support of the cause of canonization of Opus Dei's founder, "Personally, I owe deep gratitude to the priests involved with the Work, to whom I have entrusted with much satisfaction the spiritual direction of my own life and that of other priests."

Romero spent the day of 24 March 1980 in a recollection organized by Opus Dei, a monthly gathering of priest friends led by Msgr. Fernando Sáenz Lacalle. On that day they reflected on the priesthood. That evening, Romero was fatally shot while celebrating Mass at a small chapel located in a hospital called "La Divina Providencia", one day after a sermon in which he had called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God's higher order and to stop carrying out the government's repression and violations of basic human rights. As soon as he finished his sermon, Romero proceeded to the middle of the altar and at that moment was shot.

In 2013, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that the Vatican doctrinal office has been "given the greenlight" to pursue sainthood for Romero.

In 2014, Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, said that the canonization process is in its final stages.

On Friday, January 9, 2015, an online news story article by Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service (CNS) stated that on Thursday, January 8, 2015,: "A panel of theologians advising the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes voted unanimously to recognize the late Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as a martyr, according to the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference." It is a key step in his canonization process. Next, the Cardinals who are voting members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Roman Curia must vote to recommend to Pope Francis that Archbishop Romero be beatified. A miracle is not required for beatification candidates who the Pope decrees are martyrs to be beatified, as it would normally be otherwise. If he is beatified as a martyr, a miracle will then normally be needed for him to be canonized.[66]

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Pope Francis received Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in a private audience, and authorized the Cardinal to promulgate (officially authorize) Archbishop Romero's decree of martyrdom, meaning it has gained the Congregation's voting members and the Pope's approval. This clears the way for the Pope to later set a date for his beatification.[67]
Basis for canonization

The Congregation for Saints' Causes voted unanimously to recommend Pope Francis recognize Romero as a martyr. "He was killed at the altar. Through him, they wanted to strike the church that flowed from the Second Vatican Council." His assassination "was not caused by motives that were simply political, but by hatred for a faith that, imbued with charity, would not be silent in the face of the injustices that relentlessly and cruelly slaughtered the poor and their defenders."

It corrects us

2 Timothy 3:16-17 | Word on the WAY

Monday, 9 February 2015

The practice of Humility - 26

Never wish to be loved in a singular way.  Since love depends on the will and the will tends by its nature towards good, it follows that being loved and considered good are one and same thing.  The desire to be esteemed with a preferential love does not harmonize with a sincere humility.

Stop begging for the love of creatures; how much fruit would you get if you rectify! Take refuge in the sacred wounds of the Savior; you will experience untold divine sweetness in the adorable Heart of Jesus.

The generous renunciation of human love for the love of God will empower you to savor abundantly the honey of divine consolation; these divine consolations are always denied to the prisoners of the false and alluring sweetness of earthly compensations.  Divine consolations are so pure that they do not mix with earthly compensations; we are filled with the former the more we empty ourselves of the latter.  Moreover, your soul will be able to turn freely to God and find repose in his presence contemplating his infinite perfection.

Finally, since there is nothing sweeter than to love and be loved, if you deprive yourself of this human pleasure for the love of God, the Lord takes possession of your heart, undivided by any other natural love; and you will be offering to God a sacrifice most pleasing to him.

Do not fear that by so doing you will cool your charity for your neighbor.  Rather, you will love your neighbor with a purer love; not for your own interest –following your own inclinations– but only to please God, doing what you know He likes.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Santa Teresa dos Andes, Carta 12

«Por favor,
peço-te que me digas os meus defeitos,
pois eu tenho compaixão de mim
e não os encaro suficientemente.
Sou muito orgulhosa
e quero ser humilde.
E sou colérica,
impaciento-me por tudo e por nada.
Assim, quando vires o menor sinal,
avisa-me, peço-te.»

a verdadeira amizade
está em ajudarmo-nos mutuamente
a crescer no Teu amor.
Dá-me amigos
que estejam dispostos a fazer este caminho.
Os amigos de Deus e em Deus
são os que melhor bem fazem mutuamente
e, juntos, podemos ir mais longe
no Teu amor.
que quando esteja necessitado
de luz sobre mim e a minha vida
encontre sempre um amigo de Deus
que me ilumine e ajude.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Sixty second Gospel

And have a continuos relationship with him that changes your heart to reflect His, which transforms how you live

6/2/2015 Pope Francis (@Pontifex): Having faith does not mean having no difficulties

Having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone.

Pope Francis ()

Venham as chuvas, soprem os ventos, abatam-se as tempestades

são felizes os que vivem unidos a Ti,
porque em tudo
receberão o auxílio da Tua graça que vem pela fé.
Venham as chuvas,
soprem os ventos,
abatam-se as tempestades,
e a casa de quem está unido a Ti
não será derrubada,
porque está assente em rocha firme,
que és Tu.
Sim, Senhor,
também eu quero estar unido a Ti
através de tudo,
de todas as circunstâncias e dificuldades.
Em tudo encontrarei a Tua força e a Tua graça
que não me abandonarão se não Te abandonar.
Quero unir-me sempre mais a Ti, Senhor!


I need your prayer


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Do not be afraid!

Pope Francis

Saber amar

Os pais são os principais educadores dos seus filhos, tanto no aspecto humano como no sobrenatural, e hão-de sentir a responsabilidade dessa missão, que exige deles compreensão, prudência, saber ensinar e, sobretudo, saber amar; e devem preocupar-se por dar bom exemplo. A imposição autoritária e violenta não é caminho acertado para a educação. O ideal para os pais é chegarem a ser amigos dos filhos; amigos a quem se confiam as inquietações, a quem se consulta sobre os problemas, de quem se espera uma ajuda eficaz e amável.
É necessário que os pais arranjem tempo para estar com os filhos e falar com eles. Os filhos são o que há de mais importante; mais importante do que os negócios, do que o trabalho, do que o descanso. Nessas conversas, convém escutá-los com atenção, esforçar-se por compreendê-los, saber reconhecer a parte de verdade – ou a verdade inteira – que possa haver em algumas das suas rebeldias. E, ao mesmo tempo, apoiar as suas aspirações, ensiná-los a ponderar as coisas e a raciocinar; não lhes impor uma conduta, mas mostrar-lhes os motivos, sobrenaturais e humanos, que a aconselham. Numa palavra, respeitar a sua liberdade, já que não há verdadeira educação sem responsabilidade pessoal, nem responsabilidade sem liberdade. (Cristo que passa, 27)


Listen for God's voice in everything you do

Proverbs 3:6

The practice of Humility - 25

If, by mistake, you are scolded; if your behavior is criticized by your subordinate, or by one who should first look at himself as more worthy of reprehension, do not despise his indications or reject the advice given; examine your conduct calmly in the light of God.

Be deeply convinced that without God’s grace, you would fall at every step.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

3/2/2015 Pope Francis (@Pontifex): We are all called to a conversion of heart

We are all sinners. We are all called to a conversion of heart.

Pope Francis ()

Sunday, 1 February 2015

31/1/2015 Pope Francis (@Pontifex): A credible witness to truth and to the values of the Gospel

A credible witness to truth and to the values of the Gospel is urgently needed.

Pope Francis ()

The practice of Humility - 24

Do not become irritated if the food served is not to your liking; behave in this case as do God’s poor ones, who willingly eat what is set before them, thanking divine providence for it.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)