In this news article, Camillo Cardinal Ruini has urged Italian men and women religious to charge onto the blogosphere, lest that new territory (and with it, the minds of many youth) be surrendered to anti-Christian forces.
"Their example gives witness to the fact that baptism commits Christians to participate boldly in the spread of the Kingdom of God, cooperating if necessary with the sacrifice of one's own life," he said. "Certainly not everyone is called to a bloody martyrdom. There is also an unbloody 'martyrdom,' which is no less significant, such as that of Celina Chludzinska Borzecka, wife, mother, widow and religious, beatified yesterday in Rome: It is the silent and heroic testimony of many Christians who live the Gospel without compromises, fulfilling their duty and dedicating themselves generously in service to the poor.
"This martyrdom of ordinary life is a particularly important witness in the secularized societies of our time. It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, have to fight tirelessly; the race to spread the Gospel that commits us until death. May Mary, Queen of Martyrs and Star of Evangelization, help us and assist us in our daily witness,"
Pope Benedict XVI on the Beatification of 498 martyrs of Spain during the 1930s.
"Christ in history is like the sun in a day that is just beginning, like the dawn. And a man who had never seen the sun, who had always lived in the night, would be full of wonder at seeing the dawn emerging. Things would start to take on their form, albeit in a blurred and still unclear way. And such a man, even if he cannot imagine the sun in its midday splendor, nonetheless begins to intuit that something new is happening, that the dawn is a beginning: the beginning of day.
The earth, existence, and history, for Christians, are like the beginning, the dawn of that full day to which God has destined us.
All that is meant by "modern" these days is intended to keep us from thinking about God and Heaven. Science, as a quest to no longer need God rather than to learn about His creation, is intended to distract us from God. Obscenity, modern "art", the busyness of modern daily life, the loudness of televisions and radios, and the flashiness of billboards, the excitingness of video games, are all meant to fix our attention on themselves... never to point us to something more beautiful, more good, more true and real than themselves.
God has given us EVERYTHING to help draw us to Him. We should cultivate in our hearts an "eye" for seeing things as reminders of Him, as foretastes of Heaven. We must constantly battle to push out of our mind those things that infiltrate, distracting us from the realest reality: God and His good plan for us. A deep life of prayer is the only thing that can help us focus on the heavenly bliss that God has in store for us at the end of our journey through this life.
Learn to look at the things of this life and see what they might tell us of heaven. In heaven, we will not be mere spirits, or ghosts; nor will we be angels. God made us with bodies, and in Heaven we will be reunited with our transformed, resurrected body. In Heaven, there will be nothing to prevent us from playing frisbee with our pals, sitting under a shady tree with Jesus, eating yummy strawberries and cream, and bathing in the sunlight on a warm autumn afternoon.
Here, in this video, I've compiled some things that have given me glimpses of Heaven.
"Gluttony is the vanguard of impurity," The Way, #126.
Fundamentally, gluttony is about satisfying all our desires, particularly for food, drink, comforts, and the finer things of life. Indulging our cravings for these things without restraint makes us weak, soft, and self-centered. Our hearts become mixed and cluttered with all sorts of desires that will sidetrack us from following God. Gradually, our minds and hearts confuse even people with property, with what is ours to please us. We begin to use others, even in the most perverse ways. What is lust but the extension of the gluttony principle to include persons, treating persons as mere things to satisfy our desires?
"Without holy purity it is not possible to persevere in the apostolate," The Way, #129.
Purity ensures a love that is unmixed with selfish desires, unchained by our own limitations. This kind of love comes from God alone, through the sacraments, nurtured in prayer.
I am going to start posting aphorisms periodically, from St. Josemaria Escriva's The Way. I am not involved with Opus Dei myself, but highly recommend it for almost any other working stiff layman out there. The translations are all my own, from the original Spanish text of Camino, so forgive me if it doesn't match your translation at home.
"The more they exalt me, my Jesus, all the more humble me in my heart, making me know what I have been, and what I will be, if you leave me," (The Way, #591).
Margaret Mary lived in a convent ravaged by Jansenism in a country sinking under the weight of the same spiritual illness. Jansenism is a complex heresy that boils down to keeping a very strict rule (the stricter, the better, they thought), with failure to do so adequately spelling out eternal damnation. This thinking led to a very harsh and judgmental attitude toward anyone who falls short. That cold and harsh attitude leads inevitably toward the withering of love. With this heresy, all that remains of authentic Christianity is a set of rules and prideful people giving hateful looks to everyone else. It was in this spiritual climate that Our Lord revealed Himself to St. Margaret Mary and showed to her His living, loving Sacred Heart. His heart is a heart full of love, and all who behold it must make the barest and starkest of choices: to accept or to reject that love. St. Margaret Mary chose love. That love transformed her. Since her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began to spread among her sisters, throughout France, and around the world, He has transformed hearts wherever He has been loved.
Ignatius, elected bishop of Antioch toward the end of the first Christian century, must have been aware of the danger he was in. He was the ringleader of a largish gathering of a suspicious cult. Yet, he had beheld the love of Christ and been transformed by that love as well. In fact, he was so transformed that nothing else mattered. He fell so in love with Jesus, whom his eyes never beheld in this life, that he also began to love the things that Jesus loved. He loved little children, he loved wayward sinners, he loved hard-headed Christians, he even loved his enemies. Most dramatically, he loved suffering for the sake of saving souls. So it was that as he was being dragged in chains to Rome to be murdered at the Emperor's command, he begged his well-connected brothers-in-Christ living in Rome not to use their connections or their money to get him released. He had one desire left: to see Jesus. When the Roman world began to get a clearer and clearer view of this sort of love, the "games" at which Christians were murdered stopped seeming so fun. The Roman world, full of violence, cold business relationships, and loveless lives, desperately craved the one thing they could not buy for themselves: love. When the Romans saw that Christians had it, very large numbers began to become Christians in a very short time.
If any of the symptoms of the lovelessness disease sound familiar, if any of it seems applicable to our life or world today, we must consider that perhaps the disease is the same. That's good news, because it means the treatment is the same. Let us turn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and ask Him to teach us to love.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, make our heart like unto Thine.
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged young people to be missionaries on the streets and in the neighborhoods of their own cities.At the end of the recital of the midday Angelus today, the Pope greeted 500 young missionaries who, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7, participated in the 4th mission of Rome called Jesus at the Center. "I congratulate you, dear friends, because you have brought the proclamation of God’s love to the streets and to some hospitals and schools of the city," said the Pontiff. "The missionary experience is part of Christian formation and it is important for adolescents and young people to be able to live it personally," he added. The Holy Father concluded, "Continue to witness to the Gospel every day and commit yourselves generously in the next missionary initiatives in the Diocese of Rome."
St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (1 Oct)
We all want to be big kids, grownups. We want to be big, strong, smart, quick, and otherwise self-sufficient. We don't want people telling us what to do. We want to make our own plans for our life. We want to be in charge and in control. It's in our blood, and our Western culture certainly encourages it.
Yet the readings from today's Mass (Mon after XXVI Sunday of Ord: Zec 8:1-8; Ps 102; Lk 9:46-50) tell us that this path is the wrong one. We want to build ourselves up, but as the psalm response says, The Lord will build up Zion again and appear in all His glory. In the Gospel for today we are told what to think about building ourselves up: An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus resolved the quarrel by drawing a little child to his side and stating, "For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest," (Lk 9:46, 48). St. Matthew, who records the event similarly, recalls Jesus saying, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven," (Mt 18:3-4). Upon brief inspection, it is actually amazing how many times Jesus refers to His disciples as His children, how frequently He urges them to depend upon our Father without worries, how often He reminds them that our Father will provide for all of our needs if we just ask Him. Our Father does not want us to conquer the world for Him, go as a missionary to the remotest corners for Him, become well versed in theology or scripture to impress Him.
"In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love!"She was known to thank Him in every circumstance, and had an amazing ability to see and embrace sincerely His love in all circumstances. Even as she coughed up blood upon her deathbed, gasping for air, among her last words she gasped, "Oh my God, how I love you!"