Monday, August 20, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 97




In fidelity to the Master

97. Given these uncompromising demands of Jesus, it is my duty to ask Christians to acknowledge and accept them in a spirit of genuine openness, sine glossa. In other words, without any “ifs or buts” that could lessen their force. Our Lord made it very clear that holiness cannot be understood or lived apart from these demands, for mercy is “the beating heart of the Gospel”.[81]

[81] Bull Misericordiae Vultus (11 April 2015), 12: AAS 107 (2015), 407.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Sunday, August 19, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - Week 16 in Review


Congratulations on completing Week 16 of The Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate!  To review this past week's readings, see below:


APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE

OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS 

ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS
IN TODAY’S WORLD




91. In living the Gospel, we cannot expect that everything will be easy, for the thirst for power and worldly interests often stands in our way. Saint John Paul II noted that “a society is alienated if its forms of social organization, production and consumption make it more difficult to offer this gift of self and to establish this solidarity between people”.[78] In such a society, politics, mass communications and economic, cultural and even religious institutions become so entangled as to become an obstacle to authentic human and social development. As a result, the Beatitudes are not easy to live out; any attempt to do so will be viewed negatively, regarded with suspicion, and met with ridicule.

92. Whatever weariness and pain we may experience in living the commandment of love and following the way of justice, the cross remains the source of our growth and sanctification. We must never forget that when the New Testament tells us that we will have to endure suffering for the Gospel’s sake, it speaks precisely of persecution (cf. Acts 5:41; Phil 1:29; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 1:12; 1 Pet 2:20, 4:14-16; Rev 2:10).

93. Here we are speaking about inevitable persecution, not the kind of persecution we might bring upon ourselves by our mistreatment of others. The saints are not odd and aloof, unbearable because of their vanity, negativity and bitterness. The Apostles of Christ were not like that. The Book of Acts states repeatedly that they enjoyed favour “with all the people” (2:47; cf. 4:21.33; 5:13), even as some authorities harassed and persecuted them (cf. 4:1-3, 5:17-18).

94. Persecutions are not a reality of the past, for today too we experience them, whether by the shedding of blood, as is the case with so many contemporary martyrs, or by more subtle means, by slander and lies. Jesus calls us blessed when people “utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt 5:11). At other times, persecution can take the form of gibes that try to caricature our faith and make us seem ridiculous.

Accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness.


THE GREAT CRITERION

95. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (vv. 31-46), Jesus expands on the Beatitude that calls the merciful blessed. If we seek the holiness pleasing to God’s eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 35-36).

In fidelity to the Master

96. Holiness, then, is not about swooning in mystic rapture. As Saint John Paul II said: “If we truly start out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he himself wished to be identified”.[79] The text of Matthew 25:35-36 is “not a simple invitation to charity: it is a page of Christology which sheds a ray of light on the mystery of Christ”.[80] In this call to recognize him in the poor and the suffering, we see revealed the very heart of Christ, his deepest feelings and choices, which every saint seeks to imitate.

[78] Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 41c: AAS 81 (1993), 844-845.

[79] Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001), 49: AAS 93 (2001), 302.


© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 96




In fidelity to the Master

96. Holiness, then, is not about swooning in mystic rapture. As Saint John Paul II said: “If we truly start out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he himself wished to be identified”.[79] The text of Matthew 25:35-36 is “not a simple invitation to charity: it is a page of Christology which sheds a ray of light on the mystery of Christ”.[80] In this call to recognize him in the poor and the suffering, we see revealed the very heart of Christ, his deepest feelings and choices, which every saint seeks to imitate.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Friday, August 17, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 95




THE GREAT CRITERION

95. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (vv. 31-46), Jesus expands on the Beatitude that calls the merciful blessed. If we seek the holiness pleasing to God’s eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 35-36).

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 94




“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

94. Persecutions are not a reality of the past, for today too we experience them, whether by the shedding of blood, as is the case with so many contemporary martyrs, or by more subtle means, by slander and lies. Jesus calls us blessed when people “utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt 5:11). At other times, persecution can take the form of gibes that try to caricature our faith and make us seem ridiculous.

Accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 93




“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

93. Here we are speaking about inevitable persecution, not the kind of persecution we might bring upon ourselves by our mistreatment of others. The saints are not odd and aloof, unbearable because of their vanity, negativity and bitterness. The Apostles of Christ were not like that. The Book of Acts states repeatedly that they enjoyed favour “with all the people” (2:47; cf. 4:21.33; 5:13), even as some authorities harassed and persecuted them (cf. 4:1-3, 5:17-18).

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 92




“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

92. Whatever weariness and pain we may experience in living the commandment of love and following the way of justice, the cross remains the source of our growth and sanctification. We must never forget that when the New Testament tells us that we will have to endure suffering for the Gospel’s sake, it speaks precisely of persecution (cf. Acts 5:41; Phil 1:29; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 1:12; 1 Pet 2:20, 4:14-16; Rev 2:10).

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Monday, August 13, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 91




“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

91. In living the Gospel, we cannot expect that everything will be easy, for the thirst for power and worldly interests often stands in our way. Saint John Paul II noted that “a society is alienated if its forms of social organization, production and consumption make it more difficult to offer this gift of self and to establish this solidarity between people”.[78] In such a society, politics, mass communications and economic, cultural and even religious institutions become so entangled as to become an obstacle to authentic human and social development. As a result, the Beatitudes are not easy to live out; any attempt to do so will be viewed negatively, regarded with suspicion, and met with ridicule.

[78] Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 41c: AAS 81 (1993), 844-845.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - Week 15 in Review


Congratulations on completing Week 15 of The Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate!  To review this past week's readings, see below:


APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE

OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS 

ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS
IN TODAY’S WORLD

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”

85. Certainly there can be no love without works of love, but this Beatitude reminds us that the Lord expects a commitment to our brothers and sisters that comes from the heart. For “if I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:3). In Matthew’s Gospel too, we see that what proceeds from the heart is what defiles a person (cf. 15:18), for from the heart come murder, theft, false witness, and other evil deeds (cf. 15:19). From the heart’s intentions come the desires and the deepest decisions that determine our actions.

86. A heart that loves God and neighbour (cf. Mt 22:36-40), genuinely and not merely in words, is a pure heart; it can see God. In his hymn to charity, Saint Paul says that “now we see in a mirror, dimly” (1 Cor 13:12), but to the extent that truth and love prevail, we will then be able to see “face to face”. Jesus promises that those who are pure in heart “will see God”.

Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”

87. This Beatitude makes us think of the many endless situations of war in our world. Yet we ourselves are often a cause of conflict or at least of misunderstanding. For example, I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it. I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it… And the more harm it does, the more satisfaction I seem to derive from it. The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace. Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they “blessed”.[73]

88. Peacemakers truly “make” peace; they build peace and friendship in society. To those who sow peace Jesus makes this magnificent promise: “They will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). He told his disciples that, wherever they went, they were to say: “Peace to this house!” (Lk 10:5). The word of God exhorts every believer to work for peace, “along with all who call upon the Lord with a pure heart” (cf. 2 Tim 2:22), for “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Jas 3:18). And if there are times in our community when we question what ought to be done, “let us pursue what makes for peace” (Rom 14:19), for unity is preferable to conflict.[74]

89. It is not easy to “make” this evangelical peace, which excludes no one but embraces even those who are a bit odd, troublesome or difficult, demanding, different, beaten down by life or simply uninterested. It is hard work; it calls for great openness of mind and heart, since it is not about creating “a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority”,[75] or a project “by a few for the few”.[76] Nor can it attempt to ignore or disregard conflict; instead, it must “face conflict head on, resolve it and make it a link in the chain of a new process”.[77] We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skill.
Sowing peace all around us: that is holiness.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

90. Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice, because they take seriously their commitment to God and to others. Unless we wish to sink into an obscure mediocrity, let us not long for an easy life, for “whoever would save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:25).


[73] Detraction and calumny are acts of terrorism: a bomb is thrown, it explodes and the attacker walks away calm and contented. This is completely different from the nobility of those who speak to others face to face, serenely and frankly, out of genuine concern for their good.

[74] At times, it may be necessary to speak of the difficulties of a particular brother or sister. In such cases, it can happen that an interpretation is passed on in place of an objective fact. Emotions can misconstrue and alter the facts of a matter, and end up passing them on laced with subjective elements. In this way, neither the facts themselves nor the truth of the other person are respected.

[75] Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 218: AAS 105 (2013), 1110.

[76] Ibid., 239: 1116.

[77] Ibid., 227: 1112.


© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 90




“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

90. Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice, because they take seriously their commitment to God and to others. Unless we wish to sink into an obscure mediocrity, let us not long for an easy life, for “whoever would save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:25).

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Friday, August 10, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 89




“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”

89. It is not easy to “make” this evangelical peace, which excludes no one but embraces even those who are a bit odd, troublesome or difficult, demanding, different, beaten down by life or simply uninterested. It is hard work; it calls for great openness of mind and heart, since it is not about creating “a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority”,[75] or a project “by a few for the few”.[76] Nor can it attempt to ignore or disregard conflict; instead, it must “face conflict head on, resolve it and make it a link in the chain of a new process”.[77] We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skill.

Sowing peace all around us: that is holiness.

[75] Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 218: AAS 105 (2013), 1110.

[76] Ibid., 239: 1116.

[77] Ibid., 227: 1112. 

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 88




“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”

88. Peacemakers truly “make” peace; they build peace and friendship in society. To those who sow peace Jesus makes this magnificent promise: “They will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). He told his disciples that, wherever they went, they were to say: “Peace to this house!” (Lk 10:5). The word of God exhorts every believer to work for peace, “along with all who call upon the Lord with a pure heart” (cf. 2 Tim 2:22), for “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Jas 3:18). And if there are times in our community when we question what ought to be done, “let us pursue what makes for peace” (Rom 14:19), for unity is preferable to conflict.[74]

[74] At times, it may be necessary to speak of the difficulties of a particular brother or sister. In such cases, it can happen that an interpretation is passed on in place of an objective fact. Emotions can misconstrue and alter the facts of a matter, and end up passing them on laced with subjective elements. In this way, neither the facts themselves nor the truth of the other person are respected.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 87




“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”

87. This Beatitude makes us think of the many endless situations of war in our world. Yet we ourselves are often a cause of conflict or at least of misunderstanding. For example, I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it. I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it… And the more harm it does, the more satisfaction I seem to derive from it. The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace. Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they “blessed”.[73]

[73] Detraction and calumny are acts of terrorism: a bomb is thrown, it explodes and the attacker walks away calm and contented. This is completely different from the nobility of those who speak to others face to face, serenely and frankly, out of genuine concern for their good

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 86




“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”

86. A heart that loves God and neighbour (cf. Mt 22:36-40), genuinely and not merely in words, is a pure heart; it can see God. In his hymn to charity, Saint Paul says that “now we see in a mirror, dimly” (1 Cor 13:12), but to the extent that truth and love prevail, we will then be able to see “face to face”. Jesus promises that those who are pure in heart “will see God”.

Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Monday, August 6, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 85




“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”

85. Certainly there can be no love without works of love, but this Beatitude reminds us that the Lord expects a commitment to our brothers and sisters that comes from the heart. For “if I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:3). In Matthew’s Gospel too, we see that what proceeds from the heart is what defiles a person (cf. 15:18), for from the heart come murder, theft, false witness, and other evil deeds (cf. 15:19). From the heart’s intentions come the desires and the deepest decisions that determine our actions.

© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.




Sunday, August 5, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - Week 14 in Review


Congratulations on completing Week 14 of The Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate!  To review this past week's readings, see below:


APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE

OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS 

ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS
IN TODAY’S WORLD

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”

79. True justice comes about in people’s lives when they themselves are just in their decisions; it is expressed in their pursuit of justice for the poor and the weak. While it is true that the word “justice” can be a synonym for faithfulness to God’s will in every aspect of our life, if we give the word too general a meaning, we forget that it is shown especially in justice towards those who are most vulnerable: “Seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Is 1:17).

Hungering and thirsting for righteousness: that is holiness.


“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy”

80. Mercy has two aspects. It involves giving, helping and serving others, but it also includes forgiveness and understanding. Matthew sums it up in one golden rule: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you” (7:12). The Catechism reminds us that this law is to be applied “in every case”,[71]especially when we are “confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult”.[72]

81. Giving and forgiving means reproducing in our lives some small measure of God’s perfection, which gives and forgives superabundantly. For this reason, in the Gospel of Luke we do not hear the words, “Be perfect” (Mt 5:48), but rather, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you” (6:36-38). Luke then adds something not to be overlooked: “The measure you give will be the measure you get back” (6:38). The yardstick we use for understanding and forgiving others will measure the forgiveness we receive. The yardstick we use for giving will measure what we receive. We should never forget this.

82. Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who plot revenge”. He calls “blessed” those who forgive and do so “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22). We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion. If we approach the Lord with sincerity and listen carefully, there may well be times when we hear his reproach: “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Mt 18:33).
Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness.


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”

83. This Beatitude speaks of those whose hearts are simple, pure and undefiled, for a heart capable of love admits nothing that might harm, weaken or endanger that love. The Bible uses the heart to describe our real intentions, the things we truly seek and desire, apart from all appearances. “Man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart” (1Sam 16:7). God wants to speak to our hearts (cf. Hos 2:16); there he desires to write his law (cf. Jer 31:33). In a word, he wants to give us a new heart (cf. Ezek36:26).

84. “Guard your heart with all vigilance” (Prov 4:23). Nothing stained by falsehood has any real worth in the Lord’s eyes. He “flees from deceit, and rises and departs from foolish thoughts” (Wis 1:5). The Father, “who sees in secret” (Mt 6:6), recognizes what is impure and insincere, mere display or appearance, as does the Son, who knows “what is in man” (cf. Jn 2:25).

[71] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1789; cf. 1970.

[72] Ibid., 1787.


© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.