Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Mind of Pope Francis

The below is the core of the mind of Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis).  It must be read first. It is brief and will be clear if you have not been turned back into yourself and dumbed down by the culture.  It is profound. It is totally in line with the mind of Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), both men of the Council. The structure of the thought is the following:
·         The ontological architecture of the human person is the image of the divine Persons, and Baptism into the Self-Gift of Christ on the Cross;
·         There  is the  tendency to possess the Absolute because of this architecture;
·         The empirical perception  of the created world and the possession of all of it does not relieve this tendency and its hankering;
·         It must be revealed to us from outside of us;
·         The key to realism here is the recognition of experience and actually undergoing it. The description is “phenomenological” awaiting a metaphysical elaboration.

For Man[1]

Jorge Mario Bergoglio

When I gave the lecture on which this chapter is based during the presentation of the Spanish edition of Luigi Giussani’s book The Religious Sense, I was not simply performing a formal act of protocol or acting out of what could seem to be simple professional curiosity about a work bringing into focus an explanation of our faith. Above all, I was expressing the gratitude that is due to Mgr. Giussani. For many years now, his writings have inspired me to reflect and have helped me to pray. They have taught me to be a better Christian, and I spoke at the presentation to bear witness to this.

                Mgr. Giussani is one of those unexpected gifts the Lord gave to our Church after Vatican II. He has caused a wealth of individuals and movements to rise up outside the pastoral structures and programs, movements that are offering miracles of new life within the Church. On 30 May 1998, in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope met publicly with the new communities and ecclesial movements.  It was a truly transcendent event.  He asked specifically for four founders from among the many movements to give their witness. Among these was Mgr. Giussani, who in 1954, the year he began teaching religion in a public high school in Milan, initiated Communion and Liberation, which is present today in more than sixty countries in the world and is much beloved by the Pope.

                The Religious Sense is not a book exclusively for members of the movement, however, nor is it only for Christians or believers. It is a book for all human beings who take their humanity seriously. I dare say that today the primary question we must face is not so much the problem of God – the existence, the knowledge of God – but the problem of the human, of human knowledge and finding in humans themselves the mark that God has made, so as to be able to meet with Him.

Fides et Ratio

                By happy coincidence, the presentation of Giussani’s book was held the day after the publication of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio, which opens with this dense consideration:

"Moreover, a cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions that pervade human life: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going Why is there  evil? What is there after this life These are the questions which we find in the sacred writings of Israel, as also in the Veda and the Avesta; we find them in the writings of Confucius and Lao-Tze, and in  the preaching of Tirthankara and Buddha; they appear in the poetry of Homer and in the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles, as they do in the philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle. They are questions which have their common source in the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart. In fact, the answer given to these questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives."

Giussani’s book is in  tune with the encyclical: it is for al  people who take  their humanity seriously, who take these questions seriously.

                Paradoxically, in The Religious Sense little is said about God and much is said about human beings. Much is said about our ‘whys,’ much about our ultimate needs. Quoting the Protestant theologian Niebuhr, Giussani explains that ‘Noting is so incredible as an answer to an unasked question.’ And one of the difficulties of our supermarket culture – where offers are made to everyone to hush the clamoring of their hearts – lies in giving voice to those questions of the heart. This is the challenge. Faced with the torpor of life, with this tranquility offered at a low cost by the supermarket culture(even if in a wide assortment of ways), the challenge consists in asking ourselves the real questions about human meaning, or our existence, and in answering these questions. But if we wish to answer questions that we do not dare to answer, do not know how to answer, or cannot formulate, we fall into absurdity. For man and woman who have forgotten or censored their fundamental ‘whys’  and the burning desire of their hearts, talking to them about God  ends up being something abstract or esoteric or a push toward a devotion that has no effect on their lives. You cannot start a discussion of God without first blowing away the ashes of suffocating the burning ambers of the fundamental whys. The first step is to make some sense of the questions what are hidden or buried, that are perhaps almost dying but that nevertheless exist.

The Restlessness of the Heart

The drama of the world today is the result not only of the absence of God but also and above all  of the absence of humankind, of the loss of the human physiognomy, of human destiny and identity, and of a certain capacity to explain the fundamental needs that dwell in the human heart. The prevailing mentality, and deplorably that of man Christians, supposes that there is an unbroachchable opposition between reason and faith. Instead – and here lies another paradox – The Religious Sense emphasizes that  speaking seriously about God means exalting and defending reason and discovering its value  and the right way to use it. This is not reason understood as a pre-established measure of reality but reason open to reality in all its factors and whose starting point is experience, whose starting point is this ontological foundation that awakens a restlessness in the heart. It is not possible to raise the question of God calmly, with a tranquil heart, because this would be to give an answer without a question. Reason that reflects on experience is a reason that uses as a criterion for judgment the measuring of everything against the heart – but ‘heart’ taken in the Biblical sense, that is, as the totality of the innate demands that everyone has, the need for love, for happiness, for truth, and for justice. The heart is the core of the internal transcendent, where the roots of truth, beauty, goodness, and the unity that gives harmony to all of being are planted. We define human reason  in this sense and not as rationalism, that laboratory rationalism, idealism, or nominalism (this last so  much in fashion now), which can do everything, which claims to possess reality because it is in possession of the number, the idea, or the rationale of things, or, if we want to go even  further, which claims to possess reality by means of an absolutely dominating technology that surpasses us in  the very moment in which we use it, so that we fall into a form of civilization that Guardini liked to call the second form of uncultured. WE instead speak of a reason that is not reduced, is not exhausted in the mathematical, scientific, or philosophical method. Every method,  in fact, is suited to its own sphere of application and to its specific object.

Existential Certainty

                Concerning personal relationships, the only adequate method  for reaching true knowledge is to live  and live together a vivid companionship, through multiple experiences and manifold signs, allows us to arrive at Giussani calls ‘moral certainty,’ or even better, ‘existential certainty.’ This is the only adequate method because certainty does not reside in the head but in the harmony of all the human faculties, and it is in possession at the same time of all the requisites for a real and a rational certainty. In its turn, faith is precisely, a particular application of the method of moral or existential certainty, a particular case of faith in others, in the signs, evidence, convergences, witness of others. Despite this, faith is not contrary to reason. Like all typically human acts, faith is reasonable, which does not imply that it can be reduced to mere reasoning. It is reasonable – let us push the term – but not reasoning.
                Why is there pain, why death, why evil? Why is life worth living? What is the ultimate meaning of reality, of existence? What sense does it make to work, live, become involved in the world? Who am I Where did I come from Where am I going These are the great and primary questions that young people ask, and adults too – and not only believers but everyone, atheists and agnostics alike. Sooner or later, especially in the situations at the very edge of existence, in the face of great grief or great love, in the experience of educating one’s children or of working at a job that apparently makes no sense, these questions inevitably rise to the surface. They cannot be uprooted. I have said that they are questions that even agnostics asks, and I would like to mention here,, paying him homage, a great poet from Buenos Aires, an agnostic, Horacio Armani. Whoever reads his poems encounters a sage exposition of questions that are optn to an answer.

The Total Response

                Human beings cannot be content with reductive or partial answers that force them to censor or neglect some aspect of reality. In fact, however, we do neglect some aspect of reality, and when we do so we are only running away from ourselves. We need a total response that comprehends and saves the entire horizon of the self and our existence. We possess within us a yearning for the infinite, an infinite sadness, a  - nostos algo (home sickness  of Odysseus – which is satisfied only by an equally infinite response. The human heart proves to be the sign of a Mystery, that is, of something or someone who is an infinite response. Outside the Mystery, the needs for happiness, love, and justice never meet a r3esponse that fully satisfies the human heart.  Life would be an absurd desire if this response did not exist. Not only does the human heart present itself as a sign, but so does all of reality. The sign is something concrete, it points in a direction, it indicates something that can be seen, that reveals a meaning, that can be experienced, but that refers to another reality that cannot be seen; otherwise, the sign would be meaningless.

                On the other hand, to interrogate oneself in the face of these signs, one needs an extremely human capacity, the first one we have as men and women: wonder, the capacity to be amazed, as Giussani calls it, in the last analysis, a child’s heart. The beginning of every philosophy is wonder, and only wonder leads to knowledge. Notice that moral and cultural degradation begin to arise when this capacity for wonder is weakened or cancelled or when it dies. The cultural opiate tends to cancel, weaken, or kill this capacity for wonder. Pope Luciani once said that the drama of contemporary Christianity lies in the fact that it puts categories and norms in the place of wonder. But wonder comes before all categories; it is what leads me to seek, to open myself up; it is what makes the answer – not a verbal or conceptual answer – possible for me. If wonder opens me up as a question, the only response is the encounter, and only with the encounter is my thirst quenched. And with nothing else is it quenched more.


3. Fides et ratio, par. 1
4. R. Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man, vol. 2 Human Destiny (London and New York: NIsbet 1043) 6.
5. L. Giussani, The Religious Sense, trans. John Zucchi (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press 1997) 19-21.

[1] “A Generative Thought: An Introduction to the Works of Luigi Giussani,” edited by Elisa Buzzi, McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Link To A Powerful Reading of the Holy Saturday Office of Readings


"What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

"Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son.

"The Lord goes into them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: "My Lord be with you all." And Christ in reply says to Adam: "And with your spirit." And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying:

"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

"I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

"I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

"For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

"Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

"See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

"I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

"But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

"The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages."  

Novena to the Blessed John Paul II

Day 1 – Love

- Have the courage to live for love... A person’s greatness lies not in his possessions but in who he is, not in what he owns but in what he shares with others.
(...) Today the message about the purity of heart is very timely. The culture of death wishes to destroy the purity of heart. One of the strategies of this action is to deliberately create doubt about the value of the human attitude that we call the virtue of chastity. This is something particularly dangerous when the attack is aimed at the sensitive consciences of children and young people. A culture that in this way wounds or even kills the correct relationship between individuals, is a culture of death, for man cannot live without true love. (...) Proclaim to the world “the Good News” of the purity of heart, and by the example of your lives pass on the message of the culture of love. I know how sensitive you are to truth and beauty. Today the culture of death sets before you, among other things, a so-called “free love.” In this kind of disfigurement of love we reach the profanation of one of the most cherished and sacred values, because promiscuity is neither love nor freedom. (...) Do not be afraid to live in a way contrary to fashionable opinions and ways of life in conflict with God’s law. The courage of faith is costly, but you cannot gamble and lose love! Do not allow anyone to enslave you! Do not allow yourselves to be seduced by the illusions of good fortune for which you will have to pay a very high price, a price of often incurable wounds or even of a life destroyed!
John Paul II, Homily, Sandomierz. 06. 12. 1999
Let us pray: God our Father, in order to return to you, we must find your mercy your patient and kind love which in you knows no limit. Infinite is your readiness to forgive our sins because as ineffable is the sacrifice of your Son. With confidence we ask that you crown with the glory of the saints the tireless witness and apostle of your mercy, Blessed John Paul II, and let us enjoy his intercession in heaven, and grant us this favor ... through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 2 – Truth

No one can dictate to anyone else his own ”Truth.” Truth overcomes only with its own power. Imposing one’s own views leads to making worse inter-personal relationships, giving rise to quarrels and tensions. Thus, one of the conditions to maintain peace in the world is to respect the freedom of conscience of others even if they think quite differently from the way we do.
Truth is the light of the human intellect. If an individual tries from his very youth to come to know reality in its many dimensions, he does so in order to possess the truth, in order to live the truth. Such is the structure of the human spirit. Hunger for the truth is its fundamental drive and expression. Christ says: you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Of all the words recorded in the Gospels these, without a doubt, belong to the most important. For he spoke simultaneously about the whole person. He spoke about what is used to build from within, in the dimensions of the human spirit, proper to a person’s dignity and greatness. This dignity does not depend only on a person’s education—even a university one—and an illiterate person c an also have it. At the same time, however, an education, systematic knowledge about reality, should serve this dignity of a human person. ^Therefore, it should serve the Truth. (...) Christ’s words—you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free—become a veritable plan. Young people—if we can say it this way—have an innate sense for the truth. And the truth should serve freedom: Young people also have a spontaneous desire for freedom. And what does it mean to be free? This means: to know how to use your freedom in Truth—to be truly free. To be truly free—does not mean, absolutely does not mean—to do whatever I want, to do whatever I please. Freedom contains in itself a criterion of Truth, the discipline of Truth. Without this it is not authentic. It is a lie about freedom. To be truly free—means—to use your freedom for that which is truly good (…)to be a person of upright conscience, to be responsible, to be a person for others.
Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II to the youth of the world
On the occasion of the International Year of Youth 1985
Let us pray: God our Father, before the Church of the Third Millennium there opens a vast ocean of creeds of our contemporary world. Believing in You, placing my hope in Christ, I wish to imitate Him and experience the miracle of an abundant catch. Come to the aid of all Christians of our generation to go out into the deep of Truth, good, and beauty. Make our Blessed Pope John Paul II a holy patron of the new evangelization, and through his intercession grant us this favor ... Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 3—The Person

On this earth be the bearers of Christian faith and hope, every day living in love. Be faithful witnesses of the resurrected Christ, never give ground to obstacles that accumulate on the paths of your life. I am counting on you. On your youthful enthusiasm and dedication to Christ.
A person cannot live without love. A person remains an entity that cannot understand himself, his life makes no sense, if love does not manifest itself to him, if he will not encounter love, if he can’t touch it and in some way make it his own, if he does not find some living participation in it. That is precisely why Christ the Redeemer, (...)manifests a totality of the person to the person himself. This is the human dimension of the mystery of redemption. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not be lost but will have eternal life.” (Jn 3, 16) And through the Son-Word, who became man (...) God entered into human history –one of billions, and at the same time just One!
We focus our attention toward Him, repeating the confession opf St. Peter: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” because only in Him , the Son of God , do we have our salvation. Through (...) all the roads of activity by which the Church expresses itself, we must continuously go to Him, who is the Head, to Him, “through whom all came into being, and thanks to whom we also exist. The Church does not cease to listen to His words, it rereads them anew, reads every detail of His life. The Church lives His mystery, draws from it without any respite, and constantly seeks ways to make this mystery of our Master and Lord a part of their lives—humanity, nations, ever-new generations, everyone. Man discovers in Christ his own greatness, dignity , , , and the value of his humanity. Man remains in the mystery of the redemption newly asserted, newly declared. Created anew! A person who wants to understand himself anew (...) to come closer to Christ, must as if enter into Him with himself, to assimilate the entire reality of the Incarnation and Redemption, in order to find oneself. If this deep process is realized in a person, he then not only brings forth fruit to praise God, but also looks upon himself with great awe. A person must carry in the eyes of the Creator a special value because he deserved such a powerful Redeemer since God “gave his only-begotten so that man would not be lost, but would have eternal life” (see J 3,16).
John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, 1979
Let us pray: God our Father, You are love and you were first to love us. Your Son became a man for our salvation, and revealing to his brothers and sisters the truth about love, permitted them to understand themselves and discover the sense of their own existence. We ask you that the Blessed John Paul II, a tireless defender of human dignity, a good shepherd, seeking lost souls in the confusion of life and plunged into hopelessness, was presented as the model of holiness. By his intercession grant us this favor ... Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... , Hail Mary ... , Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 4 – The Family

A family that draws its strength from God becomes the strength of man and of an entire nation.
Among the many paths in a person’s life, the family is the first path and in many ways the most important one, remaining in every instance a special path, the only path, and an unrepeatable path—just as every person is unrepeatable. A person comes into this world and becomes a member of a family, grows and develops, learns about values. The Church embraces the family in its maternal care because it knows well that it is precisely the family that gives a person the foundation for complete humanity.
The family has its origin in the kind of love that the Creator embraces the created world that was already expressed “in the beginning,” in the Book of Genesis (1,1), And it found its supreme confirmation in the words of Christ in the Gospel: “God so loved the world that He gave His only--begotten Son” (J 3, 16). The only-begotten Son, of one substance with the Father, God from God and Light from Light, entered into human history through the family: “For by his Incarnation He united himself with every person.
He labored with human hands, (...) He loved with a human heart, born of the Virgin Mary, He truly became one of us, He was like us in everything but sin.” Therefore, if Christ “reveals Himself in the fullness of a person to the person himself, He does this first in the family and through the family in which He chose to be born and grow up. We know that the Redeemer chose to spend a big part of His life in the secrecy of Nazareth, being “obedient” cf. Lk 2, 51) as “the Son of Man” to His Mother Mary and the carpenter Joseph. Is not this filial “obedience” a first measure of His obedience to His Father “even unto death” (Flp 2, 8) through which He redeemed the world?
John Paul II, Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane. 1994
Let us pray: God our Father, your eternal plan of salvation reached its fullness when your Beloved Son came into the world through the Holy Family, sanctifying by His birth every human family. We entrust to you our families and all the families around the world. May prayer be a part of their lives, pure love, respect for life, and a healthy concern for youth. We ask you humbly that the Blessed Pope John Paul II, the tireless defender of the rights of a family, be to crown Him with the glory of the Saints. Through His intercession may we be strengthened by the grace ... Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 5 - Youth

You must make demands from yourself, even if others make no demands from you. Only making demands from yourself—contrary to the universal consent that says, “Take the easy way,”-- can you realize other papal challenges – to choose “to be more” rather than “to have more.” Today’s “ to be more” of a young person is the courage to remain full of initiative—you cannot resign from this, the future of everyone depends on this—faithful to a dynamic witness to faith and hope.
My young friends ... Be blessed! Be blessed together with Mary, who believed that the words spoken to her by the Lord will come to pass. Be blessed. May the sign of the woman clothed with the sun go with you, may she go with everyone along all the paths of life. May she lead you to the fulfillment in God of your adoption as children in t. Verily, verily. The Lord will do great things for you! The Lord will do great things for us!
You, my dear young friends, girls and boys, you are to be faithful witnesses brave in those “great things” in your circles, with your peers, in all circumstances of life. Mary, the Virgin from Nazareth, who heeded every inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is with you. She who through her grand response to God’s plan, through her “be it done unto me” disclosed to the world the long awaited perspective on salvation. Looking at the humble handmaid of the Lord, taken today into the glory of heaven, I say to you with St. Paul: “Live by the spirit” (Ga 5, 16.) Allow the “Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, of knowledge, of piety and fear of the Lord (cf. Is 11,2) penetrate your heart and your life, and transform the face of the earth. Renewed by the power that comes from Him, become the builders of a new world: a different world, based on truth, on justice, on solidarity, on love.
My dear young friends! Receive the Holy Spirit and be strong!
John Paul II, Homily for the Conclusion VI/DM, Czestochowa, August 15, 1991
Let us pray: God our Father, from our youth You have invited us to follow You. In Your Son, youth has a Master, who teaches how to form a new person in us—patiently and persistently—to discover one’s vocation, to build effectively a culture of love. We pray to You for our youth, that it may not enslave itself to blind desires and deceptive love. May the Blessed John Paul II, who sought the young and reciprocally loved them, be a model and patron for them in the body of saints, and for us I ask for this favor ... Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 6 – Sin

The greatest suffering of mankind and of every single individual is sin. There is no greater pain that you can inflict upon a soul is to plunge it into the state of mortal sin.
Sin does not come to a conclusion when it reaches the limits of a person’s conscience, when it is enclosed by them. It is etched deeply into one’s very essence as it relates to God. This relationship is, however, redemptive—that is, it means that “I” a person do not remain alone with my guilt. God, who is in a way an eye witness to my sin—eye witness, even though not a visible one—He is with me not only to judge me. It’s true—He judges me with the very internal judgment of my conscience, if it has not been silenced and depraved. However, this very judgment is already redemptive. Calling evil by its name, already by this in some way I have severed the bond with it, distanced myself from it, even though at the same time I know that this evil, this sin does not cease to be my sin. However, even though my sin is directed against God—God does not come forward against me. In the moment of an internal tension of a human conscience, God does not render a judgment, does not condemn, God waits for me to turn to Him—as a loving justice, as to a Father—just as in the parable of the prodigal son, that I may reveal my sin to Him, and express my trust in Him. In this way, we pass from an examination of conscience to that that constitutes the essence of a conversion and reconciliation with God.
John Paul II, Angelus, Rome February 23, 1986
Let us pray: God our Father, sin is a prod that causes pain and kills sanctifying grace. Suffering in Your concept of salvation is the way leading to You. Your Son, through His free will passion and death on the cross, took upon Himself all the evil of sin, and giving suffering a whole new meaning, He introduced it into the order of love. In the name of this Love, that was able to assume suffering without any guilt, we ask You to canonize as a saint the Blessed John Paul II, who while serving the people of God, was marked with the stigmata of martyrdom; through His intercession grant this special grace ... Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 7 – Mercy

Today, when egoism, indifference, and insensitivity of hearts are spreading in a frightening way, how intensely we need a renewal of sensitivity to a person, to his poverty and sufferings. The world cries for mercy.
Nothing is more necessary for man than the mercy of God—this gentle love, sympathetic, raising man above his weaknesses toward the eternal heights of God’s holiness.
Man – every man – is that prodigal son: burdened with the temptation to leave the Father, in order to live independently; giving in to temptation; betrayed by this emptiness that fascinated him like a mirage; alone, slandered, taken advantage of, when he tries to build a world just for himself; in the depths of his misery, tortured by his desire to return to his union with his Father. Like the Father in the parable, God looks out for the return of His son; when he returns, he embraces him and sets a table to honor the renewed meeting that the Father and the brothers celebrate the reunion.
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et Penitent, December 2, 1984
“Jesus, I trust in You”. This prayer, prized by many devotees of the Mercy of God, aptly expresses the posture that we also wish to assume as we want to entrust ourselves into your embrace, Lord, our only Savior. How intensely You want to be loved, and whoever kindles in himself the feelings of Your Heart, learns to be a builder of the new culture of love. A simple act of trust is enough to penetrate the drape of gloom and sadness, doubt and despair. The rays of Your divine mercy restore in a special way the hope of those who feel oppressed by the heavy weight of sin. (...)
Mary, Mother of Mercy, grant that our hope that we place in your Son, our Redeemer, may always remain alive. You, St. Faustyna, also help us when with you we wish to repeat, as we gaze boldly into the face of the divine Redeemer, the words, “Jesus, I trust in You. Today and forever. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 8 – Mary

Amid this mystery, amid this trust in faith, stands Mary. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Our Lady of Czestochowa, Mother of Trust, I come to you once again to bid farewell and to ask for your blessing for my trip. Mother of the Church, once again I offer myself into the “Maternal slavery of love” according to the words of my vocation: Totus Tuus! I entrust to you the whole Church—everywhere, even to the farthest ends of the earth! I entrust to you all of mankind and all of the people – my brothers. All the peoples and nations. I entrust to You Europe and all the continents. I entrust to You Rome and Poland, united by your Servant through a new bond of love.
Mother, accept!
Mother, do not abandon!
Mother, lead!
Mother of the Church and Queen of Poland, forgive that we will all thank You more than by speech, by the silence of our hearts. Through this silence we will sing our farewell preface.
John Paul II, First Apostolic Pilgrimage to Poland, Czestochowa, June 6, 1979
Let us pray: God our Father, Mary, Mother of Your Son, hear our prayer-petition: “Our Advocate, turn then your merciful eyes upon us, and may the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus, and after this our exile show unto us the Blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. O merciful, o compassionate, o sweet Virgin Mary!” May we offer thanks for the Blessed Pope John Paul II, totally dedicated to Mary, faithfully and to the end fulfilling the mission given to him by the Risen One—accept the fruits of his life and service, in heaven give him the crown of the holy pastors, and to us grant this favor ... Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...
Litany ...

Day 9 – The Eucharist

The Eucharist is the greatest gift and miracle because the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ—the redemption of mankind—is made present in it.
The Church lives thanks to the Eucharist. This truth expresses not only the daily experience of faith but contains in itself the essence of the mystery of the Church. In many different ways the Church joyfully experiences the promise that is endlessly realized: “And behold I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mt 28, 20). Thanks to the most holy Eucharist, in which occurs the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and blood of Our Lord, the Church rejoices in this presence in a very special way.
The Church received the Eucharist from Christ, its Lord, as the greatest gift because it is a gift from His very Self, from His own Person in His holy humanity, as well as a gift of His redemptive act. It is not limited to the past since “He who is Christ, what He did and what He suffered for all of humanity, participates in the eternity of God, transcends all times and is constantly present in them... .”
Once again I want to remind you of this truth , dear brothers and sisters, adoring this mystery with you : a great mystery, the mystery of mercy. What greater good could Jesus do for us? Truly, love that moves itself “to the very end” (cf. J 13, 1) – love that reveals itself to us in the Eucharist, love that knows no limits.
John Paul II, Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia April 17, 2003
Let us pray: God our Father, your Son loved us to the end and remained with us in the Eucharist. May the AMEN that we utter in the presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord dispose us to a humble service to our brothers starving for love. May You be praised in the bright example of this love as demonstrated by your Blessed Pope John Paul II. Because communion with the Church of the redeemed in heaven is expressed and strengthened in the Eucharist, deign to show him to us in the company of the saints, and through his intercession grant us this favor ... Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...

Litany to the Venerable Blessed John Paul II
Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
Blessed, John Paul II, pray for us
Perfect disciple of Christ
Generously gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit
Great apostle of Divine Mercy
Faithful Son of Mary
Totally dedicated to the Mother of God
Persevering preacher of the Gospel
Pilgrim Pope
Pope of the Millennium
Model of industry
Model of priests
Drawing strength from the Eucharist
Untiring man of prayer
Lover of the rosary
Strength of those doubting their faith
Desiring to unite all those who believe in Christ
Converter of sinners
Defender of the dignity of every person
Defender of life from conception to natural death
Praying for the gift of parenthood for the infertile
Friend of children
Leader of youth
Intercessor of families
Comforter of the suffering
Manly bearing his pain
Sower of divine joy
Great intercessor for peace
Pride of the Polish nation
Brilliance of the Holy Church
That we may be faithful imitators of Christ
That we may be strong with the power of the Holy Spirit
That we may have trust in the Mother of God
That we may grow in our faith, hope, and charity
That we may live in peace in our families
That we may know how to forgive
That we may know how to bear suffering
That e may not succumb to the culture of death
That we may not be afraid and courageously fight off various temptations
That he would intercede for us the grace of a happy death

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us

Pray for us, Venerable Blessed John Paul II
That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ
Pray for us:

Prayer for asking graces through the intercession of the Blessed the Pope John Paul II
O Blessed Trinity, We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.
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April 27, 2014