Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pope to physicians: never lose sight of the spiritual dimension of man

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I extend my welcome to all of you who are participating in the Congress organized by the Italian Society of Oncological Surgery, promoted by the “La Sapienza” University of Rome and by the “Sant’Andrea Hospital”. In welcoming you, my thoughts go to all the men and women that you care for, and I pray for them.

Scientific research has multiplied the possibilities of prevention and healing, it has allowed for the discovery of therapies that are indicated in caring for a variety of pathologies. This is your work as well: a highly valuable commitment that aims to respond to the expectations and the hopes of many ill people across the world.

But in order to be able to speak of full health it is necessary to not lose sight of the human person, created in the image of God, and who is unity of body and spirit. The Greeks were more precise: body, soul and spirit. Man is that unity. It is possible to distinguish these two elements but not to separate them, because the human person is one. So, disease, the experience of pain and suffering, do not regard solely the corporal dimension, but man in his totality. From this stems the need for integral care, that considers the person in his entirety, and that unites medical care – “technical care” – a human, psychological and social support, because the physician must care for all: the human body, with its psychological, social and spiritual dimension; as well as the spiritual accompaniment and support for the family members of the sick person. This means that it is indispensable that medical operators be “led by an integrally human view of illness and who as a result are able to affect a fully human approach to the sick parson” (John Paul II, Motu Proprio 
Dolentium hominum, 11 February 1985).
Brotherly sharing with the sick opens us to the true beauty of human life, including its fragility, helping us to recognize the dignity and the value of every human being, in whatever condition he or she may find himself, from conception to death.

Dear friends, Holy Week begins tomorrow. It culminates in the Triduum of the Passion, the Death and the Resurrection of Jesus. Here He takes on human suffering in its totality, which is then redeemed by God. By God-Love. Only Christ gives meaning to the scandal of innocent suffering. So many times Dostoyevsky’s anguished query comes to mind: why do children suffer? Only Christ can give meaning to this “scandal”. You too can look to Him, crucified and resurrected, in your daily work. And at the feet of Jesus’s Cross we also meet Our Lady of Sorrows. She is the Mother of all humanity, and she is always close to her sick and suffering children. If our faith wavers, hers does not. May Mary support you in your commitment towards research and work. I pray the Lord to bless you all. Thank you.

Grace - First Classes

Class April 16, 2014


355 "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." 218 Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is "in the image of God"; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created "male and female"; (IV) God established him in his friendship.
356 Of all visible creatures only man is "able to know and love his creator". 219 He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake", 220 (Gaudium et spes #24, 3) and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life (Me: that is personal Life: Trinitarian relation). It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:
“What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good.” 221 (St. Catherine of Siena: Dialogue 4).

357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead. (Me: This is Christian anthropology taken from a the divine transcendent and uncreated reality of God Himself as Trinity: therefore, personal and relational. This anthropology is Gaudium et spes #24: “God, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds itself by the sincere gift of itself”).
358 God created everything for man, 222 (Gaudium et spes #12. 1; 24, 3; 39, 1) but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him:
What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honour? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand. 223 ( St. John Chrysostom, In Gen. Sermo II, 1).

359 "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear." 224 (GS #22). [Me: Hence, man is not “nature” or even a “rational nature,” nor an “individual substance of a rational nature.” Man is a person for whom the entire universe exists. Man is the goal of the universe. And the meaning and goal of man is Christ. And Christ is God].
“St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life... The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: ‘I am the first and the last.’” 225 (St. Peter Chrysologus Sermo 117). [Me: Consider how the Fathers of the Church saw Christ as pre-existing the creation of the world.”]

360 Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity, for "from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth": 226
O wondrous vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God. . . in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all men of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, whose benefits all men, by right of nature, may use to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end;. . . in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all. 227(Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, 3.).

361 "This law of human solidarity and charity", 228 without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." 229  Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God. [See now in #363, that the entirety of man, spirit and matter, is person imaging the divine Persons, and therefore having the dynamic of the divine Persons as relations to each other. Hence, we see that man is not “soul” but person who is not reducible to spirit or animal. This vision was not achieved in Greek philosophy].
363 In Sacred Scripture the term "soul" often refers to human life or the entire human person. 230 But "soul" also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, 231 that by which he is most especially in God's image: "soul" signifies the spiritual principle in man.
364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit: 232
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. 233
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body: 234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection. 235
367 Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people "wholly", with "spirit and soul and body" kept sound and blameless at the Lord's coming. 236 The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. 237 "Spirit" signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God. 238
368 The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one's being, where the person decides for or against God.239

Equality and difference willed by God
369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. 240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.
370 In no way is God in man's image.[1] He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband. 241 
[Me: But, while is it true that “God is pure spirit.” Do no forget that Christ, Who is a divine Person, is eternally Man and therefore will “always” be Man (with His Body). Matter and body do not lessen the divinity since its characteristic is relation and giftedness as spirit/matter. The same applies to us: divinization does not involve immaterialization,  but giftedness to other. How can we know this? Revelation: “Feel me and see  that a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Lk. 24, 24)].
"Each for the other" - "A unity in two"
371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. The Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him." 242 None of the animals can be man's partner. 243 [Me: Because none of them was person (“I”). None could make or receive the gift of self to image God Three-in-Oneness].The woman God "fashions" from the man's rib and brings to him elicits on the man's part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." 244 Man discovers woman as another "I", sharing the same humanity.
372 Man and woman were made "for each other" - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons [Me: That is, Each cannot be Who He is without the Other. We will see that each one is “grace” for the other], in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons ("bone of my bones. . .") and complementary as masculine and feminine [Me: That is, they are constitutively relational: “for”]. [2] In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming "one flesh", 245 they can transmit human life: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." 246 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents co-operate in a unique way in the Creator's work. 247
373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth 248as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists", 249 to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.
374 The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.[3]
375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice". 250 This grace of original holiness was "to share in. . .divine life". 251
Lumen Gentium #2: “The eternal Father…chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life; and when they had fallen in Adam, he did not abandon them, but at all times held out to them the means of salvation, bestowed in consideration of Christ, the Redeemer, ‘who is the iamge of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature’ and predestined before time began ‘to become conformed to the image of his Son, that they should be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8, 29).”
Council of Trent (1546): “If anyone does not confess that the first man Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost his holiness and the justice in which he had been established, and that he incurred through the offense of that prevarication the wrath and indignation of God and hence the death with which God had previously threatened him, and with death captivity under his power, who thenceforth ‘had the empire of death’ (Heb. 2, 14) that is of the devil, and that through that offense of prevarication the entire Adam was transformed in body and soul for the worse, let him be anathema.”

376 By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die.252 The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman, 253 and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice".
377 The "mastery" over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. The first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence 254 that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.
378 The sign of man's familiarity with God is that God places him in the garden.255 There he lives "to till it and keep it". Work is not yet a burden, 256 but rather the collaboration of man and woman with God in perfecting the visible creation.
379 This entire harmony of original justice, foreseen for man in God's plan, will be lost by the sin of our first parents.
380 "Father,. . . you formed man in your own likeness and set him over the whole world to serve you, his creator, and to rule over all creatures" (Roman Missal, EP IV, 118).
381 Man is predestined to reproduce the image of God's Son made man, the "image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15), so that Christ shall be the first-born of a multitude of brothers and sisters (cf. Eph 1:3-6; Rom 8:29).
382 "Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity" (GS 14 # 1). The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God.
383 "God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning, "male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons" (GS 12 # 4).
384 Revelation makes known to us the state of original holiness and justice of man and woman before sin: from their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence in paradise.
1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. 46
1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.
Where can we find revelation of the meaning of grace?
Joseph Ratzinger:[4] Our Lady. That is, since it is revealed that Our Lady is “full of grace,” she becomes the this-worldly revelation of what it does, and therefore what it is.
The Archangel Gabriel announces: “Rejoice, full of grace. The Lord is with you” (Lk. 1, 28). “In order to grasp the sense of this announcement, we must return once more to the Old Testament texts upon which it is based, in particular to Zephaniah. These texts invariably contain a double promise to the personification of Israel, daughter Zion: God will come to save, and he will come to dwell in her. The angel’s dialogue with Mary reprises this promise and in so doing makes ti concrete in two ways. What in the prophecy is said to daughter Zion  is not directed to Mary: she is identified with daughter Zion, she is daughter Zion in person. In a parallel manner, Jesus, whom Mary is permitted to bear, is identifies with Yahweh, the living God. When Jesus comes, it is God himself who comes to dwell in her. He is the Savior – this is the meaning of the name Jesus, which thus becomes clear from the heart of the promise…. Even early traditions portray God as dwelling ‘in the womb’ of Israel – in the Ark of the Covenant. This dwelling ‘in the womb’ of Israel now becomes quite literally real in the Virgin of Nazareth. Mary herself thus becomes the true Ark of the Covenant in Israel, so that the symbol of the Ark gathers and incredibly realistic force: God in  the flesh of a human being, which flesh now becomes his dwelling  place in the midst of creation….
            “Everything said about the ecclesia in the Bible is true of her, and vice versa: the Church learns concretely what she is and is meant to be by looking at Mary. Mary is her mirror, the ure measure of her being, because Mary is wholly within the  measure of Christ and of God, is through and through his habitation.  And what other reason could the ecclesia  have for existing than to become a dwelling for God in the world? God does not deal with Abstractions. He is a person, and the Church is a person. The more each one of us becomes a person, person in the sense of a fit habitation for God, daughter Zion, the more we become one, the more we are the Church, and the more the Church is herself….
            “Mary is Zion in person, which means that her life wholly embodies what is meant by ‘Zion.’ She does not construct a self-enclosed individuality whose principal concern is the originality of its own ego. She does not wish to be just this one human being who defends and protects her own ego. She does not regard life as a stock of goods of which everyone wants to get as much as possible for himself. Her life is such that she is transparent to God, ‘habitable’ for him. Her life is such she is a place for God. Her life sinks her into the common  measure of sacred history, so that what appears in her is, not the narrow and  constricted ego of an isolated individual, but the whole, true Israel. This ‘typological identification’ is a spiritual reality; it is life lived out of the spirit of Sacred Scripture; it is rootedness in the faith of the spirit of Sacred Scripture; it is rootedness in the faith of the Fathers and at the same time expansion into the height and breadth of the coming promises….”
 (Continuing Ratzinger): “The Greek word for grace (charis) derives from the same root as the words joy and rejoice (chara, charein). Thus, we see once more in a different form the same context to which we were led by our earlier comparison with the Old Testament. Joy comes from grace. One who is in the state of grace can rejoice with deep-going, constant joy. By the same token, grace is joy.” But again, what is grace? It is not “a thing.” Thus Ratzinger:
“This question thrusts itself upon our text. Our religious mentality has reified this concept much too much; it regards grace as a supernatural something we carry about in our soul. And since we perceive very little of it, or nothing at all, it has gradually become irrelevant to us, an empty word belonging to Christian jargon, which seems to have lost any relationship to the lived reality of our everyday life. In reality, grace is a relational term: it does not predicate something about an I, something about a connection between I and Thou, between God and man. ‘Full of grace’ could therefore also be translated as: ‘You are full of the Holy Spirit; your life is intimately connected with God.’ Peter Lombard, the author of what was the universal theological manual for approximately three centuries during the Middle Ages, propounded the thesis that grace and love are identical but that love ‘is the Holy Spirit.’ Grace in the proper and deepest sense of the word is not some thing that comes from God; it is God Himself. Redemption means that God, acting as God truly does, gives us nothing less than himself. The gift of God is God – he who as the Holy Spirit is communion with us. ‘Full of grace’ therefore means, once again, that Mary is a wholly open human being, one who has opened herself entirely, one  who has placed herself in God’s hands boldly, limitlessly, and without fear for her own fate. It means that she lives wholly by and in relation to God. She is a listener and a prayer, whose mind and soul are alive to the manifold ways in which the living God quietly calls to her. She is one who prays and stretches forth wholly to meet God; she is therefore a lover, who has the breadth and magnanimity of true love, but who has also its unerring powers of discernment and its readiness to suffer. 
            “Luke has flooded this fact with the light of yet another round of motifs. In his subtle way he constructs a parallel between Abraham, the father of believers, and Mary, the mother of believers. To be in a state of grace means: to be a believer. Faith includes steadfastness, confidence, and devotion, but also obscurity.  When man’s relation to God, the soul’s open availability for him, is characterized as faith, this word expresses the fact tha the infinite distance between Creator and creature is not blurred in the relation of the human I to the divine Thou. It means that the model of ‘partnership,’ which has become so dear to us, breaks down when it comes to God because it cannot sufficiently express the majesty of God and the hiddenness of his working. It is precisely the man who has been opened up entirely into God who comes to accept God’s otherness and the hiddenness of his will, which can pierce our will like a sword. The parallel between Mary and Abraham begins in the joy of the promised son but continues apace until the dark hour when she must ascend Mount Moriah, that is, until the Crucifixion of Christ. Yet it does not end there; it also extends to the miracle of Isaac’s rescue – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Abraham, father of faith – this title describes the unique position of the patriarch in the piety of Israel and in the faith of the Church. But is it not wonderful that – without any revocation of the special status of Abraham – a ‘mother of believers’ now stands at the beginning of the new people and that our faith again and again receives from her pure and high image its measure and  its path?”[5]                                                         

[1] The background of this assertion is the mind of Feuerbach that God is a creation of man made in our image and likeness: Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), “Essence of Christianity: God the Image of Man. Man's Dependence upon Nature the Last and Only Source of Religion" (1841). 
[2] Grace as the Relation of Affirmation:
            “The root of man’s joy is the harmony he enjoys with himself. He lives in this affirmation. And only one who can accept himself can also accept the thou, can accept the world. The reason why an individual cannot accept the thou, cannot come to terms with him, is that he does not like his own I and, for that reason, cannot accept a thou.
                “Something strange happens here. We have seen that the inability to accept one’s I leads to the inability to accept a thou. But how does one go about affirming, assenting to, one’s I? The answer may perhaps be unexpected: We cannot do so by our own efforts alone. Of ourselves, we cannot come to terms with ourselves. Our I becomes acceptable to us only if it has first become acceptable to another I. We can love ourselves only if we have first been loved by someone else. The life a mother gives to her child is not just physical life; she gives total life when she takes the child’s tears and turns them into smiles. It is only when life has been accepted and is perceived as accepted that it becomes also acceptable. Man is that strange creature that needs not just physical birth but also appreciation if he is to subsist. This is the root of the phenomenon known as hospitalism. When the initial harmony of our existence has been rejected, when that psycho-physical oneness has been ruptured by which the ‘Yes, it is good that you are alive’ sinks, with life itself, deep into the  core of the unconscious – then birth itself is interrupted; existence itself is not completely established…. If an individual is to accept himself, someone must say to him: ‘It is good that you exist’ – must say it, not with words, but with that act of the entire being that we call love. For it is the way of love to will the other’s existence and, at the same time, to bring that existence forth again. The key to the I lies with the thou; the way to the thou leads through the I.”

[3] In “Faith Seeking Understanding” page 343, the topic is presented of “Humanity’s Elevation to the Supernatural Order.” The language suggests that there are two vertical orders (elevation), the natural as the ground floor and grace as an upper floor. This is ambiguous in the light of the very first question of CCC, #27 that states: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.” We have seen that by the revelation that the human person has been created in the image and likeness of the divine Persons, that, as They are relational, so also will man’s being as image tend to be relational. But the human person will not be able to master himself, take position of himself and raise himself to the act of making the gift of himself without being engendered by the further Love of God that will give him an identity and make him capable of exercising his freedom. And this because the Person of Christ Who is the prototype of man, is revealed to be engendered by the Father as constitutive of His Person. The Son’s actuality as Person is the Father’s identity as the act engendering the Son. The Son is always being love by the Father. The Father is that very act. And so, in the case of a created person, it is not enough to be created by God as person. There must be a further creation that loves the created and therefore finite person into his free act. This further creation is grace.
It is also human love. Consider Joseph Pieper here: “Obviously, then, it does not suffice us simply to exist; we can do that ‘anyhow.’ What matters to us, beyond mere existence, is the explicit confirmation: It is good that you exist; how wonderful that you are! In other words, what we need over and above sheer existence is: to be loved by another person. That is an astonishing fact when we consider it closely. Being created by God actually does not suffice, it would seem; the fact of creation needs continuation and perfection ty the creative power of human love;” (“An Anthology” Ignatius [198]) 30).
 In sum, when speaking about man as “person,” there are not two tiered orders, but rather one. And if the meaning of divine Person – the “supernatural” - is self-transcending giftedness to the Other and others, then the human person achieves the reality of the “supernatural,” not by being taken up into a different order, but by actually transcending himself as gift in actual imaging of the divine Person of the Son.
Put simply, Ratzinger presents the season of Advent as the “already” – “not yet.” That is, one is already Christ by creation as image and likeness, but only by Baptism (the sacrament of “sanctifying grace) which empowers one to live the faith to the act of dying, does one become “Ipse Christus.”

[4] J. Ratzinger, “Credo for Today – What Christians Believe” Ignatius (2009) 59-61.
[5] J. Ratzinger, “Credo for Today – What Christians Believe” Ignatius (2009) 61.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Instantiation of Christ in History - Now

“We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.”
-- From “A Big Heart Open to God,” America magazine Sept. 19, 2013.

In ordinary secular activity, we must master self to make the gift of self. This inserts Christ - personally - into the warp and woof of secular history and the historical processes begins again - and again. The one who does this becomes Another Christ in work and family life. The drum beat begins. Again.

Modus Operandi for the Third Millennium

Planes and birds fly only if they are in motion – bikes stay vertical for the same reason. New insights and ideas must be given away free – as the Chinaman chef’s recipe book. So also, everything else, i.e. the self. The gift must be made, and then one grows. Only what is given away can be kept! Whatever is kept for self, rots.

Love is its own reward

Monday, April 14, 2014

For This Holy Week: Where Is My Heart?

Sunday 13 April 2014 12.27
1 of 3
Pope Francis was solemn as he delivered his impromptu homilyPope Francis was solemn as he delivered his impromptu homilyPope Francis was solemn as he delivered his impromptu homily
Pope Francis led a Palm Sunday mass before more than 100,000 people, opening two packed weeks of activities including Easter and the canonisation of two popes.
The faithful waved palm and olive branches as the 77-year-old pope rode into St Peter’s Square on a white jeep and stopped at its centre to bless palm and olive branches.
The pontiff was particularly solemn when he delivered an impromptu homily, putting aside the one he had prepared.
Francis spoke of the events on the last two days of Jesus' life - his betrayal by Judas, his arrest, beating, trial and crucifixion.
He asked those present to think hard about who they resembled more, those who helped Jesus or those who condemned him, betrayed him or were indifferent to his fate.
"Where is my heart? Who among these people am I like? This question will remain with us all week," he said.
On Holy Thursday, Francis will preside at two services, including one where he will wash and kiss the feet of elderly people in a nursing home to commemorate Jesus' gesture of humility to his apostle on the night before he died.
For the second straight year, Francis, whose has said theRoman Catholic Church must be closer to the poor and suffering, is holding the event outside one of Rome's basilicas.
Last year he held the service at a youth jail, where he washed and kissed the feet of women and Muslim inmates.
At today’s mass he walked with a pastoral cross carved from olive wood by the inmates of another Italian jail.
On Good Friday and Holy Saturday he is due to preside at three services leading up Easter Sunday, when he delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing and message.
The pope would normally rest for most of the week after Easter but this year Rome will be full of visitors flocking to the Italian capital from around the world to see him declare two of his predecessors saints.
On Sunday, 27 April, he will canonise Pope John Paul II, who reigned from 1978 to 2005, and Pope John XXIII, who was pontiff from 1958 to 1963 and called the Second Vatican Council, a landmark meeting that modernised the Church.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Explicit Proclamation of the Reductive Mind Grounding the Culture.

Larry Page: Lawrence "Larry" Page[2] (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who is the co-founder of Google, alongside Sergey Brin. On April 4, 2011, Page succeeded Eric Schmidt as the chief executive officer of Google.[3][4] As of 2014, Page's personal wealth is estimated to be US$32.3 billion, ranking him #19 on the Forbes list of billionaires.[1]
Page is the inventor of PageRank, the foundation of Google's search ranking algorithm,[5] and he and Brin own approximately 16 percent of Google's stock.[6]
 A Quote from Larry Page that I accidentally ran into in a recent “Time”: 

“There is no problem that can’t be addressed by the application of liberal amounts of technology and everything is solvable if you reduce it to data and then throw in enough processing power at it” (Recent "Time:" p. 25).
It would  be good to confront such a statement with the perspective of Pope Francis from Evangelii Gaudium:

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]