Monday, April 28, 2014

John Paul II, Vatican II and Humane Vitae

“In June 1959, the ante-Preparatory Commission established by John XXIII had written to all the world’s Catholic bishops, superiors of men’s religious orders, and theological faculties, asking their suggestions for the Council’s agenda. Many bishops submitted outlines of internal Church matters they wanted to discuss; Bishop Karol Wojtyla sent the commissioners an essay – the work of a thinker, not a canon lawyer. Rather than beginning with what the Church needed to do to reform its own house, he adopted a quite different starting point. What, he asked, is the human condition today? What do the men and women of this age expect to hear from the Church?

The crucial issue of the times, he suggested, was the human person: a unique being, who lived in a material world but had intense spiritual longings, a mystery to himself and to others, a creature whose dignity emerged from an interior life imprinted with the image and likeness of God. The world wanted to hear what the Church had to say about the human person and the human condition, particularly in light of other proposals – “scientific, positivist, dialectical” – that imagined themselves humanistic and presented themselves as roads to liberation. At the end of 2,000 years of Christian history, the world had a question to put to the Church: What was Christian humanism and how was it different from the sundry other humanisms on offer in late modernity? What was the Church’s answer to modernity’s widespread “despair [about] any and all human existence’? (...)

“Karol Wojtyla’s submission to the Ante-Preparatory Commission reflected the imprint of his first four decades of life: the Nazi Occupation and life in Stalinist Poland; his experience in the classroom and the confessional; his effort to grasp ‘God, inscrutable in the mystery of man’s inmost life’ through his poetry, his plays, and his philosophical essays. There are overtones of Mieczyslaw Kotlarczyk and the Rhapsodic Theater in Wojtyla’s discussion of the relationships of the sacred and the worldly. His experience with his young couples resonate through his proposals for a lay apostolate that embodies Christian humanism in venues the clergy cannot reach. (One can even hear an echo of kayak paddles on the Mazurian Lakes in Wojtyla’s proposal that canon law be changed so that ‘attendance at Mass on a portable altar… fulfill the Church’s requirement for Holy Days and Sundays’ without special permission.)

What was singular and, to use an abused term in its proper sense prophetic about Wojtyla’s proposal was its insistence that the question of a humanism adequate to the aspirations of the men and women of the age had to be the epicenter of the Council’s concerns. There would be much talk before, during and after the Council about ‘reading the signs of the times.’[1] Here was a thirty-nine-year-old bishop who, having done precisely that, had put his finger on the deepest wound of his century so that it could be healed by a more compelling proclamation of the Gospel.”[2]

And what did he do with the other fathers of Vatican II?

1)      He was moved up from the back door of St. Peters: “At the beginning of my partaicipation in  the Council, I was a young bishop. I remember that at first my seart was right next to the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica. From the third session on – after I was appointed Archbishop of Krakow – I was moved closer to the altar….
“Thus by the third session I found myself a member of the group preparing the so-called Thirteenth Schema, the document that would become the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes. I was able to participate in the extremely interesting work of this group which was made up of representatives of the Theological Commission and of the lay apostolate. I will never forget the meeting at Ariccia in January 1965. I am personally indebted to Cardinal Gabriel-Marie Garrone for his fundamental help in drafting the new document…. I am particularly indebted to Father Yves Congar and to Father Henri De Lubac. I still remember today the words with which the latter encouraged me to persevere in the line of thought that I had taken up during the discussion. This happened when the meetings were taking place at the Vatican. From that moment on I enjoyed a special friendship with Father De Lubac.”

A Philosophical Perspective of Vatican II

2)      “Vatican II is a demonstration-model of the phenomenological method employed on an international scale. It exemplifies the final developmental stage, postulated by Husserl, of an intersubjective phenomenology which would take its point of departure, not from individual subjectivity, but from transcendental intersubjectivity. Vatican II, accordingly, offers a unique application of a universal transcendental philosophy in the field of religious reflection for the practical purposes of moral and social-cultural renewal.”[3]

Simply put: “The use of phenomenology at the Council has not touched the substance of Catholic doctrine, but it has given it a whole new tonality. The effect has been much like transposing a piece of music from C-major to C-minor. Or, to use an even more apt analogy, like the intellectual adjustment necessary to move from an industrialized society into an age of electronics. This psychological ‘gravity shift’ is essentially to a radically new modality, particularly in the domain of theoretical conceptualization. … Why? … to serve the practical, pastoral renewal of the Church and ultimately, of contemporary mankind.”

Yet again: To render the Revelation of Christ and the entire Magisterium of the Church as Kerygma. As Pope Francis said it in Evangelii Gaudium #164:

In catechesis too, we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal. The kerygma is Trinitarian. The fire of the Spirit is given in the gorm of tongues and leads us to believe in  Jesus Christ who, by his death and resurrection, reveals and communicates to us the Fathers’ infinte mercy. On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation musts ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.’ This first proclamation is called ‘first’ not because a it exists at the beginning and can then be forgotten or replaced by other more important things. It is first in a qualitative sense because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one  way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment. For this reason too, ‘the priest – like every other member of the Church – ought to grow in awareness that he himself is continually in need of being evangelized.’

“We must not think that in catechesis the kerygma gives way to a supposedly more ‘solid’ formation. Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaninglful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation. All Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma, which is reflected in and constantly illumines the work of catechesis, therebvy enabling us to understand more fully the significance of every subject which the latter treats. It is the message capable of responsidng to the desire for the infinite which abides in every human heart. The centrality of the kerygma calls for stressing those elements which are most needed today: it has to express God’s saving love which precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part; it should not impose the truth but appeal to freedom; it should be marked by joy, encouragement, liveliness and a harmonyious balance which will not reduce preaching to a few doctrines which are at times more philosophical than  evangelizal All this demands on the part of the evangelizer certain attitudes which foster openness to the message…”

3)      The above being so, Wojtyla wrote that the teaching of Vatican II that is the same “doctrine” as-always - but in a new “key” – must be “re-read” … in the whole previous magisterium of the Church, while on the other [hand] we can rediscover and re-read the whole preceding magisterium in that of the last Council. It would seem that the principle of integration, thus conceived and applied, is indirectly the principle of the Church’s identity, dating back to its first beginnings in Christ and the Apostles. This principle of identity operated in the Council and must continue to do so, integrating the whole patrimony of faith with and in the consciousness of the Church.”[4]

4)      And this is a large point. What is conceptual as “doctrinal” now fits into an experiential “consciousness” as meaning that comes from the dynamic of faith as an exodus of the “I” of the believer in receiving the Word of God [the Person of Christ]. That is, the consciousness that the Church has of Christ in history is always the same (of Christ) but develops and grows through history. Wojtyla explains this in his “The Acting Person” where the experience of sensible reality is the ground of abstract and  objectifying doctrine where the experience of the “I” going out of self in faith engenders a consciousness of self –becoming-another Christ.

5)      This became Gaudium et Spes #24 where the traditional [objectified] anthropology of individual substance  of a rational nature became “man, the only earthly being, God has made for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself.” And this is the Christian and metaphysical anthropology of HV #12 in the new key

[1] Kairos.
[2] George Weigel, “Witness to Hope,” Harper Collins (1999) 159-160.
[3] John F. Kobler, “Vatican II and Phenomenology,” 1985 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Preface IX
[4] K. Wojtyla, “Sources of Renewal,” Harper and Row (1979) 40.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pope Francis' Homily at Canonization Mass of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II

"May these two new saints and shepherds of Gods people intercede for the Church"
VATICAN CITY, April 27, 2014 ( - Here is the translation of the Pope's homily at the Canonization Mass of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II today in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.

He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and Thomas was present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28).
The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: "by his wounds you have been healed" (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5).

Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.

They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.
In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and anindescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.

This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47). It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.
This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, Saint John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader. This was his great service to the Church; he was the pope of openness to the Holy Spirit.

In his own service to the People of God, Saint John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.

May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family. May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Achievement of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II: Vatican II's Epistemology and Anthropology

At the opening of the Second Vatican Council, St. John XXIII on October 11, 1962 wrote: “(T)he Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a Magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.

Concerning the achievement of the Council, St. John Paul II, in his Catechism[1] for the diocese of Krakow, wrote in 1972: “If we study the Conciliar magisterium as a whole, we find that the Pastors of the Church were not so much concerned to answer questions like ‘What should men believe?,’ ‘What is the real meaning of this or that truth of faith?’ and so on, but  rather to answer the more complex question: ‘What does it mean to be a believer, a Catholic and a member of the Church/’They endeavored to answer this question in the broad context of today’s world, as indeed the complexity of the question itself requires.[2]

            “The question ‘What does it mean to be a believing member of the Church?’ is indeed difficult and complex, because it not only presupposes the truth of faith and pure doctrine, but also calls for that truth to be situated in the human consciousness and call for definition of the attitude or rather the many attitudes, that go to make the individual a believing member of the Church. This would seem to be the main respect in which the Conciliar magisterium has a pastoral character, corresponding to the pastoral purpose for which it was called. A ‘purely’ doctrinal Council would have concentrated on defining the precise meaning of the truths of faith, whereas a pastoral Council proclaims, recalls or clarifies truths for the primary purpose of giving Christians a life-style, a way of thinking and acting. In our efforts to put the Council into practice, this is the style we must keep before our minds….In the present study, designed to help towards the realization of Vatican II, we shall concentrate on the consciousness of Christians and the attitudes they should acquire.”[3]

The Range of Vatican II: “The incorporation of the thought of Vatican II in all the Church’s previous formulations has already taken place on the basis of the historical succession of documents. Integration means something more: an organic cohesion expressing itself simultaneously in the thought and action of the Church as a community of believers. It expresses itself, that is, in  such a way that on the one hand we can rediscover and, as it were, re-read the magisterium of the last Council in the hole previous magisterium of the Church, while on the other we can rediscover and re-read the whole preceding magisterium in that of the last Council.”[4]

The Formulation of Christian Anthropology as Consciousness: Gaudium et spes #24: “man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of self.” St. John Paul II wrote: “As the year 2000 since the birth of Christ draws near, it is a question of ensuring that an every greater number of people ‘may fully find themselves…through a sincere gift of self’”… The Council repeats this truth about man, and the Church sees in it a particularly strong and conclusive indication of her own apostolic tasks. For if man is the way of the Church, this way passes through the whole mystery of Christ, as man’s divine model… These words of the Pastoral Constitution of the Council can be said to sum up the whole of Christian anthropology…”[5]

[1] “Sources of Renewal – The Implementation of the Second Vatican Council,” Harper and Row, (1979).
[2] p. 17
[3] p. 18.
[4] Ibid. p. 40.
[5] John Paul II, “Dominum et Vivificantem.” #59.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Philippine High Court Guts Contraception Bill

NEW YORK, April 25 (C-FAM) The Supreme Court of the Philippines struck down key provisions of a new contraception law in order to protect human life in the womb, as well as safeguard parental rights and conscience rights for health workers.
The Reproductive Health Bill, as it is known, has been in the pipeline for two decades, having failed approval on no less than five times in the legislature. In 2012 the bill passed. Several groups immediately challenged it in the court system.
The Supreme Court gutted the few provisions of the bill that would have permitted contraceptive methods known to destroy human life in the earliest stages. The Court was adamant that science and the nation’s constitution agree that human life begins at conception, when an ovum is fertilized and an embryo is formed. The constitution of the Philippines prohibits abortion in any form and at any stage, the Court said in its opinion.
The influential Catholic hierarchy openly opposed the bill because it requires government funding of artificial birth control and mandatory sex education starting in middle school. The Church warns that the bill will contribute to the breakdown of families and result in increased promiscuity especially among youth.
While the Bishops were unable to prevent the passage of the bill backed by the US Agency for International Development, they swayed the Court to strike down key provisions of the law.
The justices struck down a portion of the law that defined the beginning of human life as the moment an embryo implants in the uterus—rather than the moment the ovum is fertilized—effectively outlawing the morning-after-pill or the use of any contraceptives to destroy human life before implantation.
The Court also annulled provisions of the bill that required Catholic hospitals and health workers to endorse contraceptives with their patients and gave minors access to sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent.
Even without the controversial provisions, the law is contrary to Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching forbids the use of artificial contraception and only allows natural methods of family planning for serious reasons.
The passage of the law remains a symbolic victory over the influence of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for sexual and reproductive health advocates.
Opponents of the bill worry it will funnel funds to groups that promote abortion in the Philippines and in other countries.
The Government is expected to partner with non-governmental organizations to deliver free contraceptives and sexual education. Organizations that provide sexual and reproductive health services and education are overwhelmingly in favor of abortion, and directly and indirectly advocate for abortion-on-demand. They follow the lead of government funded groups like International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPAS and Marie Stopes International.
The bill enacts population policies recommended by the U.N. Population Fund, a strong backer of the Reproductive Health bill and its supporters. Opponents of these policies have criticized them for confusing population control with reproductive health, because the two have conflicting goals and priorities.
The U.N. Population Fund argues that in order to develop economically, countries must reduce their fertility levels. The Philippines, with one of the five fastest growing economies in the world, defies that logic. Most countries in Asia that have adopted contraceptive policies now have below replacement fertility and slow growing economies. The Philippines fertility rate is 3.1 children per woman, and was expected to decline regardless of the Reproductive Health bill.

George Weigel on JPII: "A Soul for All Seasons"

Why Pope John Paul II, who will be canonized April 27, discerned possibilities when others saw only barriers.


April 21, 2014 7:10 p.m. ET
In a March 1996 conversation, Pope John Paul II told me, almost wistfully, "They try to understand me from the outside, but I can only be understood from inside." His tone that evening was less critical than it was bemused, even resigned. But whether his regrets involved biographers who treated him as a globe-trotting politician or journalists who parsed his every word and deed in conventional left-right categories, the view from outside, he knew, was not going to get anyone close to the essence of Karol Wojtyła.
I agreed with him then; and now, nine years after his death, in the days before his April 27 canonization, I agree with him even more. John Paul II, who embodied the human drama of the second half of the 20th century in a singular way, and whose witness to the truth of humanity's noblest aspirations bent the curve of history toward freedom, can only be understood from inside out. Or, if you prefer, soul first.
His was a many-textured soul. Some of its multiple facets help explain his extraordinary accomplishments in the Catholic Church and on the world stage.
Pope John Paul II in Avila, Spain, in November 1982.Getty Images
He had a Polish soul, formed by a distinctive experience of history. Vivisected in the Third Polish Partition of 1795, his country was not restored to the map of Europe until 1918. But during those 123 years of political humiliation, the Polish nation survived the demise of the Polish state through its language, its literature and its faith, with the Catholic Church acting as the safe-deposit box of national identity.
Learning about that hard experience as a boy, Karol Wojtyla was permanently inoculated against the twin heresies that had beset the West for centuries: the Jacobin heresy that the political quest for power runs history, and the Marxist heresy that history is simply the exhaust fumes of economic processes. Knowing in his Polish soul that culture, not politics or economics, drives history over the long haul, John Paul II could ignite a revolution of conscience during his first papal visit to Poland in 1979. He summoned his people to live the truth about themselves, to reject the communist culture of the lie, and to find in that restored national identity irresistible tools of resistance to oppression.
This son of Poland was, at the same time, a man of global vision with a deeply humanistic soul, forged by what he regarded as the crisis of modernity: a crisis in the very idea of the human person. That crisis, he believed, was not confined to communism's materialist reduction of the human condition, which he tenaciously fought as a university chaplain, a professor of ethics, a charismatic priest and a dynamic bishop. The crisis could also be found in those Western systems that were tempted to measure men and women by their commercial utility rather than by the innate and inalienable dignity that was their birthright.
John Paul II's conviction, biblically rooted and philosophically refined, was that every human life is of infinite value, at every stage and in every condition. This was the basis of hispriestly ministry for almost six decades;it was the conviction that forged his unique moral analysis of world politics; and it was the ground from which he could inspire men and women from a staggering variety of cultures.
He could also touch those lives because of his dramatic soul. As a young man, he confessed in a memoir later in life, he was "obsessed" with the theater. And while he took some useful skills from those experiences on stage— John Gielgud once commented on John Paul II's "perfect" sense of timing, as Alec Guinness marveled at the resonance of his voice—he also developed a dramatic view of the human condition. We all live, he believed, in a quotidian, yet deeply consequential, moral drama. Every day of our lives is lived in the dramatic tension between who we are and who we should be.
John Paul II intuited this on stage; he refined that intuition as a philosopher. And it was deepened by his Christian conviction that the drama of every human life is playing within a cosmic drama in which the God of the Bible is producer, director, scriptwriter and protagonist. That Christian conviction, in turn, was what allowed him to say, a year after he was shot in St. Peter's Square in 1981, "In the designs of Providence there are no mere coincidences."
A man whose soul is formed by the conviction that "coincidence" is merely a facet of providence that he has not yet grasped is a man impervious to the tyranny of the possible. And here, too, the soul of John Paul II helps explain his accomplishment.
When he was elected pope in 1978, some observers, fixated on what they imagined to be possible, saw in the Catholic Church only contention and possible ruin. He saw seeds of reform and renewal, leading to what he would call a "New Evangelization," a new missionary dynamic in Catholicism that would offer the divine mercy to a broken and wounded humanity. Others, fixated on what seemed settled in world affairs, believed that the Yalta division of Europe after World War II was permanent. But after June 1979 and the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, he saw possibilities for dramatic cultural, social and eventually political change in Eastern Europe—and then helped effect them.
If John Paul II seemed able to discern possibilities where others saw only barriers; if he saw (as he put it at the United Nations in 1995), a "springtime of the human spirit" after a winter of murderous discontent embodied in two world wars, the gulag and Auschwitz—well, one could look to his keen mind for an explanation. But the deeper explanation lies in his soul, and in the human character formed by that soul.
It was John Paul's soul in which hundreds of millions of human beings found an exemplar of decency and an icon of hope. It was the character formed by that soul that made him a champion of resistance against the tyranny of diminished expectations, personal and political.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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