Examine what prevents intimacy with Christ, Pope says

Examine what prevents intimacy with Christ, Pope says

Pope Francis leads the Bishops of Italy in a solemn Profession of Faith in St. Peter’s Basilica for their 65th General Assembly May 23, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

Vatican City, May 29, 2013 / 12:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The faithful need to examine their lives to find the “riches” that prevent them from “getting close to Jesus” like the young man who refuses to give his possessions to the poor in order to follow Christ.

Pope Francis focused his homily May 27 on the episode in the Gospel in which Jesus asks a young man to give all his riches to the poor and then follow him. However, rather than following Christ’s call, the young man goes away sad.

During his daily Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis told those present that we all have “riches” that create obstacles in our intimacy with Jesus. Read more

Pope Francis at Mass: be salt of the earth

Vatican Radio

Pope Francis at Mass: be salt of the earth




(Vatican Radio) That Christians might spread the spiritual salt of faith, hope and charity: this was Pope Francis’ exhortation at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope warned against the risk of becoming insipid, “Museum-piece Christians.”

In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the savour that Christians are called to give to their own lives and to others’. The Holy Father said that salt the Lord gives us is the salt of faith, hope and charity. But, he warned, we must be careful that this salt, which is given to us by the certainty that Jesus died and rose again to save us, “does not lose its flavour, does not lose its strength.” This salt, he continued, “is not for keeping, because if the salt is preserved in a bottle it does not do anything: it is good for nothing”:

Salt makes sense when you [use] it in order to make things more tasty. I also consider that salt stored in the bottle, with moisture, loses strength and is rendered useless. The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, [in order] to spice things up: otherwise, it becomes bland and useless. We must ask the Lord not to [let us] become Christians with flavour-less salt, with salt that stays closed in the bottle. Salt also has another special feature: when salt is used well, one does not notice the taste of salt. The savour of salt – it cannot be perceived! What one tastes is the flavour of the food: salt helps improve the flavor of the meal.

“When we preach faith, with this salt,” said Pope Francis, “those who receive the proclamation, receive it each according to his peculiarity, as [happens when salt is used judiciously] on food.” So, “Each with his own peculiarities receives the salt and becomes better [for it].” The Holy Father went on to explain that the “originality” that Christian faith brings is therefore not something uniform:

The Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes each one as he is, with his own personality, with his own characteristics, his culture – and leaves him with that, because it is a treasure. However, it gives one something more: it gives flavour! This Christian originality is so beautiful, because when we want to make a uniformity – all salted in the same way – things will be like when the woman throws in too much salt and one tastes only salt and not the meal. The Christian originality is this: each is as he is, with the gifts the Lord has given him.

“This,” the Pope continued, “is the salt that we have to give.” A salt that is “not to be kept, but to be given,” – and this, he said, “means a little [bit] of transcendence”: “To get out there with the message, to get out there with this richness that we have in salt, and give it to others.” On the other hand, he pointed out, there are two “ways out” for the salt to take, so that it does not spoil. First: to give the salt “in the service of meals, service to others, to serve the people.” Second: “transcendence toward the author of the salt, the creator.” The salt, he reiterated, “in order to keep its flavour, has need not only of being given through preaching,” but, “also needs the other transcendence, of prayer, of adoration”:

In this way is the salt conserved, [in this way it keeps] its flavor. With the worship of the Lord I go beyond myself to the Lord, and with the proclamation of the Gospel I go out of myself to give the message. If we do not do this, however – these two things, these two transcendences, to give the salt – the salt will remain in the bottle, and we will become ‘museum-piece Christians’. We can show the salt: this is my salt – and how lovely it is! This is the salt that I received in Baptism, this is what I received in Confirmation, this is what I received in catechesis – But look: museum-piece Christians! A salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri concelebrated, The Mass was attended by a group of priests and lay collaborators from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website


Pope says everyone can do good, regardless of belief

Pope says everyone can do good, regardless of belief

Vatican City, May 22, 2013 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Every human person despite his or her beliefs can do good, and a sharing in good works is the prime place for encounter among those who disagree, Pope Francis said at his Mass today.

“The Lord created us in his image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and he does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil. All of us,” the Pope taught in his homily May 22 at St. Martha’s residence in the Vatican.

“We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” Read more

Holy Thursday: Radical Call to Be Served and to Serve

Holy Thursday: Radical Call to Be Served and to Serve

March 28, 2013 · by · in Blog

When I was in second grade, the pastor at our family’s parish invited me to be one of the 12 folks to participate in Holy Thursday’s foot washing. (I think I was invited because spring vacation coincided with Holy Week that year, and my mom had taken me to daily Mass a few mornings during the break.)

This was special and important. I remember almost everything.

My mom called my dad at work to tell him about the invitation, and to suggest, as I listened in, that I be allowed to wear my new Easter shoes for the Thursday liturgy: beautiful blue-suede Pumas.

That night, after the homily, I took a seat near the altar, took off my Pumas, and Fr. Greg washed and dried my feet. He smiled warmly, calmly. This didn’t happen at other Masses. Read more

Workplace, Holy Place

 By Woodeene Koenig-Bricker

When I envision spiritual practices done on a daily basis, I tend to think of monasteries with their regular prayer times, emphasis on silence and hours of contemplative reflection. These are not activities compatible with business environments. Telling your boss you need to sit in silent meditation every afternoon probably isn’t going to be met with much approval, especially not on deadline. Nor is refusing to talk because you are keeping a period of silence or dashing out of meetings to pray at specific times.

Because we view spiritual disciplines as something other people who don’t have “real” jobs do, incorporating specifically spiritual activities into our workday doesn’t come naturally. But it can, and perhaps it should.

For a spiritual practice to be applicable to a work environment on a regular basis, I believe it has to have at least three characteristics: 1) it has to be simple, 2) it has to be quick and 3) it has to be private. If it’s too complex or requires too much preparation, it isn’t going to last. If it takes too much time, it isn’t fair to the company and if it is public it goes against the Lord’s admonition to keep our good deeds to ourselves.

In order to fulfill these three requirements, we need to think outside the box of our usual spiritual practices and expand our ideas of disciplines to include some activities that might not seem spiritual at first glance.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to try. Read more