Pope Francis: Don’t Over-Intellectualize Your Faith

 

Pope Francis Homilies

Dec 13 2016 – 4:57pm | Pope Francis
In his homily today, Pope Francis warned pastors of the dangers of becoming “intellectuals of religion.”
The poor and humble people who have faith in the Lord are the victims of the “intellectuals of religion,” and those who are “seduced by clericalism.”
The pope directed his attention to Jesus, who in the day’s Gospel turns to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and focuses precisely on their role. “They had juridical, moral, religious authority,” he said. “They decided everything.” Annas and Caiaphas, for example, “judged Jesus.” They arrived at this state of “arrogance and tyranny towards the people,” the pope said, by instrumentalizing the law.
“But a law that they have remade many times: so many times, to the point that they had arrived at 500 commandments. Everything was regulated, everything! A law scientifically constructed, because this people was wise, they understood well. They made all these nuances, no? But it was a law without memory: they had forgotten the First Commandment, which God had given to our father Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” They did not walk: they always stopped in their own convictions. They were not blameless!”

“Judas was a traitor….He sinned forcefully. But then the Gospel says, ‘He repented, and went to them to return the money.’ And what did they do? ‘But you were our associate. Be calm.… We have the power to forgive you for everything!’ No! ‘Make whatever arrangement you can!’ [they said.] ‘It’s your problem!’ And they left him alone, discarded! The poor Judas, a traitor and repentant, was not welcomed by the pastors. Because these people had forgotten what it was to be a pastor. They were the intellectuals of religion, those who had the power, who advanced the catechesis of the people with a morality composed by their own intelligence and not by the revelation.”
Even today, the pope observed, this sometimes happens in the church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained. “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people….They have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick.”
“The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing! It is a new edition of these people. And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people who await the Lord…. Today, too, Jesus says to all of us, and even to those who are seduced by clericalism: ‘The sinners and the prostitutes will go before you into the Kingdom of Heaven.’”

Advertisements

With Mary as Mother we are never orphans

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, in St. Peter's Basilica - ANSA                      Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, in St. Peter’s Basilica – ANSA

12/12/2016 19:05

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Monday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.

In his homily for the celebration, Pope Francis reflected on how the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe reminds us that we are not orphans, saying she teaches us to look on our brothers and sisters with her eyes full of love.

The Holy Father said, “We must certainly learn from [her] receptive and servile faith… learn from this faith which knows how to insert itself within history to be salt and light in our lives and in our societies.”
In contrast, he lamented the current direction of human society, which he said is “ever more marked by signs of division,” calling it “a society of distrust”.
“A society which likes to boast of its scientific and technological advances but which has turned a blind and insensitive eye to the thousands of faces which get lost on the way, excluded by the blinding pride of a few.”

The Holy Father said, “Our beloved American continent has grown accustomed to seeing thousands and thousands of children and young people on the street, begging and sleeping in train stations or wherever they find space… And they feel that there is no space for them on the ‘train of life’”.
He said, “In the face of these situations, we need to say with Elizabeth: ‘Blessed are you because you believed’, and learn from this receptive and servile faith which characterized and characterizes our Mother.”

The Pope went on to say the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe reminds us we have a mother.
“Celebrating Mary is, above all, to remember our Mother, to remember that we are not and never will be an orphan people. We have a Mother!… And where there is the Mother, brothers may quarrel but a sense of unity will always prevail.”

Pope Francis concluded by saying Mary’s faith led her to love and serve.
“Celebrating Mary’s memory is to celebrate that we, like her, are called to get up and go towards others with the same vision, with her same bands of mercy, with her same gestures.”

….
Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/12/12/pope_celebrates_mass_for_feast_of_our_lady_of_guadalupe/1278571

Orthodox patriarch says Amoris Laetitia is about God’s mercy

 

Pope Francis with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (CNS)Pope Francis with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (CNS) 

‘First and foremost the apostolic exhortation recalls the mercy and compassion of God,’ the patriarch wrote.

Knowing the debate surrounding Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the family, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said the document “first and foremost recalls the mercy and compassion of God and not just moral norms and canonical rules.”
“In the past few months, numerous comments and evaluations of this important document have been made,” the patriarch wrote on December 2 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
“People have asked how specific doctrine has been developed or defended or if pastoral questions have been modified or resolved and if particular norms have been strengthened or mitigated,” he said.
“Whether it regards the challenges of marriage and divorce or sexuality or raising children,” he said, the matters treated in the document “are all delicate and precious fragments of that sacred mystery we call life.”
For too long, he said, people were “suffocated and blocked” from reaching out to God for forgiveness and strength by the notion of a “heavenly Father who in some way dictated human conduct.”
“Religious leaders are called to remind themselves and then others that God is life and love and light,” he wrote. “In fact, these are the words repeatedly underlined by Pope Francis in his document, which discerns the experience and challenges of contemporary society with a view toward describing a spirituality of marriage and the family for today’s world.”
The patriarch said it was no accident that the Pope’s letter, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), was released in April, about the time he and the Pope went to the Greek island of Lesbos to meet with refugees.
“In fact, what was immediately clear to both of us while we looked at the sad faces of the victims wounded by war was that all of these people were members of families, families split and torn apart by the hostilities and violence,” the patriarch wrote.
The Pope’s document, he said, touches the experience of those families and of all families because it speaks of God and “when we speak of God, the descriptive language we use is that of love.”
Patriarch Bartholomew said Pope Francis, like the early fathers of the Church, did not shy away from sensitive questions, but “their point of departure always is the loving and saving grace of God, which shines on every person without discrimination or disgust.”

….
Taken from: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/12/05/orthodox-patriarch-says-amoris-laetitia-is-about-gods-mercy/

Immaculate Mary Ark of the Covenant

Image result for ark covenant

 by

Damien F. Mackey

  

 

“In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between the appearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the “woman clothed with the sun.” But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages to make the books of the Bible easier to refer to. John did not make any divisions: he wrote straight through from Revelation 11:19 to Revelation 12:1 without a break”.

  

 

 

The human activity discussed in Part Three (i), of ‘cleaving across the real structure’ of things, for some legitimate utilitarian purpose, rather than patiently studying ‘the thing as it is in itself’ (Immanuel Kant’s das Ding an sich), is apparent from the artificial re-arranging of the Book of Genesis into 50 chapters each consisting of multiple verses – whereas the book in-itself naturally falls into those eleven toledot (‘family history) divisions as discussed in my:

 

Structure of the Book of Genesis

https://www.academia.edu/28809452/Structure_of_the_Book_of_Genesis

 

Today we would be hard put to live without those familiar chapters and verses, artificial though they be, which can serve as a handy mnemonic device and points of reference. However they, because they are artificial, can also have the unfortunate effect of hindering one from properly grasping the original intention and meaning of the author(s) of the text.

This is well exemplified when we turn from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to the last, Revelation. Dr. Scott Hahn, writing of what he calls “The Ark of the New Covenant”, explains how St. John the Evangelist’s intended meaning gets completely lost due to the thematic discontinuity caused by the artificial division of Revelation’s Chapters 11-12 (https://stpaulcenter.com/studies/lesson/lesson-three-the-ark-of-the-new-covenant):

 

A. The Ark Reappears in Heaven

 

Luke uses parallel language and images to make his point. But John, the author of Revelation, tells us directly that he saw the Ark of the Covenant – the holy object that had been lost since Jeremiah’s time – in a vision.

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth” (see Revelation 11:19 and Revelation 12:1-2).

This is a strange string of images, almost overwhelming – like much of the book of Revelation. But certainly the statement that the Ark of the Covenant was visible must have caught the attention of the first people who heard the vision.

If the Ark had been seen, then the time Jeremiah spoke of must have come: the time when “God gathers his people together again and shows them mercy,” the time when “the glory of the Lord will be seen in the cloud, just as it appeared in the time of Moses” (see 2 Maccabees 7-8)

And indeed the sights and sounds are the same as in the time of Moses – storm and earthquake:

“There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm” (see Revelation 11:19).

“On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled . . . Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently” (see Exodus 19:16, 18)

Naturally, we want to hear more about the rediscovered Ark of the Covenant. And John goes on to describe what he sees: “a woman clothed with the sun” (see Revelation 12:1).

In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between the appearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the “woman clothed with the sun.” But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages to make the books of the Bible easier to refer to. John did not make any divisions: he wrote straight through from Revelation 11:19 to Revelation 12:1 without a break.

In the dream-like but deeply significant logic of John’s vision, the Ark of the Covenant is “a woman clothed with the sun.”

B. The Woman Clothed With the Sun

 

And who is this woman?

“She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth ” (see Revelation 12:2).

“She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne” (see Revelation 12:5).

The one destined to rule the nations with an iron rod (a shepherd’s rod) is the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah or Christ (see Psalm 2). The “woman clothed with the sun,” whom John sees when he looks at the Ark of the Covenant, is the Mother of the Christ.

C. What Makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant?

 

The Ark of the Covenant was the sign of God’s real presence among His people. In Jesus Christ, born of Mary, God was really present among his people in an even more direct way.

The Ark held the Word of God written in stone. Mary bore the Word of God in flesh.

The Ark held the bread from heaven, a foreshadowing of the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Mary bore the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ (see John 6:48-50).

The Ark contained the rod of Aaron, symbol of his priesthood. Mary bore Jesus Christ, our High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1).

If the Ark of the Covenant was holy, then by the same standards Mary is even holier. As Mother of God, she is the Ark of the New Covenant, bearing Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Bread of Life, our great High Priest. That is not a re-interpretation of the Gospel: it is a truth made clear by the New Testament writers themselves.

[End of quote]

 

For more on this fascinating subject, see the following article:

‘The Marian Dimension’. Part Three: Mary as New Ark of Covenant

https://www.academia.edu/27515445/The_Marian_Dimension._Part_Three_Mary_as_New_Ark_of_Covenant

 

 

The Face of Mercy

The Face of Mercy

Description

Pope Francis has inspired millions by urging the world to embrace Mercy. The essence of this call is revealed in The Face of Mercy, an extraordinary new documentary film narrated by Jim Caviezel.

Watch its story unfold, from St. Faustina’s powerful visions of a merciful God, to her countryman Pope John Paul II who propelled the message of Divine Mercy onto the world stage. Weaving together theology and history with modern testimonials and visual effects, this stirring film creates a remarkable tapestry of what constitutes the face of mercy in our modern world.

Meet the woman who found freedom in forgiveness after seeing her family wiped out by genocide; the former-NFL linebacker who walked away from football to share Christ’s mercy with the homeless; the baseball player who traded MLB ambitions for the monastery; and the young widow who chose mercy towards her husband’s killer.

These moving testimonies offer compelling proof that Divine Mercy is not some abstract theology – it is alive, it is present, and it will transform the world.

Some of the many well-known people featured in this film include Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Gaitley, Andrezej Duda (President of Poland), George Weigel, Eric Mahl, Immaculee Ilibigaza, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko (Vice Postulator for St. Faustina), Vinny Flynn, Fr. Donald Calloway, and others.

….
Taken from: http://www.ignatius.com/Products/FMER-M/the-face-of-mercy.aspx