Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI Arrives in Washington

His visit is "a blessing for all of America"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Newsweek: How Pope Benedict XVI Will Make History

Newsweek has released an article on Pope Benedict's upcoming visit to the United States. Here's a selection from the article that reminds us when it comes to understanding Christian Doctrine, Pope Benedict XVI is the master teacher. You can read the full article here.


The Master Teacher

Modern popes matter in spiritual microcosm as well as historical macrocosm. John Paul II touched, and changed, millions of lives. Go to an American seminary today and ask the seminarians who their priestly role model is. Or visit a parish marriage-preparation course and see how John Paul's "Theology of the Body" is reshaping the Catholic understanding of marriage, sexuality and family life. Graduate schools of theology are filled with students writing dissertations on the thought of John Paul II, whose intellectual impact on Catholicism will reverberate for centuries.

Benedict's personal influence on Catholics is perhaps less dramatic, but it is no less real to those who have seen or heard him personally. Joseph Ratzinger is one of the most learned men in the world; he is also a master teacher who can unpack complex Christian doctrines in an accessible way. That helps explain why he continues to draw enormous crowds to his Wednesday general audiences, some larger than those drawn by his predecessor. The tag line in some Roman circles is that "People came to see John Paul II; they come to hear Benedict XVI." That contrast is too sharply drawn, but Benedict's skills as a teacher have certainly touched a significant 21st-century yearning for solid religious food. His first two encyclicals, on love and hope, were consciously framed to speak to the fears of a deeply conflicted world by reminding the world of Christianities basic message.

Benedict's catechetical skills with children are also striking. Six months after his election, he met thousands of Italian 8- and 9-year-olds who had just made their first communion. One of them asked how Jesus could be present in the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist when "I can't see him!"

To which the pope replied, "No, we cannot see him; there are many things we do not see, but they exist and are essential … We do not see an electric current; yet we see that it exists. We can see that this microphone is working, and we see lights. We do not see the very deepest things, those that really sustain life and the world, but we can see and feel their effects … So it is with the Risen Lord: we do not see him with our eyes, but we see that wherever Jesus is, people change, they improve, there is a greater capacity for peace, for reconciliation …"

Another youngster asked why the church urged frequent confession. Benedict answered: "It's very helpful to confess with a certain regularity. It is true: our sins are always the same, but we clean our homes, our rooms, at least once a week, even if the dirt is always the same …

Otherwise the dirt might not be seen, but it builds up. Something similar can be said about the soul, about me: if I never go to confession, my soul is neglected and in the end I'm always pleased with myself and no longer understand that I must work hard to improve …"

What the pope can say so winsomely to children, he will likely say to adults during his American pilgrimage: "Look again at the basics of Catholic faith and practice. They exist for a reason. They just may satisfy the hungers of the human heart. Give them a chance."

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Way

"The body must be given a little less than it needs. Otherwise it will turn traitor. "

-St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way # 196

About two years ago I was given this book by Father Scott. I have been reading it a little at a time during my lunch break and each day I am confronted in one way or another. St. Josemaria tells us to give our flesh less than it needs. Why? Because we either control our appetites, or they control us. St. Josemaria gently reminds us as St. Paul does in Philippians 2:5-11:

For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. Emptied himself, made himself as of no account. 8 He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. 9 For which cause, God also hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names: 10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: 11 And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Jesus emptied himself completely. That is real love. Every day we have opportunites to empty ourselves. We have the opportunity to love. But often we miss those opportunities because we have allowed our wants to get in the way. We allow our bodies to turn traitor.

Lord, let us run the race set before us without hindrance. Give us the grace to empty ourselves in love as Jesus did.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Theology of the Body

Hello everyone! Art has been so gracious to invite me to join his blog. I look forward to posting as regularly as I can. Feel free to leave comments as I hope this blog will generate wonderful discussions.

We are going to be going through Michael Waldstein's translation of Pope JP2's very important work: "The Theology of the Body." If you would like to join our discussion group, let us know and we will get you added. You can pick up a copy at Amazon.com by clicking here.

God Bless you all and thanks again to Art for letting me join this blog.

The Film Bella is Available for Pre-order

The film Bella is now available for pre-order at amazon.com

You can pre-order here: Bella the Film

Also, click here and view Taylor Marshalls thoughts on the film Bella.