We are delighted to be part of an effort to bring the Light of the World where previously there was only darkness in the former Soviet Union
In today's editorial, we share the wonderful news and background on the DailyCATHOLIC's latest exciting venture with the debut yesterday of the publication in Russian. 83 years after the Blessed Virgin Mary asked the children of Fatima for the conversion of Russia through prayer and evangelization, we are blessed to be able to do our small part in this important Heavenly mission. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit and the tremendous generosity of Paul and Solveiga Knight from England who are experts in translation from English to Russian, we can offer this publication daily to all parts of Russia in bringing the Light of the world where before there was darkness. For today's editorial To Russia with love...God's love! , click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT
That scriptural passage fits in so well with the various ailments and computer glitches that assailed the entire family last week. Besides the walking pneumonia of yours truly, this editor's bride Cyndi had a biopsy done on her jaw and an infection occurred from the stitches. On top of that certain financial resources for this ministry were strained further when fees were immensely increased, thus tightening the belt even further. Out of both a willingness to sacrifice and necessity, Lent is a perfect time to accustom oneself to bread and water! But, as we all know, when God closes one door, He always opens another. That door opened up late last week in an area we least expected.
Our family has a special prayer we say daily: "Oh Triune Divinity, we will believe whatever You want us to believe; we will do whatever You want us to believe; we will go wherever You want us to go...all for the Love of You so that we may listen to the Father, love with the Son, and live in the Spirit." Little did we know the Triune Divinity was heading us toward the former Soviet Union. No, we're not physically going there, but, as of yesterday we can now reach the heart of Russia for yesterday marked the debut of our first issue entirely in Russian. Talk about a challenge!
All weekend we worked on a special DailyCATHOLIC masthead for the good people of Russia and officially launched the new Russian issue at noon Pacific Daylight Time yesterday. But none of this would have been possible without two special angels from Britain who contacted us early last week. We're talking of Paul Knight and his lovely Lithuanian wife Solveiga. Paul, from Lymington England, is webmaster for the Catholic Media Network under the Dominican Sisters of St. Joseph. It was right around the Optional Feast of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. It is no coincidence that Paul also is the cyber director for Saint Isidore's Cyber Church. It is also interesting that St. Isidore is the assigned patron saint of the Internet, not that he was around before good ol' Al Gore invented it!
We consider the Knights contacting us a true sign from above and further fulfillment of both what the Blessed Virgin Mary asked at Fatima and what the Holy Father has requested in evangelizing. We really never thought for a moment we would be offering a Russian version of the DailyCATHOLIC before any other language since our goal has always been to publish in Spanish next. But God works in strange and wondrous ways and we accept the turn of events He has fashioned.
Several years ago we first heard about the need to evangelize in Russia and the Ukraine from visionary Josef Terelya. Then, this past fall we had the privilege of talking extensively with Father Robert J. Fox, one of the featured Top 100 Catholics. He is the respected priest who founded the Fatima Family Apostolate and whetted our appetite further for reaching into Russia. Several years ago Rosemary Turton of the 101 Foundation, another Top 100 Catholic of the Century, sponsored a very special World Peace Flight Pilgrimage that took the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to Red Square in Moscow in the shadow of the Kremlin. We had so wanted to join that journey, but finances were not available to fund the trip for us. Now, through His wisdom and grace we are able to penetrate the former Iron Curtain not just once, but each and every day thanks to wonderful people like Paul and Solveiga Knight who are translating the English text into Russian for us.
It is in that spirit of evangelistic unity and prayer from all that Russia will be converted as Our Lady has asked so many times. We can remember attending a special seminar at the University of Notre Dame in the mid nineties and listening to Bishop Paolo Hnilica, S.J.. He told us how, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation in 1984, he literally stole into the Kremlin his Mass sacramentary hidden between the Russian national paper Pravda which means "truth" in Russian. Truer words were never spoken for what is more truth than the Word and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? There, in a small room in the bowels of the Kremlin, he secretly celebrated Holy Mass. At the very same moment Pope John Paul II was consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome, Bishop Hnilica did the same in Moscow. He had gone to Russia under specific instructions by the Vicar of Christ. At that time it was not possible to make it public in Russia. Even today the situation is still sticky. Though communism has fallen apart, the state and the Russian Orthodox Church still hold sway over the people and Catholics are still stymied. We can only pray that, with the advent of the DailyCATHOLIC now reaching all of Russia in their native tongue, we can play a small part in Our Lady's request for the conversion of Russia.
We do know this: "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph." She assured this at Fatima in 1917 and today, just a little over a month away from His Holiness traveling again to the Cova and this most hallowed shrine in Portugal to beatify two of the Fatima seers who the Mother of God chose to appear to, the message of Fatima comes through clearer than ever. It was Premier Josef Stalin when told that the greatest threat to the state in Russia was the Holy See. The former communist leader snidely remarked, "Why fear, they have no army." Little did he realize the massive force the Church has in Mary's little army and the power of the Rosary - a weapon no modern technology can match. And, as of yesterday, besides prayers, we have launched a new salvo into Russia with the debut of the Russian version in hopeful prayer that God and His Blessed Mother will bless our endeavor in being a small part of enveloping Russia with the Heavenly mantle of grace. We will be printing special various articles in upcoming issues on Our Lady's progress in reaching into Russia.
There have been many movies and books done about Russia. Some that come to mind are "The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming" and we would like to hope and pray that could be paraphrased to "The Russians are coming to grace" for this new endeavor is truly a manifestation of Our Lord's words "My grace is sufficient for thee, for strength is made perfect in weakness" and in our weakness we rely on Him for the fortitude and perseverance to fulfill this mission into Russia. Of the movie names, what best expresses the sentiments here at the DailyCATHOLIC is one of the first James Bond movies. No, it is not "Dr. No" for "no" is not an alternative, not when you say "yes" to Our Lady. Therefore, we bond ourselves to the Russian people with this endeavor for the theme of the new Russian version of the DailyCATHOLIC is: To Russia with love...God's love!
Today we bring you the first of three parts of the Holy Father's special LETTER TO PRIESTS for Holy Thursday 2000. He completed this touching letter, signing it in ceremonies during celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Upper Room in Jerusalem on Thursday morning, March 23rd during his historic "Jubilee Journey" in search of Salvation History. In this first part, the Pope greets every priest throughout the world, reminding them of their august privilege and the tremendous feelings he himself felt in this most holy place where the Blessed Sacrament was first instituted. Pope John Paul II also reminds them of John's emphasis on Christ's call for humility in the washing of the feet to remind all priests that as alter Christis they are servants to the flock. See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
My Dear Brother Priests!
1. Jesus,"having loved His own who were in the world, loved them to the end" (John 13:1). Here in Jerusalem, in the place where according to tradition Jesus and the Twelve were present for the Passover Meal and the institution of the Eucharist, I am deeply moved as I read once again the words with which the Evangelist John introduces the account of the Last Supper.
I give praise to the Lord for enabling me, in this Jubilee Year of the Incarnation of his Son, to trace the earthly footsteps of Christ, following the paths which He took from His birth in Bethlehem to His death on Golgotha. Yesterday I spent time in Bethlehem, in the cave of the Nativity. In the days to come I will visit various places associated with the life and ministry of the Savior, from the house of the Annunciation to the Mount of the Beatitudes and the Garden of Olives. Finally on Sunday I will be at Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre.
Today, this visit to the Upper Room gives me an opportunity to survey the entire mystery of the Redemption. It was here that Christ gave us the immense gift of the Eucharist. Here too our priesthood was born.
3. We must never cease meditating anew on the mystery of that night. We should often return in spirit to this Upper Room, where we priests especially can feel in a sense "at home". With regard to the Upper Room, it could be said of us what the Psalmist says of the peoples with regard to Jerusalem: "In the register of peoples, the Lord will write: These were born here" (Psalm 86:6).
In this holy room I naturally find myself imagining you in all the various parts of the world, with your myriad faces, some younger, some more advanced in years, in all the different emotional states which you are experiencing: for many, thank God, joy and enthusiasm, for others perhaps suffering or weariness or discouragement. In all of you I honor the image of Christ which you received at your consecration, the "character" which marks each of you indelibly. It is a sign of the special love which every priest has come to know and upon which he can always rely, either to move ahead joyfully or to make a fresh start with renewed enthusiasm, in the hope of ever greater fidelity.
This communion must be lived in compliance with the new commandment: "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34). It is not by chance that the priestly prayer is the culmination of this "mystagogy", since it shows us Christ in His oneness with the Father, ready to return to Him through the sacrifice of Himself, and wanting only that the disciples come to share His unity with the Father: "As You, Father, are in Me and I in You, may they too be one in Us" (John 17:21).
5. From the small group of disciples who heard these words the whole Church was formed, growing through time and space as "a people gathered together by the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (Saint Cyprian, De Orat. Dom., 23). The profound unity of this new people does not mean that there are not different and complementary tasks in its life. Those whose task it is to renew in persona Christi what Jesus did at the Last Supper when He instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice, "the source and summit of the entire Christian life" (Lumen Gentium, 11), are thus linked in a special way to those first Apostles. The sacramental character which distinguishes them by virtue of their reception of Holy Orders ensures that their presence and ministry are unique, indispensable and irreplaceable.
Almost two thousand years have passed since that moment. How many priests have repeated what Jesus did! Often they were exemplary disciples, saints, martyrs. How can we forget, in this Jubilee Year, the many priests who have witnessed to Christ by their lives, even to the shedding of blood? Such martyrdom has accompanied the entire history of the Church; it has also marked the century just passed, a century characterized by different dictatorial regimes hostile to the Church. From the Upper Room, I wish to thank the Lord for the courage of these priests. Let us look to them and learn to follow them in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd Who "lays down His life for His sheep" (Jn 10:11).
Tomorrow: Part Two - "A treasure in earthen vessels"
Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present the second part of the catechesis on The Hidden Life of Jesus of which little is really known from Sacred Scripture but which laid the foundation for Our Lord's public ministry as He obediently learned from Mary and His foster father Joseph as explained in My Catholic Faith. For the 150th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
In the Temple at the early age of twelve, Jesus had proved His wisdom before the doctors of the law. As St. Luke writes, "And all who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers" (Luke 2:47). But did He continue after this unusual and favorable beginning; did He stay on to preach His doctrine? No; instead, He meekly followed His parents as a young child of that age, and went to live with them in obscurity in Nazareth.
The actions of Jesus Christ are intended for us as examples and instructions, as much as His words. As He said, "I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do" (John 13:15). The hidden life of Jesus is for us a perfect model of humility. He lived in poverty and lowliness: the Mother He chose was a poor woman; His foster-father was a carpenter; the town in which He spent the greatest part of His life was an obscure place despised by the Jews: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).
By His hidden life Jesus Christ teaches us to learn holiness and wisdom before we presume to teach others. He teaches us, by living in obscurity, to fifht against our vanity, which makes us desire to be doing only what seems great and important, which makes us desire to be praised and noticed. By His hidden life Our Lord teaches us to subdue our pride, to live day after day without impatience or complaint, unknown to the world, and even despised, if that is the will of God for us; then we shall have true peace of heart. And so Jesus said, "Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart" (Matthew 11:29). For long years of obscurity in Nazareth, He was just "a carpenter's son."
The hidden life of Jesus Christ is for us a perfect model of obedience: "And He was subject to them." The God of all created things, almighty and infinite, was subject to two poor and unknown mortals. He obeyed them in all things, promptly, constantly, cheerfully, and with great love.
Let us model our obedience on this perfect pattern. Let us obey our superiors as representatives of God, giving them due respect and prompt obedience. When our parents command us, and we go about doing what they want, but with murmuring and without spirit, is that the obedience that the Child Jesus gave in Nazareth? When we have to do some unpleasant or difficult task, let us imitate Jesus in His very words: "Yes, Father, for such was Thy good pleasure" (Matthew 11:26).
In this way our obedience will be like that of Jesus, supernatural; we shall obey human beings for the love of God; we shall really be obeying God Himself, in the persons of those He has placed over us. By the example of His hidden life our Lord set the principle for the religious life, particularly for that in contemplative orders.
Jesus "advanced in wisdom and grace before God and men." Although He possessed all wisdom and grace from the first moment of His mortal life, He manifested them only gradually and in a way that was in keeping with His years. We can obtain much merit before God without doing any striking actions, by merely being humble and obedient in the place of life in which it has pleased God to put us. If Christ the Son of God, God Himself, was content to be humble, poor, and unknown, to do common tasks day by day for the greater part of His earthly life, is there any reason why we should be ever trying to exalt ourselves, to attract admiration, ever to feed our vanity? Remember another who practiced this virtue with her Little Way - Saint Therese of Lisieux.
Tomorrow: The Public Life of Jesus Christ part one
Today's and tomorrow's liturgy are both Lenten Weekdays plus the Optional Feast today of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profiles on this Polish saint, see DAILY LITURGY .