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May 11, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 91

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The Church is populated by humans, but founded by the Divine

     The Holy Father continues his discourse on Say "Yes" to the Church and you say "Yes" to Jesus. Today he emphasizes that Jesus, Who was human like us in all things except sin, became the immolated Lamb to take away our sins. We confirm this at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Agnus Dei. For the second part of this discourse by Pope John Paul II, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS


Part Two
      By reflecting on the life and death of Simon Peter, it is easier to move from the opposition "Christ - yes, the Church - no" to the conviction "Christ -yes and the Church -yes, as a continuation of our yes to Christ.

      The logic of the mystery of the Incarnation - synthesized in that yes to Christ -entails acceptance of everything that is human in Christ, in virtue of the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature in solidarity with the nature tainted by the sin of Adam's race. Although he was absolutely without sin, Christ took on himself all of humanity's sin: Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi. The Father "made him to be sin", the Apostle Paul writes in the Second Letter to the Corinthians (5:21). Therefore, the sinfulness of Christians (about whom it is said, and sometimes not without reason, that "they are no better than others"), the sinfulness of ecclesiastics themselves should not elicit a pharisacial attitude of separation and rejection, but should rather compel us to a more generous and trusting acceptance of the Church to a more convinced and meritorious yes in her regard, because we know that precisely in the Church and by means of the Church this sinfulness becomes an object of the divine power of redemption, under the action of that love which makes possible and accomplishes the individual's conversion, the sinner's justification, a change of life and progress in doing good, sometimes even to the point of heroism, .e., to holiness. Can we deny that the Church's history is full of converted and repentant sinners who, having returned to Christ, followed Him faithfully to the end?

      One thing is certain - the life which Jesus Christ, and the Church with Him, proposed to man is full of moral demands which bind him to what is good, even to the heights of heroism. It is necessary to observe whether, when one says "no to the Church", in reality one is not seeking to escape these demands. Here, more than in any other case, the "no to the Church" would be the equivalent of a "no to Christ". Unfortunately, experience shows that this is often the case.

      On the other hand, one cannot fail to observe that if the Church - in spite of all the human weaknesses and sins of her members - in her entirety remains faithful to Christ and brings to Christ her many children who have failed in their baptismal commitments, this occurs because of the "power from on high""(Luke 24:29), the Holy Spirit, Who gives her life and guides her on her perilous journey through history.

      We must also say, however, that the "no to the Church" is sometimes based not on the human defects of the Church's members, but on a general principle of rejecting mediation. There are indeed people who, although admitting the existence of God, wish to maintain an exclusively personal contact with Him, without allowing any mediation between their own conscience and God, and therefore, they reject the Church above all.

Next installment: part three.

With all the noise around us, only the soul is in a state of quiet!

     That is one of the points emphasized today by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. in his weekly column on "How to Pray with and from the Heart." He continues his take on "Shortcuts to the Heart" with the second part of this, reminding us in order to let the Holy Spirit "catch" us, we need to slow down. Father brings home the point that this is probably the most important step in praying with and from the heart. Click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
      Most personal problems of whatever kind, and so whatever kind of problems we find in the world at large, are brought upon us because of our failure to recognize just who we are and what it is that we are to be about in the life that we find ourselves in. The fact that we had many times heard such things as, God created each one of us out of nothing, created each one of us to be most unique, created each one of us to His Own Image and Likeness, created each one of us to get to know, love and serve Him and thus find eternal bliss, has by and large made very little impact on any of us. These truths, lodged in the mind, have not found themselves, and perhaps have not even been given the opportunity to find themselves, making their way to become an integral part of our everyday life. In so many cases, they have received a mere mental assent, a mental nod, and allowed to remain without fertilizing one's life, bearing no productive fruit, having absolutely no effect on one's everyday behavior.

      It is not the scope of this article to delve into reasons for the above condition which most everyone finds themselves in. I do wish to shout, scream in the quietest, gentlest of voice, the kind that Jesus used and still uses and the voice of our pleading Heavenly Mother. The need to slow down is in favor of coming to our senses to that we can take stock of our life, get a bearing, and freely, with a depth of conviction, make a choice of living that life which the Father had designed for each one of us from all eternity, a life which would bring with it peace of mind, peace of heart and peace of soul. We can never come to our senses while on the run. To make use of anything, and everything at our disposal, the aid - coming from God Himself, aids coming forth from men of good will, we must, must SLOW DOWN. The need to slow down is absolutely essential in order that each one of us might take possession of our senses, of ourselves. There are many pearls of great price. This is one that surpasses most.

      Once the soul is in a state of quiet, the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us, can do something which we cannot do ourselves. We have been told by Jesus that "if you obey the commandments, you will discover who you are." We cannot obey the commandments unless the Spirit is given the opportunity to teach them to the heart so that the heart can abide by them. The Spirit will also make it crystal clear that each one of us is a PERSON. God the Father is a PERSON, God the Son is a PERSON, God the Holy Spirit is a PERSON. He makes it clear to ME that I am a PERSON, that I have dignity and worth and that I have been given as a life far above any and every other earthly creature. As a PERSON, I am able to carry on a person to PERSON relationship with my very Maker. Once realized, this little bit of truth has enough power to blow my mind right into my heart.

     In the next installment I will continue to impart valuable tips on "Shortcuts to the Heart."

April 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

   Dear children! Today I call you, through prayer, to open yourselves to God as a flower opens itself to the rays of the morning sun. Little children, do not be afraid. I am with you and I intercede before God for each of you so that your heart receives the gift of conversion. Only in this way, little children, will you comprehend the importance of grace in these times and God will become nearer to you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

Events Today in Church History

     For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on TIME CAPSULES: ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for May 11:


     For the liturgy, readings, and meditations of the Masses for today and tomorrow, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Monday, May 11, 1998

Tuesday, May 12, 1998

Saint Nereus, Achilleus and Pancras, Martyrs

     All three martyrs lived in the late 3rd Century and were persecuted under the reigns of the Roman Emperor Trajan. Saint Nereus and Saint Achilleus were Praetorian Roman soldiers who had persecuted Christians by orders from above until they saw and felt the tremendous faith of these people they were putting to death. The two centurions were amazed at how steadfast and happy the Christians were and how they would willingly die for this Jesus Christ they all professed. Eventually their blood was enough for both soldiers to convert, cast away their blood-stained swords and shields and go awol from the Roman legions. They eagerly embraced the new faith and were hunted down and exiled to the island of Terracina where they endeavored to convert others before being beheaded around 304 A.D. A cult grew out of the veneration for the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus in the 4th Century and

      Pope Siricius built a church in their honor in 398 within the boundaries of the cemetary of Saint Domitilla. Two centuries later another church was built in Rome in the proximity of the Baths of Caracalla. In the 16th century the relics of Nereus and Achilleus were transfered from that church and placed with the relics of St. Domitilla.

      Saint Pancras was born in either Syria or Phrygia as historians have assumed and was brought to Rome by his uncle who converted to Christianity and subsequently converted the young Pancratius to the faith when he was 12 years old. Both he and his uncle were discovered and beheaded in 304, many believe on the same day as Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were murdered in Terracina. For that reason they are all celebrated on May 12th every year. Pope Symmacus built a basilica in Pancras' honor in 514 and it was St. Augustine of Canterbury who dedicated the first church he built in England to St. Pancras. From there Pancras' legend grew and in 672 Pope Saint Vitalian sent the saint's relics to one of the kings in Britain where Pancras became firmly entrenched as a saint with great intercessory favors.


Today we share the nine-day Novena to Saint Jude which will end on the Holy Father's birthday next Monday. We are saying it both for this ministry which is in need of a miracle financially and for Pope John Paul II. His years and his health make it mandatory that we pray to St. Jude who is, of course, patron saint of impossible and hopeless cases. Many have said it is impossible for the Pope to lead us into the third millennium, but we are staking our claim on St. Jude and the Heavenly Court that the Holy Father will still be around in 2000 and thriving. It's worth praying for. Some of the novena prayers are taken from "Treasury of Novenas." Click on NOVENA TO SAINT JUDE

Nine Day Novena to Saint Jude

(Below is abbreviated version and long version. The latter is approved by the Church.)
Short version     Glorious Saint Jude, Apostle and Marytr great in virtue, rich in miracles, near kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke your special patronage in time of need. To you we have recourse from the depth of our heart and humbly beg to who God has given such great power to come to our assistance. Help us in our present and urgent petition. We promise to make your name known and cause you to be invoked. St. Jude, pray for us, we who invoke your aid. Amen.
(Say the above with three Our Fathers, Hail Marys, & Glory be's for 9 consecutive days.)


Long version     Glorious Saint Jude Thaddeus, by those sublime privileges with which you were adorned in your lifetime, namely, your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh, and your vocation to be an Apostle, and by that glory which now is yours in Heaven as the reward of your apostolic laboars and your martyrdom, obtain for us from the Giver of every good and perfect gift all the graces of which we stand in need: May we treasure up in our hearts the divinely inspired doctrines that you have given us in your Epistle: to build our edifice of holiness upon our most holy faith, by praying for the grace of the Holy Spirit; to keep ourselves in the love of God, looking for the Mercy of Jesus Christ unto eternal life; to strive by all means to help those who go astray. May we thus praise the glory and majesty, the dominion and power of Him Who is able to keep us without sin and to present us spotless with great joy at the coming of our Divine Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


     Saint Jude, Apostle of Christ and glorious martyr, we desire to honor you with a special devotion. We choose you as our patron and protector. To you we entrust our souls and our bodies, all our spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of our families. To you we consecrate our minds so that in all things they may be enlightened by faith; our hearts so that you may keep them pure and fill them with love for Jesus and Mary; our wills so that, like yours, they may always be one with the Will of God. We beg you to help us to master our evil inclinations and temptations and to avoid all occasions of sin. Obtain for us the grace of never offending God, of fulfilling faithfully all the duties of our states of life, and of practicing all those virtues that are needful for our salvation. Pray for us, our holy patron and helper, so that, being inspired by your example and assisted by your prayers, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to the glory of Heaven, there to love and thank God forever. Amen.


     O God, You made Your Name known to us through the Apostles. By the intercession of Saint Jude, let Your Church continue to grow with an increased number of believers. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

May 11, 1998 volume 9, no. 91   DAILY CATHOLIC