January 12, 1998 vol 9, no. 8
Is there anyone out there who could keep up the pace of this Pope?
Yet over and over Pope John Paul II is accused of being too ill to continue the papacy. The latest rumors sprouted up over the weekend when the Holy Father had a case of vertigo as he entered the Sistine Chapel to officiate at several baptisms. He started to topple over while walking and one of the cardinals by his side caught him. After resting for a few minutes, the supreme pontiff resumed his duties and officiated at the baptismal ceremonies for over two hours. How many of us could have recouped so quickly and then endured such a long time on our feet. How many of us awake hours before the sun rises and don't retire until late at night, constantly spending it in working and praying, with very little time for rest or play as we know it? Yet this great pontiff has maintained this rigorous schedule for over 18 years, on the go constantly as the "Globe-trotter Pope." How many of us could keep up with this man who knows 37 languages, always putting our best foot forward and enduring hours of ceremonies and mind-exhausting meetings daily. And, before the liberals bury this holy man, remember he is doing all this at the ripe old age of 77! So enough with this "frail" Pope!!! He is anything but frail, exuding strength in body and soul and we must all pray he will be with us for as long as possible - Viva la Papa! For without him, we're in big trouble, folks. Big Trouble with a capital T, especially with someone as liberal, modernistic and radical as Cardinal Martini of Milan waiting in the wings who has openly made it known he would like to be pope. Pray he never receives the tiarra for if he did he would undue in a short time all our present pontiff has accomplished.
One of those things John Paul II has accomplished is involving the laity more as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. He explains this in his Apostolic Letter Christifideles Laici as we continue Dr. Joseph Bagiackas' excellent analysis on the role of the laity with our second installment, featuring the second set of the Twenty Most Asked Questions. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
A Lay Person's Guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Laity
To read the entire Apostolic Letter click on Christifideles Laici
Twenty Questions We Laity Ask about the Lay Apostlate - Second Five Questions
The order in which these questions are asked follows the orders of the topics discussed in Christifideles Laici.
Question 6.How does the Church define "the Church?" Isn't "the Church" the Pope, bishops, priests, and sisters? Isn't it Mass and the sacraments? Isn't it Catholic parishes and schools? We hear from the pulpit that the Church is a community, it is a sacrament, it is Christ's body, the People of God, and so on.
ANSWER The Church is all that Vatican II says it is - a sacrament, God's people, the Mystical Body of Christ, a Temple, a vine and branches, a communion - and more. In Christifideles Laici, John Paul II emphasized the Church as a Communion, or close, personal, spiritual community, both between each of us and God, and among us as the Church community.
Question 7. If the Church is a communion, what does this mean for laity? Does it refer to our going to Holy Communion? It sounds like such a vague term.
ANSWER. Communion is a term that can seem vague to us. The following ideas can clarify its meaning. Communion means close, personal, spiritual community. This idea is meant to enrich the traditional Catholic definition of the Church: The divinely instituted community that is united by one faith, one sacramental life, and the same leaders, especially the Pope. But we are also united spiritually because the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell in our hearts. The Church is "those who have been brought into unity by the unity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Constitution on the Church,4). We are united as children of our Father, as Christ's body on earth, as temples of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. We are God's family, His household. We are God's Pilgrim people, journeying through life, following Christ our Priest, Prophet, and King. He is our shepherd, we are His flock. We are the City of God, the New Jerusalem. If we think and pray on these themes, we will catch the spirit of the idea that the Church is a communion.
Question 8.What specifically can we do to be more active members of the Church?
ANSWER. One way to be more active as a Catholic lay person is to perform some lay ministry for the Church, such as catechist, Eucharistic minister, and the like.
Question 9. What if I don't have the time or the inclination to do that sort of thing? Does that mean I don't have an apostolate or ministry?
ANSWER. We laity do have some Churchly ministries open to us. But most of us do not have the time or inclination to participate in these ministries. But the normal lay apostolate is not doing these kinds of ministries. Instead, it involves redeeming and sanctifying the environments we naturally occupy - family, job, culture, politics, etc. Doing this is what makes us active lay apostles, more than anything else.
Question 10. What about spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gives freely? What if we feel led by God to use charisms?
ANSWER. The Church encourages charisms and charismatic renewal among the laity. She asks only that we be open to the Church's own charism of discerning the value of such charisms, because the work of the Holy Spirit is best fostered in communion with the Church.
Next week: Questions 11, 12, and 13 in the Third Set of Questions.
The Holy Father exemplifies Reverence...What about us?
That is the question Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. answers as he treats the lost art of reverence and why we no longer hold it in the esteem we should in his weekly column on How to Pray from the Heart, entitled: Reverence: born in the heart and lost through the mind . Click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
How to Pray with the Heart
Part Sixteen: Reverence: born in the heart and lost through the mind
Reverence is one of the deepest and most treasured qualities of the human heart. It is a basic quality of every person. In fact, it is so basic that when one would consider the Trinity, as three Persons, it is interesting to come up with the notion that there is the experience of reverence within Each of the Persons for Each Other. The Father has a deep reverence for the Son, the Son for the Father, the Father and the Son individually for the Spirit and the Spirit individually for the Father and the Son. This can be said only within the framework of our limited human understanding for, in truth, as God IS Love, and as God IS Truth, so God IS REVERENCE! Every human being, having been created in the image and likeness of God, having been created a person, is capable of experiencing reverence within his or her heart.
A replica of the Divine Reverence is found very early in the heart of each child. It is by default, meaning that, the child is reverent by its very nature as a child. A child is not capable of self-reflection; its mind is not yet fully developed. The child, as a child, is not capable of making a deliberate choice to be reverent. Reverence can indeed be further cultivated within the child by those who have the duty to form it. On the other hand, damage to reverence can be inflicted upon it likewise by those who contribute to its formation. It is a delight to observe the genuine expression of this quality at a time such as when the child makes its first Holy Communion.
When Jesus said in Matthew 18: 3, "Unless you change and become as a child...", He was saying something very profound. Many of the qualities that are found in the child seem to dissipate once the child begins to make use of its reasoning power. As it goes to school, as it watches television, as it reads, the center of the child's life experience shifts to the mind and it very easily loses many of its child qualities such as reverence. If the heart of the youngster is not given an equal opportunity to develop along with the mind, if truth is presented and the need to aspire to goodness is not given importance, it is altogether possible that the child grows into adulthood without even a trace of the reverence it had known. It is an established fact, and most regrettable, that a great number of adults slip out of seeking goodness in favor of acquiring "smarts" for the advantages this offers in one's life in worldly matters.
In my next installment I will continue this same trend of thought, taking it to a higher, holier level.
To review Father Valenta's previous columns in this series, go to Archives beginning with the August 18, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 16.
"Be Proud of the Gospel"
Those were John Paul II's words at the World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 and they have resounded around the world, reaching the ears of a webmaster who has taken his words to heart and offers a Daily Gospel Reflection each day on the web. This is the subject of the site we review this week and award our Golden Chalice Award Click on SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK
SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK:
"In the beginning was the Word..."
Those are the first words of the Evangelist Saint John the Apostle in his Gospel and the Word of God should be first in our lives...on a daily basis. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should be the focal point of our lives, if possible, daily, and definitely every Sunday. Part and parcel of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Word. How many of us just sit there and listen to the readings without truly "drinking it into our hearts and souls"? Wouldn't the Mass and our lives mean more, be more fulfilling and enable us to better understand God's Will in our lives if we had a better connection to what He is telling us? The Navarre Bible for the New Testament and the accompanying commentary for each Gospel is provided for your discernment, inspiration and preparation for the next day's liturgy of the Mass. That is why we feature these Daily Reflections via link to this site each day in our LITURGY OF THE DAY section of the Daily CATHOLIC The fulfillment of Jesus' words in Mark 16: 15 is the intent of the web site we feature this week. It is Daily Gospel Reflections at
http://www.magi.com/~menardd/gospel.htm. Operated by webmaster Denis Menard, it offers the universal biblical commentary and text from the renowned Navarre Bible. The commentary was compiled by Theologians at the University of Navarre in Spain, published in Ireland, printed in Spain, and spread throughout the world in various languages including cyberspace. Talk about universal...talk about Catholic. Those two words are synonymous and the Navarre text and commentary is synonymous with the Doctrines and Teachings of Holy Mother Church. Praised and recommended by Mother Angelica and Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., to name a few, as an excellent source for Catholics to better understand their faith and what God is truly saying to our hearts and minds, this site offers a no-nonsense approach to being able to read and print out at a glance the next day's reflection of Sacred Scripture. It should be a must for all Catholics who desire to pray more fervently with and from the heart.
While there are other sites that offer similar services as this, none are as simple, quick, succinct and thorough as Denis' site. In addition he encourages anyone who would like to receive these commentaries and reflections each day by e-mail to contact Manual Tuazon, OCDS at email@example.com to receive these direct to you each day at no charge. This site which carries the moniker Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam for the Greater Glory of God asks only your prayers for this necessary ministry. You can access the entire week's reflections any time and it is updated daily. It should be a must for all Catholics. Because of the simplicity and excellence of this site we confer on Daily Gospel Reflections the "Golden Chalice Award", conferring FOUR Hail Mary's for outstanding service in bringing others closer to Christ.
The Liturgy of the Word
Besides the Gospel and the Daily Reflections you can link to on our Liturgy page, there are also the Readings, formerly known as Epistles, and Responsorial Psalm that we list daily in addition to vignettes on saints of the day. Though today is a weekday in the U.S., tomorrow is the feast of Saint Hillary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church and you can prepare for tomorrow's Mass today by clicking on LITURGY OF THE DAY
MONDAY, January 12, 1998
First Reading: 1 Samuel 1: 1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 147: 12, 15
Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 14-20
TUESDAY, January 13, 1998
First Reading: 1 Samuel 1: 9-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 147: 12, 15
Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 21-28
Born in 315 in Poitiers, Gaul, Saint Hilary was a bishop who lived in the 4th Century in Aquitaine which is today Southwest France. Though he was raised a pagan, life's journey brought him to Christianity at middle age through reading Sacred Scripture. In 353 he became the bishop of his home town of Poitiers and fought hard to support the orthodox cause against the growing threat of Arianism prevalent among his peer bishops. The majority of Arian bishops succeeded in getting him expelled to Phrygia where he spent time in exile. He dedicated his life to stopping this Arian menace within the Church, becoming a thorn in the side to all heretics as he preached love, not hate for those ignorant of the true teachings of Holy Mother Church. For his dedication and contributions, he was called the "Athanasius of the West." While in exile he wrote his most famous treatises De Trinitate, De synodis, and Opus historicum. Finally, after a long battle against Arianism, he returned to the place of his birth Poitiers where he later died in 368 in total peace. We can learn from St. Hilary in that though we are soldiers for Christ, we also need to show compassion and love while never compromising our faith. Pope Pius IX declared St. Hilary a Doctor of the Church on January 13, 1851.
Medjugorje Monthly Message for December 25th
Dear children! Also today I rejoice with you and I call you to the good. I desire that each of you reflect and carry peace in your heart and say: I want God in the first place in my life. In this way, little children, each of you will become holy. Little children, tell everyone, I want the good for you and he will respond with the good and, little children, good will come to dwell in the heart of each man. Little children, tonight I bring to you the good of my Son Who gave His life to save you. That is why, little children, rejoice and extend your hands to Jesus Who is only good. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE
New Nautical Look
You'll notice we've changed the home page to the HOMEPORT to tie in with the theme we've been carrying in print of the S.S. Daily CATHOLIC, the new daily flagship web publication of the CATHOLIC-INTERNET NETWORK, tied to the "Barque of Peter" and guided by the twin pillars of Eucharistic Devotion and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart. The prophecy Saint John Bosco received is so important that we have taken this imagery to heart and even altered the masthead logo by incorporating a porthole in the "O" of "CATHOLIC" to emphasize the symbolism of a ship. The whole theme is seafaring as we cruise the seas of evangelization in cyberspace. We hope the new look lets you navigate easier once you dock at the CATHOLIC-INTERNET HOMEPORT.
Countdown to JUBILEE 2000
In addition, we have moved the on-going COUNTDOWN CLOCK TO JUBILEE 2000 to another page you can easily click on from Homeport. The reason is that the Java script was taking too long to download for many and causing delays for browsers on our home page and subscribers for the front page of each issue. By establishing a special Jubilee 2000 page we will be able to keep you up-to-date with the happenings of the events leading to the Millennium. Click on COUNTDOWN TO JUBILEE 2000
Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue of the Daily CATHOLIC.
January 12, 1998 volume 9, no. 8   DAILY CATHOLIC