Christus Vivit

Pope Francis recently released the Post-Synodal Exhortation Christus Vivit from the synod on the Youth. It is rather long document consisting of nine chapter which are made up of around 300 paragraphs and took me awhile to get through it all. This is a long post and I hope that it breaks down this monumental text as it is something that needs to be read by everyone.

It starts with Pope Francis giving an overview of whats to come he addresses not only young people but all people and that he is going to sort of summarize the proposal the final Document from the Synod that he considers most significant. The first chapter just goes through the Bible and points out like every time youth or young is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Pointing out some of the many young in the Bible from Joseph, David and others. This continues by puling some of the many great quotes from the classic like the humble oneself like the little children. In the second chapter the focus is put on Jesus noting that we hardly get anything from when Jesus was a youngster, we go from the Presentation in the Temple to the escape to Egypt to the finding in the Temple then time passes and it’s the Baptism. It also goes on to talk about Mary and “young Saints” from Saint Sebastian to Blessed Chiara Badano. Sure, the Church has had it problems with trying to address the young along with the problems with the sexual and financial scandals that have plagued the church in recent years.

Turning to the third chapter the Pope points out that the young are not just the future of the world but also today. So many in the world tend to ignore what the youth are saying, just look at the US and gun control after two decades of school shooting and nearly nothing has changed. Pope Francis goes on to say that the concept of youth doesn’t exist and there are “only young people, each with the reality of his or her own life.” From here it shifts and looks at the various difficulties that these young people face including the digital world; a glance at sex even mentioning homosexuality and gender identity; Migrants and their upheaval; finally a mention of the sex abuse crisis and the goal of ending all forms of abuse. Subsequently, Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio/Apostolic Letter on abuse which basically says report the crime when it happens and puts in provision for what to do with bishops as well. This section end with a bit about how there is a way out, pointing to the Venerable Carlo Acutis who said “everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies”.  Francis hopes that we don’t let that happen to ourselves as we need to live in community.

The fourth chapter Pope Francis pulls out three great truths to keep in mind. First off God loves you “Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved.” This even means that even if/when we argue with God we are still loved. The second thing is that Christ has saved us because he loves us. The Cross and Crucifixion are the biggest signs of love that we have and there need to be more mention of this, it’s like the footprints in the sand poem. Finally that Christ is Alive. Christ is alive and still in the world seeking us all out we just need to be open to be able to find him. Here, Pope Francis mentions the Holy Spirit who is always there with God and Jesus, and who according to John Paul II is what keeps the Church forever young.  The Fifth Chapter is about the myriad paths of how the young people can experience the world, take it by the horns and run with it. However we need to remember that God is there for one to turn to in the sorrow and disappointments in our lives but also in the joys. Friendship and community engagement are also key aspect in the section. Our faith life isn’t supposed to be a once a week thing but we are tasked each week to go and proclaim the good news to the world.

In the Sixth Chapter we look at roots. This starts with the simple request Don’t become shallow. As Francis said in Panama at World Youth Day “care for your roots, because from the roots comes the strength that is going to make you grow, flourish and bear fruit.” Now what are these roots it’s your parents and grandparents, and even more so others as well as wisdom is passed down from generation to generation. At the Synod “one of the young auditors from the Samoan Islands spoke of the Church as a canoe, in which the elderly help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead.” This is what Society needs for the young and old to come together and become the change that we want to see in the world.

In the seventh chapter we turn to Youth Ministry, it starts with the general notion that it isn’t the adults who are the ministers but the young people themselves. Youth ministry needs to address the problems that they face but not solve them and be flexible in the world today. There are two things that are needed outreach and growth, we need to be more open to whoever want to come to whatever type of event and hopefully they will enjoy it and join. In college I was involved in Campus Ministry and we’d have a dinner after the 5pm Mass on Sunday that was open to whomever wanted to come and there’d be a wide variety of events throughout the week from just hanging out and having lunch with friends to intramural sports or going out to laser tag along with the more religious events like a weekly rosary night or a Bible Study or small group faith sharing. This is something parishes need to do offering a variety of events at times when people can attend them. A couple of parishes around me over the summer put on musicals with kids from high school open to all those in the area.  These are examples of things that seem to work. You know “Preach the Gospel at all times use words sparingly.”

The eighth chapter focuses on Vocations, now this isn’t about becoming a priest or a religious of some sort although it does come up at the end but the general sense of Vocation we all have to do something from the simple friendship to the more complex in love and family but also that of a job itself we all need something to do in out lives and shouldn’t be sponges off others. I enjoy that Pope Francis understands where the world is today and that “sometimes you have to accept whatever is available, but I ask you never to give up on your dreams, never completely bury a calling, and never accept defeat. Keep seeking at least partial or imperfect ways to live what you have discerned to be your real calling.” In the final chapter we look at discernment as we need to take some time to make decisions and it is only through discernment when we as the Holy Spirit to help us to figure it out in solitude and silence. Pope Francis end this Exhortation with a request “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.””

New Saints

On Sunday, Pope Francis named seven new Saint this was the first Canonization ceremony this year and it has been a year since the last Canonization.  Those named Saints were the headliners Pope Paul VI, the Pope after John XXIII and before John Paul I and Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated while saying Mass. There were five others as well Francesco Spinelli was an Italian Priest who founded the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament; Vincent Romano another Italian Priest known as “The Worker Priest” due to his work with the poor and for his commitment to the social needs of all people he is noted for his simplistic and frugal manner of living and for his great care of orphans; Nunzio Sulprizo another Italian, he was an apprentice blacksmith and had poor health throughout his life Pope Leo XIII proposed him as a model for all workers. The other two are women Maria Katharina Kasper, a German nun and founder of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; and Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, a Spanish nun and founder of the Missionary Crusades of the Church, she was born in Spain moved to Mexico, served in Bolivia and Argentina.

Pope Francis noted in his homily that “Jesus is radical. He gives all and he asks all: he gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart.” and that “All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind.” Let us try to keep this in our minds are we go about our lives as we in society today tend to be divided on some of these things.

Synod on Young People

The Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishop began yesterday the focus of this synod is “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment” with “the aim to accompany young people on their way of life towards maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they can discover their life project and realize it with joy, opening the encounter with God and with men, and actively participating in the building up of the Church and society.” Now this is an interesting topic since this is a difficult time for young people in the Church as it seems that so many have been leaving and they want this to stop or at least ebb. This is the first time that the focus will be on young people and it sort of pick up the theme from the last Synod which was on the Family.  Pope Francis said to open the Synod that “the church needs to listen, including to those young people who often do not feel understood by the church in their originality and therefore not accepted for who they really are and sometimes even rejected.” and that “A church that does not listen…cannot be credible, especially for the young who will inevitably turn away rather than approach.”

It seems that next year we will get an Apostolic Exhortation and there is bound to be some dissent about what’s in it since there will be talk about sexuality and pornography along with hopefully some discussion of the sexual abuse crisis that is still around. Well, this will be happen throughout the month of October.

October Rosary request from Pope Francis

On Saturday, the Vatican (Holy See) Press Office released an official communique about the upcoming month of October. In it Pope Francis expresses his wishes that all the faithful, of all the world, pray the Holy Rosary every day, during the entire Marian month of October. This is a regular request so it wasn’t really that much of surprise. His Holiness also added that we add at the end of the recitation of the Rosary with the ancient invocation “Sub tuum praesídium”, and with the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. The Sub Tuum is one of the most ancient prayers to Mary, it was originally in Greek and it dates to the fourth century.  The hymn is still used in modern time in both East (mostly during Great Lent or on the Eve of Theophany) and West (Little Office of Mary or Liturgy of Hours), the Marists and Salesians hold it a special place. The Latin version has been set to music numerous times.

The prayer is nice I’m putting the Greek translation and the Latin one here Greek first.

Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one.
the Latin one
We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen

The Prayer to St. Michael was written by Pope Leo XIII in 1886. It used to be recited at the end of Low Mass, although depending where you are it might be recited at the end of like Daily Mass and in some dioceses it has has re-emerged in light of the recent scandal have reintroduced it to all masses.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

 

The Jeweller’s Shop (1988)

The Jeweller’s Shop is a film based on the play written by Karol Wotyja before he became Pope John Paul II. This is sort of a rough draft or companion piece to Love and Responsibility which eventually  led to Theology of the Body. At least that’s what it seems like I haven’t read either of them. If you have the time I am sure that there are several productions and the film can be found on YouTube

The Jeweler’s Shop was written in 1960 and it is a Meditation on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Passing on Occasion into a Drama. The story follows pairs of couples, each couple in their own story: the first happily planning their wedding, the second long-married and unhappy, the third about to marry but full of doubts. We begin on a hiking trip where Andrew and Teresa along with Stefan and Anna are out with their friend Father Adam. Andrew and Teresa have been friend a long time and for Stefan and Anna it’s love at first sight. Andrew and Teresa stop by a Jeweler’s Shop where Andrew proposes they buy rings, at the shop they meet the Jeweler who is the best character in the film, as he pops us in all three couples stories.  The second part take us a couple of year later and meet up with Stefan and Anna who have moved to Canada to escape World War II they have kids but their life is filled with emptiness and disillusion. They both it seems to have given up on their relationship Anna visits a jeweler to sell her ring, but they say that it’s worthless since her husband is still alive. Anna runs into Father Adam one day in Canada and he reminds Anna about the Parable of the Ten Virgins (five came prepared with extra oil and five didn’t and had their light go out while waiting for the Bridegroom). Anna is reminded that they can still love one another. The last story is sort of intertwined with Anna and Stefan, and the focus is on the Son and Daughter of the couples  Christopher is the son of Andrew and Teresa and Monica is the daughter of Stefan and Anna as they contemplate marriage. Both of these children have ideas of what love is based on their parents, Christopher fears losing love as his father died when he was young and Monica is afraid that her marriage will end up like her parents. They too go to a jeweler’s shop and buy wedding rings.

It’s a decent film and offers some general ideas that we should all reflect upon like what is the worth of mankind. If you want a nice film to watch with the family or with a spouse to reflect on your marriage or a fiance as you prepare for your wedding day. While the film isn’t the best or worst film that I’ve ever seen it the story is the key and it is pretty decent. I wouldn’t recommend everyone picking  us this movie but theme seem to be universal but it does have a bit of Catholicism in there as well since the writer was the Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow.

Humanae Vitae at 50

Humanae Vitae is a controversial encyclical that came out fifty years ago today, I posted a short overview back in 2013. It was the last encyclical by Pope Paul VI  Humanae Vitae or Of Human Life: On the Regulation of Birth, it basically reaffirms the traditional orthodox teaching of the Church. Marriage is the union of a loving couple with a loving God, and the sole purpose of sex is for procreation and the use of contraception is bad. It was published and sure there were some not enthused by these teachings asking “What do celibate male have to say about sex?” George Weigel points out that Karol Wojtyła (JPII)’s 1960 book Love and Responsibility made better arguments about these issues.  Since it was published more and more people have been siding with the Winnipeg Statement which states that those who can’t accept the teaching are not shut off from the Catholic Church, and individuals can in good conscience use contraception as long as they made an honest attempt to accept the directives. It is still one of the biggest issues that people have with the Church.

John Paul II took up Humanae Vitae in his Theology of the Body which sort of take Humanae Vitae  and furthers the teaching. Benedict XVI reflects on it with the idea of love “that the fullness of a person is achieved by a unity of soul and body, but neither spirit nor body alone can love, only the two together. If this unity is broken, if only the body is satisfied, love becomes a commodity”. Francis himself continues this by saying that in an interview in 2014 that “Everything depends on how Humanae Vitae is interpreted. Paul VI himself, in the end, urged confessors to be very merciful and pay attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to take a stand against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to exercise a cultural restraint, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral care takes into account situations and what it is possible for persons to do.”

Was this prophetic or is that just people looking back with reverence on an Encyclical, I am not sure which to say. With the recent release of the book all about the birth of the Encyclical, we’ve learned a bit more about what went into it Was the publication of the Encyclical necessary sure has society slipped to the point of no return with the vulgarity, abundance of pornography and the lack of love of our neighbor

Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph

Just as Mary has her Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys, Saint Joseph has a set of seven himself, although it is just a combination of both in this prayer

The prayer itself is pretty unique as after each section you recite an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. It’s that simple, three prayers everyone knows after each section.

St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep Joy that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.

St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter Sorrow which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the Joy which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that our heart, purified by thy protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the Joy that inundated thy soul at thy privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by thy Joy when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.

St. Joseph, by thy Sorrow when told to fly into Egypt, and by thy Joy in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like thee entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow of thy heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the Joy in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of thy salutary assistance at the hour of our death.

St. Joseph, by the bitter Sorrow with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the holy Joy which inundated thy soul in recovering thy Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate thee not to permit us to lose our Saviour Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with thee His divine mercies forever.

Let Us Pray

O God, Who in Thine ineffable Providence has vouchsafed to choose Blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy protector: Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Ancient prayer to Joseph

While I was looking around at different prayers to Saint Joseph in the Josephology, the theological study of Joseph, and found this one which many have said is the oldest prayer to Joseph that we have.

This old postscript is commonly included with this prayer:

This prayer was found in the 50th year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505, it was sent from the pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death or be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy or be burned in any fire or be overpowered in battle. Say for nine mornings for anything you desire. It has never been known to fail.

The Prayer

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Rosary and St. Joseph

Since we recently celebrated Father’s Day in America it seems fitting to turn to Joseph, spouse of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron saint of the universal Church. Back in 1889 Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Quamquam Pluries, asked the faithful to add a prayer to Saint Joseph to the end of the Rosary, especially during the month of October. Sure I pointed this out back in October but It is a nice prayer, there are many others to St. Joseph and over the next couple of weeks we will have some more.  This first one written by Leo XIII is added to the end of the Rosary and it follows

To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you
to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
and through the paternal love
with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance
which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father, ward off from us
every contagion of error and corrupting influence;
O our most mighty protector, be kind to us
and from heaven assist us in our struggle
with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God’s Holy Church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity;
shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,
so that, supported by your example and your aid,
we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness,
and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.

Amen.

Feast of Mary Mother of the Church

This is the newest feast of the church year as Pope Francis announced way back in March that the feast would be celebrated the Monday after Pentecost. Francis thought that this feast would “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.”

It is fitting that Mary is being honored the day after the we celebrate the “birthday of the church”. Now the title Mother of the Church is an ancient one for Mary as it dates back to St. Ambrose in the 4th century which was rediscovered by Hugo Rahner in 1944. The term has been used notably by Popes Benedict XIV and Leo III. The title didn’t really catch on until Vatican II when Pope Paul VI officially pronounced the title in the Credo of the People of God “The Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.” John Paul II mentioned this a bunch of times and Benedict XVI has stated that “‘The Church is virgin and mother, she is immaculate and carries the burdens of history. She suffers and she is assumed into heaven. Slowly she learns, that Mary is her mirror, that she is a person in Mary. Mary on the other hand is not an isolated individual, who rests in herself. She is carrying the mystery of the Church.” This is another great way to look at Mary. This is why we turn to Mary in this Month of May, I hope that in these last ten or so day we can turn to the rosary.