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The Dignity and Importance of Labor

Yesterday, for the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Pope Francis turned his attention to the topic of work  Here is the excerpt:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: On this first day of May, Mary’s month, we celebrate
the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, reminds
us of the dignity and importance of labour. Work is part of God’s plan for the
world; by responsibly cultivating the goods of creation, we grow in dignity as
men and women made in God’s image. For this reason, the problem of unemployment
urgently demands greater social solidarity and wise and just policies. I also
encourage the many young people present to look to the future with hope, and to
invest themselves fully in their studies, their work and their relationships
with others. Saint Joseph, as a model of quiet prayer and closeness to Jesus,
also invites us to think about the time we devote to prayer each day. In this
month of May, the Rosary naturally comes to mind as a way to contemplate the
mysteries of Christ’s life. May Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary help us to be
faithful in our daily work and to lift up our minds and hearts to Jesus in

As with last week, there is no text on the Radio Vaticana site.  So we will have to wait for the full text.

The Final Judgment

In today’s catechesis for the Year of Faith, Pope Francis reflects on the Last Judgment.  Here is the English excerpt:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our continuing catechesis on the Creed, we now consider the article which deals with Christ’s second coming: “He will come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead”. Just as human history began with the creation of man and woman in the image of God, so it will end with Christ’s return and the final judgment. The parables of Jesus help us to understand our responsibility before God and one another in this present age. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins reminds us that we must be spiritually prepared to meet the Lord when he comes. The parable of the talents emphasizes our responsibility to use wisely God’s gifts, making them bear abundant fruit. Here I would ask the many young people present to be generous with their God-given talents for the good of others, the Church and our world. Finally, the parable of the final judgement reminds us that, in the end, we will be judged on our love for others and especially for those in need. Through these parables, our Lord teaches us to await his coming with fear but confident trust, ever watchful for the signs of his presence and faithful in prayer and works of charity, so that when he comes he will find us his good and faithful servants.

For some reason, Radio Vaticana does not have a translation of the whole audience this week.  I guess we will have to wait until it goes up on the Vatican website next week.

On the Ascension

In today’s catechesis for the Year of Faith, Pope Francis reflects on Christ’s Ascension.  Here is the English summary:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis on the Creed during this Year of Faith, we now consider the article which deals with Christ’s Ascension: “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father”. Saint Luke invites us to contemplate the mystery of the Ascension in the light of the Lord’s entire life, and particularly his decision to “ascend” to Jerusalem to embrace his saving passion and death in obedience to the Father’s will (cf. Lk 9:51). Two aspects of Luke’s account are significant. First, before returning to the glory of the Father, the risen Jesus blesses his disciples (Lk 24:50). Jesus thus appears as our eternal Priest. True God and true man, he now for ever intercedes for us before the Father. Second, Luke tells us that the Apostles returned to Jerusalem “with great joy” (Lk 24:51). They realize that the risen Lord, though no longer physically present, will always be with them, guiding the life of the Church until he returns in glory. As we contemplate the mystery of the Ascension, may we too bear joyful witness to the Lord’s resurrection, his loving presence in our midst, and the triumph of his Kingdom of life, holiness and love.

As usual, the Radio Vaticana has their translation of the full text on their website.

The Meaning of Christ’s Resurrection for Us and Our Salvation

Pope Fancis continues once again with the Catechesis for the Year of Faith.  Here is the English summary:

In our continuing catechesis on the Creed during this Year of Faith, we now consider the meaning of Christ’s resurrection for us and for our salvation. The Lord’s death and resurrection are the foundation of our faith; by his triumph over sin and death, Christ has opened for us the way to new life. Reborn in Baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and become God’s adoptive sons and daughters. God is now our Father: he treats us as his beloved children; he understands us, forgives us, embraces us, and loves us even when we go astray. Christianity is not simply a matter of following commandments; it is about living a new life, being in Christ, thinking and acting like Christ, and being transformed by the love of Christ! But this new life needs to be nourished daily by hearing God’s word, prayer, sharing in the sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist, and the exercise of charity. God must be the centre of our lives! By our daily witness to the freedom, joy and hope born of Christ’s victory over sin and death, we also offer a precious service to our world, helping our brothers and sisters to lift their gaze heavenward, to the God of our salvation.

For a full text of the audience, see the Radio Vaticana.

The Role of Women in the Church

Today, Pope Francis picks up the Catechesis on the Year of Faith begun by his predecessor and also links it to the Resurrection narrative during this Easter Octave.  He reflects particularly on the women who were the first witnesses of the Resurrection.  Here is the English excerpt:

Taking up the series of Catecheses on the Creed, we now turn to the article: “He rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures”. Our belief in Christ’s Resurrection is the very heart of our faith, the basis of our hope in God’s promises and our trust in his victory over sin and death. The first witnesses of the Resurrection were women: moved by love to go to the tomb, they accept with joy the message of the Resurrection and then tell the good news to the Apostles. So it must be with us; we need to share the joy born of our faith in the Resurrection! In Church’s history, women have had a special role in opening doors to faith in Christ, for faith is always a response to love. With the eyes of faith, we too encounter the risen Lord in the many signs of his presence: the Scriptures, the Eucharist and the other sacraments, and the acts of charity, goodness, forgiveness and mercy which bring a ray of his Resurrection into our world. May our faith in the risen Christ enable us to be living signs in our world of the triumph of life and hope over evil, sin and death.

Go here for the Radio Vaticana’s English translation of the full text.

Pope Francis’ first audience!

Habemus Papam!

Today our freshly elected Pope Francis delivers his first general audience.  As per usual, is is a reflection on Holy Week.  Here is the excerpt for the English speaking audience:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On Palm Sunday we began Holy Week, the heart of the liturgical year, when we commemorate the great events that express most powerfully God’s loving plan for all men and women.  Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to give himself completely.  He gives us his body and his blood, and promises to remain with us always.  He freely hands himself over to death in obedience to the Father’s will, and in this way shows how much he loves us.  We are called to follow in his footsteps.  Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympathetic ear, those in need of comfort or help.  We should not simply remain in our own secure world, that of the ninety-nine sheep who never strayed from the fold, but we should go out, with Christ, in search of the one lost sheep, however far it may have wandered.  Holy Week is not so much a time of sorrow, but rather a time to enter into Christ’s way of thinking and acting.  It is a time of grace given us by the Lord so that we can move beyond a dull or mechanical way of living our faith, and instead open the doors of our hearts, our lives, our parishes, our movements or associations, going out in search of others so as to bring them the light and the joy of our faith in Christ.

Radio Vaticana has their English translation of the entire audience.  As usual, the full text will probably show up on the Vatican website next week.

Pope Benedict XVI Says Goodbye

I apologize for the lengthy gap, but I could not let Pope Benedict XVI’s final audience pass by without posting. Here are the Pope’s remarks to the English-speaking pilgrims:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer a warm and affectionate greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined me for this, my last General Audience. Like Saint Paul, whose words we heard earlier, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his Church and her growth in faith and love, and I embrace all of you with joy and gratitude.

During this Year of Faith, we have been called to renew our joyful trust in the Lord’s presence in our lives and in the life of the Church. I am personally grateful for his unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter. I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world.

The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope. In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history.

I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!

Vatican Information Service has the full text of the Audience.  It is quite touching and very moving.  It reads like a loving letter from a father to his children.  As it should.

The Holy Spirit Leads Us to Pray ‘Abba, Father’

Text of "Our Father" prayer with Tri...Yesterday, Pope Benedict contiuned his Catechesis on Christian Prayer by focusing on two passages from St. Paul (Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15) where Paul speaks of God as Abba, Father.

Here is the English excerpt:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our reflection on prayer in the letters of Saint Paul, we now consider two passages in which the Apostle speaks of the Holy Spirit, who enables us to call upon God as “Abba”, our Father (cf. Gal 4:6; Rom 8:5). The word “Abba” was used by Jesus to express his loving relationship with the Father; our own use of this word is the fruit of the presence of the Spirit of Christ within us. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, we have become sons and daughters of God, sharing by adoption in the eternal sonship of Jesus. Paul teaches us that Christian prayer is not simply our own work, but primarily that of the Spirit, who cries out in us and with us to the Father. In our prayer, we enter into the love of the indwelling Trinity as living members of Christ’s Body, the Church. Our individual prayer is always part of the great symphony of the Church’s prayer. Let us open our hearts ever more fully to the working of the Spirit within us, so that our prayer may lead us to greater trust in the Father and conformity to Jesus, his Son.

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The full text is already available on Zenit.

Prayer is a Gift from and Work of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

In, today’s audience on Christian Prayer, Pope Benedict moves from the Acts of the Apostles to the letters of St. Paul.  It is a very beautiful reflection on the role of the Holy Spirit in our prayer life and a nice reassurance that it all does not depend on us.  Prayer is less about what we do and more about what the Holy Spirit does.  Here is the excerpt from the Vatican website:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the teaching of the Apostle Paul. Saint Paul’s letters show us the rich variety of his own prayer, which embraces thanksgiving, praise, petition and intercession.For Paul, prayer is above all the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, the fruit of God’s presence within us. The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness, teaching us to pray to the Father through the Son. In the eighth chapter of the Letter to the Romans, Paul tells us that the Spirit intercedes for us, unites us to Christ and enables us to call God our Father. In our prayer, the Holy Spirit grants us the glorious freedom of the children of God, the hope and strength to remain faithful to the Lord amid our daily trials and tribulations, and a heart attentive to the working of God’s grace in others and in the world around us. With Saint Paul, let us open our hearts to the presence of the Holy Spirit, who prays with us and leads us to an ever deeper union in love with the Triune God.

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Though the full text will not be on the Vatican website for another week, I just discovered that the Vatican Radio website posts their own translation rather quickly.  So head on over there to read the whole thing.

St. Peter in Chains

St. Peter In Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati, OH

Today, Pope Benedict reflects on that event recorded in Acts 12:1-19 where Peter is imprisoned by Herod.  The Holy Father makes a touching personal connection between the prayer support Peter received from the Church which came to fulfillment in his miraculous release from prison and the prayer support he receives as a successor to St. Peter, for which he is most grateful.

This incident has long been honored in the life of the Church.  A minor basillica in Rome bears the name of this event, as well as the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  In the old 1962 liturgical calendar, the feast of St. Peter in Chains was celebrated on August 1st.

Here is the excerpt for English-speaking pilgrims:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now consider Saint Peter’s miraculous liberation from imprisonment on the eve of his trial in Jerusalem. Saint Luke tells us that as “the Church prayed fervently to God for him” (Acts 12:5), Peter was led forth from the prison by an Angel of light. The account of Peter’s rescue recalls both Israel’s hasty exodus from bondage in Egypt and the glory of Christ’s resurrection. Peter was sleeping, a sign of his surrender to the Lord and his trust in the prayers of the Christian community. The fulfillment of this prayer is accompanied by immense joy, as Peter rejoins the community and bears witness to the Risen Lord’s saving power. Peter’s liberation reminds us that, especially at moments of trial, our perseverance in prayer, and the prayerful solidarity of all our brothers and sisters in Christ, sustains us in faith. As Peter’s Successor, I thank all of you for the support of your prayers and I pray that, united in constant prayer, we will all draw ever closer to the Lord and to one another.

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The full text should be available on the Vatican website next week and an unofficial translation will be on Zenit’s website by the end of the day.  For a really unofficial translation, you could also try using Google Translate on the Italian text.

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