Make Haste for the Things of God

As the Holy Season of Advent winds down, I’ve been pondering the role of Saint Joseph in the life of Jesus. After reading a post today from Father Jason Vidrine (A classmate of mine from the Angelicum), I asked if I might share his homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent. He states so well what has been on my mind in the last few days, that I thought it would be good for you to read too. Enjoy!

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, all four candles of the wreath are lit…the feast of Our Lord Jesus’ birth – Christmas – is very near! The Church began to pray her annual Christmas novena on Tuesday of this past week…each day the great “O” antiphons were sung – the cry of the nations throughout the Old Covenant: O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Dayspring, O King of the Nations, O Emmanuel…come and set us free! And in these Scriptures on this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear how those long-awaited hopes were finally fulfilled, which we’ll celebrate again in two days!

So hopefully by now, nearly all the gifts are wrapped. The Christmas cards are mostly sent and received. Some family members and cousins have arrived. The students’ break from school has begun. The children are looking up the chimney or toward the sky, waiting for the big arrival. With the children, we’re all filled with anticipation.

Could there anything more exciting in our world than children waiting for Santa Claus? While there may not be many…there is one: a pregnant woman waiting for her little love to be born.  The Gospel today shows us a central one! We hear that St. Joseph, not yet understanding God’s plan – finds his wife pregnant even though they had no marital relations – and prepares to send her away quietly. The Angel Gabriel comes to him saying:“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:20-21)The Blessed Virgin Mary is overflowing with anticipation…with expectation ever since the Angel Gabriel departed from her. She knew that the baby in her womb would change not only their lives…but the world and all of human history too. St. Joseph is invited to see and embrace this great mystery.

St. Matthew tells us: “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home” (Mt 1:24). Here we see St. Joseph fulfilling the mission God gives him. How? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity…even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time he was betrothed to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the husband of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; during the drama of the flight into Egypt and at the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his work to Jesus. Always present…always faithful…always doing God’s will with haste.

As we gather on the cusp of Christmas, perhaps there’s a final preparation we can make for it…maybe spending a few moments thinking about the great Gift God has given us… and focus on the gratitude we owe Him. The great gift of Christmas, of course, is the gift of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In his third book on the life of Christ published last year, “Jesus of Nazareth, the Infancy Narratives” Pope Benedict prayerfully considers the stories about Jesus’ birth. He considers these questions: “Is what I read true? Does it concern me? If so, how?”

Pope Benedict notes how St. Joseph does what the Angel of the Lord commanded him (as we hear today) with haste. Of course, Our Lady goes to her relative Elizabeth’s home with haste…and the shepherds also made haste when they heard about Jesus’ birth. So he asks: “How many Christians make haste today, where the things of God are concerned? Surely if anything merits haste – so the evangelist is discreetly telling us – then it is the things of God.”  A good thought for us today.

Here Pope Benedict put his finger on one of the biggest problems of our modern world. We’re busy – even frantically busy – but when it comes to God and the “things of God”, we tend to be lazy and slothful. Right now…right before Christmas, we’re busy about manythings, but do we stop and ask, “What is Christmas, anyway?”

There’s nothing wrong with Christmas shopping and preparing family gatherings in themselves. Those things are good and they require a lot of work and sacrifice. They are very important in terms of building and strengthening the family. But in light of the Gospel, Pope Benedict’s question becomes so important: “How many Christians make haste today, where the things of God are concerned?” There’s lots of anticipation and excitement…but for what exactly?

I think the letters of children are very revealing here. Last year, the Catholic News Agency reported about a Christmas letter to Baby Jesus written by Pope Benedict in 1934 when he was 7 years old; it had been recently discovered during a renovation of a house he used to live in. This is what the letter said: “Dear Baby Jesus, come quickly down to earth.You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy. I would like a Volks-Schott, green clothing for Mass and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger.”

At this time, newspapers often publish children’s Christmas letters as the Gazette did today. They write to Santa asking for all kinds of things…from a baby doll, tea set, bike, basket ball, Halo man, X box, 4-wheeler, I-Pad, scooter, fire truck, ferret, I-Pad mini, to a monkey, trampoline, gun, dog, computer, clothes, etc.


But notice the great difference there is between these letters! One is to Jesus…the others to Santa. One asks for joy, clothes to play Mass, and the heart of Jesus…the others for every sort of material thing you can think of. (Don’t get me wrong…I’m not condemning Santa or material things for Christmas!) But I think the difference is much more than simply a “different time”. Once again, I think we can put our finger on one of the biggest struggles of our modern world: not only are we busy about everything but God and the “things of God”…but our very excitement, anticipation, and desires are based on something radically different…Again, “What is Christmas, anyway?”

What were Pope Benedict’s Christmas requests as a child? The first thing he asked Jesus for was joy. It’s one of the themes he returned to again and again his homilies and writings as Pope. Joy is like God Himself…difficult for us to describe. We can understand it more by what it’s not. Joy is the opposite of misery, sadness, grief, sorrow…the literal state of depression and despair that fills the hearts of so many folks in our world today…even though they have everything they want and more! “Joy is the echo of God’s life in us!” (Blessed Columba Marmion, OSB). That’s what little Joey Ratzinger wanted.

The second request for Christmas Pope Benedict had as a 7 year old was a Schott…one of the first prayer books for Mass for children – with the German next to the Latin texts. The little Joseph also asked for “green clothing for Mass.” The Pope and his brothers used to play Mass and their mom, who was a seamstress, would make clothes similar to Mass vestments for them to use. What this shows us was the devotion of their family. The worship of God was a central part of their lives. Even as a young boy, Pope Benedict knew that God is present and that we truly encounter Him here in the Sacred Liturgy.

Finally, Pope Benedict as a boy asked for a heart of Jesus. He was referring to an image of the Sacred Heart, which his family had a great devotion to. But he didn’t just want an image…he also wanted a heart that loved…that could be loved and could give love. (By 1934, the rise of Hitler was in full swing, and surely his hatred and evil was well known.)

Why do I point out this great difference in these Christmas letters of children? Because again, I think the difference is much more than simply one of a “different time”. Christmas brings great excitement, anticipation, haste…but about what?? For what??

As we gather on this Fourth Sunday of Advent, let us ponder the question of the 86-year-old Joseph…now Pope Emeritus spending his last days in quiet and prayer for us: “How many Christians make haste today, where the things of God are concerned? Surely if anything merits haste – as the Gospel writer is discreetly telling us – then it is the things of God.” Let us follow the example of St. Joseph. He does the will of God with haste. Let us draw near to him and the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking their prayers for us that this Christmas we might experience a grace: regarding God and the things of God, we might overcome all sloth and laziness…that we might make haste and open our hearts to encounter the only One who can and does give us true life: the newborn King, Jesus Christ the Lord (John 10:10). Amen.

Original Post here.

Fr. Jason Vidrine

 Rev. Fr. Jason Vidrine was appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in November 2013. He was ordained Deacon at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on October 6, 2005 and then as a Priest for the Diocese of Lafayette, LA, on July 8, 2006. Fr. Vidrine is a native of Ville Platte and entered the seminary after graduating from Bayou Chicot High School, completing a B.A. in Arts and Philosophy from St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, LA in 2002. Following college seminary, he was sent to Rome for theological formation at the Pontifical North American College and earned an S.T.B. and M.A. in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). Fr. Vidrine’s previous assignments have been as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Wisdom Church and Catholic Student Center on the campus of UL and Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Scott, as well as, most recently, as Pastor of St. Peter Church and Principal of St. Peter School in Gueydan, LA. He also currently serves as a professor of Mariology for the Aquinas Institute of Theology in the Diocese of Lafayette, the spiritual director of Our Lady of Grace Comitium of the Legion of Mary in the Diocese of Lafayette, and assistant Diocesan Master of Ceremonies.

Pope Benedict’s Last Words – Gratitude

Standing at the balcony looking into the small square at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict’s final words were very simple and full of gratitude:

Benedict-Goodbye“Thank you, thank you from my heart. I am happy to be here with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your friendship that does me so much good, thank you for your friendship, for caring.

You know that today is different from others… as of eight pm I will no longer be the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I will simply be a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on earth.

But with my heart, my love, my prayer, with all my interior strength, I will work for the common good and the good of the Church and all humanity.

And I feel greatly supported by your affection. Let us move forward together with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world.

I will now impart upon you all my Apostolic Blessing
Thank you and good night. Thank you all”

Papa Benedetto, ti Ringrazio!  Pope Benedict, thank you!

And may the Lord continue to allow you to be a blessing to us all!

Cor ad Cor Loquitur – Pope Speaks ‘Heart to Heart’

Pope Benedict addressed the College of Cardinals this afternoon in the Clementine Hall, with a parting message of love and gratitude, translation by Radio Vaticana:

clementine hall, Benedict and Cardinals

Dear beloved brothers

I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart.

And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord. As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter’s Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry. In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky. We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry. We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path. Together we can thank the Lord who has helped us grow in communion, to pray to together, to help you to continue to grow in this deep unity so that the College of Cardinals is like an orchestra, where diversity, an expression of the universal Church, always contributes to a superior harmony of concord. I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart, a thought on the Church, Her mystery, which is for all of us, we can say, the reason and the passion of our lives. I am helped by an expression of Romano Guardini’s, written in the year in which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen Gentium, his last with a personal dedication to me, so the words of this book are particularly dear to me .

Guardini says: “The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ. ”

This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square. We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world. She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday. This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: “The Church is awakening in souls.” The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today. Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.

Prior to bidding farewell to each of you personally, I want to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope. May the Lord show you what is willed by Him. And among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here to today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For all this, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart upon you my Apostolic Blessing.

Below is a Vatican Radio translation of the farewell discourse by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals to Pope Benedict XVI:


With great trepidation the cardinals present in Rome gather around you today, once again to show their deep affection and express their heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of the Church of Christ and of all humanity.

Last Saturday, at the end of the Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican, you thanked your collaborators from the Roman Curia, with these moving words: My friends, I would like to thank all of you not only for this week but for the past eight years, during which you have carried with me, with great skill, affection, love and loyalty, the weight of the Petrine ministry.

Beloved and revered Successor of Peter, it is we who must thank you for the example you have given us in the past eight years of Pontificate. On 19 April 2005 you joined the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter, and today, 28 February 2013, you are about to leave us, as we wait for the helm of the Barque of Peter to pass into other hands. Thus the apostolic succession continues, which the Lord promised His Holy Church, until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard proclaim on earth : ” Tempus non erit amplius … consummabitur mysterium Dei” (Ap 10, 6-7) “there is no longer time.: the mystery of God is finished.” So ends the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the advent of a new heaven and a new earth.

Holy Father, with deep love we have tried to accompany you on your journey, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way?” (Luke 24:32).

Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts burned too as we walked with you in the past eight years. Today we want to once again express our gratitude.

Together we repeat a typical expression of your dear native land “Vergelt’s Gott” God reward you!

Let us continue our prayers for Pope Benedict XVI, and the electing Cardinals that in the words of the Holy Father, may be docile to the Holy Spirit in the coming days.


A Day of Prayer for Pope Benedict and the Church: Updated

ImageToday Pope Benedict XVI will vacate the Office of Peter at 8:00pm Rome Time, and the doors will be sealed.

It will be the last morning we will hear his name recited in the Eucharistic Prayer, and in the days to follow until a new Pope is elected, the phrase will be omitted.

It is a time for reflection of the gratitude for Benedict’s leadership of the Church, and for much prayer. What can we do to live this day in a spirit of prayer and gratitude?

You might want to follow the day live:

Radio Vaticana or EWTN live cam. His schedule:

Pope Benedict’s Farewell to the Cardinals:  11:00am Rome / 2:00am Pacific
corrected:  3:00pm Rome / 6:00am Pacific

The Pope’s move to Castel Gandolfo:  5:00pm Rome / 8:00am Pacific

Update: Benedict XVI’s Pontificate Ends:  on Radio Vaticana 7:45pm Rome / 11:45am Pacific

Attend Mass and pray for Pope Benedict.

You can join a worldwide Rosary at the hour of the Pope’s Benedict’s Pontificate ends, 8:00pm Rome / 11:00am.

If you are on Twitter, you can post a message of thanksgiving with the hashtag #ThanksPontifex.

Or, perhaps just reflect on these words from Pope Benedict’s sermon, Palm Sunday 2009:

“An upright life always involves sacrifice, renunciation. To hold out the promise of a life without this constant re-giving of self is to mislead. There is no such thing as a successful life without sacrifice.

 If I cast a glance back over my whole life, I have to say that it was precisely the moments when I said yes to renunciation that were the great and important moments of my life.”

Or pray for him with this indulgenced prayer.

Papa Benedetto, Papa Ratzi, we are with you.

Pope Benedict Chooses a Road Less Travelled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Robert Frost’s famous poem was instrumental in the shaping of my early adulthood. It seemed to me a mystical thing to stand at a crossroad and look down each fork as far as one could see, deciding which of the two to choose. This image is the one I looked to in carving out my own religious calling.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

I could have chosen a great number of things, and as I whittled through my choices, I found a wanting to follow the Lord. The first steps down that path seemed well worn by the many who had gone before me. Yet it seemed more edgy and rough compared to the path of my friends; an uncertainty hung there that frightened me and yet compelled me to look at it more closely.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

The evening I entered the Canossian Sisters, I recall how new everything seemed. A new page was indeed beginning as I learned how to live in a community of women of different cultures (my first community comprised of one Filipino, one Chinese, One Mexican-American, three Mexicans and myself of deep California-American roots). Just as Frost hints at the starting down that un-trodden path, my stepping the threshold of the Postulant house left me changed.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

There is one mistake I made in my own estimation of this first step. I thought the hardest part of my journey was the decision to enter. What I have learned – what should have been obvious – is the first turn off the beaten path was only the first of many choices; the journey only begins with that first step where the undergrowth is thickest.

God woos each of us, His beloved, slowly and gently pulling us by the hand at our own pace to wade ever deeper into His love. My journey to follow Christ more deeply into the abyss of His love has so far to go. Thankfully, God is patient to present the invitation to each of us to enter the Portal of His love in our life of prayer, Sacramental life, and community.

As we watch Pope Benedict in the final hours of his Pontificate, he is preparing for the plunge into God’s love.  He has heard the Lord call Him even more into quiet, to become less so that God can be more; to a place where God can become everything.  This is difficult for even religious to understand, and we must understand this from the perspective of our cloistered brothers and sisters who live their lives as a hidden sacrifice of praise to God and prayer for the world. Mother Maria Angelica explains:

“When he lives this monastic lifestyle, his prayers will reach those who maybe were unbelievers during his papacy,” said Mother Maria Angelica, of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria del Rosario. “I’m absolutely sure of this, of the value of his prayer and of his silence. And it will reach the whole world, even where it wasn’t previously able to reach. . . .  [Even unbelievers] will feel the effects of [a cloistered person’s] prayer.”

benedictatprayerIt is a very generous act.

One where Pope Benedict’s impact on the world is just beginning.

And that will make all the difference.

Please read The Anchoress’ take on Pope Benedict’s call to that which is essential in the life of the Baptized.




But reality is …

But reality is different. Silently, with no voice to speak for them, even at this time of confusion, the simple faithful carry on fulfilling the Church’s true mission: prayer, bearing daily life with patience, always listening to the word of God. But they do not fit into the picture that people want to see; and […]

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Forty Days to Walk with God

walkwithGod copy“In the forty days of the preparation for Easter, we endeavor to get away from the heathenism that weighs us down, that is always driving us away from God, and we set off toward him once again. So, too, at the beginning of the Eucharist, in the confession of sin, we are always trying to take up this path again, to set out, to go to the mountain of God’s word and God’s presence…  We must learn that it is only in the silent, barely noticeable things that what is great takes place, that man becomes God’s image and the world once more becomes the radiance of God’s glory. Let us ask the Lord to give us a receptivity to his gentle presence; let us ask him to help us not to be so deafened and desensitized by this world’s loud outcry that our receptivity fails to register him. Let us ask him that we may hear his quiet voice, go with him, and be of service together with him and in his way, so that his kingdom may become present in this world… We imitate God, we live by God, like God, by entering into Christ’s manner of life. He has climbed down from his divine being and became one of us; he has given himself and does and does so continually… It is by these little daily virtues, again and again, that we step out of our bitterness, our anger toward others, our refusal to accept the other’s otherness; by them, again and again, we open up to each other in forgiveness. This “littleness” is the concrete form of our being like Christ and living like God, imitating God; he has given himself to us so that we can give ourselves to him and to one another.”
– Pope Benedict XVI, Many Religions – One Covenant, Israel, the Church and the World, p. 81, 82-83, 87
Let us Pray:
Prompt our actions with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord,
and further them with your constant help,
that all we do may always begin from you,
and by you be brought to completion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.
Collect, Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Christmas Mass with the Pope

Note: Links fixed :)

With Christmas Eve upon us, perhaps you are one of many hoping to catch the Midnight Mass, live stream, from Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome?

Yes, you can join Pope Benedict on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (for His Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message). I will list the schedule, as posted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications with the streaming services below it.

You can download the Program for the Midnight Mass in PDF, here (download by right-click, save link as).

Saturday, Midnight Mass at St Peter’s Basilica: Broadcasting LIVE begins at 10:00pm (Rome Time) (4pm EST).

Sunday, Christmas Message and Blessing “Urbi et Orbi” of Pope Benedict: Broadcasting LIVE at 12:00pm ROME Time (6am EST)

The live streaming service will be available on:



Vatican Website

Vatican Web Player

The Vatican Stations player can change the language easily to include translation, or turn it off, if you prefer to watch without commentary.

Note: The last three sites all require Microsoft Silverlight, which works in Chrome and Firefox just fine. Any mac users can let me know in the comments if a plugin is available (you might be helping a reader or two, too).

EWTN will rebroadcast the Christmas Eve Mass on Sunday at 8am EST and 6pm EST.

EWTN will rebroadcast the Urbi et Orbi Message and Blessing on Sunday at 10pm EST, and again Wednesday, December 28 at 9am EST, and Saturday, December 31 at 11pm EST.

Who is God? A Mendicant for Love



"Jesus is even much closer when he hides Himself.
He hides so to be able to beg for our love."

These words, written by @Ste_de_Lisieux, and attributed to Saint Therese of Lisieux, reminded me of part of the Lenten message of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI back in 2007:

Brothers and Sisters, let us look at Christ pierced on the Cross!
He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love …
On the Cross, it is God himself who begs the love of his creature:
He is thirsty for the love of every one of us … “

Benedict XVI, Lenten Message 2007


I was caught by the image of God as a beggar – like the poor we encounter on the streets seeking for something – God too is hungry to have us as His own! In reality, we are already His for we were created by Him. But by the uniqueness of our creation He has implanted in us free will – the gift to choose to be His or not. And now it is God who waits and hungers for us – for us to desire to be His. He does not pressure us; He does not force His love upon us. He leaves us free to seek Him and love Him. He takes upon Himself the role of a mendicant who accepts what is offered Him.

I often ponder: ‘Why would God want me or love me with all of my shortcomings, my failures, my mediocrity?’ It is a message too incredible, nonetheless to attempt to embrace an image of a begging God. There He is, hunkered down on the road ahead of me, His eyes pleading, “please Lisa Marie, please, don’t pass by my love.” Do I stop, do I lower myself before Him there on the road and let Him quench his thirst?

Should it not be the other way around? Is it not me that needs God? Or am I still struggling to assure myself that I can meet all of my needs on my own? It is a danger to satisfy ourselves with a “self-made holiness” – just as Pharisees of Jesus’ time approached their own religious careers in a way that others saw them as holy by the external acts of their prayer, the length of the fringe on the shawls, their position in the temple. This threat continues to undermine the ‘rendering to God what belongs to Him’ in today’s encounters with God when we measure excellence from external, measurable means, rather than a desire to give to God what is His.

The other part of this challenge to letting God love us, is living in a culture that values individuals that are ‘self-made’, ‘deserving’, and have ‘earned their way’. The idea of receiving something for nothing is an abhorrent  thought in our culture. We earn our keep and our rewards by hard work and sweat. Nothing worth having, I was taught, is given freely; there is always a price to pay. And unfortunately, we sometimes apply this principle to God as well.

It is perhaps this ‘price’ concept that make it so hard for us to allow ourselves to be loved by God. ‘I’m not worthy’, I might say, or ‘He wouldn’t want me… I’ve done things that I’m ashamed of.’ Rather, we want to hold God at arms length until we have cleaned up our acts, or have truly become ‘good’ in order to let Him come close. This is a normal reaction…the incredulity that He wants me as I am – right now at this hour, in my sinfulness. And yet, that is precisely the moment we find Him knocking at our door, His beggar-cup in hand, longing not for food and drink, but to be loved.

One of my favorite psalms says:

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?”  Psalm 42:2-3

Is it possible that God might have the same longing for each of us, His children? Can we hear Him saying:

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, my child. When can I expect to see you face to face?”

The Pope’s Easter Greetings – To Rome and To the World!



 “In resurrectione tua, Christe, coeli et terra laetentur!

In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice!” (Liturgy of the Hours).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and across the world,

Easter morning brings us news that is ancient yet ever new: Christ is risen! The echo of this event, which issued forth from Jerusalem twenty centuries ago, continues to resound in the Church, deep in whose heart lives the vibrant faith of Mary, Mother of Jesus, the faith of Mary Magdalene and the other women who first discovered the empty tomb, and the faith of Peter and the other Apostles.

Right down to our own time – even in these days of advanced communications technology – the faith of Christians is based on that same news, on the testimony of those sisters and brothers who saw firstly the stone that had been rolled away from the empty tomb and then the mysterious messengers who testified that Jesus, the Crucified, was risen. And then Jesus himself, the Lord and Master, living and tangible, appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally to all eleven, gathered in the Upper Room (cf. Mk 16:9-14).

The resurrection of Christ is not the fruit of speculation or mystical experience: it is an event which, while it surpasses history, nevertheless happens at a precise moment in history and leaves an indelible mark upon it. The light which dazzled the guards keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb has traversed time and space. It is a different kind of light, a divine light, that has rent asunder the darkness of death and has brought to the world the splendour of God, the splendour of Truth and Goodness.

Just as the sun’s rays in springtime cause the buds on the branches of the trees to sprout and open up, so the radiance that streams forth from Christ’s resurrection gives strength and meaning to every human hope, to every expectation, wish and plan. Hence the entire cosmos is rejoicing today, caught up in the springtime of humanity, which gives voice to creation’s silent hymn of praise. The Easter Alleluia, resounding in the Church as she makes her pilgrim way through the world, expresses the silent exultation of the universe and above all the longing of every human soul that is sincerely open to God, giving thanks to him for his infinite goodness, beauty and truth.

“In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice.” To this summons to praise, which arises today from the heart of the Church, the “heavens” respond fully: the hosts of angels, saints and blessed souls join with one voice in our exultant song. In heaven all is peace and gladness. But alas, it is not so on earth! Here, in this world of ours, the Easter alleluia still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence. Yet it was for this that Christ died and rose again! He died on account of sin, including ours today, he rose for the redemption of history, including our own. So my message today is intended for everyone, and, as a prophetic proclamation, it is intended especially for peoples and communities who are undergoing a time of suffering, that the Risen Christ may open up for them the path of freedom, justice and peace.

May the Land which was the first to be flooded by the light of the Risen One rejoice. May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence. In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid. In the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person. May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them; may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity; and may our words of comfort and appreciation reach all those who make such generous efforts and offer an exemplary witness in this regard.

May peaceful coexistence be restored among the peoples of Ivory Coast, where there is an urgent need to tread the path of reconciliation and pardon, in order to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence. May Japan find consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish.

May heaven and earth rejoice at the witness of those who suffer opposition and even persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. May the proclamation of his victorious resurrection deepen their courage and trust.

Dear brothers and sisters! The risen Christ is journeying ahead of us towards the new heavens and the new earth (cf. Rev 21:1), in which we shall all finally live as one family, as sons of the same Father. He is with us until the end of time. Let us walk behind him, in this wounded world, singing Alleluia. In our hearts there is joy and sorrow, on our faces there are smiles and tears. Such is our earthly reality. But Christ is risen, he is alive and he walks with us. For this reason we sing and we walk, faithfully carrying out our task in this world with our gaze fixed on heaven.

Happy Easter to all of you!


And The Holy Father’s Easter Greeting in 65 languages:

 May the grace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you all.”

At the conclusion of his message, he bestowed his apostolic blessing for “all present, those watching via television and the new forms of media”.

Happy Easter everyone! May your Easter Week be a blessed one!

Habemus Papam – What a Day that Was!

Over at The Last Papist Standing, we are reminded that today is the sixth anniversary of the election of our dearly beloved Pope Benedict XVI:

And what a day that was! I remember it well. I was living in Rome at the time, finishing my studies at the Angelicum. It was a Saturday morning, and I decided to walk down to Saint Peter’s Square. When I asked my Sisters if any of them wanted to come, they all declined thinking that it was too early in the election process for the conclave to come to a decision.

Just as I entered the square a group of teenage boys were exiting the columns, jumping up and down, yelling, “Abbiamo Papa! Abbiamo Papa!”  We have a Pope! We have a Pope!” I quickly entered the square which was still pretty empty, and saw the last of the smoke coming out of the temporary chimney to the Sistine Chapel, where the Conclave is held. I remember speculating with others waiting who they thought it would be. Many believed it would be Cardinal Ratzinger.

The square filled quickly, and the atmosphere was joyful, as though Christmas had come early, yet there was more. I ended up standing between two very different men. One was a Jew. The other was a Muslim. They came because they knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and they wanted to be a part of it. We were part of that crowd in the video, exclaiming joyfully together the good news that a Pope has been chosen. When the name of Cardinal Ratzinger was announced, these two men, along with most of the crowd, started jumping up and down, yelling, “We have a Pope! We have a Pope!” I asked them both, “Wait. You’re a Jew. You’re a Muslim.” but they both replied, “Today, it doesn’t matter. We have a Pope!”

It was truly a moment where all of Rome was united in a way that I’ve never known before, or have experienced again. But a day is yet to come, when we will put all else aside, and proclaim together “We have the same Lord.” This is the hope I carry in my heart every day. It will be in Christ, our true unity will come.
Creative Minority Report recalls Habemus Papam Punk!

Day 9 – Novena: Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI

Day 9 – Happy Birthday Pope Benedict!

Jesus, we pray for our beloved Pope and for his intentions. We pray for his personal intentions and for his April prayer intentions for the entire Church. In solidarity with the Universal Church, we ask that you grant this intention: “That the Church may offer new generations, through the believable proclamation of the Gospel, ever-new reasons of life and hope.”

Heavenly Father, you commanded that we make disciples of all nations. We pray for this missionary intention given to us by the Pope: “That missionaries, with the proclamation of the Gospel and their witness of life, may bring Christ to all those who do not yet know Him.”

Heavenly Father, we pray for Pope Benedict XVI as this year’s World Youth Day approaches. We pray for a New Evangelization of the youth through this year’s World Youth Day. Please bless all who attend and all who follow the events from afar. Give your servant Benedict XVI the words to bring all those in attendance closer to Christ.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world.

[Insert your personal petitions for the Pope here]

Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.

May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …
Glory Be …



For previous days prayers.

Shared from Pray More Novenas

Day 7 – Novena for the benefit of Pope Benedict XVI

Day 7

Heavenly Father, we pray for Pope Benedict XVI as this year’s World Youth Day approaches. We pray for a New Evangelization of the youth through this year’s World Youth Day. Please bless all who attend and all who follow the events from afar. Give your servant Benedict XVI the words to bring all those in attendance closer to Christ.

Jesus, you gave to us a great Pope in Benedict XVI. You blessed him with wisdom, insight and intelligence to help guide your Church on an intellectual level. We pray for his ministry as a teacher specifically through his writing. We pray that his writings about you will reach the whole world with your saving message. We pray for a deeper understanding of our faith through the Pope’s writings.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world.

[Insert your personal petitions for the Pope here]

Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.

May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …
Glory Be …



For previous days prayers.

Shared from Pray More Novenas


Day 5 – Novena for the benefit of Pope Benedict XVI

Day 5

Dear Lord, your servant Benedict has given his life for the Church and for You. Please protect his health as he grows older in his pontificate so that he can lead your us, your Church with vitality.

Prince of Peace, we come to you today to ask for your grace of peace for our Holy Father. There are many problems in the world and in the Church that he must address everyday. We beg you for peace in the world, peace in our hearts as we face the brokenness of a fallen world and peace for the Pope as he shepherds your Church.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world.

[Insert your personal petitions for the Pope here]

Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.

May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …
Glory Be …



For previous days prayers.

Shared from Pray More Novenas