Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Holy Father in Sweden and the call to holiness.

Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves ...

Yesterday's reading from Mass consoled me, while so many online were once again questioning what the Pope was doing in Sweden and what he was saying.  It was a quiet consolation, an assurance that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, and the Pope...
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others. - Philippians
If there is any encouragement in Christ ...

Today the Holy Father offers considerations for six new beatitudes ... NOT changing Scripture, or adding to it, but offering a meditation - highlighting  our path with a deeper understanding of holiness in today's world.

The Beatitudes are in some sense the Christian’s identity card. They identify us as followers of Jesus. We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.
Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy. Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians. All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward.
Dear brothers and sisters, the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith. - source

The Holy Father keeps asking us not to sadden the Holy Spirit, not to put limits on God's merciful, not to impede the freedom of the children of God.  He opens hearts of those who listen - to recognize the dignity of each person, their freedom, and then to act, asking us to  'see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.'

Swedish cloistered nuns awaiting the Pope's arrival.

Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

We are so often confused by media reports on what the Holy Father says and does, and Catholic social media is one of the most contentious places to follow what the Holy Father is saying and doing.  This Cardinal against Cardinal crap would be nothing if it wasn't for social media.  There has always been dissension in the Church, and in no other time is it more obvious than in time of reform.

That said, ordinary people do not have to obsess over what the Pope says and does.

Pope Francis' predecessors have confused many at times.  Benedict resigned, and is now kinda-sorta understood as a co-pope.  He gave communion to a Lutheran monk at the funeral of John Paul.  John Paul attended the Assisi peace gathering, kissed a Koran, was blessed by pagans, and so on.  People blame the Council for all of this.  That's not what the Church teaches about Vatican II though.  It is not a 'bad Council'.

So we don't understand everything, but we have the promises of Christ, and he will never abandon us, he will not leave us orphans, he cannot deceive nor be deceived.

So what to do when we don't understand, especially when everyone else seems to believe they know more than the Pope and the hierarchy, and are more Catholic than the Pope and the Ordinary Form?  That they are more holy than the Church?

Whatever the Pope is doing and saying may be at times difficult to understand or follow. It seems to me it is because his style is so spontaneous, immediate and personal, it inspires non-Catholics and fallen away Catholics in such a unique way, that it excites a genuine interest in Catholic practise and teaching.  With an open heart, he opens the hearts of those who hear him.

If I'm confused about something - it is usually because I'm reading negative commentary and speculative analysis on a pull-quote or soundbite attributed to the Pope.  If I genuinely do not understand something, I keep telling myself it will all work out.  I totally do not want to criticize the Holy Father.

To become disquieted over the daily reports on the Holy Father and his pastoral mission is not my responsibility.  I don't have to understand, explain, or defend the Pope.  As I explained to a trusted friend, 'I have a pretty simple spirituality - I repent every day, I pray, and do the best I can. I try. I have confidence in God, and not in man - and least of all, myself.'

Swedish rood screen.
Gotland-Oeja kyrka


  1. You nailed it. THANK YOU!!!

    1. You are welcome. A friend just sent me a photo of a Carmelite nun at the Holy Father's Mass. He in no way 'snubbed' Catholics in Sweden - that was such a ridiculous piece of gossip floating around last week.

  2. "united in heart, thinking one thing"

    This is what our Holy Father is literally calling for. That "ALL" who profess Christ be united in heart and in spirit so that all will believe.

    When he speaks of leaving the "theology to the theologians," I understand as that will take thousands of years ... still goes on to this day and the people remain divided while the world seeks to crush the faith.

    I will continue to pray with Papa that all may be one.

    One more thing ... I am so glad to have stopped with the Catholic social media stuff, it has given me so much peace and clarity of mind and heart. Thank you Jesus!

    1. That Swedish rood screen is absolutely beautiful!

    2. I know - Catholic media screws it all up - I took a friend in to the Dr. today and had a chance to read the paper with photos of Catholics thrilled to meet the Pope - the report was very straight forward and ended with the fact that inter-communion is still not possible. The way Catholics online have it - he went to Sweden to canonize Luther and open communion for every one. They play Burke's sermons online talking points about how none of that can happen. Well here's the news folks - the Pope isn't saying it can.

      These people are fear mongers. Have nothing to do with them.

      Viva il papa! I will never regret being faithful to the Church and her teachings and the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him.

    3. May heaven be yours for you fidelity to Christ and to His Church! <3

    4. * your

      Opps! ^^)

  3. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/11/01/pope-women-banned-priesthood-forever/93118528/

  4. I hope the Pope's visit will inspire people to 'come and see'.

    1. And thus the beauty and the mystery of Christ and His infinite mercy. When a door to one's heart is open, be it only for a moment in time, the Lord will enter and begin his work of restoring us unto Himself. I know because for the longest time, my heart was like a stone. It was heavy, cold and painful but once I began to seek him, He took up residence and lifted me up out of the grave. I still fall and I still am muddied up but He knows me and sees what I cannot see so I must step aside and allow him to make me whole and wash me clean.

      How I too will hope that the many of us who believe in Jesus as Lord, will become one. Of course the steps that our Holy Father has taken despite the many naysayers and stone throwers, are small and cannot be brought to fruition by men alone but through much prayer, sacrifice, patience and above all, forgiveness. I read some very nasty commentary on YouTube by many who claim they are Catholic. Terry pretty much describes the attitudes of these folks so I won't bother to repeat them.

      Let's keep praying and asking the Lord to make us one so that all will believe and the world be saved. Amen!

  5. I want to see dueling cardinals. Scriptures at dawn!

  6. Who does the Pope think he is? Making up new beatitudes (as if the ones Jesus gave us aren't good enough), not wanting to have Mass for Catholics in Sweden (which is true by the way - he has to be talked into it), standing as one among equals with the lutheran "clergy" (including a wymen "bishop." It's all very scandalous to the faithful. It makes me sad.

  7. Aloysius, I was edified.

    He was giving a homily BTW - not making up new beatitudes or abrogating Christ's teaching. It's a rhetorical technique, perhaps like Mimesis? I'm not sure if that's a correct term for it.

    Remember St. John Paul II suggested 5 additional mysteries be added to the existing 15 mysteries of the rosary as well. Pope's can do such things.

  8. Sorry, dear Terry.

    A pope can add /suggest additional mysteries to the rosary. The rosary is not scripture per se.

    Popes cannot ever add to Scripture. I'm not saying that this pope has done that regarding the Beatitudes. But unfortunately he has twisted, (turned it 180 grades around!) - the actual words and contextual Jewish meaning of Jesus' own words to the Pharisees regarding divorce and remarriage. BY doing this, Pope Francis managed to make of Jesus Christ Himself a Pharisee and despicable "Doctor of the Law" (in his eyes). Dear Terry, this is no joke. A pope cannot do this and think no one in the world will notice just because many Catholics are not really scripturally clued up. If he wants to ease up things for the divorced and civilly remarried, he has to try out other possible avenues in the New Testament. He can NOT twist the words of Jesus and the context in which Jesus spoke completely out of joint and right around.

    Perhaps he should just come out clearly and declare he does not agree with the Person whose "vicar" he is supposed to be.

    By the way: I have great sympathy with many divorced and remarried these days. If there is a Christian way to help these people, it should absolutely be studied with integrity and truth and belief in the mercy of Christ. But not, not, not (!) by way of calmly and dishonestly (?) twisting the actual words, meaning, and context of the words and teaching of our Lord.

    Pope Francis is a loving man. Yes. Great, sweet and wonderful. We can all learn much from that. But, as a Christian first and foremost, I would like to suggest to the pope that he should also try to stay clear of improvising and mucking up his own Lord's words and explicitly clear message of 2000 years ago.

    1. The Holy Father did what??? Gasp! Really???!!!

      Where is the outrage? The indignation is where by those cardinals/bishops who are rumored to be opposed to our Holy Father? Why are they silent in the face of such twisting of words? And what of Cardinal Mueller? If these "all knowing" Catholic folks (who are reporting such a travesty on the part of our Holy Father) are breathlessly reporting such havoc, why are those in charge of Sacred Scripture in the Holy See silent?

      Sorry ... but unless I see the facts versus the slander, I stand/agree with what Terry has said.

      Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!


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