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Volume 5, Issue 125

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25, 2005
      Roman Catholic News

      Volume 5, Issue 125

      FRIDAY 26 AUGUST 2005

      * * *


      * * *

      . Benedict XVI's Homily on Feast of the Assumption
      . Benedict XVI Asks That Iraqi Constitution Respect Religious Freedom
      . Pope Proposes "Fruitful Collaboration" to Chávez Government
      . Defense of Life Is Linked to Liberty
      . Opus Dei Prelate on World Youth Day (Part 2)

      * * *

      Benedict XVI's Homily on Feast of the Assumption
      "We Have a Mother in Heaven"

      VATICAN CITY, AUG. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave Aug. 15 when celebrating Mass in the parish church of Castel Gandolfo on the solemnity of the Assumption.

      Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      First of all, I offer a cordial greeting to you all. It gives me great joy to celebrate Mass in this beautiful parish church on the day of the Assumption.

      I greet Cardinal Sodano, the bishop of Albano, all the priests, the mayor and all of you. Thank you for your presence.

      The feast of the Assumption is a day of joy. God has won. Love has won. It has won life. Love has shown that it is stronger than death, that God possesses the true strength and that his strength is goodness and love.

      Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven: There is even room in God for the body. Heaven is no longer a very remote sphere unknown to us.

      We have a Mother in heaven. And the Mother of God, the Mother of the Son of God, is our Mother. He himself has said so. He made her our Mother when he said to the disciple and to all of us: "Behold, your Mother!" We have a Mother in heaven. Heaven is open, heaven has a heart.

      In the Gospel we heard the Magnificat, that great poem inspired by the Holy Spirit that came from Mary's lips, indeed, from Mary's heart. This marvelous canticle mirrors the entire soul, the entire personality of Mary. We can say that this hymn of hers is a portrait of Mary, a true icon in which we can see her exactly as she is. I would like to highlight only two points in this great canticle.

      It begins with the word "Magnificat": my soul "magnifies" the Lord, that is, "proclaims the greatness" of the Lord. Mary wanted God to be great in the world, great in her life and present among us all. She was not afraid that God might be a "rival" in our life, that with his greatness he might encroach on our freedom, our vital space. She knew that if God is great, we too are great.

      Our life is not oppressed but raised and expanded: It is precisely then that it becomes great in the splendor of God.

      The fact that our first parents thought the contrary was the core of original sin. They feared that if God were too great, he would take something away from their life. They thought that they could set God aside to make room for themselves.

      This was also the great temptation of the modern age, of the past three or four centuries. More and more people have thought and said: "But this God does not give us our freedom; with all his commandments, he restricts the space in our lives. So God has to disappear; we want to be autonomous and independent. Without this God we ourselves would be gods and do as we pleased."

      This was also the view of the Prodigal Son, who did not realize that he was "free" precisely because he was in his father's house. He left for distant lands and squandered his estate. In the end, he realized that precisely because he had gone so far away from his father, instead of being free he had become a slave; he understood that only by returning home to his father's house would he be truly free, in the full beauty of life.

      This is how it is in our modern epoch. Previously, it was thought and believed that by setting God aside and being autonomous, following only our own ideas and inclinations, we would truly be free to do whatever we liked without anyone being able to give us orders.

      But when God disappears, men and women do not become greater; indeed, they lose the divine dignity, their faces lose God's splendor. In the end, they turn out to be merely products of a blind evolution and, as such, can be used and abused. This is precisely what the experience of our epoch has confirmed for us.

      Only if God is great is humankind also great. With Mary, we must begin to understand that this is so. We must not drift away from God but make God present; we must ensure that he is great in our lives. Thus, we too will become divine; all the splendor of the divine dignity will then be ours. Let us apply this to our own lives.

      It is important that God be great among us, in public and in private life.
      In public life, it is important that God be present, for example, through the cross on public buildings, and that he be present in our community life, for only if God is present do we have an orientation, a common direction; otherwise, disputes become impossible to settle, for our common dignity is no longer recognized.

      Let us make God great in public and in private life. This means making room for God in our lives every day, starting in the morning with prayers, and then dedicating time to God, giving Sundays to God. We do not waste our free time if we offer it to God. If God enters into our time, all time becomes greater, roomier, richer.

      A second observation: Mary's poem -- the Magnificat -- is quite original; yet at the same time, it is a "fabric" woven throughout of "threads" from the Old Testament, of words of God.

      Thus, we see that Mary was, so to speak, "at home" with God's word, she lived on God's word, she was penetrated by God's word. To the extent that she spoke with God's words, she thought with God's words, her thoughts were God's thoughts, her words, God's words. She was penetrated by divine light and this is why she was so resplendent, so good, so radiant with love and goodness.

      Mary lived on the Word of God, she was imbued with the Word of God. And the fact that she was immersed in the Word of God and was totally familiar with the Word also endowed her later with the inner enlightenment of wisdom.

      Whoever thinks with God thinks well, and whoever speaks to God speaks well. They have valid criteria to judge all the things of the world. They become prudent, wise, and at the same time good; they also become strong and courageous with the strength of God, who resists evil and fosters good in the world.

      Thus, Mary speaks with us, speaks to us, invites us to know the Word of God, to love the Word of God, to live with the Word of God, to think with the Word of God. And we can do so in many different ways: by reading sacred Scripture, by participating especially in the liturgy, in which Holy Church throughout the year opens the entire book of sacred Scripture to us. She opens it to our lives and makes it present in our lives.

      But I am also thinking of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we recently published, in which the Word of God is applied to our lives and the reality of our lives interpreted; it helps us enter into the great "temple" of God's Word, to learn to love it and, like Mary, to be penetrated by this Word.

      Thus, life becomes luminous and we have the basic criterion with which to judge; at the same time, we receive goodness and strength.

      Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us?

      The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us.

      While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, "within" all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a "mother" to whom we can turn at every moment.

      She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us.

      On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day. Amen.

      [Translation of Italian original issued by the Holy See]

      * * *

      Benedict XVI Asks That Iraqi Constitution Respect Religious Freedom
      Meets With Country's Foreign Minister

      CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in audience and requested that his country's constitution, still being drafted, respect religious freedom.

      After the audience with the Pope today, the Iraqi also met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, reported Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office.

      "During the talks, the current situation in Iraq was reviewed, with particular reference to the text of the constitution, which has been presented for the approval of the National Assembly, and to the important topic of religious freedom," said the Vatican spokesman.

      "Later it was emphasized that the reconstruction of the institutions must take place in a climate of dialogue, which will involve all the religious groups and the different components of society," concluded Father Benedettini.

      The Iraqi official's visit to the papal summer residence in the hills south of Rome took place a few hours before the National Assembly's self-imposed deadline to surmount the differences over the proposed constitution.

      Subsequently, the parliament said it had no plans to gather before its deadline and had no date for a future session, indicating that factions in Iraq were failing to agree on a new constitution.

      The first draft of the constitution established that Islam is the official state religion, and barred any legislation that contradicts its established rules.

      Christians in Iraq number 800,000, or 3% of the population, divided between Catholics and Orthodox.

      * * *

      Pope Proposes "Fruitful Collaboration" to Chávez Government
      Receives Venezuela's New Envoy

      CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI proposed that tensions between Hugo Chávez's government and the Catholic Church be surmounted by promoting mutual collaboration for the benefit of Venezuela's people.

      As he greeted Venezuela's new ambassador to the Holy See today, the Pope said: "I very much hope that the present difficulties in church-state relations will be dissipated and that there will be a return to a fruitful collaboration in continuity with the noble Venezuelan tradition."

      The Holy Father's comments came when he received the letters of credence presented to him by Iván Guillermo Rincón Urdaneta, who until now was president of Venezuela's Supreme Court. They met in Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome, where the Pope is spending the summer.

      Relations between Venezuela's bishops and President Chávez became tense shortly after he came to power. In February 1999, Chávez took measures which seriously hampered the charitable and educational programs of the Catholic Church in the country.

      Since then, Chávez has hurled public accusations against the bishops and the papal nuncio, who expressed their opposition to concrete aspects of his government.

      Last July 17, for example, in his Sunday radio and television program, Chávez insulted Cardinal Rosalio José Castillo Lara, the retired president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State who lives in Venezuela. The cardinal, 82, had cast doubt on Chávez's democratic practices.

      Positive points

      In his address to the new ambassador, Benedict XVI tried to calm spirits, acknowledging, for example, "the prominence that the government gave the mourning for the death of my venerated predecessor, Pope John Paul II."

      "For its part, the Holy See follows very closely the events in that beloved 'land of grace,' and has so said on numerous occasions," added Benedict XVI.

      The Holy Father also acknowledged "the importance that the Venezuelan public authorities give" to "the various programs of literacy, education and health care."

      At the same time, the Pontiff asked that the government respect the freedom proper to the Church to carry out its mission in Venezuela.

      "Governments of states have nothing to fear from the action of the Church, which in the exercise of its freedom seeks only to carry out its own religious mission and to contribute to the spiritual progress of each country," he said.

      Freedom to serve

      The Holy Father continued: "The Church, which cannot fail to proclaim and defend the dignity of the human person in his integrity and openness to divine transcendence, calls for the capacity to dispose, in a stable way, of the indispensable space and necessary means to fulfill her mission and humanizing service.

      "The Church wants freedom solely to offer a valid service of collaboration with all public and private entities concerned with the good of man."

      In the face of the challenges posed by social justice in the Latin American country, the Pope said that a "loyal and respectful dialogue among all social sectors" is an imperative "as a means for consensus on aspects that concern the common good."

      Addressing ambassador Rincón Urdaneta personally, Benedict XVI said he hoped that "during the exercise of his important mission, the now traditional and historical relations between Venezuela and the Holy See will be strengthened with a spirit of loyal and constructive collaboration."

      About 88% of Venezuela's 25 million inhabitants are baptized Catholics.

      * * *

      Defense of Life Is Linked to Liberty
      In Rimini, Cardinal Martino Speaks About Social Doctrine

      RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Defense of life, religious freedom, and peace and human rights are the priorities on the world scene, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

      Cardinal Renato Martino highlighted these issues Tuesday when addressing the topic "The Social Doctrine of the Church at the Service of Modern Man," at the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, being held here this week by the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation.

      The session began with a question posed by Giorgio Cittadini, president of the Foundation for Solidarity: "What are the conditions necessary for an individual and the community in which he lives to enjoy full liberty?"

      Cardinal Martino responded by illustrating the contents of the recently published Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, written by the pontifical council he heads.

      According to the cardinal, the priority areas of commitment in society, in the light of the demands of the Gospel and the primary needs of humanity, are life, religious freedom, and peace and human rights.

      The promotion and defense of life, from conception until natural death, is "of fundamental importance for Christians' action in the social realm," said the president of the pontifical council.


      "The right to religious freedom is the foundation of all other rights," Cardinal Martino said. "God guarantees man's inviolable nature, made in the image and likeness of God. Freedom of conscience, just like religious freedom, does not stem from a subjective claim, but derives from the reality of human dignity and man's transcendent vocation."

      Further, Cardinal Martino distinguished between a peace-loving person, a pacifist and a peacemaker.

      "The peace-loving person is the one who, by the gift of God and his own virtue, is able to live with himself and others without conflict. Peace is proper to peace-loving men," he said.

      "Pacifism is something good, but unless it is oriented by peace-loving men, it runs the risk of betraying the objective of peace, becoming an ideology," the cardinal warned.

      "The peacemaker is the peace-loving person who enters into historical situations of conflict to offer words, attitudes and solutions of peace," he continued. The peacemaker, or "agent of peace," is guided by love, because, as St. Augustine wrote, "to have peace means to love," the Vatican official said.

      Also, Cardinal Martino confirmed that "the main criteria of attention to human right must be the proclamation of the transcendent principle of the dignity of the person, as true humanism is transcendent."

      * * *

      Opus Dei Prelate on World Youth Day (Part 2)
      Interview With Bishop Echevarría

      COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Optimism is a key ingredient in the life of Christians, says Bishop Javier Echevarría, the prelate of Opus Dei.

      This is the second part of an interview the 73-year-old bishop gave to ZENIT as he evaluated World Youth Day. Part 1 appeared Wednesday.

      Q: What help does Opus Dei provide on that journey toward holiness?

      Bishop Echevarría: Opus Dei has reminded the whole world that holiness is not something of the privileged; that is, all of us can come close to God exactly where we are. To people, to each one, Jesus Christ has said: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."

      Opus Dei reminds us of the need to transform all activities, including the apparently trivial, into a dialogue with God. And it also reminds us of the need for the sacramental life, as without the sacraments the life of grace cannot increase, given that the sacraments are the means that our Lord Jesus Christ has left us, to renew us and to identify ourselves with him.

      Q: The theme of World Youth Day was "We Have Come to Worship Him" (Matthew 2:2). Today we are living in radically changing times in which one easily loses sight of the essential, and of recollection; silence is often regarded as unbearable. How can one arrive at this attitude of adoration? In what does it consist? How can one speak with God?

      Bishop Echevarría: Before answering this question, I would like to tell you something that is fundamental in a Christian's life, in the life of a child of God: optimism. We cannot focus on things or situations with a pessimism that, at times, can contaminate the environment.

      The child of God knows that he is able to transform all circumstances into joy, including those which others might see as a contradiction. Silence and recollection, of course, are essential if one is to have a dialogue with God.

      This cannot be considered unbearable, as dialogue or being with the person one loves would never be regarded as unbearable. And all of us people are those who are loved, God's favorites, as he himself has said. In the Bible it is revealed to us that his delight is to be with the children of men.

      If we take part in that dialogue, we will be women and men who participate in that happiness, in that satisfaction that God has in each one of us. How can one speak with God? With simplicity, naturalness, as one speaks with a friend, with a brother.

      St. Josemaría Escrivá counseled us to speak to God about our life, because to pray is to speak about our soul, about our small and great struggles; and he receives us, listens to us as the most concerned Father, with great affection and with the desire to help us in all that we need, although at times -- as all good fathers -- he allows a trial or contradiction to continue, precisely so that we will mature and count more on the help of his grace.

      Q: The Holy Father granted all participants in World Youth Day a plenary indulgence. What role do indulgences play in the life of the Church? What relationship do they have to the sacrament of penance?

      Bishop Echevarría: Indulgences play a vital role, because they are the application to the soul of the infinite merits of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

      They make us participate in that glorious life to which we are all called; therefore, indulgences make it easier for us to approach God, forgiving us the remaining punishment merited for sins already forgiven and so making us able to go forward with greater docility and ease to receive the grace in the sacrament of confession.

      In this sacrament, where Christ forgives mortal sins completely, because another means -- with the exception of extraordinary circumstances -- does not exist, although the Church teaches that a perfect contrition remits sins, including mortal sins.

      However, who can be certain that his contrition is perfect? Man needs the certainty of the forgiveness of that God who listens to us, who cares for us, and who also takes away the sadness of failure, precisely in the sacrament of confession.

      Q: What message does St. Josemaría give to the young people of the world who have been in Cologne these days?

      Bishop Echevarría: I would summarize St. Josemaría's message in a few words, which he wrote when he was a very young priest. […] He said: "Don't forget that many great things depend on your and my behaving as God wills."
      Many great things depend on the good behavior of those who have been in Cologne these days, that youth which surrounds us: for their souls and for the souls they relate to, and also for their countries and for the souls of the whole world.

      * * *


      CHAPTER FOUR: The Outer Renunciation (pages 14-16)

      The road to sanctity demands some change in one's lifestyle. The most rigorous is interior change. Change is necessary to avoid distraction.

      Dom Hubert van Zeller gives us the keys to understanding how to discern, that is, how to evaluate and judge if a thing is good and God's will. The criteria are very simple and are three. "First, is the thing a good in itself -- is it of God? Second, is it the kind of thing which is good for me -- is it what God is offering to me personally? Third, can I, with God's help, follow the thing through to the end? If the answer is 'Yes' to each question, then the sooner he goes about it the better. He has found, or has begun to find, his vocation." (page 15)

      This is not confined to vocation in the strict sense but any endeavor or undertaking that requires serious reflection and deliberation because it is a serious decision that may have life-long consequences. "The present purpose is to find principles which may guide the soul towards union with God. And the first of these is that a man should not leave himself a peep-hole through which to look back." (ibid.)

      The critical thing to keep in mind is keeping your attention focused on Christ. Everything else is a distraction. The worst sort of distractions are looking back to former ways we were and the lifestyles that came with them. We are to look straight ahead looking at the face of God. We keep this focus on Christ with ease since He is all we think about, He is all we care about, He is all we want.

      We must learn to develop a deaf ear to worldly wisdom that teaches us to keep safety nets an unburned bridges so we can go back to our former lifestyle. "The world plays for a certain kind of safety. It does not play for faith." (page 16)

      Dom Hubert van Zeller, OSB, The Choice of God. (Springfield, Illinois:
      Templegate, reprint 1963) ISBN : 87243-047-2

      * * *


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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text
      <http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/082605.htm> (English)

      <http://www.alingilalyawmi.org> (Arabic)

      Biblica Online

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      Monks of Adoration:

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Our Father Movie

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      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Need a Miracle?

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


      The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather,
      collect, and publish information on Dolores Immacolata Gili (1892-
      1985) for an investigation into her cause as a Servant of God, as
      well as to promote her cause and toperpetuate her cult by directing
      prayer groups assembled in her honor. It has continuously enjoyed the
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      Reverend John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

      Call or write today regarding favors granted through the intercession
      of Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili, or, for more information about the
      cause of her investigation for canonization to:

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo, Director
      Mama Gili Guild
      P. O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032
      Phone (973) 412-1170
      Fax (973) 412-7011

      * * *


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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online

      * * *


      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
      I offer you the crucified Body of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus
      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
      I offer you the precious Blood of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus
      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      * * *


      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will
      increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio
      Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
      clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded
      street and you'll always be safe."

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