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Volume 3, Issue 237

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  • John N. Lupia
    ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS Volume 3, Issue 237 TUESDAY 16 December 2003 * * * WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL AND PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY FOR THE
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2003
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      ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS

      Volume 3, Issue 237

      TUESDAY 16 December 2003


      * * *

      WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL AND
      PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE WHOLE
      WORLD AND FOR CHURCH UNITY

      * * *

      INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
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      • John Paul II's Address to Bishops of Sudan
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      • Cultural Bias Has No Place in Church, Says Pope
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      • Liberation Theology, According to John Paul II
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      • Law of the Market Is Not Enough, Insists Pope
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      • Guadalupe Feast Prompts Papal Plea for Evangelization
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      • Papal Household Preacher's 2nd Meditation for Advent 2003 (Part 1)
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      • Ethiopian Cardinal Paulos Tzadua Dies
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      • OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
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      • LECTIO DIVINA
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      • CATALOGUE OF LINKS
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      • EUCHARISTIC PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE SORROWFUL HEART OF MARY
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      • DAILY REMINDER
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      • ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS ARCHIVES
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      • COPYRIGHT NOTICES
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      * * *

      John Paul II's Address to Bishops of Sudan

      "Always Reflect the Attitude of Christ the Good Shepherd"

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address John Paul II delivered today to the bishops of the Sudanese episcopal conference on the occasion of their five-yearly visit, after meeting privately with them in separate audiences.


      Dear Brother Bishops,

      1. "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways" (2 Thessalonians 3:16). At this decisive moment for your country, as two decades of violent conflict and bloodshed seem poised to give way to reconciliation and pacification, I greet you, the members of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, with these words of the Apostle Paul, words of comfort and reassurance, words founded on the Word who is "the life and the light of men" (cf. John 1:4), Jesus Christ, our hope and our peace.

      These days of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum are privileged moments of grace during which we strengthen the bonds of fraternal communion and solidarity which unite us in the task of bearing witness to the Good News of salvation. As we reflect together on this mission received from the Lord and on its particular implications for you and your local communities, I wish to call to mind the figures of two intrepid witnesses to the faith, two holy individuals whose lives are intimately connected with your land: Saint Josephine Bakhita and Saint Daniel Comboni. I am convinced that the example of steadfast commitment and of Christian charity given by these two devoted servants of the Lord can shed much light on the present realities facing the Church in your country.

      2. From her earliest years Saint Josephine Bakhita knew the cruelty and brutality with which man can treat his fellow man. Abducted and sold into slavery as a young child, she was all too familiar with the suffering and victimization that still afflicts countless men and women in her homeland and throughout Africa and the world. Her life inspires the firm resolve to work effectively to free people from oppression and violence, ensuring that their human dignity is respected in the full exercise of their rights. It is this same resolve that must guide the Church in the Sudan today as the nation makes the transition from hostility and conflict to peace and concord. Saint Bakhita is a shining advocate of authentic emancipation. Her life clearly shows that tribalism and forms of discrimination based on ethnic origin, language and culture do not belong in a civilized society and have absolutely no place in the community of believers.

      The Church in your country is acutely aware of the hardships and pain that afflict those fleeing war and violence -- especially women and children -- and she mobilizes not only her own resources in helping to meet their needs but also draws on the generosity of outside volunteers and benefactors. Particularly noteworthy in this regard is the work of Sudanaid, the national relief agency overseen by the Aid and Development Department of your Bishops' Conference, which rightly enjoys widespread esteem for the various charitable projects in which it is engaged. Brothers, I would suggest that a solid basis for seeking Church representation in the process of normalization currently under way can be found precisely in the much-needed assistance that she lends to the many refugees and displaced persons who have been forced from their homes and family lands.

      Moreover, the many contributions that the Church makes to your country's social and cultural life can help you to establish closer and more positive relationships with national institutions. A tentative opening on the part of civil leadership can already be seen in the presence of Christians in the current government, and in the reactivation of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue. You should do all that you can to encourage this, even as you insist that religious pluralism, as guaranteed by the Sudanese Constitution, should be respected.

      An important corollary in this regard is your duty to address significant issues that touch upon the country's social, economic, political and cultural life (cf. "Ecclesia in Africa," No. 110). As you know so well, it belongs to the Church to speak out unambiguously on behalf of those who have no voice and to be a leaven of peace and solidarity, particularly where these ideals are most fragile and threatened. As Bishops, your words and actions are never to be the expression of individual political preferences but must always reflect the attitude of Christ the Good Shepherd.

      3. With this image of the Good Shepherd in mind, I turn now to the figure of Saint Daniel Comboni, who, as a missionary priest and Bishop, worked tirelessly to make Christ known and welcomed in Central Africa, including the Sudan. Saint Daniel was keenly concerned that Africans should have a key role in evangelizing the continent, and he was inspired to draft a missionary blueprint for the region -- a "plan for the rebirth of Africa" -- that enlisted the help of native peoples themselves. In the course of his missionary activity, he did not let the great suffering and many hardships that he endured -- privation, exhaustion, illness, mistrust -- divert him from the task of preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

      Bishop Comboni was moreover a strong advocate of inculturating the faith. He took great pains to familiarize himself with the cultures and languages of the local peoples he served. In this way, he was able to present the Gospel in a manner and according to the customs that his listeners readily understood. In a very real way, his life is an example for us today, clearly demonstrating that "the evangelization of culture and the inculturation of the Gospel are an integral part of the new evangelization and thus a specific concern of the episcopal office" ("Pastores Gregis," No. 30).

      Brothers, it is this same apostolic fervor, missionary zeal and deep concern for the salvation of souls that must be a hallmark of your own ministry as Bishops. Make it your first and foremost duty to care for the flock entrusted to you, looking after its spiritual and physical well-being, spending time with the faithful, in particular with your priests and the religious in your Dioceses. The pastoral ministry of the Bishop, in fact, "finds expression in his 'being for' the other members of the faithful while not detracting from his 'being with' them" ("Pastores Gregis," No. 10).

      In all this, yours must be an invitation, gentle yet insistent, to conversion, the conversion of hearts and minds. Faith grows to maturity as Christ's disciples are educated and formed in a thorough and systematic knowledge of his person and message (cf. "Catechesi Tradendae," No. 19). Thus, the continuing formation of the laity is a priority in your mission as preachers and teachers. Spiritual and doctrinal formation should aim at helping the lay faithful to carry out their prophetic role in a society which does not always recognize or accept the truth and values of the Gospel. This is especially the case for your catechists: these dedicated servants of the Word require proper formation, both spiritual and intellectual, as well as moral and material support (cf. "Ecclesia in Africa," No. 91).

      It would also prove helpful if a simple catechism in the language of the people were prepared and made available. Similarly, suitable texts in local languages could be prepared and distributed as a means of presenting Jesus to those who are unfamiliar with the Christian message and as a tool for interreligious dialogue. This could be especially helpful in those areas exempt from Shari'ah law, particularly in the Federal Capital of Khartoum. Here too I would like to encourage you to rekindle your efforts to establish a Catholic University in Khartoum. Such an institution would allow the priceless contribution that the Church makes in elementary and secondary education to be brought to bear also in the area of higher education. A Catholic University would also be of great assistance in helping you to fulfill your duty of seeing that properly trained teachers are available to impart Christian instruction in the public schools.

      4. Turning to those who assist you most closely in your pastoral ministry, I urge you always to cherish your priests with a special love and to regard them as precious co-workers and friends (cf. "Christus Dominus," No. 16). Their formation must be such that they are ready to put aside all earthly ambition in order to act in the person of Christ. They are called to be detached from material things and to devote themselves to the service of others through the complete gift of self in celibacy. Scandalous behavior must at all times be investigated, confronted and corrected. With your friendship and fraternal support, as well as that of their brother priests, it will be easier for your clergy to be wholly devoted, in chastity and simplicity, to their ministry of service.

      Of course, the attitudes and dispositions of a true shepherd must be nurtured in the hearts of future priests long before their ordination. This is the purpose of the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation provided in the seminary. The guidelines contained in my postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Pastores Dabo Vobis" will prove invaluable for evaluating candidates and improving their training. At the same time, steps should be taken to ensure that proper priestly formation continues after ordination, especially during the early years of ministry.

      In the faith life of your communities Religious and Missionary Institutes continue to play a decisive role. While respecting the legitimate internal autonomy established for religious communities, the Bishop is to help them fulfill -- within the local Church -- their obligation to bear witness to the reality of God's love for his people. As Pastors of Christ's flock, you should urge careful discernment of the suitability of candidates to the religious life and help superiors to provide a solid spiritual and intellectual formation, both before and after profession.

      5. In the fulfillment of your many duties, you and your priests must always be attentive to the human and spiritual needs of your people. Time and resources should never be spent on diocesan or parochial structures or on development projects at the expense of people; nor should such structures or projects impede personal contact with those whom God has called us to serve. Equity and transparency must be the indispensable traits characterizing all financial matters, with every effort being made to see that contributions are truly used for the purposes intended. The Church's pastoral mission and the duty of her ministers "not to be served but to serve" (Matthew 20:28) must always be the overriding concern.

      The concepts of service and solidarity can also do much to foster greater ecumenical and interreligious cooperation. A specific initiative that could help to spur progress in this area is the establishment of an agency for coordinating the various programs aimed at lending assistance and humanitarian aid throughout the various regions of the country. Such coordination would undoubtedly serve to increase the effectiveness of these programs and could even prove helpful in making contacts for the issue of the government permits necessary for travel to certain areas. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Sudan could actively sponsor and promote such a coordinating agency. On the model of the understanding already present in Southern Sudan with members of the Anglican Communion, the agency would be open to representatives of other Christian denominations and other religions, including Islam, thus fostering a climate of mutual trust through joint cooperation in the areas of educational and humanitarian assistance.

      6. Dear Brother Bishops, my words to you today are meant to offer encouragement in the Lord. I am aware of your daily toils and of the great pain and suffering that your people still endure: I assure you and them once more of my prayers and solidarity. With all of you I beseech the God of peace to grant success to the process of dialogue and negotiation now under way, so that truth, justice and reconciliation may again reign in the Sudan. I commend you and your Dioceses to the loving care of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and to the heavenly intercession of Saints Josephine Bakhita and Daniel Comboni. During this season of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate our Savior's birth, may you and the priests, Religious and lay faithful of your local Churches be renewed in the hope that springs from the "glad tidings of great joy" proclaimed in Bethlehem. To all of you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.


      * * *

      Cultural Bias Has No Place in Church, Says Pope

      Sees Inculturation of Gospel as a Key Part of New Evangelization

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Cultural or ethnic discrimination has no room in the Church, John Paul II said categorically as talked of the need for inculturation of the faith.

      The Pope voiced this commitment of the Church when he received the Catholic bishops of Sudan, in Rome for their five-yearly visit. The Holy Father talked of the lessons bequeathed by two saints linked to Sudan: Josephine Bakhita and Daniel Comboni.

      "Tribalism and forms of discrimination based on ethnic origin, language and culture do not belong in a civilized society and have absolutely no place in the community of believers," the Pope said today.

      At age 7, Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) was sold and purchased five times by Arab traders. In 1882, an Italian consular agent purchased her and took her to Italy. There, she learned about Christianity and was baptized in 1890, entering later in the Institute of Canossian Daughters of Charity.

      "Her life inspires the firm resolve to work effectively to free people from oppression and violence, ensuring that their human dignity is respected in the full exercise of their rights," the Pope said.

      "It is this same resolve that must guide the Church in the Sudan today as the nation makes the transition from hostility and conflict to peace and concord," he said. "St. Bakhita is a shining advocate of authentic emancipation."

      The Holy Father presented Bishop Daniel Comboni as "a strong advocate of inculturating the faith."

      The Italian (1831-1881) was the first bishop of central Africa. Founder of the Comboni missionaries, his motto was "Save Africa through Africa."

      "St. Daniel was keenly concerned that Africans should have a key role in evangelizing the continent, and he was inspired to draft a missionary blueprint for the region -- a plan for the rebirth of Africa -- that enlisted the help of native peoples themselves," the Pontiff noted.

      "In a very real way," the Holy Father said, "his life is an example for us today, clearly demonstrating that the evangelization of culture and the inculturation of the Gospel are an integral part of the new evangelization and thus a specific concern of the episcopal office."




      * * *

      Liberation Theology, According to John Paul II

      Says Evangelization and Human Promotion "Intimately Connected"

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says genuine evangelization leads logically to human promotion, that is, to the "integral liberation of the person."

      The Pope addressed the principles of an authentic theology of liberation today when he met with Carlos Rafael Conrado Marion-Landais Castillo, the Dominican Republic's new ambassador to the Holy See.

      "Human promotion must be the logical consequence of evangelization, which tends to the integral liberation of the person," the Holy Father said in the address he prepared for the occasion, quoting words he spoke in Santo Domingo on Dec. 12, 1992, on the fifth centenary of the start of the evangelization of the Americas.

      "Over these five centuries the Church has accompanied the journey of the Dominican people, proclaiming the Christian principles to them, which are a source of solid hope and infuse renewed dynamism to society," the Pope explained.

      The "work of evangelization and human promotion" are actions "that are not opposed but are intimately connected," he noted.

      This explains the action of the Church in the Dominican Republic "in favor of the disabled, AIDS patients, ethnic minorities, emigrants and refugees," he said.

      Another "reason for joy is the presence of the Church in the educational field, through a pontifical university in Santiago -- with premises also in the capital city -- four Catholic universities, several technical Institutes and women's polytechnic institutes, and almost 300 educational centers and parochial schools," the Pope observed.

      "In addition, other institutions of the Catholic Church make a significant contribution to the common effort to foster a more just society, attentive to the needs of its weakest members," he said.

      In his address, the Holy Father encouraged the Caribbean nation's episcopate in the preparation of a plan for the pastoral program of evangelization on the occasion of the 500 years of existence of episcopal sees on the island.





      * * *

      Law of the Market Is Not Enough, Insists Pope

      Insists on a Need for Solidarity

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The law of the market and globalization does not guarantee justice, so there must be solidarity to give people precedence over profits, says John Paul II.

      The Pope made this point today when he received the letters of credence of Carlos Rafael Conrad Marion-Landaus Castillo, the new ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Holy See.

      "In today's world, it is not enough to limit oneself to the law of the market and its globalization," the Holy Father said. "Solidarity must be fomented, avoiding the evils that stem from capitalism, which put profit above the person and make [the latter] the victim of so many injustices."

      "A development model that does not take into account and address these inequalities cannot prosper in any way," he said.

      "Those who always suffer most in the crises are the poor. This is why they must be the special object of the vigilance and attention of the state," the Pope continued.

      "The struggle against poverty must not be reduced simply to improving their conditions of life, but to removing them from this situation creating sources of employment and adopting their cause as one's own," he added.

      To achieve this, the Pope stressed "the importance of education and formation as elements in the struggle against poverty, as well as respect for fundamental rights, which cannot be sacrificed for the sake of other objectives, as this would strike against the real dignity of the human being."

      In his address, the Pope responded implicitly to those who think that the Church should not speak out on economic or political issues.

      "Although in her service to society it is not the Church's role to propose solutions of a political or technical order, nevertheless she must and wants to point out the motivations and orientations that come from the Gospel to enlighten the search for answers and solutions," he said.

      "At the root of peoples' social, economic and political ills is usually the rejection or neglect of real ethical, spiritual and transcendental values," he added. "It is the mission of the Church to recall, defend and consolidate them."

      "In the solution of these problems, it must not be forgotten that the common good is the objective to attain, for which the Church, without claiming competencies that are foreign to her mission, lends her collaboration to the government and to society," he concluded.



      * * *


      Guadalupe Feast Prompts Papal Plea for Evangelization


      MEXICO CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In a message on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, John Paul II urged those gathered for a Mass at the Marian basilica here to continue their work in the new evangelization.

      Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, concelebrated a Mass on Friday at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with numerous bishops of the Americas and Europe.

      Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, apostolic nuncio in Mexico, read the papal message addressed to Cardinal Lozano Barragán. In it, the Pope said he was spiritually united to the pilgrims, "presenting to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary the joys and hopes, bliss and sorrows of all the American faithful."

      Cardinal Lozano Barragán and Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop primate of Mexico, greeted the pilgrims who came on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, trucks, cars and other means of transportation, to offer flowers in thanksgiving to the Patroness of the Americas, and to ask for her favors.

      The papal message also encouraged those present "to continue with renewed enthusiasm, faithfully united to their pastors, in the tasks of the new evangelization, announcing Christ, proclaiming the message of salvation, and coming close to the sources of grace through the sacramental and charitable life of the Church."




      * * *


      Papal Household Preacher's 2nd Meditation for Advent 2003 (Part 1)

      On Mother Teresa's "Dark Nights"

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is Part 1 of the second Advent meditation that Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa delivered at the Vatican last Friday, in the presence of the Pope and members of the Roman Curia.

      Father Raniero Cantalamessa
      Advent 2003 at the Papal Household
      Second Homily

      "Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow ..."

      One day, Francis of Assisi exclaimed: "Emperor Charles, Orlando and Oliver, all the paladins and brave warriors who were courageous in combats, pursuing the infidels to the death with much sweat and toil, gained a glorious and memorable victory over them, and in the end these holy martyrs fell in battle for the faith of Christ. But now there are many, who only by narrating their feats, want to receive honor and glory from men."[1]

      In one of his Admonitions, the saint explained what he wished to say with those words: "It is a great shame for us, servants of the Lord, that the saints acted with deeds and we, recounting and preaching the things that they did, want to receive honor and glory."[2] These words come to my mind as an austere sign at the moment I set about to give the second meditation on the holiness of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

      1. In the darkness of the night

      What happened after Mother Teresa said her "yes" to the divine inspiration that was calling her to leave everything to place herself at the service of the poorest of the poor? The world knew well all that happened around her -- the arrival of her first companions, the ecclesiastical approval, the vertiginous development of her charitable activities -- but until her death, no one knew what happened within her.

      It has been revealed by her personal diaries and her letters to her Spiritual Director, made public on the occasion of the process of beatification: "With the start of her new life at the service of the poor, an oppressive darkness came upon her."[3] A few brief passages suffice to give an idea of the density of the darkness in which she found herself:

      "There is so much contradiction in my soul, such deep longing for God, so deep that it is painful, a suffering continual -- yet not wanted by God, repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal .... Heaven means nothing to me, it looks like an empty Place"[4]

      It was not difficult to recognize immediately in this experience of Mother Teresa a classic case of that which scholars of mysticism, following St. John of the Cross, usually call the dark night of the spirit. Tauler gives an impressive description of this stage of the spiritual life:

      "Now we are abandoned in such a way that we no longer have any knowledge of God and we fall into such anguish so as not to know any more if we were ever on the right path, nor do we know if God does or does not exist, or if we are alive or dead. So that a very strange sorrow comes over us which makes us think that the whole world in its expanse oppresses us. We no longer have any experience or knowledge of God, and even all the rest seems repugnant to us, so that it seems that we are prisoners between two walls."[5]

      Everything leads one to think that this darkness was with Mother Teresa until her death,[6] with a brief parenthesis in 1958, during which she was able to write jubilantly: "Today my soul is filled with love, with joy untold, with an unbroken union of love."[7] If from a certain moment she no longer speaks about it, it is not because the night was finished, but rather because she got used to living with it. Not only did she accept it, but she recognizes the extraordinary grace it held for her.

      "I have begun to love my darkness for I believe now that it is a part, a very small part, of Jesus' darkness and pain on earth."[8]

      The most perfumed flower of Mother Teresa's night is her silence about it. She was afraid, in speaking about it, of attracting attention to herself. Even the people who were closest to her did not suspect anything, until the end, of this interior torment of Mother. By her order, the spiritual director had to destroy all her letters and if some have been saved it is because he, with her permission, had made a copy for the Archbishop and future Cardinal T. Picachy, which were found after his death. Fortunately for us, the archbishop refused to acquiesce to the request made also to him by Mother to destroy them.

      The most insidious danger for the soul in the dark night of the spirit is to realize that it is, precisely, the dark night, of that which great mystics have lived before her and therefore to be part of a circle of chosen souls. With the grace of God, Mother Teresa avoided this risk, hiding her torment from all under a constant smile.

      "The whole time smiling -- Sisters and people pass such remarks -- they think my faith, trust and love are filling my very being. ... Could they but know -- and how my cheerfulness is the cloak by which I cover the emptiness and misery."[9]

      A known desert Father says: "No matter how great your sufferings are, your victory over them is in silence."[10] Mother Teresa put this into practice in a heroic manner.

      2. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

      On the occasion of the canonization of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina some lay observers expressed the thought that the sanctity of the mystic Padre Pio seemed archaic, as opposed to Mother Teresa's, the saint of charity, which would be a modern holiness. Now we discover that Mother Teresa was also a mystic (that Padre Pio was also a saint of charity is sufficiently demonstrated by the work he realized for the "relief of suffering")!

      The error is to contrast these two lines of Christian holiness which, on the contrary, we often see wonderfully united, that is, in highest contemplation and most intense action. St. Catherine of Genoa, considered one of the summits of mysticism, was proclaimed by Pius XII patroness of hospitals in Italy, because of her work and that of her disciples in favor of the sick and incurable, which reminds us very much of that of Mother Teresa in our days.

      In a beautiful article, written on the occasion of the beatification, an Indian author described Mother Teresa as "a sister for Gandhi."[11] Undoubtedly many traits join the two great souls, the two Mahatmas of modern India, but it is even more correct, I believe, to see in Mother Teresa "a sister for Padre Pio." They are joined not only by the same veneration of the Church, but also a same cyclone of glory on the part of world public opinion. One distinguished herself in corporal works of mercy, the other in spiritual works of mercy. But it was proper to Mother Teresa to remind the world of today that the worst poverty is not the poverty of things but the poverty of God, of humanity and of love; in a word, the poverty of sin.

      The trait that brings these two saints closest is perhaps precisely the long dark night in which they lived their whole life. I will always remember the impression I had when reading, in the choir of San Giovanni Rotondo, the account displayed in a frame, in which Padre Pio described the fact of the stigmata to his spiritual father. He ended by making his own the words of the Psalm which says: "Lord, punish me no more in your anger; in your wrath do not chastise me!" (Psalm 38:2). He was convinced, and this conviction accompanied him throughout his life, that stigmata were not a sign of predilection or acceptance on the part of God but, on the contrary, of his refusal and just divine punishment for his sins. It was what opened my eyes to the mystical stature of this my brother, in whom until then, I was not much interested.

      To spread light, both these souls had to go through life in darkness, convinced, in addition, of "deceiving" people. St. Gregory the Great says that the mark of superior men is that "in the pain of their own tribulation, they do not neglect their usefulness to others; and while they endure with patience the adversities that strike them, they think of teaching others that which is necessary, similar in this to certain great doctors who, stricken themselves, forget their wounds to cure others."[12] This sign shines out in an eminent degree in the life of Mother Teresa and of Padre Pio.

      3. Not only purification

      But why this strange phenomenon of a night of the spirit that lasts practically the whole of life? Here there is something new in regard to that which teachers of the past have lived and explained, including St. John of the Cross. This dark night is not explained only with the traditional idea of passive purification, the so-called purgative way, which prepares for the illuminative and the unitive way. Mother Teresa was convinced that it was precisely this in her case; she thought that her "I" was especially hard to overcome, if God was so constrained to keep her such a long time in that state.

      But this was not true. The interminable night of some modern saints is the means of protection invented by God for today's saints who live and work constantly under the spotlight of the media. It is the asbestos suit for the one who must walk amid the flames; it is the insulating material that impedes the escape of the electric current, causing short circuits ...

      St. Paul said: "And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh" ([see] 2 Corinthians 12:7). The thorn in the flesh that was God's silence was revealed most effective for Mother Teresa: It preserved her from any intoxication, amid all the world's talk about her, even at the moment of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. "The interior pain that I feel," she said, "is so great that I don't feel anything from all the publicity and people's talking."

      This also joins Mother Teresa to Padre Pio. One day Padre Pio, looking out from the window on the crowd gathered in the square, asked in wonder from the brother who was next to him: "But why have all these come here?" and to the reply: "For you, Father," he left in haste sighing: "If they only knew ..."

      But there is an even more profound reason that explains why these nights are prolonged for a whole lifetime: the imitation of Christ, participation in the dark night of the spirit that Jesus had in Gethsemane and in which he died on Calvary, crying: My God, my God, why hast thou abandoned me?" In the apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte," precisely in regard to the "suffering face" of Christ, the Pope writes:

      "Faced with this mystery, we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the 'lived theology' of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the 'dark night.' Not infrequently the saints have undergone something akin to Jesus' experience on the Cross in the paradoxical blending of bliss and pain."[13]

      The letter mentions the experience of St. Catherine of Siena and of Teresa of the Child Jesus; now we know that the example of Mother Teresa could also be mentioned. She was able to see her trial ever more clearly as an answer to her desire to share the "Sitio" of Jesus on the cross:

      "If my pain and suffering, my darkness and separation give you a drop of consolation, my own Jesus, do with me as you wish. ... Imprint on my soul and life the suffering of your heart .... I want to satiate your thirst with every single drop of blood that you can find in me. ... Please do not take the trouble to return soon. I am ready to wait
      for you for all eternity."[14]

      It would be a serious error to think that the life of these persons was all gloom and suffering. "Novo Millennio Ineunte," we heard, speaks of a "paradoxical blending of bliss and pain." Deep down in their souls, these persons enjoy a peace and joy unknown by the rest of men, deriving from the certainty, stronger than doubt, of being in the will of God. St. Catherine of Genoa compares the suffering of souls in this state to that of purgatory and says that the latter "is so great, that it is only comparable to that of hell," but that there is in them a "very great contentment" that can only be compared to that of the saints in Paradise.[15]

      The joy and serenity that emanated from Mother Teresa's face was not a mask, but the reflection of profound union with God in which her soul lived. It was she who deceived herself about her story, not the people.

      [Tuesday: By the side of the atheists]

      * * *

      [1] "Leggenda Perugina," 72 (Fonti Francescane, No. 1626)

      [2] "Ammonizioni," VI (FF, No. 155).

      [3] Father Joseph Neuner, S.J., "On Mother Teresa's Charism," Review for Religious, September-October 2001, vol. 60, No. 5 [following abbreviation: JN] (The documents quoted in this homily were graciously put at my disposition by the General Postulation of the Cause of Mother Teresa.)

      [4] "There is so much contradiction in my soul, such deep longing for God, so deep that it is painful, a suffering continual -- yet not wanted by God, repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal. ... Heaven means nothing to me, it looks like an empty Place" (JN)

      [5] "Giovanni Taulero, Omelia" 40 (ed. G. Hofmann, Johannes Tauler, Predigten, Friburgo in Br. 1961, p. 305).

      [6] Cf. Father A. Huart, S.J., "Mother Teresa: Joy in the Night," Review for Religious, September-October 2001, vol. 60, No. 5 [following abbreviation: AH].

      [7] "Today my soul is filled with love, with joy untold, with an unbroken union of love" (JN).

      [8] "I have begun to love my darkness for I believe now that it is a part, a very small part, of Jesus' darkness and pain on earth" (JN).

      [9] "The whole time smiling -- Sisters and people pass such remarks -- they think my faith, trust, and love are filling my very being. ... Could they but know -- and how my cheerfulness is the cloak by which I cover the emptiness and misery" (AH).

      [10] "Apophtegmata Patrum," Poemen 37 (PG 65, 332).

      [11] G. Varangalakudy, "A sister for Gandhi," The Tablet, 11 October 2003, p. 12.

      [12] St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, I,3,40 (PL 75, 619).

      [13] NMI, 27

      [14] "If my pain and suffering, my darkness and separation give you a drop of consolation, my own Jesus, do with me as you wish. ... Imprint on my soul and life the suffering of your heart. ... I want to satiate your thirst with every single drop of blood that you can find in me. ... Please do not take the trouble to return soon. I am ready to wait for you for all eternity" (JN).

      [15] Cf. St. Catherine of Genoa, "Trattato del Purgatorio," 4 (ed. Cassiano Carpaneto da Langasco, "Sommersa nella fontana dell'amore. Santa Caterina Fieschi Adorno," vol. 2, "Le opere," p. 96; cf. also vol. 1. "La vita," pp. 49 s.




      * * *

      Ethiopian Cardinal Paulos Tzadua Dies

      Was Archbishop Emeritus of Addis Ababa

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a message of sympathy following the death of Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, archbishop emeritus of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, who died in the Vatican on Thursday. He was 82.

      Paulos Tzadua was born in the Eritrean town of Addifini on Aug. 25, 1921. After a short stay in Gaggiret, as a member of the student body of the Capuchin priests, he entered the seminary of Cheren.

      Ordained a priest in 1944, he carried out pastoral tasks in Eritrea and Ethiopia until he received a scholarship to study at the Catholic University of Milan, where he obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence.

      After his return to his country, he was elected secretary-general of the Eritrean episcopal conference, a post he held along with pastoral service to university students.

      In 1973 he was named auxiliary bishop of Addis Ababa. Two years later, he was elected president of the Ethiopian episcopal conference, a post he held until 1999. Pope Paul VI named him archbishop of Addis Ababa in 1977, and John Paul II made him a cardinal on May 25, 1984.

      In 1994 Cardinal Tzadua was delegate president of the special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of Africa.

      With his death, the Church now has 192 cardinals, including 132 electors under age 80 who could vote in a conclave.

      In his message of sympathy, John Paul II said he would offer "fervent prayers to God so that he will grant eternal rest to this faithful pastor."




      * * *

      OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

      VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Bernard
      Hombach Lutkermeier of Juigalpa, Nicaragua, as bishop of the diocese of Granada (area 7,453, population 540,112, Catholics 483,682, priests 54, religious 161), Nicaragua. He succeeds Bishop Leovigildo Lopez Fitoria, C.M. whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.


      * * *

      LECTIO DIVINA

      Chapter Eight (continued)

      The fifth section is entitled: "The Lives of the Saints". A branch of medieval historiography is hagiography dealing with the lives of saints. Its purpose is to edify by witnessing the heroic virtues of Christians who seized every opportunity to practice virtue.Metrical texts or those written in rhym were mainly intended for the legendarium, a collected volume of saints legends to be read during the divine office. "The saint, therefore, is considered above all as a model, a Christian personality who should be imitated." (200-201).

      The lives of saints were not usually biographies but merely the highlights of heroic virtues and deeds. This tradition of hagiography is an extension of that found in sacred scripture when accounts are given of holy men and women. When we read the lives of saints that are drawn from either scripture or later writings we can be inspired and taught through the Christian academy where the saint serves as our instructor on how to conduct ourselves in heroic imitation of Christ our perfect model and example in all things.

      Jean Leclercq, O.S.B., The Love of Learning and the Desire For God. A
      Study of Monastic Culture. (NY: Fordham University Press, 1961, 1974)
      ISBN 0-8232-0406-5

      * * *

      CATALOGUE OF LINKS

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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text
      <http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/121603.htm>

      Biblica Online
      <http://biblica.bsw.org>

      * * *

      4.DIVINE OFFICE TEXTS & AUDIO ONLINE:

      OFFICE OF READINGS, TEXTS
      <http://www.universalis.com/cgi-bin/display/600/USA/Readings.html>

      MORNING, EVENING & NIGHT PRAYERS, TEXTS:
      <http://www.liturgyhours.org>

      AUDIO RECORDINGS OF THE DIVINE OFFICE: recited by the
      Monks of Adoration:
      <http://www.monksofadoration.org/audiolit.html>

      * * *

      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans
      <http://www.rosaryhour.net/ra/program.ram>

      * * *

      6. CHANTED ROSARY ONLINE
      <http://www.monksofadoration.org/rosarych.html>

      DOWNLOAD FREE SCRIPTURAL ROSARY
      <http://www.virtualrosary.org/>

      Our Father Movie
      <http://www.dayspring.com/movies/webmovies/lordsprayer.html>

      * * *

      7. CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY ONLINE
      <http://www.markhargrave.com/chaplet.html>

      * * *

      8. THE BEATIFICATION OF MAMA GILI

      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers
      <http://holyfaceofjesus.com/dolores_immacolata.htm>

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/message/33>

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/message/37>

      Need a Miracle?
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/message/55>

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/message/117>

      MAMA GILI GUILD

      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
      ecclesiastical approval of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the Most
      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

      * * *

      9. ABBAYE SAINT-JOSEPH DE CLAIRVAL

      The Benedictine monks of Abbaye Saint-Joseph de Clairval mail a free
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      Sample Newsletter
      <http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~vlaisney/lettre.cgi?language==EN>

      Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval

      21150 FLAVIGNY-SUR-OZERAIN
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      Phone.: 03 80 96 22 31
      Fax: 03 80 96 25 29
      Email: <englishspoken@c...> or
      <stjoseph.flavigny@l...>

      <http://www.clairval.com>

      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online
      <http://www.ccel.org/k/kempis/imitation2/htm/i.htm>

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online
      <http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/kempis.html>

      * * *

      EUCHARISTIC PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE SORROWFUL HEART OF
      MARY

      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."

      * * *

      DAILY REMINDER

      "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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