In today’s general audience, held in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of 20,000 faithful, the Pope spoke of St. Paul’s theology of the Cross.
The Holy Father recalled how the Apostle of the Gentiles, following his experience on the road to Damascus, changed his life completely. Paul remained deeply marked by “the central significance of the Cross: he understood that Jesus died and rose for everyone. The Cross, then, demonstrated the gratuitous and merciful love of God”, he said.
“For St. Paul the Cross had a fundamental primacy in the history of humanity. It is the focal point of his theology because ‘Cross’ means salvation as grace for all creatures. The theme of the Cross became an essential and principal element of the Apostle’s preaching”.
Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how “the ‘stumbling block’ and ‘foolishness’ of the Cross”, of which St. Paul, speaks are to be found “in the fact that where there seemed to be only failure, suffering and defeat, there, in reality, is all the power of God’s limitless Love”.
“If for the Jews the reason for rejecting the Cross was in the Revelation, in other words in the God of the Fathers, for the Greeks – that is, the pagans – the criterion for opposing the Cross lay in reason. For them, in fact, the Cross was death, foolishness. … It was clearly inconceivable to imagine that a God could end up on a Cross! And we see how this Greek logic has also become the common logic of our own time”.
“Why”, the Pope asked, “did St. Paul make the word Cross such a fundamental part of his preaching? The answer”, he said, “is not difficult: the Cross reveals ‘the power of God’ which is different from human power; it reveals, in fact, His love”.
For the Apostle “the crucified Christ is wisdom because He truly shows Who God is: the power of love which goes even unto the Cross to save man. God uses means and instruments that to human beings seem to be mere weakness. The crucified Christ reveals, on the one hand, the weakness of man and, on the other, the true power of God, in other words the gratuitousness of love; and precisely this complete gratuitousness of love is true wisdom”.
The Holy Father explained how St. Paul, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, makes “two fundamental affirmations: the one, that Christ, Whom God made to be sin for our sake, died for everyone; and the other, that God reconciled us to Him not counting our trespasses against us. It is from this ‘ministry of reconciliation’ that all slaves are ransomed”.
“St. Paul renounced his own life and committed himself totally to the ministry of reconciliation, of the Cross which is salvation for us all. This is something we must also do. We can find our strength in the humility of love and our wisdom in the weakness to renounce, thus to enter into the strength of God. … We have to mould our lives on this true wisdom, not living for ourselves, but living in faith in the God of Whom we can all say: ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me’”.
From the Archdiocese of New York by Cardinal Egan:
The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.
Have you any doubt that it is a human being?
If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?
If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?
If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.
But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a “human being” is, what a “person” is, what it means to be “living,” and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us “Roe v. Wade” address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining “human being,” defining “person,” defining “living,” and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who “chooses” to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.
But what about the being that has been in its mother for only 15 weeks or only 10? Have you photographs of that too? Yes, I do. However, I hardly think it necessary to show them. For if we agree that the being in the photograph printed on this page is an innocent human being, you have no choice but to admit that it may not be legitimately killed even before 20 weeks unless you can indicate with scientific proof the point in the development of the being before which it was other than an innocent human being and, therefore, available to be legitimately killed. Nor have Aristotle, Aquinas or even the most brilliant embryologists of our era or any other era been able to do so. If there is a time when something less than a human being in a mother morphs into a human being, it is not a time that anyone has ever been able to identify, though many have made guesses. However, guesses are of no help. A man with a shotgun who decides to shoot a being that he believes may be a human being is properly hauled before a judge. And hopefully, the judge in question knows what a “human being” is and what the implications of someone’s wishing to kill it are. The word “incarceration” comes to mind.
However, we must not stop here. The matter becomes even clearer and simpler if you obtain from the National Geographic Society two extraordinary DVDs. One is entitled “In the Womb” and illustrates in color and in motion the development of one innocent human being within its mother. The other is entitled “In the Womb—Multiples” and in color and motion shows the development of two innocent human beings—twin boys—within their mother. If you have ever allowed yourself to wonder, for example, what “living” means, these two DVDs will be a great help. The one innocent human being squirms about, waves its arms, sucks its thumb, smiles broadly and even yawns; and the two innocent human beings do all of that and more: They fight each other. One gives his brother a kick, and the other responds with a sock to the jaw. If you can convince yourself that these beings are something other than living and innocent human beings, something, for example, such as “mere clusters of tissues,” you have a problem far more basic than merely not appreciating the wrongness of abortion. And that problem is—forgive me—self-deceit in a most extreme form.
Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs. Happily, there are few today who would hesitate to condemn in the roundest terms the self-deceit of Hitler, Stalin or even their subjects to the extent that the subjects could have done something to end the madness and protect living, innocent human beings.
It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets. Nor can we honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that “killing” and “choosing to kill” are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of “human being,” “person,” “living,” and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is “part” of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her “because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body.”
One please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the “Dred Scott Case” in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th. There is nothing at all complicated about the utter wrongness of abortion, and making it all seem complicated mitigates that wrongness not at all. On the contrary, it intensifies it.
Do me a favor. Look at the photograph again. Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of “legalized” abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.
From Mike Bianchi, in the Orlando Sentinel:
The Gators couldn’t have asked for a better tuneup and a more perfect homecoming game than they had Saturday. On Friday night, Gator Growl was headlined by Jon Reep, the 2007 winner of TV’s Last Comic Standing. On Saturday afternoon, the Gators turned Kentucky’s entire defense into a bunch of stand-up comedians.
All that consternation of UF’s offense from a few weeks ago seems downright silly now. Remember all the nonsensical criticism emanating from Gator Nation and beyond about what’s wrong with Florida’s offense? Such disparagement may go down in history with the movie critics back in the ’40s who initially panned It’s a Wonderful Life.
The fact is, the Gators are now more productive on offense than last year’s team that finished No. 1 in the SECand third nationally in scoring. Through seven games last year, the Gators averaged 40.4 points per game. Through seven games this year, they are averaging 42 points per game.
And it’s not like Florida is doing this against chump competition. The Gators have scored a combined 114 points in their last two SEC games against LSU and Kentucky. Say what you will about the overall strength of Kentucky’s team, but you cannot deny the strength of UK’s defense. The Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in the SEC and seventh nationally in points allowed.
The most points Kentucky had given up all season was 24. The Gators had 28 before the first quarter was even over. The 63 points Saturday were the most points the Gators have ever scored in an SEC game underUrban Meyer.
Tebow’s stats aren’t as gaudy as they were last year when he won the Heisman, but maybe they don’t have to be. If the Gators keep winning and stay in the thick of the national championship race, Tebow — the defending Heisman winner — will be a serious contender based on name and reputation alone.
Case in point: Former Ohio Staterunning back Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman winner in history. Griffin’s stats decreased significantly in the season he won his second Heisman. You want to take a guess on how many rushing touchdowns Griffin had in the year he repeated as the Heisman winner? Answer: Four.
Tebow has more than that now. He rushed for his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the season Saturday to tie Emmitt Smith for No. 1 on Florida’s all-time list. He also threw for two scores — a 61-yard catch-and-run to freshman flash Jeff Demps and a perfect 33-yard strike to Percy Harvin.
“We’re ready for Georgia,” Harvin declared. “We want to win the SEC and they’re in our way.”
When asked how hard he took last year’s loss to Georgia, Tebow just shook his head and replied bluntly: “Hard.”
The message to the Bulldogs was loud and clear: Hunker down because the Gators are looking to turn this week’s game in Jacksonville into the World’s Largest Outdoor Payback Party.
The synod recommends that the Ministry of Lector be opened to women. Read the Zenit piece below for an excellent overview of the issue, since I know many of you are thinking, “aren’t they already lectors?”
Among the 55 propositions presented to Benedict XVI at the conclusion of the synod of bishops on the Word of God, is the suggestion to open the formal ministry of lector to women.
The proposition is No. 17 on the list and it makes reference to indications from Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council regarding “instituted,” not “ordained” ministries.
A translation of the proposition reads: “The synod fathers recognize and encourage the service of laypeople in the transmission of the faith. Women, in particular, have in this regard an indispensable role, above all in the family and in catechesis. In fact, women know how to stir up the listening to the Word and the personal relationship with God, and to communicate the meaning of forgiveness and the Gospel capacity to share.
“It is suggested that the ministry of lector be opened also to women, so that in the Christian communities, their role as announcers of the Word is recognized.”
The proposition was approved, meaning at least two-thirds of the assembly voted in favor of it.
Canon 230 of the Code of Canon Law states that only qualified men may be “installed on a stable basis in the ministries of lector and acolyte.” The canon adds that “laypersons can fulfill the function of lector during liturgical actions by temporary deputation,” which is why women currently read at Masses all over the world.
The ministries of acolyte and lector are not ordained ministries, unlike the deaconate, the priesthood and the episcopacy.
In “Ministeria Quaedam” of 1972, Paul VI reformed what were known as “minor orders,” conserving only the ministries of lector and acolyte. Normally seminarians are officially instituted into these ministries in the process leading to their ordination.
Corn maze, hay maze, hay mountain, live bluegrass in the background, War of Unjust Aggression re-enactment, Native American dancing, cotton picking, hay ride, pumpkin harvesting and on and on…at the Ole Baker Farm in Alabama last Saturday. For more pictures go here.
Saint Paul’s definition of a Christian is a “being in Christ,” a term he uses 164 times in his letters. His point is clear, we who have been baptized have been grafted into the Body of Christ—the Church. The life we live is no longer our own, but “Christ” living in and through us, (See Galatians 2:20). Our Faith is centered on Jesus Christ, the “way, the truth and the life,” (John 14:6). The Church presents the teaching of Christ and we the members of His Body are called to both live and evangelize the world with the Good News of Our Lord.
Yet, sadly in our times, we often treat the Good News, the teaching of Christ as though it were one philosophy among many, rather than the saving truth of God. We tend to accept Christ’s teaching partially, accepting only what is not a personal challenge to ourselves.
Saint Paul in his letter to the Corinthians asked: “Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13), to a community fractured by division. The lack of unity that we often show in living and proclaiming the Gospel to those in our midst weakens our witness to the power of that same Gospel.
Is it not time for all of us to turn once again our gaze toward Christ, to seek his forgiveness when we fail to embrace the Gospel entirely and to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit to empower us in our weakness and ignorance? Is it not time to turn our gaze toward Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar to adore in him the Son of God who deigns to come to us and to feed us with His Body and Blood to unite us ever more intimately with Himself? Is it not time for us to turn our gaze toward Christ “wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence” (See Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II)?
How many times a day do we miss an encounter with Jesus today? How often do we pass Him by on the streets, nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons,—not realizing that we are passing by the Son of God? How often do we spend time with him, praying before his presence in the Blessed Sacrament?
We who are “in Christ” need to once again turn our gaze towards him in our midst. We cannot stand by idly as he suffers his passion anew in those who suffer hunger, those who are strangers in our land as immigrants or the unwanted child in its mother’s womb, those who suffer illness and disease, those imprisoned—whether guilty or not—every created person is precious in the sight of God and God through the Body of his Son—the Church, holds out the hope of salvation to all, without exception.
We who are “in Christ” are called to champion their cause, to bring the Gospel to them and to all, to proclaim the Good News “in season and out of season,” to “ convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching,” (2 Timothy 4:2). For as Saint Paul wrote to Timothy, “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths,” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Pope John Paul II pointed out in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae that “we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life’. We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life,” (Evangelium Vitae, #28). It is time for all of us who are “in Christ” to be unconditionally pro-life—to take a stand for Our Lord, to make our voices heard.
It is time for all Catholics to be of one mind and heart—the “mind of Christ” (See Philippians 2:5) and His Sacred Heart which beats with love for all of his children.
Some Seed Fell… is a column of the Office of the New Evangelization and Stewardship, by the director of the office, Michael Dubruiel
Pope Benedict closes the Synod of Bishops and now we all await his document on their discussions.From Zenit:
Benedict XVI says the priority for the Church today is above all to nourish itself with the Word of God, so as to bring forward the new evangelization.
The Pope said this today when he closed the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God.
He concelebrated the closing Mass with the synod fathers, expressing his desire that the conclusions of the synod “would be taken to every community,” so that “the need is understood to translate the word that has been heard into gestures of love, since only in this way is the proclamation of the Gospel made believable, despite human weaknesses.”
The Holy Father insisted various times on the importance of the link between hearing the Word and evangelization, as a fundamental point of the testimony of Christians around the world, especially with nonbelievers.
“Many people are seeking, perhaps without realizing it, to encounter Christ and his Gospel; many need to find in him the meaning of their lives,” the Pontiff said. “To give a clear and shared testimony of a life according to the Word of God, demonstrated by Jesus, is therefore an indispensable criteria for verifying the mission of the Church.
“It is necessary for the faithful to have wide access to sacred Scripture so that people, finding the truth, can grow in authentic love. This is an indispensable requisite today for evangelization.”
The Bishop of Rome also referred to the Gospel of the day on Christ’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. He affirmed that “the fullness of the Law, just as of divine Scriptures, is love.”
“One who thinks they’ve understood Scripture, or at least a part of them, without making the effort to build, through his intelligence, the double love for God and for neighbor, shows that in reality he is still far from having understood its profound sense,” he affirmed.
Florida-Georgia game back to being a meaningful game. Last year I was at the game, sitting in the Georgia section–one of the Georgia fans quipped to me “bad seats, huh”…to which I replied “Nah, I figure by half time we’ll have this whole section to ourselves”–thinking that Florida would blow out a team that had barely beat Vanderbilt the week before and had been blown out by Tennessee–they reminded me of my words in the fourth quarter when they were still there and loudly cheering their victory. From Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:
Why are Florida fans, players and coaches so mad at Georgia coach Mark Richt for telling his players to excessively celebrate after the Bulldogs scored their first touchdown in last year’s 42-30 victory over the Gators?
Florida’s players are clearly still upset about Georgia’s players swarming the field and getting an unsportsmanlinke conduct penalty following the Bulldogs’ first touchdown in the first quarter last year. Why else would they refuse to talk about it after the victory over Kentucky Saturday. And although Florida coach Urban Meyer says now that the situation is “old news”, he made his real feelings known in his recently released book — Urban’s Way — written with one of my sportswriting friends Buddy Martin.
“That wasn’t right,” Meyer said in the book. “It was a bad deal. It will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. We’ll handle it and it’s going to be a big deal.”
And this is exactly why Gator Nation should be grateful to Richt just like I am: Because he’s managed to make this game a big deal again.
Richt has since apologized for the move, but I don’t think he has anything to be sorry about. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: It was a brilliant coaching move that not only turned around Georgia’s season, but may have rejuvenated Richt’s entire coaching tenure at Georgia.
It also put some much-needed juice back into a once-raucous rivalry that had grown stale and mundane.
For that and that alone, I’d like to thank Mark Richt.
And so should Georgia AND Florida fans.
Craig Wilson reflects on happiness and the connection it has with having nothing, from USA Today, a few days ago:
We all know the story. Everyone tells it. Over and over again. How happy we all were when we had nothing.
Remember that first job that paid $100 a week? Before taxes. Remember driving that broken-down VW Bug, the one with the heater that never worked in January? Remember that first apartment, the third-floor walk-up with the bathtub in the living room, the tub you used as a giant ice bucket at parties? The daily diet of Kraft macaroni and cheese?
And not a cent in the bank. What we had was our paycheck that we cashed on Friday afternoons and spent on Saturday night.
We’ve never been happier since. And now it appears those happy days are here again. Sing along if you like.After years of being foolishly amused by $100 dinners, trips to Bora Bora, investment portfolios and cars that cost more than our parents’ first home, we now find ourselves back with nothing. Or close to nothing. At least with lots less. And that will bring us happiness. That’s the theory, at least. We can only hope this theory holds up.
As the stock market was taking us on a roller-coaster ride this month, I made the mistake of getting off and opening my 401(k) statement. I had made a vow that I wasn’t going to look at any of my financial statements until 2012. I’m not sure why I chose 2012. Maybe I thought it sounded stable. 2012. I also thought in four years things might have finally settled down. I know. Optimistic.
But the envelope sat on the kitchen counter just begging me to open it up. So I did. So many minus signs flew out I thought for sure the computer had made a terrible mistake. But I had made the terrible mistake. I silently put it back in the envelope.
I can’t really tell you how bad the bad news was. I just glanced, the way you glance at an accident as you drive by, hoping not to see anything too gruesome. What I saw was a head-on collision. Me and my future.
How happy I am that I took a vow not to buy anything this year. It appears to be a vow I will keep for a while longer. I may never buy anything again.
There was an article in the paper the other day that said there is a silver lining buried here somewhere. Maybe, but sometimes silver linings take an awfully long time to show up.
Until then I’m going to take the advice of those earnest talking heads on TV, the ones who tell me not to panic, not to do anything drastic, not to open up my 401(k) statement.
But if this financial turbulence keeps up, I’m going to be so happy I might just die laughing.
Maybe that’s what they mean by a silver lining.
The most accurate poll prior to the 2004 election continues to report a vastly different picture for the 2008 election, with a wealth of data–including the Catholic vote and McCain. From IBDeditorials:
McCain has cut into Obama’s lead for a second day and is now just 1.1 points behind. The spread was 3.7 Wednesday and 6.0 Tuesday. The Republican is making headway with middle- and working- class voters, and has surged 10 points in two days among those earning between $30,000 and $75,000. He has also gone from an 11-point deﬁcit to a 9-point lead among Catholics.
With a hat tip to Leonard Postero, who’s radio show “Leonard’s Losers” often gave me great joy, while riding on the back roads of North Florida, as a young man–here are my “gut” feeling losers for this weekend (I hope I’m wrong on a few of them:
The Lexington Felines vs. the Florida Swanp Lizards…loser…the Blue Kittens
The Orange Rifleman vs. the Tuscaloosa Pachyderms…loser…in a shocker–the Alabama Laundry Detergent with the roll of toilet paper hanging off of it.
The Georgia Red Clay Dogs vs. the Bayou Pussycats…loser…the the Athens Puppies
The Columbus Nuts vs. the Penn State Mountain Cats…loser…the Buc Nuts
Which hopefully will lead to a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours that’ll include the countless saints canonized by Pope John Paul II, from Catholic Culture:
During their November 10-13 meeting, US bishops will consider a new Psalter for liturgical use in the United States, according to a press release issued Monday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The new Psalter– the Revised Grail Psalter– has been prepared by the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey in Missouri. According to the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, now chaired by Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the Revised Grail Psalter has been prepared in accord with Liturgiam authenticam, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments’ 2001 document that called for more accurate liturgical translations.
Currently, two translations of the Psalms are approved for liturgical use in the United States. The Grail Psalter (1963) is used in the Liturgy of the Hours, while the translation of the Psalms in the original edition of the New American Bible (NAB, 1970) is used at Mass. Slight modifications were made to the 1970 NAB text in the lectionary following the publication of Liturgiam authenticam; for example, ‘Israelites; was rendered anew as ‘children of Israel.’
The 1970 text that Catholics in the United States hear at Mass is different from the one currently in print. The revised New American Bible (RNAB) contains a 1986 translation of the New Testament and a 1991 translation of the Psalms. In 1991, the US bishops’ conference submitted to Rome two new lectionaries for liturgical use, one based on the RNAB. Three years later, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rejected the proposed lectionaries because of problems with inclusive language. Revisions to the Grail Psalter using inclusive language were published in the 1980s and 1990s, but these revisions were not approved for liturgical use despite their adoption by some religious communities. Inasmuch as it is faithful to Liturgiam authenticam, the Revised Grail Psalter that the bishops will consider in November is altogether different from previous revisions of the Grail Psalter.
At a June meeting of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, Father Joseph Jensen, OSB, who was chairman of the NAB Psalter Revision Committee from 1988 to 1991 and has served as executive secretary of the Catholic Biblical Association since 1970, discussed the merits of the 1991 RNAB Psalms, while Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey discussed the merits of the Revised Grail Psalter. After hearing their presentations, the committee recommended the adoption of the Revised Grail Psalter rather than the RNAB.
At their November meeting, the US bishops will also reconsider a translation of Proper of Seasons that failed to garner the necessary two-thirds approval at their June meeting despite its prior approval by the bishops of England and Wales, Scotland, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Some American bishops at the June meeting had expressed concern that sacral words such as ‘gibbet,’ ‘wrought,’ and ‘ineffable’ were too far removed from common language.
In his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI proceeded with his series of catecheses on St. Paul, focusing on the Apostle of the Gentile’s teaching on “the central role of the Risen Christ in the mystery of salvation”. The audience, held in St. Peter’s Square, was attended by 17,000 people.
For Paul, the Pope explained, Christ “is the principle for understanding the world and discovering the path of history”. The Apostle of the Gentiles, said the Holy Father “was not concerned with narrating the individual episodes of Jesus’ life” because “his pastoral and theological intention, which sought to sustain the nascent communities, concentrated above all on announcing Jesus Christ as the ‘Lord’, living and present, now among His people”.
The essential characteristic of Pauline Christology, said Benedict XVI, apart from announcing the living Christ, is “announcing the central fact of … the death and resurrection of Jesus as the culmination of His earthly journey and as the root of the subsequent development of all Christian faith, of all the reality of the Church. For the Apostle, the Resurrection is not some isolated event, separate from His death: the Risen Christ is always same Christ Who before was crucified”.
“The Apostle contemplates in fascination the secret hidden in the Crucifixion-Resurrection and, through the suffering Christ experienced in His humanity, is led back to the eternal existence in which Christ is one with the Father”. However, to understand Paul’s thought on “pre-existence and … the incarnation of Christ” we need to know “certain Old Testament texts which highlight the role of Wisdom before the creation of the world, … such as those that speak of creative Wisdom”.
“These texts … also speak of the descent of Wisdom which pitched its tent among us” as a premonition of “the tent of flesh” mentioned by St John the Evangelist. “But this descent of Wisdom … implies the possibility of its being rejected”, and St. Paul makes it clear that “Christ, like Wisdom, can be rejected, above all by those who dominate this world, so that in God’s plan a paradoxical situation may be created in which … the Cross … is transformed into the way of salvation for all humankind”.
In his Letter to the Philippians Paul “further develops this idea of Wisdom which descends to be exalted despite its rejection. … The gesture of the Son of God is the opposite of pride, it is a gesture of humility which is the realisation of love, and love is divine. Hence Christ’s descent, the radical humility with which He contrasts human pride, truly is an expression of divine love, and it is followed by that elevation to heaven to which God draws us”.
In the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians, Christ is described as “firstborn”. This, the Pope explained, means that “the first among many children … came down to make us His brothers and sisters”.
Finally, in the Letter to the Ephesians the Apostle considers “the divine plan of salvation”, saying that “in Christ God wished to recapitulate all things. … Christ reassumes all things and guides us to God. Thus He involves us in a movement of descent and ascension, inviting us to share in His humility, in other words His love for others and, hence, His glorification”.
The devil less Rays are ready to reach sports immortality. Mike Bianchi’s take from the Orlando Sentinel:
Should the Rays win the Series, they will be the only truly authentic worst-to-first team in the history of American professional sports. They lost at least 90 games in their 10 previous years of existence, including a league-worst 66-96 record last year. Now they are four victories from going where no team has ever gone before.
“If you can’t appreciate this Rays story, you’re way behind the curve. This is magical. They’re living a dream. It’s an elusive thing. It’s like falling in love. You know when it’s happening, but you don’t know how and why it’s happening. It’s an amazing feeling.”
If anybody should know what “amazing” feels like, it’s the guy who spoke the above words to me Tuesday on the telephone from his home in New Orleans. His name is Ron Swoboda, whose diving, fully-horizontal, rally-killing catch in the World Series against the powerfulBaltimore Orioles became the iconic image of the “Amazing Mets.”
Those “Miracle Mets” are a team that captured the nation’s imagination back in 1969 — the same year man walked on the moon. Which seems only appropriate when comparing the two teams. If the ’69 Mets are Neil Armstrong, then the ’08 Rays areBuzz Aldrin. Even though the Rays are mathematically more amazing (they improved by 31 victories from the previous season compared to 27 for the Mets), the Mets are universally more appreciated.
Maybe it’s a New York thing. Maybe it’s because baseball was bigger back then. Or maybe it’s just a depressing sign of times.
We spend so much time in the media these days focusing on Pacman Jones’ latest altercation or Roger Clemens‘ latest fabrication or Jose Canseco‘s latest book or college football’s latest crook that we can’t even appreciate a history-making once-in-a-lifetime miracle season anymore.
If Madonna is not having an affair with one of the players or the franchise pitcher hasn’t been indicted by the grand jury, then can it really be a compelling story?
Have we really become this jaded and joyless?
I hope not.
I sure hope not.
“The Rays should be celebrated,” Swoboda says. “They’re one of the great stories in baseball history.”
With four more victories, they will rewrite history and be more than just a great baseball story.
They will become the greatest story ever told.