Feast of Corpus Christi Michael Dubruiel

Eucharist means…”thanksgiving”

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:

  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond” Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.

Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

Friday Stations of the Cross

In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial.

Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O’Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season.

"michael Dubruiel"

St. Leo the Great – November 10

-Michael Dubruiel, 2005

I attended an early mass at St. Leo the Great’s tomb one morning while in Rome and as I read the office of readings for today by him, I thought how death makes this even more apparent.

St. Leo, pray for us!

From the Office of Readings:

Although the universal Church of God is constituted of distinct orders of

members, still, in spite of the many parts of its holy body, the Church subsists

as an integral whole, just as the Apostle says: We are all one in Christ. No

difference in office is so great that anyone can be separated, through

lowliness, from the head. In the unity of faith and baptism, therefore, our

community is undivided. There is a common dignity, as the apostle Peter says in

these words: And you are built up as living stones into spiritual houses, a holy

priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God through

Jesus Christ. And again: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy

nation, a people set apart. For all, regenerated in Christ, are made kings by

the sign of the cross; they are consecrated priests by the oil of the Holy

Spirit, so that beyond the special service of our ministry as priests, all

spiritual and mature Christians know that they are a royal race and are sharers

in the office of the priesthood. For what is more king-like than to find

yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And

what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer

him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one’s heart? Because, through

the grace of God, it is a deed accomplished universally on behalf of all, it is

altogether praiseworthy and in keeping with a religious attitude for you to

rejoice in this our day of consecration, to consider it a day when we are

especially honoured. For indeed one sacramental priesthood is celebrated

throughout the entire body of the Church. The oil which consecrates us has

richer effects in the higher grades, yet it is not sparingly given in the lower.

Sharing in this office, my dear brethren, we have solid ground for a common

rejoicing; yet there will be more genuine and excellent reason for joy if you do

not dwell on the thought of our unworthiness. It is more helpful and more

suitable to turn your thoughts to study the glory of the blessed apostle Peter.

We should celebrate this day above all in honour of him. He overflowed with

abundant riches from the very source of all graces, yet though he alone received

much, nothing was given over to him without his sharing it. The Word made flesh

lived among us, and in redeeming the whole human race, Christ gave himself

entirely

.-Michael Dubruiel

Feast of the North American Martyrs- November 19

From Michael Dubruiel, 2001

Today is the Feast of St. Isaac Jogues and North American Jesuit Martyrs. I spent one month of my life living at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY making a 30 day retreat in 1992. A month of silence and vivid dreams on the very land where Rene Groupil, John LaLande and Isaac Jogues were martyred. The dream I remember most was being chased by someone who had a hatchet in their hand. Read about St. Isaac Jogues and you can probably figure out where that came from. – Michael Dubruiel, originally published 10/19/01

Prayer of Petition

O God, who inflamed the hearts of your blessed Martyrs with an admirable zeal for the salvation of souls, grant me, I beseech you, my petions and all the requests recommended here today, (here name your request) so that the favours obtained through their intercession may make manifest before all the power and the glory of your name. Amen.

St. Jean de Brébeuf, pray for us.

St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.

St. Gabriel Lalemant, pray for us.

St. Antoine Daniel, pray for us.

St. Charles Garnier, pray for us.

St. Noël Chabanel, pray for us.

St. René Goupil, pray for us.

St. Jean de Lalande, pray for us.

Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.

In the U.S…. National Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs

In Canada…Martyrs’ Shrine

Confession During Lent

For a brief, pointed and helpful guide,

"Michael Dubruiel"

All of Michael Dubruiel’s books listed on Amazon.

The Power of the Cross free download and audio files.

The New Version of the Stations of the Cross link

73 Steps to Communion with God – 55

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous steps appear throughout the Archives, available to the left. This is the 55th step:

(55) Not to love much boisterous laughter.

Written in the context of rules for monastic living this one is easily understood by anyone who has ever visited a good monastery. There is an atmosphere of silence that permeates the monastic environment and loud boisterous laughter would destroy such an atmosphere.

The maxim is not to “love much” explosive laughter. Again there is no prohibition against humor here but rather there is a caution of making a show of it. If one has ever been around someone who regularly explodes with loud laughter there is something rather unsettling about it–making one wonder about the sanity of the individual displaying it.

Loudness of any sort displays an excessive ego, “look at me I’m laughing.” A good laugh is good for everyone, but the one who explodes in laughter is someone who is overdoing it. Parents often have to caution their children against this, it is even more embarrassing in an adult.

The obvious fault with this type of loudness is that it intrudes upon the space of those outside our immediate circle. The joy that we feel and those we are speaking to may share may not be shared by those who are loud laughter will inflict itself upon at a distance.

To not love explosive laughter can save us from much embarrassment and also preserve the decorum of respect of the people we live with.

There are those who will think that this injunction is not in keeping with the New Testament but read what the Letter of James says: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you,” (James 4:7-10).

The genius of the maxims of St. Benedict is that they embrace all of Scripture, while most of us choose to only exchange a handshake with the word of God.

Rediscover Christmas

Pope Benedict’s advice on the poor economy and Christmas, from Asia News Italy:

The difficulties of an economic crises that have hit so many families “can become an opportunity and a stimulus” to free Christmas from the “accumulations of consumerism” which reduce it to an occasion for the sole purpose of buying and exchanging gifts” and help us to “rediscover the warmth of solidarity, of friendship” the “warmth of Christmas”, the “message if Christ’s birth”.  The “rediscovery” of the true meaning of Christ’s birth, as “an opportunity to welcome as a personal gift the message of hope that irradiates from Christ’s birth” was the appeal that Benedict XVI launched today to five thousand people present at the general audience, during which Christmas hymns resounded throughout the Paul VI hall, courtesy of a group of “zampognari”, pipe players from Northern Italy.

 

For the Church the beginning of the Christmas novena is moment in which it “prepares to unite itself to the joyous chorus of the angels” that “on that night invited the shepherds to make their way to the stable”.  And Christmas, revealed the Pope “is a universal feast and even non believers perceive something extraordinary, something transcendent in this season, which speaks to the heart.  Christmas is a feast that speaks of the gift of life.  The birth of a child is always something that brings great joy, and the embrace of a newborn moves one to tenderness”.  “How can we not think of those many children born into poverty throughout the world – he added -to those newborns who are rejected and not welcomed, those who will not survive because of lack of care and attention, those families who yearn for the joy of a child and have yet to see this realised”.

 

On the memorial of Our Lord’s birth, continued Benedict XVI, “Christians so not celebrate the birth of a great man or the end of a season”, but “the pivotal moment in history: the incarnation of the Divine Word for the salvation of humanity”.  “The mystery of our salvation is renewed”.  St Paul comes back again and again to this truth in his letter to the Galatians, “God sent his son born of a woman”. Or in his letter to the Romans, “if we are children of God we are also heirs of God….,” but it is above all “St John who meditates on the mystery of the incarnation” and for this in the Christmas liturgy since the earliest of times his “Et Verbum caro factum est…”, the Word was made Flesh, is used.

 

It is “something so concrete and essential for the faith” a “historic event that Light becomes an essential and concrete part of faith” a “historical event that Light puts into a real context”, the first census.  On that “historic night” in Bethlehem, “a really great light was born”: “the creator of the universe became flesh, thus irrevocably uniting himself to humanity”.  “But is it possible? A God who becomes a child? We need to bow our heads and recognise the limits of our intelligence.  God became a child to defeat our superbia”. He could have demonstrated his power, “but he does not want our surrender”, “he wants to set us truly free, to love Him”. “God came to communicate the truth that saves directly to us” and “make us participants in his life”.

Therefore “May Christmas be a privileged opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of our existence”, and to renew it.  “Let us ready ourselves – he concluded – to receive this gift of joy, of light and of peace”, “to become people who do not think only of themselves, but who are open to the needs and expectations of others”. “Happy Christmas”.

Even So, Lord Jesus, Come!

Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on Saint Paul continues:

In his First Letter to the Thessalonians, said the Holy Father, “St. Paul speaks of the return of Jesus, an event known as the ‘parusia’ or advent”. The saint describes this vividly “using symbolic images that nonetheless transmit a simple and profound message: ‘In the end we will be with the Lord forever’. … Our future is ‘to be with the Lord'”.

Benedict XVI pointed out how in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle “changes perspective and speaks of the negative events that will precede the end. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived, he says, as if the Day of the Lord were truly imminent by some chronological calculation. … The continuation of the Pauline text makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will be preceded by apostasy and by the appearance of a person identified only as ‘the lawless one’, the ‘one destined for destruction’, whom tradition came to identify as the Antichrist”.

The Pope examined the fundamental attitudes a Christian must adopt in the face of the ultimate realities of death and the end of the world: “The first attitude”, he said, “must be the certainty that Jesus rose and that, with the Father, He remains with us forever. … Secondly, the certainty that Christ is with me; and since the future world has already begun in Christ, this gives us the certainty of hope. The future is not an area of darkness in which no-one can find their way. … Without Christ, the future is dark even today. … Christians know that the light of Christ is stronger and hence they experience a hope that is not vain, a hope that gives certainty and courage to face the future”.

The third attitude, the Pope went on, “is responsibility before Christ for the world and for our fellow man and, at the same time, the certainty of His mercy. … We have to work to ensure this world opens to Christ, that it is renewed. …We know that God is the true Judge, we are sure He is good, we know His face, the face of the risen Christ. … For this reason we can be sure of His goodness and live our lives courageously”.

At the end of his First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul “repeats a prayer of the early Christian communities of Palestine, putting it into the mouths of the Corinthians themselves: ‘Marana tha! Our Lord, come!’ … which is also how the Book of the Apocalypse ends. … Can we pray like this today? In our lives, in our world, it is difficult to pray sincerely for this world to perish, for the coming of the New Jerusalem, the Final Judgement, Christ the Judge. … Nonetheless, like the first Christian community we can say: Come Jesus! Of course we do not want the end of the world to come now. On the other hand, we do want the world of injustice to end, we do want the world to change, the civilisation of love to begin, a world of justice and peace to come, a world without violence and hunger. … But without the presence of Christ a truly just and renewed world will never come”.

“We can and must cry out urgently in the circumstances of our own time: Come, Lord! Come in Your way, in the ways that You know. Come where there is injustice and violence. Come into the refuge camps of Darfur and North Kivu, in so many parts of the world. Come where drugs dominate. Come also among the rich who have forgotten You and who live for themselves alone. Come where You are known. Come in Your way and renew today’s world. Come also into our hearts … that we too may become light of God, Your presence”.

Paul and Christ’s Resurection

From Asia News Italy:

Christianity “is not an easy path” but a “demanding climb” that “does not spare Christians from suffering,” as Saint Augustine said. It is however a life brightened by hope in which the cross is shared awaiting for the resurrection, an “event” that is crucial to the faith and central to Saint Paul’s Christology.
The “decisive character” of the Resurrection in Saint Paul was at the heart of the discussion Benedict XVI had today before almost 20,000 people in St Peter’s Square. Since the summer in this Pauline Year the Pope has devoted his general audience reflections to the Apostle.

“If Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching.” Indeed in the First Letter to the Corinthians Paul implied that without the Resurrection the cross would be a tragedy.” Paul “begins and arrives at the mystery of the One whom the Father has raised from death.” The basic event the Apostle refers to is that “Christ is raised and living amongst us.”

For Benedict XVI Paul showed “great respect” for the tradition which was referred to him. “Both I and they preach,” he writes, highlighting the “link between receiving and transmitting and the unity of all believers”.

“The originality of this Christology never comes at the expense of faithfulness to tradition [. . .] in which the faith of all the Churches is expressed, which are one Church.”

“Theologians and preachers do not create new visions of the world or of life but remain at the service [. . .] of the Resurrection” to “help us understand” the reality of the Resurrection.

“Paul is not concerned with presenting a comprehensive doctrinal exposition, but approaches the subject by responding to the concrete doubts and queries that were put to him by the faithful.”

He concentrated “on essentials: we have been ‘justified’—that its made just, saved—by Christ who died and rose for us. What emerges above all is the fact of the resurrection, without which Christian life would be simply absurd.” It is something “very real [. . .], something marked by specific signs recorded by numerous witnesses.”

Not only does Paul proclaim the resurrection but also the crucial fact that “we have been ‘justified’,” revealing the true reality of Jesus as Lord. Thus life for believers becomes sharing death and resurrection.

“True believers obtain salvation by professing with their mouths that Jesus is the Lord and believing with their hearts that God raised Him from the dead”.

It is not enough to have faith in the heart, we must bear witness to it. This way Christians “become part of the process” that “began with the resurrection of Christ, on which is founded the hope that we too may one day enter with Christ into our true homeland in heaven.”

Saint Paul’s Theology of the Cross

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'”.

The Centrality of Christ

In Saint Paul, from the Vatican Information Service:

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”.

Saint Paul on the Church

From Pope Benedict through Asia News Italy:

The Church is not an association but a community “called by God.” In order for it to truly be a “Church” as Saint Paul intended, i.e. a “place where God truly dwells” and as a “community structured around warm interpersonal relations founded on the family,” we must be “a place for God’s charity” where he is “present in this world and in our history.” In continuing his presentation on the life and ideas of Saint Paul, Benedict XVI spoke today about the Apostle to the Nations and the Church before a crowd of almost 30,000 people who had gathered in St Peter’s Square for the general audience.

The term Church, he said, “comes from the Greek ekklesia, and is taken from the Old Testament where it means the assembly of the People of Israel called by God. [. . . .] Now it is the new community of believers in Christ.”

The word refers to “assemblies of God that exist in given places, but also to unity, that of the Church as one entity,” which “is not just the sum of various local Churches, but is instead the various local Churches together as the Church of God, which comes before them as their fulfilment.”

Paul almost always spoke about the “Church of God,” by which he meant that “God had called it,” that the “unity of God creates the unity of the Church wherever it is;” the one and only Church of God, “bride of Christ.”

“Paul knew that not only do we not become Christians by coercion but also that in the internal configuration of the new community, the institutional component was inevitably tied to [. . .] the announcement made to all nations, uniting them as one people of God,” Benedict XVI said.

“We know that as a young man, Paul opposed the Church of Christ” because he saw threats to the “faith in one God” and to its “tradition” as defined by circumcision, cultic purity and observance of the Sabbath, something which Jews “paid in blood”.

Saint Paul realised however that “in meeting the Risen, Christians were not traitors. On the contrary, the God of Israel had come for every nation and every nation found its fulfilment in the one God,” in the “one People of God” and in the “Church of God in Christ.”

“At the heart of Saint Paul’s preaching stands the turning point of his life” and “the purpose of his evangelising work was to set up the community of the faithful in Christ.”

“We do not know why the community picked the word ekklesia,” but “continuity with the Old Testament is certainly crucial for it explicitly expresses a call ab extra, i.e. a call by God who unites individuals into a community.” Hence, from this “the exclusively Pauline concept of the Church as the ‘Body of Christ’ follows.”

Two aspects of this concept need elucidation for Benedict XVI. First, in the sociology of Ancient Rome, “the body was made up of parts and cannot exist without them.” Thus a “people is like a body made up of different parts, each with its own function, but all, even the most insignificant, are necessary for the whole to exist.”

In this sense, Paul “acknowledges that the ecclesial body has various parts as well as a structure that protects it from the dangers of disorder and disintegration.”

Yet he also said that “the Church is not just an organism but becomes the true Body of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, wherein everyone receives his body.” And “in receiving it we truly become His body, one body and one spirit in Christ.” For this reason “reality transcends any sociological image” for “not only are we one thing in Christ but we are also only one in Christ.”

“Knowing Jesus”

Pope Benedict continues his catechesis on Saint Paul, from Asia News Italy:

In “knowing” Jesus what matters are not the details of his life or viewing him as an event in history but rather following him as a “living reality” as Saint Paul did. “Jesus is alive, speaks for us and lives with us. This is the “true way” of knowing him as “our brother, who is with us, who shows us how to live and die.” This, according Saint Paul, is what “knowing” Jesus can teach us, the main topic of what Benedict XVI told the 25,000 people who had gathered in St Peter’s Square for today’s general audience.

In continuing his catecheses about the Apostle to the Nations, the Pope offered the faithful “what Saint Paul learnt about the earthly Jesus”, his life, teachings and passion.

For Saint Paul, said Benedict XVI, there are two ways of knowing Jesus or anyone else. In the Letter to the Corinthians, he wrote that “we regard no one according to the flesh . . . .” Indeed for Paul there are two ways of knowing people. One, “knowing according to the flesh, means knowing from the outside, applying external criteria—face, form, life experiences—without knowing the real inner self, who one is. [However], one can truly and in truth know someone else only with heart.” For whilst the “Sadducees and Pharisees met Jesus, heard his teachings, learnt about his life, they never knew him.”

“What do people say about me?” Jesus asked. “But who do you say that I am?” he asked the twelve disciples. Although people know him, they do not know who he is; instead the twelve do. [. . .] This is true even today. There are people who know Jesus in almost every detail but have never met him and then there are those who do not know every detail but have met him.”

As for Paul he “is certain not to have seen or met him on earth,” but did meet him through the apostles and the nascent Church.

In Paul’s Letters there are various explicit and direct references to knowing the pre-Easter Jesus, noted the Pope, his Davidic lineage, his words about the indissolubility of marriage, and the Last Supper. Paul knows about the Sermon on the Mountain and quotes some passages almost verbatim like the one about loving one another and one’s persecutors.

In referring to Paul’s “faithful transposition” the Pope mentioned the pre-Easter tradition use of the word father. On the Mount of Olives, “before falling asleep, the disciples heard Jesus call out to his Father, abba, a word familiarly used by children, but not by Jews when they addressed God. Here as a true son Jesus speaks to his Father.” In using this word Paul says that “the baptised can turn to the Father, speak like Jesus, because they have become sons through the Son.”

For Benedict XVI another “faithful reproduction” of Jesus’ words is found when it is said that “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve . . .” which in the Pauline doctrine sees “Jesus’ death as ransom, redemption and reconciliation.”

“We shall have an opportunity to talk about Jesus’ death as a mystery of reconciliation,” the Pope added.

In conclusion Paul “never thought about Jesus in historical terms, as someone from the past. He knew him and treated him as living reality; his words do not belong to the past, for Jesus is alive, speaks for us and lives with us.”

 

“This is the real way. This way we can learn to meet Jesus, not in the flesh, but as our brother who is with us, who shows us how to live.”

Pope Continues Teaching on Saint Paul

From Asia News Italy:

Christian freedom “never corresponds to licentiousness or the whim to do whatever one wants. It conforms to Christ, and so is authentic service to one’s brothers, especially the neediest.” This is the teaching that Saint Paul draws from the Council of Jerusalem which Benedict XVI proposed again to the 20,000 faithful in St Peter’s Square in today’s general audience, for as was the case between Peter and Paul, “only an open and sincere dialogue can lead onto the path of the Church.”
Back in the Vatican after his summer break in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope went on to talk about the Apostle of the Nations devoting his reflections to him in the last few Wednesday audiences. Today he focused on two episodes that show Paul’s respect for the Twelve Apostles, and his inner freedom.

The first episode is the so-called Council of Jerusalem which took place around 50 AD. “The assembly took place at a time of major tensions within the original community.” The debate was especially heated “over the issue of whether Pagans who joined the faith had to be circumcised or were instead exempt from the Law of Moses; closely related to this were dietary rules of purity and impurity and the Sabbath.”

Against those who saw justice in the respect of the law, Paul offered “his Gospel of freedom from the law after the encounter with the Risen Christ.”

As he wrote in the Letter to the Galatians “in the Gospel of freedom Christ is justice” for “he is fully expressed in serving his brothers.”

The Council of Jerusalem “expressed the action of the Holy Spirit,” which for Paul “is the decisive recognition that freedom is shared by all those who took part in it, which is the freedom Christ gave us” in order that “we not let the yoke the slavery be imposed upon us. [. . .] Paul had come to realise that the grace of Christ had released the Gentiles from the rules of the Law of Moses.”

The other episode the Pope mentioned was the “Cyrene incident” in Turkey, involving a dispute of whether “Jews and Pagans could eat at the same table.” This was “another crucial component of the Law of Moses that separated practicing Jews from Pagans over the issue of dietary purity and impurity.”

“Initially Peter shared the table with either group but when guests arrived James began avoiding the table of non-Jews and began telling Paul that ‘you who are Jews live with Pagans”. But for Paul “separation from Pagans is a reason to divide. [. . .] If justice is done in accordance with Christ what sense is there in these rules?”

For Peter what mattered was “not losing Jews who had joined Christianity, for Paul it was not belittling the salvific value of Christ’s death for all believers.”

The incident in Antioch taught “a lesson to both Peter and Paul,” which is “only an open and sincere dialogue can lead onto the Church’s path.”

“The kingdom of God is not about food, but about justice and peace,” said the Pope. “The lesson that we too must learn is to let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, trying to live in freedom, whose guidance becomes real in service.”

“Conforming more to Christ is essential so that we can be truly free. This way true certainty and the deep essence of the law can grow in us, which is the love of God and our fellow man.”

%d bloggers like this: