Saturday, October 13, 2012

Devotion for today: It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts

Today we will look at two more sections of the Pope’s letter announcing the Year of Faith.

Scripture for meditation: 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Scripture for reflection: Matthew 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

 7. Caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5:14): it is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (cf.Mt 28:19). Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith. In rediscovering his love day by day, the missionary commitment of believers attains force and vigour that can never fade away. Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples. Believers, so Saint Augustine tells us, “strengthen themselves by believing”. The saintly Bishop of Hippo had good reason to express himself in this way. As we know, his life was a continual search for the beauty of the faith until such time as his heart would find rest in God His extensive writings, in which he explains the importance of believing and the truth of the faith, continue even now to form a heritage of incomparable riches, and they still help many people in search of God to find the right path towards the “door of faith”. Only through believing, then, does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one’s life apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God.8. On this happy occasion, I wish to invite my brother bishops from all over the world to join the Successor of Peter, during this time of spiritual grace that the Lord offers us, in recalling the precious gift of faith. We want to celebrate this Year in a worthy and fruitful manner. Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel, especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing. We will have the opportunity to profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times. Religious communities as well as parish communities, and all ecclesial bodies old and new, are to find a way, during this Year, to make a public profession of the Credo.

My thoughts: Pope Benedict XVI is inviting us to become missionaries right where we are, in our daily lives, in our families, workplaces and neighborhoods. He states that we must go out into the highways of the world to “proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth”. How many people today feel compelled to adopt the stance of society, to tell themselves that although they believe the teachings of the Catholic Church, which reflect the teachings of Christ, they have no right to push these beliefs onto others?  So I have no right to tell anyone that anything is wrong unless society says it is wrong, not God? We must wake up to what is happening in the world.We find we are tongue-tied to explain why the Church is so counter-cultural, and that is why we need the Year of Faith. We must take the challenge placed before us by Pope Benedict XVI and learn our faith, and love our faith, so that “it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples.” This is a golden opportunity for us to find out who we really are and what we stand for, to stop taking the path of least resistance on issues such as abortion and to be bold and profess the truth, which is found in God alone. A good place to start is with the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”.  In it you will find the Church’s position on all issues. Another good read is “The Confessions of St. Augustine” to which Pope Benedict XVI referred. A third way to increase your faith is to just ask yourself, “What do I really stand for” because if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. Stand up, and be counted as a true believer, and find the love of Christ filling your heart.

Prayer of St. Ambrose:
Teach me, O Lord, to search for you. Show yourself to me when I search for you. If you do not teach me first, I cannot seek you. If you do not reveal yourself to me, I cannot find you. In longing, may I search for you, and in searching, long for you. In love may I find you, and in finding you, Love You. Amen.

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