Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Spirit

God's relationship with Man can be traced in three ages based on how it is perceived: The Age of the Father since creation and His preparation of the Chosen People in the Old Testament to the coming of the Son, The Age of the Son since the incarnation of Christ to his Ascension, and the Age of the Holy Spirit from the time of Christ's sending of the Spirit at Pentecost to the end of the world. We live in the Age of the Holy Spirit. 
In his Sunday May 24 homily (titled "Ce confinement nous invite à un voyage intérieur ..." in French here), the Jesuit scholar Fr. Henri Boulad added that the Spirit of God, the Paraclete, is in the profound spirit of each person. We need the Spirit of God in these troubling times of the pandemic. 
Indeed Fr. George Montague, SM, wrote: [The earth was waste and void, darkness covered the abyss, and a mighty wind was blowing over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). . . .Why do we find this mention of the wind—or “spirit” of God (as the Hebrew word is also translated)— before God spoke his creating words? We have to look at the verb used to describe the spirit’s action. Some translations use the word “blowing,” others “moving”; but I believe that the best translation is “hovering.” The spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The only other place where this verb is used is in Deuteronomy 32:11, where it describes a mother bird beating her wings over her little ones, encouraging them to fly. Unlike the Babylonian myth of creation, in which the chaos is an enemy to be conquered, this formless mess is to be loved and fostered into being. One of the earliest Jewish commentaries on this text, dating from New Testament times, interpreted it this way: “A spirit of love before the Lord was blowing (hovering) over the face of the waters.” This holy wind is not a part of the chaos, it is God’s motherly love conveying the promise of life, order, and beauty to what was of itself a mess. Because God’s spirit was hovering over it, chaos became promise. And so we recognize the relevance of this image for our own lives. At times we feel like our lives are a mess. There is no light, and we are floating about like a cork lost at sea. We try to fight it, to no avail. We try to flee, but there is no exit. What do we do? We fall on our knees and ask the Holy Spirit to hover over our mess, to embrace it lovingly and prepare it for the light of God’s word. If any of our chaotic depths surface, we then turn them over to the Lord. As the powerful but wordless Spirit of God prepared for God’s cosmic word, the Holy Spirit in our wordless prayer lovingly prepares our chaos for the word that will give shape and meaning to what made no sense before. The Spirit will show us how “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).Fr. George Montague, a Marianist priest, is professor of biblical theology at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. This is adapted from his book, Holy Spirit, Make Your Home in Me. 
The Jesuit Pope Francis is one of the most remarkable Pontiffs in modern times. You may wish to watch his Mass on the birth centennial of Pope St. John Paul the Great here. His homily can be found here. The Mass was translated by Sister Bernadette (Mary) Reis who is a member of "The Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul" - She translates the on-line Masses and other activities of Pope Francis with a sweet voice of devotion. She was interviewed by EWTN on 25 March 2020 (here). Her portraits taken in interviews 5 years ago give us a window in her beautiful spirituality as she sees Christ in the weak and elderly persons that she assists (here and here). On May 30, Pope Francis will lead the major shrines around the world in praying the rosary to implore Mary’s intercession and protection amid the coronavirus pandemic. For May 31, The Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis has called all people to pray together to the Holy Spirit to renew the world and help all humanity to survive the pandemic...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Pope Francis: "I will not leave you orphans" (John 14:18)

When Jesus takes his leave of the disciples (John 14: 15-21), Jesus gives them tranquillity and peace, with a promise: "I will not leave you orphans" (v. 18). He defends them from that pain, from that painful sense of being orphans. Today in the world there is a great sense of being orphans: many have many things, but the Father is missing. And in the history of humanity this is repeated: when the Father is missing, something is lacking and there is always the desire to meet, to find the Father, even in ancient myths. Let us think of the myths of Oedipus, Telemachus and many others: always looking for the Father who is missing. 

Today we can say that we live in a society where the Father is missing, a sense of being orphans that touches belonging and fraternity. For this reason Jesus promises: "I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate" (v. 16). "I am leaving," Jesus says, "but another will come and teach you the way to the Father. He will remind you how to access the Father." The Holy Spirit does not come to make us his clients; he comes to show us the way to the Father, to remind us how to access the Father, which is what Jesus opened to us, what Jesus showed us. There is no spirituality only of the Son, only of the Holy Spirit: the centre is the Father. The Son is sent by the Father and returns to the Father. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father to remind us and teach us how to access the Father.

Only with this awareness of being children who are not orphans can we live in peace among ourselves. Always wars, both small wars or big wars, always have a dimension of being orphans: the Father who makes peace is missing. For this reason, Peter at the first community says "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you why you are Christians, for a reason for your hope"( 1Pt 3: 15-18), "but, do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear" (v. 16), that is the gentleness that the Holy Spirit gives. The Holy Spirit teaches us this meekness, this sweetness of the Father's children. The Holy Spirit does not teach us to insult. And one of the consequences of the sense of orphanage is insult, wars, because if there is no Father there are no brothers and sisters, fraternity is lost. Sweetness, respect, meekness are attitudes of belonging, of belonging to a family that is sure they have a Father.

"I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate"(John 14: 16) who will remind you how to access the Father, he will remind you that we have a Father who is the centre of everything, the origin of everything, the unity of everything, the salvation of everyone because he sent his Son to save us all. And now he sends the Holy Spirt to remind us: how to access  the Father and this fatherhood, this fraternal attitude of meekness, of sweetness, of peace.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to always, always remind us of this access to the Father, that He reminds us that we have a Father, and to this civilization, which has a great sense of being orphaned. may He grant them the grace to find the Father, the Father who gives meaning to all life and makes men and women a family.

Monday, May 18, 2020

On the birth centennial of St. John Paul II

Holy Mass by Pope Francis on the birth centennial of St. John Paul II (here). 

Homily of Pope Francis on the birth centennial of St. John Paul II (here).

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Joy of belonging to our Father in heaven

Today Sunday May 17, 2020, the Mass in the Roman Catholic Church brings to our memory a reading from the first Epistle of St. Peter (see it here) and a reading from the Gospel according to St. John (see it here). In his homily Pope Francis said: Our mission as Christians is to accomplish what St Peter exhorts in the Second Reading. We are to bear witness to the hope that we have when others ask us for an explanation. “Do it with gentleness and respect”, Peter directed, “keeping your conscience clear”. Gentleness and respect are ways of behaving characteristic of those who share a relationship with a common father, the Pope explained. “They are attitudes of belonging, belonging to one family who is certain of having a Father” who is at the centre, who is everyone’s origin, the source of all unity and salvation. And He sent the Holy Spirit to “remind us” of how to access the Father, to teach us these familial attitudes of gentleness, meekness and peace, the Pope said. At the conclusion of his homily the Pope prayed, “Let us ask the Holy Spirit to remind us always, always, how to access the Father, to remind us that we have a Father. And to this civilization that has a huge sense of being orphaned, may He grant the grace of finding the Father once again, the Father who provides everyone with a sense of meaning in life. May He make all men and women one family."

The Nicene Creed that is said every Sunday in Churches starts with an affirmation "I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible." It is clear that Christians believe that the cause without prior cause is God the Father. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Beauties that we do not see

While we are much worried about lives as the coronavirus pandemic claims victims, let us look beyond the narrow world to the Lord whose suffering and death could not contain him in the tomb; for he has risen and reigns in glory...
Friday's Mass by the Holy Father Pope Francis was incredibly full of reverence and great singing to the Lord. In his homily, Pope Francis commented on the conversation of Jesus with the disciples in the Gospel (John 14:1-6). The Pope's beautiful and sublime homily can be read here. In it he speaks about the Lord's closeness to us and his tender way of care...

Beautiful are Basilicas, Cathedrals, and shrines where God is glorified (see this video here). Most beautiful is St. Peter's Basilica in Rome (see this video here). Another beautiful and artistic creation is the Sistine Chapel (here) as well as great shrines such as this Church is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (see these videos here and here).

Beauties that we do not necessarily see are quite amazing. The story of the quantum cosmos was told very recently by Sean Michael Carroll, research professor at the venerable California Technical Institute. If interested see the story here and here - He also gave an earlier lecture here at Google. Professor Ulrich Walter explained how out of nowhere our universe emerged. His presentation can be found here in 2019. I had already written about the quantum universe here and here. In September 2019
One of the advanced technical topics appeared today in stating that Big Data is expected to change genetic testing (It can be read here). More info on genomics project can be found at the U.S. National Library of Medicine here. To Christians, there is nothing new about the article in since the Jesuit scholar Fr. Robert Spitzer had already shown that humans exhibit 4 qualities not found in artificial intelligence and Big Data (Read this article written by his senior consultant Maggie Ciskanik and published on March 3, 2020 here.)
I also received today a list of books written by the Jesuit scholar Fr. Henri Boulad - Contact me if you wish to have a look. 
If you pray the holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Friday is for praying the Sorrowful Mysteries which remind us of our Redeemer (here). Sufferings are not punishment but show how close God chose to be with us in our worst days...The Father awaited his Prodigal Son (see a lecture by Fr. Georges Farah here). Jesus Christ cares about each person...How beautiful is Jesus !!!

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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