Homily for the Feast of St. Andrew
Homily for the Feast of St. Andrew
He’s great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loved nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky. But above all he loved people, children, old people, women. He is the most shining example of that agape we talked about earlier.
Pope Francis’ description of his namesake, given in his recent interview with Eugenio Scalfari, is a popular one, both in style and content. In it is found the reason why the St. Francis-with-the-bird statue winds up in many a garden of those whose identity as Catholics is otherwise nominal. St. Francis had a love for nature. For some that will be the take home from the above statement of the Pope. But there is more in the Holy Father’s description. St. Francis was like Jesus. His life was poetry. He achieved a life of charity rarely found in mere mortals. Pope Francis is building, like his namesake. He is making something more significant of that statue in the garden. Thus, the pastoral method of Pope Francis in his interviews is personal, direct and spontaneous, but I believe we would be mistaken if we took them has haphazard. Continue reading
From the publication—authorized—of data from the questionnaire it becomes clear that there are serious internal problems in the Institute. It also becomes clear how pretentious is the campaign organized by those who have cried foul on account of the Vatican’s appointment of a Commissioner to the Institute and on account of the decision made at that time by the Pope to limit their faculty to celebrate the old Mass, submitting it to the authorization of the Superior, that is, of the Commissioner. This campaign culminated in public appeals to the friars encouraging them to disobey the directives of the Holy See, and in verbally violent attacks against the presumed small group of “traitors” within the Institute. Finally, one must not forget that the old Mass continues to be authorized in churches under the care of the Franciscans of the Immaculate where there are stable groups of faithful that desire to attend that form of the Mass, as per the provisions of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.
I have sat back a bit to observe the reaction to Pope Francis’s interview with Father Antonio Spadaro. So far, I have only mentioned it briefly in my last post where the Holy Father touched upon a topic I was already working on. I do not think anyone is surprised that pundits on the far left and right have interpreted the Holy Father’s remarks as expressing freewheeling liberalism. Neither is it surprising that those loyal to the Holy Father have dedicated most of their time to clarifying what the Holy Father actually said. Hopefully, now more time will be spent assimilating his words without fear of receiving or conveying the wrong message.
I think Pope Francis in the interview is perceived by many commentators the way he must be by the Vatican Police who are constantly challenged in their efforts to maintain a parameter of safety around this man who is of the people, and who finds it necessary to relate directly with them. The Vatican police must wonder if the Holy Father is aware of the danger, because he does not seem to show it. On the contrary, from his contact with the people as well as from his teaching and example, it seems that Pope Francis sees a greater danger in not taking such risks. Continue reading
Pope Francis has recently criticized the modern versions of Pelagianism and triumphalism in a way that has left some devout Catholics scratching their heads. The Holy Father seems to be taking aim at the more traditionally minded that are intent on bringing about a restoration of Catholic life, and they find it hard to understand why the Vicar of Christ would have a problem with, of all things, “traditional Catholicism.” So what exactly is Pope Francis trying to accomplish?
Faith and Future
I believe the Holy Father is attempting to underscore the supernatural character of faith in a time when everyone is affected by the deviations of modernity, including the very people who are reacting against these deviations. In his encyclical Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis says that faith is a supernatural gift that lights our way, “guiding us through time.” It comes from the past as a “foundational memory.” Yet, because faith proceeds from the Risen Christ it is also a light that comes from the future, “opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion” (4). Thus, Pope Francis calls faith memoria futuri, “remembrance of the future” (9). Coming from the past, faith is an unshakable memory of what God and done for us in Christ Jesus, and what He has revealed to us through His Son. Coming from the future, faith is bound up with hope in the promises God has made and guaranteed by the resurrection of His Son. Thus, in practice to keep the faith means never allowing ourselves to be robbed of hope. It means never being frozen in time because we are afraid of the future (57). Continue reading
“The decree of the Commissioner, dated 11 July, 2013 indicates the purpose of the measure taken which is: ‘the goal of preserving and promoting the internal unity of the Institute as well as the fraternal communion, adequate formation to religious and consecrated life, the organization of apostolic activities, and the correct management of temporal goods.’ Five brothers who in the past had occupied positions of high responsibility in the Institute, at the beginning of 2012 sought out dialogue with the Founder and his Council in order to express what in their view were irregularities, beginning with liturgical choices that did not however, exhaust the list of their concerns. Unsatisfied, they then approached the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Doctrine of the Faith. Those who manifest their conscience to an authority, which in this case is the Church headed by the Pope, by this very action itself, prove that they recognize this authority as such, and which therefore excludes any attitude of ‘rebellion’ on their part towards those in power. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life recognized extremes and therefore an apostolic visitation began in the second half of that year. Each friar in perpetual vows, as agreed by the General Council then in office, was provided with a questionnaire protected under the secret of one’s conscience.”
THE LIGHT OF FAITH: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Je- sus. In John’s Gospel, Christ says of himself: “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (Jn 12:46). Saint Paul uses the same image: “God who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts” (2 Cor 4:6). The pagan world, which hungered for light, had seen the growth of the cult of the sun god, Sol Invictus, invoked each day at sunrise. Yet though the sun was born anew each morning, it was clearly incapable of casting its light on all of human existence. The sun does not illumine all reality; its rays cannot penetrate to the shadow of death, the place where men’s eyes are closed to its light. “No one — Saint Justin Martyr writes — has ever been ready to die for his faith in the sun”. Conscious of the immense horizon which their faith opened before them, Christians invoked Jesus as the true sun “whose rays bestow life”. To Martha, weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus said: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40). Those who be- live, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets.
And this is the judgment: Because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest: because they are done in God.
Pope Francis has been shining a light on issues of conscience and preaching the faith in his daily homilies and applying the Word of God to the lives of his hearers. In a particular he continues to return to the them of docility to the Holy Spirit and discerning the way through the modern world, avoiding the extremes and staying on the path of reform and renewal. Continue reading
The liturgical difference between Francis and Benedict XVI has been one of the most noted contrasts between the new pope and his predecessor. Since the day he was elected, when he dispensed with the mozzetta at his first greeting of the faithful from the loggia of St. Peters, he has opted for plainer liturgical style for papal functions. His washing of the feet of girls, one of whom was a Muslim, on Holy Thursday, has been noted by some as the end of Pope Benedict’s reform of the reform. Likewise, his choice to celebrate in parishes within his own diocese according the liturgical customs of the place, rather than impose the standards of his Vatican celebrations, has been noted as an undoing of Pope Benedict’s efforts to restore lost traditions. But Benedictine Abbot Michael Zielinski, from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, sees the differences as complementary rather than contradictory.
I think it is worth noting here again that, both in the order of being and in the order of logic, two things or assertions that are different, or contrary, are not for that reason contradictory. That there might be a greater or lesser degree of solemnity, magnificence, or ritual purity, does not mean that the greater end of the spectrum is reverent and the lesser end irreverent. This is a distinction that seems to be lost on many who are inclined to be reactive against the differences, rather than responsive to the Vicar of Christ. Continue reading
H/T New Advent