Sunday, November 19, 2017

Invest in Love

According to the Catholic News Service, between 6,000 and 7,000 people attended today's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the World Day of the Poor.  Most of them are now living in Europe, but they are migrants and refugees from around the world.  In his homily during the Mass, Pope Francis stressed, "What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes."  The entire homily (available here) merits our reflection.  Here are a few excerpts:

  • All too often, we have the idea that we haven't done anything wrong, so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just.  But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant [in today's Gospel] . . . But to do no wrong is not enough.  God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and plans.  It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments.
  • Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned.  Here is has a specific name: indifference.  It is when we say, "That doesn't regard me; it's not my business; it's society's problem." It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it.  God will not ask if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.
  • Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives.  It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbor.  Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away.  What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. . . . This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven.  Where heaven is concerned, what matters most is not what we have, but what we give.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

5 Ways to Observe the World Day of the Poor

Catholic Relief Services has prepared resources for the World Day of the Poor (available here).  These resources include "5 Ways to Observe the World Day of the Poor."  Each of these is explained more fully within the resource (available through the link above):

1.  Pray for the poor.
2.  Practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.
3.  Make caring for the poor part of your routine.
4.  Learn about the causes of poverty and work to change them.
5.  Support the church's outreach to the poor.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Prayer for World Day of the Poor

Catholic Relief Services has provided this prayer for Sunday's World Day of the Poor:

God of Abraham,
On my television,
On my newsfeed,
On my street,
Everywhere I go,
I see Lazarus.

But I also see so many doors,
Doors that I've built,
That I've closed.
Doors that society has hung and locked.
Doors that separate me from Lazarus.

Lord, teach me to open the door to Lazarus,
To the poor.
To know them as your children,
To lift them in their distress,
To work to help them find a fair share of your bounty. 

This World Day of the Poor,
Help us all turn to those outside the door --
To bless, heal, comfort;
And together, from this day forward, build a world
Where the poor are strangers to none,
And, indeed, the very chains of poverty are broken.
Amen

Thursday, November 16, 2017

World Day of the Poor

This Sunday, November 19, the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, has been designated by Pope Francis as the first World Day of the Poor.  In his letter for this commemoration (available here), the Holy Father wrote:  "I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.  They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father.  This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter.  At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.  God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded."

Resources for the World Day of the Poor (including prayers, homily helps and intercessions) are available through Catholic Relief Services.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prayer Request for Kidnapped Sisters

Although more specific details do not seem to be available currently, this blog post includes a prayer request for religious Sisters who were kidnapped in Nigeria on Sunday.  Let us pray for them and for their community, the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The World Will Be Saved by Beauty

Perhaps the 120th anniversary of Dorothy Day's birth (November 8) is a good time to mention her granddaughter's new book, Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty (Scribner, 2017).   In this 356-page book, Kate Hennessy, daughter of Dorothy's daughter, Tamar, has written an intimate portrait of her grandmother.  A review is available (here) from America Media.  A discussion guide and an opportunity to join this book's Facebook discussion group (also through America Media) are available here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Final Excerpt: Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we have been posting excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC. This is the last excerpt we will post.  We hope that you have become informed and edified by reading these portions of our history and the you have been motivated to read the entire book.  Thank you for reading along!

"In retrospect, it is with wonder and gratitude that we remember the path that the Congregation has traveled since the death of its Founder, Pauline von Mallinckrodt, sometimes full of joy and trustful certainty, sometimes with hesitation and uncertain steps, but always with trust in God's guidance.  For the individual Sister, this looking back also includes a part of her own personal memories along the way that she has traveled with the Congregation, as well as hope and trust in the awareness that all live from the same source.  For the many who in any way have or have had connections to the Community, the view expands and the whole can be seen from the perspective of the individual person and the specific place.  It becomes clear that, despite all the ups and downs, new life has been generated.

"Our history is the foundation upon which we stand today and minister, which permeates our life in the here and now; the history which we are "writing" with our lives in the present is, in turn, the foundation for future generations.  May it not be written just for the Archives!

"From remembrance, hope can grow that even in the present time of upheaval, the possibility is present to go on courageously 'in view of the promises' and to carry the founding spirit into the future.

"'That is our life: To have faith and to be on our way.'"