Friday, July 13, 2018

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue to share excerpts from Gaudete et Exsultate

"Holiness is also parrhesia: it is boldness, an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. . . . Boldness, enthusiasm, the freedom to speak out, apostolic fervor, all these are included in the word parrhesia" (129).

"Blessed Paul VI, in referring to obstacles to evangelization, spoke of a lack of fervor (parrhesia) that is 'all the more serious because it comes from within.'  How often we are tempted to keep close to the shore!  Yet the Lord calls us to put out into the deep and let down our nets (cf. Lk 5:4)" (130).

"Let us acknowledge our weakness, but allow Jesus to lay hold of it and send us on mission.  We are weak, yet we hold a treasure that can enlarge us and make those who receive it better and happier.  Boldness and apostolic courage are an essential part of mission" (131).

"Parrhesia is a seal of the Spirit; it testifies to the authenticity of our preaching.  It is a joyful assurance that leads us to glory in the Gospel we proclaim" (132).

"We need the Spirit's prompting, lest we be paralyzed by fear and excessive caution, lest we grow used to keeping within safe bounds.  Let us remember that closed spaces grow musty and unhealthy" (133).

"Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven.  It can have many names: individualism, spiritualism, living in a little world, addiction, intransigence, the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia, pessimism, hiding behind rules and regulations.  We can resist leaving behind a familiar and easy way of doing things" (134).

"God is eternal newness. . . . Unafraid of the fringes, he himself became a fringe.  So if we dare to go to the fringes, we will find him there; indeed, he is already there.  Jesus is already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, in their troubles and in their profound desolation.  He is already there" (135).

"We need to open the door of our hearts to Jesus, who stands and knocks.  Sometimes I wonder, though, if perhaps Jesus is already inside us and knocking on the door for us to let him escape from our stale self-centeredness" (136).

"Let us allow the Lord to rouse us from our torpor, to free us from our inertia.  Let us rethink our usual way of doing things; let us open our eyes and ears, and above all our hearts, so as not to be complacent about things as they are, but unsettled by the living and effective word of the risen Lord" (137).

"The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity" (138).

"Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward.  Let us ask for the apostolic courage to share the Gospel with others and to stop trying to make our Christian life a museum of memories.  In every situation, may the Holy Spirit cause us to contemplate history in the light of the risen Jesus.  In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord's surprises" (139).

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Independence Day

As we celebrate Independence Day with gratitude for those who founded and have sustained the United States of America, we also remember the services being performed at our country's southern border.  As we noted in a recent post, Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, and everyone at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley are working tirelessly to serve refugee families.  Please continue to pray for everyone working at the border.  A link is provided here should you wish to donate to Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Stop Trafficking Newsletter: TIP Report

The July 2018 issue of Stop Trafficking is available here. Because the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) was released by the U.S. Department of State a few days ago, the Report is the focus of this issue of Stop Trafficking.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

"God on the Border"

You may recall Sister Norma Pimentel, of the Missionaries of Jesus, who was part of a "virtual audience" with Pope Francis presented by ABC News in September 2015.  Sister Norma is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and an advocate for immigrants and refugees.  Recently, she received the Laetare Medal at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony of the University of Notre Dame. 

In a June 29 Washington Post editorial, "God on the Border," columnist Karen Tumulty profiles Sister Norma's work with Catholic Charities' Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. (Click here to read the editorial.) The Center provides a place of dignity and hope for those who are attempting to find a safer life in the United States.  We pray for all those who work at the border, especially for Sister Norma and the staff of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Family Separation

The USCCB's Justice for Immigrants website provides a wealth of information about family separation at the US border -- What are the facts? What can we do to help?  What about legislation and the Executive Order?  Click here to access the site, which includes the following "Prayer for Immigrant Children":

Loving Father, 
in your infinite compassion,
we seek your divine protection for refugee children
who are so often alone and afraid.

Provide solace to those who have been witnesses to
violence and destruction,
who have lost parents, family, friends, home, and all they cherish
due to war or persecution.
Comfort them in their sorrow,
and bring help in their time of need.

Show mercy to unaccompanied migrant children, too, Lord.
Reunite them with their families and loved ones.
Guide those children who are strangers in a foreign land
to a place of peace and safety.
Comfort them in their sorrow,
and bring help in their time of need.

Show us how we might reach out to these precious and 
vulnerable children.
Open our hearts to migrant and refugee children in need,
so that we might see in them your own migrant Son.

Give us courage to stand up in their defense
against those who would do them harm.

For this we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

On the Call to Holiness in Today's World

We continue to share excerpts of Gaudete et Exsultate:
". . . Your personal mission is inseparable from the building of the kingdom. . . . You cannot grow in holiness without committing yourself, body and soul, to giving your best to this endeavor" (n. 25).

"Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world, and become a part of our path to holiness" (n. 26).

"There are times when we are tempted to relegate pastoral engagement or commitment in the world to second place, as if these were 'distractions' along the path to growth in holiness and interior peace.  We can forget that 'life does not have a mission, but is a mission'" (n. 27).

"Anything done out of anxiety, pride or the need to impress others will not lead to holiness" (n. 28).

"The presence of constantly new gadgets, the excitement of travel and an endless array of consumer goods at times leave no room for God's voice to be heard.  We are overwhelmed by words, by superficial pleasures and by an increasing din, filled not by joy but rather by the discontent of those whose lives have lost meaning.  How can we fail to realize the need to stop this rat race and to recover the personal space needed to carry on a heartfelt dialogue with God?  Finding that space may prove painful but it is always fruitful.  Sooner or later, we have to face our true selves and let the Lord enter.  This may not happen unless 'we see ourselves staring into the abyss of a frightful temptation, or have the dizzying sensation of standing on the precipice of utter despair, or find ourselves completely alone or abandoned'" (n. 29).

" . . . [We] tend to absolutize our free time, so that we can give ourselves over completely to the devices that provide us with entertainment or ephemeral pleasures.  As a result, we come to resent our mission, our commitment grows slack and our generous and ready spirit of service begins to flag. . . . We need a spirit of holiness capable of filling both our solitude and our service, our personal life and our evangelizing efforts, so that every moment can be an expression of self-sacrificing love in the Lord's eyes.  In this way, every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness" (n. 30-31).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

For your July calendar

Here are some dates you might want to remember in July:

  • July 4 - Independence Day
  • July 14 - Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
  • July 22 - Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
  • July 30 - World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
  • July 31 - Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola