New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Prayer of St. Germanus to Our Lady

Prayer of St. Germanus to Our Lady:

O you, who are, after God, my powerful protectress and my true consolation in this world, you who are the celestial dew that sweetens my pains; the light of my soul when plunged in darkness, my guide in my journeys, my strength in my weaknesses, my treasure in poverty, the remedy of my wounds, my joy in all my sorrows, my refuge in all dangers, the hope of my life and of my salvation, deign to hear my prayers, to take an interest in my woes, and to show me that compassion which peculiarly belongs to the Mother of a God Who entertains such love and goodness towards men.
He is their Father, and He has constituted you their Mother. Ah! place me then amongst the number of your dearest children, and obtain for me from God all the graces which you know to be necessary for the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

St. Jane Frances of Chantal - 12 August 2010

At the age of sixteen, Jane Frances de Fremyot, already a motherless child, was placed under the care of a worldly-minded governess. In this crisis she offered herself to the Mother of God, and secured Mary’s protection for life. When a Protestant sought her hand in marriage, she steadily refused to marry “an enemy of God and His Church.” Later, as the loving and beloved wife of the noble Baron de Chantal, she made her house the pattern of a Christian home. But God had marked her for something higher than domestic sanctity. Two children and a dearly beloved sister died, and then, in the full tide of their prosperity, her husband’s life was ended by an accident, through the innocent hand of a friend, when a small group went hunting in the forest.

For seven years the sorrows of her widowhood were increased by ill usage from servants and inferiors, and the cruel importunities of those who urged her to marry again. Harassed almost to despair by their entreaties, she branded on her heart the name of Jesus, and in the end left her beloved home and children, to live for God alone. It was on the 19th of March, 1609, that Madame de Chantal bade farewell to her family and relatives. Pale and with tears in her eyes, she passed around the large room, sweetly and humbly taking leave of each one. Her son, a boy of fifteen, used every entreaty, every endearment, to induce his mother not to leave them, and finally flung himself passionately across the doorsill of the room. In an agony of distress, she passed over the body of her son to the embrace of her aged and disconsolate father. The anguish of that parting reached its height when, kneeling at the feet of the venerable old man, she sought and obtained his last blessing, promising to repay his sacrifice in her new life by her prayers.

Well might Saint Francis de Sales call her “the valiant woman.” She founded under his direction and patronage the great Order of the Visitation. Sickness, opposition and want beset her, and the deaths of children, friends, and of Saint Francis himself followed, while eighty-seven houses of the Visitation rose under her hand. Nine long years of interior desolation completed the work of God’s grace in her soul. The Congregation of the Visitation, whose purpose was to admit widows and persons of fragile health, not accepted elsewhere, was canonically established at Annecy on Trinity Sunday of 1610. The Order counted thirteen houses already in 1622, when Saint Francis de Sales died; and when the Foundress died in her seventieth year, there were eighty-six. Saint Vincent de Paul saw her soul rise up, like a ball of fire, to heaven. At her canonization in 1767, the Sisters in 164 houses of the Visitation rejoiced.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feast of St Clare

Today is the feast of St. Clare.

Here are some images to contemplate of St Clare. and her spiritual daughters from around the world including my most favourite St. Clare nun Mother Angelica

Ok the last picture is a mix of all different types of nuns. Its up here cause it is a picture from India

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The mystery of the Church - Pope John Paul II

The mystery of the Church

There are people who mistakenly suppose that Christ can be separated from the Church, that one can devote one's entire life to Christ without reference to the Church. In so doing, they forget the truth proclaimed by St Paul in the words: 'A man never hates his own body, but he feeds and looks after it; and this is the way Christ treats the Church, because we are parts of his Body' (Ephesians 5:29-30).

As I stated in my recent Apostolic Letter on St Augustine: 'Since he is the only mediator and redeemer of mankind, Christ is the head of the Church; Christ and the Church are one sole mystic person, the total Christ' (Augustinum Hipponensem II, 3).

So, loving Christ means loving the Church. The Church exists for Christ, so as to continue his presence and witness in the world. Christ is the Spouse and Saviour of the Church. He is her Founder and her Head. The more we come to know and love the Church, the nearer we shall be to Christ. The Church is truly a mystery, a reality both human and divine, deserving to be studied and contemplated, yet nonetheless going far beyond the grasp of the human mind. St Paul, for instance, speaks of the Church as 'a field' which is tilled and made fertile by God (1 Corinthians 3:9). He calls the faithful 'the temple' of God in which the Holy Spirit dwells (Ephesians 5:21-23).

In point of fact, St. Paul often identifies the Church with Christ himseif, by calling her the Body of Christ (cf. Romans 12:12ff.), He also calls her 'our mother' (cf. Galatians 4:26), since, thanks to Christ's love and the waters of Baptism, she gives life to many children in the course of history, By means of these and many other symbols, we come to see, in a limited yet real way, the great richness of the mystery of the Church.

The Church is essentially a mystery of fellowship. The fellowship we share in the Church is both vertical and horizontal: fellowship with the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity, and fellowship with one another in the Body of Christ. To be in communion therefore implies a deep personal bond of knowledge and love.'

Monday, August 9, 2010

Faith - Pope Benedict XVI

Deus Caritas Est

A common thread throughout "Deus Caritas Est" and "Spe Salvi" is the interconnectedness between all the theological virtues. Faith gives certain hope that God has given himself in love to us.

The Pope writes in "Deus Caritas Est": "Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, as the dramatic imagery of the end of the Book of Revelation points out, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love" (No. 39).

He also wrote that faith, which is an encounter with the living God in itself, opens "new horizons extending beyond the sphere of reason" but also purifies reason of any blindness. Thus "faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly" (No. 28).

"Spe Salvi"

Now would be a great time for a close rereading of "Spe Salvi," for of his three encyclicals none is as focused on faith as this one. The reason lies in the profound unity in the New Testament between the concepts of faith and hope. Faith is hope's "substance" which leads to eternal life (cf. No. 10).

Commenting upon the Letter to the Hebrews, Benedict XVI explains the nature of faith: "Faith is not merely a personal reaching out towards things to come that are still totally absent: it gives us something. It gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for, and this present reality constitutes for us a 'proof' of the things that are still unseen. Faith draws the future into the present, so that it is no longer simply a 'not yet'" (No. 7).

In the present time, the Holy Father identified a faith-hope crisis, which he traced from the time of Francis Bacon to the present day: faith in progress is an attempt to build the kingdom of man. But faith in progress has failed man, showing itself to be a "threat" that betrays man's dignity and freedom (No. 17-23).

Later in the encyclical, he developed an eschatological theme of faith -- looking "forward" in trust to the coming resurrection of the body and judgment as the path to definitive justice. God is the one who brings justice; faith gives the certainty that death is not the end and that God will do so. In this certainty we also have certainty in eternal life (cf. Nos. 41-44). He wrote, "Only in connection with the impossibility that the injustice of history should be the final word does the necessity for Christ's return and for new life become fully convincing" (No. 43).

"Caritas in Veritate"

The Holy Father wrote in "Caritas in Veritate" that it is the truth that in charity reflects the twofold dimension of faith, one that is both personal and public (No. 3). Furthermore, the Church's social doctrine is an "instrument and an indispensable setting" for faith's formation (No. 15).

Echoing Pope Paul VI, Benedict XVI pointed out that while reason can grasp the equality of peoples, it cannot establish brotherhood without faith. Only faith in Divine Revelation enables us to perceive that we are one family under the Father (No. 19). He also emphasized the need for dialogue between faith and reason in human authentic human development (Nos. 56-57).

Many false forms of faith threaten development -- faith in human progress, faith in institutions, faith in political structures, faith in technology. But without faith in God, all of these "faiths" use, reduce or destroy man. Faith in God's presence in the mission of development gives purpose and hope to those who face such a great amount of work.

Can a faithless humanism work for the greater good of man in development? To this question, the Holy Father gave a striking answer: "A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism" (No. 78). True development does not neglect man's spiritual dimension. Thus only development that is open to God is true to man. The Holy Father concluded his encyclical with the essential truth that development needs prayer (No. 79).

Imitating Mary's Faith

The need for a full development of the essence of faith is a need for the Church and the world. I hesitate to say what Benedict XVI will say in his coming encyclical, but I can say is that he will give us a rich theology of faith. Of that we can be certain.

But surely in his encyclical he will bring to the forefront, as he has often done, a model for faith. She is Mary, to whom the Pope has typically devoted the final paragraph of each encyclical.

The Holy Father often has commented upon Mary's faith, a model for the Christian confession and response to God's call. At the close of the Year for Priests, Benedict XVI called Mary the "great woman of faith and love who has become in every generation a wellspring of faith, love and life" (Homily, June 11, 2010).

He has often emphasized her assent to God's plan in the Annunciation, her journey of faith to share the good news with her cousin Elizabeth, her unwavering presence at the foot of the Cross, and her hope throughout the darkness of Holy Saturday awaiting the dawn of the fulfillment of the promises of her Son.

In "Spe Salvi" he asked, "Could it have ended before it began? No, at the foot of the Cross, on the strength of Jesus' own word, you became the mother of believers. In this faith, which even in the darkness of Holy Saturday bore the certitude of hope, you made your way towards Easter morning" (No. 50).

No matter what, we will come to a deeper understanding how to live "the faith" in the virtue of faith following the faith of the Virgin Mother, of whom Elizabeth said, "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45).

The Church - Pope John Paul II

Of this Church we are members and children;
by this Church we have been begotten
to supernatural life in Baptism
which has grafted us into Christ.
We should therefore love this Church
as our Mother.

In revealing the nature of God and the significance of human life, lesus has proclaimed the Truth for all time and all peoples. And, to maintain intact and
secure that Revealed Truth, which also includes the means of eternal salvation, he has founded the Church on Peter, the Apostles and their successors - that is, the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, and the bishops who are in union with him.


(1) The Church is sure and certain, since it is willed and founded by Jesus Christ, who did not write down any of his own words or command them to be written down, but who has promised The Presence of the Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth, who will maintain and develop the Truth Revealed within the Church. according to need and demand.

(2) The Church is indefectible - that is to say, it will endure until the end of human history, despite defections, hostility, protest and muddle. For there is
the divine assurance: 'Go therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them
to observe all the commands I gave you. And see, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time' (Matthew 28:19-20).

(3) The Church is infallible in the sphere of truths to be believed and of Morals to be practised. For, of all the Apostles to whom 'Jesus gives his threefold powers of Teaching, Ministering and Governing, he chooses Peter and to him alone gives the powers or 'charisms' which in their turn imply another threefold immutable mission: Peter is the foundation stone of the Church's unity, he is the universal Pastor
with full responsibility for souls, he is assisted in an absolute way so that he cannot err in the field of Truth and can strengthen the whole Church. Plainly,
the powers given to the Apostles have been passed on to their successors, the Bishops and priests; and the powers given to Peter have passed down to his
Successors, the Bishops of the See of Rome.