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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Feast of the Visitation

Today is my birthday and it is so good to be in retreat. I was in retreat for my birthday here last year, too. And I love the fact that it is always a feast of Our Lady. I thought it might be Corpus Christi, too, but that is celebrated on Sunday now and we come out of retreat that morning.

The Pope's Exhortation on Holiness is influencing me and I will continue with it tomorrow as we are still on the 4th Chapter and have another, very important one, to do still. 
Please keep me in your prayers. I am 87 today.

I have scheduled my blogs ahead since I am using Pope Francis' new exhortation. I hope we are getting holy just by reading it and trying to put into practice what it says.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit

#132 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. It is an unshakable trust 
in the faithful Witness who gives us the certainty that nothing can "separate us from the love of God"(Rom 8:39).

You are getting some shorter posts this week because I am in retreat and scheduling ahead.
Please keep the retreat in your prayer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Apostolic Courage

#131. "Look at Jesus. His deep compassion reached out to others. It did not make him hesitant, timid or self-conscious, as often happens with us. Quite the opposite. His compassion made him go out actively to preach and to send others on a mission of healing and liberation. Let us acknowledge our weakness, but allow Jesus to lay hold of it and send us too 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.

The name given to my group when we made our final Profession in Rome was "Apostolic Courage" and it was something we all have lived in these 57 years; many have gone to God but we are all united in the Mystical Body of Christ.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Put out into the deep

In #130 in the Exhortation on Holiness, Pope Francis says: "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. 
He bids us spend our lives in his service. Clinging to him, we are inspired to put all our charisms at the service of others. May we always feel compelled by his love (2 Cor 5:14) and say with Saint Paul: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel'..."

I find so much to reflect upon in this Exhortation. We preach the Gospel by the way we live. Am I ready to put out into the deep?

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trinity Sunday

Today we celebrate the Mass of the Holy Trinity with the entrance antiphon: " Blest be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for he has shown us his merciful love."

The Collect asks that we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty. I often thank God for the grace I received when living at the Trinita dei Monte in Rome of having months to just try to develop a relationship with each member of the Blessed Trinity. I am still influenced by that grace.
Tonight we enter into retreat so I have scheduled my blog for these days ahead so I can spend them in silence. We only have a six day retreat but I will be making a few more days later as I think retreat is the most important time of the year, at least for me. I need this time with the Lord and it is like a honeymoon. I do count on your prayer for this week of intense prayer.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Boldness and Passion

Another aspect of holiness is boldness and passion. The Holy Father says in #129, "Holiness is also parrhesia: it is boldness, an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. To allow us to do this, Jesus himself comes and tells us once more, serenely yet firmly: 'Do not be afraid' (Mk 6:50). 'I am with you always, to the end of the world' (Mt 28: 20). These words enable us to go forth and serve with the same courage that the Holy Spirit stirred up in the Apostles, impelling them to proclaim Jesus Christ. Boldness, enthusiasm, the freedom to speak out, apostolic fervor, all these are included in the word parrhesia. The Bible also uses this word to describe the freedom of a life open to God and to others....."

Have we this boldness and enthusiasm?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

Today is the feast of our Mother Foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie. She seems so close to all of us as I know she watches over us from heaven. She wants each of us to live in union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus. She loves fidelity to the Holy Spirit and is concerned with the interior life of each of us. She always wants us to be humble, prayerful, and to seek only to be faithful to whatever God is asking of us. I find her presence in my life so consoling and encouraging. She often tells me to slow down and discern what the Lord is asking of me. I suspect she does this for all her daughters.
Since the Holy Father has asked all to make an examen in dialogue with the Lord every day, I am trying to do this and now will ask Sophie to help me. I am rediscovering the great value of an examen of consciousness - where is the Lord in my life today? What is He saying to me in the persons, events, and circumstances of this day? What might He be asking of me? Above all, it is a time to thank Jesus for all the daily graces He gives us.

I am adding this that is from the end of the letter that our Mother General just sent for today's feast and that of the Sacred Heart. I know many Associates read this blog, too.
...please know that each one of us has a part in this journey we are on together. All of us are called to pray deeply. We are called to deepen our love within the Heart of Christ, for each other and for our world and its people. We are called to participate in whatever way is possible for us. No one is too old or too young to be co-creators of our future. Remember, each one of us has a basic responsibility which she cannot surrender and which no one can carry out for her: that of living in the truth of her heart and her life, wherever she may be, the charism of Saint Madeleine Sophie (Constitutions, 140).

May the same spirit that guided Sophie throughout her life strengthen and enlighten us. May we pray together that this Spirit will give us the gifts we need to live deeply and united in this very important moment for the life of our world, our Church and our Society. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fraternal love increases our capacity for joy

We continue with thoughts for reflection from the Pope's Exhortation on Holiness:

128. Pope Francis tells us that "I am speaking of a joy lived in communion, which shares and is shared, since 'there is more happiness in giving than in receiving' (Acts 20:35) and 'God loves a cheerful giver'(2 Cor 9:7). Fraternal love increases our capacity for joy, since it makes us capable of rejoicing in the good of others: 'Rejoice with those who rejoice'(Rom 12:15). 'We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong'(2 Cor 13:9). On the other hand, when we focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

God loves a cheerful giver

We are now still on the Fourth Chapter of Gaudete et Exsultate.

#127 "With the love of a father, God tells us: 'My son, treat yourself well... Do not deprive yourself of a happy day' (Sir 14:11,14). He wants us to be positive, grateful, and uncomplicated....we should remain resilient and imitate St. Paul: "I have learned to be content with what I have." (Phil 4:11). Saint Francis of Assisi lived by this; he could be overwhelmed with gratitude before a piece of hard bread, or joyfully praise God simply for the breeze that caressed his face."

So, let us go and be full of His joy today for Christ is truly risen and is in each of us. We will never get used to or grasp fully this Divine indwelling!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Nothing can detroy supernatural joy

The Pope tells us that hard times may come but "nothing can destroy the supernatural joy that adapts and changes, but always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. That joy brings deep security, serene hope and a spiritual fulfillment that the world cannot understand or appreciate."

#126 "Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humor." The Pope says that ill humor is no sign of holiness....
We receive so much from the Lord 'for our enjoyment' (1 Tim 6:17), that sadness can be a sign of ingratitude. We can get so caught up in ourselves that we are unable to recognize God's gifts."

The underlining is mine!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Joy and a sense of Humor

From Gaudete et Exsultate : 

#122. Far fro being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humor. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit. The Christian life is 'joy in the Holy Spirit' (Rom 14:17), for the necessary result of the love of charity is joy....
If we allow the Lord to draw us out of our shell and change our lives, then we can do as Saint Paul tells us:'Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!' (Phil 4:4)....."

#123 "The prophets proclaimed the times of Jesus, in which we now live, as a revelation of joy." The Pope gives us some quotes that show us how we are to rejoice greatly; we are not to grieve for the joy of the Lord is our strength.

#124 Mary, recognizing the newness that Jesus brought, sang: 'My spirit rejoices' and Jesus himself 'rejoiced in the Holy Spirit'... After the resurrection of Jesus, 'wherever the disciples went, there was 'much joy' (Acts 8:8). Jesus assures us: "You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy...I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you' (Jn 16:20,22). 'These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
(Jn 15:11).

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost Sunday

In today's Liturgy we ask God to sanctify the whole Church in every people and nation and to pour out the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and fill now once more the hearts of believers.

I love the description Luke gives us of the first Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles: "When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim."

This feast has a wonderful Sequence that is worth praying over. I think I copied it for last year's feast so will not repeat it here. You can no doubt find it in my archives or on Google.

Happy Feast!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Eve of Pentecost

The Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles as tongues of fire. This descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost traditionally marks the birth of the Church, but it is hardly the first time the Spirit comes - in fact, the Spirit hovers over the waters at the moment of creation. 
In the reflection for this feast in Give Us This Day, Edward Hahnenberg says: "The Holy Spirit is nothing other than God alive and active in the world. If Jesus is how God burst forth into human history, then the Spirit is how God continues to burn in the human heart. The Spirit is God's love for each one of us. It is God's loving presence within me."

Friday, May 18, 2018

Always prefer to be taught by all...

#117 "It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons. That is itself a subtle form of violence. Saint John of the Cross proposed a different path: 'Always prefer to be taught by all, rather than to desire teaching even the least of all.' And he added advice on how to keep the devil at bay: 'Rejoice in the good of others as if it were your own, and desire that they be given precedence over you in all things; this you should do wholeheartedly. You will thereby overcome evil with good, banish the devil, and possess a happy heart. Try to practice this all the more with those who least attract you. Realize that if you do not train yourself in this way, you will not attain real charity or make any progress in it.'"

#118. "Humility can only take root in the heart through humiliations. Without them, there is no humility or holiness....
Humiliation makes you resemble Jesus; it is an unavoidable aspect of the imitation of Christ. For 'Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you mkight follow in his steps.' (i Pet 2:21)....

The Pope goes on to explain in #119 that he is not speaking only about stark situations of martyrdom, but about the daily humiliations of those who keep silent to save their families, who prefer to praise others rather than boast about themselves, or who choose the less welcome tasks, at times even choosing to bear an injustice so as to offer it to the Lord.....

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How do I keep the 8th Commandment?

In #115, Pope Francis tells us that "Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forms of digital communication....It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or living, and ruthlessly vilify others. Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze (cf. Jas 3:5).

#116. "Inner strength, as the work of grace, prevents us from becoming carried away by the violence that is so much a part of life today, because grace defuses vanity and makes possible meekness of heart. The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters, and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others. Saints hesitate to treat others harshly; they consider others better than themselves."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Perseverance, Patience and Meekness

From the Exhortation on Holiness, the Fourth Chapter where Pope Francis talks about some of the signs of holiness.

#112. "The first of these great signs is solid grounding in the God who loves us and sustains us. This source of inner strength enables us to persevere amid life's ups and downs, but also to endure hostility, betrayal and failings on the part of others. 'If God is for us, who is against us?' (Rom 8:31): this is the source of the peace found in the saints. Such inner strength makes it possible for us, our our fast-paces, noisy and aggressive world. to give a witness of holiness through patience and constancy in doing good....."

#114. "We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root....When we feel overwhelmed, we can always cling to the anchor of prayer, which puts us back in God's hands and the source of our peace."....

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Retreat Day with my Spirituality Group

Today I am taking my Spirituality Group to Villa Maria del Mar for a mini retreat. The group consists of about eight or ten wonderful women that are hungry for prayer and come once a month to meet with me. Some I have had in the Busy Persons' Retreat. This will be, I think, our last meeting of the year and is an extra day. These are busy Mothers so it is hard for them to take off even one day. I just want them to know about my favorite place where they could go sometimes just to enjoy the beauty and pray by the ocean. It is only an hour from here and a beautiful drive through the Santa Cruz mountains.
More from the Exhortation on Holiness tomorrow. I do want to share a prayer we use in preparation for Pentecost:
Breathe on us, Spirit of Wisdom,
so that we may be Your Divine life alive in the world.
Grow in us, Spirit of Understanding,
so that we may listen and know how to speak your word.
Move within our community, Spirit of Counsel,
so that everyone of our encounters may be filled with Your Presence.
Inspire us, Spirit of Fortitude,
so that we may always have courage and speak the truth in love.
Fill us with insight, Spirit of Knowledge,
so that we may put on the mind of Christ and see God in all creation.
Abide with us, Spirit of Reverence,
so that we may be transformed into Your image and become holy.
Draw us into Yourself, Spirit of Wonder and Beauty,
so that we may worship and glorify You.
In union with Jesus who has given us this Spirit, 
we return to You, Loving God, all that You have given us. Amen.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Five great expression of love for God and neighbo

In reading the 4th Chapter of Gaudete et Exsultate I was impressed by the aspects of holiness that the Pope mentions such as meekness, humility, boldness, joy, and apostolic courage. In note 101 he recommends praying a prayer attributed to St. Thomas Moore and I am going to copy it here:

"Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn't frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumbling, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called "I". Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke and to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others".

The April 30 issue of America has some different authors reflecting on the Pope's document. Their full responses can be found at

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Ascension of the Lord

"Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go, alleluia."

Collect: (I often copy the Collect as it is often not heard and yet, it sets the tone for the Liturgy and we should be aware of what we are asking in each Eucharist)
"Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God,
and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,
for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation,
and where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

Actually, there is an alternative Collect that asks that we "may in spirit dwell in heavenly realms". 
I like the request to be gladdened with holy joys and to be made to rejoice with thanksgiving so will pray with the first Collect.

Then we have the account of the Ascension given at the very beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. 
The Gospel will tell us to go out to all the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Pope Francis is telling us the same.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers reading this blog!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Certain Aspects of Holiness

Chapter Four: Signs of Holiness in Today's World

110. The Pope begins by telling us that "within the framework of holiness offered by the Beatitudes and Matthew 25: 31-46, I would like to mention a few signs or spiritual attitudes that, in my opinion, are necessary if we are to understand the way of life to which the Lord calls us."

Then he tells us that he will not pause to explain the means of sanctification already known to us. Then he just names them and as they are important, I am repeating them here: "the various methods of prayer, the inestimable sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, the offering of personal sacrifices, different forms of devotion, spiritual direction and many others as well."

The Pope only wants to speak of certain aspects of the call to holiness that he hopes will prove especially meaningful to us.
We will continue with this on Monday as tomorrow is Sunday and Mother's Day and, in most places, we also are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The risen Lord is present in community

Pope Francis says that "a community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create and open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father's plan. There are times when, by a gift of the Lord's love, we are granted, amid these little details, consoling experiences of God." From #145 in Gaudete et Exsultatae.

Christianity is meant to be put into practice

We are now on the last paragraph of Chapter Three and will begin Chapter Four tomorrow. This Exhortation on Holiness says that "Jesus' words are few and straightforward, yet practical and valid for everyone, for Christianity is meant above all to be put into practice. It can also be an object of study and reflection, but only to help us better live the Gospel in our daily lives. I recommend rereading these great biblical texts frequently, referring back to them, praying with them, trying to embody them. They will benefit us; they will make us genuinely happy."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Best way to discern if our prayer is authentic...

In Gaudete el Exsultatae, #105, Pope Francis tells us that the "best way to discern if our prayer is authentic is to judge to what extent our life is being transformed in the light of mercy. For 'mercy is not only an action of the Father; it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are.' Mercy is the very foundation of the Church's life.'"

Skipping to #107, "Those who really wish to give glory to God by their lives, who truly long to grow in holiness, are called to be single-minded and tenacious in their practice of the works of mercy."

108. Hedonism and consumerism can prove our downfall, for when we are obsessed with our own pleasure, we end up being all too concerned about ourselves and our rights, and we feel a desperate need for free time to enjoy ourselves. We will find it hard to feel and show any real concern for those in need, unless we are able to cultivate a certain simplicity of life, resisting the feverish demands of a consumer society, which leave us impoverished and unsatisfied. anxious to have it all now....

The Pope also mentions letting ourselves be caught up in superficial information, instant communication...these cause us to waste precious time and become indifferent to the suffering flesh of our brothers and sisters. But, he tells us "Yet even amid this whirlwind of activity, the Gospel continues to resound, offering us the promise of a different life, a healthier and happier life."

Plenty today to reflect on and to make that examination of conscience in dialogue with the Lord that the Pope is asking all of us, all Christians, to make daily.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Welcome the migrants

The importance of the welcoming others is brought out by Pope Francis' going back to Scripture. In #102 Jesus tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mat 25:35) and in the Old Testament, "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Ex 22:21) and so on. He assures us that "this is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad. In today's world too, we are called to follow the path of spiritual wisdom proposed by the prophet Isaiah to show what is pleasing to God. "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from our own kin? Then your light shall break froth like the dawn" (58:7-8).

The Pope tells us that the ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged is what we have done for others. Then he adds in #104 Prayer is most precious, for it nourishes a daily commitment to love. Our worship becomes pleasing to 'God when we devote ourselves to living generously, and allow God's gift, granted in prayer, to be shown in our concern for our brother and sisters."

There is much to reflect on here and to make that daily examination of conscience in dialogue with the Lord. And we have much to be grateful for each day, too.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

We cannot ignore injustice....

Another harmful ideological error that the Pope points out in #101 is found in "those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend." Here the Holy Father wants us to know that our defence of the unborn needs to be clear, firm, and passionate, but "equally sacred are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection."

He goes on to say that we "cannot uphold and ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty."

Monday, May 7, 2018

How attentive am I to Gospel demands?

The Pope, in #100 of his Exhortation to Holiness, reminds us that "there is the error of those Christians who separate Gospel demands from their personal relationship with the Lord, from their interior union with him, from openness to his grace."

Then the Pope names some of the great saints and tell us:
"For these great saints, mental prayer, the love of God and the reading of the Gospel in no way detracted from their passionate and effective commitment to their neighbors; quite the opposite."

Holy people always seem to have time to help, to take an interest in others.

This Exhortation is really calling me to discern what the Lord may be asking of me. How am I spending my time? What needs to change in my life?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Collect: Grant, almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do.

The Gospel of John is so beautiful (Jn 15:9-17):
"Jesus said to his disciples, 'As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.'"

Just that first verse is enough to keep us in prayer all week!

Jesus also tells us: "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you...."

One thing that the Pope states later in his Exhortation on Holiness is: "I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord, a sincere daily examination of conscience. (#169)

I guess we could all examine ourselves on love. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

In fidelity to the Master

From Gaudete et Exsultate continued: (underlining is mine)

96. "Holiness, then, is not about swooning in mystic rapture....In this call to recognize him in the poor and the suffering, we see revealed the very heart of Christ, his deepest feelings and choices, which every saint seeks to imitate.

97. "Given these uncompromising demands of Jesus, it is my duty to ask Christians to acknowledge and accept them in a spirit of genuine openness, sine glossa. In other words, without any 'ifs or buts' that could lessen their force. Our Lord made it very clear that holiness cannot be understood or lived apart from these demands, for mercy is 'the beating heart of the Gospel.'"

How often do I have some ifs or buts? Why do I procrastinate?

I have energy for what I really want to do, but often use the excuse "if I just had more energy" and that really is no excuse!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Always see the dignity of every human being

I am continuing with the Pope"s Exhortation but trying now to only give some of his thoughts for reflection. I will give the number so you can look up the entire paragraph later.

98. "If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for the politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity, and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian!
Can holiness somehow be understood apart from this lively recognition of the dignity of each human being?"

I hope we can always respond with faith and charity. The underlining is mine!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Great Criterion

Pope Francis begins by reminding us that if we seek holiness pleasing to God's eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged. "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me" (Mt 25: 35-3).

In fidelity to the Master

96. "Holiness, then, is not about swooning in mystic rapture....
In this call to recognize him in the poor and suffering, we see revealed the very heart of Christ, his deepest feelings and choices, which every saint seeks to imitate.

97. Given these uncompromising demands of Jesus, it is my duty to ask Christians to acknowledge and accept them in a spirit of genuine openness, sine glossa. In other words, without any "ifs or buts" that could lessen their force. Our Lord made it very clear that holiness cannot be understood or lived apart from these demands, for mercy is "the beating heart of the Gospel".

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Blessed are those who are persecuted...

I thought that I could finish the Third Chapter on the Beatitudes today, but Pope Francis has quite a bit to say about this last Beatitude: " Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I will just give some of this Beatitude and go on to Chapter 4 tomorrow.

90. Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice, because they take seriously their commitment to God and to others. Unless we wish to sink into an obscure mediocrity, let us not long for an easy life, for
"whoever would save his life will lose it" (Mt 16:25)

91. In living the Gospel, we cannot expect that everything will be easy, for the thirst for power and worldly interests often stands in our way....

92. Whatever weariness and pain we may experience in living the commandment of love and following the way of justice, the cross remains the source of our growth and sanctification....

93. Here we are speaking about inevitable persecution, not the kind of persecution we might bring upon ourselves by our mistreatment of others....

94. Persecutions are not a reality of the past, for today too we experience them, whether by the shedding of blood, as is the case with so many contemporary martyrs, or by more subtle means, by slander and lies. Jesus calls us blessed when people "utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" (Mt 5:11). At other times, persecution can take the form of gibes that try to caricature our faith and make us seem ridiculous.
 Accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness.