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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Saturday, March 19, 2005

In other news... Pope's letter to priests this year

Our Holy Father's newly released annual letter to priests was written from the hospital (dated March 13th), but is characteristically poetic and profound.

I will take as my inspiration the words of Eucharistic consecration, which we say every day in persona Christi in order to make present on our altars the sacrifice made once and for all on Calvary. These words provide us with illuminating insights for priestly spirituality: if the whole Church draws life from the Eucharist, all the more then must the life of a priest be "shaped" by the Eucharist. So for us, the words of institution must be more than a formula of consecration: they must be a "formula of life".

A "formula of life." That is the call our Holy Father makes this year in his annual letter to priests. In this beautiful letter, JPII reminds his priests of the primary reason they exist as priests -- to bring Our Lord to His people, as He commanded at the Last Supper. The Eucharist, and thus the proper celebration of the Eucharist, is essential to the priesthood.

It is interesting to note the following, which seems to be an indirect response to the claims of many radical traditionalists ("Proud to be More Catholic Than the Pope For Over 40 Years") that the "Novos Ordo" (current Mass in English) is invalid, becuase of the translation of the Latin into "all" instead of "many" :

4. "Hoc est enim corpus meum quod pro vobis tradetur." The body and the blood of Christ are given for the salvation of man, of the whole man and of all men. This salvation is integral and at the same time universal, because no one, unless he freely chooses, is excluded from the saving power of Christ's blood: "qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur". It is a sacrifice offered for "many'', as the Biblical text says (Mk 14:24; Mt 26:28; cf. Is 53:11-12); this typical Semitic expression refers to the multitude who are saved by Christ, the one Redeemer, yet at the same time it implies the totality of human beings to whom salvation is offered: the Lord's blood is "shed for you and for all", as some translations legitimately make explicit. Christ's flesh is truly given "for the life of the world" (Jn 6:51; cf. 1 Jn 2:2).

On Eucharistic devotion and the guardianship of priests:

We priests are the celebrants, but also the guardians of this most sacred mystery. It is our relationship to the Eucharist that most clearly challenges us to lead a "sacred'' life. This must shine forth from our whole way of being, but above all from the way we celebrate. Let us sit at the school of the saints! The Year of the Eucharist invites us to rediscover those saints who were vigorous proponents of Eucharistic devotion (cf. Mane Nobiscum Domine, 31). Many beatified and canonized priests have given exemplary testimony in this regard, enkindling fervour among the faithful present at their celebrations of Mass. Many of them were known for their prolonged Eucharistic adoration. To place ourselves before Jesus in the Eucharist, to take advantage of our ``moments of solitude'' and to fill them with this Presence, is to enliven our consecration by our personal relationship with Christ, from whom our life derives its joy and its meaning.

On vocations:

Particularly in the context of the new evangelization, the people have a right to turn to priests in the hope of "seeing'' Christ in them (cf. Jn 12:21). The young feel the need for this especially; Christ continues to call them, to make them his friends and to challenge some to give themselves completely for the sake of the Kingdom. Vocations will certainly not be lacking if our manner of life is truly priestly, if we become more holy, more joyful, more impassioned in the exercise of our ministry. A priest "won'' by Christ (cf. Phil 3:12) more easily "wins" others, so that they too decide to set out on the same adventure.

On Mary:

In the Encyclical on the Eucharist I then spoke of her as the "Woman of the Eucharist" (cf. No. 53). Who more than Mary can help us taste the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery? She more than anyone can teach us how to celebrate the sacred mysteries with due fervour and to commune with her Son, hidden in the Eucharist. I pray to her, then, for all of you, and I entrust to her especially the elderly, the sick, and those in difficulty. This Easter, in the Year of the Eucharist, I gladly repeat to each of you the gentle and consoling words of Jesus: "Behold your Mother" (Jn 19:27).

Full text: Letter to Priests 2005

Zenit: Pope Appeals to Priests to Respect Liturgy


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