April 2012 Archives

First Communions


Dear friends, it is usually during Eastertide that the Church administers First Communion to children. Therefore, I exhort the parish priests, parents and catechists to prepare well for this feast of faith, with great fervor but also with sobriety. "This day remains rightly impressed on the memory as the first moment in which... the importance of the first encounter with Jesus is perceived" (Sacramentum caritatis, 19). May the Mother of God help us to listen attentively to the Word of the Lord and to worthily participate at the Table of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, to become witnesses of the new humanity.

Benedict XVI
April 23, 2012

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Wake Up!


Jesus on the Cross wakes us up from our dreams, and opens our eyes to the truth... And in him, the sorrow of all mankind becomes the sorrow of God who suffers for love of us. Redemption is this mystery of love and pain: "Where there is no love, put love and you will find love," St. John of the Cross used to say. These words are like a summary of what our journey should be like. We are meant to believe in the force of love. To believe in the fruitfulness of love. This is the great lesson of Jesus on the Cross. That is why his death is fruitful.

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It [the soul] loves God because it sees how he has loved the soul from all eternity: He first loved us. It reconsiders especially the themes concerning redemption and exclaims: The love of Christ impels us. It does so especially when seeing how far that love went when in his capacity as redeemer, [Christ] shed his blood to the last drop: He loves us and has washed away our sins in his blood. Faint with love, the soul exclaims, "Oh wounds, oh precious blood of my Lord, that I might praise you in eternity!" What a great thing it is that the blood of Jesus is even our drink in the Eucharist and how, finally, through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ we shall arrive in paradise. With your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation]. You made them a kingdom. .

"Herein lies the glory of the priesthood, instituted for applying the price of redemption to souls, so that the divine Blood will not have been shed in vain, due to our own fault, as we note in the Holy Scriptures: "What gain would there be from my lifeblood." (Psalms 30:10) ..."How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? "

St. Gaspar del Bufalo, 1825

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This year, our examination at the foot of the Cross, shall center in a particular way on three points.

First, the acknowledgment of our shortcomings from which arises our deficiency before God.

Secondly, the examination of our observance of interior discipline, which may be called our Handbook for Heaven.

Finally, we shall direct our attention, prudently and reflectively, to the external aspects of our apostolic work, not merely to have a knowledge of good in general, but to seek the greater good which can and must be furthered...

this searching will make us eager to find the means for the attainment of our purpose.

These means are threefold:

a continuous inner conversation with God about our needs and interests;

a deep study of humility, that we may be capable of receiving special gifts from God for the renewal of our life;

and a burning desire for the inner and hidden life in the adorable wounds of the Crucified.

St. Gaspar Del Bufalo, 1829

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The more exalted our ministry, so much the more does the devil interfere with it as he tries to confound us. We will do all with the help of God's grace if, like boulders in the sea, we remain immobile, though assailed by the waves. Let us take bitter things as sweet. It is through trials that one realizes the degree of virtue attained. I am speaking of those trials that one did not plan for, those not chosen or selected; nevertheless, they are to be endured by us. By degrees we must attain to that superabundo gaudio in omni tribulation (filled with joy in all tribulation). Where the Cross is, there also is the mercy of God. St. Vincent de Paul used to say: "my Congregation would cease to be if a single day would go by without crosses." Jesus was tempted to come down from the cross: ... but, for our instruction, he taught us to remain with the cross and to die on the cross.

St. Gaspar del Bufalo
May 22, 1833

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This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He had no power of himself to die for us: he had to take from us our mortal flesh. This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did he of himself have the power to die.

In other words, he performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, he died; through him, we shall live.

The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.

From a sermon by St. Augustine, Office of Readings, Monday of Holy Week

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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