Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict’s Homily During Recent Visit to Dominican Cloister

“You Were Consecrated to Jesus, to Belong to Him Exclusively”The following is the homily of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the Dominican cloistered nuns of Santa Maria del Rosario in Rome’s Monte Mario district. He lightlights the values and importance of our contemplative life. (Zenit.org).- Dear Sisters,I address to each one of you the words of Psalm 124 (125), which we just prayed: “Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!” (v. 4). I greet you above all with this wish: the goodness of the Lord be upon you. In particular, I greet your Mother Prioress and thank her from my heart for the kind expressions she addressed to me in the name of the community. With great joy I accepted the invitation to visit this convent, to be able to pause with you at the feet of the image of St. Sixtus’ acheropita Virgin, now protector of the Roman convents of St. Mary in Tempulo and of St. Sixtus.Together we have prayed the midday prayer, a small part of this Liturgical Prayer that, as cloistered, marks the rhythm of your days and makes you interpreters of the Church-Bride which unites her, in a special way, with her Lord. With this choral prayer, which finds its culmination in the daily participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, your consecration to the Lord in silence and seclusion becomes fecund and full of fruits, not only for the path of sanctification and purification, but also for the apostolate of intercession that you carry out for the whole Church, so that it can appear pure and holy in the presence of the Lord. You, who […]

Pope Benedict XVI on St Thomas Aquinas

We share with our readers Pope’s Benedict’s catechesis on the great Dominican saint and doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas. It is worth quoting in full: After a few catecheses on the priesthood and my latest trips, we return today to our principal theme, namely, to the meditation on some of the great thinkers of the Middle Ages. We saw recently the great figure of St. Bonaventure, Franciscan, and today I would like to speak of him whom the Church calls the Doctor Communis, namely St. Thomas Aquinas. In his encyclical “Fides et Ratio,” my venerated predecessor, Pope John Paul II recalled that “the Church has been justified in consistently proposing St. Thomas a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology” (No. 43). It is not surprising that, after St. Augustine, among the writers mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas is quoted more than any other — some 61 times! He was also called the Doctor Angelicus, perhaps because of his virtues, in particular the loftiness of his thought and purity of life. Thomas was born between 1224 and 1225 in the castle that his family, noble and wealthy, owned in Roccasecca, on the outskirts of Aquino and near the famous abbey of Montecassino where he was sent by his parents to receive the first elements of his instruction. A year or so later he transferred to Naples, the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily, where Frederick II had founded a prestigious university. There he was taught, without the limitations in force elsewhere, the thought of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, to whom the young Thomas was introduced, and whose great value he intuited […]

Response to Pope Benedict’s letter to Irish Catholics

In reponse to Pope Benedict XVI’s letter quoted below, we, as a community, are setting aside each Friday of this coming year as a day of prayer and fasting for the renewal of the Church in Ireland.Those of you who live close by our monastery are welcome to join our community for a silent holy hour each Friday of the coming year between 4.45 and 5.45 PM Each day our chapel is open from 7 am until 7 pm and all who wish are welcome to join us for the celebration of the liturgy, Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration.Extract from the Pope’s pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace. Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, […]

Holy Week

The following is the text of Pope Benedict’s homily yesterday on Palm Sunday as published by Zenith news. Many young people participated in the celebration, which also marked this year’s World Youth Day, held on a diocesan level worldwide.”The Cross Is Part of the Ascent toward the Height of Jesus Christ”Dear Brothers and Sisters,Dear Young People!The Gospel for the blessing of the palms that we have listened to together here in St. Peter’s Square begins with the phrase: “Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem” (Luke 19:28). Immediately at the beginning of the liturgy this day, the Church anticipates her response to the Gospel, saying, “Let us follow the Lord.” With that the theme of Palm Sunday is clearly expressed. It is about following. Being Christian means seeing the way of Jesus Christ as the right way of being human — as that way that leads to the goal, to a humanity that is fully realized and authentic. In a special way, I would like to repeat to all the young men and women, on this 25th World Youth Day: that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ. A going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us. But what direction are we talking about? How do we find it? The line from our Gospel offers two indications in this connection. In the first place it says that it is a matter of an ascent. This has in the first place a very literal meaning. Jericho, where the last stage of Jesus’ pilgrimage began, is 250 meters below sea-level while Jerusalem — […]

They left everything and followed Him

Mass Readings for the 5th Sunday cycle C1st Reading – Isaias 6:1-82nd Reading – 1Cor 15:1-11Gospel – Luke 5:1-11The 1st reading and the Gospel present us with accounts of vocation stories – the call of Isaias in the Temple and the call of Peter and the first disciples by the sea shore. The Gospel tells us: “They left everything and followed Him”.On the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple – 2nd of February – the day devoted to celebrating the vocation to consecrated life, Pope Benedict XVI gave a very beautiful homily which we have abridged slightly and share with our readers as a commentary on today’s readings: Consecrated Life “A School of Trust in the Mercy of God”Venerable John Paul II, beginning in 1997, wished that the whole Church should celebrate a special Day of Consecrated Life. In fact, the oblation of the Son of God — symbolized by his presentation in the Temple — is the model for every man and woman that consecrates all his or her life to the Lord. The purpose of this day is threefold: 1. to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; 2. to promote the knowledge and appreciation by all the People of God; 3. to invite all those who have fully dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels that the Lord has operated in them. If Christ was not truly God, and was not, at the same time, fully man, the foundation of Christian life as such would come to naught, and in an altogether particular way, the foundation of every Christian […]

Pope Benedict XVI on St Dominic

Pope Benedict XVI devoted last Wednesday’s audience to speaking about St Dominic – perhaps the text of this address may interest our readers. At the end he refers to monasteries of cloistered Dominican nuns and their place in the Order of Preachers:St. Dominic “He Always Spoke With God and About God”Last week I presented the luminous figure of Francis of Assisi; today I would like to speak to you of another saint who, in the same period, made an essential contribution to the renewal of the Church of his time. It is St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, known also as the Dominican Friars. His successor in the leadership of the order, Blessed Jordan of Saxony, gives a complete portrait of St. Dominic in the text of a famous prayer: “Inflamed by zeal for God and supernatural ardour, by your limitless charity and the fervour of a vehement spirit, you consecrated yourself wholly with the vow of perpetual poverty to apostolic observance and to evangelical preaching.” It is in fact this essential feature of Dominic’s witness that is underlined: He always spoke with God and about God. In the life of saints, love of the Lord and of neighbour, the seeking of God’s glory and the salvation of souls always go together. Dominic was born in Spain, in Caleruega, around 1170. He belonged to a noble family of Old Castille and, supported by an uncle priest, he was educated in a famous school of Palencia. He was distinguished immediately for his interest in the study of sacred Scripture and for his love of the poor, to the point of selling books, which in his time constituted a good […]

Vocation Sunday

Here in Ireland, today – Vocation Sunday – marks the close of the special ‘Year of Vocation’ which commenced on Vocation Sunday 2008. Throughout the country there were various prayer services at monastic sites last evening while this evening the closing Mass for the Year of Vocation and Launch of Religious/Diocesan DVD was scheduled for 5.30 pm in Armagh Cathedral with Cardinal Sean Brady as celebrant. The Dominicans marked the close of the year at the 11.30 a.m. Mass in St Saviour’s church, Dublin. As we come to the close of this special year which focused attention on the theme of vocation in the Church, Pope Benedict’s message for Vocation Sunday is an apt reminder to us to continually pray and entrust this urgent intention to the provident care of our loving God. Here I give a few highlights but the full message can be downloaded from the Vatican website. Pope Benedict invites all of us to reflect on ‘Faith in the divine initiative – the human response’ and continues:The exhortation of Jesus to his disciples: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38) has a constant resonance in the Church. Pray! The urgent call of the Lord stresses that prayer for vocations should be continuous and trusting. The Christian community can only really “have ever greater faith and hope in God’s providence” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 26) if it is enlivened by prayer…… Our first duty, therefore, is to keep alive in families and in parishes, in movements and in apostolic associations, in religious communities and in all the sectors of diocesan life this appeal to the divine initiative with unceasing prayer. […]