Jul 122018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 19 March 2017 to 11 July 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

Homilies

Letters

Messages

Prayers

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “The suffering of so many of our brothers and sisters, persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, is an urgent reminder that we Christians must be more united.” @Pontifex 6 July 2018
  • “The God of all consolation, who heals the broken hearts and takes care of the wounds, hear our prayer: Let there be peace in the Middle East!” @Pontifex 7 July 2018
  • “May all humanity hear the cry of the children of the Middle East. Drying their tears the world will get back it’s dignity.” @Pontifex 7 July 2018
  • “Every occasion is a good one to spread Christ’s message!” @Pontifex 8 July 2018
  • “You too are like the Good Samaritan when you recognize the face of Christ in those near you.” @Pontifex 10 July 2018
  • “Europe rediscovers hope when the human person is at the heart of its institutions. St Benedict, pray for us!” @Pontifex 11 July 2018

Papal Instagram

Jul 122018
 

Earlier this week a short post of mine was published at Hour of Our Death.

Yesterday while lunching with co-workers, the topic of wives came up, and we joked about how they are always right. Nodding to the inevitability of this fact. A very light-hearted discussion about such restraints in our lives.

At one point I said, “Freedom is overrated.” I was only half joking. Being a widower now, I have the freedom pretty much to do as I choose. To please myself.

I would much more like giving of myself than giving to myself. My selfishness is better handled within restraints.

Jul 092018
 

One of the trends I noticed over the last decade or so is how the recitation of the prayer of Saint Michael the Archangel is happening in more and more parishes in my diocese. Previously I found it was uncommon that it was recited after Mass. Now I find it is uncommon that it is not recited. Now this is totally anecdotal and I have of course not canvassed all the parishes in my diocese. Still it is something I noticed and I was wondering if others have seen this trend also?

Today I was thinking about this as the priest recited it after Mass. The part though I was thinking of was the variance in translations of this prayer in English.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our ________ against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

  1. Safeguard.
  2. Defense
  3. Protection.

In three different parishes there are three different translation word choices. So I have learned to adapt between where I go to daily Mass and weekend Mass to say the same word with everyone else. So of course when I went to the Basilica today they used another word.

Now I understand translation differences, but what I find interesting is that as far as I have notices every other word in the prayer is the same in each version. It is just this one word that has variances. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another common prayer in English with such variances.

Update: Other variances pointed out to me:

  1. cast/thrust
  2. prowl/wander
Jul 052018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 24 June 2018 to 5 July 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Papal Tweets

  • “Torture is a mortal sin! Christian communities must commit themselves to helping victims of torture.” @Pontifex 26 June 2018
  • “We are called to assist the elderly, the sick and the unborn: life must always be protected and loved, from conception to its natural conclusion.” @Pontifex 27 June 2018
  • “Let us pray for the new Cardinals: may they assist me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome, for the good of all God’s people.” @Pontifex 28 June 2018
  • “Every kind of material or spiritual poverty, every form of discrimination against our brothers and sisters, comes from turning our backs on God and His love.” @Pontifex 29 June 2018
  • “When we are firmly united to the God who loves and sustains us, we are able to withstand all life’s difficulties and challenges.” @Pontifex 30 June 2018
  • “I ask all of you to join me in prayer as I travel to Bari on Saturday on a pilgrimage to pray for peace in the long-suffering Middle East.” @Pontifex 1 July 2018
  • “We receive God’s graces to share them with others.” @Pontifex 3 July 2018
  • “Do we know how to silence our hearts and listen to the voice of God?” @Pontifex 5 July 2018

Papal Instagram

Jul 042018
 

At Mass this morning, three of my parish priests were there. One priest was the former long time pastor of the parish, now retired. Our current pastor. Plus our “baby” priest who was ordained recently and I had not yet seen at Mass.

The former pastor is a bit of a character and a pretty funny guy, but his homily concentrated on thankfulness for this country but also on religious liberty and threats to it in regards to abortion and so-called same-sex marriage. Our current pastor seems to have a much more serious bent, but one that I appreciate in his devotion. I have only heard anecdotally about the new priest and his deliberate taking his time in praying the Mass.

Where I go to daily Mass we started to have a Deacon doing most of the homilies. I noticed he had no wedding ring and sure enough it turns out he is a transitional Deacon. I have been quite enjoying his homilies which invoke St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross, and with dwelling on the Beatific Vision.

So this got me thinking about generations of priests and future priests where I have a visible timeline while going to Mass. A tiny segment of the timeline of the effects of Apostolic Succession, especially with another former pastor of my parish now being a Bishop.

Jul 032018
 

Today being the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, once again I am slightly annoyed about the moniker “Doubting Thomas”.

Maybe it was because for most of my life I was more than a “Doubting Jeffrey”, but a totally “Denying Jeffrey”.

So Thomas missed the meeting where Jesus reveals himself to the Apostles. I really wonder how that happened? What did he have on his calendar that day instead of what should have been commiserating with his fellow apostles? We just don’t know. Plus we also don’t know how long he was out of the loop until he heard the news. Other than that it was a week or less.

Now certainly there is a extent to where St. Thomas deservers his moniker. Most of the other Apostles did not exactly set themselves in glory ahead of Jesus’s return. They had not yet gotten the Paul Harvey – “The Rest of the Story”. I picture them moping around. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were not exactly filled with expectation of what was to come. The hints Jesus dropped on the Apostles fell on rocky ground for the most part.

Still when Mary Magdalene initially delivered the news to them, Peter and John rushed to the tomb. There was obviously an expectation that something was going on beyond their kin. That just maybe what Jesus had told them was truer than they surmised. So while they were probably confused in the aftermath – they didn’t get the “doubting” label.

Still I wonder how Thomas first received the news about Jesus’s resurrection? How much was Thomas to blame for not initially accepting the reports? Perhaps St. Peter had told him the good news? If so maybe that is understandable. Exuberant Peter who jumped at everything and was willing to pursue a booth building construction project just two weeks before. I could easily imagine being credulous at what good ole Peter might report to me.

What I do know is if I had received the moniker “doubting”, I would probably blame my twin brother if I was a twin like Thomas.

Still getting back to Thomas’ culpability. He does remind me of atheists that are challenged asking what level of proof they require to believe that God exists. He certainly detailed his empiricism with a set of tests he demanded.

  • See the nail prints in his hand.
  • Put his finger into those prints.
  • Thrust his hand into Jesus’ side.

Somehow those experiments crumbled as Jesus challenged him to go ahead an make those very tests. I feel sorry for St. Thomas that after making such a brash statement worthy of St. Peter’s exuberance, that he sees Jesus. Not only sees Jesus but has the criteria of his experimental science echoed back to him. I bet St. Peter smiled for once not having stepped in it and having another Apostle do it instead.

I still think it is a bit unfair that Thomas got that sobriquet of “doubting”. Peter isn’t known as “Three Times Denying” Peter. That short period of time where Thomas doubted got him tagged with this despite the rest of his life and the likelihood that he died a martyr.

I think of St. Thomas more as “My Lord and My God” Thomas. The very phrase that comes to me and so many others at the consecration. Still it is a testament about what God can do with us. To go from doubt to faith not on our own power.

Also to St. Thomas’ credit he did not remain in his doubt. Seeing is not always believing. There have been plenty of people who have seen miraculous events that persisted in their doubt. Or had initially believed and then let it fade. The Israelites wandering in the wilderness saw plenty of miracles and yet acted as if God’s power was not manifested. The atheist that demands God shows himself to make him believe, obviously has not done a close reading of Biblical history or subsequent history. There were conversions after the miracle of the Sun at Fatima, but certainly not close to everyone who witnessed it.

Plus even among those of us who truly believe in what Jesus taught – can say they always act with faith.

I am totally in rapport with this verse:

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

Jun 282018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 17 June 2018 to 28 June 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Papal Tweets

  • “Dear young people, help us adults whose hearts are often hardened. Help us to choose the path of dialogue and harmony.” @Pontifex 21 June 2018
  • “Praying together, walking together, working together: this is the way that leads to Christian unity. #WCC70” @Pontifex 21 June 2018
  • “Love for others needs to become the constant factor of our lives.” @Pontifex 22 June 2018
  • “Let us ask our Lord to help us understand that love is service, love means taking care of others.” @Pontifex 23 June 2018
  • “Like St John the Baptist, Christians have to humble themselves so that the Lord can grow in their hearts.” @Pontifex 24 June 2018
  • “Faith in Jesus Christ frees us from sin, sadness, emptiness, isolation. It is the source of a joy that no one can ever take away.” @Pontifex 25 June 2018
  • “We are called to assist the elderly, the sick and the unborn: life must always be protected and loved, from conception to its natural conclusion.” @Pontifex 27 June 2018
  • “Let us pray for the new Cardinals: may they assist me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome, for the good of all God’s people.” @Pontifex 28 June 2018

Papal Instagram

Jun 202018
 

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 June 2018 to 20 June 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Messages

Papal Tweets

  • “No one is so poor they cannot give what they have, but first and foremost, who they are.” @Pontifex 14 June 2018
  • “I send my cordial greetings to all those following the World Soccer Championships that begin today in Russia. I hope this sports event may be a positive opportunity for encounter and fellowship.” @Pontifex 14 June 2018
  • “Love is always at the service of others. Because love is seen in actions, not words.” @Pontifex 15 June 2018
  • “Invite the Holy Spirit to be part of your activities. Call upon Him before you even start: “Come, Holy Spirit!”.” @Pontifex 16 June 2018
  • “Let us share the journey of refugees and migrants with concrete gestures of solidarity. #sharejourney” journey.caritas.org @Pontifex 17 June 2018
  • “Let us try to express the joy of God’s Kingdom in every way possible!” @Pontifex 18 June 2018
  • “Choosing to follow Christ helps build a more just, more friendly, more humane society, that is closer to the heart of God.” @Pontifex 19 June 2018
  • “We encounter Jesus in those who are poor, rejected, or refugees. Do not let fear get in the way of welcoming our neighbour in need. #WithRefugees @M_RSection” @Pontifex 20 June 2018
  • “A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity. #WithRefugees @M_RSection” @Pontifex 20 June 2018

Papal Instagram

Jun 142018
 

After having lost 145 pounds I am now pretty much in maintenance mode. Still throughout my life I have lost significant weight and then regained it. Although never as much as this. So I am well aware of the fact that to maintain my current weight takes effort. This year, I have been successful at this, but it also takes a lot more effort than I previously imagined.

Just to maintain my current weight I am still doing intermittent fasting with usually only one meal a day. This combined with daily exercise, usually some walking and at least 15 miles on bike. So maintenance for me has meant maintaining the daily regimen I used to loose that weight.

Thinking about this it seems to me to be quite parallel to the spiritual life. You might overcome some vices and grow in virtue, yet you can’t just rest on this. It also takes a daily effort to nourish my spiritual life and love of Christ. You just can’t have a “cheat day” as some call it in reference to dieting. This also takes more effort than I might have previously expected. You just can’t tread water in the spiritual life.

I now have a deeper appreciation for the metaphors St. Paul uses in references to athletes. That it takes continuous training and perseverance. As an avid cyclist now (never thought I would be that guy), I now look forward each day to my ride. To measure distance and speed and to see the positive effects of this. I wish I had that same “look-forwardness” when it comes to my efforts in regard to the spiritual life.

Still I am carving out the time for scripture study and prayer and am starting to enjoy scripture reading along side a commentary. I would be happy and almost proud with my progress, if this verse didn’t keep me a little better grounded.

“Say: we are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17: 10)

Jun 132018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 28 May 2018 to 13 June 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Messages

Papal Tweets

  • “For those who are with Jesus, evil is just a provocation to love even more” @Pontifex 7 June 2018
  • “The Feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us that God loved us first: He is always waiting for us, welcoming us into His heart, into His love.” @Pontifex 8 June 2018
  • “Let us ask the Lord to give us good priests: hardworking men, men of prayer, who are close to God’s people.” @Pontifex 8 June 2018
  • “Mary is exactly what God wants His Church to be: a loving and humble Mother, poor in possessions but rich in love.” @Pontifex 9 June 2018
  • “Whatever we do, let us sustain the voice of the Holy Spirit through practical good deeds and actions.” @Pontifex 10 June 2018
  • “The Holy Spirit gives us the strength we need to achieve holiness in the midst of our everyday lives.” @Pontifex 11 June 2018
  • “Children must be able to play, study and grow in a peaceful environment. Woe to anyone who stifles their joyful impulse to hope!” @Pontifex 12 June 2018
  • “Never tire of encountering Jesus in prayer, in listening to the Word of God, and in receiving the Eucharist.” @Pontifex 13 June 2018

Papal Instagram