Saturday, January 19, 2008

Zenit: Pray Without Ceasing for the Conversion of Hearts

Pray Without Ceasing for the Conversion of Hearts

Meditation for Day 3 of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the commentary prepared jointly by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for Sunday, the third day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.


* * *


"Admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

"The repentance of Nineveh" (Jonah 3:1-10)
"Create a pure heart in me" (Psalms 51:8-15)

"Encourage the faint-hearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:(12a)13b-18)
"A house of prayer" (Mark 11:15-17)

Commentary

In the beginning and at the heart of the ecumenical enterprise can be found a pressing call to repentance and to conversion. We sometimes need to know how to call each other to task within our Christian communities as Paul invites us to do in the first epistle to the Thessalonians. If one or the other causes division, he should be rebuked; if some are afraid of all that a difficult reconciliation could imply, they should be encouraged.

Why hide the fact? If divisions between Christians exist, it is also through a lack of will to be committed to ecumenical dialogue and even, simply, to prayer for unity.

The Bible tells us how God sent Jonah to rebuke Nineveh and how the whole city repented. In the same way, Christian communities must listen to the Word of God and repent. In the course of the last century, we have not been lacking in prophets of unity who have made Christians aware of the unfaithfulness manifest in our divisions and reminding them of the urgency of reconciliation.

In the image of the vigorous intervention of Jesus in the temple, the call to Christian reconciliation can seriously call into question our narrow self-understanding. We too have a great need of purification. We need to know how to rid our hearts of all that prevents them from being a true house of prayer, concerned for the unity of all peoples.

Prayer

Lord you desire truth deep-down within us: in the secret of our hearts, you teach us wisdom. Teach us to encourage each other along the road to unity. Show us the conversion necessary for reconciliation. Give to each of us a new, truly ecumenical heart, we pray you. Amen.

Zenit: Pray Always, Trusting God Alone

Pray Always, Trusting God Alone

Meditation for Day 2 of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the commentary prepared jointly by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for Saturday, the second day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
* * *

Give Thanks in All Circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5: 18)

"The Lord indeed is God" (1 Kings 18:20-40)
"The Lord is my shepherd" (Psalm 23)
"Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5: (12a)13b-18)
"Father, I thank you for having heard me" (John 11:17-44)

Commentary

Praying is rooted in the trust that God is powerful and faithful. God alone is the one who holds all in his hands, the present and the future. His word is credible and truthful.

The story of Elijah in 1 Kings impressively demonstrates the oneness of God. Elijah berates the apostates who worship Baal, who is not answering their prayers. Yet when Elijah prays to the one God of Israel, the response is immediate and miraculous. Realizing this, the people turned their hearts back to God.

Psalm 23 is a profound confession of trust. It depicts a person who believes that God guides him and stays with him also in the darkness of life and in situations of desolation and oppression.

We may find circumstances that may be difficult, even turbulent. We may have moments of despair and resignation. Sometimes we feel that God is hidden. But he is not absent. He will manifest his power to liberate in the midst of human struggle. Thus we give thanks to him in all circumstances.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead is one of the most dramatic scenes recorded in John’s gospel. It is a manifestation of Christ’s power to break the bonds of death and an anticipation of the new creation. In the presence of the people Jesus prays aloud, thanking his Father for the mighty deeds he will do. God’s saving work is accomplished through Christ so that all will come to believe.

The ecumenical pilgrimage is a way in which we realize the wondrous deeds of God. Christian communities which have been separated from each other come together. They discover their unity in Christ and come to understand that they are each part of one church and need one another.

The vision of unity can be darkened. It is sometimes threatened by frustrations and tensions. The question may arise whether we Christians are truly called to stay together. Our continuous praying sustains us as we look to God and trust in him. We are confident that he is still at work in us and will lead us to the light of his victory. His kingdom begins with our reconciliation and growing unity.

Prayer

God of all creation, hear your children as we pray. Help us keep our faith and trust in you. Teach us to give thanks in all circumstances, relying on your mercy. Give us truth and wisdom, that your church may arise to new life in one fellowship. You alone are our hope. Amen.

Friday, January 18, 2008

B16 on faith and reason

17.1.2008
The University of Rome Closes its Doors to the Pope. Here's the Lesson They Didn't Want to Hear
A group of teachers and students forced Benedict XVI to cancel his visit to "La Sapienza." But the professor pope did not give up: he made public, a day early, the address that he had written for the occasion. It is the follow-up to the formidable lecture in Regensburg, on the ultimate questions of faith and reason

Go to link for the text of the pope's address.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Zenit: That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart

Meditation for Day 1 of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the commentary prepared jointly by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins Friday.

* * *

Pray always,
"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Isaiah 55:6-9 "Seek the Lord while he may be found"
Psalm 34 "I sought the Lord, and he answered me"
1 Thessalonians 5:(12a), 13b-18 "Pray without ceasing"
Luke 18:1-8 "To pray always and not to lose heart"

Commentary

Paul writes, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." His epistle is written to a faithful community that is anxious about death. Many good and believing brothers and sisters have "fallen asleep" before the Lord's return to bring all into his resurrection. What will happen to these faithful dead? What will happen to the living? Paul assures them that the dead shall be raised with the living and exhorts them to "pray without ceasing." What does it mean to pray without ceasing? We find insights to answer this question in today's readings. Our whole lives are to be a seeking of the Lord, convinced that in seeking, we shall find.

In the midst of the exile, when all seemed hopeless and dry, the prophet Isaiah proclaims, "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near." Even in exile, the Lord is near and urging his people to turn to him in prayer and to follow his commandments so that they may know his mercy and pardon. Psalm 34 affirms the prophetic conviction that the Lord will answer those who call upon him, and adds praise to the call to pray without ceasing.

In Luke's gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples with the parable of the widow seeking justice from a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. The story serves as a reminder of the need for constancy in prayer -- "to pray always and not to lose heart" -- and for confidence that prayer is answered: "Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?"

As Christians in search of unity, we reflect on these readings to find "the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." It is Christ who lives within us. Our call to pray without ceasing becomes part of his eternal intercession to the Father: "That all may be one, ... that the world may believe." The unity we seek is unity 'as Christ wills' and the 'octave' observance of Christian prayer for unity reflects the biblical notion of completion, that some day our prayer will be answered.

Unity is a God-given gift to the church. It is also a call of Christians to live out this gift. Prayer for Christian unity is the source from which flows all human endeavor to manifest full visible unity. Many are the fruits of 100 years of an octave of prayer for Christian unity. Many are also the barriers that still divide Christians and their churches. If we are not to lose heart, we must be steadfast in prayer so that we may seek the Lord and his will in all we do and all we are.

Prayer

Lord of unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we pray without ceasing that we may be one, as you are one. Father, hear us as we seek you. Christ, draw us to the unity that is your will for us. Spirit, may we never lose heart. Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Latest Proceedings of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas

I hadn't been to Thomistica.net for a while, but on my last visit I found this post:
Proceedings of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas

The address of the PAST: Casina Pio IV, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Email:past AT acdscience.va

Doctor Communis n.s. 10/1-2 (2007)

  • G. Cottier, Loi naturelle et Décalogue
  • R. Cessario, Saint Thomas and the Enculturation of the Natural Law : Doing Moral Theology on Earth
  • U. Galeazzi, Sulla prossimità spirituale a Tommaso d’Aquino nel pensiero di Charles Tayler. Aspetti antropologici ed etici
  • F. Jacques, Thomas d’Aquin et Emmanuel Kant: Loi naturelle et impératif catégorique. Et après ?
  • J. Merecki, La visione etica di Karol Wojtyla
  • R. Hittinger, John Rawls : The Basis of Social Justice and Intercultural Dialogue in a Globalized World
  • H. Seidl, Etica di responsabilità in D. Hume e H. Jonas
  • R. McInerny, Ethics and Virtue Ethics
  • L. Clavell, Verità e libertà
  • R. Ferrara, Legge naturale e legge nuova nel recente Magistero e nelle teologia di San Tommaso
  • B. Mondin, Cultura e valori per una società globalizzata
  • V. Possenti, Stato, diritto e religione. Il dialogo tra J. Habermas e J. Ratzinger
  • I. Biffi, Gesú Cristo “misura” dell’ uomo in Tommaso d’Aquino
  • M. Beuchot, La polémica de Las Casas con Sépulveda. Su dependencia respecto de la Escuela de Salamanca