Friday, April 18, 2008

The Shepherd Speaks

Just a couple of spiritual gems here for you, spoken Wednesday by himself to over 300 of the US bishops:

“Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

AMEN! How often are we taught or coerced into doing just the opposite? Never talking about the "G" word, or mentioning the grace of Jesus? But if the faith we profess is the antidote to the ills of society, is the breath of life that can fill America's smoke-filled lungs, and is the joy that can overthrow the ennui of the culture today, why hide it? Why bury it under a bushel basket and keep that light from liberating and leading others?

On the vocation of marriage, the Pope said "it is essentially an unconditional and unreserved "yes" to life, a "yes" to love, and a "yes" to the aspirations at the heart of our common humanity, as we strive to fulfill our deep yearning for intimacy with others and with the Lord.”

Yes indeed! What a tribute to a vocation some used to see as "less than" the celibate call. But both lead us home and spill out self-giving love all the way! Both bring the power and love of God into the blood, sweat, and tears of life here, now.

Here's a video clip of this address to the bishops. As I watched it, I thought "He doesn't seem real excited.... in fact, he looks wiped." Then I considered the fact that he's 81 years old and being whisked around the planet, speaking, meeting, giving intense talks to religious leaders, diplomats, students, educators, etc. And did he get a chance to get over his jet-lag from Rome yet? What a guy!! May God give him a blast of strength and vigor for the rest of his journey.

(Today, the Pope has a little break, just two main events as posted at the Knights of Columbus site -

Friday, April 18, 10:45 a.m.
Pope Benedict XVI will address the United Nations, after an early morning flight to New York.

Friday, April 18, 6 p.m.
Prayer service with leaders from other Christian denominations at St. Joseph’s Church, founded by German Catholics, in Manhattan.

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