Christus Vivit 115: God Considers Us Worthy

The positive message continues, with a quote from a homily from three years ago:

115. For him, you have worth; you are not insignificant. You are important to him, for you are the work of his hands. That is why he is concerned about you and looks to you with affection. “Trust the memory of God: his memory is not a ‘hard disk’ that ‘saves’ and ‘archives’ all our data. His memory is a heart filled with tender compassion, one that finds joy in ‘deleting’ from us every trace of evil”.[Homily at Mass, XXXI World Youth Day in Krakow (31 July 2016): AAS 108 (2016), 963]

How does one come to trust? One method is to be in stillness, retreat from busy things:

He does not keep track of your failings and he always helps you learn something even from your mistakes. Because he loves you. Try to keep still for a moment and let yourself feel his love. Try to silence all the noise within, and rest for a second in his loving embrace.

Any comments? Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.

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Christus Vivit 114: God’s Love Expressed In The Bible

A good amount of biblical references in this numbered section:

114. In God’s word, we find many expressions of his love. It is as if he tried to find different ways of showing that love, so that, with one of them at least, he could touch your heart. For example, there are times when God speaks of himself as an affectionate father who plays with his children: “I led them with cords of compassion, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks” (Hos 11:4).

One of the more intimate books, a prophet who saw a marriage (his own) to an unfaithful wife as a metaphor for the fractured covenant between God and Israel. Even today, Hosea touches on the human capacity to lose our focus, question our commitment, and doubt our love for God. In that passage from chapter 11, another image of family love: God as tender father doting on children.

The Old Testament is not without feminine images:

At other times, he speaks of himself as filled with the love of a mother whose visceral love for her children makes it impossible for her to neglect or abandon them: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Is 49:15).

Nor without symbols of courtship and love:

He even compares himself to a lover who goes so far as to write his beloved on the palm of his hands, to keep her face always before him: “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands!” (Is 49:6).

With such vivid images, it’s no wonder the last third of the book of Isaiah touches so much on the human imagination:

At other times, he emphasizes the strength and steadfastness of his invincible love: “For the mountains may depart, and the hills be shaken, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be shaken” (Is 54:10).

In these final passages, I notice how composers–and not just contemporary ones–have used these as inspiration for songs, either in worship or for the concert hall:

Or he tells us that we have been awaited from eternity, for it was not by chance that we came into this world: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jer 31:3).
Or he lets us know that he sees in us a beauty that no one else can see: “For you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you” (Is 43:4).
Or he makes us realize that his love is not cheerless, but pure joy, welling up whenever we allow ourselves to be loved by him: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory. He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17).

Just as human love can be expressed in any number of contexts: children, spouse, lovers, an appreciation of strength or beauty, a lifelong commitment, these can begin–and only begin–to approach the depth and breadth of God’s choice to love the people he has created and called to be his own. Any comments? Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.

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Sometimes Sarcasm

It’s so truthful, it hurts:

Let’s take a moment to honor the sacrifice of our brave school children who lay down their lives to protect the right to keep and bear arms.

Amused at the NRA whining about people trying to put it out of business. They have their own corruption problems. Seem the gun cult has it’s own concerns putting itself out of business. Meanwhile, get those bargains on free beautician work while the deck chairs are being rearranged.

It could be that change is coming via the 2020 elections. More likely, I think the background check issue will make some progress, though I think people of color will be the easy targets. Maybe they can make some progress with their own motto:

Guns don’t kill people. Crazy white men kill people.

 

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Christus Vivit 113: Fatherhood

Chapter Four finds an acknowledgement that the father figure is often an indifferent or even a negative one. I was struck on a conservative website defending Theology of the Body and making an assumption of ideal behavior on the part of parents. Even for “faithful” believers, nobody is perfect and the example of earthly parents can be a stretch.

113. Perhaps your experience of fatherhood has not been the best. Your earthly father may have been distant or absent, or harsh and domineering. Or maybe he was just not the father you needed. I don’t know. But what I can tell you, with absolute certainty, is that you can find security in the embrace of your heavenly Father, of the God who first gave you life and continues to give it to you at every moment. He will be your firm support, but you will also realize that he fully respects your freedom.

Any comments? Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.

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Christus Vivit 112: A God Who Is Love

Today we check the first of three Chapter Four themes, “A God who is love.”

112. The very first truth I would tell each of you is this: “God loves you”. It makes no difference whether you have already heard it or not. I want to remind you of it. God loves you. Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved.

This message is criticized deeply in some corners. Maybe it’s too obvious. Maybe it’s all kids heard in their religious formation. Maybe it’s the only things parents heard.

Still, given the degree of alienation, depression, and low self-esteem in today’s culture, especially in the young, it’s a needed reminder. The alternative? Look the way the culture wants you to look. Follow its celebrities, listen to its media, buy its product, and above all, conform.

Any comments? Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.

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Christus Vivit 111: A Threefold Message

Today we commence reading Chapter Four, “A great message for all young people.”

111. Putting all else aside, I now wish to speak to young people about what is essential, the one thing we should never keep quiet about. It is a message containing three great truths that all of us need constantly to keep hearing.

And what are these truths? Only the very basics of Christian faith:

  • A God who is love
  • Christ saves you
  • He is alive!

Any comments? Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.

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Christus Vivit 110: Life In Common vs Isolation

Chapter Three of Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation wraps up: 

110. Yet let me also remind you that, “when we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares and temptations of the devil, and the selfishness of the world. Bombarded as we are by so many enticements, we can grow too isolated, lose our sense of reality and inner clarity, and easily succumb”.[Gaudete et Exsultate 140] This is especially the case with young people, for whenever you are united, you have marvellous strength. Whenever you are enthused about life in common, you are capable of great sacrifices for others and for the community. Isolation, on the other hand, saps our strength and exposes us to the worst evils of our time.

Yes. It’s well-known that communities are a strength–not just for themselves but for the individuals committed to them. This is especially true when they are open and diverse, not turned in on themselves.

You can access the full document on this link at the Vatican site.

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