Monthly Archives: February 2013

Last Address from Castel Gandolfo

The Pope’s last message:

Papa, I will miss you and will pray for you.

In english:

To a roaring cheer, Benedict, 85, appeared at the balcony of the palazzo where he will spend the first few months of his retirement. He said he was happy to be “surrounded by the beauty of the Creator” on this unique day.
As of 8 p.m., he said to applause, he would no longer be pope.
“I’m simply a pilgrim who is beginning the last stage of his pilgrimage on this Earth,” Benedict said, as well-wishers wiped tears from their eyes.
It was an emotion-drenched day that began with Benedict’s final audience with his cardinals, where he pledged his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to his successor, a poignant and powerful message to close out his eight-year pontificate.
In an unexpected address inside the Vatican’s frescoed Clementine Hall, the pope appeared to be trying to defuse concerns about his future role and the possible conflicts arising from the peculiar situation of having both a reigning pope and a retired one.
Benedict also gave a final set of instructions to the “princes” of the church who will elect his successor, urging them to be united as they huddle to choose the 266th leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
“May the College of Cardinals work like an orchestra, where diversity – an expression of the universal church – always works toward a higher and harmonious agreement,” he said.
It was seen as a clear reference to the deep internal divisions that have come to the fore in recent months following the leaks of sensitive Vatican documents that exposed power struggles and allegations of corruption inside the Vatican.
The audience inside the Apostolic Palace was as unique as Benedict’s decision to quit, with the pope, wearing his crimson velvet cape and using a cane, bidding farewell to his closest advisers and the cardinals themselves bowing to kiss his fisherman’s ring for the last time.
Some seemed to choke up at that moment, and a few lingered on to chat with the pope for as long as they could. But the scene seemed otherwise almost normal, with cardinals chatting on the sidelines waiting their turn to say goodbye.
Benedict said he would pray for the cardinals in coming days as they discuss the issues facing the church, the qualities needed in a new pope, and as they prepare to enter into the secret conclave to elect him.
“Among you is also the future pope, whom I today promise my unconditional reverence and obedience,” Benedict told the cardinals.
Benedict’s decision to live at the Vatican in retirement, be called “emeritus pope” and “Your Holiness” and wear the white cassock associated with the papacy has deepened concerns about the shadow he might cast over the next papacy.
But Benedict has tried to address those worries over the past two weeks, saying that once retired he would be “hidden from the world” and living a life of prayer.
In his final speech in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, he said he wasn’t returning to private life exactly, but rather to a new form of service to the church through prayer.
And on Thursday he went even further with his own public pledge of obedience to the new pontiff.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope’s pledge was in keeping with this effort to “explain how he intends to live this unprecedented situation of an emeritus pope.”
“He has no intention of interfering in the position or the decisions or the activity of his successor,” Lombardi said. “But as every member of the church, he says fully that he recognizes the authority of the supreme pastor of the church who will be elected to succeed him.”
The issue of papal obedience is important for Benedict. In his last legal document, he made new provisions for cardinals to make a formal, public pledge of obedience to the new pope at his installation Mass, in addition to the private one they traditionally make inside the Sistine Chapel immediately after he is elected.
Benedict’s resignation will be a moment of quiet theater.
At 8 p.m. sharp, the Swiss Guards standing at attention at Castel Gandolfo will go into the palazzo and shut the doors behind them and go off duty, their service protecting the head of the Catholic Church over – for now.
Lombardi said the guards would change into civilian clothes and return to the Vatican barracks Thursday night. They will continue to guard the entrances of Vatican City and the pope’s palace, “even if he’s not there,” said Cpl. Urs Breitenmoser, a Swiss Guard spokesman.
And on Monday, the cardinals are expected to begin meeting to set the date for the conclave.
Benedict’s decision has been met for the most part with praise and understanding. Cardinals, Vatican officials and ordinary Catholics have rallied around him in acknowledgment of his frail state and the church’s need for a strong leader.
But Sydney Cardinal George Pell has caused a stir by openly saying the resignation has been “slightly destabilizing” for the church.
In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp., Pell noted that Benedict himself had acknowledged the shift in tradition; Benedict said Wednesday that he appreciated his decision was not only serious but “a novelty” for the church.
Pell also said the church was in sore need of a strong manager – comments echoed by several cardinals who have noted the 30-year reign of two popes who paid scant attention to the internal governance of the church.
The Vatican tried to downplay Pell’s comments, saying it wouldn’t respond to individual cardinals and urging the media not to take advantage of churchmen who, it said, aren’t necessarily media savvy.


Humility and Prayer

I think of our Holy Father and his last day today with this passage:

“My daughters, in Latin, abjection is called humility, and humility – abjection. . .Nevertheless there is some difference between the virtue of humility and that of abjection, because humility is the recognition of one’s abjection. Now the highest degree of humility is not only to recognize one’s abjection, but to love it. This is what I have urged you to do.” -Saint Padre Pio

  Now obviously in this quote Saint Pio was either talking to his female lay disciples or a group of Religious, but the context of the message still stands.  I am over-whelmed by our Holy fathers humility in relinquishing the Chair of Saint Peter.  His resignation should be a stronger message to us all, not one of sadness or of disappointment.  His message should be one of humility, and of the importance of prayer.  The fact that the Holy Father will now cloister himself to a life dedicated to prayer, especially in these times, is of great comfort to me.  
  We should all practice abjection and that practice, is in turn, humility.  To abstain from the evils of this modern world is a task that is almost in-surmountable.  The mountain is high.  The presence of sex, filth, sin, is constantly around us.  The invention of media has made it even larger.  But we can also utilize this media, as I hope I am doing, to combat this ever changing, evil plagued world.  One way, is the way of humility.  Abject to the things that are around us.  Repent for our sins.  Understand that there is a greater good at work.  How can you make it?  The second part is prayer.

Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God.” 

“Pray, pray to the Lord with me, because the whole world needs prayer. And every day, when your heart especially feels the loneliness of life, pray. Pray to the Lord because even God needs our prayers.” -St. Padre Pio

  Prayer is what sustains us.  Prayer, and then reflecting on prayer is how God will answer us.  Never underestimate the power of prayer.  Pray often, pray every day.  Pray as if it was your last.  Pray for God’s forgiveness, but most of all pray for God’s grace to drive you through the day.   Pray for the conversion of souls.  Pray for abjection to temptation and sin.  In this world, where evil is objectified and in many ways glorified, pray for abjection from it.  Pray for the strength to realize when you fall into the folds of the status-quo. Pray for a better life and times for our children, one that is not filled with the temptations of evil.  Raise your sons in daughter in a life that is Christocentric.  Never forget to teach them humility, and therefore abjection.  Challenge them, to be different, to abject, and to embrace that abjection.  God Bless.

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The Pope’s Last Words

“Dear Friends, God Guides His Church!” – The Pope’s Last Word

Before a crowd estimated at as many as 200,000, this morning’s General Audience saw Benedict XVI’s final public event before the first papal resignation since 1294 takes effect at 8pm Rome time tomorrow.

On a frigid, but brightly sunny morning for Rome, the departing pontiff wended around St Peter’s Square for one last trip in the Popemobile to greet the masses in attendance, stopping even today to continue Benedict’s practice of giving a kiss and blessing to the babies held up by attendees.

Usually held inside the 7,000-seat Paul VI (Nervi) Hall this time of year, the last audience was moved outside given the size of the crowd.

With the last open event now behind, all that remains on the Pope’s calendar is tomorrow’s thank-you visit with the College of Cardinals before Benedict choppers off into his retirement at 5pm Rome time, three hours before the sede vacante is triggered.

Here’s a full Vatican translation of the audience talk – seven years, ten months and nine days since his election, B16’s last word as Pope.

*   *   *
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood!
Distinguished Authorities!
Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this last General Audience of my pontificate.

Like the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart the paramount duty to thank God, who guides the Church and makes her grow: who sows His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His people. At this moment my spirit reaches out to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news” that in these years of Petrine ministry I have been able to receive regarding the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity that circulates in the body of the Church – charity that makes the Church to live in love – and of the hope that opens for us the way towards the fullness of life, and directs us towards the heavenly homeland.

I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith, this is my joy.

When, almost eight years ago, on April 19th, [2005], I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in this certainty, which has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord really has guided me. He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence. [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of ​​Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been – and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His – and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!

At this time, however, it is not only God, whom I desire to thank. A Pope is not alone in guiding St. Peter’s barque, even if it is his first responsibility – and I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed next to me many people, who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your counsels, your friendship, were all precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State, who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretariat of State and the whole Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various areas, give their service to the Holy See: the many faces which never emerge, but remain in the background, in silence, in their daily commitment, with a spirit of faith and humility. They have been for me a sure and reliable support. A special thought [goes] to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the consecrated persons and the entire People of God: in pastoral visits, in public encounters, at Audiences, in traveling, I have always received great care and deep affection; I also loved each and every one, without exception, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every shepherd, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in my prayers, with the father’s heart.

I wish my greetings and my thanks to reach everyone: the heart of a Pope expands to [embrace] the whole world. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes present the great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication, whom I thank for their important service.

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world’s greatest figures – from the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.

Here allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The gravity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was committed always and forever by the Lord. Always – he, who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I have felt, and I feel even in this very moment, that one receives one’s life precisely when he offers it as a gift. I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own.

The “always” is also a “forever” – there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds. St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me. He showed us the way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.

I thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I continue to accompany the Church on her way through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and to His Bride, which I have hitherto tried to live daily and that I would live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter, that the Lord might accompany him with the light and the power of His Spirit.

Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community: to her we entrust ourselves, with deep trust.

Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you!

Christocentric Patience through Prayer and Suffering

I apologize for my absence yesterday, I came down with a stomach bug.  I wanted to touch more on patience and the Lord’s time frame. Never forget that there is no concept of time with the Lord. The Lord will not let anything happen to us that he does not seem fit.  It is so easy, as human beings to want, to need, to have instant gratification.  We must learn patience, but not just any patience, what I like to deem “Christocentric Patience”.  We sin against the Lord daily.  The evil one wants it that way, wants us to turn away from the Lord.  But through our repentance, through our suffering, we have God’s grace and Love.  Have patience in the Lord, knowing that he has us, through thick and thin.  Know that he only wants what is best for us, and that through our suffering we can grow closer to him.  Suffering is the centerpiece for all that we are, all that we will become.  Christ is Lord, Christ is God.  Christ had the ways and the means to prevent himself from the Passion, from the crucifixion.  He CHOSE to suffer so that we may live.  Our patience is paramount in everything we do.  Things will not happen on our time table.  The things we pray for may not be answered.  But this is not because He does not love us, it is because he knows what is best for us.  His Love is unwavering, His Love is our guide. Through prayer anything can and will be answered.  I had many questions that I needed guidance on, things that I had listed out to ask for in guidance from my Priest.  These things I had listed out on this past Sunday.  I prayed, and asked for guidance.  I met with him today- and you know what?  Through prayer I had no list- God had answered me and give me guidance, so that by the time today came, I had nothing.  It definitely made my Priest’s job easier, but ultimately, prayer showed me the way.  God is ever present in our lives.  Through prayer, scripture, and reflection, He will talk to us, and show us the way.  Have patience, have Christ’s patience.  Know that through Him, all things are possible, and that he wants what is best.  Lord, make my suffering a testament to Your Divine will, let me be patient and Holy in what you desire is best for me.

Colossians 1 

22 Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted, and blameless before him:
23 If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.

24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church:   

Pope Benedict allows earlier conclave, extends secrecy oath :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Pope Benedict allows earlier conclave, extends secrecy oath :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Prayer for the Future Pope

Courtesy of

Pray for the Future Pope – Please Share this Prayer

Posted on February 13, 2013 by Catholic Feeds
Now is the Time to pray for the Future Pope, the Church and Pope Benedict XVI.
Universi Dominici Gregis, the Apostolic Constitution of John Paul II requests that the People of God pray fervently, as did the disciples in the Upper Room together with Mary, for the upcoming conclave of cardinals that will convene for the election of the next pontiff.
Prayer for the Election of the Future Pope
Heavenly Father,
We, the People of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history.
We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. Holy Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son:
Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Patience through Prayer

Prayer takes many forms, but to me, as I now come to understand, is more important than water, more important than breath.  The Holy Father has understood its importance and has hence dedicated his life to it.  The transfiguration story details its importance in every day life.  I have come to understand through prayer, that patience is in direct relation to being selfish.  I pray now that I learn to have patience in my Lord and to understand that his hand will guide me.  The more I become stronger in my faith, the more evil attacks me, disrupts me, tries to make me shy away from our God, from His message, from His Divine Heart.  Oh how I wish to be closer to Him, to make this evil go away.  As Padre Pio stated, “Our Lord sometimes makes you feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable but you carry it because in His love and mercy, the Lord helps you and gives you strength.”.  The Lord will not give me something that I cannot handle, but my patience gets in the way.  I must always want, I must always try to push.  I must always want the immediate answer now.  But through prayer I realize that I must utilize patience, to my advantage, and not to my demise.  The evil one attacks, even from within the most closest relationships, even in your times when you should feel most safe.  I must ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, for my patience is not strong, and my pain is something that I realize I can manage, if I just trust in him completely.   My dear readers, trust in God, have patience in His Divine Will, we all can do it with prayer.  Pray often, pray completely, pray earnestly, pray with devotion, but most of all pray with Love.

Father Jonathan Morris Lent Challenge

The Holy Father’s Final Angelus

“The Lord Calls Me Up the Mountain” – At the Window, The Farewell Begins

Keeping the focus on this Sunday’s Gospel – in this case, the account of the Transfiguration – even on his last weekly turn at his study window, here’s the Vatican’s English translation of B16’s final noondayAngelus….
Dear brothers and sisters – thank you for your affection!

On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy always presents us with the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke places particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John , the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).

The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, “This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him” (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new “exodus” (9:31) , not to the promised land as in the time of Moses, but to Heaven. Peter’s words: “Master, it is good that we are here” (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine says: “[Peter] … on the mountain … had Christ as the food of the soul. Why should he come down to return to the labours and pains, while up there he was full of feelings of holy love for God that inspired in him a holy conduct? “(Sermon 78.3).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back to the path, to action. “The Christian life – I wrote in my Message for Lent – consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love “(n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to “climb the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.

Four days until his resignation takes effect, before departing his perch for the last time the 265th Pope offered one parting word to a crowd that jammed St Peter’s Square and flowed out into the streets beyond….

“In preghiamo siamo siempre vicini!” – “In prayer, we are always close to each other!”

As the schedule stands, one last public word remains: at the Wednesday General Audience.

According to the parameters released by the Holy See Press Office, the departing pontiff’s meeting to the cardinals present in Rome the following day, hours before the vacancy occurs, will consist solely of individual words with each “prince of the church” – no speech is slated to be given.