February 3, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY:


CONSECRATED LIFE EXPRESSES SUPERABUNDANCE OF DIVINE LOVE

VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2010 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Basilica at 5.30 p.m. yesterday Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the Day of Consecrated Life.

  The Pope recalled how it was John Paul III who, in 1997, decided that this Day should coincide with the Feast of the Presentation. "In fact", he said, "the oblation of the Son of God - as symbolised by His presentation in the Temple - represents a model for all men and women who consecrate their lives to the Lord.

  "This Day", he added, "has a triple aim: firstly, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; secondly, to promote awareness and respect for consecrated life among all the People of God; and finally, to invite those who have fully dedicated their own lives to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels the Lord has worked in them".

  The Holy Father then went on to comment on one of the readings from today's liturgy, a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews in which "Christ is presented as the Mediator: He is true God and true man, and therefore truly belongs to the divine and the human worlds", the Pope said. "It is, in fact, only on the basis of this faith, of this profession of faith in Jesus Christ the one and definitive Mediator, that consecrated life has meaning in the Church, a life consecrated to God through Christ. It has meaning only if He truly is the Mediator between God and us, otherwise it would merely be a form of sublimation or evasion".

  "Consecrated life", the Pope went on, "is a 'strong' expression of God's and man's reciprocal search for one another. ... Consecrated people, by the very fact of their existence, represent a kind of 'bridge' towards God for everyone they meet. ... This is by virtue of the mediation of Christ, Who was consecrated by the Father. He is the foundation, He Who shared our frailty that we might share in His divine nature".

  "Consecrated people experience the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God, not only for themselves but also for their brothers and sisters, being called to carry in their hearts and their prayers the anguish and desires of mankind, especially those who are far from God. Cloistered communities in particular, with their specific commitment to faithfulness in 'being with the Lord' and in 'standing under the cross', often play this intermediate role, united to Christ in the Passion, taking upon themselves the suffering and trials of others and joyfully offering everything for the salvation of the world".

  Consecrated life "is a testament to the superabundance of love which stimulates us to 'lose' our own life in response to the superabundance of the love of the Lord, Who first 'lost' His life for us. At this moment my thoughts go to consecrated people who feel the burden of a daily fatigue that offers scant human gratification, I think of elderly and sick religious, and those who face difficulties in their apostolate. None of them are useless, because the Lord associates them with the 'throne of grace'; rather, they are a precious gift for the Church, and for the world which thirsts for God and His Word".

  Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that the current Year for Priests "may be a further opportunity for regular priests to intensify their journey to sanctification, and a stimulus for all consecrated people to accompany and support their ministry with fervent prayer".

 

ST. DOMINIC, A TRUE PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL

VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope spoke about the life and work of St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers, or Dominican Order.

  St. Dominic was born in Caleruega, near the Spanish city of Burgos, in the year 1170. While still a student he "distinguished himself for his interest in the study of Sacred Scriptures and his love for the poor". Having been ordained a priest he was elected as canon of the cathedral of Osma, however "he did not consider this as a personal privilege, nor as the first step in a brilliant ecclesiastical career; rather, as a service to be rendered with dedication and humility. Do not career and power represent a temptation to which even those who have roles of leadership and government in the Church are not immune?" the Pope asked.

  He then explained how the bishop of Osma "soon noted Dominic's spiritual qualities and sought his collaboration. Together they travelled to northern Europe on diplomatic missions. ... On his journeys Dominic became aware of ... the existence of peoples still un-evangelised, ... and of the religious divides that weakened Christian life in the south of France, where the activity of certain heretical groups created disturbance and distanced people from the truth of the faith".

  Pope Honorius III asked Dominic "to dedicate himself to preaching to the Albigensians" and he "enthusiastically accepted this mission, which he undertook through the example of his own life of poverty and austerity, through preaching the Gospel and through public discussions".

  "Christ", the Pope went on, "is the most precious treasure that men and women of all times and places have the right to know and love! It is consoling to see how also in today's Church there are many people (pastors and lay faithful, members of ancient religious orders and of new ecclesial movements) who joyfully give their lives for the supreme ideal of announcing and bearing witness to the Gospel".

  As more and more companions joined him, Dominic established his first house in the French city of Toulouse, from which the Order of Preachers came into being. "He adopted the ancient Rule of St. Augustine, adapting it to the requirements of an itinerant apostolic life in which he and his confreres would move from one place to another preaching, but always returning to their convents, places of study, prayer and community life".

  St. Dominic, the Holy Father continued, "was keen that his followers should have a solid theological formation, and did not hesitate to send them to the universities of the time". There they dedicated themselves to the study of theology, "founded on Holy Scripture but respectful of the questions raised by reason".

  The Pope encouraged everyone, "pastors and lay people, to cultivate this 'cultural dimension' of the faith, that the beauty of Christian truth may be better understood and the faith truly nourished, strengthened and defended. In this Year for Priests, I invite seminarians and priests to respect the spiritual value of study. The quality of priestly ministry also depends on the generosity with which we apply ourselves to studying revealed truths".

  Dominic died in Bologna in 1221 and was canonised in 1234. "With his sanctity, he shows us two indispensable means for making apostolic activity more incisive", the Pope concluded; "firstly, Marian devotion", especially the praying of the Rosary "which his spiritual children had the great merit of popularising", and secondly, "the value of prayers of intercession for the success of apostolic work".

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