As we continue to celebrate the Easter season and the start of spring, I can't help but make mention of all the new life that is growing all around us. Today as I was driving I was noticing all the beautiful flowers that are starting to bloom, and it got me thinking about what kinds of plants we are going to have in our garden this year.
One really interesting flower is the Pasque flower which is a part of the buttercup family. Known and recognized as the Easter flower, its name comes from the French word for Easter. The Pasque flower blooms from April till June with beautiful purple or red flowers.
Legend says that these flowers grew alongside the tomb of Jesus and were a part of his magnificent Resurrection. Interestingly, the Pasque plant is used to help those who have trouble seeing. Maybe by planting a few Pasque flowers, it will help us see Christ more clearly in the world around us.
With Pope Benedict XVI reaching both his 85th birthday and the seventh anniversary of his election as pope within days of one another, I got to thinking about things papal. Benedict is already older than John Paul II was at his death in 2005 and is now the oldest reigning pope since Leo XIII, who died at age 93 in 1903 after reigning for 25 years. Though he seems to be going along pretty strong, Benedict is also the only pope in living memory to discuss publicly the possibility of resignation. In a book in 2010 he said he would not hesitate to resign if he felt no longer able "physically, psychologically, and spiritually" to govern the Catholic Church. The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months.
|POPE Gregory XVI,
On a marginally related note, I did a little digging to settle a question I have had for a while about who was the last member of a religious order to be pope. A number of popes, going back to the 13th century and also including all the popes from Pius IX, who began his reign in 1846, to and including John XXIII, who died in 1963, were members of the Order of Franciscans Secular, which while officially an order is different from the communities you can find out more about here on VISION (for more info on the Secular Franciscans, go to nafra-sfo.org). Anyway, the last pope to be a member of an order other than the Seculars was Gregory XVI, who reigned from 1831 to 1846 and was a member of the Camaldolese order of Benedictine monks founded by Saint Romuald in the 11th century (New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, CA is a contemporary Camaldolese community in the U.S.) (BTW, Gregory was also the last pope to be elected who was not a bishop—he was consecrated one only after his election.)
WASHINGTON—the U.S. bishops want to provide an opportunity for all Catholics to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, according to a new document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization focuses on reaching out to Catholics, practicing or not, who have lost a sense of the faith in an effort to re-energize them.
“Every Catholic has a role in the Church, and every Catholic is called to spread the Gospel,” said Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. “But in order to evangelize, a person must first be evangelized. This is really the heart of the New Evangelization.”
The document examines what the New Evangelization is, its focus, its importance for the Church and how dioceses and parishes can promote it.
“The New Evangelization is a call to each person to deepen his or her own faith, have confidence in the Gospel, and possess a willingness to share the Gospel,” the document states. “It is a personal encounter with the person of Jesus, which brings peace and joy. The New Evangelization provides the lens through which people experience the Church and the world around them.”
The document highlights the call of Pope Benedict XVI to pursue the New Evangelization with renewed vigor and joy. It also provides dioceses and parishes with resources to assist Catholics in renewing their faith and sharing it with others.
The full text of the document is available online: click link
Source: US Conference of Catholic Bishops
One of our editors Dan Grippo found this interesting book that focuses on the tensions between Catholics and Muslims. Below is a brief description of the book and a link to its page on Amazon.
Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World
David Carlson Ph.D. (Author)
"If revenge and retaliation are the best responses that our nation could muster after 9/11, then Jesus did not have to come, live among us, and preach a radical understanding of 'neighbor' that includes the enemy."
In the wake of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, as tensions rise between Christians and Muslims, author and religious studies professor David Carlson seeks guidance in the modern-day deserts of monastic communities across America. Are Christianity and Islam destined to confront one other as clashing civilizations? Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World clearly answers "No."
Peace Be With You is the result of more than thirty interviews with abbots, nuns, monks, and other seekers at monasteries and retreat centers. Carlson reveals the untapped wisdom of these men and women in their own words as they speak with hope to a suffering world. Follow the author on this personal, moving, and at times difficult journey, and discover a new yet ancient basis for genuine peace between Christianity and other religions-especially Islam.
"It is time for Christians to use their power to change the conversation," Carlson says, "to ponder Jesus' command to treat the stranger as our neighbor and to treat our neighbor not only as ourselves, but as God in our midst."
|CU's President John Garvey helps paint with students|
Today marks the end of the Easter Triduum and the beginning of the Easter Season, which lasts for seven weeks ending on Pentecost Sunday.
This is a season full of life! Spring time is emerging and all the flowers are in bloom. Birds are filling the air with sweet hymns and new leaves are sprouting on the trees.
From here until Pentecost Sunday, the calendar is full with First Communions, Mother’s Day, Graduations and more. The Church tells us, “This is the perfect time of the year to celebrate life.”
So Enjoy this season of life and goodness. Let the Paschal candle burn brightly in your hearts throughout this season and let it remind you of the Holy Spirit that works within you.
Happy Easter Season!
Today marks Maundy Thursday or as we know it Holy Thursday. It was written in the Gospel of John; Jesus washes the feet of his disciples on Holy Thursday, the day before his crucifixion.
As we look forward to Easter and the Resurrection of the Lord, we begin to prepare ourselves for his death. Wherever in the world Catholics may be preparing to celebrate Easter, their thoughts and prayers are sent to the Holy Land, the land of Christ’s birth. In order to help us get ready for this season’s mysteries, what better place to go than to Jerusalem – the city of the Lord’s Passion, death and Resurrection.
Fr. David Neuhaus, the Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew speaking Catholics reflects on Holy Thursday and its importance in our own lives. Take a listen to his reflection and try to spend some quiet time with the Lord today. For more reflections on Holy Week or news about the Church, please check out Vatican Radio.