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This makes me think…

The Church’s proclamation on the family finds its foundation in the life and preaching of Jesus, who lived and grew up in the family of Nazareth. He attended the wedding at Cana, which he honoured by performing the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11) and presented himself as the Bridegroom who unites himself to his Bride (cf. Jn 3:29). On the cross, he gave himself up with a love to the very end and, in his resurrected body, established new relationships among people. By revealing the fullness of divine mercy, Jesus allows man and woman to recover that “principle” according to which God unites them in one flesh (cf. Mt 19:4-6) and for which — by the grace of Christ — they are enabled to be faithful to each other and love each other forever. Therefore, the divine measure of conjugal love, to which spouses are called by grace, has its source in “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (EG, 36), the very heart of the Gospel.

Jesus, in assuming human love, also perfected it (cf. GS, 49), giving man and woman a new manner of loving, which has its foundation in the irrevocable faithfulness of God. In light of this, the Letter to the Ephesians has identified in the married love between a man and a woman, “the great mystery” which makes present in this world the love between Christ and the Church (cf.Eph 5:31-32). A married couple possesses the charism (cf. 1 Cor 7:7) of building up the Church with their spousal love and the task of the procreation and rearing of children. United in an indissoluble sacramental bond, the spouses live the beauty of love, fatherhood and motherhood and the dignity of participating, in this way, in God’s creative work.

 Throughout the centuries, the Church has maintained her constant teaching on marriage and family. One of the highest expressions of this teaching was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to promoting the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. GS, 47-52). This document defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. GS, 48), placing love at the center of the family and manifesting, at the same time, the truth of this love in counter distinction to the various forms of reductionism present in contemporary culture. The “true love between husband and wife” (GS, 49) implies a mutual gift of self and includes and integrates the sexual and affective aspects, according to the divine plan (cf. GS, 48-49). Furthermore, Gaudium et Spes, 48 emphasizes the grounding of the spouses in Christ. Christ the Lord “comes into the lives of married Christians through the Sacrament of Matrimony,” and remains with them. In the Incarnation, he assumes human love, purifies it and brings it to fulfillment. Through his Spirit, he enables the bride and groom to live their love and makes that love permeate every part of their lives of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the bride and groom are, so to speak, consecrated and, through his grace, they build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic Church (cf. LG, 11), so that the Church, in order to fully understand her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way.

Instrumentum Laboris, par. 2,3, & 4-

“The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” (in preparation for the Synod on the Family this fall)

 

 

Some links to bookmark for the Conclave, plus an informative 5min video on the making of the pope

Some links to bookmark for the Conclave, plus an informative 5min video on the making of the pope

Now that the conclave will begin on Tuesday, let us continue to lift the Cardinals who will select our next pope in our prayers. There’s a few helpful links that you may wish to bookmark for the exciting days ahead listed below.

Here’s a well-done video from Catholic News Service on the making of the pope…

Some informational commentary from around the blogosphere:

Whispers in the Loggia by Rocco Palmo – the respected Vatican news hound of the Catholic blogosphere

Catholic Channel at Patheos – many blogs and articles on this site, including my own.

Word on Fire will do the “Word from Rome” segments, and reports that Fr Robert Barron has been hired by NBC to bring his commentary to their coverage.

SQPN’s Fr Roderick is podcasting and reporting from Rome!

Electing the Pope – a new site launched to educate and answer questions about the papal election

Aleteia – many articles and newsy items

Catholic Fire – Prayers for the Election of a Pope featured on this blog post

Focus.org offers How the Papal Announcement is made in Latin, complete with videos of previous announcements of Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I. You can also sign up for their Pope Alarm so as not to miss the news of a new pope that follows the “white smoke”.

Reliable Catholic News agencies:

News.VA

Vatican Radio/ News 

Catholic News Service

National Catholic Register

Zenit

Don’t forget to tune into your Catholic television and radio sources in your area and online!

Many diocesan websites and diocesan newspapers are also providing coverage.

There are new apps available:  the Pope App and the Conclave App.

 

New Women Saints for the USA in the Year of Faith

Exciting developments in Rome Sunday as we continue to observe the Year of Faith! Two new women saints from the USA are named among seven new saints.

First, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first woman saint who was a native American. Here’s a brief excerpt from Pope Benedict’s homily announcing her name:

Last year, I profiled Kateri’s life and thoughts in my column at Patheos, and back on Among Women #16, I also shared about her.

The next American woman was St. Marianne Cope,a German-born woman who emigrated to the US as a small child. I also recently profiled her life on Among Women #115. Here’s more from the Pope about her:

Welcome to the Year of Faith! (Great links to get you started and to bookmark.)

Welcome to the Year of Faith! (Great links to get you started and to bookmark.)

Welcome to the Year of Faith!

The Year of Faith is actually slightly longer than a full year: October 11, 2012 through November 23, 2013.  It has a three-fold focus: knowing our Catholic faith, living it out both sacramentally within the church and in the world, and sharing the faith through evangelization and catechesis. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a plan for yourself as to what you might do to grow in those three areas.

Here are some links to help us get the most out of this year.

An Overview of the Year of Faith

  • The Calendar for the Year of Faith highlights special Vatican-sponsored events for the coming year including special days to celebrate the canonizations of new saints, lay and religious vocations, confirmations, World Youth Day, devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary and Marian devotion, and more.
  • The Pope and the bishops of the world are meeting in a Synod through the month of October. The theme of those meeting is the new evangelization. The document that contains the agenda for those meetings is found here.

Knowing Your Faith

Get to know the Bible. Most newcomers to bible study get comfortable by first looking at the Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. Here’s an excellent bible commentary series on the New Testament for personal study or for groups, plus a New Testament study bible to with wonderful study helps built right into its pages.

Get to know the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This landmark reference work is the first update to the universal catechism the Church has had in 400 years, since the Council of Trent. It’s a masterpiece of all the Church believes, worships, lives, and prays. The Year of Faith celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Catechism’s reception. Find one at your local Catholic bookseller, or you may enjoy these resources

  • YOUCAT: the Catechism for youth

Read the Documents of Vatican II. The Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. Read the documents online, or buy a copy from your local Catholic bookseller. Need a place to start? Try reading Lumen Gentium (The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church). It is 8 chapters long and it is the key to unlocking the themes of the council found in the rest of the documents. Also, coming soon: a film on the historic Council known as Vatican II.

Discover Catholic programming to strengthen your faith through the national television ministries of Catholic TV and EWTN, and look to your local diocesan programming as well. Don’t forget Catholic radio networks, many of which can be found here. If you enjoy new media, SQPN is a Catholic podcasting network. Or, subscribe to Catholic newspapers, magazines, and your diocesan paper.

Watch a DVD. Try the 10-part Catholicism DVD series from Word on Fire. It is often shown in parishes and dioceses, as well as on Catholic television. It is also available for purchase.

Take a course. Pillars of Catholicism is a free online course that is being offered by the professors of John Paul the Great University. This series is a self-professed crash course in the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith. It consists of 13 episodes, each a half-hour long. A new episode will be unlocked each week and will be permanently accessible. The course and all materials it provides are free.

Interested in subject matter related to women and the feminine genius? Watch for my new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, due for release in March 2013. And for your personal and group study I recommend the ministry of Endow, which supports nearly 20,000 women in study groups across the US and Canada.

Living Your Faith

Get more out of the Mass. Try these resources:

  • Magnificat is a print subscription, or use their app for your smart phone to access the daily readings, commentary, and morning and evening prayer.

Pray more and increase your devotional life. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Discover the Liturgy of the Hours. Longtime the prayer practice of priests and religious, many lay people enjoy praying the liturgy of the hours in whole or in part. You can purchase a breviary from your local Catholic bookseller, or online, by going to Universalis or the Divine Office. Modified versions of morning prayer and evening prayer are found in Magnificat.
  • Receive a plenary indulgence for your religious practice by fulfilling certain requirements during the Year of Faith. Elizabeth Scalia offers understanding on the plenary indulgence.
  • Make a holy hour, or go to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Find a chapel that offers Adoration here.

Sharing Your Faith

A baptized Catholic is baptized into the mission of the Church. Therefore, we, too, are called to spread the faith to others. Get started with these resources:

  • New Evangelizers website has blog posts and free resources that can help you make a faith connection with others.

Official Icon of the Year of Faith
Christ the Pantocrator – Cefalu, Sicily (Photo by Xerones, on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xerones/464417485/in/photostream/

 

The information shared here is also found in numerous links I prepared for my column at Patheos. Read the original article here. You can subscribe to it via RSS or email here. It has also been shared in an audio format on the Among Women Podcast