Search
   
 
Header_Church
Reactions
to this post
0

Year of Mercy – The “Spirit of the Immaculata”


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 13/11/2016

As we now approach the end of the special Year of Mercy, it is so important that we learn to understand our Lady and in a much more humane way, and to think about in much simpler and ordinary way. God has asked to be the Mother of all the Faithful, and he gave her a motherly heart and the eyes of a mother. If human mothers are able to achieve wonderful things out of love for their children and remain faithful to them no matter what, how much more should we be able to claim this for our heavenly Mother! For this reason, we can say with Saint Herman: “Turn your eyes of mercy towards us”. We honour our Blessed Mother as the Immaculate Conception in the teaching of the Church. Her purity can also become for us a great gift of mercy. She can instil in our lives and hearts the true spirit of the “Immaculata”. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: “Blessed the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8) when we see God, what will we see? We will see a God who is full of love and mercy, and whose constant care for us simply never ends. We will see a God who is a loving Father, who wants to open the “floodgates” of mercy in our lives. However, we can turn this round and also say, “Blessed are those who see God, then they will be pure of heart”. Every Christian is called to live a chaste life, a pure life. The more we embrace the pure atmosphere of our Lady, then the more chance we have that we will also see God. The more we draw closer to God, and the more we cultivate a dialogue of love with him, then the more we will understand and be able to live out the lifestyle of purity. The more we see God in everyone and then everything, the more we speak to him every day in a dialogue of love, the more we are willing to do sacrifices every day from God, then the more we will be in possession of purity in our own lives. Our Lady reveals to us the new image of God, that is so important particularly for our modern-day times, God is not the God, firstly, of justice, or vengeance or punishment. He is, before anything else, the God of an endless love and boundless mercy. Father Kentenich spoke extensively about the “spirit of the Immaculata”: The spirit of purity is sometimes called the “spirit of the Immaculate Heart” or the “Immaculata-Spirit”. How do we live our lives, how do we develop a lifestyle that makes sure that an atmosphere of purity or a genuine and healthy spirit of purity really is present in our homes and lives? The spirit of the immaculate heart, or the spirit of purity should always be somewhere in our lives. It shouldn’t only be an atmosphere in our own homes, it should also be an atmosphere in ourselves.  It is a question of lifestyle. If we allow this type of spirit to grow in us, and we reach out for the chaste life, then we will make the right choices and we will have a sure foundation to see things in the right way, and understand things in the right way. It is very important that each one of us develops a spirit of purity in their own lives. We have to find ways that we can be responsible for ourselves and fully responsible for our own life choices and for our growth in the faith. We are speaking about the need for a concrete training in purity. What is faith? It is finding God in everything and in everyone. Another way to describe this is “making everything a window to God” In other words, I can “see through” people as if they were a window and discover God in them, I can “see through” everything that there is and see God there – present and active. The basis of our understanding of ourselves and creation can be described in the image of a “window”. Everything and everyone on this earth is, without exception, a “window” to God. This means, that we should be able to “see-through” things and people and events and also our own feelings and even our own bodies, and see God. In other words, we try to understand ourselves and our own desires in the way that God sees them and in the way that God thinks about them. All creation has a value in itself. but it also has a symbolic value. If we want to lead people to a life to faith, it has to become our constant task, to refer always to the symbolic value of things. This includes, in a special way, the deeper meaning of sex and sexuality. Everything and everyone should be “transparent”–so that we can see God and worship God. If we apply this to our training for purity, then this means that anything to do with sexuality, or our bodies, or the understanding of our bodies or our sexual desires should all become a “window” to God. Without this basic understanding of the true meaning of sexuality, and how sexuality plays a part in our spiritual and religious lives, then everything we say about purity or leading a chaste life will not be understood fully, and will not be seen as a positive value. If we can “see-through” everyone and everything – including sexuality – then this means that we look deeper, and that we actually seek a deeper understanding. All of creation – and of course, sexuality in a special way – has a symbolic value, and a symbolic meaning. If we are going to have a successful training in chastity, then it is always going to be a continuous issue, to help ourselves and others see the symbolic value of things, and also to see the symbolic value of sexuality. God uses everything and everyone to reach us. God uses everything and everyone to draw us to himself. God uses everything and everyone to share his Trinitarian life with us. It is as if all of creation is reaching out to us and leading us to God. It is as if all of creation is a messenger from God. There is nothing in creation that doesn’t lead us to God, if we see and embrace the symbolic value. God also wants to draw us closer to himself in our sexual lives. Our sexual life is not separate from God or from this reality. God draws us closer to himself through our sexuality for this reason, we must find ways to understand our sexuality in this light. We have to find ways to make our bodies, sex, and our sexual desires a “window” to God – transparent for God. Everything and everyone points to the Creator. Our sexuality also points to God if we understand it in the right way. Everyone and everything is God’s gift of love to each one of us. And this means that sex, our bodies and our sexual desires are also a gift of love from God. In them, and in all these things, God tries to prove his unconditional love for us. And when God shows us his love what does he expect in return? He expects our response of love, our answer of love. If we see everything in the light of faith, then we will understand that God’s gifts of love and God’s proofs of love are waiting for our loving response in return. Training in purity then begins with “seeing through” our sexuality and finding God. Let us turn to Mary Immaculate and say: “Mary, conceived with sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”

Reactions
to this post
0

Year of Mercy – “I will never forget you” Part III


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 17/04/2016

The understanding and significance of mercy in the New Testament flows from the witness of the Old Testament – there is a powerful continuity at work. Some parts of the Old Testament are even quoted in the New Testament, regarding the reality and power of mercy. There are many texts in the New Testament that speak about the merciful love of God to his people: for example, we have the different parables that Jesus told to reveal to us how powerful the merciful love of God is: The parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32), the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7) and also the parable of the loss coin (Luke 15:8-10) are all wonderful examples. In all these parables the merciful love of God, our Father, becomes so clear and comforting. The Gospel of Luke, without doubt, is where the theme and the witness of mercy is expressed in a special way. For this reason St Luke’s Gospel is also known as the “Gospel of mercy”. In this Gospel, we have, for example, the wonderful song of Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:50), and the three Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son (Chapter 15). Jesus does not only speak about the merciful love of God. His proclamation of God’s mercy is intimately connected with all that he does and says, and his own personal life. Because he wants to proclaim mercy everywhere and at all times, Christ heals the sick, he comforts the sad and he goes out of his way to encounter in love the sinner, and even goes out of his way to find the lost at every turn. At the same time, Jesus calls his followers to follow his example and be inspired and motivated by love and mercy. They should allow their own lives and actions to be guided by the gift of mercy. Jesus asks us to be merciful to each other. And he praises those and calls them blessed who are willing to give this kind of love to others: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7). Jesus challenges us to be truly merciful to each other and also to forgive each other. Naturally, the request to forgive each other in generosity does not cancel out the demands of justice. When we forgive, when we show mercy, it never means that we capitulate before evil, or before suffering or insults. Each time in the Gospels, for example, when forgiveness is talked about or explained, it always includes the message to put things right and to alleviate suffering, and even to perform atonement for the many hurts or insults that have been endured. For this reason, justice will always belong to the basic structure of mercy. However, mercy gives justice and much deeper and much more healing content. This expresses itself in the fullest way when we forgive each other. (more…)

Reaction
to this post
1

Fourth Tuesday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/12/2014

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Take some time to find a moment of inner peace, and pray: Blessed Mother Mary, we have given ourselves to you, and you have given yourself to us. We have made a covenant of love with you and you have made a covenant with us. From the depths of our hearts, we ask you: Care that our longing for the Lord will never decrease, and never be held back by slavery to possessions and material things. Break the chains that bind us here on earth. Help us to sing a hymn of love to the Lord, that echoes and re-echoes everywhere in our lives. Amen. (Joseph Kentenich)

 

 

Reactions
to this post
0

Fourth Monday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/12/2014

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:1,16)

If it’s true that each one of us is the “result” of God’s plan, it must also be true that Mary is the “most perfect result”, in fact the “masterpiece” of God’s love, wisdom, and power. In a unique way she is the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), that St Paul spoke about. She is the Woman who has “the touch of paradise” – redeemed from original sin, full of life. Mary, as the first of the Lord’s disciples, can show us in her life and faith what it means to follow Jesus. What are the experiences in Mary’s life than can give us strength on our journey? What gift could we ask for to help us prepare our hearts for Christmas?

Reactions
to this post
0

Fourth Sunday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 21/12/2014

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Advent is that special season when we long for Jesus to take on form in us. Mary’s mission is to care that this really happens. She is the “masterpiece” of God’s creation, she is the “mirror of hope”, she is the “Advent dawn” that leads us securely to the true light of the world, Jesus Christ. During the days of Advent we always celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (on 8th December). She shows us, and gives witness to, what grace can do in someone’s life. When we look at her, we can understand what the Lord also wants to achieve in us – the fully redeemed Christian person. She is a sign of the Lord’s light; we can be signs of light as well. She is a sign of the Lord’s peace; we too can spread peace, and dispel unrest and anxiety. Mary is a sign of the Lord’s victory; we too can be “success stories” of grace, and not necessarily some kind of “failure”. Mary, the Dawn, gives witness in her life to the three elements that nourish our Advent hope: Longing for the Lord, trusting in the Lord, and working with the Lord. Let’s look at each in turn. They can be an inspiration and help to us… (more…)

Reactions
to this post
0

Five Messages of Pope Francis to Schoenstatt


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 31/10/2014

First Message: Support the family and defend marriage – both of which have never before been attacked as they are today. This was Pope Francis’ reflection to the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement whom he received in Paul VI Hall on October 25th, on the occasion of the centenary of its foundation of the Movement in October 1914 by Father Joseph Kentenich. The meeting, in which some 7,500 people took part, was animated by a conversation between the Pope and those present, and by testimonies and videos of the community, spouses, families and young people from some fifty countries. The Holy Father continued: “That the family is hit, that the family is knocked and that the family is debased as [how can this be] a way of association … Can everything be called a family? How many families are divided, how many marriages are broken, how much relativism there is in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage. At present, from a sociological point of view and from the point of view of human values, as well as, in fact, of the Catholic Sacrament, of the Christian Sacrament, there is a crisis of the family, a crisis because it is hit from all sides and left very wounded!.. We are witnessing”, he notes, the “reduction of the Sacrament to a rite… the Sacrament is made a social event… [but] the social [dimension] covers the fundamental thing, which is union with God… What they are proposing is not marriage, it is an association, but it is not marriage! It is necessary to say things very clearly and we must say this! The pastoral helps, but in this alone it is necessary that it be ‘body to body.’ Therefore support, and this also means to waste time. The great teacher of wasting time is Jesus! He wasted time to support, to have consciences mature, to heal wounds, to teach. To support is to journey together.” Connected with this, the Holy Father expressed concern that engaged couples engage in a profound preparation for marriage, have support, and understand the meaning of “forever” which today is disputed by the “culture of the provisional.” He urged them not to be scandalized by what happens, “family tragedies, the destruction of families, the children” who suffer because of their parents’ disagreements, but also [because of] the new [forms] of living together. “They are new forms, totally destructive and limiting of the grandeur of the love of matrimony. There are so many [persons] living together, and separations and divorces: therefore, the key to know how to help is ‘body to body,’ supporting and not engaging in proselytism, because this does not lead to any result: to support with patience.” In front of the symbols of Schoenstatt’s spirituality — the Cross of the mission, linked to the Movement’s strong missionary impulse, and the image of the Pilgrim Virgin and then the reading of the Gospel on the Visitation, with the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth — those present asked the Pope about his “great love for the Virgin” and his “way of seeing the missionary role” of Our Lady. (more…)

Reactions
to this post
0

Covenant of Love Day in Brasil – Not just World Cup


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 02/07/2014

Geraldo Alckmin, the Governor of the State of São Paulo, has officially instituted October 18th of every year beginning in 2014, as a commemorative date as the Covenant of Love Day.  Therefore, Law N° 15.462 is published in the official calendar of the State of São Paulo as “Covenant of Love Day”. “The Covenant of Love Day was established and it will be celebrated annually on October 18th in the State of São Paulo”.  This is the published text of Law 15462 in the Official Journal of the State, on June 20th, signed by Governor Geraldo Alckmin. In her report, Rita Passos, the state representative, justifies the influence of the Schoenstatt Movement in the Brasilian culture through the thousands of families who receive the visit of the Schoenstatt Picture of Mary, the Pilgrim Mother. The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign has brought forth “true missionaries, an authentic campaign of evangelization integrated to the objectives and projects of the diocese and the Brazilian National Conference of Bishops – CNBB”. Moreover, she mentions the influence of the Schoenstatt Shrine in Atibaia, which is a centre of pilgrimage and of prayer and considered a holy place, visited by thousands of people who come to express gratitude, to ask for graces or simply to learn about it, since it is about a place “where it is good to be”. The favourable votes of the other representatives and the approval of the governor are the recognition of the reality that was presented:  the very positive influence of the Covenant of Love, that will be one hundred years old, is part of the Brasilian culture. In this way a commemorative date is added to the entire state that accommodates more than 21% of the total population of Brazil, more than 43.6 million people. The celebration of this date is an important contribution for the present and the future, the Covenant of Love exercises an important influence in the history and in the culture of all Brazil. It is worthwhile to recall that in some cities this date is already officially celebrated by public agencies, such as in Londrina for this year 2014, and the city of Confins, which has introduced a Public Holiday on October 18th, because of the influence of the Schoenstatt Covenant of Love among its population. [From Sister M. Nilza P. da Silva]

« older posts