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DECREE GRANTING PLENARY INDULGENCE FOR YEAR OF FAITH

We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire for conversion.

Where there is doubth I may bring faith

 

HOLY MASS FOR THE OPENING OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS AND PROCLAMATION OF ST JOHN OF AVILA AND OF ST HILDEGARD OF BINGEN AS "DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH"
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
Saint Peter's Square Sunday, 7 October 2012

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Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear brothers and sisters,

With this solemn concelebration we open the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. This theme reflects a programmatic direction for the life of the Church, its members, families, its communities and institutions. And this outline is reinforced by the fact that it coincides with the beginning of the Year of Faith, starting on 11 October, on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. I give a cordial and grateful welcome to you who have come to be part of the Synodal Assembly, in particular to the Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, and to his colleagues. I salute the fraternal delegates of the other churches and ecclesial communities as well as all present, inviting them to accompany in daily prayer the deliberations which will take place over the next three weeks.
The readings for this Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word propose to us two principal points of reflection: the first on matrimony, which I will touch shortly; and the second on Jesus Christ, which I will discuss now. We do not have time to comment upon the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews but, at the beginning of this Synodal Assembly, we ought to welcome the invitation to fix our gaze upon the Lord Jesus, “crowned with glory and honour, because of the suffering of death (2:9). The word of God places us before the glorious One who was crucified, so that our whole lives, and in particular the commitment of this Synodal session, will take place in the sight of him and in the light of his mystery. In every time and place, evangelization always has as its starting and finishing points Jesus Christ, the Son of God (cf. Mk 1:1); and the Crucifix is the supremely distinctive sign of him who announces the Gospel: a sign of love and peace, a call to conversion and reconciliation. My dear Brother Bishops, starting with ourselves, let us fix our gaze upon him and let us be purified by his grace.


I would now like briefly to examine the new evangelization, and its relation to ordinary evangelization and the mission ad Gentes. The Church exists to evangelize. Faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ’s command, his disciples went out to the whole world to announce the Good News, spreading Christian communities everywhere. With time, these became well-organized churches with many faithful. At various times in history, divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the Church’s evangelizing activity. We need only think of the evangelization of the Anglo-Saxon peoples or the Slavs, or the transmission of the faith on the continent of America, or the missionary undertakings among the peoples of Africa, Asia and Oceania. It is against this dynamic background that I like to look at the two radiant figures that I have just proclaimed Doctors of the Church, Saint John of Avila and Saint Hildegard of Bingen. Even in our own times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the Church a new effort to announce the Good News, a pastoral and spiritual dynamism which found a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse in theSecond Vatican Ecumenical Council. Such renewed evangelical dynamism produces a beneficent influence on the two specific “branches” developed by it, that is, on the one hand the Missio ad Gentes or announcement of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation, and on the other the New Evangelization, directed principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life. The Synodal Assembly which opens today is dedicated to this new evangelization, to help these people encounter the Lord, who alone who fills our existence with deep meaning and peace; and to favour the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life. Obviously, such a special focus must not diminish either missionary efforts in the strict sense or the ordinary activity of evangelization in our Christian communities, as these are three aspects of the one reality of evangelization which complement and enrich each other.


The theme of marriage, found in the Gospel and the first reading, deserves special attention. The message of the word of God may be summed up in the expression found in the Book of Genesis and taken up by Jesus himself: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24; Mk 10:7-8). What does this word say to us today? It seems to me that it invites us to be more aware of a reality, already well known but not fully appreciated: that matrimony is a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today, especially the dechristianized world. The union of a man and a woman, their becoming “one flesh” in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which in our days has become greater because unfortunately, for various reasons, marriage, in precisely the oldest regions evangelized, is going through a profound crisis. And it is not by chance. Marriage is linked to faith, but not in a general way. Marriage, as a union of faithful and indissoluble love, is based upon the grace that comes from the triune God, who in Christ loved us with a faithful love, even to the Cross. Today we ought to grasp the full truth of this statement, in contrast to the painful reality of many marriages which, unhappily, end badly. There is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage. And, as the Church has said and witnessed for a long time now, marriage is called to be not only an object but a subject of the new evangelization. This is already being seen in the many experiences of communities and movements, but its realization is also growing in dioceses and parishes, as shown in the recent World Meeting of Families.


One of the important ideas of the renewed impulse that the Second Vatican Council gave to evangelization is that of the universal call to holiness, which in itself concerns all Christians (cf.Lumen Gentium, 39-42). The saints are the true actors in evangelization in all its expressions. In a special way they are even pioneers and bringers of the new evangelization: with their intercession and the example of lives attentive to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they show the beauty of the Gospel to those who are indifferent or even hostile, and they invite, as it were tepid believers, to live with the joy of faith, hope and charity, to rediscover the taste for the word of God and for the sacraments, especially for the bread of life, the Eucharist. Holy men and women bloom among the generous missionaries who announce the Good News to non-Christians, in the past in mission countries and now in any place where there are non-Christians. Holiness is not confined by cultural, social, political or religious barriers. Its language, that of love and truth, is understandable to all people of good will and it draws them to Jesus Christ, the inexhaustible source of new life.


At this point, let us pause for a moment to appreciate the two saints who today have been added to the elect number of Doctors of the Church. Saint John of Avila lived in the sixteenth century. A profound expert on the sacred Scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of the sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a fruitful reform of the Church.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the twelfth century, offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation, and was learned in medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she maintained a great and faithful love for Christ and his Church.
This summary of the ideal in Christian life, expressed in the call to holiness, draws us to look with humility at the fragility, even sin, of many Christians, as individuals and communities, which is a great obstacle to evangelization and to recognizing the force of God that, in faith, meets human weakness. Thus, we cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire for conversion. The best path to the new evangelization is to let ourselves be reconciled with God and with each other (cf. 2 Cor 5:20). Solemnly purified, Christians can regain a legitimate pride in their dignity as children of God, created in his image and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and they can experience his joy in order to share it with everyone, both near and far.


Dear brothers and sisters, let us entrust the work of the Synod meeting to God, sustained by the communion of saints, invoking in particular the intercession of great evangelizers, among whom, with much affection, we ought to number Blessed Pope John Paul II, whose long pontificate was an example of the new evangelization. Let us place ourselves under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelization. With her let us invoke a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that from on high he may illumine the Synodal Assembly and make it fruitful for the Church’s journey today, in our time. Amen.

© Copyright 2012 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

 

Prayer Requesting Blessed Teresa's Intercession

 

Jesus, you made Blessed Teresa an inspiring example of firm faith and burning charity, an extraordinary witness to the way of spiritual childhood, and a great and esteemed teacher of the value and dignity of every human life. Grant that she may be venerated and imitated as one of the Church's canonized saints. Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially the petition I now implore... (mention here the favour you wish to pray for). May we follow her example in heeding Your cry of thirst from the Cross and joyfully loving You in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, especially those most unloved and unwanted. We ask this in Your name and through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and the Mother of us all. Amen.

 

 

 

Lord make me a channel of your peace, that where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

 

 

WEEK 1 

<<<Wallpapers with Scripture:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb 11:6).

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ (Phil 1:6).



Mother_Terasa

<<<Wallpapers with Mother Teresa's Words:
Recently one great Brazilian man, who had a high position, wrote to me that he had lost total faith in God and in man, and he gave up all—his position and everything, even watching television—and he only wanted to commit suicide. One day, as he was passing by a shop, his eyes suddenly fell on the television and there was the scene of Nirmal Hriday, the sisters looking after the sick and dying. And he wrote to me that after seeing that scene, for the first time after many years, he knelt and prayed. Now he has decided to turn back to God and have faith in humanity because he saw God still loves the world—he saw this on the television.
In all sincerity can I say when they look at me and my work, I show them Jesus, they see Jesus? I remember one day in Nirmal Hriday, there came a man. I was right at the entrance but he didn’t say a word to me. He passed me and went right to the lady’s side and watched a sister—the way she touched that lady, dressed her, combed her hair, fed her, and so on. Then he came back to me and told me, “I came Godless in this house, I am going full of faith. The way that sister touched the people was full of love. Now I know there is a God, there is Jesus.”
The other day a voluntary worker with long hair, like this, was talking to me and he kept on saying, “I don’t believe in God.” So I said to him, “Supposing, just now, as you were talking, you got a heart attack ... can you stop it?” He got such a surprise that he didn’t say that phrase any more. He was beginning to realize that, in the end, no matter how much we talk, we can’t change the time of our death. A few days later I heard that, after a lot of thought, he was beginning to make the reservation that there must be a God, somewhere!
Copyright © Mother Teresa Center

 

 

 


WEEK 2
 

<<<Wallpapers with Scripture:
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour (Matthew 8:5-13).
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:5-7).

 

 

 


<<<Wallpapers with Mother Teresa's Words: 
This morning I received Jesus in Holy Communion, do I think of that during the day? Do I turn to Jesus within me? It is the same Jesus that comes to us—that Jesus about whom we read in the Gospels. That woman just wanted to touch the fringe of his garment and she knew she would be made well. The centurion said: “I do not need to see you . . . speak but the word and my servant will be healed. I am not worthy to have you come to me.” This is the same Jesus who comes to us in Holy Communion. Do I believe it?
Let us remember that Jesus always praised the faith of people – therefore, often during the day we will pray:   “Jesus in my heart increase my faith, strengthen my faith.”
How holy we must all try to be—as to be able to be Jesus’ love, compassion and presence to the people and our sisters, so let us deepen our life of prayer, for the fruit of prayer is always [a] deepening of faith and where there is faith there is holiness. For Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” That is why our work for the poor is so real, so beautiful, because if our heart is pure we can see, we can touch Jesus—24 hours, because He has made it so clear, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren —You—did—it—to—Me.”  The Gospel in our five fingers—that is why we need that deep life of prayer—that will help us to grow in that intimate and personal love for Jesus and complete attachment to Him—so that our sisters & our poor can see Jesus in us, His love—His compassion. So, my dearest children, let us ask Our Lady to teach us to pray, to help us to pray.

 

 


WEEK 3

<<<Wallpapers with Scripture:
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (1 Thess. 5:8).


<<<Wallpapers with Mother Teresa's Words: 
...
I know God loves me. I know what God decides is only what is best for me. Not “I believe” but “I know.”  This is something much stronger than “I believe.” I believe God created me, He has redeemed me. If you know you are all right . . . Not enough if you say “I believe”—I know what Jesus taught. I know God has created me for better things. You are more important than that bird, that animal, that flower. I know [that when] I feed the hungry, I feed Him. Faith tells me that what God has said is true and the truth is in fidelity. “You did it to Me.” “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock...” I know—Jesus said so and it must be like that.
Here in the slums, in Nirmal Hriday, in the children, we see Christ in the broken body and we touch Him and that touch comes from that deep faith that Christ cannot deceive.  Faith is a gift of God, eh?  Without it, there would be no life and our work to be fruitful and to be all for God and beautiful has to be built on that faith.   Faith in Christ as He has said, I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick and I was homeless and you did it to me.   On this, His words, all our work is based and built on.  In these times of development, everybody is in a hurry and everybody’s in a rush but on the way there are always people falling on the two sides – those who are not able.  These are the ones that we want to love, serve, and pick up and take care of them. (From Something Beautiful for God)
Copyright © Mother Teresa Center

 

 


WEEK 4

<<<Wallpapers with Scripture:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" (Mt 14: 22-32).

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you (Lk 17:5-6).


<<<Wallpapers with Mother Teresa's Words:
Persuaded of our nothingness and with the blessing of obedience, we attempt all things, doubting nothing, for with God all things are possible (Mk. 10:27).
We will allow the good God to make plans for the future, for yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come and we have only today to make Him known, loved and served.
Let us remember, also, that Jesus cannot deceive us. This is why we must pray, and pray very much, “Lord increase my faith.” Pray everywhere and always. Let our work be a true prayer. Going up and down, studying, sweeping, going along the streets, we must pray and pray sincerely. “Lord, increase my faith, Lord, help my unbelief.” Who will teach you how to pray? The Holy Spirit. Invoke [Him] often, “Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray.” It is through prayer that we get the grace of a deep faith and faith comes through prayer.
By faith I mean conviction: Jesus abides in me; Jesus is in me; God loves me; I am created for greater things; God wants to do great things in me, with me and through me. . .  That conviction is my faith. . . If I have faith and I pray, then my love for Christ will be undivided. That undivided love for Christ is the fruit of my prayer.
Copyright © Mother Teresa Center

 

 

 


<<<Wallpapers with Prayer:
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you showed us the beauty of a life lived in and for love and you never stop reminding us that we are all “created for greater things, to love and be loved." Help us to live, like you, a life of love that is worthy of our calling as children of God. Amen



Copyright © Mother Teresa Center
Holy Fathers Words Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Porta Fidei>>>

Motu Proprio: Porta Fidei

So why now? It's no coincidence that the Year of Faith starts on 11 October - the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The word renewal comes to mind; 'Fresh wind for our sails' if we take the tagline from last year's Home Mission Sunday. In a sense, the Holy Father is inviting Catholics to take their faith and encounter with Christ to another level - to deepen and develop it. Baptism and Confirmation set us on the path but it's a long journey with downs as well as ups, doubts and challenges as well as revelation and joy. One thing's certain - Christ is the lifelong companion Pope Benedict refers to and this is a 12-month opportunity to get closer to Him.

Three months after the announcement and a full nine months before the Year of Faith itself, what is the Church doing to encourage the faithful and help us prepare? In Rome, on 6 January, Cardinal William Levada, President of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a number of pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith.

The guidance advocates meetings and gatherings, promotes pilgrimages to the Holy Land, encourages a deeper devotion to Mary and asks Catholics to engage closely with the teachings, homilies and addresses of the Holy Father. More specifically, the Congregation provides dioceses and parishes with ideas to get the most out of what is sure to be a grace-filled Year.

Cardinal Levada also notes that World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, falls during the year - July 2013 - and will offer the opportunity for young Catholic pilgrims "to experience the joy which comes from faith in the Lord Jesus and communion with the Holy Father, in the greater family of the Church".

Visit Vatican.va to read the pastoral recommendations in full.

 

Did you know?

The first Motu Proprio was issued by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484*.
*The Catholic Encycopedia - New Advent

Links

News
16/10/11
Pope Announces "Year of Faith"

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Motu Proprio: Porta Fidei

Homily on opening the door of faith - Cardinal Piacenza

 

Official Year of Faith website of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization

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