Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mémorial de St. Philippe Néri - Easter Sunday 6: Awaiting the Paraclete - Kateri Native Ministries Assembly


SAINT PHILIPPE de NÉRI

Fondateur de l'Oratoire (1515-1595)

Philippe naquit à Florence le 22 juillet 1515. Dès son enfance, on l'appelait le bon petit Philippe, tant il était bon, doux et aimable. Vers l'âge de dix-huit ans, il renonça à la fortune d'un de ses oncles pour aller à Rome étudier les sciences ecclésiastiques. Rien de plus édifiant que sa vie d'étudiant: pauvreté, mortification, prière, travail, silence, vie cachée, habitaient sa modeste cellule.

Après plusieurs années d'étude opiniâtre dans les universités, il travailla seul, quelques années encore, dans le silence et la solitude, et quand, devenu prêtre par obéissance, il commença à se livrer au ministère des âmes, son esprit facile et profond avait acquis une science fort remarquable. Son angélique pureté eut à subir les plus rudes assauts; mais il sortit toujours vainqueur de tous les pièges, et reçut comme récompense la grâce de ne jamais ressentir, le reste de sa vie, aucun mouvement, même involontaire, de la concupiscence charnelle.

Un jour, Philippe fut tellement embrasé de l'amour de Dieu, que deux de ses côtes se rompirent pour donner plus de liberté à ses élans séraphiques. Souvent ses entretiens avec Notre-Seigneur étaient si suaves, qu'il n'y pouvait tenir et se mourait de joie, ce qui lui faisait pousser ce cri: "Assez, Seigneur, assez!"

Philippe visitait les hôpitaux, soignait les malades, assistait et instruisait les pauvres, passait de longues nuits dans la prière, aux catacombes, sur les tombeaux des martyrs. Partout et à toute occasion, il cherchait à gagner des âmes à Dieu.

Il aimait surtout les jeunes gens; il les attendait à la sortie des écoles, se mêlait à leurs rangs et conversait avec eux; il les abordait sur les places publiques, les cherchait jusque dans les ateliers et les magasins, en confessait une multitude, en retirait un grand nombre du vice. "Amusez-vous bien, leur disait-il souvent; mais n'offensez pas le bon Dieu!"

Aussi Philippe exerçait-il sur l'enfance et la jeunesse un ascendant irrésistible, et nul mieux que lui ne mérite d'être regardé comme le Patron des Oeuvres de jeunesse. Le Saint fonda la Société des Prêtres de l'Oratoire.

Philippe jouait pour ainsi dire avec les miracles, et les résurrections de morts ne coûtaient rien à cet homme extraordinaire. Il se regardait, malgré tout, comme le plus grand des pécheurs, et disait souvent à Dieu: "Seigneur, défiez-Vous de moi, car j'ai peur de Vous trahir!" Philippe mourut à l'âge de quatre-vingt ans, le 26 mai 1595. --Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

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O God, who never cease to bestow the glory of your holiness on the faithful servants you raise up for yourself, graciously grant that the Holy Spirit may kindle in us that fire with which he wonderfully  filled  the heart of Saint Philip Neri. Through our Lord.   

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Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year "A") - May 29, 2011 - JESUS SENDS THE PARACLETE TO COMFORT CHRISTIANS - [Texts: Acts 8.5-8 [Psalm 66]; 1 Peter 3.15-18; John 14.15-21]




In commenting on the Easter mysteries, Ignatius Loyola observed that Christ's divinity became manifest in the lives of those blessed with a resurrection appearance ‘in its true and most sacred effects” (Spiritual Exercises, 223). In his risen state, Christ exercises the office of consoler, Ignatius says, “the way in which friends are wont to console each other” (224).

Over the past several Easter Sundays, we have seen Jesus offering reassurances to his disciples. Though changed in aspect so that he was not immediately recognized, the Lord called Mary Magdalene by name. He invited her to share the news of his resurrection with “My brothers”.

A week after Easter, the risen Lord overcame the doubts of Thomas, bringing joy to him as he had to the other apostles.

On Easter evening, under the guise of a stranger walking with two despondent disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus exposed the hidden meaning of the Scriptures. In Jesus' reading, Moses and all the prophets indicated God's design that the Messiah had to enter into glory by the path of suffering.

Reflecting afterwards on their experience, Cleopas and his companion noted that “our hearts [were] burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the Scriptures to us”.

Beginning with the fourth and fifth Sundays of Easter, the Fourth Gospel presents words of Christ spoken to hearten his listeners: “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved.... I came that they may have life and have it to the full.”

As well, Jesus spoke of his absence after the Ascension as his going to the Father's house “to prepare a place for you”.

The words of Jesus—which continue to produce the effects of his consoling presence—are not his alone. “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works”. Both Jesus' words and works derive from the Father.

In today's gospel reading, Jesus introduces the designation of the Holy Spirit as “another Advocate, to be with you forever”. This suggests that Jesus is also a “paraclete” (cf. 1 John 2.1 where Jesus is explicitly identified as Paraclete).

The range of meanings in the word parakletos includes “comforter”, “advocate” and “counsellor”. Some commentators suggest retaining the English word “paraclete” to help keep in mind all the nuances that would have been evident to a Greek speaker.

Five passages in John's Gospel mention the Paraclete's role: 14.16-17; 14.26; 15.26; 16.7-11; 16.12-15. All of these associate the Paraclete with Jesus' preparation of his disciples for their life following his return to the Father. By means of Jesus' promise of the Spirit, the Church learns that his death, resurrection and ascension are not the end, but the beginning of a new era for the believing community.

The presence of the Paraclete in the midst of Jesus' disciples means that there are no temporal or spatial limits on Jesus' love. Or on the availability of that love to believers. The Paraclete passages portray the Spirit of Jesus as teacher of the meaning of his words. They also witness to the abiding validity of his literary testament within the community of believers.

The Spirit helps the Church conserve the legacy of Jesus' teaching it has received. By causing the Church to “remember” Jesus' words, the Paraclete enables these words to be powerfully present anew, sustaining disciples in difficult periods.

As well, the Paraclete empowers the words of Jesus with a creative force in order to address unforeseen needs and situations in a creative way.

As the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete participates in the work of Jesus who declared himself to be the Truth. The Paraclete is “the Spirit of truth” communicated to believers. Others, because they are unbelievers (“the world”), cannot receive the Spirit. Christians know the Paraclete because “he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

Acts portrays the Spirit with a different perspective than the one found in the Fourth Gospel. There the Spirit actively directs the missionary activity of the early Christian community when persecution caused the Word of God about Jesus to spread from Jerusalem to Samaria. By their laying on hands, Peter and John communicated the Spirit to the Samaritans.

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KATERI NATIVE MINISTRIES




WEEKEND OF HEALING, RECONCILIATION

On Sunday, I journeyed to the Marguerite Centre in Pembroke to take part in the closing activities and celebration of the Eucharist with Native men and women from different parts of Canada who came together to seek healing and reconciliation from their wounded lives due to numerous causes including the residential schools.

The mood was quite positive and I enjoyed meeting representatives of various tribes and sharing lunch with the afterwards.  Some more photos:







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