A just peace built on contemplation and resistance – http://wp.me/p4awnr-jb
In her traditional Christmas message, British Queen Elizabeth II expressed her appreciation for Mother Teresa of Kolkata saying ordinary people can do extraordinary things with their quiet dedication. The 90-year old Queen spoke of being inspired by the medal winners from the U.K. in the Olympic and Paralympic games this year, as well as the doctors, paramedics and crew she met while opening a new base for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Then she added: “To be inspirational, you don’t have to save lives or win medals.” She said she often drew “strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organizers and good neighbors; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special.” “They are an inspiration to those who know them, and their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, from this year Saint Teresa of Calcutta,” the Queen said in her Christmas message. She recalled Mother Teresa once said, ‘Not all of us can do great things — but we can do small things with great love.’
The queen said she knew that sometimes the world’s problems seem too big for individuals to affect. “On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice,” she said. “But the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.”
from Vatican Radio English
Pope pays tribute to Iraqi Christians persecuted by Islamic State – http://wp.me/p7nrpg-oVR
The 2016 World Mission Day message of the Holy Father which is titled: Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy, dwells on the need for mercy to be the centre for all persons involved in mission and in all missionary activities. In view of this mandate, “all of us are invited to “go out” as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family.” Let us in Africa know that the call to be a missionary is not a call for the clerics or religious, for the laity, in their secular endeavours, we are presented with uncountable opportunities to share love and care, also to receive same from others.
Mercy consciously and unconsciously guild us to successfully, show love and care for others. Having interacted with some Africans from other cultures, it is clear that mercy remains the centre stage of the nature of real African men and women. For a continuous living out of this precious merciful nature among Africans, there is need for us to always “identify with the young, the marginalized and the oppressed” in our respective church community and civil society. This call which extends to those in the ministerial service and the laity, demands us to live out our respective mission by being kind, caring, faithful and close to those in need, especially the poor. Our witness of mercy to one other and our environment ought to be without limitation, as such, circumstances or conditions we find ourselves should not determine who is due to share or receive this wonderful experience from us.
The Pope through the message calls on Africans (Christians and non-Christians), not to distance ourselves from the Gospel and sacraments, for these are the key instruments that make our life of love and mercy efficient and effective. Such that whenever anyone is unsure of how mercy and love are to be reflected, he/she can fall back to these key instruments for direction. It is very important that members of the Church in Nigeria (ministers and laity), should above all let love stand out in all their dealings in the Church, society, environment and workplaces, by doing so, we are assured of an inner joy, great motivation, being respectful and sort for in dialogue. The living out of this love in mercy is not limited to a particular gender or class of people in the church, men and women (laity, clerics and religious) in their complimenting and respective capacities are called to witness his God’s mercy.
Another point of interest in the message on how Africans can further witness to the evangelizing and sacramental mission, is by understanding “…people’s problems and know how to deal with them in an appropriate and, at times, fresh way: in caring for life, with a strong focus on people rather than structures, and by allocating human and spiritual resources towards the building of good relations, harmony, peace, solidarity, dialogue, cooperation and fraternity, both among individuals and in social and cultural life, in particular through care for the poor.”
Attesting to the effectiveness of education, Africans through the Pope’s message are admonished to see education a vital approach to successful evangelization, because it is an avenue that “dedicates much time and effort, patiently waiting for fruit after years of slow cultivation; in this way they bring forth a new people able to evangelize, who will take the Gospel to those places where it otherwise would not have been thought possible.” In particular, this will be us, being ever ready and willing to help “those who do not yet know the Lord to encounter and love him,” through our acts of kindness towards them.
Africans should let go of some segregatory and discriminatory behaviours, which come with categorising people in Church or society according to cultures, class, ethnicity, religion, etc., because everyone has “the right to receive the message of salvation which is God’s gift to every person.” More than ever, this call to merciful love is “more necessary when we consider how many injustices, wars, and humanitarian crises” as well as economic challenges and political turmoil most countries in our continent are undergoing currently. The effects of the above extends to both believers and non-believers, but our ability to surmount them all depend on our wiliness to forgive and be merciful to each other, through the above specified mercy actions, so that we can have enduring “joy and reconciliation, justice and peace.” Our show of mercy actions, cannot be complete, if we do not let go of something valuable from ourselves for the development of another. This is not only fruitful for spiritual development, it is also visibly profiting to the physical development.
Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which the Church is celebrating, casts a distinct light on World Mission Sunday 2016: it invites us to consider the missio ad gentes as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material. On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to “go out” as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family. By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel, because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord’s love. She “is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12) and to proclaim mercy in every corner of the world, reaching every person, young or old.
When mercy encounters a person, it brings deep joy to the Father’s heart; for from the beginning the Father has lovingly turned towards the most vulnerable, because his greatness and power are revealed precisely in his capacity to identify with the young, the marginalized and the oppressed (cf. Deut 4:31; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 111:4). He is a kind, caring and faithful God who is close to those in need, especially the poor; he involves himself tenderly in human reality just as a father and mother do in the lives of their children (cf. Jer 31:20). When speaking of the womb, the Bible uses the word that signifies mercy: therefore it refers to the love of a mother for her children, whom she will always love, in every circumstance and regardless of what happens, because they are the fruit of her womb. This is also an essential aspect of the love that God has for all his children, whom he created and whom he wants to raise and educate; in the face of their weaknesses and infidelity, his heart is overcome with compassion (cf. Hos 11:8). He is merciful towards all; his love is for all people and his compassion extends to all creatures (cf. Ps 144:8-9).
Mercy finds its most noble and complete expression in the Incarnate Word. Jesus reveals the face of the Father who is rich in mercy; he “speaks of [mercy] and explains it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all he himself makes it incarnate and personifies it” (John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 2). When we welcome and follow Jesus by means of the Gospel and sacraments, we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful; we can learn to love as he loves us and make of our lives a free gift, a sign of his goodness (cf. Misericordiae Vultus, 3). The Church, in the midst of humanity, is first of all the community that lives by the mercy of Christ: she senses his gaze and feels he has chosen her with his merciful love. It is through this love that the Church discovers its mandate, lives it and makes it known to all peoples through a respectful dialogue with every culture and religious belief.
This merciful love, as in the early days of the Church, is witnessed to by many men and women of every age and condition. The considerable and growing presence of women in the missionary world, working alongside their male counterparts, is a significant sign of God’s maternal love. Women, lay and religious, and today even many families, carry out their missionary vocation in various forms: from announcing the Gospel to charitable service. Together with the evangelizing and sacramental work of missionaries, women and families often more adequately understand people’s problems and know how to deal with them in an appropriate and, at times, fresh way: in caring for life, with a strong focus on people rather than structures, and by allocating human and spiritual resources towards the building of good relations, harmony, peace, solidarity, dialogue, cooperation and fraternity, both among individuals and in social and cultural life, in particular through care for the poor.
In many places evangelization begins with education, to which missionary work dedicates much time and effort, like the merciful vine-dresser of the Gospel (cf. Lk 13:7-9; Jn 15:1), patiently waiting for fruit after years of slow cultivation; in this way they bring forth a new people able to evangelize, who will take the Gospel to those places where it otherwise would not have been thought possible. The Church can also be defined as “mother” for those who will one day have faith in Christ. I hope, therefore, that the holy people of God will continue to exercise this maternal service of mercy, which helps those who do not yet know the Lord to encounter and love him. Faith is God’s gift and not the result of proselytizing; rather it grows thanks to the faith and charity of evangelizers who witness to Christ. As they travel through the streets of the world, the disciples of Jesus need to have a love without limits, the same measure of love that our Lord has for all people. We proclaim the most beautiful and greatest gifts that he has given us: his life and his love.
All peoples and cultures have the right to receive the message of salvation which is God’s gift to every person. This is all the more necessary when we consider how many injustices, wars, and humanitarian crises still need resolution. Missionaries know from experience that the Gospel of forgiveness and mercy can bring joy and reconciliation, justice and peace. The mandate of the Gospel to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20) has not ceased; rather this command commits all of us, in the current landscape with all its challenges, to hear the call to a renewed missionary “impulse”, as I noted in my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (20).
This Jubilee year marks the 90th anniversary of World Missionary Day, first approved by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and organized by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. It is appropriate then to recall the wise instructions of my Predecessors who ordered that to this Society be destined all the offerings collected in every diocese, parish, religious community, association and ecclesial movement throughout the world for the care of Christian communities in need and for supporting the proclamation of the Gospel even to the ends of the earth. Today too we believe in this sign of missionary ecclesial communion. Let us not close our hearts within our own particular concerns, but let us open them to all of humanity.
May Holy Mary, sublime icon of redeemed humanity, model of missionaries for the Church, teach all men, women and families, to foster and safeguard the living and mysterious presence of the Risen Lord in every place, he who renews personal relationships, cultures and peoples, and who fills all with joyful mercy.
From the Vatican, 15 May 2016, Solemnity of Pentecost
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