The Power of Silence

23 May, 2017

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  • We live in a society in which it seems that every space, every moment must be ‘filled’ with projects, activities and noise; there is often no time even to listen or to converse.
  • God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.
  • Silence is where God dwells. He drapes himself in silence.
  • Mankind must join a sort of resistance movement. What will become of our world if it does not look for intervals of silence?
  • The man who speaks is celebrated, and the silent man is a poor beggar in whose presence there is no need even to raise one’s eyes.
  • Today many people are drunk on speaking, always agitated, incapable of silence or respect for others. They have lost their calm and dignity.
  • At the dawn of this new millennium, the silent ones are the persons most useful to society, because—creatures of silence and interiority—they live out the authentic dimension of man. The human soul does not express itself by words alone.
  • In our consumer society, man incessantly struts like a peacock but takes no care of his soul. He displays a façade and splendid clothes that wear out and are good for the moths.
  • Keeping quiet by mastering one’s lips and tongue is a difficult, blazing, and arid work.
  • Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresses God.
  • Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet.
  • From morning to evening, from evening to morning, silence no longer has any place at all; the noise tries to prevent God himself from speaking. In this hell of noise, man disintegrates and is lost; he is broken up into countless worries, fantasies, and fears.
  • Noise is a deceptive, addictive, and false tranquilizer. The tragedy of our world is never better summed up than in the fury of senseless noise that stubbornly hates silence. This age detests the things that silence brings us to: encounter, wonder, and kneeling before God.
  • In killing silence, man assassinates God. But who will help man to be quiet? His mobile phone is continually ringing; his fingers and mind are always busy sending messages. . . . Developing a taste for prayer is probably the first and foremost battle of our age.
  • Nothing in the world is more important than the silence of God. No human noises, even the very sweet sound of the Gospel, can express the magnificent silence of God.
  • Being silent in the presence of God is almost being like God.
  • The closer we are to the Holy Spirit, the more silent we are; and the farther we are from the Spirit, the more garrulous we are.
  • Without silence, God disappears in the noise.

Feast of St. Gemma Galgani

16 May, 2017

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“She bore in her flesh the wounds of Christ” | Pope Pius XI

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16 May – Feast of St. Gemma Galgani

16 May, 2017

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MASS OF ST. GEMMA GALGANI

COLLECT

All powerful God, you made the virgin St. Gemma Galgani a living image of your Crucified Son. Through her prayers, may we suffer with Christ and so share in his glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

PRAYER OVER THE OFFERINGS

Lord, we offer you this spotless victim in honour of St. Gemma Galgani the virgin. Give us always a clean heart and a spirit of perseverance as we gather round this altar. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Lord, you have fed us with bread from heaven. Grant that we may die to this world and live for Christ alone, by following in the footsteps of St. Gemma. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis

16 April, 2017

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“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb” (Mt 28:1). We can picture them as they went on their way… They walked like people going to a cemetery, with uncertain and weary steps, like those who find it hard to believe that this is how it all ended. We can picture their faces, pale and tearful. And their question: can Love have truly died?

Unlike the disciples, the women are present – just as they had been present as the Master breathed his last on the cross, and then, with Joseph of Arimathea, as he was laid in the tomb. Two women who did not run away, who remained steadfast, who faced life as it is and who knew the bitter taste of injustice. We see them there, before the tomb, filled with grief but equally incapable of accepting that things must always end this way.

If we try to imagine this scene, we can see in the faces of those women any number of other faces: the faces of mothers and grandmothers, of children and young people who bear the grievous burden of injustice and brutality. In their faces we can see reflected all those who, walking the streets of our cities, feel the pain of dire poverty, the sorrow born of exploitation and human trafficking. We can also see the faces of those who are greeted with contempt because they are immigrants, deprived of country, house and family. We see faces whose eyes bespeak loneliness and abandonment, because their hands are creased with wrinkles. Their faces mirror the faces of women, mothers, who weep as they see the lives of their children crushed by massive corruption that strips them of their rights and shatters their dreams. By daily acts of selfishness that crucify and then bury people’s hopes. By paralyzing and barren bureaucracies that stand in the way of change. In their grief, those two women reflect the faces of all those who, walking the streets of our cities, behold human dignity crucified.

The faces of those women mirror many other faces too, including perhaps yours and mine. Like them, we can feel driven to keep walking and not resign ourselves to the fact that things have to end this way. True, we carry within us a promise and the certainty of God’s faithfulness. But our faces also bear the mark of wounds, of so many acts of infidelity, our own and those of others, of efforts made and battles lost. In our hearts, we know that things can be different but, almost without noticing it, we can grow accustomed to living with the tomb, living with frustration. Worse, we can even convince ourselves that this is the law of life, and blunt our consciences with forms of escape that only serve to dampen the hope that God has entrusted to us. So often we walk as those women did, poised between the desire of God and bleak resignation. Not only does the Master die, but our hope dies with him.

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake” (Mt 28:2). Unexpectedly, those women felt a powerful tremor, as something or someone made the earth shake beneath their feet. Once again, someone came to tell them: “Do not be afraid”, but now adding: “He has been raised as he said!” This is the message that, generation after generation, this Holy Night passes on to us: “Do not be afraid, brothers and sisters; he is risen as he said!” Life, which death destroyed on the cross, now reawakens and pulsates anew (cf. ROMANO GUARDINI, The Lord, Chicago, 1954, p. 473). The heartbeat of the Risen Lord is granted us as a gift, a present, a new horizon. The beating heart of the Risen Lord is given to us, and we are asked to give it in turn as a transforming force, as the leaven of a new humanity.

In the resurrection, Christ rolled back the stone of the tomb, but he wants also to break down all the walls that keep us locked in our sterile pessimism, in our carefully constructed ivory towers that isolate us from life, in our compulsive need for security and in boundless ambition that can make us compromise the dignity of others.

When the High Priest and the religious leaders, in collusion with the Romans, believed that they could calculate everything, that the final word had been spoken and that it was up to them to apply it, God suddenly breaks in, upsets all the rules and offers new possibilities. God once more comes to meet us, to create and consolidate a new age, the age of mercy. This is the promise present from the beginning. This is God’s surprise for his faithful people. Rejoice! Hidden within your life is a seed of resurrection, an offer of life ready to be awakened.

That is what this night calls us to proclaim: the heartbeat of the Risen Lord. Christ is alive! That is what quickened the pace of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. That is what made them return in haste to tell the news (Mt 28:8). That is what made them lay aside their mournful gait and sad looks. They returned to the city to meet up with the others.

Now that, like the two women, we have visited the tomb, I ask you to go back with them to the city. Let us all retrace our steps and change the look on our faces. Let us go back with them to tell the news In all those places where the grave seems to have the final word, where death seems the only way out. Let us go back to proclaim, to share, to reveal that it is true: the Lord is alive! He is living and he wants to rise again in all those faces that have buried hope, buried dreams, buried dignity. If we cannot let the Spirit lead us on this road, then we are not Christians.

Let us go, then. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by this new dawn and by the newness that Christ alone can give. May we allow his tenderness and his love to guide our steps. May we allow the beating of his heart to quicken our faintness of heart.

15 April 2017

Easter 2017

16 April, 2017

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“Alleluia is not a word that was invited on earth; it is a hymn of paradise”

St. Paul of the Cross, 21st April 1726