Inside The Vatican https://insidethevatican.com Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:53:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Pope: Beware of hypocrisy, actions speak louder than words https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-beware-of-hypocrisy-actions-speak-louder-than-words/ https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-beware-of-hypocrisy-actions-speak-louder-than-words/#respond Wed, 21 Aug 2019 13:56:05 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=39129 Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience (AFP or licensors) During his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis reflects on how the Christian community is born of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and grows through the mutual sharing of life among the Lord’s disciples. August 21, 2019 In his continuing catechesis on [...]

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Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience (AFP or licensors)

During his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis reflects on how the Christian community is born of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and grows through the mutual sharing of life among the Lord’s disciples.

August 21, 2019

In his continuing catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles in the Paul VI hall on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke of the solidarity between Christians and how it is essential in building up God’s family. This fraternity he said, “is nourished by receiving the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.”

Communion and solidarity

The Pope underlined that there is a “dynamism of solidarity that builds the Church as the family of God, where the experience of koinonia is central.”

He explained that in the Church of its origins, “this koinonia, this community, refers first of all to participation in the Body and Blood of Christ.” For this reason, the Pontiff said, “when we receive communion we declare “we communicate”, we enter into communion with Jesus and from this communion with Jesus we arrive at communion with our brothers and sisters.”

Actions and words

If you want to know that you are good Christians, said Pope Francis, “yes, you must pray, try to approach communion, reconciliation” … but that signal that your heart has converted, is when one is generous with others and who helps the weakest.

The Pope stressed that when it comes to a true conversion, actions speak louder than words.

Reflecting on the history of the Church, the Pope said that there have always been Christians who stripped themselves of material things; things that were not necessary in order to give to those in need.

How many Christians here in Italy volunteer, he noted. “This is beautiful”, he said, sharing time with others; helping those in need.

In Biblical terms, the Pope highlighted that a concrete example of sharing and communion of goods can be found in the witness of Barnabas. “He owns a field and sells it to deliver the proceeds to the Apostles. But alongside his positive example there is another sadly negative one: Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who sold a piece of land, decided to hand over only part of it to the Apostles and to keep the other for themselves.”

The enemy of hypocrisy

“Hypocrisy is the worst enemy of this Christian community”, commented Pope Francis. “To fail in the sincerity of sharing, in fact, or to fail in the sincerity of love, means cultivating hypocrisy, distancing oneself from the truth, becoming selfish, extinguishing the fire of communion and fating oneself to the chill of inner death,” he said.

The Pope emphasized that “those who behave in this way pass through the Church like tourists”.

He concluded by saying that, “a life based only on making a profit and taking advantage of situations to the detriment of others inevitably causes inner death. How many people say they are close to the Church, friends of priests, bishops while only seeking their own interests? These are the hypocrisies that destroy the Church.”

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Letter #47: To the Priory https://insidethevatican.com/news/newsflash/letter-47-to-the-priory/ https://insidethevatican.com/news/newsflash/letter-47-to-the-priory/#respond Mon, 19 Aug 2019 20:09:14 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=39099                         Above, the image of a double rainbow in Ireland this August, as I traveled through the country with a group of pilgrims. The rainbow appeared not long before we reached Silverstream Priory in County Meath. There we found the book: In Sinu Jesu [...]

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Above, the image of a double rainbow in Ireland this August, as I traveled through the country with a group of pilgrims. The rainbow appeared not long before we reached Silverstream Priory in County Meath. There we found the book: In Sinu Jesu (“In the Heart of Jesus” — the book Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano had told me he has been reading over the past year, and which he had warmly recommended to me). The photograph was taken from the front window of the bus as we drove across Ireland

 

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“I have looked forward to this moment; I have prayed that I may touch your hearts with the words of Jesus…

“When I look at you assembled around this altar and listen to your praying voices, your singing voices, I see the future of the Church…

“Although you still live in an atmosphere where true religious and moral principles are held in honour, you have to realize that your fidelity to these principles will be tested…

“The lure of pleasure, to be had whenever and wherever it can be found, will be strong and it may be presented to you as part of progress towards greater autonomy and freedom from rules. The desire to be free from external restraints may manifest itself very strongly in the sexual domain, since this is an area that is so closely tied to a human personality. The moral standards that the Church and society have held up to you for so long a time, will be presented as obsolete and a hindrance to the full development of your own personality…

“You will hear people tell you that your religious practices are hopelessly out of date, that they hamper your style and your future, that with everything that social and scientific progress has to offer, you will be able to organize your own lives, and that God has played out his role. Even many religious persons will adopt such attitudes…

“A society that, in this way, has lost its higher religious and moral principles will become an easy prey for manipulation and for domination by the forces which, under the pretext of greater freedom, will enslave it ever more.” —Pope John Paul II, on September 30, 1979, in Galway, Ireland, speaking to the young people of the country on the first-ever visit of a Pope to Ireland (link). Some say the Pope was eerily accurate in his prophesy of what might happen to Ireland in the future…

From Knock to Silverstream

Ireland with its rain and green and encompassing seas seems a sort of island womb, a protected circle out of which millions of Irish have gone forth to every corner of the world.

A great-grandfather of mine, also named Moynihan, left from Schull in County Cork in the 1870s to go to America, arriving first in Boston, then settling in Haverhill, Massachusetts. So some of my own family roots are in Ireland, and perhaps this is why the sea, sky and rain of Ireland seem familiar to me.

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Our goal was to circle Ireland, and to see as much as we could in a week or so.

Our little group of pilgrims — Bill and Jan, Raoul and Luz, Irma (age 80!) and Patrice from Texas, Matt and Kelly from Tennessee, Rick and Molly from Vermont, Ann and Mary Lou from Australia, Maria from Serbia — wished to see Ireland as it is, and was, hoping to learn what it will be, while knowing that the most important realities are invisible to the eye.

We began at the Hill of Slane, where St. Patrick lit the Paschal fire in the year 433 A.D.

He did so against the wishes of Ireland’s High King of the time, who could see the fire from the Hill of Tara, a few miles away, where the High Kings were crowned. The king sent a messenger to tell Patrick to put out the flame. But Patrick converted the messenger, a leading Druid priest, and the flame stayed lit. In this way the light of Christ came to Ireland some 1,600 years ago.

Since then, the light has been lit again and again, in so many places, in Ireland and abroad.

Thus scholars have rightly said that the Church and the world owe an immense debt to Ireland, for the courage and loving-kindness of all those Irish faithful who have lived out their faith over these many centuries.

We began at the Shrine of Knock where Our Lady appeared on August 21, 1879 (120 years ago in two days) for two hours to about 15 people. All of them saw her, and signed affidavits attesting that they had seen the same thing. Quite astonishing. Knock is a beautiful shrine, simple, quiet, filled with a sense of peace.

Irish monks were critically important in preserving the Scriptures by copying them, all down the centuries between 500 and 1453, the year printing was invented by Gutenberg.

Through these monks, the Bible, the writings of the Fathers, and the learning of the ancient world were preserved for us.

The monks lived at monasteries like Clonmacnoise, at the very heart of Ireland, and on various western promontories and islands, including the astonishing Skellig Michael, where more than 600 steps rise from the crashing sea to a tiny monastery perched on the hillside on what is arguably the most isolated monastery in the world. (The film Star Wars contains a scene showing these hundreds of steps.)

As we traveled on, we reflected on the accomplishments and sufferings of the Irish people — especially the Great Famine in the 1840s, when more than 1 million died and some 2 million emigrated to find better life.

We spoke about the subjection of the Irish to the English, of the breaking of virtually every stained-glass window in Ireland by the troops of Oliver Cromwell in the mid-1600s, of the Easter 1916 uprising, which failed dismally when the leaders were arrested and executed (“a terrible beauty is born,” Yeats wrote), and of how, because of those executions, in reaction to that harsh action, the sentiment of the people shifted, and within a few years Britain accepted Irish Home Rule — the independence of Ireland.

And we also reflected on the “Troubles” over the past decades, since 1968, between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

And we reflected on the abuse scandals that have been uncovered in recent years, prompting many Irish to lose trust in the institution of the Church.

So the same questions were coming up in Ireland as have been coming up in the Church worldwide: scandals of clerical abuse, scandals of coverup, and a consequent widespread rejection of the Church and her teachings.

On the next to last day of our journey, we drove to Silverstream Priory, a tiny Benedictine abbey founded just a couple of years ago not far from Dublin in County Meath.

The weather that day alternated between rain and sun, and once, there were rainbows.

We arrived at the priory late, just a few minutes before Vespers. Had we arrived any later, all of the monks would have been at prayer, the gates would have been locked, and we would have been left outside.

We stayed for Vespers, chanted in the traditional Latin. We stayed also for the Veneration of the Most Holy Sacrament.

Then two of the monks met with us to explain their life at Silverstream.

It is a life, they said, focused on the Rule of St. Benedict, but also on the adoration of the Eucharist, on the adoration of Christ in his Eucharistic presence. It is the only Benedictine monastery in the world that fuses these two devotions.

On the table in the gift shop, where we were speaking, I saw perhaps 20 copies of a book, in four piles of five each. I saw that it was the same book that Archbishop Vigano had recommended to me a few days earlier: In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, The Journal of a Priest at Prayer.

“Wait a minute,” I said to Father Hildebrand, an American monk living at Silverstream who had studied for several years in Rome and who spoke with great eloquence and clarity. “I have just been reading that very book. It was recently recommended to me by an Italian archbishop who told me he has been reading it. Why do you have so many copies of it?”

“Well,” Father Hildebrand said to me, “that is a rather long story. Let me simply say that the book is connected with this monastery. We cannot reveal the identity of the author, but we are able to say that the book had its origin among the monks of this community…”

He paused. Suddenly I had the strong impression that I might be standing in front of the book’s author.

“Are you the author?” I asked.

Hildebrand was silent.

“No,” he said to me.

I nodded, a bit disappointed.

“I can say that the book arose from within this community,” he continued, “but I am not the author.”

“So it is one of the monks here?” I asked.

“You would not be wrong to say that,” he said.

At that moment, another monk walked in.

I wanted to understand more about the mysticism of the book In Sinu Jesu — the monk-author’s sense of hearing the words of Christ in his heart.

“Could you explain something to me?” I said. “I would like to understand the essential point of Eucharistic adoration, the meaning of all those many hours spent in silence — in the eyes of the world doing nothing useful at all…”

I was struck by the incongruity of it all, the near impossibility of it all…

That I should have made the effort to seek out Archbishop Vigano, and that I should have found him…

that Vigano had recommended to me to read the book In Sinu Jesu, telling me he had been reading it and had found it important…

that I had left for Ireland, and had traveled around the island until, on the next to last day, we had reached Silverstream monastery…

that we had attended Vespers, and Eucharistic adoration, and had come out to the gift shop to talk, and that I had found there that same book, In Sinu Jesu

and that I was now in the presence of one of the monks who was in the community in which one of the monk’s has written down the words that he had heard in deep prayer.

“What are the chances that all this was a coincidence?” I said to myself.

“Eucharistic adoration is not simply for the person praying in adoration,” the monk said to me. “It is for the entire Church, and for the entire world.

“What happens in adoration may be likened to what happens when someone receives a transfusion. It is as if God places a very tiny needle into the soul of the adorer, and by means of an attached tube, transfers his very life into the soul of the adorer. As in a hospital, the tube brings medicine and liquid and helps to heal whatever disease the person is suffering from. This is happening on the spiritual level, bringing spiritual healing.

“But it is not just the soul of the single adorer that is affected. Through the mystical communion of all believers, that transfiguring and healing divine energy is passed through the single adorer into the entire mystical body of the Church, purifying the Church.

“When we go into adoration, we are disposing ourselves to become nodes, conduits, for the purification of the entire Church, and through the Church, of the entire world.

“So it is not a meaningless action, or even an action aimed at one’s own personal purification. It is the essential action to bring Christ’s eucharistic purification into the entire body of the Church, to do reparation for all sins and abuses, and to begin to heal them.”

I said: “So you feel that the monks are helping to heal the abuse crisis by your hours of eucharistic adoration?”

“Yes,” he said.

(to be continued)

 

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Pope at Angelus: Fire of God’s love burns in charity https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-at-angelus-fire-of-gods-love-burns-in-charity/ https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-at-angelus-fire-of-gods-love-burns-in-charity/#respond Sun, 18 Aug 2019 16:03:52 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=39062 Pope Francis waves to pilgrims at the Sunday Angelus (Vatican Media) At the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus brought the fire of God’s love upon earth, to overcome apathy and open our hearts to the needs of others. August 18, 2019 Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel [...]

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Pope Francis waves to pilgrims at the Sunday Angelus (Vatican Media)

At the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus brought the fire of God’s love upon earth, to overcome apathy and open our hearts to the needs of others.

August 18, 2019

Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel (Lk 12:49-33), in which Jesus tells his disciples that the time has come to make a decisive choice in favor of the Gospel.

This choice, said the Pope, cannot be postponed, as Jesus’ image of the fire shows.

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Jesus tells his disciples.

“These words are intended to help the disciples abandon every attitude of laziness, apathy, indifference, and closure so as to welcome the fire of God’s love,” the Holy Father said.

That fire kindles life and saves humanity. By spreading God’s limitless love throughout the world, he said, we are recognized as Jesus’ true disciples.

Fire overcomes divisions

Pope Francis said the Christian witness to the Gospel is like a beneficial fire, “overcoming every division among individuals, social categories, peoples, and nations.”

“It burns all forms of particularism and keeps charity open to all,” he said, adding that it has “a single preference: that for the poorest and the excluded.”

The fire of God’s love “envelops our entire existence and requires a willingness to serve our neighbor.”

Fire burns away selfishness

The Holy Father recalled the many young people who volunteer their free time to serve the sick, the poor, and people with disabilities.

He said living according to the Gospel requires Christians to meet ever-changing needs with new charitable initiatives.

“Thus, the Gospel truly manifests itself as the fire that saves,” he said, adding that it “changes the world starting from the change that takes place in each person’s heart.”

Fire breaks illusions

Pope Francis said this saving fire is the key to understanding Jesus’ difficult statement that he has come to establish division and not peace on earth.

“He came to ‘separate with fire’ good from evil, the just from the unjust,” he said. “In this sense he came to ‘divide’, to stir up ‘crisis’ – but in a healthy way – in the lives of his disciples”.

The Pope said this purifying crisis breaks the facile illusion that we can combine the Christian life with all types of compromises, religious practices, and hateful attitudes.

Fire of God’s love purifies our love

“It is a question of not living hypocritically,” he noted, “but of being willing to pay the price of choices consistent with the Gospel.”

Though we call ourselves Christians, said Pope Francis, we must “be Christians in concrete situations, witnessing to the Gospel, which is essentially love for God and for our brothers and sisters.”

Pope Francis concluded his Angelus address with a prayer to Mary, asking that we “allow ourselves to be purified of the fire brought by Jesus, in order to spread it through our lives and through decisive, courageous choices.”

By Devin Watkins

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Letter #46, 2019: The Nineveh Code https://insidethevatican.com/news/newsflash/letter-46-2019-the-nineveh-code/ https://insidethevatican.com/news/newsflash/letter-46-2019-the-nineveh-code/#respond Sat, 17 Aug 2019 18:31:04 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=39020 Saturday, August 17, 2019 "Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.' Jonah, however, got up and fled to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. He went down to [...]

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.’ Jonah, however, got up and fled to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went aboard to sail for Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.” —Book of Jonah, 1:1-3. Jonah at the very outset refuses the call of the Lord to go to Nineveh and proclaim that its evil and sinfulness will lead to its destruction. He flees from the presence of the Lord

“I have asked nothing else of you but that you adore Me and linger in My presence… You have not yet understood that by coming to adore Me, you open yourself to miracles of grace and to a mighty development of My power in your infirmity… Come to Me, and I will make possible the very things that, in your shortsightedness, you deem impossible… There is a very real sense in which the prayer of adoration is a loss of one’s life. It is a kind of falling into the ground to die. Remember this when you adore Me. Look at the Sacred Host and see Me, who am the grain of wheat fallen into the ground and risen to life, and become the food of a vast multitude of souls, and this until the end of time.”from the book In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (2016), by an anonymous Benedictine monk, p. 259, which has become a Catholic publishing phenomenon with virtually no advertising, only word of mouth. Archbishop Vigano has been reading the book during the year since he published his “Testimony” in August, 2018. In the book, the anonymous author presents passages like the one above as the words of Jesus, heard in his heart during prayer. The monk here is asked to be fully in the presence of the Lord in the prayer of adoration before the Eucharist, unlike Jonah, who flees from the presence of the Lord…

The Nineveh Code

“What I appreciate about this book,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano said to me a few days ago, referring to the book In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (Angelico Press, 2016), by an anonymous Benedictine monk, “is its great spiritual simplicity.

“Without complicated arguments, or psychological jargon, it proposes a profound spiritual answer to the great spiritual crisis of our time.

“During the past year, I have been meditating a great deal on this question.”

“What answer does the book give?” I asked.

“Well, the Church in our time has been passing through the long torment of the sexual abuse crisis, with all that that implies,” the archbishop said.

“First, the abuse of innocent young people, sexually, psychologically and spiritually. Many priests have tragically betrayed the trust of those who believed in them, doing terrible harm to them.

“Then, many bishops and religious superiors did not have as their major concern the protection of the victims. Instead, they tried to protect the institution of the Church by covering up what had happened. This made the wound to the Church deeper and more incurable, causing it to fester and putrify.

“They were wrong.

“All of this has blackened the image of Christ’s Church before the world — including the image of those very many priests who have committed no wrong.

“So a general repentance is needed, and a universal commitment to make public the evil that has been done, and to do reparation for it, in order to begin to heal so many wounds.

“Some aspects of how to face this crisis have been explored by various bishops’ conferences, and at various meetings like the one at the Vatican in February, but the deep spiritual roots seem not to have been touched.

“Something is still missing.

“And that is what I find in this book.”

“And what is that?” I asked.

 

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Vigano picks up the book to find a certain passage.

“The monk author,” Vigano replied, “suggesting that the words he writes are the very words of Jesus to him during his time of prayer, says to us:

“‘The solution to the hardships and trials of priests, the answer to the problems that beset so many of them, causing them to fall into patterns of sin, is the friendship that I offer them.

“‘The Holy Spirit is poured out on every priest on the day of his ordination, and in that outpouring is given a marvelous capacity to live in My friendship and in the intimacy of My most Holy Mother.’ (p. 17)

“But then,” Vigano continued, “the author adds:

“‘So few of My priests accept this gift and use this capacity for holiness that I bestow upon them.’

“And then the author writes, speaking now in the words of the Blessed Mother, Mary:

“‘I am for all my priest sons the Gate of Heaven.

“‘If any priest would ascend, even in this earthly life, into the glory of the heavenly liturgy ceaselessly celebrated by my Son before the Father’s Face, he need only approach me.

“‘I will open the way into the mysteries of heaven for him.

“‘I will teach him the reverence, the silence, the profound adoration that befits one called to serve at the altars of my Son and in His place.'” (p. 17)

The Answer?

“But does this not seem too little?” I said, with a certain worry. “After so many years of such terrible abuses and coverups? That the Church, the priests of the Church, should return to prayer? That Eucharistic adoration is the answer to the sexual abuse crisis?”

The archbishop is silent.

“I am not saying this book offers ‘the answer’ to the crisis, or to any act of abuse that has taken place,” he says. “No. Rather, I am saying that this book offers a diagnosis, the diagnosis of an absence of relationship to Christ, of an emptiness in the spiritual life of priests.

“And this leads to a prescription: that we must all return to prayer, to re-establish friendship with Christ.

“This is, after all, what it means to be a Christian.

“This is the only possible path for us to face the evil that has taken place, and to begin again.

“We must begin with ourselves, with the corruption and evil in each one of us. We must go to the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, to encounter Christ. To enter into a relationship with Him, and to be healed by him. We cannot simply reform the Church. We must repent and reform our own lives, and that will help bring about the needed reform.”

I am silent a moment.

“Well,” I said, “since your Testimony of August 2018, many have seen you as a type of ‘Prophet Jonah’ for our time, bringing some of this evil into the light, denouncing the sins and coverups of the Roman Catholic Church and its members as Jonah was called to denounce the sins of Nineveh. But what is your message really: that God is about to chastise the Church, as Niniveh was threatened with destruction, or do you believe there is still a chance to renew the Church, through prayer and a renewal of priestly and lay spirituality?”

“The two possibilities you offer are not mutually exclusive,” the archbishop said. “There may be both a chastisement, which will shake and diminish the Church, and also a reform and renewal of the Church, making her more resplendent in holiness. Both are possible. The Lord is not denying grace of conversion to anyone. Furthermore, it is really the deep desire of His heart, to ask for conversion and to have us accept His love for us.”

I gather up my tape recorder, and the documents we have studied together.

“I will have to leave for a few days,” I said. “I will be traveling with a small group of pilgrims to Ireland. It is something I scheduled long ago and cannot avoid.”

“You must go then,” the archbishop said. “I will see you upon your return.”

(to be continued)

 

Pilgrimage with Dr. Robert Moynihan in 2019 and receive a $250 discount for you and another $250 discount for your traveling companion.

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Letter #45, 2019: The Hidden Mystic https://insidethevatican.com/news/letter-45-2019-the-hidden-mystic/ https://insidethevatican.com/news/letter-45-2019-the-hidden-mystic/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 19:20:25 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=38993 Friday, August 16, 2019 "During this past year I have been reading a book which has moved me a great deal. It is the journal of an unnamed priest who is devoted to contemplative prayer and who recounts the words he feels Jesus has spoken to him in his heart. I have found the book [...]

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Friday, August 16, 2019

“During this past year I have been reading a book which has moved me a great deal. It is the journal of an unnamed priest who is devoted to contemplative prayer and who recounts the words he feels Jesus has spoken to him in his heart. I have found the book consoling and interesting in light of our present situation in the Church. The book is entitled “In Sinu Jesu” — “in the heart of Jesus.” —Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, in a recent conversation, speaking about the book “In Sinu Jesu,” which he has been reading

“Deep consolation and renewed gratitude for Him as he draws His friends to Himself — these are the fruits of following the meditations of this book. It will fill hearts with encouragement and joy.” —Father Hugh Barbour, P. Praem., Prior, St. Michael’s Abbey of the Norbertine Fathers, in a note on the cover of the book “In Sinu Jesu”

“My Heart hath expected reproach and misery: and I looked for one that would grieve together with Me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort Me, and I found none.” —Psalm 68:21, cited at the very beginning of the book “In Sinu Jesu.” It is the Offertory prayer of the Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Hidden Mystic

“Do you know who the author is?” I asked Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano a few days ago, after he told me he had been reading a book he appreciates very much.

Pilgrimage with Dr. Robert Moynihan in 2019 and receive a $250 discount for you and another $250 discount for your traveling companion. Meet and discuss the Church today with Dr. Moynihan on our 25th Anniversary pilgrimage (October 4 – 12, 2019) Women Saints (October 14 – 22, 2019), and Christmas 2019 Pilgrimage (December 18 – 27, 2019). Call our U. S. office +1.202.536.4555 or email Pilgrimages@InsideTheVatican.com. Click here to read about our 2019 pilgrimages.

The book has only “by a Benedictine monk” on the title page, without the name of an author.

We had been meeting together for a number of days of discussions about ecclesial and spiritual matters. The content of our talks will become the matter of a book to appear in a few weeks time.

“No,” Archbishop Vigano replied. “The book is anonymous, and I have no indication of who the author is.

“But I read the book throughout the winter and spring, and it was a great consolation to me. If you can find out who the author is, let me know, so I may thank him.

“But the identity of the author is less important than what he tells us about his experience of prayer. And that is that the Lord is close to all who seek him, and will never abandon us.”

In Sinu Jesu (“In the Heart of Jesus”)

The archbishop was speaking about a little volume of reflections entitled In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, The Journal of a Priest at Prayer, which contains the words of Jesus that the author heard while in adoration from 2007 to 2016.

The book has become in the past three years a sort of phenomenon in Catholic circles.

It was published in English by Angelico Press in 2016, and has now appeared in eight different languages, including German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Czech.

What is the content of this book?

“This book is a remarkable testament of friendship that transcends all earthly measures,” writes an otherwise unnamed “Benedictine Oblate” in the book’s Introduction. “In its pages, we see the Hound of Heaven pursuing a priest with the exquisite gentleness of one who would win his heart’s love, the inexorable purpose of one who would show him mercy, and the compassion of one who would bring healing and peace.”

He continues:

“It also resoundingly demonstrates the truth that when God chooses one out of many — when he chooses an Abraham or Moses, the blessed Virgin Mary, or the founders of monastic movements and religious congregations — He always does so in order to bless a multitude, fashion a people, form a nation. He does something extraordinary for one, so that His word may radiate outward to countless souls and His grace be sought with renewed eagerness. He chooses the one not as an isolated exception or arbitrary preference, but as the humble centre around which a great circle will be drawn, a blazing hearth around which many can gather, be warmed, and find fellowship.”

He continues:

“In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of a priest who was greatly in need of their intervention — something that could truly be said of all of us in our spiritual poverty. The priest was prompted to write down what he heard, first and most obviously for his own benefit, but increasingly, for the benefit of others who would be touched by these words and find light and strength in them.”

The oblate then provides this description of the origin of this book, which was written by the book’s author:

“The substance of what I wrote came during prayer, without any effort or prior reflection on my part. There would be an inner movement to write, and I would write until the inspiration stopped… Although I have at times suffered from doubts over the authenticity of what was happening, my spiritual director throughout most of the period covered herein identified what was happening as a “gratia grata data” (“a grace freely given”). I can only say that the words came peacefully, rapidly and effortlessly. By this, I do not mean that the words came from within myself, but rather, from what I experienced as an objective but intimate presence of Our Lord, immediately related to His real presence in the Most Holy Sacrament. It was precisely in His Eucharistic presence that these conversations with Our Lord unfolded, drawing me more and more into the light of His Face and the fire of His Heart.”

The book’s author continues:

“My own piety is essentially liturgical. Nonetheless, since the diagnosis of my serious illness, there has been a strong attractions to adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, to reparation for priests, and, in particular, to the mystery of Our Lord’s Face hidden beneath the sacramental veils. This is something already present in the tradition, notably in the Adoro te of Saint Thomas.”

He concludes:

“In spite of my reticence and desire for anonymity in regard to this journal, I have been repeatedly told by Our Lord Himself that His words are meant for the blessing, instruction, and comfort of many Christians today, above all, His beloved priests.

“With a grateful and expectant heart, I gladly give this journal into the hands of all those readers whom Our Lord and Our Lady have already chosen for it, with my prayer that it shall bear abundant fruit, and with my priestly blessing.”

The Archbishop and the Mystic

“Apparently, this book has been written by a priest who desired to find a way to participate in the healing of souls, and of our world, by recourse to Eucharistic Adoration,” Archbishop Vigano says. “To me it seems providential that, precisely at a time when the holiness of priests is under such attack, a book like this should appear. I take it as a sign for our times.”

At the very outset of the book, on the first day of the journal, the unknown author writes: “Our Lord, in instituting the Eucharist, foresaw outrages and sufferings — the sufferings, I mean, of a love that is wounded and spurned. He is seeking, today more than ever, priests who will console Him, priests who will adore and make reparation.”

And the author adds: “I opened the book by Dom Vandeur [Dom Eugene Vandeur, 1875-1967, a Benedictine monk of the community of Maredsous in Belgium] and I read: ‘Make me entirely Thy priest, as was Saint John, Thy beloved disciple, standing at the foot of Thy Cross, the Tree of Life.’ The phrase describes perfectly the call that I received 30 years ago, a call to which I did not know how to respond, or to which I found myself unable to respond fully. There were too many obstacles in me, too many infected wounds, still waiting for the healing that had to come through the hands of Mary and by the precious Blood of Jesus. I want priests who will adore for priests who do not adore, priests who will make reparation for priests who do not make reparation for themselves or for others. I want priest adorers and reparators.”

“Here is a passage which particularly moved me,” Vigano says.

And he reads: “The spiritual redemption of priests in bondage to evil, the spiritual illumination of priests who live in darkness, the spiritual healing of wounded priests — and all of this by means of adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament… I feel, perhaps for the first time in my life, that I am fully in the truth. My whole life has prepared me for this mission, for this call to adoration and to reparation — by a priest or priests. All the evil that I experienced, and suffered, and inflicted on others, will be thus redeemed, not by me, but by Him who is always working in the Eucharist to redeem back from sinners and those who have been wounded by sin.”

The archbishop looks at me. “These words speak powerfully to me. But there is much more in this book…”

(to be continued)

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Pope on feast of the Assumption: Mary is the “Gate of Heaven” https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-on-feast-of-the-assumption-mary-is-the-gate-of-heaven/ https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-on-feast-of-the-assumption-mary-is-the-gate-of-heaven/#respond Thu, 15 Aug 2019 13:32:35 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=38975 Pope Francis at the Angelus on Thursday, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Vatican Media) Pope Francis invites us to “look upwards” because, thanks to Mary’s assumption into Heaven: “the sky is open” and we need no longer be afraid. August 15, 2019 In St Luke’s Gospel on this [...]

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Pope Francis at the Angelus on Thursday, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis invites us to “look upwards” because, thanks to Mary’s assumption into Heaven: “the sky is open” and we need no longer be afraid.

August 15, 2019

In St Luke’s Gospel on this Solemnity of the Assumption, the Evangelist records the words of Our Lady as she prays: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. Before reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis reflected on the two verbs in that prayer: to rejoice and to magnify.

To rejoice

“We rejoice when something so beautiful happens that it is not enough to rejoice inside, in the soul, but we want to express happiness with the whole body”, said the Pope. “Mary rejoices because of God… she teaches us to rejoice in God, because He does “great things”.

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Pope at Angelus: Be ready for the final encounter with the Lord https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-at-angelus-be-ready-for-the-final-encounter-with-the-lord/ https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-at-angelus-be-ready-for-the-final-encounter-with-the-lord/#respond Sun, 11 Aug 2019 15:27:54 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=38943 Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus (Vatican Media) Pope Francis reflects on this Sunday’s Gospel and on Jesus’ call to be vigilant and to “light our lamps” as we await the final encounter with the Father. August 11, 2019 In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples to “gird your loins and light [...]

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Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis reflects on this Sunday’s Gospel and on Jesus’ call to be vigilant and to “light our lamps” as we await the final encounter with the Father.

August 11, 2019

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples to “gird your loins and light your lamps”.  Speaking before the recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis described this image as one that “recalls the attitude of the pilgrim, ready to set out on a journey”. “It is a question of not putting down roots in comfortable and reassuring dwellings”, he said, “but of abandoning oneself with simplicity and trust to the will of God, who guides us towards the next goal”.

Light your lamps

By reminding us to “light our lamps”, Jesus invites us “to live an authentic and mature faith, capable of illuminating the many ‘nights’ of life”, continued the Pope. “The lamp of faith needs to be nourished continuously, with a heart to heart encounter with Jesus in prayer, and in listening to His Word”. “True faith opens the heart to one’s neighbor”, he said, “and spurs us on to concrete communion with our brothers and sisters, especially with those in need”.

Be vigilant

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus describes the servants awaiting the return of their master as an example of remaining vigilant. We need to be ready “for the final and definitive encounter with the Lord”, added Pope Francis. “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival”. With these words, “the Lord reminds us that life is a journey towards eternity”, said the Pope. “Every moment becomes precious, so we must live and act on this earth having a longing for Heaven in our hearts”.

Eternal happiness

“If we live in harmony with the Gospel and God’s commandments”, continued Pope Francis, “He will allow us to share in His eternal happiness”. Although “we cannot really understand what this supreme joy will be like”, said the Pope, Jesus offers us an image of the master who, finding his servants still awake on his return, “will have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them”. It is as though everything in Heaven will be reversed, said the Pope: “It will no longer be the servants, namely, us, who will serve God, but God will put Himself at our service”.

Hope and holiness

May the thought of the final encounter with the Father “fill us with hope”, concluded Pope Francis. May it stimulate us to a constant commitment to becoming holy, “and to building a more just and fraternal world”.

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Pope at Audience: Be God’s instruments of healing, like Apostles https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-at-audience-be-gods-instruments-of-healing-like-apostles/ Wed, 07 Aug 2019 15:44:59 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=38905 Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience (Vatican Media) Pope Francis resumes his weekly General Audiences by continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, urging the faithful trust in the Lord, and act in His name. August 7, 2019 In his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis focused [...]

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Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis resumes his weekly General Audiences by continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, urging the faithful trust in the Lord, and act in His name.

August 7, 2019

In his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis focused this week on the first account of healing in the Book of Acts (Acts 3:3-6): Peter and John’s healing of the Paralytic.

“In the Acts of the Apostles”, began Pope Francis, “the preaching of the Gospel does not only rely on words, but on concrete actions that bear witness to the truth of the proclamation”. These, said the Pope, are wonders and signs, which “confirm” the work of the Apostles, “showing that they act in the name of Christ.”

Neither silver nor gold

Pope Francis explained that the beggar, in meeting the apostles, “does not find money, but the name that saves: Jesus Christ the Nazarene”.

Peter as Church

Peter then orders the paralytic to stand and, in taking his right hand, helps him up.

Through this, said Pope Francis, Peter personifies the Church, who “sees those who are in difficulty, does not close her eyes, and knows how to look humanity in the face in order to create meaningful relationships, bridges of friendship and solidarity instead of barriers.”

Acting in the name of Jesus

Pope Francis then continued his comparison, explaining that the apostles look at the beggar and say “look at us”. They reach out to him, they lift him up and they heal him. This, said the Pope, is what Jesus does with all of us. Through bad times, in moments of sin, in moments of sadness, “Jesus says to us ‘Look at me: I am here!'” Therefore, said the Pope, “Let us take the hand of Jesus and allow ourselves to be lifted up”.

Finally, the Pope explained that Peter and John teach us not to trust in the means used to heal, which he said, “are also useful”. Rather, trust in “the true wealth that is the relationship with the Risen One.” “Let us not forget”, concluded the Pope, “that it is Jesus’ hand that through our own helps others to rise”.

By Francesca Merlo

 

 

 

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Pope at Angelus: True treasure is in heaven https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-at-angelus-true-treasure-is-in-heaven/ Sun, 04 Aug 2019 20:53:05 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=38897 Pope Francis during the Angelus (AFP or licensors) Pope Francis during his Angelus address says that Jesus invites us to consider that riches can chain the heart and distract it from the true treasure that is in heaven. August 4, 2019 Above a sunny St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis joined the faithful on [...]

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Pope Francis during the Angelus (AFP or licensors)

Pope Francis during his Angelus address says that Jesus invites us to consider that riches can chain the heart and distract it from the true treasure that is in heaven.

August 4, 2019

Above a sunny St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis joined the faithful on Sunday for the traditional Angelus Prayer. In his remarks he reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke and he invited those gathered to read this beautiful passage. It opens with the scene of a man who stands up in the crowd and asks Jesus to resolve a juridical question about the inheritance of a family.

The Pope explained that Jesus “does not address the question, and exhorts us to stay away from greed, that is, the greed to possess.”

Jesus and the rich man

Jesus recounts the parable of the rich fool, who believes he is happy because he has had the good fortune of an exceptional year and feels secure for the goods he has accumulated.  Pope Francis pointed out that “the story comes to life when the contrast between what the rich man plans for himself and what God promises him emerges.”

The Pope described how the, “the rich person puts three considerations before his soul, that is, before himself: the many goods piled up, the many years that these goods seem to assure him, tranquility and unbridled well-being.  But, said the Pontiff, “the word that God addresses to him erases these projects. Instead of the “many years”, God indicates the immediacy of “this night”; instead of the “enjoyment of life” he presents Him with the “rendering of life”, with the consequent judgment.”

Pope Francis went on to say that God addressed the man as foolish, which in this case is justified, because in practice he has denied God, and he has not come to terms with Him.

The parable, said the Pope, serves as a warning that reveals “the horizon towards which we are all called to look. Material goods are necessary for life, but they must not be the end of our existence, but a means of living honestly and in sharing with those most in need.”

Riches that can chain the heart

Pope Francis underlined that, “today Jesus invites us to consider that riches can chain the heart and distract it from the true treasure that is in heaven.”

He added, however, that “this does not mean being alienated from reality, but seeking the things that have a true value such as justice, solidarity, acceptance, fraternity and peace…” “The greed for goods, the desire to have goods, he remarked does not satisfy the heart, on the contrary it causes more hunger.”

The Pope concluded by saying that it “is a matter of inclining towards a life lived not in the worldly way, but in the evangelical way, meaning, to “love God with all our being, and to love our neighbour as Jesus loved him, that is, in service and in the gift of himself.”

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Pope Francis at Angelus prays for “defenseless” US shooting victims https://insidethevatican.com/popeswords/pope-francis-at-angelus-prays-for-defenseless-us-shooting-victims/ Sun, 04 Aug 2019 20:14:15 +0000 https://insidethevatican.com/?p=38894 Candles are lit at a Vigil at Pius X Church after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas (2019 Getty Images) The Pope expresses his spiritual closeness and prayers to all those affected by this week’s series of mass shootings in the US. August 4, 2019 Pope Francis, following the Angelus in St [...]

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Candles are lit at a Vigil at Pius X Church after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas (2019 Getty Images)

The Pope expresses his spiritual closeness and prayers to all those affected by this week’s series of mass shootings in the US.

August 4, 2019

Pope Francis, following the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday expressed his spiritual closeness to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by attacks, he said had “led to bloodshed in Texas, California and Ohio in the United States.

At least nine people were killed in Ohio, Sunday in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours.

On Saturday a young man opened fire in a crowded El Paso, Texas, shopping area, leaving 20 dead and many injured.

Just days earlier, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people, including two children, at Northern California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Sunday’s shooting in Dayton, Ohio was the 22nd mass killing of 2019 in the U.S.

Pope Francis said that all three attacks had targeted “defenceless people”.

Following his words, he offered a Hail Mary for the victims.

Also in his remarks after the Marian Prayer, the Pope recalled the 160th anniversary of the death of the saintly Curé d’Ars, St John Vianney. Pope Francis described him as a model of goodness and charity for all priests.

On this significant occasion the Pope said he “wanted to send a letter to priests throughout the world, to encourage them in fidelity to the mission to which the Lord has called them.”

He added, “may the witness of this humble parish priest, totally dedicated to his people, help to rediscover the beauty and importance of the ministerial priesthood in contemporary society.”

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