April 21, 2016, Thursday — Pope Francis speaks of the need to use our memories to develop a personal relationship with Christ
“What has my relationship with the Lord been like? (Let us recall) our memories of the beautiful and great things that the Lord has carried out in the lives of each one of us.” —Pope Francis today, stressing that we must “remember” the times the Lord has been present to us, in his homily at his daily morning Mass in the Domus Santa Marta chapel (link)
“The Greek word anamnesis is normally translated as memory. Yet in both Jewish and Greek terms at the time the Scriptures were written, the term was a lot more than this. For the Greek, anamnesis was the ‘soul-memory,’ intermittent access to the divine through a ‘making-present’ of the Other. This was rooted in Platonic philosophy… Jewish ritual affords an unprecedented role for memory, for remembrance, for the calling-to-present of an event of another time. Jews then and now are called during the Seder to personally know: ‘We were slaves in Egypt.’ Not ‘our ancestors were slaves in Egypt.’ Not ‘at one point the Israelites were slaves in Egypt.’ But ‘WE were slaves in Egypt, and Adonai Elohim Himself freed us.’ Memory for a Jew is not a mental exercise but a miraculous reality. Memory, in our fallen world, is the calling-into-presence of what is absent. Yet memory in its perfect sense, as meant by God, is a calling-into-true-presence. This is the meaning of the thief’s request on the cross: ‘Remember me in your Kingdom.’ It is a call not for the Lord to think about someone who is now absent, but to literally have him in His presence, literally calling him into presence through memory.” —by a Jewish woman convert to Orthodoxy
“The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or memorial. ” —Par. 1362, The Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The best-known sentence in the Confessions comes in its first chapter and epitomizes Augustine’s understanding of human nature. The praying speaker acknowledges that God stirs human beings to delight in praising him ‘because thou hast made us toward thyself and our heart is restless until it rests in thee’ (quia fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te; 1.1.1).
“The allusion to Genesis 1:26–27, God’s creation of human beings, resounds explicitly, for our ears, in ‘thou hast made us‘ (fecisti nos). But for Augustine’s readers it was also evident in ad te, ‘toward thyself,’ because the Latin Bible renders the act as God’s creating humans ‘toward [his] image‘ (ad imaginam) rather than ‘in’ it.
“According to this understanding, Christ alone is the Image of God, and human beings are made ‘toward’ that Image. But Augustine’s ‘toward thyself’ also implies an innate inclination in human nature: by our very nature we are drawn toward God. That is why the human heart is ‘restless’ amidst all the goods of the created world. So many things please, but none of them, finally, satisfies. Augustine presents the restless heart and the joy that comes from worship as indices in this world that human beings are made by and for Someone beyond it. Hence, the Augustinian heart has both an incompleteness, for it is ‘restless,’ and a directionality, toward God. His phrasing, moreover, links the individual and the race: ‘our heart is restless until it rests in thee.’ This restlessness is manifested in every human heart and in the human race as a whole. In its context, the sentence explains why we delight in worship, and thus implies the Church.” — Robert McMahon, “Augustine’s Confessions and Voegelin’s Philosophy,” Modern Age, Winter 2006 issue. (link)
Pope Francis in his homily this morning in the chapel of the Domus Santa Marta encouraged his listeners to draw closer to Christ by remembering “the beautiful and great things” that he had done in their lives.
The Pope asked that Christians always ‘make a memory‘ of how God has appeared in their lives.
The Pope said that memories make us draw closer to God and remind us that they take us beyond the ancient splendor that Adam had in the first creation.
“I give you this simple advice,” Pope Francis said. “Memorize it! What’s my life been like, what was my day like today or what has this past year been like? (It’s all about) memory. What has my relationship with the Lord been like? (Let us recall) our memories of the beautiful and great things that the Lord has carried out in the lives of each one of us.”
Pope Francis explained that we must thank Jesus from the heart because he has always been close, despite we having disowned him.
EXCERPTS FROM PAPAL HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
“We must look back to see how God has saved us, follow — with our hearts and minds — this path with its memories and in this way arrive at Jesus’s side.
“It’s the same Jesus, who in the greatest moment of his life — Holy Thursday and Good Friday, in the (Last) Supper — gave us his Body and his Blood and said to us ‘Do this in memory of me.’
“In memory of Jesus.
“To remember how God saved us.
He said the Eucharist as a “memorial,” just as in the Bible the book of Deuteronomy is ‘the book of the memory of Israel.’
And we must do the same in our personal lives, Francis said.
“It’s good for the Christian heart to memorize my journey, my personal journey: just like the Lord who accompanied me up to here and held me by the hand.
“And the times I said to our Lord: ‘No! Go away! I don’t want you!’
“Our Lord respects (our wishes). He is respectful.
“But we must memorize our past and be a memorial of our own lives and our own journey.
“We must look back and remember and do it often.
“‘At that time God gave me this grace and I replied in that way, I did this or that… He accompanied me.’
“And in this way we arrive at a new encounter, an encounter of gratitude.”
“Memory makes us draw closer to God.
“The memory of that work which God carried out in us, in this re-creation, in this re-generation, that takes us beyond the ancient splendor that Adam had in the first creation.
“I give you this simple advice: Memorize it!
“What’s my life been like, what was my day like today or what has this past year been like? (It’s all about) memory.
“What has my relationship with the Lord been like?
“Our memories of the beautiful and great things that the Lord has carried out in the lives of each one of us.”
(Here is a link to a video of the Pope preaching this homily.)
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What is the glory of God?
“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.