Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 21 • MAY 26 - JUN 01, 2018

01 Cover

posted May 23, 2018, 10:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 24, 2018, 10:22 PM ]


03 Index

posted May 23, 2018, 10:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:28 AM ]


04 Official

posted May 23, 2018, 10:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 24, 2018, 10:48 PM ]


05 Engagements

posted May 23, 2018, 10:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:27 AM ]


07 Editorial - Mystery of Mysteries - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted May 23, 2018, 10:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 24, 2018, 10:23 PM ]

The focus of the feast of the Trinity – the mystery of Mysteries – is really the summit or the heart of God’s revelation of Himself to us. Any one who hopes to approach God as He really is, must approach Him as Trinity. From the very beginning several religious quests of a God experience has been intuitively Trinitarian. The mystery of the doctrine of Trinity of One God in three Persons, each distinct, but still one God that defies rational analysis, makes Christian faith distinctive.

Jesus commands the disciples to baptise ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Paul embeds the person of Jesus in the mystery of the Godhead. In John, Thomas confesses that Jesus is ‘My Lord and my God.’ It took centuries for the Church to find the best words, but from the very beginning, in Jesus, God is glimpsed as Triune.

First, in Christ, we discover that God is love. It is not just that God loves, but that God is, at the very core of His being, love. When we love, we share in the very life of God. If God were alone from all eternity, then God could not be love. There would have been no one and nothing to love until Creation. Love would be accidental to God, and so God could stop loving which is against the eternal essence of God's love.

The ancient doxology prayer is familiar to all of us. “Glory be to the Father... As it was in the beginning, is now and ever will be, world without end.” God always was three in one, is three in one, will always be three in One. Our ancient faith expresses the enduring truth about God. God did not become three; God will never stop being three.

But would it not be enough for there to be just two persons of the Godhead? Why three? This is not primarily a mathematical statement, as if we could get to heaven and count the persons of the Trinity. It points towards a unique love which is utterly mutual, but which overflows, as the love of the Father and the Son overflows in the Holy Spirit.

When parents have children, they too learn that love which spills over beyond the couple. Love becomes Trinitarian as its mutuality is opened towards others. Otherwise, our love might become introverted and narcissistic. So the doctrine of the Trinity is not abstract celestial mathematics. It is the most down to earth practical lesson in the mystery of generous and fruitful love.

But why then do we insist that God is one? God is a love which is completely one. 'There is no other God like our God'. Could we not settle for three gods, happily loving each other from all eternity, like an everlasting happy family? The Trinity points to the utter unity of God - a flow of relationships of Love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and ourselves, who gathers us into the concord of His being.

From the earliest times a profound Christian spirituality, has been an experience of the mystery of this Triune love of God creating, redeeming and guiding us, which is fully revealed in Jesus. The everyday ordinary loving of a Christian disciple is marked with this mystery. It is a love which lifts us into communion equality, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal. It is this communion that frees us from self-sufficient individualism, domination and manipulation.

Trinity is a fertile love, overflowing beyond itself. It draws us into unity with one another and with God, overthrowing divisions between nations, saints and sinners, the living and the dead. As we allow ourselves to be drawn into the life, the love of the Triune God, we discover the mystery that is ourselves, and, indeed, the mystery of one another!

08 Trinitarian Spirituality - Bishop Bosco Penha

posted May 23, 2018, 10:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:20 AM ]

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the supreme mystery of our faith, and has a lot to say about our lives as human beings. Since we have been created by the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and in the image of the Holy Trinity, all we do must carry the Trinitarian stamp. I want to deal here with our spirituality.

Spirituality is our day to day relationship with God and others, and the way we organise its various components. Since the Trinity is the supreme mystery of our faith, we need to give it the first place in our spirituality as well. When our spirituality does not follow doctrine, we can develop a lop-sided spirituality. For instance, a person who goes to various novenas on week days but misses Mass on Sundays, or another who devotionally kisses all the statues in the church but ignores the Eucharist would be displaying a lop-sided spirituality.

Normally, people would begin with Marian spirituality, laying emphasis on Mary. Since most of us know the love of a mother as a powerful experience, it is easy to relate to Mary as our Heavenly Mother. This is good for a start, but we must not get fixated on Mary. The role of Mary herself in our lives is to take us to Jesus. “Do what He tells you” (Jn 2:15) is what she says to us as she said to the servants at the wedding feast of Cana. Hence, a Marian Spirituality, when it is healthy, should lead us to a Christ-centred spirituality, where Jesus becomes the centre of our lives. It is because so many people remain fixated on Mary that Protestants accuse us of putting Mary in place of God. However, we must remember that Jesus Himself is not the final end of our journey. He came to this world to reveal the Father to us, and to take us to the Father, who is the culminating point of our spiritual journey. Hence, Christological spirituality must lead, ultimately, to a spirituality focused on the Father, which is Trinitarian.

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09 Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

posted May 23, 2018, 10:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:18 AM ]

May 21, 2018 marked the first celebration of the Feast of Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, instituted early this year by Pope Francis. The announcement came in a decree issued March 3, 2018 by Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

“The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on His nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church,” according to the decree.

“This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God.”

On March 27, 2018, the same Congregation clarified that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, must be celebrated by everyone, beginning this year.

The Notification from the Church’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments clarified that the new Obligatory Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, must be celebrated in the Ordinary form of the Roman Rite, beginning 2018. The new feast is to be observed on the Monday following Pentecost.

Because Pentecost is a movable feast, tied to the notification, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation, notes that an exception still exists, in accordance with the rubrics in the Roman Missal: “… it is possible that the new Memorial could coincide with another Memorial of a Saint or Blessed; and when this happens, the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, will take precedence.”

The new feast was inserted into the Universal Calendar for the Latin Church earlier this year by Pope Francis, in a decree dated February 11, 2018 – the 160th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes. Previously, permission to celebrate a feast of Mary had been extended to Poland and Argentina, as well as St Peter’s Basilica, and several Religious Orders and Congregations.

The title of “Mother of the Church” was famously bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary by Blessed Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council. The understanding of Mary’s motherhood has developed in the decades following Vatican II, especially as the Church has reflected on the Council’s teaching about Mary in chapter 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium).

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10 Mary’s May - Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

posted May 23, 2018, 10:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:17 AM ]

The month of May has always been a special month dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, the mother of God. As children, we looked forward to the 'May Devotions'; during our vacations, a never-failing ritual was the daily recitation of the Rosary and the prayers at the little grotto of Our Lady that was in a prime place in the courtyard of my grandparents in Mangalore. Today, one can only reminisce about such devotions; it is certainly not easy to explain to a world which is caught up in crass materialism, of how these simple ordinary devotions deepened our spirituality and helped form us.

The big surprise, however, is that there is still so much happening all over in this month of May, all centred on Mary. As one looks back at the month of May, one cannot help but acknowledge that Mary's role in the life of the Church and the world will never ever diminish.

Mary, Queen of the Apostles:

On the Feast of Pentecost, we need to appreciate Mary's unique role in the lives of the Apostles and the disciples. For fifty days after the suffering, death, and Resurrection of her beloved Son, she accompanied the followers of Jesus in a way only she could. She was endowed with God's spirit from the moment she said an unconditional "yes" to His will. In the Cenacle, she continued to motivate, inspire and help them to become true witnesses. When they received the Holy Spirit, they courageously went out to the whole world to preach and live the 'good news.'

Mary, Queen of Flowers: The 'Flores de Mayo' is a special festival in the Philippines in the month of May in honour of Mary. The festival climaxes with the 'Santa Cruzan', a religious-historical pageant to celebrate the finding of the Holy Cross in the year 326, by Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. It was truly a moving experience to witness this pageant in our Jesuit church in Beirut recently. More than forty women (mostly Filipinas, but also some Sri Lankans and Africans) came beautifully dressed (tiara and all) as 'Reinas' (Queens). Each one of them represented various women of the faith from the Old and the New Testaments. The various titles and attributes given to Mary (like Queen of Peace, Queen of Justice) were also represented. In essence, it was a truly Marian devotion.

Mary, Our Lady of Lebanon:

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11 Message from Russia - Fr. Michael G

posted May 23, 2018, 10:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:15 AM ]

I was with an Indian tourist group visiting Russia for seven days. On May 4, I celebrated Mass with them. The Gospel reading was Jn 10:31-42 - “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” The following is the message I gave to the group in the light of this Gospel passage:

“We visited Moscow and Petersburg. The massive churches like St Basil’s Cathedral, Church of the Saviour, Isaac Cathedral and Kazan; magnificent palaces like Kremlin and Catherine palace; parks like Peterhoff and gigantic squares like Leningrad and monuments all over both the cities made the entire history of Russia present before our eyes!

We experienced the strong Orthodox Christianity of Russia. The Sunday Mass we attended was in Russian, yet we relished it because of their devotional singing, especially with the pipe organ! It was superb! The vast churches and their massive pillars gave us a glimpse of the magnetic power of Christ’s message that reached the people of Russia in the very beginning of the Christian era, and took deep roots in such a remote foreign country. The Eastern Church has made unique contributions to Christianity at large. Its ‘orthodoxy’ has unique features like Iconology and devotional spirituality.

On the other hand, as we moved along, we stumbled upon the extensive squares like Leningrad, that bring to our mind the rise and fall of Communism. One wonders why Russia had to undergo so many religious upheavals and social revolutions, and as a result, bear so much of religious persecution. Why did atheism prevail over Christianity in Russia? Because it did not solve the life problems of the poor in the country. Tzars like Peter and Catherine built magnificent castles and parks; for whom? They were built for the benefit of the kings and nobles at the cost of the poor! The poor put in hard labour just to fill their bellies! The Christian Kings did not bring prosperity to the farmers and workers. There was glaring inequality among people. There was only hunger and misery for the downtrodden. Hence, socialism and communism arose. Christianity was declared to be an opium of the people, responsible for their poverty, and was suppressed!

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12 Our Calling, yours and mine, in the World Today - Noel D'Silva

posted May 23, 2018, 10:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:14 AM ]

How can we bring anew the Light of the Gospel to a chaotic world, a world that is pushing aside its Creator for the idols of relativism and self-sufficiency generated by the ‘almighty’ power of science and technology? Catch modern man believing in the paradoxical saying of Jesus that he who loses his life shall save it! It is to be hoped that the cognoscenti as well the ‘lay-person on the street’ will take note of the ideas expressed in this essay, and use them as a spur for action to the Mission that all baptised are privileged to be called as disciples of Jesus.

The Catholic World is suffused by the determination of recent Popes to overhaul, so to say, the fundamental obligation of the Church to make Christ present in the world; hence, the call for New Evangelisation. This, of course, does not mean a new Gospel, or a modified one that is made relevant to current situations. No! What it calls for is a new understanding of the Gospel, fortified by prayer, meditation and study, and a new dynamics of Mission that takes into cognisance the ‘signs of the times’.

The example of the self-emptying of Jesus must be evidenced by a detachment from the “structures of power”, simultaneously accompanied by a total thrust and full engrossment into humanity in situ. “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the peoples of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.” (Vatican II – Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes) Priests are said to be alter Christi in a special way. Is it not, therefore, incumbent on them to lead by example? Faith cannot remain in the realm of knowledge. It demands translation into action. As a matter of fact, ‘Faith’ should be considered as more of a verb than a noun. Faith is active, “a mode of being in a relation with God and others” accompanied by belief, commitment, love, risk. Faith is loving God, considered together with loving one's neighbour as the badge of those who believe in the Gospel. It is, therefore, just not enough to preach the Faith. The preachers MUST get into contact with, be in touch with the world of man (joys and sorrows) and Nature to evidence the transforming power of Faith. Get the smell of the sheep – repeated time and time again, but…

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