Tag Archive | Benedict XVI

Year of Faith

The great circle of love presupposes a journey of faith. Today the Year of Faith began, called for by Benedict XVI. It cannot be emphasized enough with regard to its importance, a dimension of this year which is elaborated in his Apostolic Letter Porta fidei. We are being called to enter the door of faith (Acts 14:27), a fact clearly enunciated at the beginning of the text: “To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory” (cf. Jn 17:22). Benedict continued, “To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.”

We considered these truths on this blog in recent posts on the role of the great circle of love in salvation history – the circle of our journey home. The Year of Faith, therefore, calls us into deeper penetration of this mystery, evoking a sense of awe and excitement which will serve as a stimulus to strengthen our motivation, to keep going on our return journey in faith into the heart of God our Father.

Immaculata

St Maximilian Kolbe is the second Marian teacher referred to in a previous blog post, the other being St Louis de Montfort. Kolbe is stunning in his approach to Mariology. While neither one of these great saints is exclusive with regard to the following topics, Kolbe explores the depths of the gifts given to Mary, whereas de Montfort focuses more on showing us the way and gives us the reasons why to give ourselves to Mary. Thus we continue to expand our understanding of Mary’s relationship with the Holy Trinity and Her participation in salvation history.

In his last writings before being imprisoned at Auschwitz, we find the quintessence of Kolbe’s Marian teachings. It is the consequence of his perennial question: “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?” A question best understood from his own answer: “The path of creation goes from the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit; this return trail goes from the Spirit, through the Son back to the Father. In other words, by the Spirit, the Son becomes incarnate in the womb of the Immaculata and through the Son, love returns to the Father. And She (the Immaculata), grafted into the love of the Blessed Trinity, becomes from the first moment of Her existence forever thereafter the ‘complement of the Blessed Trinity'” (Sketch, 1941, Feb. 17).

This is why when we describe the Great Circle of Love, Mary is included in the way back to the Father, not as a devotional reality but in Her very essence; that is, as the Immaculate Conception. It is admitted that such a concept can be rather overwhelming to our understanding, so it is fitting that it becomes the continuous subject in our contemplation of Mary, as it was for Kolbe. We need to keep bringing back these truths into our heart of hearts, in order not to dilute our veneration of Mary as “only a stepping stone” or to practical devotions, as valuable as the latter are. Kolbe, in fact, superlatively plumbs the depths of Mary’s union with the Holy Spirit – astonishingly so – by explaining the Holy Spirit as the “uncreated eternal conception” and His relationship with Mary as the “created Immaculate Conception” (ibid.). Through the action of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, with her divine Son, becomes an integral reality towards our return jouney to the Father.

This same Holy Spirit is active in our lives, which will be our next consideration in understanding the journey back to the Father: that is, the Great Circle of Love. In an article written before his election to the papacy, Benedict XVI said: “The Holy Spirit is recognizable in the way in which He forms human life. A life formed from faith is in turn a sign of the Holy Spirit. To speak of ‘Christian spirituality’ means to speak about the Holy Spirit. He makes himself recognizable by gaining a new center for human life. Speaking about the Holy Spirit includes looking at Him in man, to whom He has given himself” (Ratzinger, J. 1998. Communio [Summer ed.]).

The Father always present

“Father — with this word I express my certainty that someone is there who hears me, who never leaves me alone, who is always present.”

“I express my certainty that God, despite the infinite difference between Him and me, is such that I can speak to Him, may even address Him familiarly as “thou” (German du). His greatness does not overwhelm me, does not reject me as insignificant and unimportant.”

“Certainly I am subject to Him as a child is subject to his father, yet there is such a fundamental similarity and likeness between Him and me, yes, I am so important to Him, I belong so closely to Him, that I can rightly address Him as ‘Father.’ My being born is not a mistake, then, but a grace. It is good to live even though I do not always perceive it. I am wanted; not a child of chance or necessity, but of choice and freedom.”

“Therefore I shall also have a purpose in life; there will always be a meaning for me, a task designed just for me, there is a conception of me that I can seek and find and fulfill. When the school of life becomes unbearably hard, when I would like to cry out as Job did, as the psalmist did — then I can transform this cry into the word ‘Father’ and the cry will gradually become a word, a reminder to trust, because from the Father’s perspective it is clear that my distress, yes, my agony, is part of the greater love for which I give thanks” (In Ratzinger, J. 1992. Co-workers of the truth: Meditations for every day of the year).

The only Sign

“How many people also in our time are in search of God, in search of Jesus and of his Church, in search of divine mercy, and are waiting for a ‘sign’ that will touch their minds and their hearts! Today, as then, the Evangelist reminds us that the only ‘sign’ is Jesus raised on the cross: Jesus who died and rose is the absolutely sufficient sign. Through him we can understand the truth about life and obtain salvation” (Benedict XVI. 2006, March. At the Parish of God the Merciful Father).

There for each other

“God makes Himself known to us as a mystery of infinite love in which the Father eternally utters His Word in the Holy Spirit.  Consequently the Word Who from the beginning is with God and is God, reveals God Himself in the dialogue of love between the Divine Persons and invites us to share in that love.  Created in the image and likeness of the God Who is love, we can thus understand ourselves only in accepting the Word and in docility to the work of the Holy Spirit.  In the light of the revelation made by God”s Word, the enigma of the human condition is definitevely clarified” (Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini – Benedict XVI, 9/30/2010).

This teaching is necessary in order to enlighten us that dedication to God the Father is not and never can be viewed as exclusive.  The Father and, in fact, each Person of the Holy Trinity to put it colloqually is “there for each other.”  And again to mention that we are definitely invited to the “Round dance of the Trinity!”

You will be My people and I will be your God

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“The Divine Teacher invites us to recognize first of all the primacy of God the Father. Wherever He is absent, nothing can be good: He is a crucial priority for all things. Kingdom of Heaven means, in fact, lordship of God and this means that His Will must be adopted as the guiding criterion of our existence” (Benedict XVI, General Audience, 7/17/11).  The aforementioned statement by Benedict XVI serves as a beacon of light about the priority of our relationship with God our Father. The purpose of this site is to provide content and inspiration for the journey into our Eternal Father’s Heart.