Monthly Archives: June 2014


A Blessing for Fathers…
We bless you and we praise you, God of our Fathers,                                                You are the God of Adam, father of the human family.                                                     You are the God of Abraham, our Father in faith,                                              who was ready and willing to give up everything to be faithful to you.                               You are the God of Isaac, who was born of laughter and old age, and the God of Jacob,         whose clever trick gained an inheritance for twelve tribes of sons and daughters,                You are the God of Jesse, from whose loins a nation sprang,                                               a sturdy family tree of monarchs, prophets, and priests.                                               You are the God and Father of Israel, your child whom you love with all  heart.
You are the God of Zechariah, who fathered St. John the Baptist and taught him the Torah,                and of Joachim, the grandfather of Jesus.                                                         You are the God of Joseph, who loved and raised Jesus as his own.                                           You are the God and Father of Jesus, and our Father in heaven, too: Holy is your name!
We thank you, God, for the gift of our fathers, for grandfathers, and godfathers and fathers-in-law, too. Send your Holy Spirit upon our fathers, in whose laps we were cradled, on whose knees we were bounced, by whose hands we were fed, instructed, and at times, corrected,                         in whose company we learned to work and play and pray,                                                      at whose side we hear your word and celebrate your mysteries.
Heal their pains and disappointments. Forgive all that needs to be forgiven.                          Give them the good that they have given others.                                                 Welcome into your arms those who have died.
Fill this world, O God, with a father’s love!
We ask this through your son Jesus Christ who taught us to pray to you as                          He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,                                               who is Father of the poor, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Monsignor Jack

No. 11  "Blushing Lilies"  - J.K.Park


The Most Holy Trinity    June 15, 2014
Ordinary Time: Summer
What do the words Ordinary Time mean? Dorothy Day said, “The words ‘Ordinary Time’ in our prayer books put me in a state of confusion and irritation. To me, no time is ordinary.” She was right. The Ordinary in “Ordinary Time” refers to ordinal counted time, not to a lack of something to celebrate. The Roman document, General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, says: “Apart from those seasons having their own distinctive character (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Triduum, Easter), 33 or 34 weeks remain in the yearly cycle that do not celebrate a specific aspect of the mystery of Christ. Rather, especially on the Sundays, they are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects.
How do we celebrate “the mystery of Christ in all its aspects”? We gather every Sunday. Sunday is our original feast day. Christians have gathered every Sunday — the day of Christ’s resurrection, the first day of the week — ever since there were Christians.
When we gather on Sundays in Ordinary Time, as always, we hear the scriptures proclaimed. The Church reads straight through “the Gospel of the year,” either Matthew, Mark or Luke, each week often picking up where we left off last week. (We read John during Lent and Easter, and on feasts.) The first readings, from the first testament of the Bible or the Hebrew Scriptures, have been chosen for their relationship to the gospel passages. Many voices are heard through summer Ordinary Time. We also read through some of the letters of the Second Testament or New Testament or the Christian Scriptures. The mystery of Christ “in all its aspects” unfolds.
What is the heart of our Sunday celebration? We do our Eucharist; that is, we do our thanksgiving. We praise and thank God for all creation; we pray for the whole world, as we remember Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We share the bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ. We are sent forth to be the body and blood of Christ in our homes, neighborhoods, our towns, our cities, our country, our world.
“What happens in our churches every Sunday is the fruit of our week. What happens as the fruit of the week past is the beginning of the week to come. Sunday is simultaneously a point of arrival and departure for Christians on their way to the fullness of the kingdom. This is not ordinary at all. This is the fabric of Christian living.” (Saint Andrew Bible Missal (Brooklyn: William J. Hirten Co., 1982.)

Monsignor Jack 1-3-5

Report authored by French Msgr. Tony Anatrella – A Clarification of Media Error

Catholic News Service – Documentary Service
3211 Fourth Street NE – Washington DC 20017

Re:  Clarification

On File
A talk given to new bishops during a Vatican-sponsored course does not represent new guidelines on the church’s response to abuse against minors by religious, a Vatican spokesman said. A report authored by French Msgr. Tony Anatrella and just published by the Vatican publishing house “is not in any way — as someone erroneously interpreted — a new Vatican document or a new instruction or new guidelines for bishops,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said in a written statement released late Feb. 11. The monsignor is a psychoanalyst and a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry. Some media outlets reported that Msgr. Anatrella’s talk, written in French, said bishops are not obligated to report accusations of abuse to authorities. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith mandated in a 2011 letter that in every nation and region, bishops should have clear and coordinated procedures for protecting children, assisting victims of abuse, dealing with accused priests, training clergy and cooperating with civil authorities. Describing sexual abuse of minors as “a crime prosecuted by civil law,” the doctrinal congregation said bishops should follow local laws that require reporting cases of sexual abuse to police. Not all countries mandate the reporting of abuse cases to police. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has now reaffirmed that beyond the mandates of civil law, all members of the church “have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.” U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the papal commission, issued the written statement Feb. 15.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died of apparent natural causes Feb. 13 while in Texas on , hunting trip, once said in an inter view that while he took his Catholic faith seriously, he never allowed it to influence his work on the high court “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a Catholic judge,” Scalia told The Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan newspaper, in 2010. “There are good judges and bad judges.” Scalia said it wasn’t his job to make policy or law, but to “say only what the law provides.” He was widely regarded as an “originalist,” who said the best method for judging cases was examining what the Founding Fathers meant when writing the Constitution. “My burden is not to show that originalism is perfect, but that it beats the other alternatives,” he said in a 2010 lecture. Nominated to the high court in June 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate that September, Scalia was the longest-serving member of the current Supreme Court. He was 79. A funeral Mass was celebrated for him Feb. 20 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.


Apart From the Church,
It Is Not Possible to Find Jesus

Pope Francis


“Following Jesus means belonging to the church, the community that gives Christians their identity, Pope Francis said. “Apart from the church it is not possible to find Jesus,” he said in a homily April 23. “The great Paul VI said: It is an absurd dichotomy to wish to live with Jesus but without the church, to follow Jesus but without the church, to love Jesus but without the church.” Dozens of cardinals living in Rome or visiting the Vatican joined the pope in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace for the Mass on the feast of St. George, the martyr. The feast is the pope’s name day; he was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio. In his homily, Pope Francis spoke about the persecution of the first Christian communities and how opposition did not stop them from sharing their faith in Christ, but went hand in hand with even greater missionary activity. “At the very moment when persecution broke out, the church’s
missionary nature also ‘broke out,'” the pope said. When the first Christians began sharing the Gospel with the Greeks and not just other Jews, it was something completely new and made some of the apostles “a little nervous,” the pope said. They sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on the situation, a kind of “apostolic visitation,” he said. “Perhaps, with a touch of humor, we can say that this was the theological origin of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” The pope spoke in Italian; a Vatican translation of his homily follows, copyright © 2013 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.”


“I thank His Eminence, the cardinal dean, for his words: Thank you, Your Eminence, many thanks.
I also thank those of you who came today. Thank you! Because I feel warmly welcomed by you. Thank you! I feel at home with you and that pleases me. Today’s first reading makes me think that at the very moment when persecution broke out, the church’s missionary nature also “broke out.” These Christians went all the way to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch and proclaimed the word (cf. Acts 11:19). They had this apostolic fervor in their hearts; and so the faith spread! Some people from Cyprus and Cyrene, not these but others who had become Christians, came to Antioch and began to speak also to the Greeks (cf. Acts 11:20).
This is yet another step. And, so the church moves forward. Who took this initiative of speaking to the Greeks, something unheard of, since they were preaching only to Jews? It was the Holy Spirit, the one who was pushing them on, on and on, unceasingly. But back in Jerusalem, when somebody heard about this, he got a little nervous and they sent an apostolic visitation: They sent Barnabas (cf. Acts 11:22).
Perhaps, with a touch of humor, we can say that this was the theological origin of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: this apostolic visitation of Barnabas. He took a look and saw that things were going well (cf. Acts 11:23).

If we want to take the path of worldliness, bargaining with the world … we will never have the consolation of the Lord.

And in this way the church is increasingly a mother, a mother of many, many children: She becomes a mother, ever more fully a mother, a mother who gives us faith, a mother who gives us our identity. But Christian identity is not an identity card. Christian identity means being a member of the church, since all these people belonged to the church, to mother church, for apart from the church it is not possible to find Jesus.
The great Paul VI said: It is an absurd dichotomy to wish to live with Jesus but without the church, to follow Jesus but without the church, to love Jesus but without the church (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 16). And that mother church who gives us Jesus also gives us an identity that is not simply a rubber stamp: It is membership. Identity means membership, belonging. Belonging to the church: This is beautiful! The third idea that comes to my mind ? the first was the outbreak of the church’s missionary nature and second the church as mother ? is that, when Barnabas saw that crowd, the text says, “and a great many people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24), when he saw that crowd, he rejoiced. “When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced” (Acts 11:23). It is the special joy of the evangelizer.
It is, as Paul VI said, “the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing” (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80). This joy begins with persecution, with great sadness and ends in joy. And so the church moves forward, as a saint tells us, amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of the Lord (cf. St. Augustine,
De Civitate Dei, 18:51, 2: PL 41, 614).
This is the life of the church. If we want to take the path of worldliness, bargaining with the world ? as the Maccabees were tempted to do back then ? we will never have the consolation of the Lord. And if we seek consolation alone, it will be a superficial consolation, not the Lord’s consolation, but a human consolation. The church always advances between the cross and the resurrection, between persecutions and the consolations of the Lord. This is the path: Those who take this path do not go wrong.
Today let us think about the missionary nature of the church: these disciples who took the initiative to go forth and those who had the courage to proclaim Jesus to the Greeks, something that at that time was almost scandalous (cf. Acts 11;19-20). Let us think of mother church, who is increasing, growing with new children to whom she gives the identity of faith, for one cannot believe in Jesus without the church. Jesus himself says so in the Gospel: But you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep (cf. Jn 10:26).
Unless we are “Jesus’ sheep,” faith does not come; it is a faith that is watered down, insubstantial. And let us think of the consolation Barnabas experienced, which was precisely the “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing.” Let us ask the Lord for this parrhesia, this apostolic fervor that impels us to move
forward as brothers and sisters, all of us: forward! Forward, bearing the name of Jesus in the bosom of holy mother church, as St. Ignatius said, hierarchical and Catholic. Amen.”


“The biggest threat to the church is worldliness, Pope Francis said in his daily morning Mass homily. A worldly church becomes weak, and while people of faith can look after the church, only God “can look evil in the eye and overpower it,” he said April 30. The pope celebrated the Mass with members of the Vatican’s investment agency in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthas. The day’s reading from the Gospel of St. John recounts Jesus telling his disciples, “I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming;” but Satan “has no power over me.”
The pope said, “If we don’t want the prince of this world to take the church in his hands, we have to entrust her to the only one who can defeat the prince of this world. Entrusting the church to the Lord is a prayer that makes the church grow” and is an act of faith because “we can do nothing. All of us are poor servants of the church,” he said.
Israeli President Shimon Peres officially invited Pope Francis to Israel, telling the pope “the sooner you visit the better, as in these days a new opportunity is being created for peace, and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace.”
The Israeli president’s remarks were reported in a statement released by the Israeli Embassy to the Vatican after Peres met Pope Francis April 30. The statement said Peres told Pope Francis about efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, mentioning specifically the meeting April 29 in Washington between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of the Arab League.
Peres also told the pope that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “is a genuine partner for peace,” the statement said. Peres left the meeting at the Vatican telling the pope, “I am expecting you in Jerusalem and not just me, but all the people of Israel.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters, “The pope would be happy to go to the Holy Land,” although there are no concrete plans for the trip. The Vatican said that during their half-hour private conversation, the pope and the president discussed “the political and social situation in the Middle East, where more than a few conflicts persist.” Going to confession isn’t like heading off to be tortured or punished, nor is it like going to the dry cleaners to get out a stain, Pope Francis said in a morning Mass homily. “It’s an encounter with Jesus” who is patiently waiting “and takes us as we are,” offering penitents his tender mercy and forgiveness, he said April 29.
Members of the Vatican’s investment agency and a group of religious women joined the pope for the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all,” the pope said, quoting from the First Letter of John.
While everyone experiences moments of darkness in life, the verse refers to the darkness of living in error, “being satisfied with oneself, being convinced of not needing salvation,” he said. As John continues, the pope said, “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” People have to start out with the humility of realizing “we are all sinners, all of us, “he said.”

FIRST THINGS – Success Is Not Dignity

THE  PUBLIC SQUARE  –  First Things Editorial Pages

By R. R. Reno

Success Is Not Dignity

1           Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam is worried about America. He should be. As Charles Murray put it in the title of his important book, we’re coming apart. (I wrote about Coming Apart in the March 2012 issue: “The One Percent.”) Putnam’s latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, tells pretty much the same story, but he slices the American population differ­ently. Putnam divides society into the college-educated over and against those with a high-school diploma or less. This is a rough but useful distinction between today’s haves and have-nots. The evidence of a growing divide is clear. And not just clear, but familiar to anyone who has been paying attention over the past couple of decades.

Money? The less educated make less money and are less wealthy, and they’re much more likely to feel finan­cially stressed. Divorce? It’s twice as frequent among the less educated. Illegitimacy? Nearly seven times as likely. Single parenthood? Same. Rates of imprisonment? Same. Unemployment? Same. Church? The less educated are less likely to attend. He doesn’t give statistics on drug use, alcoholism, diabetes, and other dysfunctions, but, again, they also affect those lower down on the social scale far more than those higher up.

In his widely read book Bowling Alone (2000), Putnam popularized the notion of social capital, meaning the so­cial assets we have that help us navigate through life. In Our Kids, he looks at data on social trust, breadth of so­cial networks, even the number of friends. One does not need a degree in sociology to anticipate that a population more likely to be imprisoned, use drugs, divorce, and have children out of wedlock will lack social capital. And this is in fact what his research shows.

Putnam is too politically correct to state the blunt truth bluntly, but the details of Our Kids say it again and again: College-educated people are largely functional, while less-educated people are increasingly dysfunctional. There are two Americas. We’re coming apart.

Putnam reports on the implications of the Great Diver­gence for children. It will come as no surprise to readers that the children of dysfunctional people tend to have a hard time in life, while the children of functional peo­ple tend to have an advantage. Dysfunctional parents give their children less time and are more likely to ne­glect and even abuse them. The children live in run-down neighborhoods that have little sense of community. They do more poorly in schools that have less rigorous course-work and more discipline problems. They’re less likely to go on to college and are vastly less likely to graduate. They have more difficulty finding steady employment.

Put simply, and again in a politically incorrect way, the children of dysfunctional people tend to be dysfunctional, which means kids at the bottom of society are only too likely to stay at the bottom.

Our Kids is also full of stories, both of kids fortunate enough to be born to college-educated parents who con­form to the neo-bourgeois standards of the upper middle class, and of those born into the increasingly large un­derclass. The differences are stark. The suffering of those born in bad circumstances anguishes any sensitive reader. It certainly anguished me.

Yet I was also irked, though not for the reasons others have objected to Putnam’s analysis. Some reviewers on the left have attacked Putnam for failing to zero in on the way in which “financial capitalism” and the selfishness of the rich is at the root of all these problems. Where is class politics in this book on class? Those on the right have complained he does not properly blame the deregulation of sex and the general trend to moral relativism that has de­pleted the social capital of the poor. Still others complain that Putnam paints too rosy a picture of 1950s America, a period of relative middle-class equality from which he thinks we have fallen, downplaying the the racism and sexism of that era.

But I did not have these criticisms in mind as I read Our Kids. By and large, Putnam strikes the right balance. It’s absurd to think that the dra­matic economic changes wrought by economic globalization (or “financial capitalism,” if you prefer) haven’t eroded working-class culture. Creative de­struction may promote economic growth, but it can be hell on actual communities. It’s also ridiculous to deny that feminism and the sexual revolution exploded the social norms that once brought order and dignity to working-class communities. One of the greatest spiritual failures of my lifetime has been the self-righteous refusal of feminists, gay activists, and assorted multiculturalists to acknowl­edge the heavy price poor and vulnerable people have paid for their cherished freedoms.

No, I was not irked by Putnam’s refusal to identify the “bad guys.” Instead, what troubled me was his implicit view of human flourishing. We read that bad family back­grounds limit “one’s ultimate economic success,” and that the growing dysfunction of the working class threatens the American dream of “upward socioeconomic mobil­ity.” What do the doleful charts about illegitimacy and other pathologies tell us? “More single parents means less upward mobility,” while “affluent neighborhoods boost academic success.” Our biggest problem is an “opportunity gap.”

I’m all for upward mobility. It’s surely a boon for chil­dren to advance further in education, make more money, and live in nicer houses than their parents did. It makes the inevitable inequalities of our society (any society) more palatable when the rising tide lifts all boats.

But to speak of “success” and upward mobility in the context of the lives of today’s growing underclass seems almost obscenely narrow and impoverished. Those who live in the dysfunctional world of today’s poor and en­dure its misery suffer from a moral and spiritual poverty more primitive than a lack of “opportunity.” Economic and academic “success” are upper-middle-class preoccu­pations. A good college, a rewarding career? That’s what we want for our kids, to be sure. But this sort of focus is largely a luxury. And like so many luxuries, it can seduce and bewitch us.

any of the subjects interviewed by Putnam’s team see as much. Andrew is an eighteen­ year-old in Bend, Oregon, who has every advantage. His father is financially successful. His mom stayed at home during his childhood. He went to a good school. He’s off to college and undoubtedly hopes to be successful. But he senses that climbing the ladder isn’t of first importance, and his life goal isn’t “success.” He gestures toward something more basic: “The first thing that would be good for me would be if I could build a home and have a family. Hopefully I will meet somebody that’s like my best friend, and then give my kids close to the same as what I had.” And what did he get that he wants to give to his children? “My dad always reminds me every day how much my mom and dad love me.” This is something very precious, and it’s not upward mobility.

David is roughly the same age as Andrew. His father is in prison. His mother moved out when he was an infant. Both have revolving-door relationships with alcoholic and drug-addicted partners. Half-brothers and half-sisters are born and neglected. His girlfriend gets pregnant, leaves him, and moves in with a drug addict. He feels he’s reached a dead end. In his darkness he does not think of “success.” Instead, he tries to take care of his neglected half-siblings, and his daughter. “I love being a dad,” he says. Despite having gotten next to nothing from those who brought him into the world, he too wants to give.

Elijah is a young black man in Atlanta. His childhood was brutal, painful. His life has been violent. He says, “I just love beating up somebody.” Yet he does not come across as a monster, because he sees himself clearly, and he does not like what he sees. “I don’t want to go that route now.” He goes to work and to church, “just trying to be a good all-around American citizen.” He seeks decency. Again, this is a precious thing, and it’s not “success.”

I don’t wish to denigrate Putnam’s concern. As its title indicates, Our Kids is a book written to call us—the well-to-do, the upper third—to see the poor as fellow citizens whose burdens we should share. It’s the right call to issue. But utilitarian, individualistic, meritocratic assumptions dominate his analysis.

To a great degree this impoverishment is forced on him by contemporary social science. It can’t see social institutions like marriage, family, neighborliness, and ed­ucation as goods in themselves. They are goods because they have positive utility functions, which are cashed out in terms of how conducive they are to “success.” Read to your kids at night because it will help their brains develop more fully!

As I read the many gut-wrenching stories in Our Kids of poor young Americans who live without stability, without anything resembling a home life, without adults who are responsible enough to take care of them—without love—it became more and more painful to see Putnam worrying that all this means that, to an ever-greater extent, not ev­erybody has an equal opportunity “to get ahead.”

Being poor at any time and in any place has al­ways been hard. But for many in the past, per­haps most, it could be decent and dignified. Putnam’s own stories of Port Clinton, his home­town, show us as much. He tells of Jesse, a black schoolmate he had growing up. Jesse’s parents had fled the brutal racist system in the South. Neither was educated beyond primary school. Both did menial work. Theirs was a hard life we wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet, two genera­tions ago, they gave Jesse what Andrew and David want to give. They embodied the decency Elijah seeks.

Today, self-giving and decency are remote ideals for many poor people in America. Basic human dignity seems out of reach for those on the bottom of society. Raised in an environment of moral chaos, David lacks the discipline and self-possession—lacks the basic context of family sta­bility—to give himself to those whom he loves. This is the great crisis of our time, not the lack of upward mobility.

I don’t want to discount the role of poverty. Being be­hind on credit-card payments, losing your job because your car breaks down and you can’t get to work on time, feeling as though the world of opportunity has passed you by—all these and more can be hammer blows on the soul. If rich people are more likely to divorce when a spouse loses a job or piles up debt, the relentless financial battering the poor endure is surely a contributing factor to their dysfunctional lives. But we need to be clear about our brother’s burdens if we are to carry them. Today, the poor lack social capital first and foremost, not financial capital. They are spiritu­ally impoverished more than educationally disadvantaged.

Economic and educational reforms may be necessary. But they won’t address the deeper problem. We have to face the dark fact that over the past fifty years we’ve waged a cultural war on the weak. In the 1950s, when Putnam was growing up, a too common racism dogged the life of his classmate Jesse. But the larger culture supported Jesse’s parents in their main goal, which was to raise their son to be a dignified man: sober, law-abiding, honest, hard­working, faithful to his wife, devoted to his children, and God-fearing. That’s no longer true.

Or at least no longer true for those born poor. As Putnam points out, today’s America has become rigorous­ly segregated. The functional people insulate themselves and their children from the dysfunctional people. Im­bued with a therapeutic ethos that softens the rigors they impose on themselves and their children (drug use and sexual license are “unhealthy,” not wrong) and cowed by multiculturalism, today’s rich won’t speak up for a com­mon culture. Instead, they quietly and covertly pass on their social capital to their children in gated communities and class-segregated schools that celebrate diversity and “inclusion” while forming the young people into the rigid molds of the meritocracy.

0n occasion I’ve spoken up at conferences and meetings, arguing that the prefer­ential option for the poor today means social conservatism (again, not only, but certainly at least). It means policies that punish divorce and reward marriage. It means getting serious about limiting pornography and resisting the temptation to legalize drugs. It means affirming gen­der roles that encourage men to act like gentlemen and women like ladies. It means having the courage to use the word “sin.” Most of all it means fighting against the One Percent’s almost complete conscription of the cultural conversation to serve its own interests. (What could be more One Percent than gay marriage and efforts to break the “glass ceiling”?)

The reaction is almost always one of horror. I’m “blam­ing the victim” or “imposing my white male values.” I’ve come to see that it’s not the victims that most progressives care about. The well-to-do like the way the therapeutic, nonjudgmental culture works for them. It keeps the public domain open and flexible and forgiving, which is conve­nient for those of us who have the social capital that allows us to keep our footing when we screw up. Why should the functional people who succeed today give this up?

The rich almost always want to keep as much of what they have as they can. So perhaps what I need to advocate is a more progressive view of our cultural politics. Just as we have a progressive tax system committed to redis­tribution, we should have a progressive cultural system in which the meritocracy that now rules has to accept a higher rate of moral rigor so that we can redistribute its benefits to the rest of society.

First Things, R. R. Reno, May-June Issue, Page 2-5.


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Our Father, when we long for life without trials and work without difficulties,
remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and
diamonds are made under pressure.
With stout hearts may we see in every mishap an opportunity and
not give way to the pessimism that sees in every
opportunity a calamity…

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift, which is our reason for calling it “the present!””

Most of us will never do great things  but each of us can do small things in a great way.

Do not fear tomorrow. God is already there.


Humans judge by the success of our efforts.
God looks at the efforts.

Life is like a game of tennis:
the player who serves well seldom loses.

Loving someone is seeing them the way God intended.

God, grant us the light of Christmas, which is faith; the warmth of Christmas, which is love and the radiance of Christmas, which is purity.

A day hemmed in prayer seldom unravels

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when He is silent.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

In God’s kingdom, the only way up is down. To become great in His kingdom, become the least – the servant of all.

He who wants milk should not sit on a stool in the middle of a pasture waiting for a cow to back up.

One of God’s arrangements is that, after winter, there should come beautiful spring and summer days. It happens every year. And it happens in every life.

There is nothing as strong as gentleness, or as gentle as true strength.

Lord, let my actions be prayer in motion:  silent, effective, and born of love.


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Lumen Fidei Encyclical, Pope Francis
“When faith is weakened, the very foundation of humanity is weakened, Pope Francis
said in his first encyclical letter. Pope Francis has said the encyclical, “Lumen Fidei”
(“The Light of Faith”), was written “with four hands,” his and those of Pope Benedict XVI,
who left the papacy in February. An encyclical on faith was long expected as the last
volume in Pope Benedict’s trilogy on the three theological virtues, following his
encyclicals “Deus Caritas Est” (2005) on charity and “Spe Salvi” (2007) on hope. In the
new encyclical, released July 5, Pope Francis said that for many people in modern times
faith has come to be associated with darkness and “humanity renounced the search for a
great light, truth itself.” Without faith, however, the pope said, “man loses his place in
the universe, he is cast adrift in nature, either renouncing his proper moral
responsibility or else presuming to be a sort of absolute judge, endowed with an unlimited
power to manipulate the world around him.” Faith is not easy, Pope Francis said, nor is it
a “refuge for the faint hearted.” He said, “Faith is not a light that scatters all our
darkness but a lamp that guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey.”
The pope noted that the light of faith helps the common good: “Its light does not simply
brighten the interior of the church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in
the hereafter; it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey toward
a future of hope.” The encyclical follows, copyright © 2013 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
“At the heart of biblical faith is God’s love, his concrete concern for every person and
his plan of salvation that embraces all of humanity and all creation.””


“Origins published the two previous encyclicals in the trilogy on the theological virtues.
“Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience
love, and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world – this is the invitation I would
like to extend with the present encyclical,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his first encyclical,
“Deus Cantos Est” (“God Is Love”), released in early 2006 and dated Dec. 25,2005.

The encyclical’s first part clarified “essential facts concerning the love that God mysteriously and
gratuitously offers to man, together with the intrinsic link between that love and … human love.”
The second, “more concrete” part, treated “the ecclesial exercise of the commandment of love of neighbor.”
The meaning of “‘eros,” a term to indicate ‘worldly love,'” and of “‘agape,’ referring to love grounded
in and shaped by faith” were explored in the first part. “Fundamentally, ‘love’ is a single reality, but
with different dimensions…. Yet when the two dimensions are totally cut off from one another, the result
is a caricature or at least an impoverished form of love,” Pope Benedict said.

He discussed how the Eucharist unites love of God and of others. He examined Catholic social teaching;
the relationship of church and state in building a just social order; the independence of Christian
charitable activity from “parties and ideologies”; humility in the face of “the immensity” of needs and
the necessity of prayer.

Charity, the pope said, is “an indispensable expression of [the church’s] very being.” “Deus Caritas Est”
appeared in Origins, Vol. 35, No. 33, the edition dated Feb. 2,2006.

“To come to know God – the true God – means to receive hope,” Pope Benedict said in his encyclical on
Christian hope, “Spe Salvi.”He wrote, “We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God and have
grown accustomed to it have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real
encounter with this God.”

Released in 2007, the encyclical addressed what the pope called a “crisis of Christian hope” in modern
times. Pope Benedict warned that the modern world has replaced belief in eternal salvation with
“faith in progress” and technology. He said, “Science can contribute greatly to making the world and
mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie
outside it.”

The strong emphasis on reason and freedom today sometimes can go so far as to displace Christian hope,
where redemption can be seen as possible through science and political programs, and where religious faith
is relegated to the private sphere, the pope said. By virtue of hope, the pope explained, people can face
even the most arduous present circumstances. He said that by largely limiting its attention to individual
salvation instead of the wider world, Christianity has reduced the “horizon of its hope.”

It is important, he said, to remember that eternal salvation is “not an unending succession of days in the
calendar but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction.””
“Spe Salvi” appeared in Origins, Vol. 37, No. 27, the edition dated Dec. 13,2007.

The light of faith:

1. This is how the church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. In John’s Gospel,
Christ says of himself, “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness”
(Jn 12:46). St. Paul uses the same image, “God who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts”
(2 Cor 4:6).

The pagan world, which hungered for light, had seen the growth of the cult of the sun god Sol Invictus, invoked
each day at sunrise. Yet though the sun was born anew each morning, it was clearly incapable of casting its
light on all of human existence. The sun does not illumine all reality; its rays cannot penetrate to the shadow
of death, the place where men’s eyes are closed to its light. “No one,” St. Justin Martyr writes,
“has ever been ready to die for his faith in the sun.”1 Conscious of the immense horizon that their faith
opened before them, Christians invoked Jesus as the true sun “whose rays bestow life.”2 To Martha, weeping
for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see
the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40). Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire
journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star that never sets.

An Illusory Light?

2. Yet in speaking of the light of faith, we can almost hear the objections of many of our contemporaries.
In modernity, that light might have been considered sufficient for societies of old but was felt to be of no
use for new times, for a humanity come of age, proud of its rationality and anxious to explore the future in
novel ways. Faith thus appeared to some as an illusory light, preventing mankind from boldly setting out in
quest of knowledge.

The young Nietzsche encouraged his sister Elisabeth to take risks, to tread “new paths … with all the
uncertainty of one who must find his own way,” adding that “this is where humanity’s paths part: If you
want peace of soul and happiness, then believe, but if you want to be a follower of truth, then seek.”3
Belief would be incompatible with seeking. From this starting point Nietzsche was to develop his critique
of Christianity for diminishing the full meaning of human existence and stripping life of novelty and adventure.
Faith would thus be the illusion of light, an illusion that blocks the path of a liberated humanity to its future.
In the process, faith came to be associated with darkness.

3. There were those who tried to save faith by making room for it alongside the light of reason. Such room
would open up wherever the light of reason could not penetrate, wherever certainty was no longer possible.
Faith was thus understood either as a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, driven by blind
emotion or as a subjective light capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation but
not something that could be proposed to others as an objective and shared light that points the way.
Slowly but surely, however, it would become evident that the light of autonomous reason is not enough to
illumine the future; ultimately the future remains shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown. As a result,
humanity renounced the search for a great light, truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights that
illumine the fleeting moment yet prove incapable of showing the way. Yet in the absence of light everything
becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil or the road to our destination from other roads that
take us in endless circles, going nowhere. A Light to Be Recovered

4. There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies
out all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique since it is capable of illuminating every aspect
of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: In a word,
it must come from God.
Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love that precedes us and
upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision,
new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment and that a vision of the future opens
up before us. Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey
through time.
On the one hand, it is a light coming from the past, the light of the foundational memory of the life of Jesus
that revealed his perfectly trustworthy love, a love capable of triumphing over death. Yet since Christ has risen and
draws us beyond death, faith is also a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons that guide us
beyond our isolated selves toward the breadth of communion. We come to see that faith does not dwell in shadow and
gloom; it is a light for our darkness.

Dante, in the Divine Comedy, after professing his faith to St. Peter, describes that light as a “spark,
which then becomes a burning flame and like a heavenly star within me glimmers.”4 It is this light of
faith that I would now like to consider, so that it can grow and enlighten the present, becoming a star
to brighten the horizon of our journey at a time when mankind is particularly in need of light.

5. Christ, on the eve of his passion, assured Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith
may not fail” (Lk 22:32). He then told him to strengthen his brothers and sisters in that
same faith. Conscious of the duty entrusted to the successor of Peter, Benedict XVI proclaimed the present
Year of Faith, a time of grace that is helping us to sense the great joy of believing and to renew our
wonder at the vast horizons that faith opens up, so as then to profess that faith in its unity and integrity,
faithful to the memory of the Lord and sustained by his presence and by the working of the Holy Spirit. The
conviction born of a faith that brings grandeur and fulfillment to life, a faith centered on Christ and on
the power of his grace, inspired the mission of the first Christians.

In the acts of the martyrs, we read the following dialogue between the Roman prefect Rusticus and a Christian
named Hierax: ‘”Where are your parents?’ the judge asked the martyr. He replied: ‘Our true father is Christ,
and our mother is faith in him.'”5
For those early Christians, faith, as an encounter with the living God revealed in Christ, was indeed
a “mother,” for it had brought them to the light and given birth within them to divine life, a new
experience and a luminous vision of existence for which they were prepared to bear public witness to
the end.

6. The Year of Faith was inaugurated on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second
Vatican Council. This is itself a clear indication that Vatican II was a council on faith,6 inasmuch as
it asked us to restore the primacy of God in Christ to the center of our lives, both as a church and as individuals.
The church never takes faith for granted but knows that this gift of God needs to be nourished and
reinforced so that it can continue to guide her pilgrim way. The Second Vatican Council enabled the light
of faith to illumine our human experience from within, accompanying the men and women of our time on their
journey. It clearly showed how faith enriches life in all its dimensions.

7. These considerations on faith – in continuity with all that the church’s magisterium has pronounced
on this theological virtue7 – are meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical
letters on charity and hope. He himself had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith.
For this I am deeply grateful to him, and as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and
added a few contributions of my own. The successor of Peter, yesterday, today and tomorrow, is always
called to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the priceless treasure of that faith that God has given
as a light for humanity’s path.

In God’s gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us,
a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh,
the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully to advance along
that way on wings of hope. Thus wonderfully interwoven, faith, hope and charity are the driving force of
the Christian life as it advances toward full communion with God. But what is it like, this road that
faith opens up before us? What is the origin of this powerful light that brightens the journey of a
successful and fruitful life?

(cf. 1 Jn 4:16)

Abraham, Our Father in Faith

8. Faith opens the way before us and accompanies our steps through time. Hence, if we want to understand
what faith is, we need to follow the route it has taken, the path trodden by believers as witnessed first
in the Old Testament. Here a unique place belongs to Abraham, our father in faith. Something disturbing
takes place in his life: God speaks to him; he reveals himself as a God who speaks and calls his name. e
Faith is linked to hearing.

Abraham does not see God but hears his voice. Faith thus takes on a personal aspect. God is not the god of
a particular place or a deity linked to specific sacred time, but the God of a person, the God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, capable of interacting with man and establishing a covenant with him. Faith is our
response to a word that engages us personally, to a Thou who calls us by name.

9. The word spoken to Abraham contains both a call and a promise. First, it is a call to leave his own
land, a summons to a new life,the beginning of an exodus that points him toward an unforeseen future. The sight
that faith would give to Abraham would always be linked to the need to take this step forward: Faith “sees” to
the extent that it journeys, to the extent that it chooses to enter into the horizons opened up by God’s word.
This word also contains a promise: Your descendants will be great in number, you will be the father of a great
nation (cf. Gn 13:16; 15:5; 22:17). As a response to a word that preceded it, Abraham’s faith would always be
an act of remembrance. Yet this remembrance is not fixed on past events but, as the memory of a promise, it
becomes capable of opening up the future, shedding light on the path to be taken. We see how faith, as
remembrance of the future, memoria futuri, is thus closely bound up with hope.

10. Abraham is asked to entrust himself to this word. Faith understands that something so apparently ephemeral
and fleeting as a word, when spoken by the God who is fidelity, becomes absolutely certain and unshakable,
guaranteeing the continuity of our journey through history. Faith accepts this word as a solid rock upon which
we can build a straight highway on which we can travel.

In the Bible, faith is expressed by the Hebrew word ’emunah, derived from the verb ‘aman, whose root means “to uphold.”
The term ’emunah can signify both God’s fidelity and man’s faith. The man of faith gains strength by putting himself
in the hands of the God who is faithful. Playing on this double meaning of the word – also found in the corresponding
terms in Greek (pistos) and Latin (fidelis) – St. Cyril of Jerusalem praised the dignity of the Christian who receives
God’s own name: Both are called “faithful.”8 As St. Augustine explains: “Man is faithful when he
believes in God and his promises; God is faithful when he grants to man what he has promised.”9

11. A final element of the story of Abraham is important for understanding his faith. God’s word, while bringing
newness and surprise, is not at all alien to Abraham’s experience. In the voice that speaks to him, the patriarch
recognizes a profound call that was always present at the core of his being. God ties his promise to that aspect
of human life that has always appeared most “full of promise,” namely, parenthood, the begetting of new life:
“Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac” (Gn 17:19).

The God who asks Abraham for complete trust reveals himself to be the source of all life. Faith is thus linked to
God’s fatherhood, which gives rise to all creation; the God who calls Abraham is the Creator, the one who “calls
into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom 4:17), the one who “chose us before the foundation of the world
… and destined us for adoption as his children” (Eph 1:4-5).

“In the absence of light everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil or the road to our
destination from other roads that take us in endless circles, going nowhere.” For Abraham, faith in God sheds light
on the depths of his being, it enables him to acknowledge the wellspring of goodness at the origin of all things
and to realize that his life is not the product of non being or chance but the fruit of a personal call and a
personal love. The mysterious God who called him is no alien deity, but the God who is the origin and mainstay of
all that is. The great test of Abraham’s faith, the sacrifice of his son Isaac, would show the extent to which this
primordial love is capable of ensuring life even beyond death. The word that could raise up a son to one who was
“as good as dead,” in “the barrenness” of Sarah’s womb (cf. Rom 4:19), can also stand by his promise of a future
beyond all threat or danger (cf. Hebl 1:19; Rom 4:21).

The Faith of Israel

12. The history of the people of Israel in the Book of Exodus follows in the wake of Abraham’s faith. Faith once
again is born of a primordial gift: Israel trusts in God, who promises to set his people free from their misery.
Faith becomes a summons to a lengthy journey leading to worship of the Lord on Sinai and the inheritance of a
promised land. God’s love is seen to be like that of a father who carries his child along the way (cf. Dt l:31).
Israel’s confession of faith takes shape as an account of God’s deeds in setting his people free and acting as
their guide (cf. Dt 26:5-11), an account passed down from one generation to the next. God’s light shines for
Israel through the remembrance of the Lord’s mighty deeds, recalled and celebrated in worship and passed down
from parents to children.

Here we see how the light of faith is linked to concrete life stories, to the grateful remembrance of God’s mighty
deeds and the progressive fulfillment of his promises. Gothic architecture gave clear expression to this: In the
great cathedrals light comes down from heaven by passing through windows depicting the history of salvation.
God’s light comes to us through the account of his self-revelation and thus becomes capable of illuminating our
passage through time by recalling his gifts and demonstrating how he fulfills his promises.

13. The history of Israel also shows us the temptation of unbelief to which the people yielded more than once.
Here the opposite of faith is shown to be idolatry. While Moses is speaking to God on Sinai, the people cannot
bear the mystery of God’s hiddenness; they cannot endure the time of waiting to see his face.

Faith by its very nature demands renouncing the immediate possession that sight would appear to offer; it is an
invitation to turn to the source of the light while respecting the mystery of a countenance that will unveil
itself personally in its own good time. Martin Buber once cited a definition of idolatry proposed by the rabbi
of Kock: Idolatry is “when a face addresses a face that is not a face.”10

In place of faith in God, it seems better to worship an idol, into whose face we can look directly and whose
origin we know because it is the work of our own hands. Before an idol, there is no risk that we will be called
to abandon our security, for idols “have mouths, but they cannot speak” (Ps 115:5). Idols exist, we begin to see,
as a pretext for setting ourselves at the center of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands.

Once man has lost the fundamental orientation that unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity
of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected
instants. Idolatry, then, is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another.

Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.
Those who choose not to put their trust in God must hear the din of countless idols crying out, “Put your trust in me!”
Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn to the living God
in a personal encounter. Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love that always accepts and pardons,
that sustains and directs our lives, and that shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines
of our history. Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God’s call.

Herein lies the paradox: By constantly turning toward the Lord we discover a sure path that liberates us from the
dissolution imposed upon us by idols.

14. In the faith of Israel we also encounter the figure of Moses, the mediator. The people may not see the face of God;
it is Moses who speaks to YHWH on the mountain and then tells the others of the Lord’s will. With this presence of a
mediator in its midst, Israel learns to journey together in unity. The individual’s act of faith finds its place within
a community, within the common we of the people who, in faith, are like a single person – “my first born son,” as God
would describe all of Israel (cf. Ex 4:22).

Here mediation is not an obstacle but an opening: Through our encounter with others, our gaze rises to a truth
greater than ourselves. Rousseau once lamented that he could not see God for himself: “How many people stand
between God and me!”11 “Is it really so simple and natural that God would have sought out Moses in order to speak
to Jean Jacques Rousseau?”12

On the basis of an individualistic and narrow conception of conscience one cannot appreciate the significance of
mediation, this capacity to participate in the vision of another, this shared knowledge that is the knowledge proper
to love. Faith is God’s free gift, which calls for humility and the courage to trust and to entrust; it enables us
to see the luminous path leading to the encounter of God and humanity: the history of salvation.

The Fullness of Christian Faith

15. “Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56). According to these words of Jesus,
Abraham’s faith pointed to him; in some sense it foresaw his mystery. So St. Augustine understood it when he stated
that the patriarchs were saved by faith, not faith in Christ who had come but in Christ who was yet to come, a faith
pressing toward the future of Jesus.13

“There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light,
for once the flame of faith dies out all other lights begin to dim.”

Christian faith is centered on Christ; it is the confession that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised him from the dead
(cf. Rom 10:9). All the threads of the Old Testament converge on Christ; he becomes the definitive yes to all the promises,
the ultimate basis of our amen to God (cf. 2 Cor 1:20).

The history of Jesus is the complete manifestation of God’s reliability. If Israel continued to recall God’s great acts
of love, which formed the core of its confession of faith and broadened its gaze in faith, the life of Jesus now appears
as the locus of God’s definitive intervention, the supreme manifestation of his love for us. The word that God speaks
to us in Jesus is not simply one word among many, but his eternal Word (cf. Heb 1:1-2). God can give no greater guarantee
of his love, as St. Paul reminds us (cf. Rom 8:31-39).

Christian faith is thus faith in a perfect love, in its decisive power, in its ability to transform the world and to
unfold its history. “We know and believe the love that God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16). In the love of God revealed in Jesus,
faith perceives the foundation on which all reality and its final destiny rest.

16. The clearest proof of the reliability of Christ’s love is to be found in his dying for our sake. If laying down one’s
life for one’s friends is the greatest proof of love (cf. Jn 15:13), Jesus offered his own life for all, even for his
enemies, to transform their hearts. This explains why the evangelists could see the hour of Christ’s crucifixion as the
culmination of the gaze of faith; in that hour the depth and breadth of God’s love shone forth. It was then that St. John
offered his solemn testimony, as together with the mother of Jesus he gazed upon the pierced one (cf. Jn 19:37):
“He who saw this has borne witness, so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth” (Jn 19:35).
In Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, Prince Myskin sees a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger depicting Christ dead in the tomb and says,
“Looking at that painting might cause one to lose his faith.”14 The painting is a gruesome portrayal of the destructive
effects of death on Christ’s body. Yet it is precisely in contemplating Jesus’ death that faith grows stronger and receives
a dazzling light; then it is revealed as faith in Christ’s steadfast love for us, a love capable of embracing death to
bring us salvation. This love, which did not recoil before death in order to show its depth, is something I can believe in;
Christ’s total self-gift overcomes every suspicion and enables me to entrust myself to him completely.

17. Christ’s death discloses the utter reliability of God’s love above all in the light of his resurrection. As the risen one,
Christ is the trustworthy witness, deserving of faith (cf. Rv 1:5; Heb 2:17), and a solid support for our faith.
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile,” says St. Paul (1 Cor 15:17). Had the Father’s love not caused Jesus
to rise from the dead, had it not been able to restore his body to life, then it would not be a completely reliable love,
capable of illuminating also the gloom of death.

When St. Paul describes his new life in Christ, he speaks of “faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”
(Gal 2:20). Clearly, this “faith in the Son of God” means Paul’s faith in Jesus, but it also presumes that Jesus himself is
worthy of faith, based not only on his having loved us even unto death but also on his divine sonship. Precisely because
Jesus is the Son, because he is absolutely grounded in the Father, he was able to conquer death and make the fullness of life shine forth.

Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond,
on another level of reality far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world,
his love would not be truly powerful, truly real and thus not even true, a love capable )f delivering the bliss that it promises.

It would make no difference at all whether we believed in him or not. Christians, on the contrary, profess their
“faith in God’s tangible and powerful love :hat really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love
that can DC encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

“Wonderfully interwoven, faith, hope and charity are the driving force
of the Christian life as it advances toward full communion with God.”

18. This fullness that Jesus brings to faith has another decisive aspect. In faith, Christ is not simply the one in whom we believe,
the supreme manifestation of God’s love; he is also the one with whom we are united precisely in order to believe. Faith does not
merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: It is a participation in his way of seeing.

In many areas in our lives we trust others who know more than we do. We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist
who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where
God is concerned.

Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us (cf. Jn 1:18). Christ’s life, his way of knowing the Father and
living in complete and constant relationship with him, opens up new and inviting vistas for human experience. St. John brings
out the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus for our faith by using various forms of the verb to believe.

In addition to believing that what Jesus tells us is true, John also speaks of believing Jesus and believing in Jesus.
We believe Jesus when we accept his word, his testimony, because he is truthful. We believe in Jesus when we personally welcome him
into our lives and journey toward him, clinging to him in love and following in his footsteps along the way.

To enable us to know, accept and follow him, the Son of God took on our flesh. In this way he also saw the Father humanly, within the
setting of a journey unfolding in time. Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is
faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history. Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith in the Son of
God made man in Jesus of Nazareth enables us to grasp reality’s deepest meaning and to see how much God loves this world and is
constantly guiding it toward himself. This leads us, as Christians, to live our lives in this world with ever greater commitment
and intensity.

Salvation by Faith

19. On the basis of this sharing in Jesus’ way of seeing things, St. Paul has left us a description of the life of faith.
In accepting the gift of faith, believers become a new creation; they receive a new being; as God’s children, they are
now “sons in the Son.” The phrase Abba, Father, so characteristic of Jesus’ own experience, now becomes the core of the
Christian experience (cf. Rom 8:15).

The life of faith, as a filial existence, is the acknowledgment of a primordial and radical gift that upholds our lives.
We see this clearly in St. Paul’s question to the Corinthians, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7).
This was at the very heart of Paul’s debate with the Pharisees: the issue of whether salvation is attained by faith or
by the works of the law.

Paul rejects the attitude of those who would consider themselves justified before God on the basis of their own works.
Such people, even when they obey the commandments and do good works, are centered on themselves; they fail to realize
that goodness comes from God. Those who live this way, who want to be the source of their own righteousness, find
that the latter is soon depleted and that they are unable even to keep the law. They become closed in on themselves and
isolated from the Lord and from others; their lives become futile and their works barren, like a tree far from water.

St. Augustine tells us in his usual concise and striking way, “Ab eo qui fecit te, noli deficere nec ad te” –
“Do not turn away from the one who made you, even to turn toward yourself. “l5 Once I think that by turning away
from God I will find myself, my life begins to fall apart (cf. Lk 15:11-24).

The beginning of salvation is openness to something prior to ourselves, to a primordial gift that affirms life and
sustains it in being. Only by being open to and acknowledging this gift can we be transformed, experience salvation
and bear good fruit. Salvation by faith means recognizing the primacy of God’s gift. As St. Paul puts it,
“By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).

20. Faith’s new way of seeing things is centered on Christ. Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our
lives become radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through
us. This is clearly seen in St. Paul’s exegesis of a text from Deuteronomy, an exegesis consonant with the heart of the
Old Testament message.

Moses tells the people that God’s command is neither too high nor too far away. There is no need to say,
“Who will go up for us to heaven and bring it to us?” or “Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us?”
(Dt 30:11-14). Paul interprets this nearness of God’s word in terms of Christ’s presence in the Christian.
“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘who will descend
into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)” (Rom 10:6-7).

Christ came down to earth and rose from the dead; by his incarnation and resurrection, the Son of God embraced
the whole of human life and history, and now dwells in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Faith knows that
God has drawn close to us, that Christ has been given to us as a great gift that inwardly transforms us,
dwells within us and thus bestows on us the light that illumines the origin and the end of life.

21. We come to see the difference, then, that faith makes for us. Those who believe are transformed by the love to
which they have opened their hearts in faith. By their openness to this offer of primordial love, their lives are
enlarged and expanded. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). “May Christ dwell in
your hearts through faith” (Eph3:17).

The self-awareness of the believer now expands because of the presence of another; it now lives in this other and thus,
in love, life takes on a whole new breadth. Here we see the Holy Spirit at work. The Christian can see with the eyes of
Jesus and share in his mind, his filial disposition, because he or she shares in his love, which is the Spirit. In the
love of Jesus, we receive in a certain way his vision. Without being conformed to him in love, without the presence
of the Spirit, it is impossible to confess him as Lord (cf. 1 Cor 12:3).

The Ecclesial Form of Faith

22. In this way, the life of the believer becomes an ecclesial existence, a life lived in the church. When St. Paul
tells the Christians of Rome that all who believe in Christ make up one body, he urges them not to boast of this; rather,
each must think of himself “according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom 12:3).

Those who believe come to see themselves in the light of the faith that they profess: Christ is the mirror in which
they find their own image fully realized. And just as Christ gathers to himself all those who believe and makes them
his body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with all other

The image of a body does not imply that the believer is simply one part of an anonymous whole, a mere cog in a great
machine; rather, it brings out the vital union of Christ with believers, and of believers among themselves (cf. Rom 12:4-5)
Christians are “one” (cf. Gal 3:28), yet in a way that does not make them lose their individuality; in service to others,
they come into their own in the highest degree. This explains why, apart from this body, outside this unity of the church
in Christ, outside this church that – in the words of Romano Guardini – “is the bearer within history of the plenary gaze
of Christ on the world”16 – faith loses its “measure”; it no longer finds its equilibrium, the space needed to
sustain itself.

Faith is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers.
It is against this ecclesial backdrop that faith opens the individual Christian toward all others. Christ’s word,
once heard, by virtue of its inner power at work in the heart of the Christian, becomes a response, a spoken word,
a profession of faith.

“Faith understands that something so apparently ephemeral and fleeting as a word, when spoken by the God who is fidelity,
becomes absolutely certain and unshakable, guaranteeing the continuity of our journey through history.”

As St. Paul puts it: “One believes with the heart… and confesses with the lips” (Rom 10:10). Faith is not a private matter,
a completely individualistic notion or a personal opinion: It comes from hearing, and it is meant to find expression in words
and to be proclaimed. For “how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without
a preacher?” (Rom 10:14).

Faith becomes operative in the Christian on the basis of the gift received, the love that attracts our hearts to Christ
(cf. Gal 5:6) and enables us to become part of the church’s great pilgrimage through history until the end of the world.
For those who have been transformed in this way, a new way of seeing opens up, faith becomes light for their eyes.


Faith and Truth

23. Unless you believe, you will not understand (cf. Is 7:9). The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint
translation produced in Alexandria, gives the above rendering of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz.
In this way the issue of the knowledge of truth became central to faith. The Hebrew text, though, reads differently;
the prophet says to the king, “If you will not believe, you shall not be established.”

Here there is a play on words, based on two forms of the verb ‘aman: “you will believe” (ta’aminu) and
“you shall be established” (te’amenu). Terrified by the might of his enemies, the king seeks the security that an
alliance with the great Assyrian empire can offer. The prophet tells him instead to trust completely in the solid
and steadfast rock that is the God of Israel. Because God is trustworthy, it is reasonable to have faith in him,
to stand fast on his word. He is the same God that Isaiah will later call, twice in one verse, the God who is Amen,
“the God of truth” (cf. Is 65:16), the enduring foundation of covenant fidelity.

It might seem that the Greek version of the Bible, by translating be established as “understand,” profoundly altered
the meaning of the text by moving away from the biblical notion of trust in God toward a Greek notion of intellectual
understanding. Yet this translation, while certainly reflecting a dialogue with Hellenistic culture, is not alien to
the underlying spirit of the Hebrew text.

The firm foundation that Isaiah promises to the king is indeed grounded in an understanding of God’s activity and
the unity that he gives to human life and to the history of his people. The prophet challenges the king, and us,
to understand the Lord’s ways, seeing in God’s faithfulness the wise plan that governs the ages.

St. Augustine took up this synthesis of the ideas of understanding and being established in his Confessions when
he spoke of the truth on which one may rely in order to stand fast: “Then I shall be cast and set firm in the mold of your truth.”17
From the context we know that Augustine was concerned to show that this trustworthy truth of God is, as the Bible makes clear,
his own faithful presence throughout history, his ability to hold together times and ages, and to gather into one the
scattered strands of our lives.18

24. Read in this light, the prophetic text leads to one conclusion: We need knowledge, we need truth, because without these
we cannot stand firm, ve cannot move forward. Faith without truth does not save; it does not provide i sure footing. It remains
a beautiful story, the projection of our deep yearning for happiness, something capable if satisfying us to the extent that
we are willing to deceive ourselves. Either that or it is reduced to a lofty sentiment that brings consolation and cheer,
yet remains prey to the vagaries of our spirit and the changing seasons, incapable of sustaining a steady journey through life.

“Faith by its very nature demands renouncing the immediate possession that sight would appear to offer; it is an invitation
to turn to the source of the light while respecting the mystery of a countenance that will unveil itself personally in its
own good time.”

If such were faith, King Ahaz would be right not to stake his life and the security of his kingdom on a feeling. But precisely
because of its intrinsic link to truth, faith is instead able to offer a new light, superior to the king’s calculations, for
it sees further into the distance and takes into account the hand of God, who remains faithful to his covenant and his promises.

25. Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age.
In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: Truth is what we succeed
in building and measuring by our scientific know-how; truth is what works and what makes life easier and more comfortable.
Nowadays this appears as the only truth that is certain, the only truth that can be shared, the only truth that can serve
as a basis for discussion or for common undertakings.

Yet at the other end of the scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual, which consist in fidelity
to his or her deepest convictions, yet these are truths valid only for that individual and not capable of being proposed to
others in an effort to serve the common good. But truth itself, the truth that would comprehensively explain our life as
individuals and in society, is regarded with suspicion.

Surely this kind of truth, we hear it said, is what was claimed by the great totalitarian movements of the last century,
a truth that imposed its own world-view in order to crush the actual lives of individuals. In the end, what we are left
with is relativism, in which the question of universal truth – and ultimately this means the question of God – is no
longer relevant.

It would be logical, from this point of view, to attempt to sever the bond between religion and truth, because it seems
to lie at the root of fanaticism, which proves oppressive for anyone who does not share the same beliefs. In this regard,
though, we can speak of a massive amnesia in our contemporary world. The question of truth is really a question of memory,
deep memory, for it deals with something prior to ourselves and can succeed in uniting us in a way that transcends our
petty and limited individual consciousness. It is a question about the origin of all that is, in whose light we can glimpse
the goal and thus the meaning of our common path.

Knowledge of the Truth and Love

26. This being the case, can Christian faith provide a service to the common good with regard to the right way of
understanding truth? To answer this question, we need to reflect on the kind of knowledge involved in faith. Here a saying
of St. Paul can help us, “One believes with the heart” (Rom 10:10).
In the Bible, the heart is the core of the human person, where all his or her different dimensions intersect: body and spirit,
inferiority and openness to the world and to others, intellect, will and affectivity. If the heart is capable of holding all
these dimensions together, it is because it is where we become open to truth and love, where we let them touch us and deeply
transform us.

Faith transforms the whole person precisely to the extent that he or she becomes open to love. Through this blending of
faith and love we come to see the kind of knowledge that faith entails, its power to convince and its ability to illumine
our steps. Faith knows because it is tied to love, because love itself brings enlightenment. Faith’s understanding is born
when we receive the immense love of God, which transforms us inwardly and enables us to see reality with new eyes.

27. The explanation of the connection between faith and certainty put forward by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is
well known. For Wittgenstein, believing can be compared to the experience of falling in love: It is something subjective
that cannot be proposed as a truth valid for everyone.19 Indeed, most people nowadays would not consider love as related
in any way to truth. Love is seen as an experience associated with the world of fleeting emotions, no longer with truth.

But is this an adequate description of love? Love cannot be reduced to an ephemeral emotion. True, it engages our affectivity,
but in order to open it to the beloved and thus to blaze a trail leading away from self-centeredness and toward another person,
in order to build a lasting relationship; love aims at union with the beloved.

Here we begin to see how love requires truth. Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time,
can it transcend the passing moment and be sufficiently solid to sustain a shared journey. If love is not tied to truth,
it falls prey to fickle emotions and cannot stand the test of time. True love, on the other hand, unifies all the elements
of our person and becomes a new light pointing the way to a great and fulfilled life. Without truth, love is incapable of
establishing a firm bond; it cannot liberate our isolated ego or redeem it from the fleeting moment in order to create life
and bear fruit.

If love needs truth, truth also needs love. Love and truth are inseparable. Without love, truth becomes cold, impersonal and
oppressive for people’s day-to-day lives. The truth we seek, the truth that gives meaning to our journey through life,
enlightens us whenever we are touched by love. One who loves realizes that love is an experience of truth, that it opens
our eyes to see reality in a new way, in union with the beloved.

In this sense, St. Gregory the Great could write that “amor ipse notitia est” – love is itself a kind of knowledge possessed
of its own logic.20 It is a relational way of viewing the world that then becomes a form of shared knowledge, vision through
the eyes of another and a shared vision of all that exists.

William of Saint-Thierry in the Middle Ages follows this tradition when he comments on the verse of the Song of Songs
where the lover says to the beloved, “Your eyes are doves” (Song 1:15).21 The two eyes, says William, are faith-filled
reason and love, which then become one in rising to the contemplation of God, when our understanding becomes
“an understanding of enlightened love.”22

28. This discovery of love as a source of knowledge that is part of the primordial experience of every man and woman
finds authoritative expression in the biblical understanding of faith. In savoring the love by which God chose them and
made them a people, Israel came to understand the overall unity of the divine plan. Faith knowledge, because it is born
of God’s covenantal love, is knowledge that lights up a path in history.

That is why in the Bible truth and fidelity go together: The true God is the God of fidelity who keeps his promises and
makes possible, in time, a deeper understanding of his plan. Through the experience of the prophets, in the pain of exile
and in the hope of a definitive return to the holy city, Israel came to see that this divine “truth” extended beyond the
confines of its own history, to embrace the entire history of the world, beginning with creation. Faith knowledge sheds
light not only on the destiny of one particular people but the entire history of the created world, from its origins to
its consummation.

Faith as Hearing and Sight

29. Precisely because faith knowledge is linked to the covenant with a faithful God who enters into a relationship of
love with man and speaks his word to him, the Bible presents it as a form of hearing; it is associated with the sense of
hearing. St. Paul would use a formula that became classic: fides ex auditu – “faith comes from hearing” (Rom 10:17).

Knowledge linked to a word is always personal knowledge; it recognizes the voice of the one speaking, opens up to that
person in freedom and follows him or her in obedience. Paul could thus speak of the “obedience of faith” (cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26).23
Faith is also a knowledge bound to the passage of time, for words take time to be pronounced, and it is a knowledge assimilated
only along a journey of discipleship. The experience of hearing can thus help to bring out more clearly the bond between
knowledge and love.

At times, where knowledge of the truth is concerned, hearing has been opposed to sight; it has been claimed that an emphasis
on sight was characteristic of Greek culture. If light makes possible that contemplation of the whole to which humanity has
always aspired, it would also seem to leave no space for freedom, since it comes down from heaven directly to the eye, without
calling for a response.

“Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love that always accepts and pardons,
that sustains and directs our lives, and that shows its power by its ability
to make straight the crooked lines of our history.”

It would also seem to call for a kind of static contemplation far removed from the world of history with its joys and sufferings.
From this standpoint, the biblical understanding of knowledge would be antithetical to the Greek understanding, inasmuch as the
latter linked knowledge to sight in its attempt to attain a comprehensive understanding of reality.

This alleged antithesis does not, however, correspond to the biblical datum. The Old Testament combined both kinds of knowledge,
since hearing God’s word is accompanied by the desire to see his face. The ground was thus laid for a dialogue with Hellenistic culture,
a dialogue present at the heart of sacred Scripture.

Hearing emphasizes personal vocation and obedience and the fact that truth is revealed in time. Sight provides a vision of
the entire journey and allows it to be situated within God’s overall plan; without this vision, we would be left only with
unconnected parts of an unknown whole.

30. The bond between seeing and hearing in faith knowledge is most clearly evident in John’s Gospel. For the fourth Gospel,
to believe is both to hear and to see. Faith’s hearing emerges as a form of knowing proper to love: It is a personal hearing,
one that recognizes the voice of the Good Shepherd (cf. Jn 10:3-5); it is a hearing that calls for discipleship, as was the
case with the first disciples: “Hearing him say these things, they followed Jesus” (Jn 1:37).

But faith is also tied to sight. Seeing the signs that Jesus worked leads at times to faith, as in the case of the Jews who,
following the raising of Lazarus, “having seen what he did, believed in him” (Jn 11:45). At other times faith itself leads
to deeper vision: “If you believe, you will see the glory of God” (Jn 11:40). In the end, belief and sight intersect:
“Whoever believes in me believes in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me” (Jn 12:44-45).

Joined to hearing, seeing then becomes a form of following Christ, and faith appears as a process of gazing in which our eyes
grow accustomed to peering into the depths. Easter morning thus passes from John who, standing in the early morning darkness
before the empty tomb, “saw and believed” (Jn 20:8), to Mary Magdalene who, after seeing Jesus (cf. Jn 20:14) and wanting
to cling to him, is asked to contemplate him as he ascends to the Father, and finally to her full confession before the
disciples: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18).

How does one attain this synthesis between hearing and seeing? It becomes possible through the person of Christ himself,
who can be seen and heard. He is the Word made flesh, whose glory we have seen (cf. Jn 1:14). The light of faith is the
light of a countenance in which the Father is seen.

In the fourth Gospel, the truth that faith attains is the revelation of the Father in the Son, in his flesh and in his
earthly deeds, a truth that can be defined as the “light-filled life” of Jesus.24 This means that faith knowledge does
not direct our gaze to a purely inward truth. The truth that faith discloses to us is a truth centered on an encounter
with Christ, on the contemplation of his life and on the awareness of his presence.

St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the apostles’ oculata fides – a faith that sees! – in the presence of the body of the risen
Lord.25 With their own eyes they saw the risen Jesus and they believed; in a word, they were able to peer into the depths
of what they were seeing and to confess their faith in the Son of God, seated at the right hand of the Father.

31. It was only in this way, by taking flesh, by sharing our humanity, that the knowledge proper to love could come to
full fruition. For the light of love is born when our hearts are touched and we open ourselves to the interior presence of
the beloved, who enables us to recognize his mystery. Thus we can understand why, together with hearing and seeing, St. John
can speak of faith as touch, as he says in his first letter, “What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes and touched
with our hands, concerning the word of life” (l Jn l:l).

By his taking flesh and coming among us, Jesus has touched us, and through the sacraments he continues to touch us even today;
transforming our hearts, he unceasingly enables us to acknowledge and acclaim him as the Son of God. In faith, we can touch him
and receive the power of his grace.

St. Augustine, commenting on the account of the woman suffering from hemorrhages who touched Jesus and was cured (cf. Lk 8:45-46),
says, “To touch him with our hearts: that is what it means to believe.”26 The crowd presses in on Jesus, but they do not reach
him with the personal touch of faith, which apprehends the mystery that he is the Son who reveals the Father. Only when we are
configured to Jesus do we receive the eyes needed to see him.

The Dialogue Between Faith and Reason

32. Christian faith, inasmuch as it proclaims the truth of God’s total love and opens us to the power of that love,
penetrates to the core of our human experience. Each of us comes to the light because of love, and each of us is called
to love in order to remain in the light.

Desirous of illumining all reality with the love of God made manifest in Jesus and seeking to love others with that same love,
the first Christians found in the Greek world, with its thirst for truth, an ideal partner in dialogue. The encounter of the
Gospel message with the philosophical culture of the ancient world proved a decisive step in the evangelization of all peoples
and stimulated a fruitful interaction between faith and reason that has continued down the centuries to our own times.

“Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be
found in the beyond, on another level of reality far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case,
if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real and thus not even true, a love capable
of delivering the bliss that it promises.”

Blessed John Paul II, in his encyclical letter Fides et Ratio, showed how faith and reason each strengthen the other.27
Once we discover the full light of Christ’s love, we realize that each of the loves in our own lives had always contained
a ray of that light, and we understand its ultimate destination. The fact that our human loves contain that ray of light
also helps us to see how all love is meant to share in the complete self-gift of the Son of God for our sake. In this
circular movement, the light of faith illumines all our human relationships, which can then be lived in union with the
gentle love of Christ.

33. In the life of St. Augustine we find a significant example of this process whereby reason, with its desire for truth
and clarity, was integrated into the horizon of faith and thus gained new understanding. Augustine accepted the Greek
philosophy of light with its insistence on the importance of sight. His encounter with neo-Platonism introduced him to
the paradigm of the light that, descending from on high to illumine all reality, is a symbol of God. Augustine thus came
to appreciate God’s transcendence and discovered that all things have a certain transparency, that they can reflect God’s goodness.

This realization liberated him from his earlier Manichaeism, which had led him to think that good and evil were in constant
conflict, confused and intertwined. The realization that God is light provided Augustine with a new direction in life and
enabled him to acknowledge his sinfulness and to turn toward the good.

All the same, the decisive moment in Augustine’s journey of faith, as he tells us in the Confessions, was not in the vision
of a God above and beyond this world but in an experience of hearing. In the garden he heard a voice telling him, “Take and read.”
He then took up the book containing the epistles of St. Paul and started to read the 13th chapter of the Letter to the Romans.28

In this way the personal God of the Bible appeared to him: a God who is able to speak to us, to come down to dwell in our midst
and to accompany our journey through history, making himself known in the time of hearing and response.

Yet this encounter with the God who speaks did not lead Augustine to reject light and seeing. He integrated the two perspectives
of hearing and seeing, constantly guided by the revelation of God’s love in Jesus. Thus Augustine developed a philosophy of light
capable of embracing both the reciprocity proper to the word and the freedom born of looking to the light.

Just as the word calls for a free response, so the light finds a response in the image that reflects it. Augustine can therefore
associate hearing and seeing, and speak of “the word that shines forth within.”29 The light becomes, so to speak, the light of
a word, because it is the light of a personal countenance, a light that, even as it enlightens us, calls us and seeks to be
reflected on our faces and to shine from within us.

Yet our longing for the vision of the whole, and not merely of fragments of history, remains and will be fulfilled in the end when,
as Augustine says, we will see and we will love.30 Not because we will be able to possess all the light, which will always be
inexhaustible, but because we will enter wholly into that light.

34. The light of love proper to faith can illumine the questions of our own time about truth. Truth nowadays is often reduced to
the subjective authenticity of the individual, valid only for the life of the individual. A common truth intimidates us, for we
identify it with the intransigent demands of totalitarian systems.

But if truth is a truth of love, if it is a truth disclosed in personal encounter with the Other and with others, then it can be
set free from its enclosure in individuals and become part of the common good. As a truth of love, it is not one that can be
imposed by force; it is not a truth that stifles the individual. Since it is born of love, it can penetrate to the heart, to the
personal core of each man and woman.

Clearly, then, faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others. One who believes may not be presumptuous;
on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth that
embraces and possesses us. Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and
dialogue with all.

Nor is the light of faith, joined to the truth of love, extraneous to the material world, for love is always lived out in body
and spirit; the light of faith is an incarnate light radiating from the luminous life of Jesus. It also illumines the material
world, trusts its inherent order and knows that it calls us to an ever-widening path of harmony and understanding. The gaze of
science thus benefits from faith: Faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible

Faith awakens the critical sense by preventing research from being satisfied with its own formulas and helps it to realize that
nature is always greater. By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason
to shed greater light on the world that discloses itself to scientific investigation.

Faith and the Search for God

35. The light of faith in Jesus also illumines the path of all those who seek God and makes a specifically Christian contribution
to dialogue with the followers of the different religions. The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the witness of those just ones
who, before the covenant with Abraham, already sought God in faith.

Of Enoch “it was attested that he had pleased God” (Heb 11:5), something impossible apart from faith, for
“whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6).

We can see from this that the path of religious man passes through the acknowledgment of a God who cares for us and is not
impossible to find. What other reward can God give to those who seek him, if not to let himself be found? Even earlier, we
encounter Abel, whose faith was praised and whose gifts, his offering of the firstlings of his flock (cf. Heb 11:4), were
therefore pleasing to God.

“Faith’s new way of seeing things is centered on Christ. Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our lives become
radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us.”

Religious man strives to see signs of God in the daily experiences of life, in the cycle of the seasons, in the fruitfulness
of the earth and in the movement of the cosmos. God is light, and he can be found also by those who seek him with a sincere heart.

An image of this seeking can be seen in the Magi, who were led to Bethlehem by the star (cf. Mt 2:1-12). For them God’s light
appeared as a journey to be undertaken, a star that led them on a path of discovery. The star is a sign of God’s patience with
our eyes, which need to grow accustomed to his brightness. Religious man is a wayfarer; he must be ready to let himself be led,
to come out of himself and to find the God of perpetual surprises.

This respect on God’s part for our human eyes shows us that when we draw near to God, our human lights are not dissolved in the
immensity of his light as a star is engulfed by the dawn but shine all the more brightly the closer they approach the primordial
fire like a mirror that reflects light.

Christian faith in Jesus, the one Savior of the world, proclaims that all God’s light is concentrated in him, in his “luminous life,”
which discloses the origin and the end of history.31 There is no human experience, no journey of man to God, that cannot be taken up,
illumined and purified by this light. The more Christians immerse themselves in the circle of Christ’s light, the more capable they
become of understanding and accompanying the path of every man and woman toward God.

Because faith is a way, it also has to do with the lives of those men and women who, though not believers, nonetheless desire to
believe and continue to seek. To the extent that they are sincerely open to love and set out with whatever light they can find,
they are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith. They strive to act as if God existed, at times because
they realize how important he is for finding a sure compass for our life in common or because they experience a desire for light
amid darkness, but also because in perceiving life’s grandeur and beauty they intuit that the presence of God would make it all
the more beautiful.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons tells how Abraham, before hearing God’s voice, had already sought him “in the ardent desire of his heart”
and “went throughout the whole world, asking himself where God was to be found,” until “God had pity on him who, all alone, had
sought him in silence.”32 Anyone who sets off on the path of doing good to others is already drawing near to God, is already
sustained by his help, for it is characteristic of the divine light to brighten our eyes whenever we walk toward the fullness of love.

Faith and Theology

36. Since faith is a light, it draws us into itself, inviting us to explore ever more fully the horizon it illumines, all the
better to know the object of our love. Christian theology is born of this desire. Clearly, theology is impossible without faith;
it is part of the very process of faith, which seeks an ever deeper understanding of God’s self-disclosure culminating in Christ.

It follows that theology is more than analyze and understand along the lines of the experimental sciences. God cannot be reduced
to an object. He is a subject who makes himself known and perceived in an interpersonal relationship.

Right faith orients reason to open itself to the light that comes from God, so that reason, guided by love of the truth, can come
to a deeper knowledge of God. The great medieval theologians and teachers rightly held that theology, as a science of faith, is a
participation in God’s own knowledge of himself. It is not just our discourse about God, but first and foremost the acceptance and
the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the word God speaks to us, the word God speaks about himself, for he is an eternal dialogue
of communion, and he allows us to enter into this dialogue.33 Theology thus demands the humility to be “touched” by God, admitting
its own limitations before the mystery while striving to investigate, with the discipline proper to reason, the inexhaustible
riches of this mystery.

Theology also shares in the ecclesial form of faith; its light is the light of the believing subject that is the church. This
implies, on the one hand, that theology must be at the service of the faith of Christians, that it must work hum-bly to protect
and deepen the faith of everyone, especially ordinary believers. On the other hand, because it draws its life from faith,
theology cannot consider the magisterium of the pope and the bishops in communion with him as something extrinsic, a limitation
of its freedom but rather as one of its internal, constitutive dimensions, for the magisterium ensures our contact with the
primordial source and thus provides the certainty of attaining to the word of Christ in all its integrity.”


The Church, Mother of Our Faith

37. Those who have opened their hearts to God’s love, heard his voice and received his light, cannot keep this gift to themselves.
Since faith is hearing and seeing, it is also handed on as word and light. Addressing the Corinthians, St. Paul used these two
very images. On the one hand he says, “But just as we have dance with Scripture – ‘I believed, and so I spoke’ – we also believe,
and so we speak” (2 Cor 4:13).

The word, once accepted, becomes a response, a confession of faith, that spreads to others and invites them to believe. Paul also
uses the image of light, “All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being
transformed into the same image” (2 Cor 3:18). It is a light reflected from one face to another, even as Moses himself bore a
reflection of God’s glory after having spoken with him: “God … has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).

“Faith without truth does not save; it does not provide a sure footing. It remains a beautiful story, the projection of our deep
yearning for happiness, something capable of satisfying us to the extent that we are willing to deceive ourselves.”

The light of Christ shines as in a mirror upon the face of Christians; as it spreads it comes down to us, so that we too can share
in that vision and reflect that light to others in the same way that in the Easter liturgy the light of the paschal candle lights
countless other candles. Faith is passed on, we might say, by contact, from one person to another, just as one candle is lighted
from another. Christians, in their poverty, plant a seed so rich that it becomes a great tree, capable of filling the world with
its fruit.

38. The transmission of the faith not only brings light to men and women in every place; it travels through time, passing from
one generation to another. Because faith is born of an encounter that takes place in history and lights up our journey through time,
it must be passed on in every age. It is through an unbroken chain of witnesses that we come to see the face of Jesus.

But how is this possible? How can we we have encountered the “real Jesus”? Were we merely isolated individuals, were our starting
point simply our own individual ego seeking in itself the basis of absolutely sure knowledge, a certainty of this sort would be
impossible. I cannot possibly verify for myself something that happened so long ago. But this is not the only way we attain knowledge.
Persons always live in relationship. We come from others, we belong to others and our lives are enlarged by our encounter with others.
Even our own knowledge and self-awareness are relational; they are linked to others who have gone before us: in the first place, our
parents, who gave us our life and our name.

Language itself, the words by which we make sense of our lives and the world around us, comes to us from others, preserved in the
living memory of others. Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory. The same thing holds true for faith,
which brings human understanding to its fullness.

Faith’s past, that act of Jesus’ love that brought new life to the world, comes down to us through the memory of others – witnesses –
and is kept alive in that one remembering subject that is the church. The church is a mother who teaches us to speak the language of
faith. St. John brings this out in his Gospel by closely uniting faith and memory and associating both with the working of the Holy
Spirit, who, as Jesus says, “will remind you of all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26). The love that is the Holy Spirit and that
dwells in the church unites every age and makes us contemporaries of Jesus, thus guiding us along our pilgrimage of faith.

39. It is impossible to believe on our own. Faith is not simply an individual decision that takes place in the depths of the
believer’s heart nor a completely private relationship between the /of the believer and the divine Thou, between an autonomous
subject and God. By its very nature, faith is open to the we of the church; it always takes place within her communion.

We are reminded of this by the dia-logical format of the creed used in the baptismal liturgy. Our belief is expressed in response
to an invitation, to a word that must be heard and that is not my own;

((Chapters 3 & 4 to come))
To come.


Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation

Pope Francis
“In his first extensive piece of writing as pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization in a positive key, with a focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable. The pope’s apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), was released by the Vatican Nov. 26. (Pope Francis’ first encyclical, “Lumen Fidei,” published in July, was mostly the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.) Pope Francis wrote the new document in response to the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, but declined to work from a draft provided by synod officials. Pope Francis’ voice is unmistakable in the lengthy document’s relatively relaxed style – he writes that an “evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!”- and its emphasis on some of his signature themes, including the dangers of economic globalization and “spiritual worldliness.”
The church’s message “has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary,” he writes. “In this basic core, what shines forth is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead.” The exhortation is too long to fit into one edition of Origins. The first half of the document follows, copyright © 2013 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana; the second half will appear in a forthcoming edition of Origins.“

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

“”Evangelii Gaudium” “The Joy of the Gospel”) was written in response to the October 2012 World Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization. The three-week gathering, which brought more than 260 bishops and religious superiors to the Vatican, along with dozens of official observers and experts, discussed how the church can revive and spread the faith in increasingly secular societies. Pope Francis participated in the synod as a delegate of the Argentine bishops’ conference.
In a homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square opening the synod, Pope Benedict XVI said, “The church exists to evangelize” and does this by sharing the Gospel with people who have never heard of Christ, strengthening the faith of those who already have been baptized and reaching out to those who “have drifted away from the church.”
“At various times in history, divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the church’s evangelizing activity, “as happened, for example, with the evangelization of the Americas beginning late in the 15th century, he said. “Even in our own times the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the church a new effort to announce the good news,” the pope said, pointing to the Second Vatican Council, where he said the modern effort to proclaim salvation in Christ found “a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse.” Pope Benedict said the synod would be dedicated to helping people strengthen their faith and to helping those who have drifted away “encounter the Lord, who alone fills existence with deep meaning and peace, and to favor the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace that brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life.”

In a homily marking the closing of the 2012 synod, Pope Benedict underscored “three pastoral themes” that he said had emerged from the talks. “Ordinary pastoral ministry … must be more animated by the fire of the Spirit so as to inflame the hearts of the faithful,” he said, stressing the importance of the sacrament of confession and the necessity of “appropriate catechesis” in preparation for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.
The pope also called for a “new missionary dynamism” to “proclaim the message of salvation to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ.”
Finally, the pope spoke of the need to persuade lapsed Catholics, “especially in the most secular countries,” to “encounter Jesus Christ anew, rediscover the joy of faith and return to religious practice in the community of the faithful.” This effort, in particular, calls for “pastoral creativity” and use of a “new language attuned to the different world cultures,” he said. For coverage in Origins of the 2012 world Synod of Bishops, see Vol. 42, Nos. 20, 21, 22 and 23, dated respectively Oct. 18, 2012, Oct. 25, 2012, Nov. 1, 2012, and Nov. 8, 2012.

At the conclusion of the 2012 world Synod of Bishops, its participants issued a “message to the people of God” that expressed optimism about the future despite the growth of secularism, increased hostility toward Christianity and the sinful behavior of some church ministers.
That optimism is based on Christ’s promise of salvation, synod participants said. They said they were certain God “will not fail to look on our poverty in order to show the strength of his arm in our days and to sustain us in the path of the new evangelization.”

Even if the world often resembles a “desert” for Christians, “we must journey, taking with us what is essential: ‘the company of Jesus, the truth of his word, the eucharistic bread that nourishes us,’ the fellowship of community and the work of charity,” the message said.

Although the message described forces hostile to the Christian faith today, the synod members also said,
“With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weakness of Jesus’ disciples, especially of his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission.”

The text of the message appeared in Origins, Vol. 42, No. 23, the issue dated Nov. 8,2012.

Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on sharing the joy of the Gospel is a call to faith-filled optimism, recognizing challenges but knowing that God’s love and lordship will prevail, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, introducing the text to the media.

The archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, told reporters Nov. 26 that “Evangelii Gaudium” is “an invitation to recover a prophetic and positive vision of reality without ignoring the current challenges.”

When the pope writes about the reform of church structures to be always missionary or the need to improve homilies or the obligation to reach out to the poor first of all or his insistence that the church always will defend the life of the unborn, Archbishop Fisichella said, “the cement which binds all these themes together is concentrated in the merciful love of God.”

At the Vatican news conference to present the papal document, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Pope Francis wrote it himself in Spanish, mostly during his August vacation.

Archbishop Claudia Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said the exhortation
“has an almost conversational feel to it which reflects a unique and profound pastoral sensitivity.

In calling for the reform of church structures at every level and a change of attitude on the part of all Catholics in order to give priority to sharing the Gospel of God’s love and mercy with all, he said, the pope uses “the simple, familiar and direct language that has been the hallmark” of his style since becoming pope.

Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, said Pope Francis took the suggestions made by the 2012 Synod of Bishops on new evangelization, “made them his own, re-elaborating them in a personal way” and coming up with “a programmatic, exhortative document” on mission in the fullest sense. “Evangelii Gaudium”is not a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, he said, “because its scope goes well beyond the discussions of the synod.”

Archbishop Fisichella called the document “a map and guide” for the church’s pastoral mission and work in the world. Both Archbishops Fisichella and Baldisseri noted how Pope Francis in the apostolic exhortation expresses a need for the church to return to the Second Vatican Council and find concrete ways to ensure the world’s bishops, united with the pope, exercise collegiality or shared responsibility for the mission of the church.

Archbishop Fisichella also said the pope sees a need for the church to move “from a bureaucratic, static and
administrative vision of pastoral ministry to a perspective which is not only missionary, but is in a permanent state of evangelization.””

EVANGELII GAUDIUM: Apostolic Exhortation

Paragraph 1. “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept
his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the church’s journey in years to come.”

A Joy Ever New, A Joy That Is Shared – Paragraphs 2-8

Paragraph 2-8. “The great danger in today’s world,
pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish
born of a complacent yet . . . .”

Paragraphs 9-13:The Delightful and Comforting Joy
born of of Evangelizing

Paragraphs 11-13: Eternal Newness

Paragraphs 14-18: The New Evangelization for
the Transmission of the Faith

The Scope and Limits of this Exhortation – Paragraphs – 16-18


A Church That Goes Forth – Paragraphs 20-23

Taking the First Step,
Being Involved and Supportive,
Bearing Fruit and Rejoicing
– Paragraphs 24-26

Pastoral Activity and Conversion – Paragraphs 25-26

An Ecclesial Renewal
That Cannot Be Deferred
– Paragraphs 27-33

From the Heart of the Gospel – Paragraphs 34-39

A Mission Embodied Within
Human Limits
– Paragraphs 40-45

A Mother With An Open Heart – Paragraphs 46-49


Some Challenges of Today’s World – Paragraphs 52-75

No to an Economy of Exclusion – Paragraph 53-54

No to the New Idolatry of Money – Paragraph 55-56

No to a financial System
That Rules Rather Than Serves
– Paragraph 57-58

No to the Inequality
That Spawns Violence
– Paragraph 59-60

Some Cultural Challenges – Paragraph 61-67

Challenges to
Inculturating the Faith
– Paragraph 68-70

Challenges From Urban Cultures – Paragraph 71-75

Temptations Faced by
Pastoral Workers
– Paragraphs 76-77

Yes to the Challenge of
a Missionary Spirituality
– Paragraph 78-80

No to Selfishness and
Spiritual Sloth
– Paragraph 81-83

No to a Sterile Pessimism – Paragraph 84-86

Yes to the New Relationships
Brought by Christ
– Paragraph 87-92

No to Spiritual Worldliness – Paragraph 93-97

No to Warring Among Ourselves – Paragraph 98-101

Other Ecclesial Challenges – Paragraph 102-109

3. THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL – Paragraphs 110-175

The Entire People of God
Proclaims the Gospel
– Paragraph 111

A People for Everyone – Paragraphs 112-114

A People of Many Faces – Paragraphs 115-118

We Are All Missionary Disciples – Paragraphs 119-121

The Evangelizing Power
of Popular Piety
– Paragraphs 122-126

Person to Person – Paragraphs 127-129

Charisms at the Service of
a Communion That Evangelizes
– Paragraphs 130-131

Culture, Thought and Education – Paragraphs 132-134

The Homily – Paragraphs 135-136

The Liturgical Context – Paragraphs 137-138

A Mother’s Conversation – Paragraphs 139-141

Words That Set Hearts on Fire – Paragraphs 142-144

Preparing To Preach – Paragraph 145

Reverence For Truth – Paragraphs 146-148

Personalizing the Word – Paragraphs 149-151

Spiritual Reading – Paragraphs 152-153

An Ear to the People – Paragraphs 154-155

Homiletic Resources – Paragraphs 156-159

Evangelization and the
Deeper Understanding of the kerygma
– Paragraphs 160-162

Kerygmatic and
Mystagogical Catechesis
– Paragraphs 163-168

Personal Accompaniment
in Processes of Growth
– Paragraphs 169-173

Centered on the Word of God – Paragraphs 174-175


Communal & Societal Repercussions
of the Kerygma
– Paragraph 177

Confession of Faith and
Commitment to Society
– Paragraphs 178-179

The Kingdom and
Its Challenge
– Paragraphs 180-181

The Church’s Teaching on
Social Questions
– Paragraphs 182-185

Inclusion of the Poor
in Society
– Paragraph 186

In Union with God,
We Hear a Plea
– Paragraphs 187-192

Fidelity to the Gospel,
Lest We Run in Vain
– Paragraphs 193-196

Special Place of the Poor
in God’s People
– Paragraphs 197-201

The Economy and
the Distribution of Income
– Paragraphs 202-208

Concern for the Vulnerable – Paragraphs 209-216

The Common Good and
Peace in Society
– Paragraph 217-221

Time is Greater than Space – Paragraphs 222-225

Unity Prevails Over Conflict – Paragraphs 226-230

Realities Are More
Than Ideas
– Paragraphs 231-233

The Whole Is Greater
Than the Part
– Paragraphs 234-236

Social Dialogue as
a Contribution to Peace
– Paragraphs 238-241

Dialogue Between
Faith, Reason and Science
– Paragraphs 242-243

Ecumenical Dialogue – Paragraphs 244-246

Relations With Judaism – Paragraphs 247-249

Interreligious Dialogue – Paragraphs 250-254

Social Dialogue in
a Context of Religious Freedom
– Paragraphs 255-258

5. SPIRIT-FILLED EVANGELIZERS – Paragraphs 259-288

Reasons For a Renewed
Missionary Impulse
– Paragraphs 262-263

Personal Encounter With the
Saving Love of Jesus
– Paragraphs 264-267

The Spiritual Savior of
Being a People
– Paragraphs 268-274

The Mysterious Working of the
Risen Christ and His Spirit
– Paragraphs 275-280

The Missionary Power of
Intercessory Prayer
– Paragraphs 281-283

Mother of Evangelization
– Paragraph 284-

Jesus’ Gift to His People – Paragraphs 285-286

Star of the
New Evangelization
– Paragraphs 287-288



Missouri Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Will to Live Form

I, __________________________________________________________, of

(name of principal)


Home Telephone:_______________Work Telephone: _______________

hereby designate ____________________________________________

(name of attorney in fact)

Address ______________________________________________________

Home Telephone: _______________ Work Telephone: ______________

as my attorney in fact to make any health care decisions for me
as authorized in this declaration consistent with the
instructions below.

In the event the person I designate above is unable, unwilling or unavailable to act as my attorney in fact,
I hereby appoint the following persons (each to act alone and successively, in the order named):

A. ____________________________________________________________

(name of successor attorney in fact)

Address _______________________________________________________

Home Telephone:_______________ Work Telephone: ________________


(name of second successor attorney in fact)

Address _______________________________________________________

Home Telephone:_______________ Work Telephone: ________________

as my successor attorney(s) in fact to make any health care decisions for me
as authorized in this document consistent with the instructions below.


I direct my health care provider(s) and attorney in fact to make health care decisions consistent with my
general desire for the use of medical treatment that would preserve my life, as well as for the use of medical
treatment that can cure, improve, or reduce or prevent deterioration in, any physical or mental condition.
Food and water are not medical treatment, but basic necessities. I direct my health care provider(s) and
attorney in fact to provide me with food and fluids orally, intravenously, by tube, or by other means to the full extent necessary both to preserve my life and to assure me the optimal health possible.

I direct that medication to alleviate my pain be provided, as long as the medication is not used in order to
cause my death.

  • I direct that the following be provided:


  • the administration of medication;


  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);


  • the performance of all other medical procedures, techniques, and technologies, including surgery,
    — all to the full extent necessary to correct, reverse, or alleviate life-threatening or health-impairing conditions, or complications arising from those conditions.


  • I also direct that I be provided basic nursing care and procedures to provide comfort care.
  • I reject, however, any treatments that use an unborn or newborn child, or any tissue or organ of an unborn or newborn child, who has been subject to an induced abortion. This rejection does not apply to the use of tissues or organs obtained in the course of the removal of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • I also reject any treatments that use an organ or tissue of another person obtained in a manner that causes, contributes to, or hastens that person’s death.
  • The instructions in this document are intended to be followed even if suicide is alleged to be attempted at some point after it is signed.
  • I request and direct that medical treatment and care be provided to me to preserve my life without
    discrimination based on my age or physical or mental disability or the “quality” of my life. I reject any action or omission that is intended to cause or hasten my death.
  • I direct my health care provider(s) and attorney in fact to follow the above policy, even if I am judged to be incompetent.
  • During the time I am incompetent, my attorney in fact, as named above, is authorized to make medical
    decisions on my behalf, consistent with the above policy, after consultation with my health care provider(s),
    utilizing the most current diagnoses and/or prognosis of my medical condition, in the following situations with the written special conditions.


A. If I have an incurable terminal illness or injury, and I will die imminently–meaning that a reasonably
prudent physician, knowledgeable about the case and the treatment possibilities with respect to the medical
conditions involved, would judge that I will live only a week or less even if lifesaving treatment or care is
provided to me–the following may be withheld or withdrawn:

(Be as specific as possible; SEE SUGGESTIONS.):






(Cross off any remaining blank lines.)


B. Final Stage of Terminal Condition. If I have an incurable terminal illness or injury and even though death is
not imminent I am in the final stage of that terminal condition–meaning that a reasonably prudent physician,
knowledgeable about the case and the treatment possibilities with respect to the medical conditions involved,
would judge that I will live only three months or less, even if lifesaving treatment or care is provided to me–the following may be withheld or withdrawn:

(Be as specific as possible; SEE SUGGESTIONS.):






(Cross off any remaining blank lines.)


(Be as specific as possible; SEE SUGGESTIONS.):






(Cross off any remaining blank lines.)


D. Special Instructions for Pregnancy. If I am pregnant, I direct my health care provider(s) and health care
representative(s) to use all lifesaving procedures for myself with none of the above special conditions applying
if there is a chance that prolonging my life might allow my child to be born alive. I also direct that lifesaving
procedures be used even if I am legally determined to be brain dead if there is a chance that doing so might
allow my child to be born alive. Except as I specify by writing my signature in the box below, no one is
authorized to consent to any procedure for me that would result in the death of my unborn child.


If I am pregnant, and I am not in the final stage of a terminal condition as defined above, medical
procedures required to prevent my death are authorized even if they may result in the death of my unborn
child provided every possible effort is made to preserve both my life and the life of my unborn child.





This power of attorney becomes effective upon certification by two licensed physicians that I am
incapacitated and can no longer make my own medical decisions. The powers and duties of my attorney in fact
shall cease upon certification that I am no longer incapacitated. This determination of incapacity shall be
periodically reviewed by my attending physician and my attorney in fact.

I, ________________________________________________________, the principal,

(print name)

sign my name to this instrument this day of _______________ ________,

and being first duly sworn, do hereby declare to the undersigned authority
that I sign it willingly, that I execute it as my free and voluntary act
for the purposes therein expressed, and that I am eighteen years of age
or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence.

Date: ________________ __________________________________


State of Missouri )

) SS.

County of )

On this __________ day of ________________, 2________, before me personally
appeared , to me known to be the person described in and who executed
the foregoing instrument, and acknowledged that he or she executed the
same as his/her free act and deed.

Notary Public ______________________________________________

My commission expires: ___________________________

(Notary Seal)

Form Prepared 2001 – See Attorney General’s website to update this.


Inspirational Spots, January & February 2005

  • Hallowed be Thy Name, not mine. Thy kingdom come, not mine. Thy will be done, not mine.
  • Can you feel God’s encouragement? Can you sense in creation or in the presence of loved ones,
    or just in your heart, that your Creator knows you and approves of you?
  • The right amount of light we receive doesn’t depend on the voltage in the lines. Usually,
    it’s the size of the bulb we use that makes the difference.
  • God has given us unlimited power through His Son. But we cannot give His Light to the world
    through small bulbs.
  • Without charity, without adequate time for worship, without a dedication to service,
    we have no right to expect great results.
  • We are the light of the world! Do we expect God to give us the light to illuminate the earth,
    but we’ve only plugged a 15-watt bulb into His power line?
  • A voyage of discovery involves not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.
  • Because God loves you, you never stand alone. You can go beyond yourself.
    You can ask forgiveness of those you’ve hurt. You can care for the weak.
    You have the power to touch hearts with compassion. The power of God’s Love lies within you.
  • Love sees through a telescope, not a microscope.
  • There is nothing as strong as gentleness, or as gentle as true strength.

June 2005:

  • Hope is putting Faith to work when doubting would be easier.
  • Does someone in your life aggravate you? Does one of their habits frequently irritate you? Has a friend recently put you down? Does someone you know wish you harm? Jesus said an amazing thing: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Great and wonderful things happen when you do. It’s impossible to feel anger toward someone you’re praying for. God will improve your attitude and intensify your forgiveness.
  • We go through life collecting bricks and steel bars of sin, hurt and doubt. This world tells us that we’re free to collect these thing, so long as we’re not hurting anyone. But the reality is that these bricks and bars add up. They build a priso cell arond our soul, keeping us from others, keeping us from God. We can see great beauty beyond those walls with a surrender to the Peace of Christ.

July 2005:

  • Keep this thought handy to help brighten your day: God is absolutely, without a doubt, head-over-heels in love with you. He sends you flowers every spring, and a sunrise every morning. He could live anywhere in the universe. But he chose your heart.
  • Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If we add more worry, it can cut a deep channel through which all our other thoughts drain. Let your stream of worry trickle out of your mind — to God.
  • Time on your knees will improve your standing.
  • Remember the three R’s: Respect for yourself, regard for others and responsibility for all of your actions.
  • Nothing to be thankful for? Check your pulse!

Inspirational Spots – Christmas 2005 and  The conclusion of 2005

  • God of Love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of Your Word made flesh.
  • There must be some one to whom I could reach out, someone whose life I can bring a little Christmas joy.
  • Make us a people of this light. Make us faithful to Your Word, that we may help bring Your Light into the darkness of waiting world.
  • Not just family or friends – someone else will be remembering. It would be a nice Christmas gift for Our Lord on His birthday.

Suggestions for a happy Christmas celebration:

  • Keep Christ in Christmas;
  • Pause to consider the immensity of God’s gift of Christ to humankind;
  • Be generous in giving to the needy;
  • Plans for the happiness of those who are outside of your family and friends;
  • Give gifts for the simple joy of sharing;
  • Be patient and understanding with those who bear a burden at Christmas;
  • Remember that just as Jesus the Christ is God’s Gift to us, we can make our celebration of His birth a gift to God.
  • Born in a stable. A choice He made. Simplicity and poverty. A choice no temporal power or influence would have ever suggested.
    A choice – God became man in a way no one would have ever guessed. Do you suppose He was trying to tell us something?
  • Dear God, help me see that this is not just another day. Open my eyes so I can clearly see the unique promise that this day holds. Open my mind so I can clearly understand the message and messengers You send my way. Open my heart so I may lovingly accept the challenges, blessings and surprises that You so lovingly will provide me today.

Taken from Station KNOM’s 4-page newsletter published each month

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