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Day: March 2, 2017

Pope speaks to Rome parish priests on ‘progress of faith’

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday addressed the parish priests of the Diocese of Rome, reflecting with them on the ‘progress of faith’ in the life of a priest.
He spoke to them about the progress of faith in the life of a priest in three main points: memory, hope, and discernment of the moment.
In remarks prepared for the event, the Holy Father said, “Memory, as the Catechism says, is rooted in the faith of the Church, in the faith of our fathers; hope is that which sustains our faith; and discernment of the moment I hold present at the moment of acting, of putting into practice that ‘faith which operates through charity’.”
Growth in faith
He said that “growing in faith” implies a “path of formation and of maturation in the faith”.
Turning to Evangelii Gaudium as a guide, he said, “Taking this seriously means that ‘it would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation.’ (EG, n.161) Growth in faith happens through encounters with the Lord during the course of our lives. These encounters act as a treasure of memory and are our living faith, in a story of personal salvation.”
To illustrate, he gave the example of a basketball player who pivots on a stable foot while remaining flexible with the rest of his body to protect the ball from his opponent. “For us that foot pinned to the ground, around which we pivot, is the cross of Christ.”
Memory is remembering the promise of the Lord
Pope Francis said a faith nourished on memory of past graces “confers on our faith the solidity of the Incarnation”.
“Faith feeds on and is nourished by memory: The memory of the Covenant which the Lord has made with us. He is the God of our fathers and grandfathers. He is not a God of the last moment, a God without a family history, a God which – to respond to each new paradigm – should throw out precedents as if they were old and ridiculous.”
He said faith can even progress “backwards” in a “revolutionary return to the roots”.
“The more lucid the memory of the past, the more clear the future opens up, because it is possible to see the truly new path and distinguish it from the path already taken, which has never brought one anywhere meaningful.”
Hope is the guiding star which indicates the horizon
The Holy Father went on to speak of hope, which “opens faith to the surprises of God.”
“Faith is sustained and progresses thanks to hope. Hope is the anchor anchored in the Heavens, in the transcendent future, of which the temporal future –considered in a linear form – is only an expression. Hope is that which gives dynamism to the rearwards-looking glance of faith, which conduces one to find new things in the past – in the treasures of the memory – so that one can encounter the same God, which hopes to see into the future.”
Discernment at every fork in the road to find next step in love
The Pope then examined discernment, which “is what makes faith concrete…, what permits us to give credible witness”.
He said, “The discernment of the opportune time (Kairos) is fundamentally rich in memory and in hope: remembering with love, I aim my gaze with clarity to that which best guides to the Promise.”
He also spoke of two moments in the act of discernment: first, a step back “to better see the panorama”; second, a step forward “when, in the present moment, we discern how to concretize love in the possible good, that is, for the good of the other”.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: Ideological faith adores a ‘disincarnate’ god

(Vatican Radio) The compass of the Christian directs him to follow Christ crucified, not a disincarnate god, but God made flesh, Who bears in Himself the wounds of our brothers. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday.
The invitation to be converted resounds strongly at the beginning of Lent. And the liturgy of the day, Pope Francis said, places this exhortation in the context of three realities: man, God, and the journey. The reality of man is that of choosing between good and evil: God has made us free, the choice is ours,” the Pope said, but He does not leave it to us alone; rather, he points out the path of goodness with the Commandments. Then there is the reality of God: “for the disciples, it was difficult to understand” the path of the Cross of Jesus. “Because God has taken all of human reality, except sin. There is no God without Christ. A God without Christ, ‘disincarnate,’ is a god that is not real”:
“The reality of God is God made Christ, for us. To save us. And when we distance ourselves from this, from this reality, and we distance ourselves from the Cross of Christ, from the truth of the wounds of the Lord, we distance ourselves also from love, from the charity [carità] of God, from salvation and going along an ideological street from God, far away: [This] is not God who came to us and made Himself close to us to save us, and died for us. This [God made Christ for us, to save us] is the reality of God.”
The Pope cited the dialogue between an agnostic and a believer, recorded by a French writer of the last century:
“The agnostic of good will asked the believer, ‘But how can I… for me, the problem is how Christ is God: I can’t understand this. How is Christ God?’ And the believer responded, ‘Eh, for me this is not a problem. The problem would be if God would not have been made Christ.’ This is the reality of God: God made Christ, God made flesh; and this is the foundation of the works of mercy. The wounds of our brothers are the wounds of Christ, they are the wounds of God, because God is made Christ. The second reality. We cannot live Lent without this reality. We must convert, not to an abstract God, but to the concrete God who is made Christ.”
Finally, there is the third reality, that of the journey. Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”:
“The reality of the journey is that of Christ: following Christ, doing the will of the Father, as He did, taking up the daily crosses and denying oneself in order to follow Christ. Not doing what I want, but what Jesus wants; following Jesus. And He says that on this street we lose our life, in order to gain it back later; it is a continual loss of life, loss of doing what I want, loss of comforts, being always on the path of Jesus who was at the service of others, [who was] was in adoration of God. That is the right path.”
“The only sure path,” Pope Francis concluded, “is following Christ crucified, the scandal of the Cross. And these three realities – man, God, and the journey – “are the compass of the Christian, which will not allow us to take the wrong path. 
(from Vatican Radio)…