Offering our days through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Offering our days through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

August is a month traditionally dedicated to Mary's Immaculate Heart and it presents us an opportunity to reflect on her role in our lives. In particular, as members of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network we recognize the Blessed Mother's unique connection with Jesus, and how during her life she treasured everything, “in her heart” (cf. Luke 2:19,51).

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Cultural beauty and the preservation of creation do not need to be at odds

This month Pope Francis has asked us to pray "that artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation." 

Artists can truly help us see the beauty of creation, but at times their work to preserve the environment can detract instead of add to the beauty. Pope Francis explained in his encyclical Laudato si' how artists should respect the cultural patrimony of a particular region when trying to respect God's creation.

He wrote, "Together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat. This patrimony is a part of the shared identity of each place and a foundation upon which to build a habitable city. It is not a matter of tearing down and building new cities, supposedly more respectful of the environment yet not always more attractive to live in. Rather, there is a need to incorporate the history, culture and architecture of each place, thus preserving its original identity."

A proper ecology, instead of wiping the slate clean, "involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity in the broadest sense. More specifically, it calls for greater attention to local cultures when studying environmental problems, favouring a dialogue between scientific-technical language and the language of the people. Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between human beings and the environment."

Pope Francis even went so far as to write, "The disappearance of a culture can be just as serious, or even more serious, than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal. The imposition of a dominant lifestyle linked to a single form of production can be just as harmful as the altering of ecosystems."

We must remember that creation includes the human person and the cultural history that we have all inherited. Pope Francis exhorts artists to be good stewards both of creation and of culture.

As we contemplate different ways we can respond to Pope Francis' prayer intention for August, we should keep in mind the preservation of culture.

 

Our witness to the Gospel is more powerful than any words

Our witness to the Gospel is more powerful than any words

This month Pope Francis sheds light on those Christian who have strayed away from the faith and explains a primary way these Christians will return to the faith. His intention prays, "that our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life."

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Having trouble reading the Bible? Try this...

Having trouble reading the Bible? Try this...

As we progress through various methods of prayer, we come upon the very ancient method of lectio divina. Translated as “divine reading,” lectio divina is a way of praying that allows a soul to immerse themselves into sacred scripture and ruminate on the Word of God. Above all else it is an exercise in listening to the voice of God and hearing what He has to say to us.

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Challenges in Africa to pray for this month

Challenges in Africa to pray for this month

Pope Francis' Evangelization Intention this month focuses on Africa, "That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace."

Christians in Africa face many challenges and unfortunately many of us in the United States are not aware of these situations. One example is the famine occurring in South Sudan.

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Why the central message of Fatima should give us hope

Why the central message of Fatima should give us hope

May 13, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and Pope Francis is commemorating it by visiting Fatima and canonizing the two younger visionaries. Some Christians see the 100th anniversary as a time when the gates of Hell will be unleashed on humanity, but the central message of Fatima is quite different. In fact, it is very hopeful.

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Initial Steps to Reclaiming Your Spiritual Life

Initial Steps to Reclaiming Your Spiritual Life

One of the best and most ancient spiritual analogies that describes our life here on earth is the ship sailing towards the harbor of heaven. Saint Thérèse explained that it was one of her favorite analogies:

“[T]he symbol of a ship always delights me and helps me to bear the exile of this life. Does not the Wise Man tell us—”Life is like a ship that passeth through the waves: when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot be found”? – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul.

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