Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Here are links for Mass on Thursday, July 7, 2016: Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
- Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070716.cfm (from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website)
- You can listen to the audio recording of the readings here: http://ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/16_07_07.mp3
- Video reflection: http://bcove.me/kzbwbcty (from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website)
- Daily meditation: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jul7.htm (from the Daily Scripture Readings & Meditations website)
- Saint of the Day: Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions
- http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1437 (from the American Catholic website)
- http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=3123 (from the Catholic Online website)
- http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/blessed-emmanuel-ruiz-and-companions.html (from the Roman Catholic Saints website)
Vatican Letter, “The Church Rejuvenates” – On June 14, 2016, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued the letter “Iuvenescit Ecclesia” (meaning, “The Church Rejuvenates”) affirming the great gift of lay associations like the Cursillo for the life of the Church. You can read a summary of this document at this link: http://m.ncregister.com/49788/d#.V3TMo-srKUl. You can read the full text of the 32-page letter at this link: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160516_iuvenescit-ecclesia_en.html. To help facilitate your reading of this lengthy document, I will reprint short consecutive sections at the bottom of each daily email through to the letter’s conclusion.
You can see a listing of all 122 Catholic international lay associations at this link from the Pontifical Council for the Laity: http://www.laici.va/content/laici/en/sezioni/associazioni/repertorio.html. You can then click on the name of any association to see a more detailed description. You’ll find the Cursillo Movement listed near the bottom under the name, “World Organization of the Cursillo Movement”. It is truly by God’s grace that so many different lay associations and movements have developed throughout history to enable lay people to effectively spread God’s love and presence throughout the world.
“Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring your friend to Christ.”
Deacon Ben Agustin
Letter “Iuvenescit Ecclesia” (“The Church Rejuvenates”) to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Regarding the Relationship Between Hierarchical and Charismatic Gifts in the Life and the Mission of the Church
IV THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HIERARCHICAL AND CHARISMATIC GIFTS IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH
In the Church as mystery of communion
- The Church presents herself as “a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, in which the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts emerges as directed to the full participation of the faithful in her communion and evangelizing mission. We have been gratuitously predestined in Christ to this new life (Rm 8:29-31; Eph 1:4-5). The Holy Spirit “brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful. He brings them into intimate union with Christ, so that He is the principle of the Church’s unity”. Within the Church, men are called together to become members of Christ and within the ecclesial communion they are united in Christ, as members of each other. Communion is always “a vital double participation: the incorporation of Christians into the life of Christ, and the diffusion of charity itself amongst the whole faithful in this world and the next. Unity with Christ and in Christ; and unity between Christians in the Church”. In this sense, the mystery of the Church shines “in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely-knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race”. From this, one can see that the Church as a mystery of communion has a sacramental root: “Fundamentally this means communion with God through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This communion is effected in the Word of God and in the sacraments. Baptism” –in close union with Confirmation– “is the entrance to and foundation of the communion of the Church. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the whole Christian life”. These sacraments of initiation are constitutive of Christian life, and the hierarchical and charismatic gifts rest upon them. The life of ecclesial communion, in this way internally ordered, is lived in a continual religious attentiveness to the Word of God and is nourished by the sacraments. The Word of God presents itself to us as profoundly linked to the sacraments, in particular the Eucharist, within the one sacramental horizon of Revelation. The Eastern tradition looks upon the Church, the body of Christ “animated” by the Holy Spirit and sees her as an ordered unity, which expresses itself also at the level of her gifts. The efficacious presence of the Spirit in the hearts of believers (cf. Rm 5:5) is the root cause of this unity even in its charismatic manifestations. The charismatic gifts given to individuals actually belong to the Church herself and are ordered towards a more intense ecclesial life. This perspective is present also in the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman: “Thus the heart of every Christian ought to represent in miniature the Catholic Church, since one Spirit makes both the whole Church and every member of it to be His Temple”. Thus, the falseness of any contradiction between or mere juxtaposition of the hierarchical and charismatic gifts is rendered more evident.
In short, the relationship between the charismatic gifts and the ecclesial sacramental structure confirms the coessentiality between hierarchical gifts –of their nature stable, permanent, and irrevocable– and the charismatic gifts. Even if the historical forms of the latter are not guaranteed to remain always the same, nonetheless the charismatic dimension will never be lacking in the life and mission of the Church.
Identity of the hierarchical gifts
- In order to sanctify every member of the People of God and for the mission of the Church in the world, amongst the various gifts, “a special place” is held by “the grace of the Apostles to whose authority the Spirit Himself subjected even those who were endowed with charisms”. Jesus Christ Himself willed that there be hierarchical gifts in order to ensure the continuing presence of his unique salvific mediation: “the Apostles were enriched by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon them (cf. Acts 1:8; 2: 4; Jn 20:22-23), and they passed on this spiritual gift to their helpers by the imposition of hands (cf. 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-7)”. The conferral of hierarchical gifts, therefore, can be traced back, above all, to the fullness of the sacrament of Orders, given at Episcopal consecration. This “together with the office of sanctifying, also confers the office of teaching and of governing, which, however, of its very nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head and the members of the college”. For this reason: “In the bishops, therefore, for whom priests are assistants, Our Lord Jesus Christ […] is present in the midst of those who believe […] through their excellent service He is preaching the Word of God to all nations, and constantly administering the sacraments of faith to those who believe, by their paternal functioning (cf. 1 Cor 4:15). He incorporates new members into His Body by a heavenly regeneration, and finally by their wisdom and prudence He directs and guides the People of the New Testament in their pilgrimage toward eternal happiness”. The Eastern Christian tradition, with its vital link to the Fathers, reads all this through its characteristic notion of taxis. According to Basil the Great, it is evident that the ordering of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit. This same order (taxis), within which St. Paul catalogues the charisms (cf. 1 Cor 12:28), “is according to the distribution of the Spirit’s gifts”, and locates that of the Apostles in first place. Beginning with Episcopal consecration, one can also understand the hierarchical gifts as referred to the other grades of the sacrament of Orders; above all, as referred to priests, who are “consecrated to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful and to celebrate divine worship”, and who “sanctify and govern under the bishop’s authority, that part of the Lord’s flock entrusted to them”. In their turn they must become “a pattern to the flock”, so they may “lead and serve their local community”. In the sacrament of Orders bishops and priests, by the priestly anointing, “are conformed to Christ the Priest in such a way that they can act in the person of Christ the Head”. One must add to these gifts those given to deacons “upon whom hands are imposed ‘not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service’” and who “strengthened by sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his group of priests they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity to the People of God”. In short, the hierarchical gifts proper to the sacrament of Orders, in its diverse grades, are given so that the Church as communion may never fail to make to each member of the faithful an objective offer of grace in the sacraments, and so She may offer both a normative proclamation of the Gospel and pastoral care.