ConAltriOcchi blog – 以不同的眼光看世界-博客

"C'è un solo modo di vedere le cose finché qualcuno non ci mostra come guardare con altri occhi" – "There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes" (Picasso) – "人观察事物的方式只有一种,除非有人让我们学会怎样以不同的眼光看世界" (毕加索)


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Exemplary servants of the gospel

Pope Francis pilgrim on the road of Father Mazzolari e Father Milani

In Bozzolo, Pope Francis was welcomed by the Bishop of Cremona, Monsignor Antonio Napolioni, who immediately announced that the process to beatify Don Primo Mazzolari will start on 18th September next.  The Pope then went to the Parish of Saint Peter’s to pray on the tomb of Don Primo Mazzolari where he made a truly memorable address speaking, among other things, of the  “magisterium of the parish priests”.

In Barbiana he was welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence and where he also wished to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani on the fiftieth anniversary of his death.  In church he met the Prior of Barbiana’s students and then gave a commemorative address in the forecourt of Don Lorenzo’s vicarage which will be very difficult to forget. His educative passion represented faithfulness to the Gospel and to all those who were entrusted to his care, said the Pope.  He then added: “today, the Bishop of Rome recognizes in that life an exemplary way of serving the Gospel, the poor and the Church; take Don Lorenzo’s torch and carry it onwards”.

Don Primo Mazzolari and Don Lorenzo Milani, are ” two priests who offer us a message which we truly need today”, said Pope Francis last Sunday during the Angelus prayer.

Recently, from many places in and outside the Church there have been various analyses and comments on this pilgrimage of the Pope.  Some have spoken of “rehabilitation”, others of “homage” for two priests who were always in the front line of their ministry.  Whatever the right interpretation, it is a good thing to leave room for the facts.  Pope Francis knelt before two great protagonists of the Church and Italian society in the twentieth century, recognizing in them a Church which placed itself at the service of the poor and announced the Mercy of Christ for everyone.  

This act of kneeling is of strong symbolic importance.  As we all know very well, Don Mazzolari and Don Milani were not short of “enemies”, as today there is no shortage of these for Pope Francis. They are enemies of  various origin, especially ecclesial ones and among these there are those who, at the first breath of wind, change flags, ready to change again whenever necessary. It’s like listening once more to the story of St. Paul when he recounts his experience of: “perils among false brethren”    ( 2Cor 11,26).  Opposition to the Church of the Poor and the Last is very active on the web and in some traditionalist blogs.  They accuse the Pope today, as they accused Don Primo and Don Lorenzo yesterday, of having thrown the Church into doctrinal, moral and pastoral confusion. Curiously, these blogs speak to each other, quote each other almost as if they were young Fathers of the Church. In reality, it is these defenders of an old church,  a church that no longer exists, who are in confusion today, who have been an elitist community for much too long, without any  sensitivity and  ignoring different voices, ignoring the poor. During the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, some lay and clerical pseudo Catholics reduced a part of the Church to a cavern of thieves  behind the backs of the two Popes, carrying on their business intrigues with the powerful people of the times, betraying the Gospel for a few pence; scheming with both the gay and financial lobbies, contracting out all evangelization work to the ecclesial movements, humiliating the parishes and the people of God; pseudo Catholics who defend principles by which they do not live and judge the dramas of people to whom they don’t listen, with whom they share nothing.

It is of paramount importance that we return immediately to the Church of Mazzolari, Milani and Pope Francis who divulge the Gospel with the Spirit of the Council, to attract not to proselytize.

It is with the strength of the prayer of Jesus and the Church as a whole that Pope Francis is undertaking his pastoral mission to bear witness to his brothers in the faith. He started off, as we all know, from the “outskirts”, from the island of Lampedusa, indicating to the world the centrality of both physical and existentialist outskirts.

Today, in Bozzolo and Barbiana, Pape Francis affirmed that the eye of the needle through which we need pass in order to speak to God is the outcast.   Every day, the cries of the outcast strike us, louder and louder,  “overturning” our Church pews, calling our attention back to essential things.

The Pope reminds us that the “Good News” of Jesus is not a new philosophy but the answer to the desire of all men throughout the ages: to be loved and free from slavery.

Whoever cures the wounds of the world, defends his people, teaches true freedom, excludes no-one a priori, is in the very heart of God.

Pope Francis, who came from the “end of the world”, today turned his face towards the entire world and the entire Catholic Church by indicating these two priests as models of the Gospel.

The Gospel reminds us that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep. Pope Francis has made the “ odour of the sheep” the perfume of all missionary works. And it is the odour of the sheep, says Pope Francis, which can reawaken the Church, people’s suffering and solitude, their desire for life and redemption, the frontier on which to build the field hospital which is the Church.

Let us thank the Lord for the gift of Don Primo and Don Lorenzo and let us ask the Spirit to give us the strength to carry on teaching the Gospel with their courage and coherence.  Let us also ask the same Spirit go give us the humility to ask for forgiveness, as baptized persons, as lay persons, as priests and as the Italian Church, from these two great witnesses of Christ.

From today onwards, after this pilgrimage made by Pope Francis, unless the Italian Church, and indeed the entire Catholic Church, follows in the footsteps of Don Mazzolari and Don Milani, it will be a Church that disobeys the Spirit and Peter.

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Eucharist bread for all

 

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes”

The earliest text on the Eucharist – the Letter to the Corinthians (53/57) – speaks to us about the fact that the Eucharist is in connection with the death of Jesus. The Lord is dead delivering himself and allowing himself to be taken from his enemies. Celebrate the Eucharist wants to teach us how to live. We hate to lives by giving ourself  as did Jesus and as also did the apostles. A Church that thinks to defend itself, is no longer a church.

It is the Gospel to live by delivery and it is the path to be fulfilled to have eternal life. We celebrate the Eucharist “as long as he comes”, waiting for him to return, believing that death has not defeated him, because those who live by giving for love have a stronger life than death.

The Eucharist is a way of life, not a rite. We are all very concerned at the risk of reducing the Eucharist to a private, intimate devotion, as if everything could be resolved in the exclusive relationship between myself and the Lord, closed to others and history. There are two current dangers in this regard.

In the book of Deuteronomy, we see the danger of nostalgia of other times: the people with the hard cervix resists the Spirit. Even today we have some people like that, resent the times of tranquility and of triumphant church, when the churches were full, and the lavish liturgies, the imposing ostensors to “suffocate” the fragility of the Sacred Ostia; Times which were, however, of injustice, of power, of money, of clericalism, where Christ was not there.

The danger of spiritualism And the bread that I will give is my flesh.God’s life is not outside of human reality. There can be no gift of the Spirit where there is also the gift of the flesh. Jesus specifically says in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John: “Whoever meats my flesh.” The chewing verb in Greek is very strong and means “shredding, shattering”. The Gospel is not an ideal, but the concordance of bread and flesh.

imageLuke’s Gospel in the tale of the multiplication of loaves and fish also offers us a very important indication

Everyone ate and satiated, and twelve baskets were carried out of their advanced parts.

There is no one who, coming to the banquet of the Messiah, is forced to return to fast. Indeed, there are loaves that are reserved to those who are left out of the canteen. We think, and pray, for all Christians living in a state of persecution, and can not celebrate the Eucharist; Pray for those who can not approach the sacraments and await the mercy of the Lord and the Church, not the hardness of the law; We pray for churches on mission land, where the priest arrives once a month; Pray for all those who have never met who the Lord, and also for those who have gone away for our fault and our contradictions. Let us pray because at the table to which Jesus wanted to sit, there really is a place for everyone, and no one is excluded, no one is missing; Perhaps then that will be the day he will return.

 


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Abraham went out, not knowing where he was to go

Monica Romano

The season of Lent is, more than any other, a period in which the Word of God invites us to set out on a journey.  An  “important time”- our deputy parish priest, Fr. Paolo reminded us when we were young – many years ago, when he prepared a true and proper “agenda” for Advent and Lent for every one of us, with references to Readings for each day.  He aimed to give us a useful tool to encourage us to read the Bible more often than at other times during the liturgical year.

The journey, the vocation to which God calls us, does not always seem straightforward.  On the contrary, it requires us to take a “ leap in the dark”. I have always been struck by Abraham’s experience; he went out leaving everything and everyone behind and, as the Letter to the Hebrews points out subsequently, “by faith” he obeyed God “and went out not knowing where he was to go”. Here a fundamental aspect of the journey into faith comes into play:  trust, confidence, in God. Many of us have no doubt that God exists and believe that Jesus Christ is His Son, the Saviour who came into this world to redeem us, the firstfruits of the Resurrection which we, too, will experience.   But there is a huge leap to be made from our faith in Jesus Christ to unconditional trust and confidence in Him.

This is often the weakness in our faith: to trust God and entrust ourselves unconditionally to Him. Trust which God mapped out from the minute he became flesh as a defenceless child, who could only live if cared for and loved by Mary and Joseph. God himself was the first to make an act of trust towards men and women, first creating them and then descending into the womb of Mary, entrusting himself into the hands of a family, “an ordinary family”, which in turn placed its trust in God and pursued the extraordinary vocation to which it had been called. Not without times of darkness and uncertainty, some of which emerge from the stories in the Gospels.

There is a beautiful image which I keep in my heart, painted by the Little Sisters of Charles de Foucault (see image below). Mary is holding  Jesus Child in her arms and, instead of  “cuddling ” in the safe arms of His Mother,  He is stretching  out His arms as if to be taken by the first passer-by who wishes to welcome Him. This original “iconography” reminds me again of the idea of the trust the Lord has placed in men and women, to the point of giving His own life for them, for each one of us and all of us together. Trust that He has asked us Christians to live, we that have believed “even though we have not seen”. Acts of trust which are not just asked of us once in our lives. Later, Abraham was even asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. The meaning of which is that, in addition to the “small”, “daily”, acts of trust in God which we Christians are asked to do in our day to day lives, there can be many larger ones during our lifetime.

Madonna-con-Bambino

The saints are a luminous mirror of this unconditional trust in the love of the Father and followed Him always and no matter what, often persevering when the paths are dark and unclear in their souls and in their everyday lives. For me,  saints are a great consolation because they have shown us that life’s bitter moments can be overcome humanly and lived in the way the Lord asks us to do, with the aid of grace. 

But we see that the temptation of  taking “shortcuts” , the alternative to the “leap” into the dark, appears  immediately in the hearts of men and women, even those who were closest to the Lord and who gave everything, his life, for Him.  In today’s Gospel which follows the First Reading on the vocation of Abraham, the liturgy proposes the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus.  The Lord, Peter, James and John are walking “up a high mountain”. Often, when the Lord is preparing something special as in this case, the Gospel tells us that we start walking, generally under difficult, hostile situations or circumstances. Climbing the mountain, as in this case; the environment of the shepherds – the marginalized ones at the time – or the Magi from the East deceived by Herod when Jesus was born…..Once Jesus and the disciples reached their destination, Peter proposed to prepare three shelters and stay there, just them alone.  “Let us leave everything behind us, abandon this world with its hardships” Peter seems to be wanting to say. Or even, perhaps: “Let the three of us enjoy the company of the Lord”.  It has happened to me on more than one occasion to experience or to meet people who have experienced this temptation.  “Give everything up”, to say it in everyday language and perhaps in a more effective manner; “keep our faith only for us”, within our parish or Christian group,  far from the world that “does not know” or even worse “refuses” the Lord…. The Liturgy of the Word which was wisely “put together” by the Second Vatican Council tells us in these Readings that instead we must not stop but –paraphrasing the words of Jesus in the Gospel today – we must “rise and not be afraid”, like Abraham did. We must walk on our pathway and, after enjoying the light of Jesus, we must, in turn, bring it to the world, to light those dark paths on which we often find ourselves and walk along during our lives.  The Christian vocation does not mean to live in shelters by ourselves, but, as Pope Francis would say, it means opening the doors, go out, and bring Jesus to the world and let anyone who so desires come in.

May this Season of Lent, which I have always considered a propitious gift in my faith pathway, help us to light  the small lamp of our faith and our trust in God, which already have not been disappointed, with the promise of Resurrection.