Apologies for the blank pages these last few days but I have been very much under the weather with the worst cold I ever recall suffering. Sitting at a desk and writing a column was the last thing on my mind. I am writing today simply because I am trying to reacquire some energy.
I did do the TV commentary Tuesday afternoon for EWTN for the papal visit to the statue of the Immaculata at Pza. di Spagna in Rome, and also my live radio show with Teresa Tomeo yesterday, albeit in slightly reduced form.
Below are two articles from news.va – I especially love the one about the children’s hospital patients designing their own Holy Door! I am corresponding, in fact, with a religion teacher who students have been doing the same thing, and I am willing to think that is happening in many schools.
And here is a carousel of photos from the Fiat Lux – Let there be light – sound and light show Tuesday at the Vatican. It might take a few seconds to load.
POPE FRANCIS EXPLAINS THE MEANING OF THE JUBILEE
(Vatican Radio) Reflecting on the meaning of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis on Wednesday said that “especially in our times, in which forgiveness is a rare guest in the areas of human life, the call to mercy becomes more urgent”.
The Pope was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience.
He said that mercy can contribute much in building a more human world and has a fundamental role to play everywhere: “in society, institutions, at work and even in the family”.
Recalling the fact that on Tuesday, December 8th, he opened the Holy Door of the Jubilee of Mercy in St. Peter’s Basilica after having already done so in the Cathedral of Bangui in Central Africa, Pope Francis said, “today I would like to reflect with you on the meaning of this Holy Year, and answer the question: why a Jubilee of Mercy?”
He explained that in our age of profound changes, the Church needs the extraordinary moment offered by a Holy Year in which to offer her special contribution and make visible signs of the presence and closeness of God.
He said that the Jubilee is a favorable time to do so because by turning our eyes to God, the merciful Father, and to our brothers in need, it helps us focus attention on the essential content of the Gospel: “Jesus Christ, Mercy made flesh”.
“To celebrate a Jubilee of Mercy, he said, is equivalent to putting our Christian faith’s distinctive features back at the center of our personal lives and of our communities”.
“Dear brothers and sisters, Pope Francis continued, the Jubilee will be a ‘favorable time’ for the Church if we learn to choose ‘what God likes most’ without bowing to the temptation of thinking that there is something else that is more important”.
“Nothing is more important than choosing ‘what pleases God most,’ his mercy!” he said.
Pope Francis also remarked on the necessary work of renewal happening in the institutions and structures of the Church and described it as a life-giving experience which can guarantee that the Church continue to be “a city set on a mountain that cannot be hidden” (cf. Mt 5:14).
He said that the Jubilee Year will strengthen our certainty that “mercy can really contribute to building a more human world. Especially in our times, in which forgiveness is a rare guest in the areas of human life, the call to merciful, he continued, becomes more urgent, and this everywhere: in society, institutions, at work and even in the family”.
In today’s world, Pope Francis said, mercy and forgiveness often appear overwhelmed by self-interest, hedonism and corruptness, while in the Christian life they can be stifled by hypocrisy and worldliness. Forgetfulness of God’s mercy blinds us even to seeing sin for what it is. That is why, he explained, this Holy Year of Mercy is so important.
The Pope concluded with the prayer that each of us may become ever more aware of God’s mercy at work in our lives and ever more effective in testifying to its transforming power in our world.
CHILDREN AT ROME HOSPITAL CREATING THEIR OWN HOLY DOOR
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome is allowing patients to create their own Holy Door for the Jubilee. The hospital is on the Janiculum Hill, that overlooks St. Peter’s Basilica, but many of the children are not well enough to make the journey. Bambino Gesu means Child Jesus.
Therefore, children from the oncohematology and other departments have been busy designing and creating their own version of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, drawing from scenes in the Old and New Testaments.
The project allows the children to use their senses, imagination, and artistic skills, as well as discover things about biblical history and spirituality.
The chaplain of the Bambino Gesù Hospital said the goal is to give to young patients and their families the feeling of being part of a community of love and mercy, and allow them to take part in the Extraordinary Jubilee.
“There is a deep connection between conversion and the suffering we experience in particular situations,” said Father Luigi.
“Suffering is not only physical pain, but also the inner suffering from lack of meaning,” he continued.
“The more the spirit of God pervades our lives, the less we suffer, because we feel less alone,” Father Luigi said.
The chaplain said the Holy Spirit is “strength and light,” and that “unity with God” helps people deal with suffering.
“ If this it is true for everyone, it is even more so in this place,” Father Luigi said. “The value of this [Holy Door], even if symbolic, is important because it invites us to be united with the Lord, especially in suffering.”
The Bambino Gesù Hospital’s Holy Door project is ongoing, and will involve various activities looking at traditional pilgrimage sites around the Hospital.
Meanwhile, the Bambino Gesù Hospital’s facility in Palidoro, located in the Suburbicarian Diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina, will become the site of one the Diocese’s official Holy Doors for the Jubilee.
On December 17, the Door of Mercy will officially be opened in the Hospital’s chapel by Bishop Gino Reale, thus becoming one of the four Holy Doors of the Diocese, which is situated in the northern part of the Province of Rome.