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  fourth Sunday after Pentecost ST. THOMAS   Matthew, Chapter 10, verse 28 And do not be AFRAID of those who kill the body but cannot...

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Pentecost Sunday

ST BONIFACE 

Romans, Chapter 8, verse 14-15

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into FEAR, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” 

By the sacrifice of Christ, we are the adopted children of God, who feared none, and by whose sufferings and glory we share; by reason of the Holy Spirits presence within us. We are thus giving a new life and relationship with God. 

Unconditional Love 

Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love. Each area of expertise has a certain way of describing unconditional love, but most will agree that it is that type of love which has no bounds and is unchanging. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is generally used to describe love between lovers. Unconditional love is also used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. An example of this is a parent's love for their child; no matter a test score, a life changing decision, an argument, or a strong belief, the amount of love that remains between this bond is seen as unchanging and unconditional.[1]

One Flesh[2]

The desire to love and be loved is the deepest need of our being. We long to be known, accepted, and cherished by another. Yet, the ability to fully give or receive this love is unattainable on our own. As Catholics we believe Jesus Christ has entered our broken world to conquer sin and restore us to new life. Throughout every age he continues to invite all women and men to follow him through his Church, to whom he has entrusted his teaching authority, so that all can know and follow him. Only God can give us the unconditional love and acceptance that we desire. Yet, he has created marriage, a holy union, to mirror this supreme love on earth. At the heart of their married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become “one flesh.” Through the language of their bodies, their sexual union recalls their vows: giving themselves to one another in love that is total, faithful, and life-giving. This call to love is to follow Christ himself, who handed himself totally over for his bride, the Church. Spouses imitate him by giving the entirety of themselves to one another, including the gift of their fertility and their openness to new life. Contraception and sterilization, which deliberately suppress fertility, reduce the sexual act so that husband and wife withhold the completeness of their total gift to each other. This changes the meaning of their sexual union so that it no longer expresses the fullness of their love. God our Father loves us and wants our lives to be full and rich! He has given his Church the task of bringing women and men to the fullness of truth which leads to our happiness in this life and in the life to come. Jesus gives us the power and strength of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Love—so that we, particularly husbands and wives, can truly love one another. The teaching on the use of contraception and sterilization may seem challenging, but it is to preserve the true, complete self-gift between husband and wife, the kind of love that brings real, lasting joy and peace. If we have failed to live this in the past, we need not be discouraged. Our loving Father is always calling us back through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and wanting to strengthen us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. When we embrace the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and marriage and follow Jesus, we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives in a powerful way. When we trust in the Lord’s desire for our happiness, he can transform our love in a way that can transform the world.

Pentecost[3]

Fifty days after Easter, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles is one of the three great feasts of the liturgical year.

What is Pentecost? The solemn anniversary of the day on which the Holy Ghost came down, under the appearance of fiery tongues, upon Mary the Mother of Jesus, and His apostles and disciples, who were assembled in prayer at Jerusalem. To express her joy at the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Church sings, at the Introit of the Mass, The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth, alleluia, and that which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice, alleluia, alleluia. Let God arise, and His enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Him fly before His face.

Prayer. O God, Who on this day didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that we may be truly wise in the same Spirit, and ever rejoice in His consolation.

EPISTLE. Acts ii. 1-11.

When the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers’ tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans? And how have we heard every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and in habitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphilia, Egypt, and the parts of Lybia about Gyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

Why does the Church celebrate this day so solemnly?

To praise and thank God for sending the Holy Ghost, Who gave so many spiritual graces and fruits to men.

Why did the Holy Ghost appear under visible signs?

 It was done to attract attention, and to indicate outwardly what took place inwardly. The roar of the mighty wind, according to the language of the prophets, pointed to the approaching Godhead, and was intended to announce something extraordinary. The appearance of tongues signified the gift of languages, and the division of them the difference of gifts imparted by the Holy Ghost. The fire which lightens, warms, and quickly spreads, denoted the love of God, the power and joy with which the apostles, and mankind through them, should be filled, and indicated the rapid extension of Christianity.

What were the effects of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles?

Being enlightened and made acquainted with all truth, freed from all fear and faint-heartedness, and undaunted, the apostles preached everywhere Christ crucified, and for love of Him endured with joy all sufferings. Their discourses were understood by all present, as if they had carefully learned each particular language. From that time Christianity spread with wonderful rapidity throughout the whole world. Pray the Holy Ghost to-day to enlighten you also, to inflame you with holy love, and to give you strength daily to increase in all goodness.

GOSPEL. John xiv. 23-31.

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, arid We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not, keepeth not My words. And the word which you have heard is not Mine: but the Father s Who sent Me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come to you. If you loved Me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it came to pass that when it shall come to pass, you may believe. I will not now speak many things with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and in Me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I.

Why is the Holy Ghost called a spirit, and the Holy Spirit?

Because He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is as it were, the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

What does the Holy Ghost effect in men?

He renews their hearts, by cleansing them from sin, by imparting to them the sanctification and likeness to God gained through Christ, together with all these supernatural gifts and graces by which they can become holy and happy, and brings forth in them wonderful fruits of sanctity.

Which are these gifts of the Holy Ghost?

The seven following:

1. The gift of wisdom, which teaches us to value the heavenly more than the earthly, infuses into us a longing for the same, and points out to us the right means to salvation.

2. The gift of understanding, which enlightens us to rightly understand the mysteries and doctrines of our holy religion.

3. The gift of counsel in doubtful cases, which enables us to know what to do or omit, and what to advise others. This gift is particularly necessary for superiors, for those who are changing their state of life, and for those who are entangled in perplexing and unfortunate marriage relations.

4. The gift of fortitude, which banishes all timidity and human respect, strengthens a man to hate sin, and steadfastly to practice virtue; preferring contempt, temporal loss, persecution, and even death, to denying Christ by word or deed.

5. The gift of knowledge, by which the Holy Ghost enlightens us with an inner light, that we may know ourselves, the snares of self-love, of our passions, of the devil, and of the world, and may choose the fittest means to overcome them.

6. The gift of piety and devotion, which infuses into us veneration for God and divine things, and joy in conversing with Him.

7. The gift of the fear of God, that childlike fear, which dreads no other misfortune than that of displeasing God, and which, accordingly, flees sin as the greatest evil.

The gift of Wisdom[4]

Wisdom empowers a person to judge and order all things in accordance with divine norms and with a connaturality that flows from a loving union with God. So, while knowledge and understanding enable a person to know and to penetrate the divine truths, wisdom moves us to fall in love with them. The Holy Spirit aids the contemplation of divine things, enabling the person to grow in union with God. This gift unites us to the heart of Jesus. Father Adolphe Tanquerey taught, This, then, is the difference between the gift of wisdom and that of understanding, the latter is a view taken by the mind, while the former is an experience undergone by the heart; one is light, the other love, and so they united and complete one another. Wisdom, withal, remains the more perfect gift; for the heart outranges the intellect, it sounds greater depths, and grasps or divines what reason fails to reach. This is particularly the case with the saints, in whom love often surpasses knowledge (The Spiritual Life, p. 630). For example, St. Therese of Lisieux (declared a doctor of the church), had no formal education in theology, and yet was wise to the ways of the Lord, a wisdom gained through prayer and simple acts of love offered to God. While this gift contemplates the divine, it also is a practical wisdom. It applies Gods ideas to judge both created and divine matter, thereby directing human acts according to divine wisdom.

Therefore, a person will see and evaluate all things both joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, success and failure from Gods point of view, and accept them with equanimity. With wisdom, all things, even the worst, are seen as having a supernatural value for example, giving value to martyrdom. Here a person arises above the wisdom of this world and lives in the love of God. St. Paul captured well this gift of wisdom: What we utter is Gods wisdom: a mysterious, a hidden wisdom. God planned it before all ages for our glory. Yet God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Spirit. The Spirit we have received is not the worlds spirit but Gods Spirit, helping us to recognize the gifts He has given us. We speak of these, not in words of human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, thus interpreting spiritual things in spiritual terms.

The natural man does not accept what is taught by the spirit of God. For him, that is absurdity. He cannot come to know such teaching because it must be appraised in a spiritual way. The spiritual man, on the other hand, can appraise everything. We have the mind of Christ (I Cor 2:6ff). Or consider St. Johns first epistle: God is love. Everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. He who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him. Our love is brought to perfection in this, that we should have confidence on the Day of Judgment; for our relation to this world is just like His. Love has no room for fear; rather, perfect love casts out all fear (I Jn 4:7, 17-18).

Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost? They are the twelve following:

1. Charity.

2. Joy.

3. Peace.

4. Patience.

5. Benignity.

6. Goodness.

7. Longsuffering.

8. Mildness.

9. Faith.

10. Modesty.

11. Continency.

12. Chastity.

These fruits should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.

Whit Sunday[5]

What is Whitsunday or White Sunday?

The liturgical color of this Sunday is red in order to recall the tongues of flame that descended on the Apostles. The old English name for Pentecost, Whitsunday, originated from the custom of the newly baptized redonning their white robes for the services of the day. By extension this could also apply to the new Easter clothes worn by the faithful fifty days earlier.

The Dove

 Like Ascension Thursday, Whitsunday was once the occasion for several liturgical eccentricities. Many medieval churches, for example, had a Holy Ghost Hole in the ceiling of the church from which a large blue disk bearing the figure of a white dove would swing slowly down to the congregation during the Mass sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Midway through the sequence, the disk would stop and from the Holy Ghost hole would rain symbols of the Spirit: flowers, water, even burning pieces of straw. A practice far less susceptible to excess, on the other hand, is the use of beautifully carved and painted wooden doves in the home. These figures would usually be suspended over the dinner table, and would sometimes be encased in glass, having been assembled entirely from within (much like the wooden ships assembled in bottles). The painstaking effort that went into making these doves serves as a reminder to cherish the adoration of the Holy Spirit.

The Blessed Dew

Though the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is often described in dramatic terms (a mighty wind, tongues of fire, etc.), it is also portrayed in soothing, comforting ways. The Whitsunday sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus, for example, calls the Spirit our "sweet refreshment" (dulcis refrigerium), while the postcommunion prayer, in an allusion to Isaiah 45.8, refers to the "inward sprinkling of His heavenly dew." Hence there arose the charming superstition that the morning dew of Whitsunday is especially good luck. To obtain a blessing, people would walk barefoot through the meadows before Mass and would even feed their animals with bread wiped by the dew.

Age of the Holy Spirit

Where we are is the age of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church because even though the Apostles were transformed by earlier events such as the institution of the Eucharist and priesthood on Maundy Thursday or their acquiring the power to forgive sins on Easter afternoon, they - and by extension, the Church - did not really come into their own until the Paraclete inspired them to burst out of their closed quarters and spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. And just as Pentecost marks the birthday of the Church in the Holy Spirit, so too does the Time after Pentecost mark the life of the Church moving through the vicissitudes of history under the protection and guidance of that same Spirit. It is for this reason that the epistle readings from this season emphasize the Apostles' advice to the burgeoning churches of the day while its Gospel readings focus on the kingdom of heaven and its justice. It is also the reason why the corresponding lessons from the breviary draw heavily from the history of the Israelite monarchy in the Old Testament. All are somehow meant to teach us how to comport ourselves as citizens of the city of God as we pass through the kingdoms of this world.

 

Octave?

Pentecost Monday remains an official festival in many Protestant churches, such as the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and others. In the Byzantine Catholic Rite Pentecost Monday is no longer a Holy Day of Obligation, but rather a simple holiday. In the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, as at Easter, the liturgical rank of Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost week is a Double of the First Class and across many Western denominations, Pentecost is celebrated with an octave culminating on Trinity Sunday. However, in the modern Roman Rite (Ordinary Form), Pentecost ends after Evening Prayer on the feast day itself, with Ordinary Time resuming the next day.

·       My advice: Go to Mass for the 8 days.

 

Today I am going out into the desert to pray for those afflicted with the Spirit of the world and for our Priests and religious. Below is my prayer plan: feel free to use it to go out to a deserted place to pray for those you care about.

Chapel Hike

During this hike you will be praying the Divine Mercy Novena as Christ asked "Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind." Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven. Eternal Father turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard -- upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.[6]

Little Horse Trail No 61[7]

Little Horse Trail begins as part of the Bell Rock Pathway. Follow this wide trail southward for 0.25 mile. Here, at a signed fork, take the old jeep road branching to the left and marked with basket cairns. The road drops to cross a dry streambed, climbs a bit and ends at the 0.75-mile point. The trail continues to the left and climbs moderately, topping out on a large, flat expanse. Turn to the right here. The level trail leads into a stand of Arizona cypress and intersects Chapel Trail on the left coming from the Chapel of the Holy Cross as it nears the "Madonna and the Nuns" spire rock formation. Beautiful views. At 1.4 miles, it passes through a gate to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Return by the same route. Trail is mostly unshaded and hot in summer.

General Notes:

Rating: Easy

Hiking Time: 2 hours roundtrip

Hiking from Little Horse it is suggested that you begin the hiking meditation by reflecting on the Ten Commandments and when you make the turn onto the chapel trail to begin a meditation on the Stations of the cross ending the last stations inside the chapel. Afterward on the return hike complete the Divine Mercy reflection and the Rosary of the day.

Ten Commandments[8]


  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

“What do they mean?” Again, the Ten Commandments are a description of the basic freedom from sin that is necessary to live as a Christian. They are a minimum level of living, below which we must not go. The Ten Commandments and Catholicism have been bound together since the time of Christ. In fact, Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments and assures their validity in his dialog with the rich young man in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 19:16-21). It’s important to note that each Commandment is simply a summary of a whole category of actions. Don’t be legalistic, searching for a way around them because their wording doesn’t fit you perfectly! For example, “bearing false witness against your neighbor” covers any kind of falsehood: perjury, lying, slander, detraction, rash judgment, etc. The Catholic Ten Commandments are linked together to form a coherent whole. If you break one of them, you’re guilty of breaking all of them. The Commandments express man’s fundamental duties to God and neighbor. As such, they represent grave obligations. To violate them knowingly & willingly in a significant way is to commit mortal sin.

"Teacher, what must I do?" [9]

2052 "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" To the young man who asked this question, Jesus answers first by invoking the necessity to recognize God as the "One there is who is good," as the supreme Good and the source of all good. Then Jesus tells him: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments." And he cites for his questioner the precepts that concern love of neighbor: "You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother." Finally, Jesus sums up these commandments positively: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

2053 To this first reply Jesus adds a second: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." This reply does not do away with the first: following Jesus Christ involves keeping the Commandments. The Law has not been abolished, but rather man is invited to rediscover it in the person of his Master who is its perfect fulfillment. In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus' call to the rich young man to follow him, in the obedience of a disciple and in the observance of the Commandments, is joined to the call to poverty and chastity. The evangelical counsels are inseparable from the Commandments.

2054 Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the Spirit at work in their letter. He preached a "righteousness [which] exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees" as well as that of the Gentiles. He unfolded all the demands of the Commandments. "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."

2055 When someone asks him, "Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?" Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets." The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law:

The commandments: "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

2056 The word "Decalogue" means literally "ten words." God revealed these "ten words" to his people on the holy mountain. They were written "with the finger of God," unlike the other commandments written by Moses. They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on to us in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Beginning with the Old Testament, the sacred books refer to the "ten words," but it is in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed.

2057 The Decalogue must first be understood in the context of the Exodus, God's great liberating event at the center of the Old Covenant. Whether formulated as negative commandments, prohibitions, or as positive precepts such as: "Honor your father and mother," the "ten words" point out the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin. The Decalogue is a path of life:

If you love the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply.

This liberating power of the Decalogue appears, for example, in the commandment about the sabbath rest, directed also to foreigners and slaves:

You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

2058 The "ten words" sum up and proclaim God's law: "These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them upon two tables of stone, and gave them to me." For this reason, these two tables are called "the Testimony." In fact, they contain the terms of the covenant concluded between God and his people. These "tables of the Testimony" were to be deposited in "the ark."

2059 The "ten words" are pronounced by God in the midst of a theophany ("The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire."). They belong to God's revelation of himself and his glory. The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God himself and his holy will. In making his will know, God reveals himself to his people.

2060 The gift of the commandments and of the Law is part of the covenant God sealed with his own. In Exodus, the revelation of the "ten words" is granted between the proposal of the covenant and its conclusion - after the people had committed themselves to "do" all that the Lord had said, and to "obey" it. The Decalogue is never handed on without first recalling the covenant ("The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.").

2061 The Commandments take on their full meaning within the covenant. According to Scripture, man's moral life has all its meaning in and through the covenant. The first of the "ten words" recalls that God loved his people first:

Since there was a passing from the paradise of freedom to the slavery of this world, in punishment for sin, the first phrase of the Decalogue, the first word of God's commandments, bears on freedom "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

2062 The Commandments properly so-called come in the second place: they express the implications of belonging to God through the establishment of the covenant. Moral existence is a response to the Lord's loving initiative. It is the acknowledgement and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. It is cooperation with the plan God pursues in history.

2063 The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact that all the obligations are stated in the first person ("I am the Lord.") and addressed by God to another personal subject ("you"). In all God's commandments, the singular personal pronoun designates the recipient. God makes his will know to each person in particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people:

The Lord prescribed love towards God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust, nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God prepared man to become his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor. The words of the Decalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished, they have received amplification and development from the fact of the coming of the Lord in the flesh.

2064 In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with the example of Jesus, the tradition of the Church has acknowledged the primordial importance and significance of the Decalogue.

2067 The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor.

As charity comprises the two commandments to which the Lord related the whole Law and the prophets; so, the Ten Commandments were themselves given on two tablets. Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other.

2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord. the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."

2069 The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each "word" refers to each of the others and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. The two tables shed light on one another; they form an organic unity. To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others. One cannot honor another person without blessing God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all men, his creatures. The Decalogue brings man's religious and social life into unity.

2070 The Ten Commandments belong to God's revelation. At the same time, they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law:

From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue.

2071 The commandments of the Decalogue, although accessible to reason alone, have been revealed. To attain a complete and certain understanding of the requirements of the natural law, sinful humanity needed this revelation:

A full explanation of the commandments of the Decalogue became necessary in the state of sin because the light of reason was obscured, and the will had gone astray.

We know God's commandments through the divine revelation proposed to us in the Church, and through the voice of moral conscience.

2072 Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.

2073 Obedience to the Commandments also implies obligations in matter which is, in itself, light. Thus, abusive language is forbidden by the fifth commandment, but would be a grave offense only as a result of circumstances or the offender's intention.

"Apart from me you can do nothing"

2074 Jesus says: "I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

As you turn onto the Chapel Trail reflect on the Stations of the Cross

Pope Benedict XVI Stations of the Cross[10]

FIRST STATION 

Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:41-44

Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.

MEDITATION Jesus was in agony. Grief and anguish came upon him. The sin of all mankind weighed on him heavily. But the greater his pain, the more fervently did he pray. Pain always remains a challenge to us. We feel left alone. We forget to pray, and break down. Some even take their lives. But if we turn to God, we grow spiritually strong and go out to help our fellow-beings in trouble. 

Jesus continues to suffer in his persecuted disciples. Pope Benedict XVI says that even in our times “the Church does not lack martyrs”. Christ is in agony among us, and in our times. We pray for those who suffer. The mystery of Christian suffering is that it has a redemptive value. May the harassments that believers undergo complete in them the sufferings of Christ that bring salvation.

PRAYER Lord Jesus, enable us to delve deeper into the great “mystery of evil” and our own contribution to it. As sufferings came into human life through sin, it was your plan that humanity be saved from sin through suffering. May none of the little annoyances, humiliations, and frustrations that we undergo in our daily lives and the great shocks that take us by surprise, go to waste. Linked with your own agony, may the agonies we endure be acceptable to you and bring us hope. Lord, teach us to be compassionate, not only to the hungry, thirsty, sick, or those in some special need, but also to those inclined to be rude, argumentative and hurtful. In this way, as you have helped us in all our troubles, we may in turn “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort that we ourselves have received”. 

SECOND STATION 

Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and restrains Peter from violence 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 22:47-50 and according to Saint Matthew 26:52.56

While Jesus was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.

MEDITATION It is one of his trusted friends that betrays Jesus, and with a kiss. The way Jesus confronted violence has a message for our times. Violence is suicidal, he tells Peter: it is not defeated by more violence, but by a superior spiritual energy that reaches out in the form of healing love. Jesus touches the High Priest’s slave and heals him. The violent man today too may need a healing touch that comes from a love that transcends the immediate issues. In times of conflict between persons, ethnic and religious groups, nations, economic and political interests, Jesus says, confrontation and violence are not the answer, but love, persuasion and reconciliation. Even when we seem to fail in such efforts, we plant the seeds of peace which will bear fruit in due time. The rightness of our cause is our strength. 

PRAYER Lord Jesus, you consider us your friends, yet we notice traces of infidelity in ourselves. We acknowledge our transgressions. We are presumptuous at times and over-confident. And we fall. Let not avarice, lust or pride take us by surprise. How thoughtlessly do we fly after ephemeral satisfactions and untested ideas! Grant that we may not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine… but speaking the truth in love, grow up in every way into Christ the head. May truth and sincerity of purpose be our strength. Restrain, Lord, our impetuosity in situations of violence, as you restrained Peter’s impulsive character. Keep us unruffled in spirit before opposition and unfair treatment. Convince us that “A gentle answer quiets anger” in our families, and that “gentleness” combined with “wisdom” restores tranquility in society. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.” 

THIRD STATION 

Jesus is held guilty by the Sanhedrin 

From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 26:62-66

And the High Priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus was silent. And the High Priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the High Priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgement? They answered, “He deserves death.”

MEDITATION In every land, there have been innocent persons who suffered, people who died fighting for freedom, equality or justice. Those who struggle on behalf of God’s little ones are promoting God’s own work. For he presses for the rights of the weak and the oppressed. Whoever collaborates in this work, in the spirit of Jesus, brings hope to the oppressed and offers a corrective message to the evildoer himself. Jesus’ manner of struggling for justice is not to rouse the collective anger of people against the opponent, so that they are led into forms of greater injustice. On the contrary, it is to challenge the foe with the rightness of one’s cause and evoke the good will of the opponent in such a way that injustice is renounced through persuasion and a change of heart. Mahatma Gandhi brought this teaching of Jesus on non-violence into public life with amazing success. 

PRAYER Lord, often we judge others in haste, indifferent to actual realities and insensitive to people’s feelings! We develop stratagems of self-justification and explain away the irresponsible manner in which we have dealt with “the other”. Forgive us! When we are misjudged and ill-treated, Lord, give us the inner serenity and self-confidence that your Son manifested in the face of unjust treatment. Keep us from an aggressive response which goes against your Spirit. On the contrary, help us to bring your powerful word of forgiveness into situations of tension and anxiety, so that it may reveal its dynamic power in history. “In His will is our peace.” 

FOURTH STATION 

Jesus is denied by Peter 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:54-62

Then they seized Jesus and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man was also with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

MEDITATION Peter claimed to be strong, but he broke down before a servant girl. Human weakness takes us by surprise, and we collapse. That is why Jesus asks us to watch and pray. He urges self-renunciation and closeness to God. There is a rebellious “self” within us. We are often of “two minds”, but we fail to recognize this inner inconsistency. Peter recognized it when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus, and he wept. Later, Thomas, encountering the Risen Lord, acknowledged his own faithlessness and believed. In the light of Christ, Paul became aware of the inconsistency within himself, and he overcame it with the Lord’s help. Going deeper still, he discovered: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” 

PRAYER Lord, how easily do we allow a distance to grow between what we profess to be and what we really are! How often do we fail to carry out our own decisions, or even fulfil our most solemn promises! And as a result, we often hesitate to make any permanent commitment, even to you! We confess that we have failed to bring into our life that inner discipline that is expected of any adult person and required for the success of any human endeavor. Give sturdiness to our inner determination; help us to bring every good work we have begun to a successful conclusion. Enable us to stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, “in complete obedience to God’s will”. 

FIFTH STATION 

Jesus is judged by Pilate 

A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him”. But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So, Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

MEDITATION It was not the rightness of an issue that mattered to Pilate, but his professional interests. Such an attitude did not help him, either in this case or in his later career. He was so unlike Jesus, whose inner rectitude made him fearless. Nor was Pilate interested in the truth. He walks away from Jesus exclaiming, “What is truth?” Such indifference to truth is not uncommon these days. People are often concerned about what gives immediate satisfaction. They are content with superficial answers. Decisions are made based not on principles of integrity, but on opportunistic considerations. Failing to make morally responsible options damages the vital interests of the human person, and of the human family. We pray that the “spiritual and ethical concepts” contained in the word of God will inspire the living norms of society in our times. 

PRAYER Lord give us the courage to make responsible decisions when rendering a public service. Bring probity (correctness) into public life and assist us to be true to our conscience. Lord, you are the source of all Truth. Guide us in our search for ultimate answers. Going beyond mere partial and incomplete explanations, may we search for what is permanently true, beautiful and good. Lord, keep us fearless before the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. When shadows grow deep on life’s wearisome paths, and the dark night comes, enable us to hearken to the teaching of your Apostle Paul: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.”  

SIXTH STATION 

Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns 

From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. 27:26-30

Then Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.

MEDITATION Inhumanity reaches new heights. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns. History is full of hatred and wars. Even today we witness acts of violence beyond belief: murder, violence to women and children, kidnapping, extortion, ethnic conflict, urban violence, physical and mental torture, violations of human rights. Jesus continues to suffer when believers are persecuted, when justice is distorted in court, corruption gets rooted, unjust structures grind the poor, minorities are suppressed, refugees and migrants are ill-treated. Jesus’ garments are pulled away when the human person is put to shame on the screen, when women are compelled to humiliate themselves, when slum children go round the streets picking up crumbs. Who are the guilty? Let us not point a finger at others, for we ourselves may have contributed a share to these forms of inhumanity. 

PRAYER Lord Jesus, we know that it is you who suffer when we cause pain to each other, and we remain indifferent. Your heart went out in compassion when you saw the crowds “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. Give me eyes that notice the needs of the poor and a heart that reaches out in love. “Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.” Most of all, may we share with the indigent your “word” of hope, your assurance of care. May “zeal for your house” burn in us like a fire. Help us to bring the sunshine of your joy into the lives of those who are trudging the path of despair. 

SEVENTH STATION 

After Jesus is made an object of fun, he is led out to be crucified 

From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. 27:31

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to be crucified.

MEDITATION Jesus, at whose name every knee in heaven and earth bends, is made an object of fun. We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink. Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today: when things that are most Holy and Profound in the Faith are being trivialized; the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode; the religious sentiment is classified among unwelcome leftovers of antiquity. Everything in public life risks being desacralized: persons, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious formulae, symbols, ceremonies. Our life together is being increasingly secularized. Religious life grows diffident. Thus, we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified. Values and norms that held societies together and drew people to higher ideals are laughed at and thrown overboard. Jesus continues to be ridiculed! 

PRAYER We have faith, Lord, but not enough. Help us to have more. May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic. Allow us not to drift into the desert of godlessness. Enable us to perceive you in the gentle breeze, see you in street corners, love you in the unborn child. God, enable us to understand that on Tabor or Calvary, your Son is the Lord. Robed or stripped of his garments, he is the Savior of the world. Make us attentive to his quiet presences: in his “word”, in tabernacles, shrines, humble places, simple persons, the life of the poor, laughter of children, whispering pines, rolling hills, the tiniest living cell, the smallest atom, and the distant galaxies. May we watch with wonder as he walks on the waters of the Rhine and the Nile and the Tanganyika. 

EIGHTH STATION 

Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:26

The soldiers led Jesus away, and as they were going, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon who was coming into the city from the country. They seized him, put the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.

MEDITATION In Simon of Cyrene, we have the prototype of a faithful disciple who takes up the Cross and follows Christ. He is not unlike millions of Christians from a humble background, with deep attachment to Christ. No glamour, no sophistication, but profound faith. Such believers keep rising on the soil of Africa, Asia and the distant islands. Vocations arise from their midst. Simon reminds us of small communities and tribes with their characteristic commitment to the common good, deep rootedness in ethical values and openness to the Gospel. They deserve attention and care. The Lord does not desire that “one of these little ones should perish”. In Simon we discover the sacredness of the ordinary and the greatness of what looks small. For the smallest has some mystic relationship with the greatest, and the ordinary with the most extraordinary! 

PRAYER Lord, it is your wonderful plan to lift up the lowly and sustain the poor. Strengthen your Church in her service to deprived communities: the least privileged, the marginalized, slum dwellers, the rural poor, the undernourished, untouchables, the handicapped, people given to addictions. May the example of your servant, Mother Teresa of Kolkata, inspire us to dedicate more of our energies and resources to the cause of the “poorest of the poor”. May we one day hear these words from Jesus: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” 

NINTH STATION 

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:27-28

And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus, turning to them, said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

MEDITATION Before the weeping women, Jesus is self-forgetful. His anxiety is not about his pains, but about the tragic future that awaits them and their children. The destinies of societies are intimately linked to the wellbeing of their women. Wherever women are held in low esteem or their role remains diminished, societies fail to rise to their true potentiality. In the same way, wherever their responsibility to the rising generation is neglected, ignored, or marginalized, the future of that society becomes uncertain. There are many societies in the world where women fail to receive a fair deal. Christ must be weeping for them. There are societies too that are thoughtless about their future. Christ must be weeping for their children. Wherever there is unconcern for the future, through the overuse of resources, the degradation of the environment, the oppression of women, the neglect of family values, the ignoring of ethical norms, the abandonment of religious traditions, Jesus must be telling people: “Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” 

PRAYER Lord, you are the Master of history. And yet you wanted our collaboration in realizing your plans. Help us to play a responsible role in society: leaders in their communities, parents in their families, educators and health-workers among those who need to be served, communicators in the world of information. Arouse in us a sense of mission in what we do, a deep sense of responsibility to each other, to society, to our common future and to you. For you have placed the destinies of our communities and of humanity itself into our hands. Lord, do not turn away from us when you see women humiliated or your image disfigured in the human person; when we interfere with life-systems, weaken the nurturing power of nature, pollute running streams or the deep blue seas or the Northern snows. Save us from cruel indifference to our common future, and do not let us drag our civilization down the path of decline. 

Time your hike so you can reflect on stations 10-13 while sitting outside the chapel with our crucified Lord!

TENTH STATION 

Jesus is crucified 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 23:33-37 and according to Saint Matthew. 27:46

There they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”, that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

MEDITATION The sufferings of Jesus reach a climax. He had stood fearlessly before Pilate. He had endured the mistreatment of the Roman soldiers. He had preserved his calm under the scourge and the crowning with thorns. On the Cross itself, he seemed untouched by a shower of insults. He had no word of complaint, no desire to retort. But then, finally, a moment comes when he breaks down. His strength can stand no more. He feels abandoned even by his Father! Experience tells us that even the sturdiest man can descend to the depths of despair. Frustrations accumulate, anger and resentment pile up. Bad health, bad news, bad luck, bad treatment – all can come together. It may have happened to us. It is at such moments we need to remember that Jesus never fails us. He cried to the Father. May we too cry out to the Father, who unfailingly comes to our rescue in all our distress, whenever we call upon him! 

PRAYER Lord, when clouds gather on the horizon and everything seems lost, when we find no friend to stand by us and hope slips from our hands, teach us to trust in you, who will surely come to our rescue. May the experience of inner pain and darkness teach us the great truth that in you nothing is lost, that even our sins – once we have repented of them – come to serve a purpose, like dry wood in the cold of winter. Lord, you have a master design beneath the working of the universe and the progress of history. Open our eyes to the rhythms and patterns in the movements of the stars; balance and proportion in the inner structure of elements; interrelatedness and complementarity in nature; progress and purpose in the march of history; correction and compensation in our personal stories. It is this harmony that you constantly keep restoring, despite the painful imbalances that we bring about. In you even the greatest loss is a gain. Christ’s death, in fact, points to resurrection. 

ELEVENTH STATION 

Jesus promises his Kingdom to the Good Thief 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:39-43

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

MEDITATION It is not eloquence that convinces and converts. In the case of Peter, it is a look of love; in the case of the Good Thief, it is unresentful serenity in suffering. Conversion takes place like a miracle. God opens your eyes. You recognize his presence and action. You surrender! Opting for Christ is always a mystery. Why does one make a definitive choice for Christ, even in the face of trouble, or death? Why do Christians flourish in persecuted places? We shall never know. But it happens over and over again. If a person who has abandoned his faith comes across the real face of Christ, he will be stunned by what he actually sees, and may surrender like Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” It is a privilege to unveil the face of Christ to people. It is even a greater joy to discover – or rediscover -him. “Your face, O Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.”  

PRAYER My cry to you today, O Lord, in tears is this: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” It is for this Kingdom that I fondly long. It is the eternal home you have prepared for all those who seek you with sincere hearts. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”. Help me, Lord, as I struggle ahead on my way to my eternal destiny. Lift the darkness from my path, and keep my eyes raised to the heights!

“Lead, kindly Light,
amid the encircling gloom.
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home.
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.”

TWELFTH STATION 

The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the Cross 

From the Gospel according to Saint John. 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple: “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

MEDITATION In suffering we long for solidarity. Mother Mary reminds us of supportive love and solidarity within a family, John of loyalty within a community. Family cohesion, community bonds, ties of friendship – these are essential for the flourishing of human beings. In an anonymous society they grow weak. When they are missing, we become diminished persons. Again, in Mary we do not notice even the least sign of resentment, not a word of bitterness. The Virgin becomes an archetype of forgiveness in faith and hope. She shows us the way to the future. Even those who would like to respond to violent injustice with “violent justice” know that that is not the ultimate answer. Forgiveness prompts hope. There are also historic injuries that often rankle in the memories of societies for centuries. Unless we transmute our collective anger into new energies of love through forgiveness, we perish together. When healing comes through forgiveness, we light a lamp, announcing future possibilities for the “life and well-being” of humanity. 

PRAYER Lord Jesus, your Mother stood silently at your side in your final agony. She who was unseen on occasions when you were acclaimed a great prophet, stands beside you in your humiliation. May I have the courage to remain loyal even where you are least recognized. Let me never be embarrassed to belong to the “little flock”. Lord, let me remember that even those whom I consider my “enemies” belong to the human family. If they treat me unfairly, let my prayer be only: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” It may be in such a context that someone will suddenly recognize the true face of Christ and cry out like the centurion: “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

 

THIRTEENTH STATION 

Jesus dies on the Cross 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:46

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” And having said this, he breathed his last.

MEDITATION Jesus hands over his spirit to the Father in serene abandonment. What his persecutors thought to be a moment of defeat proves, in fact, to be a moment of triumph. When a prophet dies for the cause he stood for, he gives the final proof of all that he has said. Christ’s death is something more than that. It brings redemption. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” With that begins for me a mystic journey: Christ draws me closer to him, until I shall fully belong to him. 

“As a deer longs for flowing streams,
So my soul longs for you, O God…
When shall I come and behold the face of God?”

PRAYER Lord Jesus, it is for my own sins that you were nailed to the Cross. Help me to gain a deeper understanding of the grievousness of my sins and the immensity of your love. For “while we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly.” I admit my faults as the prophets did long ago: 

“We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly
and rebelled, turning aside
from your commandments and ordinances;
we have not listened to your servants the prophets….” 

There was nothing in me to deserve your kindness. Thank you for your immeasurable goodness to me. Help me to live for you, to shape my life after you, to be joined to you and become a new creation.

“Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.”

For the final station sit outside the chapel and reflect how you are a tomb for our Lord

FOURTEENTH STATION 

Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the tomb 

From the Gospel according to Saint Mark. 15:46

Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

MEDITATION Tragedies make us ponder. A tsunami tells us that life is serious. Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain pilgrim places. When death strikes near, another world draws close. We then shed our illusions and have a grasp of the deeper reality. People in ancient India prayed: “Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.”

After Jesus left this world, Christians began to look back and interpret his life and mission. They carried his message to the ends of the earth. And this message itself is Jesus Christ, who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God”. It says that the reality is Christ and that our ultimate destiny is to be with him.

PRAYER Lord Jesus, enable us, as we press forward on life’s weary way, to have a glimpse of our ultimate destiny. And when at last we cross over; we will know that “death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. It is this Good News that we are eager to announce, “in every way”, even in places where Christ has not been heard of. For this we work hard. We work “night and day” and wear ourselves out. Lord make us effective carriers of your Good News. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and in my flesh I shall see God.” 

When you are ready hike back to the Little Horse trailhead; reflect on the Divine Mercy Prayer and the Rosary of the Day. Note: It is also interesting to reflect on how on Palm Sunday our Lord sat on a Colt (Little Horse) entering the city of His death.

Apostolic Exhortation[11]

Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling

of The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Part II

III. Worthy Reception of Holy Communion – Conforming our life with Christ

58. John Paul II reminded us of this perennial teaching of the Church, that “the celebration of the Eucharist, however, cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion that it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection” (Ecclesia et Eucharistia, no. 35). To receive all the graces and benefits from Holy Communion that was mentioned above, the Eucharist requires that we live and persevere in sanctifying grace and love, remaining within the Church as one body and one spirit in Christ. Reaffirming the clear teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Saint John Paul II stated, “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion” (CCC 1385).

59. It is important to underline this intrinsic connection between the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist because, as Pope Benedict wrote, we are “surrounded by a culture that tends to eliminate the sense of sin and to promote a superficial approach that overlooks the need to be in a state of grace in order to approach sacramental communion worthily” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 20). A common and mistaken trend of our times is to presume that all have the right to approach and partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord and that limiting such a ‘right’ would go against the practice of Jesus Christ, who welcomed all sinners.

60. However, the teachings of the Church have always been clear and based on Scripture. Holy Communion is reserved for those, who with God’s grace make a sincere effort to live this union with Christ and His Church by adhering to all that the Catholic Church believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.

To be continued

Saint Boniface[12]

A Benedictine monk was chosen by divine Providence to become Germany's great apostle and patron. In 724 he turned his attention to the Hessian people. near the village of Geismar on the Eder, he felled a giant oak that the people honored as the national sanctuary of the god Thor. Boniface used the wood to build a chapel in honor of St. Peter. This courageous act assured the eventual triumph of the Gospel in Germany. Conversions were amazingly numerous. In 732 Boniface devoted his time and talent to the organization of the Church in Germany. He installed bishops, set diocesan boundaries, promoted the spiritual life of the clergy and laity, held national synods (between 742 and 747), and in 744 founded the monastery of Fulda, which became a center of religious life in central Germany. The final years of his busy life were spent, as were his earlier ones, in missionary activity. Word came to him in 754 that a part of Frisia had lapsed from the faith. He took leave of his priests and, sensing the approach of death, carried along a shroud. He was 74 years of age when with youthful enthusiasm he began the work of restoration, a mission he was not to complete. A band of semi-barbarous pagans overpowered and put him to death when he was about to administer confirmation to a group of neophytes at Dockum. Patron: Brewers; Tailors; Germany; Prussia.

Things to Do

·        One tradition about Saint Boniface says that he used the customs of the locals to help convert them. There was a game in which they threw sticks called kegels at smaller sticks called heides. Boniface bought religion to the game, having the heides represent demons, and knocking them down showing purity of spirit. You might use your ingenuity to imitate this game for your children and tell them the story of St. Boniface. Sounds like bowling maybe go bowling in honor of St. Boniface.

·        St. Boniface was the uncle of St. Walburga.

·        St. Boniface, although an Englishman, planted the seeds of the Catholic Faith in Germany (at that time "Germany" included the domains of the Frankish monarchs, present-day Belgium and the Netherlands), and now Germany calls St. Boniface her patron. Bake some special German cookies or treat and learn some of the religious customs that come from this country

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS

CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

Article 9-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"

Paragraph 5. THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

946 After confessing "the holy catholic Church," the Apostles' Creed adds "the communion of saints." In a certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding: "What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?" The communion of saints is the Church.

947 "Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others.... We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head.... Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments." "As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund."

948 The term "communion of saints" therefore has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)" and "among holy persons (sancti).

"Sancta sancti's! ("God's holy gifts for God's holy people") is proclaimed by the celebrant in most Eastern liturgies during the elevation of the holy Gifts before the distribution of communion. the faithful (sancta) are fed by Christ's holy body and blood (sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit (koinonia) and to communicate it to the world.

I. COMMUNION IN SPIRITUAL GOODS

949 In the primitive community of Jerusalem, the disciples "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers."
Communion in the faith. the faith of the faithful is the faith of the Church, received from the apostles. Faith is a treasure of life which is enriched by being shared.

950 Communion of the sacraments. "The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate by which we enter into the Church. the communion of saints must be understood as the communion of the sacraments.... the name 'communion' can be applied to all of them, for they unite us to God.... But this name is better suited to the Eucharist than to any other, because it is primarily the Eucharist that brings this communion about."

951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit "distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank" for the building up of the Church. Now, "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."

952 "They had everything in common." "Everything the true Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone else. All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy . . . and of their neighbors in want." A Christian is a steward of the Lord's goods.

953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, "None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself." "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." "Charity does not insist on its own way." In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion.

II. THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH OF HEAVEN AND EARTH

954 The three states of the Church. "When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is"':

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbours, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.

955 "So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods."

956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness.... They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus.... So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.

I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.

957 Communion with the saints. "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself":

We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!

958 Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and 'because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins' she offers her suffrages for them." Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

959 In the one family of God. "For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church."

IN BRIEF

960 The Church is a "communion of saints": this expression refers first to the "holy things" (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which "the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about" (LG 3).

961 The term "communion of saints" refers also to the communion of "holy persons" (sancti) in Christ who "died for all," so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all.

962 "We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers" (Paul VI, CPG # 30).

Events

·       Chicago Blues Festival-June 9-12-Chicago is the place to visit in June, especially if you’re a fan of the blues. The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues music festival in the world. Over three days, more than 500,000 people converge on Grant Park to hear well-renown performers perform on the festival’s five stages.


The Week Ahead

·       Monday, June 6th D-Day, 1944

·       June 8th Ember Wednesday

·       June 10th Ember Friday

·       June 11th Ember Saturday

·       June 12th Trinity Sunday

Daily Devotions

·       Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: True Masculinity

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Nineveh 90-Day 51

·       Rosary




[3]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

* In the original text, Saint Faustina uses the pronoun "us" since she was offering this prayer as a consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the prayer suitable for universal use. 

[8]http://www.beginningcatholic.com/catholic-ten-commandments

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