We join with the Holy Father in his prayer for full unity of all Christians:
Here below is the full text of the Pope's weekly general audience catechesis for October 8th.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the last catecheses, we sought to bring to light the nature and beauty of the Church, and we asked ourselves what it entails for each one of us to be part of this people. We must not forget, however, that there are so many brothers who share with us faith in Christ, but who belong to other confessions and different traditions from ours. Many are resigned to this division, which in the course of history was often the cause of conflicts and sufferings. Even today relations are not always marked by respect and cordiality … And we, how do we address all this? Are we also resigned if not, in fact, indifferent? Or do we believe firmly that we can and must walk in the direction of reconciliation and full communion?
The divisions between Christians, while wounding the Church, wound Christ. The Church, in fact, is the Body of which Christ is the Head. We know well how much Jesus had at heart that His disciples remain united in His love. Suffice it to think of His words reported in the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel, the prayer addressed to His Father in the imminence of His Passion: “Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). This unity was already threatened while Jesus was still among His own: in the Gospel, in fact, we are reminded that the Apostles argued among themselves as to who was the greatest, the most important (cf.Luke 9:46). The Lord, however, insisted so much on unity in the Father’s name, making us understand that our proclamation and our witness will be that much more credible the more we are able to live in communion and to love one another. It is what His Apostles, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, then understood profoundly and took to heart, so much so that Saint Paul arrived at the point of imploring the community of Corinth with these words: “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
During her journey in history, the Church is tempted by the Evil One, who attempts to divide her and, unfortunately, she has been marked by grave and painful separations. They are divisions that sometimes have been protracted long in time, up to today, so that it is difficult at this point to reconstruct all the motivations and above all to find possible solutions. The reasons that have led to breaks and separations can be the most diverse: from divergences on dogmatic and moral principles and on different theological and pastoral concepts, to political motives of convenience, to clashes due to antipathies and personal ambitions. What is certain is that, in one way or another, behind theses lacerations are always pride and egoism, which are the cause of all disagreement and which render us intolerant, incapable of listening and of accepting that there is a vision or a position different from ours.
Now, in face of all this, is there something that each one of us, as members of Holy Mother Church, can and must do? Without a doubt, prayer must not be lacking, in continuity and in communion with that of Jesus. And, together with prayer, the Lord asks us for renewed openness: He asks us not to close ourselves to dialogue and to encounter, but to take up everything that is valid and positive that is offered to us also from one who thinks differently from us or holds different positions. He asks us not to fix our look on what divides us, but rather on that which unites us, seeking to know and to love Jesus better and to share the richness of His love. And this entails concretely adherence to truth, together with the capacity to forgive one another, to feel ourselves part of the same family, to consider ourselves a gift to one another and to do many good things together, many works of charity.
Dear friends, let us go forward now towards full unity! History has separated us, but we are on the way towards reconciliation and communion! And when the goal might seem too distant, almost unreachable, and we feel prey to discouragement, let us be encouraged by the idea that God cannot close His ear to the voice of His Son Jesus and to hear His and our prayer, that all Christians be truly one.
"The exaltation of the consecrated life belongs to the exultation of the cross of Jesus. Nothing could be more humiliating and nothing more divinizing." (Pier Giordano Cabra)
"Let your heart delight in the love your God has for you, personally, individually." (St. Katharine Drexel)
Saturday morning of our retreat this weekend, Fr. Joseph Marquis and Fr. Dcn. Lawrence Hendricks celebrated the Divine Liturgy in our motherhouse chapel. What a beautiful liturgy. Ah, the richness of the Catholic Church . . . The Church indeed needs to breathe with both lungs: East and West.
At the end of the Liturgy Fr. Joseph presented us with a stunning icon of the Incarnation. Thank you, Father Joseph, for the icon you are of the Father's love for us.
Our Roman rite chapel transformed into a Byzantine Rite chapel in preparation for Divine Liturgy in the morning.
We'll be on retreat this weekend. Asking for your prayers, and you can count on ours. A highlight will be: Fr. Joseph, a Byzantine Catholic priest, will be offering the Divine Liturgy in our chapel tomorrow morning. Can't wait to see our chapel transformed. Heaven on earth!
Sr. Sarah and I (Sr. Dorcee) just returned from the National Assembly of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). It was an excellent assembly with Masses celebrated by Fr. David Meconi, S.J., the Most Reverend Edward T. Rice and the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson. The Keynote speaker was Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, SV, foundress of The Sisters of Life. We had plenty of time for work, for prayer, and for play. I also come home so encouraged by God's work in the Church through these spiritual mothers. Please check out the new website: cmswr.org and this video of member congregations: CMSWR Congregations.
Did you know that the Servant's of God's Love have a wish list on Amazon? (You can buy a nun a book any day. ;-)http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/12SL8JVXYRFV6 And thank you to all of you who already have!
Nice to get a mention on Elizabeth Scalia's (aka "The Anchoress") blog, along with many other wonderful communities:
Nun News for Autumn 2013.
Some times we get asked why we don't wear a habit. Actually, in fact, we do. People always recognize us as Sisters--and frequently we get asked if we're the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, the ones on Oprah. (We actually sing pretty good, too!) Many people don't know that we started out as an ecumenical group wearing lay clothing. Then at the point when we decided to pursue becoming a diocesan religious order, we decided to simplify our clothing to three colors--but, because of some of our apostolates--to not look too different from the folks we serve. (Kind of like Mother Teresa deciding to wear a sari in India.) I'm sure there are many who can initially judge us by what we wear, but I've found that all those that know us, love us and know we're soundly Catholic and faithful to the Church.
Anyway, I came across this article by Elizabeth Scalia and thought she did an excellent job treating the subject: "Old-fashioned" Sisters, "Newfangled" Nuns, Numbers and Habits--Updated Just an encouragement to think twice and dig a bit deeper before jumping to conclusions.