Nazareth, a model

via Divine Office.org

From an address by Pope Paul VI
Nazareth, a model

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing, some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplifying its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children—and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value—demanding yet redeeming—and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.

“The Smoke Of Satan” Homily – Jimmy Akin

As the Church is in the news and Cardinals and bishops clash, (if reports are to be believed) here’s a bit from the thought of Pope Paul Vl reflecting on Vatican II

via The Smoke Of Satan Homily

Here’s the paragraph in which the quotation occurs, as well as the following one:

Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father

affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan

has entered the temple of God.” There is doubt, incertitude,

problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation. There is no

longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who

speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him

and ask him if he has the formula of true life. And we are not alert

to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula

of true life. Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by

windows that should have been open to the light. Science exists to

give us truths that do not separate from God, but make us seek him all

the more and celebrate him with greater intensity; instead, science

gives us criticism and doubt. Scientists are those who more

thoughtfully and more painfully exert their minds. But they end up

teaching us: “I don’t know, we don’t know, we cannot know.” The

school becomes the gymnasium of confusion and sometimes of absurd

contradictions. Progress is celebrated, only so that it can then be

demolished with revolutions that are more radical and more strange, so

as to negate everything that has been achieved, and to come away as

primitives after having so exalted the advances of the modern world.

This state of uncertainty even holds sway in the Church. There was

the belief that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for

the history of the Church. Instead, it is the arrival of a day of

clouds, of tempest, of darkness, of research, of uncertainty. We

preach ecumenism but we constantly separate ourselves from others. We

seek to dig abysses instead of filling them in.

In the next section the subject of the devil is further expounded upon:

How has this come about? The Pope entrusts one of his thoughts to

those who are present: that there has been an intervention of an

adverse power. Its name is the devil, this mysterious being that the

Letter of St. Peter also alludes to. So many times, furthermore, in

the Gospel, on the lips of Christ himself, the mention of this enemy of

men returns. The Holy Father observes, “We believe in something that

is preternatural that has come into the world precisely to disturb, to

suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council, and to impede the

Church from breaking into the hymn of joy at having renewed in fullness

its awareness of itself. Precisely for this reason, we should wish to

be able, in this moment more than ever, to exercise the function God

assigned to Peter, to strengthen the Faith of the brothers. We should

wish to communicate to you this charism of certitude that the Lord

gives to him who represents him though unworthily on this earth.”

Faith gives us certitude, security, when it is based upon the Word of

God accepted and consented to with our very own reason and with our

very own human spirit. Whoever believes with simplicity, with

humility, sense that he is on the good road, that he has an interior

testimony that strengthens him in the difficult conquest of the truth.

Read Jimmy Akins analysis here: via The Smoke Of Satan Homily.