Anne Rice & the Church Home for all Peoples

Benedict XVI Prayer Intentions for August and Anne Rice's Statement of Leaving Christianity

"That those who are without work or homes or who are otherwise in serious need may find understanding and welcome, as well as concrete help in overcoming their difficulties. That the Church may be a 'home' for all people, ready to open her doors to any who are suffering from racial or religious discrimination, hunger or wars forcing them to emigrate to other countries".

While this intention has been send out across the social media sphere Anne Rice, the author of vampire stories, a two volume Life of Jesus and a new metaphysical series, has sent out her own statement of disbelief. I attended a Christmas party hosted by Anne about three years ago. She was a gracious host and she was living this prayer intention for a "home for all people..." This was a faithfilled reponse to the One who opened his heart and gave his life for all of us irregardless of our failures, sins, pride, wealth, poverty.

Anne could be considered a sincere seeker. The important thing for all of us seekers to remember is that we are not the one's who are seeking. God is coming toward us. Many mystics and saints experienced this reality of God's approach through darkness, suffering, misunderstanding, and confusion. How do we allow God to come close? Can we even "allow" God to come close? We have the gift of a free will to respond to God and God's love is not conditioned by our response. So we can "allow" God to come close. Jesus showed us what that looks like. In the Beatitudes Jesus calls blessed all those who respond, and tells us what following him in this response will look like (Matthew, Chapter 5). The Beatitudes encourage us, as Christians, to open our home and hearts to all people. Embracing these beatitudes, as signs of what a "new heart" looks like, we embrace Christ.

The world may not be ready to receive the gospel because it doesn't look like good news. To be honest each of us are a tagline and the slogan for the gospel - and that is humbling since we are going to remain imperfect bearers of the image of Christ. Followers of Christ won't "fit in" not because they are exclusive or prone to judgement, not because they follow certain rules that don't make sense - Christians are called to live the life of Christ: poor materially and/or spiritualy, groaning and mourning, as does all of creation, waiting for fulfillment, powerless, hungering and thirsting for being in right relation with God and others, merciful, living from a pure heart, bringing about reconcilation, persuing commuion and persecuted.

Our spiritual life as  Christians is not "how did I do" or "what degree of prayer am I in now." It is not focused on us. It is about Christ. We are in Christ, we are a new creation, so we can "rejoice and be glad" even as we enter into the stuggle of kenosis - until it is Christ who lives, not I (Gal. 2:20). Anne is called, as are each us, to love as God loves. Jesus shows us what God's love looks like and what leads to the promise of blessedness. God has a passion to connect, a desire for relationship with us. The church as the body of Christ seeks together to deepen this relationship: "Amen," (meaning "I put my trust in you God. I take my stand here") "Teach me how to respond to your love."

You Are Never Alone

One Who Prays is Never Alone

The disciples asked Christ to teach them how to pray. Jesus raised no objections, He used no strange or esoteric formulae but with great simplicity said: 'When you pray, say: Father ... And he taught them the Our Father.

This prayer also comprehends and expresses the material and spiritual requirements of human beings. ... And precisely because of our everyday needs and difficulties, Jesus exhorts us: ... 'Ask and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you'.

This is not a request for our own desires to be satisfied, but for our friendship with God to be kept alive. This was the experience of the ancient Desert Fathers, and of contemplative people in all times who, through prayer, became friends of God. In this context he quoted words of St. Teresa of Avila who encouraged her nuns to "beseech God to deliver us from these perils for ever and to keep us from all evil! And although our desire for this may not be perfect, let us strive to make the petition. What does it cost us to ask it, since we ask it of One Who is so powerful?"

Each time we pray the Our Father, our voice mingles with the voice of the Church, because one who prays is never alone. ... May the Virgin Mary help us rediscover the beauty and profundity of Christian prayer.
Benedict XVI

Listening to the Word: Lectio Divina

Without love, even the most important activities lose value and fail to bring joy. Without profound meaning, whatever we do is simply activism, fruitless and haphazard. And who gives Love and Truth if not Jesus Christ?

Reflecting on Luke 10: 38-42,  we read that Martha and Mary welcome Jesus into their home giving first place to what is effectively most important in life, listening to the Word of God,  There is no scorn for active life, and certainly no scorn for generous hospitality; instead this gospel reminds us that the only thing, really necessary, is other: listening to the Word of the Lord; and the Lord, at that moment was there, present in the Person of Jesus! Everything else will pass away, it will be taken from us, but the Word of God is eternal and gives meaning to our daily activity. (Cf. Bendedict XVI)
Have you prayed the Word through Lectio Divina? Follow this link to divine reading of God's Word. Daily read God's word, said a Rabbi, when your heart breaks the Word falls in. (Gospel Lives in Me).

Life in Christ Jesus

Fr. James from the Apostleship of Prayer talks about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Worlds Oldest Illustrated Bible Found

The world's earliest illustrated Christian book has been saved by a British charity which located it at a remote Ethiopian monastery.
The incredible Garima Gospels are named after a monk who arrived in the African country in the fifth century and is said to have copied them out in just one day.
Beautifully illustrated, the colours are still vivid and thanks to the Ethiopian Heritage Fund have been conserved.
Abba Garima arrived from Constantinople in 494 AD and legend has it that he was able to copy the gospels in a day because God delayed the sun from setting.

Gospel in Everyone's Hearts

There is a new "movement" in the 21st century that is just developing. Pope Benedict speaks about it as well. It is the understanding that not only are we able to grow but that our growth as humans calls us to greater solidarity (from I to we or I-Thou), self-giving (emptying of self ), recognition that the indwelling Spirit- love has been poured into our hearts (Romans). The broader message of this movement has Christian overtones and sounds new since it is bringing the language of deeper spiritual life and practice, ie. dying to self, and loving others as yourself, into the common arena.

This message is something we already have as a gift. Maybe when it becomes a movement in the Western world more people will remember that it has been there all along. We will be called upon to speak of what we already know and take the basket off of the burning light of the gospel so that all can see and rejoice.

"From its origins, Christian people have clearly recognized the importance of communicating the Good News of Jesus to those who do not yet know Him. In recent years the anthropological, cultural, social and religious framework of humanity has changed; today the Church is called to face new challenges and is ready to dialogue with different cultures and religions, seeking ways to build peaceful coexistence, along with all people of good will. The field of the 'ad gentes' mission appears much broader today, and can no longer to be defined on the basis of geographic considerations alone. Indeed, it is not only non-Christian peoples and distant lands that await us, but also social and cultural milieux and, above all, human hearts which are the real goal of the missionary activity of the People of God." Benedict XVI

Preparation for the new evangelization is prayer, silent contemplation, going out toward others. Prayer is of the heart, in the Liturgy, in the home, with words, with praise, with petition. Silent contemplation is centering prayer, can begin with the rosary, may be sitting and waiting on the hands of our Master, Jesus. Going out towards others is being there with others without judgement, treating others as we treat ourselves, visiting the sick, the imprisoned. Living the gospels through the gift of grace through Jesus in the Spirit is evangelization. In the gospels we will find all of the instructions for facing the new challenges and entering into dialogue with others in the various ways we encounter each other today.

Real Issue of Evangelization

"How many times do you ask yourself the great question: where is humanity heading, how is it moving, toward what goal is it aiming as it continually renews itself on the face of the earth? Humanity is like a great river flowing into eternity. Will it be saved? Will it be lost forever?" (Blessed James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family)

The real issue of evangelization in our time ruled by the technological mindset, especially in the communication field, is to proclaim Christ as challenging the presumption of human pride and self-sufficiency by the fact that he, as the incarnate Word and Son of God, is the only Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life for all humanity. (Sr Veritas Grau, fsp)

Challege of Evangelization & St Paul

Blessed Alberione took up the Challenge of the New Evangelization
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - “There are regions in the world that still wait for a first evangelization; others that received it but need more profound work; others still in which the Gospel put down roots a long time ago, giving place to a true Christian tradition, but where in the last centuries -- with complex dynamics -- the process of secularization has produced a grave crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and of belonging to the Church.” These were the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI during the Celebration of First Vespers for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, which he presided in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls on the afternoon of June 28.

Near the sepulcher of St. Paul I repeat: The Church is an immense force of renewal in the world, not because of her strength, but because of the force of the Gospel, in which the Holy Spirit of God breathes, the God Creator and Redeemer of the world. The challenges of the present age are certainly beyond human capacities; they are the historical and social challenges, and with greater reason, the spiritual challenges...Man of the third millennium also desires an authentic and full life, he has need of truth, of profound liberty, of gratuitous love.

Also in the deserts of the secularized world, man's soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Because of this John Paul II wrote: 'The mission of Christ the Redeemer, entrusted to the Church, is still very far from its fulfillment,' and he added: 'a look on the whole of humanity demonstrates that such a mission is still at the beginning and that we must commit ourselves with all our strength to its service' (Redemptoris Missio,1).”