Friday, March 1, 2013

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Jesus of Nazareth

My new program, Living in the Holy Tradition, encourages the participants to dig deep into the Holy Tradition until every single cell of their bodies is infiltrated by a true Catholic mindset. Only then will they be able to understand the Scriptures properly, only then will the excitement of the Catholic faith be truly appreciated. We begin with BXVI's Jesus of Nazareth, vol. 1, and have had three meetings so far.

Our study of Jesus of Nazareth certainly takes on a new meaning now that the Holy Father has officially stepped down and retreated into retirement. His "stepping down", "retreat" and "retirement", generally seen as "undesirable" and even "scandalous" by the world, as though they were some kind of "setbacks" for the Church, coincide with the new topic of our next meeting, the Beatitudes, in which we'll be introduced to virtues that are similarly "undesirable" and "weak" in the eye of the world. The Beatitudes usher in a complete transformation of values. We are asked to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, to be hungry and thirsty for righteousness; blessed are those who have mercy, whose hearts are pure, who promote peace, who suffer persecution for the turth. BXVI's exhortation is for us to follow the footsteps of St. Paul, who as an Apostle lived and suffered like the impostors, the unknown, the dying, the punished, the sorrowful, the poor. We will be introduced to St. Anthony, the father of monasticism, and St. Francis of Assisi who continues to inspire the Church as an ascetic.

In this time of trial and hardship, in this Lenten season of penance, fasting, and prayer, I look forward to discussing with the program participants Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's explanation of the Beatitudes in Jesus of Nazareth, to see if we can find similarities between the ascetic values of the Beatitudes and the "undesirable" conditions that the Church currently finds herself in.

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