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Friday, 1 September 2017

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Pope at Audience: 'Youthful, searching heart fans flame of love'
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis at his Wednesday General Audience continued his catechesis on Christian hope, reflecting on the relationship between hope and memory and inviting all to have a youthful, searching heart. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: Pope Francis invited the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday to have a youthful, searching heart, one full of desire for life and happiness. It is this restless heart, he said, which allows one to come to Jesus. Reflecting on the call of the first disciples, the Pope said, "Jesus appears in the Gospels as an expert on the human heart." When two young men "with healthily restless" hearts come seeking the day after Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, Jesus inflames their hearts. "From here there comes that question of His that attempts to bring out the desire for life and happiness, which every young person carries within: 'What are you seeking?'", he said. Pope Francis said young people "who seek nothing are not young, they are pensioners, they have aged before their time." Turning to the theme of vocations, the Holy Father said the first disciples found their call in meeting Jesus. He said this encounter ignited a flame in their hearts, which transformed them immediately into missionaries. Their story, the Pope said, reminds us of our own vocation. "This page of the Gospel tells us that the first indicator is the joy of the encounter with Jesus. Marriage, consecrated life, priesthood: every true vocation begins with an encounter with Jesus that gives us a new joy and hope; and it leads us, even through hardships and difficulties, to an ever fuller encounter with Him – it grows greater, that encounter –and to the fullness of joy." Pope Francis advised the faithful to be like the Virgin Mary, who "keeps the flame of her love" for Jesus. "Certainly, there are trials in life, there are moments when we need to keep going despite the cold and the counter winds, despite much bitterness. But Christians know the road that carries them to that sacred fire that has inflamed them once and for all." Finally, Pope Francis presented the faithful with a way to keep the flame of love alive in their hearts. "Here, therefore, is a fundamental dynamic of Christian life: remembering Jesus… Remember Jesus, the fire of love with which one day we conceived of our life as a plan for good, and to revive our hope with this flame." (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope greets Rabbis highlighting dialogue and cooperation
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday greeted a Delegation of Rabbis in the Vatican for the presentation of the Statement "Between Jerusalem and Rome".   Below find the English translation of Pope Francis' address Dear Brothers and Sisters,          I offer a cordial welcome to all of you, and in a special way to the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in dialogue with the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. I thank Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt for his kind greeting in your name.          In our shared journey, by the graciousness of the Most High, we are presently experiencing a fruitful moment of dialogue.  This is reflected in the Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome which you have issued and which you present to me today. This document pays particular tribute to the Second Vatican Council's Declaration Nostra Aetate, whose fourth chapter represents the "Magna Charta" of our dialogue with the Jewish world.  Indeed, the ongoing implementation of the Council's Declaration has enabled our relations to become increasingly friendly and fraternal.  Nostra Aetate noted that the origins of the Christian faith are to be found, in accordance with the divine mystery of salvation, in the Patriarchs, in Moses and in the Prophets.  It also stated that, given the great spiritual heritage we hold in common, every effort must be made to foster reciprocal knowledge and respect, above all through biblical studies and fraternal discussions (cf. No. 4).  Consequently, in recent decades, we have been able to draw closer to one another and to engage in an effective and fruitful dialogue.  We have grown in mutual understanding and deepened our bonds of friendship.          The Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome does not hide, however, the theological differences that exist between our faith traditions.  All the same, it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future.  Your document is addressed to Catholics, speaking of them as "partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security".  It goes on to say that "despite profound theological differences, Catholics and Jews share common beliefs" and also "the affirmation that religions must use moral behavior and religious education - not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire".  This is most important: may the Eternal One bless and enlighten our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans, "plans for welfare and not for evil", for "a future and a hope" (Jer 29:11).          On the occasion of your welcome visit, I would like to express to you and to your communities beforehand my best wishes for the Jewish New Year which will begin in a few weeks.  Shanah tovah!  Once more I thank you for coming and I ask you to remember me in your prayers.  Finally, I would invoke upon you, and upon all of us, the blessing of the Most High for the shared journey of friendship and trust that lies before us.  In his mercy, may the Almighty bestow his peace upon us and upon the entire world.  Shalom alechem!      (from Vatican Radio)...
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The Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation: Joint message
(Vatican Radio) The Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is being marked today September 1 and has special importance in this its third year. It is a Joint Message which was released on Friday morning from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who for the first time are writing together on Themes of the Day, inviting all the faithful and men of good will to prayer and to reflect on how to live in a simple and solid manner, responsibly using earthly goods. The Day of Prayer for the Creation of the Creation was instituted by Pope Francis in 2015. The Orthodox Church has commemorated the Day since 1989.  Below find the English Language translation of the Joint Message from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew   JOINT MESSAGE of  Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, "in the beginning", God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment. At first, as we read in Genesis, "no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground" (2:5). The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, "in the end", all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10). Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation. However, "in the meantime", the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God's co-operators. Our propensity to interrupt the world's delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet's limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation. We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs. The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting. The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth's goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development. Therefore, united by the same concern for God's creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September.  On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration. Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives. We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation. We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.   From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017      Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew   (from Vatican Radio)...
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