Sunday, December 9, 2012

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of December 9, 2012

Catholic Charities. Providing Help. Creating Hope. 

VISION: Believing in the presence of God in our midst, we proclaim the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person by sharing in the mission of Jesus given to the Church. To this end, Catholic Charities works with individuals, families, and communities to help them meet their needs, address their issues, eliminate oppression, and build a just and compassionate society.

MISSION: Rooted in the Mission of the Diocese of Youngstown "to minister to the people in the six counties of northeastern Ohio . . .(and) to the world community", we are called to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.

GOALS: Catholic Charities is devoted to helping meet basic human needs, strengthening families, building communities and empowering low-income people. Working to reduce poverty in half by 2020.

KEY VALUE: Hospitality

WHAT WE DO: Organizing Love. "As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community" (Deus Caritas Est, par. 20)

On Sunday, (Second Sunday in Advent,   we read from the Gospel of Luke about the call and mission of St. John the Baptist.  This last Old Testament prophet points to Jesus as the One Who Is Among Us.  Again we read from the Letter to the Philippians that Paul’s prayer for them and us today is: “that your love may increase ever more and more.”  St John the Baptist points to Jesus and claims that he must decrease and Jesus increases.  So too with us; our love for God and for our neighbor must always be on the increase.

Catholic Charities  constantly points to the power of love as its motivating factor.  Our faith in Jesus’ helps us to maintain a place where persons and families can come for assistance knowing that God’s love will be shared with them. That is critical to our identity as a ministry of the Church in the name of the Bishop.  With St. John the Baptist, Catholic Charities points to a new reality:  the Good News of God is Among Us.  In Catholic Charities, we share that joy and love with each person we encounter each day.

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

Pope: love basis of social evangelization, new humanism

Though great progress in the defence of human rights has been made in our time, the human person tends to be devalued in today’s culture characterized by utilitarian individualism and technocratic economic policies. That’s what Pope Benedict XVI said in remarks in the Vatican Monday to members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on occasion of their Plenary Assembly.

Though humanity is emerged in an “infinite network of relationships and communications,” the Pope said, man today paradoxically “often seems an isolated being” because his rapport with God, the root of all other relationships, is regarded with indifference.

Today’s man, the Pope continued, is considered primarily in “biological terms” or as “human capital” or as a “resource” in the overall productive and financial workings of society.

New ideologies such as “hedonistic and selfish sexual and reproductive rights” or uncurbed financial capitalism that abuses political power and removes structures from the “real economy” lead to a consideration of the employee and his work as “minor goods” - thus undermining the natural bases of society, especially the family, said the Pope.

“In reality,” Pope Benedict pointed out, “the human being… enjoys a true supremacy” which endows him with responsibility both for himself and creation. For Christianity, work is a fundamental good for man, for his “personalization, socialization, formation of the family and with regard to the common good and peace.”

Pope Benedict stressed that a “new social evangelization” can lead to a “new humanism and renewed cultural commitment”. Solidarity, charity and love offer the best response to individualism, materialism and technocracy.

The secret of any “fully human and peaceful social life” as well as “political renewal” in national and world institutions, the Pope said, should be based on the Lord’s commandment to love one another as He has loved us.

Citing Pope John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris which offers love as the primary motivator behind the creation of a “world community” and authority , Pope Benedict said the Church’s task is to offer “principles for reflection, criteria of judgement and practical orientation ” guaranteeing an anthropological and ethical framework for the common good.

This reflection, the Pope said, should not contemplate the creation of a superpower to dominate people and take advantage of the weakest, concentrating power in the hands of a few. Rather, this authority must be understood as a moral force empowered by reason and limited in its actions and rights.

The Pope thanked the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for its commitment to studying his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, and asked them to reflect further on the reform of the international financial and monetary system during their Plenary Assembly.

Some important date(s) this week:

See website for biographies of Saints and Blessed celebrated this week.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12   Our Lady of Guadalupe

The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.
A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.
Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.
When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.


Thinking about Christmas presents?  Consider connecting justice with a gift for your loved one.  Catholic Relief Services, FAIR TRADE Products.

PAPAL INTENTIONS:   December 2012

General Intention: That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.

Missionary Intention: Christ, light for all humanity. That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church.

Corporal Works of Mercy:  The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor

  1. Feed the hungry
  2. Give drink to the thirsty
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Shelter the homeless
  5. Visit the sick
  6. Visit those in prison
  7. Bury the dead

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