The Pax Christi Icon is off to Brazil.

O Risen Christ,

You breathe your Holy Spirit on us and you tell us: ‘Peace be yours’.

Opening ourselves to your peace -letting it penetrate the harsh and rocky ground of our hearts -means preparing ourselves to be bearers of reconciliation wherever you may place us. But you know that at times we are at a loss. So come and lead us to wait in silence, to let a ray of hope shine forth in our world.

Brother Roger, Taizé

For further information and excellent reading on Icons follow this linkhttp://reinkat.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/what-is-an-icon/

Fifty days before the Olympics 2012, I received this prayer card with the above prayer on the back.  Why do I mention the Olympics? The ancient 9th Century BC Greek tradition of Ekecheiria (“Olympic Truce”), calls for a truce during the Olympic Games to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation of athletes and relevant persons at the Games.

Pax Christi is an international Catholic movement that promotes peace and they decided to use it over the 100 Days of Peace to promote their cause for peace. The idea of the Pax Christi International Icon comes from the work for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.

A little background to the paining of Icons: In the Eastern Christian tradition an icon is the visible image of the Divine. The iconographer, who creates the icon, is instrumental in bringing about the spiritual process. The icon is the meeting of heaven and earth.

The Peace Icon is a sacred painting made at the Monastery of St John in the Desert, near Jerusalem, and given to the Pax Christi movement in 1999. Its panels represent scenes of reconciliation and figures associated with peace. Each aspect leads to meditation on the ‘deep movements of the heart necessary for peace and reconciliation’.  As part of a Pax Christi initiative, this Icon travelled to seven parishes in the Diocese of Southwark over the 100 days of Peace, and I am lucky enough to work in close proximity to one of the parishes who played host to the Icon. And what a spectacular Icon it is to see up close! Meditating on the stories chosen for this Icon I found my self ‘warmed’right-through and felt a sense of assuredness in the Bible that promoting Peace is the way to live.

It has two central pictures. At the top Esau and Jacob who are seen embracing and standing on a sword at the time of their reconciliation. (See Genesis: chapters 27,32,33) At the foot of the picture the title of the Icon, “ Christ our Reconciliation” is written in Greek. Latin and Hebrew.

Underneath, the risen Jesus is teaching the Our Father to the disciples in the heavenly Jerusalem. (See Revelation: chapter 21 and Joel: chapter 4:16-17)At the foot of this, the words of the Our Father are written in Aramaic the language which Jesus is thought to have spoken.

 Other pictures show the biblical stories of Sarah and Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael (See Genesis: chapters 16 to 21.), the woman at the well (See John 4: 1-42) and the Syro-Phoenician woman (See Mark: chapter 7: 24-30.).

The saints include: Mary Magdalene (See Luke: chapter 8: 2 and Mark chapter 16:9), St Sophia, St Clare, St Boris and Gleb, St Stephen (See Acts: chapter 7) and St Francis.

(I use this site to read the Bible when workng online: http://biblia.com/books/esv/article/TITLE. Easy to use.)

This Icon of of beauty, was handed over to the Brazilian community at a Mass this past Saturday at St. Georges Cathedral, as their home country begins preparations to host the Rio Olympics in 2016. Brazil. What a beautiful idea to pass on.

Image @http://www.rcsouthwark.co.uk/

It’s just not funny. It’s a serious comment on the truth…

What a brilliant cartoon. We have to make a difference to THIS perception! I include Scott Hahn’s  reflection on today’s readings. To listen to the podcast, follow the link above.

Pure Religion: Reflections on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light, as one having authority to interpret God’s law.

Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they’ve turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.

The gift of the law, which we hear God giving to Israel in today’s First Reading, is fulfilled in Jesus’ gospel, which shows us the law’s true meaning and purpose (see Matthew 5:17).

The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord’s presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us—the kingdom of God, eternal life.

Readings:
Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8
Psalm 15:2-5
James 1:17-18,21-22,27
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Israel, by its observance of the law, was meant to be an example to surrounding nations. As James tells us in today’s Epistle, the gospel was given to us that we might have new birth by the Word of truth. By living the Word we’ve received, we’re to be examples of God’s wisdom to those around us, the “first fruits” of a new humanity.

This means we must be “doers” of the Word, not merely hearers of it. As we sing in today’s Psalm and hear again in today’s Epistle, we must work for justice, taking care of our brothers and sisters, and living by the truth God has placed in our hearts.

The Word given to us is a perfect gift. We should not add to it through vain and needless devotions. Nor should we subtract from it by picking and choosing which of His laws to honor.

“Hear me,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel. Today, we’re called to examine our relationship to God’s law.

Is the practice of our religion a pure listening to Jesus, a humble welcoming of the Word planted in us and able to save our souls? Or are we only paying lip-service?

The reading for today points us steadily towards the necessity of the coming Year of Faith in the life of the Church as well as  in the lives of each and every Catholic, whether you are practising or not . What powerful readings. Imagine the change in our hearts, and how this change would alter misguided perceptions of the Church if every Catholic decided to LIVE the FAITH within the precepts of the Church (sincerely and with determination,  having Jesus as our focal point) ? Imagine the effect on our families , our society as a result of this?

Ponder on this quote from the reflection above in terms of the Catholicism:- ‘The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord’s presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us—the kingdom of God, eternal life.’

Confession 2: The History of Confession

History of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Church

Jesus educated and lived by the message of reconciliation in his parables and in his healings, as we see this through bible stories. We as Christians believe that the life of a Christian is one of reconciliation and with our self, others and God. The Catholic church, from the earliest times, has had a deep understanding and believed profoundly in the mercy and forgiveness of God. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has been used as an opportunity to reconcile  with their selves, God and the community. Below is information about how Reconciliation was celebrated in the Early Church and how it has developed.

The Sacrament in the First and Second Centuries:

In these early centuries, it was believed that baptism was to the sign of the converted person’s new life in Christ which involved the forgiveness of sin. It was understood that baptised people gained forgiveness through taking the Eucharist and participating in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. When confessing sins, they were said directly to God. For mortal or serious sin, the Church began a process of community penance.

They believed that forgiveness could only be received once in a life time, but a person had fallen into a very deadly sin again, they would be unable to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Anointing. However, the Christian community would pray for the person at death.

The Sacrament in the Third to Fifth Centuries:

In these centuries a formal ritual for forgiveness of sin was gradually developed. This was a public ritual , which was celebrated a s a community, and presided by a bishop, in which the person in need of forgiveness was received into the order of penitents. The sinner would have to start fasting, prayer and works of charity in the community as a procedure of penance and conversion. The bishop, would then bring them back into the community, on behalf of the community in a liturgy which was usually celebrated just prior to Easter.

The ceremony of forgiveness was kept as side for major sins in the community, and forgiveness could be taken out of action for a period of time between three to fifteen years. Sometimes the sins were known to the whole community, and overtime the penitent would sometimes confide their sins to a bishop or priest.

The Sacrament in the Sixth to Ninth Centuries:

In England and Ireland, the practice of looking for private spiritual help from monks became popular in these countries. As this spiritual help became more common, it led  to a private ritual of Reconciliation which was then frequently used in the Church . In the late sixth century, when monks from England and Ireland came to Europe, the practice of private reconciliation became typical. After this happening, public penance then shifted to the practice of private confession. This took over that once-in-a-life-time public ritual that used to be commonly practiced. Only in some Eastern Churches have public forms of confession followed by private confession.

The Sacrament in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries:

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, procedure for reconciliation in the Church was made. This consisted of:

  • Confession: this is when the person tells his/her sin to the priest, which represents Jesus in the Church
  • Contrition: this is when the person is genuinely sorry for his/her sin and expresses this sorrow.
  • Absolution: this is when the priest then offers forgiveness on behalf of God and the Church.
  • Satisfaction: under the direction of the priest the person does something to apologize for the damage they have caused by his/her sin. This also can be referred to as a “penance”.

Sixteenth Century

At the Council of Trent, it was said Confession or Penance was now a sacrament of the church. This declaration confirmed the practice that was already in place. The church then suggested that Catholics now had to use this sacrament at least once a year.

Twentieth Century

The Second Vatican council suggested that they call for the revision of the Sacrament of Penance. So in 1973 the revised Sacrament was publicized, which also promoted the three rites in which may be celebrated today. After this, there was a new emphasis on God’s love and mercy and the opportunity of the Sacrament offered for reconciliation. After this the importance of the community dimension was strained. Catholics were then encouraged to also have community celebrations of reconciliation as well as an individual celebration  and acknowledgement of sin.

Read more here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 594 other followers