Archive for category John Paul II

Structures of Sin Can be Undermined and Destroyed

In yesterday’s blog posting, there was a reference to Blessed John Paul II’s explanation of “Social Sin” or rather “Structures of Sin.”  Blessed John Paul II, in his Encyclical, “On Social Concern,” went beyond just saying that these Structures of Sin will only be undermined and dismantled through personal holiness.   In short, this statement is true, but is also an incomplete exposition of all that Blessed John Paul II had written as the means to rid society of a Structure of Sin.

 

Blessed John Paul II had written of three specific elements necessary for each person to pursue and put into regular practice in order to take down Structures of Sin.  The first is personal holiness supplemented with solidarity with the victims of the structure(s) of sin and then followed with personal choices that reflect concrete practice of virtue overcoming temptation to contribute another sin to the already accumulated sin.  The latter two certainly grow from personal holiness that will also fortify the solidarity and personal choices.

 

A devotion to the Preborn Christ opens up all sorts of possibilities in terms of solidarity with those who are dependent, the defenceless, the confined,  and the threatened among so many others whose very existence and dignity remains unrespected and unprotected.

 

A devotion to the Preborn Christ is dependent on a touch of grace that overcomes so many cultural prejudice that first needs the opening of one’s eyes to Jesus in the womb.  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. John 20:29

Let’s pray for all of us who are blind that we too may see the Preborn Christ as Elizabeth did when filled with the Holy Spirit during the Visitation.  May her words of exclamation then be ours too, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  Luke 1:42

 

 

 

The Vocation of Motherhood

On the subject of motherhood, the soon to be canonized, Pope John Paul II offered the following insight in his 1995 Encyclical entitled, Evangelium Vitae, section 99:

In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism” which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination”, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.

Making my own the words of the concluding message of the Second Vatican Council, I address to women this urgent appeal: “Reconcile people with life”.133 You are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, of that gift of self and of that acceptance of others which are present in a special way in the relationship of husband and wife, but which ought also to be at the heart of every other interpersonal relationship. The experience of motherhood makes you acutely aware of the other person and, at the same time, confers on you a particular task: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman’s womb … This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings not only towards her own child, but every human being, which profoundly marks the woman’s personality”.134 A mother welcomes and carries in herself another human being, enabling it to grow inside her, giving it room, respecting it in its otherness. Women first learn and then teach others that human relations are authentic if they are open to accepting the other person: a person who is recognized and loved because of the dignity which comes from being a person and not from other considerations, such as usefulness, strength, intelligence, beauty or health. This is the fundamental contribution which the Church and humanity expect from women. And it is the indispensable prerequisite for an authentic cultural change.

The Core of the Gospel of Life

On this anniversary of Roe v Wade, many polls are telling us that we are a prolife nation. The difficulty here is that we each get to decide what constitutes prolife beliefs and we self-assign this label if we choose. These polls do not include objective criteria on definitions.
Let’s consider what Pope John Paul II wrote in his Gospel of Life in 1995 in section 81 on what the core of the Gospel of Life is:

1. It is the proclamation of a living God who is close to us,
2. who calls us to profound communion with himself and
3. awakens in us the certain hope of eternal life.
4. It is the affirmation of the inseparable connection between the person, his life and his bodiliness.
5. It is the presentation of human life as a life of relationship,
6. a gift of God,
7. the fruit and sign of his love.
8. It is the proclamation that Jesus has a unique relationship with every person,
9. which enables us to see in every human face the face of Christ.
10. It is the call for a “sincere gift of self” as the fullest way to realize our personal freedom.
The prolife movement would be well-served if we were each well versed in this summary.

Motherhood in Light of Bearing the Preborn Christ

As St. Francis of Assisi highlighted in his Letter to All the Faithful, “We are His mothers when we bear Him in our heart and in our body through pure love and a clean conscience and we bring Him forth by holy work which ought to shine as an example to others.” (Matt 12:50) It is awesome to think that we may be mothers to Christ, bearing the one whom we obey as Master because He is the one who can save souls. But this grace is also a concern of responsibility. What is a mother and how does one fulfill the role of mother for those who do the will of Father?
For today, let us consider what John Paul II has written on motherhood from Evangelium Vitae, Section 99:

In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism” which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination”, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.

Making my own the words of the concluding message of the Second Vatican Council, I address to women this urgent appeal: “Reconcile people with life”.133 You are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, of that gift of self and of that acceptance of others which are present in a special way in the relationship of husband and wife, but which ought also to be at the heart of every other interpersonal relationship. The experience of motherhood makes you acutely aware of the other person and, at the same time, confers on you a particular task: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman’s womb … This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings not only towards her own child, but every human being, which profoundly marks the woman’s personality”.134 A mother welcomes and carries in herself another human being, enabling it to grow inside her, giving it room, respecting it in its otherness. Women first learn and then teach others that human relations are authentic if they are open to accepting the other person: a person who is recognized and loved because of the dignity which comes from being a person and not from other considerations, such as usefulness, strength, intelligence, beauty or health. This is the fundamental contribution which the Church and humanity expect from women. And it is the indispensable prerequisite for an authentic cultural change.