Encourage Members to Respect Parishes and Liturgies

JERUSALEM, FEB. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land wrote a letter welcoming the Neocatechumenal Way, giving indications for its work in the area.

"Brothers and sisters of the Way: You are welcome in our dioceses," the bishops wrote in their letter released Sunday. "We thank God for the grace the Lord has given you and for the charism that the Holy Spirit has infused in the Church through your ministry of post-baptismal formation.

"We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for the preaching of the Word of God, for the help given to our faithful in deepening their faith and in rooting them in their own local church."

On Thursday, in a question-and-answer session with Roman clergy, Benedict XVI cited the Neocatechumenal Way as an example of much improved relationships between pastors and movements.

The Holy Father cited two rules for movements' growth: respect for the charism, and integration with and service of the Church.

The bishops' letter to the Neocatechumenate, signed by 11 prelates of various rites, recalled the importance of Eastern liturgies and parish-centered work.

"Your first duty ... is to root (the faithful) in the parishes and in their own liturgical traditions in which they have grown for generations," the bishops explained. "In the East, our liturgy and traditions are very important for us. It is the liturgy which has contributed much to preserve the Christian faith in our peoples in the course of history. The rite is like an identity document and not just a means of praying among others."

The bishops encouraged the members of the Neocatechumenate to learn the languages and cultures of the peoples of the Holy Land and to be mindful of the conflictive situation in which the faithful live.

"[I]n our countries -- Palestine, Israel, Jordan -- all are seeking peace and justice, a search that is an integral part of our life as Christians," the bishops stated. "All preaching should orient our faithful in the concrete attitudes they must assume in the different contexts of life and in the situation of conflict itself which continues in Palestine: attitude of forgiveness and love of one's enemy, on one hand, and on the other, exigency of one's rights, especially dignity, freedom and justice."

Code: ZE07022719

Date: 2007-02-27


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"And when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. And for three days he could not see." (Acts 9:9)

By no means would he [Saul] have been able to see well again unless he had first been fully blinded. Also, when he had rejected his own wisdom, which was confusing him, he could commit himself totally to faith. Since he had not believed that the Lord had conquered death by rising on the third day, he was now taught by his own experience of the replacement of three days of darkness by the return of the light.

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles from the Venerable Bede