Friday, 2 September 2011

Catechesis 17th August 2011

Sister Bethany Madonna

She told us the story of how she had an identity crisis when she was 5 because of her haircut. She said she was 'a walking mushroom head.' She told us that when your identity is in Christ then there will be no problems.

She told us that it is no mere coincidence that we were there that day. We were there because we are known by God personally and intimately. Whatever we did to get us to World Youth Day it was done because God is so in love with each of us.

Later we had a wave race and she said that waves of grace and mercy are passing over this place. She said grace and mercy need each other, but because the mercy wave won the race she said that, the Lord wants to give us mercy and reminded us of the opportunity to go to reconciliation. She also said that in the Eucharist Jesus is silent but in that silence he speaks to us.

She also said: 'Be not afraid prodigal one's God loves us. Let's run home.' Also she encouraged us to be devoted to Mary because she teaches us how to say yes to what God is asking us.

Sister Mary Gabriel

She began her talk saying 'I really like coffee and this morning I really needed it.' She then produced a little cup of coffee. She said I have it, I have what I desire but it's only ok. My heart is made for more than coffee.

She then quoted from Spe Salve, 'the distinguishing mark of Christians is that we have a future.' We thirst for more even when we see the most beautiful things here on earth, because we are made for God and His love. She asked us to think of a place that we have been that has made our jaw drop, we feel intense awe. It is amazing because God made it for us. She reminded us that humanity is the summit of creation.

Not so long ago none of us were here, and then God spoke and we were made. At the origin of our lives and our being is God's word and breath. She told us that nothing can take this away from us. In each of us is a space where the material and spiritual worlds meet. Our jaws should be perpetually open when we look at each other.

From the time of the Garden of Eden we have struggled to translate God's love for us. So God had to find a new way to communicate with us. He came to rescue us. Jesus allows us to live with the word of God now. Jesus opens us up to our deepest desires. He stays with us, and allows us to find in him the friend that we seek. He unites himself with us so we will never be alone.

What your baptism offers you is mindboggling, the very life of God living in you. 'We were regenerated.' The Holy Spirit is activated in our souls. The living gift of baptism is the key to living with God.

We need to take another leap of faith in Jesus. Let the Lord be at work in your life always. Enter into a perpetual game of trust in the Lord. If you do this you will not only find Jesus, but yourself as well. Jesus will never let you down.

We have everything we need to satisfy our desires, yet we're not on fire for Jesus because we doubt. She told us to say everyday: 'I want you to live with me and stay with me, together.'

Jesus wants you to know that the possibility for love, purity and holiness is real for you. No matter what has happened in your past. God doesn't love the perfected version of you that doesn't exist. He loves YOU.

Don't be afraid to live love boldly, after all this is what you were made for. Love is our desire and our destiny. Jesus awaits you.

None of us know the graces that will be poured out here in Madrid but you will go back changed for life.

Cardinal George Pell

He was one of the conclave that chose Pope Benedict in 2005.

He said that the transcendent Trinitarian God is our faith. The sacraments show us the way to God and the merciful love of God. He said that each of us have bits of the Bible that we love and he said that his idea of the most beautiful thing in the Bible is that of the good thief. He said that Jesus' response to this 'crook' is beautiful. He also said that there are lots of disturbing things in the New Testament but for him it's Jesus asking 'When the Son of Man returns to earth will he find faith on earth?'

He asked us to promise that we'll do our best to ensure that the flame of faith will not be extinguished on our watch. Faith is a fundamental life choice, and the strength of our commitment can wax and wane. The pure of heart will see God and we need to pray regularly, and struggle to be pure to survive our story of life.

Faith comes to us through the Church. The Church recognised the books inspired by the Holy Spirit and then created the canon that we have today. St Augustine said that he believed in the Church before Christ and God.

Cardinal Pell said that men and women throughout time have believed in God. In 1900BC God chose Abraham and the Jews to be his chosen ones. God promised Abraham that his spiritual follwers would number more than the grains of sand and stars in the sky. We're here today as part of this promise. We should be proud and grateful for this inheritance.

He then spoke about the story where Moses saw God walk by and asked what does it mean that Moses only saw His back? He said it shows that we see God through nature.

He then spoke about Elijah and how we have no writings from him and yet he was there at Jesus' transfiguration, why? Cardinal Pell said it was because in Elijah's time monotheism nearly vanished, and yet he managed to help keep it in the forefront. Elijah obtained the chance to battle the 450 prophets of Baal, and he won! Elijah had to flee because the crowd killed the 450 prophets. He was on Sinai searching for God and God came to him in the gentle breeze. This is something for us to think about. The struggle to maintain belief in God was hard for him and for us, so Elijah is a great role model for us.

Reason lies behind our beliefs. It is reasonable to believe in a creator God and that he's good. Christian belief is not a myth, not just poetry, not just a make believe story, he is inherently rational. Pope Benedict said that in the Prologue of John's Gospel you could translate it with 'Reason' instead of 'Word'. Cardinal Pell said that true faith is not maternal indoctrination. It is a matter of love because it's an issue of tyhe mind and a claim to truth.

Cardinal Pell then quoted from Anthony Flew's 'There is a God' saying 'Of all the disoveries of science, the greatest was the discovery of God.' The universe is finely tuned and if anything had been slightly out then nothing would have formed, no life at all. This is mysterious.

He said that living beings are purpose driven instinctively. All living forms of life are able to reproduce themselves. Life has not come about by chance because it was only a 10 to the power of 45,000, chance of life being created from amino acids.

In the moments when faith is hard we need to remember that we have chosen God. We need to remember science is with us because God is behind everything. We believe God is rational. Our God of love, that dynamo of love, is rational. Let us commit ourselves to maintain the flame of faith. You will need to battle yourselves and you cannot leave it to the Church and schools.

He then quoted a long speech from St Augustine of Hippo, which said, roughly, I beg you to join with me in love, run with me in faith, let us yearn for heavenly hope...you will see the light in all its clarity...you are being made pure that you can see that light...you are soon to go away to your home...when we part from one another, but let us not part from God.

Sister Mary Louise Concepta then gave us a singing lesson, teaching us the Latin Mass settings we were to use, which were shown on the 'jumbotrons' as Sister Bethany Madonna so brilliantly put it.

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