A few items of interest that I think will interest you, also:
First, in his homily this lovely morn at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about the danger of a hardened heart, encouraging the faithful to open our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit. All of us have hardened hearts at one time or another. In lieu of the approach of Pentecost, this is a great Pope-quote for us to meditate upon:
“Other times, the Holy Spirit leads us gently and the virtue is in allowing ourselves to be carried by the Holy Spirit, in not resisting the Holy Spirit, in being docile to the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit works in the Church today, is acting in our lives today. Some of you may say: ‘ I have never seen him!’. ‘But, pay attention to what is happening, to what comes to your mind, to what comes in your heart. Good things? It is the Spirit that invites you to take that path. It takes docility! Docility to the Holy Spirit”.
Looks like I have (a little) something in common with St. John XXIII – Istanbul! In the 1940s, while serving as apostolic delegate in Istanbul, St. John XXIII (Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) helped save the lives of thousands of European Jews persecuted by the Nazis. Well, I won’t be going as an apostolic delegate, but I will be thinking of, and praying to, St. John XXIII as I pass through his old stomping grounds! Here’s an interesting piece from Zenit.org about the Israeli parliament’s service honoring the saint who saved so many Holocaust victims.
When a crime – big of small – occurs on another continent, it’s so easy to tune it out. “That’s so far away.” “That doesn’t affect me.” “Poor things, I hope they get help.” But, it really does affect you. And me. And all of the humanity! We’re all children of God, and that makes us relatives of every single human being who ever walked, is walking or will walk, this Earth. And so the 300 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria are our sisters, our daughters, our cousins, nieces… We can’t take off to Nigeria and rescue them, but we can – and must – remember to pray for them and for their captors. Here’s what the Catholic bishops have to say about that: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/religious-leaders-can-help-counter-boko-haram-us-bishops-say/
Finally, another twist to Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land. Since the main focus of the trip is to meet with Patriarch Bartholomew I, we (at least I) tend to exclude other possibilities. Pope Francis’ trip also will impact the Jewish people there. Here’s the address about this from the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Zion Evrony.