Tag Archives: Pope John Paul II

The power of the rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady asked the children at Fatima in 1917 to pray the rosary each day. We would all do well to heed that request, if only because it pleases our Mother. But we benefit too from praying the rosary, which is a very powerful prayer. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The rosary arose out of popular piety.
  • Our Lady urged us to pray the rosary at Lourdes and Fatima.
  • Many Popes and saints have recommended the rosary.
  • The rosary is a powerful prayer which contributed to the conversion of heretics by St Dominic,  victory in the battle of Lepanto, the collapse of communist regimes in the 20th century and the conversion of sinners.

Meditation – Love for the Rosary

In 1883, Pope Leo XIII declared October the month of the Rosary. The Holy Rosary is a traditional prayer, going back at least a thousand years. It is a prayer we should say often and well. In this meditation we consider:

  • How the Rosary came to be
  • The recommendation of the Rosary by popes and saints
  • Why the Rosary is such a powerful prayer
  • Why the Rosary is such a rich prayer
  • The importance of the family Rosary
  • How we can say it better

God in the family

We all want to have a happy, united family but it is not always easy to make our desires a reality. In this meditation we consider the importance of the family for society and some practical ways of strengthening family life, following words of advice from Pope Francis. We will consider:

  • the importance of the family for society
  • how husband and wife can strengthen their relationship
  • the importance of welcoming Christ into the home
  • generosity in bringing children into the world
  • how children are a gift from God
  • the importance of teaching children to honour and respect their parents and each other

Meditation on the family in God’s plan

St John Paul II wrote that “The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family.”  In this meditation we reflect on the importance of the family in God’s plan and on how we can improve our family life so that we grow in holiness through it and help our children to do the same. We will consider:

  • Why family life is so important
  • How we can celebrate significant occasions together
  • How we can find God in the ordinary duties of family life
  • How husband and wife can grow in their relationship
  • How we can form our children humanly and spiritually
  • The importance of grandparents in the family

Meditation on friendship with Christ

Jesus called the apostles his friends. He can say the same to each of us. It is a wonderful gift that the very eternal Son of God wants to be our friend. In this meditation we consider what this means and how we can grow in friendship with Christ. We pray about:

  • Christ’s invitation to us to be his friend
  • How we can love Jesus Christ
  • St Josemaria Escriva on friendship with Christ
  • Pope Francis on encountering Christ
  • Conversing with Christ in prayer
  • Getting to know Christ through Scripture
  • Finding Christ in the Eucharist
  • Talking with Christ in work and travel
  • Bringing Christ to others

Meditation on formation for evangelisation

Recent Popes have been calling on the Church to carry out the new evangelisation – the passing on of the love and truth of Jesus Christ to the world. But in order to share our faith with others we must first know it and put it into practice. In this meditation we consider how we can come to know our faith better and live it out, so that we can communicate it more effectively to others. Among the points we consider are:

  • Christ spent time forming the apostles
  • We too need formation to carry out our mission of spreading the Gospel
  • Much depends on this formation: our own sanctification and happiness, and our ability to help others
  • This formation involves the spiritual, doctrinal, human and apostolic aspects
  • We can acquire this formation in a variety of ways, e.g., reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other books, attending talks, frequenting the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance, prayer, including the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and more…

The “hour” of Christ

At the wedding feast of Cana Jesus told his mother that his hour had not yet come. As he approaches his death on the Cross he reveals that his hour has come. What exactly is this “hour”? I post here a recent column of mine in answer to this question.

 The “hour” of Jesus appears frequently in the Gospel of John, the first time in the passage you cite at the wedding feast of Cana. When Mary tells Jesus that the wine has run out he answers: “My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). Clearly his “hour” does not refer to the manifestation of his divinity in general, since he will manifest it moments later when he works his first miracle, changing water into wine.

The Greek word used for hour in most of these passages is ora, which is properly translated as hour. Another word Jesus uses is kairos, meaning more exactly time. For example, Jesus tells his disciples “Go to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come” (Jn 7:8). Even though he uses a different word, it is clear that his meaning is very similar to that when he spoke to his mother at Cana.

Later in that same chapter, St John himself says: “So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come” (Jn 7:30). The same idea of no one arresting him because his hour had not yet come appears again in the next chapter (cf. Jn 8:20).

As his final Passover approaches and after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus reveals something of the content of his hour when he tells his disciples: “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23). A few lines later he clarifies it even further: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name” (Jn 12:27-28). So his hour involves his own glorification but at the same time some element of suffering.

Pope John Paul II comments on this passage: “With these words Jesus reveals the inner drama that is oppressing his soul in view of his approaching sacrifice. He has the possibility of asking the Father that this terrible trial might pass. On the other hand, he does not wish to flee from this painful destiny: ‘For this purpose I have come’. He has come to offer the sacrifice that will bring salvation to humanity” (Address, 14 Jan. 1998).

The aspect of suffering is further borne out when Jesus compares his own hour to that of a woman in labour: “When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world” (Jn 16:21). The hour of Jesus too involves pain but also new life. In his long priestly prayer in the Last Supper, Jesus repeats the idea of giving life. He says to the Father: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him” (Jn 17:1).

What do we glean from all this? That Jesus’ hour involves his glorification brought about by his painful death on the cross and his Resurrection, through which he gives eternal life to all mankind. It is the culmination, the fulfilment of the whole purpose of his becoming man: to redeem us by his death and Resurrection. “For this purpose I have come to this hour.”

But, paradoxically, Jesus’ hour is also the hour of his enemies. He says to the chief priests and captains of the temple when they come to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane: “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Lk 22:53). In this hour, which is so crucial for mankind, the forces of darkness, of evil, of Satan rally together to do battle with God and somehow try to thwart his plan. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it dramatically: “It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate’s cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas’ betrayal – so bitter to Jesus, Peter’s denial and the disciples’ flight. However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world, the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly” (CCC 1851).

We give thanks to Jesus for going through with his hour to free us from our sins.