Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI meditates on the power of Prayer, the Incarnation and Abraham

I stumbled on this particular chapter of Pope Benedict's School of Prayer. It was such a beautiful meditation on intercessory prayer and the reason for the Incarnation, that I edited it, and post it to our blog. A wonderful read for the end of the Christmas season. Please note the "all caps" are my addition.
~ Michele Coldiron for Creative Catholic Works

From "A School of Prayer", Pope Benedict XVI, 2011
Abraham's Intercession for Sodom (Gen 18:16-33)

Abraham, the patriarch, the father of all believers (cf. Rom 4:11-12, 16-17), will offer us an example of prayer in the episode of intercession for ... Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is recounted [Gen 18] that the evil of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had reached such heights of depravity so as to require an intervention of God ...  It is here that Abraham comes in, with his prayer of intercession. God decides to reveal to him what is about to happen ... And now this friend of God, seeing the reality ... prays . . .

"Will you indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are 50 righteous within the city; will you destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous?" ... It is right to condemn its crime ... but ... innocent people ... must not be treated as the guilty. 

However, if we read the text more attentively, we realize that ABRAHAM'S REQUEST IS EVEN MORE PRESSING AND MORE PROFOUND BECAUSE HE DOES NOT STOP AT ASKING FOR SALVATION FOR THE INNOCENT. ABRAHAM ASKS FOR SALVATION FOR THE WHOLE CITY and does so by appealing to God's justice ... In this way he brings a NEW IDEA OF JUSTICE into play: not the one that is limited to punishing the guilty, as men do, but a different, divine justice that seeks goodness and creates it through forgiveness that transforms the sinner, converts and saves him ... 

[God's] prayer of intercession begins to reach the abysses of divine mercy. Abraham—as we remember—gradually decreases the number of innocent people necessary for salvation: . . . "suppose forty ...thirty ...twenty ...are found there" (cf v 29-32). The smaller the number there, the greater God's mercy is shown to be. 

Thus, through Abraham's intercession, Sodom can be saved if there are only ten innocent people in it. THIS IS THE POWER OF PRAYER. For through intercession, ... the desire for salvation which God nourishes for sinful man is ... expressed. Evil, in fact, cannot be accepted; it must be identified and destroyed ...

However, not even ten good people were to be found in Sodom and Gomorrah, so the cities were destroyed [in Jewish tradition 10 is the minimum community needed] ... It is not punishment ... but ... a transformation from within ... 

Yet God's mercy in the history of his people extends further . . . the prophet Jeremiah was to say ... that one upright person was necessary to save Jerusalem (5:1) ... nonetheless this did not suffice ... and ... Jerusalem fell. IT WAS NECESSARY FOR GOD HIMSELF TO BECOME THAT ONE RIGHTEOUS PERSON. And this is the MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION: to guarantee a just person, he himself became man. There will always be one righteous person ... [T]he Son of God became man, the definitive Righteous One, the Perfect Innocent who would bring salvation ... by dying on the Cross ... Therefore, the PRAYER OF EACH ONE OF US [OF US] WILL FIND ITS ANSWER; therefore our EVERY INTERCESSION WILL BE FULLY HEARD 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Announcing Our New Name, Creative Catholic Works

In November, 2013, our name change was completed and we became Creative Catholic Works.

This blog, which began under the old name name of California Catholic Women's Forum, continues our tradition of educating the mind and reaching the heart on issues affecting women. However, as our experience has broadened since our debut in 2005 we have discovered the need to reach men as well as women. Read on to find out why.

Blessed John Paul II teaches us, especially in his Theology of the Body, the complementarity of men and women and that in a beautiful way, the gift of self, each to the other, whether in sexual union or in the interactions of everyday life, results in the perfection of each person:

GOD is love.
He is all-knowing, He is all-powerful yet all tender, He forgives all, He is patience without end. But everything that God is, begins in love.

God is LOVE.
But what is love? Love is self-giving. Love cannot exist on its own. It exists only in communion with someone else. In order for there to be a giver of love there has to be a receiver.

God is love.
This is why God consists of 3 persons. God the Father and God the Son are a unity of self-giving—a total preoccupation with the other that is endless. The fruit of this love is the Holy Spirit. It is God on earth, the Spirit that fills our hearts and calls us to be like God.

God is love.
God made Himself visible, as a man, by sending to earth God the Son, Jesus Christ, who is perfect love made visible.
Jesus came to call us, as the good shepherd calls his flock, to know and to love the Father. He came to call us home, to be with the Father. The Catholic Church is Jesus's gift to us. The Church, each member in communion—in relationship—is his very own Body. As the Body of Christ our Church is the visible fruit of this communion with Him, the visible sign of love.

God is love.
Jesus gave us the sacraments as opportunities to encounter Him, so that, in our human frailty, we may get to know and love the Father.
In marriage, the primordial sacrament of creation, the priest witnesses the union of two people, in love. They make a covenant with God in their wedding vows—face-to-face—acting in a relational way, just as God the Father and God the Son act in that same way. The priest blesses the union but this union is a reflection of God, who IS love.

God is love.
The fruit of this union is the possibility of children. Love begets life. God who is love created mankind out of love. We reflect love in our union by the free giving of our self with the potential of producing new life, our children. We reflect love in our relationships with other people, creating food we share and tools we utilize to grow and prepare food, the communities and states we have evolved to make the exchange of those things needed to survive and flourish possible. And on and on. Our relationships are so important, they fill us with worth. In communing with each other we approach in some small way the total self-giving that is the Trinity, that is God, who IS love.

So you see, it is impossible to fully address what it means to be a woman without also looking at what it means to be a man. It is relationship that motivates both man and woman. It is looking at another person as God looks at each one of us that creates goodness and resides in truth and is so beautiful. Goodness, truth and beauty reflect God's love. Because God is love.

We aim to address the issues that confront us in our daily lives that separate us from God, whether it be abortion, destructive habits, marriage and more, through a continuing series of short pieces, leveraged with the social media to awaken the desire to understand who we as persons truly are, and who we are meant to be.
And then, through a series of classes/lectures/documentaries, delve into the answering of the questions of who we are. The working title of the series is "The Meaning of the Human Person".

As Pope Francis said early in his pontificate, and in a way that underlines the mission of the Church,
   "The Church exists to communicate precisely this: Truth, Goodness and Beauty."

Please follow along on this adventure, as we discover how to better love God, so that we can love each other in a more perfect way.

Michele Coldiron
Director, Creative Catholic Works