Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XV

5 October: May we be missionaries too.

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Following yesterday’s reflection on Pope Francis’s prayer for the Holy Spirit to bring about a new dawn of Mission, we have ‘An Extraordinary Month of Mission’ during October, as a response to Pope Benedict XV’s call to Mission ‘Maximum Illud’, a hundred years ago.

This prayer for the month is at the Missio Website.

God our Father, when your Son Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he commissioned his followers to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’.

Through our Baptism you send us out to continue this mission among all peoples.

Empower us by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be courageous and enthusiastic in bearing witness to the Gospel, so that the mission entrusted to us, which is still far from completion, may bring life and light to the world.

May all peoples experience the saving love and generous mercy of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Not much to add to that! Except that we will need courage and enthusiasm to bring love and mercy to the people around us, and perhaps courage most especially when the enthusiasm is slow to get into gear. It happens.

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4 January: the Christmas Truce

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More than once I had heard the story of a Christmas Truce along the Western Front in 1914, and often as not someone would dismiss the idea. I was glad to find a book, written with the co-operation of the Imperial War Museum that makes clear that the Christmas Truce did occur*

The writers do not see the Truce as an irrelevance, rather a

‘precursor, a portent indeed, of the spirit of reconciliation now powerfully abroad as one century ends and a new age begins. From South Africa to Ireland, and perhaps most noticeably of all in the benevolent arm-in-arm relationship between France and Germany (whose deep-rooted antipathy … made the First World War virtually inevitable.’                          p vii.

They tell many stories, using diaries and other records of the time. This was reported in the Daily Telegraph as the account of a wounded French soldier:

‘he said that on the night of December 24th, the French and the Germans came out of their respective trenches and met halfway between them. They not only talked, exchanged cigarettes &c.,  but also danced together in rings.’        p 79.

There are many other accounts of how ‘we achieved what the pope (Benedict XV) could not do and in the middle of the war we had a merry Christmas.’ p 94.

Which was irrelevant: the Christmas Truce or the Great War?

Let us pray for Peace in this New Year.

*Christmas Truce by Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton, Pan, 2001. There are plenty of copies of this and other editions at Abe Books for less than £3.

Here is a link to the European Christmas Truce Tournament . Teenage boys from football clubs across Europe meet to play football, socialise, and visit the trenches, cemeteries and monuments of the Great War.

Photo Q 50719 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

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June 2nd: The Martyrs of Uganda – Saints for Today

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Albert Widerhttp://www.heiligenlexikon.de and declared to be PD

The Martyrs of Uganda, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow, were among the very first converts to Christianity in their country during the Nineteenth Century. Of those whose names we know, 23 were Anglican and 22 Catholic. Most of them were young pages in King Mwanga’s court. Mwanga had a habit of sexually abusing boys and when this group of his servants refused to submit to him his anger eventually boiled over into ordering their cruel death by burning.

The young men went bravely to their martyrdom. Because they were united in knowing about and opposing the king’s abusive behaviour, they were better able to withstand it, even at such great cost.

The great missionary pope, Benedict XV, beatified the Martyrs. Paul VI canonised them, remembering the Anglican as well as the Catholic. All died for the faith. Perhaps it is time to recognise these brave young men as the patron saints of people who suffer sexual abuse. If the Church thus openly celebrated those who oppose the abuse of power, of intimacy and of the human body, it could come closer to ending this cancer.

Meanwhile, I invite you to read this powerful post from a blogger known as Dixi.

https://blackandoffbeat.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/family-matters/

WT.

 

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