What will 2019 bring for us?

St. Augustine, Florida at Christmastime  bob traupman 2007.

NEW YEAR’S DAY 2019

(and the seventh day of Kwanzaa)

Where are we, this New Year’s Day 2019, my friends?

Are we better off than we were a year ago?

What will 2019 bring for us?

Are we prepared for whatever the year will bring?  

Will the economy get better or worse?

Will I keep my job? Get a raise?  Be able to pay my mortgage and bills?  

Will some crisis happen that will affect our country, our state?   

Do we realize that “We never know” . . . what the next moment will bring?

Here are some excerpts from Pope Francis’ New Year’s message . . . .

Good politics is at the service of peace

1. “Peace be to this house!”

In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6).

Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history.The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.

So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!”

2. The challenge of good politics

Peace is like the hope which the poet Charles Péguy celebrated. It is like a delicate flower struggling to blossom on the stony ground of violence. We know that the thirst for power at any price leads to abuses and injustice. Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalization and even destruction.

Jesus tells us that, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35). { . . . .}

Political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity.

3. Charity and human virtues: the basis of politics at the service of human rights and peace

Pope Benedict XVI noted that “every Christian is called to practise charity in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis… When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have… Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family”.This is a programme on which all politicians, whatever their culture or religion, can agree, if they wish to work together for the good of the human family and to practise those human virtues that sustain all sound political activity: justice, equality, mutual respect, sincerity, honesty, fidelity.

In this regard, it may be helpful to recall the “Beatitudes of the Politician”, proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễn Vãn Thuận, a faithful witness to the Gospel who died in 2002:

Blessed be the politician with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role.

Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility.

Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest.

Blessed be the politician who remains consistent.

Blessed be the politician who works for unity.

Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change.

Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening.

Blessed be the politician who is without fear.

{  . . . . }

7. A great project of peace

In these days, we celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in the wake of the Second World War. In this context, let us also remember the observation of Pope John XXIII: “Man’s awareness of his rights must inevitably lead him to the recognition of his duties. The possession of rights involves the duty of implementing those rights, for they are the expression of a man’s personal dignity. And the possession of rights also involves their recognition and respect by others”.

Peace, in effect, is the fruit of a great political project grounded in the mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings. But it is also a challenge that demands to be taken up ever anew. It entails a conversion of heart and soul; it is both interior and communal; and it has three inseparable aspects:

– peace with oneself, rejecting inflexibility, anger and impatience; in the words of Saint Francis de Sales, showing “a bit of sweetness towards oneself” in order to offer “a bit of sweetness to others”;

– peace with others: family members, friends, strangers, the poor and the suffering, being unafraid to encounter them and listen to what they have to say;

– peace with all creation, rediscovering the grandeur of God’s gift and our individual and shared responsibility as inhabitants of this world, citizens and builders of the future.

The politics of peace, conscious of and deeply concerned for every situation of human vulnerability, can always draw inspiration from the Magnificat, the hymn that Mary, the Mother of Christ the Saviour and Queen of Peace, sang in the name of all mankind:

“He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly; …for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever” (Lk 1:50-55).

From the Vatican, December 8, 2018

Francis

And so I pray  . . . .

Give us hope, Lord, as we begin this New Year and a new season of politics,

We ask your blessing on our country and indeed all the nations of the world

as we seek peace, mindful of our limitations, our pessimism,

our unwillingness to reach across walls and aisles and borders

to build new alliances and friendships.

Give us a realistic hope that we might be a little kinder,

a little less self-centered,

a little more willing to go the extra mile to truly make this world our “common home.”

And now, may we pray as St. Francis taught us . . .

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen!

May it be so! may it be so!

And now here’s this prayer sung by Angelina at Assisi. CLICK HERE. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

And here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

A Happy and Blessed New Year overflowing with good health

                                ~ and many good things for you and your family!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

What will 2018 bring for us?

St. Augustine, Florida at Christmastime / bob traupman 2007. .

NEW YEAR’S DAY 2018

(and the seventh day of Kwanzaa)

Where are we, this New Year’s Day 2018, my friends?

Are we better off than we were a year ago?

What will 2018 bring for us?

Are we prepared for whatever the year will bring?  

Will the economy get better or worse?

Will I keep my job? Get a raise?  Be able to pay my mortgage and bills?  

Will some crisis happen that will affect our country, our state?   

Do we realize that “We never know” . . . what the next moment will bring?

Here are some excerpts from Pope Francis’ New Year’s message 

 Peace to all people and to all nations on earth!  Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.  Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. 

Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and by doing so demeans the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.  Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being. 

In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches.  It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.” These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem.  The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches.  Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it. 

Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’. Throughout history, many have believed in this “dream”, and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia.

And so I pray  . . . .

Give us hope, Lord, this New Year’s Day.

A realistic hope that we might be a little kinder,

a little less self-centered,

a little more willing to go the extra mile for someone, even for a stranger.

We’re also in need of your mercy, Lord.

You are the all Merciful One.

That is why you sent your Son into our world to live among us and die for us.  

Help us to be merciful too.

Give us the strength to be ready for whatever may come.

Give us the grace to be truly thankful, truly humble this New Year’s morning.

This is my prayer, Lord, for me,  for our country, for our world.

And now, may we pray as St. Francis taught us . . .

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen!

May it be so! may it be so!

And now here’s this prayer sung by Angelina at Assisi. CLICK HERE. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

And here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

A Happy and Blessed New Year overflowing with good health

                                ~ and many good things for you and your family!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

The Feast of St Francis of Assisi ~ Share the Journey!

October 4, 2017 ~ The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

There are few in the world, including Muslims, who have not heard of this great, but so simple saint. He’s known often for his friendship with animals, particularly of the Wolf of Gubio whom he tamed . 

But today I want to talk with you about an action another Francis has taken that is quite significant.

I’m referring to Pope Francis, of course, who has launched a two-year educational, prayer-oriented, social-conscience raising program about the worldwide refugee and immigration crisis.  Francis, as so many of us know, is not afraid to go where angels fear to tread.

He’s initiating a program entitled  “Share the Journey”. The 2-year Caritas Internationalis campaign aims to promote the strengthening of relationships between migrants, refugees and communities.

It is Caritas’ response to Pope Francis’ call for a culture of encounter and to see people on the move with open hearts and minds.

The campaign was launched on Wednesday September 27th in the Vatican and by all members of the Caritas family across the globe.

Caritas Internationalis President, Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines  stated that the campaign is asking people to see the real people behind the numbers and statistics. (Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Collectively and individually their claimed mission is to work to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed.)

Cardinal Tagle explains that the primary objective of the campaign is to ‘return to the Bible’, to the spirituality of the Word of God “where God always had a soft spot in his heart for the most vulnerable” and amongst the most vulnerable, he says, are the migrants, the foreigners.

“Jesus himself identifies his presence with that of the stranger: ‘when I was a stranger you visited me’ Tagle recalls.

So, with this campaign what is important, he says, is to remind the Christian world – and all of humanity – of this important message.

The Cardinal points out that the campaign of action and awareness-raising will promote the Social Teaching of the Church and it will put “a human face” on migrants who are often seen as mere numbers and statistics.

It embraces the call and the words of Pope Francis “to welcome, to protect, to promote the integral human development and to integrate” forced migrants and refugees.

“Through this campaign we hope to correct some negative myths about migrants and migration and also to address some of the roots of forced migration” as well as influence the Global Compact to make migration safe for people, Tagle says.

Pointing out that migration has always been part of human history, Tagle says recent trends force us to look at the causes of forced migration, to be aware of the violence to which many are subjected and of the new forms of slavery that have stemmed from the phenomenon.

Especially concerning, he says, is the vulnerability of young people.

“If we do not address this humanitarian crisis with the help of all governments and communities we will see generations of people with their hopes of a future destroyed” he says.

What the Church and Caritas are asking for is a change of mentality, “a conversion”.

Instead of demonizing migrants and building walls, we must create the basis for a culture of encounter which will ultimately destroy the walls of prejudice. 

How large is this crisis, you may wonder? Here are some statistics from the UN High Commission for 
Refugees:  55% of the world’s refugees come from three countries: Syria 5.5m, Afghanistan 2.5m and South Sudan 1.4m.

Who hosts them?  Europe 17% / Americas 16% / Asia 11% / Middle East 26% / Africa 30%  / Ethiopia, Uganda, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey take the most refugees.  There have been 65.6 people forcibly removed from their homes. 22.5 million are refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. The UNHCR says we are now witnessing the highest displacement of persons on record.  10 million are stateless! Meaning they are denied any kind of services: job, health care, education for their children and freedom of movement.  28,300 are forcefully removed from their homes because of conflict or persecution every day.

And yet, President Trump has reduced the immigrants to be received onto our shores to less that 50,ooo and has caused fear in the DACA young people, not knowing what their status is. And so many more of our immigrant families who’ve served here for years are being ripped apart cruelly and needlessly. 

Now, can you understand why Pope Francis has begun asked us to SHARE THEIR JOURNEY? 

Heavenly Father,

You must be very sad at the cruelty that governments

perpetrate against their own people! 

Soothe the pain of your suffering children throughout the world,

including those in our own country.

Dearest Lady, hear the cries and dry the tears of so many children.

Allow those of us who are safe in our homes

in some small way to share to share the journey with them,

at least in our daily prayer. 

This we ask through Jesus our Lord. Amen. 

And in honor of the Big Francis ~ St Francis of Assisi, here’s  Angelina singing Make me a channel of Your Peace as she sings it from Assisi. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.

Here are the resources that were posted on my Diocese of Orlando website for the coming week. It allows you to take a look at the stories of several different refugees or immigrants. ( Scroll down for the stories below the leaders’ page.)  Click here.

 And here a the reference for the information from UNHRC: Figures at a glance: Click here.  


With love, 

Bob Traupman 

contemplative writer