Saturday, 26 May 2012

If we live by the Spirit, let us conduct our lives according to the Spirit

In this well-known passage from his letter to the Galatians, where he contrasts a manner of life according to the desires of the flesh and one that is in accord with the promptings of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul teaches that the Spirit is the guiding principle of the moral life of a Christian. The psalm which opens the Book of Psalms describes the two and sharply different roads a person may take in life, one according to God’s commandments, and the other according to the evil inclinations of the human heart. Paul employs a similar structure in his teaching to the Galatians.

The marvellous roll call of gifts which the Spirit confers, love, joy, peace etc, throw into sharp relief the ongoing reality of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. The experience of the first Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit continue to be replicated whenever a person is baptised in Christ, once crucified and now gloriously alive.

The Paraclete, whom Jesus promises he will send from the Father, will reveal the full truth about Jesus. The Spirit will bear witness to him by leading them into a fuller understanding of all that Jesus taught them. He will anoint them with God’s truth (1 Jn 2:27) and preserve them from error and false doctrine. The apostles too, in conjunction with the Holy Sprit, must witness to Jesus for they have been his companions from the very outset. They will have the charism as authoritative interpreters of Jesus.

In the atmospheric setting of the Upper Room the disciples were in no position to comprehend all that they were hearing from Jesus. That deeper insight into the truth of Jesus would only follow afterwards, in the light of his resurrection and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. The words of Jesus here, referring to the Father, are of a piece with the theology of the fourth Gospel. He never acts independently of his Father and all that the Father has is his as well. Therefore the work of the Holy Spirit will, in effect, be a continuation of his work on earth, only now through the Church.

Picture: Pentecost (detail) El Greco
Text: You Will Be My Witnesses by Bishop Michael Campbell OSA © ST PAULS

Friday, 4 May 2012

Funeral Mass for Brother Eugene

The funeral Mass for Brother Eugene Priante was celebrated yesterday in Alba, Italy, presided over by Fr Celso Godilano, the Vicar General of the Society of St Paul.

Members of the Society, the wider Pauline family, relatives and friends gathered in the church at our Mother House to commend Eugene’s soul to God and to inter his mortal remains in the cemetery at Alba.

His sudden and unexpected death in London on 14th April came as a great shock to his many friends from around the world. Returning his body to Italy for the funeral was not without administrative difficulties, both here in London and in Italy. However, this was accomplished thanks to the expect services of Chelsea Funeral Directors.

Eugene was born in Sicily in 1941. He joined the Society of St Paul in 1956, making his perpetual profession in Rome in 1967. During his entire time in the Society, he worked in the production side of the publishing and distribution activities in the Province of Italy and the Region of England-Ireland.

In the official announcement at the time of his death, issued from the General House in Rome, Fr Vincenzo Vitale wrote:

"A sincere character, a worker, capable of fraternal relations and of humour, pragmatic and down-to-earth: these are certainly the qualities of this disciple that will be remembered by his confreres. We now entrust him to the Divine Master, the conqueror of death ‘who will transform our lowly bodies to conform it to his glorious body’ (Phil 3:20), so that he may enjoy heavenly citizenship together with the numerous company of the Pauline Family in heaven."

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Blessed John Paul the Great

Today marks the first anniversary of the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. To celebrate the beatification St Pauls published Blessed John Paul the Great, written by Joanna Bogle and illustrated by Kati Teague.

Containing 24 illustrated stories, the book traces the life of this extraordinary man from his humble birth in Poland, to showing how thousands from around the world gathered in St Peter's Square to pray from him as he passed from this world to the next. The book concludes with the joyful celebration of his beatification.

Joanna Bogle is a professional journalist, author and broadcaster living in London. Her blog, Auntie Joanna Writes, has a world wide following.

Kati Teague is a freelance illustrator who has done much work in illustrating Catholic educational material.

Pictures © St Pauls Publishing

"Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people." Pope Benedict XVI