Friday Fish First Week August 2013


by Eleanor Lerman

 This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, "Last night,
the channel was full of starfish." And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

Image source

And then life suggests that you
 remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

from Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds. © Sarabande Books, 2005. (buy now)

Image source

World Youth Day 2013 is over, but there are many wonderful memories and much to reflect on, so it's nice to finish the week with a thank you to Brazil and to Pope Francis.

 "I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!"
Pope Francis, from Address to the President of Brazil

  Some memorable quotes from WYD on Justice from here

Here's a few tweets from @Pontifex

Now, young friends, we must continue to live day by day all that we have professed together at WYD.

What an unforgettable week in Rio! Thank you, everyone. Pray for me. #Rio2013 #JMJ
I am back home, and I assure you that my joy is much greater than my exhaustion!

Thanks to Claire Bangasser for sharing this great image on FB

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with leading members of Brazilian society on Saturday and stressed the importance of "constructive dialogue," saying this was essential at the present moment. “Between selfish indifference and violent protest," he said, "there is always another possible option, that of dialogue.”

 The Pope also called for a more inclusive and humanistic economic and political process, eliminating “forms of elitism” and eradicating poverty.
In his address to the political, diplomatic, cultural, religious, academic and business leaders of Brazil the Pope paid tribute to the country’s distinct cultural tradition, looked at their joint responsibility for building the future, and stressed the need for constructive dialogue in facing the present moment. 

He told the leaders that the future demands of us a humanistic vision of the economy and a politics capable of ensuring greater and more effective participation on the part of all. This, he continued, is the road that we are called to travel. 

The Pope went on to say that anyone exercising a role of leadership needs to keep hope alive even in the face of disappointments, and be generous even without apparent results. He said leaders make decisions in the present but should always have an eye to the future, reflecting on the consequences of our decisions.
Pope Francis concluded his address by pointing to something which he considers essential for facing the present moment: constructive dialogue. 

A country grows when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components. The Pope revealed that when leaders in various fields ask him for advice, his response is always the same: "Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue!" This, he said, is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow. He said fraternal relations between people and cooperation in building a more just society are not some vague utopia but the fruit of a concerted effort on the part of all, in service of the common good.

Please find below extracts of text of Pope Francis' discourse to the people in roles of leadership:

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good day.
I thank God for the opportunity to meet such a distinguished representation of the political, diplomatic, cultural and religious, academic and business leaders of this immense country of Brazil.

I would like to speak to you in your own beautiful Portuguese language, but in order to express more clearly what I carry in my heart, I prefer to speak in Spanish. Please forgive me!
I greet all of you most heartily and I express to you my gratitude. I thank Don Orani and Mr Walmyr Júnior for their kind words of welcome, of introduction and of witness. In you I see both memory and hope: the memory of your country’s history and identity, and the hope of this country which is open to the light radiating from the Gospel, it will continue to develop in full respect for the ethical principles grounded in the transcendent dignity of the person.

Memory of the past and hope for the future meet in the present that is not a juncture without history and without promise, but a moment in time which challenges us to gather wisdom and put it to good use in building the future. In every nation, those in positions of responsibility are called to face the future, as the Brazilian thinker Alceu Amoroso Lima once said, “with the calm gaze of one who knows how to see the truth”. I would like to share with you three aspects of this calm, serene and wise “gaze”: first, the distinctiveness of your cultural tradition; second, joint responsibility for building the future; and third, constructive dialogue in facing the present moment."

  Full text of address is here

Waldir Azevedo - "Brasileirinho" - Yo-Yo Ma Obrigado Brazil

Doce de Coco Yo Yo Ma

August prayer intentions of the Pope - 


"The lack of peace and justice is evident in Africa. That was one of the reasons in favour of holding the second assembly of the African Bishops’ Synod in Rome in 2009, even though the first had taken place only 15 years earlier. The events of recent years have only confirmed the fact that there is neither peace nor justice in Africa. 

The big revolts in North Africa, with reversals of power, the elections in most countries without democracy or transparency, even leading to armed conflicts; the appropriation of power by certain individuals, and the refusal of change despite their advanced age; the pauperisation of the masses; the use of children in armed conflicts; the rape of women; the persecution of Christians here and there…. are so many real indicators which show us the sombre face of Africa. And yet the gospel arrived in Africa a very long time ago, already in the first centuries.

 And many African countries have celebrated the centenary of evangelisation. However, the need for a real, in-depth evangelisation is still to be felt. As Benedict XVI says in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Africae Munus, all this shows the need to ‘evangelise the African soul in depth.’ (AM 91). Even if it is true that Africa is ‘the spiritual lung of humanity’ (AM 13), it is also true that ‘fidelity to the proclamation of the gospel’ remains a challenge.

 For the gospel is the true source of peace and justice. At the birth of Jesus the angels sang ‘peace on earth’ (Lk 2:14), and at the end of his life Jesus reassured his disciples: ‘Peace I leave you, not as the world gives’ (Jn.14:27). If peace and justice have to be ‘built’, it is on the foundation which is Christ that this building will be done (1 Cor 3:11). How to set about it? For each local church to decide! That is our prayer, all this month, with the Pope, for Africa."

 The above pastoral comment was released by Fr. Rigobert Kyungu, SJ, National Secretary of the Apostleship of Prayer, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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