Nestled in God’s Word

Question of the Day

If I’ve never read the Bible, how do I get started?

Get Started Today

January, especially January 1, is a time when many people decide to start reading the Bible. And they buy a new copy, even though they have never cracked open the “old” like new copy that has been sitting on their bookshelf for 5 (or 10, 15, 20) years. It seems logical to begin on page 1, and start with Genesis. “In the beginning, when God created…

And while that may be a good and acceptable way to begin (though many do not begin that way—many often start with a gospel), where do you go after Genesis?

Well, you just follow the plan, and read the number of pages listed for that day, right? You simply go from page 1, to 2, to 3, until you reach the end of the book on December 31. The problem is that the Bible is not a book; it’s a cannon—a library of 73 books. And the books are not in chronological order, but rather, they are organized by literary genre [books of the prophets, wisdom books, poetry, gospels, epistles (or letters), and so forth.]

By the time you get to Leviticus (around March), you probably will stop reading and abandon your journey. Not everyone walks away (years ago, I, as many do, plowed through a “read the Bible in a year chart” and read the books of the Bible as they were bound together, and not as the story unfolds). When you finish, you discover “reading” isn’t enough.

According to Jeff Cavins, coauthor and presenter of The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation History, there is a better way to approach your first read of the Bible. Your first read must allow you to grasp the narrative—the story of God’s love. Also, you must understand how to interpret what you are reading, accounting for the sum of the story, and not just picking apart bits of scripture in isolation.

Because “reading the Bible,” is more than just reading and learning, because it is an encounter with the God who loves you, because both your head and heart are required to participate, I recommend that you grab a couple of friends (or likeminded strangers), and allow Jeff Cavins to lead you through the story using The Great Adventure series.

Prayer of the Day: Dialogued Prayer to Take Hold of God’s Word

The wisdom of Jesus is found in two main sources:
—the Holy Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church.
But it can also reach us in hundreds of ways, such as:
encounters with other human beings,
meditation on good reading,
and the ordinary events of daily life.
—The sole requirement is that we be open to this wisdom.
The Bible is transmitted to us in human words
written in a time and culture different from our own.
—It requires some effort on our part
so that it will be well understood.
But if we persevere,
we will reach through human word.
—We will take hold of the word of God
that has the power to change the world
beginning with our own lives.

Source: New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book #719

Quote of the Day: The Presence of God in the Word

The Holy Bible is “Someone;” it is the presence of God. Therefore, when taking it into your hands, you enter into the realm of that very Presence. It becomes a “mystery” for you, a truth that grasps you and into which you are immersed.

You will find your Lord in the Bible, and that is why your contact with the revealed text has a special meaning. It is contact with God who loves you and desires to affect you with his grace. This contact leads you to inner conversion—its greatest purpose. You should, therefore, not read the Bible just to satisfy your curiosity, or to gain knowledge, or to find a solution to a problem that is nagging you—although this will be needed at times. You should take advantage of this form of contact with the Lord in the hope that he will bestow the grace of conversion on you. If you enter into a person-to-person relationship with Christ, who is present throughout the inspired text, this text will permeate you. Then you will begin to listen intently to the Word of God, understand better the thoughts and desires of Jesus, and begin to know him even better. Saint Jerome warns: “Ignorance of the Holy Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Listening intently to the Word of God will influence your choices and decisions. You will want them to be in accordance with his teachings and his desires. Reading of the Holy Scriptures is fundamental to your growth in faith and of your sharing in God’s life. It is looking at oneself and surrounding realities as though through the eyes of God.

— The Gift of Faith, pp 215–216, Father Tadeusz Dajczer (1931–2009), Polish priest, professor, and author

Take Hold of the Story of God’s Love for You

Resources

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 3:7–14

The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.'”

Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

The journey to life everlasting

Prayer Orients Us to God

Saint Paul tells us 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. In Romans 12:12 and Colossians 4:12, Saint Paul tells us again to persevere in prayer. And in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us to pray without becoming weary.

Whenever I hear these scriptures I think back to one of the first “spiritual” books I read — The Way of a Pilgrim by anonymous. In this book, the pilgrim walks across Russia with a book and some prayer beads, visiting holy places and attempting to understand Saint Paul’s words to pray without ceasing. On his lips, he recites “the Jesus prayer”:

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Like the narrator of the book, I too, was an ignorant pilgrim seeking wisdom. My faith could not have been weaker. The darkness in my life could not have been more consuming. Unlike the pilgrim, I was not going to give up all to search for answers, nor was I inclined to acknowledge myself a sinner, so why would I ask for mercy?

I was willing, however, to read a book and journey in my mind across Russia with the main character. Little did I know that even by making such a miniscule gesture, which was nothing less than a choice to orient myself toward God, I would begin to set out on a journey, the journey to everlasting life.

Sunday Gospel: Luke 18:1–8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Two Minute Homily

The parable of the persistent widow often brings to mind the theme of justice. Justice is to give a man what is due him. For justice to prevail among men, we must start by giving God what is due him.

Justice for God

The first commandment tells us what we owe God: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.

From the perspective of justice, it is easy to see why missing Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin and requires absolution in confession. We have not given God that which is his due. We owe him thanks and praise on a regular and consistent basis. In fact, we exist to give God glory. The Church provides that opportunity, not just on Sunday, but daily, so that our lives don’t spin out in chaos but rather remain in order.

Justice for Mankind

There is a trend among young people to get on the social justice bandwagon. Our quest for justice in America must begin with a quest to give God his due, first. When God is in his proper place in our life, we will give others their due as well.

The greatest injustice in our world today is to deny human beings the right to life. Contrary to the imaginations of seven Supreme Court justices, there is no constitutional right for a mother to kill the child in her womb. What the court’s decision did was simply decriminalize the role of “doctors” and make legal the human butcher shop. We should not be surprised that so many other injustices exist, when our culture misses the foundational reality of the sanctity of human life at its most vulnerable stages.

Questions of the Day

  • Are you giving God his due?
  • What is your life-orientation? What is the underlying rhythm of your days? Is it prayer? If not, what does drive your rising and your resting, your work and your play?
  • When Jesus comes for you, will he find you engaged in works inspired by your faith in God and trust in him?
  • Are you walking in the way of life everlasting?

Quote of the Day

The saints are men and women who enter fully into the mystery of prayer. Men and women who struggle with prayer, letting the Holy Spirit pray and struggle in them. They struggle, with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: the Lord triumphs in them and with them. — Pope Francis, homily for 10-16-2016

My Prayer Today for the Body of Christ on Earth

May our Faith lead us to pray. May our prayer orient us toward God and his will. With Jesus as Lord of our life, may justice prevail throughout the world. May our Hope help us persevere through life’s trials. May we welcome new life into the world and love and support pregnant women and their children. May we respect the role of fathers and never intentionally deny a child his or her right to both a father and a mother. May we live in Charity, so that when Jesus returns, he finds us doing the Father’s will and not our own.

Trust in Him who is Virtue and Holiness

Feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux
The Little Flower’s Bold Confidence in God

I wasn’t too good at playing games, but I did love reading very much and would have spent my life at it. I had human angels, fortunately for me, to guide me in the choice of the books which, while being entertaining, nourished both my heart and my mind. And I was not to go beyond a certain time in my reading, which was the cause of great sacrifices to me as I had to interrupt my reading very often at the most enticing passage. This attraction for reading lasted until my entrance into Carmel. To state the number of books would be impossible, but never did God permit me to read a single one of them that was capable of doing me any harm. It is true that in reading certain tales of chivalry, I didn’t always understand the realities of life; but soon God made me feel that true glory is that which will last eternally, and to reach it, it isn’t necessary to perform striking works but to hide oneself and practice virtue in such a way that the left hand knows not what the right is doing.

When reading the accounts of the patriotic deeds of French heroines, especially the Venerable JOAN OF ARC, I had a great desire to imitate them; and it seemed I felt within me the same burning zeal with which they were animated, the same heavenly inspiration. Then I received a grace which I have always looked upon as one of the greatest in my life because at that age I wasn’t receiving the lights I’m now receiving when I am flooded with them. I considered that I was born for glory and when I searched out the means of attaining it, God inspired in me the sentiments I have just described. He made me understand my own glory would not be evident to the eyes of mortals, that it would consist of becoming a great saint! This desire would certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how, after seven years in the religious life, I still am weak and imperfect. I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I don’t count on my merits since I have none, but I trust in Him who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me trials I have already mentioned.

— Saint Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, Manuscript A, Chapter IV

Politics & faith: the conflict myth

Stuck in False Narratives That Constrain

Read a good book

This week my public library called to let me know that it was my turn to borrow If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas. Though only nearing the end of chapter two, I’m prepared to say that every American needs to read this book. Liberals. Conservatives. Moderates. Fiscal this/social that. Greenies. Whatever label that you like to wear so long as you care about the United States of America and freedom, read this book.

If you think we need to rewrite the constitution, then maybe you won’t like this book. But give it a try and decide for yourself. If you are unclear about why and how American liberty is at risk, read this book. If You Can Keep It is the perfect read as we sail toward the upcoming election — not because it is a guide for how to vote, but because it reminds us why America is exceptional and has the role of city on a hill for the whole world.

A call to action

If You Can Keep It is a call to action and a call to hope. Metaxas talks about “keeping” America (preserving and maintaining our liberty). I prefer “save” rather than “keep.” My language is a bit more dire, but not unwarranted given the threats to religious liberty, not just from lobbyists, but from President Obama and his administration, and activist Supreme Court justices.

Metaxas wants to educate, inspire, and remind We the People of our responsibilities to the republic. While Metaxas does not believe all is lost, he does caution that American liberty is a fragile thing that requires work. It’s not something to be taken for granted. While there is no need to wallow in despair over the symptoms of our time (i.e., our choices for president), we must resist the urge to disengage.

What is required of us—of each one of us who are “we the people”—is something we have mostly forgotten. — Introduction: The Promise, p 3

Start a conversation

So start a book club and begin the conversation about how We the People must save America. Now is not a time for political correctness. Americans need to both speak up and listen. Thankfully, for the most part, American liberty is a unifying theme.

No shouting, no name-calling, and no nice-nice

When I say start a conversation, I don’t mean just with people who agree with you, think like you, look like you, talk like you, went or go to the same school or church as you. I’m thinking more along the lines of having a National Politically Incorrect Day (or week or month). On this day America turns of the TV, tunes out the mouths with megaphones that yell, talk at, and name call. Leave off the mass media narratives, and rally the ground troops. Passion is human, but nobody shouts or gets hostile. On the other hand, nobody plays the nice-nice game of self-censorship for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

One minute of mass media would have us believing that respectful dialogue is impossible. I disagree. The problems of our day are serious, and if we do not work together at the local level to start solving them, We the People will be tempted to look toward the government. Too many already do look to the government as savior. We the People need to step up before the government steps in and intrudes on, or worse, chips away at our liberty, especially the freedom to exercise our religion.

A key point Metaxas makes is that the first responsibility of We the People is self-government. And by that he means not politics, but living lives of virtue. The more we are able to govern ourselves, the smaller and less intrusive our federal government can be.

True freedom must be an “ordered freedom,” at the center of which is what we call “self-government.” …People would not have freedom from government, but would have freedom from tyrannous government, or from government that might easily become tyrannous. — Chapter 1, The Idea of America, p 29

What was required was a virtuous people who were prepared to handle the great freedom being proposed….The founders understood that the more each person governed himself, the less there would be a need for strong government, and by their estimation the American people were ready. The faith and the virtue of the American people made possible the most free nation in the history of the world. — Chapter 1, The Idea of America, pp 36–37

An obstacle to overcome: a critical yet misleading myth entrenched in pop culture

As it is with the myth that faith and science are opposed to each other and incompatible, so it is with the myth that faith and politics, too, must be divorced. Where these myths come from and how are they perpetuated are questions worth asking, but not the consideration of today.

If we are to “keep” this republic, we have to see it afresh and really understand what we’re keeping, must have a clear grasp of what this American republic is and how it works. — Chapter 1, The Idea of America, pp 17–18

A second obstacle to overcome: not everyone wants to have a conversation

I talk politics and religion. I don’t care if we agree; the conversation is often more interesting when we don’t. But respect for self and other is essential. To my dismay, I meet too many people who do not want to have a conversation at all or who are so afraid, they lower their voice, less the PC police come after them. It breaks my heart to see so many caring and intelligent people trapped in fear, more difficult though are those who are unwilling to listen, consider other perspectives, or have their preferred narrative challenged.

When I bring up issues facing our country and try to bring a moral component to the topic, some people quickly pronounce “separation of church and state!” It is a mantra to stop the conversation. Don’t hold me accountable to a standard set by your God. The best strategy I’ve come up with when this happens is to ask the person to explain what they mean by that. Many people do not understand that separation of church and state does not mean that you check your morals at the door, that you can’t pray at school or in the halls of government. It means that the federal government cannot establish a religion and compel the people to join it or support it financially.

When religious liberty falls in America, so America falls

Religious freedom is a foundational concept of American liberty. Everyone should care about this freedom, even atheists. Without the foundation of having the freedom to act or not act in accordance with your conscience, all other liberties are at risk.

But it was impossible for the founders to see where after two centuries the things that were secure in their day would change, that faith could be greatly eroded and then pushed out of the public square via a misunderstanding of the concept of separation of church and state; and that via many things, such as Vietnam and Watergate, trust in the institutions of government could be damaged — and yet how ironically and predictably, the people would increasingly assume the government itself could and would do what was necessary. — Chapter 1, The Idea of America, pp 48–49

Only We the People can save America

The only way to save America is to get involved. Citizen, arise and rediscover your duty as an American. Read a good book. Talk politics. Talk faith. Talk freedom. Release yourself from the censorship of political correctness. Discern how to share your God-given gifts for the common good. Take courage! If someone calls you a mean name, smile, and forgive, because the person you are talking to has run out of intelligent and thoughtful things to say.

As I said, I am just finishing up chapter two, so I don’t know where Metaxas will take me next. But I do know that Christians have a responsibility to bring Jesus to the public square. We are not just trying to preserve America, we also have a mission to bring the Good News to everyone.

Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. — Jesus, Matthew 10:32–33; Luke 12:8–9

Let secular France be a warning to us.

We invite catastrophe by sincerely believing that the religious affiliation of a citizen has no political bearing or effect.

Are you truly free?

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. — CCC #1733

Dignity of the Human Person

CCC 1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience. Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth. With the help of grace they grow in virtue, avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy of our Father in heaven. In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.

Man’s Freedom

CCC 1730 God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”

I. Freedom and Responsibility

CCC 1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.

CCC 1732 As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.

CCC 1733 The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.”

CCC 1734 Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.

CCC 1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.

CCC 1738 Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order.

II. Human Freedom in the Economy of Salvation

CCC 1739 Freedom and sin. Man’s freedom is limited and fallible. In fact, man failed. He freely sinned. By refusing God’s plan of love, he deceived himself and became a slave to sin. This first alienation engendered a multitude of others. From its outset, human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom.

CCC 1740 Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, “the subject of this freedom,” is “an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods.” Moreover, the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the temptation to sin against charity. By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.

CCC 1742 Freedom and grace. The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart. On the contrary, as Christian experience attests especially in prayer, the more docile we are to the promptings of grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and confidence during trials, such as those we face in the pressures and constraints of the outer world. By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world:

Almighty and merciful God, 
in your goodness take away from us all that is harmful, 
so that, made ready both in mind and body, 
we may freely accomplish your will.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Three, Life in Christ

The Joy of Love in the Family

Two years in the making, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on love in the family was published today. The Holy Father says in paragraph 5 that this document is an “invitation to Christian families to value the gifts of marriage and the family, and to persevere in a love strengthened by the virtues of generosity, commitment, fidelity and patience.”

Pope Francis discourages a rushed reading of the text. Just looking at an outline of the structure, no doubt the Holy Father has given us all, regardless of our state in life (married, single, consecrated religious) an opportunity to expand our hearts and grow in love right where we are. To that I would add, not only should we not rush, we should revisit, that is, re-read not only the paragraphs that speak to our hearts, but also endeavor to struggle with the ideas that challenge us.

Most importantly, though, I believe, is, before we approach the text, to drop our demands and preconceived notions. If you go with the mass media version of things, there are the “ultra-conservative” demands that the Holy Father uphold Church teaching in an explicit way, or the “liberal” demands that the Church change and the Holy Father implement that change from the top down. Both of these approaches must be dropped if we are to hear the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit tapping on the door of our soul. Jesus is always ready, if we are willing, to say to us, just as he said to the chief tax collector: “I must come and dine with you at your house tonight!” When you read this text, let the Holy Spirit speak to you.

Outline of Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family

Chapter 1: In the Light of the World

  • You and your wife
  • Your children are as the shoots of an olive tree
  • A path of suffering and blood
  • The work of your hands
  • The tenderness of an embrace

Chapter 2: The Experiences and Challenges of Families

  • The current reality of the family
  • Some challenges

Chapter 3: Looking to Jesus: The Vocation of the Family

  • Jesus restores and fulfils God’s plan
  • The family in the documents of the Church
  • The sacrament of matrimony
  • Seeds of the Word and imperfect situations
  • The transmission of life and the rearing of children
  • The family and the Church

Chapter 4: Love in Marriage

  • Our daily love
  • Love is patient
  • Love is at the service of others
  • Love is not jealous
  • Love is not boastful
  • Love is not rude
  • Love is generous
  • Love is not irritable or resentful
  • Love forgives
  • Love rejoices with others
  • Love bears all things
  • Love believes all things
  • Love hopes all things
  • Love endures all things
  • Growing in conjugal love
  • Lifelong sharing
  • Joy and beauty
  • Marrying for love
  • A love that reveals itself and increases
  • Dialogue
  • Passionate love
  • The world of emotions
  • God loves the joy of his children
  • The erotic dimension of love
  • Violence and manipulation
  • Marriage and virginity
  • The transformation of love

Chapter 5: Love Made Fruitful

  • “Love always gives life.”
  • Welcoming a new life
  • Love and pregnancy
  • The love of a mother and a father
  • An expanding fruitfulness
  • Discerning the body
  • Life in the wider family
  • Being sons and daughters
  • The elderly
  • Being brothers and sisters
  • A big heart

Chapter 6: Some pastoral perspectives

  • Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today
  • Preparing engaged couples for marriage
  • The preparation of the celebration
  • Accompanying the first years of married life
  • Some resources
  • Casting light on crises, worries, and difficulties
  • The challenge of crises
  • Old wounds
  • Accompaniment after breakdown and divorce
  • Certain complex situations
  • When death makes us feel its sting

Chapter 7: Towards a Better Education of Children

  • Where are our children?
  • The ethical formation of children
  • The value of correction as incentive
  • Patient realism
  • Family life as an educational setting
  • The need for sex education
  • Passing on the faith

Chapter 8: Accompanying, Discerning, and Integrating Weakness

  • Gradualness in pastoral care
  • The discernment of “irregular” situations
  • Mitigating factors in pastoral discernment
  • Rules and discernment
  • The logic of pastoral mercy

Chapter 9: The Spirituality of Marriage and the Family

  • A spirituality of supernatural communion
  • Gathered in prayer in the light of Easter
  • A spirituality of exclusive and free love
  • A spirituality of care, consolation, and incentive

Prayer of the Day: Prayer to the Holy Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love;
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience
violence, rejection and division;
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Graciously hear our prayer.

Amen.

Question of the Day: What is an apostolic exhortation?

One of 11 categories of documents — authority, motu proprio, apostoloic constitution, encyclical, apostolic letter, common declaration, homily, audience, discourse, message — issued by the Pope. (Note that “interview with media during flight home” is not listed.) An apostolic exhortation is the type of document published to communicate a conclusion reached after consideration of the recommendations of a Synod of Bishops.