CWN - The Italian bishops’ conference, joined by Orthodox dioceses and several Protestant communities in Italy, recently issued a joint statement for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Entitled “Ecclesia semper reformanda est” (“The Church must always be reformed”), the statement was dated November 22 and published on the Italian bishops’ website on December 18.

The statement began by noting the persecution in the Middle East. The signatories then touched on five themes:

  • “Every church is called, in every epoch, to be conformed to the Word of God … Are we aware that God calls us to conversion every day?”
  • God’s fidelity and man’s freedom: “The absolute love of God that is revealed in the Crucified Lord [is] the only way to a world of peace, justice, freedom and solidarity … How do we live this condition of freedom in Christ and of mutual service?
  • ”“The Gospel testimony and the social commitment of the churches today must confront the multicultural and interreligious reality without fear and without preconceptions, because we are called to respond by faith to the questions of the men and women of today who seek hope and salvation.”
  • “How can we interact with culture while remaining a critical and prophetic voice?”
  • “What do we intend when we preach the crucified and risen Christ? Is Jesus still scandal and folly?”

 
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Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa