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

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

But if a person is constantly mindful of God, he will rejoice: as the psalmist says, "I remembered God, and I rejoiced" (Psalms 77:3). For when the intellect is gladdened by the remembrance of God, then it forgets the afflictions of this world, places its hope in Him, and is no longer troubled or anxious.

St. Peter of Damaskos, "JOY" (from "The 24 Discourses), "The Philokalia vol. III," - pp. 260 - 263.