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

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

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

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

If you want, or rather intend, to take a splinter out of another person, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet, for you will only drive it in deeper. And this is a stick – rude speech and rough gestures. And this is a lancet – tempered instruction and patient reprimand. “Reprove,” says the Apostle, “rebuke, exhort,” but he did not say “beat” (2 Timothy 4:2). And if even this is required, do it rarely, and not with your own hand.

St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 8, On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness