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

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

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

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (Troparion - Tone 4)

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

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

St. Seraphim of Sarov