Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. With these the Holy Spirit "endows" Christians, in other words, he grants them particular powers that go beyond their natural aptitudes and gives them the opportunity to become God's special instruments in this world. (1830-1831, 1845)
We read in one of Paul's letters: "To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues" (1 Cor 12,8-10).
Penetrate me, Holy Spirit, that I myself become unimportant and you alone remain in me.
As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy perso n in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words - go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
God's grace brings us into the inner life of the Holy Trinity, into the exchange of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It makes us capable of living in God's love and of acting on the basis of this love. (1999-2000, 2003-2004, 2023-2024)
Grace is infused in us from above and cannot be explained in terms of natural causes (supernatural grace). It makes us—especially through Baptism—children of God and heirs of heaven (sanctifying or deifying grace). It bestows on us a permanent disposition to do good (habitual grace). Grace helps us to know, to will, and to do everything that leads us to what is good, to God, and to heaven (actual grace). Grace comes about in a special way in the sacraments, which according to the will of our Savior are the preeminent places for our encounter with God (sacramental grace). Grace is manifested also in special gifts of grace that are granted to individual Christians (charisms) or in special powers that are promised to those in the state of marriage, the ordained state, or the religious state (graces of state).
There are contagious songs, contagious laughter, and also contagious yawns. How is it that the Gospel I live is not so contagious? Why does mercy cost me more than sacrifices? I seek to make the love to Christ my flag, the medicine for my disease of indifference, laziness, pessimism or conformism, which, in addition to being free, will inspire the joy of the Gospel to those around me at all times and without exception — just like Jesus, who shared the table with publicans and sinners.
Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Jesus sent out these twelve
after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
It is a good thing that already in the Gospel Jesus thought of "shepherds" who lovingly care for those who are entrusted to them and, if necessary, go after them when they wander off and go astray (Mt 18,12-13). Socially committed laymen need to listen to spiritual directors and their encouragement, guidance, and consolation, but even more they need to receive the Blessed Sacrament regularly, if possible even daily. Giving them the gift of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, but also assisting them in crisis situations and in life-changing decisions is one of the most urgent tasks of a true spiritual director. Another apostolic service to the people of God is networking and strengthening mutually supportive core groups of believers through theological and spiritual input. Moreover, young people and those who are thinking about joining the Catholic Church need substantial catechesis so that they can learn about their faith—an authentic mission for bishops, priests, and other pastoral ministers.
The priesthood, then, is not simply an "office” but a sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be present, through us, to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings — who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead— is the true grandeur concealed in the word "priesthood.”
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