Saturday, June 25, 2016

Novena of Reparation, Day 5

I invite you to join in our community novena to St Paul (we celebrate a special feast in his honor on June 30). This year's theme is reparation for misuse of the media.

Intentions for the Day: Thanksgiving for the invention of audio recording; reparation for pornography (in all its many forms) and for all the harm done to its victims, from the addicted users and their families, to the abused children and women who appear in it, to the young people who are growing up in a porn-saturated environment.

Opening Antiphon:
O St Paul the Apostle, Preacher of Truth and Doctor of the Gentiles, intercede for us to God.

Scripture (2 Cor 12:9):
[Christ] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.

From Pope Francis' Message for World Communications Day 2016:
How I wish that our own way of communicating, as well as our service as pastors of the Church, may never suggest a prideful and triumphant superiority over an enemy, or demean those whom the world considers lost and easily discarded. Mercy can help mitigate life’s troubles and offer warmth to those who have known only the coldness of judgment. May our way of communicating help to overcome the mindset that neatly separates sinners from the righteous. We can and we must judge situations of sin – such as violence, corruption and exploitation – but we may not judge individuals, since only God can see into the depths of their hearts. It is our task to admonish those who err and to denounce the evil and injustice of certain ways of acting, for the sake of setting victims free and raising up those who have fallen. The Gospel of John tells us that “the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). The truth is ultimately Christ himself, whose gentle mercy is the yardstick for measuring the way we proclaim the truth and condemn injustice. Our primary task is to uphold the truth with love (cf. Eph 4:15). Only words spoken with love and accompanied by meekness and mercy can touch our sinful hearts. Harsh and moralistic words and actions risk further alienating those whom we wish to lead to conversion and freedom, reinforcing their sense of rejection and defensiveness.

Pope Francis warns us against looking down on those whose sins may not be as subtle as our own; whose weakness and failure are manifest. With pornography so easily available (an American child's first exposure to porn usually takes place age age 11 or younger), many fall almost unawares into this dehumanizing trap. Pornography takes a beautiful and holy reality, the human body designed for self-giving love, and twists it into an object for use and disposal. When children are its victims, it is a crime that calls to Heaven for vengeance.
Do I indulge in pornography, including exaggeratedly steamy novels? What steps can I take to consecrate my eyes and my mind to Christ, refusing to make Jesus a partner in my sin (see 1 Cor 6:5)?
If I have avoided or been delivered from exposure to porn, how can I personally use communications technology to promote "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, excellent and praiseworthy" (Phil 4:8)?

Daily Offering:
In union with all those who today celebrate the Eucharistic memorial of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection, I offer myself with Jesus for the conversion of those who have spread error, violence, or disregard for the dignity of the person by using wrongly media and rejecting the teaching of Christ and his Church.

Closing Antiphon:
O St Paul the Apostle, Preacher of Truth and Doctor of the Gentiles, intercede for us to God.

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