Father Cantalamessa on 'Ecology of the Heart'
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on This Sunday's Gospel
ROME, SEPT. 2, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa on this Sunday's liturgical readings. He is the preacher to the Pontifical Household.
* * *
What defiles man?
In the passage from this Sunday's Gospel (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23), Jesus cuts at the root the tendency to give more importance to external gestures and rites than to the heart's dispositions, the desire to appear better than one is, in short, hypocrisy and formalism.
But today we can draw from this page of the Gospel a teaching not only of an individual order but also social and collective. The distortion that Jesus criticized, of giving more importance to external cleanliness than to purity of heart, is reproduced today on a worldwide scale.
There is very much preoccupation about exterior and physical contamination from the atmosphere, the water, the hole in the ozone layer; instead, there is almost absolute silence about interior and moral defilement.
We are indignant on seeing marine birds emerging from waters contaminated with petroleum stains, covered with tar and unable to fly, but we do not show the same concern for our children, vitiated and spent at an early age because of the mantle of wickedness that already extends to every aspect of life.
Let's be very clear: It is not a question of opposing the two kinds of contamination. The struggle against physical contamination and care of hygiene is a sign of progress and civilization which must not be given up at any price. However, Jesus told us, on that occasion, that it was not enough for us to wash our hands, our vessels and all the rest; this does not go to the root of the problem.
Jesus then launches the program of an ecology of the heart. Let us take some of the "defiling" things enumerated by Jesus: slander with the related vice of saying evil things about one's neighbor.
Do we really want to undertake the task of healing our hearts? If so, we must engage in an all out battle against the habit of gossiping, of criticizing, of murmuring against absent persons, of making quick judgments. This is a most difficult poison to neutralize once it has spread.
Once a woman went to confession to St. Philip Neri, accusing herself of having spoken badly of some people. The saint absolved her, but gave her a strange penance. He told her to go home, to get a chicken and return to him, plucking its feathers along the way. When she was in his presence again, he said to her: "Now go back home and collect one by one the feathers that you let fall when you were coming here."
"Impossible!" exclaimed the woman. "In the meantime the wind has dispersed them in all directions." That's the point St. Philip wished to make.
"Now you see -- he said -- how it is impossible to take back murmuring and slander once they have left the mouth."
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Heart, Gospel, Liturgy, Jesus
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Day 2 - Novena to the Saints in Heaven for the saints on earth HD Video
- Skeptic filmmaker explores demonic possession, admits it can be 'very ...
- St. Anthony Mary Claret: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, October 24, 2017
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, October 24, 2017
- Skeptic explores demonic possession, admits it can be 'very real' HD ...
- Are you called to be a missionary? The answer is YES YOU ARE!
- Pope Francis speaks about putting God first and reality
- Day 1 - Novena to the Saints in Heaven for the saints on earth HD
- Evil money - George Soros pays to start a revolution in America HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way