On Wednesday August 6, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor. We also remember with gratitude Venerable Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) who died this day thirty-six years ago at the age of 80.
The Final Years of Pope Paul VI
Excerpt from his Apostolic Exhortation “GAUDETE IN DOMINO” ON CHRISTIAN JOY
(May 9, 1975)
“Let the agitated members of various groups therefore reject the excesses of systematic and destructive criticism! Without departing from a realistic viewpoint, let Christian communities become centers of optimism where all the members resolutely endeavor to perceive the positive aspect of people and events. "Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.
The attainment of such an outlook is not just a matter of psychology. It is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, who dwells fully in the person of Jesus, made Him during His earthly life so alert to the joys of daily life, so tactful and persuasive for putting sinners back on the road to a new youth of heart and mind! It is this same Spirit who animated the Blessed Virgin and each of the saints. It is this same Spirit who still today gives to so many Christians the joy of living day by day their particular vocation, in the peace and hope which surpass setbacks and sufferings. It is the Spirit of Pentecost who today leads very many followers of Christ along the paths of prayer, in the cheerfulness of filial praise, towards the humble and joyous service of the disinherited and of those on the margins of society. For joy cannot be dissociated from sharing. In God Himself, all is joy because all is giving.
This positive outlook on people and things, the fruit of an enlightened human spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, finds in Christians a privileged place of replenishment: the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. In His passion, death and resurrection, Christ summarizes the history of each man and of all men, with their weight of sufferings and sins, with their capacities for progress and holiness. This is why our last word in this exhortation is a pressing appeal to all the leaders and animators of the Christian communities: let them not be afraid to insist time and time again on the need for baptized Christians to be faithful to the Sunday celebration, in joy, of the Eucharist. How could they neglect this encounter, this banquet which Christ prepares for us in His love? Let participation in this celebration be at the same time very dignified and festive! It is the crucified and glorious Christ who passes among His disciples to bring them together into the renewal of His resurrection. This is the culmination here below of the alliance of love between God and His people: the sign and source of Christian joy, the preparation for the eternal feast.
May the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit draw you to it! And on our part we bless you with all our heart."
Excerpt from his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangeli Nuntiandi” On the Evangelization of the Modern World
(December 8, 1975)
“Without repeating everything that we have already mentioned, it is appropriate first of all to emphasize the following point: for the Church, the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life, given over to God in a communion that nothing should destroy and at the same time given to one's neighbor with limitless zeal. As we said recently to a group of lay people, "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." St. Peter expressed this well when he held up the example of a reverent and chaste life that wins over even without a word those who refuse to obey the word. It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus- the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity.”