Manual for Married Couples - Complete textbook of the Spiritual Exertcises for married couples - online and in downloadable format - to use in our Retreats
(Picture: SS. Prisca and Aquila with St. Paul - Icon of Fabio Nones Photo A. Frisanco -Source: http://www.chiesacattolica.it/cci_new/PagineCCI/AllegatiArt/14/depliant%20definitivo.pdf )
Spiritual Healing - Essays, studies and meditations in the area of spiritual healing
"Pope Benedict XVI on Marriage: A Compendium," has been published by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and released on the eve of Pope Benedict's first papal visit to the United States.
It seems to be a highly interesting study of the writings and speeches of Benedict XVI on the topic of marriage. The Pope has spoken publicly about marriage on 111 occasions in the first three years of his papacy, often connecting marriage to wider themes such as human rights, world peace, and the dialogue between faith and reason.
For example, in a papal address on September 21, 2007 Benedict said: "Experience has shown that when the truth about man is subverted or the foundation of the family undermined, peace itself is threatened and the rule of law is compromised, leading inevitably to forms of injustice and violence."
Pope Benedict mentioned also in his message for the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2008 the role of marriage in developing a culture of peace and openness to life, saying: "Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace." Note that he called marriage the "primary agency of peace" - an expression which I think would merit further reflection and study. However, already here briefly we can understand the enormous importance of developing and nurturing the spirituality ad theology of marriage. Further, it is essential to educate laity and hierarch for the understanding the meaning, dignity and importance of this "great mystery" (as St. Paul called marriage) for human life and salvation. Here is our reflection on the Compendium:
"With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost a remarkable thing happened: God revealed to mankind that everyone could have God dwelling in them. This was a radically different concept to the Jews of that day who saw God's throne as a physical structure, the Temple in Jerusalem. Now, all believers could be like Mary - the first and most excellent example of the idea that the physical body of any believer "is a temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19)".
(From " Embracing Love " by Nicholas P. Papas)
About the icon: Our icon is of the 18th century Albania and shows Mary seated among the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (the event described in Chapter 2 of the Acts of Apostles). In orthodox icons of the Pentecost the Mother of God often is not present but an empty seat is shown among the disciples (read more about our icon here) .
The old king with the long beard under the central semicircle is the symbolic figure of Cosmos, represents the universe, the entire world rendered old by and enveloped in the darkness of sin. As a sign of hope he has scrolls in the drape in his hands representing the teaching of the Apostles - that will be brought to the entire world after the descent of the Holy Spirit. The orthodox icon of the descent of the Holy Spirit suggests the importance of the event for all times.( read about the details here and here ) .