There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.”
Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.”
His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
The Mother of the Lord shows us the way: whatever he tells you, do it. Do what he says, put his gospel into practice, make it a body in motion, of flesh and blood. The huge, empty water jars in your heart will be filled — he will transform your life, from empty to full, from dull to happy.
The attitude of Mary must be our attitude as a Church: trust-filled but active.
This involves not only Jesus’ action but it involves our action, as well. “Truly, a New Covenant is pledged at this wedding. And a new mission is entrusted to the servants of the Lord, namely, the entire Church: ‘Do whatever he tells you’. To serve the Lord means to listen and to put his Word into practice. It is the simple, essential recommendation of Jesus’ Mother. It is the program for a Christian’s life” (Pope Francis).
Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,
until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.
He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree,
but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.
Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water.
After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time,
touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank;
then strengthened by that food,
he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.
The biblical story tells us that Elijah was awakened and fed by God because God does not want anyone to be afraid and remain asleep. Precisely at the time of greater darkness and weariness is when the prophet listens once again to the word of the Lord — two different times — speaking through an angel, saying: “Get up and eat.”
After eating the first time, Elijah goes back to sleep.
Sometimes crisis in our lives is so great and there is so much discouragement, that it is difficult to get up and walk; but God is not overcome by our weakness.
God insists for the second time in feeding Elijah: “Get up and eat, because the road before you is very long, it is greater than your strength”.
God does not want us to feel fearful; neither does he want us to sleep. That is why he feeds the prophet, just like he feeds all of us when we feel deflated, frustrated, and hopeless.
God takes what seems like the end of the road and turns it into a new horizon; what we experience as death is transformed into the beginning of a new life.
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. Homily, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (excerpt) Mount Tabor Parish, Managua — 12 August 2018
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. is one of eighteen living bishops who are affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite order; he is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua. He began his Discalced Carmelite formation in the General Delegation of Central America in 1979 and was ordained a priest 15 January 1985. He pursued advanced studies in Sacred Scripture and biblical geography and archeology in Rome and Jerusalem. In 1999 he defended his doctoral thesis in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on the subject, Tiempo de callar y tiempo de hablar: el silencio en la Biblia Hebrea(A time to keep silence, and a time to speak: silence in the Hebrew Bible). Serving as a seminary professor, he authored numerous articles and books, speaking at conferences and retreats, and served on the council of the general delegation. In 2006 he was appointed Vice-President of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Teresianum in Rome, where he was Professor of Sacred Scripture and Biblical Theology and Spirituality; in addition, he was the editor of the theology journal Teresianum. On 9 April 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Managua and Titular Bishop of Zica.
On 30 May 2009 Silvio José Báez, O.C.D, was ordained bishop in the Cathedral of Managua. The principal consecrator was Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua; the principal co-consecrators were Archbishop Henryk Józef Nowacki, Titular Archbishop of Blera and Bishop César Bosco Vivas Robelo, Bishop of León en Nicaragua.
You may view his episcopal lineage / apostolic succession here.
Scripture commentary translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission
She raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word
The gospel says, “raise your heads” (Luke 21:28). The Lord wants us to look to the future with hope. There are certainly problems, there are situations that create fear; but as Christians, we who believe in Jesus Christ who is to come, we raise our heads.
Raising your head means being able to talk to God. Lifting your head is a gesture of humility in the gospel. It is the one who stands up to meet the Lord and listen to him, to be available to walk wherever he sends us, to be available to listen to his voice, to speak with him like the Virgin Mary did: she raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word.
She raised her head — full of grace — to do the will of God in everything and always to be moved by the Spirit that had descended upon her most holy womb. Mary teaches us to raise our heads; that is not the lifting up of the haughty, the head-raising of the proud, who look at others from above, who are so sure of themselves that they think they don’t need others.
To raise your head in the gospel means raising your head to meet God and abandoning yourself into his hands; it means gazing at him with love and welcoming his love like the Virgin.
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. Auxiliary Bishop of Managua Homily, First Sunday of Advent, 2015 (excerpt)
About the painting:
The archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin that she will bear the Son of God. New Testament (Luke 1:26-38). Above her hovers a dove who represents the Holy Spirit, the medium through whom the Christ Child was conceived. Unusually, the Virgin’s cloak is painted yellow. This color probably had symbolic significance, possibly as a sign of hope and/or purity.
We must accept that God surprises us, that he intervenes in our lives producing unexpected changes, opening unprecedented horizons, removing insurmountable obstacles. They are changes that surprise us and the newness is disconcerting and makes us afraid, as well as the changes that God brings us and the innovation that God asks of us. Sometimes they are such drastic changes in life that we feel disoriented; sometimes they are risks that we have to take – and from which we would like to flee. They are God’s surprises. Although we cannot explain some situations that we experience – and with our limited understanding, we don’t find any logical explanation – we always trust in the God who surprises us by acting unexpectedly. It’s not easy to let yourself be surprised by God. It requires a high dose of trust in his love. But it is better to abandon ourselves into his hands, even without understanding, than to be paralyzed by fear or enslaved to security and nostalgia that deceive us.
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. Homily for the Easter Vigil 21 April 2019
No es fácil dejarse sorprender por Dios
Hay que aceptar que Dios nos sorprende, que interviene en nuestra vida produciendo cambios inesperados, abriendo horizontes inéditos, quitando obstáculos insalvables. Son cosas nuevas que nos sorprenden y la novedad disconcierta y nos da miedo, también la novedad que Dios nos trae, la novedad que Dios nos pide. A veces son cambios tan drásticos en la vida que nos sentimos como desorientados, a veces son riesgos que hay que correr de los que quisiéramos huir. Son las sorpresas de Dios. Aunque no logremos explicar algunas situaciones que vivimos y con nuestra limitada razón no le encontremos lógica alguna, tengamos confianza siempre en el Dios que nos sorprende actuando inesperadamente. No es fácil dejarse sorprender por Dios. Se requiere una alta dosis de confianza en su amor. Pero es mejor abandonarnos en sus manos, aun sin comprender, que quedarnos paralizados por el miedo o esclavizados a seguridades y nostalgias engañosas.
Monseñor Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. Homilía de la Vigilia Pascual 20 de abril de 2019
On Easter Sunday 21 April 2019, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., who is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, said goodbye to the faithful as he moves to Rome at the request of Pope Francis to assume a new ministry. The Discalced Carmelite friar explained that he knows from personal experience in this transition that it is better to choose the path of abandonment than to cling to false security and nostalgia that does nothing but deceive and disappoint. He does not know yet what his new post will be, nor for how long he will be away from the archdiocese.
The blogger serves as the English translator for Bishop Báez in social media. This translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Pope Francis told him, “I’m interested in having you here with me, I need you right now.”
Wednesday 10 April at the archdiocesan chancery offices in Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua met with members of the press along with his Auxiliary Bishop, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Cardinal Brenes, speaking off the cuff to open the press conference, explained that Bishop Báez would be leaving Nicaragua after Holy Week and Easter to go to Rome for an undetermined period. Báez, a Discalced Carmelite who was teaching in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI nominated him to return to his native Nicaragua as Auxiliary Bishop 9 April 2009, is no stranger to the Holy City. In October 2018 we published the exclusive translation of Bishop Silvio’s tribute to former Nicaraguan president Violetta Chamorro, Meeting With a Mother in Rome.
Readers of this Carmelite blog will recognize from our many publications that Bishop Silvio José is a passionate, prophetic voice in Nicaragua who embodies the spirit of the Holy Prophet Elijah, the Guide and Father of Carmelites.
Bishop Báez prefaced his remarks by reading at length from the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus, where Saint Paul speaks of “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews.” [Acts 20:19] A subtle reference is made here by the bishop to a June 2018 plot to assassinate him, along with the United States ambassador Laura Dogù — a foiled plot that recently was revealed by Ambassador Dogù in a university lecture.
Bishop Silvio José continued, explaining the reason for this announcement of his departure, which comes on the heels of a seemingly unforeseen trip to the Vatican April 1 – 8, including a private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace April 4.
As Bishop Báez explained, Pope Francis told him, “I’m interested in having you here with me, I need you right now.”
Our thanks to the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa for bringing us these 15 most memorable quotes — truly, Carmelite quotes — from Bishop Báez’s press conference.
“I haven’t asked to leave — I’ve been called by the Holy Father”.
“I am not going to ignore Nicaragua from this moment on. I’ll continue faithfully living my vocation as bishop enlightened by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“Wherever I go I’ll also fly the blue and white flag of our country with pride and hope.”
“This decision of the Holy Father, which I have accepted with complete, loving obedience, has made my heart weep.”
“How can you forget the farmers, the mothers of the victims of repression, the youth who are persecuted and suffering, and those who are in prisons — I carry all of this in my heart.”
“The joy of having carried out this mission fills my heart with profound peace, although now I’m weeping with great sadness deep inside, to have to leave my native country and my people.”
“We’re not an army where we obey out of fear, where there are authorities above us who command in drastic and sometimes irrational ways. We are a fraternity united in faith.”
“The pope did not make one single reproof, not a single reproach, not one single correction. For me, it was Peter’s confirmation of his brother.”
“I was able to share many things; you all know how I see the reality of Nicaragua. I’ve given my opinion, my constructive criticism, and I made this point to the Holy Father about this year of pain and suffering — this people’s Via Crucis — whose anniversary we are about to mark on April 18.”
“In summary, I reminded him that this is a crucified people, that this is a country that has been hijacked, and that here there are de facto powers dominated by lies, injustice, repression, and ambition.”
“It’s not about saving the economy, it’s not about throwing a life jacket to the financial market, please — today’s golden calf, which is money, cannot take the place of the people.”
“I dream of a Church that is less diplomatic and fearful, and more prophetic and courageous in order to be a Church on the side of the discarded, of the last in line, of the voiceless, of the victims.”
“I dream of a church that doesn’t have worldly privileges, that is free in the face of power.”
“In Nicaragua, there aren’t confrontations between two groups: what we have is an idolatrous group that sacrifices human beings and a crucified people.”
“Unfortunately, they worship the god of wealth, the god of money, and they sacrifice human beings for it. This is the reality of Nicaragua.”
We invite our readers to join us in prayer for the success of Bishop Silvio José’s new mission with our Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome. Bishop Báez, thank you for being a faithful son of Our Holy Mother Saint Teresa whose parting words were, “I am a daughter of the Church.”
Un llamado a la población a no tomarse la justicia por sus propias manos, hizo este domingo el obispo auxiliar de Managua, monseñor Silvio Báez, tras los incidentes derivados de la represión el sábado por la tarde en Metrocentro, cuando un fanático orteguista fue golpeado por manifestantes cuando lo desarmaron. La entrada Monseñor Silvio Báez:…
El obispo auxiliar de Managua, monseñor Silvio Báez, exhortó a los participantes en la negociación entre la Alianza Cívica y el régimen a que prevalezcan sus valores cristianos y no anteponer la estabilidad financiera a la persona humana.
“Es hora que muestren su fe cristiana, no solamente sus habilidades políticas, no solamente su fidelidad ideológica…” También les recordó que en la negociación…
This afternoon, in Managua, Daniel Ortega’s police forces have kept their promise to crack down on protesters. Here are some of the images and video circulating on social media as of approximately 2 pm, local time. On going coverage, via Facebook Live, from LaFise (Canal 10). Protesters, bystanders, and media were pushed back into LaFise’s…
ROME – Almost a year since a political and social crisis exploded in Nicaragua, the government and opposition forces along with the local Catholic bishops are still trying to figure out how to sit down to work out a negotiated settlement.
President Daniel Ortega appears determined to remain in power, as he, together with his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, were reelected in 2016 to lead the country until 2021.
Yet after a student-led revolt that began in April 2018, both the opposition and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church have called for a series of measures that go from putting an end to violent repression to Ortega calling for early elections.
An earlier attempt at dialogue failed last May-June, and efforts recommenced with the new year.
Bishop Silvio Jose Baez, auxiliary of Managua, will stay out of the dialogue efforts this time around, at least officially. He rose last year as a strong voice against the Ortega, often going to Twitter to denounce the repression against protesters. He’s currently in Madrid, where he spoke on Sunday at a conference for the 75th anniversary of the magazine [Vida Religiosa].
During his talk, available on YouTube, Baez said he comes from a country with a “very conflictive history, marked by caudillismo, corruption, electoral fraud. We go from conflict to conflict.”
Yet, he said, Nicaragua is once again trying to find a “peaceful and dialogic solution to the conflict. It’s the hardest one, but the only one that can guarantee…”
An introductory note from Elijah’s Breeze: As our blog followers know Bishop Silvio José Báez has been involved in previous sessions of Nicaragua’s National Dialogue. This time, he is excluded from the dialogue table. His prayer for the negotiations is this: “May there be a renunciation of personal and ideological interests; may concerns about money never be placed ahead of human rights. That everything may be transparent, with all political prisoners freed and with public freedoms restored.”
In this edition: OrMu Administration Mostly Tight Lipped About Negotiations, except for pleasantries; Alianza Hints OAS and UN as Guarantors for Negotiation; OrMu Cops go After Jose Pallais; Young Man who Participated in Protests Found Murdered in Managua; Political Prisoners Shouldn’t be Pawns. Could Some be Released?; FIDH Plans Pickets at Nicaraguan Embassies; AUTHOR’S NOTE:…
Regular readers of our blog will recognize the name of Bishop Silvio Baez, our Discalced Carmelite confrere who is the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua. Let us pray for these negotiations in Nicaragua, that true justice and lasting peace may dwell in the hearts and homes of the people.
Yesterday, Daniel Ortega announced the start of negotiations between his administration and the Alianza Civica por la Justicia y la Democracia. This new round begins on February 27. Details about the negotiations have been trickling out since the official announcement. Here is what we know so far: The Alianza’s team: Business Interest Appropriately Represented The Alianza…
Roberto Zamora, president of the Lafise financial group, is in Madrid on business. He granted an interview to EFE press agency, in which he spoke about the ongoing crisis in Nicaragua, its economic and financial ramifications, and the need for a dialogue. Zamora is one of the five Nicaraguan businessmen who met with OrMu over the weekend. The Catholic Church, represented by Cardinal Brenes and Apostolic Nuncio Somertag, was also present.
Zamora told EFE that the “dialogue starts tomorrow…”
Dr. Minúscula covers the unfolding drama in Nicaragua from the perspective of an academic and as a native of Nicaragua. We share the professor’s insights to help our readers understand the current events in this nation where Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. serves as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua.
On the evening of February 16, Daniel Ortega’s administration released a press statement announcing a meeting with “representative members of the private sector”. Also in attendance were Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop of Managua, and Mons. Waldemar Sommertag, Vatican Ambassador to Nicaragua, who came as “guests”. It might be a new attempt at a National Dialogue,…