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Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS
Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 27
Moses was a warrior who was led by faith to serve the one who is invisible. Although as the adopted son of pharaoh he could have had the power of Egypt, yet he chose to follow Him who is. Moses was a righteous man. A righteous man is one who leads a life that is pleasing to God.
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. (Ps. 23:4)
Faith helps a warrior to focus himself and conserve the warrior energy for where it is most effective. Ponder the fact that Christ at any moment could have chosen to fight and the results would have been the defeat of the Romans and the loss of man.
The Warrior Ethos
Whether it's a Navy SEAL or a saint, we admire those who put it all on the line - go "all in!" - those who are totally dedicated to the mission. In the military, this dedication is revealed in the Warrior Ethos, four simple lines embedded in the Soldier's Creed:
· I will always place the mission first.
· I will never accept defeat.
· I will never quit.
· I will never leave a fallen comrade.
Sustained and developed through discipline, commitment, and pride, these four lines motivate every soldier to persevere and, ultimately, to refuse defeat. What would happen if we dedicated ourselves to the training and mission of Jesus Christ with the same intensity Eric Greitens and his comrades dedicated themselves to the "Warrior Ethos" and to their training to become Navy SEALs? What is keeping us from becoming, in essence, SEALS for Christ?
We must learn the special operations (special ops) techniques and procedures for search and rescue missions of fallen comrades (those who have become weak in their faith). Although rarely wielded by the Catholics today, this supernatural strength and these techniques are truly authentic gifts of the Church that are field-tested and battle-hardened. We must commit ourselves to their restoration if we ever hope to stem the tide of evil and rescue our lost loved ones who may be destined for eternal damnation. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
My esteemed Brothers in the Episcopate
and the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
4. Until quite recently, it was easier in traditionally Christian countries to keep Sunday holy because it was an almost universal practice and because, even in the organization of civil society, Sunday rest was considered a fixed part of the work schedule. Today, however, even in those countries which give legal sanction to the festive character of Sunday, changes in socioeconomic conditions have often led to profound modifications of social behavior and hence of the character of Sunday. The custom of the "weekend" has become more widespread, a weekly period of respite, spent perhaps far from home and often involving participation in cultural, political or sporting activities which are usually held on free days. This social and cultural phenomenon is by no means without its positive aspects if, while respecting true values, it can contribute to people's development and to the advancement of the life of society as a whole. All of this responds not only to the need for rest, but also to the need for celebration which is inherent in our humanity. Unfortunately, when Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes merely part of a "weekend", it can happen that people stay locked within a horizon so limited that they can no longer see "the heavens". Hence, though ready to celebrate, they are really incapable of doing so.
The disciples of Christ, however, are asked to avoid any confusion between the celebration of Sunday, which should truly be a way of keeping the Lord's Day holy, and the "weekend", understood as a time of simple rest and relaxation. This will require a genuine spiritual maturity, which will enable Christians to "be what they are", in full accordance with the gift of faith, always ready to give an account of the hope which is in them (cf. 1 Pt 3:15). In this way, they will be led to a deeper understanding of Sunday, with the result that, even in difficult situations, they will be able to live it in complete docility to the Holy Spirit.
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
This Sunday recognizes the double love of God and neighbor.
IN the Introit of the Mass, the justice and mercy of God are praised. Thou are just, O Lord, and Thy judgment is right. Deal with Thy servant according to Thy mercy. Blessed are the undefiled who walk in the law of the Lord (Ps. cxviii.).
Grant to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to avoid the contagion of the devil, and with a pure mind to seek Thee, the only God.
EPISTLE. Eph. iv. 1-6.
Brethren: I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all, Who is blessed forever and ever. Amen.
The words, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, confound those who assert that a man may be saved in any belief. There can be but one true religion; they who profess it should be united by the bond of charity, and their lives be worthy of their vocation to the true faith.
GOSPEL. Matt. xxii. 35-46.
At that time the Pharisees came nigh to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked Him, tempting Him: Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind; This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: What think you of Christ? Whose son is He? They say to Him: David’s. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit on My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.
Why is this commandment to love God and our neighbor called the great commandment?
Because in these two are contained all the others, so that he who fulfils these fulfils the whole law. For whoever loves God with his whole heart does not murmur against God; does not dishonor His name by cursing and swearing; does not desecrate the Sabbath-day, because he knows that all this is offensive to God. On the contrary, he hopes in God; gives thanks and praise to God; sanctifies the Sundays and holy-days, because he knows this to be pleasing to God; observes the precepts of the Church, because he knows it to be the will of God that he should hear the Church; honors his parents; does no injury to his neighbor; does not commit adultery; does not steal; slanders no one; bears no false witness; pronounces no unjust judgment; is not envious, malicious, unmerciful, but rather practices towards every one the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and all this because, out of love to God, he loves his neighbor as himself. Thus, love fulfils all the commandments.
What is the meaning of the question, “What think you of Christ?”
Christ put this question to the Pharisees in order that, by their own answer, He might convince them that He was not merely a lineal son of David, but that He was the Son of God, begotten from eternity, on which account He called Himself David’s Lord. That Christ is the Son of God, our Lord, our Teacher, our Lawgiver, our Redeemer and Savior, we Christians know well, for we daily profess it; but how many of us, in deeds, deny it, since we do not follow His teaching nor observe His commandments! What, then, will Christ one day be to such? What but a judge to condemn, and a God to punish?
Why must we love our neighbor?
Because we are all, not merely by descent from Adam, but much more through the grace of Jesus, children of God and members of one family. As children of God, we bear in us the likeness of God. But God loved and still loves all men; for the salvation of all He has given up His only Son, that all may be saved; shall we then love one and hate another, and yet think to be like God? Through the grace of Jesus, we are all redeemed, made members of His body, yes, partakers of His body and blood. Therefore St. Paul admonishes us: “You are all one in Christ” (Gal. iii. 28), be therefore careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephes. iv. 3). How natural is it for the members of one body not to wound each other! Jesus, our Redeemer, gave His life for us when we were His enemies, and even on the cross prayed for His murderers. We are His disciples. But can we be allowed to call ourselves so without possessing this mark of His discipleship? (John xiii. 15.) Thus, everything incites us to love: the law of nature and of revelation, the example of Christ, all the promises and hopes that we have. In truth, how, without love, could we hope to enter the kingdom of love? There can be no answer to this reasoning: “Would you be a disciple of Jesus, an heir of His kingdom? then love like Him; and He has shed His blood for His mortal enemies.
Feast of our Holy Guardian Angels
THIS feast was instituted:
1. To thank God that to each one of us He has given a guardian angel to conduct him unharmed through the dangers of this world.
2. To inspire us with gratitude to the angels who do us such great good, and to incite us to efforts to render ourselves worthy of their guardianship.
What is the office of a guardian angel?
To guard men against dangers of soul and body. The Psalmist says: He hath given His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways; in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone (Ps. xc. 11); that is, that thou mayest neither fall into sin nor misfortune. Oh, what great regard for us, hereupon exclaims St. Bernard, what wonderful love!
Who is it that has given charge?
To whom has He given charge?
The angels, those noble spirits of His own household.
What charge has He given them?
To guard and defend us, poor men. O Lord, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? St. Paul calls the angels ministering spirits sent to minister to them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation (Heb. i. 14). In innumerable other places in the Bible they are represented as friends of children, guides of youth, defenders of innocence, promoters of good deeds, monitors against evil, guardians of the pious, protectors against misfortune, comforters in need, deliverers in danger, helpers in combat, companions of the souls in everlasting joy.
What should we do every day, but particularly this day?
We should thank God for having given us guardians so holy and powerful, and our guardian angel himself for the help he has rendered us; should think of and call upon him often, especially in the hour of temptation; finally, we should promise fidelity and obedience to his admonitions. Whatever in this regard is at any time binding upon us should especially be done today.
Prayer to the Guardian Angel
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
(100 days indulgence each time).
Things to do
- Memorize and pray the Angel of God prayer.
- Bake an angel food cake, serve angel hair pasta, and/or make angel kisses (meringue cookies).
- Read from the Catholic Culture Library:
- Our Guardian Angels by Fr. Joseph Ventura, C.P.
- Sermon on the Holy Guardian Angels by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
- Guardian Angels
- Meditation for the Feast of the Guardian Angels by Pope John XXIII.
- Role of Guardian Angels in our Lives by George Huber.
- Paschal Parente's chapters on Angels.
- Read the section on angels in the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy. The document examines the doctrine and devotions of the angels. Devotion to angels is good, but also can have deviations:
“Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by:
- devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;
- an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God — serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels. Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus.
“217. Popular devotion to the Holy Angels [which is legitimate and good] can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:
- when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;
- when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the Devil and all success to the Guardian Angels. The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.”
- Also read All About the Angels.
- Read about saints and others who had a great devotion to their guardian angel (St. Josemaria Escriva; St. Padre Pio; Blessed John XXIII).
- Think about how you can develop a greater devotion and depend on your guardian angel everyday.
Redwood National Park Establish 1968
Think of the giant Redwoods they are the largest trees in the world. These trees survive by intertwining their roots because the ground is so hard the Redwood cannot strike a taproot to hold itself up but by supporting each other they become the largest trees in the world.
World Farm Animals Day
Farm animals are cute, and they also play an important role in modern society. Take some time to appreciate them this World Farm Animals Day. Created in memory of Ghandi, who believed in treating all living beings with respect, World Farm Animals Day was founded to highlight the poor conditions suffered by some farm animals and promote awareness in the hope something may be done to improve their lives.
While World Farm Animals Day has an important, and sad, origin, in the sense it was created to raise awareness of suffering, it can be celebrated in different ways with children. Taking children for a visit to a farm is a great way to teach them about farm animals, and it’s a good chance to instill in them the message of treating animals with respect. Another great way to celebrate is by donating to an animal protection charity of your choice
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
1710 "Christ . . . makes man fully manifest to man himself and brings to light his exalted vocation" (GS 22 # 1).
1711 Endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human person is from his very conception ordered to God and destined for eternal beatitude. He pursues his perfection in "seeking and loving what is true and good" (GS 15 # 2).
1712 In man, true freedom is an "outstanding manifestation of the divine image" (GS 17).
1713 Man is obliged to follow the moral law, which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil" (cf GS 16). This law makes itself heard in his conscience.
1714 Man, having been wounded in his nature by original sin, is subject to error and inclined to evil in exercising his freedom.
1715 He who believes in Christ has new life in the Holy Spirit. the moral life, increased and brought to maturity in grace, is to reach its fulfillment in the glory of heaven.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The Pope
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
FAST EMBER SATURDAY
PADRE PIO-AUTUMNAL EQUINOX-BISEXUAL DAY
Tobit, Chapter 12, Verse 16-17
16 Greatly shaken, the two of them fell prostrate in FEAR. 17 But Raphael said to them: “Do not fear; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever.
In June 2017 through a horrible act of violence our congress fell prostrate in fear as a shooter was taking aim on them playing baseball in a Washington, D.C. park. Men when confronted with the terrible power of man and nature instinctively fall flat. Yet, imagine if you suddenly were confronted with the power of an angel of God. You like a soldier would seek the ground.
- After all the festivities, Tobit wanted to settle up with Azariah, which included paying him for his work during the journey.
- At this point, Azariah told them who he really was – an angel sent by God. Both Tobit and Tobias were shocked and a bit fearful. Yet, Azariah assured them of God’s providence and care for them. His job was to bring the healing God had decreed. Their job was to proclaim God’s great mercy. They were supposed to write everything down that had happened. Then Azariah simply disappeared.
David shows us how to overcome fear, whether it be the fear of death, the fear of speaking in public (which surveys show to be greater than the fear of death!), fear of losing your children, fear of the future, or whatever. He says:
To overcome fear, seek the Lord!
David knew what he was talking about! He had evildoers coming at him to devour his flesh (27:2). They were breathing out violence (27:12). Nothing would have made them happier than to see David’s head removed from his body. He had an entire army encamped against him. The soldiers had probably been told, “Whoever comes back with David’s head gets an instant promotion to general and a fat reward!” And yet David could say, “My heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I am confident” (27:3)! The man knows his subject! He can teach us about overcoming fear. David isn’t dispensing a formula that’s easy or simple to apply. God isn’t a good-luck charm which you can pull out when you’re in a jam and rub the right way. David is talking about a total way of life that is focused on God and which clings to God with naked faith in desperately overwhelming situations where there is no other source of help.
May this Nation prostrate itself not before men or nature but seek the Lord as David did.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, these my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: to dwell in the LORD’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the LORD’s beauty, to visit his temple. For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, He will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock. Even now my head is held high above my enemies on every side! I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the LORD.
Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me. “Come,” says my heart, “seek his face” your face, LORD, do I seek! Do not hide your face from me; do not repel your servant in anger. You are my salvation; do not cast me off; do not forsake me, God my savior! Even if my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me in.
LORD, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not abandon me to the desire of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me. I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!
September Ember Days
By Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14th, are known as “Michaelmas Embertide,” and they come near the beginning of Autumn (September 22nd) and were formerly set aside as days of fasting and abstinence. The Lessons focus on the Old Covenant’s Day of Atonement and the fast of the seventh month, but start off with this prophecy from Amos 9:13-15:
"Behold the days come, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, and the mountains shall dop sweetness, and every hill shall be tilled. And I will bring back the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the abandoned cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine of them; and shall make gardens and eat the fruits of them; and I will plant them upon their land: and I will no more pluck them out of their land which I have given them; saith the Lord thy God."
Like all Embertides but Whit Embertide, the Lessons end with the story of the three boys in the fiery furnace, as told by Daniel. The Gospel readings recount how Jesus exorcised demons from a possessed boy and tells the disciples about fasting to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 9:16-28), forgave Mary Magdalen (Luke 7:36-50), and healed the woman on the sabbath after telling the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-17). In the midst of this beautiful time, things wizen and seem to begin to die. The air grows cooler, the earth stiffens, the trees tire of holding their leaves. And during this waning we remember our dead — on November 1st, the victorious dead (All Saints’, or All Hallows Day), and on November 2nd, the dead being purified (All Souls’ Day). These Days of the Dead begin with the eve of All Hallows, or “Hallowe’en,” an unofficial evening of remembering the frightening fate of the damned and how we can avoid it. There can’t be a more appropriate time for such a night than Autumn, when foggy mists are likely, and bonfires helpful.
Ember Saturday of September-Commemoration of Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles (both of which occur in the Jewish calendar around this time), two important foreshadowing’s of the Christ event. The church reminds us of the profound importance of total conversion.
Meditation: Ember Saturday, A Day for expiation and thanksgiving! This excerpt from Pius Parsch is based on the 1962 Missal. The current Missal does not include special propers and readings for Ember Days.
1. Holy Mass (Venite). Ember Saturday is the official thanksgiving day for all the blessings of the past quarter-year. Especially in autumn when we garner the fruits of nature should we be more conscious of God’s Providence both in the temporal and spiritual orders. In ancient times today’s Mass served as a thanksgiving sacrifice and as a renewals of the Christian covenant with God. The text presumes that the Ember days are the Christian counterpart to the Old Testament feasts of Atonement and Tabernacles, highlighting penance and and gratitude respectively. The liturgical celebration, observed during the night between Saturday and Sunday and of obligation for all the faithful, was unusually festive. The faithful gathered at St. Peter’s for an entrance song the Invitatory (Psalm 94) was sung. The first four Lessons belonged specifically to the night-vigil and formed a greeting worthy of the enthroned King. The Readings tap the marrow of the Ember celebration, its connection with the Jewish feasts of the seventh month, Yom Kippur and the feast of Tabernacles. The autumn Ember days are days of penance for past failings and of gratitude for the harvest (and redemption); such too is the spiritual import of the Lessons. The first reviews the Mosaic legislation concerning the Day of Atonement, the second concerning the feast of Tabernacles, Israel’s great thanksgiving feast.
The two Graduals echo their respective Lessons; the first “Forgive” (Day of Atonement), the second, “How lovely are Thy tabernacles” (feast of Tabernacles). The third and fourth Lessons, from the prophets Micheas and Zacharias, are comforting messages in which God reaffirms His readiness to forgive the sins of His people and to grant them good things provided they remain faithful. God is also concerned over the manner in which we fast: “The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness and a great solemnity!” By which our Ember days, of course, are meant. The Orations offer God our festive fast and plead forgiveness. As on other Ember Saturdays, the fifth Lesson is already part of the morning service; the assembled faithful are praying Lauds; the three youths in the fiery furnace prefigure the resurrection of Christ and of Christians.
In the Epistle St. Paul shows how the ceremonies of the old covenant were types of the new; our day of atonement is Good Friday when Christ, the divine High Priest, entered the most holy sanctuary of heaven with His own Blood and wrought eternal redemption; every Mass is Good Friday repeated. In the Tract we chant the shortest Laud psalm as we express our gratefulness for God’s merciful work of redemption and HIs fidelity in fulfilling the prophecies.
Presently the High Priest Himself appears, first “teaching on the Sabbath” (in the Foremass), then offering Himself (in the Oblation). The unfruitful “fig tree in the orchard” and the “bowed-down woman” are the faithful. God is the landlord, Christ the pleading gardener; till now we have been unfruitful.
We also resemble the bowed-down woman; wholly taken up with earthy concerns, too often we are “unable to look upward”; but on this Christian Sabbath, Christ seeks “to free us from the bonds of Satan” and make us spiritually “erect.” Thus the Gospel insinuates the workings of grace in today’s holy Sacrifice.
At the sacrificial Banquet we once more recall the institution of the feast of Tabernacles as a remembrance of the deliverance from Egypt and the wanderings through the wilderness—for the Eucharist is the fulfillment of those two historical events by providing deliverance from sin and the true Manna from heaven. A classic, thought-packed Postcommunion: May the sacramental energy of the Eucharist realize its power in us, and may we one day enjoy face to face what now we see in a veiled manner. Three realities are noted: the first is the sign—this shows the sacrament. Underneath the sign is hidden the second reality, the sacrament’s efficacy—what the sacraments contain. And lastly, the rerun veritas, the future unveiling.
2. A “Spiritual Renewal” Day. For a “day of recollection” no better meditation points could be found than those in the Lessons of today’s Ember Mass. Of the two areas of thought proper to the formulary, viz., the Ember festivity is the Christian “Day of Atonement” and the Christian Feast of Tabernacles (or thanksgiving day at harvest time), let us pursue the former in some detail.
a) The Old Testament type. The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, was the great penitential observance of Mosaic Law, Israel’s “confession day.” With us “penance days” are not feast days, but among the Jews it was otherwise; Yom Kippur was a day of strict rest, absolutely no type of work was permitted and the spirit of the occasion was festive, celebrabitis. The day’s liturgy exemplified the nation’s effort to expiate sin; on this one day of the year, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with sacrificial blood and sprinkle the ark of the covenant in atonement for his own and his people’s sins. Meanwhile the people did penance through fasting, humbling themselves before Yahweh.
b) The New Testament fulfillment. Mosaic festivals were shadows which took on flesh and blood in the Church of Christ. Good Friday was the real, the unique day of atonement in the sight of God. How well St. Paul affirmed this truth in the Epistle of today’s Mass: “Christ appeared as the high priest of coming (Messianic) blessings. He entered the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by human hands (i.e., heavenly in nature) not with the blood of goats and steers but with His own blood—once and for all He entered the (heavenly) Holy of Holies—after He had effected an eternal redemption (i.e., one with lasting effects in contrast to the annually repeated Jewish day of atonement).” For the sacrifice on the Cross constituted the perfect reconciliation of God with mankind; and every holy Mass, as it renders present that sacrifice on Golgotha, is Yom Kippur par excellence.
Every Sunday then would be the Christian atonement feast. But because we Christians are so irresponsive and dull to the inner nature of spiritual realities, holy Church introduced special expiation days during the course of the Church year. Among these are Ember days. Ember Saturdays, particularly September Ember Saturday, have preserved best this original spirit. Anyone who seeks to develop his spiritual life on a liturgical basis would have to use the Ember days during the four seasons as times of genuine spiritual renewal. The peculiar means of keeping these days is evident from the liturgy itself—acts of penance and fasting, confession of sin, humbling ourselves before God and neighbor, and nevertheless rejoicing, in the best sense of the word. Our conduct would exemplify the prophet’s statement (fourth Lesson), “The fast proper to the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months (i.e., the four Ember weeks) should mean joy and exultation to the house of Judah (viz,, Catholics) and high festival; you only need to love truth (obedience) and peace.”
c) Application. God appeals directly to my heart in the Gospel. The two parables, one in word and one in sign, should move me deeply. I am that barren fig tree. The infinitely just God is the landlord, our Savior the pleading caretaker. If God should summon me to His judgement seat today (the command to destroy the tree), would there be any “fruit”? To what extent would I resemble the barren fig tree? Why does it occupy ground? But Christ intercedes, says a kindly word in my behalf: “Perhaps there will be some return—next crop! If not, it can then be cut down.” The coming quarter-year mark must mark a change, genuine improvement.
The parable in sign is equally instructive. My soul is so badly bowed down to earth, it find “looking upwards” toward heavenly realities extremely painful. Christ must make me stand erect again. The coming season as no other is the season of hope, of preparation for the parousia, of longing for the heavenly Jerusalem, of expectation for the returning Lord. Jesus, have mercy. Free me from stooping down to the earthly, the sensual. Straighten me out for heaven. Now! Jesus, have mercy.
—Excerpted from Pius Parsch, Year of Grace, Volume 5.
Feast of St. Pio
Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, into a simple peasant family. At the age of 15 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Friars, and was ordained a priest in 1910. In September 1916 he was assigned to the Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo in central Italy, where he lived for the rest of his life. After celebrating morning Mass on September 20, 1918, during his prayers of thanksgiving before the Crucifix, Padre Pio received the "Stigmata". His hands, feet and side were pierced with the nail marks and the lance wound of the Crucified Christ. Doctors estimated that for the next 50 years he lost a cup of blood every day. His five wounds were deep, bleeding and painful, but completely free of inflammation and swelling. News of his holiness spread rapidly. Millions of people attended his Masses. He received letters from believers all over the world who asked for his saintly counsel in their times of distress and misfortune. Countless were attracted to his confessional, where he celebrated the Sacrament of Penance for as many as 16 hours a day. People waited as much as two weeks to have him hear their confession, for they perceived in Padre Pio the true heart and soul of the Gospels, expressed in a simple and uncomplicated manner. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer, continual sacrifice, and strict austerity. He had a very deep union with God, a burning love for the Holy Eucharist, and a fervent devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Worn out by half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. He was canonized a Saint by Pope John Paul II on June 16, 2002. Today his tomb is the most visited shrine in Europe, surpassing even Fatima and Lourdes — a place of extraordinary holiness for those in search of inspiration.
Things to Do:
· St. Pio is a saint of the last century, so there are many pictures and biographies to read more about his life. Having this gift of the stigmata was very hard on his life — both physically and emotionally. Find out more about the stigmata and his other mystical gifts, such as bilocation. St. Pio also had great devotion to his guardian angel.
· From the Catholic Culture library: Biography of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, The Devil and Padre Pio, Five Maxims for Living a Devout Life and His Wounds Spoke of God's Love for All. There are many other documents in the library which may be found by searching for "pio".
Gracious God, you generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son, and as a stirring inspiration to many people of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness and love.
In the confessional, Padre Pio labored endlessly for the salvation of souls. Through his prayerful intercession, many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease. Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people's hearts. From the blood of his wounds came a perfumed fragrance, a special sign of Your Holy Presence. With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass, inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of Saint Pio, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Help me to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion, so that I, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord, and one day rejoice in the Kingdom, where You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Fall begins (Northern H.)
Fall begins in the Northern Hemisphere when the Sun is perpendicular to the equator. This day has equal hours of day and night. The first day of Fall is also called the Autumnal Equinox. In many areas it coincides with harvests. The first day of Fall happens between each year between September 22 and 24.
Fall begins (Northern H.) Facts & Quotes
· The Harvest Moon is the full moon which occurs closest to the autumnal equinox.
· The Earth takes 365.25 days to make one complete revolution around the Sun. This results in the first day of Fall beginning 6 hours later each year and moving a full day backwards on Leap Years.
· During the fall, the leaves on many trees die and fall to the ground. 500 years ago, expressions like fall of the leaf and fall of the year were quite common in the English-speaking world. The term fall as the name for this season comes from these early expressions.
· How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days - John Burroughs
Fall begins (Northern H.) Top Events and Things to Do
· Take a hike and enjoy the colorful leaves.
· Visit a Nature Center or Nature Museum near you.
· Rake leaves into piles and then jump in them.
Bisexuality Day another pagan celebration of sexuality
Celebrate Bisexuality Day was established by Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur to raise awareness of the challenges faced by bisexuals all over the world. “Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility.” observed Wilbur, “The bisexual community also has grown in strength but in many ways are invisible.” It was this vision and experiences of marginalization and prejudice experienced from both the straight and LGBTQ community, that inspired them to create this new holiday. Inspired by Freddy Mercury of Queen, they decided that his birthday would be the perfect day to establish Celebrate Bisexuality Day. This served two purposes, the first being to establish a day that was dedicated to raising awareness of bisexuals everywhere, the second being to help reduce the prejudice faced by bisexuals and work to legitimize it as a sexual orientation. Since then it has been celebrated every year with teach-ins, poetry reading, parties, picnics, and festivals.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.
2336 Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God's plan strictly: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." What God has joined together, let not man put asunder. The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.
2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.
2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.
2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."
Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety." So, she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers. You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together." And they both said, "Amen, Amen." Then they went to sleep for the night.
2362 "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude." Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:
The Creator himself. . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:
Thus, the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle.. . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.
2395 Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.
2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
Make no mistake, we are in a battle for our soul and the soul of the world.
The Secret It’s no secret that porn usage has increased drastically over the years. Things that are considered mainstream used to be blatantly considered porn. We also know not only is this a moral problem but studies have shown more porn use correlates with less grey matter in the reward circuit (dorsal striatum). Matt Fradd says, “when you are at your best, you must prepare for your worst” in regard to fighting pornography addiction. We must flee from sexual immorality as St. Paul says. Leaving a porn addiction behind involves life changes in several aspects. “The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates. Integrity Restored has a great website to helping overcome porn. They list 7 steps in recovering from porn addiction.
1. Honest, Self-knowledge and Commitment
2. Purifying your Life
3. Support and Accountability
5. Spiritual Plan
6. Education and
7. Virtue. We encourage you to visit their website for more information.
The Chase Man or Woman gives to God true worship by dedicating to God's will their Mind, Heart, Soul and Strength-This is to Love God above all things. This is the Shema Israel
Modern Men and Women are in a battle with the World, the Flesh and the Devil-We are all Soldiers of Christ.
THE VIRTUES OF A SOLDIER OF CHRIST
Another way to illustrate the virtues of a genuine man of God is by reference to a good soldier. The relation between a man of God and a soldier will seem either somewhat obvious or a stretch depending upon your larger views of the military and military interventions. If you do not see the connection at this point, I ask you to bear with me briefly, because I think its relevance will soon become apparent.
A good soldier, especially one fit for battle, generally has the following ten traits, among others:
1. He is willing to give his life to protect others.
· Jesus willingly gave his life to save us. He is the Good Shepherd who made good on his promise to give his life for his sheep (John 10:11). Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he handed himself over, he demanded that his disciples be let go (John 18:8).
2. He is task-oriented, and lets his actions speak for themselves.
· From his earliest days, when he announced he was “about the Father’s business” (Luke 2:49), his whole life was dedicated to accomplishing that mission. He lived by the same principles he taught, not to be distracted from his purpose (Luke 10:4), which not even the devil could do by promising him all the power of the world (Matthew 4:9). He let his actions also speak more loudly than his words. As he said once when challenged by the Pharisees, “Even if you do not believe me, believe the works” (John 10:25, 37; 14:10). He backed up each of his discourses with miracles that testified to his power, the greatest miracle and message of all being what he said from the pulpits of the Cross and the empty tomb.
3. He does his duty, even when it is unappreciated.
· Jesus fulfilled his mission even when one of his apostles thought he was less valuable than 30 silver pieces, when the rest of his hand-picked men ran away, when he was hammered to wood by those for whom he was dying, when he was mocked by four different groups as he agonizingly hung from the Cross, wondering all the while, “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). He was the “grain of wheat” that fell to the ground and died, knowing that that seed would hit hardened, rocky, weedy soil in addition to good, but he did it anyway (John 12:24; Luke 8:5ff). Yet, at the end of it all, he cried out in triumph, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) which was the equivalent of “mission accomplished.”
4. He is a man of honor, who is loyal to others and to his principles.
· Jesus kept his dignity, even when being tempted by the devil, tested by the hypocritical Pharisees, beaten by the brutal guards, and mocked by thieves and passersby. He was loyal to his disciples, never abandoning them though they abandoned him; to Israelites, despite the many times they broke God’s covenant; to sinners, no matter what their sin. He was knightly in his protection and care for women in need and danger, like the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well in Samaria, and the woman who washed his feet with her tears in the house of Simon the Pharisee.
5. He is rooted in discipline and strength.
· He called himself the “stronger man” who would overpower the devil and divide his spoils (Luke 11:22), who could calm even the winds and the sea (Matthew 8:27), who would repeatedly say to his frightened followers, “Do not be afraid. It is I!” (Matthew 14:27). His strength was shown most when out of discipline he did not use it, when tempted in the desert or on the Cross. His power was always used not for his own benefit but for others, to teach them the discipline that makes disciples.
6. He may be tender and compassionate but never soft.
· He who was “meek and humble of heart,” who cared compassionately for parents and widows, for the woman caught in adultery, for the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 11:29; Luke 7:12; John 8:3; Mark 6:34), was also capable of driving the money changers from the temple with a whip, calling the Pharisees “whitewashed sepulchers” and telling forgiven sinners to “go and sin no more” (John 2:14; Matthew 23:27; John 8:11).
7. He sees himself as part of a unit, a band of brothers, greater than himself.
· Jesus came from heaven to earth to form a family with the same Father in heaven (Matthew 12:50). To that family, the Church, he gave his whole mission. To the twelve whom he associated most intimately in this task, he gave his own power to turn bread and wine into his Body and Blood and to forgive sins in his name (Luke 22:19-20; Matthew 16:19; John 20:19-23). To the Church he gave his whole message (Matthew 28:18-20). He said that all members of the Church were a part of him, as branches on the vine (John 15:5).
8. He follows the chain of command, without considering it demeaning.
· Jesus said simply, “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me,” “I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me” and “not my will, but thine, be done” (John 5:30; John 8:28; Luke 22:42).
9. He is courageous, even and especially when heroism is required.
· Courage is doing what ought to be done in spite of one’s fears, a virtue Jesus showed us time and again, but especially during his agony and on Good Friday. Despite asking for the cup of suffering to pass from him, he drank it to the dregs, sweating blood-filled perspiration, being beaten, scourged and crucified for our sake (Matthew 26:39).
10. He sees sacrifice as an opportunity to show his character and demonstrate love
· “Greater love has no man than this,” he said, “that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and he evinced that love in hundreds of little ways and unforgettably through his supreme sacrifice. The real Christian man will seek to embody these same virtues. They will help him to become a real soldier of Christ. They will help form him to be another Christ and train him to love others as Christ loves.
2. Mission: To love God with all your mind, heart, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.
a. The Chase man or woman should fast once a week on the day of their choice (suggestion Fridays) giving their total mind, heart, soul and strength to God. After completing the 15 hourly prayers you may break your fast.
b. The Chase man or woman should pray and ask the aid of God and his angels and saints.
- Upon waking and during the day make a prayers of Purity
V. In the Name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Prayer to St. Thomas for Purity
Chosen lily of innocence, pure St. Thomas,
who kept chaste the robe of baptism,
and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels,
we (I) implore you to commend us (me) to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb,
and to Mary, the Queen of Virgins.
Gentle protector of our (my) purity, ask them that we (I),
who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh,
may also share your purity,
and after imitating you on earth
may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.
The Prayer of St. Thomas for Purity
I know that every perfect gift,
and especially that of chastity,
depends on the power of Your providence.
Without You a mere creature can do nothing.
Therefore, I beg You to defend by Your grace
the chastity and purity of my body and soul.
And if I have ever sensed or imagined anything
that could stain my chastity and purity,
blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers,
that I may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service,
offering myself on the most pure altar of Your divinity
all the days of my life. Amen.
Opening Prayer of St. Thomas for Purity
we (I) know that every perfect gift,
and especially that of chastity,
depends on the power of Your providence.
Without You a mere creature can do nothing.
Therefore, we (I) beg You to defend by Your grace
the chastity and purity of our (my) bodies (body) and souls (soul).
And if we (I) have ever sensed or imagined anything
that could stain our (my) chastity and purity,
blot it out, Supreme Lord of our (my) powers,
that we (I) may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service,
offering ourselves (myself) on the most pure altar of Your divinity
all the days of our (my) lives (life). Amen.
Petitions for Chastity with 15 Hail Mary’s: say hourly
1. Dear Jesus, bless our social and cultural climate. Grant that it may be purified of everything contrary to chastity, and that we may have the strength to resist the pressures of prevailing ideologies. “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have conquered the world” (Jn. 16:33) “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37) Hail Mary…
2. Dear Jesus, bless our relationships. Grant that they may be holy, healthy, and honorable at all times. “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart” (1 Pet. 1:22) Hail Mary…
3. Dear Jesus, bless our modesty in our dress and movement. Grant that the way we dress and carry ourselves may veil the mystery of our being, and that we may have the strength to resist the allurements of fashion and the glamour of sin. “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2) Hail Mary…
4. Dear Jesus, bless our five senses. Grant that the things we see, the music and jokes we hear, the food we eat, what we drink, the fragrances we smell and the encounters we have through touch may all be pure and holy. “Seek the things that are above” (Col. 3:1) Hail Mary…
5. Dear Jesus, bless our sensuality. Grant that our impulses may not be captivated by base pleasures, but freed by wisdom and inflamed for what is good. “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4) Hail Mary…
6. Dear Jesus, bless our imagination, Grant that we may be preserved from any fantasies that defile us, that all impure images may vanish, and that we may be protected from all the assaults of demons. “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds…Put on the whole armor of God” (Eph. 4:23, 6:11) Hail Mary…
7. Dear Jesus, bless our memory. Grant that no memories of past experiences may disturb us in any way, but that the Lord may touch and heal us through hope for a better future. “And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 Jn. 3:1) Hail Mary…
8. Dear Jesus, bless our estimation. Grant that we may quickly sense dangers to chastity and instinctively flee from them, that we may never turn away from higher, more difficult, and more honorable goods for the sake of sinful self-indulgence. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Mt. 6:19-20) Hail Mary…
9. Dear Jesus, bless our affectivity. Grant that we may love chastity and rejoice in it, that all of our emotions may cooperate in its growth, and that no sadness, discouragement, fear, insecurity, or loneliness may afflict us unto sexual sin. “For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-12) Hail Mary…
10. Dear Jesus, bless our intellect. Grant that it may be purged of all false beliefs and misunderstandings about human sexuality and that the good angels may flood our intellects with thoughts that are gracious, pure, lovely, honorable, and true. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) Hail Mary…
11. Dear Jesus, bless our will. Grant that it may never be opposed by our sensuality, that it may never be divided or conflicted in the moment, but may hold fast to chastity no matter how difficult it may be. “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.” (2 Cor. 1:19-20) Hail Mary…
12. Dear Jesus, bless our conscience. Grant that it may be swift to judge what is the chaste thing to do, swifter to execute it, and wholly preserved from the suggestions of demons. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14) Hail Mary…
13. Dear Jesus, bless our hearts. Grant that the place where Christ abides in us with the Father and the Spirit may become the place where we live with the Holy Trinity in friendship. “Jesus answered him, ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’ ” (Jn. 14:23) Hail Mary…
14. Dear Jesus, give us the grace of self-surrender. Grant that we may hand over to God nothing less than our whole lives. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk. 23:46) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3) Hail Mary…
15. Dear Jesus, give us Your love. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins.” (1 Jn. 4:10) “But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) Hail Mary…
Heavenly King, Consoler, Spirit of Truth, You who are everywhere present and fill all things, Treasury of all that is good, Choirmaster of Life, Come, dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls O Good One. Amen
V. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE-THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION
Article 1-THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
VI. The Necessity of Baptism
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.
1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
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