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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016 Ember Day

Please pray for Diane the mother of my seven children and for her children who celebrate the one year anniversary of her death.

Isaiah, Chapter 29, verse 13-14
13 The Lord said: Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, And fear of me has become mere precept of human teaching, 14 Therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion: The wisdom of the wise shall perish, the prudence of the prudent shall vanish.

This verse deals with spiritual blindness and perversity of the Israeli Leaders. The Israelis failed to apply the standards of God’s covenant in their military and political plans. They failed to pray and offer to God their concerns and because of their unbelief they merely made a show of their piety. They rejected the advice of their prophet’s.

Nothing ever changes. The key to living a life fearlessly is to have our hearts close to God’s. When we do this we will soon discover that the mind is designed to implement your heart’s desire. Is your heart at peace? What are the desires of your heart? What should the desires of our hearts be? The old Baltimore catechism states that our purpose and our desires should be to know, love and serve the Lord.

According to paragraph 1718 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it: We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated. How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you. God alone satisfies.

When our desires are not on God we become spiritually ill. Christ implemented the sacrament of reconciliation to heal our hearts.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis recently commented that without daily prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily contact with God’s Word, and a “spirituality translated into charity,” we may die spiritually. 

Pope Francis went on to list 15 spiritual “sicknesses” that are “more usual” in “our life”.
The 15 include not being self-critical and thinking oneself indispensable, “Martha-ism” (excessive Martha-like busyness), hardheartedness, excessive planning, failing to work with others, “spiritual Alzheimer’s” (forgetting one’s spiritual journey), and rivalry and vainglory.

Other spiritual sicknesses, the Pope added, include existential “schizophrenia” (living a double life that is “often dissolute”), gossip, careerism and flattering superiors, indifference to others, a severe “funeral face” (rather than self-deprecating good humor), the “disease of closed circles,” and “worldly profit, exhibitionism” (through “calumniating, defaming, and discrediting others,” even in the media “in the name of justice and transparency”).

These temptations, he continued, are a danger to every Christian and every community.[1]

Attend the Stations of the Cross today.

Stations of the Cross[2]

 

Though technically only the last fourteen days of Lent explicitly consider the sufferings of our Lord, the Stations of the Cross (a.k.a. the Way of the Cross) have long been a popular Lenten devotion for any or all of the forty days (though they tend to be done on Fridays). These fourteen scenes from the via dolorosa, the sorrowful path that Christ took while carrying His cross to Golgotha, help direct one's heart to the mysterium fidei of our Lord's selfless sacrifice.

Examination of Conscience (Daily)[3]

We should along with our morning offering to God and reception of the sacraments of confession and Holy Communion do some daily accounting if we are going to make improvements. We should try to see ourselves and ask God to help us see our day as He sees it by examining our conscience. Spiritual writers usually divide the daily examination into two parts general and particular. The general exam is an overall review of the day and should be done in the evening and the particular exam is done throughout the day on how we are doing in those areas where our rebellion is the greatest or in acquiring a certain virtue. The general examination is a weapon of defense. The particular exam is of attack. The first is the shield. The second is the sword (St. Josemaria Escriva). Most people make their general exam near bedtime (This should cure any sleeping problems). Some people make their particular exam at noon so they can redouble efforts for the rest of the day. In the evening when we do the general exam we should consider the whole day both the big things and the little. I always ask our Lord, what Have I done NOT SO well today; and listen? Next comes the question, “Lord, what have I done well? Finally, I ask, Lord, what are your concerns? One aspiration we should have in our arsenal that we can use at the end is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” One thing not to do is give up. Ask Him for help. Gaining a virtue or losing a habit of sin might take time; but we will WIN.




[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 15. Examination of Conscience.






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