Thursday, February 18, 2016

Isaiah, Chapter 25, verse 3:
Therefore a strong people will honor you, ruthless nations will fear you.

Pope Emiratis Benedict XVI wrote in his Theology of the Covenant that we are a people of many faiths with one covenant with God. Therefore it is reasonable that strong people will honor us in our faith as we have the same covenant with the living God but may worship in a different way.

What are some of the traits we and our cousins in the covenant may have as strong people? According to the daily elite-the voice of generation Y there are 20 things that strong people DON’T do[1]:

What Strong people DON’T do.

1.      Dwell on the past (but stay in the present).
2.      Stay in their comfort zone.
3.      Refuse to listen to the opinion of others.
4.      Avoid change.
5.      Keep a closed mind (but are open to new ideas).
6.      Let others make decisions for them.
7.      Get jealous over the success of others.
8.      Dwell on the possibility of failure (they keep a positive perspective).
9.      Feel sorry for their selves.
10.  Focus on their weaknesses.
11.  Try to please people.
12.  Blame themselves for things outside their control.
13.  Be impatient.
14.  Let misunderstandings continue.
15.  Feel they are entitled or privileged.
16.  Repeat mistakes.
17.  Give into their fears.
18.  Act without using prudence.
19.  Refuse to help.
20.  Quit.

However, on the other hand, we must realize that ruthless nations will fear a covenant people because ruthless nations are made up of ruthless people and ruthless people fear what they cannot control.

These are 6 assumptions that the ruthless people make according to

·         Emotion is to be avoided in all decision making.
·         No tolerance for incompetence.
·         Never forgive.
·         Punish quickly and brutally.
·         Instill fear in others.
·         Stay focused and determined.

To be a people of the covenant we must remember the urgings of Christ that “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15). “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law of the prophets.” (Mt. 7:12)

Mourning& Veiling[2]

Akin to the asceticism of Lent is its mournful tone. The Church is traditionally draped in purple or black, its organ silenced, and its altar bereft of any flowers. At home medieval Catholics would avoid frivolity or hilarity, and would wear black during either Holy Week or Good Friday.

There is a special mourning custom that also begins on Passion Sunday and ends when the Gloria is sung during the Easter Vigil Mass: covering all sacred images (crucifixes, statues, etc.) with purple cloth in both church and home. This might seem counterintuitive, since one would expect to gaze at a crucifix more during the season when the Passion is being considered. Yet the Roman rite teaches by absence as well as by presence. In an odd way, being denied access to the sacred images alerts you to their presence all the more, in the same way that not having the sacrifice of the Mass on the one day you would expect it the most, i.e., Good Friday, makes one all the more aware of the Sacrifice that took place on that day. Covering sacred images also adds immensely to the sense of sorrow and compunction that should naturally accompany this somber period.

Prayers of Aspiration[3]

As Lent wears on and we begin to feel the pain of self-denial it may help us to have a battle cry to remember our zeal for real change. This is where having memorized inspiring verses can be like flaming arrows against temptations. Aspirations help us to make our lives into a life of prayer. If prayer is a fire, then prayers of aspiration are like logs we place in the flames during the day. Prayers of Aspiration can help us learn how not to remain prisoners of the past and to believe things can be different. Ideally when we are stopped at traffic lights, placed on hold on the phone or other lines waiting we can use these moments to go through our prayers and fill our mind with prayer rather than with anxieties, worries, temptations, resentments and unwelcome memories.

Start a list of memorized Prayers of Aspiration today.

[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 12. Prayers of Aspiration.


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