Sunday, March 13, 2016
Jeremiah, Chapter 5, Verse 22-24
22 Should you not fear me—oracle of the LORD—should you not tremble before me? I made the sandy shore the sea’s limit, which by eternal decree it may not overstep. Toss though it may, it is to no avail; though its billows roar, they cannot overstep. 23 But this people’s heart is stubborn and rebellious; they turn and go away, 24 and do not say in their hearts, “Let us fear the LORD, our God, Who gives us rain early and late, in its time; who watches for us over the appointed weeks of harvest.”
This stubborn and rebellious nature of people is what led to Christ’s death on the cross. His death was the fulfillment of the proclaiming of God’s name to all the peoples of the world; for over His head was placed a notice: King of the Jews.
It is thought-provoking to contemplate that Pilates notice was printed in three languages Hebrew, Latin and Greek. These three cultures in a sense represented the characteristics of God. The Hebrew’s were Gods people and represented the good of man and brought the idea that the person was created by God and is more valuable than the universe. Latin the language of the Romans brought the idea that truth is the highest value and the Greeks culture brought the idea of beauty being the greatest value. In Christ’s death is represented all three values. That a good God died for man; true to the end; and His shame was turned by love to beauty.
The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, also represent these three values Michael the truth that angels and men are willing to fight for; Raphael the good and Gabriel the beauty. On further reflection I can see these same three attributes reflected the preamble of the US constitution: Life (good); Liberty (truth); and pursuit of happiness (beauty).
We can also recognize that the Name of God which is goodness; truth and beauty is feared by evil men and women when they are inspired by Satan and the demons to take away our life, liberty or our pursuit of happiness.
Surely, it is time for Christians to "rise from sleep," and to offer vigorous resistance to the enemies of salvation. The weapons in this conflict are not the arms of civil warfare, but the spiritual weapons of prayer and penance, increased fidelity to the Commandments of God, and frequent reception of the Sacraments. And surely we can choose no better leader in this conflict than the powerful captain who led the faithful Angels to victory.
Let us, then, with confident trust, invoke the aid and the protection of this mighty Archangel whose shield bears the inscription:
"Michael----Quis ut Deus----Who is like unto God?"
Passiontide the Jews' growing hatred of Christ is recorded in Gospel and makes plain His imminent death.
FROM this day, called Passion Sunday, until Easter the Church--gives herself up entirely to meditation on the passion of Jesus. To-day the crucifixes are covered, in remembrance that from this time until His entrance into Jerusalem Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews. From to-day the Glory Be to the Father is omitted in the Mass, because in the person of Jesus Christ the Most Holy Trinity was dishonored. As on this day the high priests held council about Our Lord, the Church says, at the Introit of the Mass, in the name of the suffering Jesus, the words of the psalmist: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art God, my strength. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth, they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles (Ps. xlii. 1-3).
Consolation under Insults
O friend, what insult can be given to you which your Savior has not suffered? He was called a glutton and a drunkard, a heretic and a rebel, a friend and associate of sinners, and one who had a devil; He was even told that He cast out devils by the prince of devils (Matt. ix. 34). He, therefore, comforts His disciples with the words, “If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matt. x. 25) There is no sorrow so bitter that He has not borne it, for what was more painful and grievous than the death of the cross? Christians, “think diligently upon Him that endured such opposition from sinners against Himself, that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds, at contempt and insult.” (Heb. xii. 3)
Scapulars and Medals
Medals have been part of Catholic life since the early centuries of the Church. The most popular is the cross; even Protestants wear crosses minus the corpus while Catholics wear a crucifix. It is also noted that in the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe she is wearing a cross about her neck. We wear scapulars, too, which are mini habits of the religious orders. Pope John Paul II said that the scapular is a powerful precisely because it is a “habit” in every sense of the word, both a uniform and a pattern of good belief and good behavior. Since 1910, Catholics have been permitted to wear a scapular medal in place of a cloth scapular.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, of the (Brown) Scapular
The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulas, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of St. Benedict as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church, began with the Carmelites. The history of its origin is as follows: During the thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on July 16, 1251, while St. Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said, “Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time. “Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames. “It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end. In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must: 1. Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live chastely. 2. Say every day, if possible, seven times, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father. 3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues. These rules, it is true, are not binding under penalty of sin, but the breach of them deprives us of all merit ; and is not this something to be taken into account? “He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly.” (Cor. ix. 6)
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