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DIWALI 2 Timothy, Chapter 4, Verse 6-8 6 For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 Ash Wednesday

I am He who blots out your transgressions-search within the ashes and find a deep quest for perseverance with the Lord

Deuteronomy, Chapter 8, Verse 5-6
5 So you must know in your heart that, even as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD, your God, disciplines you.  6 Therefore, keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, by walking in his ways and fearing him.

When we fear the Lord our contentment does not come from any absence of problems but from knowingly choosing how to respond to them righteously. God does not want to squash our dreams with His commandments. No he listens and smiles like we do when we see and hear the dreams of a child. Yet, He knows that all dreams must be founded in reality and the truth. When our dreams work against His commandments; our dreams work against us. Every dream must have a foundation of love and in some way must increase the life, liberty or the happiness of others.

Yes, on the Day of Judgment the homes of the poor will be honored more than the great mansions of the rich. Simple obedience to His laws will be more highly praised than the brilliance of all the Kings, Presidents and couriers throughout the world. Strive therefore for dreams which provide earthly gain without the surrender to sin. So, the only real wealth is a clear conscience; of a life well lived. To live righteously, to love chastely, to learn the truth and to leave a legacy to others is the only true riches.

Jesus experienced the utmost depths of human fear. Yet he found the strength even in that hour to trust the Father. “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mk. 15:34) Can we at the final hour have the peace of Christ to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. (Lk . 23:46)[1]

Ash Wednesday[2]

Why is this day so called? Because on this day the Catholic Church blesses ashes and puts them on the foreheads of the faithful, saying, “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou shall return” (Gen. iii. 19).

Why are the ashes blessed? 1. That all who receive them with a contrite heart may be preserved in soul and body. 2. That God may give them contrition, and pardon their sins. 3. That He may grant them all they humbly ask for, particularly the grace to do penance, and the reward promised to the truly penitent.

Why are the faithful sprinkled with ashes? The sprinkling with ashes was always a public sign of penance; as such God enjoined it upon the Israelites (Jer. xxv. 34). David sprinkled ashes on his beard (Ps. ci. 10). The Ninivites (Jonas iii. 6), Judith (Jud. ix. 1), Mardochai (Esther iv. 1), Job (xlii. 6), and others, did penance in sack-cloth and ashes. To show the spirit of penance and to move God to mercy, the Church, at the Introit of the Mass, uses the following words: “Thou hast mercy upon all, O Lord, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made, and winkest at the sins of men for the sake of repentance, and sparing them, for Thou art the Lord our God” (Wis. xi. 24, 25).

Instruction on Lent

What is the origin of fasting? Under the Old Law the Jews fasted by the command of God; thus Moses fasted forty days and forty nights, on Mount Sinai, when God gave him the Ten Commandments; Elias, in like manner, fasted in the desert. Jesus also fasted, and commanded His apostles to fast also. The Catholic Church, says St. Leo, from the time of the apostles, has enjoined fasting upon all the faithful.



Why has the Church instituted the fast before Easter? 1. To imitate Jesus Christ, Who fasted forty days. 2. To participate in His merits and passion; for as Christ could only be glorified through His sufferings, so in order to belong to Him we must follow Him by a life answering to His. 3. To subject the flesh to the spirit, and thus, 4, prepare ourselves for Easter and the worthy reception of the divine Lamb. 5. Finally, to offer to God some satisfaction for our sins, and, as St. Leo says, to atone for the sins of a whole year by a short fast of the tenth part of a year.

Was the fast of Lent kept in early times as it is now? Yes, only more rigorously; for: 1. The Christians of the early ages abstained not only from flesh-meat, but from those things which are produced from flesh, such as butter, eggs, cheese, and also from wine and fish. 2. They fasted during the whole day, and ate only after vespers, that is, at night.

How shall we keep the holy season of Lent with advantage? We should endeavor not only to deny ourselves food and drink, but, still more, all sinful gratifications. And as the body is weakened by fasting, the soul, on the other hand, should be strengthened by repeated prayers, by frequent reception of the holy sacraments, attending Mass, spiritual reading, and good works, particularly those of charity. In such manner we shall be able, according to the intention of the Church, to supply by our fasting what we have omitted during the year, especially if we fast willingly, and with a good intention.

Preparing for Battle[3]
Know Your Enemy

 Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5: 8– 9)

Like it or not, you are at war. No matter who you are— whether or not you know it— you have a mortal enemy who wants to destroy you, not just in this life, but in the next. No matter where you live on this planet— whether or not you can see it— you live on a hotly contested battlefield, and you can’t escape the conflict. It’s a spiritual war with crucial consequences in your everyday life. And the outcome of that war will determine your eternal destiny. The first rule of any type of warfare is to know your enemy.

·         Your adversary is the Devil, with his army of demons. Your battle with him rages not only all around you, but also within you, a fierce conflict for control of your mind, your heart, and your ultimate destiny.
·         Those who deny the devils existence are easy prey.

Prayer before the Crucifix

This prayer is designed to be said within the family before a Crucifix from Ash Wednesday to Saturday at the beginning of Lent.

Prayer

Mother or a child: From the words of St. John the Evangelist (14:1-6).
Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many mansions. Were it not so, I would have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and I will take you to myself, that where I am, there you also may be. And where I go, you know, and the way you know.
Father: We ought to glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
Family: in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection.
Father: Let us pray. Grant to your faithful, Lord, a spirit generous enough to begin these solemn fasts with proper fervor and to pursue them with steadfast devotion. This we ask of you through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.
Family: Amen. Favor this dwelling, Lord, with your presence. Far from it repulse all the wiles of Satan. Your holy angels—let them live here, to keep us in peace. And may your blessing remain always upon us. This we ask of you through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.
Father: Let us bless the Lord.
Family: Thanks be to God.
Father: May the almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless and keep us.
Family: Amen.

Prayer Source: Holy Lent by Eileen O'Callaghan, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1975

Daily Devotions/Prayers

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Prayer before the Crucifix





[1] Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.youcat.org/
[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
[3]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare (Kindle Locations 115-124). TAN Books. Kindle Edition.

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