I sought the lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Deuteronomy, Chapter 14, Verse 22-23
22 Each year you shall tithe all the produce of your seed that grows in the field; 23 then in the place which the LORD, your God, chooses as the dwelling place of his name you shall eat in his presence the tithe of your grain, wine and oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, that you may learn always to fear the LORD, your God.
The way I read this is God wants you to celebrate life; you shall eat in his presence the tithe of your produce. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone did this! If we all took time off with a tenth of the money we made to celebrate with God and our family and friends together. What a different world it would be. Imagine all the celebrations you would attend. Maybe we should all strive to take a 40 day retreat/celebration. Save your money for this! What is on your bucket list; perhaps the Lord wants you and me to cross off some of those things in His presence. If I were young again this is how I would budget: 10% for His Presence (30 to 40 days’ vacation); 10% for charity/church; 10% savings and live off the 70 percent; that is after the government takes their 50%. Imagine if there was a flat tax…….A good resource for financial advice is a book entitled, “The Richest Man in Babylon”
The weapon of Eucharistic adoration
Outside of Mass, the other great refuge from the Devil and his wiles is prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. St. John Bosco used to tell the boys who were under his care:
· Listen: There are two things the Devil is deathly afraid of: fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament.
· Do you want Our Lord to grant you many graces? Visit him often.
· Do you want Him to grant you only a few? Visit Him only seldom.
· Do you want the Devil to attack you? Rarely visit the Blessed Sacrament.
· Do you want the Devil to flee from you? Visit Jesus often.
· Do you want to overcome the Devil? Take refuge at Jesus’ feet.
· Do you want to be overcome by the Devil? Give up visiting Jesus.
· Visiting the Blessed Sacrament is essential, my dear boys, if you want to overcome the Devil. Therefore, make frequent visits to Jesus. If you do that, the Devil will never prevail against you.
While visiting the Lord today reflect on the story of Felicity and Perpetua.
Martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua
Perpetua was twenty-two, well born, married and the mother of a tiny son still at her breast. Felicitas, an expectant mother, was a slave. They were among five catechumens whose arrest and imprisonment was meant as a warning to the other Christians in Carthage in the year 203. Tormented by her father who was a pagan and wanted her to apostatize, terrified by the darkness and stifling heat of the dungeon where they were imprisoned, Perpetua's greatest suffering nevertheless was for her baby who was with her. Baptism, however, drove away her fears and with the coming of the Holy Spirit she was at peace and the prison became to her as a palace; in visions she learned the manner of their martyrdom and caught glimpses of what awaits souls in the life after death. Among these was a vision of Purgatory where she saw her little brother Dinocratus suffering. Dinocratus had died when he was only seven, painfully ulcerated about the face. Perpetua saw him "coming out of a dark place where there were many others," dirtily clad, pale, with the wound still on his face, and he was very hot and thirsty. Near him was a fountain but its brim was higher than he could reach and, though he stood on tiptoe, he could not drink. By this vision she knew he needed her prayers, and she prayed for him night and day. On the day the Christians were put in stocks, she had another vision and saw Dinocratus freed. This time he was clean and finely clothed, on his face was a clean scar and beside him a low fountain reaching only to his waist. On the edge of the fountain was a golden cup ever full of water, and Dinocratus drank. "And when he had drunk he came away — pleased to play, as children will." In the meantime, Felicitas was worried for fear her baby would not be born in time for her to die for Christ with her companions. There was a law which forebade throwing even a Christian woman to the wild beasts if she was with child. Three days before they were to go to the arena they prayed God would permit the birth of her child, and as soon as their prayers were done, her labor began. She gave birth to a little girl who was afterward adopted by her sister. At last the scene of their martyrdom and in it Perpetua and Felicity were told to put on the garments of pagan priestesses, the two refused and so were stripped naked, covered with nets, and sent to face assault by a maddened cow said to have been used in insult to their womanhood and their maternity. Strangely enough the audience — screaming for blood though it was — yet was touched by the sight of these two so young and so valiant, and the people shuddered. Perpetua and Felicitas were called back and clothed in loose robes. Now Perpetua was thrown, her garment rent and her thigh gored. Regaining her feet, she gathered her tunic over her thigh so in suffering she would not appear immodest, and looking about found her fallen hair ornament and repinned her hair lest one soon to be a martyr seem to grieve in her glory. Looking for Felicitas, she gave assistance to her and standing together they awaited another attack. But the mob cried, "Enough," and the two were led off to the headsman's block. Catching sight of her brother, Perpetua cried out: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." Felicitas was struck down first then Perpetua — but only after the nervous swordsman had struck her once and failed to sever her head. The second time she guided his sword with her own hands. So brave, and so full of love; perhaps if she were dying now she would exhort us to be brave and full of love in slightly different words. Perhaps she would cry out, "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our color be a stumbling block to you." Perpetua was white and Felicitas was black.
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.