FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN/VETERANS DAY
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 8, Verse 10-13
10 Meanwhile I saw the wicked buried. They would come and go from the holy place. But those were forgotten in the city who had acted justly. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not promptly executed, the human heart is filled with the desire to commit evil— 12 because the sinner does evil a hundred times and survives. Though indeed I know that it shall be well with those who fear God, for their reverence toward him; 13 and that it shall not be well with the wicked, who shall not prolong their shadowy days, for their lack of reverence toward God.
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.
MARTIN was born in the year 316 in Pannonia, or Hungary, of pagan parents, but he received secret instructions in the Christian religion, and in his tenth year was received into the number of the catechumens, that is, of those who are preparing themselves to receive holy Baptism. At the age of fifteen he became a soldier, being, as is probable, forced to do so by his father, to whom the religion of the boy had become known. Out of love of God he not only kept himself aloof from the excesses so common in this state of life, but he took advantage of it to practice love for man, by dividing his pay among the poor. Being one day solicited for alms by a beggar, and having nothing but his arms and his cloak, he gave him half his cloak. The following night Christ appeared to him, wearing that half of the cloak, and said to him: Martin, who is yet a catechumen, has clothed Me with this garment. Moved by this comforting apparition, he received holy Baptism, gave up the life of a soldier, and betook himself to St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, in France. As he was careful for his own salvation, so also was he careful of the salvation of others, particularly of his parents and relatives, for the sake of whose conversion he undertook a journey to his native land. On his return he built, not far from Poitiers, the first convent in France, into which he received twenty-four monks, with whom he led a strict and virtuous life. His great faith made him like the apostles in regard to miracles, and the fame thereof spread abroad to that degree that, in spite of his refusals, he was chosen Bishop of Tours. This high dignity made no change in his manner of living; rather it increased his humility, his patience under the greatest persecutions, his zeal for the glory of God, his love for his neighbor, and particularly for his enemies. After he had in such manner ruled over his diocese for twenty-six years, being then over eighty years old, the strength of life left him. He thereupon collected his disciples about him, and said: Children, I am dying. They wept and mourned. Moved by their tears, he in his prayers professed himself willing to labor longer if it were God's will. But he had labored for heaven enough, and God desired to place upon him the long-merited crown. With his eyes raised to heaven, he prayed incessantly, allowing himself no relief. At his last moments the enemy sought to confound him by a horrible apparition, but, full of confidence in God, the saint cried out: What do you seek, cruel monster? In me you will find nothing that is yours; and soon after his spirit gently sank to rest. Would that we might learn from this saint truly to love God, and to care not only for our own salvation, but for the welfare of our fellow-men in body and soul! Then we, too, might have nothing to fear in death.
In honor of St. Martin today would be a good day to go through our closets and cut our cloaks in half to donate to the poor.
While serving in Germany myself I have a fond memory of St. Martin Day in which my children participated in the nightime St. Martins Day Parade in the small town of Gersbach, Germany.
On St. Martin's Day, children in Flanders, the southern and north-western parts of the Netherlands, and the Catholic areas of Germany and Austria still participate in paper lantern processions. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. The children sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns. The food traditionally eaten on the day is goose, a rich bird. According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become bishop, which is why he hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese betrayed his location to the people who were looking for him.
Today is Veterans Day let us remember to pray today for both our military and veterans. Also ask today's Holy Saint Martin of Tours to intercede for our military and veterans who have born the yoke of service to this nation.
Veterans Day Facts & Quotes
· In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation urging the nation to support the Veterans Day effort in any way possible.
· During World War II, over 16 million men and women served in the military. The war resulted in over 400,000 deaths.
· The War of Global Terrorism, encompassing October 7, 2001 to May 29, 2012, has seen 54,820 casualties of which 6,456 resulted in death.
· This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. - Elmer Davis
Veterans Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Volunteer at a local VA facility.
· Thank everyone you know who has served in the armed forces.
· Take flowers to the grave sites of deceased military personnel.
· Invite local veterans to a special luncheon in their honor.
· Make a donation of time or money to a local Veterans organization.
Remember we are all in a battle…and…
It shall not be well with the wicked
The most strenuous battles today are that against the ravenous wolf that we call porn. We can safely say, with great sorrow and pain, that one of the most powerful and a prevalent addiction today is that of porn. Because of the easy and all too prevalent availability and access to porn, more and more people—teens and even children—are viewing porn. This being the case, we must have some concrete strategy or game-plan to fight against this powerful enemy of the salvation of our immortal soul. The following are ten positive steps to win the battle. Let us fight the battle, not by ourselves, but with the help of Almighty God and His Blessed Mother!
1. Love of God. First and foremost, I must be convinced of the great love that God has for me. His love for me is infinite, non-changing and eternal. Even when I fall, God still loves me as portrayed in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or you might even call it “The Parable of the Merciful Father.”
2. Battlefield. Our life on earth is a constant battle between good and evil, the spirit and the flesh, light and darkness, the good spirit and the bad spirit. Therefore, we should always be vigilant, prayerful, alert and on guard. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We have to know our weak point, or if you like, our “Kryptonite.” For many, it is to view progressively more revealing images—that is to say, porn.
3. Desolation. When we find ourselves in a state of desolation, that is when the enemy or the devil will attack us. By desolation we mean that in our soul we are experiencing sadness, depression, discouragement, lack of faith, hope, and love. We feel like life has no real meaning and it would be best to simply throw in the towel and give up the fight. Review your life now! Before falling into viewing porn, you were probably in a state of desolation. That being the case, what measures should you take? That is the next step!
4. Prayer and Wholesome Distraction. To exit desolation and the temptation that goes with it—often the temptation to view porn—we must take certain steps to conquer the temptation. First, quick and fervent prayer! We cannot conquer temptation by our own human efforts; we need the grace of God that comes through prayer. Then we should move into wholesome, absorbing, and healthy distractions. Examples? Sports, good conversation with a friend, an absorbing book, a hobby… All of these serve to distract our minds from being engrossed in the desire for porn and giving in to it.
5. Failure (and recovering). If we have the misfortune of falling into the trap and temptation of viewing porn, then we should never give into despair and losing all hope. On the contrary, we should be humble, admit our sin, have recourse to the Sacrament of Confession, and trust in the infinite mercy of God! Remember the consoling words of the Apostle Saint Paul: “Where sin abounds, the mercy of God abounds all the more.”
6. Self-Knowledge. Saint Ignatius of Loyola insists on our having self-knowledge so as to grow in the spiritual life. The daily examen can be invaluable in overcoming any sin or sinful pattern, especially related to lust and the sin or vice of pornography. Addictions are not easy to conquer, but with the grace of God all is possible. The following are the five steps in making a good daily examen:
· Place yourself in the presence of God who truly loves you totally.
· Give thanks to God for all of the blessings He has given you.
· Beg for the grace to see yourself as God sees you in total honesty.
· Reflect on the events of your life, your failures, and why you fell.
· Resolution, Reconciliation. Resolve to amend your life. Change!
7. Joy and Self-Fulfillment. A very key element in conquering the sin and vice of porn is by experiencing joy in our lives. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul insists on joy: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4) Joy comes from the Lord, but it also comes from cultivating a spirit of service and going out of ourselves. Here is a short but helpful acronym for joy. J.O.Y. J= Jesus… O= Others… Y= Yourself. If indeed we put Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last, then we will experience joy, and the dark and bad spirit of porn’s grip will be weakened. Both Saint Philip Neri and Saint John Bosco insisted on creating a joyful atmosphere for the young people. As the flower flourishes in the sun, so the human soul flourishes under the sun rays of joy!
8. Hard Work. It is so true the proverb or saying: “Idleness is the workshop of the devil.” How true this is related to porn! Wherever there is an abundance of free time, which promotes laziness and boredom, then the spirit of lust and the devil of porn work strenuously. Physical labor or sports, mental efforts, and spiritual activities all serve as dams to block the deluge of temptations to seek out porn materials! The saints all agree on this: Let us work hard now and we can rest forever in heaven!
9. Confessor/Spiritual Director. The battle to conquer porn cannot be won alone. Honestly, it has to be fought with the help of a Confessor and Spiritual Director. Both are important and necessary. The following is the reason. Grace and healing come through the Sacrament of Confession which only a priest-confessor can administer. At the same time, a person struggling to overcome and conquer a serious problem with porn needs to be listened to, receive advice and counsel, as well as be held accountable. Therefore, the person of the Spiritual Director is indispensable. The priest-confessor and the spiritual director can be the same person, or they can be two separate persons. Saint Ignatius of Loyola insists that to conquer the enemy, the temptation must be exposed to the light! The devil works in darkness and secrecy!
10. Call on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Experience has proven in the history of the great friends of God—the saints—that a strong, loving, filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has helped immensely to conquer many of the demons, many of the sins, many of the sinful patterns in our lives. Our Lady is especially strong in helping those who entrust their lives to her with the grace to overcome the sins against the virtue of purity. Those who have fallen into porn should consecrate themselves to Mary, pray the Rosary every day, wear the Scapular, and invoke Mary especially in moments of temptation.
“Remember, O gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided!”
Abortion is the worldly cure to the consequences of sexual sin. Yet know that, a shocking new video lays out a diabolical, multi-decade scheme to exterminate the black population in the United States, an agenda that has largely been embraced by the Democratic Party and others on the “progressive” Left. Via abortion, blacks are essentially being exterminated systematically, as statistics demonstrate: Not only is abortion more dominant in black communities, but for every black baby born, three are killed via the procedure. It is, as one African-American pundit called it, “genocide.” Via the primary abortion organization in America — the inaccurately named “Planned Parenthood, which was started by eugenics fan Margaret Sanger in the 1920s specifically to target the black community — minorities are being killed at such an alarming rate that one expert said American blacks are the only demographic on earth not replacing itself. “The goal: To rid the country of the feeble-minded, defectives,” Sanger has been quoted as saying. Said one pundit: “If they [the powers that be] can keep certain segments of the population from reproducing, then all of the world’s problems would disappear.” In the video, titled, “The Science Agenda to Exterminate Blacks,” Natural News founder Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, documents the pattern of heavy metals poisoning, medical experimentation, organ harvesting, covert fertility task forces and other tactics that seek to eliminate blacks from our planet. He notes that abortion centers are predominantly set up in areas of cities where blacks are the majority demographic, and always under the guise of wanting to ‘serve the minority community’ with ‘reproductive rights’ and ‘health care.’ “Abortion marketing is more aggressive toward black communities than it is toward white communities,” Adams said. “The Planned Parenthood/abortion industry needs a steady supply of black women getting pregnant and wanting to terminate those pregnancies in order for them to be able to harvest [fetal] tissue and organs via partial-birth abortions, which are almost all black babies.” While Planned Parenthood and supporters of the organization say that harvested organs and tissues are summarily used for “research” — and no doubt some are — many baby body parts are sold for profit, as an undercover media sting by the Center for Medical Progress proved a couple of years ago, via a series of released videos. And many of those tissues, Adams says, are sold to vaccine makers, which they use to grow “biomass for vaccines.” He pointed out that Natural News has reported on the ingredients lists of some of the most common vaccines — like the flu vaccine and chicken pox vaccines, which clearly state they use “human diploid cell cultures” and “human embryonic lung cell cultures” from aborted babies.
Remember we are all in a battle…and…the fallen are not just veterans…as we see in the victims of porn and abortion…we must give ourselves up entirely to Him so that He will recognize us on the Last Day.
Goffines Devout Instructions, 1896.