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Saturday, January 6, 2017

feast of the epiphany (Traditional)-


Sirach, Chapter 10, Verse 19-24
19 Whose offspring can be honorable? Human offspring. Those who fear the LORD are honorable offspring. Whose offspring can be disgraceful? Human offspring. Those who transgress the commandment are disgraceful offspring. 20 Among relatives their leader is honored; but whoever fears God is honored among God’s people. 21 The beginning of acceptance is the fear of the Lord; the beginning of rejection, effrontery and pride. 22 Resident alien, stranger, foreigner, pauper—their glory is the fear of the LORD. 23 It is not right to despise anyone wise but poor, nor proper to honor the lawless. 24 The prince, the ruler, the judge are in honor; but none is greater than the one who fears God.

By the action of Jesus Christ and the grace of the Eucharist we are no longer human offspring but the very offspring of God. As His offspring we radiate a presence; it affects our whole being. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is real. God’s Holy presence changes us physically, mentally and in a deeper sense within the heart. We are new people. In a similar way Moses face radiated this presence so much his face had to be covered because its glowing terrified the Israelites. In earlier postings we discussed how Sarah; Abraham’s wife was exquisitely beautiful at an advanced age. Those who radiate the presence of God seek His will. They have the right intention giving all things to God. They avoid mortal sin and obey the laws of God. They cherish God in their hearts and seek to do those things that please God. At times we find ourselves so engrossed with our day to day activities and worry about the mundane; much like Saint Martha forgetting “the better part”. If we are to radiate His presence we must be in His presence. Perhaps today would be a good day to develop the practice of putting one item on your daily “To Do” list that you know will please God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church


II. THE VOCATION TO CHASTITY

Chastity and homosexuality


2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

There are a lot of websites that deal with the subject of chastity. One such is Jason Evert’s author of several books on the subject:


First Saturday[1]

The Five First Saturday’s devotion is one of the principal points of the Fatima message. It centers on the urgent need for mankind to offer reparation and expiate for the many injuries that the Immaculate Heart of Mary suffers from the hands of both impious and indifferent men.

On the First Saturday during 5 Consecutive Months, the Devotion consists of:

1. Going to Confession,
2. Receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion,
3. Saying five decades of the Rosary,
4. Meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary.

All this offered in REPARATION for the sins of blasphemy and ingratitude committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

 During the third apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady revealed that she would come to ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and for the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays. Consequently, she asked for the devotion in 1925 and the consecration in 1929. While staying at the House of the Dorothean Sister in Pontevedra, Portugal, Sister Lucia received a vision on December 10, 1925 where the Blessed Mother appeared alongside a Boy who stood over a luminous cloud. Our Lady rested one hand on the Boy’s shoulder while she held on the other hand a heart pierced with thorns around it. Sister Lucia heard the Boy say, "Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother which is covered with thorns with which ingrate men pierce it at every moment with no one to make an act of reparation to pull them out." Our Lady expressed her request in the following words, "See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ingrates pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls." A few days afterward, Sister Lucia detailed this vision in a letter addressed to Monsignor Manuel Pereira Lopes, her confessor when she resided in the Asylum of Vilar in the city of Oporto, Portugal.

Why Five Saturdays?

Sister Lucia’s confessor questioned her about the reason for the five Saturdays asking why not seven or nine. She answered him in a letter dated June 12, 1930. In it she related about a vision she had of Our Lord while staying in the convent chapel part of the night of the twenty-ninth to the thirtieth of the month of May, 1930. The reasons Our Lord gave were as follows: The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:

1.      Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2.       Blasphemies against her virginity
3.       Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
4.       Instilling , indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
5.       Direct insults against Her sacred images

Let us keep the above reasons firmly in our minds. Devotions have intentions attached to them and knowing them adds merit and weight to the practice. 

Modifications to the Five First Saturdays Devotion to facilitate its observation

The original request of Our Lady asks one to confess and receive Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays; to say five decades of the Rosary; to meditate during 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary for the purpose of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparations for the sins of men. In subsequent private visions and apparitions however, Sister Lucia presented to Our Lord the difficulties that devotees encountered in fulfilling some conditions. With loving condescension and solicitude, Our Lord deigned to relax the rules to make this devotion easy to observe:

·         Confession may be done on other days other than the First Saturdays so long as one receives Our Lord worthily and has the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
·         Even if one forgets to make the intention, it may be done on the next confession, taking advantage of the first occasion to go to confession.
·         Sister Lucia also clarified that it is not necessary to meditate on ALL mysteries of the Rosary on each First Saturdays. One or several suffice.

With much latitude granted by Our Lord Himself, there is no reason for the faithful to hesitate or delay this pious practice in the spirit of reparation which the Immaculate Heart of Mary urgently asks.

This devotion is so necessary in our days


The culture of vice and sin remains unabated even as one reads this. Abortion, blasphemy, drug abuse, pornography, divorce and bad marriages, religious indifference, the advances of the homosexual agenda and others are just some of society’s many plagues that cut deeply into the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We must console Our Lady amidst all these insults and injuries to her and her Divine Son. She asks for reparation, she pleads for our prayers, she hopes for our amendment of life. Let us listen to her maternal pleas and atone for the ingratitude of men. The First Five Saturdays devotion stimulates the spirit of reparation; it instills a tender love for the Holy Sacraments of Confession and the Blessed Eucharist. It nurtures a holy affection for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Rosary. Above all, it is an excellent means to maintain one in the state of grace while immersed in the daily spiritual battles and prosaic existence in the neo-pagan world that we live in. Let us not delay in observing this devotion for it too gives us hope for eternal salvation.
Now is the time to plan to attain a religious retreat or conference before Easter. This book was conceived after attending a Marian conference.[2]

Epiphany: the Holy Light of the Manifestations (January 6)[3]


Traditionally today is the Feast of the Epiphany or the day the three kings presented gifts to Christ. They are an example of men who overcame great obstacles and their own fears to come and present gifts to our Lord. They also being wise men knew that they could not trust Herod when he asked them to return to him and tell him where Christ was. It is not always possible to get to a win-win situation and we must also use our wisdom as the three Kings did and know when we must fight, run, do nothing, compromise or prepare for growth. Christ reveals Himself not just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, as the visitation of the Magi makes clear that the Light of Christ did not come to illuminate one nation but all, and so on the Feast of the Epiphany we celebrate His first manifestation (epiphaneia) to the Gentiles, the three Magi who followed His star from the East. This manifestation also leads us to consider other "firsts" -- the first manifestation of His mission at His Baptism and the first manifestation of His power at the wedding of Cana. Hence both are also remembered on the Feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany is one of the greatest feasts of the liturgical year. The twelfth day after Christmas, it concludes Christmastide proper by celebrating the "manifestation," or epiphaneia, of Christ to the Gentiles. To this day the Eastern churches consider Epiphany more important than Christmas. The Holy Spirit's guidance of these wise men to the Holy Land through the aid of a star signifies the calling of all nations, not just the Jews, to the New Covenant. But this "manifestation" to non-Jews also calls to mind other manifestations of our Lord's divinity. The Nativity continues to be remembered as the first crucial manifestation, but so too does the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan, since it affirms both His divinity as well as His humanity. And the wedding of Cana comes to mind because it was Christ's first public manifestation of His power with the transubstantiation of water into wine. (It also comes to mind because the Gospel uses the word "manifest" (ephanerosen) to describe this event (Jn. 2.11).) Finally, the manifestations of Jesus Christ during His earthly existence ineluctably lead us to consider His final manifestation in glory, a manifestation for which we have longed throughout Advent and Christmastide. Hence St. John Chrysostom says in his sermon on Epiphany:

There are two manifestations of Christ, not one. The first is the one which has already happened, His epiphany in the present. The second is the one of the future which will come at the end of time with great splendor and glory. You have heard read today what St. Paul writes to Titus about both of these epiphanies. Concerning the first he says, "The grace of God our Savior has appeared to all men..." About the second he writes, "We look for the blessed hope and glorious coming of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2.11-13) (On the Baptism of Christ).

It is for these reasons that St. Gregory Nazianzus refers to Epiphany as the "the Holy light of the manifestations."

Epiphany Facts & Quotes[4]


·         Epiphany Day is celebrated as a public holiday in Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Denmark and Norway do not have the day off, but do hold special mass and church services. The day is also a holiday throughout much of Eastern Europe.
·         Frankincense, a perfume, and myrrh, anointing oil, were traditional gifts for kings during the time of Christ.  Bodies were also prepared for burial with these items.  These were the gifts that the wise men brought to the baby Jesus.
·         In Latin American culture, Epiphany, which means 'manifestation', is celebrated with plays and special songs that celebrate the coming of the three kings, or magi.  Children  place boxes of hay under their beds for the magi' camels, and in return they receive gifts.
·         In some Eastern Orthodox Christian communities, Epiphany is celebrated by a procession to the nearest river, lake, or pond.  The priest blesses the water and he throws a cross in the waves.  People dive into the water to retrieve the cross, and the one who finds it is thought to be particularly blessed in the New Year.
·         It’s a time to focus on the guiding star and the three men who out of curiosity followed the star to Jesus, -  Martin Mode├║s of the Church of Sweden

Epiphany Top Events and Things to Do

·         Take down any decorations, you should have taken these down on Knut’s Day, the day before Epiphany, but if you’ve been too busy eating, today is the day to get them down.
·         Sing We Three Kings, a traditional Epiphany hymn telling the story of the magi.
·         Go to an Orthodox service and witness a Epiphany procession.  This often includes pageantry of colorful robes and a large bowl of water centered in the middle of the church.  Churches are often decorated with flowers and greenery.
·         In some Western churches, church members share king cake, similar to the pastry served on Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  A coin or bean is cooked into the cake, and whoever receives them gets to wear a crown for a day.
·         Watch a Christmas themed movie. Our favorites include
1) Fanny and Alexander (1982), this film depicts a family in Uppsala, Sweden during the 1900s and is a national favorite.
2) Santa Claus (1990)
3) Elf (2003), Will Ferrell’s modern Christmas classic

Home Blessing for the Feast of Epiphany[5]

Today would also be a good time to honor your Father in heaven by marking your home in chalk; publicly stating who’s you are.

Every year the Carmelite Pre-novitiate Community at Carith House in Chicago on the Feast of the Epiphany blesses their home. We invite you to adopt this custom in your family. The family gathers to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.

A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 18. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2018 is the year.

Blessing the Chalk
V. Our help is the name of the Lord:
R. The maker of heaven and earth.
V. The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in:
R. From this time forth for evermore.
Let us pray.

Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Instructions for Blessing the Home

Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 18 while saying:

The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and sixteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the New Year. Amen.

Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our heart and be manifest in our words and actions the Latin words, Christus mansionem benedictat, “May Christ bless the house.”

Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the Day of Judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 Jn 4:15-19)

49 Godly Character Traits[6]

During this Christmas season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Security vs. Anxiety

Structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away (John 6:27)

2207 The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.

2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.

Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.

2547 The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods. "Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Christmas Calendar
·         Nineveh 90 Day 6
·         Please pray for me and this ministry

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