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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sirach, Chapter 6, Verse 16-17
16 Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them. 17 Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their neighbors be.

It has been said a man is never poor who has friends. If making friends has always been difficult for you try these tips that I gleamed from an old public domain book authored by Henney, Nella Braddy, published in 1922, The Book of Business Etiquette, that has some timeless advice.

·         People are now more dependent on one another than they have ever been before, and the need for confidence is greater. We cannot depend upon one another unless we can trust one another.
·         We ask you, then, to remember that our growth—and your opportunities—depend not only upon the friends we make, but the enemies we do not make.
·         Remember names and faces.
·         Listen to and help those around you.
·         “We are all nobly born; fortunate those who know it; blessed those who remember.”
·         No man has a right to impose his opinions and prejudices, his sufferings and agonies, on other people. It is the part of a coward to whine.
·         A lack of understanding, which is a form of ignorance, is the cause of nearly all discourtesy.

Married love should be a union of two friends but because of human nature each friend in order to give themselves fully to the other must practice the virtue of chastity. To do otherwise is to invite unhappiness.

Catechism of the Catholic Church


II. THE VOCATION TO CHASTITY

2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

The integrity of the person

2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.

2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. "Man's dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end."

2340 Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascetic adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God's commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. "Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity."

2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life. The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.

2343 Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. "Man day by day builds himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and accomplishes moral good by stages of growth."

2344 Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society." Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.

2345 Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort. The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.

Today is the 9th day of Christmas and the nine lady’s dancing is a sign of the fruits of the Holy Spirit for those who are not afraid:  love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

For Catholics today is the Feast of St. Basil who stated, “When I think of all this, I am left terrorized and swallowed up with fear that, because of fickleness of heart or preoccupation with things of no importance, I may weaken in my love of God and even become a reason of shame or disorder for Christ.”


Christmas Calendar[1]

Read: Today we read about St. Basil the Great, revered as a Doctor of the Church.

Reflect: "St. Basil, in a much-quoted homily, once declared that the bread we clutch in our hands belongs to the starving, the cloak we keep locked in our closet belongs to the naked, the shoes we are not using belong to the barefooted. In these ways in the post-biblical age Christians strove to keep a religious perspective on their use of material things." 

Pray: As many prepare to return to work today, say a prayer for work.

Act: St. Basil once wrote, "Do everything possible to make yourself worthy of the Kingdom. Do not disdain the invitation you have received" (Exhortation to Baptism, 7-8).

St. Basil’s Bread[2]

In the Eastern Churches St. Basil's Bread is blessed on his feastday. This blessing has been adapted for home use. The family gathers at the table where the bread is placed along with an icon of St. Basil (if available). The parts marked leader are done by the father or other suitable person.
Prayer
Leader: Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!
All: Amen.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (three times) Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.
Most holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us of our sins. Master, forgive our transgressions. Holy One, come to us and heal our infirmities for Your Name's sake.
Lord, have mercy. (three times)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Leader: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever.
All: Amen.

Troparion - Tone 1 Your voice resounds throughout the world * which has excepted the lessons so well taught by you. * You have given explanation of divine truths. * You have clarified the nature of created things. * You have made a rule of life for men. * By your royal priesthood, O venerable father Basil, * intercede with Christ to save our souls.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

Kondakion - Tone 4 O venerable and heavenly inspired Basil, * you were a firm foundation of the Church * by giving to all treasure * and impressing them with your teachings.
Leader: Let us pray to the Lord. All: Lord, have mercy.

Prayer of Blessing

Leader: O Lord, King of the Ages and Creator of all things; You are abounding in mercy and plenteous in goodness! You accepted the gifts of the Wise Men in Bethlehem. You are the Bread of Life Who came down from heaven. You put times and years under Your authority and hold our lives in Your hands. Hear us on this auspicious day of the beginning of this New Year of (name the year) and bless + this sweet bread which is offered for Your glory and honor and in memory of our Father among the Saints Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappodocia. O Generous One, look down from heaven and send down Your heavenly gifts upon us, those who prepared this bread and all who shall partake of it, because we have placed our hope in You, the Eternal Living God! Bless our coming and going, enrich our lives with Your abundant blessings and direct our steps in the working of Your Divine commandments, because we shall not live by bread alone. Through the intercessions of Your all-pure and holy Mother, of our Father amoung the Saints, Basil the Great, and of all Your Saints, who have pleased You over the ages.
All: Amen.

The leader takes a knife and incises the sign of the Cross in the bottom of the loaf. It is then cut. It is eaten after the prayers are complete.

Closing Prayers

All: Lord, have mercy. (three times)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.
More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who, a virgin, gave birth to God the Word, true Birth-giver of God, we magnify you!

Leader: Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, circumcised in the flesh, through the prayers of His most pure Mother, of Saint Basil the Great, whom we honor this day and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us.
All: Amen.

49 Godly Character Traits[3]

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:

Punctuality vs. Tardiness

Showing high esteem for other people and their time (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.

1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called "capital" because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Christmas Calendar
·         Novena to the Holy Face Day 7
·         Please pray for me and this ministry


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