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Monday, February 19, 2018


Clean Monday
PRESIDENTS DAY

You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God.

Isaiah, Chapter 41, verse 13-14
13 For I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, do not fear, I will help you. 14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you maggot Israel; I will help you—oracle of the LORD; the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.

I picture Christ, the Holy One of Israel, saying this to Peter at the Sea of Galilee as He pulls Peter up after he had walked on the water and feared the waves and began to drown “I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand”. We must not waiver when we feel covered over by the waters of fear for He will help us.  When in fear if we cry out for his help He will grab us by the hand and bring us back in to the boat; which is His church.

Let us not be children of fear but children of faith. In fact the opposite of Faith is fear. Napoleon Hill author of the bestselling book THINK AND GROW RICH stated in his unpublished manuscript entitled “Outwitting the Devil” that the devil uses fear to manipulate and control us. Hill uses an imaginary conversation with the devil where the devil states:  Once I capture the mind of a child, through fear, I weaken that child’s ability to reason and to think for himself, and that weakness goes with the child all through life. According to Hill the secret to freedom and success is to break the chains of fear and realize that failure and defeat are only a temporary experience. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt in his first in inaugural address as President of the United States realized this when he stated, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” As a new President he realized the power of fear and he also realized the power of courage. Mindful of this let us go forth manfully to face our fears and change ourselves, our families and our nation realizing--He grasps our hand—He will help us! This is true wisdom!

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.(Jer. 17:7-8)

THE TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)

King Richard was glad to see all the Grand knights and their sons preparing for the Quest. Why even Sir Michael sent for his God-son Gabriel to be part of the great quest. Gabriel was the son of Henry, Sir Michael’s brother. Henry was not a member of the royal court and lived deep in the forests of Utopia. Henry had renounced his birthright, by his marriage to a simple peasantry woman, named Diane, who was known not only for her beauty but also for her intelligent mind and loving ways. Diane and Henry had raised Gabriel quite different from the other young men of Utopia. He was taught all the great sciences of the time and his father trained him in the Knightly arts. He was a young man of strength in both mind and body. That was why Sir Michael chose him to be his Sergeant at Arms on the great crusade to find the Tree of Happiness.

When Gabriel got the word that he was to go with his uncle he was in his most favorite places to be. He was in the upper most branches of the oldest oak tree in the forest. It was said of the tree that it was used as a meeting place for Mass when St. Dennis first brought Utopia to the church over 500 years ago and if this was true it would make the tree at least 600 years old. Gabriel always loved it here. This was his special place. This was the place where he spoke with his creator. It was here he developed his strength of mind and by climbing the great tree he also developed his physical strength.

After Gabriel joined Sir Michael, King Richard and the rest of the Crusaders visited many faraway lands in search of the Tree of Happiness. They fought many battles (which are stories themselves) they learned the value of friendship, duty and the worth of selfless service. The king and his Knights found themselves returning to the beliefs of the church and strangely found themselves happy although suffering in hardships together. After five years of searching, they found their selves approaching Utopia having never found the Tree of Happiness and having a sense of failure. Gabriel now a Knight himself, found they were approaching the tree of St. Dennis, his special place, in the middle of a terrible storm. As they approached the tree, Gabriel was mentioning to King Richard how this tree was a special place to him and they camped there for the night to wait out the storm. Gabriel had just finished mentioning this to King Richard when a great bolt of lightning struck the great tree splitting it. Sadly Gabriel went to bed.

In the morning Gabriel, Sir Michael, King Richard and the company of Knights approached the split tree. As they approached they discovered buried within the tree a crucifix that had been attached to the tree and the tree had grown around it. The crucifix was the cross of St. Dennis which had the following words inscribed upon it, “Upon this tree (cross) God hung in payment for our sins and love for us. THIS is the true Tree of Happiness.”

Clean Monday[1]-Traditional time for going to confession

Clean Monday, also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is the first day of Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Christian, Saint Thomas Christians of India and Eastern Catholic churches. It is a moveable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday. The common term for this day, "Clean Monday", refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. It is sometimes called "Ash Monday", by analogy with Ash Wednesday (the day when the Western Churches begin Lent). The term is often a misnomer, as only a small subset of Eastern Catholic Churches practice the Imposition of Ashes. The Maronite Catholic Church and The Mar Thoma Nasranis of India-Syro-Malabar Catholic Church are notable amongst the Eastern rite that employs the use of ashes on this day. Liturgically, Clean Monday—and thus Lent itself—begins on the preceding (Sunday) night, at a special service called Forgiveness Vespers, which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love. The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as "Clean Week", and it is customary to go to Confession during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly. The theme of Clean Monday is set by the Old Testament reading appointed to be read at the Sixth Hour (noon) on this day (Isaiah 1:1–20), which says, in part:

Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool (vv. 16–18).

Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, a notion which was used symbolically in Ivan Bunin's critically acclaimed story, Pure Monday. The happy, springtime atmosphere of Clean Monday may seem at odds with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control, but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the Orthodox approach to fasting, in accordance with the Gospel lesson (Matthew 6:14–21) read on the morning before, which admonishes:

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret... (v. 16–18).

In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that "The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..."

President's Day[2]



President's Day, or Washington's Birthday as it is still legally known, was originally designed as a celebration of George Washington's birthdate.  In 1880, Congress voted to make this the first national holiday which honored an individual.  In 1968, Congress enacted the Uniform Monday Bill, to give workers as many long weekends as possible. This moved as many holidays to a standard Monday each year.  Many states were already honoring Abraham Lincoln's birthday, February 12th, and this celebration was combined with George Washington's birthday, for one federal holiday.  It is observed on the third Monday in February each year.

President's Day Facts

·         According to the Julian calendar, Washington was born February 11, 1732.  The Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1752, changing Washington's Birthday to February 22.
·         Since 1888, Washington's Farewell Address has been read aloud in the U.S. Senate on February 22nd.
·         George Washington was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, first U.S. President, and President of the Constitutional Convention.
·         Presidents Day never falls on Washington's actual birthdate (Feb. 22).  The third Monday in February can never be any later than February 21st.

President's Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Visit Mt. Vernon, VA, Washington's ancestral home and place of both he and his wife Martha's tomb.  Admission is free on President's Day.
·         Go shopping for a car.  Presidents day weekend typically features some of the best car deals of the year as dealers try to clear out prior-year inventory.
·         Read George Washington's Farewell Address and reflect on his contributions to United States.
·         Read Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and reflect on his contributions to the United States.
·         Visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Lenten Calendar[3]-10 Things to Remember For Lent

1.      Remember the formula. 10 Commandments, 7 sacraments, 3 persons in the Trinity. For Lent, the Church gives us almost a slogan—Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving—as the three things we need to work on during the season.

2.      It’s a time of prayer. As we pray, we go on a journey over 40 days, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him. 

3.      It’s a time to fast. With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast. And maybe that’s why it gets all the attention. “What are you giving up for Lent? Hotdogs? Beer? Jelly beans?” It’s almost a game for some of us, but fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ.  

4.      It’s a time to work on discipline. Set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. “I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to be nicer to my family, friends and coworkers.” 
 
5.      It’s about dying to yourself. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that it’s about more than self-control – it’s about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent, and we join in these mysteries by suffering, dying with Christ and being resurrected in a purified form.  

6.      Don’t do too much. It’s tempting to make Lent some ambitious period of personal reinvention, but it’s best to keep it simple and focused. There’s a reason the Church works on these mysteries year after year. We spend our entire lives growing closer to God. Don’t try to cram it all in one Lent. That’s a recipe for failure.  

7.      Lent reminds us of our weakness. Of course, even when we set simple goals for ourselves during Lent, we still have trouble keeping them. When we fast, we realize we’re all just one meal away from hunger. Lent shows us our weakness. This can be painful, but recognizing how helpless we are makes us seek God’s help with renewed urgency and sincerity. 

8.      Be patient with yourself. When we’re confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. “What a bad person I am!” But that’s the wrong lesson. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love.  

9.      Reach out in charity. As we experience weakness and suffering during Lent, we should be renewed in our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering or otherwise in need. The third part of the Lenten formula is almsgiving. It’s about more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collection plate; it’s about reaching out to others and helping them without question as a way of sharing the experience of God’s unconditional love.  

10.   Learn to love like Christ. Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ, who suffered and poured himself out unconditionally on cross for all of us. Lent is a journey through the desert to the foot of the cross on Good Friday, as we seek him out, ask his help, join in his suffering, and learn to love like him.

The Devil and Temptations[4]

There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way.
Spiritualists or Spiritualistic Churches

·         Spiritualism involves a communication with the dead or with the spirit world by some psychic or occult means.
·         Great care is to be used because many people are fooled. There can be the use of the Bible, holy water, statues of saints and Catholic hymns. Spiritualists often believe in the Fatherhood of God, doing good to others, personal responsibility for what one does, reward for good deeds and punishment for evil deeds. Many are Christian or even Catholic and profess faith in Jesus.
·         There is always a dangerous attempt to communicate with the dead or with spirits in some way. It can be through a seance, or perhaps the person just seems to go into a trance.
·         Spiritualists are involved in healing, witchcraft, fortune telling or even blessing homes to protect them. Sometimes they believe in reincarnation as well.

Reincarnation (Theosophy)

·         This is the belief that the soul, after death, passes into the body of another human being, an animal, a plant or even an object. Many oriental religions or cults believe this. In Hinduism the god Vishnu is believed to have several reincarnations as a fish, a dwarf, as the person of Rama, and as Krishna in the different ages of the world. This is contrary to the Bible and to all Christian belief in the afterlife. "It is appointed that men die once, and after death be judged" (Heb. 10:27). Those involved with spiritualists must renounce Satan, renounce spiritualism, ask God's pardon, and confess their sin to a priest.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Nineveh 90 Day 49
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 2 week 4
·         Lenten Calendar Day 6
·         Please pray for me and this ministry


[3]http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/journey-to-the-foot-of-the-cross-10-things-to-remember-for-lent.cfm

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