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Ember Saturday AUTUMNAL EQUINOX 1 Corinthians, Chapter 14, Verse 32-33 32 Indeed, the spirits of prophets are under the prop...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018


Good Friday
PASSOVER BEGINS AT SUNSET


Baruch, Chapter 6, Verse 27-28
27 Their priests sell their sacrifices for their own advantage. Likewise their wives cure some of the meat, but they do not share it with the poor and the weak; 28 women ritually unclean or at childbirth handle their sacrifices. From such things, know that they are not gods; do not fear them.

Fear! Those who are fearful are ruled by their emotions. What is worst to kill a person’s body or to kill a person’s soul? When a person leads you astray from the Lord they indeed are killing your soul. The soul is meant to be free to do the will of God and when the soul is busy doing the will of God we are indeed happy; even in abject poverty. When a soul is hampered from doing the will of God by another or your own free will this is a form of slavery and God is reminding us that He brought us out of the house of slavery.

To ancient cultures to stone something is to bury it not in earth but in stone so that it will never rise again. What are the things that are leading you astray from God? Should you be stoned? Not that kind 4/20 is next month.

While the horror of slavery is thankfully dead as an institution, it sadly lives on in many other forms in many lives today, all around us, in ways maybe not considered slavery by some. I hope to get you to reconsider. But let’s first define our terms:

Slave: “One that is totally subservient to a dominating influence.”
~ Merriam-Webster

There are 5 basic areas of life in which we can become totally subservient to dominating influences, and thereby live less-than-ideal and something less than happy lives.

5 Ways Slavery is still with Us[1]


1.      Slavery to addictions. Whether we are talking about being enslaved to tobacco or alcohol, or whether we’re talking about enslavement to illicit material online or simply to the TV or to junk food or gossip, any addictions rob us of a measure of freedom and independence. But freedom is required for happiness. So anything that enslaves us limits the degree of joy we can have in life.

2.      Slavery to the office: When spouse and family and our spiritual lives are playing second fiddle to the office, things are likely out of whack. Of course, there will be times, like the first few years of starting a business, when things will be lopsided. But if the office always is master and you are always its servant, then change may be needed for the fullness of a happy life to be experienced. Remember, your family is not a footnote to your journey. They are there in the thick of things, experiencing it with you, alongside you, maybe, in some ways, because of you. So give them the time of day, from time to time!

3.      Slavery to success: When success becomes more important than integrity or honor or self-respect, then our subservience to the call of the dollar sign becomes self-destructive, as all addictions are. Happiness is robbed of its internal rewards when our insides are all twisted inside out as we compromise our values in the pursuit of wealth.

4.      Slavery to pleasure: Is the pursuit of pleasure hurting your relationship with your spouse? Are you pursuing pleasure at the expense of your spouse’s desire? Is that pursuit violating sacred vows and trusts? Are you spending your family into debt as you chase your inclinations from one mountain top to another – or one casino to another – or one vacation to another – or one, well, you get the idea.

5.      Slavery to fear: Does fear and worry prevent you from taking steps to break free of a dissatisfying life? Do you wish for something more, but keep the door closed and locked and continue to do what you’ve always done? Are you trapped in a cycle of sameness, worried that if you tried to start a business, or tried to learn a skill, or tried an adventure on for size, or tried to learn to write or sing or climb, that you would fail and fall and sink and drown?

Afterthoughts


Slavery may be dead as a formal institution of human bondage, but it is alive and well in the hearts and minds and lives of too many people who have the ability to loose the shackles, but haven’t exercised the courage to do it yet.


Good Friday[2]

WHAT does the Church commemorate on this day? The death of Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father, and the Savior of the world, who on this day was scourged, crowned with thorns, and most cruelly crucified between two thieves; through which bitter and ignominious passion and death He accomplished the redemption of mankind.[3]

Attend the Good Friday Service. The sacrifice of the altar is not offered on the day commemorating the sacrifice of the cross, and though communion may be distributed, the faithful are discouraged from receiving it without good reason. Instead, a mournful service is conducted. The priest, vested in black, reads several passages from the Bible, including the Passion account from the Gospel of John. Afterwards, the "Solemn Prayers" or "Collects" are offered on behalf of all classes of men, from the Church to the heathen. This is followed by the veneration of the cross, during which time the dolorous "Reproaches" are chanted. The service concludes with the "Mass of the Presanctified," a solemn communion rite.
Forty Hours' Devotion

It is traditionally believed that the duration of time from Christ's death until His Resurrection is forty hours, from 3 p.m. on Good Friday until 7 a.m. Easter Sunday. As early as the 100s it was customary for some of the faithful to fast and keep vigil during this entire period.

Other Good Friday Customs

 If a devotion of forty hours could not be done, many Catholics observed Good Friday as a day of austerity as best they could. Fasting more than was required was common. Attending the Three Hours' Devotion, or Seven Last Words of Christ, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (the hours our Lord hung upon the cross), has also been popular. Liturgically speaking, this is a relatively new observance, begun in Peru in the early 1700s, but it is a very effective one. An older tradition that has lamentably been forgotten, on the other hand, is that of the Holy Sepulcher, a special shrine set up to house either the Blessed Sacrament or a crucifix which the faithful could visit on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

The Sign of the Cross[4]

The most basic Christian gesture in prayer is and always will be the Sign of the Cross. (Pope Benedict XVI) “…by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal 6:14) Martyrs made the Sign as they were taken to their deaths.

The Sign of the cross is used in every single liturgy of the Church: sacraments, exorcisms, consecrations, and blessings[5]

·         "The sign of the cross is a symbolic expression of the principal mysteries of Christianity, a confession of the Catholic faith. It reminds us of the Crucified, of the price of our redemption, and of the value of our soul; it enkindles love of God, strengthens hope, and animates us to follow Christ on the way of the Cross. It indicates that in the cross we are to find our honor, our salvation, and our life; that we should prefer the folly and weakness of the cross to all the wisdom and power of the world, that, as disciples of the Crucified, we should combat under the banner of the cross and by this sign triumph over all our enemies."
·         St. Francis de Sales: "We raise the hand first to the forehead, saying, 'In the name of the Father,' to signify that the Father is the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity, of whom the Son is begotten and from whom the Holy Ghost proceeds. Then saying, 'and the Son,' the hand is lowered to the breast, to express that the Son proceeds from the Father, who sent Him down to the womb of the Virgin. Then the hand is moved from the left shoulder or side to the right, while saying, 'and of the Holy Ghost,' thereby signifying that the Holy Ghost, as the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, proceeds from the Father and the Son, that He is the Love that unites both, and that we, through His grace, partake of the fruits of the passion. Accordingly the sign of the cross is a brief declaration of our faith in the three great mysteries: of our faith in the Blessed Trinity, in the passion of Christ, and in the forgiveness of sin, by which we pass from the left side of curse to the right of blessing."
·         The Sign of the Cross is likened by the Fathers to the true cross of Christ.
·         The Sign of the Cross is source of all blessings and graces, the weapon and armor of our defense against the evil spirit... as sign of Christ's victory over sin, death, and hell.
·         God has imparted to the sign of the cross an efficacy, because of honors and merits of the Crucified.
·         Efficacy greater if sign of cross made with devout and believing disposition, recollection of mind, devotion of heart, love towards the Crucified.

As this is Good Friday try to see our Lord weighted down with our sins which he carried with him on the way of the cross; that beam was indeed heavy for it was our sins and it tore a great unrecorded wound in his shoulder. I wonder, “What are the five most hateful sins that our Lord bore in that cross?” In an article[6] by Zac Poonen, he proposed that the five most hated sins by our Lord are:

·         Hypocrisy: To be a hypocrite is to give others the impression that we are holier than we actually are. It is the same as being false, or telling a lie. Jesus pronounced a curse on hypocrites seven times in Mt. 23:13-29. Jesus told the Pharisees that their inner life was ""full of self-indulgence"" (Mt. 23:25) - which meant that they lived only to please themselves. God looks at our hearts.
·         Spiritual Pride: We all know the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who despised others even in his prayer (Lk. 18:9-14)! Jesus hated the pride with which he thought of his spiritual activities and with which he despised makes believers constantly judge other believers. Jesus taught that the greatest person in heaven would be the humblest (Mt. 18:4). The greatest virtue found in heaven is humility. This is why it is the first of the seven virtues (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding and Wisdom) of Mary Christ’s mother.
·         Impurity: Impurity enters into our hearts mainly through our eyes and our ears. Anyone who seeks to be pure must therefore be especially careful about what he sees and what he hears. Jesus hated impurity so much that He told His disciples that they should be willing to pluck out their right eye and cut off their right hand rather than sin with those members (Mt. 5:27-29). When do doctors recommend the amputation of the right hand or the surgical removal of an eye? Only when things have become so bad that without the removal of these organs, the whole body would die. This is what we need to understand in relation to sin as well. Sin is so serious that it can imperil our very life. Most believers have not realized this and that is why they are careless in the way they use their tongues and their eyes.
·         Indifference To Human Need: Jesus was angry when the leaders of the synagogue did not want Him to heal a man, just because it was the Sabbath day ""He was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need"" (Mk. 3:5 - Living). We are commanded to do good to all men, especially to the children of God (Gal. 6: 10). Jesus taught that those who did nothing to help their brothers who were in need of the basic necessities of life, would be cast out of His presence in the final day (Mt. 25:41-46). Those who do not help their brothers in need cannot possibly have the love of God dwelling in their hearts (1Jn. 3:17). Jesus spoke out strongly on such matters because He hated the attitude that many religious people had who were concerned only with religious activities but not with helping their needy brothers.
·         Unbelief: Bible speaks of an unbelieving heart as an EVIL heart (He. 3: 12) Jesus rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. (See Mt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:17-20; Mk.16:14; Lk.24:25). It seems that He almost never rebuked His disciples for anything else!! Unbelief is an insult to God, because it implies that God does not care or provide for His children even as much as evil fathers on earth care and provide for their children.

Aids in Battle[7]Know the nature of devils

·         What a terrible revolution in their whole being: In their intellect, no thoughts but of crime! In their will, no love but for evil!
·         There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.
·         Christ gave the Devil power over Himself so that he might be tempted and led into danger and persecuted even to the point of death, so that He might in this way liberate us from the Devil’s power.
·         In the Book of Genesis we find a precise description of lie and falsification of the truth about God, which Satan (under the form of a serpent) tries to transmit to the first representatives of the human race: God is jealous of his own prerogatives and therefore wants to impose limitations on man (see Gn 3: 5). Satan invites the man to free himself from the imposition of this yoke by making himself “like God.”

Passover[8]


Passover (Hebrew: פסח) is a seven day Jewish festival which celebrates the Israelites fleeing from Egypt about 3300 years ago.  Passover is called such because the Israelites marked their door frames with a sign.  It is believed because of this sign God passed over their houses during the plague of the firstborn. The Israelites were servants from the days of Jacob until Moses.  They lived through famine in most of Mesopotamia, including Israel.  The Israelites built store cities for grain in Egypt (possibly, the pyramids).  After 210 years of servitude in Egypt, the Israelites had become 'servant-minded' and did not believe that they could flee.  They fled via the Wilderness of Sinai, where they resided for forty years.

Passover Facts

·         Traditionally, in accordance with Biblical Law, all Orthodox Jews remove all leaven bread, cakes, flour-containing products and flour-derived products from the Jewish home in the weeks before Passover.  These products include beer, whiskey, flour, and all patisserie produces.  Any products remaining on the Eve of Passover are given away to non-Jews, sold or burnt.
·         On Passover, Jews are to eat only unleavened bread (Matzah), baked from flour and water and prepared (mixed and baked) within eighteen minutes.  Unleavened bread symbolizes Israelites leaving Egypt in such haste they could not wait for their bread dough to rise.
·         On the first day of Passover it is customary to hold a Seder Night celebration with family and friends.  During this celebration, the Haggadahis typically read and sang. The Haggadah includes telling the story of  fleeing of the Israelite slaves from Egypt, the fact that their dough could not rise due to the hurried exit, blessings over Matzah, and songs of praise and happiness.
·         Traditionally, for Seder a plate is prepared containing the following: an egg - symbolizing the Chaggigah sacrifice;  a shankbone, symbolizing Passover Lamb;  salt water, symbolizing the tears of the Israelite slaves;  a bitter herb, symbolizing the bitterness of enslavement;  charoset (a mixture of ground apple, cinnamon, wine and sugar) signifying the cement used in the building works;  a vegetable to be dipped in the salt water.
·         The first and seventh days of Passover are considered festivals in which work is not permitted. The intermediate days are Chol Hamoed in which families typically go on hikes and tours, or visit friends.

Passover Top Events and Things to Do

·         Attend a Seder dinner or learn how to make your own Seder.
·         Make Matzahs.  You can watch how to make Matzahs on youtube.
·         Watch a movie that depicts Passover.  Our picks: The Ten Commandments (1956) and The Prince of Egypt (1998).

National Doctor's Day[9]

National Doctor's Day commemorates the nation's doctors, who have dedicated themselves to public service by helping to ensure the good health of US citizens. Doctors are qualified and licensed individuals who practice medicine of all forms. They include many types such as physicians, surgeons, specialists, anesthesiologists and pediatricians, who dedicate their lives to helping, healing and curing the sick and needy. President George W. Bush designated March 30th as National Doctor's Day on October 30, 1990 in an effort to celebrate the sacrifices and contributions made by our nation's doctors.  National Doctor's Day is observed on March 30th every year in the US.

National Doctor's Day Facts & Quotes

·         The red carnation is the symbolic flower used for this holiday.  It is often placed on the gravesites of deceased physicians.
·         Eudora Almond, wife of Dr. Charles Almond, celebrated the first Doctor's Day in Winder, Georgia on March 30, 1933.
·         According to a study by AAMC, the average cost of attending a US Medical school as a nonresident is about $50,000 per year.
·         People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness-they still remain in his debt.  - Seneca, ancient Roman philosopher.
·         A good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease. - William Osler, Canadian physician and founder of John Hopkins Hospital

National Doctor's Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Order a gift for your doctor.  Find something related to medicine such as a spine keychain or even a basket of fruits shaped like bones.
·         Send a personal Thank You Note to your doctor letting them know you appreciate him/her.
·         Place a red carnation on a deceased physician’s grave.
·         Drop by your doctor's office with a free lunch or a snack in appreciation of their dedication towards your health.
·         If you haven't been for a checkup in a while, get one. Your doctor will be happy that you came in.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Nineveh 90 Day 89
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 6 week 9
·         Lenten Calendar Day 45
·         Do 60 min. in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
·         Divine Mercy Novena/Hike Day 1
·         Please pray for me and this ministry


[1] http://meanttobehappy.com/quote-13-from-the-great-emancipator-slave-part-1/
[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[4] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 2. The Sign of the Cross.
[5] http://www.stjosephstoledo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:october-18-2009-homily-the-sign-of-the-cross&catid=14:homilies&Itemid=13
[7]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
[8]http://www.wincalendar.com/Passover

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