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Fifth Sunday of Lent
passiontide


Jeremiah, Chapter 32, Verse 39-40
39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me always, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 With them I will make an everlasting covenant, never to cease doing good to them; I will put fear of me in their hearts so that they never turn away from me.

We should have a holy fear of our Priest and Bishops. We should follow their guidance as we would a beloved father or brother. To give us one heart and one way the Bishop of Phoenix asks us men to enter into the breach.[1]

Sometimes we are tempted to follow any leader who is popular. We forget God’s warning about following the proud and evil hearted:

For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts.(Mal 3: 19)

We may think that following the leadership of our bishops is a waste of time.

You have said, “It is useless to serve God; what do we gain by observing God’s requirements, and by going about as mourners-before the LORD of hosts? But we call the arrogant blessed; for evildoers not only prosper but even test God and escape.” (Mal 3:14-15)

God is not a God of the past and continues to this day in the action of raising a man up and He does so in our Priests and Bishops. Just like an architect that uses rocks and sticks to become temples or bridges God uses men to build his Kingdom. Strive therefore to be God’s man or women.

The Practices of a Committed Catholic Man[2]


Given these reflections on Catholic manhood, we move to the practical, that is, how to live like a Catholic man. What practices can help us to take up our cross and follow our King?

If we think of soldiers who do not remain in strong physical and mental shape and who fail to practice the essential combat arts, we know they will not be ready for battle and will be a danger to themselves and their comrades in arms. The same is true for Catholic men; those who do not prepare and strengthen themselves for spiritual combat are incapable of filling the breach for Christ.

While there are many habits and devotions that a Catholic man can form, I charge you with keeping these seven basic practices on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If these practices are not (yet) part of your life, start now!

Daily

1.      Pray every day. Each Catholic man must start his day with prayer. It is said, “Until you realize that prayer is the most important thing in life, you will never have time for prayer.” Without prayer, a man is like a soldier who lacks food, water, and ammunition. Set aside some time to speak with God first thing each morning. Pray the three prayers essential to the Catholic faith: the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Pray also at every meal. Before food or drink touches your lips, make the Sign of the Cross, say the “Bless us, O Lord” prayer, and end with the Sign of the Cross. Do this no matter where you are, with whom or how much you are eating. Never be shy or ashamed about praying over meals. Never deny Christ the gratitude that is due to Him. Praying as a Catholic man before every meal is a simple but powerful way to keep strong and fill the breach.

2.      Examine your conscience before going to sleep. Take a few moments to review the day, including both your blessings and sins. Give God thanks for blessings and ask forgiveness for sins. Say an Act of Contrition.

3.      Go to Mass. Despite the fact that attending weekly Mass is a Precept of the Church, only about one in three Catholic men attend Sunday Mass. For large numbers of Catholic men, their neglect to attend Mass is a grave sin, a sin that puts them in mortal danger. The Mass is a refuge in the Spiritual Battle, where Catholic men meet their King, hear His commands, and become strengthened with the Bread of Life. Every Mass is a miracle where Jesus Christ is fully present, a miracle that is the high point not only of the week, but of our entire lives on Earth. In the Mass, a man gives thanks to God for his many blessings and hears Christ send him again into the world to build the Kingdom of God. Fathers who lead their children to Mass are helping in a very real way to ensure their eternal salvation.

4.      Read the Bible. As St. Jerome so clearly tells us, “Ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” When we read God’s word, Jesus is present. Married men, read with your wife and your children. If a man’s children see him read the Scriptures, they are more likely to remain in the Faith. My brothers in Christ, this I can assure you: men who read the Bible grow in grace, wisdom, and peace.

5.      Keep the Sabbath. From the creation of Adam and Eve, God the Father established a weekly cycle ending with the Sabbath. He gave us the Sabbath to ensure that one day out of seven we will give thanks to God, rest, and be refreshed. In the Ten Commandments, God asserts anew the importance of keeping the Sabbath. With today’s constant barrage of buying and selling and the cacophony of noisy media, the Sabbath is God’s respite from the storm. As Catholic men, you must begin, or deepen, keeping the holiness of the Sabbath. If you are married, you must lead your wives and children to do the same. Dedicate the day to rest and true recreation, and avoid work that is not necessary. Spend time with family, attend Mass, and enjoy the gift of the day.

Monthly

1.      Go to Confession. At the very start of Christ’s public ministry, Jesus calls on all men to repent. Without repentance from sin, there can be no healing or forgiveness, and there will be no Heaven. Large numbers of Catholic men are in grave mortal danger, particularly given the epidemic levels of pornography consumption and the sin of masturbation. My brothers, get to Confession now! Our Lord Jesus Christ is a merciful King who will forgive those who humbly confess their sins. He will not forgive those who refuse. Open your soul to the gift of our Lord’s mercy!

2.      Build fraternity with other Catholic men. Catholic friendship among men has a dramatic impact on their faith lives. Men who have bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men pray more, go to Mass and Confession more frequently, read the Scriptures more often, and are more active in the Faith. Proverbs tells us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). I call on each of our priests and deacons to draw men together in their parishes and to begin to rebuild a vibrant and transforming Catholic fraternity. I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the faith. There is no friendship like having a friend in Christ.



Catholic Calendar -Fifth Sunday of Lent[3]

Read: During Lent we often hear about the Jewish tradition of Passover. Today, let's get some answers about Catholic-Jewish relations.

Reflect: Take extra time with the readings today with the art of lectio divina. . . .

Pray: "Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord; and where I am, there also will my servant be." (Jn 12:26, Lectionary, Gospel Acclamation)

Act: Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent, and in two weeks, we will celebrate Easter and the Resurrection of Christ. Do an honest check-in with yourself today on your Lenten spiritual journey so far. Only two weeks left!

Bible Study[4]

The Bible is a weapon and in the hands of the untrained, “You could shoot your eye out kid”. Therefore the Bible should be handled with care. Using an approved translation of the Bible; we should approach scripture reading in light of the liturgy and church Dogmas. “Dogma is by definition nothing other than an interpretation of Scripture.”(Pope Benedict XVI) Dogmas are the Church’s infallible interpretation of Scripture. In the 1970’s the Catholic Church revised its lectionary—the order of scriptural readings for the Mass. The readings now unfold in a three-year cycle and include almost all the books of both testaments of the Bible. The great thing about lectionary is that it presents the scriptures and also teaches us a method of understanding the Scriptures: Showing us a consistent pattern of promise and fulfillment. The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed the New. Perhaps a good practice would be for us to read the daily scripture in the lectionary; maybe even before Mass.

Lectio Divina[5]


"Lectio Divina", a Latin term, means "divine reading" and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo's description remains fundamental.

1.      He said that the first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.

2.      The second stage is meditatio (reflection) where we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

3.      The third stage is oratio (response) where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

4.      The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.

These stages of Lectio Divina are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart. How much time should be given to each stage depends very much on whether it is used individually or in a group.

The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.

Aids in Battle[6] When the enemy seeks to discourage

When dismayed or grieved let these scriptural promises lift up your soul in trust and hope. Listen to our Lords words of encouragement, and consolation.


·         Because children have blood and flesh in common, so He in the same way has shared in these, so that through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is, the Devil; and might deliver them who, throughout their life, were kept in servitude by fear of death. Heb 2: 14– 15
·         Christ has risen from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also comes resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made to live. But each in his own turn, Christ as first-fruits, then those who are Christ’s, who have believed, at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He does away with all sovereignty, authority, and power. For He must reign until “He has put all things under His feet.” 1 Cor 15: 20– 25
·         You shall not fear them; for it is the LORD your God who fights for you. Dt 3: 22
·         You draw near this day to battle against your enemies: Let not your heart faint; do not fear, or tremble, or be in dread of them; for the LORD your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. Dt 20: 3– 4
·         No evil will befall the man who fears the LORD, but in trial He will deliver him again and again. Sir 33: 1
·         I give them everlasting life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. Jn 10: 28

Passion Week[7]

The focus of Passiontide is to meditate on the Jews' growing hatred of Christ recorded in the Gospel and makes plain His imminent death. FROM this day, called Passion Sunday, until Easter the Church--gives herself up entirely to meditation on the passion of Jesus. Today the crucifixes are covered, in remembrance that from this time until His entrance into Jerusalem Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews. From to-day the Glory Be to the Father is omitted in the Mass, because in the person of Jesus Christ the Most Holy Trinity was dishonored. As on this day the high priests held council about Our Lord, the Church says, at the Introit of the Mass, in the name of the suffering Jesus, the words of the psalmist: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art God, my strength. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth, they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles (Ps. xlii. 1-3).

Consolation under Insults

O friend, what insult can be given to you which your Savior has not suffered? He was called a glutton and a drunkard, a heretic and a rebel, a friend and associate of sinners, and one who had a devil; He was even told that He cast out devils by the prince of devils (Matt. ix. 34). He, therefore, comforts His disciples with the words, “If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matt. x. 25) There is no sorrow so bitter that He has not borne it, for what was more painful and grievous than the death of the cross? Christians, “think diligently upon Him that endured such opposition from sinners against Himself, that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds, at contempt and insult.” (Heb. xii. 3)

Passiontide Customs[8]

The main custom for Passiontide is the veiling of all sacred images in home and church with purple cloth. This custom originated in ancient times, when the images in the papal chapel of the Vatican were covered after the words of the Passion Sunday Gospel, "Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple" (Jn 8.59), were pronounced.


Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Nineveh 90 Day 77
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 1 week 8
·         Lenten Calendar Day 33
·         Do 50 min. in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
·         Please pray for me and this ministry



[4] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 16. Bible Study.
[6]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
[7] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.

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