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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


SAINTS FILICITY AND PERPETUA


Jeremiah, Chapter 2, Verse 19
Your own wickedness chastises you, your own infidelities punish you. Know then, and see, how evil and bitter is your forsaking the LORD, your God, and your showing no fear of me, oracle of the Lord, the GOD of hosts.

Fear begets fear and Faith begets faith.

Do not fear and continue in faith with our fathers knowing that St. Michael, the archangel, is the guardian angel and protector of the Catholic Church.

Some people believe we are on the cusp of the end times. Pope Leo XIII[1] by divine enlightenment was revealed the struggles of the Church against the powers of hell and it was opened to him that hell would be conquered by the intervention of God led by St. Michael the warrior angel. Pope Leo instituted the prayer of St. Michael after Mass.

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

 

Yet, do not fear the end times or the devil and his cohorts for each time you receive communion you are empowered more then they! Napoleon Hill uses an imaginary conversation with the devil in his manuscript “Outwitting the devil”[2] to enlighten us on the tactics that he uses to enslave us to sin:

Q. Tell me of the most common habits by which you control the minds of people.
          
A. That is one of my cleverest tricks: I enter the minds of people through thoughts which they believe to be their own. Those most useful to me are fear, superstition, avarice, greed, lust, revenge, anger, vanity, and plain laziness. Through one or more of these I can enter any mind, at any age, but I get my best results when I take charge of a mind while it is young, before its owner has learned how to close any of these nine doors. Then I can set up habits which keep the doors ajar forever.

Examination of Conscience (Daily)[3]

We should along with our morning offering to God and reception of the sacraments of confession and Holy Communion do some daily accounting if we are going to make improvements. We should try to see ourselves and ask God to help us see our day as He sees it by examining our conscience. Spiritual writers usually divide the daily examination into two parts general and particular. The general exam is an overall review of the day and should be done in the evening and the particular exam is done throughout the day on how we are doing in those areas where our rebellion is the greatest or in acquiring a certain virtue. The general examination is a weapon of defense. The particular exam is of attack. The first is the shield. The second is the sword (St. Josemaria Escriva). Most people make their general exam near bedtime (This should cure any sleeping problems). Some people make their particular exam at noon so they can redouble efforts for the rest of the day. In the evening when we do the general exam we should consider the whole day both the big things and the little. I always ask our Lord, what Have I done NOT SO well today; and listen? Next comes the question, “Lord, what have I done well? Finally, I ask, Lord, what are your concerns? One aspiration we should have in our arsenal that we can use at the end is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” One thing not to do is give up. Ask Him for help. Gaining a virtue or losing a habit of sin might take time; but we will WIN.

Preparing for Battle[4] Know Your Weapons

The weapon of Eucharistic adoration

Outside of Mass, the other great refuge from the Devil and his wiles is prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. St. John Bosco used to tell the boys who were under his care:

·         Listen: There are two things the Devil is deathly afraid of: fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament.
·         Do you want Our Lord to grant you many graces? Visit him often.
·         Do you want Him to grant you only a few? Visit Him only seldom.
·         Do you want the Devil to attack you? Rarely visit the Blessed Sacrament.
·         Do you want the Devil to flee from you? Visit Jesus often.
·         Do you want to overcome the Devil? Take refuge at Jesus’ feet.
·         Do you want to be overcome by the Devil? Give up visiting Jesus.
·         Visiting the Blessed Sacrament is essential, my dear boys, if you want to overcome the Devil. Therefore, make frequent visits to Jesus. If you do that, the Devil will never prevail against you.


While visiting the Lord today reflect on the story of Felicity and Perpetua.


Martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua[5]

Perpetua was twenty-two, well born, married and the mother of a tiny son still at her breast. Felicitas, an expectant mother, was a slave. They were among five catechumens whose arrest and imprisonment was meant as a warning to the other Christians in Carthage in the year 203. Tormented by her father who was a pagan and wanted her to apostatize, terrified by the darkness and stifling heat of the dungeon where they were imprisoned, Perpetua's greatest suffering nevertheless was for her baby who was with her. Baptism, however, drove away her fears and with the coming of the Holy Spirit she was at peace and the prison became to her as a palace; in visions she learned the manner of their martyrdom and caught glimpses of what awaits souls in the life after death. Among these was a vision of Purgatory where she saw her little brother Dinocratus suffering. Dinocratus had died when he was only seven, painfully ulcerated about the face. Perpetua saw him "coming out of a dark place where there were many others," dirtily clad, pale, with the wound still on his face, and he was very hot and thirsty. Near him was a fountain but its brim was higher than he could reach and, though he stood on tiptoe, he could not drink. By this vision she knew he needed her prayers, and she prayed for him night and day. On the day the Christians were put in stocks, she had another vision and saw Dinocratus freed. This time he was clean and finely clothed, on his face was a clean scar and beside him a low fountain reaching only to his waist. On the edge of the fountain was a golden cup ever full of water, and Dinocratus drank. "And when he had drunk he came away — pleased to play, as children will." In the meantime, Felicitas was worried for fear her baby would not be born in time for her to die for Christ with her companions. There was a law which forebade throwing even a Christian woman to the wild beasts if she was with child. Three days before they were to go to the arena they prayed God would permit the birth of her child, and as soon as their prayers were done, her labor began. She gave birth to a little girl who was afterward adopted by her sister. At last the scene of their martyrdom and in it Perpetua and Felicity were told to put on the garments of pagan priestesses, the two refused and so were stripped naked, covered with nets, and sent to face assault by a maddened cow said to have been used in insult to their womanhood and their maternity. Strangely enough the audience — screaming for blood though it was — yet was touched by the sight of these two so young and so valiant, and the people shuddered. Perpetua and Felicitas were called back and clothed in loose robes. Now Perpetua was thrown, her garment rent and her thigh gored. Regaining her feet, she gathered her tunic over her thigh so in suffering she would not appear immodest, and looking about found her fallen hair ornament and repinned her hair lest one soon to be a martyr seem to grieve in her glory. Looking for Felicitas, she gave assistance to her and standing together they awaited another attack. But the mob cried, "Enough," and the two were led off to the headsman's block. Catching sight of her brother, Perpetua cried out: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." Felicitas was struck down first then Perpetua — but only after the nervous swordsman had struck her once and failed to sever her head. The second time she guided his sword with her own hands. So brave, and so full of love; perhaps if she were dying now she would exhort us to be brave and full of love in slightly different words. Perhaps she would cry out, "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our color be a stumbling block to you." Perpetua was white and Felicitas was black.

Lenten Calendar[6]

Read: Today we remember the two early Christian martyrs, Perpetua and Felicity.

Reflect: Pope Francis said in a morning meditation that Perpetua and Felicity "went to their martyrdom as though they were going to their wedding" (May 22, 2014). He said that Christian joy can be found even in suffering and persecution.  

Pray: Pray for persecuted Christians today with these sample intercessions.

Act: Perpetua and Felicity were put to death because of their belief in Christ. Persecution of Christians continues today in many parts of the world. Take time today to read about places where your brothers and sisters in Christ face persecution.

Wednesday before Laetare Sunday:[7] beginning of Mid-Lent.
Mid-Lent Customs

Mid-Lent, the week from the Wednesday before to the Wednesday after Laetare Sunday, is a note of joy within the context of sorrow. The perfect symbol of this complex emotion is the rose vestments worn on Laetare Sunday instead of penitential purple or exultant white. Rose stands somewhere in between, as a sort of joyous variation of purple. The last day of Mid-Lent is when catechumens would learn the Apostles' Creed for the first time; the days leading up to that great revelation were thus for them a cause for gladness. This spirit eventually permeated to the rest of the community as "a measure of consoling relaxation... so that the faithful might not break down under the severe strains of the Lenten fast but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart" (Pope Innocent III (d. 1216)).

Mid-Lent customs predominantly involve pre-Christian celebrations concerning the "burial" of winter, where flower decorations and the like betoken the joyous end of the cold and dark. There are also customs involving either matchmaking or announcing the engagements of young couples. In either case, a joyous meal is celebrated during this time.

In England Laetare Sunday came to be known as "Mothering" Sunday because it was the day that apprentices and students were released from their duties to visit their mother church, i.e., the church in which they had been baptized and brought up. This custom tied into the theme of Mother Jerusalem.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Nineveh 90 Day 66
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 4 week 6
·         Lenten Calendar Day 22
·         Do 30 min. in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
·         Please pray for me and this ministry


[1] http://www.stjosephschurch.net/leoxiii.htm
[2] Sharon Lechter, Outwitting the Devil.
[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 15. Examination of Conscience.
[4]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.

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