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  ST. JOHN’S EVE-WIDOWS DAY   2 Chronicles, Chapter 17, Verse 10 Now the FEAR of the LORD was upon all the kingdoms of the countries ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Introduction to Galations[1]


The Galatians to whom the letter is addressed were Paul’s converts, most likely among the descendants of Celts who had invaded western and central Asia Minor in the third century B.C. and had settled in the territory around Ancyra (modern Ankara, Turkey). Paul had passed through this area on his second missionary journey this area was part of the Roman province of Galatia, and some scholars think that South Galatia was the destination of this letter. The new Christians whom Paul is addressing were converts from paganism who were now being enticed by other missionaries to add the observances of the Jewish law, including the rite of circumcision, to the cross of Christ as a means of salvation. For, since Paul’s visit, some other interpretation of Christianity had been brought to these neophytes, probably by converts from Judaism (the name “Judaizers” is sometimes applied to them); it has specifically been suggested that they were Jewish Christians who had come from the austere Essene sect. These interlopers insisted on the necessity of following certain precepts of the Mosaic law along with faith in Christ. They were undermining Paul’s authority also, asserting that he had not been trained by Jesus himself, that his gospel did not agree with that of the original and true apostles in Jerusalem, that he had kept from his converts in Galatia the necessity of accepting circumcision and other key obligations of the Jewish law, in order more easily to win them to Christ, and that his gospel was thus not the full and authentic one held by “those of repute” in Jerusalem. When Paul learned of the situation, he wrote this defense of his apostolic authority and of the correct understanding of the faith. He set forth the unique importance of Christ and his redemptive sacrifice on the cross, the freedom that Christians enjoy from the old burdens of the law, the total sufficiency of Christ and of faith in Christ as the way to God and to eternal life, and the beauty of the new life of the Spirit. Galatians is thus a summary of basic Pauline theology. Autobiographically, the letter gives us Paul’s own accounts of how he came to faith, the agreement in “the truth of the gospel” that he shared with the Jewish Christian leaders in Jerusalem, James, Cephas, and John, and the rebuke he had to deliver to Cephas in Antioch for inconsistency, contrary to the gospel, on the issue of table fellowship in the racially mixed church of Jewish and Gentile Christians in Antioch. At the conclusion of the letter, Paul wrote in his own hand a vivid summary of the message to the Galatians. In his vigorous emphasis on the absolute preeminence of Christ and his cross as God’s way to salvation and holiness, Paul stresses Christian freedom and the ineffectiveness of the Mosaic law for gaining divine favor and blessings. The pious Jew saw in the law a way established by God to win divine approval by a life of meticulous observance of ritual, social, and moral regulations. But Paul’s profound insight into the higher designs of God in Christ led him to understand and welcome the priority of promise and faith (shown in the experience of Abraham, and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. His enthusiasm for this new vision of the life of grace in Christ and of the uniquely salvific role of Christ’s redemptive death on the cross shines through this whole letter.

AUGUST 2 Thursday

Galatians, chapter 2, verse 11-12
11 And when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. 12 For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised.

Peter was afraid of James’ crew due to his inconsistency. The Church recognized the freedom of Gentile Christians from the Jewish law. As we study righteousness understand that a large part of righteous is to be consistent; in season and out of season.

Piety[2]


Being pious is not squeezing one’s eyes shut to the world and putting on a sweet little angel face, Pope Francis said. Piety is opening up one’s heart to God and one’s arms to embrace everyone as brothers and sisters. “The gift of piety that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us meek; it makes us peaceful, patient and at peace with God in gentle service to others,” The Pope said he wanted to clarify its meaning right away “because some people think that being pious is closing your eyes, putting on a sweet angel face, isn’t that right? No Piety is not to pretend to be a saint” and holier than thou; but piety is recognizing “our belonging to God, our deep bond with him, a relationship that gives meaning to our whole life and keeps us resolute, in communion with him, even during the most difficult and troubled moments” in life, he said. This personal bond with the Lord is not created out of obligation or force, he said; it is “a relationship lived from the heart,” a friendship that “changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy,” gratitude, praise and “authentic worship of God.” “When the Holy Spirit helps us sense the presence of the Lord and all of his love for us, it warms our heart and drives us almost naturally to prayer and celebration,” the Pope said. Once people experience the loving relationship of God as father, “it helps us pour out this love onto others and recognize them as brothers and sisters”. Piety is about identity and belonging, he said, that is why it renders people “truly capable of being joyful with those who are happy; to cry with those who weep; to be near those who are alone or in distress; to correct those in error; to console the afflicted; to welcome and come to the aid of those in need.” Pope said the spirit of God is about kinship — a spirit of adoption, not “a spirit of slavery to fall back on into fear. Let us ask the Lord that the gift of his Spirit overcome our fears and uncertainties, our restless and impatient spirit, too, and that it may make us joyous witnesses of God and his love.” The Pope asked that people pray they could adore God in a genuine, not forced or fake, way, and to be in service to others “with gentleness and also a smile.”


Novena in Honor of Saint John Marie Vianney[3]

Exquisite Purity

O Holy Priest of Ars, a witness of your life made this magnificent praise of you: 'We would have taken him for an angel in a mortal body." You so edified others: the modesty and the exquisite purity radiated from your body. With such charm and with such enthusiasm you preached to others about these beautiful virtues which you said resembled the perfume of a vineyard in bloom. Please I beg you to join your entreaties to those of Mary Immaculate and Saint Philomena in order that I guard always, as God asks me, the purity of my heart. You, who have directed so many souls towards the heights of virtue, defend me in temptations and obtain for me the strength to conquer them. Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Thursday Evening First Friday Stations

make a 1-hour adoration and meditate on the FIRST; SECOND and THIRD STATIONS

Pope Benedict XVI Stations of the Cross[4]



FIRST STATION

Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives


From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:41-44
Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but yours be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.
MEDITATION Jesus was in agony. Grief and anguish came upon him. The sin of all mankind weighed on him heavily. But the greater his pain, the more fervently did he pray. Pain always remains a challenge to us. We feel left alone. We forget to pray, and break down. Some even take their lives. But if we turn to God, we grow spiritually strong and go out to help our fellow-beings in trouble. Jesus continues to suffer in his persecuted disciples. Pope Benedict XVI says that even in our times “the Church does not lack martyrs”. Christ is in agony among us, and in our times. We pray for those who suffer. The mystery of Christian suffering is that it has a redemptive value. May the harassments that believers undergo complete in them the sufferings of Christ that bring salvation.

PRAYER Lord Jesus, enable us to delve deeper into the great “mystery of evil” and our own contribution to it. As sufferings came into human life through sin, it was your plan that humanity be saved from sin through suffering. May none of the little annoyances, humiliations, and frustrations that we undergo in our daily lives and the great shocks that take us by surprise, go to waste. Linked with your own agony, may the agonies we endure be acceptable to you and bring us hope. Lord, teach us to be compassionate, not only to the hungry, thirsty, sick, or those in some special need, but also to those inclined to be rude, argumentative and hurtful. In this way, as you have helped us in all our troubles, we may in turn “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort that we ourselves have received”.

SECOND STATION

Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and restrains Peter from violence


From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 22:47-50 and according to Saint Matthew 26:52.56
While Jesus was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.
MEDITATION It is one of his trusted friends that betrays Jesus, and with a kiss. The way Jesus confronted violence has a message for our times. Violence is suicidal, he tells Peter: it is not defeated by more violence, but by a superior spiritual energy that reaches out in the form of healing love. Jesus touches the High Priest’s slave and heals him. The violent man today too may need a healing touch that comes from a love that transcends the immediate issues. In times of conflict between persons, ethnic and religious groups, nations, economic and political interests, Jesus says, confrontation and violence are not the answer, but love, persuasion and reconciliation. Even when we seem to fail in such efforts, we plant the seeds of peace which will bear fruit in due time. The rightness of our cause is our strength.

PRAYER Lord Jesus, you consider us your friends, yet we notice traces of infidelity in ourselves. We acknowledge our transgressions. We are presumptuous at times and over-confident. And we fall. Let not avarice, lust or pride take us by surprise. How thoughtlessly do we fly after ephemeral satisfactions and untested ideas! Grant that we may not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine… but speaking the truth in love, grow up in every way into Christ the head. May truth and sincerity of purpose be our strength. Restrain, Lord, our impetuosity in situations of violence, as you restrained Peter’s impulsive character. Keep us unruffled in spirit before opposition and unfair treatment. Convince us that “A gentle answer quiets anger” in our families, and that “gentleness” combined with “wisdom” restores tranquility in society. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”

THIRD STATION

Jesus is held guilty by the Sanhedrin


From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 26:62-66

And the High Priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus was silent. And the High Priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the High Priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgement? They answered, “He deserves death.”
MEDITATION In every land, there have been innocent persons who suffered, people who died fighting for freedom, equality or justice. Those who struggle on behalf of God’s little ones are promoting God’s own work. For he presses for the rights of the weak and the oppressed. Whoever collaborates in this work, in the spirit of Jesus, brings hope to the oppressed and offers a corrective message to the evildoer himself. Jesus’ manner of struggling for justice is not to rouse the collective anger of people against the opponent, so that they are led into forms of greater injustice. On the contrary, it is to challenge the foe with the rightness of one’s cause and evoke the good will of the opponent in such a way that injustice is renounced through persuasion and a change of heart. Mahatma Gandhi brought this teaching of Jesus on non-violence into public life with amazing success.

PRAYER Lord, often we judge others in haste, indifferent to actual realities and insensitive to people’s feelings! We develop stratagems of self-justification and explain away the irresponsible manner in which we have dealt with “the other”. Forgive us! When we are misjudged and ill-treated, Lord, give us the inner serenity and self-confidence that your Son manifested in the face of unjust treatment. Keep us from an aggressive response which goes against your Spirit. On the contrary, help us to bring your powerful word of forgiveness into situations of tension and anxiety, so that it may reveal its dynamic power in history. “In His will is our peace.”

·         Friday arise before the "cock crows" (2 hrs. before sunrise)
meditate on the FOURTH STATION
FOURTH STATION

Jesus is denied by Peter

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:54-62

Then they seized Jesus and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man was also with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
MEDITATION Peter claimed to be strong, but he broke down before a servant girl. Human weakness takes us by surprise, and we collapse. That is why Jesus asks us to watch and pray. He urges self-renunciation and closeness to God. There is a rebellious “self” within us. We are often of “two minds”, but we fail to recognize this inner inconsistency. Peter recognized it when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus, and he wept. Later, Thomas, encountering the Risen Lord, acknowledged his own faithlessness and believed. In the light of Christ, Paul became aware of the inconsistency within himself, and he overcame it with the Lord’s help. Going deeper still, he discovered: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

PRAYER Lord, how easily do we allow a distance to grow between what we profess to be and what we really are! How often do we fail to carry out our own decisions, or even fulfil our most solemn promises! And as a result we often hesitate to make any permanent commitment, even to you! We confess that we have failed to bring into our life that inner discipline that is expected of any adult person and required for the success of any human endeavor. Give sturdiness to our inner determination; help us to bring every good work we have begun to a successful conclusion. Enable us to stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, “in complete obedience to God’s will”.



·         Friday after sunrise
meditate on the FIFTH STATION
FIFTH STATION

Jesus is judged by Pilate



A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him”. But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.
MEDITATION It was not the rightness of an issue that mattered to Pilate, but his professional interests. Such an attitude did not help him, either in this case or in his later career. He was so unlike Jesus, whose inner rectitude made him fearless. Nor was Pilate interested in the truth. He walks away from Jesus exclaiming, “What is truth?” Such indifference to truth is not uncommon these days. People are often concerned about what gives immediate satisfaction. They are content with superficial answers. Decisions are made based not on principles of integrity, but on opportunistic considerations. Failing to make morally responsible options damages the vital interests of the human person, and of the human family. We pray that the “spiritual and ethical concepts” contained in the word of God will inspire the living norms of society in our times.

PRAYER Lord, give us the courage to make responsible decisions when rendering a public service. Bring probity (correctness) into public life and assist us to be true to our conscience. Lord, you are the source of all Truth. Guide us in our search for ultimate answers. Going beyond mere partial and incomplete explanations, may we search for what is permanently true, beautiful and good. Lord, keep us fearless before the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. When shadows grow deep on life’s wearisome paths, and the dark night comes, enable us to hearken to the teaching of your Apostle Paul: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” 

The Way[5]

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

29.  'Pray that I may never be satisfied with what is easy.' I have prayed. Now it is up to you to carry out that fine resolution.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.
·         Peace Through Strength
·         Novena to the Holy Face Day 9



[1]http://usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=Galatians&ch=
[3]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=1129
[5]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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