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Friday, September 21, 2018


FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW-INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE


1 Corinthians, Chapter 7, Verse 15
If the unbeliever separates, however, let him separate. The brother or sister is not bound in such cases; God has called you to peace.

Paul here is talking about the keeping of your marriage vows. If possible, you are to live in peace with your spouse but if you cannot it is better to separate but there is a stipulation you must remain chase and not remarry. We must remember our physical marriage is a sign of our eternal wedding with the Holy Spirit. Peace is the target or mark in a marriage.

In the military, units of archers are men who are expert at hitting a mark or target.

Sin is the act of violating God's will. Sin can also be viewed as anything that violates the ideal relationship between an individual and God; or as any diversion from the ideal order for human living. To sin has been defined as "to miss the mark" to have a hardened heart, a loss of love for God, a disposition of the heart to depart from God because of inordinate self-love

We need to live the Shema Israel. Every day, every action of ours should be metaphorically speaking target practice aiming to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. We should exemplify this with the proper attitude toward wealth and be completely occupied with good deeds and alms-giving.

Let us never forget that Satan does his utmost to destroy mankind. In a thousand ways he plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. On this subject, the following instruction given by Our Blessed Mother to Venerable Mary d' Agreda, is worth quoting: "My daughter," she says, "by no power of human words wilt thou in this mortal life ever succeed in describing the evil of Lucifer and his demons against men, or the malice, astuteness, deceits and ruses, with which, in his wrath, he seeks to bring them into sin and later on to eternal torments. He tries to hinder all good works . . . All the malice of which his own mind is capable, he attempts to inject into souls. Against these attacks, God provides admirable protection if men will only co-operate and correspond on their part." Among the means provided by God for our protection, is the ready recourse we may have at all times to the strengthening Blood of Christ. "This Blood," declares St. John Chrysostom, "has the power to drive away the evil spirits and to draw to our side the good angels, aye, the King of Angels, and to blazen the way to Heaven." Fortified by the Precious Blood, let us place ourselves under the leadership of St. Michael and unfurl everywhere the banner of our Faith, without fear of godlessness. If Satan tries to induce us to sin, and promises honors, riches, happiness on conditions that we omit a good work, or commit an evil deed, let us ever oppose the tempter with the energetic words: Who is like unto God? God is my only treasure, my highest Good, His Blood is upon me, and "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil." If in time of temptation, we have the courage to rebuke the evil one and call upon the assistance of our leader, St. Michael, the enemy will surely be put to flight. But if we wish to enjoy the great Archangel's protection, we must also imitate his virtues, particularly his humility and his zeal for God's glory.

"O great St. Michael, take us 'neath thy shield, Thy mighty power in our favor wield!"[1]

Ember Days[2]

Before the revision of the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar in 1969 (coinciding with the adoption of the Mass of Paul VI), the Church celebrated Ember Days four times each year. They were tied to the changing of the seasons, but also to the liturgical cycles of the Church. The spring Ember Days were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the First Sunday of Lent; the summer Ember Days were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Pentecost; the fall Ember Days were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the third Sunday in September (not, as is often said, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross); and the winter Ember Days were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of Saint Lucy (December 13).
·         The Roman Origin of Ember Days: It's common to claim that the dates of important Christian feasts (such as Christmas) were set to compete with or replace certain pagan festivals, even though the best scholarship indicates otherwise. In the case of the Ember Days, however, it's true. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes: The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding.
·         Keep the Best; Discard the Rest: The Ember Days are a perfect example of how the Church (in the words of the Catholic Encyclopedia) "has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose." The adoption of the Ember Days wasn't an attempt to displace Roman paganism so much as it was a way to avoid disrupting the lives of Roman converts to Christianity. The pagan practice, though directed at false gods, was praiseworthy; all that was necessary was to transfer the supplications to the true God of Christianity.
·         An Ancient Practice: The adoption of Ember Days by Christians happened so early that Pope Leo the Great (440-61) considered the Ember Days (with the exception of the one in the spring) to have been instituted by the Apostles. By the time of Pope Gelasius II (492-96), the fourth set of Ember Days had been instituted. Originally celebrated only by the Church in Rome, they spread throughout the West (but not the East), starting in the fifth century.
·         The Origin of the Word: The origin of the word "ember" in "Ember Days" is not obvious, not even to those who know Latin. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "Ember" is a corruption (or we might say, a contraction) of the Latin phrase Quatuor Tempora, which simply means "four times," since the Ember Days are celebrated four times per year.
·         Optional Today: With the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, the Vatican left the celebration of Ember Days up to the discretion of each national conference of bishops. They're still commonly celebrated in Europe, particularly in rural areas. In the United States, the bishops' conference has decided not to celebrate them, but individual Catholics can, and many traditional Catholics still do, because it's a nice way to focus our minds on the changing of the liturgical seasons and the seasons of the year. The Ember Days that fall during Lent and Advent are especially useful to remind children of the reasons for those seasons.
·         Marked by Fasting and Abstinence: The Ember Days are celebrated with fasting (no food between meals) and half-abstinence, meaning that meat is allowed at one meal per day. (If you observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat, then you would observe complete abstinence on an Ember Friday.) As always, such fasting and abstinence has a greater purpose. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, through these activities, and through prayer, we use the Ember Days to "thank God for the gifts of nature, teach men to make use of them in moderation, and assist the needy."

Feast of Saint Matthew[3]

Put your hope in Christ and not in money, possessions, or position as did the Apostle Matthew.

MATTHEW, also called Levi, a son of Alpheus, and brother of the holy apostle James the Less, was a receiver in the Roman custom-house on Lake Tiberius. Such officers were hated by the Jews for their injustice, and were called publicans, or public sinners. While he was sitting at the receipt of custom he was called by Christ to be one of His disciples, and immediately leaving his lucrative office and all that he had, followed Him. On account of his distinguished zeal he was afterwards received into the number of the apostles. After the descent of the Holy Ghost he remained in Judea, preached the Gospel, wrote the passion of Our Lord as contained in his gospel, and lived strictly in the fear of God. At a later day he travelled through Persia, Ethiopia, and other countries. At last he was killed at the altar, by command of King Hirtacus, for opposing his marriage with the Princess Iphigenia, who, by St. Matthew’s direction, had vowed to God perpetual virginity. His holy remains were brought to Salerno, Italy in the tenth century. Thus, may great sinners become great saints by following faith fully, like St. Matthew, the voice of God.

St Matthew Facts[4]

·         Tax collectors worked for Rome, and not only did Jews pay Roman taxes to them, the collectors received a percentage for their own profit.  Jews in good standing did not associate with publicans.
·         Once Matthew begins to follow Jesus, he holds a dinner for other tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10).  The Pharisees, the strict Jewish law abiders that were leaders in the community, complained about Jesus, a teacher eating with sinners.  Jesus said, "For I have come to call the not the righteous but the sinners." (Matthew 9:13)
·         Early church writers claim that after Jesus' death and resurrection that Matthew preached Christianity in Persia, Macedonia, and Syria.
·         In the Orthodox Church, tradition says that St. Matthew refused to die even after several attempts.  He was first placed upside down and lit on fire, then sunk in a coffin in the sea overnight.  The ruler of Ethiopia, who tried to kill Matthew, apologized to the apostle and converted to Christianity.
·         St Matthew was one of Jesus' 12 disciples and writer of the Gospel of Matthew.  His feast day is held on September 21 in the Roman Catholic Church and November 16 in the Orthodox faith.

Things to Do[5]

·         Do something for the needy: money for missions, donations of clothing or toys, canned goods drive, etc.
·         Take time to read St. Matthew's Gospel, keeping in mind that St. Matthew depicts the humanity of Christ and emphasizes His physical sufferings. He makes frequent reference to the fulfillment of prophecies because he wrote to Jews and to Jewish Christians.
·         Discuss St. Matthew's call from Christ "Follow me" with your children and how we are all called to belong to the family of God.
·         Pray for people who work for financial institutions.
·         Make Silver Dollar Pancakes, you can use this recipe on Catholic Cuisine's website or one of the suggestions we offer under recipes.

International Day of Peace[6]


International Day of Peace seeks to promote peace among nations and peoples.  Peace is recognized as both an innate state of being, and a dynamic evolutionary process wherein constructive growth can occur and the children of this and future generations may gain hope for a better world to inherit. International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981.  In 2002, the United Nations declared it a permanent holiday.   Through education and public awareness events, the UN endeavors to strengthen the ideals of peace among all of the world's inhabitants.  International Day of Peace is observed on September 21st each year.  On this day, the UN urges all hostilities to stop, worldwide.
Inner Peace of Christ[7]

On Dec. 14, 1989, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation." This document, approved by Pope John Paul II, recognizes that some Christians, experiencing a "spiritual restlessness arising from a life subjected to the driving pace of a technologically advanced society," have investigated certain Eastern techniques of prayer, seeking "a path to interior peace and psychic balance." Eastern methods of prayer often depart from Christian principles by "abandoning not only meditation on the salvific works accomplished in history by the God of the Old and New Covenant, but also the very idea of the One and Triune God." Instead, inner peace and union with the Absolute is attained by "immersion 'in the indeterminate abyss of the divinity'"; hence, a person can lose his identity by being "swallowed up" by the Deity. Contemporary Catholics seeking inner peace need not dive headlong into Eastern mysticism. A host of Catholic writers has advocated ways by which spiritual happiness may be realized. One of the best but least recognized guides is Saint Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751), a Franciscan friar known for his preaching in defense of the Immaculate Conception. He offered four "rules" to help achieve peace of soul.
1.      To be attached only to God. Status and wealth may be beneficial, but to be overly concerned about them is to invite inner spiritual havoc. The soul's primary need is communication with its Creator. One needs to view objects and persons in reference to God and His will if peace is to reign. To be "dead" to the world and creatures is paramount.
2.      To surrender to Divine Providence. All Catholic spiritual writers are unanimous on this point: Sanctity and inner peace are attained only when God's will holds sway. The Lord knows best. Humbly accepting His will is vastly different from reluctantly putting up with it. When a person yields to the divine plan, he demonstrates a belief that God will sustain him--come what may.
3.      To welcome suffering and hardship. Human nature tends to resist difficulties. Yet, spiritual perfection entails carrying the cross of Jesus. Scorn and rejection from others--while hardly pleasant--must be seen as an opportunity to experience solidarity with the suffering Christ.
4.      To undertake only that which our situation in life demands. Often a person takes upon himself too many activities at once. "The more, the better" does not necessarily apply in the realm of good works. Prudence dictates what one can accomplish. Inner turmoil may spring from a plethora of activities, even when they are morally good acts. Prayer and counsel will determine what to undertake and what to forego.
When thousands are turning to Eastern methods of prayer in search of peace, Catholics should take heed of the advice offered nearly three centuries ago by this Italian preacher. Happiness of soul occurs when a person conforms himself to Christ through acceptance of the Father's will. Only then may one experience the peace which the world cannot give (cf. John 14:27).
Fitness Friday

In the movie “Christmas.” we witnessed the day “Ralphie” pronounced the big F word and as a result his mother in loving correction immediately inserted a bar of soap in “Ralphie’s” nasty mouth. Today let us look at our own nasty mouths. Caring for our teeth may improve your fitness more than we realize.

Clean Mouth-Ralphie![8]

Taking care of your teeth is important for all ages, but it’s especially important for older adults who may be at greater risk of oral health problems. Adults 65 and older are at an increased risk for oral cancer, gum disease and cavities. Luckily, it’s never too late to start taking better care of your teeth. With proper care, you can maintain — or even improve — your oral health as you age. Here are six things that help improve senior oral hygiene.

·         Cut Out Bad Habits-There are dozens of reasons to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, and the health of your entire mouth is no exception. If you’re currently using tobacco products, talk to your doctor about healthy methods for quitting. And as you likely remember from childhood, sugary foods like candy and soda can increase your risk for cavities. Committing to healthy eating isn’t just good for your heart and waistline — it’s great for your teeth, too.
·         Increase Your Fluoride Intake-Many municipalities have fluoride added to their drinking water, but you can also incorporate a fluoride toothpaste or fluoride rinse into your daily care routine, too. If necessary, you can even talk to your dentist about regular fluoride treatments.
·         Be Diligent About Your Teeth Cleaning Routine-It isn’t enough to simply brush your teeth twice a day, every day. Additionally, you should floss at least once per day and consider rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Make sure to replace your toothbrush or brush head every three months.
·         If You Have Dentures, Clean Them Daily-Denture-wearers may have a different routine, but good oral hygiene is still a priority. Follow your dentist’s instructions for keeping your dentures clean so the rest of your mouth also stays clean and healthy.
·         Keep Your Mouth Hydrated-If you’re prescribed a medication that causes dry mouth, make sure you’re taking extra steps to keep your mouth hydrated. Drink lots of water and switch to sugar-free gum, if you’re a gum chewer. (Bonus: Sugar-free gum is better for your teeth, too!)
·         Go to the Dentist-regular checkups with your primary care physician, going to the dentist is the single best thing you can do for your oral health. Not only can your dentist give your teeth a good cleaning, but they’ll also be able to identify oral health problems before they progress and give you tips for taking care of your teeth. While the minimum recommendation is once per year, many older adults prefer to see their dentist every six months just to make sure everything is going well.

35 Promises of God[9] cont.

10.  “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”-Is 54:10

The Way[10]

"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."

55.  'Mary chose the better part', we read in the holy Gospel. There she is, drinking in the words of the Master. Apparently idle, she is praying and loving. Then she accompanies Jesus in his preaching through towns and villages. Without prayer, how difficult it is to accompany him!

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Pray the 54 Day Rosary
·         Total Consecration Day 10

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