Sunday, September 16, 2018

Seventeeth Sunday aft. Pentecost (24th S. Ord Time)

Romans, Chapter 14, Verse 17-19
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit; 18 whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others. 19 Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.

Elisha Otis sold his first elevator in 1853 which made rising to the top of high buildings faster and easier. Likewise, this verse has a nugget of wisdom that helps us to find an elevator to spiritual advancement. To quickly rise in grace be righteous, be at peace and be joyful. Three steps easy to remember but not so easy to do.

Today I will outline Righteousness and outline Peace and Joy on the next two following days.


The Virtues

1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."62
A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.
The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.

I. The Human Virtues

1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.
The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

The Cardinal Virtues

1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom's] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage." These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.
1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." "Keep sane and sober for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle.67 It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."
1808 Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. "The Lord is my strength and my song." "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart." Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires but restrain your appetites." In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety." We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world."
To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday recognizes the double love of God and neighbor.

On these two loves depend the whole code and creed. Each time we walk in the law, we not only avoid. . .contact with the devil, but we answer the question: What do you think of. . .Christ? By deeds we profess our faith that He is My Lord. We bear with one another in love, because through Baptism God becomes the Father of all.[2]

“Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” (Phil 2:1-2)

If we love God, we will care for the most vulnerable of our neighbors. Are the women, who out of desperation, destroy their own unborn children our neighbors? God is the author of life and of this all those in Christ should be of the same mind, same love, heart and thinking.
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act[3]

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). The bill, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), proposes a ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization. Cardinal Dolan wrote, "All decent and humane people are repulsed by the callous and barbarous treatment of women and children in clinics…that abort children after 20 weeks." "Planned Parenthood's callous and disturbing practices of harvesting fetal body parts from late-term abortions, partial-birth abortions, and the deplorable actions of late-term abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell…, have shocked our nation and led many Americans to realize that our permissive laws and attitudes have allowed the abortion industry to undertake these procedures," Cardinal Dolan said, calling the 20-week ban a "common-sense reform." The Cardinal offered reasons why "the proposed ban on abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization is a place to begin uniting Americans who see themselves as 'pro-life' and as 'pro-choice'." The first centers on the expanding range of fetal 'viability'. "The Supreme Court's past insistence that unborn children must be 'viable' to deserve even nominal protection is not meaningful or workable…[M]edical technology is moving the point of viability earlier in the pregnancy putting Roe on a collision course with itself." Second, there are life-threatening dangers to women undergoing abortions beyond 20 weeks. Finally, addressing the proposal to perform late-term abortions in "mainstream" clinics, he notes that those clinics generally refuse to perform the risky procedures. "What does it say about us as a nation, if we will not act against abortions that even full-time abortionists find abhorrent?" Cardinal Dolan asked. Cardinal Dolan reaffirmed the right to life of humans at every stage of development and clarified that the Church remains committed to advocating for the full legal protection of all unborn children: "[E]very child, from conception onward, deserves love and the protection of the law…. [T]he real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child."

Currently this bill has passed congress but not the senate

Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ[4]

This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 16, 2018. Those who the Community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.
We are living in a secularized society which continues to squeeze Christianity to the margins, or completely out of engagement with Jesus Christ and the Church. We are losing baptized Catholics at an alarming rate.  According to Pew Research, nearly one-in-four Hispanic adults (24%) are now former Catholics and most of them are nones, a term used for people with no religious affiliation. Many parents are saddened to report that their children are leaving the Church after preparing for and celebrating initiation sacraments, and after years of Catholic School or parish religion classes. Figures for Baptisms, Church weddings and weekly Mass attendance are down. Those who self-identify as atheists or agnostics (Nones) now make up roughly 23% of the U.S. adult population. Adults, especially young adults, are more likely to say they are not religiously affiliated than in past generations. (Michael Lipka. A closer look at Americas rapidly growing religious nones. . . , pew research center; 5/5/2017).  Also growing in numbers are those who are baptized, and in junior or senior high school, who are increasingly stopping to self-identify as Christians and grouping themselves among the Nones. At the same time, we are blessed with an incredibly generous cohort of faithful who are sacramentally graced to give Gospel witness in their homes, schools and workplace, if only they were invited, trained and supported in their outreach as missionary disciples. It will take the whole Churchs witness and engagement of the Nones, inside and outside the walls of the church and across society, to reach out, accompany them, and share the joy of the gospel with them.
Work, Prayer, and the Cross[5]

Parents must teach their children to view work as a form of prayer, which, united to Christ's Passion and Death, gives great glory to God. The home is a world in miniature, a mystical body with the father as the head, the mother as the heart, and the children as the members. As every member in the physical body, each muscle and nerve and cell, contributes to the perfect functioning of the body, so every member of a family is needed for the perfect functioning of the family. The father is its support and protector, the mother is its center of order and fruitfulness, the children share in their own way in the work and the joy of both, and the whole has as its primary end the training of souls whose destiny is Heaven. Out of the family will come responsible or irresponsible men and women who will form or malform society, and society belongs to Christ. He bought it with His blood on the Cross. Our ultimate work in the world is merely an extension of this training in work in the home, and no matter what specific work we do, its end is first of all Heaven. Whether we are mothers or nuns or nurses or workers in the fields; whether we are fathers or priests or truck drivers or policemen directing traffic, when we do our work with the right purpose for its end, we are working with Christ for the salvation of men. And always we begin it at home.

For very little children work is play. It is an imitation of something grown-ups do, and it is the beginning of learning. Stephen is three and a half and is quite a hand at wiping the dishes. Also at dragging dish towels all over the floor. This is very trying, and the pile of dish towels to be thrown in the wash mounts rapidly when Stephen is "helping." But to rebuff him constantly (once in a while, when speed is of the essence, he must be sweetly but firmly removed) is to discourage an instinctive desire to serve, and he must not only be allowed to serve, but encouraged to serve. Christ gave us the example when He washed the feet of His Apostles, doing as a servant would do, then bidding them to follow His example. When a child is discouraged too often in his attempts to serve, the desire can easily wither away until his whole impression of the world is that it is a place where other people serve him, and his role is that of the served. Mothers are quite right when they state that little ones can be more hindrance than help; yet if home is to be a training ground for life, we are going to have to sacrifice a certain amount of efficiency and begin the training. There are too many victims of over-efficient mothers, roaming around knowing how to do nothing, to argue much with this.

It would be nice if the "work is play" stage lasted longer than it does. Children soon discover, however, that the wary in this world shy away from work, and now begins the real struggle. Little girls who loved trying to make their beds, to run the vacuum or wash the dishes, discover that these are the last things they want to do. Then we can help them by emphasizing that work is prayer. This is the highest motive for work, and the best way to use it; and while it is quite likely that we will have to remind them daily, it will help considerably, especially if we also remind them to pray for the grace to do their work well. Even so, we must not neglect to fuel this not-so-roaring fire for work with common courtesy and much gratitude. It is easy for harassed parents (I should know) to take refuge in complaints during these times. "I cannot do it all myself. You helped get it messy, now you help clean it up." And if we are convincing enough, or maybe just big enough and loud enough. we can get them to do what we want. But it will be reluctant help, probably accompanied by the private observation that Mother is, indeed, a stinker and it will hardly make reverent prayer.

Such simple things make a difference! If the emphasis is moved from "You do it," to "I will be so grateful if you will," it is much easier; and no one can resist the glow that comes with being thanked. Sometimes we get the idea that thanks are not necessary when children have done something they were supposed to do. If we always thank them, and add to our thanks a reminder that God is praised by work well done, little by little (but it adds up) they learn to associate work with praise and prayer. Then one day it is not so necessary to them to be thanked So many times people contribute their services or their work and ask nothing in return except human appreciation, only to find that even that is not forthcoming. But if we have a right purpose in our work, knowing it can praise, be prayer, be the will of God for us at a particular moment, we can learn not to fret for lack of appreciation.

Activity Source: We and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland, Image Books, 1961

35 Promises of God[6] cont.

10.  “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”-Ex 20:12

The Way[7]

"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.  'Lord, teach us to pray!' — And our Lord replied: 'When you pray, say: Pater noster, qui es in coelis... Our Father who art in heaven...' What importance we must attach to vocal prayer!

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Pray the 54 Day Rosary
·         Total Consecration Day 6


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