Sunday, September 23, 2018


Eighteenth Sunday aft. Pentecost (25th S. Ord. Time)

ST PIUS OF PIETRELCINA (padre Pio)-SUKKOT-Bisexual Day

 
1 Corinthians, Chapter 16, Verse 11
Therefore no one should disdain him. Rather, send him on his way in peace that he may come to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Paul is talking about Timothy who was a youth. He may have offended the Corinthians in a multitude of ways or people may have disliked him because they disliked Paul but were afraid to openly oppose an apostle. Power struggles are often common even among Christians. I know it came as a great shock to me when I was working at a catholic all-girls school that the nuns in charge had a loathing for the administration at the opposing all boys Jesuit school. We must remember Paul’s advice on charity.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal and if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:1-8)

We should not be surprised that good people often are prone to such vices knowing the devil never rests and ever seeks to ruin the church of Christ. Therefore, in times of unrest and wishing to return to peace let us call upon Saint Michael for assistance in opposing evil.

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost[1]

"Jesus, seeing (the) faith (of those who brought the paralytic) said. . .'Take courage, son; thy sins are forgiven thee'". We approach the end of the Church's year. We, too, have grown to maturity. In our youth we regarded perfection an easy accomplishment. Now we plead for Redemption. We implore Hi Mercy to direct our hearts (Prayer) in the evening of our life. Our plea today is: Give peace, O Lord. What is the condition for peace with neighbor, peace amongst nations? It is a call to set ourselves right with God! Are we ambassadors of peace to others? The paralytic was unable to do anything for himself. Did not Jesus cure him, absolve him, only when his friends brought him, and He saw their faith?


On Indulgences[2]

What is an indulgence? It is the remission granted by the Church, in the name of God, and on account of the merits of Jesus Christ and of all the saints, of the temporal punishment which men must suffer, either in this world or in the world to come, for sins that have been already forgiven.

Whence do we know that after sins are forgiven there yet remains a temporal punishment? From Holy Scripture; thus, God imposed upon Adam and Eve great temporal punishments, although He forgave them their sin (Gen. iii.). Moses and Aaron were punished for a slight want of confidence in God (Num. xx. 24; Deut. xxxii. 51). David, though forgiven, was obliged to submit to great temporal punishments (n. Kings xii.). Finally, faith teaches us that after death we must suffer in purgatory till we have paid the last farthing (Matt. v. 26).

Can the Church remit all temporal punishments, even those imposed by God Himself, and why? Certainly, by virtue of the power to bind and to loose which Christ has given her (Matt, xviii. 18). For if the Church has received from God the power to remit sins which is the greater she certainly has authority to remit the punishment of them which is the less. Moreover, it is by the bands of punishment that we are hindered from reaching the kingdom of God.

But if the Church can loose all bands, why not this? Finally, Jesus certainly had power to remit the temporal punishment of sins and the power which He Himself had He gave to His disciples.

What is required in order rightly to gain an indulgence? In order to gain an indulgence, it is necessary:

I. To be in the grace of God. It is proper, therefore, to go to confession every time that one begins the good works enjoined for the gaining of an indulgence. In granting partial indulgences sacramental confession is not usually prescribed, but if one who is in the state of mortal sin wishes to gain the indulgence, he must at least make an act of true contrition with a firm purpose of going to confession.
2. It is necessary to have at least a general intention of gaining the indulgences.
3. It is necessary to perform in person and with devotion all the good works enjoined as to time, manner, end, etc., according to the terms in which the indulgence is granted. To gain plenary indulgences, confession, communion, a visit to some church or public oratory, and pious prayers are usually prescribed. If visits to a church are prescribed, Holy Communion may be received in any church, but the indulgenced prayers must be said in that church in which the indulgence is granted, and on the prescribed day. As to prayers, it is recommended that there be said seven times the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, and Creed.

Prayer for gaining an Indulgence

“We beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously accept the petitions of Thy holy Church, that Thou wouldst deliver her from all adversities, root out from her all heresies, unite all Christian rulers and princes, and exalt Thy holy Church on earth, that we may all serve Thee in peace and quietness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Feast of St. Pio

Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, into a simple peasant family. At the age of 15 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Friars, and was ordained a priest in 1910. In September 1916 he was assigned to the Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo in central italy, where he lived for the rest of his life. After celebrating morning Mass on September 20, 1918, during his prayers of thanksgiving before the Crucifix, Padre Pio received the "Stigmata". His hands, feet and side were pierced with the nail marks and the lance wound of the Crucified Christ. Doctors estimated that for the next 50 years he lost a cup of blood every day. His five wounds were deep, bleeding and painful, but completely free of inflammation and swelling. News of his holiness spread rapidly. Millions of people attended his Masses. He received letters from believers all over the world who asked for his saintly counsel in their times of distress and misfortune. Countless were attracted to his confessional, where he celebrated the Sacrament of Penance for as many as 16 hours a day. People waited as much as two weeks to have him hear their confession, for they perceived in Padre Pio the true heart and soul of the Gospels, expressed in a simple and uncomplicated manner. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer, continual sacrifice, and strict austerity. He had a very deep union with God, a burning love for the Holy Eucharist, and a fervent devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Worn out by half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. He was canonized a Saint by Pope John Paul II on June 16, 2002. Today his tomb is the most visited shrine in Europe, surpassing even Fatima and Lourdes — a place of extraordinary holiness for those in search of inspiration.
Prayer

Gracious God, you generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son, and as a stirring inspiration to many people of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness and love.

In the confessional, Padre Pio labored endlessly for the salvation of souls. Through his prayerful intercession, many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease. Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people's hearts. From the blood of his wounds came a perfumed fragrance, a special sign of Your Holy Presence. With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass, inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of Saint Pio, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Help me to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion, so that I, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord, and one day rejoice in the Kingdom, where You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Sukkot (Camping with Christ)[3]


Sukkot (Hebrew: סוכות), meaning Tabernacles, is the autumnal 'foot festival' in which the Jews are commanded to leave their permanent houses and to dwell in booths for seven days. The idea behind this is to remember that the Israelites lived in booths in the Wilderness for forty years. Additionally, when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, this was a pilgrimage holiday to celebrate the harvest.  It is most likely our Lord did this every year as He was a devout Jew.

Tabernacles are typically built out of wood, sheets and have a roof of a natural product, such as leaves, palm branches, through which the stars can be seen at night. The Succah must be built of certain dimensions (not too low or too high) and should have three or four walls.  On Succot, it is customary for Jewish men buy a set of the four kinds/species comprising a lulav (a palm branch), an etrog (a citron), hadassim (myrtle) and aravot (willows).

Sukkot Facts & Quotes

·         Sukkot is also a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif, the Festival of Ingathering.  No work is permitted on the first day, but some work is allowed on the intermediate days which are known as Chol Hamoed.
·         Each day of Succot is associated with Ushpezin (visitors), one of seven Succah visitors.  Each day has its visitor, starting with Abraham.  The other visitors are: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

·         The book of Ecclesiastes is typically read in Synagogues.  This book relates to the futility of man under the sun but concludes optimistically with the notion that we should just do our thing and serve God.
·         There is a special Priest's (Cohen's) blessing performed at the Western Wall during Succot.  The Western Wall is the last surviving wall of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the side of the Temple Mount.  Thousands of Priests, who are believed to be descendants of the original priests, assemble at the Western Wall and perform blessings.
·         In the days of Nehemiah, an original Bible was found with the passages relating to the building of a Succah.
All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel (Nehemiah 8:1).
They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month (Nehemiah 8:14).

Sukkot Top Events and Things to Do

·         Purchase or make your own Sukkah.  They are typically designed to be assembled and disassembled quickly - in less than two hours by two people.
·         One can buy the four kinds (of material used to build Sukkot as per the Torah) or order them from Israel. The four kinds include palm branches, an Etrog (citron), three willow branches and two myrtle branches. The palm, myrtle and willow are bound together in a palm holder.
·         See the movie Ushpezim with English subtitles.  It which relates to the four kinds and a couple's efforts to buy a most beautiful four species set, despite their poor economic situation.  Ushpizin can be viewed on YouTube.
·         Read the book of Ecclesiastes or watch a lecture about it.  It was written by King Solomon.  It relates to the futility of life, apart from basic belief and being righteous.
·         Attend a local Succot fair.  

A visit from Abraham[4]

Genesis 22:9-10 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.
Just as the knife was being hurled downward, the angel of the Lord said “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gen 22:12), and “because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:16-18).

Bisexuality Day[5] another pagan celebration of sexuality

Celebrate Bisexuality Day was established by Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur to raise awareness of the challenges faced by bisexuals all over the world. “Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility.” observed Wilbur, “The bisexual community also has grown in strength but in many ways are invisible.” It was this vision and experiences of marginalization and prejudice experienced from both the straight and LGBTQ community, that inspired them to create this new holiday. Inspired by Freddy Mercury of Queen, they decided that his birthday would be the perfect day to establish Celebrate Bisexuality Day. This served two purposes, the first being to establish a day that was dedicated to raising awareness of bisexuals everywhere, the second being to help reduce the prejudice faced by bisexuals and work to legitimize it as a sexual orientation. Since then it has been celebrated every year with teach-ins, poetry reading, parties, picnics, and festivals.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.
2336 Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God's plan strictly: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." What God has joined together, let not man put asunder. The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.
2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.


2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."

Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety." So, she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers.. . . You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together." And they both said, "Amen, Amen." Then they went to sleep for the night.

2362 "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude." Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:

The Creator himself. . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:

Thus, the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle.. . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.

2395 Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.

2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

35 Promises of God[6] cont.

10.  “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.”-John 14:13-16

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.  You write: 'To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation. In a word: to get to know him and to get to know yourself: 'to get acquainted!'

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Pray the 54 Day Rosary
·         Total Consecration Day 12


[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
[4]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2016/05/18/top-7-bible-verses-about-isaac/
[7]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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