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Friday, October 5, 2018


First Friday
FEAST OF ST. FAUSTINA


John, Chapter 13, Verse 1
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

Christ as man and God knowing that his sacrifice of love was eminent rises up empties Himself and disrobes and taking the role of a lowly servant washes the disciple’s feet even the feet of Judas Iscariot. This is the love of Christ displayed for us from the Father. Jesus, servant of the Father, becomes the servant of mankind. His hour has come, and he loves his friends “to the end” and so in turn His disciples must serve one another. We are all called to wash one another’s feet.[1]
  
Jesus washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1–17) occurred in the upper room, just prior to the Last Supper and has significance in three ways. For Jesus, it was the display of His humility and His servanthood. For the disciples, the washing of their feet was in direct contrast to their heart attitudes at that time. For us, washing feet is symbolic of our role in the body of Christ. Walking in sandals on the filthy roads of Israel in the first century made it imperative that feet be washed before a communal meal, especially since people reclined at a low table and feet were very much in evidence. When Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:4), He was doing the work of the lowliest of servants. The disciples must have been stunned at this act of humility and condescension, that Christ, their Lord and master, should wash the feet of His disciples, when it was their proper work to have washed His. But when Jesus came to earth the first time, He came not as King and Conqueror, but as the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. As He revealed in Matthew 20:28, He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The humility expressed by His act with towel and basin foreshadowed His ultimate act of humility and love on the cross. Jesus’ attitude of servanthood was in direct contrast to that of the disciples, who had recently been arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it would never have occurred to them to wash one another’s feet. When the Lord Himself stooped to this lowly task, they were stunned into silence. To his credit, though, Peter was profoundly uncomfortable with the Lord washing his feet, and, never being at a loss for words, Peter protested, “You shall never wash my feet!” Then Jesus said something that must have further shocked Peter: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8), prompting Peter, whose love for the Savior was genuine, to request a complete washing. Then Jesus explained the true meaning of being washed by Him. Peter had experienced the cleansing of salvation and did not need to be washed again in the spiritual sense. Salvation is a one-time act of justification by faith, but the lifelong process of sanctification is one of washing from the stain of sin we experience as we walk through the world. Peter and the disciples—all except Judas, who never belonged to Christ—needed only this temporal cleansing. This truth is just one of several from this incident that Christians can apply to their own lives. First, when we come to Christ for the washing of our sins, we can be sure that is permanent and complete. No act can cleanse us further from our sin, as our sin has been exchanged for the perfect righteousness of Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). But we do need continual cleansing from the effects of living in the flesh in a sin-cursed world. The continual washing of sanctification is done by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, through the “washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26), given to us to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Further, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them (and us), “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). As His followers, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love. When we seek the preeminence, we displease the Lord who promised that true greatness in His kingdom is attained by those with a servant’s heart (Mark 9:35; 10:44). When we have that servant’s heart, the Lord promised, we will be greatly blessed (John 13:17).[2]

First Friday-Sacred Heart of Jesus[3]

ALTHOUGH many pious souls had been accustomed, in the silence of their secluded lives, to venerate the sacred Heart of Jesus with great devotion, still our divine Savior desired that the boundless love of His Heart might be known by all men, and that a new fire of love should thereby be kindled in the cold hearts of Christians. For this purpose, He made use of a frail and little-known instrument in the person of Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Order of the Visitation, at Parayle-Monial, France. One day, when, according to her custom during the octave of Corpus Christi, she was deeply engaged in devotions before the Blessed Sacrament, the divine Savior appeared to her, showed her His Heart burning with love, and said: “Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this sacrament of love. And what is most painful to Me is that they are hearts consecrated to Me. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by communicating on that day and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered. Margaret obeyed, but met everywhere the greatest opposition, until finally, when she became mistress of novices, she succeeded, by the help of her divine Spouse, in animating her young charges to venerate the sacred Heart of Jesus. But this was not sufficient for her zeal. She persevered until she softened the opposition of the nuns and kindled in all an equal devotion towards the most sacred Heart. Thence the devotion spread to the adjoining dioceses, where confraternities in honor of the most sacred Heart of Jesus soon sprung up. Pope Clement XIII., after having instituted a most rigorous examination of the whole affair, commanded that the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus should be solemnly celebrated throughout the whole Catholic Church every year, on the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Object of this Devotion

In the divine Heart of Our Savior we must not imagine an inanimate heart, separated from the person of Christ, but the living heart of the God-Man, the center of all His affections, the fountain of all His virtues, the most touching emblem of His infinite love to man. The Church venerates the cross, the blood, and the wounds of the divine Savior, by feasts which have their proper masses and lessons, in order, by meditation upon these objects, to awaken in us a more fervent devotion to the Redeemer. How much more worthy, then, of our devotion is the sacred Heart of Our Savior, since all its thoughts, movements, and affections aim at our salvation, and it is always ready to receive truly penitent sinners, to pardon them, to restore them again to God s favor, and make them partakers of eternal happiness!

Excellence of this Devotion

It is, writes the venerable P. Simon Gourdan:
·         A holy devotion, for therein men venerate in Christ those affections and motions of His Heart by which He sanctified the Church, glorified His Heavenly Father, and showed Himself to men as a perfect example of the most sublime holiness.
·         An ancient devotion of the Catholic Church, which, instructed by St. Paul, the great apostle, has at all times acknowledged the great beneficence of the divine and sacred Heart of Jesus.
·         An approved devotion, for the Holy Scriptures everywhere admonish us to renew the heart, by changing our lives; to penetrate it with true sorrow, to inflame it with divine love, and to adorn it by the practice of all virtues. When, therefore, a new heart is promised us, by which to direct our lives, that can be no other than the Heart of Jesus, which is to us the pattern of all excellence, and which we must follow if we would be saved.
·         A perfect devotion, as being the origin of all other devotions. For the Heart of Jesus is the inexhaustible treasury from which the blessed Mother of God, and all other saints have derived their graces, their virtues, their life, their spiritual goods. Filled first with treasures from this source, different servants of God have instituted and established other devotions.
·         A profitable devotion, for thereby we have brought before our eyes the very fountain of life and grace, and can draw directly from it, increasing in ourselves all virtues, by adoring this divine Heart, meditating on its holy affections, and endeavoring to imitate them.
·         A devotion pleasing to God, for thus we adore God, as Christ requires, in spirit and in truth, serving Him inwardly in our hearts, and endeavoring to please Him. Finally, it is:
·         A useful devotion, since its whole object is to unite us most intimately with Christ as members of Him, her head, to make us live by and according to His spirit, to have one heart and soul with Him, and through grace finally to become one with Him, which is and must be the object of all devotions.

As this devotion is, then, so excellent, we cannot sufficiently recommend it to all who are anxious for their salvation. While everyone can practice this devotion, and adore the sacred Heart of Jesus, by himself, there is a greater blessing when pious souls unite and form a confraternity for practicing the devotion. Of such confraternities there were in the year 1726 more than three hundred, and they are now established throughout all Catholic countries. Hesitate not, Christian soul, to engage in this devotion, and to join in the adoration of that sacred Heart of Jesus in which all men find propitiation, the pious, confidence; sinners, hope; the afflicted, consolation; the sick, support; the dying, refuge; the elect, joy and delight.

An Offering to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Whoever says the following prayer before the image of the most sacred Heart of Jesus, with sincere sorrow for his sins, gains each time an indulgence of one hundred days; and by saying it daily for a month, he can on any one day gain a plenary indulgence, if he makes his confession, receives communion, and prays according to the intention of the Church:

“My loving Jesus, I (N.N.) give Thee my heart; and I consecrate myself wholly to Thee, out of the grateful love I bear Thee, and as reparation for all my unfaithfulness; and with Thy aid I purpose never to sin again.”

Feast of St. Faustina[4]


Saint Faustina was born in the 20th century and canonized in the year 2000. Jesus chose her to deliver to the modern world a message as old as eternity. It is the message of his love for all people, especially sinners. Jesus said to Faustina, "Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world." It is his desire to heal the aching world, to draw all people into his merciful heart of love. On February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina as the King of Divine Mercy. He asked her to have a picture painted of him as she saw him — clothed in white, with red and white rays of light streaming from his heart. The rays represent the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus on the cross. Under the image are the words, "Jesus, I trust in you." Many people did not believe Faustina at first. The sisters in her own convent thought that Jesus could not possibly have selected her for this great favor. After all, she was an uneducated peasant girl. Her superiors often refused to give her permission to carry out Jesus' requests. Church theologians, too, doubted her word. Jesus told Faustina that he loved her obedience and that his will would be done in the end. Faustina was canonized by the first Polish pope, John Paul II, on April 30, 2000. The first Sunday after Easter was declared Divine Mercy Sunday.

Things to Do[5]

·         Read a short biography of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska from the Vatican.
·         Read the Holy Father's April 30, 2000 Homily at the solemn Mass celebrated for the canonization of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska.
·         From the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy: Devotion to the Divine Mercy
·         In connection with the octave of Easter, recent years have witnessed the development and diffusion of a special devotion to the Divine Mercy based on the writings of Sr. Faustina Kowalska who was canonized 30 April 2000. It concentrates on the mercy poured forth in Christ's death and resurrection, fount of the Holy Spirit who forgives sins and restores joy at having been redeemed. Since the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday — as it is now called — is the natural locus in which to express man's acceptance of the Redeemer's mercy, the faithful should be taught to understand this devotion in the light of the liturgical celebrations of these Easter days. Indeed, "the paschal Christ is the definitive incarnation of mercy, his living sign which is both historico-salvific and eschatological. At the same time, the Easter liturgy places the words of the psalm on our lips: "I shall sing forever of the Lord's mercy" (Ps 89[88]: 2).
·         Read more from our Catholic Culture library about the Divine Mercy devotion, in particular, a short description of The Divine Mercy devotion
·         St. Faustina came from Poland. John Paul II was also Polish and had a great devotion to the Divine Mercy. He made it a feast day on the second Sunday after Easter. Find out more about Poland and its customs. It's a very Catholic country, with deep devotion to Our Lady. A wonderful book that gives a wonderful understanding of the culture is the Pope's biography A Witness to Hope by George Wiegel.
·         Try your hand at a Polish dish or two. Perhaps practice making some of the favorite foods for the Polish Wigilia (Christmas Eve Dinner) Pierogi (or Pirohi) is one of the most popular Polish foods but do some research to find other recipes.

 
Divine Mercy Hikes[6]

lHiking is a popular activity, but it is also an excellent way to mediate and talk with God. This was the original method of prayer used by Abraham. Sedona, Arizona is the backdrop for this series of prayer hikes; however, the meditations could be used with any hike.

Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.

Fitness Friday

Recognizing that God, the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength; mind, soul and heart.

German Volume Training[7]

It's brutally hard, but I've found it to be an effective way to pack on muscle fast! In strength-coaching circles, this method is often called the Ten Sets Method. Supersets and trisets allow you to perform a lot of work in a short period of time. The rest-pause method allows you to use heavier weights, so you can recruit the higher threshold muscle fibers, and eccentric training enables you to overcome strength plateaus. The bottom line is that almost any training method will work—provided you do it with intensity—at least for the few weeks it takes for your body to adapt to it. There is, however, one training system that stands above all the rest. It's brutally hard, but I've found it to be a very effective way to pack on muscle fast! In strength-coaching circles, this method is often called the Ten Sets Method. Because it has its roots in German-speaking countries, I like to call it German Volume Training. To the best of my knowledge, this training system originated in Germany in the mid-'70s and was popularized by Rolf Feser, who was then the National Coach of Weightlifting. A similar protocol was promoted by Vince Gironda in the U.S., but regardless of who actually invented it, it works. In Germany, the Ten Sets Method was used in the off-season to help weightlifters gain lean body mass. It was so efficient that lifters routinely moved up a full weight class within 12 weeks. It was the base program of Canadian weightlifter Jacques Demers, Silver Medallist in the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Jacques was known in weightlifting circles for his massive thighs, and he gives credit to the German method for achieving such a spectacular level of hypertrophy. The same method was also used by Bev Francis in her early days of bodybuilding to pack on muscle.
The program works because it targets a group of motor units, exposing them to an extensive volume of repeated efforts, specifically, 10 sets of a single exercise. The body adapts to the extraordinary stress by hypertrophying the targeted fibers. To say this program adds muscle fast is probably an understatement. Gains of 10 pounds or more in six weeks are not uncommon, even in experienced lifters!

Goals & Guidelines

The goal of the German Volume Training method is to complete ten sets of ten reps with the same weight for each exercise. You want to begin with a weight you could lift for 20 reps to failure if you had to. For most people, on most exercises, that would represent 60% of their 1RM load. Therefore, if you can bench press 300 pounds for 1 rep, you would use 180 pounds for this exercise.
For lifters new to this method, I recommend using the following body-part splits:
Body-Part Splits
·         Day 1: Chest & Back
·         Day 2: Legs & Abs
·         Day 3: Off
·         Day 4: Arms & Shoulders
·         Day 5: Off

When using this program or any other, you should keep a detailed journal of the exact sets/reps and rest intervals performed, and only count the repetitions completed in strict form.

35 Promises of God[8] cont.

35.  “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”-1 John 5:14

The Way[9]

"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."

89.  When you go to pray, let this be a firm resolution: Don't prolong your prayer because you find consolation in it or shorten it because you find it dry.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Pray the 54 Day Rosary
·         Total Consecration Day 24
·         Stations of the Cross: Thursday before First Friday Devotion


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