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Thursday, November 1, 2018



NOVEMBER

The Thanksgiving meal is a ritual. Whether we are from rural or urban backgrounds, we know the harvest time passes and the year draws to an end. Giving thanks to God is Eucharist, a heavenly banquet and the foretaste of things to come. We are not worthy receivers of this sacrament without the haunting knowledge of the poor nutrition for many in our country and famine in other countries. How can we respond to homelessness and hunger here in our own land and share our bounty with those who are poor in other countries (lands)?

Highlights of November

The month of November is dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, whose feast is celebrated on November 2. The entire month of November falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and is represented by the liturgical color green. During November, as in all of Ordinary Time (Time After Pentecost), the Liturgy signifies and expresses the regenerated life from the coming of the Holy Spirit, which is to be spent on the model of Christ's Life and under the direction of His Spirit. As we come to the end of the Church year we are asked to consider the end times, our own as well as the world's. The culmination of the liturgical year is the Feast of Christ the King. "This feast asserts the supreme authority of Christ over human beings and their institutions.... Beyond it we see Advent dawning with its perspecitive of the Lord's coming in glory."— The Liturgy and Time, A.G. Mortimort

The national holiday (USA) of Thanksgiving also falls on the last Thursday of November. The tradition of eating goose as part of the Martin's Day celebration was kept in Holland even after the Reformation. It was there that the Pilgrims who sailed to the New World in 1620 became familiar with this ancient harvest festival. When, after one year in America, they decided to celebrate a three days' thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621, they went in search of geese for their feast. We know that they also had deer (a present from the Indians), lobsters, oysters, and fish. But Edward Winslow, in his account of the feast, only mentions that "Governor Bradford sent four men on fowling that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labours." They actually did find some wild geese, and a number of wild turkeys and ducks as well. The Pilgrim Fathers, therefore, in serving wild turkeys with the geese, inaugurated one of the most cherished American traditions: the turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day. They also drank, according to the ancient European tradition, the first wine of their wild-grape harvest. Pumpkin pie and cranberries were not part of the first Thanksgiving dinner in America but were introduced many years afterward. The second Thanksgiving Day in the New World was held by the Pilgrims two years later, on July 30, 1623. It was formally proclaimed by the governor as a day of prayer to thank God for their deliverance from drought and starvation, and for the safe arrival from Holland of the ship Anne. In 1665 Connecticut proclaimed a solemn day of thanksgiving to be kept annually on the last Wednesday in October. Other New England colonies held occasional and local Thanksgivings at various times. In 1789 the federal Congress authorized and requested President George Washington to proclaim a day of thanksgiving for the whole nation. Washington did this in a message setting aside November 26, 1789 as National Thanksgiving Day. After 1789 the celebration reverted to local and regional observance for almost a hundred years. There grew, however, a strong desire among the majority of the people for a national Thanksgiving Day that would unite all Americans in a festival of gratitude and public acknowledgment for all the blessings God had conferred upon the nation. It was not until October 3, 1863, that this was accomplished, when President Abraham Lincoln issued, in the midst of the Civil War, a Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it the last Thursday of November was set apart for that purpose and made a national holiday.

Since then, every president has followed Lincoln's example, and annually proclaims as a "Day of Thanksgiving" the fourth Thursday in November. Only President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date, in 1939, from the fourth to the third Thursday of November (to extend the time of Christmas sales). This caused so much consternation and protest that in 1941 the traditional date was restored."

ALL SAINTS DAY (Holy Day of Obligation-Go to Mass)


Acts, Chapter 11, Verse 23-24
23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, 24 for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord.

The church grows because of the grace of God established a principle that Christ accepts all whether gentile or Jew as long as they remain faithful to the beatitudes and the teachings of the church with a firmness of heart. Antioch and Syria were the seedbed of the saints and martyrs in this time as it is now. Be firm.

Feast of All Saints[1]


2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church."

"Also, to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints."

WHY has the Church appointed this feast?

1. To honor God in His saints, in whom He has shown Himself so wonderful, and to thank Him, as the author of all sanctity, for the benefits He has bestowed upon them.

2. To put us in lively remembrance of the communion of saints; that is, of all true children of the Church, whether they belong to the Church militant on earth, to the Church suffering in purgatory, or to the Church triumphant in heaven; but more particularly to cause us to consider, with earnestness, the communion of the saints in heaven with us, who are yet combating on earth.

3. To encourage us to strive for the like sanctity with them, and to teach us that it is by no means impossible; for if thousands of men could become saints, why should not we, who can do all things through Him Who strengthens us, and has sent the Holy Ghost for our sanctification?

4. To pay honor to those saints to whom no particular day in the year is dedicated.

5. That, in consideration of so many intercessors, God may grant us perfect reconciliation, may give us a share in their merits, and may grant us the grace of one day sharing in their joy in heaven.

Explanation of the Eight Beatitudes

I. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit are:
o   those who, like the apostles, readily forsake all earthly things, and for Christ’s sake become poor.

o   Those who, happening to lose their property by misfortune or injustice, suffer the loss patiently, in resignation to the will of God.

o   Those who, like Jesus, are content with their poor and humble position, seek no higher or happier one, and would rather suffer want than enrich themselves by unlawful acts, by fraud or theft.

o   The rich and noble who set not their hearts upon the riches and greatness of the world; but who use their riches and influence to relieve the misery of the needy and oppressed.

o   Finally, the truly humble, who, convinced of their weakness, their helplessness and misery, think lowly of themselves, and regard themselves but as beggars, who are always in need of the grace of God. To all these, therefore, in whose hearts the world has no place, there is assured, as their inheritance, the kingdom of heaven; here the kingdom of grace there the kingdom of glory.

II. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.” That man is meek who does not murmur against God for sending afflictions upon him, who is not angry at men who do him injury, but who rather suppresses impatience, anger, envy, and revenge, nay, who seeks to recompense the evil done him by his neighbor with good. Such a one is greater than he who takes by storm fortified cities; he possesses an unfailing fountain of peace, quiet, and cheerfulness; by his meekness prevails over the most hostile minds, is by such means truly a ruler upon earth, and will one day, for his portion, obtain heaven, the land of the living, there to enjoy eternal peace.

III. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” By them that mourn we are not to understand such as grieve and lament over a death, a misfortune, a loss of worldly goods, or the like; but those who are grieved that God should be in so many ways offended by themselves and by others that His Church should be so heavily oppressed, and thereby so many souls lost that have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. The only evil really to be grieved for is sin, and the tears shed on account of sin are the only tears that are profitable, for they shall be recompensed with everlasting joy.

IV. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.” Hunger and thirst denote the most ardent longing after those virtues which constitute Christian perfection; such as humility, meekness, the love of God and of our neighbor, penance. Whoever longs for these virtues as the hungry man does for food and drink and prays to God for them with perseverance and earnestness, shall have his fill; that is, he shall be enriched with them, and one day shall be satisfied with eternal happiness.

V. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful here spoken of are:
o   Those who willingly for give the injuries done to them.
o   Those who have compassion on their poor neighbors, and, according to their ability, sustain them by alms. These shall obtain mercy; that is, God will forgive them their sins and endow them abundantly with the goods of this world and of the world to come. Thus, God deals with us as we deal with others.

VI. “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” The clean of heart are those who preserve with care the innocence with which they are invested at holy Baptism, or seek to regain it, when lost, by penance; those who keep their hearts and consciences unspotted from all sinful thoughts, particularly from all unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and acts, and who endeavor in all things to have a pure intention directed to God alone. They shall see God, that is, they shall know Him even here upon earth, for as the eye that is to see must be clean, so only souls that are pure and unstained can behold God. But further, our knowledge is like our hearts; the purer the heart the clearer and greater is the knowledge of God. But in the world above they shall see, know, and possess Him as He is. What blessedness! Strive, therefore, to keep your heart clean.

VII. “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” By peace-makers we are to understand those who have peace with themselves, that is, a quiet conscience, and who endeavor to maintain peace among others, or to restore it when broken. Such are called the children of God, because they follow God, Who is a God of peace, and who even gave His only Son to reconcile the world with Him, and to bring down upon earth that peace which the world itself could not give.

VIII. “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Hereby all those are declared blessed who, on account of the true faith, of virtue, of the fear of God, of purity, are persecuted, calumniated, and even put to death, and who bear all this with Christian patience and constancy, nay, with joy. Thus, have the saints done, and thereby they have gained the heavenly crown. Do we desire to be crowned with them; we must also suffer with them. And in truth, if we would apply ourselves zealously to virtue, occasions will not be wanting to us, for all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Praying for the Dead[2]All Souls Eve

In the Roman liturgical books, the celebration of All Saints' Day ends in the afternoon. When it is time for evening Vespers, the office for the Dead is recited in preparation for All Souls' Day. Those who do not use the breviary have followed the same pattern as well. Beginning at sunset on All Saints' Day, families gather in one room, extinguish all lights except the blessed candle that had been saved since Candlemas Day, and pray for the souls of their departed loved ones. In Brittany a group of men would actually go from farm to farm at night, shouting: "Christians awake; pray to God for the souls of the dead and say the Pater and Ave for them." The household would reply "Amen" and rise in prayer.

Things to Do[3]

·         Visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead during the Octave of All Saints' Day (November 1 through November 8) will gain a plenary indulgence that can be applied only to the souls in purgatory. On other days, this work gains a partial indulgence.
·         Spend a little time after Mass thanking God for all the unnamed saints, some of whom could be our own relatives.
·         Have a special meal and if you have young children have them dress up like saints and play games.
·         Pray the Litany of the Saints -- you could make it really special by chanting it ("he who sings prays twice") and you could read an explanation of this litany, which is considered the model of all other litanies.
·         From the Catholic Culture library:
o    The Church's Thanksgiving Day by Fr. Joseph Minihan,
o    Ideas for Sanctifying All Saints' Day by Jennifer Gregory Miller,
o    Halloween and All Saints Day by Fr. William Saunders.

Indulgences for All Souls Week

·         An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the first to the eighth of November; on other days of the year it is partial.
·         A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed [November 2 {as well as on the Sunday preceding or following, and on All Saints' Day}] piously visit a church. In visiting the church, it is required that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.
·         To acquire a plenary indulgence, it is necessary also to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the visit; it is, however, fitting that communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day as the visit.
·         The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary. A plenary indulgence can be acquired only once in the course of the day.
More things to do[4]

·         Visit the cemetery where your loved ones are buried and light a candle. This is exactly what the holiday is meant to celebrate, and it is also very common for people to do on All Souls’ Day.
·         Watch a movie about All Souls’ Day or Christianity. Some of our favourites are: All Soul’s Day (2005), Passion of the Christ (2004), and Raising the Undead (2006).
·         Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtag #AllSoulsDay, #HonourTheDead and #HeavenAwaits.
·         Create an alter in memory of a loved one. This can be done within your home and typically uses pictures of the person, candles, flowers and any other sentimental pieces.
·         Prepare a meal in memory of a deceased family member. In many countries, it is customary to prepare this meal and it is believed that the dead return to consume the food.

Purgatory[5]


Pope Gregory speaks of a priest of Centumcellæ, now Civita Vecchia, who also went to the warm baths. A man presented himself to serve him in the most menial offices, and for several days waited upon him with the most extreme kindness, and even eagerness. The good priest, thinking that he ought to reward so much attention, came the next day with two loaves of blessed bread, and, after having received the usual assistance of his kind servant, offered him the loaves. The servant, with a sad countenance, replied, “Why, Father, do you offer me this bread? I cannot eat it. I, whom you see, was formerly the master of this place, and, after my death, I was sent back to the condition in which you see me for the expiation of my faults. If you wish to do me good, ah! Offer up for me the Bread of the Eucharist.” At these words he suddenly disappeared, and he, whom the priest had thought to be a man, showed by vanishing that he was but a spirit. For a whole week the good priest devoted himself to works of penance, and each day offered up the Sacred Host in favor of the departed one; then, having returned to the same baths, he no longer found his faithful servant, and concluded that he had been delivered. It seems that Divine Justice sometimes condemns souls to undergo their punishment in the same place where they have committed their sins.

The Way[6] Purity

"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."

111.   Over-eating is the forerunner of impurity.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Spiritual Warfare Day TWELVE


[1]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[5]Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained (with Supplemental Reading: What Will Hell Be Like?)
[6]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm




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