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Monday, January 28, 2019

FEAST of SAint Thomas AQuinas

Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 28-29
28 What shall we meet with up there? Our men have made our hearts melt by saying, ‘The people are bigger and taller than we, and their cities are large and fortified to the sky; besides, we saw the Anakim (Giant) there.’” 29 But I said to you, “Have no dread or fear of them.

What are the giants in your life? Debauchery, theft, murder, adultery, greed malice, deceit, extravagance, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, recklessness all comes from within. These giants are not out there; there in here; in the heart. The hearts fears make giants. Love is the cure. Love endures Love hopes. Love does small tasks. Love is like a water drop that outlasts the mountain; wearing it away. Love stands defiant before the giants in your life. In and through love we come to discover the giants in our life were shadows all along. Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s light shining somewhere nearby. (Ruth Renkle)

Live each day as if it were your last. Death brings an end to all, and man’s life suddenly passes away like a fleeting shadow.

Lord, for those in mortal sin, death is the gateway to hell, but for those in sanctifying grace, it is the pathway to Heaven. Let my greatest desire in life be to live in such a way that I can die fearlessly at any moment. Let me fear sin more than death or any other earthly harm. Amen.[1]

St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church[2]

Thomas Aquinas thoughts on Fear

Article 1. Whether God can be feared? I answer that, Just as hope has two objects, one of which is the future good itself, that one expects to obtain, while the other is someone's help, through whom one expects to obtain what one hopes for, so, too, fear may have two objects, one of which is the very evil which a man shrinks from, while the other is that from which the evil may come. Accordingly, in the first way God, Who is goodness itself, cannot be an object of fear; but He can be an object of fear in the second way, in so far as there may come to us some evil either from Him or in relation to Him. From Him there comes the evil of punishment, but this is evil not absolutely but relatively, and, absolutely speaking, is a good. Because, since a thing is said to be good through being ordered to an end, while evil implies lack of this order, that which excludes the order to the last end is altogether evil, and such is the evil of fault. On the other hand the evil of punishment is indeed an evil, in so far as it is the privation of some particular good, yet absolutely speaking, it is a good, in so far as it is ordained to the last end. In relation to God the evil of fault can come to us, if we be separated from Him: and in this way God can and ought to be feared.

Article 2. Whether fear is fittingly divided into filial, initial, servile and worldly fear? I answer that, We are speaking of fear now, in so far as it makes us turn, so to speak, to God or away from Him. For, since the object of fear is an evil, sometimes, on account of the evils he fears, man withdraws from God, and this is called human fear; while sometimes, on account of the evils he fears, he turns to God and adheres to Him. This latter evil is twofold, viz. evil of punishment, and evil of fault. Accordingly if a man turn to God and adhere to Him, through fear of punishment, it will be servile fear; but if it be on account of fear of committing a fault, it will be filial fear, for it becomes a child to fear offending its father. If, however, it be on account of both, it will be initial fear, which is between both these fears.

Article 3. Whether worldly fear is always evil? I answer that, moral acts and habits take their name and species from their objects. Now the proper object of the appetite's movement is the final good: so that, in consequence, every appetitive movement is both specified and named from its proper end. For if anyone were to describe covetousness as love of work because men work on account of covetousness, this description would be incorrect, since the covetous man seeks work not as end but as a means: the end that he seeks is wealth, wherefore covetousness is rightly described as the desire or the love of wealth, and this is evil. Accordingly, worldly love is, properly speaking; the love whereby a man trusts in the world as his end, so that worldly love is always evil. Now fear is born of love, since man fears the loss of what he loves, as Augustine states. Now worldly fear is that which arises from worldly love as from an evil root, for which reason worldly fear is always evil.

Complete My Joy[3]-
Strengthening Family Life

122. What, practically speaking, strengthens family life? How is the garden of family life most assuredly planted and cultivated?

123. For this 50th Anniversary of our diocese, I have published for your use a companion to this exhortation, a Family Prayer Guide. I urge you to use it and grow in family prayer, strengthening your domestic church by opening wide the doors to Jesus Christ. I also entrust to you the following six additional key areas of growth for your marital and family spiritual life, two of which I also emphasized in Into the Breach, my apostolic exhortation to men.

Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy

124. As your spiritual father, few things give me more joy than when I see fathers and mothers together leading their families to Mass on Sunday. The Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy is the height of the week. If it is not already the case, establish today that “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Make Sunday Mass attendance a non-negotiable when it comes to planning the family calendar, even when the family is away on vacation.

125. Here are ways to teach and witness to your children what it means to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength” by worshipping Him in the Mass with fervor and reverence:

(1) Dressing for Mass should reflect the solemnity of the occasion.

 (2) Arriving for Mass early honors the Lord, in Whose house we are guests, avoiding rush whenever possible, to take the time to thank God in prayer before Mass begins.

(3) Showing reverence in front of Jesus, present in the Tabernacle, by genuflecting with love and honor every time you pass in front of Him teaches the truth about His presence. At that moment, we are in the true presence of the King!

(4) Participating actively in the Mass by prayerful silence, singing and speaking the responses with conviction and fervor, and inviting your children to do the same, teaches them the language of their Mother, the Church.

126. On Sunday, the entire day can and should be lived in a holy way, with prayer and good time together and fun. When Sunday is lived so as to truly become in every Christian home the Lord’s Day, a special day to praise Him, receive Him in the Eucharist, dwell joyfully in His love and with each other as a holy communion of love, I am convinced that the New Evangelization of our tired Christian West will flourish.

Monthly Confession.

127. In her Precepts, our Mother Church requires of us to go to confession a minimum of once per year. In some areas of the world, this is difficult to manage, but here we have access to the Sacrament much more often. I encourage you not to settle for minimalism as an individual or as a family. Monthly confession, with parents leading the whole family to the Sacrament, is an indelible memory for a child, and a great aid to the soul.

128. When we are aggravated and fighting in the family, when tempers are short and patience is thin, it is time for a spiritual cleansing. Teach your children to go to confession regularly, once per month, and you will instill in them a habit that will guard their soul throughout their lives. I can think of few other things you can do for them that would have a more lasting positive effect in their lives and bring peace to your home.

Daily (as often as possible) Family Meal

129.. The regular meal together as a family has a certain grace to it, a spiritual gravity and ability to foster discovery of each other over time. One social study found this regular meal to be the number one family habit that led to children’s success in school. It is hard to imagine a more effective step toward family communion outside the sacraments. St. John Chrysostom, the first saint to teach the “little church” of the home, in a homily speaking to Christian parents about their homes, advised two special places that parents should create: one was a special prayer “table” analogous to where the Scriptures are read in church—the other the family dinner table—analogous to the altar where the Eucharist is shared. The family meal, as unrushed as possible, is where real encounters happen between parents and children, between siblings and members outside the immediate family.

130. This is one of the reasons Satan is committed to filling up our lives with other things to do. The busier we make ourselves in giving in to this temptation, the more difficult it will be to sit down to eat as a family. I urge you to resist this. Families need to disconnect from the world’s pace, be present to one another and break bread together. If dinner becomes too difficult, consider making breakfast the family meal. It is worth the adjustment, and any sacrifices entailed.

Prioritize Time Together as Spouses.

131. Perhaps not initially obvious as part of a plan for spiritual life is the necessity of a regular time away, a date night or other form of consistent time alone together as spouses. Relationships are built with the material of time; there is no substitute for good time away together. Recall how in the Gospels, Jesus, though he was God Himself, took regular time away from His disciples to be alone with His Father. As spouses, time away from household tasks and children is a fundamental source of renewal for your marriage.

132. The type of time away is less important than the commitment to it; spousal loneliness, which is common in marriage, is denied a foothold as you nurture the love you committed to at the altar. One concrete suggestion; adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as a couple periodically is some of the best time you can spend. The Lord rejoices in your spousal love, He wants it to mature in your hearts as you grow in holiness together.

133. A magnificent additional commitment is an annual weekend retreat as spouses. We priests are required to take a significant annual retreat as a spiritual time away with the Lord. Your vocation is no less important than ours and planning a retreat together annually will refresh your marital spirituality.

The Way[4] Penance

"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."

Let us bless pain. Love pain. Sanctify pain... Glorify pain!

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Nivevah 90 day 6

[1] Paone, Anthony J., S.J. My Daily Bread, Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

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