Sunday, February 17, 2019
Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites
Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 7-8
7 Blessed are those who trust in the LORD; the LORD will be their trust. 8 They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit.
I live in Arizona where hardly anything grows in the desert. However, along a stream or a creek, trees do put their roots into the bed of the water and create a mini paradise with flowers, deer and even provides sustenance even during the hottest days. Likewise, we should sink our roots into our Lord through our church and receive refreshment through frequent reception of the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist; along with spiritual reading and time alone with our Lord. In this way we are nourished and prepared for the work our Lord has given us.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:3)
Though thus says the Lord for those who neither hope nor know Him and does not fear God: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the wasteland that enjoys no change of season, but stands in lava beds in the wilderness, a land, salty and uninhabited.” (Jer. 17:5-6)
Three weeks prior to Ash Wednesday, on the day before Septuagesima Sunday, a touching ceremony is held. A choir assembles, chants the divine office and, afterwards, sings a bittersweet hymn bidding farewell to the word
"Alleluia": We do not now deserve to sing the Alleluia forever; Guilt forces us to dismiss you, O Alleluia. For the time approaches in which we must weep for our sins.
So important was Lent to both Eastern and Western Christians that they actually had a separate season to prepare for it. Thus, the day after Septuagesima Sunday, they would begin a period of voluntary fasting that would grow more severe as it approached the full and obligatory fast of Lent. The amount of food would be reduced, and the consumption of certain items, such as butter, milk, eggs, and cheese, would gradually be abandoned. Starting on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, this self-imposed asceticism would culminate in abstinence from meat. Thus, the name for this seven-day period before Ash Wednesday is "Carnival," from the Latin carne levarium, meaning "removal of meat." Finally, within the week of Carnival, the last three days (the three days prior to Lent) would be reserved for going to confession. This period was known as "Shrovetide," from the old English word "to shrive," or to have one's sins forgiven through absolution.
Goffines 1896 Devout Instructions
WHY is this Sunday traditionally called Septuagesima? The word means seventy. According to the First Council of Orleans, in the year A.D. 545, many pious ecclesiastics and lay persons of the primitive Church used to fast seventy days before Easter, and their fast was called, therefore, Septuagesima, a name which was afterwards retained to distinguish this Sunday from others. The same was the case with the three following Sundays; many Christians beginning their fast sixty days before Easter, whence the name Sexagesima; others fifty days, whence Quinquagesima; others forty days, whence Quadragesima.
Why did the first Christians fast seventy days? Alcuin and Amakrius say that the captivity of the Jews in Babylon first suggested it; for as the Jews were obliged to do penance seventy years, that they might thereby merit to return into the promised land, so Christians sought to regain the grace of God by fasting for seventy days.
Why does the Church, from this Sunday until Easter, omit all joyful chants, as the Te Deum, Alleluia, Gloria in Excelsis? To remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors, and to exhort him to penance. To incite us to sorrow for our sins, and to show us the necessity of repentance, the Church at the Introit in the name of all nations unites her prayers with David, saying, “The sorrows of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me, and in my affliction, I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice from His holy temple. I will love Thee! O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.”
Things to Do
· Read the more detailed, corresponding passage in Matthew 5:3-12 on the Beatitudes. Choose a beatitude to focus on for the rest of this month. Write it in conspicuous places throughout your house — desk, home altar, fridge, bathroom mirror. Think of some small practical ways to put this beatitude into action in your daily life. For some ideas on how to live the poverty and detachment prescribed by the first beatitude (Blessed are the poor in spirit), read this interview with spiritual director and writer Fr. Dubay.
· Read a summary of St. Bernard's advice for living the Beatitudes, and the Holy Father's exhortation to the youth at Toronto's World Youth Day to be people of the Beatitudes.
These seven men were the founders of the Servite Order, a community instituted for the special purpose of cultivating the spirit of penance and contemplating the passion of Christ and Mary's Seven Sorrows. Due to the spirit of humility cherished by the members of the Order, their accomplishments are not too widely known. But in the field of home missions’ great things are to their credit, and certainly they have benefited millions by arousing devotion to the Mother of Sorrows. The Breviary tells us that in the midst of the party strife during the thirteenth century, God called seven men from the nobility of Florence. In the year 1233 they met and prayed together most fervently. The Blessed Mother appeared to each of them individually and urged them to begin a more perfect life. Disregarding birth and wealth, in sackcloth under shabby and well-worn clothing they withdrew to a small building in the country. It was September 8, selected so that they might begin to live a more holy life on the very day when the Mother of God began to live her holy life. Soon after, when the seven were begging alms from door to door in the streets of Florence, they suddenly heard children's voices calling to them, "Servants of holy Mary." Among these children was St. Philip Benizi, then just five months old. Hereafter they were known by this name, first heard from the lips of children. In the course of time they retired into solitude on Monte Senario and gave themselves wholly to contemplation and penance. Leo XIII canonized the Holy Founders and introduced today's feast in 1888.
Building the Kingdom in Marriage
Marriage works. It makes people happier, live longer, and build more economic security. Children with married parents perform better in school. Deep down, everyone wishes they could have a rewarding lifelong commitment with their spouse. But in the midst of challenges, we forget how marriage can benefit our personal lives. We are losing our determination and the skills to keep marriages healthy and strong. Marriage breakdown is costly to our kids and to society at large. Divorce and unwed childbearing cost the U.S. taxpayers a whopping $112 billion annually. In these economic challenging times, building stronger marriages helps build a stronger nation.
Just like that sweet little vegetable patch in your backyard, the more you nurture and nourish your relationship the happier you’ll both be. And what does that look like? Quality nourishment requires pausing, listening, and paying attention to your partner. It requires that you learn to love people in ways that are meaningful to them and listen when they tell you what their needs are. Here are 10 ways you can nudge your relationship into a happier, healthier, more fulfilling version of itself.
1. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not and just be yourself insteadWhen we are who we really truly are – weird hobbies and all – magic happens. Being true to ourselves allows us to navigate life and relationships free of hangups, emotional baggage, or expectations. In the beginning stages of relationships, many of us focus on showcasing our best selves in an attempt to garner love and affection. We become ridiculously, painfully focused on making a good impression. But being who you really are and being who you think someone wants you to be – it’s hard to do those two things simultaneously. Take a deep breath, release those shoulders, and stop pretending and polishing yourself. Just be right here, who you are, today.
2. Smile at your loved oneTo the best of your ability, greet your partner with a smile when you see each other for the first time that day. Imagine how good that would feel – after a tough day at work and sitting in traffic, you walk through the door and are greeted with a smile and a kiss from the person you love most. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to start your evening?
This is not to say you’re never allowed to share the low points of your day, but maybe save them for dinner – rather than the first five minutes that you see your sweetie. Other great times to smile at your partner: across a crowded party, before you part ways for the day, when you know they need encouragement.
3. Realize things changeWe’re living, breathing organisms – subject to the changing tides of emotion and circumstance. It can be emotionally crippling to get too attached to the “status quo” – not just in your romantic relationships but in life. Change is inevitable. Next week your partner might wake up and want to change careers, move to the east coast, or have kids (like, soon). Can you allow space for that? Could you create a new life with him while he pursued something new? And, of course, things will change for you – your passions, your career, your family, your health. When your partner tells you that they’ve got some big changes in mind – a new workout plan, a move to the country, no more dairy – do your best to listen with an open mind and heart.
4. Work out togetherExercise gives you energy and is a wonderful way to show your partner that you’re interested in your health and you want to stay healthy for them. Trying new workouts together also helps you bond! Take a couple’s yoga class, a hip-hop dance class, or try rock climbing. Even if you’re terrible, later you’ll be able to laugh together about his terrible downward dog or your total failure to pop ‘n lock.
5. If you want quality time with your significant other, plan itYou’ve heard this advice before and that’s because it works! Make time for thrilling, exciting things – not just birthdays and anniversaries. As your weekend winds down, take a few minutes to schedule in at least one fun date each week – whether that’s trying a new restaurant, going for a hike, or catching a movie at the second-run theater. Fun things happen when you make time and space for them.
6. Express your needsSome people like to text every day. Some people need a lot of alone time. Some people want their partner to plan exciting dates. All of these needs are equally legitimate. But your partner will never know what your needs are if you don’t tell them. You don’t need to open a first date with a checklist, but once things are clicking along, it’s okay to say, “I want you to feel loved and appreciated. How can I do that?” and when you’ve heard their suggestions, you can share yours. When they do what you asked? Offer lots and lots of acknowledgement and appreciation.
7. Give without any expectationsI know it’s incredibly tempting (so tempting!) to keep a mental list of all the nice things you’ve done for your sweetie.
· Picked up a new yoga mat because I saw hers was deteriorating
· Made a reservation for dinner Friday
· Bought his mom’s birthday presentThis mentality will only end in tears and resentment. We can nourish our relationships by removing the expectation that they to do the same things that we have done for them. Let your partner give to you because they want to, not because they feel as though they owe you.
8. Don’t stop caring about how you look!Male or female, we’ve all done this, right? Constantly hanging out in our old gym clothes and dirty hair, eating pizza for dinner three times a week. You want to find your partner attractive and – not surprisingly – they want to find you attractive. Help them do that by keeping up with your workouts and saving the sweatpants for alone time.
9. Cultivate intimacy and independenceIt might sound counterintuitive, but you can connect while also retaining autonomy. Don’t stop doing the things that filled you up now that you’ve found a partner. Keep attending those pottery classes, keep working on your novel – and keep telling your partner all about it and why you love it. Just as important? Give them the space to pursue a few passions without you. You’ll both be that much more excited to come home and tell each other about your adventures.
10. Inspire your partner by loving yourself fiercelyThe more you love yourself, the more others will follow your lead. We’ve all witnessed it: the confident woman who maintains healthy boundaries always seems to attract amazing partners. Do your best to identify your needs and meet those needs yourself. Need creative inspiration? Rather than trying to date an artist or force your accountant boyfriend to take drawing classes, buy a DSLR (camera) and get to shooting. Crave a more active social life? Don’t hassle your introverted girlfriend into house parties and nights out. Call up your most outgoing friends and schedule a night out, complete with cute shoes and cocktails. We teach people how to treat us and when you nourish yourself with love and respect, the world – and your partner – take notice.
Today is also the date that the National Congress of Mothers later known as the PTO was established in 1897. Motherhood is tough these days don’t forget to pray for mothers of today.
The New Stay-at-Home Mom (Does not just eat bon bons and watch “Charmed” on TV)Forget everything you've heard about stay-at-home moms. A new generation is starting their own; businesses, blogging and working at home. These women are known as WAHM’s (Work At Home Moms) proving women can be nurturing while increasing the net income of a family while overseeing that the family comes first. Great families start with great couples; great parents which means a great family. If we want to make America great it starts here. The model for any mother is of course the original work at home mom which is Mary mother of God. Today say the Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary.
Today is my deceased mother “Rosella’s “birthday-please say prayers for her intention. Mardi Gras in New Orleans was one of her most favorite things to do.
Moms: Here is an original children’s story I have written a long time ago. Enjoy
THE TREE OF HAPPINESS
Sir Michael was, Guardian of the Throne, to the King of Utopia, Richard. Utopia was a Kingdom like many others of that age, Most the Knights to the King had long forgot their oaths of duty and selfless service. Most of them were heavily involved in petty schemes or feuds with other Knights and spend a great deal of time and energy in self-promotion. In order to afford these pursuits of big-headedness they extracted heavy taxes from the peasants. The sons of these Knights were worse than their fathers and had much time for idle pleasures and failed to train properly as Knights of the Realm. These youth wasted much of their time in satisfying selfish pleasures, such as taking magical powders which made the takers have visions and feel a great sense of well-being. In addition, many of these Knights to be were in the habit of drinking strong drinks to excess and going about mistreating the daughters and sons of the peasants. To be continued tomorrow.
Glorious Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly hosts, who stands always ready to give assistance to the people of God; who fought with the dragon, the old serpent, and cast him out of heaven, and now valiantly defends the Church of God that the gates of hell may never prevail against her, I earnestly entreat you to assist me also, in the painful and dangerous conflict which I sustain against the same formidable foe. Be with me, O mighty Prince! That I may courageously fight and vanquish that proud spirit, whom you, by the Divine Power, gloriously overthrew, and whom our powerful King, Jesus Christ, has, in our nature, completely overcome; so having triumphed over the enemy of my salvation, I may with you and the holy angels, praise the clemency of God who, having refused mercy to the rebellious angels after their fall, has granted repentance and forgiveness to fallen man. Amen.
Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defensive armor. St. Paul sums it up: “Put on, therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience. Bear with one another, if anyone has a grievance against any other; even as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3: 12– 14). Only with such armor will we be fully covered and protected from the Evil One’s attacks.
· The Shield of Faith. St. Paul reminds us that faith must be firmly grasped and held up as a barrier between ourselves and the Enemy.
· The Helmet of Hope. It is essential for protecting the mind. If we have no hope of winning why fight? We must never take off the helmet of hope or we will be overcome before we start.
· The Breastplate of Love. The breastplate protects our heart-keeping it for God alone. Love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind; and be rightly related to others is to love them as we love ourselves (see Mt 22: 36– 40).
· Cincture of Truth. Being truthful with God, yourself, and others is a spiritual form of ballistic groin protection. Nothing can hurt like the truth. We must not let the intimate parts of our inner selves be led astray by blinding passion; and the Devil’s enticement. We must seek the truth and live the truth. We must not seek to gratify the desires of the flesh, but instead we must “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” imitating the virtues displayed in His character.
· Feet shod in Peace. Wherever we go, we must be prepared to bring the good news of salvation, of peace with God, to all we may encounter. The Devil will try to turn us back. He’ll scatter across our path, like so many rocks and thorns, a wagonload of doubts, accusations of our inadequacy, and fear of conflict and rejection. But if we’ve put on the “boots” of readiness— if we’ve prepared ourselves, through faithful study and prayer, to share the gospel— then we’ll walk safely over these obstacles, crushing them as we go.
· The Mantle of Humility. Humility is the essential virtue that provides the soil in which all the other virtues grow. Humility keeps us from dangerous “high places” where the Enemy could tempt us to pride and vainglory.
The Devil and Temptations
Charms and Amulets
· This is a form of magic in which the particular object is believed to have power to attract the good or to ward off evil. These are particularly bad when given to us by a fortune teller, spiritualist, "curandero" or some person involved with the occult. When the object is worn on the person or carried in the purse or placed in the home, it means that the influence of evil is always present there with us. Examples are carrying garlic in the purse in order to always have money, keeping an open pair of scissors for good luck, keeping special herbs in a jar, wearing a crescent around the neck or a necklace of garlic, putting alfalfa and flowers in front of a statue, placing figures of oriental or Indian gods in the house, and so on. Much of the modern jewelry worn about the neck is now actually representative of something used in witchcraft. Usually people wear this jewelry innocently.
· We must be careful not to use religious medals or statues in a superstitious way. No medal, no statue, nor religious article has any power or luck connected with it. A medal, statue or candle is only a sign of our prayer asking the saint to intercede with God for us. All worship is given to God and to Him alone.
· All of the objects described above, or any other objects used in a superstitious way should be effectively thrown away or destroyed. If we are wearing jewelry that corresponds to a zodiac sign, or if we wear something that is representative of witchcraft, we can open ourselves unwittingly to the kingdom of darkness. People wear religious medals because they seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the saints, and they desire the protection and the blessing of God. Wearing something that represents the occult, even in an innocent way, is symbolic of our being under the power of darkness. We should not hesitate to get rid of this type of jewelry. Either we want to be in the Kingdom of God, or we don't. Renounce Satan renounce the use of charms and ask God's pardon. If you deliberately carved such an object to ward off evil or to attract good luck, it would be well to mention this when you go to Confession. Place your faith, not in the kingdom of darkness, but only in Jesus Christ who cures, who saves, who protects and who loves us.
The Way 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."
If you realize that your body is your enemy, and an enemy of God's glory, since it is an enemy of your sanctification, why do you treat it so softly?
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
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