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FEAST OF ST. JOHN OF CAPISTRANO Job, Chapter 21, Verse 28 And to mortals he said: See: the fear of the Lord is wisdom; and avo...

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Friday of the First Week of Lent-Ember Day
St. Longinus

Deuteronomy, Chapter 31, Verse 6
Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.

Lord, thank you for helping me see more clearly than ever that “what I am” is your gift to me and “what I become” is my gift back to you.” (Poem by Melvin Banggollay)

He did not create us out of necessity; He did not need us. He did not create us out of justice; He owed us nothing. No, it is to His sheer love that we owe our existence. Therefore, we must strive to be humble in accepting our mistakes, to know how to say, “I was wrong.” You have good qualities—great qualities. Are you not a marvel of creation, made in the image of God? You are a masterpiece of His love, wounded, disfigured by sin, but remade by the Redeemer, more beautiful than before—and at what a price! Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil by good. One drowns very quickly in gall. Keep watch, therefore, over your soul; swallow the bitterness, as Jesus swallowed the vinegar on Calvary, and know how to smile at those who cause you pain. Poverty, austerity, fasting, prayer, and the gift of miracles, without love of our brothers, all are pure illusion. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, give me Your Heart to love my neighbor. The doctrine of abandonment, which sees God in everything, will make you marvelously available for this work. This is one of its richest secrets, for it obliges us to renounce, when necessary, our own views and our little personal plans, even our plans for sanctification. This total abandonment is the pinnacle of holiness and love, because it identifies us more perfectly with Jesus, who lived only to do the will of His Father.[1]

Friday of the First Week of Lent[2]

BE merciful, O Lord, to Thy people, and as Thou makest them devout to Thee, mercifully refresh them with kind assistance.

EPISTLE. Ezech. xviii. 20-28.

Thus, saith the Lord God: The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked do penance for all his sins, which he hath committed, and keep all My commandments, and do judgment and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live. Is it My will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?

But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he had done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die. And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it My way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?
For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, lie shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die. And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment and justice: he shall save his soul alive. Be cause he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die, saith the Lord Almighty.

GOSPEL. John v. 1-15.

At that time there was a festival-day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered, waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond: and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight-and-thirty years under his infirmity. Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, He saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered Him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am corning, another goeth down before me. Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed and walked. And it was the Sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, He said to me: Take up thy bed, and walk. They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee: Take up thy bed, and walk? But he who was healed, knew not who it was. For Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. Afterwards Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. The man went his way and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had made him whole.


Ember Friday[3]

Have you ever heard about the Ember days, observed for most of the history of the Church prior to the late 20th century? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. Like many traditional practices in the Church laden with deep meaning, Ember days have been chucked down the Catholic memory hole. But fear not! This is why God created the Internet: so, we can find all the neat things about Catholicism that are worth knowing and sharing.

Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons that “like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest harmony,” as St. John Chrysostom wrote. These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days,” or Quatuor Tempora, in Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day. Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

Father Peter Carota at the blog Traditional Catholic Priest offers some additional historical information on Ember days:

The Ember days are true Catholic tradition dating actually dating back to the Apostles, (Pope Leo The Great claims it was instituted by the Apostles).  Pope Callistus (217-222) in the “Liber Pontificalis” has laws ordering all to observe a fast three times a year to counteract the hedonistic and pagan Roman rites praying for:

By the time of Pope Gelasius, (492-496), he already writes about there being four times a years, including Spring.  He also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of Ember week.  This practice was mostly celebrated around Rome, from Pope Gelasius’ time, they began to spread throughout the Church. St. Augustin brought them to England and the Carolingians into Gaul and Germany.  In the eleventh century, Spain adopted them. It was not until Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) that these Ember days were prescribed for the whole Catholic Church as days of fast and abstinence.  He placed these “four mini Lents” consisting of three days; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The purposes of these “mini Lents” were to pray, fast and to thank God for the gifts He gives us through nature.  They follow the four seasons of the year with the beauty and uniqueness of each particular season.   They are here for us to teach us to use, with moderation, what God gives us through nature, and to also share these gifts with the poor.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, because of the changes in Church law, not a whole lot. At least not officially. The mandatory observation of Ember days was excised from Church practice during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI. But as a voluntary practice, there is much that is salutary in observing the Ember days of the Church.

I don’t know about you, but as a typically indulgent American, I’ve never been very good at fasting. Lately, I’ve noticed more and more people are advocating fasting as a counter-measure in today’s troubling times. This is the first year I will be observing these fasts, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m already pretty famished and a bit punchy. But the way I see it, there’s no point in continuing to put off the inevitable penance that I’m going to have to do for being a big, fat sinner. To say nothing about making reparations for the increasingly hostile darkness of a world steeped in its own sins. Fasting isn’t going to get easier at some point in the future when I get “holier.” In fact, I’m guessing the latter isn’t going to happen until I master the former. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where fasting and penance are more needed than right this moment.  We can’t rely on others to do it for us. Gotta cowboy up and put our mortification where our mouth is. What do you say? Who will be hungry with me?!
Lenten Calendar[4]

Read: Though she is not on the United States calendar, today is the feast day of St. Louise de Marillac, one of the founders of the Sisters of Charity.

Reflect: Why are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving important in our busy, secular lives?

Pray: Pray for the poor and children the Sisters of Charity continue to serve today.  

Act: Did you know that the norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onward? If you have younger children at home, encourage them to participate in abstinence from meat today by helping prepare a meatless meal for dinner.

St. Longinus[5]

St. Longinus was the Roman centurion who pierced the side of Christ with a lance. He is said to have converted to Christianity after experiencing the darkness after Christ's death.
St. Luke tells us that the centurion "gave praise to God", and exclaimed, "Truly this was an upright man." (Luke 23:47)
What was believed to be the Holy Lance of Longinus, was given to Innocent VIII in 1492.


Things to Do:

Aids in Battle[6] The Power of God’s Word

When Our Lord overcame the Devil in the wilderness, He quoted Scripture. In Scripture, the Devil and his demons go by several names and are portrayed by several vivid images, each one pointing to some important aspect of their nature and activity. To know these names and images is to understand better the kind of opponents we face in spiritual warfare.


·         The Devil, literally, “one who hurls [himself] across” the path of God’s plan; Mt 4: 1.
·         Satan, literally, “adversary, attacker”; Job 1: 6; Mt 4: 10.
·         Beelzebul, the prince of demons, the name of a pagan Canaanite god meaning “the Prince-God”; the Jews interpreted the word as “prince of demons” because they identified false gods with demonic spirits; Mt 12: 24– 27. The form Beelzebub, used in some Bible translations, is a contemptuous adaptation of the name that means “Lord of the flies”; see also Baalzebub as a reference to the Canaanite god in 2 Ki 1: 2– 6.
·         The Serpent, the malicious intruder in the Garden of Eden who led our first parents into sin; Gn 3: 1; Rv 12: 9.
·         Demon, from the ancient Greek term for a lesser deity; St. Paul identified such pagan gods with demonic spirits; 1 Cor 10: 20– 21.
·         Unclean spirit, in the sense of morally unclean or impure; Mt 10: 1.

America’s Unclean Spirit[7]

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, gave their strong support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which was recently introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in the U.S. Senate:

"We welcome and applaud the recent reintroduction of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). The USCCB has been vocal in support of the legislation since its inception. FADA is a modest and important measure that protects the rights of faith-based organizations and people of all faiths and of no faith who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. For example, in a pluralistic society, faith-based charitable agencies, and schools should not be excluded from participation in public life by loss of licenses, accreditation, or tax-exempt status because they hold reasonable views on marriage that differ from the federal government's view.
The leadership of the Catholic Church will continue to promote and protect the natural truth of marriage as foundational to the common good. The Church will also continue to stand for the ability of all to exercise their religious beliefs and moral convictions in public life without fear of government discrimination. We are pleased to support the First Amendment Defense Act, and we urge Congress to pass this important legislation." The letter of support for the First Amendment Defense Act is available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Sen-Lee-FADA-2018.pdf

Devotion to the Trinity[8]

The Trinity is the sum, substance, subject and object of our prayer. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. One God who is three persons is a mystery too deep for anyone to fathom. St. Teresa of Avila had a vision on the Trinity she stated, What was represented to me were three distinct persons, for we can behold and speak to each one. Afterward I reflected that only the Son took human flesh, through which this truth of the Trinity was seen. These persons love, communicate with, and know each other…and this is a very great truth…In all three persons there is no more than one will, one power, and one dominion, in such a way that one cannot do anything without the others.” St. John Paul II stated also, “God in his deepest mystery is not a solitude but a family, since he has in himself fatherhood, sonship, and the essence of family, which is love.” We are created for the sake of love. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church; (234) the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the "hierarchy of the truths of faith". The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men "and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin". God the Father sent the Son so that we might receive the Spirit. God became what we are, so that we might become what He is. He assumed our nature, so that we might share in His. Heaven is nothing other than the sharing, that communion, and it has begun with our baptism. All the sacraments and all Catholic liturgy are about the Blessed Trinity. We have been taken up into the life of the Trinity, even now. We do not have to wait to live in heaven, Heaven has come to us—though we still await the day of consummation, when we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (Jn. 3:2). Our very nature speaks of the trinity through our Mind, emotions and will. Will to serve!



The Way[9] Resolutions

"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."

Make this firm and determined resolution: to recall, when you receive honours and praise, all that brings a blush of shame to your cheek. The shame is yours; the praise and glory, God's.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Nivevah 90 day 52
·         Manhood of Christ Day 3, Second Week.
·         comment on your “Coffee with Christ”




[1] d'Elbée, Jean C.J. (2013-12-10). I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux
[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions
[6]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
[8] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 34. Devotion to the Trinity.
[9]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

1 comment:

  1. I tell Christ that I have been under a lot of stress. Everything is
    taking its toll on my energy with school, family and a multitude of
    other concerns. He tells me not to worry, He has been with me and
    He knows the situation. He states that when dealing with stress I
    need to focus on prayer first and the mind second, with others next
    and lastly my physical needs. But when it concerns others I need
    to focus on the reverse. Their physical needs, emotional, mental
    and spiritual needs, in that order. In this way , He says, you are
    connecting with the source of life which sustains you and you in
    turn sustain others till they connect with the Father. This is the
    way the kingdom of my Father can grow. You in Him, Him in you
    and you in others.

    Havermale, Richard. Coffee with Christ . Unknown. Kindle Edition.

    ReplyDelete