SAINT AGNES NINE--DAYS FOR LIFE Sirach, Chapter 2, Verse 7-10 7 You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, do not stray le...
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Friday, March 8, 2019
Friday after Ash Wednesday
International Women's Day
Psalm 112, Verse 1
Hallelujah! Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands.
This psalm is detailing the blessings received by those who remain close to God by obedience to the commandments. Among their blessings are children, wealth that enables them to be magnanimous, and virtue by which they encourage others. The just person is an affront to the wicked, whose hopes remain unfulfilled.
Hallelujah is a conjunction of two Hebrew words which mean “Praise the Lord”. Yes, praise God for men who have Holy fear and follow his commands for such person’s help to create a Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Hallelujah! If you know such people, follow and emulate them.
Friday after Ash Wednesday-Fast Day
EPISTLE. Isaias Iviii. 1-9.
THUS, saith the Lord God: Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice - like a trumpet, and show My people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins. For they seek Me from day to day, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of Me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God. Why have we fasted, and Thou hast not regarded: why have we humbled our souls, and Thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors. Behold you fast for debates and strife, and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day, to make your cry to be heard on high. Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sack-cloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day accept able to the Lord? Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen?
Loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden. Deal thy bread to the hungry and bring the needy and the harborless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. Because I thy Lord God am merciful.
GOSPEL. Matt. v. 43, vi. 1-4.
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy: but I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: that you may be the children of your Father Who is in heaven, Who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this? Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Take heed, that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father Who is in heaven. Therefore, when thou dost an alms deed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father Who seeth in secret, will repay thee.
Today we honor and remember St. John of God.
Reflect: “Lent is thus an opportunity to ‘become’ Christian ‘anew,’ through a constant process of inner change and progress in the knowledge and love of Christ. Conversion is never once and for all but is a process, an interior journey through the whole of life.” (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, February 21, 2007)
Pray: St. John of God was extremely dedicated to the sick and dying. Once, when he heard that a hospital was going up in flames, he ran in and rescued the patients and much of the bedding, just before the roof fell in. Moments later, he walked out of the building, miraculously spared. St. John of God is the patron saint of firefighters. Pray to him today to intercede and keep the firefighters in your community safe.
Act: Today is the first Friday in Lent, where most Catholics will observe an abstinence from meat. Check out some meatless recipes. . . , and plan to try new ones each Friday of this Lenten season.
Posture and Prayer
We are composed of body and soul, “every part of the body is an expressive instrument of the soul. The soul does not inhabit the body as a man inhabits a house, It lives and works in each member, each fiber, and reveals itself in the body’s every line, contour and movement.” Our bodies communicate respect or contempt. By our gestures and the way, we comport ourselves we confirm his presence. We are “ensouled” bodies as much as we are embodied souls. We should always move as the Church directs us: sit, stand, bow, kneel, strike the breast, make the Sign of the Cross, all in due time. The scriptures speak of several postures of prayer: 1) Standing 2) Kneeling 3) bowing 4) prostrating.
Standing gives the expression to the prayers of our heart. Standing is a sign of vigilance and action acknowledging that we are the warriors of God; as a soldier on duty. A Knight always stood in the presence of the King or Judge. Standing was a sign of deference and trust. We acknowledge that none of our weapons or self-defenses can repel Him for He alone is all powerful and all knowing. We are vulnerable in His presence. Military officers know that comportment has serious consequences. Soldiers tend to live up, or down to the way they carry themselves. That’s why there are strict rules about how a soldier should stand when at attention. Bad posture is bad for the spine and communicates disrespect for us and others. Standing expresses the filial liberty given us by the risen Christ, who has freed us from the slavery to sin.
Bowing or genuflecting is an act of showing recognition of our God. It is adoration. In bowing or genuflecting we show our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar. To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Kneeling is the prayer posture of mothers, rulers, lepers, and Jesus himself. Kneeling is the side of worship that is at rest and is quiet; “I bow my knees before the Father”. (Eph. 3:14) Kneeling expresses the recognition of our humility before the Almighty Lord (Phil 2:10). Kneeling is associated with reverence, submission and obeisance. Kneeling renders a person defenseless and unable to flee and shows a trust in a power beyond the merely human.
Sitting-We spend a lot of time in church sitting; by this position we show our receptiveness and our willingness to listen and take the Word of God.
In prostration a person lies face down upon the ground. We are connected to the earth from which we came. Prostrations are reserved for most solemn moments, such as the ordination of a bishop or priest. Remember our Lord prostrated Himself in the garden of Gethsemane. The posture indicates the candidate’s inadequacy for the task to which he has been called. Recall our Lord asking the Father to take to cup…but not my will but thine. Our body expresses self-emptying.
Worship Him and give Him all your heart, mind, soul and will!
Grace at Meals
Part and parcel of the breakdown of a family begins when the family no longer shares a communal meal. The strongest families are those who meet daily for the breaking of the bread and have an established time of the day when everyone is expected to eat together whether that meal is a breakfast, lunch or supper. When we “say grace” before (or after) our meals, we transform our family or lone meals into “sacraments” of God’s banquet. A meal shared in this manner is shared with God himself. In this way every meal, then, is a celebration of God’s creation and his providence.
Traditional Grace before meals
“Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen
International Women's Day
International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements throughout the world. Its purpose is to promote women’s equality, encourage support for repressed women and promote appreciation toward women everywhere. Many organizations, including the United Nations, use this day to also celebrate extraordinary achievements of ordinary women. International Women's Day was initially promoted by the Socialist Party of America. In 1909, it designated this day in remembrance of a major strike by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. The holiday is now recognized internationally and is an Official National Holiday for many countries, including: China, Russia and Ukraine. It is observed annually on March 8th.
International Women's Day Facts & Quotes
· On the eve of World War I, women across Europe and Russia celebrated the holiday by protesting the war and campaigning for peace.
· On this day, the US Dept. of State and the First Lady award the International Women of Courage Awards. Ten women are given the award - who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk
· There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable. - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
International Women's Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Organize a sporting event for women. Numerous studies have shown many benefits for women that play sports. A recent study by the EY Women Athletes Business Network even found that women that play sports were more likely to excel in business.
· If you're a woman, try learning a task that is typically done by men. Such a chore may be: changing the oil on your car, computer programming, mowing the lawn, painting, and any home improvement project.
· If you’re a man, show appreciation by performing a chore for your special lady that is typically done by her. This may include cooking, cleaning, child care or anything that the special woman in your life does.
· Watch a movie that portrays strong empowered women. Our favorites: Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Elizabeth (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000), The Help (2011), A League of Their Own (1992), Mulan (1998), My Fair Lady (1964), Norma Rae (1979), Volver (2006).
The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine "genius" which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness.-John Paul II, Apostolic Letter
Preparing for Battle Know Your Weapons-fasting
When God’s people fast, the power of their prayers is increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare.
In response to Daniel’s fasting and prayer, God had sent the Archangel Michael to battle a demonic power (called “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”)
If prayer is a spiritual weapon, fasting is the spiritual whetstone on which it is sharpened.
The Way Examination of conscience
"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."
On days of recollection your examination of conscience should be more searching than the usual nightly moment. Otherwise you miss a great chance to put things right.
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 10. Posture.
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 14. Grace at Meals.
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.