Third Sunday Of Lent
WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY
Exodus, Chapter 3, Verse 6
I am the God of your father, he continued, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
This is Moses first encounter with the Living God. Moses responded with natural fear thus he tried to hide himself just as Adam did in the garden. Yet, how does one hide from God. The beginning of Holiness is to not try to hide but to face our Lord manfully and admit we are what we are and He is what He is. After this Moses was 100 percent for God; he was His man. Moses here began a journey with God that eventually led to the birth of Christ true God and true man and we beheld him face to face.
Today try and be 100% for God.
As iron, cast into the fire, loses its rust and becomes bright with the flame, so too a man who turns his whole heart to Me is purified and all sluggishness and changed into a new man.
Third Sunday of Lent is called Oculi, from the first word of the Introit. In the primitive Church, it was called Scrutiny-Sunday, because it was on this day that they began to examine the Catechumens, who were to he admitted to Baptism on Easter night. All the Faithful were invited to assemble in the Church, in order that they might bear testimony to the good life and morals of the candidates. At Rome, these examinations, which where called the Scrutinies, were made on seven different occasions, on account of the great number of the aspirants to Baptism; but the principal Scrutiny was that held on the Wednesday of the Fourth Week We will speak of it later on. The Roman Sacramentary of St. Gelasius gives us the form, in which the Faithful were convoked to these assemblies. It is as follows. “Dearly beloved Brethren: you know that the day of Scrutiny, when our elect are to receive the holy instruction, is at hand. We invite you, therefore, to be zealous and assemble on N., (here, the day was mentioned,) at the hour of Sext; that so we may be able, by the divine aid, to achieve without error, the heavenly mystery, whereby is opened the gate of the kingdom of heaven, and the devil is excluded with all his pomps.” The invitation was repeated, if needed, on each of the following Sundays. The Scrutiny of this Sunday ended in the admission of a certain number of candidates: their names were written down, and put on the Diptychs of the Altar, that they might be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. The same also was done with the names of their Sponsors. The Station was, and still is, in the Basilica of Saint Laurence outside the walls. The name of this, the most celebrated of the Martyrs of Rome, would remind the Catechumens, that the Faith they were about to profess, would require them to be ready for many sacrifices.
· The holy Church gave us, as the subject of our meditation for the first Sunday of Lent, the Temptation which our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to suffer in the Desert. Her object was to enlighten us with regard to our own temptations and teach us how to conquer them.
· Today, she wishes to complete her instruction on the power and stratagems of our invisible enemies; and for this she reads to us a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke. During Lent, the Christian ought to repair the past, and provide for the future; but he can neither understand how it was he fell, nor defend himself against a relapse, unless he have correct ideas as to the nature of the dangers which have hitherto proved fatal, and are again threatening him.
· Hence, the ancient Liturgists would have us consider it as a proof of the maternal watchfulness of the Church, that she should have again proposed such a subject to us. As we shall find, it is the basis of all today’s instructions. Assuredly, we should be the blindest and most unhappy of men, if, - surrounded as we are by enemies, who unceasingly seek to destroy us, and are so superior to us both in power and knowledge, - we were seldom or never to think of the existence of these wicked spirits. And yet, such is really the case with innumerable Christians now-a-days; for, truths are diminished from among the children of men [Ps. xi. 2].
· So common, indeed, is this heedlessness and forgetfulness of truth, which the Holy Scriptures put before us in almost every page, that it is no rare thing to meet with persons who ridicule the idea of Devils being permitted to be on this earth of ours! They call it a prejudice, a popular superstition, of the Middle-Ages! Of course, they deny that it is a dogma of Faith. When we read the History of the Church or the Lives of the Saints, they have their own way of explaining whatever is there related on this subject. To hear them talk, one would suppose that they look upon Satan as a mere abstract idea, to be taken as the personification of evil.
· When they would account for the origin of their own or others’ sins, they explain all by the evil inclination of man’s heart, and by the bad use we make of our free-will.
· They never think of what we are taught by Christian doctrine; namely, that we are also instigated to sin by a wicked being, whose power is as great as is the hatred he bears us. And yet, they know, they believe, with a firm faith, that Satan conversed with our First Parents, and persuaded them to commit sin, and showed himself to them under the form of a serpent. They believe, that this same Satan dared to tempt the Incarnate Son of God, and that he carried him through the air, and set him first upon a pinnacle of the Temple, and then upon a very high mountain. Again; they read in the Gospel, and they believe, that one of the Possessed, who were delivered by our Savior, was tormented by a whole legion of devils, who, upon being driven out of the man, went, by Jesus’ permission, into a herd of swine, and the whole herd ran violently into the sea of Genesareth, and perished in the waters. These, and many other such like facts, are believed, by the persons of whom we speak, with all the earnestness of faith; yet, notwithstanding, they treat as a figure of speech, or a fiction, all they hear or read about the existence, the actions, or the craft of these wicked spirits.
· Are such people Christians, or have they lost their senses? One would scarcely have expected that this species of incredulity could have found its way into an age like this, when sacrilegious consultations of the devil have been, we might almost say, - fashionable. Means, which were used in the days of paganism, have been resorted to for such consultations; and they who employed them seemed to forget, or ignore, that they were committing what God in the Old Law, punished with death, and which, for many centuries, was considered by all Christian nations as a capital crime. But if there be one Season of the Year more than another in which the Faithful ought to reflect upon what is taught us both by faith and experience, as to the existence and workings of the wicked spirits, - it is undoubtedly this of Lent, when it is our duty to consider what have been the causes of our last sins, what are the spiritual dangers we have to fear for the future, and what means we should have recourse to for preventing a relapse. Let us, then, hearken to the Holy Gospel. Firstly, we are told, that the devil had possessed a man, and that the effect produced by this possession was dumbness.
· Our Savior casts out the devil, and, immediately, the dumb man spoke. So that, the being possessed by the devil is not only a fact which testifies to God’s impenetrable justice; it is one which may produce physical effects upon them that are thus tried or punished. The casting out the devil restores the use of speech to him that had been possessed.
· We say nothing about the obstinate malice of Jesus’ enemies, who would have it, that his power over the devils, came from his being in league with the prince of devils:- all we would now do is, to show that the wicked spirits are sometimes permitted to have power over the body, and to refute, by this passage from the Gospel, the rationalism of certain Christians.
· Let these learn, then, that the power of our spiritual enemies is an awful reality; and let them take heed not to lay themselves open to their worst attacks, by persisting in the disdainful haughtiness of their Reason. Ever since the promulgation of the Gospel, the power of Satan over the human body has been restricted by the virtue of the Cross, at least in Christian countries; but this power resumes its sway as often as faith and the practice of Christian piety lose their influence. And here we have the origin of all those diabolical practices, which, under certain scientific names, are attempted first in secret, and then are countenanced by being assisted at by well-meaning Christians. Was it not that God and his Church intervene, such practices as these would subvert society? Christians! Remember your baptismal vow! You have renounced Satan: take care, then, that by a culpable ignorance you are not dragged into apostacy. It is not a phantom that you renounced at the Font; he is a real and formidable being, who, as our Lord tells us, was a murderer from the beginning [St. John, viii. 44].
· But, if we ought to dread the power he may be permitted to have over our bodies; if we ought to shun all intercourse with him, and take no share in practices over which he presides, and which are the worship he would have men give him; - we ought, also, to fear the influence he is ever striving to exercise over our souls. See, what God’s grace has had to do in order to drive him from our soul! During this holy season, the Church is putting within your reach those grand means of victory, - Fasting, Prayer, and Almsdeeds.
· True sweets of peace will soon be yours, and, once more, you will become God’s temple, for both soul and body will have regained their purity. But be not deceived; your enemy is not slain. He is irritated; penance has driven him from you; but he has sworn to return. Therefore, fear a relapse into mortal sin; and in order to nourish within you this wholesome fear, meditate upon the concluding part of our Gospel. Our Savior tells its, that when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water. There he writhes under his humiliation; it has added to the tortures of the hell he carries everywhere with him and to which he fain would give some alleviation, by destroying souls that have been redeemed by Christ.
· We read in the Old Testament that, sometimes, when the devils have been conquered, they have been forced to flee into some far-off wilderness: for example. The holy Archangel Raphael took the devil that had killed Sara’s husbands, and bound him in the desert of Upper Egypt [Tob. viii. 3]. But the enemy of mankind never despairs of regaining his prey. His hatred is as active now, as it was at the very beginning of the world, and he says: I will return into my house, whence I came out.
· Nor will he come alone. He is determined to conquer; and therefore, he will, if he think it needed, take with him seven other spirits, even more wicked than himself. What a terrible assault is this that is being prepared for the poor soul, unless she be on the watch, and unless the peace, which God has granted her, be one that is well armed for war! Alas! with many souls the very contrary is the case and our Savior describes the situation in which the devils finds them on his return: they are swept and garnished, and that is all! No precautions, no defense, no arms. One would suppose that they were waiting to give the enemy admission.
· Then Satan, to make his re-possession sure, comes with a seven-fold force. The attack is made; - but there is no resistance, and straightways the wicked spirits entering in, dwell there; so that, the last state becometh worse than the first; for before, there was but one enemy, - and now there are many. In order that we may understand the full force of the warning conveyed to us by the Church in this Gospel, we must keep before us the great reality, that this is the acceptable time. In every part of the world, there are conversions being wrought; millions are being reconciled with God; divine Mercy is lavish of pardon to all that seek it. But, will all persevere? They that are now being delivered from the power of Satan, - will they all be free from his yoke, when next year’s Lent comes round?
· A sad experience tells the Church, that she may not hope so grand a result. Many will return to their sins, and that too before many weeks are over. And if the Justice of God overtake them in that state - what an awful thing it is to say it, yet it is true, - some, perhaps many, of these sinners will be eternally lost! Let us, then, be on our guard against a relapse; and in order that we may ensure our Perseverance, without which it would have been to little purpose to have been for a few days in God’s grace, - let us watch, and pray; let us keep ourselves under arms; let us ever remember that our whole life is to be a warfare. Our soldier-like attitude will disconcert the enemy, and he will try to gain victory elsewhere.
Prayer. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, regard the prayers of Thy humble servants, and stretch forth in our defence the right hand of Thy majesty.
EPISTLE. Epliesians v. 1-9.
Brethren: Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children. And walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and, hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to Grod for an odor of sweetness. But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know ye this and understand that no fornicator, nor unclean, nor covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk ye as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.
Aspiration. O Lord, free my heart from all inordinate desires for tem poral goods and sensual pleasures. May a childlike fear of Thee guard my tongue, that I may not speak foolish or sinful words.
GOSPEL. Luke xi. 14-28.
Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court: those things are in peace which he possesseth. But if a stronger than he come upon him and overcome him: he will take away all his armor wherein he trusted and will distribute his spoils. lie that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there.. And the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. And it came to pass as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.
What are we to understand here by the dumb devil? The evil spirit, who so controls those of whom he has possession that they are dumb, and through a false shame keep away from confession.
By what power did Christ cast out the devil? By His divine power, which worked so suddenly and per fectly that the possessed was at once freed and able to speak.
How did Christ show the Jews that He did not cast out devils by Beelzebub?
1. By the parable in which He explains to them that the kingdom of Satan cannot stand if one evil spirit is cast out by another.
2. By pointing to their own children, some of whom were enabled to cast out devils by the power they had received from God (Mark ix. 37, 38).
3. By His whole life, and His works, which were in direct opposition to the devil.
Prayer. O Jesus, conqueror of the dumb devil, strengthen me, that if I should have the misfortune to sin against Thy holy commandments, I may have courage to overcome my false shame, and confess my sins in sincerity and humility. O my Saviour, be Thou my leader in the fight, that I may foil those arms of the devil: my evil inclinations, idleness, bad company, bad books, and human respect, and grant that I may never relapse into sin, but serve Thee with perseverance. Amen.
Read: Take time to read the readings before going to Mass today. You can sign up to receive the daily readings in your inbox every morning at the bottom of the web page.
Reflect: Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance.” (Pope Francis, Message for Lent, 2014)
Pray: Pray in solidarity with refugees around the world with this prayer from Catholic Relief Services. . . .
Act: When confronted with your own weakness during Lent, don’t give in to anger, frustration, and self-pity. Be patient and see yourself as God does, with unconditional love.
World Tuberculosis Day
World Tuberculosis Day, also known as World TB Day, seeks to raise awareness for Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a baterial infectious disease that affects the lungs. It is estimated that in 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis and 1.5 million died from the disease. World Tuberculosis Day is a World Health Organization holiday that is observed annually on March 24. The celebratory date commemorates the discovery of Tubercolosis bacteria by Dr. Koch in 1882.
World Tuberculosis Day Facts & Quotes
· Tuberculosis is the leading killer of HIV/AIDS-positive people.
· The tuberculosis death rate dropped 47% between 1990 and 2015. The disease is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.
· Tuberculosis occurs in every part of the world. The largest number of cases in the world occur in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and South Africa.
· The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted. - Mother Theresa
"Imagination is more important than knowledge..."
Spoken by Albert Einstein but proven by Boyce Luther Gully.
Today, the castle remains open for tours from October through May. The Mystery Castle Foundation, a 501c3 organization maintains the property so that future generations can share in the history and magic that is My Mystery Castle.
A number of the Psalms and other scriptural canticles praise God for giving His people victory in battle and ask for God’s assistance.
· Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my mercy and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, and He in whom I take refuge. Ps 144: 1– 2
· And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. . . because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. . . . He has shown might with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.” Lk 1: 46– 47, 49, 51– 52
The Way Scruples
"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."
Those scruples still! Speak simply and clearly to your Director. Obey... and don't underestimate the most loving Heart of our Lord.
 Paone, Anthony J., Our Daily Bread, 1954.
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.