Ember Wednesday-fast day
Deuteronomy, Chapter 25, Verse 17-18
17 Bear in mind what Amalek did to you on the journey after you left Egypt, 18 how he surprised you along the way, weak and weary as you were, and struck down at the rear all those who lagged behind; he did not fear God.
How shall we deal with truly evil people?
In Judaism, the Amalekites came to represent the archetypal enemy of the Jews. In the Jewish folklore the Amalekites are considered to be the symbol of evil. This concept has been used by some Hassidic rabbis (particularly the Baal Shem Tov) to represent atheism or the rejection of God. Elliot Horowitz and Josef Stern suggest that Amalekites have come to represent an "eternally irreconcilable enemy" that wants to murder Jews, and that Jews in post-biblical times sometimes associate contemporary enemies with Haman or Amalekites, and that some Jews believe that pre-emptive violence is acceptable against such enemies.
The truly wicked are animals as the bible mentions they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Strong men and women whether laity or religious have a duty to protect the flock; they are the shepherds of the church that protect the weaker ones. Who are the Amalekites of our time; how shall we recognize them.
According to Christian Counselor Lesie Vernick there are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.
1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention. They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information.
- Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
- Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference. They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance.
- Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust.
- Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse. They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character.
Hmm…sounds like politicians or cnn to me? I would like to finish with some thoughts of Saint John Paul II on the subject.
I once again address the leaders of nations and all men and women of good will, who recognize the need to build peace in the world…"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (12:21). Evil is never defeated by evil; once that road is taken, rather than defeating evil, one will instead be defeated by evil.
Wednesday in the First Week of Lent
EPISTLE, m. Kings xix. 3-8.
IN those days came Elias to Bersabee of Juda, and left his servant there, and he went forward one day s journey into the desert. And when lie was there, and sat under a junipertree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: It is enough for me, Lord, take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers. And he cast himself down and slept in the shadow of the juniper-tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him and said to him: Arise and eat. He looked and behold there was at his head a hearth-cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb.
GOSPEL. Matt. xii. 38-50.
At that time, some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Jesus, saying: Master, we would see a sign from Thee. Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so, shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: be cause they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and behold a greater than Solomon here. And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places seek ing rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation. As He was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold His Mother and His brethren stood without, seeking to speak to Him. And one said unto Him: Behold Thy Mother and Thy brethren stand without, seeking Thee. But He answering him that told Him, said: Who is My Mother, and who are My brethren? And stretching forth His hand towards His disciples, He said: Behold My Mother and My brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my father, that is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.
Prayer. Mercifully hear our prayers, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and against all our adversaries extend the right hand of Thy majesty. Amen.
What are the Ember-Days?
Days instituted to thank God, each season of the year, for the benefits received during that season, and to remind the faithful, each quarter of the year, of the duty of penance; also, to pray to God for deserving priests, for on those days the ordination of priests usually takes place. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions)
· The Ember Days are four series of Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays which correspond to the natural seasons of the year. Autumn brings the September, or Michaelmas, Embertide; winter, the Advent Embertide; Spring, the Lenten Embertide; and in summer, the Whit Embertide (named after Whitsunday, the Feast of Pentecost).
· The English title for these days, "Ember," is derived from their Latin name: Quatuor Temporum, meaning the "Four Times" or "Four Seasons."
· The Embertides are periods of prayer and fasting, with each day having its own special Mass.
· Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday were days of particularly devotion in the early church: Wednesday, as recalling the betrayal of our Lord, and Friday in memory of His Passion, Saturday was later added to these days of prayer and penance as a continuation of Friday, and as far back as the second century they were set apart as Stational days, that is as days of special religious service and fasting.
· The Ember Days, although the occasion of their institution is uncertain, are a reminder of these ancient days of devotion. Their purpose is to thank God for the fruits of the earth and other gifts of nature, to teach moderation in their use, and to assist the needy. From the time of Pope Gelasius in the fifth century it has been allowed to confer the diaconate and priesthood on the Saturdays of Ember weeks.
The Four Occurrences of Ember Days are as Follows:
· Winter: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of St. Lucy.
· Spring: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Ash Wednesday.
· Summer: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Pentecost.
· Fall: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of the Holy Cross.
Read: Pope Francis’s 2019 Message for Lent. . . .
Reflect “…we could also say that there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.” (Pope Francis, Message for Lent, 2014)
Pray: Today is the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election as Supreme Pontiff. Take time to pray for him and to thank God for the gift of his papacy.
Act: Having read the pope’s Message for Lent 2019, take time to journal about what struck you most about his message.
Ember Day Prayers
Prayer: Antiphon: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He hath done for thee.
V. Lord, Thou has been our refuge. R. From generation to generation.
V. Lord, Thou has been our refuge. R. From generation to generation.
Let us Pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that as year by year we devoutly keep these holy observances, we may be pleasing to Thee both in body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Honor of Christ's Betrayal and Passion
O God, Who for the world's Redemption was pleased to be born, circumcised, rejected by the Jews, betrayed by the kiss of traitor Judas, bound with chains, led like an innocent lamb to sacrifice, and shamefully presented before Annas, Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod, accused by false witnesses, beaten with whips, buffeted, insulted, spat upon, crowned with thorns, smitten with a reed, blindfolded, stripped of Thy garments, fastened with nails to the cross and lifted up on high, reputed among thieves, made to drink gall and vinegar and wounded by a lance; oh, by these most sacred sufferings, which, unworthy as I am, I thus commemorate, and by Thy holy cross and death, deliver me, Lord, from the pains of hell, and deign to lead me where Thou didst lead me where Thou didst lead the penitent thief, who was crucified by Thy side. Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, forever and ever. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. five times.
Prayer for God's Blessing on our Labors
O Lord, graciously look down upon Thy servants and upon the work of their hands, and do Thou, Who givest food to every creature, bless and preserve the fruits of the earth, that the needy may be filled with good things and that all may praise the glory of Thy bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Vocations to the Priesthood
Antiphon. Why stand ye all the day idle, go ye into my vineyard.
V. Ask the Lord of the harvest.
R. That He send laborers into His vineyard.
V. Ask the Lord of the harvest.
R. That He send laborers into His vineyard.
Let us Pray God, who willest not the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live; grant, by the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin and of all saints, laborers for Thy Church, fellow laborers with Christ, to spend and consume themselves for souls. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer Source: Blessed Be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book by Charles J. Callan, OP, S.T.M, P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1961
Italy is not the only country that claims great love for Saint Joseph. Here's an explanation of the festivities in Valencia, Spain.
· Among the many folk festivals of Spain which each year attract large numbers of tourists, Saint Joseph's Day in Valencia takes a unique position. La Falla de San Chusep, as it is called in the local dialect, has been celebrated for centuries, and it is perhaps the most spectacular, the most colorful of all Spanish holidays. It starts on March 13 and attains its gala climax six days later, after a solid week of fun and festivities.
· San Chusep (St. Joseph) is the patron saint of Valencia, and since the sixteenth century his day has been celebrated by the city's artisans and craftsmen with a great deal of zest, humor, and originality. In the Valencian dialect, falla means "pyre." It seems that the term originated in the annual custom of the carpenters who cleaned their shops of shavings and discarded wood at this time of the year and burned the debris with a short ceremony. With the scraps, a comical wooden figure depicting the most inept and backward of the carpenter's apprentices was thrown into the flames. Eventually this developed into a local tradition with all the guilds participating in the burning of humorous and satirical effigies of animals, people, or subjects of local or national ridicule and scorn. Apparently the falla figures are also a product of Baroque art, with its emphasis on painting on wood, for which Valencia's craftsmen became justly famous.
· Today, each guild, club, or association builds a falla of wood or papier-mâché. A queen, la reine del Falla, is chosen, and a band accompanies the queen, her court, and the falla to the contest on the main plaza of Valencia. The lavish preparations for the festival attract artists and musicians from the provinces who help the various groups build and exhibit their entries to the contest of falla During the week, bullfights are held every day. The streets are jammed with visitors admiring the fallas. In decorated booths and pavilions food and drinks are being served. And in the streets and on the city squares people dance to the music of the innumerable bands which accompany the fallas.
· The best productions in art and music are judged for subject-matter and presentation and awarded prizes. The most outstanding falla is transferred to a special museum which harbors the prize winners of previous years. On March 19, at midnight, all the other fallas, some towering three stories in height, are burned in huge bonfires. Strings of firecrackers explode around the plaza, and elaborate fireworks illuminate the scene with brilliant flashes of color. As each falla crumbles into ashes, the crowds shout with glee amidst the furiously burning pyres. As the fires slowly burn down to the last embers, the merrymakers leave the scene, exhausted and jubilant, already dreaming of next year, of the next falla.
The Way 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."
I listened in silence as you said, 'Yes, I want to be a saint.' Though usually such a vague and general statement seems nonsense to me.
Manhood of Christ Day 1, second week
Goffine’s Devout Instructions