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Wednesday, June 5, 2019


SAINT BONIFACE


1 Chronicles, Chapter 21, Verse 29-30
29 The tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar for burnt offerings were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go into his presence to inquire of God, for he was fearful of the sword of the angel of the LORD.

The sword of the Angel is another way of saying the divine justice. When we sin we all fear the sword of the Angel, for all have sinned; yet when we sin we fear the thing that can save us-trusting that God is bigger than our sin. We like David are fearful of punishment for our sins and that we will get exactly what we did not count on. Yet, know; Gods mercy is greater that His justice. Trust is central to salvation.

Census of Sin[1]

King David had ordered a census to be taken. David’s general Joab strongly cautioned the King against such a measure, but David insisted on it anyway. Upon completion of the census the Prophet Gad informed David of God’s anger and intention to punish David and all Israel for this sin.

What’s wrong with a Census? –In effect David’s lack of trust. For God had called David to trust in God, not in man, not in numbers. We have a tendency to rely too much on numbers. We tend to think that something is good, or right or successful, based on how many people attended, or how many support a cause or view. Of this tendency we must be very careful.

Is our power or rightness rooted in numbers, in popularity, in profit, or in God? David in counting his people is, it would seem, seeking confidence in his numbers, rather than God, and this is a sin. For, David could well have considered with pride the fact that he had amassed a large number of people in reuniting the Israel and Judah, in conquering the Philistines and the Hittites et al. Thus, taking a census was a way of flattering himself, and making a name for himself. The numbers ARE quite impressive. So impressive, in fact that we moderns doubt them: 800,000 men fit for military service in Israel, and 500,000 men in Judah. This number of over 1 million men does not include women, children or the elderly. Hence the full census number may have closer to 5 million. This seems an unlikely number, and opens up the great debate among biblical scholars about biblical numeration but for here, let it be said, David was enthroned over a numerous nation and his census is a likely indication that he was quite proud of his accomplishment, and wanted that accomplishment recorded for history and/or his contemporaries: “David: King of multitudes!” These are not David’s people to number; they are God’s people. Since counting hints at accomplishment and control, David sins in trying to know a number that is none of his business, a number that is for God alone to know. God numbers the people and calls them by name (cf Gen 15:15). Note that David is delivered a number of men “fit for military service.” Hence in the ancient world, a census was often a tool of military draft. It was also a tool used to exact taxes, and for Kings to measure power, and manipulate and coerce based on that power. Even in our own time the taking of the Census every ten years is often steeped in power struggles, political gerrymandering, tax policy, spending priorities, the number of seats in the legislature, and the pitting of certain ethnic and racial groups against each other. A lot of mischief and political power struggles are tied back to the census, because numbers are powerful things. Those that have “the numbers on their side” get seats at the table. Those who do not can wait outside. Thus, David, in amassing numbers, amasses power and the capacity to manipulate his people in sinful or unjust ways.

Saint Boniface[2]

A Benedictine monk was chosen by divine Providence to become Germany's great apostle and patron. In 724 he turned his attention to the Hessian people. near the village of Geismar on the Eder, he felled a giant oak that the people honored as the national sanctuary of the god Thor. Boniface used the wood to build a chapel in honor of St. Peter. This courageous act assured the eventual triumph of the Gospel in Germany. Conversions were amazingly numerous. In 732 Boniface devoted his time and talent to the organization of the Church in Germany. He installed bishops, set diocesan boundaries, promoted the spiritual life of the clergy and laity, held national synods (between 742 and 747), and in 744 founded the monastery of Fulda, which became a center of religious life in central Germany. The final years of his busy life were spent, as were his earlier ones, in missionary activity. Word came to him in 754 that a part of Frisia had lapsed from the faith. He took leave of his priests and, sensing the approach of death, carried along a shroud. He was 74 years of age when with youthful enthusiasm he began the work of restoration, a mission he was not to complete. A band of semi-barbarous pagans overpowered and put him to death when he was about to administer confirmation to a group of neophytes at Dockum. Patron: Brewers; Tailors; Germany; Prussia.


Things to Do

·         One tradition about Saint Boniface says that he used the customs of the locals to help convert them. There was a game in which they threw sticks called kegels at smaller sticks called heides. Boniface bought religion to the game, having the heides represent demons, and knocking them down showing purity of spirit. You might use your ingenuity to imitate this game for your children and tell them the story of St. Boniface. Sounds like bowling maybe go bowling in honor of St. Boniface.
·         St. Boniface was the uncle of St. Walburga.
·         St. Boniface, although an Englishman, planted the seeds of the Catholic Faith in Germany (at that time "Germany" included the domains of the Frankish monarchs, present-day Belgium and the Netherlands), and now Germany calls St. Boniface her patron. Bake some special German cookies or treat and learn some of the religious customs that come from this country.

SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)


If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.

The Gift of Understanding



Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion “by” faith we know them, but by “Understanding” we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."


Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.


Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 

Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Joyous Preparation for Pentecost[3]

Our hearts need to be fixed within the Liturgical Year. We can find rest and consolation and direction with and from the liturgy of the Church. 


Ascension--We Are Filled with Joy

Last week (or this past Sunday) the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Ascension. Formerly in the liturgy, the Paschal Candle would be snuffed and removed from the sanctuary after the Gospel, indicating how Jesus had left us. This practice has changed because it's important to show that the Easter season continues through Pentecost. The feast of the Ascension does mark the end of the Paschal Mystery, which includes the Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus into heaven and Pentecost, but not an end to Easter.

Every year I find myself with mixed emotions contemplating the Ascension. I always think the Apostles would have felt some sadness and they would have missed Jesus. They thought they had lost Him completely in His death on the cross, only to have the impossible and unthinkable of Him rising from the dead. Jesus was alive! For forty days Jesus appeared to them at various times. His presence wasn't the same as before, as He didn't eat and sleep and live with them anymore, but His resurrection and presence was even more of a gift. And then He gives them His final commission and ascends to the Father, not to return in an appearance with His glorified body. Did the Apostles sometimes hope He would appear, or did they know that this was the last time they would see Him? It feels like it should be a sad day, with the Apostles missing the human presence of Jesus.

But the Gospel for the Ascension clearly says:

They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God (Luke 24:53). The whole Ascension liturgy is filled with reference to joy and rejoicing. The Collect opens with Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving.... The Responsorial Psalm from Psalm 47 is full of rejoicing: 


God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

What is this joy we are to have, when it seems bittersweet for Jesus to leave us?
The answer lies in the words of the Solemn Blessing:


And may you, who believe he is seated
with the Father in his majesty,
know with joy the fulfillment of his promise 
to stay with you until the end of time.

He is gone physically, but remains with us until the end of time. And that is the secret of our joy.

Preparing for the Departure

Starting in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is with His Apostles at His Last Supper. There He is giving His final instructions, His most important teachings before His death. Instead of the liturgy unfolding these during Lent, we begin to hear them in the middle of the Fourth Week of Easter. The final weeks of the Easter season the liturgy has been preparing us for this final departure and coming of the Paraclete:


"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." "I am the True Vine, you are the branches, remain in Me."

We hear the words of Jesus, His final instructions, but this time we hear them knowing in the fullness of the Faith; we hear them in the comfort of knowing the truth of the Paschal Mystery and Pentecost. And the week or nine days between Ascension and Pentecost we hear the promise of the Advocate or the Holy Spirit. We await the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. All through Easter we hear in the Preface how we are "overcome with paschal joy." That is how we can look at these final instructions and anticipation for Pentecost, with the joy of knowing that He will remain with us always and we have the Advocate sent to us on Pentecost. Come, Holy Spirit, Come!


·         Pentecost with Mary and the Apostles -- celebrating May with Mary
·         Pentecost and Confirmation -- The overflowing gifts of the Holy Spirit and celebrating that emphasis at home. 
·         The Solemnity of Pentecost: An Elementary Feast -- The elements of earth, wind, fire and water all in Pentecost.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         90 Days for our Nation, 54-day rosary-Day 24
·         Day 7 Novena to the Holy Face

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