August--We may come to appreciate more deeply the various landforms (mountains, deserts, rock formations, valleys, and plains) during vacation time. They give us bearing, direction, and the geological history of our lives. This is the beginning of awareness of the "here" in our lives. The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord shows us the "hereness" of the risen Lord, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary speaks of God's power to the blessed. While we can choose to extend the Savior's redeeming power to our wounded earth, we also can choose to withdraw from this awesome challenge.
Overview of August
The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward. August is often considered the transitional month in our seasonal calendar. It is the time of the year we begin to wind-down from our summer travels and vacations and prepare for Autumn — back to school, fall festivals, harvest time, etc. The Church in her holy wisdom has provided a cycle of events in its liturgical year which allow the faithful to celebrate the major feasts in the life of Christ and Mary. Most notably, during August, we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the feast of the Assumption (August 15).
The days of summer have provided a welcome change of pace. However, while vacations afford us the time to relax and refresh, the change of habits and routines can also have a negative impact on our spiritual lives. As if to re-ignite us, the Church offers us in the plethora of August feasts vivid examples of the virtue of perseverance: six martyrs — two who are named in Canon I of the Mass and two who were martyred during World War II; seven founders of religious congregations, as well as three popes and two kings; the apostle, St. Bartholomew; the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mother; the humble patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and the patron of deacons, St. Lawrence, who joked with his executioners while being roasted alive. It is never too late to begin — as the life of the reformed sinner, St. Augustine teaches us — nor too difficult to begin again, as demonstrated by the conversion of the martyr, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein). We present-day members of the Mystical Body are certain of the reward to which we are called, for Christ's Transfigured body (August 6) is a preview of that glory. Moreover, in the Assumption of his Mother (August 15), Our Lord has demonstrated his fidelity to his promise. Her privilege is "the highest fruit of the Redemption" and "our consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope — the glorification which is Christ's" (Enchiridion on Indulgences). The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect example of Christian perseverance, but she is also our advocate in heaven where she is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (August 22). Mary is the "Mother of Perpetual Help", the patroness of the Congregation founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori (August 1). "No one who has fled to her protection is left unaided" is the claim of the Memorare of St. Bernard (August 20). Heretics have returned to the faith by the prayers of her Rosary, first preached by St. Dominic (August 8) in the twelfth Century, and hearts have been converted by the graces received while wearing her Miraculous Medal, promoted by St. Maximillian Kolbe (August 14) and adopted as the "badge" for the Pious Union he founded. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
AUGUST 1 Thursday
SAINT ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
Tobit, Chapter 6, Verse 18
As soon as the demon smells the odor, it will flee and never again show itself near her. Then when you are about to have intercourse with her, both of you must first get up to pray. Beg the Lord of heaven that mercy and protection be granted you. Do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world existed. You will save her, and she will go with you. And I assume that you will have children by her, and they will be like brothers for you. So do not worry.”
One wonders can we dispel demons.
How to fight and remove evil spirits
In the lives of dozens of Saints and Mystics one quickly discovers the role that God allows the demons to play for example in the lives of the mystic-saints. God Himself explains it when He said to St Gemma Galgani:
In the lives of dozens of Saints and Mystics one quickly discovers the role that God allows the demons to play for example in the lives of the mystic-saints. God Himself explains it when He said to St Gemma Galgani:
-And what an incredibly hellish war the devil waged against Gemma! Literally every mystic that I have read have been assailed by the evil spirits through the express permission of God. But then, why would God allow the demons to attack the mystics or anyone for that matter? It is to draw us closer to Himself. God permits, at times, the devils to assail us, that we might turn to Him in prayer, with a renewed trust in His love and concern for us. The extraordinary priest St John Vianney, who's straw bed the devil tried to burn when he was sleeping in it, once remarked that "the devil is like a dog on a chain. He can only go so far as God permits." So the first rule to remember is that God is always in absolute control, and the devil can do nothing without God's permission. God always seeks to draw good out of everything, and He can draw good even out of evil, if we let Him. An excellent example of how God draws good out of evil is the Passion and Death of Jesus Himself. The Gospel of John says that at the last supper Satan entered Judas and he then went and betrayed Jesus. -You certainly know the story--Jesus was captured, tortured, and was nailed to a Cross, and died a torturous death. But was the death of the Son of God, this at act of pure evil, a victory for Satan and the demons? No! -it was in fact Satan’s defeat, because through Jesus' death on the cross we can be forgiven of our sins, if we desire to be. So, we can readily see how God can and does transform evil into good.
So, how does all this correlate to those who are battling with demons, and want to rid themselves of the evil spirits? Firstly, we need to look at how Jesus fought and expelled and cast out the demons. Among others you will certainly want to read Mark 5:1, Mark 1:23, and perhaps the most telling is Mark 9:29 in which the apostles were unsuccessful in driving a demon out of a boy. So afterwards they asked Jesus why they could not drive the demon out, and Jesus replies: "This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting." Prayer and fasting! Therein lies the primary spiritual weapons to be used to get rid of demons and evil spirits. Jesus said prayer first, because prayer is the first and most important weapon to be used against the devil. This cannot be emphasized enough! Prayer unites us to God, and draws us closer to Him, and it is God alone who can free us from the demonic presences. We can do nothing without He Whom sustains us! The other weapon against the devil that Jesus mentions is fasting. This is self-explanatory, but what is sometimes forgotten is the spirit that must accompany fasting. We are to fast from food in a spirit of sacrifice in reparation for our sins. Our sins are what separate us from God, so we are to fast in a spirit of penance and reparation for our sins, to put us in the proper disposition that God might forgive us of these sins. So, firstly prayer, and then fasting done in a spirit of reparation for our sins, is the primary recourse against evil spirits. The demons have no power over those who are closely united to God in prayer, and who are in a state of grace.
The devil does not make peace treaties
Prayers to the Virgin Mary, the Saints and Angels
"St Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O' Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."
- The angel told him to burn the liver and heart of the fish in the bridal chamber. The smell would chase the demon away. At that moment, Tobias fell in love with Sarah, sight unseen.
- Both parents were delighted to meet Tobias and happy that he wanted to marry their daughter.
- The parties drew up a legal marriage document according to the decree of Moses.
- Nonetheless, Edna, Sarah’s mother, cried uncontrollably, and Raguel told his servants to go quietly to dig a grave for the young man. Both parents were convinced the outcome would be the same for the eighth husband – and they really liked this one.
- Edna’s name means “Pleasure.”
- As soon as the couple reached the bridal chamber, Tobias did what Azariah told him to do. He burned the heart and liver of the fish.
- The stench so repelled the demon that he fled to the northern part of Egypt where Azariah followed him and bound him hand and foot. He would never trouble Sarah again.
- Then Sarah and Tobias prayed that the Lord would keep them safe. Afterwards, they lay down to sleep. It is not known whether the marriage was consummated that night.
Today is my deceased father’s birthday. My father was not always a blameless and upright man, but he had a great devotion to St. Jude. He always swore it was St. Jude’s prayers and intercession that brought him home from the war in the pacific and maybe it was. He got my grandmother to sign the papers and he was in combat before his 18th birthday. He was a ghost diver during WWII; his job was to scuba dive in before invasions set up radio beacons for the invasion and avoid detection or capture. He went on 26 missions with 11 others in frogman teams. The normal mortality rate for these teams was 50%.
After the war; my father drank a lot to forget. As his disease of alcoholism ramped up he stopped going to church refusing to go to church drunk. I don’t know if my father was aware St. Jude admonishes false teachers who used the church as a sort of country club and caroused fearlessly looking after themselves. My father did not see the church as a social institution but as a place where one encounters our Holy God, our Holy mighty one; our Holy immortal one.
My father knew he was a sinner. He always said that St. Jude was his patron saint because; St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and my father swore that’s what he was. As his disease progressed he stopped going to church but built a shrine to our Mother Mary. Every day he would cut fresh roses for the shrine and sit at twilight, with beer and cigarette in hand; silently staring at the shrine.
In the end my father did receive his last rights and was ushered into our Lord by our Lady and St. Jude.
Prayer of St. Alphonsus Dc Liguori To the Sacred Heart.
O adorable heart of my Jesus, heart created expressly for the love of men, until now I have shown towards Thee only ingratitude. Pardon me, O my Jesus. Heart of my Jesus, abyss of love and of mercy, how is it possible that I do not die of sorrow when I reflect on Thy goodness to me and my ingratitude to Thee? Thou, my Creator, after having created me, hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me and, not content with this, Thou hast invented a means of offering Thyself up every day for me in the Holy Eucharist, exposing Thyself to a thousand insults and outrages. Ah, Jesus, do Thou wound my heart with a great contrition for my sins, and a lively love for Thee. Through Thy tears and Thy blood give me the grace of perseverance in Thy fervent love until I breathe my last sigh. Amen.
Novena in Honor of Saint John Marie Vianney
Dispeller of Satan
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Thursday Evening First Friday Stations
make a 1-hour adoration and meditate on the FIRST; SECOND and THIRD STATIONS
Pope Benedict XVI Stations of the Cross
Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives
From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:41-44
Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.
MEDITATION Jesus was in agony. Grief and anguish came upon him. The sin of all mankind weighed on him heavily. But the greater his pain, the more fervently did he pray. Pain always remains a challenge to us. We feel left alone. We forget to pray, and break down. Some even take their lives. But if we turn to God, we grow spiritually strong and go out to help our fellow beings in trouble. Jesus continues to suffer in his persecuted disciples. Pope Benedict XVI says that even in our times “the Church does not lack martyrs”. Christ is in agony among us, and in our times. We pray for those who suffer. The mystery of Christian suffering is that it has a redemptive value. May the harassments that believers undergo complete in them the sufferings of Christ that bring salvation.
PRAYER Lord Jesus, enable us to delve deeper into the great “mystery of evil” and our own contribution to it. As sufferings came into human life through sin, it was your plan that humanity be saved from sin through suffering. May none of the little annoyances, humiliations, and frustrations that we undergo in our daily lives and the great shocks that take us by surprise, go to waste. Linked with your own agony, may the agonies we endure be acceptable to you and bring us hope. Lord, teach us to be compassionate, not only to the hungry, thirsty, sick, or those in some special need, but also to those inclined to be rude, argumentative and hurtful. In this way, as you have helped us in all our troubles, we may in turn “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort that we ourselves have received”.
Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and restrains Peter from violence
From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 22:47-50 and according to Saint Matthew 26:52.56
While Jesus was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.
MEDITATION It is one of his trusted friends that betrays Jesus, and with a kiss. The way Jesus confronted violence has a message for our times. Violence is suicidal, he tells Peter: it is not defeated by more violence, but by a superior spiritual energy that reaches out in the form of healing love. Jesus touches the High Priest’s slave and heals him. The violent man today too may need a healing touch that comes from a love that transcends the immediate issues. In times of conflict between persons, ethnic and religious groups, nations, economic and political interests, Jesus says, confrontation and violence are not the answer, but love, persuasion and reconciliation. Even when we seem to fail in such efforts, we plant the seeds of peace which will bear fruit in due time. The rightness of our cause is our strength.
PRAYER Lord Jesus, you consider us your friends, yet we notice traces of infidelity in ourselves. We acknowledge our transgressions. We are presumptuous at times and over-confident. And we fall. Let not avarice, lust or pride take us by surprise. How thoughtlessly do we fly after ephemeral satisfactions and untested ideas! Grant that we may not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine… but speaking the truth in love, grow up in every way into Christ the head. May truth and sincerity of purpose be our strength. Restrain, Lord, our impetuosity in situations of violence, as you restrained Peter’s impulsive character. Keep us unruffled in spirit before opposition and unfair treatment. Convince us that “A gentle answer quiets anger” in our families, and that “gentleness” combined with “wisdom” restores tranquility in society. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”
Jesus is held guilty by the Sanhedrin
From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 26:62-66
And the High Priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus was silent. And the High Priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the High Priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgement? They answered, “He deserves death.”
MEDITATION In every land, there have been innocent persons who suffered, people who died fighting for freedom, equality or justice. Those who struggle on behalf of God’s little ones are promoting God’s own work. For he presses for the rights of the weak and the oppressed. Whoever collaborates in this work, in the spirit of Jesus, brings hope to the oppressed and offers a corrective message to the evildoer himself. Jesus’ manner of struggling for justice is not to rouse the collective anger of people against the opponent, so that they are led into forms of greater injustice. On the contrary, it is to challenge the foe with the rightness of one’s cause and evoke the good will of the opponent in such a way that injustice is renounced through persuasion and a change of heart. Mahatma Gandhi brought this teaching of Jesus on non-violence into public life with amazing success.
PRAYER Lord, often we judge others in haste, indifferent to actual realities and insensitive to people’s feelings! We develop stratagems of self-justification and explain away the irresponsible manner in which we have dealt with “the other”. Forgive us! When we are misjudged and ill-treated, Lord, give us the inner serenity and self-confidence that your Son manifested in the face of unjust treatment. Keep us from an aggressive response which goes against your Spirit. On the contrary, help us to bring your powerful word of forgiveness into situations of tension and anxiety, so that it may reveal its dynamic power in history. “In His will is our peace.”
· Friday arise before the "cock crows" (2 hrs. before sunrise)
meditate on the FOURTH STATION
Jesus is denied by Peter
From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:54-62
Then they seized Jesus and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man was also with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
MEDITATION Peter claimed to be strong, but he broke down before a servant girl. Human weakness takes us by surprise, and we collapse. That is why Jesus asks us to watch and pray. He urges self-renunciation and closeness to God. There is a rebellious “self” within us. We are often of “two minds”, but we fail to recognize this inner inconsistency. Peter recognized it when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus, and he wept. Later, Thomas, encountering the Risen Lord, acknowledged his own faithlessness and believed. In the light of Christ, Paul became aware of the inconsistency within himself, and he overcame it with the Lord’s help. Going deeper still, he discovered: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
PRAYER Lord, how easily do we allow a distance to grow between what we profess to be and what we really are! How often do we fail to carry out our own decisions, or even fulfil our most solemn promises! And as a result, we often hesitate to make any permanent commitment, even to you! We confess that we have failed to bring into our life that inner discipline that is expected of any adult person and required for the success of any human endeavor. Give sturdiness to our inner determination; help us to bring every good work we have begun to a successful conclusion. Enable us to stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, “in complete obedience to God’s will”.
· 90 Days for our Nation, Total Consecration-Day 23
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