Saturday, October 5, 2019

Book of Job Introduction[1]


Ever notice that the guy in front of you always gets the last apple fritter at Starbucks? On a Monday morning? When you skipped dinner the night before? And why does the subway train always leave just as you get through the turnstile? Does it know that you're already running late and it just wants to spite you? Why do you always get stuck in the middle seat on planes, no matter how far in advance you book? And why does the lady next to you always forget to wear deodorant that day? And, why oh why didn't you take the blue pill? The Book of Job deals with these exact issues. Well, not these exact issues, but the millennia-ago versions. If you think about it, these questions really get to the heart of most religious thought. If you believe in a righteous force that governs the universe, then why isn't activity on earth righteous? And didn't God say that the righteous would be rewarded and the wicked punished with fire? So why didn't you get your stinkin' apple fritter? Job is a nice guy who's been doing pretty well for himself out on the ranch—he's got a wife, some kids, and enough sheep to last him a lifetime. Then, suddenly, he loses it all. Does he whine and complain? No. He takes it one step further: he calls out God for letting all this misery happen to a righteous man. Yes, that's right—he calls God's bluff. We know you're ready to read it, so go ahead. And the next time you're asking, "why me?" just remember—Job was there first.


Why Should I Care?

Did you know that the Andromeda Galaxy is eventually going to collide with the Milky Way? Pretty nuts. How do we know this? Um, it's obvious: humans know everything. We mean, really. If we know about things that are 2.5 million light years away, there can't be anything we don't know…right? Wrong. Job learns that he can't ask the universe for justice because he doesn't know how the universe works. And as much as we know about the mechanics of the world millennia after Job's time, we still have questions galore. Whether you're a priest or a scientist—or both—you'll agree we can't know everything. Thanks, Job.


OCTOBER 5 First Saturday
FEAST OF ST. FAUSTINA-RESPECT LIFE MONTH


Job, Chapter 1, Verse 1
In the land of Uz there was a blameless and upright man named Job, who feared God and avoided evil.

Can a man be blameless and upright and yet not be filled with self-pride? Job teaches us that we need to be all in with God.

Four Lessons of Job[2]

  1. Believe with all your heart in the absolute sovereignty of God. Pray that God would give you that conviction.
  2. Believe with all your heart that everything he does is right and good. Pray that God will give you that assurance.
  3. Repent of all the times you have questioned God or found fault with him in the way he has treated you. Pray that God would humble you to see these murmurings as sinful.
  4. Be satisfied with the holy will of God and do not murmur.
Piety[3]


Being pious is not squeezing one’s eyes shut to the world and putting on a sweet little angel face, Pope Francis said. Piety is opening up one’s heart to God and one’s arms to embrace everyone as brothers and sisters. “The gift of piety that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us meek; it makes us peaceful, patient and at peace with God in gentle service to others,” The Pope said he wanted to clarify its meaning right away “because some people think that being pious is closing your eyes, putting on a sweet angel face, isn’t that right? No Piety is not to pretend to be a saint” and holier than thou; but piety is recognizing “our belonging to God, our deep bond with him, a relationship that gives meaning to our whole life and keeps us resolute, in communion with him, even during the most difficult and troubled moments” in life, he said. This personal bond with the Lord is not created out of obligation or force, he said; it is “a relationship lived from the heart,” a friendship that “changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy,” gratitude, praise and “authentic worship of God.” “When the Holy Spirit helps us sense the presence of the Lord and all of his love for us, it warms our heart and drives us almost naturally to prayer and celebration,” the Pope said. Once people experience the loving relationship of God as father, “it helps us pour out this love onto others and recognize them as brothers and sisters”. Piety is about identity and belonging, he said, that is why it renders people “truly capable of being joyful with those who are happy; to cry with those who weep; to be near those who are alone or in distress; to correct those in error; to console the afflicted; to welcome and come to the aid of those in need.” Pope said the spirit of God is about kinship — a spirit of adoption, not “a spirit of slavery to fall back on into fear. Let us ask the Lord that the gift of his Spirit overcome our fears and uncertainties, our restless and impatient spirit, too, and that it may make us joyous witnesses of God and his love.” The Pope asked that people pray they could adore God in a genuine, not forced or fake, way, and to be in service to others “with gentleness and also a smile.”


First Saturday[4]

The following is an explanation of the conditions contained in Our Lady's request regarding the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays of the Month.


1.      Confess and receive Holy Communion
On February 15, 1926 the Child Jesus alone came to visit Sr. Lucia and asked if the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was being propagated. Sr. Lucia spoke of a difficulty some people have in confessing on the first Saturday and asked if they might be allowed eight days in order to fulfill Our Lady's requests. Jesus answered: "Yes, even more time still, as long as they receive Me in the state of grace and have the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

2.      Recite the Rosary
Five decades of the Rosary may be recited at any time or place; yet, since one will be attending Mass in order to receive Holy Communion, a very desirable time and place would be before or after Mass in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Meditation on the mysteries according to one's capacity is an essential condition for praying the Rosary. Yet, involuntary distractions do not rob the Rosary of fruit if one is doing the best he can.

3.      "Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary."
The question is often asked: Does the meditation while reciting the Rosary fulfill this condition, or is there required an additional fifteen minutes of meditation? That an additional 15 minutes of meditation is required was recently confirmed by Sr. Lucia of Fatima. It is clear too from a statement by the first Bishop of Fatima.
The last entry in the chronology of Fatima, published in the official Calendar of the Sanctuary for the year of 1940, and signed by Dom Jose Correia da Silva, the first Bishop of Fatima, gave a summary of Our Lady's requests concerning the Five First Saturdays. From that official statement in the Calendar of the Sanctuary, we read the Bishop's enumeration of the various items that pertain to the devotion of the five Saturdays:
It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
The meditation embraces one or more mysteries; it may even include all, taken together or separately, according to individual attraction or devotion; but it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month.
Speaking of the requirement of "keeping me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary," the Bishop's comment that "it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month" could apply only to an extra fifteen minutes, for each decade of the Rosary must have its own particular meditation. This is clear from the definition of the Rosary given in the official document of the Church on indulgences, the ENCHIRIDION OF INDULGENCES published by Pope Paul VI in 1968. It describes the Rosary as follows:
"The Rosary is a certain formula of prayer, which is made up of fifteen decades of HAIL MARYS with an OUR FATHER before each decade, and in which the recitation of each decade is accompanied by pious meditation on a particular mystery of our Redemption." (n. 48)
Like the Rosary, this meditation may be made any time or place during the first Saturday. Yet again, like the Rosary, a very fitting time and place would be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament before or after Mass. The question has been asked: "Would an extra Rosary, which would require about fifteen minutes, fulfill this request? It would seem, if fruitfully meditated, that it would. Or again, the time could be spent reading meditatively on one of the fifteen mysteries, which is a form of mental prayer that involves reading with frequent pauses to reflect on the matter read.

4.      With the intention of making reparation.
All of the conditions mentioned above - in numbers 1 to 3 - should be fulfilled with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On the occasion of the visit of the Child Jesus to Sr. Lucia (Feb. 16, 1926), she asked: "My Jesus, what about those who forget to make the intention?" Jesus answered: "They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of their first opportunity to go to Confession."
The above are the minimum requirements for fulfilling the conditions of Our Lady's promise to obtain for us "at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation." Yet, these Communions of reparation, as has been pointed out, are only a portion of the devotion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These few pages are meant to help bring about a frame of mind and heart that will make us aware of the need of reparation all through the month, and not just on the first Saturday.

WHY FIVE SATURDAYS?

It is sometimes asked why Our Lady asked for Communions of reparation on five first Saturdays, instead of some other number. Our Blessed Lord answered that question when He appeared to Sr. Lucia May 29, 1930. He explained that it was because of five kinds of offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, namely: blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception, against her perpetual virginity, against the divine and spiritual maternity of Mary, blasphemies involving the rejection and dishonoring of her images, and the neglect of implanting in the hearts of children a knowledge and love of this Immaculate Mother.

Feast of St. Faustina[5]Saint Faustina was born in the 20th century and canonized in the year 2000. Jesus chose her to deliver to the modern world a message as old as eternity. It is the message of his love for all people, especially sinners. Jesus said to Faustina, "Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world." It is his desire to heal the aching world, to draw all people into his merciful heart of love. On February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina as the King of Divine Mercy. He asked her to have a picture painted of him as she saw him — clothed in white, with red and white rays of light streaming from his heart. The rays represent the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus on the cross. Under the image are the words, "Jesus, I trust in you." Many people did not believe Faustina at first. The sisters in her own convent thought that Jesus could not possibly have selected her for this great favor. After all, she was an uneducated peasant girl. Her superiors often refused to give her permission to carry out Jesus' requests. Church theologians, too, doubted her word. Jesus told Faustina that he loved her obedience and that his will would be done in the end. Faustina was canonized by the first Polish pope, John Paul II, on April 30, 2000. The first Sunday after Easter was declared Divine Mercy Sunday.


Things to Do[6]

·         Read a short biography of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska from the Vatican.
·         Read the Holy Father's April 30, 2000 Homily at the solemn Mass celebrated for the canonization of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska.
·         From the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy: Devotion to the Divine Mercy
·         In connection with the octave of Easter, recent years have witnessed the development and diffusion of a special devotion to the Divine Mercy based on the writings of Sr. Faustina Kowalska who was canonized 30 April 2000. It concentrates on the mercy poured forth in Christ's death and resurrection, fount of the Holy Spirit who forgives sins and restores joy at having been redeemed. Since the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday — as it is now called — is the natural locus in which to express man's acceptance of the Redeemer's mercy, the faithful should be taught to understand this devotion in the light of the liturgical celebrations of these Easter days. Indeed, "the paschal Christ is the definitive incarnation of mercy, his living sign which is both historico-salvific and eschatological. At the same time, the Easter liturgy places the words of the psalm on our lips: "I shall sing forever of the Lord's mercy" (Ps 89[88]: 2).
·         Read more from our Catholic Culture library about the Divine Mercy devotion, in particular, a short description of The Divine Mercy devotion
·         St. Faustina came from Poland. John Paul II was also Polish and had a great devotion to the Divine Mercy. He made it a feast day on the second Sunday after Easter. Find out more about Poland and its customs. It's a very Catholic country, with deep devotion to Our Lady. A wonderful book that gives a wonderful understanding of the culture is the Pope's biography A Witness to Hope by George Wiegel.
·         Try your hand at a Polish dish or two. Perhaps practice making some of the favorite foods for the Polish Wigilia (Christmas Eve Dinner) Pierogi (or Pirohi) is one of the most popular Polish foods but do some research to find other recipes.
·         Divine Mercy Hikes[7]

·         Hiking is a popular activity, but it is also an excellent way to mediate and talk with God. This was the original method of prayer used by Abraham. Sedona, Arizona is the backdrop for this series of prayer hikes; however, the meditations could be used with any hike.
  
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.


Respect Life Month[8]

From the time we are knit together in our mothers wombs until we take our final breaths, each moment of our lives is a gift from God. While every season of life brings its own challenges and trials, each season also gives us new opportunities to grow in our relationship with God.Today the gift of life is threatened in countless ways. Those who are most vulnerable, rather than receiving the protection they deserve, are all too often seen as a burden and as expendable. As new attacks on human life continue to emerge, we can be tempted to despair, but Christ instead offers us unfailing hope. Hope is not false optimism or empty positivity. Christian hope is something much more profound and goes to the very depths of our identity as followers of Christ. Hope is the virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christs promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit (CCC, 1817).



Like us, Christ entered the world through the womb of a woman. He willingly experienced the fullness of human suffering. He breathed his last on the Cross at Calvary in order that He might save us. Therefore, God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end (Spe salvi 31).

Christians know they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness (SS 2).
For this reason, a woman experiencing a difficult pregnancy can find the strength to welcome her precious child into the world. A man facing a terminal diagnosis can see that the end of his earthly life is only the beginning of eternal life with Christ. The Church teaches us that the one who has hope lives differently (SS 2).

Christs promise of salvation does not mean that we will be spared from suffering. Rather, the promise of salvation ensures that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we will be given the strength to persevere. By virtue of this Christian hope, we can face any challenge or trial. When the seas of life swell and we are battered by the waves, hope allows us to remain anchored in the heart of God. May we hold fast to Christ our hope, from the beginning of life to its very end.


35 Promises of God[9] cont.

·         “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”-1 John 5:14

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood


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