FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN/VETERANS DAY
Psalm 36, verse 2
Sin directs the heart of the wicked man; his eyes are closed to the fear of God.
An inclination to sin is part of our nature just as love and mercy is the nature of God. “See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:28) If you awoke today-you have another chance to begin again. Get thee to confession! Fast; avoid evil, pray! You are responsible, yes, there may be circumstances beyond your control that put impediments in your path, have faith and find out how to get around the barriers to living a Holy life. Secret Hint: Take it to Mary! She will guide us to salvation.
Fixing the Wicked Heart
What’s true for an automobile is, in this sense, also true of the human soul.
Theologians have long attempted to explain humanity’s tendency to veer off course: one big sin (that of our first parents in the garden) and it’s almost impossible to go straight without constant correction. Keeping in mind that the New Testament word for sin is hamartia, a Greek word that literally means to miss the mark or to veer off course, we might say that after original sin it’s nearly impossible to stay on the “straight and narrow. “Theologians call this tendency to sin “concupiscence.” The word concupiscence is defined as a strong desire, a tendency or attraction, usually arising from lust or sensual desires. It is, morally speaking, the tendency to go off course. Concupiscence is understood as an effect of original sin that remains after baptism.
1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, "the tinder for sin" (fomes peccati); since concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ." Indeed, "an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."
To use another analogy, medical research cautions that a severe sunburn early in life will render a person more susceptible to dangerous skin cancer throughout life. That early sunburn may heal fairly quickly, but its effects last through life, increasing vulnerability to cancer. Precautions must be taken to shield the skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s radiation, since there is a greater susceptibility to skin damage after that major sunburn.
In heaven, the harmony between body and soul will be restored, as will the harmony with God and the world around us. Sin will be no more. The Sacrament of Baptism washes away original sin, yet there remain the effects of original sin. One of them is an innate tendency to be vulnerable to temptation, to be inclined to sin, to be predisposed to desires that do no honor to the grace of God. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) taught that concupiscence “comes from sin and induces to sin.” Yet, concupiscence is not itself sin. Concupiscence makes us vulnerable to sin, but susceptibility to temptation is not sin. How we act in response to the temptation determines the rightness or wrongness — the sin. With constant attention, or more accurately with the acceptance of God’s constant outpouring of grace, the human person can be unaffected by this tendency to drift off course. A driver who is attentive to the path ahead can constantly adjust for a misalignment in the car’s front end, keeping the car moving toward the goal of the driver. Indeed, the Council of Trent noted that concupiscence “cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ” (Catechism, No. 1264). It is prevenient grace that precedes our thoughts and actions, waiting for us when we are tempted by concupiscence to go off course. By availing ourselves of that grace, we are enabled by God to resist the tendency to sin and instead to stay on the morally proper course.
St. Thomas Aquinas taught clearly that concupiscence is a consequence of original sin. Once human beings made the decision to be unbound from the will of God, the harmony within human nature also became unbound. Desires and appetites were no longer in harmony with the intellect or reason, and the two — desire and reason — fought against one another. St. Paul understood this, and described it in his Letter to the Romans: “I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (7:23). As a result, St. Paul could write, “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want” (Rom 7:19). Even Jesus observed concupiscence in action when He said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41; see also Mk 14:38). The prophets of the Old Testament understood this interior tension. Jeremiah asked the piercing question, “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9). Jeremiah understood human nature and spoke often of the stubbornness of their evil hearts (see 3:17 and many other passages), “evil thoughts” (4:14, RSV), and humanity’s “stubborn and rebellious heart” (5:23, RSV). The psalms of David offer lament for sins committed as well as penetrating insight into the lived dichotomy between weakness and grace, the lusts of the flesh and the longing for holiness. “Sin directs the heart of the wicked man; his eyes are closed to the fear of God” (Ps 36:2). In a plaintive cry for God’s mercy, the psalmist acknowledges the dueling desires within him, and acknowledges, “I have been mortally afflicted since youth” (Ps 88:16).
Staying on Course
Abortion is the worldly cure to the consequences of sexual sin. Yet know that, a shocking new video lays out a diabolical, multi-decade scheme to exterminate the black population in the United States, an agenda that has largely been embraced by the Democratic Party and others on the “progressive” Left. Via abortion, blacks are essentially being exterminated systematically, as statistics demonstrate: Not only is abortion more dominant in black communities, but for every black baby born, three are killed via the procedure. It is, as one African American pundit called it, “genocide.” Via the primary abortion organization in America — the inaccurately named “Planned Parenthood, which was started by eugenics fan Margaret Sanger in the 1920s specifically to target the black community — minorities are being killed at such an alarming rate that one expert said American blacks are the only demographic on earth not replacing itself. “The goal: To rid the country of the feeble-minded, defectives,” Sanger has been quoted as saying. Said one pundit: “If they [the powers that be] can keep certain segments of the population from reproducing, then all of the world’s problems would disappear.” In the video, titled, “The Science Agenda to Exterminate Blacks,” Natural News founder Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, documents the pattern of heavy metals poisoning, medical experimentation, organ harvesting, covert fertility task forces and other tactics that seek to eliminate blacks from our planet. He notes that abortion centers are predominantly set up in areas of cities where blacks are the majority demographic, and always under the guise of wanting to ‘serve the minority community’ with ‘reproductive rights’ and ‘health care.’ “Abortion marketing is more aggressive toward black communities than it is toward white communities,” Adams said. “The Planned Parenthood/abortion industry needs a steady supply of black women getting pregnant and wanting to terminate those pregnancies in order for them to be able to harvest [fetal] tissue and organs via partial-birth abortions, which are almost all black babies.” While Planned Parenthood and supporters of the organization say that harvested organs and tissues are summarily used for “research” — and no doubt some are — many baby body parts are sold for profit, as an undercover media sting by the Center for Medical Progress proved a couple of years ago, via a series of released videos. And many of those tissues, Adams says, are sold to vaccine makers, which they use to grow “biomass for vaccines.” He pointed out that Natural News has reported on the ingredients lists of some of the most common vaccines — like the flu vaccine and chicken pox vaccines, which clearly state they use “human diploid cell cultures” and “human embryonic lung cell cultures” from aborted babies.
Remember we are all in a battle…and…the fallen are not just veterans…as we see in the victims of porn and abortion…we must give ourselves up entirely to Him so that He will recognize us on the Last Day.
The most strenuous battles today are that against the ravenous wolf that we call porn. We can safely say, with great sorrow and pain, that one of the most powerful and a prevalent addictions today is that of porn. Because of the easy and all too prevalent availability and access to porn, more and more people—teens and even children—are viewing porn. This being the case, we must have some concrete strategy or game-plan to fight against this powerful enemy of the salvation of our immortal soul. The following are ten positive steps to win the battle. Let us fight the battle, not by ourselves, but with the help of Almighty God and His Blessed Mother!
1. Love of God. First and foremost, I must be convinced of the great love that God has for me. His love for me is infinite, non-changing and eternal. Even when I fall, God still loves me as portrayed in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or you might even call it “The Parable of the Merciful Father.”
2. Battlefield. Our life on earth is a constant battle between good and evil, the spirit and the flesh, light and darkness, the good spirit and the bad spirit. Therefore, we should always be vigilant, prayerful, alert and on guard. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We have to know our weak point, or if you like, our “Kryptonite.” For many, it is to view progressively more revealing images—that is to say, porn.
3. Desolation. When we find ourselves in a state of desolation, that is when the enemy or the devil will attack us. By desolation we mean that in our soul we are experiencing sadness, depression, discouragement, lack of faith, hope, and love. We feel like life has no real meaning and it would be best to simply throw in the towel and give up the fight. Review your life now! Before falling into viewing porn, you were probably in a state of desolation. That being the case, what measures should you take? That is the next step!
4. Prayer and Wholesome Distraction. To exit desolation and the temptation that goes with it—often the temptation to view porn—we must take certain steps to conquer the temptation. First, quick and fervent prayer! We cannot conquer temptation by our own human efforts; we need the grace of God that comes through prayer. Then we should move into wholesome, absorbing, and healthy distractions. Examples? Sports, good conversation with a friend, an absorbing book, a hobby… All of these serve to distract our minds from being engrossed in the desire for porn and giving in to it.
5. Failure (and recovering). If we have the misfortune of falling into the trap and temptation of viewing porn, then we should never give into despair and losing all hope. On the contrary, we should be humble, admit our sin, have recourse to the Sacrament of Confession, and trust in the infinite mercy of God! Remember the consoling words of the Apostle Saint Paul: “Where sin abounds, the mercy of God abounds all the more.”
6. Self-Knowledge. Saint Ignatius of Loyola insists on our having self-knowledge so as to grow in the spiritual life. The daily examen can be invaluable in overcoming any sin or sinful pattern, especially related to lust and the sin or vice of pornography. Addictions are not easy to conquer, but with the grace of God all is possible. The following are the five steps in making a good daily examen:
· Place yourself in the presence of God who truly loves you totally.
· Give thanks to God for all of the blessings He has given you.
· Beg for the grace to see yourself as God sees you in total honesty.
· Reflect on the events of your life, your failures, and why you fell.
· Resolution, Reconciliation. Resolve to amend your life. Change!
7. Joy and Self-Fulfillment. A very key element in conquering the sin and vice of porn is by experiencing joy in our lives. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul insists on joy: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4) Joy comes from the Lord, but it also comes from cultivating a spirit of service and going out of ourselves. Here is a short but helpful acronym for joy. J.O.Y. J= Jesus… O= Others… Y= Yourself. If indeed we put Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last, then we will experience joy, and the dark and bad spirit of porn’s grip will be weakened. Both Saint Philip Neri and Saint John Bosco insisted on creating a joyful atmosphere for the young people. As the flower flourishes in the sun, so the human soul flourishes under the sun rays of joy!
8. Hard Work. It is so true the proverb or saying: “Idleness is the workshop of the devil.” How true this is related to porn! Wherever there is an abundance of free time, which promotes laziness and boredom, then the spirit of lust and the devil of porn work strenuously. Physical labor or sports, mental efforts, and spiritual activities all serve as dams to block the deluge of temptations to seek out porn materials! The saints all agree on this: Let us work hard now and we can rest forever in heaven!
9. Confessor/Spiritual Director. The battle to conquer porn cannot be won alone. Honestly, it has to be fought with the help of a Confessor and Spiritual Director. Both are important and necessary. The following is the reason. Grace and healing come through the Sacrament of Confession which only a priest-confessor can administer. At the same time, a person struggling to overcome and conquer a serious problem with porn needs to be listened to, receive advice and counsel, as well as be held accountable. Therefore, the person of the Spiritual Director is indispensable. The priest-confessor and the spiritual director can be the same person, or they can be two separate persons. Saint Ignatius of Loyola insists that to conquer the enemy, the temptation must be exposed to the light! The devil works in darkness and secrecy! If you cannot find a spiritual director, please feel free to email the Iceman.
10. Call on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Experience has proven in the history of the great friends of God—the saints—that a strong, loving, filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has helped immensely to conquer many of the demons, many of the sins, many of the sinful patterns in our lives. Our Lady is especially strong in helping those who entrust their lives to her with the grace to overcome the sins against the virtue of purity. Those who have fallen into porn should consecrate themselves to Mary, pray the Rosary every day, wear the Scapular, and invoke Mary especially in moments of temptation.
“Remember, O gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided!”
MARTIN was born in the year 316 in Pannonia, or Hungary, of pagan parents, but he received secret instructions in the Christian religion, and in his tenth year was received into the number of the catechumens, that is, of those who are preparing themselves to receive holy Baptism. At the age of fifteen he became a soldier, being, as is probable, forced to do so by his father, to whom the religion of the boy had become known. Out of love of God he not only kept himself aloof from the excesses so common in this state of life, but he took advantage of it to practice love for man, by dividing his pay among the poor. Being one day solicited for alms by a beggar, and having nothing but his arms and his cloak, he gave him half his cloak. The following night Christ appeared to him, wearing that half of the cloak, and said to him: Martin, who is yet a catechumen, has clothed Me with this garment. Moved by this comforting apparition, he received holy Baptism, gave up the life of a soldier, and betook himself to St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, in France. As he was careful about his own salvation, so also was he careful of the salvation of others, particularly of his parents and relatives, for the sake of whose conversion he undertook a journey to his native land. On his return he built, not far from Poitiers, the first convent in France, into which he received twenty-four monks, with whom he led a strict and virtuous life. His great faith made him like the apostles in regard to miracles, and the fame thereof spread abroad to that degree that, in spite of his refusals, he was chosen Bishop of Tours. This high dignity made no change in his manner of living; rather it increased his humility, his patience under the greatest persecutions, his zeal for the glory of God, his love for his neighbor, and particularly for his enemies. After he had in such manner ruled over his diocese for twenty-six years, being then over eighty years old, the strength of life left him. He thereupon collected his disciples about him, and said: Children, I am dying. They wept and mourned. Moved by their tears, he in his prayers professed himself willing to labor longer if it were God's will. But he had labored for heaven enough, and God desired to place upon him the long-merited crown. With his eyes raised to heaven, he prayed incessantly, allowing himself no relief. At his last moments the enemy sought to confound him by a horrible apparition, but, full of confidence in God, the saint cried out: What do you seek, cruel monster? In me you will find nothing that is yours; and soon after his spirit gently sank to rest. Would that we might learn from this saint truly to love God, and to care not only for our own salvation, but for the welfare of our fellow men in body and soul! Then we, too, might have nothing to fear in death.
O God, Who seest that we cannot subsist by any strength of our own, mercifully grant that by the intercession of blessed Martin, Thy confessor and bishop, we may be protected against all adversity.
EPISTLE. Ecclus. xliv., xlv.
Behold a great priest, who in his days pleased God and was found just, and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not found the like to him who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore, by an oath the Lord gave him glory in his posterity. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in his blessings, He preserved for him His mercy: and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood, and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him due incense for an odor of sweetness.
GOSPEL. Luke xi. 33-36.
At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel: but upon a candlestick, that they that come in may see the light. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness, the whole shall be lightsome, and as a bright lamp shall enlighten thee.
What does this gospel teach us?
1. The same that it once taught the Jews: thus, Jesus is always the light of the world, and He has not left Himself without witness that He is so. This light is ever shining upon the world in His doctrines, His life, His acts, in His Church and in the mysteries of grace laid up therein, in the growth and preservation of that Church, and in the miracles which to this hour continue to be wrought within it. Hence, if we do not know Him, if we do not obey and reverence His Church, it is but blindness and obduracy on our part; there is wanting to us a pure, sincere mind, that loves only the truth. This gospel accordingly admonishes us:
2. That we should acquire such a mind; for, says Jesus, as a sound, clear eye keeps the whole body always in the right direction, and guides it in all its movements, while an eye that is awry, or otherwise defective, causes the body to fall, in like manner a heart that is pure and always turned towards God gives the right direction to our thoughts, wishes, and actions, and causes us to see the light of truth, whereas a heart fixed upon the various goods of the world, but blinded to God, fills our thoughts, wishes, and actions with corruption and sin. How great in that case must be the darkness, the depravity, the misery!
3. This gospel contains the emblem of that which, all superiors, masters, heads of families, parents and particularly priests should be, namely, lights, like Jesus Himself. For this they are set upon the candlestick. They are, accordingly, to give light by their teaching and life, by their avoidance of scandals; of that which every Christian should be a light, by his faith, his good works. Finally, of the temper with which the faithful and all inferiors should meet those who are set over them, with believing and trusting minds.
Prayer to St. Martin,
O St. Martin, precious heart of the priesthood, loving father of the poor, bright example of the religious, who, out of zeal for the glory of God, couldst neither be overcome by labor nor by death itself, at whose departure hence the angels therefore rejoiced, I implore thee, through thy powerful intercession, to obtain for me a heart full of compassion for the needy, for the apostolic pastors of the Church, true zeal, and for all, on the bed of death, the grace by which, after this life of misery, we may together enter into that joy of the Lord which thou, as a good and faithful servant, already possessest.
In honor of St. Martin today would be a good day to go through our closets and cut our cloaks in half to donate to the poor. While serving in Germany myself I have a fond memory of St. Martin Day in which my children participated in the nighttime St. Martins Day Parade in the small town of Gersbach, Germany. On St. Martin's Day, children in Flanders, the southern and north-western parts of the Netherlands, and the Catholic areas of Germany and Austria still participate in paper lantern processions. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. The children sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns. The food traditionally eaten on the day is goose, a rich bird. According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become bishop, which is why he hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese betrayed his location to the people who were looking for him.
Things to do
- Recite the Iste Confessor in honor of St. Martin.
- Cook a special dinner of roast goose or duck in honor of St. Martin. Bake some horseshoe cookies.
- In Europe this day is traditionally known as Martinmas. Many foods and traditions are connected with this day. See also Women for Faith and Family for more Catholic traditions.
- St. Martin is patron saint of wine growers, wine makers and vintners. In France, the tasting of the new wine is done today. Have a Martinmas gathering, serving this year's Noveau Beaujolais wine from France.
- Read Painting Angels, Saints and Their Symbols for a discussion about St. Martin's symbols in art.
- For more biographies and other information on St. Martin, read Patron Saints Index.
- See the Life of St Martin as depicted in the stained glass of Chartres Cathedral (c.1220) here.
- The children will enjoy this dessert St. Martin's Horseshoes and you can learn more about customs for this feast.
Today is Veterans Day let us remember to pray today for both our military and veterans. Also ask today's Holy Saint Martin of Tours to intercede for our military and veterans who have born the yoke of service to this nation.
Veterans Day seeks to honor and give thanks to all the men and women who have served and are serving in the US Armed Forces. Ceremonies are held across the country at Veterans Hospitals, cemeteries, and National Monuments. At 11:00 a.m. EST, the Veterans Day National Ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery. At this ceremony the President of the United States, or his assigned ambassador, places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Veterans Day is observed on November 11th each year. Today is also the start of the fausching season in Germany which begins on 11/11 at the 11th hour and at the 11th second.
Veterans Day Facts & Quotes
· In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation urging the nation to support the Veterans Day effort in any way possible.
· During World War II, over 16 million men and women served in the military. The war resulted in over 400,000 deaths.
· The War of Global Terrorism, encompassing October 7, 2001 to May 29, 2012, has seen 54,820 casualties of which 6,456 resulted in death.
· This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. - Elmer Davis
Veterans Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Volunteer at a local VA facility.
· Thank everyone you know who has served in the armed forces.
· Take flowers to the grave sites of deceased military personnel.
· Invite local veterans to a special luncheon in their honor.
· Make a donation of time or money to a local Veterans organization.
Remember we are all in a battle with the forces of evil that seek the destruction of ourselves and our prosperity
Ask for the Prayers and assistance of the Angels
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.