The Book of Wisdom
The Book of Wisdom was written about fifty years before the coming of Christ. Its author, whose name is not known to us, was probably a member of the Jewish community at Alexandria, in Egypt. He wrote in Greek, in a style patterned on that of Hebrew verse. At times he speaks in the person of Solomon, placing his teachings on the lips of the wise king of Hebrew tradition in order to emphasize their value. His profound knowledge of the earlier Old Testament writings is reflected in almost every line of the book, and marks him, like Ben Sira, as an outstanding representative of religious devotion and learning among the sages of postexilic Judaism. The primary purpose of the author was the edification of his co-religionists in a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression, in part at least at the hands of apostate fellow Jews. To convey his message he made use of the most popular religious themes of his time, namely the splendor and worth of divine wisdom, the glorious events of the exodus, God’s mercy, the folly of idolatry, and the manner in which God’s justice operates in rewarding or punishing the individual. The first ten chapters in particular provide background for the teaching of Jesus and for some New Testament theology about Jesus. Many passages from this section of the book, notably, are used by the church in the liturgy.
JANUARY 4 First Saturday
sT. eLIZABETH ANN SETON-11TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS
Wisdom, Chapter 4, Verse 20
Fearful shall they come, at the counting up of their sins, and their lawless deeds shall convict them to their face.
Sounds like purgatory to me and the judgement of the wicked. Know the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness in men, because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny does loom.
Is the US the Most Corrupt Country in the World?
1. Instead of having short, publicly funded political campaigns with limited and/or free advertising (as a number of Western European countries do), the US has long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising. American politicians don’t represent “the people.” With a few honorable exceptions, they represent the 1%. American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.
2. That politicians can be bribed to reduce regulation of industries like banking (what is called “regulatory capture”) means that they will be so bribed.
3. That the chief villains of the 2008 meltdown (from which 90% of Americans have not recovered) have not been prosecuted is itself a form of corruption.
This month, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Justice Department decided not to charge Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of the former company known as Countrywide Financial Corp., someone long thought of as a prime potential target Should Americans be outraged that the meltdown moguls aren't headed for the slammer, as director Charles Ferguson suggested Sunday night when his documentary, Inside Job, won an Academy Award? Perhaps. But, nearly three years after the financial crisis hit, a better way to look at the lack of high-level indictments is as an indictment of the entire financial system — a system that was rife with avarice, ignorance and double-dealing.
4. The US military budget is bloated and enormous, bigger than the military budgets of the next twelve major states. What isn’t usually realized is that perhaps half of it is spent on outsourced services, not on the military. It is corporate welfare on a cosmic scale.
5. The US has a vast gulag of 2.2 million prisoners in jail and penitentiary. There is an increasing tendency for prisons to be privatized, and this tendency is corrupting the system.
6. The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to reduce taxes on the rich.
7. The National Security Agency’s domestic spying is a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption. With some 4 million government employees and private contractors engaged in this surveillance, it is highly unlikely that various forms of insider trading and other corrupt practices are not being committed.
8. As for insider trading, it turns out Congress undid much of the law it hastily passed forbidding members, rather belatedly, to engage in insider trading (buying and selling stock based on their privileged knowledge of future government policy). That this practice only became an issue recently is another sign of how corrupt the system is.
9. Asset forfeiture in the ‘drug war’ is corrupting police departments and the judiciary.
10. Money and corruption have seeped so far into our media system that people can with a straight face assert that scientists aren’t sure human carbon emissions are causing global warming.
The Five First Saturday’s devotion is one of the principal points of the Fatima message. It centers on the urgent need for mankind to offer reparation and expiate for the many injuries that the Immaculate Heart of Mary suffers from the hands of both impious and indifferent men.
On the First Saturday during 5 Consecutive Months, the Devotion consists of:
1. Going to Confession,
2. Receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion,
3. Saying five decades of the Rosary,
4. Meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary.
All this offered in REPARATION for the sins of blasphemy and ingratitude committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
During the third apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady revealed that she would come to ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and for the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays. Consequently, she asked for the devotion in 1925 and the consecration in 1929. While staying at the House of the Dorothean Sister in Pontevedra, Portugal, Sister Lucia received a vision on December 10, 1925 where the Blessed Mother appeared alongside a Boy who stood over a luminous cloud. Our Lady rested one hand on the Boy’s shoulder while she held on the other hand a heart pierced with thorns around it. Sister Lucia heard the Boy say, "Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother which is covered with thorns with which ingrate men pierce it at every moment with no one to make an act of reparation to pull them out." Our Lady expressed her request in the following words, "See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ingrates pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls." A few days afterward, Sister Lucia detailed this vision in a letter addressed to Monsignor Manuel Pereira Lopes, her confessor when she resided in the Asylum of Vilar in the city of Oporto, Portugal.
Why Five Saturdays?
Sister Lucia’s confessor questioned her about the reason for the five Saturdays asking why not seven or nine. She answered him in a letter dated June 12, 1930. In it she related about a vision she had of Our Lord while staying in the convent chapel part of the night of the twenty-ninth to the thirtieth of the month of May, 1930. The reasons Our Lord gave were as follows: The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:
1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2. Blasphemies against her virginity
3. Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
4. Instilling, indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
5. Direct insults against Her sacred images
Let us keep the above reasons firmly in our minds. Devotions have intentions attached to them and knowing them adds merit and weight to the practice.
Modifications to the Five First Saturdays Devotion to facilitate its observation
The original request of Our Lady asks one to confess and receive Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays; to say five decades of the Rosary; to meditate during 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary for the purpose of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparations for the sins of men. In subsequent private visions and apparitions however, Sister Lucia presented to Our Lord the difficulties that devotees encountered in fulfilling some conditions. With loving condescension and solicitude, Our Lord deigned to relax the rules to make this devotion easy to observe:
· Confession may be done on other days other than the First Saturdays so long as one receives Our Lord worthily and has the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
· Even if one forgets to make the intention, it may be done on the next confession, taking advantage of the first occasion to go to confession.
· Sister Lucia also clarified that it is not necessary to meditate on ALL mysteries of the Rosary on each First Saturdays. One or several suffice.
With much latitude granted by Our Lord Himself, there is no reason for the faithful to hesitate or delay this pious practice in the spirit of reparation which the Immaculate Heart of Mary urgently asks.
This devotion is so necessary in our days
The culture of vice and sin remains unabated even as one reads this. Abortion, blasphemy, drug abuse, pornography, divorce and bad marriages, religious indifference, the advances of the homosexual agenda and others are just some of society’s many plagues that cut deeply into the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We must console Our Lady amidst all these insults and injuries to her and her Divine Son. She asks for reparation, she pleads for our prayers, she hopes for our amendment of life. Let us listen to her maternal pleas and atone for the ingratitude of men. The First Five Saturday’s devotion stimulates the spirit of reparation; it instills a tender love for the Holy Sacraments of Confession and the Blessed Eucharist. It nurtures a holy affection for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Rosary. Above all, it is an excellent means to maintain one in the state of grace while immersed in the daily spiritual battles and prosaic existence in the neo-pagan world that we live in. Let us not delay in observing this devotion for it too gives us hope for eternal salvation.
Now is the time to plan to attain a religious retreat or conference before Easter. This blog was conceived after attending a Marian conference.
Widow Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
This wife, mother and foundress of a religious congregation was born Elizabeth Ann Bayley on August 28, 1774 in New York City, the daughter of an eminent physician and professor at what is now Columbia University. Brought up as an Episcopalian, she received an excellent education, and from her early years she manifested an unusual concern for the poor. In 1794 Elizabeth married William Seton, with whom she had five children. The loss of their fortune so affected William's health that in 1803 Elizabeth and William went to stay with Catholic friends at Livorno, Italy. William died six weeks after their arrival, and when Elizabeth returned to New York City some six months later, she was already a convinced Catholic. She met with stern opposition from her Episcopalian friends but was received into full communion with the Catholic Church on March 4, 1805. Abandoned by her friends and relatives, Elizabeth was invited by the superior of the Sulpicians in Baltimore to launch a school for girls in that city. The school prospered, and eventually the Sulpician superior, with the approval of Bishop Carroll, gave Elizabeth and her assistants a rule of life. They were also permitted to make religious profession and to wear a religious habit. In 1809 Elizabeth moved her young community to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she adopted as a rule of life an adaptation of the rule observed by the Sisters of Charity, founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Although she did not neglect the ministry to the poor, and especially to Negroes, she actually laid the foundation for what became the American parochial school system. She trained teachers and prepared textbooks for use in the schools; she also opened orphanages in Philadelphia and New York City. She died at Emmitsburg on January 4, 1821, was beatified by Pope John XXIII in 1963, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - Day Eleven
Elizabeth Seton was born of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian family. She was baptized in the Episcopal faith and was a faithful adherent of the Episcopal Church until her conversion to Catholicism.
· Day Eleven activity (Story Time)
· Day Eleven recipe (Colonial Wassail)
Read: Today we remember the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized as a saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Reflect: Only if people change will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light that comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly [on the night of Christmas] entered into our night.
Pray: Pray for the intersession of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton today.
Act: Aim to put these practices of building a domestic Church into action.
11th day of Christmas the 11 pipers piping is a sign for the eleven faithful apostles. It is interesting to note that Judas’ sin was due to fear, greed, pride and envy. Today would be a good day to read about the remaining 11 pipers and their courage to create a Kingdom of God that changed the world.
Ski to the Steamboat Springs Music Fest
In its 33rd year, this music festival continues to draw thousands of people to Colorado who love skiing and music. The six-day festival features 50+ bands and live performances of Americana music. If you can’t secure tickets to some of the top-name performers, there are free concerts at Gondola Square. In between shows hit the slopes, go for a snowmobile tour or a dog sled ride, soak in the hot springs or try a flight in a hot air balloon.