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Sunday, March 1, 2020



MARCH

The winds of March point to the power of God's Spirit working in us. We need to listen and respond to the gentle breezes of the Spirit; but will we, or will we be too distracted? The rebirth of spring reminds us of the energy of nature so that we ask ourselves whether we waste or wisely use energy –electricity, oil, gas, etc. Can we and should we continue to use nonrenewable fossil fuels, often with accompanying air pollution, at the rate we do? Or will the environmental ills we cause today call us in the future as a society to use wind and solar energy?

Overview of the Month of March[1]

The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph. The entire month falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. John Paul II further said, “Because St. Joseph is the protector of the Church, he is the guardian of the Eucharist and the Christian family. Therefore, we must turn to St. Joseph today to ward off attacks upon the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and upon the family. We must plead with St. Joseph to guard the Eucharistic Lord and the Christian family during this time of peril.”

As we continue our journey "up to Jerusalem" during the month of March, three prominent ideas are proposed for our contemplation by the liturgy of Lent: the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, baptism, and penance. The Solemnity of St. Joseph is a special landmark this month in which we will celebrate the great honor bestowed upon the foster father of Jesus. And if you are Irish (who isn't), St. Patrick's feast is another cause for a joyful celebration. The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25.

The entire month falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.

A Time of Penance and Promise

Here and there in the stark March landscape, a few plants and trees are beginning to give evidence of the new life that winter’s frost and chill had concealed from our eyes. The Church’s vibrant new life has been obscured, too, by the austerity of the penitential season of Lent. But that life is indisputable, and it will burgeon forth on Easter as Christ coming forth from his tomb! During this month we will continue our journey to the cross with our acts of penitence. We will reflect on our mortality 
("Remember man thou art dust") and the shortness of life ("and to dust thou shall return"). We will heed the call, "Now is the acceptable time, now is “the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).” Just like Our Lord's earthly life every moment of our lives is leading up to the last moment—when for eternity we will either go to God or suffer the fires of hell. During this month we will go from the suffering of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. We will trade the purple of penance for the white of victory and resurrection.

MARCH 1 First Sunday of Lent
LA FALLA


Sirach, Chapter 29, Verse 7
Many refuse to lend, not out of meanness, but from fear of being cheated needlessly.

The lending of money was part of the cycle of life for a righteous Jew. Even today a good person may be afraid of being cheated by a charity with charity executives being some of the highest paid people or from a quote “homeless” holding a sign up that says: “Why lie: I still get high” “Help” “God Bless”.

Lending and Love: A Jewish Approach to Loans[2]


Tracee Rosen suggests that the Torah provides a system of social engineering in its complex laws of land management and interest-free loans. Every seven years the land was to lie fallow and debts were cancelled. In the meantime it was forbidden for Jews to charge one another interest when lending money. Tracee Rosen writes, “Both are social engineering policies designed to forestall widening the chasm between the haves and the have-nots in society. Helping the poor become more self-sufficient through these two policies also meant a reduction in the number of Jews who would be required to sell themselves into indentured servitude to repay their debts.” That said we confront a variety of complex problems in the practical application of these laws both in ancient and modern times. While borrowing was the last resort in an agrarian society lending and borrowing of money took on commercial significance in a society that was built upon business and the exchange of capital rather than agriculture. The sages came up with ingenious strategies for circumventing the prohibition against lending money with interest while trying to maintain the spirit if not the letter of the law. At the heart of these practices was a deep belief that property is not ours unconditionally and that we have a responsibility to share our resources with others. From the perspective of the Bible and the sages lending money to fellow Israelites in times of difficult economic straits was an “act of righteousness and kindness.” And yet to loan funds without some type of system of interest became untenable over time. The sages wondered how to balance righteousness with a stable economy.

We are left to wonder whether these ingenious strategies circumvent the law or capture the spirit of the law. If we are but stewards of God’s wealth we must ask ourselves what our responsibilities are to others.

Halakhah L’ma-aseh

·         The key to understanding these texts from the Torah properly is that they all suppose the act of lending money to fellow Israelites in times of difficult economic straits to be an act of righteousness and kindness. And indeed, we are commanded multiple times in the Torah to behave righteously toward strangers, poor people, orphans and widows.
·         Giving gifts of charity, of course, is one way to help the poor and powerless. But the Torah seems to recognize at least tacitly, that almost all people will be capable of lending far greater sums of money than they will be able to give away outright as charitable gifts.
·         It is crucial to remember that the biblical view of lending is rooted in the assumption that loans function primarily in society as a means for the wealthy to assist people in dire economic circumstances.
·         In our day, there are special societies that exist to facilitate lending money to Jews as an act of charity, but the reality in our world is that most loans are sought from banks or other lending institutions as commercial enterprises rather than acts of charity.
·         The prohibition against taking interest from another Jew was taken so seriously that the Talmud actually rules that participating in such a loan represents a transgression not only for the lender and the borrower, but also for the guarantor, the witnesses and even the scribe...nonetheless, as the financial realities of the medieval period changed, some sort of device was required whereby merchants and business people could borrow money in order to finance their business...referred to as torat iska (business law), the document restructures what we would normally understand as a loan into a kind of business partnership.
·         At the deepest level, these laws are a powerful translation of the dogmatic notion that everything we own ultimately belongs to God from the realm of pious ideas into the world of real people and their very real needs, Being willing to release a loan, therefore, is a kind of tacit acknowledgement that all wealth is on loan from the Creator anyway!
·         In general, the Jewish attitude toward individual wealth can be summed up by these words from the first verse of the twenty fourth psalm: "The earth is the Eternal's and all it contains." And indeed, from the Jewish perspective, we are merely the conservators and stewards of the wealth that ultimately belongs to God.

First Sunday of Lent, Called “Invocabit”. [3]


THIS, Sunday is called Invocabit from the first word of the Introit. All the Sundays of Lent and those from Easter to Pentecost take their names from the Introits of the Mass. In the Introit of this day we are told: He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven (Ps. xc. 15, 16, 1).

Prayer of the Church

O God, Who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly observance of Lent, grant to Thy servants that what they endeavor to obtain of Thee by abstinence they may secure by good works.

EPISTLE, Cor. vi. 1-10.

Brethren: We do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain: for He saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee: and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold now is the acceptable time: behold now is the day of salvation; giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watching’s, in fasting’s, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true: as unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things. By this epistle the Church admonishes us to profit by Lent as a season of grace, to spend it in earnestly combating sin and in the diligent performance of good works.

GOSPEL. Matt. iv. 1-11.

At that time: Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming, said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, and set Him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him : If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thy self-down; for it is written: that He hath given His angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil took Him up into a very high mountain: and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left Him: and behold angels came and ministered to Him.
Our Savior was led by the Holy Ghost into the desert there to prepare by fasting forty days and nights for His holy ministry. Here the tempter approaches and seeks to betray Him. After He had overcome the Evil One angels came and ministered to Him: by which we learn that they who overcome temptations enjoy the consolation and assistance of the angels. This should encourage us to combat joyfully to the end.

What is temptation? Temptation is an inducement to transgress the commandments of God. Temptation comes from our own concupiscence (James i. 14) for the flesh lusteth against the spirit (Gal. v.17.)

How does the devil tempt us? He moves the natural concupiscence to such sins as he sees men particularly inclined to, and then deceives and confuses the man’s mind, that he may not see clearly either the temporal loss, or the dishonor and danger of sin. He can, however, do nothing but what God permits. St. Augustine therefore compares him to a chained dog that can hurt only those who put themselves within his reach.

Does God also tempt us? St. James says (i. 13), Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God; for God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man; But He allows us to be tempted, sending us manifold trials.

Does God permit us to be tempted beyond our strength? No; for He combats with us and gives you always as much strength as is required to conquer temptations, and even to gain advantage from them (i. Cor. x. 13).

When do we consent to temptation? When we decide of our own free will to do the evil proposed; as long as we resist, however little, we do not consent.

What are the best means to overcome temptation?

1. Humility and prayer.
2. The consideration of the suffering which follows sin, and of the happiness which awaits those who resist temptation.
3. Invoking the aid of the Blessed Virgin, our guardian angel, and all the saints.
4. Praying devoutly, lead us not into temptation, and calling on the holy name of Jesus.

Lenten Calendar[4]

Read: Todays Gospel tells the story of Jesuss journey into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 

Reflect: Every day, but particularly in Lent, Christians must face a struggle, like the one that Christ underwent in the desert of Judea, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil, and then in Gethsemane, when he rejected the most sever temptation, accepting the Fathers will to the very end.  

It is a spiritual battle waged against sin and finally, against Satan. It is a struggle that involves the whole of the person and demands attentive and constant watchfulness.  (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, March 1, 2006)

Pray: Say something from your heart.

Act: With Jesuss response of One does not live on bread alone in mind, think of what ways you can feed your spiritual life this Lent. Decide to do something during this Lenten season that will nurture your relationship with God. Consider reading one of the Psalms on Saturdays, challenge yourself to fast from speaking any negative or critical word on Fridays, or do an act of generosity on Mondays. 

Christ is the model for our fasting
Christ in the desert, and the kinds of temptations we can expect to encounter.
"Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God".
1. The devil tries to tempt us with the bread of fleshly desire. "Now is the acceptable time" to "ration" our self-indulgence, our worship of physical culture, and to feed our souls with the Divine Word. This temptation calls for the mortification of self.
2. The "pinnacle of the temple", recalls the pride of usurping God's power, of trying to live beyond His reach. We must topple ourselves from the pinnacle of pride and lift ourselves up by prayer to the pinnacle of God Himself.
3. The "kingdoms of the world," are those who covet mere earthly "glory." To offset this temptation there must be almsgiving or devoting one's talents to the service of one's neighbor.
The Epistle exhorts us not to receive "in vain" this plan of personal reformation, first by warning, then by encouraging us in the eternal struggle between Christ and Antichrist.
Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood

La Falla de San Chusep[5]


Italy is not the only country that claims great love for Saint Joseph. Here's an explanation of the festivities in Valencia, Spain.

·         Among the many folk festivals of Spain which each year attract large numbers of tourists, Saint Joseph's Day in Valencia takes a unique position. La Falla de San Chusep, as it is called in the local dialect, has been celebrated for centuries, and it is perhaps the most spectacular, the most colorful of all Spanish holidays. It starts on March 13 and attains its gala climax six days later, after a solid week of fun and festivities.
·         San Chusep (St. Joseph) is the patron saint of Valencia, and since the sixteenth century his day has been celebrated by the city's artisans and craftsmen with a great deal of zest, humor, and originality. In the Valencian dialect, falla means "pyre." It seems that the term originated in the annual custom of the carpenters who cleaned their shops of shavings and discarded wood at this time of the year and burned the debris with a short ceremony. With the scraps, a comical wooden figure depicting the most inept and backward of the carpenter's apprentices was thrown into the flames. Eventually this developed into a local tradition with all the guilds participating in the burning of humorous and satirical effigies of animals, people, or subjects of local or national ridicule and scorn. Apparently the falla figures are also a product of Baroque art, with its emphasis on painting on wood, for which Valencia's craftsmen became justly famous.
·         Today, each guild, club, or association builds a falla of wood or papier-mâché. A queen, la reine del Falla, is chosen, and a band accompanies the queen, her court, and the falla to the contest on the main plaza of Valencia. The lavish preparations for the festival attract artists and musicians from the provinces who help the various groups build and exhibit their entries to the contest of falla During the week, bullfights are held every day. The streets are jammed with visitors admiring the fallas. In decorated booths and pavilions food and drinks are being served. And in the streets and on the city squares people dance to the music of the innumerable bands which accompany the fallas.
·         The best productions in art and music are judged for subject-matter and presentation and awarded prizes. The most outstanding falla is transferred to a special museum which harbors the prize winners of previous years. On March 19, at midnight, all the other fallas, some towering three stories in height, are burned in huge bonfires. Strings of firecrackers explode around the plaza, and elaborate fireworks illuminate the scene with brilliant flashes of color. As each falla crumbles into ashes, the crowds shout with glee amidst the furiously burning pyres. As the fires slowly burn down to the last embers, the merrymakers leave the scene, exhausted and jubilant, already dreaming of next year, of the next falla.

Preparing for Battle[6]
Know Your Enemy


Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5: 8– 9)

Like it or not, you are at war. No matter who you are— whether or not you know it— you have a mortal enemy who wants to destroy you, not just in this life, but in the next. No matter where you live on this planet— whether or not you can see it— you live on a hotly contested battlefield, and you can’t escape the conflict. It’s a spiritual war with crucial consequences in your everyday life. And the outcome of that war will determine your eternal destiny. The first rule of any type of warfare is to know your enemy.

·         Your adversary is the Devil, with his army of demons. Your battle with him rages not only all around you, but also within you, a fierce conflict for control of your mind, your heart, and your ultimate destiny.
·         Those who deny the devils existence are easy prey.

Examination of Conscience (Daily)[7]


We should along with our morning offering to God and reception of the sacraments of confession and Holy Communion do some daily accounting if we are going to make improvements. We should try to see ourselves and ask God to help us see our day as He sees it by examining our conscience. Spiritual writers usually divide the daily examination into two parts general and particular. The general exam is an overall review of the day and should be done in the evening and the particular exam is done throughout the day on how we are doing in those areas where our rebellion is the greatest or in acquiring a certain virtue. The general examination is a weapon of defense. The particular exam is of attack. The first is the shield. The second is the sword (St. Josemaria Escriva). Most people make their general exam near bedtime (This should cure any sleeping problems). Some people make their particular exam at noon so they can redouble efforts for the rest of the day. In the evening when we do the general exam, we should consider the whole day both the big things and the little. I always ask our Lord, what Have I done NOT SO well today; and listen? Next comes the question, “Lord, what have I done well? Finally, I ask, Lord, what are your concerns? One aspiration we should have in our arsenal that we can use at the end is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” One thing not to do is give up. Ask Him for help. Gaining a virtue or losing a habit of sin might take time; but we will WIN.

Example of no conscience
Call your senator

WASHINGTON–February 28, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. A procedural vote to amend another piece of legislation (H.R. 2339, Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019) to include the Born Alive Abortion Survivors’ Protection Act failed by a vote of 187 to 220. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:
“Just three days ago, the U.S. Senate tragically failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives shamefully followed suit. The Born-Alive bill simply and rightly provides additional protections to ensure that newborn babies who survive an abortion attempt are given the same care as any other baby and are not left to die or directly killed. Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide. We will not and cannot stop pressing Congress to do the right thing and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”

Daily Devotions
·         Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after SUNSET ON SATURDAY till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
·         Manhood of the Master-week 3 day 7
·         Nineveh 90-54 day rosary day 48
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 21
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan



[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
[6]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare (Kindle Locations 115-124). TAN Books. Kindle Edition.
[7] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 15. Examination of Conscience.




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