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Wednesday, February 5, 2020



Sirach, Chapter 10, Verse 19-24
19 Whose offspring can be honorable? Human offspring. Those who fear the LORD are honorable offspring. Whose offspring can be disgraceful? Human offspring. Those who transgress the commandment are disgraceful offspring. 20 Among relatives their leader is honored; but whoever fears God is honored among God’s people. 21 The beginning of acceptance is the fear of the Lord; the beginning of rejection, effrontery and pride. 22 Resident alien, stranger, foreigner, pauper—their glory is the fear of the LORD. 23 It is not right to despise anyone wise but poor, nor proper to honor the lawless. 24 The prince, the ruler, the judge are in honor; but none is greater than the one who fears God.

By the action of Jesus Christ and the grace of the Eucharist we are no longer human offspring but the very offspring of God. As His offspring we radiate a presence; it affects our whole being. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is real. God’s Holy presence changes us physically, mentally and in a deeper sense within the heart. We are new people. In a similar way Moses face radiated this presence so much his face had to be covered because its glowing terrified the Israelites. In earlier postings we discussed how Sarah; Abraham’s wife was exquisitely beautiful at an advanced age. Those who radiate the presence of God seek His will. They have the right intention giving all things to God. They avoid mortal sin and obey the laws of God. They cherish God in their hearts and seek to do those things that please God. At times we find ourselves so engrossed with our day to day activities and worry about the mundane; much like Saint Martha forgetting “the better part”. If we are to radiate His presence, we must be in His presence. Perhaps today would be a good day to develop the practice of putting one item on your daily “To Do” list that you know will please God.


FEAST of Saint AGATHA[1]

Agatha came from, Catania, a city in Sicily. I was stationed there while in the Navy and lived in a small town of Nicolosi which was situated on the Volcano (Etna) near the city of Catania. I was impressed and formed as a young man by the faith and beauty of the people of Sicily.

Agatha was born in Sicily and died there a martyr. She belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge - - himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil." Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. He brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel -- a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, He had her tortured. He refused her any medical care, but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul." Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread. Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna, she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bell makers for an unknown reason -- though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.

Prayer: Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen


Things to Do[2]

·         Bake an Agatha loaf! On St. Agatha's feast day people would bake loaves attached to a picture of St. Agatha and prayers for protection from fires. The parish priests would bless the loaves, and people would keep them in their homes in case of a poor harvest and famine. The prayers would then be hung above the main door of each home to invoke St. Agatha's guardianship.
·         Spanish tradition associates this feast day with ancient fertility customs. Young men would visit many farms throughout the countryside, singing songs of praise to St. Agatha and invoking God's blessing upon people, animals, and fields. However, if they did not receive the customary gifts of money or food for their services, they would call down a 'quick old age' upon the ungrateful inhabitants of that farm. Although most of us do not live in such communities where this kind of custom would be practicable or even understood, we can pray to St. Agatha for a greater openness to the transmission of new life in our culture, and actively affirm and support young couples with children whenever possible.
·         St. Agatha is the patron saint against fire. Take this day to establish a fire escape plan for the family and to practice a family fire drill. Also check the smoke detectors, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they are all working. Change the batteries on all the alarms! (Idea taken from A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families by Monica McConkey. Used with permission. Write to [email protected] or see Arma Dei for more information about this great book. Treasure Chest is filled with unique ideas for activities, crafts and recipes to help families celebrate the various Seasons and Feast Days of the year.) She also has a couple of excellent websites worth a visit: Equipping Catholic Families and Arma Dei Shop.


National Signing Day

National Signing Day marks the start of the college football signing season. From this day forward, high school football players can sign a National Letter of Intent to play football for a university in the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between a potential student-athlete and a NLI member institution. Once signed, the agreement requires the athlete to attend and represent the institution for at least two semesters or three quarters, and in return, the institution must provide athletic financial aid for the same duration.  National Signing Day marks the start of many football players' careers as they transition into more professional setting. National Signing Day was established in 1981 by the College Football Association in an effort to eliminate separate conference signing dates and force student-athletes to commit to only one NCAA institution.  Prior to 1981, NCAA football conferences required recruits to sign separate letters of intent since conference letters only restricted signing within the conference itself.

National Signing Day Facts & Quotes

·         Up until 2014, players for the NCAA were not paid. In August 2014, the NCAA began to allow student-athletes to receive full scholarships and additional financial supplements between $2,000-4,000 to support daily expenses and the cost of living.
·         Different NCAA sports have different signing days where high school athletes from that sport can commit to the university of their choice.
·         Prior to signing a letter of intent, prospective students usually go on a recruiting trip paid for by the university in question. The trip serves to show the recruit a good time and attempt to convince him/her to commit to studies there.
·         According to the NCAA, of its 1,100 members, only 20 of them actually make more money than they spend on sports each year.
·         Once again, we feel that we have another fine class. Most notably we feel that we're continuing to add to our overall team speed and our athleticism on our football team. We're successful in signing 24 players, or probably more aptly put we have 24 new players in our program. - Tracy Claeys - Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Football Coach

National Signing Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Get out to your local park and play a game of football with your family and friends to celebrate all those who are committing to playing in NCAA football today.
·         Watch the day's events of your favorite conference live.  Most are aired live across networks such as ESPN and they can often be found online.
·         Review some of the student-athlete rules and criteria in order to gain a better understanding of the players' responsibilities and duties in addition to playing ball. Some basic requirements include:
1) earn at least a 2.3 GPA in core courses
2) earn at least 9 credits per semester
3) adhere to amateurism requirements (limiting agent involvement, prize money, salaries and contracts with professional teams)
·         Watch a movie about NCAA Football. Our favorites are Friday Night Lights (2004), The Blind Side (2009), Rudy (1993) and The Express (2008).
·         Support a local high school football team. Your financial and time donations can mean the chance to get a scholarship for a high school student to pursue university studies.


Daily Devotions
·         Nineveh 90-54 day rosary day 24
·         Novena to the Holy Face Day 8
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood



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