Saturday, March 14, 2020


Saturday In the Second Week of Lent
PI DAY



Sirach, Chapter 43, Verse 33

It is the LORD who has made all things; to those who fear him he gives wisdom.

The greatest wisdom is to do the will of God. The Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ most likely prayed every morning Himself is still prayed by pious Jews today.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.

To be wise is to not take ourselves too seriously and to have the ability to laugh at ourselves and to see the humor in our foibles. Humor is a gift from God. I know our Lord does have a sense of humor which at times He has revealed to me. Life at times can be challenging and as every married man knows life with your spouse is even on good days challenging. One day was particularly perplexing and in a prayer to Our Lord I said, “Lord why is it that you have strapped me to the meanest, most cantankerous, nasty person on earth.” To which He responded, “Funny that’s the same thing she says about you.”  

Humor is God’s gift to us so that we do not take ourselves too seriously and it often helps us to make good judgments.

John McCain in his book “Character is Destiny”[1] expresses the needed value of humor in leaders and reveals for us the life of Mark Twain as the person who used humor most effectively to change the world.

John says of Mark Twain:

He became the most famous person in the world, and he helped Americans live up to their promise by making us laugh at ourselves. One of the greatest American novels was published in 1885, by Mark Twain, after seven years of intermittent writing. Its title is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There had never been one as good before, and there has never been another as good since, or more American. Until he was twenty-seven years old, the man who wrote it had been known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Thereafter, he was Mark Twain. Rebellion was Twain’s salvation. His writings rebelled against social injustice, against the weaknesses of human nature, against life’s cruelest misfortune, against the heart’s own crimes. When confronted with the choice between what others thought was wrong but conscience insisted was right, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell,” was the rebel’s answer. Twain led no great protest movement, enlisted in no underground army, ran for no office, and joined no political party. He was, as has often been remarked, a “great noticer” of people, places, and things, and he told their stories, or variations of them. He told them with as much humor as he was capable of conceiving—humor that was, as it turned out, more entertaining and more meaningful than that of anyone before or since. He was the funniest man alive, and he made good use of the talent. “The human race has only one effective weapon,” he argued, “and that is laughter.” He was an American, a fact he was grateful for and proud of, but never conceited about. Human nature is flawed, wherever it resides, and he felt its flaws keenly in others and in himself. He knew his country was building a civilization better than the celebrated civilizations of the past, but that some aspects of human nature could never be changed. Human beings are apt to do as much bad as good. But Twain knew something else. They were apt to be funny as well, awfully funny. I think it could be fairly said of Sam Clemens, and the alter ego that was his great achievement, that he didn’t like people generally, but loved them well enough individually. And they loved him back. “An American loves his family,” Thomas Edison once observed. “If he has any love left over for some other person, he generally selects Mark Twain.” Whether he even knew it or not, he was as a speaker and writer as instructive as he was entertaining. He helped Americans see the strengths and the foibles of our own peculiar, promising, but imperfect nature. He helped us see it because he recognized in himself those very same flaws and strengths. He helped encourage in us an honesty about the injustices we had committed or allowed to exist, and a desire to repair them. He made being human seem both a trial and a privilege, and a very funny joke. “God created man,” he said, “because he was disappointed in the monkey.” His admittedly dark view of human nature would have caused many others to shout denunciations at the world. Twain laughed at it, and made the world laugh back. “I have had a ‘call’ to literature, of a low order—i.e. humorous,” he wrote his brother Orion. “It is nothing to be proud, but it is my strongest suit.” As he often treated any personal fact, Twain exaggerated his own modesty. He knew humor to be life’s most necessary tonic, and employed to take the sting out of human folly and misfortune, “to blur the craggy outlines, and make the thorns less sharp and the cruelties less malignant.” He encouraged us to rebel against injustice and cruelty and falsehood, even when they were our own creations. “I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices,” he once assured an audience. “All I need to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse.”



Saturday In the Second Week of Lent[2]

Prayer. GRANT, we beseech Thee, O Lord, a salutary effect to our fasts, that the chastisement of the flesh which we have taken upon us may promote the vigor of the soul.

EPISTLE. Gen. xxvii. 6-40.

In those days Rebecca said to her son Jacob: I heard thy father talking with Esau thy brother and saying to him: Bring me of thy hunting, and make me meats that I may eat, and bless thee in the sight of the Lord, before I die. Now, therefore, my son, follow my counsel: and go thy way to the flock, bring me two kids of the best, that I may make of them meat for thy father, such as he gladly eateth: which when thou hast brought in, and he hath eaten, he may bless thee before he dies. And he answered her: Thou knowest that Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am smooth. If my father shall feel me, and perceive it, I fear lest he think I would have mocked him, and I shall bring upon me a curse instead of a blessing. And his mother said to him: Upon me be this curse, my son: only hear thou my voice, and go, fetch me the things which I have said. He went, and brought, and gave them to his mother. She dressed meats, such as she knew his father liked. And she put on him very good garments of Esau, which she had at home with her: and the little skins of the kids she put about his hands and covered the bare of his neck. And she gave him the savory meat and delivered him bread that she had baked. Which when he had carried in, he said: My father? But he answered: I hear.

Who art thou, my son?  And Jacob said I am Esau thy first-born: I have done as thou didst command me: arise, sit, and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said to his son: How couldst thou find it so quickly, my son?

He answered: It was the will of God that what I sought came quickly in my way. And Isaac said: Come hither, that I may feel thee, my son, and may prove whether thou be my son Esau, or not. He came near to his father, and when he had felt him, Isaac said: The voice indeed is the voice of Jacob: but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he knew him not, because his hairy hands made him like to the elder. Then blessing him, he said: Art thou my son Esau?

He answered: I am. Then he said: Bring me the meats of hunting, my son, that my soul may bless thee. And when they were brought, and he had eaten, he offered him wine also, which after he had drunk, he said to him: Come near me, and give me a kiss, my son. He came near and kissed him. And immediately as he smelled the fragrant smell of his garments, blessing him, he said: Behold the smell of my son is as the smell of a plentiful field, which the Lord hath blessed. God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, abundance of corn and wine. And let peoples serve thee, and tribes worship thee be thou lord of thy brethren and let thy mother’s children bow down before thee. Cursed be he that curseth thee: and let him that blesseth thee be filled with blessings. Isaac had scarce ended his words, when Jacob being now gone out abroad, Esau came, and brought in to his father meats made of what he had taken in hunting, saying: Arise, my father, and eat of thy son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said to him: Why! who art thou?

He answered: I am thy first-born son Esau. Isaac was struck with fear, and astonished exceedingly: and wondering beyond what can be believed, said: Who is he then that even now brought me venison that he had taken, and I ate of all before thou earnest? and I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed.

Esau having heard his father’s words, roared out with a great cry: and being in a consternation, said: Bless me also, my father. And he said: Thy brother came deceitfully and got thy blessing. But he said again: Rightly is his name called Jacob; for he hath supplanted me lo this second time: my first birthright he took away before, and now this second time he hath stolen away my blessing. And again, he said to his father: Hast thou not reserved me also a blessing?

Isaac answered: I have appointed him thy lord, and have made all his brethren his servants: I have established him with corn and wine, and after this, what shall I do more for thee, my son? And Esau said to him: Hast thou only one blessing, father?

I beseech thee bless me also. And when he wept with a loud cry, Isaac being moved, said to him: In the fat of the earth, and in the dew of heaven from above, shall thy blessing be.



GOSPEL. Luke xv. 11-32.

In that time Jesus spoke this parable to the scribes, and Pharisees: A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance. And not many days after, the younger son gathering all together, went abroad into a far country, and there wasted his substance, living riotously. And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country, and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father’s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee: I am not now worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants : Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came out and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing: and he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends : but as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead, and is come to life again: he was lost and is found.




Pi Day[3]

Pi Day celebrates the mathematical constant π (pi) or 3.141592653... .  Pi is the ratio between the circumference (the distance around the circle) and diameter (the distance through the center of the circle). Pi is a constant, therefore it will be the same for circles of all sizes. Pi is a special number due to its infinite and patternless nature, meaning that the digits after the decimal point never repeat themselves in a specific order. Pi Day celebrations originated in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium when Larry Shaw, a physicist at the Exploratorium, organized the first Pi Day.  It was held on March14th (3/14), given that the first digits of Pi are 3.14.  Celebrations at the Exploratorium included taking young museum visitors on a parade to the Pi Shrine, which is a round brass plaque fixed on the floor of the museum and serving fruit pies to visitors. Since then, Pi Day celebrations have spread both nationally and globally.  On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives recognized March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day.

Pi Day Facts & Quotes

·         In 2015 at 9:26:53 (AM and PM), all of the first ten digits of Pi (3.141592653) were present in the date and time.

·         Pi is an irrational number, meaning it cannot be expressed properly as a fraction.

·         Albert Einstein, widely referred to as the father of modern physics, was born on March 14, 1879.  Therefore, Pi Day also recognizes Einstein's birthday.

·         According to the Guinness World Records, Rajveer Meena from India holds the record for memorizing the most decimal places of Pi.  On March 21, 2015, Meena wore a blindfold and recalled 70,000 decimal places of Pi over a period of 10 hours.

·         Pi is not just a collection of random digits, pi is a journey; an experience; unless you try to see the natural poetry that exists in pi, you will find it very difficult to learn. – Dr. Antranig Basman, Mathematician and Software Developer

Pi Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Memorize as many digits of Pi as you can (remember, the World Record Holder was able to memorize 70,000 decimal places of pi).

·         Eat a pie to celebrate Pi day and earn bonus points if you can calculate Pi for your pie's circumference!  Here are some twists on traditional pies that you can try:
1) Avocado and cream cheese pie
2) Cheeseburger and pickle pie made from ground beef, cheese, and chopped dill pickles
3) Mac and Cheese Pie topped with bacon
4) Hot dog pie covered with a layer of cheese
5) Twinkie pie topped with whipped cream

·         Practice your geometry and algebra equations that contain the constant Pi. Here are some useful formulas to help you:
Circumference of a circle = 2 πr
Area of a Circle =  π r^2
Volume of a Cylinder = π r^2h
where r=radius and h=height

·         Go for a 3.14km walk to celebrate Pi Day.

·         Watch movies about mathematics:
1) Good Will Hunting (1997)
2) A Beautiful Mind (2001)
3) The Number 23 (2007)
4) Rain Man (1988)
5) The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Value of Fasting[4]



Prayer and fasting are extraordinary means (we may call them violent means) when other simpler ways are of no avail against the powers of hell. Look into the earthly life of our Savior. He is our model. He dwelt with us in order to teach us how to form our lives inwardly and outwardly. Christ Himself fasted often and accorded it high praise in His teaching. Recall how He fasted forty days before entering upon His work of teaching. At the beginning of Lent the Church wishes to stamp this fact deep in our hearts: our fasting must be in union with and in imitation of Christ's. Recall when the disciples were unable to cure a possessed boy, asked, "Why could we not cast him out?" and Jesus answered, "This kind can be driven out in no way except by prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). Now another saying of Jesus comes to mind. When John's disciples began to reproach Him, "Why do Your disciples not fast?" He replied: "Can you make the wedding guests fast as long as the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; in those days they will fast" (Luke 5:35). There is a hidden depth of meaning in these words. The coming of Christ among men was a wedding feast. Fasting had no place. But it is most proper to fast when the divine Bridegroom is taken away. Fasting on Fridays and during Holy Week, then, is in accord with Christ's own wishes. Once our Savior compared Himself with the Baptist in these words, "John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a devil!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold a glutton and a wine drinker.’" John was a man devoted to penance, an ascetic, who fasted throughout his life. Not so Christ. His way of living was not based exclusively upon self-denial and mortification, but upon an ordered enjoyment of life. So, we learn from the Savior that fasting should be the exception, not the rule, in Christian morality. Let us consider the passage in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus speaks of the three important pious exercises of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. He highly recommends all three but warns against practicing these virtues in a pharisaical manner.
The main points in Jesus' doctrine on fasting, then, are:
  1. Fasting is an extremely important means of resisting the inroads of hell (hence Lent).
  2. Fasting should be practiced as a memorial of Christ's death (Friday, Holy Week).
  3. Fast days occur by way of exception in Christian life, they are not the normal practice.
  4. Fasting holds a place alongside prayer and almsgiving as a pious exercise.
Reverence for the Tabernacle[5]



So, let us worship God in His tabernacle for His goodness, truth and beauty. When we talk about the tabernacle of the Lord, we are talking about the Bless Sacrament were Jesus is really present—body, blood, soul and divinity. Yet, there is another tabernacle which we do not recognize easily. That is our very bodies and those of others when we receive the Eucharist. We need to acknowledge Christ is in others just as we genuflect before the tabernacle. He must be worshipped! According to Church law, the tabernacle, which keeps the consecrated Eucharistic hosts, should be “immoveable, made of solid or opaque material, locked so that the danger of profanation may be entirely avoided.” We also as a tabernacle should be immoveable in our faith, give others solid support and lock our hearts from the love of the world. We should, apart from making our regular attendance at Mass, drop by the church and make a short “visit” to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The visit needn’t be long, just a few minutes to greet Jesus and offer a silent prayer.

Preparing for Battle[6] Keeping the Enemy Out of Your Camp

Because the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy.  DEUTERONOMY 23: 14. The last principle of spiritual warfare must be emphasized: Don’t invite the Enemy into your camp. Look out for Trojan Horses, poisonous reptiles and be prepared to fight.


·         Trojan Horses. Sin is always wrapped in attractive packages. The simple pleasure of satisfying curiosity could be a Pandora’s Box. Stay away from all things of the occult, such as Ouija boards and fortunetelling; séances, channeling, and other forms of necromancy (attempts to contact the dead); substance abuse; sexual sin; and abortion. Seeking the attractive “gift” of pleasure, power, secret knowledge, or (in the case of abortion) even escape from responsibility. In addition, forgiveness is crucial to deliverance from the Evil One, because a bitter heart gives him a foothold in our lives. “Take heed lest anyone be lacking in the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it, many be defiled” (Heb 12: 15). Those especially who have suffered a grave injustice must seek the grace to let go of the offense and pray for the offender, so that resentment doesn’t ferment into malicious bitterness. If we’re ever tempted to invite the Enemy into our “camp” in any of these ways, we must recognize the Adversary’s deception and reject his offer firmly and immediately.

·         “Poisonous Reptiles” are the “little” sins that find their way into our hearts. We may ignore them or think them of no consequence as we try to stand guard over the carefully constructed fortifications of our spiritual life. To resist the temptations of ordinary demonic activity, we must guard our thoughts closely and reject immediately any thought that leads to sin. We must also carefully examine our thoughts to seek out assumptions or conclusions that may be false and contrary to faith, so that they lead us astray. Above all, we must engage in a frequent examination of conscience and then go regularly to Confession.



Keeping the COVID-19 out of your camp[7]

WASHINGTON— Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, encouraged lawmakers as they consider measures to provide relief and aid to those suffering from coronavirus, as well as those affected by workplace closures and other disruptions. He also offered prayers for those suffering from the virus and for healthcare providers.

Archbishop Coakley's full statement follows:

·         “The outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has impacted the lives of hundreds of millions around the world, and is spreading here in the United States. We pray especially for those who are ill and for those who have died. We also offer prayers for those affected by disruptions, such as quarantines and closures of workplaces and schools. Finally, we pray for health care workers, and express our gratitude for their service in combating this disease.  

·         “At this time, lawmakers are considering with urgency a number of policies that could provide aid and relief. Because of the quickly developing nature of the situation, it is appropriate simply to offer encouragement to members of Congress and the Administration for their efforts to address the many challenges ahead. Special consideration is warranted for those most vulnerable: the poor, the elderly, the homeless, those in prison or detention facilities, immigrants and refugees, and those with severe underlying health conditions.  

·         “Several of the policies under review have previously been supported by the bishops, such as increased food security measures, paid sick leave, adequate care for immigrants regardless of status, and greater assistance for low-income workers, the unemployed, and those experiencing homelessness or housing instability. In order to safeguard the health of all, everyone who is sick with the virus should have access to health care that is not a financial burden, whether or not they have insurance. Additional consideration is warranted for suspending work requirements related to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), given likely workplace disruptions, making available additional federal funds potentially through a federal disaster declaration, refraining from immigration enforcement efforts at sensitive locations like hospitals and clinics, and additional resources for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.  

·         “We are grateful for the efforts by lawmakers during this difficult time and urge them to go forward in finding a path to bring greater relief to everyone suffering from coronavirus and its effects on society, especially those most in need. May the Divine Physician be with all those affected by this illness and restore us quickly to health and peace.” 


    
Fear and hoarding! Remember Lent is a time to be not afraid[8]
·         Keep calm and stop hoarding. The spread of coronavirus in the U.S. won’t wipe out our toilet paper supply. Or supplies of hand sanitizer, bottled water and ramen. That is, unless the frenzied stampedes for hand sanitizer and bottled water continue at their current pace. Anticipating a potential quarantine, shoppers ran out this weekend to buy food, water and other staples so they could avoid exposing themselves and their families. Others, alarmed by the rising death count and number of confirmed cases in the U.S., went on impulsive buying binges, stripping store shelves of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Soon, hand sanitizer was nearly impossible to find in some places.
·         Online stores were hit hard, too, and not just Amazon.com. At the top of the Kroger app Monday was an alert limiting the number of sanitization and cold and flu-related products to five of each per order. The Costco and Target websites listed all kinds of staples including Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and all-purpose cleaner as “out of stock.” “Panic buying is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Karan Girotra, professor of operations at Cornell University. “If everyone thinks things are going to run out, they go and buy out things and they do run out.”
·         No question the outbreak, which continues to spread rapidly in South Korea, Japan and Europe, is testing complex global supply chains that tend to run lean. Medical devices and equipment and pharmaceutical products – and the raw materials to make them – are at greatest risk as demand for face masks and drugs to combat the virus rises.
·         But consumer hoarding is to blame for some shortages – and for critical supplies not reaching the people who need them. Shoppers at low risk buying up protective gear have left too few face masks for medical professionals and workers who have frequent interaction with the public, such as taxi and bus drivers or retail clerks, Girotra says. Supply chain experts say to stop worrying about hoarding basic necessities beyond having on hand the recommended 14-day emergency supply of food and necessities.
·         Perishable food such as fruits and vegetables are unlikely to be limited in the short term. Supplies of imported frozen meat and fish are more at risk but were already curbed by trade sanctions. Packaged goods such as cereal and toothpaste and dry goods won’t be affected in the near term, either. For items that are now in shorter supply, such as hand sanitizer, plenty of substitutes exist such as soap. Some people are even making their own. “Panic is the biggest enemy,” Girotra says.

Daily Devotions
·         Fast doing the Daniel fast (Monday-Saturday).
·         Manhood of the Master-week 5 day 6
·         Nineveh 90-Total Consecration to Mary-Day 7
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 34
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan




[1] McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York
[2] Goffine’s Devout Instruction, 1896
[3]https://www.wincalendar.com/Pi-Day
[5] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 38. Reverence for the Tabernacle.
[6]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
[8]https://www.theintell.com/zz/news/20200303/coronavirus-fears-spark-panic-buying-of-toilet-paper-water-hand-sanitizer-heres-why-we-all-need-to-calm-down




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