Wednesday In the Second Week of Lent
Do not fear death’s decree for you; remember, it embraces those before you and those to come.
Napoleon Hill noted in his manuscript on a book he never published entitled “Outwitting the devil” stated that fear of death was one of the prominent methods the devil uses to control us.
Hill in this imaginary work has the power to interrogate the devil in which the devil is forced to tell all.
Q How do you gain control of the minds of people?
A Oh, that is easy: I merely move in and occupy the unused space of the human brain. I sow the seeds of negative thought in the minds of people so I can occupy and control the space!
Q You must have many tricks and devices by which you gain and hold control of the human mind.
A To be sure, I employ tricks and devices to control human thought. My devices are clever ones too.
Q Go ahead and describe your clever tricks, Your Majesty.
A One of my cleverest devices for mind control is fear. I plant the seed of fear in the minds of people, and as these seeds germinate and grow, through use, I control the space they occupy. The six most effective fears are the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death.
How Catholics Should Respond to The Coronavirus
· On the individual level, each person must decide how they can best protect their own health without jeopardizing the well-being of their neighbors.
o This means neither over- nor underreacting. Hoarding goods, especially face masks and hand sanitizer, may provide healthy individuals with the illusion of safety, but it does so by potentially putting health care workers and other caregivers at greater risk if they are unable to access these supplies.
· On the other hand, not taking appropriate precautions can also hurt high-risk populations. While Covid-19 is not life-threatening to the vast majority of people (according to one U.S. expert, 80 percent of cases are mild and patients “spontaneously recover”), for the elderly and people with certain underlying medical conditions the mortality rate could be as high as 15 percent. Otherwise healthy individuals who are tempted to ignore guidelines for hygiene practices, social distancing or voluntary quarantine orders must realize that what might feel like the common cold to them could pose a serious threat to their neighbors. They should act accordingly.
· There are members of our communities, however, for whom missing work or keeping a sick child home from school to minimize the risk of spreading the virus is not just a temporary inconvenience. Just as some people are at a higher physical risk from the virus, many Americans are more vulnerable to the economic effects of the outbreak. They include the one-third of workers—and two-thirds of low-wage earners—who do not have paid sick leave. Many of these people work in the service sector—restaurants, hotels, retail, home care—where they are regularly in contact with the public. Enabling a sick employee to take time off to get medical care without losing a job or being unable to pay rent is not only a matter of justice for and solidarity with that employee—it is also a proactive defense of public health for the entire community.
· The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that employers encourage sick employees to stay home and that they develop “nonpunitive leave policies” in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While in the present crisis, workers may have no choice but to rely on the good will (or risk-aversion) of their employers, the country would be in a better position to contain the spread of this and future epidemics if universal paid sick leave guaranteed that workers did not have to choose between paying their bills and limiting the risk of communal infection.
· The outbreak could also exacerbate well-known cracks in the U.S. health care system. The 27 million people in the United States without health insurance and millions more with high-deductible plans may forgo a trip to the doctor for fear of leaving with an exorbitant bill. “In a potential pandemic, the last thing you want people to do is thinking twice about going to the doctor,” Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Washington Post. Yet, instead of Congress putting forward legislation that has any chance of passing to fill in gaps in the existing system, political energy is still tied up in fights over the Affordable Care Act in the courts.
· The $8.3 billion bipartisan emergency response bill passed by the House on March 4 will bring much-needed resources and relief to federal agencies and state governments working to contain the spread of Covid-19 and develop a vaccine. But here too, stopgap measures are no replacement for well-funded, fully staffed health agencies and a health care system that incentivizes proactive detection and treatment for diseases that threaten the nation’s health and economy.
· As urgent as such longer-term structural reforms are, for now, the primary response to the coronavirus outbreak will come at the state, community and individual levels.
· For most U.S. Catholics, it will entail relatively small disruptions like scrapping travel plans or not receiving Communion from the cup at Mass. Just as our Lenten penance is meant to deepen our relationship with God and our solidarity with all who suffer as the Lord did, we can allow these sacrifices and inconveniences in our daily lives to direct our prayers toward those who have died and their loved ones, our attention toward those who are ill or facing financial hardship and our actions toward strengthening the common good, both at home and abroad. The coronavirus poses a threat that knows no borders. As Catholics, neither does our love and concern for our neighbors.
Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent
Prayer. regard Thy people, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and grant that we, whom Thou commandath to abstain from carnal food, may also cease from hurtful vices.
EPISTLE. Esther xiii. 9-17.
In those days Mardochai prayed to the Lord, saying: Oh, Lord, Almighty King, for all things are in Thy power, and there is none that can resist Thy will, if Thou determine to save Israel. Thou hast made heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of heaven. Thou art Lord of all, and there is none that can resist Thy majesty. Thou knowest all things, and Thou knowest that it was not out of pride and contempt, or any desire of glory, that I refused to worship the proud Arnan. (For I wrould willingly and readily for the salvation of Israel have kissed even the steps of his feet.) But I feared lest I should transfer the honor of my God to a man, and lest I should adore anyone except my God. And now, O Lord, O King, O God of Abraham, have mercy on Thy people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish Thy inheritance. Despise not Thy portion, which Thou hast redeemed for Thy self out of Egypt. Hear my supplication, and be merciful to Thy lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise Thy name, O Lord, and shut not the mouths of them that sing to Thee, O Lord our God.
GOSPEL. Matt. xx. 17-28.
At that time: Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death. And they shall deliver Him to the gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again. Then came to Him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of Him. Who said to her: What wilt thou?
She saith to Him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left, in Thy kingdom. But Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink?
They say to Him: We can. He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink but to sit on My right or left hand, is not Mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by My Father. And the ten hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them to Him and said: You know that the princes of the gentile’s lord it over them: and they that are the greater exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you, but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister. And he that will be first among you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many.
Read: During Lent, it is important for us to remember the corporal works of mercy, which are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others: as if they were Christ in disguise.
Reflect: What small changes would allow you to perform corporal works of mercy: Can you allocate your time differently, so you have a couple extra hours to volunteer? Do you discard food that could instead be donated to a local soup kitchen? When was the last time you participated in a blood drive?
Pray: With mercy on your mind, revisit Pope Francis’s Year of Mercy Prayer.
Act: Pick one of the seven corporal works of mercy and do it this week!
· Fast doing the Daniel fast (Monday-Saturday).
Manhood of the Master-Day 31
 Sharon Lechter, Outwitting the Devil.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896