Day 17-Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Lukewarmness
We have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward fearfully allowing the spread of lukewarmness throughout our nation and the Catholic Church.
We have fallen into this widespread lukewarmness when we have not lived up to the call of our Baptism to, day-by-day, deepen our love and faith in You.
We have been too easily swayed by the poor example of the Catholic lukewarm, and have held our tongue when a few words of correction could lift them out of their unrepentance and nearer unto You.
In our weakness, we have allowed the ancient foe to advance.
We turn to You Lord, in our sorrow and guilt, and beg Your forgiveness for any of our own lukewarmness or our lack of resolve to lift souls out of this darkness.
We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us the strength and endurance to be this visible light of fervent faith in You.
We know, Lord, if You will it, it will be done.
Trusting in You, we offer our prayer to You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
In Your power and goodness, You created all things.
You set a path for us to walk on and a way to an eternal relationship.
By the strength of Your arm and Word of Your mouth
Cast from your Holy Church every fearful deceit of the Devil
Drive from us manifestations of the demonic that oppress us and beckon us to fear and lukewarmness.
Still the lying tongue of the devil and his forces so that we may act freely and faithfully to do Your will.
Send Your holy angels to cast out all influence that the demonic entities in charge of lukewarmness have planted in Your Church.
Free us, our families, our parish, our diocese, and our country from all trickery and deceit perpetrated by the Devil and his hellish legions.
Trusting in Your goodness Lord,
We know if You will it, it will be done in unity with Your Son and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.
of the Eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, etc.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony,
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness,
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs,
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors,
Blood of Christ, bringing forth virgins,
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
Blood of Christ, pledge of Eternal Life,
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
And made us, for our God, a kingdom.
Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg of Thee, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
To see the Goals, Methods and Levels of "Let Freedom Ring," go HERE.
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN
Matthew, Chapter 27, Verse 54
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”
Naturally we fear darkness and are terrified when the very ground we stand on moves. Yet in this case the greatest gift of Christ was the movement of a toughened soldier’s heart.
Truly, this was the Son of God!
Every believer carries a measure of the guilt for Jesus’ death. If it were not for our willful disobedience to God’s perfect Law, we would have no need of a Savior. We acknowledge in song that it was our hands that drove the spikes into His’ and sometimes speak about driving the nails into Jesus’ hands every time we sin. We speak figuratively, of course, knowing that although we were not present at the time of His death, we bear the guilt of providing the need for His death. In the Bible we are given a brief glimpse of a man who was present while Jesus was nailed to the tree. This man was a Roman centurion, a commander of over 100 soldiers of the Roman army. We know little about the man except that he was probably a hardened soldier and commanded a detachment of what were most likely Syrian-born soldiers. He had, in all likelihood, presided over the crucifixion of hundreds or even thousands of men and must have become hardened to the agony these men endured.
It is likely that this man was present from the time Jesus was brought before Pilate right until the Lord’s body was lowered from the cross and given to Joseph of Arimathea. He may even have been present with the detachment of soldiers that aided in Jesus’ arrest the night before His crucifixion. This man would have accompanied Jesus from the time the Jewish leaders brought him to the Praetorium. He would have ordered his men to beat Him, caring little for who He was, knowing Him only to be another in a long line of people he was commanded to execute. He would have been nearby when his men dressed Jesus in a robe, pressed a crown of thorns onto His head and walked Him to Golgotha. He would have given the order to proceed with the crucifixion. The centurion is mentioned in three of the four gospel accounts. He is mentioned not for his cruelty, ruthlessness or ability as a soldier. He is mentioned for something far more important, for a marvelous transformation that occurred immediately after the death of one of his prisoners.
Having seen so many crucifixions, the centurion knew what to expect from prisoners. Most people who were sentenced to be crucified were criminals, brigands, thieves and murderers. He had heard countless men scream in agony while being whipped and plead for their lives before Pilate. From their crosses he had heard them shout curses to men below and blasphemies to God above. The behavior of the thieves on either side of Jesus was all too common, as they mocked and ridiculed Jesus as he hung between them. Perhaps it was during this time that the centurion began to notice that there was something different about Jesus. Where most men cursed and swore, Jesus, as His hands were nailed to the wood, cried out for God to forgive those who were causing His suffering. Or maybe He noticed the tender mercy in Jesus’ voice when He spoke to the penitent thief beside Him, promising that the same day he would be with Jesus in paradise. Perhaps he was amazed that during such suffering Jesus could look down at His mother and ensure that her future was secure by telling John to take care of her. Certainly, three hours of darkness that accompanied Jesus’ suffering would have marked this as an execution unlike any other.
We can only guess when the centurion began to realize that perhaps, just perhaps, Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be. What we do know is exactly when He knew with full certainty. Just before He died, Jesus cried out “It is finished.” Immediately after that He said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” At that very moment Jesus died. At that same moment a violent earthquake shook the land with such ferocity that rocks were split. Matthew tells us “when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Luke expands on this saying “when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
And just like that, the man who presided over Jesus’ execution, the man who ordered the nails to be driven into His hands and feet, became the first person to become a believer after Jesus’ death.
St. Bridget of Sweden
Bridget was born in Sweden of noble and pious parents and led a most holy life. While she was yet unborn, her mother was saved from shipwreck for her sake. At ten years of age, Bridget heard a sermon on the Passion of our Lord; and the next night she saw Jesus on the cross, covered with fresh blood, and speaking to her about his Passion. Thenceforward meditation on that subject affected her to such a degree, that she could never think of our Lord's sufferings without tears. She was given in marriage to Ulfo prince of Nericia; and won him, by example and persuasion, to a life of piety. She devoted herself with maternal love to the education of her children. She was most zealous in serving the poor, especially the sick; and set apart a house for their reception, where she would often wash and kiss their feet. Together with her husband, she went on pilgrimage to Compostela, to visit the tomb of the apostle St. James. On their return journey, Ulfo fell dangerously ill at Arras; but St. Dionysius, appearing to Bridget at night, foretold the restoration of her husband's health, and other future events. Ulfo became a Cistercian monk but died soon afterwards. Whereupon Bridget, having heard the voice of Christ calling her in a dream, embraced a more austere manner of life. Many secrets were then revealed to her by God. She founded the monastery of Vadstena under the rule of our Savior, which was given her by our Lord himself. At his command, she went to Rome, where she kindled the love of God in very many hearts. She made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; but on her return to Rome she was attacked by fever and suffered severely from sickness during a whole year. On the day she had foretold, she passed to heaven, laden with merits. Her body was translated to her monastery of Vadstena; and becoming illustrious for miracles, she was enrolled among the saints by Boniface IX. Excerpted from the Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B
Things to do
· St. Bridget was a member of the Franciscan Third Order. If you have never considered joining one of the Church's order's for lay people today might be a good time to think about it. Learn more about becoming a secular Franciscan.
· You may want to purchase a copy of which contains excerpts from her revelations.
· You might like to read about St. Birgitta of Sweden's Influence in Finland.
· The Birgittine Order now has thirteen monasteries of contemplative nuns and a congregation of contemplative-apostolic sisters whose motherhouse is in Rome, in the actual former dwelling of St. Birgitta. For information about the sisters here are some websites: About the Birgittine Nuns in Vadstena, Birgittine Sisters and About the Brigittine sisters
· The Brigittine Monks existed from the 14th to the middle of the 19th century, when they were dispersed, largely due to European wars. (In 1970, a Brigittine Monk, Richard Reynolds, martyr, was declared a saint.) This monastery, the 1st in over 100 years, was founded in 1976 and has the Canonical status of a Priory “Sui Juris.” If you want to know about the monks visit Brigittine Monks of the Order of the Most Holy Savior.
· The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say about the Brigittines.
Novena of St. Ann
Daily Prayer to Saint Ann
O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those
who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight
of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the
present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.
Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.
Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .
O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death. Good St. Ann, intercede for me.
Once again, Good St. Ann, I choose you for my advocate before the throne of God. By the power and grace that God has placed in you, extend to me your helping hand. Renew my mind and my heart.
Dear St. Ann, I have unbounded confidence in your prayers. To your blessed hands I entrust my soul, my body and all my hopes for this world and the next. Direct my actions according to your goodness and wisdom. I place myself under your motherly care. Receive me, good mother. Cover me with the mantle of your love. Look kindly on me. By your powerful intercession, may I obtain from God grace and mercy. Obtain for me remission for sin and release from the punishment my offenses have deserved. Pray that I may receive grace to lead a devout life on earth and that I may obtain the everlasting reward of heaven.
As Christians we should be grateful beyond words for the gift of our redemption. We believe that Christ’s action on the cross has changed all things, for all time. We should seek to relate every aspect of our lives to how Christ has redeemed us and our world. When we consider the mystery and contemporary confusion of human sexuality, it is even more urgent for Christians to ask, ―How has Christ redeemed human sexuality?
Today our media features topics that not long ago would have been labeled science fiction, or pornography. Cloning, ―casual sex, getting pregnant by means of reproductive technologies, frozen embryos, adultery — the list goes on. Does anyone in the public square relate these issues to the spiritual?
When those of us try to bring God into the equation, we are often told that ―individual morality must not be ―imposed on the public. But that should not deter the Christian. Christ’s work on the cross has restored all of human life, even human sexuality. That means that human sexuality is not tinged with sin, nor is it morally neutral. Although we can misuse even the best of God’s gifts, that does not change the fact that sex is God’s gift of life and love to us. Specifically, sexual intercourse was never meant to be directed to the individual. It’s not a sport or game to be enjoyed on its own. Sexual intercourse is a powerful event of interpersonal communion — it is a sacramental event. This makes more sense when we realize that Christian marriage is a sign of Christ’s presence in the world. As Christians we accept on faith that human sexuality is caught up in Christ, uniting a man and woman in a union which reflects God’s love in the world and is directed to others. With that starting point, it makes excellent sense to keep sex in marriage.
The redeemed nature of marriage was understood by the Church from our earliest history. Following up on Jesus’ own words on the indissolubility of marriage, St. Paul likened Christian marriage to Christ’s relationship with His Church. ―As Christ loved the Church . . . so the husband should love and cherish his wife as he cherishes his own body; for husband and wife are one body, as Christ and the Church are one body. This is a great mystery. St. John Chrysostom (347-407) taught that the ―one flesh of the spouses is ―not an empty symbol. ―They have not become the image of anything on earth, but of God Himself‖ (Homily 12).
The love of spouses, says the Catechism, ―requires of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses’ community of persons, which embraces their entire life (#1644). The root of this indissolubility is found in God Himself, who taught us of His fidelity through His covenant with Abraham. It is found finally in Christ, who united Himself with His Church. In this age of continuous assaults on God’s design for life and love, it would do the world good if Christians reclaimed our rich heritage. Before we can do this, we need to return to the mystery of our faith and meditate on who Jesus is, what He did for us, and how this has changed all life for all ages.
Total Consecration to St. Joseph-Day 4
On Day 4 Father Calloway using the Litany points to the idea that Christ is our only hope.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
Father Calloway stresses on this day that:
to St. Joseph will increase your love for Jesus.
St. Joseph just as he was for Jesus is also our guardian, loving protector, and fearless defender. He is our model of heroic manhood and marriage, chastity, and life itself.
One of my favorite representations of the Lords delight with us is a statue of Joseph and the baby Jesus. Jesus and Joseph are playing. Joseph is slightly bent with the baby Jesus giggling crawling over the back of Joseph and peeking over his shoulder looking at his face in peek a boo fashion and delight is all over both of their faces. How can we fear when we have a God who loves us so!
In times of tribulation when we feel courage being drained from our souls let us remember the courage of blessed Saint Joseph reflecting on his courage, strength and of course gentleness with our Lord Jesus. In times of trouble let us call on the aid of St. Joseph reflecting on this portion of the litany of Saint Joseph
”St. Joseph, Renowned offspring of David, Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Foster father of the Son of God, Diligent protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Joseph most just, Joseph most chaste, Joseph most prudent, Joseph most strong, Joseph most obedient, Joseph most faithful, Mirror of patience, Lover of poverty, Model of artisans, Glory of home life, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying, Terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church. Pray for Us!”
The Intercession of Saint Joseph Is Most Powerful
· first, for attaining the virtue of purity and overcoming the sensual inclinations of the flesh.
· secondly, for procuring powerful help to escape sin and return to the friendship of God.
· thirdly, for increasing the love and devotion to most holy Mary.
· fourthly, for securing the grace of a happy death and protection against the demons in that hour.
· fifthly, for inspiring the demons with terror at the mere mention of his name by his clients.
· sixthly, for gaining health of body and assistance in all kinds of difficulties.
· seventhly, for securing issue of children in families.
These and many other favors God confer upon those who properly and with good disposition seek the intercession of the spouse of our Queen, saint Joseph. I beseech all the faithful children of the Church to be very devout to him and they will experience these favors if they dispose themselves as they should in order to receive and merit them.
Blessed Sacrament Fathers, ST. ANN’S SHRINE, Cleveland, Ohio
Venerable Mary of Agreda. The Mystical City of God: