Monday, August 3, 2020

Day 28-Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Acedia
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
At a word from you the devil and his minions flee in terror.
You are the source of all truth. You are the source of all strength.
By the power of your Cross and Resurrection, we beseech you, O Lord
To extend your saving arm and to send your holy angels
To defend us as we do battle with Satan and his demonic forces.
Exorcise, we pray, that which oppresses your Bride, The Church,
So that within ourselves, our families, our parishes, our dioceses, and our nation
We may turn fully back to you in all fidelity and trust.
Lord, we know if you will it, it will be done.
Give us the perseverance for this mission, we pray.
Amen

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception ... pray for us
St. Joseph ... pray for us
St. Michael the Archangel ... pray for us
(the patron of your parish) ... pray for us
(your confirmation saint) ... pray for us


 
"Freedom from Acedia" by Fr. Rick Heilman

Recently, I wrote a refection on "Pride." I said, "Pride is the Biggie." And, it is. "Pride, in fact, is the sin that is most at work to divide and destroy our culture," I wrote. However, I would say the most dominant sin that characterizes our culture today is "Acedia." Acedia has been referred to as the "noontime devil."

"Acedia" originates from the Greek, akèdia, meaning "lack of care." It's a kind of "indifference" or a "lack of spiritual energy," which is a phrase from the book by Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times. Nault, the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Wandrille in France, is one of the world's experts on acedia. I recall the acclaim this book had in 2015, and I ordered it, right away. I highly recommend it.

Nault references how it came to be called, "The noonday devil." In the writings of Evagrius of Pontus (345-399, one of the Desert Fathers), he explained that acedia manifests itself as a temptation for the monk to depart his cell. This temptation is often worst around midday, hence the "noonday devil."

The reasons for abandoning his cell could all be reasonable or even noble: He may want to work on his health, or he is just seeking a change of scenery, or maybe he wants to visit family, or he believes he could help more people outside his cell. This is why acedia doesn't necessarily always have to do with laziness. It could be manifested in activism.

This is why acedia can often be associated with "spiritual instability," a kind of restlessness. So, the soul may find itself horrified by its commitments, even abhor the spiritual life. The soul finds itself stuck in a kind of spiritual malaise which prevents it from advancing in the spiritual life.

St. Thomas Aquinas said of acedia that it is a "Sadness about spiritual good." It's a sadness of even the ultimate good of union with God. How can that be? St. Thomas says that man can become sad at the prospect of union with God because it requires him to give up goods to which he is attached.

Once someone detaches from their call to advance in the spiritual life, they can become satisfied with what St. Thomas calls a mere "animal beatitude." In other words, we demote ourselves to mere animals, aimlessly feeding the flesh with all its lust and wants. Once this fails, and it usual does, we are left to fall into a nihilism, or even a hatred of being.

For a soul lost in acedia and, therefore, the instability of loss of meaning and purpose in life, he is left to vacillate between reducing himself to just another animal species, or worse, a blight on an otherwise perfect natural world. Is this sounding familiar yet? It should, as it has become pervasive thought in a world becoming more and more disconnected from God.

How did we get here, and how do we get out of this epidemic of acedia in our culture, and even in our Church? I continue to believe we Catholics deserve much of the blame. Why? This is where I point to a previous reflection I gave on "lukewarmness." Recall it was Pope St. Pius V who went so far as to say, "All the evil in the world is due to lukewarm Catholics."

If we are the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ - and we are - then we were called to lift the world out of the emptiness of acedia that leads to believing we are mere animals. Yet, for more than 50 years, we have been peddling a weak and watered-down religion; a religion that denies the power of God; a religion of "activism" that seems to abhor the call to advance in the spiritual life. It almost seems like the proponents of this modern-day Catholic religion were (are), themselves, plagued with acedia. Some even militate against a restoration of sacred beauty and sacred worship. "It's too much," they proclaim. "People won't like our Church if we promote all the 'sacred stuff.'" In essence, they are saying, "We need to be a 'Church of Acedia' in order to reach those caught in acedia." And so, the acedia is left to spread like virus.

In Paul's letter to Timothy, he warned about just such a time as ours: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."

Thank God, many are talking about the need for us to repent. But, repent from what? We must repent from creating a Church that has the "form of godliness but denies its power." This renewed belief and trust in the power of God, and worshiping as though we actually believe in the power of God, is the antidote for our global pandemic: Acedia.

Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God,
We have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward fearfully allowing the spread of acedia throughout our nation and the Catholic Church.
We have fallen into this widespread acedia 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 acedia, in churches everywhere, and have not encouraged a deeper sense of supernatural faith.
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 acedia or our lack of resolve to lift souls out of this spiritual malaise.
We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us the strength and endurance 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.

Prayer of Exorcism

Lord God of Heaven and Earth,
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 acedia.
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 acedia 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.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, etc.
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase
and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


To see the Goals, Methods and Levels of "Let Freedom Ring," go HERE.



Matthew, Chapter 14, Verse 22-27

22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening, he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in FEAR. 27 At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

The disciples, laboring against the turbulent sea are saved by Jesus. Jesus shows his power over the waters by his walking on the sea during the night. This happen during the fourth watch of the night-time: between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. The Romans divided the twelve hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. into four equal parts called “watches.”  Christ further demonstrates that he is divine by stating “it is I” or “I am.” This reflects his hidden identity of Jesus as Son of God.

Fear of Ghosts[1]

Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, while acknowledging that the Catholic Church does not teach specifically about “ghosts” or spirits, speculates that there are three different kinds of ghosts:

We can distinguish three kinds of ghosts, I believe.

First, the most familiar kind: the sad ones, the wispy ones. They seem to be working out some unfinished earthly business, or suffering some purgatorial purification until released from their earthly, business. These ghosts would seem to be the ones who just barely made it to Purgatory, who feel little or no joy yet and who need to learn many painful lessons about their past lives on earth.

Second, there are malicious and deceptive spirits and since they are deceptive, they hardly ever appear malicious. These are probably the ones who respond to conjuring’s at séances. They probably come from Hell. Even the chance of that happening should be sufficient to terrify away all temptation to necromancy.

Third, there are the bright, happy spirits of dead friends and family, especially spouses, who appear unbidden, at God’s will, not ours, with messages of hope and love. They seem to come from Heaven. Unlike the purgatorial ghosts who come back primarily for their own sakes, these bright spirits come back for the sake of us the living, to tell us all is well. They are aped by evil spirits who say the same, who speak “peace, peace, when there is no peace”. But deception works only one way: the fake can deceive by appearing genuine, but the genuine never deceives by appearing fake. Heavenly spirits always convince us that they are genuinely good. Even the bright spirits appear ghostlike to us because a ghost of any type is one whose substance does not belong in or come from this world. In Heaven these spirits are not ghosts but real, solid, and substantial because they are at home there. “One can’t be a ghost in one’s own country.”

How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear[2]

BEFORE you can put any portion of this philosophy into successful use, your mind must be prepared to receive it. The preparation is not difficult. It begins with study, analysis, and understanding of three enemies which you shall have to clear out.

These are INDECISION, DOUBT, and FEAR! The members of this unholy trio are closely related; where one is found, the other two are close at hand.

INDECISION is the seedling of FEAR! Remember this, as you read. Indecision crystalizes into DOUBT, the two blend and become FEAR! The “blending” process often is slow. This is one reason why these three enemies are so dangerous. They germinate and grow without their presence being observed.

There are six basic fears, with some combination of which every human suffers at one time or another. Most people are fortunate if they do not suffer from the entire six. Named in the order of their most common appearance, they are:

·         The fear of POVERTY

·         The fear of CRITICISM

·         The fear of ILL HEALTH

·         The fear of LOSS OF LOVE OF SOMEONE

·         The fear of OLD AGE

·         The fear of DEATH

All other fears are of minor importance, they can be grouped under these six headings. The prevalence of these fears, as a curse to the world, runs in cycles.

Breaking the cycle of fear of poverty 

“Each year you shall tithe all the produce of your seed that grows in the field; then in the place which the LORD, your God, chooses as the dwelling place of his name you shall eat in his presence the tithe of your grain, wine and oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, that you may learn always to fear the LORD, your God.” Deuteronomy 14

 

God wants you to celebrate life; you shall eat in his presence the tithe of your produce. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone did this! If we all took time off with a tenth of the money, we made to celebrate with God and our family and friends together. What a different world it would be. Imagine all the celebrations you would attend. Maybe we should all strive to take a 40-day retreat/celebration. Save your money for this! What is on your bucket list; perhaps the Lord wants you and me to cross off some of those things in His presence. If I were young again this is how I would budget: 10% for His Presence (30 to 40 days’ vacation); 10% for charity/church; 10% savings and live off the 70 percent; that is after the government takes their 50%. Imagine if there was a fair tax……. that bequeathed everyone $5000 above the poverty level for a family of 4 of $25,750 to invest. A good resource for financial advice is a book entitled, “The Richest Man in Babylon”[3]

 

Novena in Honor of Saint John Marie Vianney[4]

Desire for Heaven

O Holy Priest of Ars, your precious remains are contained in a magnificent reliquary, the donation from the priests of France. But this earthly glory is only a very pale image of the unspeakable glory which you are enjoying with God. During the time you were on earth, you used to repeat in your dejected hours, 'one will rest in the other life." It is done, you are in eternal peace, and eternal happiness. I desire to follow you one day. Until then, I hear you saying to me:

"You should work and fight as long as you are in the world."

Teach me then to work for the salvation of my soul, to spread the good news and good example and to do good towards those around me in order that I will receive the happiness of the Elect with you. Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention silently your special intentions).

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

O St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!

Total Consecration to St. Joseph-Day 15[5] 

On Day 15 Father Calloway points out calling a man the “head” of the Family is often frowned upon.

The traditional family structure in the United States is considered a family support system involving two married individuals providing care and stability for their biological offspring. However, this two-parent, nuclear family has become less prevalent, and alternative family forms have become more common. The family is created at birth and establishes ties across generations. Those generations, the extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, can hold significant emotional and economic roles for the nuclear family. Over time, the Tran structure has had to adapt to very influential changes, including divorce and the introduction of single-parent families, teenage pregnancy and unwed mothers, and same-sex marriage, and increased interest in adoption. Social movements such as the feminist movement and the stay-at-home father have contributed to the creation of alternative family forms, generating new versions of the American family. Beginning in the 1970s in the United States, the structure of the "traditional" nuclear American family began to change. It was the women in the households that began to make this change. They decided to begin careers outside of the home and not live according to the male figures in their lives. These include same-sex relationships, single-parent households, adopting individuals, and extended family systems living together. The nuclear family is also choosing to have fewer children than in the past. [6]

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.

God the Holy Spirit have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Pray for Us.

Noble offspring of David, Pray for Us.

Light of Patriarchs, Pray for Us.

Spouse of the Mother of God, Pray for Us.

Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, Pray for Us.

Foster Father of the Son of God, Pray for Us.

Zealous Defender of Christ, Pray for Us.

 

Head of the Holy family, Pray for Us.

 

Father Calloway stresses 

·         Husbands and fathers need to imitate St. Joseph.

·         Make St. Joseph the spiritual head of your family. 

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word,  so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body.  “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

Why is the husband, rather than the wife, called to be head in the family?[7] 

One obvious reason is that since the wife bears the children and takes the lead in their nurturing, the husband has more freedom to fill the role of head. Another reason is that, in times past at least, the greater physical strength of the man has better qualified him for service as head of his wife and family. But there’s a deeper reason. A couple may choose to reject the whole concept of headship for the husband. They may simply affirm—as many couples today do affirm—that “because we’re both persons, we’re equal—and equal in our marriage.” But the truth is that on the natural, human level, what they are saying is false. On the natural level husband and wife are not truly “equal.” In any given culture, past or present, a wife may or may not have equal civil rights with her husband. But in the marriage, itself, as wife and mother the woman fills a role that is more central—more important to the spiritual and emotional life of the family—than the role of the husband. His is very important, of course, but the wife’s is more so. Thus, on the natural level, there is an inescapable, inherent inequality between husband and wife within the marriage. (Remember now, we already have noted that in the eyes of God there is perfect equality between the spouses.) If spouses insist on their natural equality, they cannot truly share in that spousal complementarity that, as Pope John Paul II has so often reminded us, is God’s plan for the marriage relationship. Only in true complementarity can husband and wife achieve true oneness. That’s the fact. Now allow me to offer an opinion about headship and the natural inequality in marriage. This opinion is not specific teaching of the Catholic Church, but it is in full harmony with what the Church does teach about marriage:

God bestows headship on the husband in order to bring the husband up, so to speak, to a position of full equality with his wife on the natural, human level. The wife is called by God to share in bestowing headship on her husband. She does this by lovingly consenting to her husband’s filling that role. She does this by helping him in every way she can to carry on his service of headship. Then, when they are truly equal on the natural level, they become capable of that complementarity that enables them to become one on the deepest level.

 Holy House of Loreto

The holiest house in the world is in Italy. Think about it; the same walls you touch are the same walls touched by Jesus, Joseph and Mary.

The "house" itself consists of three stone walls. It is a plain stone structure, with a door on the north side and a window on the west. The size is 31 13 feet, i.e. 9 x 4 m [6] (or 8.5 m by 3.8 m and 4.1 m high). The "house" contains the "Altar of the Apostles", venerated as the authentic one built by St Peter and the Apostles. A niche contains a 33 inches high black image of the Virgin and Child, a statue made of Lebanon cedar, richly adorned with jewels, placed above the altar. A legend attributes the statue to Saint Luke, described in the Bible a physician, with a later tradition adding painting to his skills, and here given also the attribute of a sculptor; but its style suggests it was created in the 15th century. The "Black Madonna", known as Our Lady of Loreto, owes its dark color to centuries of lamp smoke and is carved from Cedar of Lebanon. Much like the Holy House, it is associated with miracles. The statue was commissioned after a fire in the Santa Casa in 1921 destroyed the original Madonna, and it was granted a Canonical Coronation in 1922 by Pope Pius XI. In October 2019 Pope Francis restored the feast of Our Lady of Loreto, commemorated on December 10, to the universal Roman calendar.[8]

Sweet were the days the Blessed Virgin Mary spent with Saint Joseph and the Holy Child in their modest little home. Their life within the clay walls was affluent with poverty, resonant with silence, and illustrious in humility. “Her actual life, both at Nazareth and later, must have been a very ordinary one…” said Saint Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus, who once visited the Holy House. “She should be shown to us as someone who can be imitated, someone who lived a life of hidden virtue, and who lived by faith as we must.” This beautiful and much needed lesson of extraordinary sanctity in very ordinary circumstances, is precisely what the humble and Holy House of Loreto bespeaks to us.[9]

Jubilee of Loreto 2019- 2020   Called to fly high[10]

The Holy House, carried by angels in flight according to ancient tradition, inspired the veteran aviators of the First World War to rely on Mary as their main patron saint. At that time, in fact, airplanes were popularly called flying houses. Thus, Pope Benedict XV, on March 24, 1920, declared the Blessed Virgin of Loreto "main patroness before God of all aircraft". Today, in a short time, we can fly all over the world, learn about the extraordinary variety of humanity and weave deep relationships, promoting fraternity between peoples and promoting a sustainable future at an environmental, social and economic level. Airplanes, from flying houses, have become bridges that unite men and embrace the continents. The flight of planes also inspires the metaphor of our existence: we are called to fly high, because the Lord wants us to be saints. The concrete reality of our daily lives becomes the runway for taking off and flying high. And if, from time to time, we no longer remember how to fly, let us entrust ourselves to the Lord, who is ready to help us and let us draw on His strength so as never to surrender. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each. A large number of Christians, and among them many lay people who attained holiness in the most ordinary circumstances of life. The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living. (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31). The course of this Jubilee: holiness for all I keep alive the memory of a story that struck me as a child. It tells of a fact that happened at an airport. A furious thunderstorm had hit all the passengers of a departing plane who were in a hurry to board. A steward, who checked that all the passengers were on board, closed the door. However, the plane did not take off. Suddenly a man from the outside knocked hard on the tailgate and asked for it to be opened. The steward firmly replied that the time for boarding was over and that it was no longer possible to get on. The man continued to knock. Then a woman, who was watching the scene, stood up, approached the steward and persuaded him to open the door. The man entered: he was the pilot. For us, too, there is a risk of leaving the pilot of our life, Christ the Lord, on the ground. And Mary is the Woman who helps us to open the door for Him because we have nothing to fear with God. He stands at the door and knocks (cf. Rev 3:20), constantly asking to enter. It is up to us to open up to him, to make room for him and to let ourselves be guided by him, so that he may direct the flight of our existence. The path of holiness is to live Christ (cf. Phil 1:21), which gives life a new horizon and thus the decisive direction (Deus caritas est, 1). This is the authentic and profound meaning of this Jubilee: to turn to the Lord, to renew our trust in Him and to let ourselves be carried upwards by Him, to live life in the breath of the Spirit, redeeming us from those realities that can weigh it down or even crush it and imprison it. Holiness for all is therefore the spiritual content and the route that this Jubilee proposes to welcome us to give new form and stronger hope to our daily lives. As Mary and Joseph have witnessed in the humility and simplicity of the Holy House. Mary lived on earth a life common to all, full of family concern and work (cf. Apostolate of the Laity, 4). A weekday holiness, I would say almost homely, that weaves and irrigates the daily life of the Church and society and takes charge of the place and situations in which we live. We fly high, because only from on high, with the eyes of God, can we understand the profound meaning of our life, of the world and of the Church. Let us fly high, but with our feet on the ground, because being holy does not mean "fluttering", that is, wandering about extraordinary undertakings, but doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way, that is with faith and much love, as it was in the house of Nazareth. Mary supports us in making our Yes to daily life more generous, to make our life the house of God, the truth of his presence. To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious… We are called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.

·         Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy.

·         Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church.

·         Do you work for a living? Be holy by laboring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters.

·         Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus.

·         Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain. (Gaudete et exsultate, 14).

o   Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.

Full Sturgeon Moon

 

According to the almanac today we are having a Full Sturgeon Moon; plan to spend some time fishing or visit an aquarium with your children or grandchildren.

Daily Devotions

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         The necessity of being faithful to the end

·         Monday: Litany of Humility

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary



[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Richest_Man_in_Babylon_%28book%29

[4]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=1129

[5]https://catholicexchange.com/now-is-the-time-to-consecrate-yourself-to-saint-joseph



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