Friday, November 6, 2020

I'm Fighting Back, 2020!

After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was quoted as saying:
"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve."
If you are like me, I'm long past tired of the abuse of 2020. I'm not letting 2020 kick my behind ANY LONGER!

I'm Fighting Back! Yes, that's right, 2020, you have awakened this sleeping giant and filled me with terrible resolve!

I am NOT accepting defeat! I am going ALL IN! I am going to GET STRONG! Both spiritually and physically.

Will you join me?

If you choose to enter this 54-Day "GET STRONG BOOT CAMP," we will begin on Monday, November 9, and conclude on January 1, 2021, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. I will email the daily prayers and reflections for the 54-Day Rosary Novena. If you have not enlisted yet, sign-up below.

I want my GRACE STRONG so that my PRAYERS ARE POWERFUL, and I want my BODY STRONG, so that MY RESOLVE AND ENERGY ONLY INCREASES!!

This is meant to be 54 days in which "you take care of business." In other words, what has God been nudging you to do for some time, and you have been putting off? Maybe it is taking off that extra weight, and so maybe it's time to work up toward those 10,000 steps a day, or even get ready for a marathon. Maybe it's time to get that junk food you're craving out of your diet. How has God been nudging you to get going on physical goals?

Spiritually speaking, how much time are you taking for prayer? Are you finding every excuse in the world? Mental prayer? Spiritual reading? Adoration? Rosary?

And so, these 54 days are a time for you to give your "Fiat" to God in the areas you know He has been nudging you to finally get around to doing.

So, take time this weekend praying and listening and making a plan for yourself. God is calling each of us to something unique to each of us. What is that? Write it down this weekend. Make a plan.

But, no matter what you discern to do, please pray, daily, for all of us joining together to "GET STRONG" for these 54 days. 

We move out on Monday. I'm Going In!
 

Here's What I Am Doing

This is not meant to be a command that all do what I am doing for these 54 days. I am just sharing what I feel God is "nudging" me to do as an example and possible suggestions. God may have been after you to get after other things for spiritual and physical health and well-being. You should discern for yourself, and customize your own plan.

Fasting & Mortification 

I am connecting physical health and well-being to "Fasting & Mortification." In other words, I am "spiritualizing" this area. I will loosen these habits a bit on Sundays and Solemnities, but not to reach a level of gluttony. I do not want these "loosenings" to derail me.
  1. I will eat each day between a set window of 2-4 hours. For example, 2pm to 6pm (This is also called "intermittent fasting" and is found to be healthy as it burns unwanted fat and regulates body sugar. One can widen or narrow this window and choose a different time of day that suits a lifestyle).
  2. I will drink only water. Coffee and Tea are also allowed.
  3. I will have no sweets or junk food (Allowed on exception days noted above).
  4. I will daily mortify the flesh with exercise (e.g., walking, strength training, etc.)
  5. Whenever I hunger, or sacrifice, or suffer in any way, I will offer it up as I pray a Hail Mary for the conversion of sinners and the end to abortion.
Prayer & Spiritual Life

Some of these I am already doing, some I have been lax about, and some I am adding. I feel this is a great foundational spiritual life for anybody. Realize, I have a private chapel, so getting before the Blessed Sacrament is easy. For many, it may mean coming to Mass early and/or staying later. Or, it may not be possible. Do what you feel God is calling you to do.
  1. Upon waking up, I will pray the Morning Offering.
  2. Before the Blessed Sacrament (if possible), preferably in the morning, I will spend at least 15-20 minutes each day, in meditation and quiet mental prayer.
  3. Before the Blessed Sacrament (if possible), preferably in the morning, I will spend at least 15-20 minutes each day reading and reflecting on the daily Mass readings.
  4. Before the Blessed Sacrament (if possible), preferably in the morning, I will pray the rosary daily for the following intentions:
    • An end of abortion
    • My growth in holiness
    • For a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pope Francis and our bishops, and for a spiritual renewal in the United States of America.
  5. I will pray the Chaplet of St. Michael against the forces of evil in the world.
  6. I will pray the Angelus (6am, noon, 6pm).
  7. I will examine my conscience and privately ask God's forgiveness each night.
  8. I will go to Confession frequently. At least once a month.
  9. I will wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  10. I will renew my consecration to Mary on a regular basis (at least weekly).
  11. Whenever I am asked for prayers, I will journal their name and daily pray the Sacred Heart Novena Prayer for all those who asked for my prayers (this is how Padre Pio prayed for others).
  12. I will build my Holy Alliance each day by calling upon a Saint to pray with me for a Holy Soul in Purgatory. Then, I will ask my Holy Alliance to pray with me for those who have asked for my prayers, as I pray the Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (Learn about building your Holy Alliance HERE).
May God be with you!

I'm Going In!

ENLIST IN THE UNITED STATES GRACE FORCE
(Please recruit family and friends to enlist!)


 First Friday

Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 18

If possible, on your part, live at PEACE with all. 

It is fair that we recount how God has removed our faults and how he imputes no guilt on us when we sincerely repent and turn away from our sins and ask for forgiveness. Once He has freed us, it is then that we can gratefully receive the counsels of the Holy Spirit which show us our path and gives us peace with God, ourselves and others.

Do not plot evil against your neighbors when they live at peace with you. Proverbs 3: 29

The Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ prayed every morning and tells us that God is to be loved. 

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. 

Christ is the living example of God’s love for us. His heart could not rest until He repaid our debt. His soul was so tormented for love of us that He sweated blood in the garden for us. His mind was ever on us when He multiplied the loaves or healed the sick and with all His strength He offered his life as an eternal sacrifice before the Father. He for love of us took the cup and drank it to the dregs during His passion. 

To help us understand this love of His for us is the mission of the Confraternity of the Passion International[1] who document the full suffering of our Lord to show us how we are loved. 

Don't forget to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory from November 1 to the 8th.

 

Purgatory[2]

Father Gerard, that the custom of having thirty masses said for the dead is also widely spread in Italy and other Christian countries. These Masses are called the Thirty Masses of St. Gregory, because the pious custom seems to trace its origin back to this great Pope. It is thus related in his Dialogues (Book 4, chap. 40): A Religious, named Justus, had received and kept for himself three gold pieces. This was a grievous fault against his vow of poverty. He was discovered and excommunicated. This salutary penalty made him enter into himself, and some time afterwards he died in true sentiments of repentance. Nevertheless, St. Gregory, in order to inspire the brethren with a lively horror of the sin of avarice in a Religious, did not withdraw the sentence of excommunication: Justus was buried apart from the other monks, and the three pieces of money were thrown into the grave, whilst the Religious repeated all together the words of St. Peter to Simon the Magician, Pecunia tua tecum sit in perditionem—“Keep thy money to perish with thee.” Sometime afterwards, the holy Abbot, judging that the scandal was sufficiently repaired, and moved with compassion for the soul of Justus, called the Procurator and said to him sorrowfully, “Ever since the moment of his death, our brother has been tortured in the flames of Purgatory; we must through charity make an effort to deliver him. Go, then, and take care that from this time forward the Holy Sacrifice is offered for thirty days; let not one morning pass without the Victim of Salvation being offered up for his release.” The Procurator obeyed punctually. The thirty Masses were celebrated in the course of thirty days. When the thirtieth day arrived and the thirtieth Mass was ended, the deceased appeared to a brother named Copiosus, saying, “Bless God, my dear brother, today I am delivered and admitted into the society of the saints.” Since that time the pious custom of celebrating thirty Masses for the dead has been established.

First Friday

Meditation for The First Friday Of the Month[3]

At the hour of our death, when life, like a false friend, is about to forsake us, we must, in a special manner, increase our confidence in the Heart of Jesus. It is said that Our Lord appeared one day to a holy soul who had conjured Him to grant to a pious person a happy passage from this life, and addressed to her these consoling words: (My daughter, where is the pilot who, having brought into port a vessel laden with precious stones, sinks it in the sea at the moment of his arrival? Can you suppose that, after having granted so many graces to this soul in the course of her life, I shall abandon her at the end thereof??

Let us lean on the heart of Jesus; and driven on the stormy sea of this world, under the protection which He grants to those who love Him, we shall one day triumphantly enter the desired port, and enjoy the eternal blessings of that holy guidance. Death was always precious in the sight of God, for Jesus was to pass through its portal; it is precious to Him still, for Jesus has died. No one who is devout to the heart of Jesus will fail to find at the moment of his death more excellent and abundant treasures than he had ever expected to receive. Death, precious to Himself, will not Our Lord render it also inexpressibly so to us?

Faith cannot mistake the proofs of His tenderness. If we may venture to say so, the exile of the being He created is a sorrow to Him as much as to the soul itself; for, like a tender father, God desires that His children should be with Him in His kingdom. Of all the hours of life this is the one which is the most precious in the sight of God, exerts the greatest power over His love, and for this very reason has such a mighty influence over His mercy and justice. In order to receive the fulness of the new life to be merited by repentance through the divine reparation every man must undergo the terrible suffering of death; but is not this suffering, caused by sin, like all other trials, a token of love on the part of God? Without death life could not attain to its end; without death how could the soul ever reach eternal life?

The rebel angel escaped the sentence of death, but for him there was no resurrection. It is decreed that man should die, or, rather, the soul, cleansed by the blood of Our Lord, and vivified by His love, passes into eternity before the body which it shall one day glorify; united together they are called by Jesus to reign in heaven in a state so exalted that it could not have been won by primeval innocence. Even in this world, without awaiting the eternal glorifying of humanity, the most beloved amongst the friends of God experience through their whole being a marvelous transformation which robs death of its terrors, and wholly disengages them from this transitory world. The interior light by which they are led is no longer human, but divine, through Jesus; and a supernatural love is substituted for that natural love which they made their law; and not only are their criminal affections destroyed, but the love of God above all things gives them, even in this life, a foretaste of heaven. They feel no longer an engrossing care for the preservation of the body, but sigh after death, crying incessantly to God, with St. Paul, “I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. They exult when they hear the clock strike, at the thought that one hour less remains for them to pass in this exile; death is no longer a passage of sorrow, but the desired way by which they shall go to the Lord; they sigh after it, they desire it, and would fain hasten the moment of its approach by the ardor of their desire for the enjoyment of a never-ending eternity. One single thing restrains them: it is when the perfection of love imposes on them a law of charity yet stronger, which would detain them in this world for the glory of God and the good of their brethren; says St. Teresa, “thus do souls arrive at a strict union with Jesus.” Thus ardently they have desired to die in order to enjoy the presence of Our Lord; this is their martyrdom that their exile is prolonged; yet they are so inflamed with the desire of knowing Him, of making His name hallowed, of being useful to the souls of others, that far from sighing after death they would wish to live for many years, even amidst the greatest sufferings, too happy in being able to add to the glory of their divine Master. Perfect submission in death is an act of entire adoration, a magnificent profession of faith and praise; its beauty consists in the cheerful and ready sacrifice which the creature makes to the Creator of the life which He had given, shadowing forth God s power in all its grandeur. Death beholds the soul already in adoration annihilated at the thought of the near approach of eternity; this, we may well imagine, is the kind of death the angels love to contemplate. The soul takes to itself no merit, places no trust on the way in which it has served God, and desires to possess even the smallest consolation the Church can bestow. It is specially attracted by the sanctity of God, which makes it aspire to become pure, pure almost beyond conception, in order to appear before the inviolable majesty of God; relying only on His mercy; never losing its confidence in the greatness of the divine compassion, but fearing lest its offences may be beyond the reach of pardon; dying the death of a child, with its eyes fixed on the countenance of its tender Father. Why, then, when in a state of grace, should we entertain a fear of death?”

Whosoever dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God abides in him.” He who loves God is then sure of His grace and dying in this state is certain of enjoying forever the sovereign good in the habitations of the elect. And can such a one fear death?

David has, however, said that no living man is entirely pure in the sight of God. Thus no one should have the presumption to hope for salvation through his own merits; for, except Jesus and Mary, no one was ever exempt from sin. But we need not fear death when we have a true sorrow for our faults, and place our confidence in the merits of Jesus, who came on this earth in order to redeem and save sinners, for whom He shed His blood, for whom He died. The blood of Jesus Christ, says the Apostle, cries more loudly in favor of sinners than the blood of Abel for vengeance against Cain. Grace transforms into a brilliant light that which by its nature was plunged in darkness and obscurity, and the plaintive cry of our misery is changed into a song of triumph; for the fetters which yet separate the soul of the dying from the heavenly Jerusalem are so near being severed asunder that the triumphant alleluias of heaven mingle with the lamentations of earth, and the last gaze of repentant love is tenderly fixed on the crucifix till earth fades from view. The transit of the creature from time to eternity is dear to the Creator; for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Let us throw aside, then, those vain fears of death, and regard it as a tribute which all must pay to nature. Let us be ready cheerfully to leave this world when Our Lord shall call us to the land where the saints await us, and where we shall meet those who have instructed us in the faith, and whose victory will in some measure supply for the negligence with which we have performed our own duties toward our heavenly Father. Let us unite ourselves to those glorious troops of blessed spirits who are seated in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; into which the good thief entered in triumph after a life of sin, and now enjoys, in the company of the elect, the ineffable delights of paradise; where there is no darkness nor storms, no intense heat, excessive cold, sickness, or sorrow ; and where there is no need of the light of the sun, because the Sun of justice alone enlightens the heavenly Jerusalem.

Iceman’s 40 hours devotion 

It is traditionally believed that the duration of time from Christ's death until His Resurrection is forty hours, from 3 p.m. on Good Friday until 7 a.m. Easter Sunday. It is a pious practice to start this devotion on first Fridays. 

First Friday 

·         Start the devotion at 3 pm with a visit to the Blessed sacrament. Meditate on the Chaplet to the Holy Face and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

·         At sundown break fast (fish and oil) and watch a movie from the Vatican list of movies. (start second fast 2 hours before bed) 

Saturday

 

·         On waking take a walk and meditate on ways you have been walking away from God.

·         In the afternoon spend time with Mary and do the first Saturday devotion or do a Eucharistic Stations of the Cross and go to confession. After confession you may consider doing a mikvah or roman bath

·         At sundown break fast (fish and oil) and watch a movie from the Vatican list of movies. (start third fast 2 hours before bed) 

Sunday 

·         On waking go to Mass early and do the prayer before Mass

·         Receive our Lord in the Eucharist in thanksgiving.

·         Break your fast and strive to be a soldier for Christ and live the beatitudes walking with our Lord.

World Saxophone Day[4]

November 6 is Saxophone Day, an unofficial holiday that celebrates the woodwind instrument popularly used in jazz, classical music, and military ensembles. The day honors saxophonists and commemorates the birth anniversary of its inventor Adolphe Sax. Born in Belgium in 1814, Sax was an instrument maker and musician who designed and introduced the Saxophone in 1840. It was first adopted for use in military bands and soon became a popular instrument played in a concert band and in chamber music. Chamber music is a type of music played by a group of small instruments - ones that usually can fit into a small room or chamber. Today, the Saxophone is used extensively in jazz and other kinds of dance music and in symphony orchestras around the world.

Many Different Types

The Saxophone comes in many different varieties, though most saxophonists usually use one of the four most popular types. These are tenor, baritone, alto, and soprano saxophones. The tenor saxophone is usually used in jazz and rock music bands, while the baritone saxophone tends to be reserved for jazz solos. The Alto Saxophone is easy to play and therefore used to train beginners. The Soprano plays the highest pitch among all saxophones and is also often played in jazz bands. Other saxophones include Mezzo Soprano, Sopranino, Tubax, Bass and Contrabass.

How to Celebrate?

·         Are you a saxophonist? Bring out your instrument and play some music with a band or solo for your family and friends.

·         Attend a chamber music, jazz or symphony orchestra concert. Keep an ear out for the Saxophone notes.

·         If you have always wanted to learn how to play the Saxophone, today is the day to get started.

Fitness Friday -Be a Radiant Person[5]

The Four Dimensions of Life

Beyond the laws of radiant health are some broader principles that include the whole person. Human beings are made up of more than just a body. The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition is incomplete as it leaves out one significant aspect of life and health—the spiritual. This understanding is illustrated clearly in Luke 2:52 which tells us that, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." A rough paraphrase would state that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.

Health for the whole person

We cannot be totally well unless every part of us is healthy. In fact, the mental, social, and spiritual factors may be even more involved in causing or fighting many diseases than are the physical factors. Many of the laws that we listed as governing physical health apply equally well to the other facets of life.

1. Nutrition-It is necessary to eat to live, not only physically, but also in the other three dimensions.

·         Mentally: If new information and ideas are not fed into the mind on a regular basis the intellect ceases to grow and develop, becoming weak and stunted. Don't dwell on the trivial, degrading, or useless; these things can be considered mental junk food. I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble ... my loving God. PSALM 59:16

·         Socially: If love, respect, and companionship are not a regular part of your life, your social capabilities become weak and dwarfed.

·         Spiritually: Christians nourish themselves spiritually through Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and service to others.

2. Exercise—Activity is a law of life that is often phrased this way, "Use it or lose it."

·         Mentally: Intellect, memory, wisdom, attitude, and willpower need to be exercised.

·         Socially: Love, tact, the social graces, communication, and core values grow when they are practiced.

·         Spiritually: The exercise of faith, prayer, love, and perseverance are essential for spiritual strength and growth.

3. Rest—We need to relax and regenerate after activity.

·         Mentally: The mind needs to rest after periods of intense mental activity in order to recuperate. In addition, a good night's sleep gives the mind a chance to reorganize and start afresh.

·         Socially: A time away in privacy and solitude is necessary after periods of heavy social interaction.

·         Spiritually: After intense periods of ministry Christ's servants need to "Come apart and rest awhile" by spending time with Him. Time with Christ is spiritual rejuvenation. (See Mark 6:30,31).

4. Temperance—The basic definition of this law of life and health is to avoid that which is harmful and practice moderation in that which is healthful.

First, do no harm.

·         Mentally: Don't do anything that would destroy or pollute your mental faculties.

·         Socially: Don't acquire harmful habits or friends, or engage in socially destructive behaviors like gossip, criticism, breaking civil laws, or engaging in risky, degrading, sexual behaviors.

·         Spiritually: Don't destroy your spiritual sensibilities by dwelling on spiritually destructive emotions such as hatred, anger, or revenge. Avoid putting yourself under Satan's power through occult practices or the rejection of the Spirit of God.

Second, practice moderation and balance in things that are good. This involves more than just a balance between such things as activity and rest, logic and emotion, solitude and the multitude. It also consists of keeping a healthy balance between the four dimensions (mentally, physically spiritually and socially). When one of these areas of life becomes all-encompassing or is neglected, the result is an unbalanced and unhealthy individual.

Finally, part of being in balance is knowing what is most valuable and important. There will be times when you will have to choose between what is best for one element at the expense of the others. A young person might have to choose between a career in sports or science. You might have time to get either physical exercise or spiritual nourishment but not both. You make choices based on what you value most. Why not make your spiritual dimension the top priority, and base each decision on how it will affect your spiritual life and health? It would be a terrible waste to make physical health your highest priority only to miss out completely on eternal life and the associated radiant health Christ promises. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33).

5. Water, fresh air, and sunshine—These are all useful for cleanliness, which is a principle that applies equally to all segments of life.

·         Spiritually: We need to open our hearts daily to the sunshine of God's love, let the pure air of the Spirit flow into our lives, and be washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus, accepting His forgiveness.

·         Mentally: Likewise, when the mind is polluted and degraded there is help in the principle, "By beholding we become changed?" But ultimately, only by accepting Christ's offer to create in us a new life can the mind be completely cleansed.

·         Socially: As Christ changes the life and the person sincerely repents, confesses, apologizes, and makes amends, others will realize that this is a new and clean person.

Christ knows and loves each of us as if there was no one else. He longs for us to accept His offer of salvation. He desires to cleanse us, and make us whole, that we might achieve the happiness and abundant life for which we were created.

The Inseparable Four Dimensions

The four dimensions of life are inseparable and so interrelated that what affects one part of us affects every other part as well.

·         Physically: Poor physical health can cloud the mind, depress the attitudes, and make it more difficult to keep spiritually healthy. Conversely, good health can clear the mind and improve the mental outlook, promoting enriched spiritual strength and health.

·         Mentally: Willpower, attitude, and intellect have a decided influence on how we live our lives and apply or reject the various laws of health.

·         Socially: Both the attitudes that permeate our homes, and the relationships we form, have the power to affect our health

·         Spiritually: The exercise of faith, love, hope, prayer, perseverance, and dedication to God will bring peace of mind, character growth, and increased physical health.

The study and practice of these extended health principles will make a difference in the usefulness and quality of life. Each of these laws with which we cooperate brings a benefit, but when we cooperate with all of them the rewards are multiplied!

Daily Devotions

·         First Friday Meditation on the master’s Joy

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Operation Purity

·         Rosary




[2]Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained (with Supplemental Reading: What Will Hell Be Like?)

[3]https://catholicsaints.info/meditation-for-the-first-friday-of-the-month-of-the-sacred-heart/

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