Monday, November 9, 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!)


DAY 1 - HOLY MARY, HELP US TO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION!

Read about this "Get Strong" Novena HERE.
GOD'S WORD
"So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 4:48)
HEROES' WORDS
"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!" -St. Catherine of Siena

"This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections." -St. Augustine

"To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." -Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

"He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows." -St. Gregory of Nissa

"Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation, for no one will do it for us, since even he himself, who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves." -St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
MEDITATION
"All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity." All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (CCC 2013)
Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all. (CCC 2014)

The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes. (CCC 2015)
PRAY A ROSARY
Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Joyful Mysteries
PRAYERS FOR TRADITIONAL 54 DAY NOVENA

THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Prayer before the recitation: Sign of the cross. Hail Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I humbly kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses, snow white buds to remind thee of thy joys, each bud recalling to thee a holy mystery, each 10 bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, dispenser of God's graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee, thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my petition; from thy bounty thou wilt give me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly seek. I despair of nothing that I ask of thee. Show thyself my Mother!

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I gratefully kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses snow white buds to remind thee of thy joys each bud recalling to thee a holy mystery; each ten bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, Dispenser of God's graces. and Mother of all who invoke thee! thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my thanksgiving; from thy bounty thou hast given me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly sought. I despaired not of what I asked of thee, and thou hast truly shown thyself my Mother.

Say: The Apostles' Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

The Annunciation - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow-white buds with a petition for the virtue of humility and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Visitation - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow-white buds with a petition for the virtue of charity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Nativity - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow-white buds with a petition for the virtue of detachment from the world and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Presentation - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow-white buds with a petition for the virtue of purity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow-white buds with a petition for the virtue of obedience to the will of God and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

Say: The Hail Holy Queen.

Spiritual Communion: My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

In petition (first 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this spiritual communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow. O my Mother! Look with favor upon my gift, and in thy love obtain for me (specify request, see below). Hail Mary ...

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this Spiritual Communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow in thanksgiving for (specify request, see below) which thou in thy love hast obtained for me. Hail, Mary, etc.
 
PETITION: May truth be revealed, and may America and the Catholic Church become strong in God's power. - Ephesians 6:10
 


All of the daily Novena Prayers and Reflections are also posted at usgraceforce.com

Spanish language Novena prayers and reflections are available at https://rosarycoasttocoast.com/nfon-espanol/.

Those who would like to pray with others via The Telephone Rosary, call 1-951-799-9866 daily at 6 pm Eastern.


LATERAN BASILICA-WORLD FREEDOM DAY

 

Romans, Chapter 15, Verse 33

The God of PEACE be with all of you. Amen. 

So be it. This is the joy of the church which is the peace of Christ. 

How to be joyful[1]

If there’s one undeniable fact about human nature, it’s that we all want to be happy. We crave joy—infinite, endless joy. The problem is, we often look for happiness in all the wrong places, leaving ourselves frustrated and miserable. The plethora of wildly popular self-help books shows that we are hungry for guidance on how to live well. One man found the secret of true happiness. His name was St. John Bosco. He was a man who experienced many trials, but who also lived a life full of gladness and joy. St. John Bosco was so happy that he could hardly contain it. “Dear friend,” he wrote to an associate, “I am a man who loves joy and who therefore wishes to see you and everybody happy. If you do as I say, you will be joyful and glad in heart.”

So how did St. John Bosco find real happiness? Here’s his six recommendations for living a joyful life:

  1. Live for God alone – “Give God the greatest possible glory and honor Him with your whole soul. If you have a sin on your conscience, remove it as soon as possible by means of a good Confession.”
  2. Be a servant – “Never offend anyone. Above all, be willing to serve others. Be more demanding of yourself than of others.”
  3. Be careful in your associations – “Do not trust those who have no faith in God and who do not obey His precepts. Those who have no scruples in offending God and who do not give Him what they should will have many fewer scruples in offending you and even betraying you when it is convenient for them.”
  4. Spend carefully – “If you do not wish to be ruined, never spend more than you earn. You should bear this in mind and always measure your true possibilities accurately.”
  5. Be humble – “Speak little of yourself and never praise yourself before anyone. He who praises himself, even if he has real merit, risks losing the good opinion of others. He who seeks only praise and honors is sure to have an empty head fed only by wind… will have no peace of soul and will be unreliable in his undertakings.”
  6. Carry your cross – “Carry your cross on your back and take is as it comes, small or large, whether from friends or enemies and of whatever wood it be made. The most intelligent and happiest of men is he who, knowing that he is doomed to carry the cross throughout life, willingly and resignedly accepts the one God sends him.”

Finding real happiness isn’t complicated. Anyone, even a child, could live by these simple rules. Yet, these prescriptions are pretty counter-cultural, aren’t they? They are the exact opposite of what society tells us will make us happy. You certainly won’t find them shared in a New York Times best-seller. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter what society says. The most joyful of all people are the saints—men and women like St. John Bosco. They were truly and lastingly happy because they had discovered the secret that holiness is real happiness. And they want you to discover it too.

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome


Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion. The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence — where the Popes lived until the Avignon period — were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter. Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and veneration for the Roman Church, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1). On this solemnity the Word of God recalls an essential truth: the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, which in their letters the Apostles Peter and Paul already understood as a “spiritual edifice,” built by God with “living stones,” namely, Christians themselves, upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Ephesians 2:20-22). “Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9c, 17).

The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.

Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she helps us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.

Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 9, 2008

Things to Do:[2]

  • Learn more about St. John Lateran;
  • This basilica represents the place of baptism, so it would be a good time to renew your baptismal promises.
  • It also represents heaven, so we can meditate on the joys of heaven and God's generosity in giving us sufficient graces to be saved.
  • Since St. John Lateran is the Pope's church, say a prayer for our Holy Father.
  • From the Catholic Culture Library: Mother Church of the World.

Carl Sagan born 1934[3]

One of the most well-known gurus of scientism was the late Carl Sagan, best known for his popular television series "Cosmos." Sagan was unrelenting in his insistence that the methods and speculations of science are absolutely necessary for the proper understanding of all reality. Science, then, surpasses any other form of knowledge, including religion. In the "religion" of scientism only matter is eternal. "Mother Earth" was for Sagan the only god to be worshipped, as is the case for many who espouse New Age thinking.

In his book "Cosmos," Sagan wrote that "our ancestors worshipped the Sun, and they were far from foolish. And yet the Sun is an ordinary, even a mediocre star. If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it now make sense to revere the Sun and stars?" (p. 243).

Put even more simply, scientism is the belief that whatever cannot be experienced by the senses, i.e., seen, touched, heard, etc., simply does not exist. First and foremost, this means that God does not exist because he cannot be subjected to scientific observation and proof.

Recently, scientism has taken a curious turn. Last year scientists at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Md., performed experiments that convinced them that what religion calls the moral conscience is, in fact, nothing more than basic brain activity. Remaining true to the tenets of scientism, these scientists would allow no explanation of moral action other than the claim that that's the way our brains are wired.

What is interesting, however, is that, instead of using science to discredit religion, these scientists seem to be claiming that what people of faith have known all along can now be substantiated by the scientific method. It's an intriguing twist, but in the end scientism reigns supreme.

Harvard neuroscientist and philosopher Joshua Greene, as good an example of scientism as anyone, has stated that his goal as a scientist is "to reveal our moral thinking for what it is: a complex hodgepodge of emotional responses and rational (re)constructions, shaped by biological and cultural forces . . ." There it is. For Greene — as for all good proponents of scientism — not only do conscience and morality have no objective meaning or content or even less do they come from God, the human person is ultimately understood to be no more than the product of cultural and biological forces.

Several decades ago, a Russian cosmonaut returned from his first venture into space and proudly announced that he had been into the heavens and could now verify that God was nowhere to be seen. This finding, of course, fit nicely into the atheistic picture of reality that prevailed in the Soviet Union of those days.

More than simply a glib pronouncement on the non-existence of God, however, the remark was expressive of what has come to be known as "scientism." Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society, provides a good definition of scientism: "Scientism is the scientific worldview that encompasses natural explanations for all phenomena, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason as the twin pillars of a philosophy of life appropriate for an Age of Science."

This way of thinking is becoming more and more acceptable in what has been called our "age of science." It has infected even people of faith. Nowhere is it more obvious than in the implicit — and even explicit at times — agreement that conscience is, in fact, nothing more than what I think and feel about a particular subject. My own personal thoughts are understood to be little other than the effects of the culture in which I live. And so, even for some Catholics, the moral conscience has little to do with God or his revelation or the natural law. Rather, conscience has everything to do with how I, as an individual, perceive reality. What else could account for the sad fact that many Catholics believe that a crime like abortion could be morally justified in certain situations?

In an age of relativism such as ours, it is vitally important that we appreciate that God is the source of all truth and meaning. He created that world and all that is in it. It is his law that governs right behavior. It is his truth that informs and binds every human conscience. It is his truth that is communicated authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings" (No. 1783).

World Freedom Day[4]

In many parts of the world, freedom is something that is taken for granted—the freedom to choose any religion we want (or no religion at all), the freedom to be in a relationship with the person we love, the freedom to travel…the list goes on. Unfortunately, there are many, many places in the world where these freedoms are not available to most people, who are forced to live empty, unfulfilling lives so the rulers of their countries don’t have them thrown in jail or worse. If you don’t know what it means to be afraid to voice your opinion, then you can consider yourself very lucky to live in a place where liberty is a priority as well as a basic human right. And like all good things, liberty should be celebrated, and that’s what World Freedom Day is all about. The World Freedom Day is a federal observance commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall. The day commemorates the end of communism in Eastern and Central Europe and was designated in 2001 by President George W. Bush. It was created to celebrate the reunification of loved ones separated by the Iron Curtain and differing ideologies, and ultimately serves to acknowledge that the resolve of the masses can shift boundaries, break unfavorable resolutions and ultimately determine the type of leadership they desire so as to live is a freer, more fair society. 

How to Celebrate World Freedom Day

·         The day is celebrated in different ways, depending on who’s celebrating. Conservative groups such as the College Republicans and Young America Foundation encourage students to celebrate the day through activism projects and flyer campaigns, while on the other hand, political activists and commentators see the day as an occasion to recognize President Ronald Reagan as one of the most instrumental personalities in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

·         If you are not living in the United States and therefore cannot be politically active in the ways described, don’t worry! There are still plenty of ways you can celebrate this day. Doing some reading about Ronald Reagan is a good start, regardless of your nationality, but there are other figures that played large parts in the fall of Communism as well. Among them are for example Margaret Thatcher, often called the “Iron Lady” due to her determination and resolve, who personally worked with Reagan to undermine the Communist regime.

·         Yet another example of a person who was instrumental was a Pole named Karol Wojtyła, more commonly known as Pope John Paul II. The pope helped ordinary Poles and East Europeans banish their fear of Soviet Communism, convincing them that liberation was possible. The prime minister restored her country’s failing economy by reviving the “vigorous virtues” of the British people. The president rebuilt America’s military power, its national morale, and its position as leader of the free world.

·         All three of these figures, working together, brought down an evil empire and changed the world for the better, and these are the people that deserve remembrance on World Freedom Day. The Cold War was a time of tension and uncertainty for the West and misery and destruction for the East, so taking the time to find out a bit more about the people that helped put an end to all of this is the perfect way to celebrate this day.

Daily Devotions

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         Monday: Litany of Humility

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary



[1]http://www.catholicgentleman.net/2016/02/six-ways-to-live-a-joyful-life-from-st-john-bosco/

[2]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2019-11-09

[3]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8753

[4] https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/world-freedom-day/



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