Thursday, December 31, 2020

 

DAY 53 - OUR LADY OF GOOD HELP, PRAY FOR US

THE PRECEPTS
The Precepts of the Catholic Church are a description of the absolute minimum actions required of Catholics regarding the Church. The Church uses these precepts to remind us that Christian life requires a commitment to prayer and active participation in the liturgy and sacraments. If we fall below this bare-minimum level, then, practically speaking, we can hardly consider ourselves to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Out of love for Christ and a desire to advance in the spiritual life, you will normally "strive" to do far more than they require.

First Precept: "You shall attend Mass on Sunday and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor."

Strive: Attend Mass at least one more time a week. (Most Church parishes celebrate Mass every day of the year!)

Second Precept: "You shall confess your sins at least once a year."

Strive: Go to confession at least once a month, and immediately after falling to mortal sin. Also, find a regular confessor so he can give you better guidance.

Third Precept: "You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season."

Strive: Receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at every Mass if you meet the guidelines for reception (are free from mortal sin, etc.).

Fourth Precept: "You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence."

Strive: Make a habit of practicing penitential and charitable acts beyond those required by the precepts of the Catholic Church. Try to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year, for example.

Fifth Precept: "You shall provide for the material needs of the Church."

Strive: Contribute as much as possible to the material needs of the Church. Consider working toward biblical tithing: 10% of your gross income.
PRAY A ROSARY
Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Luminous Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries
PRAYERS FOR TRADITIONAL 54 DAY NOVENA

THE SORROWFUL 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, blood red roses to remind thee of the passion of thy divine Son, with Whom thou didst so fully partake of its bitterness, each rose 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 blood red roses to remind thee of the passion of thy divine Son, with Whom thou didst so fully partake of its bitterness each rose 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 Agony in the Garden - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of resignation to the will of God and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Scourging at the Pillar - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of mortification and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Crowning with Thorns - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of humility and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Carrying of the Cross - Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of patience in adversity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

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

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of love of our enemies 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
 
Please consider adding these prayers, until the election is called (more information HERE):

Fr. Ripperger's Recommended Prayers for
Breaking Oppression and Sending Back Evil
Until the Election is Called

Consecration of One's Exterior Goods to the Blessed Virgin Mary

(This prayer is particularly useful for breaking various forms of oppression. By relinquishing what belongs to us into the hands of the Blessed Virgin, Satan cannot touch them. This is a strong prayer of protection on you and yours):

I; (Name), a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court, I choose thee, O Mary, this day for my Mother and Mistress. Knowing that I have received rights over all my exterior goods by the promulgation of the Natural Law by the Divine Author, I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, all of my exterior goods, past, present and future; I relinquish into thy hands, my Heavenly Mother, all rights over my exterior goods, including our President, the fairness, honesty and accuracy of the outcome of the election, and our country and I retain for myself no right of disposing the goods that come to me but leave to thee the entire and full right of disposing of all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity. As I now interiorly relinquish what belongs to me exteriorly into thy hands, I entrust to thee the protection of those exterior goods against the evil one, so that, knowing that they now belong to thee, he cannot touch them. Receive, O good and pious Virgin, this little offering of what little is, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to Thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of You have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. Trusting in the providential care of God the Father and thy maternal care, I have full confidence that thou wilst take care of me as to the necessities of this life and will not leave me forsaken. God the Father, increase my trust in Thy Son's Mother; Our Lady of Fair Love, give me perfect confidence in the providence of Thy Son. Amen.

Sending Evil Back

(Fr. Chad Ripperger comments that the following prayer may appear harsh, in that it seems to seek evil befall on another, yet it is meant to expose evil and to teach that evil does not win. And, in fact, choosing evil will, eventually, lead to bad repercussions)

Jesus and Mary, I ask that if it be Your Holy Will, that any curses or evil sent against the President or the election process be sent back from whence they came.

 
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.

Friday in the Octave of Christmas

ST SYLVESTER-NEW YEARS EVE 

Acts, Chapter 20, Verse 20

I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to FAITH in our Lord Jesus. 

Paul here is exhorting the Ephesian leaders to have the heart of an effective leader which is “being before doing.” Leadership begins with the heart. 

A Leader’s Heart[1]

 Paul had a heart that was:

 

  1. Consistent-he lived steadily while moving among them.
  2. Contrite-he acted humbly and willingly showed his weakness.
  3. Courageous-he didn’t shrink from doing the right thing.
  4. Convictional-he communicated his convictions boldly.
  5. Committed-he left for Jerusalem, willing to die for Christ.
  6. Captivated-he showed that a surrendered man doesn’t have to survive.

Christmas Calendar[2] 

Read: The Christmas season carries on into the New Year and ends with the Baptism of the Lord. Take time to read about how you can carry the joy of Christmas with you into the New Year

Reflect: "For me, the important thing is to open my heart in each moment, to remember that my own inadequacy is where God will meet me, always beginning again." Reflect on a Catholic News Service columnist's ideas for her New Year's resolutions as you begin to plan your own. 

Pray: It's New Year's Eve! Say this Prayer for the New Year today. 

Act: Make a list of faith-based New Year's resolutions for 2021 and pray about them at Mass tomorrow. 

Seventh Day of Christmas[3] Seven Swans a-Swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

    1. wisdom
    2. understanding
    3. counsel
    4. fortitude
    5. knowledge
    6. piety
    7. fear of the Lord

Also, the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith [Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony]

Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas - Day Seven[4]

The last day of the year is also the feast of St. Sylvester — bishop of Rome in 314. Constantine gave him the Lateran Palace, which became the cathedral church of Rome. Many legends exist about Sylvester. He supposedly cured Constantine from leprosy and later baptized him on his deathbed. New Year's Eve, along with its innocent gaiety, is really a day for serious reflection. On the eve of the civil New Year the children may join their parents in a holy hour, in prayer and thanksgiving for the gifts and benefits which God has given them in the past year, and to pray for necessary graces in the forthcoming civil year.

Saint Sylvester/New Year’s Eve[5] 

The night of the Holy Saint Sylvester, the last night of the year, has always been the night of fun. Every year Berlin hosts one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in all of Europe, attended by over a million people. The focal point is the Brandenburg Gate, where midnight fireworks are centered. Germans toast the New Year with a glass of Sekt (German sparkling wine) or champagne. 

Sylvester I and Constantine 

Sylvester was a Roman, the son of Rufinus. He was ordained a priest by Marcellinus. Chosen Pope in 314, he continued the work of organizing the peacetime Church so well begun by St. Miltiades. Sylvester saw the building of famous churches, notably the Basilica of St. Peter and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, built near the former imperial palace of that name. It is quite probable too that the first martyrology or list of Roman martyrs was drawn up in his reign. St. Sylvester died in 335. He was buried in a church which he himself had built over the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria. His feast is kept on December 31. 

Bleigiessen ("Lead pouring") an old German New Year tradition[6] 

In many of the German-speaking areas the change of the year is celebrated noisily and merrily. Guests are invited, and groups attend a "Sylvester Ball." There is eating, drinking, dancing and singing. It may be accompanied by the popular "Sylvester" custom of Bleigiessen. A small piece of lead will be melted over a flame in an old spoon and dropped into a bowl of cold water. From the shape you can supposedly tell your fortune for the coming year. For instance, if the lead forms a ball (der Ball), that means luck will roll your way. The shape of an anchor (der Anker) means help in need. But a cross (das Kreuz) signifies death. At midnight, when the old year is almost gone, and the New Year is about to start, glasses are filled with champagne or wine, and toasts and hugs go with wishing each other "ein gutes neues Jahr". Some go out into the streets and listen to the bells ringing throughout the land. Others participate in shooting in the New Year or put on their private fireworks.

St. Sylvester's Day Celebrations[7]

The day that celebrates the first pope to enjoy civic peace is appropriately marked by family customs petitioning peace for the New Year. On New Year's Eve it was traditional in France and other countries for the father to bless all members of the family, and for the children to thank their parents for all of their love and care. In Spain, it was considered good luck to eat twelve grapes at the twelve strokes of midnight. Services thanking God for the blessings of the year and seeking blessings for the new one were not uncommon, and neither were special Sylvester treats. 

Last 10 Things[8] 

Today would be a good day to review the 10 Last things in preparation for the New Year. The Four Last Things refer to death, judgment, heaven and hell.  The 10 Last Things as a phrase does not exist, but all are found in Scripture and Tradition. 

So, when is Jesus coming back to earth? The answer:  At the end of the world. When is the end of the world? Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”—Mt 25:13. A theologian of Scripture here in the USA said he believes one reason why so many men have left the Catholic faith for Protestantism is because the Catholic pulpit is silent on the apocalypse. It’s sad, especially since we have the clearest and richest tradition. Although we’ll be discussing no specific dates, the Sacred Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) both name the ten things that must come at the end of the world: 

1.      The Gospel must first be preached to the whole world.  The extent of the level of the orthodoxy of the proclaimer is not clear, nor is it clear if every person or simply every nation will have heard the truth of Christ and His Church before the end of the world.  At least every land will have heard the basics by the second coming of Christ. 

2.      The Jews will return to the Holy Land and ultimately enter the Catholic Faith. Obviously, the first of these has happened (1948) and the second has not yet happened.  I had thought that the first was only a vestage of Protestant dispensationalism, but I recently discovered in Yves Dupont’s Catholic Prophesy that Saints like Alphonsus Liguori had taught that the Jews must return to Israel before Christ’s second return. 

3.      The Great Tribulation and Apostasy. Before the end of the world, CCC 675 speaks of “the Church’s ultimate trial” which will be both “apostasy from the truth” and “persecution.” Perhaps this one has been fulfilled. Indeed, many Catholics have apostatized, formally or informally. However, many Catholics and other Christians are being persecuted for following Christ. Since Christ’s birth, there have been 70 million Christian martyrs. Of these, the past hundred years have witnessed the majority— 45,500,000 of all 70,000,000 martyrdoms! Granted, most of these were Orthodox at the hands of communists; it’s still persecution of Christians. Jesus said this tribulation would also be accompanied by an increase in earthquakes (Mt 24:7.) Even CNN admits a marked increase in earthquakes the past 100 years. 

4.      The Anti-Christ or the man of lawlessness. Although there have been many anti-Christs (1 John 2:18) we’re going to have to experience the big one, “the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”—2 Thess 2:3-4. See CCC 676–680. 

5.      The Restrainer. Mercy is defined as the divine limit to evil. The anti-Christ will deceive so many people that God will send someone to limit evil. His name in the Bible is “The Restrainer.” (I know “the Restrainer” sounds like the coolest Marvel Comic book hero. But he’s right in the Bible, which might explain why our Protestant brothers and sisters speculate about him more than Catholics.) Anyway, this mysterious good guy will come along at the end of the world as an agent of Divine Mercy so that the man of lawlessness doesn’t win. “Only he who now restrains it will do so until [the man of lawlessness] is out of the way.”—2 Thess 2:7. Some Catholic theologians speculate the Restrainer will be St. John the Baptist or St. Michael the Archangel. But he is unknown at this point. 

6.      Widespread disturbances in nature. “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”—Mt 24:29-30 

7.      Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There’s an actual “day and hour” (Mt 24:36) to Christ’s return to earth. This day has definitely not yet come. “As the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”—Mt 24:27. Once, at a lunch, a priest with several impressive degrees snickered at me for taking these words literally. Then, I have to wonder: If Jesus doesn’t return with power, maybe he’ll return on a My Little Pony Cutie Mark Magic Princess Twilight Sparkle Charm Carriage Playset? (That’s an actual toy at Target! I have to wonder who named that…An 8-year-old girl in love with a cutie named Mark who was allowed to combine her eleven favorite words randomly?) Anyway, my point isn’t to rally tough-guy fundamentalism. I just can’t imagine a fitting middle ground between Christ coming as a baby and then coming in glory. Unless…Jesus comes strolling into Seattle with corduroy pants and a Dockers short sleeve at His awful second coming. For my part, I’ll believe the Apostle’s description of the last day: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”—1 Thess 4:16. See CCC 681 and the 13th century hymn Dies Irae, “Day of wrath and doom impending…heaven and earth in ashes ending.” Google it. The rest of it gets even more terrible, in the ancient Latin sense of the word. 

8.      Final Judgment. The Church teaches that every one of us on earth will be judged by Christ at the end of life, be it our particular judgment or the general judgment. The particular judgment is what you will experience if you die before Jesus returns in glory. It’s simply your judgment when you come before God a bit after cardiac arrest. A great Spanish priest described that moment as a 2-dimensional instantaneous download of your entire life, replete with Christ’s judgment of you (heaven or hell). The general judgment, or the Last Judgment, however, is what everyone will experience when Christ returns to earth. This will also affect those who have already died. For everyone, it will be like a 3-dimensional instantaneous download of every good and evil action committed by every person on the planet (Luke 8:17) and how it affected you and vice-versa. In short, during your death and/or Christ’s return, your chance for mercy will be done. That’s what the confessional is for. On judgment day, you will answer for any unconfessed sins, and you will see how every one of your actions affected the whole world, for better or for worse. I’m not trying to scare you. This is Our Faith: You matter. See CCC 1021 and CCC 1038–1041. 

9.      Resurrection of the Body. Simultaneous to #5, everyone will get their body back. It will be physical, spiritual and hopefully glorified. I write “hopefully” because even those even in hell will get a body back for eternal torture (John 5:29.) Happily, 100% of those in purgatory will go to heaven and also get their glorified body back. But most adult Catholics think of heaven as an amorphous reality for the soul…kind of like a nursing home hot tub where billions of doped-up soul’s stare in a smiley bliss. Rather, let’s consider Jesus’ resurrection: He could eat fish but walk through walls; He shined with glory, but He had wounds. In fact, the four Catholic doctrinal points of the resurrection is that your new body will be: 1) Glorified (like Jesus at the Transfiguration), 2) Agile (not subject to gravity. I promise I’m not making this up.), 3) Subtle (from the Latin, meaning the body will obey the soul as the essential form of the body…meaning you won’t accidentally burp in your new body.) and 4) Impassible (unable to suffer.) Does this all sound just a little fantastic? CCC 996 says: “From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition. On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body.” Wait. No other point met with more opposition. What about contraception and same-sex marriage? You see, the resurrection of the body is the foundation of all other Catholic morality since “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”—2 Cor 5:10. Apparently, man’s notion of once-saved always-saved doesn’t fool God. See CCC 988–1019. 

10.  New Heavens and a New Earth. First, this earth will burn (2 Pt 3:10.) Then God will make a New Heavens and a New Earth (Is 65:17.) Where else did you expect to use your new body? Notice that the physical reality of eternity is already found in the Old Testament. For the Jews, the “age to come” will not be any more nebulous than this age. But it will be an era of peace. That era of the Messiah’s peace will permeate so deeply into creation that even the lion will lie down with the calf. (Show off that Bible trick at parties since 99% of you thought I should have written “lamb.” You’re wrong! See Isaiah 11:6.) There’s a solid section on the New Heavens and the New Earth in CCC 1042–1060. Finally, since I made fun of a goofy notion of heaven in #5, I really should highlight all of Christian history’s most beautiful description of heaven. It’s composed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John. This description of heaven spans from Revelation 21 to 22 (the last two chapters of the Bible) but here’s my favorite, the beginning of the end, literally and eschatologically: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. —Rev 21:1-4a 

Daily Devotions

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Operation Purity

·         Rosary




January 

Creeks, rivers, and other forms of moving water, including ice, manifest the flow of life itself. A gurgling stream or rushing river, even in midwinter's rest, is the sign that new life is coming forth, even when it is not yet perceptible in a snow-covered landscape. Our life in Christ begins through the saving water of Baptism; since this is so, we have an obligation to protect and save the water. Water pollution is widespread, denying safe drinking water to millions of people.

Overview of January[1] 

The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first ten days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored). The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. 

In the first part of January we continue to rejoice and celebrate Christ's coming at Bethlehem and in our hearts. We have the wonderful feasts of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary's highest title, and then we follow the Magi to the crib as they bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on Epiphany. Finally, we reach the culmination of this season with the Baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. With a touch of sadness, we take down our decorations and enter into the liturgical period known as Ordinary Time where we will devote ourselves to the mystery of Christ in its entirety. 

The opening days of January may be cold and nature bleak, but the domestic church still glows warm with the peace and joy of Christmas. We dedicate the New Year to Mary on the January 1st Solemnity honoring her as Mother of God; and on January 7, the Solemnity of Epiphany, we rejoice with her, as her Son is adored by the three Wise Men. 

Herald John, who ushered in the Advent season, is present once again to close Christmastide on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (The First Luminous Mystery), and to open the Season of Ordinary Time. He points to Jesus, the Lamb of God who unites time and eternity in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and even January’s diminishing darkness seems to echo St. John’s prayer: “He must increase, and I must decrease.” 

In this liturgical season the Church eagerly follows Our Lord as he gathers his apostles and announces his mission. At Cana’s wedding feast (The Second Luminous Mystery) he performs his first public miracle at the request of his Mother, and his disciples saw his glory and believed in him. 

We, his present-day disciples pray for a like faith as we contemplate the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb and the unique role of the Blessed Mother in the plan of salvation. May we wholeheartedly obey her words of counsel: “Do whatever he tells you.” 



[1]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/months/01.cfm

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