Friday, February 26, 2021

 

Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Belligerence
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 Belligerence" by Fr. Bill Peckman

In the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, there is a scene in which Marc Anthony is alone with the body of the freshly assassinated Julius Caesar. He seeks vengeance on the assassins knowing it will send Rome into a killing frenzy. From this scene we hear the words, "Cry 'havoc' and let slip the dogs of war!" (Julius Caesar Act III, Scene I). This refrain plays all too quickly in our society as we fall into hellish nightmares of belligerence and anarchy.

The word belligerence comes from the Latin words bellum (war) and genere (to bear or carry) and means a person engaged in war. In common usage, a belligerent person is one who looks for and pursues reasons to stir trouble and engage in violent revenge. The father of belligerence is none other than he who fomented the first ever revolution against God: the devil.

We live in a horribly belligerent society right now. So many refer to being "triggered," or easily and frequently offended in such a way that justifies both the tenacity and disproportionate nature of their vengeance. The belligerent see themselves as victims of injustice whose suffering, real or imagined, is sufficient grounds for any destruction and mayhem they may engage in to address the injustice. They wreak havoc in the lives of all who around them. It is as if they look for (even long for) reasons to be angry so that they may act out without regards for consequences.

That belligerence finds itself in our churches as well. There are so many ways in which we find ourselves willfully polarized by everything from music to ritual to leadership. Some of the most hateful things I have seen posted on social media over the years have been Catholics showing a truly hateful belligerence to their fellow Catholics. I have often noted how Satan cackles at our circular firing squads. As in the secular world, belligerence is all about the accrual of power.

There are times we will not be able to avoid the belligerence of others in our defense and propagation of the truth. Jesus Himself refers multiple times to parent being set against child and child against parent as some accept and follow Christ. How do we answer belligerence? How do we stave off the desire to become belligerent against all but Satan and his minions?

The answer, I believe, can be found in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up My yoke upon you and learn of me because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is sweet and My burden light." In this we see that our lives will come with burdens, pains, injustices, and sorrows. We will have that temptation to return belligerence for belligerence. Certainly, Christ carried this reality right up the cross.

The answer lies in our willingness and ability to show meekness. Meekness has a bad reputation as the quality of being mousy, timid, or weak. Meekness is patience, a virtue that St Paul in Galatians 5:22 reminds us is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Patience is anything but weakness; patience takes incredible strength. It is the strength that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. He shows His strength in patience and endurance. The time for judgment will come. It will be just.

Our ability to show meekness in the face of harm neither condones the harm done to us nor allows another to treat us as a doormat. It shows the strength of character that reduces the mocking and ridicule, thus providing a far stronger witness to all. Our war footing should be directed to the devil and his forces; with them we should show nothing but scorn and forcefulness. The devil and his demons have no hope of conversion. They are eternally damned. As for our fellow human beings, if they are on this side of the moment of death, the possibility, however slim, exists for possible conversion. The Church exists for the salvation of souls. Driving belligerence from our hearts and souls helps us endure the yoke of Christ: the ability to selflessly love and show unswerving obedience to the will of the Father in all things. Our only cry to release "havoc and the dogs of war" should be against the devil and his minions.

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts to belligerence and wrath. We have allowed the desire to gain power to be reason to crush others. We have been so fearful of being considered weak by the world that we have embraced impatience and violence as virtuous. In our fear, we have allowed the ancient foe to advance. We turn to You Lord, in our sorrow and guilt, and beg Your forgiveness for our belligerence and rebellion against Your command to love our enemies. We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us the strength and endurance You exhibited on the Cross. 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. 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 belligerence and rebellion. Still the lying tongue of the devil and his forces so that we may act freely and faithfully to Your will. Send Your holy angels to cast out all influence that the demonic entities in charge of belligerence 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 the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
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, etc.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost,
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty,
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased,
Heart of Jesus,  we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings,
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities,
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, .
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, oh Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Christ graciously spare us.
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. Amen.

 
Daily Checklist
__ Prayer for Freedom from the Devil
__ Daily reflection and prayers
__ Litany of the day
__ Pray a Rosary
__ Divine Mercy Chaplet
__ Spiritual or corporal work of mercy
__ Fast/abstain (according to level)
__ Exercise (according to level/ability)
__ Refrain from conventional media (only 1 hr. of social)
__ Examination of conscience (confession 1x this week)


Friday of the First Week of Lent-Ember Day

GRAND CANYON Established 

Numbers, chapter 22, Verse 2-3

2 Now Balak, son of Zippor, saw all that Israel did to the Amorites, 3 and Moab FEARED the Israelites greatly because they were numerous. Moab was in dread of the Israelites. 

Fear is listed by many theologians as the 8th deadly sin. God in making us a Holy people wants us to be free of fear. Is it any wonder that people without faith are plagued by fear? Fear Dominates Politics, Media and Human Existence in America—And It’s Getting Worse according to Don Hazen.

 

“Fear is the mind-killer” – Frank Herbert, Dune

 

People cannot think clearly when they are afraid. As numerous studies have shown, fear is the enemy of reason. It distorts emotions and perceptions, and often leads to poor decisions. For people who have suffered trauma, fear messages can sometimes trigger uncontrollable flight-or-fight responses with dangerous ramifications.

 

Yet over time, many interlocking aspects of our society have become increasingly sophisticated at communicating messages and information that produce fear responses. Advertising, political ads, news coverage and social media all send the constant message that people should be afraid—very afraid.

 

In addition, television and film are filled with extreme violence and millions of fictional deaths, far out of proportion to what happens in real life, as researchers have pointed out…All this, despite statistics indicating that in most parts of the country, the crime rate is actually on the decline.

 

Fear is so pervasive that experts have made the case we live in a generalized “culture of fear,” also the name of a book by Barry Glassner which underscores the fact that we often fear the wrong things, and incredibly out of proportion to reality. Statistics show you have a much higher chance of being killed by lightning than by a terrorist.[1]

 

Friday of the First Week of Lent[2]

BE merciful, O Lord, to Thy people, and as Thou makest them devout to Thee, mercifully refresh them with kind assistance.

EPISTLE. Ezech. xviii. 20-28.

Thus, saith the Lord God: The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked do penance for all his sins, which he hath committed, and keep all My commandments, and do judgment and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live. Is it My will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?

But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he had done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die. And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it My way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?

For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, lie shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die. And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment and justice: he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die, saith the Lord Almighty.

GOSPEL. John v. 1-15.

At that time there was a festival-day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered, waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond: and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight-and-thirty years under his infirmity. Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, He saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered Him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me. Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed and walked. And it was the Sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, He said to me: Take up thy bed, and walk. They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee: Take up thy bed, and walk? But he who was healed, knew not who it was. For Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. Afterwards Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. The man went his way and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had made him whole.

Ember Friday[3]

Have you ever heard about the Ember days, observed for most of the history of the Church prior to the late 20th century? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. Like many traditional practices in the Church laden with deep meaning, Ember days have been chucked down the Catholic memory hole. But fear not! This is why God created the Internet: so, we can find all the neat things about Catholicism that are worth knowing and sharing.

Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons that “like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest harmony,” as St. John Chrysostom wrote. These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days,” or Quatuor Tempora, in Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day. Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

Father Peter Carota at the blog Traditional Catholic Priest offers some additional historical information on Ember days:

The Ember days are true Catholic tradition dating actually dating back to the Apostles, (Pope Leo The Great claims it was instituted by the Apostles).  Pope Callistus (217-222) in the “Liber Pontificalis” has laws ordering all to observe a fast three times a year to counteract the hedonistic and pagan Roman rites praying for:

By the time of Pope Gelasius, (492-496), he already writes about there being four times a years, including Spring.  He also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of Ember week.  This practice was mostly celebrated around Rome, from Pope Gelasius’ time, they began to spread throughout the Church. St. Augustin brought them to England and the Carolingians into Gaul and Germany.  In the eleventh century, Spain adopted them. It was not until Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) that these Ember days were prescribed for the whole Catholic Church as days of fast and abstinence.  He placed these “four mini Lents” consisting of three days; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The purposes of these “mini Lents” were to pray, fast and to thank God for the gifts He gives us through nature.  They follow the four seasons of the year with the beauty and uniqueness of each particular season.   They are here for us to teach us to use, with moderation, what God gives us through nature, and to also share these gifts with the poor.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, because of the changes in Church law, not a whole lot. At least not officially. The mandatory observation of Ember days was excised from Church practice during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI. But as a voluntary practice, there is much that is salutary in observing the Ember days of the Church.

I don’t know about you, but as a typically indulgent American, I’ve never been very good at fasting. Lately, I’ve noticed more and more people are advocating fasting as a counter-measure in today’s troubling times. This is the first year I will be observing these fasts, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m already pretty famished and a bit punchy. But the way I see it, there’s no point in continuing to put off the inevitable penance that I’m going to have to do for being a big, fat sinner. To say nothing about making reparations for the increasingly hostile darkness of a world steeped in its own sins. Fasting isn’t going to get easier at some point in the future when I get “holier.” In fact, I’m guessing the latter isn’t going to happen until I master the former. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where fasting and penance are more needed than right this moment.  We can’t rely on others to do it for us. Gotta cowboy up and put our mortification where our mouth is. What do you say? Who will be hungry with me?!

What the Grand Canyon tells us about God[4]


(est. today in 1919) A view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Contemplation always involves knowledge of one’s true scale, of a reality that dwarfs the ego

Many years ago, I was telling my spiritual director that I found it easiest to pray in a beautiful garden, and I was warming to my sense of myself as a contemplative. The wise Dominican asked with disarming candor: “But are you in the garden, or is the garden in you?” It took a long time even to realize what the question meant. I remember another similarly disarming question at the very beginning of my adult search for God. I was an undergraduate and took myself to a Benedictine monastery for a few days’ retreat in Lent. I was captivated by the silence, prayer and retreat from the world, swept up in the chant and the romance of monastic life. What I did not realize was that I was attracted to it as something that would make it less painful to be what I thought I was – something I needed for my religious amour-propre. Thus, many searches for God begin, but one can only search for God because he has already found you. What must happen is that someone else must put a belt around you and lead you where you would rather not go. It is not the intensity of the search, but of the willingness to be led that is ultimately the measure of vocation. Vocation is not finding the garden in you, it is finding yourself in the garden.

Perhaps the wise abbot sensed this. Anyway, I remember being rather discombobulated by his direct manner. As I emoted about the spiritual life, he looked at me carefully and asked: “Is God real to you?” It was like a torpedo below the waterline of all my high-sounding talk about my attraction to the monastic life versus secular priesthood, the script I was busy constructing of an encounter with the living God in which I remained firmly the star. The best answer I could manage was: “I think so.” In the moment of asking I doubted it, or rather I realized suddenly that so much of what I thought was God wasn’t actually God. It was the paraphernalia of God, of religion. (In fact, the moment wasn’t too confounding, for soon there came another answer from deep inside: “He’s real to me in the Blessed Sacrament.” There – perhaps because, as Aquinas put it, “Sight, touch and taste in thee are each deceived” – I couldn’t confuse feeling for the reality.

I realized that I had been given something to work with.) All of this came to mind when I visited the Grand Canyon at the end of my trip to America. What’s the connection? One may grasp what one might call the paraphernalia of the Grand Canyon. It was formed by billions of years of imperceptibly slow change, of almost every possible kind of geological activity: sediment layering, tectonic plates shifting, glaciers melting and rivers carving a gorge a mile and a half deep into solid rock. These are processes that can be mapped and understood, but the result overwhelms the sum and the mind of man. Its astonishing, ancient beauty can only be contemplated – that is, it must act on you, overwhelm your mind with its four-billion-year-old scale, stillness and silence which is in constant change.

Spontaneously, the words of the psalmist rose from my heart at the breathtaking sight: “Before the mountains or the hills were brought forth, you are God, without beginning or end.” Contemplation always involves knowledge of one’s true scale, of a reality that dwarfs the ego. As if this were not enough, as the sun set, the sky above came alive with stars. I have never seen so many or so clearly. They were like the lights of some vast celestial city calling, a million points of light and security like some distant homeland, like the medieval fantasy that the stars were rents in the sky through which one could see the light of heaven. To count them I must be eternal, like God. The psalmist said: “When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and stars which you have made, what is man, that thou art mindful of him?” And the answer comes back that in Jesus Christ the Father has united himself to the heart of every person in such a way that the vastness of the universe becomes an image not of alienation, but of the vastness of a love that was there before the hills were set in order. This love causes even rocks to exude a soft beauty which seems like the desire of the Eternal Hills for the Heart of their maker.

The Devil and Temptations[5]

There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way.

Freeing My Own Self from the Power of Evil

·         Through his passion, death, and resurrection, Jesus has broken the power of the Evil One. When the influence of evil is perceived in one's own life, it most frequently comes about from personal sin. Family members suffer because of the sin of an individual member of the family. It is through the sacred power that the Lord has placed in his Church that the evil of sin is conquered.

·         Through medicine, psychology and other human means, suffering can often be alleviated. But Jesus in his Church, has given us basic helps that are often neglected.

·         In our day the Sacrament of Reconciliation has fallen into disuse. There exists a power in this sacrament to break the power of the Evil One and sin that is not possible otherwise.

·         Our faith in the Eucharist is weakened. In this sacrament is the power and presence of Jesus Himself. Persons who have actually needed exorcism from the power of the Evil One have been cured by sitting in church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour each day, for one or two months. These were very difficult cases.

·         Our Blessed Mother has been designated by God as the one who crushes the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:1s). The Rosary is a very powerful means of protection and salvation. Many sons and daughters have been saved from the power of sin and the loss of faith through the perseverance of their parents in saying the Holy Rosary.

Daily Devotions

·         Manhood of the Master-week 2 day 3

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Operation Purity

·         Rosary



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