Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Lust
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.
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
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Mary, like unto the Heart of God, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, united to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, instrument of the Holy Ghost, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, sanctuary of the Divine Trinity, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, tabernacle of God Incarnate, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, immaculate from thy creation, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, full of grace, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, blessed among all hearts, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, throne of glory, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, most humble, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, holocaust of Divine Love, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, fastened to the Cross with Jesus Crucified, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, comfort of the afflicted, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, refuge of sinners, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, hope of the agonizing, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, seat of mercy, Pray for us.
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Make our hearts like unto the Heart of Jesus.
O most merciful God, Who, for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the miserable, wast pleased that the Most Pure Heart of Mary should be most like in charity and pity to the Divine Heart of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, grant that we, who commemorate this sweet and loving Heart, by the merits and intercession of the same Blessed Virgin, may merit to be found like unto the Heart of Jesus, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
__ 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)
Introduction to Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy is narrated, for the most part, by Moses. Yep, that Moses. Some people actually say Moses wrote the book, but most scholars think that the writer(s) were just using Moses the character as a means to get their message across. Attributing the text to a hugely important cultural figure would give it more power, right? Think about if someone today came out with "George Washington's Lost Will." There'd be controversy, but you can bet that book would sell.
Once you sift through all the nitty-gritty laws and rules, the main message is that the Israelites should worship one god (6:4) in one place (14:25). That god is God, and—even though it's never named in the book—that place is Jerusalem. This message comes along with a retelling of the Exodus story, the tales of the Israelites in the book of Numbers, and the rules and regulations that will help the Israelites recapture their culture's essence.
Moses conveys all this through some pretty rousing and finger-pointing pep talks. Basically, the previous generation of Israelites failed big time, refusing to fight for the Promised Land. But after forty years of desert-wandering, a new generation brings new hope. And if these Israelites obey God, then they'll conquer the Promised Land. The whole book takes place at the Jordan River, while Moses motivates and warns them. Obey and win; disobey and lose—big time.
Why Should I Care?
Deuteronomy is the key to the entire Hebrew Bible. It's the bridge
between the stories in Exodus and Numbers, the laws in Leviticus, and the narratives
in Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. All of the Bible before
Deuteronomy has been, in a narrative sense, leading up to the Israelites
entering the Promised Land. They've fought, been enslaved, seen God's fire,
messed up, died, and been given the law. Now, in Deuteronomy, they're on the
edge of the Promised Land, so close to their goal. But don't get too
excited—Moses, their leader, makes them take a really long pause. He wants them to take a deep breath to reflect
on where they've been (and think about what's to come). What better way to do
that than by retelling the story? And hey, if nothing else, Deuteronomy gives
you a really good cram tool if you somehow missed the first four books of the
FEBRUARY 27 Saturday in the first week of Lent-Ember Day
FULL SNOW MOON
Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 17
In rendering judgment, do not consider who a person is; give ear to the lowly and to the great alike, FEARING no one, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too difficult for you bring to me and I will hear it.”
Deuteronomy is the last of the five books of Moses. The book explains to the Israelites how to make a success of their life. To be a success we must as General Patton said, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” After appointing Elders this was Moses advice to them; fear no one except God. The greatest of our church is that we when we are troubled and don’t know what to do, we can always approach Him in prayer and seek the advice of his elders (Mary and the Saints) anywhere we are. If we desire, we may also approach our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and bring any case that is too difficult for Him to hear and He will answer us. Likewise, we may approach a priest in confession or connect with a local parish spiritual director. How great is our God that He does not abandon us? Furthermore, there is a multitude of great Catholic websites and organizations where there are elders of the church who can assist us in our difficult moments.
Saturday in the first week of Lent-Ember Day
EPISTLE, i. Thess. v. 14-23.
BRETHREN: We beseech you, rebuke the unquiet, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men. See that none render evil for evil to any man: but ever follow that which is good towards each other, and towards all men. Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good. From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves. And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you in all things: that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel and Prayer the same as those of tomorrow.
Full Snow Moon
According to the almanac today we are having a Full Snow Moon. Plan to have a day to take your children or your grandchildren out to play in the snow and talk a little with them about your love and faith in God and make snow angels.
Our Lady of the Snows
Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible, namely in Rome, Italy. August 5, 352, snow fell during the night in Rome.
There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign. In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested?
“Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”
Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread, and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.
Antarctica: Faith in the Land of Eternal Snows
It’s hard to imagine that 60 million years ago, Antarctica was teeming with dinosaurs languishing in the sweltering, subtropical heat typical of the “White Continent” at the time. Now, it’s home only to seals, penguins, walruses and humans who insist they don’t mind the frigid temperatures. The first official nod to Christianity in Antarctica came from Capt. Aeneas Mackintosh, who erected a large memorial cross on Wind Vane Hill on Cape Evans in honor of three members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition party who died in 1916.
Priests Down South
Father William Menster (1913-2007), a priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, and U.S. Navy chaplain, wrote in his 1949 book Strong Men South about his Antarctic expedition in 1946 and 1947, “The highlight of my life was the celebration of Mass at and blessing the Antarctic continent.” This first Mass on the continent was celebrated in a temporary tent on an altar oriented eastward — or what passes for eastward when you’re at the bottom of the planet. The first Jesuit stationed in Antarctica was seismologist Jesuit Father Henry Birkenhauer, in 1957-58, earning him the nickname “The Polar Priest.” Jesuit Father Daniel Linehan was a scientist and explorer who made two expeditions to Antarctica in 1954-55 and 1955-56. The Linehan Glacier is named after him. Vatican astronomer Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno visited Antarctica in 1996 and discovered a number of meteorites. (The climate aside, it’s easy hunting for such rocks, as they stand in clear contrast to the continent’s snowy fields.) Jesuit geophysicists Edward Bradley and J. Joseph Lynch also did extensive research in Antarctica.
There are currently nearly 90 science stations in Antarctica, half of which are only used in summer months, when the days are long. Most research stations have a small multipurpose room that serves as an ad hoc chapel. However, several bases and settlements have their own dedicated chapels, including:
1. Notre-Dame des Vents (Port-aux-Français, Kerguelen Island)
Interestingly, Capt. James Cook discovered this uninhabited island on Christmas Day 1776, an auspiciously appropriate day for what would subsequently become the southernmost French-Catholic church in the world. French for Our Lady of the Winds, the chapel is located in Port-aux-Français, the capital settlement of the Kerguelen Islands, territory of the French Southern and Antarctic lands in the south Indian Ocean. The concrete chapel was built in the 1950s, and its proportions are based on the “Golden Ratio” — the ratio of the building’s dimensions is the same as the ratio of the sum of the larger of the chapel’s two quantities. This is a fancy mathematical way of saying the chapel is exquisitely beautiful and exceptionally pleasing mathematically, aesthetically and emotionally. This chapel serves as the parish church for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the British Antarctic Territory. A statue of Our Lady of the Winds stands vigil between the chapel and the Golfe du Morbihan, welcoming congregants while assuring them of her love and prayers.
2. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Punta Arenas)
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (El Sagrado Corazón) in Punta Arenas, on the southern tip of South America, serves the Chilean Antarctic Territory. Punta Arenas is the southernmost diocese in the entire Catholic world. Its parish, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, in Puerto Williams on Navarino Island is the southernmost Catholic parish on the planet. Though not “technically” in Antarctica, it’s practically there; and the Vatican has given it its specific mission of serving the faithful who temporarily call Antarctica home.
3. The Ice Cave Catholic Chapel at Belgrano II Base (Coat’s Island)
Argentina’s Belgrano II Base at Coat’s Island is the southernmost house of worship — of any religion — and is entirely made of ice blocks. Built in 1955, it’s used year-round by the scientists, soldiers and staff of the Argentine military base and research station on the island. A wedding was conducted in the chapel on January 29, 2007, for two researchers, a Chilean and a Russian.
3. Notre Dame de l’Ocean (Amsterdam Island)
Our Lady of the Ocean Chapel serves the scientists of French-administered Amsterdam Island. This squarish, cozy chapel is immediately adjacent to the researcher’s quarters and hosts Mass every Sunday. The chapel offers a magnificent view of the Antarctic Ocean.
4. Chapel of the Snows (Ross Island)
The Chapel of the Snows is located at McMurdo Science Station on Ross Island and was constructed in 1956. The chapel was rebuilt after a fire in 1978 and was re-consecrated in 1989. It later opened its doors to Protestants, Mormons, Bahais and Buddhists so that they might conduct their own services. The chapel serves 200 researchers and support personnel, but it can host up to 1,000 visitors. It contains a stained-glass window depicting Antarctica.
5. Notre Dame des Oiseaux Chapel, Possession Island
This tiny French-administered island in the Crozet Archipelago has a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Birds. The chapel is located near Alfred Faure Base and was built in 1984.
6. Trinity Church (Bellingshausen, King George Island)
This Russian Orthodox chapel warmly, pun intended, welcomes Catholics to celebrate Mass there. The quaint structure is made of pressurized Siberian pine treated to withstand the subzero temperature of the southernmost continent. It can hold 30 worshippers at any given moment. Two Russian monks’ man this remote chapel, committing to a year’s service. Defying the destructive power of the polar winds, the wooden structure with Russian carvings stands 15 meters (49 feet) tall, and Mass is generally celebrated in either Spanish or English.
7. San Francisco de Assisi Chapel (Hope Bay)
A chapel dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi is appropriately located at Esperanza (Spanish for “hope”) Station in Antarctica’s Hope Bay. This is one of Argentina’s 13 research bases in Antarctica. Catholic babies are routinely baptized here.
8. Chilean Chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz (Villa Las Estrellas, South Shetland Islands)
This humble and utilitarian church is made out of repurposed shipping containers stacked side by side and can fit up to 36 congregants. The local population, aside from the penguins, can be up to 120 people, making it the largest civilian settlement in Antarctica. Located on the Chilean military base of King George’s Island, Villa las Estrellas (Spanish: “The Village of Stars”), it’s not uncommon for personnel to bring their families, with children, to live on the base for up to two years at a time, necessitating religious services and catechetical instruction.
9. Chapel of the Santisima Virgen de Lujan at Marambio Base
The Chapel of the Most Holy Virgin serves Argentina’s permanent, year-round base. On Jan. 3, 2013, during the 44th Overwintering Campaign, Father Marcelo Lopez and the team of researchers consecrated the entire base to the Virgin Mary.
10. St. Ivan Rilski Chapel, Livingston Island
This Orthodox church was built on Bulgaria’s St. Kliment Ohridski expeditionary base in 1988.
11. Stella Maris Chapel, Cape Horn Island
Next to the lighthouse on Cape Horn Island lies a tiny wooden chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It serves the sacramental needs of the researchers and staff at this station, which lies between South America’s Tierra de Fuego and the Antarctic continent. The first Catholic, let alone human being, to visit the area was Ferdinand Magellan on his round-the-world-trip across the straits that still bear his name. Oddly, the 90 researchers and support staff of the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station at Terra Nova Bay don’t have a permanent chapel, despite lay Italian Catholics offering to build one for free. In fact, a German shipping company offered to transport the prefab chapel to Terra Nova Bay gratis. Despite this, the Italian government is dragging its feet, to the detriment of the devout scientists and staff on the base. The Worldwide Antarctic Program (WAP) is spearheading the construction of a Catholic chapel at the base. So far, the plan is on ice.
The Devil and Temptations
There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way. Avoid them as you would a viper in the desert.
The Kingdom of Darkness and Forbidden Power
· Witchcraft or superstitious magic is used to produce effects that are beyond the power of man. These effects may be good or bad and are brought about by the use of magical words or gestures, or the use of magical herbs, powders, liquids or similar things. There is often a specific invocation of the devil. Physical evils are directed against individuals because of hatred or jealousy. We have all heard about sticking pins in dolls, the evil eye, the eating of cursed food or drinking a liquid, that through the power of darkness is to cause harm, sickness, or death. This is witchcraft. Today, witches can be found almost everywhere, and often they are presented in a positive light. Just remember everyone involved in false worship, seeking forbidden knowledge, or using forbidden power should be absolutely avoided.
· There is also an increased interest in African witchcraft-- voodooism. The gods of voodooism are good and bad. Usually, a voodoo service begins after sunset and ends in the early morning. It often includes a bloody sacrifice of a goat or chicken. There is prayer and singing. The gods are supposed to briefly enter into the persons during the ritual.
· In voodooism and witchcraft, Catholic objects such as images of saints, crucifixes, candles, holy water and Catholic prayers are sometimes used, as well as other objects and prayers. Do not be fooled by the apparent religious nature of what happens.
· If you have any objects or written prayers that have been used in witchcraft or given you by a witch, they should be completely destroyed.
If you have been involved in witchcraft you must renounce the devil, renounce the witchcraft in which you have been involved and all witchcraft, ask God's pardon, and confess your sin to a priest. In Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) there is Divine Power needed to free one from the influence of evil.
Can I believe in Wicca and still be Catholic?
Fr. Joe: My friend believes in Wicca because it honors nature. I think I can believe in Wicca, too, and still be Catholic. My mom says “no.” What do you think?
The Catholic Church is a 2,000-year-old institution that is blessed by God in a special way to lead people to and in Christ. In those 2,000 years, we have engaged every culture that has existed during this time. We have done beautiful things; made terrible mistakes and we have learned much. Because of this, I submit myself to the wisdom of the Catholic Church. I understand that I am not in charge. I understand that in order to be Christ-like, I need to humble myself and not seek my own power.
Why am I saying this if the question is about witchcraft? Because the issue of humility and submission are two of the places where witchcraft is an offense against God. Let’s take it apart.
First of all, let’s define witchcraft. When I say witchcraft, I am talking about the practice of Wiccans and other things like using Ouija boards, consulting horoscopes, going to fortunetellers, etc., OK? The Church, without exception, condemns all of these practices. Look at your catechism, sections 2115-2117.
See, the problem is, in these practices, we take God’s job away from Him. We try to claim God’s power over the future. For example, in trying to predict our future or have someone predict it for us, we are trying to take control over something that is not ours to control! You are God’s own precious possession and all you and I need to know about the future is that God is there. The future is not ours to know or control. It is God’s.
In casting spells, we run into the problem of trying to manipulate the spirit world. You cast spells and do different things to get what you want. This is not how we deal with God. God is in charge. He is not manipulated, and we can’t “force His hand.” As Christians, we should not seek to be in charge, we should try to humble ourselves and be under God’s authority.
Now, let’s talk turkey. Witchcraft exposes us to a dangerous element of the spirit world. For some reason, all kinds of TV shows and movies have popped up which try to make witchcraft look fun, acceptable, harmless or even good. This is not the case.
Witchcraft is a practice which is dangerous and alienates us from God. We have to understand something very important and basic to our faith: as Catholics, heck, even as Christians, we believe that there are two beings out there that want us with them. One of them is God who loves us and desires great things for us (John 10:10). The other is the devil and he wants us dead (I Peter 5:8).
Whether we believe it or not, witchcraft brings contact with evil spirits. They may appear to be good, or even do nice things, but the problem is they only want our deaths. That is why I am being more serious in this article than usual. I don’t want anyone reading this to get mixed up in it.
Please understand witchcraft is not “contacting God in a different way.” God has strictly forbidden the practice. Witchcraft is not harmless or good, it is using evil spirits who appear to be good to get what we want, and that is not holy. If you are engaging in practices of witchcraft, I urge you to step away from them and pray for help. See your priest and ask him for guidance.
God loves us. We can trust Him to give us what we need and help us discover what we want. God is in charge of the future and, by humbly placing ourselves in His hands, we don’t need special powers from Wiccan practices, and we don’t need to know the future. All we need to know is this: God who loves us is in control.
Enjoy another day in God’s presence!