Sunday, February 28, 2021

Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Stinginess/Miserliness

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 Stinginess/Miserliness" by Fr. James Altman

Dear family, who is the one person that most often comes to mind when we think of stingy misers? For many it may be the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens' 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol. At the beginning of the story, Scrooge is a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. His attitude can be summed up in two words: "Bah, humbug!" Dickens describes Scrooge as "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint ... secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster." Yes, that about sums up the image we have when we see Scrooge's heartless attitude toward his clerk, Bob Cratchit, whose household includes the crippled child, Tiny Tim.

Maybe you, like me, have run into some Scrooges in your lifetime - miserly people who are stingy with their money like Ebenezer Scrooge. The adjective miserly evolved from the Latin word miser, which means "unhappy, wretched." How often do we see unhappiness and wretchedness in the genuinely stingy and miserly?

Why are the stingy and miserly unhappy and wretched? Because misers are a step beyond mere frugality. They are a leap beyond mere prudence in spending. Misers are those who love the accumulation of money, which brings them into direct conflict with the first commandment, to love God above all things.

Jesus directly taught us on this very issue in a parable entitled The Rich Fool, emphasis on the word "fool": "There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, 'What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?' And he said, 'This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, 'Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!'" But God said to him, 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?' Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God" (Luke 12:16-21).

Perhaps it was grace that inspired Dickens to write The Christmas Carol - grace that enabled him to understand that we are formed by our experiences, but all is not lost. It is not too late; it is never too late, to change. The actual novella opens with a description of Scrooge's lonely and unhappy childhood, and his aspiration for money to avoid poverty. Unlike the rich fool, Scrooge indeed overcame his early formation and, as we know, when he did there was joy: "I don't know what to do! I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"

It is not likely that our own transformation from stinginess and miserliness will arise from being visited by three ghosts, Past, Present, and Future; however, we do not need nocturnal visits from ghosts to effect a change in ourselves. Rather, if we are open to it, we may make the effort to ponder our own past experiences, then meditate upon how these experiences have formed us and resulted in our present, and then make a firm purpose to amend our future, an amendment to be less stingy and miserly with anything we have.

Certainly, this applies to any material goods, but perhaps most importantly to our time - time we could spend in prayer of thanksgiving, intercession for others, even imploring God on our own behalf. Indeed, what may be most required of us is our time; it so often is a lot easier to just throw some money at a problem, but extremely difficult to spend some personal time fixing it. How stingy and miserly we are with our time. How little we comprehend the implications of the words God spoke to the rich fool: "this night your life will be demanded of you."

Dear family, we must examine our lives. As the great Socrates is said to have uttered: "The unexamined life is not worth living" (as described in Plato's Apology, which is a recollection of the speech Socrates gave at his trial. (38a5-6)). One commentator described the meaning of Socrates' statement thusly: "It means any life which is not checkmated, unaccountable is not worth living. It tries to emphasize that everyone has to live a life that they should be proud of, a life that they can look back to what they achieved and say yes indeed I made a mark or I have not lived up to my expectations, so I need to make amends."

We must examine our lives and when we do, let us keep in mind the sobering words of the ghost of Jacob Marley: "'I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost, 'I made it link by link, and yard by yard.'" And when we examine our lives let us understand the truth spoken by Scrooge after the visit of the ghost of the Future: "Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?" In other words, Scrooge asked it if was too late to change. No, dear family, it is not too late, it is never too late, to change.

Scrooge changed because the three ghosts forced him to examine his life. Let us force ourselves to do the same. After all, that is the whole point of the Examination of Conscience we are supposed to do before entering the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In that examination, let us ask ourselves if we truly love God above all things, or whether we are stingy and miserly with any or many of the gifts God has given us, especially the gift of time. Let us not fear such an examination, but rather revel in the fact that we know transformative grace will come to us through the sacrament. Let us pray that through this transformation it may be said of us as it was said of Scrooge in some concluding words of A Christmas Carol: "And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward stinginess and miserliness. We have fallen into stinginess and miserliness when we have not lived up to the call of our baptism by not giving back to You a just tithing of our wealth of time, talents, and treasure. We cling to things so much, forgetting the truth that "we can't take it with us." We ignore the words of the great Job: "Naked I came forth from my mother's womb, and naked shall I go back there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!" (Job 1:21). In our weakness, we have been weak in faith and clung to our wealth like the rich fool. In so many ways, we fear the loss of temporal wealth more than we fear the loss of heaven. We turn to You Lord, in our weakness, and beg Your forgiveness for our stinginess and miserliness. We love You Lord, and we beg for the courage to live out the generosity of the Psalmist: "How can I repay the LORD for all the great good done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people" (Psalm 116:12-14). 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 and ever. 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 stinginess and miserliness. 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 stinginess and miserliness 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 Most Blessed Sacrament

Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, R. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R. have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, R. have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, R. have mercy on us.

Jesus, Eternal High Priest of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Divine Victim on the Altar for our salvation, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, hidden under the appearance of bread, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, dwelling in the tabernacles of the world, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, really, truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, abiding in Your fulness, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Bread of Life, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Bread of Angels, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, with us always until the end of the world, R. have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, summit and source of all worship and Christian life, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, sign and cause of the unity of the Church, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, adored by countless angels, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, spiritual food, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, Sacrament of love, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, bond of charity, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, greatest aid to holiness, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, gift and glory of the priesthood, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, in which we partake of Christ, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, in which the soul is filled with grace, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, in which we are given a pledge of future glory, R. have mercy on us.

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

For those who do not believe in Your Eucharistic presence, R. have mercy, O Lord.
For those who are indifferent to the Sacrament of Your love, R. have mercy on us.
For those who have offended You in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, R. have mercy on us.

That we may show fitting reverence when entering Your holy temple, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may make suitable preparation before approaching the Altar, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may receive You frequently in Holy Communion with real devotion and true humility, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may never neglect to thank You for so wonderful a blessing, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may cherish time spent in silent prayer before You, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may grow in knowledge of this Sacrament of sacraments, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That all priests may have a profound love of the Holy Eucharist, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That they may celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in accordance with its sublime dignity, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may be comforted and sanctified with Holy Viaticum at the hour of our death, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may see You one day face to face in Heaven, R. we beseech You, hear us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, O Lord.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Let us pray.
Most merciful Father, You continue to draw us to Yourself through the Eucharistic Mystery. Grant us fervent faith in this Sacrament of love, in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered and received. We make this prayer through the same Christ our Lord. 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)


 Second Sunday Of Lent, Called “Reminiscere” 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 19

Then we set out from Horeb and journeyed through that whole vast and FEARFUL wilderness that you have seen, in the direction of the hill country of the Amorites, as the LORD, our God, had commanded; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. 

Kadesh-barnea means “The holy place of the desert of wandering”[1] Sometimes the Lord asks us to go out into the desert for it is in the desert that we can; like Abraham and Moses, have an encounter with the living God. Deserts are fearful places and are full of rocks, pointy things, snakes, spiders and the indescribable beauty of God’s creation. By encountering God in the desert, we learn that the very same stones that somehow get in our shoes and make progress impossible are the very same stones that lay foundations, bridges and roads.

In the desert we can search for God; avoid of our distractions and find Him. In the desert we can write out our sins and confess them to God. In the desert we can shed our old lives like the snake sheds its skin and find a new perspective for life. It is during this time alone with; He that IS; we make a spiritual change of clothes. In the desert we can make an all-night vigil and with the coming of the new day we can proclaim as in the Negro spiritual: When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me. For it is in the desert that we can quit deluding ourselves and be doers of the word and not hearers only. For it is in the desert with can find the strength to keep ourselves unstained by the world and find that pure and undefiled religion is to care for others in their afflictions.

Chapel of the Holy Cross[2] 

The chapel was inspired and commissioned by local rancher and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who had been inspired in 1932 by the newly constructed Empire State Building to build such a church. After an attempt to do so in Budapest, Hungary (with the help of Lloyd Wright, son of noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright) was aborted due to the outbreak of World War II, she decided to build the church in her native region. The chapel is built on Coconino National Forest land; the late Senator Barry Goldwater assisted Staude in obtaining a special-use permit. The construction supervisor was Fred Courkos, who built the chapel in 18 months at a cost of US$300,000. The chapel was completed in 1956. The American Institute of Architects gave the Chapel its Award of Honor in 1957. In the sculptor's words, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men (and women) and be a living reality.” In 2007, Arizonans voted the Chapel to be one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona, and it is also the site of one of the so-called Sedona vortices (New Age Pagan stuff).

ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[3] 

CHAPTER I 

DIES DOMINI 

To "keep holy" by "remembering"

17. The connection between Sabbath rest and the theme of "remembering" God's wonders is found also in the Book of Deuteronomy (5:12-15), where the precept is grounded less in the work of creation than in the work of liberation accomplished by God in the Exodus: "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day" (Dt 5:15).

This formulation complements the one we have already seen; and taken together, the two reveal the meaning of "the Lord's Day" within a single theological vision which fuses creation and salvation. Therefore, the main point of the precept is not just any kind of interruption of work, but the celebration of the marvels which God has wrought.

Insofar as this "remembrance" is alive, full of thanksgiving and of the praise of God, human rest on the Lord's Day takes on its full meaning. It is then that man enters the depths of God's "rest" and can experience a tremor of the Creator's joy when, after the creation, he saw that all he had made "was very good" (Gn 1:31).

Second Sunday of Lent, Called “Reminiscere”[4] 

AT the Introit to-day the Church asks of God the grace to fall -no more into sin: Remember, O God, Thy bowels of compassion, and Thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world, lest at any time our enemies rule over us; deliver us, O God, from all our tribulations. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul. In Thee, O God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed; (Ps. xxiv.). 

Prayer. 

O God, Who beholdest us destitute of every virtue, preserve us both inwardly and outwardly, that we may be defended from all adversities in body, and purified from all evil thoughts in mind. 

EPISTLE, i. Thess. iv. 1-7. 

Brethren: We pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us, how you ought to walk, and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor: not in the passion of lust, like the gentiles that know not God: and that no man overreach, nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified: for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification. 

Explanation. St. Paul exhorts all Christians to live chastely and honestly, and continually to aspire to higher perfection. Such is the will of God, Who has called us to holiness, and will punish severely all impurity and injustice. 

Prayer. Grant, O Lord, that, according to my vocation, I may never be addicted to earthly and fleshly lusts like the heathen, who know Thee not, but may live in modesty, chastity, and holiness, and adorn my name as a Christian with good works. Amen. 

Traditionally for this Sunday Paul exhorts us to keep up our progress and we hear the story of the Transfiguration as a heartening foretaste of Christ's ultimate triumph. 

GOSPEL. Matt. xvii. 1-9. 

At that time: Jesus taketh unto Him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and He was transfigured before them. And His face did shine as the sun: and His garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with Him. And Peter, answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo a voice out of the cloud saying: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face: and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them: Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 

Why was Jesus transfigured before His disciples on Mount Tabor? 

1. To give them a manifest proof of His divinity.

2. To prevent all doubt on their part when they should see Him on Mount Calvary.

3. To encourage all the faithful to patience under agony and suffering.

4. To show us how our glorified bodies shall rise from the dead (i. Cor. xv. 52).

 

Why did Moses and Elias appear with Our Lord? To testify that Jesus was the Savior of the word spoken of by the law and the prophets.

 

Lenten Calendar[5] 

Read: Today’s Gospel shares the story of the Transfiguration of the Lord.   

Reflect: “The Transfiguration reminds us that the joys sown by God in life are not finishing lines; rather they are the lights he gives us during our earthly pilgrimage in order that “Jesus alone” may be our Law and his word the criterion that directs our existence.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, February 28, 2010) 

Pray: Pray for strength today to continue your Lenten promises and fasting with this prayer from Catholic Relief Services. . . .  

Act: It’s the second Sunday of Lent, but there are three more to go. Rededicate yourself to your Lenten promises today and enter the week ready to tackle what’s ahead.  

Get Ready for Spring in Dallas

Starting February 21-April 11

COVID update: must make reservations and masks must be worn

Can’t wait for spring? Head to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden to see the largest floral festival in the Southwest which features an explosion of color from more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms, thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees.

Daily Devotions

·         Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·         Devotion of the Seven Sundays: St Joseph-5th Sunday

·         Manhood of the Master-week 2 day 5

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary

 


MARCH

 

The winds of March point to the power of God's Spirit working in us. We need to listen and respond to the gentle breezes of the Spirit; but will we, or will we be too distracted? The rebirth of spring reminds us of the energy of nature so that we ask ourselves whether we waste or wisely use energy –electricity, oil, gas, etc. Can we and should we continue to use nonrenewable fossil fuels, often with accompanying air pollution, at the rate we do? Or will the environmental ills we cause today call us in the future as a society to use wind and solar energy? 

Overview of the Month of March[6] 

The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph. The entire month falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. John Paul II further said, “Because St. Joseph is the protector of the Church, he is the guardian of the Eucharist and the Christian family. Therefore, we must turn to St. Joseph today to ward off attacks upon the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and upon the family. We must plead with St. Joseph to guard the Eucharistic Lord and the Christian family during this time of peril.” 

As we continue our journey "up to Jerusalem" during the month of March, three prominent ideas are proposed for our contemplation by the liturgy of Lent: The Passion and Resurrection of Christ, baptism, and penance. 

The Solemnity of St. Joseph is a special landmark this month in which we will celebrate the great honor bestowed upon the foster father of Jesus. And if you are Irish (who isn't), St. Patrick's feast is another cause for a joyful celebration. The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25. 

The saints that we will focus on this month and try to imitate are St. Katharine Drexel (March 3), St. Casimir (March 4), Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (March 7), St. John of God (March 8), St. Frances of Rome (March 9), St. Patrick (March 17), St. Cyril of Jerusalem (March 18), St. Joseph (March 19) and St. Toribio de Mogrovejo (March 23). 

A Time of Penance and Promise

 

Here and there in the stark March landscape, a few plants and trees are beginning to give evidence of the new life that winter’s frost and chill had concealed from our eyes. The Church’s vibrant new life has been obscured, too, by the austerity of the penitential season of Lent. But that life is indisputable, and it will burgeon forth on Easter as Christ coming forth from his tomb!


During this month we will continue our journey to the cross with our acts of penitence. We will reflect on our mortality ("Remember man thou art dust") and the shortness of life ("and to dust thou shall return"). We will heed the call, "Now is the acceptable time, now is “the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).” Just like Our Lord's earthly life every moment of our lives is leading up to the last moment—when for eternity we will either go to God or suffer the fires of hell. During this month we will go from the suffering of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. We will trade the purple of penance for the white of victory and resurrection. The feast of the Annunciation, normally celebrated on March 25, has been transferred to April 4 since it falls on Good Friday.

 

Let us not tire of doing our good works and penance, but continue with the enthusiasm of the catechumens on their way to Easter and Baptism. May our Lenten observance be a joyful journey — and not a forced march.

 

As the weeks of Lent progress let us not tire of doing our good works and penance, but continue with the enthusiasm of the catechumens on their way to Easter and Baptism. May our Lenten observance be a joyful journey — and not a forced march.


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