Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Despair
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, graciously hear us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
of the Eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony,
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness,
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs,
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors,
Blood of Christ, bringing forth virgins,
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
Blood of Christ, pledge of Eternal Life,
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,
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.
And made us, for our God, a kingdom.
Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg of Thee, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. 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 Leviticus
Leviticus begins, Moses has just led the Israelites out of Egypt in one of the most exciting adventures of all time. Burning bush. Amazing plagues. A march through the sea. Meeting God on a mountain. So, after all that, there's only one thing a red-hot writer can do when folks are begging for more. Give the people what they want—twenty-four chapters filled with lists of laws, along with a couple blink-and-they're gone stories where people die because they sinned. Hmmm.
At first glance, Leviticus would seem to be the phantom menace of the bible, just with purity rules and animal sacrifice instead of the taxation of trade routes. And you know what? Our response to Leviticus isn't just a modern one. Way back in the 2nd century CE, an influential Christian theologian named Origen wrote:
Provide someone with a reading from Leviticus and at once the listener will gag and push it away as if were some bizarre food. He came, after all, to learn how to honor God, to take in the teachings that concern justice and piety. But instead, he is now hearing about the ritual of burnt sacrifices!
The thing is, unlike Jar Jar Binks, Leviticus was indeed what the people wanted. It was a way for people to make sense of everyday life. Violence, community, money, power—even if the bible doesn't always match our own sense of what's right, it definitely provided answers for the masses back in the day. Remember, this was a world where sacrificing animals taught the importance of respecting animal life. A ban on tattoos helped curb slavery. Being fair in business meant forcing people to give back what they've bought. And laws on sexual intercourse—well, those might not have actually been about sex at all. So, as you roam around Leviticus, remember to check your preconceptions at the giant curtain that is the tabernacle's door. These boring laws are biblical transformers—much more than meets the eye.
Why should i care?
Gay rights. Immigrant rights. Atheism. And yes, even vampires and child sacrifice. Leviticus might have been written for goat herders and farmers more than 2500 years ago, but in recent years, it has moved from the margins to the mainstream in pop culture and political debates.
Yet for all the t-shirts, internet memes, magazine essays, and YouTube videos using quotes from Leviticus to make their point, how all these verses fit together can be as hard to figure out as why god thinks it's an abomination to wear a polyester-cotton blend. Sure, it's a steep mountain to climb, but it's worth it. Leviticus is a treasure trove of rich ideas that are all the more valuable because only a clever few dare to find them.
· books from Dracula to the hunger games have built on images from Leviticus to create compelling (and not-so-compelling) worlds.
· a co-founder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook used insights from Leviticus to build a billion-dollar empire and promote social change.
· long before Xbox and smart phones, Leviticus used virtual space and gaming to map out new strategies for day-to-day life.
· new generations of readers are discovering that what Leviticus says about ethics, community and scientific progress may not be as archaic as it seems.
So, come on. Let's crack open the doors of this sealed chamber and light up the place with a little strange fire. Pretty soon everyone will marvel at your level-12 literary intelligence when you show them that the so-called most boring book of the bible is actually more than just a bunch of dusty old rules about cows and pigs and sacrifices and why sex is eeeeeeeevil.
February 18 Thursday After Ash Wednesday
Leviticus, Chapter 19, verse 14
You shall not insult the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall FEAR your God. I am the LORD.
Be like your Heavenly Father; God is not a bully. Christ was often confronted by the bullies of his time.
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt. 22:34-40)
The modern world attempts to bully the faithful in abandoning their relationship with the Lord. Saint Pope Pius X was a pope, who resisted the bullying of the modern world by establishing an oath against modernism. The crux of this oath has five main points:
1. I profess that God is the origin and end of all things.
2. I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion.
3. I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ.
4. I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport.
5. I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth.
Salt of the Earth
Christ himself calls his true followers the "salt of the earth." and the "light of the world." These are titles of honor, surely, and of the greatest distinction. Christ is putting his true follower on almost a level with himself. He was the light of the world; he was the salt of the earth. He it was who gave men the knowledge of the true nature of God, as shown by the Incarnation. He it was who gave this life its flavor, who gave this life its meaning, its preservation. By his death and resurrection, he took away the sting of death, and removed its eternal corruption, by the guarantee and promise of a resurrection to an eternal life.
This every Christian knows, and this knowledge every Christian helps to bring to those who are ignorant of it, if he lives his life daily and sincerely. The Christian, who does this, is really another Christ; he is continuing his work of salvation during his years on earth. He is the salt, of the earth and the light of the world. How many of us, can truly say that these honorable titles, which Christ gives to his followers, are given to us? In true humility, we can all say that we are far from worthy of any such honorable titles. Yet in all sincerity too, many if not the majority among us, are doing their little bit of Christ's work, in cultivating their own small comer of his vineyard.
Those parents, who teach the Christian way of life to their children by word, and especially by example, are spreading the Christian faith. The workmen, whether in office or factory, which shows that they are Christians by their honesty, charity for their fellowmen, their respect for God, and the things of God, in their speech, are spreading their Christian faith. All those who show moderation in their personal expenditures, and donate some of their savings to help their brothers, their fellow men who are in need, these are true disciples of Christ and are cooperating with him in bringing God's children back to their Father who is in heaven.
Unlike the salt that has lost its flavor, and the light that is kept under the bushel, the Christian who has thus behaved can change his attitude, provided he is aided by God's grace which is never refused. He can become once more what he ought to be--a life-preserver for his neighbor. Life on earth is short. The demands of our Christian life may not always be easy, but we know that if we live up to them, we are other Christs. We are continuing his great work by our own good example to our neighbor, and we are giving glory to God, and are earning for ourselves the eternal light of heaven. Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
Thursday After Ash Wednesday
EPISTLE. Isaias xxxviii. 1-6
IN those days Ezechias was sick even to death, and the prophet Isaias, the son of Amos, came unto him, and said to him: Thus, saith the Lord: Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die and not live. And Ezechias turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said I beseech Thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And Ezechias wept with great weeping. And the word of the Lord came to Isaias, saying: Go and say to Ezechias: Thus, saith the Lord the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears: behold I will add to thy days fifteen years: and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of the Assyrians, and I will protect it, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. Matt. viii. 5-13.
At that time: When Jesus had entered into Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion, making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doth it. And Jesus, hearing this, marveled, and said to them that followed Him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.
Prayer. O God, Who by sin art offended, and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people, making supplications to Thee, and turn away the scourges of Thy anger, which we deserve for our sins.
Prayer for Help against Spiritual Enemies
Glorious Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly hosts, who stands always ready to give assistance to the people of God, who fought with the dragon, the old serpent, and cast him out of heaven, and now valiantly defends the Church of God that the gates of hell may never prevail against her, I earnestly entreat you to assist me also, in the painful and dangerous conflict which I sustain against the same formidable foe. Be with me, O mighty Prince! That I may courageously fight and vanquish that proud spirit, whom you, by the Divine Power, gloriously overthrew, and whom our powerful King, Jesus Christ, has, in our nature, completely overcome; so having triumphed over the enemy of my salvation, I may with you and the holy angels, praise the clemency of God who, having refused mercy to the rebellious angels after their fall, has granted repentance and forgiveness to fallen man. Amen.
THE TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)
“The situation is desperate”, King Richard mentioned to Sir Michael. “The young knights have lost all self-discipline; they have no love or sense of duty for the kingdom and most of the people never attend the churches anymore.” King Richard didn’t mention it to Sir Michael, but his one desire was to have his only daughter, “Dawn Tomorrow”, marry a Knight and see him Crowned King and Dawn be a mother to a Great Nation. Richard was a religious King, but due to the duties of his office he found it difficult to do much else then keep his Knights in check. He wondered if anyone would be found worthy to take the hand of Dawn Tomorrow in marriage. Utopia was a rich nation and the pleasures were many for all who could afford them. Even with heavy taxes being imposed; most of the peasants in Utopia led lives of relative richness in material things, but sadly most people lacked true happiness and so the King asked Sir Michael for his advice. Sir Michael thought about it and thought about it and could not come up with a solution to the problem. Than at last he came upon an idea. A Quest! He remembered the legend his mother told him of when he was a small boy. It was the legend of the Tree of Happiness. The Tree of Happiness, according to the legend, was also in the Garden of Eden when God banned Adam & Eve from Eden and although access to the Tree of Life was guarded by the Angels, it is said that man may still have access to the fruit of the Tree of Happiness. “That’s it”, Exclaimed Sir Michael. We will have a crusade to find the Tree of Happiness and bring the fruit back to Utopia. To be continued.