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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 

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

It is the green-eyed monster that mocks what it feeds upon. In Othello, Iago warns Othello of the green-eyed monster that we know as jealousy or envy. How appropriate that the deadly sin of envy should be given a monstrous or demonic personage! Envy is the resentment one feels for the success or good of another. It is not necessarily directed only at enemies but also at one's family and friends, which leads to the German term schadenfreude (leave it to our German ancestors to have an extensive vocabulary for pain).

In the Gospel of Mark, 9:38-40, the apostles come across a man who is exorcising demons in Jesus' name and they try to stop him. Jesus responds by telling them to let the man be, as anyone who is with Him cannot be against Him. We see time and again the envy of the religious leaders who persecute Jesus, seeking ways to trap Him in the process of showing mercy. Envy, as Shakespeare noted, mocks what it feeds on because it is incapable of rejoicing in the good of another.

Envy is pervasive in our society. We are taught to resent the success of others as if somehow it threatens our identity or morale. We are taught to resent the belongings of others as if they somehow came from our portion of the pie. We are taught to find excuses in our perpetual victimhood that can be laid at the feet of those who succeed. Some political movements, such as Marxism, rely on envy to stir resentment that destroys the social order. Envy leads us to demonize the successful, to seek their downfall, to denigrate their talents, and to destroy their reputations. It is much easier to tear someone down than it is to convert oneself to something greater.

Such a mentality can find itself in our churches. I worked in the business world for several years prior to going into the seminary; I have seen and climbed the corporate ladder. On those rungs, I did not see nearly the amount of professional jealousy that I have seen among those who work in the Church. Envy and ambition are constant companions. I have seen volunteers tear down and wish failure upon other volunteers because they were envious of their success. I have seen this in priests and have been guilty myself, from time to time, during my over 23 years of priestly ministry. Envy is as destructive within the Body of Christ as it is outside of it.

How do we combat such a demonic presence? Let us go back to the response of Christ in Mark 9: "No man who performs a miracle using my name can at the same time speak ill of me. Anyone who is not against us is with us." The apostles should have rejoiced that the man in question was exorcising in Jesus' name. They should have seen his success as Christ's success. Hence, part of defeating the demonic influence is learning to share in the joy of those who have succeeded justly and to pray for the redemption of those who have succeeded under nefarious means. Either leads us closer to our Christian call. Cultivate joy at the good. Cultivate mercy through prayer for the bad.

Another way to combat envy is thanksgiving. Gratitude for what God has done, and continues to do, will do more to alleviate the grasp of the green-eyed monster than anything else. It is easy to be envious when one has a dearth of thanksgiving. When one is truly thankful, one has less time and inclination to be envious of what others have or who others are. This thankfulness leads to a generosity and a correct stewardship of what God has given us. Nothing so starves and chases away the green-eyed monster of envy quite the way a heart full of thankfulness does.

Finally, one must cultivate the virtue of humility. Humility seeks the truth about oneself, both good and bad, and restrains us from getting caught up in the tentacles of envy. A good example of this can be found in St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. St. Paul is tempted to resent Peter and Apollos in their preaching in Corinth. Although none of these three men saw themselves as anything other than being of the team, the people of Corinth had allowed division based on who said what. In St. Paul's response, a plea for unity in Christ, he does not defend himself as greater than Peter or Apollos, rather he humbles himself. He acknowledges that God uses each as He deems fit. Humility, because it is bound in truth, enables us to rejoice in the good of our brothers, to be thankful for what God does for us, and to have an attitude of mercy.

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts to resent the blessings You bestow on others and to be blinded to the blessings You have given to us. We have allowed the thanksgiving we should have for You to become resentment and envy. We have been too fearful to stand out in our culture, allowing selfish desires to suffocate Your love that is to dwell within us. 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 thanklessness and resentment. We beg for the grace of Your goodness so we can rejoice in Your goodness to others and be truly thankful for the many gifts You bestow on us. Help us to love as You love. 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 resentment, envy, and thanklessness. Still the lying tongue of the devil and his forces so that we may act freely and faithfully in imitation of You. Send Your holy angels to cast out all influence that the demonic entities in charge of envy 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 St. Michael the Archangel

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, etc.
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us, etc.
St. Michael, the Archangel,
Most glorious attendant of the Triune Divinity,
Standing at the right of the altar of Incense,
Ambassador of Paradise,
Glorious Prince of the Heavenly armies,
Leader of the Angelic hosts,
The standard-bearer of God's armies,
Defender of Divine glory,
First defender of the Kingship of Christ,
Strength of God,
Invincible Prince and warrior,
Angel of Peace,
Guide of Christ,
Guardian of the Catholic Faith,
Champion of God's people,
Guardian Angel of the Eucharist,
Defender of the Church,
Protector of the Sovereign Pontiff,
Angel of Catholic action,
Powerful intercessor of Christians,
Bravest defender of those who hope in God,
Guardian of our souls and bodies,
Healer of the sick,
Help of those in their agony,
Consoler of the Souls in Purgatory,
God's messenger for the souls of the just,
Terror of the evil spirits,
Victorious in battle against evil,
Guardian and Patron of the universal Church,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
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.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Relying, O Lord, upon the intercession of Thy blessed Archangel Michael, we humbly beg of Thee, that the Sacrament of the Eucharist which we have received may make our souls holy and pleasing to Thee. Through 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)

Tuesday First Week of Lent

Numbers, Chapter 12, Verse 5-8

5 Then the LORD came down in a column of cloud, and standing at the entrance of the tent, called, “Aaron and Miriam.” When both came forward, 6 the LORD said: Now listen to my words: If there are prophets among you, in visions I reveal myself to them, in dreams I speak to them; 7 Not so with my servant Moses! Throughout my house he is worthy of trust: 8 face to face I speak to him, plainly and not in riddles. The likeness of the LORD he beholds. Why, then, do you not FEAR to speak against my servant Moses?

Moses was 100 percent for God and God had Moses back; protecting him from the spin (media/backbiters) of his time. Moses was humbled before God, while at the same time confident. Moses lived the Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ most likely prayed every morning Himself and is still prayed by pious Jews today.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.

Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel says of Moses:

 

God by referring to Moses in terms of “In all My House he is trusted,” we understand that G-d has no reservations at all about Moses’ trustworthiness.  G-d has absolutely no qualms about providing Moses with all the information about His business, as it were.  Moses was deemed worthy of such immense trust because “The man Moses was the most humble person who ever walked the face of the earth” (Bamidbar 12:3).  Relative to G-d, Moses totally nullified himself.  He had no ego when it came to the Master of the world.  His interests were 100% the interests of the Al-Mighty; consequently, G-d had no reason to withhold any secrets from him.  As a result, as R. Moshe Chaim Luzzato writes, every secret of creation was open to him. May we even remotely approach the level of Moses in reducing our egos to the minimum in order to reap the benefits of enjoying G-d’s secrets, and may we, thereby, enjoy the maximum happiness and satisfaction for the rest of our lives – in this world and in the world to come.[1]

Remember to always reverence and respect those who have dedicated their lives to the service of God; for when you do, you do it, for God.

Tuesday First Week of Lent[2]

EPISTLE. Isaias Iv. 6-11. 

IN those days Isaias the prophet spoke, saying: Seek ye the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God: for He is bountiful to forgive. For My thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are My ways exalted above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts. And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be, which shall go forth from My mouth : it shall not return to Me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it, saith the Lord Almighty. 

GOSPEL. Matt. xxi. 10-17. 

At that time: When Jesus was come into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved, saying: Who is this? And the people said: This is Jesus the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves: and He saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves. And there came to Him the blind, and the lame in the temple; and He healed them. And the chief priests and scribes seeing the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying: Hosanna to the son of David; were moved with indignation, and said to Him: Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus said to them: Yea, have you never read: Out of the mouth of infants and of suckling’s Thou hast perfected praise? And leaving them, He went out of the city into Bethania, and remained there. 

Prayer. Look down upon Thy family, O Lord, and grant that our minds, which are afflicted by the mortifications of the flesh, may shine in Thy light with the desire of Thee. 

Lenten Calendar 

Read: Lent is a time many often rededicate themselves to prayer. Check out these 9 ways to pray. . . from USCCBs We Are Salt and Light for ideas on how to expand your prayer life this season. 

Reflect: Lent is to be lived as a time of conversion, as a time of renewal for individuals and communities, by drawing close to God and by trustfully adhering to the Gospel. In this way, it also allows us to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters and their needs." (Pope Francis, General Audience, March 5, 2014) 

Pray: Try one of the 9 ways to pray from the article that you have never tried before.   

Act: If you found you liked one of the 9 ways to pray from above to be helpful to you, share your experience with a loved one.  

 

Preparing for Battle[3]

Know Your Battle

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. EPHESIANS 6: 10– 13 

The ordinary activity of demons is subtle and occurs within our thought life. They plant ideas within our minds seeking to influence our reason, memory, and imagination— and ultimately, our will. They use various methods to tempt us.

 

  • First, the demons tempt through deception. (The Devil is the father of lies)
  • Second, demons tempt through accusation.
  • Third, the Devil tempts us through doubt as he seeks to diminish our faith. (Don’t hesitate in faith)
  • Fourth, demons tempt us through enticement. (Don’t take the bait)
  • Finally, demons can tempt us through provocation. (Don’t give into vexations)

We should always remember that not all temptations come directly from Satan and his minions. Many of them arise simply from our own weakness and the habits of sin we have developed.

Leadership and fasting[4] 

The practice of fasting that pleases God and goes further than going without food. God does not delight in our denying ourselves but in us turning eyes from ourselves to others and begin to loosen the chains that bind others. God is calling us to live from His values and ethics not ours. Fasting is good in that it redirects our focus and helps us to bring the body back under the control of the mind and spirit, but we must not fast while continuing to harbor destructive thoughts, assumptions and attitudes. Consider what God expects from the “Fasted life.” 

1.      Liberate the oppressed.

2.      Share with the needy

3.      Shelter the homeless

4.      Clothe the naked

5.      Stop judging and accusing others 

Daily Devotions/Practices

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion

·         Pray Day 3 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops

·         Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

·         Manhood of the Master-week 1 day 7-Joy

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Pray for our nation.

·         Rosary.




[2] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[3]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.

[4] Maxwell, John. The Maxwell Leadership Bible.



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