Wednesday, February 10, 2021

 


NOVENA TO THE HOLY FACE

DAILY PREPARATORY PRAYER

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment.

We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fourth Day

Psalm 51, 8-9.
Indeed, you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

O Lord Jesus, who has said, learn of me for I am meek and gentle of heart, and who did manifest upon Thy Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features. We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desires to see shine in Thy servants. Mary our Mother and Saint Joseph help us.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin

O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs! Who stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before you to venerate your Dolors, and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of your wounded heart. Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross, and through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask. To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to you. O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of your Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile. Amen. 

Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory

My Jesus, by the sorrows you suffered in your agony in the garden, in your scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure. Call them and admit them to your most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen.

Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be.
O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Lent begins next Wednesday[1]

During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God's gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2446).

Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ."-- Pope Francis

In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.

The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.

Preparing for Battle[2] Know Your Armor

Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defensive armor. St. Paul sums it up: “Put on, therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience. Bear with one another, if anyone has a grievance against any other; even as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3: 12– 14). Only with such armor will we be fully covered and protected from the Evil One’s attacks.

·         The Shield of Faith. St. Paul reminds us that faith must be firmly grasped and held up as a barrier between ourselves and the Enemy.

·         The Helmet of Hope. It is essential for protecting the mind. If we have no hope of winning why fight? We must never take off the helmet of hope or we will be overcome before we start.

·         The Breastplate of Love. The breastplate protects our heart-keeping it for God alone. Love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind; and be rightly related to others is to love them as we love ourselves (see Mt 22: 36– 40).

·         Cincture of Truth. Being truthful with God, yourself, and others is a spiritual form of ballistic groin protection. Nothing can hurt like the truth. We must not let the intimate parts of our inner selves be led astray by blinding passion, and the Devil’s enticement. We must seek the truth and live the truth. We must not seek to gratify the desires of the flesh, but instead we must “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” imitating the virtues displayed in His character.

·         Feet shod in Peace. Wherever we go, we must be prepared to bring the good news of salvation, of peace with God, to all we may encounter. The Devil will try to turn us back. He’ll scatter across our path, like so many rocks and thorns, a wagonload of doubts, accusations of our inadequacy, and fear of conflict and rejection. But if we’ve put on the “boots” of readiness— if we’ve prepared ourselves, through faithful study and prayer, to share the gospel— then we’ll walk safely over these obstacles, crushing them as we go.

·         The Mantle of Humility. Humility is the essential virtue that provides the soil in which all the other virtues grow. Humility keeps us from dangerous “high places” where the Enemy could tempt us to pride and vainglory.

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


FEAST OF ST. SCHOLASTICA-MARRIAGE WEEK

 

Exodus, Chapter 9, Verse 20

Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the LORD hurried their servants and their livestock off to shelter.

 

Even Pharaohs servants when they heard the word of God took action. Blessed are we that hear the word of the Lord!

 

Today we are a community living in the fulfillment of faith in Christ and He asks us to do something unthinkable, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”(John 6:53-58) 

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Mt. 4:19) 

This gospel is read to-day because it is by practicing what it contains that the saints have gained the eternal kingdom. 

Explanation of the Eight Beatitudes

I. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Gluttony) The poor in spirit are: 

o   those who, like the apostles, readily forsake all earthly things, and for Christ’s sake become poor. 

o   Those who, happening to lose their property by misfortune or injustice, suffer the loss patiently, in resignation to the will of God. 

o   Those who, like Jesus, are content with their poor and humble position, seek no higher or happier one, and would rather suffer want than enrich themselves by unlawful acts, by fraud or theft. 

o   The rich and noble who set not their hearts upon the riches and greatness of the world; but who use their riches and influence to relieve the misery of the needy and oppressed. 

o   Finally, the truly humble, who, convinced of their weakness, their helplessness and misery, think lowly of themselves, and regard themselves but as beggars, who are always in need of the grace of God. To all these, therefore, in whose hearts the world has no place, there is assured, as their inheritance, the kingdom of heaven; here the kingdom of grace there the kingdom of glory. 

II. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Pride) That man is meek who does not murmur against God for sending afflictions upon him, who is not angry at men who do him injury, but who rather suppresses impatience, anger, envy, and revenge, nay, who seeks to recompense the evil done him by his neighbor with good. Such a one is greater than he who takes by storm fortified cities; he possesses an unfailing fountain of peace, quiet, and cheerfulness; by his meekness prevails over the most hostile minds, is by such means truly a ruler upon earth, and will one day, for his portion, obtain heaven, the land of the living, there to enjoy eternal peace. 

III. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” (Deadly sin to avoid: Envy) By them that mourn we are not to understand such as grieve and lament over a death, a misfortune, a loss of worldly goods, or the like; but those who are grieved that God should be in so many ways offended by themselves and by others that His Church should be so heavily oppressed, and thereby so many souls lost that have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. The only evil really to be grieved for is sin, and the tears shed on account of sin are the only tears that are profitable, for they shall be recompensed with everlasting joy. 

IV. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Sloth) Hunger and thirst denote the most ardent longing after those virtues which constitute Christian perfection, such as humility, meekness, the love of God and of our neighbor, penance. Whoever longs for these virtues as the hungry man does for food and drink and prays to God for them with perseverance and earnestness, shall have his fill; that is, he shall be enriched with them, and one day shall be satisfied with eternal happiness. 

V. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Greed) The merciful here spoken of are: 

o   Those who willingly for give the injuries done to them.

o   Those who have compassion on their poor neighbors, and, according to their ability, sustain them by alms. These shall obtain mercy; that is, God will forgive them their sins and endow them abundantly with the goods of this world and of the world to come. Thus, God deals with us as we deal with others. 

VI. “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Lust) The clean of heart are those who preserve with care the innocence with which they are invested at holy Baptism, or seek to regain it, when lost, by penance; those who keep their hearts and consciences unspotted from all sinful thoughts, particularly from all unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and acts, and who endeavor in all things to have a pure intention directed to God alone. They shall see God, that is, they shall know Him even here upon earth, for as the eye that is to see must be clean, so only souls that are pure and unstained can behold God. But further, our knowledge is like our hearts; the purer the heart the clearer and greater is the knowledge of God. But in the world above they shall see, know, and possess Him as He is. What blessedness! Strive, therefore, to keep your heart clean. 

VII. “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Anger) By peacemakers we are to understand those who have peace with themselves, that is, a quiet conscience, and who endeavor to maintain peace among others, or to restore it when broken. Such are called the children of God, because they follow God, Who is a God of peace, and who even gave His only Son to reconcile the world with Him, and to bring down upon earth that peace which the world itself could not give. 

VIII. “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Deadly sin to avoid: Worldly Fear) Hereby all those are declared blessed who, on account of the true faith, of virtue, of the fear of God, of purity, are persecuted, calumniated, and even put to death, and who bear all this with Christian patience and constancy, nay, with joy. Thus, have the saints done, and thereby they have gained the heavenly crown. Do we desire to be crowned with them; we must also suffer with them. And in truth, if we would apply ourselves zealously to virtue, occasions will not be wanting to us, for all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

 

Feast of St. Scholastica[1]

 

St. Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict, the Patriarch of Western monasticism. She was born in Umbria, Italy, about 480. Under Benedict's direction, Scholastica founded a community of nuns near the great Benedictine monastery Monte Cassino. Inspired by Benedict's teaching, his sister devoted her whole life to seeking and serving God. She died in 547 and tradition holds that at her death her soul ascended to heaven in the form of a dove. 

Things to Do

 

·         Tell your children about the "holy twins": St. Scholastica and the tender love she had for her brother St. Benedict. Ask them how they can help one another to become saints.

·         Make an altar hanging or window transparency in the shape of a dove to honor St. Scholastica.

·         If you are traveling to Italy try to visit St. Benedict's Abbey of Monte Cassino. 

Marriage Week-Male-Female Complementarity[2] 

God created man in his image in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. (Gn 1:27) The two creation stories in the book of Genesis communicate two important truths about the identity of man and woman and the relationship between them. In the first account, God creates both male and female at the same time and in the divine image. This act completes creation, and God judges it to be ―very good (Gn 1:31). In this way, Sacred Scripture affirms the fundamental equality and dignity of man and woman as persons created in God ‘s image. The second creation account emphasizes that both sexes are necessary for God ‘s plan. Having created Adam, God says, ―It is not good for the man to be alone (Gn 2:18). So, God creates a helpmate who is suitable for him and matches him. ―Helpmate (ezer) is a word reserved in the Bible not for inferiors but most often for God himself, who is Israel ‘s ―helper. Indeed, after God creates all of the animals and brings them to Adam to name, it becomes clear that none of them is―the suitable partner for the man (Gn 2:20). Then God puts Adam under a deep sleep and, using one of his ribs, builds up a woman for him as a suitable partner or helpmate. When he sees the woman, Adam cries out in wondrous joy: This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called―woman, for out of ―her man this one has been taken. (Gn 2:23) Adam and Eve were literally made for each other. Man and woman have been made to come together in the union of marriage. The text of Genesis continues: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body [flesh] (Gn 2:24). Marriage, this clinging together of husband and wife as one flesh, is based on the fact that man and woman are both different and the same. They are different as male and female, but the same as human persons who are uniquely suited to be partners or helpmates for each other. The difference between man and woman, however, cannot be restricted to their bodies, as if the body could be separated from the rest of the human person. The human person is a union of body and soul as a single being. Man and woman are two different ways of being a human person. While man and woman are different, their differences serve to relate them to each other. They are not different in a parallel way, as two lines that never meet. Man and woman do not have separate destinies. They are related to each other precisely in their differences. The differences between male and female are complementary. Male and female are distinct bodily ways of being human, of being open to God and to one another—two distinct yet harmonizing ways of responding to the vocation to love. While human persons are more than biological organisms, the roots of marriage can be seen in the biological fact that a man and a woman can come together as male and female in a union that has the potential for bringing forth another human person. This kind of union fills the need for the continuation of the human race. Since human beings exist at more than a biological level, however, this union has further personal and spiritual dimensions. Marriage does not exist solely for the reproduction of another member of the species, but for the creation of a communion of persons. To form a communion of persons is the vocation of everyone. As Pope John Paul II teaches, all human persons are created in the image of God, who is a communion of love of three persons, and thus all are called to live in a communion of self-giving love: ―to say that man is created in the image and likeness of God means that man is called to exist ̳for ‘others, to become a gift. Marriage, however, is a unique communion of persons. In their intimate union as male and female, the spouses are called to exist for each other. Just as Genesis describes Eve as a helper for Adam, we can see that in marriage, a husband and wife are meant to help each other through self-giving.―In the ̳unity of the two, ‘man and woman are called from the beginning not only to exist side by side ‘or together, ‘but they are also called to exist mutually one for the other. ‟This communion of persons has the potential to bring forth human life and thus to produce the family, which is itself another kind of communion of persons and which is the origin and foundation of all human society. It is precisely the difference between man and woman that makes possible this unique communion of persons, the unique part8nership of life and love that is marriage. A man and woman united in marriage as husband and wife serve as a symbol of both life and love in a way that no other relationship of human persons can. 

Prayer for Married Couples[3] 

Almighty and eternal God, You blessed the union of married couples so that they might reflect the union of Christ with his Church: look with kindness on them. Renew their marriage covenant, increase your love in them, and strengthen their bond of peace so that, with their children, they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen 

Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph

The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.

·         Devotion to the 7 Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph

·         Do Day 25 of the Consecration to St. Joseph

·         Do the St. Joseph Universal Man Plan.


 

Daily Devotions

·         30 Days with St. Joseph Day 24 (End on Ash Wednesday)

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary





[1]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2017-02-10

[3]http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/upload/Prayer-for-Married-Couples.pdf





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