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Friday, March 19, 2021

 

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

Back in 1985, Madonna nearly topped the Billboard 100 singing how she was "a material girl living in a material world." It seemed apropos for the eighties where herds of free-range yuppies thundered across the fruited plains alerting anyone who could hear them that too much stuff was never enough. Certainly, the USA is one of the wealthiest countries the world has ever seen. Even the bottom 20% of the economic strata in our country consumes more than the bottom 60% of the rest of the developed world. Our suburbs are full of McMansions stuffed with goods. At my worst, I had clothes in my closet that I owned for a couple years and never removed the price tags from. It used to be that the American Dream was about the ability to make something of yourself despite your economic class. Now, the American Dream is the house, the car, the possessions and so on. It can become a garish display.

Materialism comes from a very dark place. It is a godless place. Philosophically, materialism holds that all that is true is made up of material or comes from material interactions. Even the mind is subservient to the material world. In essence, all we have is what is measurable. No god. No heaven. No hell. No devil. Our life ends when we die. There is nothing beyond the grave. Hence, our only true happiness can be found in the accumulation of wealth, power, pleasure, and honor. Life becomes a mad dash of consumption and manipulation. Materialism is like a creeping vine; if not pulled up right away, it will insinuate itself into your life and choke off any fruit a relationship with God might have born.

Many people who consider themselves good Catholics can be functional materialists. A canary in the mineshaft is our attitude to the Day of the Lord, our attitude towards Sundays. If there is anywhere where the effects of materialism (and its twin serpent, secularism) are more greatly felt, it is in how we treat Sunday. In the last forty years Sunday has gone from the Day of the Lord to the hour of the Lord, that is, unless there is something more fun or important to do. Even for one day we cannot put down our material interests to address our spiritual need for prayer, communion, and rest. Apart from school, every other secular enterprise has gobbled up Sunday like a quickly eaten trifle. *ALERT* You are entering the slaughtering of sacred cows' zone!

Let's use the following conversation that I have had multiple times with parishioners: "My kid can't serve because he has a ball tournament this weekend." "And this tournament is both on Saturday night and SUNDAY MORNING?" "I know, Father, but he did make a commitment to the team. We will try to get to Mass at some time." Thinking to myself: Hmm. I am sure what God meant by first fruits was really leftovers, but that's another discussion. Maybe we should talk about their commitment to God being of greater value. "So why is going to this game so important?" "Because he needs extracurriculars to get into a good college?" "Why is that important?" "So he can get a good job." "Why is that important?" "So he can be successful and make a good salary." "Why is that important?" "So he can raise a family and live without financial worry." Me thinking to myself: Hmm, no wonder my homilies on priestly vocations fall on deaf ears; but again, another time. "May I quote Mark 8:6? 'What does it profit for man to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?' The third commandment is to keep holy the Sabbath, no? Is teaching your son that a ball game holds greater importance than the Day of the Lord a lesson you wish teach to him?"

Teaching others, especially those placed in our care, that the material world and its prizes are of greater value than one's relationship with God and His people is a dangerous lesson. It is a contributory factor to the ever-plummeting attendance at Mass. If we will abandon Mass for worldly gain, will we not abandon anything of God to get ahead? The devil will grab his pom-poms and cheer you on that drive!

What Jesus calls for, instead of such an attachment to the material world, is a detachment from the material world. In the Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." If this is the attitude Jesus tells us to have about the necessities of life, how much more does this apply to things like ballgames and other non-essential activities? I am not against sports. I am for right priorities. Faith helps us discern right priorities, considering that which is material, and hence passing, to be of lesser importance to the spiritual.

It is telling that in such a culture abstinence and fasting are seen as little more than misery-making exercises consigned to Lent. Are you aware that we are still not supposed to eat meat on any Friday? Outside of Lent, we can substitute something else. But Friday...all Fridays are days of abstinence. Fasting and abstinence are incredibly good ways of breaking ourselves from materialism.

I challenge you, dear reader, to start breaking apart from materialism with one simple step: make the Day of the Lord a day of rest and worship again. Maybe pick up some fasting and abstinence. We need to find ways to shout boldly our faith, "We need God before anything this world has to offer."

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts to not see fulfillment in Your goodness. We have chased after earthly goals and trinkets as if they were more important. We have allowed material goals to supplant our relationship with You. We have expected You to be pleased with our neglect and half-heartedness. We have, at times, been a source of scandal for those searching through our sinfulness and rebellion to You. 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 materialism. We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us what You sought to build up in Your apostles in that tempest-tossed boat. 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 materialism. 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 materialism 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 Sacred Heart of Jesus

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 on us.
God the Holy Spirit, etc.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost,
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty,
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased,
Heart of Jesus,  we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings,
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities,
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, .
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, oh Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Christ graciously spare us.
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. 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)

 

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Solemnity OF ST. JOSEPH-spring begins


Deuteronomy, Chapter 11, Verse 25

None shall stand up against you; the Lord, your God, will spread the FEAR and dread of you through any land where you set foot, as he promised you.

 

What have you to fear with God at your back?

 

We as the heirs of God’s promises to the Hebrews must have the courage to support and defend Israel at each threshold of change that God brings about. Yes, there will be suffering, and we must be up to the challenge; to carry our cross, as God wills it.

 

Saint Joseph[1]

 

ST. JOSEPH was descended from the kingly line of David and was a kinsman of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Matt. i. 1-16). The Gospel gives him the praise of being just (Matt. i. 19), that is, a man distinguished for all virtues. And surely, as he was chosen from all other men by God to be the foster-father of His Son, he undoubtedly excelled, in virtues and sanctity, all saints then living. Of his youth nothing certain is known to us, and of his later life we know only what the Gospel relates. He was a carpenter (Matt. xiii. 55), and lived at Nazareth, in Galilee (Luke ii. 4). Being espoused to Mary, he was inclined, upon learning that she was with child, to put her away privately, not wishing to expose her to public reproach but being instructed by an angel, he took her to himself, in obedience to the command of God, went with her to Bethlehem, and afterwards, with Mary and the new-born child, fled, without timidity, to Egypt (Matt. ii. 13). At the command of the angel, he returned thence, and again dwelt in Nazareth (Matt. ii. 23). From this place they went every year to the feast at Jerusalem, where it happened that Jesus, then twelve years old, remained behind them in the temple, and was anxiously sought for by them. More than this is not told us. At the time of the marriage at Cana it would seem that he was no longer living, since there is no mention made of him. Though little is said of him, that little is rich in profitable instruction. How worthy to be admired and imitated is his example his chastity, his tenderness towards Mary, his forbearing to pronounce a judgment in regard to her condition when he could not explain it, his quick and unreserved obedience towards God and the commands of authority, his love for Jesus, and his care for both the mother and the child. On account of his sanctity God has specially distinguished him by miracles, and the Church honors him in a particular manner. In the Litany of the Saints, he is named among the patriarchs, and the feast of his patronage is celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter. Venerate, therefore, St. Joseph choose him for your protector in life and in death and make yourself worthy of his protection by following his example.

 

The Introit of the Mass is as follows: " The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High." Amen.

 

Prayer. We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be assisted by the merits of the spouse of Thy most holy Mother, that what of our selves we are unable to obtain may be given to us by his intercession. Amen.

 

EPISTLE. Ecclus. xlv. 1-6.

 

He was beloved of God and men: whose memory is in benediction. He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him His glory. He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. For He heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud. And He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction.

 

GOSPEL. Matt. i. 18-21.

 

When Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, be hold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost; and she shall bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

 

Instruction

 

To encourage us to veneration for St. Joseph St. Teresa wrote “I do not remember to have asked St. Joseph for anything which he did not grant me. The great favors which God has granted me through him, and the many dangers of soul and body from which he has freed me, truly deserve admiration. It seems that God has granted to other saints the grace of assisting, in particular needs, those who invoke their intercession; but this glorious saint assists in all needs. The Lord seems thereby to indicate that, as He was subject to Joseph on earth, so now He grants him whatever he asks for. The same thing has been experienced by persons whom I have advised to recommend themselves to him.” “I would gladly advise everyone,” says St. Alphonsus, to have a great devotion towards this saint, since I have experienced what graces he can obtain from God. For several years I have asked him, on his feast, for some particular grace, and every time my petition has been granted. As we all have to die, we should have a particular devotion towards St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death for all Catholic Christians consider him to be an intercessor for the dying, and that he assists, at the hour of death, those who venerate him; and this for three reasons

 

1. Because Jesus loves him, not only as a friend, but as a father, on which account his intercession is more powerful than that of any other saint.

 

2. Because St. Joseph obtained special power against the evil spirits who tempt us at the hour of death.

 

3. The assistance which Jesus and Mary gave to Joseph at the hour of his own death procured for him the right to obtain a holy and easy death for his dependents. If in their dying hour they invoke his aid, not only will he assist them, but he will obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary. “Ought not these words of a great saint encourage you to venerate St. Joseph every day? Should not the hope of dying one day under the protection of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, move you to devotion to the foster-father of Jesus?”

 

Prayer to St. Joseph

 

O most chaste Joseph, who, by thy purity and other exalted virtues, wast worthy to be chosen for the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, I beseech thee, by the great graces of which thou wast made partaker, that thou wouldst, by thy intercession, obtain for all parents grace to rear their children piously; for all married persons who are distressed and afflicted through poverty and tribulations consolation and encouragement; for all unmarried persons who have devoted their chastity to God the grace of perseverance; and, finally, for all the dying the grace to come, after a happy death, to thy fosterchild, Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God, world without end. Amen.

 

Meditate on the humility of Saint Joseph this day; ask his assistance and special protection.

Things to Do:[2]

·         A table overflowing with good Italian food honoring St. Joseph is a traditional Sicilian custom. The feast of San Giuseppe began in the Middle Ages when Sicily was suffering from a severe drought and the desperate people begged St. Joseph for rain. When they received rainy weather in response, they held a huge "feste" in Saint Joseph's honor. Even today, Sicilians go to Mass before their St. Joseph's day dinner and then process to their festive tables, decked out in flowers, breads, and all sorts of Italian foods. The priest blesses the food, and everyone shouts, "Viva la tavola di San Giuse!" (which your children will readily do with great gusto). After the meal is done, everyone present is given something to take home, in the generous spirit of this day. Try some of our delicious recipes linked here. We especially recommend the traditional Minestrone. Italian sausage is always a favorite, as well. And you should have bread of all kinds — this recipe for Italian Decorative Breads can provide the traditional shape of your choice (St. Joseph's staff, his beard, etc). Also a traditional must with children is St. Joseph's Sfinge, (Cream Puffs). Plan a St. Joseph's potluck for this day with other Catholic families — invite a parish priest and ask his blessing over the food before you begin the meal. If you do not have the time or resources to do this, plan a smaller affair with your own family, complete with prayers to St. Joseph, a little procession with candles for the older children and your favorite hymns, and then the father of the family ought to say a special blessing over the food before you begin.

·         Check out this wonderful site that explains the St. Joseph Altar more in detail, includes recipes, history, and allows virtual offerings.

·         For further reading:

1.      Saint Joseph Altars by Kerri McCaffety (Photographer).

2.      A Table for Saint Joseph: Celebrating March 19th with Devotions, Authentic Italian Recipes, and Timeless Traditions by Mary Anne Scanlan Grasso.

3.      The Saint Joseph's Day Table Cookbook by Mary Ann Giordano.

4.      Read the section of Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy on St. Joseph.

5.      Read Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on Devotion to St. Joseph.

6.      Interested in history? Read this article on the history of devotions to St. Joseph, Finding St. Joseph, by Sandra Miesel.

·         Pray this prayer and litany in honor of St. Joseph with your family rosary tonight.

·         Here is a link to several meditations on St. Joseph — choose the one that is perfect for you and your family!

·         Here are some ideas for teaching children about St. Joseph.

·         Young girls ought to pray to St. Joseph for their future spouse.

St Joseph Facts & Quotes[3]

·         Joseph is noted in the Bible for being a direct descendant of King David in the Old Testament, which gives him a royal lineage (Matthew 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-38).  

·         St. Joseph actually has two feast days in the Roman Catholic Church.  The March 19 date celebrates him as husband of Mary.  He is revered again on May 1 as a worker.  In the Orthodox tradition, Joseph is revered during the Great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord in September.

·         St Joseph is the patron saint of the dying and of carpenters.

St Joseph Top Events and Things to Do[4]

·         Practice carpentry skills to build something.  Jesus is known as the son of a carpenter, or builder.  Saint Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters.

·         Investigate your lineage.  Genealogy can sometimes yield interesting information about where we came from.  Maybe you come from royal lineage, too!

·         Joseph raised a child that was not his own.  Thank a man who has served as a father for someone else's children.

·         Enjoy Italian food in St. Joseph's honor.  He is one of the most beloved saints in Italian-American communities.  

·         Visit an Italian Bakery and pick up some delicious St Joseph's bread (Pane di San Giuseppe).  St. Joseph's Bread is typically made with egg and has a thicker crust.  It is often marked or shaped in a cross.

Spring Begins[5]

 

Spring traditionally marks the end of winter and the beginning of a season that signifies longer days and warmer temperatures.  The first day of Spring is also known as the Vernal Equinox.  This marks the day that the Sun's path is directly over the equator.  This day also contains equal amount of daytime and nighttime.  This day typically occurs each year on March 20, and on March 21 on some years.

 

The First Day of Spring is also called the Vernal Equinox.


 

·         The Vernal Equinox is the day of the year where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark in the Northern Hemisphere.

·         On the vernal equinox, the Sun crosses the equator into the Northern Hemisphere.  This has the effect of making the days longer in the Northern Hemisphere until the Summer Solstice occurs.

·         The Egyptian Great Sphinx points directly at the Sun on this day.

 

Vernal Equinox-Spring Begins Top Events and Things to Do

 

·         Visit a nursery and purchase seeds or plants.

·         Start your spring cleaning.

·         Plan your flower beds and garden.

·         Put away winter clothes and prepare summer clothes.

Aids in Battle[6] When tempted and tested

The ordinary activity of the Enemy is to seek the ruin of souls through various kinds of temptation. These passages offer counsel about how to turn away from evil so that you can overcome temptation and pass the tests that God allows for your strengthening.

·         Because He Himself suffered and has been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted. We may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 2: 17– 18; 4: 14– 16

·         My son, if you come forward to serve the LORD, remain in justice and in fear, and prepare yourself for temptation. Sir 2: 1

·         [Jesus prayed:] “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the Evil One.” Jn 17: 15 RSVCE

·         Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God; for God is no tempter to evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But everyone is tempted by being drawn away and enticed by his own passion. Then when passion has conceived, it brings forth sin; but when sin has matured, it begets death. Therefore, my beloved brethren, do not err. Jas 1: 12– 16

·         The fear of men lays a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD is safe. Pr 29: 25

·         The Lord knows how to deliver the God-fearing from temptation. 2 Pt 2: 9

·         Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things. Phil 4: 6– 9

Daily Devotions

·         Manhood of the Master-week 5 day 3

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Operation Purity

·         Rosary




[1] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896

[2]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2018-03-19

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



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