Monday, March 15, 2021

 


Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Gluttony

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 Gluttony" by Fr. James Altman

Dear family, we all have heard of the Seven Deadly Sins, even if we cannot remember all seven on the spot. By the time you get done with the Let Freedom Ring training, all three of us will have written on every one, so you likely could "get" seven out of seven. In a random poll, however, while most would remember pride, greed, and lust, and probably most would remember gluttony - as for sloth, wrath, and envy, not so much. As a confessor, it must be said that most people do not seem to do an adequate and sufficient examination of conscience; they don't often discuss those times when they have fallen into these deadly sins. When they are confessed, sometimes it's pride, many, many times it's lust, and occasionally it's envy and gluttony. Again, as to the others, not so much. Maybe the deadliest part of any of these is that we do not pay enough attention to them, and that may be because we have not taken the time to meditate upon the fullness of the sin.

Gluttony usually is defined in relation to food, but really could be defined as the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste. The "food" aspect is derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow.

St. Thomas Aquinas took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals. Aquinas prepared a list of five ways to commit gluttony, one of which was eating too much. Another "ardenter" - was eating too eagerly. Of these, ardenter was often considered the most serious, since it is extreme attachment to the pleasure of mere eating (I'm not sure if my attachment to Flaming Hot Cheetos falls into this category, but when I use it as a breakfast comfort food, I'm probably skating on thin ice!) Aquinas said ardenter can make the committer eat impulsively; absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink; lose attachment to health-related, social, intellectual, and spiritual pleasures; and lose proper judgement. (Pretty sure I'm not there yet, on those Flaming Hot Cheetos.)

The great Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary defines gluttony thusly: "Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink. This desire may become sinful in various ways: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one's taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one's ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control of one's reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin ...."

Donald Attwater's A Catholic Dictionary also points out that this rising to the level of mortal sin occurs when food consumption is excessive to the point of causing health issues, or drinking is excessive to the point of intoxication.

The point of all this - which may border on TMI (too much information) - is that if we do not know what we are talking about, how will we ever know if we are, as mentioned, possibly skating on that thin ice?

The bottom line - gluttony easily can be understood as eating and drinking too much. It is fair to say that Americans fall much more into the category of Rich Man Dives: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day" (Luke 16:19), than we fall into the category of Poor Man Lazarus: "And lying at [Dives'] door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores" (Luke 16:20-21). And that will be a problem one day, because we all know where Dives ended up - yes, the eternal tormenting fires of hell! How much better to aspire to the example of St. Teresa of Calcutta who served the poorest of the poor, who served all the "Poor Man Lazaruses" of Calcutta.

We are well off in America. In fact, it has been said that the poorest Americans are richer than the richest third-world-citizens. Are we so gluttonous, has gluttony become so much a part of our day-to-day, that we do not even recognize it for what it is? Are we just like Dives? He seemed clueless, didn't he? And yet, remember in Jesus' parable, it was not like Dives did not know Poor Man Lazarus. In the reality to which Jesus spoke, Dives practically would have had to trip over Lazarus every time he went in and out of the front gate. We actually know that Dives knew exactly who Lazarus was, because Dives called him by name when Dives appealed to Abraham: "Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames" (Luke 16:24).

Dear family, let us take time to realize just how much we have, how much we consume (especially food and alcohol), and then ponder whether we genuinely have fasted from either.  Have we freed up and offered some of our wealth for the benefit of the Lazaruses who might be sitting outside our own front gate?

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward gluttony. Countless times we have sat down to a feast, unconcerned about our own health and welfare, and even more condemnably, unconcerned about those who would long to eat the scraps from our tables. We are so immersed in the pleasures of eating and drinking, that we hardly recognize when we eat or drink to excess. We think this excess really is no big deal. We so often do not attribute sin to this excess and fail to confess the very thing which the bathroom scales and the hangovers make so evident. We spend so much time and effort and money on feasting, and so little time and effort on fasting, even though we know, for we have been told, some things only may be attained through prayer and fasting. We turn to You Lord, in our weakness, and beg Your forgiveness for our gluttony - for our selfish and excessive self-indulgence in food and drink. We love You, Lord, and we beg for the wisdom and strength to love You more. 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 gluttony. 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 gluttony 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 Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, etc.
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase
and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
 

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)


Monday Of the Fourth Week of Lent

Clean Monday-St. Longinus-Napping Day-Ides of march

 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 8, Verse 5-6

5 So you must know in your heart that, even as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord, your God, disciplines you.  6 Therefore, keep the commandments of the Lord, your God, by walking in his ways and FEARING him.

 

When we fear the Lord, our contentment does not come from any absence of problems but from knowingly choosing how to respond to them righteously. God does not want to squash our dreams with His commandments. No, he listens and smiles like we do when we see and hear the dreams of a child. Yet, He knows that all dreams must be founded in reality and the truth. When our dreams work against His commandments; our dreams work against us. Every dream must have a foundation of love and in some way must increase the life, liberty or the happiness of others.

 

Yes, on the Day of Judgment the homes of the poor will be honored more than the great mansions of the rich. Simple obedience to His laws will be more highly praised than the brilliance of all the Kings, Presidents and couriers throughout the world. Strive therefore for dreams which provide earthly gain without the surrender to sin. So, the only real wealth is a clear conscience; of a life well lived. To live righteously, to love chastely, to learn the truth and to leave a legacy to others is the only true riches.

 

Jesus experienced the utmost depths of human fear. Yet he found the strength even in that hour to trust the Father. “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mk. 15:34) Can we at the final hour have the peace of Christ to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. (Lk. 23:46)[1]

 

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Prayer. GRANT, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that, keeping with yearly devotion these sacred observances, we may please Thee both in body and mind.

EPISTLE, Kings iii. 16-28.

In those days: There came two women that were harlots to King Solomon, and stood before him: and one of them said: I beseech thee, my lord, I and this woman dwelt in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the chamber. And the third day after that I was delivered, she also was delivered, and we were together, and no other person with us in the house, only we two. And this woman’s child died in the night: for in her sleep, she overlaid him. And rising in the dead time of the night, she took my child from my side, while I thy hand maid was asleep, and laid it in her bosom: and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but considering him more diligently when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine which I bore. And the other woman answered: It is not so as thou sayest, but thy child is dead, and mine is alive. On the contrary, she said: Thou liest: for my child liveth, and thy child is dead. And in this manner, they strove before the king. Then said the king: This one saith: My child is alive, and thy child is dead. And the other answereth: nay, but thy child is dead, and mine liveth. The king therefore said: Bring me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king, divide, said he, the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. But the woman whose child was alive, said to the king (for her bowels were moved upon her child): I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it. But the other said: Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. The king answered, and said: Give the living child to this woman, and let it not be killed, for she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, seeing that the wisdom of God was in him to judgment.

GOSPEL. John ii. 13-25.

At that time: the Pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when He had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, He drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers He poured out, and the tables He overthrew. And to them that sold doves He said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of My Father a house of traffic. And His disciples remembered that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up. The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: What sign dost Thou show unto us, seeing Thou dost these things?

Jesus answered, and said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou raise it up in three days?

But He spoke of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen again from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word that Jesus had said. Now when He was at Jerusalem at the Pasch, upon the festival-day, many believed in His name, seeing His signs which He did. But Jesus did not trust Himself unto them, for that He knew all men, and because He needed not that any should give testimony of man: for He knew what was in man.

Lenten Calendar[2]

Read: The Seven Penitential Psalms, Day Six:

We return to the penitential psalms we explored last week.

(During times when we wish to express repentance and especially during Lent, it is customary to pray the seven penitential psalms.  The penitential designation of these psalms’ dates from the seventh century. Prayerfully reciting these psalms will help us to recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow and ask for Gods forgiveness.)

Today we will focus on Psalm 130.

Reflect: Read a reflection of Psalm 130Prayer for Pardon and Mercy. Pray “Out of the depths I call to you, LORD Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.” (Ps 130:1-2)

Act: From great depths of his soul, the psalmist cries out to the Lord in anguish. But he waits for the Lord, he looks for the Lord, and he hopes in the Lord.

The Tree of Knowledge[3]

Meditation - The Tree of Knowledge and the Cross. The sin that was wrought through the tree was undone by the obedience of the tree, obedience to God whereby the Son of man was nailed to the tree, destroying the knowledge of evil, and bringing in and conferring the knowledge of good; and evil is disobedience to God, as obedience to God is good. And therefore, the Word says through Isaiah the prophet, foretelling what was to come to pass in the futurefor it was because they told the future that they were "prophets"the Word says through him as follows: I refuse not, and do not gainsay, my back have I delivered to blows and my cheeks to buffets, and I have not turned away my face from the contumely of them that spat. [Is. 50, 6] So by obedience, whereby He obeyed unto death, hanging on the tree, He undid the old disobedience wrought in the tree. And because He is Himself the Word of God Almighty, who in His invisible form pervades us universally in the whole world, and encompasses both its length and breadth and height and depthfor by God's Word everything is disposed and administeredthe Son of God was also crucified in these, imprinted in the form of a cross on the universe; for He had necessarily, in becoming visible, to bring to light the universality of His cross, in order to show openly through His visible form that activity of His: that it is He who makes bright the height, that is, what is in heaven, and holds the deep, which is in the bowels of the earth, and stretches forth and extends the length from East to West, navigating also the Northern parts and the breadth of the South, and calling in all the dispersed from all sides to the knowledge of the Father. St. Irenaeus

Things to Do:

·         The fasting desired by the Lord is not so much denying oneself food (although this is important) but rather, consists in "Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own." Many families take these words to heart by having an inexpensive, penitential dinner on Fridays in Lent (such as beans and rice) and then giving the extra money to the poor.

·         Many families give each child one pretzel during Friday dinners in Lent. Remind your children of the spiritual significance of the pretzel.

·         Pray the Stations of the Cross today with your family. An excellent version with beautiful meditations composed by our Holy Father is his Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum. Some other recommended versions are: Eucharistic Stations of the Cross, and the more traditional Stations of the Cross written by Saint Alphonsus Liguori can be found in most Catholic bookstores. Here are some guidelines for praying the Stations of the Cross in your home.

·         Any of the linked activities (Fun Pretzel Project, Lenten Scrapbook, Candelabrum for Stations of the Cross) are a perfect way for your children to spend their Friday afternoons throughout this season of Lent.

Clean Monday[4]-Traditional time for going to confession

Clean Monday, also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is the first day of Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Christian, Saint Thomas Christians of India and Eastern Catholic churches. It is a moveable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday. The common term for this day, "Clean Monday", refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. It is sometimes called "Ash Monday", by analogy with Ash Wednesday (the day when the Western Churches begin Lent). The term is often a misnomer, as only a small subset of Eastern Catholic Churches practices the Imposition of Ashes. The Maronite Catholic Church and The Mar Thoma Nasranis of India-Syro-Malabar Catholic Church are notable amongst the Eastern rite that employs the use of ashes on this day. Liturgically, Clean Monday—and thus Lent itself—begins on the preceding (Sunday) night, at a special service called Forgiveness Vespers, which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love. The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as "Clean Week", and it is customary to go to Confession during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly. The theme of Clean Monday is set by the Old Testament reading appointed to be read at the Sixth Hour (noon) on this day (Isaiah 1:1–20), which says, in part:

Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool (vv. 16–18).

Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, a notion which was used symbolically in Ivan Bunin's critically acclaimed story, Pure Monday. The happy, springtime atmosphere of Clean Monday may seem at odds with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control, but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the Orthodox approach to fasting, in accordance with the Gospel lesson (Matthew 6:14–21) read on the morning before, which admonishes:

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret... (v. 16–18).

In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that "The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..."

St. Longinus[5]

St. Longinus was the Roman centurion who pierced the side of Christ with a lance. He is said to have converted to Christianity after experiencing the darkness after Christ's death.

St. Luke tells us that the centurion "gave praise to God", and exclaimed, "Truly this was an upright man." (Luke 23:47)

What was believed to be the Holy Lance of Longinus, was given to Innocent VIII in 1492.

Things to Do:

·         Read more about the statue of St. Longinus at St. Peter's Basilica.

·         Read the Life of Saint Longinus from the Golden Legend.

Ides of March

In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved.[6]

Caesar could garner so much power, but in the end, he was assassinated. No matter how powerful a person or corporation may be, there will be an end to their reign and their influence. By way of contrast, the Lord is the everlasting God. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who has the power of an endless life. Remembering the frailty and fallenness of all men is a crucial part of gaining wisdom. Solomon captured this so well when he wrote “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10) but “the fear of man is a snare” (29:25). Remembering the fact that no matter how powerful a position a man or woman may hold, God “holds their breath in His hands and owns all their ways” (Dan. 5:23) and that “death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Eccl. 7:2).[7]

Napping Day[8]

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. Barbara Jordan`

You got up early and got a great start to the day, you’ve been trucking along being a productive adult, getting your work completed and attending the meetings you have to attend. Throughout it all you’ve been a trooper, you even made it through lunch without much trouble. But now it’s creeping into the late afternoon, and you’re just out of go. What do you do? You take a nap! Napping Day encourages you to remember these benefits of youth and take a little time out of the day for you! Napping Day’s history is simply the history of napping, and it used to be something we all did in the middle of the afternoon. In fact, the siesta is still a time-honored tradition in Spain that happens right after the afternoon meal and has been a practice since time out of mind. In fact, if you’re in the Mediterranean, it’s pretty much standard everywhere you go. In Italy they call it the riposo, pisolini, and even old Charlamagne (yes that Charlamagne) has been recorded as having taken 2-3-hour naps in the middle of the afternoon. So, is it just laziness? Well, no. You see in part it’s because the hottest hours of the day occur in the middle of the afternoon, and it makes sense to take a brief break at that point. It also has to do with the circadian rhythms and the change-over point between the wake cycle and sleep cycle, there’s a time that’s essentially perfect for a nap. There are even notable benefits to taking a nap in the afternoon, including evidence pointing to a 37% reduction in occurrences of coronary mortality in those who take an afternoon nap regularly.

How to Celebrate Napping Day zzzzzzzzzzzz

·         Well, the way to celebrate Napping Day is pretty simple isn’t it? You just take a little time in the afternoon (whenever your afternoon is, some of us are day sleepers) to rest. After the afternoon meal is perfect, and in the long run it can help you actually feel better and more energized for the day ahead. It may be tricky if you have a regular work schedule, but whenever you can… Take a nap!

Daily Devotions/Activities

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         Manhood of the Master-week 4 day 6

·         Monday: Litany of Humility

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary

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