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Monday, March 8, 2021

 

Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Lack of Trust in Divine Providence
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 Lack of Trust in Divine Providence" by Fr. Rick Heilman

Recently, in the past few years, I lost four priests who were near and dear to me: my uncle and Godfather (the inspiration for my priesthood), my spiritual director, my bishop, and my best friend. These four priests were more than just brothers in Christ, they were my lifeblood. During the many challenges of life, especially those unique to priesthood, these men were kindred spirits to me. Not only did we recognize together, the M.O. (Method of Operation) of Satan in today's world, but we were all in agreement as to the ways God was calling all of us, especially priests, to engage in a counter-offensive against the tactics of the devil.

By and large, we all knew it was incumbent upon us to do all we could to speak the truth, open and honestly, but to do so in the most loving way possible. The devil is trying to devour the faithful with his lies, and we all knew it, and we were all passionate about calling the devil out and leading the faithful to truth. More than anything, as shepherds, we all knew we were called, especially during the time we now live, to do all we could to assist the flock in coming to the place where they cry out, "My Lord and my God!"

Of course, the devil hates, more than anything, truth and reverence. Therefore, Satan works especially hard to destroy anyone who dares to thwart the devil's plan to mislead and confuse souls, as he works diligently to deaden the hearts of the faithful. If we get in his way, he will get busy to take us out. In many respects, this is the reason religious leaders recoil in their call to administer truth and reverence. They have come to understand just how vicious the devil can be, if we dare "go there."

I recall when Bishop Morlino first arrived in our diocese with his passion for "truth and reverence." The assaults on him, especially from those who held the levers of power and influence, were ferociously vicious. This did not deter this courageous bishop in any way. During this time, or whenever the attacks were turned on me, we stuck together in brotherly love.

So many times, I have been tempted to lose trust in God's providence. I mean, here I am, alone on the battlefield, I felt. My four closest "battle buddies" are no longer here. Not only do I miss them, but I feel like I could now be "easy pickins" for the devil to swoop in and take me out, without the security of knowing my battle buddies are right there, ready to in essence, call out, "I got your six" (I got your back).

I share this just to say that I can relate to all those who face devastating challenges in their lives. Yes, I can relate to those who are tempted to lose their trust in God's providence. Sometimes, we want to just say, "What the heck, God?!"

But I didn't say that. Instead, by God's grace, my hope has deepened during this challenging time. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1817).

In my case, having lost my battle buddies, I'm thinking about the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness more than ever before. While my battle buddies are no longer here to support me in the flesh, my relationship with them has only deepened as I know they've "got my six" in an even more powerful way. They are my prayer warriors now! For example, I know we received an amazing new bishop, when it seemed inevitable we would not, only because Bishop Morlino interceded for us.
As we all know, we are facing challenges that are historic. How easy, and seemingly justifiable, it would be for all of us to despair as we lose our trust in God's providence. I choose not to, and I pray it is the same with you. Instead, my prayer has become even more fervent, my resolve to enter the fray against the devil's schemes has become more intensified, and my confidence in the power of God, versus my own power, has become stronger than ever.

I've come to understand that sticking with God and believing and trusting in His providence in challenging times is a lot like resistance training (lifting weights). With the power of God's grace, we "press against" these challenges, and our faith, hope, and love become even stronger. We must trust in God's providence during these storms of our lives and know He will carry us safely to shore. And know that, ultimately, heaven is going to be amazing!
 
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 stilled our tongues in the face of evil. We have been too weak to stand against the temptation to lose our trust in Your providence. We have expected You to remove the challenges in our life, and so we have readily doubted You when difficulties enter in. We have, at times, been a source of scandal for those searching through our sinfulness and lack of trust in 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 lack of trust in Your providence. 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. 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 lack of trust in Your providence. 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 doubt 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 Third Week of Lent

International Women's Day 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, Verse 4-6

4 Face to face, the Lord spoke with you on the mountain from the midst of the fire, 5 while I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, to announce to you these words of the Lord, since you were AFRAID of the fire and would not go up the mountain: 6 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

 

Today reflect on how our labor can be slavery or it can be a joy. In the end you are responsible for your own happiness. The fire on the mountain was not an impediment to the Israel people coming to God; it was their excuse. The secret of success is finding out our vocation from God and following it. When we follow God’s guidance to the do the work, he has intended for us, we are like the tree that Moses saw that brought him into the service of the Lord. We will burn but not be consumed! Then, when others see our work and wonder at our joy in slavery to the Lord, they too will come to know that “His burden is light.”  (Mt. 11-30)

 

Many years ago, I also, like the people of Israel was afraid of the fire; and refused to go up on the mountain. Yes, I was called to the priesthood. I was afraid of the fire. I made all the excuses: I am not worthy; I want a wife; I want children. I turned away and the life I thought would be a joy was unsatisfying. Yet, the Lord did not abandon me; He has never chided me: No, only I have chided myself. He has made good out of all I have shattered with my selfishness. This is the challenge of the cross that when we fall, and we will fall; that we pick the cross up again and drink the cup the Lord has given us to the dregs. How committed are you to discovering and following Jesus?

 

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. (Jn: 10:27)

 

Monday of the Third Week of Lent[1]

Prayer.

POUR forth, in Thy mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that, as we abstain from flesh, we may also restrain our senses from hurtful excesses.

EPISTLE, iv. Kings v. 1 15.

In those days: Naaman, general of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria: and he was a valiant man and rich, but a leper. Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited upon Naaman’s wife. And she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet, that is in Samaria: he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath. Then Naaman went into his lord, and told him, saying: Thus, and thus said the girl from the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said to him: Go, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment, and brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman my servant, that thou mayest heal him of his leprosy. And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments, and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and give life, that this man hath sent to me, to heal a man of his leprosy? mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me. And when Eliseus the man of God had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus: and Eliseus sent a messenger to him saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was angry and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing- would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abana and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, arid be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, his servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it : how much rather what he now hath said to thee: Wash, and thou shalt be clean? Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times: according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child, and he was made clean. And returning to the man of God with all his train, he came, and stood before him, and said: In truth, I know there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel.

GOSPEL. Luke iv. 23-30.

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: Doubtless you will say to Me this similitude: Physician, heal Thyself: as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in Thy own country. And He said: Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the earth. And to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger. And they rose up and thrust Him out of the city: and they brought Him to the brow of the hill, where on their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passes through the midst of them, went His way.

 

The Practices of a Committed Catholic Man[2]


 

What practices can help us to take up our cross and follow our King?

 

If we think of soldiers who do not remain in strong physical and mental shape and who fail to practice the essential combat arts, we know they will not be ready for battle and will be a danger to themselves and their comrades in arms. The same is true for Catholic men; those who do not prepare and strengthen themselves for spiritual combat are incapable of filling the breach for Christ.

 

While there are many habits and devotions that a Catholic man can form, I charge you with keeping these seven basic practices* on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If these practices are not (yet) part of your life, start now!

 

Daily

 

1.      Pray every day. Each Catholic man must start his day with prayer. It is said, “Until you realize that prayer is the most important thing in life, you will never have time for prayer.” Without prayer, a man is like a soldier who lacks food, water, and ammunition. Set aside some time to speak with God first thing each morning. Pray the three prayers essential to the Catholic faith: The Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Pray also at every meal. Before food or drink touches your lips, make the Sign of the Cross, say the “Bless us, O Lord” prayer, and end with the Sign of the Cross. Do this no matter where you are, with whom or how much you are eating. Never be shy or ashamed about praying over meals. Never deny Christ the gratitude that is due to Him. Praying as a Catholic man before every meal is a simple but powerful way to keep strong and fill the breach.

 

2.      Examine your conscience before going to sleep. Take a few moments to review the day, including both your blessings and sins. Give God thanks for blessings and ask forgiveness for sins. Say an Act of Contrition.

 

3.      Go to Mass. Despite the fact that attending weekly Mass is a Precept of the Church, only about one in three Catholic men attend Sunday Mass. For large numbers of Catholic men, their neglect to attend Mass is a grave sin, a sin that puts them in mortal danger. The Mass is a refuge in the Spiritual Battle, where Catholic men meet their King, hear His commands, and become strengthened with the Bread of Life. Every Mass is a miracle where Jesus Christ is fully present, a miracle that is the high point not only of the week, but of our entire lives on Earth. In the Mass, a man gives thanks to God for his many blessings and hears Christ send him again into the world to build the Kingdom of God. Fathers who lead their children to Mass are helping in a very real way to ensure their eternal salvation.

 

4.      Read the Bible. As St. Jerome so clearly tells us, “Ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” When we read God’s word, Jesus is present. Married men read with your wife and your children. If a man’s children see him read the Scriptures, they are more likely to remain in the Faith. My brothers in Christ, this I can assure you: men who read the Bible grow in grace, wisdom, and peace.

 

5.      Keep the Sabbath. From the creation of Adam and Eve, God the Father established a weekly cycle ending with the Sabbath. He gave us the Sabbath to ensure that one day out of seven we will give thanks to God, rest, and be refreshed. In the Ten Commandments, God asserts anew the importance of keeping the Sabbath. With today’s constant barrage of buying and selling and the cacophony of noisy media, the Sabbath is God’s respite from the storm. As Catholic men, you must begin, or deepen, keeping the holiness of the Sabbath. If you are married, you must lead your wives and children to do the same. Dedicate the day to rest and true recreation and avoid work that is not necessary. Spend time with family, attend Mass, and enjoy the gift of the day.

 

Monthly

 

6.      Go to Confession. At the very start of Christ’s public ministry, Jesus calls on all men to repent. Without repentance from sin, there can be no healing or forgiveness, and there will be no Heaven. Large numbers of Catholic men are in grave mortal danger, particularly given the epidemic levels of pornography consumption and the sin of masturbation. My brothers get to Confession now! Our Lord Jesus Christ is a merciful King who will forgive those who humbly confess their sins. He will not forgive those who refuse. Open your soul to the gift of our Lord’s mercy!

 

Confession[3]

 

In the beginning God asks Adam, where are you? Adam had sinned and so he hid from God? After Cain killed Able God asked him, “Where is your brother? Yet again according to catholic tradition Saint Peter was fleeing from crucifixion in Rome at the hands of the government, and along the road outside the city he meets the risen Jesus and this time it is Peter who asks the question in Latin "Quo vadis?" “Where are you going?” to which Jesus replies, "Romam eo iterum crucifigi" ("I am going to Rome to be crucified again"). Peter thereby gains the courage to continue his ministry and returns to the city, to eventually be martyred by being crucified upside-down.

 

Confession is our own turning like Peter around to walk with our Lord: to carry our cross with Him and to suffer with Him if need be. Confession is something you do with your mouth and with your mind, heart and actions. Confession should always be individual, spoken and specific. It is customary for devout Catholics to go to confession frequently and the saints have recommended that we go at least once a month. Yet in recent years some parishes have seen a decline in the number of confessions. It is not that we are having a decline in sin; it is because our hearts have become worldly. Will we have the hearts to see our Lord as He passes us by and even say to Him “Quo Vadis”: have we become so worldly that we have lost a sense of sin? Has our no-fault culture convinced us to keep walking in the opposite direction of our Lord thinking “I’m OK, you’re OK, no matter what choices we have made? Yes, God loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to keep us fat, dumb and happy. We need to experience his forgiveness so that we can heal and grow. “It is better to confess one’s sins than to harden one’s heart.” (Pope St. Clement I)

 

7.      Build fraternity with other Catholic men. Catholic friendship among men has a dramatic impact on their faith lives. Men who have bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men pray more, go to Mass and Confession more frequently, read the Scriptures more often, and are more active in the Faith. Proverbs tells us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). I call on each of our priests and deacons to draw men together in their parishes and to begin to rebuild a vibrant and transforming Catholic fraternity. I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the faith. There is no friendship like having a friend in Christ.

Aids in Battle[4] The Word of God useful for our warfare with evil

These biblical passages provide aids in warfare for those who will ponder and act upon the truths they teach us. Recite them as battle cries in the heat of the conflict. Call on Jesus Christ, our Champion when the battle is fierce, turn your eyes to our victorious commander and place your confidence in Him.

·         To this end the Son of God appeared that He might destroy the works of the Devil. 1 Jn 3: 8

·         Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

·         That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

·         Disarming the Principalities and Powers, He displayed them openly, leading them away in triumph by force of [the Cross]. Col 2: 15

·         Now has come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God.

International Women's Day[5] 

International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements throughout the world.  Its purpose is to promote women’s equality, encourage support for repressed women and promote appreciation toward women everywhere.  Many organizations, including the United Nations, use this day to also celebrate extraordinary achievements of ordinary women. International Women's Day was initially promoted by the Socialist Party of America.  In 1909, it designated this day in remembrance of a major strike by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union.  The holiday is now recognized internationally and is an Official National Holiday for many countries, including: China, Russia and Ukraine.  It is observed annually on March 8th. 

International Women's Day Facts & Quotes 

·         On the eve of World War I, women across Europe and Russia celebrated the holiday by protesting the war and campaigning for peace.

·         On this day, the US Dept. of State and the First Lady award the International Women of Courage Awards.  Ten women are given the award - who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk

·         There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable. -  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 

International Women's Day Top Events and Things to Do 

·         Organize a sporting event for women.  Numerous studies have shown many benefits for women that play sports.  A recent study by the EY Women Athletes Business Network even found that women that play sports were more likely to excel in business.

·         If you're a woman, try learning a task that is typically done by men.  Such a chore may be: changing the oil on your car, computer programming, mowing the lawn, painting, and any home improvement project.

·         If you’re a man, show appreciation by performing a chore for your special lady that is typically done by her.   This may include cooking, cleaning, childcare or anything that the special woman in your life does.

·         Watch a movie that portrays strong empowered women.  Our favorites:  Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Elizabeth (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000), The Help (2011), A League of Their Own (1992), Mulan (1998), My Fair Lady (1964), Norma Rae (1979), Volver (2006). 

The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine "genius" which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness.-John Paul II, Apostolic Letter


A woman of Influence[1]

“The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.” (Closing speeches Vatican Council II, 12/8/65).

Mother Mary is a perfect role model for all women, of course, but for women who work in particular. According to St. Louis de Montfort, Mary has principle virtues, which when practiced help to lead us to her Son and create a home and world that celebrates the greatness of the Lord.

·         Profound Humility:  Are you focused on others more than yourself? Do you care who gets the credit? Does this impact the way you treat others? 

·         Angelic Sweetness:  Is your approach nurturing and relational? Do you avoid calumniation? Even when difficult, do you respond to others by extending grace and mercy?

·         Ardent Charity:  How do you approach others? Your supervisors? Your clients? Your family? Is your approach focused on valuing a relationship more than a material good? Are you able to articulate information and ideas in a mutually respectful way?

·         Heroic Patience:  Do you really listen? Are you able to rise above a situation in order to assist others as they learn new tasks? Do you hold your temper or judgment when you disagree with others? Are you willing in your attitude to seek understanding of others, even when it is difficult?

·         Divine Wisdom:  Recalling your baptism, and especially your confirmation, do you recall and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in your decisions? Do you pray for guidance? Do you seek Biblical and Church tradition answers and solutions? Do you show gratitude to God when you recognize divine wisdom?

Mary’s virtues bring us to a very feminine leadership style: one steeped in relationship building, not shying away from truth or faith, but approaching others in grace. When practiced at work, or home these virtues of Our Lady can lead us to Holiness and a fulfilled leadership at work.



[1]http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2013/01/wallace-everyday-example-of-mary-for-women-who-work/

 

Daily Devotions/Activities

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         Manhood of the Master-week 3 day 6-Joy

·         Monday: Litany of Humility

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary


                                                    


[1] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.

*Let us be faithful to these practices as Naaman was faithful to wash himself seven times in the Jordan to cleanse himself of leprosy at the instruction of the prophet Elias.

[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 28. Confession.

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

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