Sunday, March 21, 2021

 


Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Theft
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 Theft" by Fr. James Altman

Dear family, Our Father gave us the Ten Commandments for a reason, a good reason. Few people will do it, but we all should look in the mirror and say, "MY Father gave me Ten Commandments because He knew very well I, myself, needed such COMMANDS - not suggestions - because otherwise I would tend to misbehave." After all, if we all were greatly inclined to holiness, we would not have needed those ten in the first place. In fact - and again, few like to admit it - Our Father pretty much had us pegged as to the main areas we would sin.

So, He gave us these commands, like stripes along the highway, to keep us within the boundaries of the narrow road to Heaven. To stray outside those boundaries - to disobey those Commandments - to SIN - well, welcome to the broad road to destruction. Sometimes there are immediate consequences, like running into the ditch of sin, hitting a tree, and dying. Other times there are less immediate consequences. We might "get away" with doing something - or so we erroneously think. Like that secular hymn to Santa, Our Father does know when we've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake.

Life itself tends to have consequences when we violate those Ten Commandments, when we sin. If we sin in smaller matters, maybe those consequences will be like straying over the "chatter-bumps" intended to alert us when we stray onto or over the highway stripes. Maybe we will get away with texting while driving most of the time. That's what makes it so dangerous. Without immediate consequences we are lulled into a false sense of security, we are emboldened, until that day when our distracted driving does result in a real accident and we and others are maimed or killed. So it is with venial sins. The consequences are not immediate or are minor, so we are emboldened to continue and push the envelope further. That is such dangerous ground. Sin causes darkness in our souls, and the more we sin, the more it gets dark, dark, dark in there. It gets darker and darker until the time when we cross the line into grave sin and do not even recognize it for what it is. Then, dear family, we have most certainly chosen to drive down the broad road to destruction.

Dear family, I say all this because too many people do not appreciate Commandment #7, thou shalt not steal. Other words for stealing include "theft" and "larceny." In the secular world, theft is often defined as the unauthorized taking of property from another with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. Within this definition lie two key elements: a) a taking of someone else's property, and b) the requisite intent to deprive the victim of the property permanently.

As an aside, it permanently leaves out "unauthorized borrowing" - but just try and tell the store that you only were borrowing something you shoplifted! Similarly, if we put on our thinking caps, it just "doesn't fly" when a criminal alien suggests his "unauthorized entry" simply was a moment of "undocumented immigration." Our Federal Government - and every government on the face of this planet - has immigration commandments for a purpose. Get it straight, dear family: illegal aliens, who enter unauthorized, are thieves who have just stolen from every other citizen of this country, and no amount of left-wing-lib-editing of the terminology to "undocumented" can change that.

Understand this, dear family, Our Father had to COMMAND us not to steal precisely because we were inclined to steal. We were inclined to take that which was not ours. And the more we take, the more darkened our souls are to the reality and the gravity of the theft. Eventually, we get to the point of not even realizing we are taking. That is when we are blithely driving down the very center of the road to destruction.

Dear family, most of us know what does or does not belong to us. You don't need me to tell you that taking what is not yours is a sin, and that there will be consequences now or in eternity. You know this. For today, please recognize that many do NOT know this, or do not care. I do not believe for a second that all those rioters, looters, burners, and shooters are unaware that what they are taking or destroying is not theirs. They just do not care. They are lawless, which means - get this straight - they are godless. When you disregard the law and disregard God, it really is just that simple. Let us recognize it for what it is. This godlessness can be less evident, like when all those people took over the Wisconsin State Capital in a "protest," ultimately causing about seven million dollars in costs and damages - all paid for by the Badger taxpayers. Dear family, apart from the fact that many of them were teachers taking unauthorized leave and stealing time from the parents and students, they literally stole from every taxpayer every penny of costs and damages. They. Are. Thieves.

While I do not need to define taking of anything tangible, like a candy bar from Kwik Trip or a Wrangler from the Jeep dealership, the above example of the teachers stealing intangible time is instructive for another type of theft of which so many are clueless. For today, let us relate theft of intangible time by relating Commandment #7, "Thou shalt not steal," to Commandment #3, "Keep Holy the Lord's Day." The commandment was a day. That means 24 hours. I sometimes say it this way, "God commanded us to keep holy the DAY. That means 24 hours. Commandment #3 does not say 'keep holy the Lord's 55 minutes and get mad if father's homily is a little long!" A day is a day, and a day has 24 hours. Remember that bit about how if we sin our soul gets darker until it gets really dark? All those people who cannot be bothered to show up for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday - they commit grave sin because they have stolen God's time. Usually, it does not happen all at once. Usually, they start by playing fast and loose with just some of the 24 hours - doing unnecessary work or making someone else do unnecessary work by shopping or eating out on Sunday. They start down that very slippery slope until one day - boom, they find any excuse good enough to blow off their Sunday OBLIGATION. That will not end well for them. If they do not want to be with God on Sunday, they will not be with Him in eternity. Period.

Dear family, most of us - excluding the rioters, looters, burners, and shooters - know that we should not steal tangible things. How about for today let us ponder how so many of us steal intangible things - like time - like God's time? As part of our next confession, let us examine our consciences and ask ourselves how much time we have stolen. That is an important examination, dear family, because stealing time makes us thieves. To help with that examination, let us ask ourselves if we have made it a point to do what Jesus told us to do: spend an hour a day with our Lord in this life, so we really can spend an eternity with Him in the next. Then let us in these troubled, troubled times, resolve to be free from our attachment to time, and to start giving back to the Lord one hour for every 23 other hours of the day He gives us.

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward theft. Maybe our greatest theft is the theft of time, our stealing from the Lord what really is His time. We are so immersed in temporal pleasures that we are blinded to our purpose in life, which is to know, love and serve God in this world so we can be with Him in the next. Serving takes time, and so many are so stingy with their time. We intentionally justify leaving God out of our daily lives because we have so many other priorities other than God. So often we drive so far outside the God-defined narrow lines of life that we do not even recognize we are on the broad road to destruction. We turn to You Lord, in our weakness, and beg Your forgiveness for our own theft of time - especially for the times we have not even kept Your day holy, all 24 hours of Your day. 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 theft. 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 theft 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 Most Blessed Sacrament

Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, R. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R. have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, R. have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, R. have mercy on us.

Jesus, Eternal High Priest of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Divine Victim on the Altar for our salvation, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, hidden under the appearance of bread, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, dwelling in the tabernacles of the world, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, really, truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, abiding in Your fulness, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Bread of Life, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Bread of Angels, R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, with us always until the end of the world, R. have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, summit and source of all worship and Christian life, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, sign and cause of the unity of the Church, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, adored by countless angels, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, spiritual food, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, Sacrament of love, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, bond of charity, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, greatest aid to holiness, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, gift and glory of the priesthood, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, in which we partake of Christ, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, in which the soul is filled with grace, R. have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, in which we are given a pledge of future glory, R. have mercy on us.

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

For those who do not believe in Your Eucharistic presence, R. have mercy, O Lord.
For those who are indifferent to the Sacrament of Your love, R. have mercy on us.
For those who have offended You in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, R. have mercy on us.

That we may show fitting reverence when entering Your holy temple, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may make suitable preparation before approaching the Altar, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may receive You frequently in Holy Communion with real devotion and true humility, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may never neglect to thank You for so wonderful a blessing, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may cherish time spent in silent prayer before You, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may grow in knowledge of this Sacrament of sacraments, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That all priests may have a profound love of the Holy Eucharist, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That they may celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in accordance with its sublime dignity, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may be comforted and sanctified with Holy Viaticum at the hour of our death, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may see You one day face to face in Heaven, R. we beseech You, hear us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, O Lord.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Let us pray.
Most merciful Father, You continue to draw us to Yourself through the Eucharistic Mystery. Grant us fervent faith in this Sacrament of love, in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered and received. We make this prayer through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 

Daily Checklist

__ Prayer for Freedom from the Devil
__ Daily reflection and prayers
__ Litany of the day
__ Pray a Rosary
__ Divine Mercy Chaplet
__ Spiritual or corporal work of mercy
__ Fast/abstain (according to level)
__ Exercise (according to level/ability)
__ Refrain from conventional media (only 1 hr. of social)
__ Examination of conscience (confession 1x this week)

 

Fifth Sunday Of Lent- (First Passion Sunday

passiontide-INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 13, Verse 11-12

11You shall stone that person to death, for seeking to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 12And all Israel shall hear of it and FEAR, and never again do such evil as this in your midst.

 

What is worse? to kill a person’s body; or to kill a person’s soul?

 

When a person leads you astray from the Lord, they indeed are killing your soul. The soul is meant to be free to do the will of God and when the soul is busy doing the will of God, we are indeed happy, even in abject poverty. When a soul is hampered from doing the will of God by another or your own free will this is a form of slavery and God is reminding us that He brought us out of the house of slavery. We are to stone anyone or thing that leads us away from God for it kills the soul.

 

To stone something is to bury it not in earth but in stone so that it will never rise again. What are the things that are leading you astray from God? Stone them!

 

Five Enslaving Habits We Must Avoid[1]

 

While the horror of slavery is thankfully dead as an institution, it sadly lives on in many other forms in many lives today, all around us, in ways maybe not considered slavery by some. I hope to get you to reconsider. But let’s first define our terms:

 

Slave: “One that is totally subservient to a dominating influence.” ~ Merriam-Webster-There are 5 basic areas of life in which we can become totally subservient to dominating influences, and thereby live less-than-ideal and something less than happy lives.

 

5 Ways Slavery is still with us

1.      Slavery to addictions. Whether we are talking about being enslaved to tobacco or alcohol, or whether we’re talking about enslavement to illicit material online or simply to the TV or to junk food or gossip, any addictions rob us of a measure of freedom and independence. But freedom is required for happiness. So, anything that enslaves us limits the degree of joy we can have in life.


 

2.      Slavery to the office: When spouse and family and our spiritual lives are playing second fiddle to the office, things are likely out of whack. Of course, there will be times, like the first few years of starting a business, when things will be lopsided. But if the office always is master and you are always its servant, then change may be needed for the fullness of a happy life to be experienced. Remember, your family is not a footnote to your journey. They are there in the thick of things, experiencing it with you, alongside you, maybe, in some ways, because of you. So, give them the time of day, from time to time!

 

3.      Slavery to success: When success becomes more important than integrity or honor or self-respect, then our subservience to the call of the dollar sign becomes self-destructive, as all addictions are. Happiness is robbed of its internal rewards when our insides are all twisted inside out as we compromise our values in the pursuit of wealth.

 

4.      Slavery to pleasure: Is the pursuit of pleasure hurting your relationship with your spouse? Are you pursuing pleasure at the expense of your spouse’s pleasure? Is that pursuit violating sacred vows and trusts? Are you spending your family into debt as you chase pleasure from one mountain top to another – or one casino to another – or one vacation to another – or one, well, you get the idea?

 

5.      Slavery to fear: Does fear and worry prevent you from taking steps to break free of a dissatisfying life? Do you wish for something more, but keep the door closed and locked and continue to do what you’ve always done? Are you trapped in a cycle of sameness, worried that if you tried to start a business, or tried to learn a skill, or tried an adventure on for size, or tried to learn to write or sing or climb, that you would fail and fall and sink and drown? 

Afterthoughts

Slavery may be dead as a formal institution of human bondage, but it is alive and well in the hearts and minds and lives of too many people who have the ability to loose the shackles, but haven’t exercised the courage to do it yet. DO IT.

 

ON KEEPING THE LORDS DAY HOLY[2] 

CHAPTER II 

DIES CHRISTI 

The Day of the Risen Lord

and of the Gift

of the Holy Spirit 

The weekly Easter 

20. According to the common witness of the Gospels, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead took place on "the first day after the Sabbath". On the same day, the Risen Lord appeared to the two disciples of Emmaus and to the eleven Apostles gathered together. A week later — as the Gospel of John recounts — the disciples were gathered together once again, when Jesus appeared to them and made himself known to Thomas by showing him the signs of his Passion. The day of Pentecost — the first day of the eighth week after the Jewish Passover, when the promise made by Jesus to the Apostles after the Resurrection was fulfilled by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit — also fell on a Sunday. This was the day of the first proclamation and the first baptisms: Peter announced to the assembled crowd that Christ was risen and "those who received his word were baptized". This was the epiphany of the Church, revealed as the people into which are gathered in unity, beyond all their differences, the scattered children of God

 

Fifth Sunday Of Lent-First Passion Sunday

 

Passion Week[3]

 

The focus of Passiontide is to meditate on the Jews' growing hatred of Christ recorded in the Gospel and makes plain His imminent death.

 

FROM this day, called Passion Sunday, until Easter the Church--gives herself up entirely to meditation on the passion of Jesus. Today the crucifixes are covered, in remembrance that from this time until His entrance into Jerusalem Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews. From to-day the Glory Be to the Father is omitted in the Mass, because in the person of Jesus Christ the Most Holy Trinity was dishonored. As on this day the high priests held council about Our Lord, the Church says, at the Introit of the Mass, in the name of the suffering Jesus, the words of the psalmist: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art God, my strength. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth, they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles (Ps. xlii. 1-3).

Prayer. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, mercifully look upon Thy family, that by Thy bounty it may be governed in body, and by Thy preservation be kept in mind.

EPISTLE. Heb. ix. 11-15.

Brethren: Christ, being come a high priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation: neither by the blood of goats, nor of calves, but by His own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of a heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, Who by the Holy Ghost offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?

And therefore, He is the mediator of the New Testament: that by means of His death, for the redemption of those transgressions, which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Explanation. St. Paul here teaches that Jesus Christ has given full satisfaction for the sins of men, and opened to all the entrance into the sanctuary. The Church proposes this epistle to us in order that we may thank God for the great mercy of the redemption, love and praise Him, and be encouraged to share in His sufferings by fasting, prayer, and penitential works.

Aspiration. Give us Thy grace, O meekest Jesus, that by true sorrow for our sins, and by the practice of good works, we may become partakers of Thy bitter sufferings, and obtain the promised in heritance of eternal life. Amen.

GOSPEL. John viii. 46-59.

At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me?

He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore, you hear them not because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: Do not we say well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honor My Father, and you have dishonored Me. But I seek not My own glory: there is One that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: if any man keep My word, he shall not see death forever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and Thou sayest: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death forever. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself?

Jesus answered: If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father that glorifieth Me, of Whom you say that He is your God. And you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I shall say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day. He saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?

Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at Him. But Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.

Explanation. When Our Savior said: He that is of God heareth God’s words, He meant to point out to the Jews the cause of their stubborn unbelief. He that is of God hears and loves that which is Godlike. When, therefore, we gladly hear the word of God and strive to do what we have heard, we testify that we are the children of God. Instead of reflecting on Our Savior’s words the Jews poured out their offended pride and abuse, and called Him a Samaritan, and one having a devil. The same thing happens to-day. Instead of listening to the truth; the proud man answers with calumny and contempt. Our Savior hid Himself from the Jews to teach us to forgive and avoid our enemies rather than to oppose them and take revenge on them.

Consolation under Insults

 

O friend, what insult can be given to you which your Savior has not suffered?

 

He was called a glutton and a drunkard, a heretic and a rebel, a friend and associate of sinners, and one who had a devil; He was even told that He cast out devils by the prince of devils (Matt. ix. 34). He, therefore, comforts His disciples with the words, “If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matt. x. 25)

 

There is no sorrow so bitter that He has not borne it, for what was more painful and grievous than the death of the cross? Christians, “think diligently upon Him that endured such opposition from sinners against Himself, that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds, at contempt and insult.” (Heb. xii. 3)

Passiontide Customs[4]

The main custom for Passiontide is the veiling of all sacred images in home and church with purple cloth. This custom originated in ancient times, when the images in the papal chapel of the Vatican were covered after the words of the Passion Sunday Gospel, "Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple" (Jn 8.59), were pronounced.

Passiontide:

  • (First) Passion Sunday. The Jews' growing hatred of Christ recorded in today's Gospel makes plain His imminent death.
  • Friday after Passion Sunday: Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A special commemoration, one week before Good Friday, of Mary's compassion for (literally, "suffering with") Her innocent son.
  • (Second Passion or) Palm Sunday. Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and the account of His Passion according to St. Matthew.

Mourning& Veiling[5]

 

Akin to the asceticism of Lent is its mournful tone. The Church is traditionally draped in purple or black, its organ silenced, and its altar bereft of any flowers. At home medieval Catholics would avoid frivolity or hilarity and would wear black during either Holy Week or Good Friday.

 

There is a special mourning custom that also begins on Passion Sunday (Fifth Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday) and ends when the Gloria is sung during the Easter Vigil Mass: covering all sacred images (crucifixes, statues, etc) with purple cloth in both church and home. This might seem counterintuitive, since one would expect to gaze at a crucifix more during the season when the Passion is being considered. Yet the Roman rite teaches by absence as well as by presence. In an odd way, being denied access to the sacred images alerts you to their presence all the more, in the same way that not having the sacrifice of the Mass on the one day you would expect it the most, i.e., Good Friday, makes one all the more aware of the Sacrifice that took place on that day. Covering sacred images also adds immensely to the sense of sorrow and compunction that should naturally accompany this somber period.

 


 

Today I am going out into the desert to pray for those afflicted with the Spirit of the world and for our Priests and religious. Below is my prayer plan: feel free to use it to go out to a deserted place to pray for those you care about.

Chapel Hike

During this hike you will be praying the Divine Mercy Novena as Christ asked "Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind." Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven. Eternal Father turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard -- upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.[6]

Little Horse Trail No 61[7]

Little Horse Trail begins as part of the Bell Rock Pathway. Follow this wide trail southward for 0.25 mile. Here, at a signed fork, take the old jeep road branching to the left and marked with basket cairns. The road drops to cross a dry streambed, climbs a bit and ends at the 0.75-mile point. The trail continues to the left and climbs moderately, topping out on a large, flat expanse. Turn to the right here. The level trail leads into a stand of Arizona cypress and intersects Chapel Trail on the left coming from the Chapel of the Holy Cross as it nears the "Madonna and the Nuns" spire rock formation. Beautiful views. At 1.4 miles, it passes through a gate to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Return by the same route. Trail is mostly unshaded and hot in summer.

General Notes:

Rating: Easy

Hiking Time: 2 hours roundtrip

Hiking from Little Horse it is suggested that you begin the hiking meditation by reflecting on the Ten Commandments and when you make the turn onto the chapel trail to begin a meditation on the Stations of the cross ending the last stations inside the chapel. Afterward on the return hike complete the Divine Mercy reflection and the Rosary of the day.

Ten Commandments[8]

  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

“What do they mean?” Again, the Ten Commandments are a description of the basic freedom from sin that is necessary to live as a Christian. They are a minimum level of living, below which we must not go. The Ten Commandments and Catholicism have been bound together since the time of Christ. In fact, Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments and assures their validity in his dialog with the rich young man in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 19:16-21). It’s important to note that each Commandment is simply a summary of a whole category of actions. Don’t be legalistic, searching for a way around them because their wording doesn’t fit you perfectly! For example, “bearing false witness against your neighbor” covers any kind of falsehood: perjury, lying, slander, detraction, rash judgment, etc. The Catholic Ten Commandments are linked together to form a coherent whole. If you break one of them, you’re guilty of breaking all of them. The Commandments express man’s fundamental duties to God and neighbor. As such, they represent grave obligations. To violate them knowingly & willingly in a significant way is to commit mortal sin.

"Teacher, what must I do?" [9]

2052 "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" To the young man who asked this question, Jesus answers first by invoking the necessity to recognize God as the "One there is who is good," as the supreme Good and the source of all good. Then Jesus tells him: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments." And he cites for his questioner the precepts that concern love of neighbor: "You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother." Finally, Jesus sums up these commandments positively: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

2053 To this first reply Jesus adds a second: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." This reply does not do away with the first: following Jesus Christ involves keeping the Commandments. The Law has not been abolished, but rather man is invited to rediscover it in the person of his Master who is its perfect fulfillment. In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus' call to the rich young man to follow him, in the obedience of a disciple and in the observance of the Commandments, is joined to the call to poverty and chastity. The evangelical counsels are inseparable from the Commandments.

2054 Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the Spirit at work in their letter. He preached a "righteousness [which] exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees" as well as that of the Gentiles. He unfolded all the demands of the Commandments. "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."

2055 When someone asks him, "Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?" Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets." The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law:

The commandments: "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

2056 The word "Decalogue" means literally "ten words." God revealed these "ten words" to his people on the holy mountain. They were written "with the finger of God," unlike the other commandments written by Moses. They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on to us in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Beginning with the Old Testament, the sacred books refer to the "ten words," but it is in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed.

2057 The Decalogue must first be understood in the context of the Exodus, God's great liberating event at the center of the Old Covenant. Whether formulated as negative commandments, prohibitions, or as positive precepts such as: "Honor your father and mother," the "ten words" point out the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin. The Decalogue is a path of life:

If you love the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply.

This liberating power of the Decalogue appears, for example, in the commandment about the sabbath rest, directed also to foreigners and slaves:

You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

2058 The "ten words" sum up and proclaim God's law: "These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them upon two tables of stone, and gave them to me." For this reason, these two tables are called "the Testimony." In fact, they contain the terms of the covenant concluded between God and his people. These "tables of the Testimony" were to be deposited in "the ark."

2059 The "ten words" are pronounced by God in the midst of a theophany ("The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire."). They belong to God's revelation of himself and his glory. The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God himself and his holy will. In making his will know, God reveals himself to his people.

2060 The gift of the commandments and of the Law is part of the covenant God sealed with his own. In Exodus, the revelation of the "ten words" is granted between the proposal of the covenant and its conclusion - after the people had committed themselves to "do" all that the Lord had said, and to "obey" it. The Decalogue is never handed on without first recalling the covenant ("The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.").

2061 The Commandments take on their full meaning within the covenant. According to Scripture, man's moral life has all its meaning in and through the covenant. The first of the "ten words" recalls that God loved his people first:

Since there was a passing from the paradise of freedom to the slavery of this world, in punishment for sin, the first phrase of the Decalogue, the first word of God's commandments, bears on freedom "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

2062 The Commandments properly so-called come in the second place: they express the implications of belonging to God through the establishment of the covenant. Moral existence is a response to the Lord's loving initiative. It is the acknowledgement and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. It is cooperation with the plan God pursues in history.

2063 The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact that all the obligations are stated in the first person ("I am the Lord.") and addressed by God to another personal subject ("you"). In all God's commandments, the singular personal pronoun designates the recipient. God makes his will know to each person in particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people:

The Lord prescribed love towards God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust, nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God prepared man to become his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor. The words of the Decalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished, they have received amplification and development from the fact of the coming of the Lord in the flesh.

2064 In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with the example of Jesus, the tradition of the Church has acknowledged the primordial importance and significance of the Decalogue.

2067 The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor.

As charity comprises the two commandments to which the Lord related the whole Law and the prophets; so, the Ten Commandments were themselves given on two tablets. Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other.

2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord. the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."

2069 The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each "word" refers to each of the others and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. The two tables shed light on one another; they form an organic unity. To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others. One cannot honor another person without blessing God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all men, his creatures. The Decalogue brings man's religious and social life into unity.

2070 The Ten Commandments belong to God's revelation. At the same time, they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law:

From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue.

2071 The commandments of the Decalogue, although accessible to reason alone, have been revealed. To attain a complete and certain understanding of the requirements of the natural law, sinful humanity needed this revelation:

A full explanation of the commandments of the Decalogue became necessary in the state of sin because the light of reason was obscured, and the will had gone astray.

We know God's commandments through the divine revelation proposed to us in the Church, and through the voice of moral conscience.

2072 Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.

2073 Obedience to the Commandments also implies obligations in matter which is, in itself, light. Thus, abusive language is forbidden by the fifth commandment, but would be a grave offense only as a result of circumstances or the offender's intention.

"Apart from me you can do nothing"

2074 Jesus says: "I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

As you turn onto the Chapel Trail reflect on the Stations of the Cross

Pope Benedict XVI Stations of the Cross[10]

FIRST STATION 

Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:41-44

Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.

MEDITATION Jesus was in agony. Grief and anguish came upon him. The sin of all mankind weighed on him heavily. But the greater his pain, the more fervently did he pray. Pain always remains a challenge to us. We feel left alone. We forget to pray, and break down. Some even take their lives. But if we turn to God, we grow spiritually strong and go out to help our fellow-beings in trouble. 

Jesus continues to suffer in his persecuted disciples. Pope Benedict XVI says that even in our times “the Church does not lack martyrs”. Christ is in agony among us, and in our times. We pray for those who suffer. The mystery of Christian suffering is that it has a redemptive value. May the harassments that believers undergo complete in them the sufferings of Christ that bring salvation.

PRAYER Lord Jesus, enable us to delve deeper into the great “mystery of evil” and our own contribution to it. As sufferings came into human life through sin, it was your plan that humanity be saved from sin through suffering. May none of the little annoyances, humiliations, and frustrations that we undergo in our daily lives and the great shocks that take us by surprise, go to waste. Linked with your own agony, may the agonies we endure be acceptable to you and bring us hope. Lord, teach us to be compassionate, not only to the hungry, thirsty, sick, or those in some special need, but also to those inclined to be rude, argumentative and hurtful. In this way, as you have helped us in all our troubles, we may in turn “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort that we ourselves have received”. 

SECOND STATION 

Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and restrains Peter from violence 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 22:47-50 and according to Saint Matthew 26:52.56

While Jesus was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.

MEDITATION It is one of his trusted friends that betrays Jesus, and with a kiss. The way Jesus confronted violence has a message for our times. Violence is suicidal, he tells Peter: it is not defeated by more violence, but by a superior spiritual energy that reaches out in the form of healing love. Jesus touches the High Priest’s slave and heals him. The violent man today too may need a healing touch that comes from a love that transcends the immediate issues. In times of conflict between persons, ethnic and religious groups, nations, economic and political interests, Jesus says, confrontation and violence are not the answer, but love, persuasion and reconciliation. Even when we seem to fail in such efforts, we plant the seeds of peace which will bear fruit in due time. The rightness of our cause is our strength. 

PRAYER Lord Jesus, you consider us your friends, yet we notice traces of infidelity in ourselves. We acknowledge our transgressions. We are presumptuous at times and over-confident. And we fall. Let not avarice, lust or pride take us by surprise. How thoughtlessly do we fly after ephemeral satisfactions and untested ideas! Grant that we may not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine… but speaking the truth in love, grow up in every way into Christ the head. May truth and sincerity of purpose be our strength. Restrain, Lord, our impetuosity in situations of violence, as you restrained Peter’s impulsive character. Keep us unruffled in spirit before opposition and unfair treatment. Convince us that “A gentle answer quiets anger” in our families, and that “gentleness” combined with “wisdom” restores tranquility in society. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.” 

THIRD STATION 

Jesus is held guilty by the Sanhedrin 

From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 26:62-66

And the High Priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus was silent. And the High Priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the High Priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgement? They answered, “He deserves death.”

MEDITATION In every land, there have been innocent persons who suffered, people who died fighting for freedom, equality or justice. Those who struggle on behalf of God’s little ones are promoting God’s own work. For he presses for the rights of the weak and the oppressed. Whoever collaborates in this work, in the spirit of Jesus, brings hope to the oppressed and offers a corrective message to the evildoer himself. Jesus’ manner of struggling for justice is not to rouse the collective anger of people against the opponent, so that they are led into forms of greater injustice. On the contrary, it is to challenge the foe with the rightness of one’s cause and evoke the good will of the opponent in such a way that injustice is renounced through persuasion and a change of heart. Mahatma Gandhi brought this teaching of Jesus on non-violence into public life with amazing success. 

PRAYER Lord, often we judge others in haste, indifferent to actual realities and insensitive to people’s feelings! We develop stratagems of self-justification and explain away the irresponsible manner in which we have dealt with “the other”. Forgive us! When we are misjudged and ill-treated, Lord, give us the inner serenity and self-confidence that your Son manifested in the face of unjust treatment. Keep us from an aggressive response which goes against your Spirit. On the contrary, help us to bring your powerful word of forgiveness into situations of tension and anxiety, so that it may reveal its dynamic power in history. “In His will is our peace.” 

FOURTH STATION 

Jesus is denied by Peter 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:54-62

Then they seized Jesus and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man was also with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

MEDITATION Peter claimed to be strong, but he broke down before a servant girl. Human weakness takes us by surprise, and we collapse. That is why Jesus asks us to watch and pray. He urges self-renunciation and closeness to God. There is a rebellious “self” within us. We are often of “two minds”, but we fail to recognize this inner inconsistency. Peter recognized it when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus, and he wept. Later, Thomas, encountering the Risen Lord, acknowledged his own faithlessness and believed. In the light of Christ, Paul became aware of the inconsistency within himself, and he overcame it with the Lord’s help. Going deeper still, he discovered: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” 

PRAYER Lord, how easily do we allow a distance to grow between what we profess to be and what we really are! How often do we fail to carry out our own decisions, or even fulfil our most solemn promises! And as a result, we often hesitate to make any permanent commitment, even to you! We confess that we have failed to bring into our life that inner discipline that is expected of any adult person and required for the success of any human endeavor. Give sturdiness to our inner determination; help us to bring every good work we have begun to a successful conclusion. Enable us to stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, “in complete obedience to God’s will”. 

FIFTH STATION 

Jesus is judged by Pilate 

A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him”. But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So, Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

MEDITATION It was not the rightness of an issue that mattered to Pilate, but his professional interests. Such an attitude did not help him, either in this case or in his later career. He was so unlike Jesus, whose inner rectitude made him fearless. Nor was Pilate interested in the truth. He walks away from Jesus exclaiming, “What is truth?” Such indifference to truth is not uncommon these days. People are often concerned about what gives immediate satisfaction. They are content with superficial answers. Decisions are made based not on principles of integrity, but on opportunistic considerations. Failing to make morally responsible options damages the vital interests of the human person, and of the human family. We pray that the “spiritual and ethical concepts” contained in the word of God will inspire the living norms of society in our times. 

PRAYER Lord give us the courage to make responsible decisions when rendering a public service. Bring probity (correctness) into public life and assist us to be true to our conscience. Lord, you are the source of all Truth. Guide us in our search for ultimate answers. Going beyond mere partial and incomplete explanations, may we search for what is permanently true, beautiful and good. Lord, keep us fearless before the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. When shadows grow deep on life’s wearisome paths, and the dark night comes, enable us to hearken to the teaching of your Apostle Paul: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.”  

SIXTH STATION 

Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns 

From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. 27:26-30

Then Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.

MEDITATION Inhumanity reaches new heights. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns. History is full of hatred and wars. Even today we witness acts of violence beyond belief: murder, violence to women and children, kidnapping, extortion, ethnic conflict, urban violence, physical and mental torture, violations of human rights. Jesus continues to suffer when believers are persecuted, when justice is distorted in court, corruption gets rooted, unjust structures grind the poor, minorities are suppressed, refugees and migrants are ill-treated. Jesus’ garments are pulled away when the human person is put to shame on the screen, when women are compelled to humiliate themselves, when slum children go round the streets picking up crumbs. Who are the guilty? Let us not point a finger at others, for we ourselves may have contributed a share to these forms of inhumanity. 

PRAYER Lord Jesus, we know that it is you who suffer when we cause pain to each other and we remain indifferent. Your heart went out in compassion when you saw the crowds “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. Give me eyes that notice the needs of the poor and a heart that reaches out in love. “Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.” Most of all, may we share with the indigent your “word” of hope, your assurance of care. May “zeal for your house” burn in us like a fire. Help us to bring the sunshine of your joy into the lives of those who are trudging the path of despair. 

SEVENTH STATION 

After Jesus is made an object of fun, he is led out to be crucified 

From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. 27:31

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to be crucified.

MEDITATION Jesus, at whose name every knee in heaven and earth bends, is made an object of fun. We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink. Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today: when things that are most Holy and Profound in the Faith are being trivialized; the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode; the religious sentiment is classified among unwelcome leftovers of antiquity. Everything in public life risks being desacralized: persons, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious formulae, symbols, ceremonies. Our life together is being increasingly secularized. Religious life grows diffident. Thus, we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified. Values and norms that held societies together and drew people to higher ideals are laughed at and thrown overboard. Jesus continues to be ridiculed! 

PRAYER We have faith, Lord, but not enough. Help us to have more. May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic. Allow us not to drift into the desert of godlessness. Enable us to perceive you in the gentle breeze, see you in street corners, love you in the unborn child. God, enable us to understand that on Tabor or Calvary, your Son is the Lord. Robed or stripped of his garments, he is the Savior of the world. Make us attentive to his quiet presences: in his “word”, in tabernacles, shrines, humble places, simple persons, the life of the poor, laughter of children, whispering pines, rolling hills, the tiniest living cell, the smallest atom, and the distant galaxies. May we watch with wonder as he walks on the waters of the Rhine and the Nile and the Tanganyika. 

EIGHTH STATION 

Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:26

The soldiers led Jesus away, and as they were going, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon who was coming into the city from the country. They seized him, put the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.

MEDITATION In Simon of Cyrene, we have the prototype of a faithful disciple who takes up the Cross and follows Christ. He is not unlike millions of Christians from a humble background, with deep attachment to Christ. No glamour, no sophistication, but profound faith. Such believers keep rising on the soil of Africa, Asia and the distant islands. Vocations arise from their midst. Simon reminds us of small communities and tribes with their characteristic commitment to the common good, deep rootedness in ethical values and openness to the Gospel. They deserve attention and care. The Lord does not desire that “one of these little ones should perish”. In Simon we discover the sacredness of the ordinary and the greatness of what looks small. For the smallest has some mystic relationship with the greatest, and the ordinary with the most extraordinary! 

PRAYER Lord, it is your wonderful plan to lift up the lowly and sustain the poor. Strengthen your Church in her service to deprived communities: the least privileged, the marginalized, slum dwellers, the rural poor, the undernourished, untouchables, the handicapped, people given to addictions. May the example of your servant, Mother Teresa of Kolkata, inspire us to dedicate more of our energies and resources to the cause of the “poorest of the poor”. May we one day hear these words from Jesus: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” 

NINTH STATION 

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:27-28

And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus, turning to them, said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

MEDITATION Before the weeping women, Jesus is self-forgetful. His anxiety is not about his pains, but about the tragic future that awaits them and their children. The destinies of societies are intimately linked to the wellbeing of their women. Wherever women are held in low esteem or their role remains diminished, societies fail to rise to their true potentiality. In the same way, wherever their responsibility to the rising generation is neglected, ignored, or marginalized, the future of that society becomes uncertain. There are many societies in the world where women fail to receive a fair deal. Christ must be weeping for them. There are societies too that are thoughtless about their future. Christ must be weeping for their children. Wherever there is unconcern for the future, through the overuse of resources, the degradation of the environment, the oppression of women, the neglect of family values, the ignoring of ethical norms, the abandonment of religious traditions, Jesus must be telling people: “Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” 

PRAYER Lord, you are the Master of history. And yet you wanted our collaboration in realizing your plans. Help us to play a responsible role in society: leaders in their communities, parents in their families, educators and health-workers among those who need to be served, communicators in the world of information. Arouse in us a sense of mission in what we do, a deep sense of responsibility to each other, to society, to our common future and to you. For you have placed the destinies of our communities and of humanity itself into our hands. Lord, do not turn away from us when you see women humiliated or your image disfigured in the human person; when we interfere with life-systems, weaken the nurturing power of nature, pollute running streams or the deep blue seas or the Northern snows. Save us from cruel indifference to our common future, and do not let us drag our civilization down the path of decline. 

Time your hike so you can reflect on stations 10-13 while sitting outside the chapel with our crucified Lord!

TENTH STATION 

Jesus is crucified 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 23:33-37 and according to Saint Matthew. 27:46

There they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”, that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

MEDITATION The sufferings of Jesus reach a climax. He had stood fearlessly before Pilate. He had endured the mistreatment of the Roman soldiers. He had preserved his calm under the scourge and the crowning with thorns. On the Cross itself, he seemed untouched by a shower of insults. He had no word of complaint, no desire to retort. But then, finally, a moment comes when he breaks down. His strength can stand no more. He feels abandoned even by his Father! Experience tells us that even the sturdiest man can descend to the depths of despair. Frustrations accumulate, anger and resentment pile up. Bad health, bad news, bad luck, bad treatment – all can come together. It may have happened to us. It is at such moments we need to remember that Jesus never fails us. He cried to the Father. May we too cry out to the Father, who unfailingly comes to our rescue in all our distress, whenever we call upon him! 

PRAYER Lord, when clouds gather on the horizon and everything seems lost, when we find no friend to stand by us and hope slips from our hands, teach us to trust in you, who will surely come to our rescue. May the experience of inner pain and darkness teach us the great truth that in you nothing is lost, that even our sins – once we have repented of them – come to serve a purpose, like dry wood in the cold of winter. Lord, you have a master design beneath the working of the universe and the progress of history. Open our eyes to the rhythms and patterns in the movements of the stars; balance and proportion in the inner structure of elements; interrelatedness and complementarity in nature; progress and purpose in the march of history; correction and compensation in our personal stories. It is this harmony that you constantly keep restoring, despite the painful imbalances that we bring about. In you even the greatest loss is a gain. Christ’s death, in fact, points to resurrection. 

ELEVENTH STATION 

Jesus promises his Kingdom to the Good Thief 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:39-43

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

MEDITATION It is not eloquence that convinces and converts. In the case of Peter, it is a look of love; in the case of the Good Thief, it is unresentful serenity in suffering. Conversion takes place like a miracle. God opens your eyes. You recognize his presence and action. You surrender! Opting for Christ is always a mystery. Why does one make a definitive choice for Christ, even in the face of trouble, or death? Why do Christians flourish in persecuted places? We shall never know. But it happens over and over again. If a person who has abandoned his faith comes across the real face of Christ, he will be stunned by what he actually sees, and may surrender like Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” It is a privilege to unveil the face of Christ to people. It is even a greater joy to discover – or rediscover -him. “Your face, O Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.”  

PRAYER My cry to you today, O Lord, in tears is this: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” It is for this Kingdom that I fondly long. It is the eternal home you have prepared for all those who seek you with sincere hearts. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”. Help me, Lord, as I struggle ahead on my way to my eternal destiny. Lift the darkness from my path, and keep my eyes raised to the heights!

“Lead, kindly Light,
amid the encircling gloom.
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home.
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.”

TWELFTH STATION 

The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the Cross 

From the Gospel according to Saint John. 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple: “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

MEDITATION In suffering we long for solidarity. Mother Mary reminds us of supportive love and solidarity within a family, John of loyalty within a community. Family cohesion, community bonds, ties of friendship – these are essential for the flourishing of human beings. In an anonymous society they grow weak. When they are missing, we become diminished persons. Again, in Mary we do not notice even the least sign of resentment, not a word of bitterness. The Virgin becomes an archetype of forgiveness in faith and hope. She shows us the way to the future. Even those who would like to respond to violent injustice with “violent justice” know that that is not the ultimate answer. Forgiveness prompts hope. There are also historic injuries that often rankle in the memories of societies for centuries. Unless we transmute our collective anger into new energies of love through forgiveness, we perish together. When healing comes through forgiveness, we light a lamp, announcing future possibilities for the “life and well-being” of humanity. 

PRAYER Lord Jesus, your Mother stood silently at your side in your final agony. She who was unseen on occasions when you were acclaimed a great prophet, stands beside you in your humiliation. May I have the courage to remain loyal even where you are least recognized. Let me never be embarrassed to belong to the “little flock”. Lord, let me remember that even those whom I consider my “enemies” belong to the human family. If they treat me unfairly, let my prayer be only: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” It may be in such a context that someone will suddenly recognize the true face of Christ and cry out like the centurion: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” 

THIRTEENTH STATION 

Jesus dies on the Cross 

From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:46

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” And having said this, he breathed his last.

MEDITATION Jesus hands over his spirit to the Father in serene abandonment. What his persecutors thought to be a moment of defeat proves, in fact, to be a moment of triumph. When a prophet dies for the cause he stood for, he gives the final proof of all that he has said. Christ’s death is something more than that. It brings redemption. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” With that begins for me a mystic journey: Christ draws me closer to him, until I shall fully belong to him. 

“As a deer longs for flowing streams,
So my soul longs for you, O God…
When shall I come and behold the face of God?”

PRAYER Lord Jesus, it is for my own sins that you were nailed to the Cross. Help me to gain a deeper understanding of the grievousness of my sins and the immensity of your love. For “while we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly.” I admit my faults as the prophets did long ago: 

“We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly
and rebelled, turning aside
from your commandments and ordinances;
we have not listened to your servants the prophets….” 

There was nothing in me to deserve your kindness. Thank you for your immeasurable goodness to me. Help me to live for you, to shape my life after you, to be joined to you and become a new creation.

“Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.”

For the final station sit outside the chapel and reflect how you are a tomb for our Lord

FOURTEENTH STATION 

Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the tomb 

From the Gospel according to Saint Mark. 15:46

Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

MEDITATION Tragedies make us ponder. A tsunami tells us that life is serious. Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain pilgrim places. When death strikes near, another world draws close. We then shed our illusions and have a grasp of the deeper reality. People in ancient India prayed: “Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.”

After Jesus left this world, Christians began to look back and interpret his life and mission. They carried his message to the ends of the earth. And this message itself is Jesus Christ, who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God”. It says that the reality is Christ and that our ultimate destiny is to be with him.

PRAYER Lord Jesus, enable us, as we press forward on life’s weary way, to have a glimpse of our ultimate destiny. And when at last we cross over; we will know that “death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. It is this Good News that we are eager to announce, “in every way”, even in places where Christ has not been heard of. For this we work hard. We work “night and day” and wear ourselves out. Lord make us effective carriers of your Good News. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and in my flesh I shall see God.” 

When you are ready hike back to the Little Horse trailhead; reflect on the Divine Mercy Prayer and the Rosary of the Day. Note: It is also interesting to reflect on how on Palm Sunday our Lord sat on a Colt (Little Horse) entering the city of His death.


 

Aids in Battle the Power of the Holy Spirit

 

In the Holy Spirit we have from God a mighty Ally and Protector, a great Teacher of the Church, a mighty Champion on our behalf. We must not be afraid of the demons, nor of the Devil himself; for more powerful than those is the One who fights for us. But we must open our doors to Him, for He goes about seeking those who are worthy and searching for those on whom He may bestow His gifts. ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

 

Tutelage of the Holy Spirit

 

Being baptized in Christ is the only requirement for receiving the Holy Spirit, but to grow in the Spirit there are certain things that are necessary, and these are a few of them.

 

§  A genuine desire to be holy I always use the word 'holy' to mean living a life pleasing to God in every possible way, not just in those matters you consider expedient; and obeying his commandments to the fullest extent that you are capable of. Holiness has to be your goal and you must be prepared to do whatever it takes to attain it, which includes a total, unwavering commitment. The course is grueling and if you aren't committed, you will crash out in no time.


§ Heartfelt repentance: You have to be genuinely sorry for your sins. It doesn't matter that you might be constrained by sin at this point — part of the Holy Spirit's role is to take away the constraints and free you of sin, which will happen in time — but what is important at this stage is that you be truly sorry for the offences that you have committed against God and be determined never to sin against him anymore.


§ Honesty and courage: Another requirement is honesty, more with ourselves than with anybody else, and the courage to face up to who we really are. Most of us put up facades for public display and have been doing it for so long we have ended up even fooling ourselves. The Holy Spirit is going to rip the masks apart, albeit gently, and reveal things about you that you will not like to see. If you aren't willing to face up to the truth of who you are and be ready to remedy yourself without justification, you aren't going to make much progress.


§ Love for God: A vital requirement is a genuine love for God, translatable into action. Love for God is something that will grow as you grow in him, but what you need is a basic element of it to begin with, because it is only love for God that will help you make a lot of the tough decisions that you will be called to make as you progress through this school. The more love for God that you have, the more you will be prepared to do for him, which will, consequently, make it that much easier for you.

International Day of Forests[11]

International Day of Forests seeks to celebrate forests while providing a platform to raise awareness of the importance of trees. The day also raises awareness of rapid deforestation and educates about the vital role that forests and trees play in sustaining and protecting humans by supplying us with freshwater and oxygen. In fact, forested watersheds and wetlands provide the world with nearly 75% of its accessible freshwater. International Day of Forests was declared in December 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly in an effort to promote the importance of forests to humans and aid in conservation efforts. International Day of Forests is observed annually on March 21st. Since then, International Forest Day has become one of the most influential global events advocating for forest conservation in the world.

International Day of Forests Facts & Quotes

·         According to the UN, forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass

·         Nearly one-third of the world's largest cities get their drinking water directly from protected forest areas. Forests act as natural filters for water by removing particles from it such as metals and nitrogen.

·         According to the UN, approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihood.

International Day of Forests Top Events and Things to Do

·         Join the celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day in the Economic and Social Council Chamber of the UN. Every year they host a meet and greet style event in the chamber that the public can join in on.

·         Watch a movie that advocates for the protection of forests or showcases their rich biological diversity. Some of our favorites are Planet Earth, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, and Wild.

·         Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtags #InternationalDayofForests, #SavetheForests or #IntForestDay.

·         Share your favorite photo of a forest or plant with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN by emailing it to idf@fao.org. The UN will add it to a combined gallery of everyone’s pictures around the world!

·         Read a book that is advocating forest conservation. Some of our favorites are: The Sibley Guide to Trees, The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring, and Forest Ecology.

·         Resources:

o   https://www.trilliontrees.org/

o   https://www.fs.usda.gov/

o   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._National_Forests

Daily Devotions

·         Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·         Devotion of the Seven Sundays: St Joseph-8th Sunday

·         Manhood of the Master-week 5 day 5

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary




[1]http://meanttobehappy.com/quote-13-from-the-great-emancipator-slave-part-1/

[3] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.

* In the original text, Saint Faustina uses the pronoun "us" since she was offering this prayer as a consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the prayer suitable for universal use. 

[8]http://www.beginningcatholic.com/catholic-ten-commandments

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