Sunday, March 7, 2021

 

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

"Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is god, follow him.' But the people said nothing" (1 Kings 18:21).

In the Old Testament, both the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah participated in the same sin. It was a form of idolatry in which the people would worship both the God of Israel and the gods of the surrounding regions. This participation in more than one religion is called syncretism. God likens syncretism, in the Scriptures, to an unfaithful spouse who wants the benefits of life with her spouse while acting the harlot with anyone. On Mt. Carmel, Elijah purposes a test to the Kingdom of Israel. He and the prophets of Baal will prepare a sacrifice without lighting it and the God who answers with fire is to be worshipped alone. He poses the above question to them. Notice they do not answer. I can only imagine the awkward silence felt at that moment.

The southern kingdom of Judah also would worship God up on the temple mount and would go into the Valley of Hinnom (known in Jesus' time as Gehenna) and worship idols, even sacrificing their children to these idols. The prophets, particularly Jeremiah, warn the people that God takes note of such infidelity and will not allow the people to benefit from a relationship with Him while they play the harlot in the valley of Hinnom. For both kingdoms, their sin of syncretism led to their downfall and exile. God will not allow us to keep the benefits of a relationship with Him while we push Him away in favor of our idols.

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reminds us we cannot serve two masters; that we cannot serve both God and mammon. Notice mammon is not capitalized. It is not an idol per se. Mammon is wealth or any other worldly pursuit we allow to take the number one position that rightly belongs to God. Most church going Catholics would say that they do not worship anyone or anything but God. That reminds me of Jeremiah 2:23, ""How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done." The people do not acknowledge their idolatry under the pretense that they do go to the temple.

Our society has become godless and exerts much pressure to make sure all are like-minded. The third commandment to keep holy the Sabbath is so forgotten as to be rarely practiced. Even Sunday morning has been taken over by sports, shopping, chores, and other things that turn Mass (if one goes at all) into something that is "fit in" instead of prioritized - as if the day of the Lord is instead the hour of the Lord. We will know if we have idols in our lives by merely looking at our choices when it comes to the day of the Lord. Is Mass the center of the day? It is what everything else is scheduled around? Is there rest? Or is the pursuit of honor, pleasure, money, or power more sought after? Chances are if the day of the Lord has been reduced to the hour of the Lord, and if that hour of the Lord is a lesser choice when given other options, than the rest of the week is likely just as godless.

While I do sympathize with those who became distraught at churches closing because of COVID-19, it greatly saddened me that for 65-70% of self-professed Catholics the closing of churches made no difference on what they did with Sunday. The closing of ball fields and stores had a greater impact. Yet, these same self-proclaimed Catholics will expect God's protecting hand and all the benefits of a relationship with Him, while ignoring God and disdaining His sacramental grace in favor of worldly idols and their promised benefits. Perhaps we would do well to look how that worked out for the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Now is the time of Jeremiah! The call to turn our backs on our idols of wealth, honor, power, and pleasure (and that includes our disproportionate and slavish relationship with sports, entertainment, and leisure) and put God back to being our only God and worshipping Him alone. We need to cultivate that virtue of fidelity to God in our lives. The devil will use every distraction, perceived good, selfish desire, and twisted logic to deter us from seeking such fidelity. The devil wants no better for us than the lot he himself is consigned to for eternity. He wants for us the same eternal broken relationship that he has chosen by his own infidelity. He will not warn us of the price of syncretism. He will encourage us to worship anything and everything as more pertinent to our lives than God; he is all too happy to have us treat God as some here-after insurance policy. We must fight him. Hold fast to the faith and relationship Christ has in store for us.
 
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 fearful to stand out in our culture, allowing the lure of worldly idols to turn our hearts against you. We have expected You to be pleased with our duplicitous hearts. We have, at times, been a source of scandal for those searching through our sinfulness and rebellion to You. In our fear, we have allowed the ancient foe to advance. We turn to You Lord, in our sorrow and guilt, and beg Your forgiveness for our syncretism and infidelity. 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 faithlessness and syncretism. 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 syncretism 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)
 

Third Sunday Of Lent

SAINTS FILICITY AND PERPETUA 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 4, Verse 9-10

9 However, be on your guard and be very careful not to forget the things your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart as long as you live, but make them known to your children and to your children’s children, 10 that day you stood before the Lord, your God, at Horeb, when the Lord said to me: Assemble the people for me, that I may let them hear my words, that they may learn to FEAR me as long as they live in the land and may so teach their children. 

Moses’ use of the word fear here is not in the sense of “be terrified,” but rather “manifest reverence or awe.” Christ’s mission of love was to move our hearts to reverence or the pure love of awe: A love in which the heart of the beloved longs to do good works secretly in emulation of the God that is good to saint and sinner alike. Our church often instructs us to increase in ourselves Faith, Hope and Charity.

 

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost…to labor and not to ask for reward, except to know that I am doing your will. (Saint Ignatius, Prayer for Generosity)

 

Lord, let me not fear death with an empty fear, but with a wise and holy fear. An empty fear does not make men any better, but a wise and holy fear urges them to improve their lives. I will prepare for death by trying today to please you more and more in my thoughts, desires, words and actions. If I live this day as You desire, I shall be ready at any moment, and death will be nothing worse than Your loving call. Amen[1] 

ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[2] 

CHAPTER I 

DIES DOMINI

From the Sabbath to Sunday

18. Because the Third Commandment depends upon the remembrance of God's saving works and because Christians saw the definitive time inaugurated by Christ as a new beginning, they made the first day after the Sabbath a festive day, for that was the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. The Paschal Mystery of Christ is the full revelation of the mystery of the world's origin, the climax of the history of salvation and the anticipation of the eschatological fulfilment of the world. What God accomplished in Creation and wrought for his People in the Exodus has found its fullest expression in Christ's Death and Resurrection, though its definitive fulfilment will not come until the Parousia, when Christ returns in glory. In him, the "spiritual" meaning of the Sabbath is fully realized, as Saint Gregory the Great declares: "For us, the true Sabbath is the person of our Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ". This is why the joy with which God, on humanity's first Sabbath, contemplates all that was created from nothing, is now expressed in the joy with which Christ, on Easter Sunday, appeared to his disciples, bringing the gift of peace and the gift of the Spirit (cf. Jn 20:19-23). It was in the Paschal Mystery that humanity, and with it the whole creation, "groaning in birth-pangs until now" (Rom 8:22), came to know its new "exodus" into the freedom of God's children who can cry out with Christ, "Abba, Father!" (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). In the light of this mystery, the meaning of the Old Testament precept concerning the Lord's Day is recovered, perfected and fully revealed in the glory which shines on the face of the Risen Christ (cf. 2 Cor 4:6). We move from the "Sabbath" to the "first day after the Sabbath", from the seventh day to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the dies Christi!

Third Sunday of Lent[3]

Christ again foreshadows His victory (this time over the devil), but as we move closer to Passiontide, He also hints at the way in which this will be done.

Third Sunday of Lent is called Oculi, from the first word of the Introit. In the primitive Church, it was called Scrutiny-Sunday, because it was on this day that they began to examine the Catechumens, who were to he admitted to Baptism on Easter night. All the Faithful were invited to assemble in the Church, in order that they might bear testimony to the good life and morals of the candidates. At Rome, these examinations, which where called the Scrutinies, were made on seven different occasions, on account of the great number of the aspirants to Baptism; but the principal Scrutiny was that held on the Wednesday of the Fourth Week We will speak of it later on. The Roman Sacramentary of St. Gelasius gives us the form, in which the Faithful were convoked to these assemblies. It is as follows. “Dearly beloved Brethren: you know that the day of Scrutiny, when our elect is to receive the holy instruction, is at hand. We invite you, therefore, to be zealous and assemble on N., (here, the day was mentioned,) at the hour of Sext; that so we may be able, by the divine aid, to achieve without error, the heavenly mystery, whereby is opened the gate of the kingdom of heaven, and the devil is excluded with all his pomp’s.” The invitation was repeated, if needed, on each of the following Sundays. The Scrutiny of this Sunday ended in the admission of a certain number of candidates: their names were written down, and put on the Diptychs of the Altar, that they might be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. The same also was done with the names of their Sponsors. The Station was, and still is, in the Basilica of Saint Laurence outside the walls. The name of this, the most celebrated of the Martyrs of Rome, would remind the Catechumens, that the Faith they were about to profess, would require them to be ready for many sacrifices.

·         The holy Church gave us, as the subject of our meditation for the first Sunday of Lent, the Temptation which our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to suffer in the Desert. Her object was to enlighten us with regard to our own temptations and teach us how to conquer them.

·         Today, she wishes to complete her instruction on the power and stratagems of our invisible enemies; and for this she reads to us a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke. During Lent, the Christian ought to repair the past, and provide for the future; but he can neither understand how it was he fell, nor defend himself against a relapse, unless he have correct ideas as to the nature of the dangers which have hitherto proved fatal, and are again threatening him.

·         Hence, the ancient Liturgists would have us consider it as a proof of the maternal watchfulness of the Church, that she should have again proposed such a subject to us. As we shall find, it is the basis of all today’s instructions. Assuredly, we should be the blindest and most unhappy of men, if, - surrounded as we are by enemies, who unceasingly seek to destroy us, and are so superior to us both in power and knowledge, - we were seldom or never to think of the existence of these wicked spirits. And yet, such is really the case with innumerable Christians now-a-days; for, truths are diminished from among the children of men [Ps. xi. 2].

·         So common, indeed, is this heedlessness and forgetfulness of truth, which the Holy Scriptures put before us in almost every page, that it is no rare thing to meet with persons who ridicule the idea of Devils being permitted to be on this earth of ours! They call it a prejudice, a popular superstition, of the Middle-Ages! Of course, they deny that it is a dogma of Faith. When we read the History of the Church or the Lives of the Saints, they have their own way of explaining whatever is there related on this subject. To hear them talk, one would suppose that they look upon Satan as a mere abstract idea, to be taken as the personification of evil.

·         When they would account for the origin of their own or others’ sins, they explain all by the evil inclination of man’s heart, and by the bad use we make of our free-will.

·         They never think of what we are taught by Christian doctrine; namely, that we are also instigated to sin by a wicked being, whose power is as great as is the hatred he bears us. And yet, they know, they believe, with a firm faith, that Satan conversed with our First Parents, and persuaded them to commit sin, and showed himself to them under the form of a serpent. They believe that this same Satan dared to tempt the Incarnate Son of God, and that he carried him through the air, and set him first upon a pinnacle of the Temple, and then upon a very high mountain. Again, they read in the Gospel, and they believe, that one of the Possessed, who were delivered by our Savior, was tormented by a whole legion of devils, who, upon being driven out of the man, went, by Jesus’ permission, into a herd of swine, and the whole herd ran violently into the sea of Genesareth, and perished in the waters. These, and many other such like facts, are believed, by the persons of whom we speak, with all the earnestness of faith; yet, notwithstanding, they treat as a figure of speech, or a fiction, all they hear or read about the existence, the actions, or the craft of these wicked spirits.

·         Are such people Christians, or have they lost their senses? One would scarcely have expected that this species of incredulity could have found its way into an age like this, when sacrilegious consultations of the devil have been, we might almost say, - fashionable. Means, which were used in the days of paganism, have been resorted to for such consultations; and they who employed them seemed to forget, or ignore, that they were committing what God in the Old Law, punished with death, and which, for many centuries, was considered by all Christian nations as a capital crime. But if there be one Season of the Year more than another in which the Faithful ought to reflect upon what is taught us both by faith and experience, as to the existence and workings of the wicked spirits, - it is undoubtedly this of Lent, when it is our duty to consider what have been the causes of our last sins, what are the spiritual dangers we have to fear for the future, and what means we should have recourse to for preventing a relapse. Let us, then, hearken to the Holy Gospel. Firstly, we are told, that the devil had possessed a man, and that the effect produced by this possession was dumbness.

·         Our Savior casts out the devil, and, immediately, the dumb man spoke. So that, the being possessed by the devil is not only a fact which testifies to God’s impenetrable justice; it is one which may produce physical effects upon them that are thus tried or punished. The casting out the devil restores the use of speech to him that had been possessed.

·         We say nothing about the obstinate malice of Jesus’ enemies, who would have it, that his power over the devils, came from his being in league with the prince of devils: - all we would now do is, to show that the wicked spirits are sometimes permitted to have power over the body, and to refute, by this passage from the Gospel, the rationalism of certain Christians.

·         Let these learn, then, that the power of our spiritual enemies is an awful reality; and let them take heed not to lay themselves open to their worst attacks, by persisting in the disdainful haughtiness of their Reason. Ever since the promulgation of the Gospel, the power of Satan over the human body has been restricted by the virtue of the Cross, at least in Christian countries; but this power resumes its sway as often as faith and the practice of Christian piety lose their influence. And here we have the origin of all those diabolical practices, which, under certain scientific names, are attempted first in secret, and then are countenanced by being assisted at by well-meaning Christians. Was it not that God and his Church intervene, such practices as these would subvert society? Christians! Remember your baptismal vow! You have renounced Satan: take care, then, that by a culpable ignorance you are not dragged into apostacy. It is not a phantom that you renounced at the Font; he is a real and formidable being, who, as our Lord tells us, was a murderer from the beginning [St. John, viii. 44].

·         But, if we ought to dread the power he may be permitted to have over our bodies; if we ought to shun all intercourse with him, and take no share in practices over which he presides, and which are the worship he would have men give him; - we ought, also, to fear the influence he is ever striving to exercise over our souls. See, what God’s grace has had to do in order to drive him from our soul! During this holy season, the Church is putting within your reach those grand means of victory, - Fasting, Prayer, and Alms deeds.

·         True sweets of peace will soon be yours, and, once more, you will become God’s temple, for both soul and body will have regained their purity. But be not deceived; your enemy is not slain. He is irritated; penance has driven him from you; but he has sworn to return. Therefore, fear a relapse into mortal sin; and in order to nourish within you this wholesome fear, meditate upon the concluding part of our Gospel. Our Savior tells it, that when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water. There he writhes under his humiliation; it has added to the tortures of the hell he carries everywhere with him and to which he fain would give some alleviation, by destroying souls that have been redeemed by Christ.

·         We read in the Old Testament that, sometimes, when the devils have been conquered, they have been forced to flee into some far-off wilderness: for example. The holy Archangel Raphael took the devil that had killed Sara’s husbands, and bound him in the desert of Upper Egypt [Tob. viii. 3]. But the enemy of mankind never despairs of regaining his prey. His hatred is as active now, as it was at the very beginning of the world, and he says: I will return into my house, whence I came out.

·         Nor will he come alone. He is determined to conquer; and therefore, he will, if he thinks it needed, take with him seven other spirits, even more wicked than himself. What a terrible assault is this that is being prepared for the poor soul, unless she be on the watch, and unless the peace, which God has granted her, be one that is well armed for war! Alas! with many souls the very contrary is the case, and our Savior describes the situation in which the devils finds them on his return: they are swept and garnished, and that is all! No precautions, no defense, no arms. One would suppose that they were waiting to give the enemy admission.

·         Then Satan, to make his re-possession sure, comes with a seven-fold force. The attack is made; - but there is no resistance, and straightway the wicked spirits entering in, dwell there; so that, the last state becometh worse than the first; for before, there was but one enemy, - and now there are many. In order that we may understand the full force of the warning conveyed to us by the Church in this Gospel, we must keep before us the great reality, that this is the acceptable time. In every part of the world, there are conversions being wrought; millions are being reconciled with God; divine Mercy is lavish of pardon to all that seek it. But will all persevere? They that are now being delivered from the power of Satan, - will they all be free from his yoke, when next year’s Lent comes round?

·         A sad experience tells the Church, that she may not hope so grand a result. Many will return to their sins, and that too before many weeks are over. And if the Justice of God overtake them in that state - what an awful thing it is to say it, yet it is true, - some, perhaps many, of these sinners will be eternally lost! Let us, then, be on our guard against a relapse; and in order that we may ensure our Perseverance, without which it would have been too little purpose to have been for a few days in God’s grace, - let us watch, and pray; let us keep ourselves under arms; let us ever remember that our whole life is to be a warfare. Our soldier-like attitude will disconcert the enemy, and he will try to gain victory elsewhere.

Prayer. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, regard the prayers of Thy humble servants, and stretch forth in our defense the right hand of Thy majesty.

EPISTLE. Ephesians v. 1-9.

Brethren: Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children. And walk-in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness. But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know ye this and understand that no fornicator, nor unclean, nor covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk ye as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.

Explanation. St. Paul here declares it to be the duty of every Christian, not only to walk in love, but also to abstain from fornication, impurity, and equivocal and immodest talk. No one, therefore, who is addicted to these vices can have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.

Aspiration. O Lord, free my heart from all inordinate desires for temporal goods and sensual pleasures. May a childlike fear of Thee guard my tongue, that I may not speak foolish or sinful words.

GOSPEL. Luke xi. 14-28.

At that time Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb; and when He had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it: but some of them said: He casteth out devils, by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. And others tempting, asked of Him a sign from heaven. But He seeing their thoughts said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out?

Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court: those things are in peace which he possesseth. But if a stronger than he come upon him and overcome him: he will take away all his armor wherein he trusted and will distribute his spoils. he that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. And it came to pass as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.

What are we to understand here by the dumb devil?

The evil spirit, who so controls those of whom he has possession that they are dumb, and through a false shame keep away from confession.

By what power did Christ cast out the devil?

By His divine power, which worked so suddenly and perfectly that the possessed was at once freed and able to speak.

How did Christ show the Jews that He did not cast out devils by Beelzebub?

1. By the parable in which He explains to them that the kingdom of Satan cannot stand if one evil spirit is cast out by another.

2. By pointing to their own children, some of whom were enabled to cast out devils by the power they had received from God (Mark ix. 37, 38).

3. By His whole life, and His works, which were in direct opposition to the devil.

Prayer. O Jesus, conqueror of the dumb devil, strengthen me, that if I should have the misfortune to sin against Thy holy commandments, I may have courage to overcome my false shame, and confess my sins in sincerity and humility. O my Savior, be Thou my leader in the fight, that I may foil those arms of the devil: my evil inclinations, idleness, bad company, bad books, and human respect, and grant that I may never relapse into sin, but serve Thee with perseverance. Amen.

Lenten Calendar[4]

Read: Take time to read the readings before going to Mass today. You can sign up to receive the daily readings. 

Reflect: Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. (Pope Francis, Message for Lent, 2014)

Pray: Pray in solidarity with refugees around the world.

Act: When confronted with your own weakness during Lent, dont give in to anger, frustration, and self-pity. Be patient and see yourself as God does, with unconditional love. 

Martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua[5]


Perpetua was twenty-two, well born, married and the mother of a tiny son still at her breast. Felicitas, an expectant mother, was a slave. They were among five catechumens whose arrest and imprisonment were meant as a warning to the other Christians in Carthage in the year 203. Tormented by her father who was a pagan and wanted her to apostatize, terrified by the darkness and stifling heat of the dungeon where they were imprisoned, Perpetua's greatest suffering nevertheless was for her baby who was with her.

Baptism, however, drove away her fears and with the coming of the Holy Spirit she was at peace and the prison became to her as a palace; in visions she learned the manner of their martyrdom and caught glimpses of what awaits souls in the life after death. Among these was a vision of Purgatory where she saw her little brother Dinocratus suffering.

Dinocratus had died when he was only seven, painfully ulcerated about the face. Perpetua saw him "coming out of a dark place where there were many others," dirtily clad, pale, with the wound still on his face, and he was very hot and thirsty. Near him was a fountain but its brim was higher than he could reach and, though he stood on tiptoe, he could not drink. By this vision she knew he needed her prayers, and she prayed for him night and day. On the day the Christians were put in stocks, she had another vision and saw Dinocratus freed. This time he was clean and finely clothed, on his face was a clean scar and beside him a low fountain reaching only to his waist. On the edge of the fountain was a golden cup ever full of water, and Dinocratus drank. "And when he had drunk, he came away — pleased to play, as children will."

In the meantime, Felicitas was worried for fear her baby would not be born in time for her to die for Christ with her companions. There was a law which forbade throwing even a Christian woman to the wild beasts if she was with child. Three days before they were to go to the arena, they prayed God would permit the birth of her child, and as soon as their prayers were done, her labor began. She gave birth to a little girl who was afterward adopted by her sister.

At last, the scene of their martyrdom and in its Perpetua and Felicity were told to put on the garments of pagan priestesses, the two refused and so were stripped naked, covered with nets, and sent to face assault by a maddened cow said to have been used in insult to their womanhood and their maternity. Strangely enough the audience — screaming for blood though it was — yet was touched by the sight of these two so young and so valiant, and the people shuddered.

Perpetua and Felicitas were called back and clothed in loose robes. Now Perpetua was thrown, her garment rent, and her thigh gored. Regaining her feet, she gathered her tunic over her thigh so in suffering she would not appear immodest and looking about found her fallen hair ornament and repinned her hair least one soon to be a martyr seem to grieve in her glory. Looking for Felicitas, she gave assistance to her and standing together they awaited another attack. But the mob cried, "Enough," and the two were led off to the headsman's block. Catching sight of her brother, Perpetua cried out: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." Felicitas was struck down first then Perpetua — but only after the nervous swordsman had struck her once and failed to sever her head. The second time she guided his sword with her own hands. So brave, and so full of love; perhaps if she were dying now, she would exhort us to be brave and full of love in slightly different words. Perhaps she would cry out, "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our color be a stumbling block to you." Perpetua was white, and Felicitas was black.

MARCH EVENTS

Spring Break in Panama City Beach

Slap on your sunscreen and grab your shades for a laid-back spring break on Panama City Beach. This sunny haven on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico beckons with its tagline, “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” You’ll see why once you sink your toes into its unique sugar-white sand.

Daytona Bike Week

Rev up for a week of diesel and fun at Daytona Bike Week. The annual motorcycle rally attracts some of the fiercest bikers, clad in leather (and sometimes little else) to celebrate the freedom of the open road.

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-6th Sunday

·         Manhood of the Master-week 3 day 5

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary

 

 



[1] Paone, Anthony J., S.J. My Daily Bread, Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

[4]http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/march-24.cfm

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