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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

 

"FIAT NOVENA" - NOVENA OF DAYS FROM CHRIST'S CONCEPTION TO DEATH
This year, there "happens" to be a novena of days from Christ's conception (Annunciation) to His death on the cross (Good Friday).
Mary's "Yes" is called the Fiat: in Latin, "Let it be done." Mary's "Yes" opened the way to God among us.
Joseph was also asked to give his "Yes" to the calling of being the foster father of Our Lord.
And, of course, Jesus offers His "Yes" as He would suffer and die on the cross for our sins.
I want to give my "Yes" too!!
To consecrate yourself is to answer God's call to spiritual consecration. This means making a conscious, willing decision to dedicate your soul, mind, heart, and body to God. In essence, by this consecration, we are saying, "I'M ALL IN!!"
I have discerned that I will be making an Act of Consecration to all Three Hearts - Jesus, Mary & Joseph - on each of these nine days (March 25 - April 2).
Please join me. 
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
By St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.
I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.
I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants. Amen. 
Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
By St. Maximilian Kolbe
O Immaculata, Queen of heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, N..., a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you. If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and, "You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world." Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against your enemies. 
Act of Consecration to the Chaste Heart of St. Joseph
O Glorious Patriarch and Patron of the Catholic Church! O Virgin Spouse of God, and guardian and foster father of the Incarnate Word! In the presence of Jesus and Mary, I choose thee this day to be my guardian and father.
O thou whom God has constituted Head of the Holy Family, accept me, I beseech thee, though utterly unworthy, to be a poor little servant in thy holy house. Present me to thy Immaculate Spouse, ask her also to accept me as a servant and to adopt me as a child. With her, teach me, thou who art a master of the interior life, how to converse constantly with Jesus and how to serve Him faithfully in all things to the end of my life.
To thy custody was committed the Living Bread of Heaven, to be dispensed to thy starving brethren. O, with Mary help me to prepare the poor stable of my heart to receive, worthily and often, the Bread of my salvation. Let me receive it from thy hands and from those of Mary, as often as I approach the Holy Table.
O my tender and watchful father, I hereby consecrate myself to thee; and I firmly purpose and resolve never to leave thee, and never to say or do anything, nor to suffer anyone under my charge to say or do anything, against thy honor! O thou head of the house of God upon earth, in faithful imitation of Jesus and Mary, I place myself and all my concerns under thy care and protection. To thee, after Jesus and Mary, I consecrate my body and soul with all their faculties, my spiritual progress, my home, and all my affairs and undertakings.
Forsake me not, but adopt me as a servant and a child of the Holy Family. Watch over me at all times, but especially in the last awful hour of my life on earth: then visit, console, and strengthen me with Jesus and Mary, that with them and thee I may sing the praises of the adorable Trinity for all eternity. Amen.

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

On the old TV show Bewitched, there was a character named Mrs. Cravitz. Mrs. Cravitz sat by her blinds, watching outside for anything that didn't look normal. and would yell for her husband, Abner, every time she had something to report. If I were to pick a character that dominates the media now, it would be Mrs. Cravitz. We seemingly can't get enough gossip. The more famous the person, the more gossip. We have TV shows dedicated to celebrity gossip. We have websites dedicated to gossip. We have collectively taken the attitude that, "if you have nothing nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me."

The type of gossip I am talking about is what we call calumny and detraction. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, one who commits detraction is one who "without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them" and one who commits calumny is one who, "by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them" (CCC 2477).

Gossip is an act in which we seek to destroy the reputation of another person for whatever reason. Many times, gossip is a passive-aggressive form of vengeance. Sometimes gossip is done for pure blood-sport. This is especially true in politics. Gossip is done as a way of distracting people from the problems the gossiper has. Sometimes it is done to position oneself as better in the eyes of others, to get some worldly prize. Whatever reason it is done, it is a sin against charity.

Both calumny and detraction rely on a third leg for this dismal and demonic trifecta: rash judgement. The Catechism refers to one who commits rash judgement as one "who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor" (CCC 2477). To engage in gossip is to act as if we expect the absolute worst, in motivations and actions, from the person being gossiped about. Furthermore, it is a sin against Jesus' teaching.  In Matthew 18:15-20, gossiping about one who has sinned, or appears to have sinned, is NOT one of the steps of fraternal correction. As followers of Christ, we are to seek the conversion of those who have sinned, not their public ridicule. It is most difficult to inspire conversion through destroying another person's good name.

This becomes mortally sinful with lies, when either through unwarranted speculation or outright maleficence, the gossip is not true. One then sins against the 8th Commandment: "Thou shall not bear false witness".

We see this in the Church with great regularity. Many times, in Catholic social media and in the blogosphere, we see stories that are little more than exercises in rash judgement, detraction, and calumny. As a priest, I would say that gossip is all too often an occupational hazard among clerics. I know I can justify it from time to time. I can sound like a not-to-be-named nineties TV character who said, "I don't gossip. Maybe sometimes I find out things or hear something and I pass that information on... You know...kind of like a public service." We can make all kinds of excuses for our gossip. It is sinful.

People come to me and ask, "When is it considered gossip?" My first question is, "Have you talked to that person about this?" That would be the first step in the scriptural method for fraternal correction. Second, I ask if you are seeking that person's conversion or humiliation. If it is the former, then you need to talk to that person per the teachings of Christ. If it is the latter, then sin is incurred. In short, we should cultivate charity within our own heart. Jesus warns us that the "measure you use against others will be the same measure that will be used on you" (Matthew 7:2). If we spent the time we waste on gossip, praying for the good of the person we gossip about, we would find ourselves in a much holier and peaceful place.

Now, please excuse me as I contemplate all possible meanings of "Physician heal thyself."

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts against our brothers and sisters. We have gossiped about our brothers and sisters instead of seeking their conversion and good. We have allowed rash judgement to harden our hearts. We have expected You to be pleased with or blind to our sin. 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 gossip in all its forms. We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us what You sought to build up in Your apostles in that tempest-tossed boat. We know, Lord, if You will it, it will be done. Trusting in You, we offer our prayer to You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen

 
Prayer of Exorcism

Lord God of heaven and earth, in Your power and goodness, You created all things. You set a path for us to walk on and a way to an eternal relationship. By the strength of Your arm and Word of Your mouth, cast from Your Holy Church every fearful deceit of the devil. Drive from us manifestations of the demonic that oppress us and beckon us to gossip. 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 gossip, detraction, calumny, and rash judgement 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 Precious Blood of Jesus

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son
of the Eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, etc.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony,
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness,
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs,
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors,
Blood of Christ, bringing forth virgins,
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
Blood of Christ, pledge of Eternal Life,
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.
R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

Let us pray:
Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg of Thee, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. 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)
 

Thursday (Solemnity)

ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD-TOLKIEN

 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, Verse 21-22

21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the Lord has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the word does not come true, it is a word the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not FEAR him. 

Even saints at times may have spoken presumptuously. Let us meditate on the words of Padre Pio, “Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going.” 

 

This is the great beauty of the Holy Spirit for it tells us when even a very holy person speaks not every word they speak comes from God. We error sometimes in this way, making men into gods; but a heart that is filled with the spirit of God is filled with quiet joy and even if the person were to be imprisoned, they can find true freedom; because of the inner security of the heart. Let us never forget that Satan does his utmost to destroy mankind. In a thousand ways he plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. On this subject, the following instruction given by Our Blessed Mother to Venerable Mary d' Agreda, is worth quoting: "My daughter," she says, "by no power of human words wilt thou in this mortal life ever succeed in describing the evil of Lucifer and his demons against men, or the malice, astuteness, deceits and ruses, with which, in his wrath, he seeks to bring them into sin and later on to eternal torments. He tries to hinder all good works . . . All the malice of which his own mind is capable, he attempts to inject into souls. Against these attacks, God provides admirable protection if men will only co-operate and correspond on their part." Among the means provided by God for our protection, is the ready recourse we may have at all times to the strengthening Blood of Christ. "This Blood," declares St. John Chrysostom, "has the power to drive away the evil spirits and to draw to our side the good angels, aye, the King of Angels, and to blazen the way to Heaven." Fortified by the Precious Blood, let us place ourselves under the leadership of St. Michael and unfurl everywhere the banner of our Faith, without fear of godlessness. If Satan tries to induce us to sin, and promises honors, riches, happiness on conditions that we omit a good work, or commit an evil deed, let us ever oppose the tempter with the energetic words: Who is like unto God? God is my only treasure, my highest Good, His Blood is upon me, and "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil." If in time of temptation, we have the courage to rebuke the evil one and call upon the assistance of our leader, St. Michael, the enemy will surely be put to flight. But if we wish to enjoy the great Archangel's protection, we must also imitate his virtues, particularly his humility and his zeal for God's glory.

 

"O great St. Michael, take us 'neath thy shield, Thy mighty power in our favor wield!"[1]


Feast of the Annunciation[2]

The feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus, it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God. — The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . .. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."

 

973 By pronouncing her "fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body.

Things to Do[3]

·         This feast is very important in the defense of the life of unborn children. Even with small children, this is a good day to begin teaching about the high value God places on human life. He loved us so much that he became one of us, took on our human nature and became an innocent, completely dependent infant.

·         This is a Solemnity, so when this feast falls during the Lenten season, our Lenten penance obligations are lifted. We should celebrate by some special food or dinner. This feast day forecasts the blessed event of Christmas and illustrates how the liturgical year is an endless circle of days. To celebrate this circle or cycle, serve a cake, coffee rings, or wreath-shaped cookies, or foods shaped in ring molds for this feast day. A perfect symbolic food would be an angel food cake for the archangel Gabriel, baked in a tube pan for the endless circle, decorated with the frosting highlighted with blue for Mary.

·         A traditional food for this day is waffles. "Lady Day" or Annunciation is the only feast of Mary that Sweden still celebrates since the Lutheran faith became the state religion in 1593. In most of Europe, waffles are a traditional feast day food, but on the feast of the Annunciation in Sweden this is THE "Waffle Day" (Vaffeldagen), where waffles are served either for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with lingonberries or cloudberries.

Feast of the Annunciation[4]

THIS feast is so called from the announcement to the Blessed Virgin, by the archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the mother of the Messias. In the Introit of the Mass the Church refers to this high dignity of Mary’s: All the rich shall entreat thy countenance; after her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. My heart hath uttered a good word, I speak my works to the King.

Prayer. O God, Who didst please that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be blessed by her intercession with Thee.

EPISTLE. Isaias vii. 10-15.

In those days the Lord spoke to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also?

Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good.

Instruction on The Angelic Salutation, Or Hail Mary.

Why is this prayer called the Hail Mary, Angelic Salutation? Because it begins with the words which the archangel Gabriel addressed to the Blessed Virgin when he announced to her that she should be the Mother of God.

Of what does the Angelic Salutation consist?

1. Of the words of the archangel Gabriel.

2. Of the words of St. Elizabeth.

3. Of words which have been added thereto by the Catholic Church.

Which are the words of the archangel Gabriel? Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.

What is the meaning of these words? The words; Hail Mary indicate that profound veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was felt by the archangel Gabriel, and which we, in imitation of his example, ought also to cherish. The words full of grace remind us that God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin greater graces than upon all men and angels together; and that not for herself alone, but for us also; they therefore encourage us to pray to Mary with fervor and confidence, that by her powerful intercession she will obtain for us the graces necessary for our salvation. The Lord is with thee; these words express the peculiar complacency with which God has regarded her, on account of which He wrought in her special miracles of wisdom, omnipotence, and benignity. Let us rejoice with Mary over these prerogatives, and implore her to intercede for us, that God may be with us also, to sustain us by His almightiness, to govern us by His wisdom, to incite us to all that is good by the fire of His infinite love. Finally, the words Blessed art thou among women are as much as to say: Thou art the happiest of all women, since thou alone of them all hast no stain of sin on thee; thou art chosen to be the Mother of God; thou shalt conceive Him by the Holy Ghost, and shalt bring Him forth without losing thy virginity. Thus, it was that the angel saluted the most blessed Virgin, and yet there are men who are ashamed thus to salute Mary, and to give praise for the graces which God conferred upon her.

Which are the words of Elizabeth, and what do they mean? And blessed is the fruit of thy womb; the word blessed is equivalent to praised. In saying these words, therefore, we desire that the fruit of Mary’s womb, Jesus, may be worshipped and praised by all men.

Which are the words which the Catholic Church has added? To the words Blessed is the fruit of thy womb she has added; Jesus; in order thereby to explain them, and to indicate that this prayer is to be offered in the name of Jesus. There upon follow the words, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

What do these words mean? With the words, Holy Mary, we apply to her who is full of grace as our intercessor, and thereby are reminded to strive to imitate her holiness, if we would be sure of her intercession, and of being heard before God. We call her Mother of God, because she brought forth Jesus, the Son of God. Thereby we at the same time remind her that she is our mother also, and pray her to care for us as a mother; not as though we believed she could of herself help us, but with the design that she should offer to God her all-prevailing prayers for us; hence we say, Pray for us, adding, sinners. By these words we remind Mary of our misery, and ourselves of our powerlessness for good, and of our guiltiness in the sight of God, praying her to procure for us the grace of God to do true penance, to acquire virtues, and to gain true peace, and that; now, inasmuch as at every moment, and throughout our whole life, we have so many dangers to meet, so many virtues to gain; and at the hour of our death, that we may overcome the temptations of the last decisive hour, and stand complete victors before the throne of the eternal Judge. Amen, so may it be, is, as it were, to repeat and make stronger the whole prayer.

GOSPEL. Luke i. 26-38.

At that time the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be?

And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore, also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy Cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.

Salutation to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

Hail, Mary, full of grace! I rejoice, and give joy to thee, that thou hast been chosen the Mother of the Most High, and the queen of heaven and earth. With thee is the Father Who begot, from all eternity, Him Whom thou didst bring forth as God-man in time; with thee is the Son, Whom thou didst bear in thy virginal womb; with thee is the Holy Ghost, overshadowed by Whose power thou didst become the Mother of the Redeemer of the world. Praised, therefore, be thou, thou blessed among women; thou daughter of the Most High; thou bride of the Holy Ghost; thou joy of heaven; thou ornament of the Church of God; thou honor of Christians. Oh, pray God for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

Solemnize the Day[5]

Therefore, is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary's obedience from the power of hell, solemnize this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God's people: ‘The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars, and He Himself overthrew the gates of the enemies.’ Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: 'Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel; and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night. . .. The almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.'

Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

Lenten Calendar[6]

 

Read: Exactly nine months before we celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord

 

Reflect: In today’s Gospel, we hear how Mary answered God’s call to bear his only Son. How are you called to serve the Lord in your daily life? Are you paying attention to what God is asking of you?

 

Pray: Add the Angelus to your daily prayer today.  

 

Act: Say the Hail Mary before your mealtime prayer today with your family.

 

Tolkien Reading Day[7]

Although founded in 2002, the First Tolkien Reading Day wasnt until March 25th, 2003. This is because a journalist from New York enquired as to whether or not there was such an event for Tolkien in January 2002 and the society liked the idea so much, they adopted it although they didnt have time to prepare anything for that year and postponed it. The society chose an important date from the book for the reading day. March 25th is the Downfall of Sauron.

In recent years The Tolkien Society have provided information packs, bookmarks and posters for schools taking part in this event. They have also provided free posters for events held by libraries and the general public taking place near to the event, rather than on the 25th.

Observances

With the popularity of the Lord of The Rings film trilogy firmly influencing the popularity of the books, Tolkien Reading Day was set up with hopes of getting even more people reading and discovering that there is much more to Tolkien than just The Lord of the Rings.

Typical events consist of readings and discussions, but some groups re-enact scenes from the Lord of the Rings books.

Lord of the Rings[8]


 

A battle against evil alone does not make The Lord of the Rings fundamentally Christian and Catholic; and yet there are many ways that it is.

 

Here are some of the ways The Lord of the Rings is a Christian myth.

1.      Darkness pervades Middle earth where man, beast and nature are called to an adventure full of peril and hope. Here is how Elijah Wood explains the film's dominant theme: No matter how bad things are, no matter how much evil there is in this world, there is always some good worth fighting for, worth standing up for, and worth some effort in carrying on.

2.      The One Ring illustrates how evil can entice and enslave. Beautiful gold rings are enticing to wear. But when we slip them on our fingers, we announce our devotion and loyalty to their owner.

3.      Gandalf and Saruman, while not analogous, have traits, goals, and experiences similar to those of Jesus and Satan. Gandalf is even tempted in a battle with Saruman not unlike Christ is tempted by Satan in the wilderness.

4.      Evil is parasitic and can only destroy that which was created. Everything that (God) created in Middle-earth (and in our world) is good. It is the perversion and corruption of what was created that is evil. Good can exist on its own. Evil can only live off what is good.

5.      Like all Christians, Frodo is called to risk his life through great peril to save others. Frodo, like us, does not appear to be up to the task. He does not have any obvious talent suited for war. But he is chosen, as we are. We are all necessary for God's grand plan to be fulfilled; and even the most unlikely and disgusting Gollum-like beast in our life is necessary. And when Frodo asks, "What can a little hobbit do?" — Isaiah answers, "A little child will lead them" (11:6).

6.      In the Shire, the Hobbits come naturally to living a beatific life that Christ calls Christians to live by. The Hobbits are the meek that inherit the earth, the merciful who receive mercy, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers. (Mt. 5:3-12)

7.      Like all Christians, Tolkien's characters are called to play roles in a story that is much greater and more important than they are aware. Just as we are not aware of all that has happened before us, so Gandalf, at the end of The Hobbit, says to Bilbo, "You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? "you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"

8.      There is a longing for the return of the king. As Christians long for the return of Christ the King, so the free people of Middle-earth long for their kingdoms to be once more united in peace and justice under the rightful heir. Did I mention that Aragorn looks like Christ?

9.      The Fellowship of the Ring is constituted of different characters with different gifts suited for battling evil — the diversity keeps them united. This is not unlike the diversity of spiritual gifts and temporal talents given to the different members of the Christian community for the unity of the body — so that we might be dependent on each other.

10.  Upon leaving Lorien, each of the Fellowship members are given custom fitted Elvish hooded cloaks not unlike St. Paul's armor in Ephesians 6:10-17. Again, Tolkien disliked allegory; so, the cloaks are not exactly like St. Paul's armor of salvation. But they do have mystical traits of great aid that keep them safe in their battle with evil.

A Catholic Core The Lord of the Rings is also Catholic.

 

11.  There are sacraments not symbols. For their journey, Galadriel graciously bestows upon the Fellowship — a representation of the church — seven mystical gifts: no mere symbols these, but glimmering reflections of the Church's seven sacraments — the conveying of spiritual grace through temporal rites. And at her Mirror, Galadriel derides the Reformers' taunt of Eucharistic magic in the Mass when she says: "For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same words for the deceits of the enemy."

12.  As grace and creation is experienced through a sacrament, so control and destruction is experienced through an anti-sacrament — the One Ring. The ring that Frodo bears is not symbolic, but rather operates as an anti-sacrament. Dependent on a person's spiritual disposition, a sacrament literally allows grace and life to flow into a person through the physical realm. Likewise, in Middle-earth, the characters' spiritual disposition makes them more or less susceptible to the anti-sacrament power of the ring, which if worn, literally brings evil and destruction upon the bearer.

13.  The protagonists pursue absolutes, rejecting any willingness to compromise or relativize. In Middle earth there is an absoluteness of what is right and wrong. There is no hint of moral relativism that separates the different peoples, races, or creators of the freelands. Aragorn says to Eomer: "Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men."

14.  The protagonists embrace suffering as a requirement of working out their salvation. It isn't enough to simply believe or have faith to be free of the tyranny of evil each of our protagonists must sacrifice and work hard through great peril to secure their salvation and the right ordering of their world.

15.  The Shire, described as the ideal community, reflects the social teachings of Catholicism. The Hobbits benefit from a community structure with little formal organization and less conflict. They work only enough to survive and otherwise enjoy each other's company. There is no jealousy, no greed, and rarely does anyone do anything unexpected. There is a wholeness and graciousness about it that seems to come naturally out of selflessness.

16.  Gandalf, the steward of all things good in the world, reflects the papacy. Gandalf is leader of the free and faithful. He is steward of all things good in the world, but he claims rule over no land. As the Popes of history did with kings and emperors of our world, so Gandalf crowns the king and blesses him to rule with justice and peace.

17.  Middle-earth ideology reflects a corporate moral hierarchy and not individualism. There is no democracy or republic in Middle-earth. There are spiritual leaders like Gandalf, and Kings like Theoden and Elessar with lords and vassals. There is no defense of individualism, no claim of choice, and no justification for an individual to follow his conscience.

18.  There is a mystical Lady, like The Blessed Mother, who responds miraculously to pleas for help. The Lady is named Varda (or in Elvish, Elbereth or star-queen) and although she is never seen, she's is described as holy and queenly; and when her name is invoked — "O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! — as Frodo and Sam do on occasion, miracles follow that protect the quest and defeat the present enemy.

19.  The sign of the cross. At the end of the first movie (and the beginning of the second book) Aragorn kneels beside the mortally wounded Boromir — and as he dies, Aragorn makes a rudimentary sign of the cross touching first his forehead and then his lips. It is a salute to Avatar, the One who created all.

20.  There is a last sharing of cup and bread, not unlike O.T. manna and its fulfillment in The Eucharist.Before the Fellowship departs from Lorien, Galadriel bids each to participate in a farewell ritual and drink from a common cup. More significant is the mystical Elvish food given to the fellowship — lembas or waybread. A small amount of this supernatural nourishment will sustain a traveler for many days.

All of this should make viewing or reading The Lord of the Rings a more interesting and insightful experience for both Christians and Catholics.

Daily Devotions

·         do a personal eucharistic stations of the cross.

·         Manhood of the Master-week 6 day 2

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Get to Mass as today is a Solemnity

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary




[2]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2017-03-25

[4] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[7]https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/tolkien-reading-day/

[8]https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/art/20-ways-the-lord-of-the-rings-is-both-christian-and-catholic.html



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