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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

 


Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Acedia
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 Acedia" by Fr. Rick Heilman

Recently, I wrote a reflection on pride. I said, "Pride is the Biggie," because it's "the sin that is most at work to divide and destroy our culture." Although I believe that to be true, I would say the most dominant sin that characterizes our culture today is acedia. Acedia has been referred to as the "noonday devil."

"Acedia" originates from the Greek, akèdia, meaning "lack of care." It's a kind of indifference or a "lack of spiritual energy," which is a phrase from the book by Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., The Noonday devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times. Nault, the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Wandrille in France, is one of the world's experts on acedia. I recall the acclaim this book had in 2015, and I ordered it right away. I highly recommend it.

Nault references how it came to be called, "the noonday devil." In the writings of Evagrius of Pontus (345-399, one of the Desert Fathers), he explained that acedia manifests itself as a temptation for the monk to depart his cell. This temptation is often worst around midday, hence the "noonday devil."

The reasons for abandoning his cell could all be reasonable or even noble: He may want to work on his health, or he is just seeking a change of scenery, or maybe he wants to visit family, or he believes he could help more people outside his cell. Therefore, acedia doesn't necessarily always have to do with laziness. It could be manifested in activism.

Acedia can often be associated with "spiritual instability," a kind of restlessness. So, the soul may find itself horrified by its commitments, even abhor the spiritual life. The soul finds itself stuck in a kind of spiritual malaise which prevents it from advancing in the spiritual life.

St. Thomas Aquinas said of acedia that it is a "sadness about spiritual good." It's a sadness of even the ultimate good of union with God. How can that be? St. Thomas says that man can become sad at the prospect of union with God because it requires him to give up goods to which he is attached.

Once someone detaches from their call to advance in the spiritual life, they can become satisfied with what St. Thomas calls a mere "animal beatitude." In other words, we demote ourselves to mere animals, aimlessly feeding the flesh with all its lust and wants. Once this fails, and it usually does, we are left to fall into a nihilism, or even a hatred of being.

For a soul adrift in acedia, and therefore unstable with loss of meaning and purpose in life, he is left to vacillate between reducing himself to just another animal species, or worse, a blight on an otherwise perfect natural world. Is this sounding familiar yet? It should be; it is pervasive thought in a world becoming more and more disconnected from God.

How did we get here, and how do we get out of this epidemic of acedia in our culture, and even in our Church? I continue to believe we Catholics deserve much of the blame. Why? This is where I point to a previous reflection I gave on lukewarmness. Recall it was Pope St. Pius V who went so far as to say, "All the evil in the world is due to lukewarm Catholics."

If we are the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ - and we are - then we were called to lift the world out of the emptiness of acedia that leads to believing we are mere animals. Yet, for more than 50 years, we have been peddling a weak and watered-down religion; a religion that denies the power of God; a religion of "activism" that seems to abhor the call to advance in the spiritual life. It almost seems like the proponents of this modern-day Catholic religion were (and are), themselves, plagued with acedia. Some even militate against a restoration of sacred beauty and sacred worship. "It's too much," they proclaim. "People won't like our Church if we promote all the 'sacred stuff.'" In essence, they are saying, "We need to be a 'Church of Acedia' in order to reach those caught in acedia." And so, the acedia is left to spread like a virus.

In Paul's letter to Timothy, he warned about just such a time as ours: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Thank God, many are talking about the need for us to repent. But repent from what? We must repent from creating a Church that has the "form of godliness but denies its power."  This renewed faith and trust in the power of God, and worshiping as though we actually believe in it, is the antidote for our global pandemic: acedia.

 
Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward fearfully allowing the spread of acedia throughout our nation and the Catholic Church. We have fallen into this widespread acedia when we have not lived up to the call of our baptism to, day-by-day, deepen our love and faith in You. We have been too easily swayed by the poor example of the Catholic acedia, in churches everywhere, and have not encouraged a deeper sense of supernatural faith. In our weakness, we have allowed the ancient foe to advance. We turn to You Lord, in our sorrow and guilt, and beg Your forgiveness for any of our own acedia or our lack of resolve to lift souls out of this spiritual malaise. We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us the strength and endurance to be this visible light of fervent faith in You. 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 acedia. Still the lying tongue of the devil and his forces so that we may act freely and faithfully to do Your will. Send Your holy angels to cast out all influence that the demonic entities in charge of acedia 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 St. Joseph

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.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, etc.
Light of the patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Watchful defender of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most valiant,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of workmen ,
Glory of domestic life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the afflicted,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,

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.

He made him the lord of His household,
And prince over all His possessions.

Let Us Pray.
O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother, grant that as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in Heaven, Thou Who livest and reignest forever and ever. R. 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)
 

Wednesday after Laetare Sunday: End of Mid-Lent

feast of St. Patrick 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 10, Verse 12-13

12 Now, therefore, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to FEAR the Lord, your God, to follow in all his ways, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with your whole heart and with your whole being, 13 to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord that I am commanding you today for your own well-being?

 

What is meant by serving God?

 

Doing the will of God in all things which He requires of us, in whatever state of life we may be placed, and doing this with fidelity, with unwearied zeal, and out of love for Him. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896)

 

When we are bored and familiar with routine work, let us generously offer ourselves to the Lord for He indeed knows our needs and will take care of our well-being.

 

Preparing for Battle[1]Know Your Enemy 

God allows evil because He’s powerful enough to bring out of even the greatest evil a much greater good. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ provides a vivid illustration of this reality. Meanwhile, our days in this life provide a season for God to test, purify, strengthen, and perfect us, making us fit to live with Him forever in heaven. To that end, the demons serve as useful tools for Him as they constantly test us by tempting us, so that we become purer and stronger and closer to perfection every time we resist the temptation. In this sense, we might say, quoting St. Augustine: “As an artist, God makes use even of the Devil.” 

Each one should judge his own conduct without having to compare it with what someone else has done. (Gal. 6:4) 

In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved. (St. John of the Cross)[2] 

Let us remember Christ’s words to us on service, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (Mk. 8:34-35) Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life. True discipleship is total commitment to Christ through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself.

 

End of Mid-Lent[3] Saint Patrick 

Introit of the Mass: The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, to be the prince of the sanctuary and of His people, that the dignity of priesthood should be to him forever. O Lord remember David and all his meekness. 

Prayer. O God, Who wast pleased to send blessed Patrick, Thy bishop and confessor, to preach Thy glory to the gentiles, grant that, by his merits and intercession, we may, through Thy grace, be enabled to keep Thy commandments. Amen. 

EPISTLE. Ecclus. xliv. 17, 20, 22, 21; xlv. 3, 8, 20. 

Behold, a great priest, who, in his days, pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath was made a reconciliation. There was not found one like him that kept the law of the Most High. Therefore, with an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He established with him an everlasting covenant, and gave him a great priesthood, and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness. 

GOSPEL. Matt. xxv. 14-23. 

At that time Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: A man going into a far country called his servants, and delivered to them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to everyone according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey. And he that had received the five talents went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. And in like manner he that had received the two gained other two. But he that had received the one, going his way, digged into the earth and hid his lord’s money. But after a long time, the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above. His lord said to him: Well, done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things I will place thee over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliverest two talents to me: behold I have gained other two. His lord said to him: Well, done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

 

ST. PATRICK[4] was born towards the close of the fourth century, but the place of his birth is not positively known. Britain and Scotland both claim the honor, but the best authorities seem to agree upon Brittany, in France. In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snows, rain, and ice. The young man had recourse to God with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery under the same master St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the seacoast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel. After three days sail, they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions. Patrick assured the company that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came into a country that was cultivated and inhabited. Some years afterwards he was again led captive but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers’ visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. Great opposition was made to his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relations and by the clergy; but the Lord, whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland to preach the Gospel, penetrating into the remotest corners; and such was the fruit of his preaching’s and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, but gave freely of his own, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions. He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185 and translated to another part of the same church. 




A WARRIOR’S BREASTPLATE[5]

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, his might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need; the wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward; the word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard. 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, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in the hearts of all that love me, Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.  Amen 

Things to Do[6]

 

·         This is a good day to honor St. Patrick by trying typical Irish fare: corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, scones, stew, Shepherd's pie, potatoes in various forms and the famous beer and spirits of Ireland. For dessert, try making the Irish Porter Cake.

·         Read the Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick. Here is an older translation — pray it with your family after your rosary tonight.

·         From the Catholic Culture library: The Conversion of Ireland by Warren Carroll, The Irish Soldiers of Mexico by Michael Hogan, The Irish Madonna of Hungary by Zsolt Aradi and Our Lady in Old Irish Folklore and Hymns by James F. Cassidy.

·         Don your friendliest green for St. Patrick’s Day. Boston is the place to be, with the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day Parade drawing anywhere from 600,000 to 1 million people every year.

 

Saint Patrick's Day Facts & Quotes[7]

 

·         St. Patrick used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Trinity to non-Christians.  The leaves stood for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

·         Approximately 5.5 million pints of Irish Guinness stout are consumed on an average day. On St. Patrick's Day, nearly 13 million are consumed.

·         Wearing the shamrock, a three-leaf clover is a St. Patrick's Day tradition. The official three-leaf clover is known scientifically as Trifolium dubium however clovers can also have more leaves. Four-leaf clovers are said to be lucky, however the odds of finding one are about 1 to 10,000.

·         The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. - St. Patrick

·         Sláinte! - used when clinking glasses with friends at a bar (equivalent of Cheers or Health!)

 

Saint Patrick's Day Top Events and Things to Do

 

·         Wear green! In some parts of the world, the custom is to pinch people who aren't wearing the color of shamrocks.

·         Attend a St. Patrick's Day parade.  Major cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, and Boston host marching bands and floats.

·         The heart of any Irish neighborhood is its local pub. Share a couple of green Guinness beers with friends at a local Irish pub or try Magner's (Bulmer's) apple cider as an alternative.

·         St. Patrick was a brave and humble man.  Have you been putting off something because you are afraid to do it?  Do it today in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

 

Almsgiving[8] 


When we consider God valued the human person as so precious enough to die for, we should make a concerted effort to aid others. 

The giving of Alms has everything to do with devotions and piety. Almsgiving is a powerful form of prayer. “Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness…It is better to give alms than to store up gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life” (Tob 12:8-9) To give alms is to give to God. If we are giving alms righteously then most likely we are doing it though some form of fasting giving from our substance. The giving of Alms should not philanthropy with a smiling photo op and boost to our pride. The earliest Christians knew they could not make a good Communion if they neglected the poor. St. Ignatius noted that the twin marks of heresy are the neglect of the poor and neglect of the Eucharist. “The mystery of the poor is this: that they are Jesus and what you do for them you do to him.” (Dorothy Day) The Eucharist is the key to a civilization of love. It saves us from misguided tenderness and feel-good philanthropy, because it gives us the grace to sacrifice as Jesus did. Our main focus must be widows and orphans. (Single parents and children) “Widows and orphan are to be revered like the altar of sacrifice.” (Pope Paul VI) We should give as much as we can and we should give it responsibly making sure the alms are not wasted. 

Mormons in their almsgiving, for example, do fast offerings in addition to tithing. This offering accompanies a monthly 24-hour fast. All the money that would have been spent to buy food during those 24 hours is donated to the Church for the purpose of feeding the hungry and caring for the needy.

Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph

The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.

·         Devotion to the 7 Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph

·         Do Day 30 of the Consecration to St. Joseph

·         Do the St. Joseph Universal Man Plan.

 


Daily Devotions

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         Manhood of the Master-week 5 day 1

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary

 



[1]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare (Kindle Locations 115-124). TAN Books. Kindle Edition.

[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.

[4] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.

[5] St. Patrick

[8] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 33. Almsgiving.



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