Wednesday, March 10, 2021

 

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

In Greek mythology, we find the rather tragic figure of Narcissus. As the story goes, he is an extraordinary young man in every possible way, but he is aloof and rather full of himself. Anyone who falls in love with him pays a steep price because he will not love them back. Eventually, while hunting, Narcissus stoops down to the water to get a drink. He sees his own reflection and falls madly in love with it. He reaches out to grab the reflection and drowns, suffering the abysmal fate others who tried to love him did. In psychology, narcissism is described as "selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personality type." My brothers and sisters, does this word not describe our society "to a T"?

Narcissism arises out of several converging storms: First, the self-centeredness of the individual as almighty. Reality and morality are subjectivistic and only are there to confirm the feelings of the narcissist. Second, with no empathy, the means justify the ends for the narcissist. The narcissist simply makes pronouncements without care as to how it affects others and only cares about how he or she is affected. Third, while the narcissist is free to judge and condemn the actions and words of others AND presume the absolute worst in other people's motivations, he or she will see any judgment and condemnation of their actions as defamation of character, to which they will respond with great vengeance. Fourth, the sense of absolute entitlement endemic of narcissism, stretches to the insane. Every word and action must be to the benefit of that narcissist. No demand is too unreasonable and any failure to provide is seen as a personal attack.

Certainly, within our society, we see narcissism run amuck. Social media has laced this stick of dynamite. We now are seeing a wholesale rejection of any objective truth; consequently, there cannot be a God who judges. The new mantra of society is, "It is okay to terrorize anyone we want, as long as we feel justified in our actions." According to this logic, we should be able to despoil whoever we want if our feelings tell us it's okay. It has even gotten to the point where some are demanding the acceptance of pedophilia as a mere sexual orientation, using the familiar path of others who want universal acceptance of their choices. For our narcissistic society, all things must be remade in the narcissist's image: Entertainment, sports, law, and morality must be adjusted so that the narcissist's predilections are approved at worst and ignored at best.

Even within our Church we see narcissism in several ways. We have seen it in how Mass went from a transcendent focus to a place where the transcendent is ignored. This is not anything asked for by Vatican II or present in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. We see it in the constant push to revise the sexual moral teachings of the Church to be as accommodating and permissive as society, in everything from homosexuality to artificial birth control to transgenderism, and so on. The Church just becomes another place where the mirror of narcissism can be held and only able to see its world visage. So much of the financial and sexual scandal, ensuing cover-up, and regular abuse of power finds its roots in a narcissism that allows the preying on of the flock to satiate one's needs. The reach of narcissism in our society and Church is wide.

The antidote to narcissism is the very essence of God: love. Specifically, divine love (agape) is what is needed. In agape, we completely empty ourselves for the good of others. We allow ourselves, as St. Paul says, to be poured out as a libation. Love forces us to look beyond ourselves and weigh how our actions and words affect our relationships with God and each other. Love leads us to humility, a frank honesty which allows us to avoid demanding that the world convert to suit us, but instead enables us to convert to suit Christ. Because love is a theological virtue, it needs that constant relationship with God to thrive. It is no wonder that the more narcissism has grown in our society, the shorter our confession lines have become and the less we see of people at Mass. We need that sacramental presence in our lives to bolster our immunity to the constant virus-like ferocity of narcissism.

For if we love as God loves, the abuse of our neighbor is no longer justifiable. If we love as God loves, our own wants no longer become our focus. If we love as God loves, we can no longer justify our harm and sin inflicted on others. I am asking you dear reader to have what I call a "Darth Vader moment." I am referring to the scene in Return of the Jedi where the emperor is killing Luke for his unwillingness to convert to the dark side. In that scene, Darth Vader keeps looking at the begging face of his son and the evil cackling face of the emperor ... he is making a choice. He can either go with the status quo and allow his son to die, or lose everything, including his life, and kill the emperor (or so we thought). I am asking you to look at the Cross of Christ and then look at the fury we see in the media day after day. Choose between the great love displayed on the Cross and the insatiable fury of narcissism. We can't have both. Choose wisely, for the Cross of Christ is the path to heaven and the fury of narcissism is the superhighway to hell.
 
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 self-involved to notice the damage our sins have wreaked on our neighbor and broken faith with You. We have expected You to be pleased with our duplicitous and selfish 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 narcissism and lack of sorrow. 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 narcissism and entitlement. 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 narcissism 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 before Laetare Sunday

NOVENA ST. JOSEPH--BAGPIPE DAY

 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, Verse 29

Would that they might always be of such a mind, to FEAR me and to keep all my commandments! Then they and their descendants would prosper forever.

 

Our loving God knew Israel would become full of hubris and haughtiness and forget the commandments that He enjoined them, and they needed a savior. Let us not be like the Angels of God who fell from heaven by means of an act of pride and rebellion by refusing to honor Mary the Mother of God. Let us be like unto Gabriel who on announcing the conception of Christ said to Mary:

 

"Hail" "Full of Grace" "The Lord is with you"[1]

 

Let us this day emulate Christ’s mother and ours: Mary and never weary of union with Christ through the most Holy Eucharist. This day try to spend some time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

 

As you prepare for the season of Easter; let His light radiate through you.

 

Faithful Friendship Trusts[2]

 

As human beings, we long for connection with others, a sense that we belong to each other. The greatest obstacle to this, many times, is that we have difficulty trusting others. Embracing trust comes when we trust in God. Not only are we called to trust in God, but as stewards of God’s mysteries, we are called to be found trustworthy (1 Cor. 4:2). How do we navigate this course? How do we protect our hearts from the fears and anxieties that threaten to close them? St. Francis de Sales would say, “We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.”

Wednesday before Laetare Sunday[3]

Prayer. GRANT us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, instructed by wholesome fasting, and abstaining from dangerous vices, we may more easily obtain Thy favor.

EPISTLE. Exodus xx. 12-24.

Thus, saith the Lord God: Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his. And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off, saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God has come to prove you, and that the dread of Him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off. But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was. And the Lord said to Moses: Thus, shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold. You shall make an altar of earth unto Me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace-offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of My name shall be.

GOSPEL. Matt. xv. 1-20.

At that time there came to Jesus from Jerusalem scribes and Pharisees, saying: Why do Thy disciples transgress the traditions of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: Honor thy father and mother; and: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death. But you say: Whosoever shall say to father or mother, the gift whatso ever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee; and he shall not honor his father or his mother: and you have made void the commandment of God for jour tradition. Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoreth Me with their lips: but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men. And having called together the multitudes unto Him, He said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came His disciples, and said to Him: Dost Thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized?

But He answering, said: Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. And Peter answering, said to Him: Expound to us this parable. But He said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.

Mid-Lent Customs[4] 

Mid-Lent, the week from the Wednesday before to the Wednesday after Laetare Sunday, is a note of joy within the context of sorrow. The perfect symbol of this complex emotion is the rose vestments worn on Laetare Sunday instead of penitential purple or exultant white. Rose stands somewhere in between, as a sort of joyous variation of purple. The last day of Mid-Lent is when catechumens would learn the Apostles' Creed for the first time; the days leading up to that great revelation were thus for them a cause for gladness. This spirit eventually permeated to the rest of the community as "a measure of consoling relaxation... so that the faithful might not break down under the severe strains of the Lenten fast but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart" (Pope Innocent III (d. 1216)). 

Mid-Lent customs predominantly involve pre-Christian celebrations concerning the "burial" of winter, where flower decorations and the like betoken the joyous end of the cold and dark. There are also customs involving either matchmaking or announcing the engagements of young couples. In either case, a joyous meal is celebrated during this time. 

In England Laetare Sunday came to be known as "Mothering" Sunday because it was the day that apprentices and students were released from their duties to visit their mother church, i.e., the church in which they had been baptized and brought up. This custom tied into the theme of Mother Jerusalem. 

Novena of St. Joseph[5]


 

This novena prayer, although short is sufficient. It would be better of course to add, if time permits, three Hail Mary’s or say five times the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father, or to use some of the many well-loved novena prayers from other sources. Remember that prayers must be said with the lips in order to gain the indulgences. This novena begins on March 10 and ends on March 19.

 

Prayer

 

O dear and good St. Joseph who so lovingly cared for your little family at Nazareth, pray for all workingmen and their families. Help us all to enjoy a happy Christian family life. Be a father to us all and watch over us even as you cherished the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Holy Child. Patron of the Universal Church pray for us.

 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and soul.

 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

 

7 years for each invocation. Plenary, under usual conditions, if any one of three is said daily for a month. S. Pen., Oct. 12, 1936.

 

Bagpipe Day[6]


The sound of bagpipes filling the air as day dawns is enough to bring joy to the hearts of many. Others, they may not feel quite the same. It seems that one either loves the pipes or not at all. There is not very much middle ground. International Bagpipe Day is the time to find out where you stand and join those who love them! The Bagpipe Society has been sponsoring the celebration of International Bagpipe Day since 2012. They have helped to bring the bagpipe to new players since 1986. It is important to them that the history and playing of the bagpipes is not lost. Putting this day together was with the hope of bringing awareness of the over 130 different types of bagpipe throughout the world. For the first International Bagpipe Day in 2012, there were reports of events held in some unique places. In South Africa, pipers gathered and played in an underground canyon. In Greece, they played on Athenian hill. The Society even heard of events in countries where previously it was thought that there were not many pipers or any at all! If you aren’t familiar with this ancient instrument, bagpipe is a term that means a wind instrument that uses enclosed reeds to produce sound. Air feeds the reeds with a constant flow of air from a reservoir in the form of a bag. In each area that it is found, the bagpipe may change in sound and shape. This is an ancient instrument and is claimed to be represented on a Hittite slab dated to 1000 BC!

How to Celebrate International Bagpipe Day

·         Celebrating the bagpipe when this holiday rolls around can take many forms. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at it, don’t wait! This is the time for you to find your local provider of the pipes and take a lesson. You could be the next great Piper! It could happen, you never know, right?

·         There is a multitude of information available about this instrument. A great idea to celebrate is to learn more about it. A quick internet search will bring up resources like The Bagpipe Society. You can follow the history of this unique instrument through the millennia to present day and from country to country! There is much more information than you could learn in just one day, but it’s a great time to start.

·         Another way to celebrate is to find out if there are any events planned in your local area. Grab the family or friends and go check it out! You may just find that you were missing out on all the fun. If you ask, it may even be possible to try it out and see if you can make a sound with it!

·         Bagpipes have a long history that spans the ages and spans many regions. It is an instrument that has weathered the test of time and surely deserves to be honored on International Bagpipe Day!

Preparing for Battle[7] Know Your Weapons

The weapon of Sacred Sacramentals 

·         Sacramentals include certain actions, such as the Sign of the Cross and other blessings, as well as objects that have been blessed, such as holy water, oil, salt, candles, incense, rosaries, crucifixes, scapulars, and religious images.

·         In an exorcism, the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the Devil’s power and withdrawn from his dominion.

·         The Sign of the Cross is the most terrible weapon against the Devil.

·         The Church displays images of the cross so that we can have it continually in front of our minds to recall to us just what our souls are worth and what they cost Jesus Christ.

·         Blessings and blessed objects. Both the blessings that are properly given by clergy (such as those in the Liturgy) and the blessings spoken by lay people as part of their daily lives (such as a table grace) are important sacramentals.

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 29 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 4 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] http://www.catholicbible101.com/thehailmary.htm

[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[5]Prayer Source: All Day with God by Blanche Jennings Thompson

[6]https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/international-bagpipe-day/

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

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