Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
8Before the spies lay down, Rahab
went up to them on the roof 9and said:
“I know that the Lord has given you the land, that a dread of you has come upon
us, and that all the inhabitants of the land tremble with FEAR because of you.
Rahab saved the spies of Israel. Why? She knew the truth that God was with Israel. Rahab was a survivor and a sinner; she knew God had given the land to Israel. If you know the truth you do not swerve from it. Rahab was saved from the fate of Jericho because of her action not just good will toward Israel. James in his epistle puts it this way:
20Do you want proof, you ignoramus,
that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father
justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You
see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the
works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham
believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called
“the friend of God.”24 See how a person is justified by works and
not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot
also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a
Rahab was saved by her faith and actions by the God of Israel and as a result she is not only saved but the Christ the Messiah descends from Boaz her son.
The Devil and Temptations
There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way.
The Kingdom of Darkness
· This kingdom offers a false peace and happiness in sin. Man is capable, especially in heaven, but even here on earth, of experiencing a deep joy and a deep peace given by God. Many of us have experienced this. The false joy offered, for example, in the sin of drunkenness or drug abuse. This false joy is also offered in the sins of sex before marriage, adultery after marriage, or homosexuality.
· When people are deeply involved in these sins, or in murder, violent anger or in deep hatred, jealousy and unforgiveness, they are really living in the kingdom of darkness and can open themselves up to the possibility of direct attacks from the evil spirits.
· The danger today is that sin has become very "respectable" in our society. Sex before marriage, adultery, heavy social drinking, abortion, and homosexuality have all attained a certain "respectability." They do not seem so bad. That is because they are not bad in the kingdom of darkness.
Eliminating the Kingdom of Darkness
· Our homes should be sacred, peaceful places in which to live. Our homes need to be clean. We should not let them become dirty or allow disorder by having junk and filth accumulate in our drawers and closets. The power of evil abhors cleanliness.
· Remove anything in your home that has had something to do with witchcraft, a spiritualist, a curandero, a medium, an oriental religion or cult or that has been used in a superstitious way. Destroy it or see to it that it is destroyed. Do not keep jewelry that is symbolic of witchcraft or is a sign of the Zodiac. Remove and burn all pornographic pictures and magazines--even those that have been put away in a drawer, closet or trunk. Get rid of all religious literature that does not agree with the basic truth of our faith that Jesus Christ is divine. He is the Son of God, our only Savior who brings us to the Father. Remove and destroy literature from the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science, Unity, Science of Mind, Scientology, Hare Krishna, Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Divine Light Mission, Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, the Children of God and the Way International. None of this or similar literature should be around our homes. Do not allow the influence of evil to come into your home through television. Carefully monitor the programs that are seen. The values taught by television advertising are not the values preached by Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapters 5, 6 and 7.
Thomas Jefferson born this day 1743
Thomas Jefferson (d. 1826) was – besides being a founding father of the United States and president – one of the most learned figures of his age. His education, through Episcopalian and Huguenot schoolmasters and then at William and Mary included a comprehensive classical approach in the Enlightenment tradition and fostered in him an appreciation for mathematics, philosophy, architecture, botany, science, music, and law. Philosophically, he was a dedicated Deist, meaning that he rejected the need for revelation and repudiated all forms of established or institutional religion beyond the obvious limits of reason. As such, he declared himself a Christian – chafing against charges that he was an atheist or infidel – but he had little patience with dogmas, finding especially unacceptable the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Nevertheless, he did not oppose organized religion, insisting that all religions be treated with toleration within the pluralistic society established by the Constitution. The best source for appreciating Jefferson’s self-identification with Christianity (again from the standpoint of the Deists) was his work The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, Extracted Textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French, and English, compiled a few years before his death. Called also the Jefferson Bible, it contains no personal writings by Jefferson, save for the Table of Contents. Rather, it is a collection of nearly 1,000 verses from the Gospels (Matthew and Luke chiefly), offering Jesus’ comprehensive moral philosophy, as Jefferson saw it. He thus omitted all references to the divinity of Jesus, the primacy of Peter, the Eucharist, comments by the evangelists, and miracles; in effect, Jefferson drained the Gospels of any form of mystery. The selection reveals Jefferson’s belief in God, the Commandments, practicing the virtues, and an afterlife in which the just are rewarded and the evil punished.
The term used to certain doctrines apparent in a tendency of thought and criticism that manifested itself principally in England towards the latter end of the seventeenth century. The doctrines and tendency of deism were, however, by no means entirely confined to England, nor to the seventy years or so during which most of the deistical productions were given to the world; for a similar spirit of criticism aimed at the nature and content of traditional religious beliefs, and the substitution for them of a rationalistic naturalism has frequently appeared in the course of religious thought. Thus, there have been French and German deists as well as English; while Pagan, Jewish, or Moslem deists might be found as well as Christian.
Because of the individualistic standpoint of independent criticism which they adopt, it is difficult, if not impossible, to class together the representative writers who contributed to the literature of English deism as forming any one definite school, or to group together the positive teachings contained in their writings as any one systematic expression of a concordant philosophy. The deists were what nowadays would be called freethinkers, a name, indeed, by which they were not infrequently known; and they can only be classed together wholly in the main attitude that they adopted, viz. in agreeing to cast off the trammels of authoritative religious teaching in favor of a free and purely rationalistic speculation. Many of them were frankly materialistic in their doctrines; while the French thinkers who subsequently built upon the foundations laid by the English deists were almost exclusively so. Others rested content with a criticism of ecclesiastical authority in teaching the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures , or the fact of an external revelation of supernatural truth given by God to man. In this last point, while there is a considerable divergence of method and procedure observable in the writings of the various deists, all, at least to a very large extent, seem to concur. Deism, in its every manifestation was opposed to the current and traditional teaching of revealed religion.
Is there any truth to deism?
· Deism is the belief that a supernatural entity created the universe, but that this being does not intervene in its creation. The Church describes it like this: “Some admit that the world was made by God but as by a watchmaker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (CCC 285).”
· It’s fair to say that many people today identify with this viewpoint, in that they believe there was some supernatural cause to the universe, but we have now been left to our own devices. This idea extends back to the beginning of human thought, but it developed significantly during the Enlightenment as critiques of religion, and Christianity in particular, became more prevalent. Many English deists placed considerable doubt on the supernatural character of miracles and prophecy, arguing that they were inconsistent with reason.
· What emerged from this epoch was the notion that all religions were products of human invention, and that many Christian beliefs were farcical. God was no longer seen as a divine entity that interfered in the world but was instead, merely the first cause underlying the universe, being both unknowable and untouchable. The universe was defined as self-operating, self-regulating and self-explanatory and comprised of unvarying and inviolable physical laws.
· While some deists believe that the creator of the universe is an abstract force, others hold that the entity is personal – that it has a mind, but simply has no interest in the endeavors of human beings. This is radically different from the Christian conception of God, which holds that God is not only personal, but created us so that we could know and love him.
· What distinguishes deism and theistic religions like Christianity the most is the idea of God’s intervention in history. While deists hold that the creator is far away, Catholics believe that God is with us at all times, can hear us, and even answer our prayers. The Church refers to the creator as a “living God” who gives life and reveals himself to the world. This is perhaps best conveyed in the Incarnation, where Jesus became human, walked among us, and died for our sins.
· “Creation is the foundation of ‘all God’s saving plans’, the ‘beginning of the history of salvation’ that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.” (CCC 280) While deists hold that God is apathetic towards his creation, Catholics rejoice in the fact that God interacts and truly cares about us.
· Of course, there is common ground between deists and theists in that both believe in a creator of the universe. This mutual belief can act as the starting point for a conversation about who God is, and whether it’s plausible to believe that he intervenes in the world.
Novena for the Poor Souls
O Mother most merciful, pray for the souls in Purgatory!
PRAYER OF ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT O Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory and for sinners everywhere— for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and for those within my family. Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE DYING O Most Merciful Jesus, lover of souls, I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thine Immaculate Mother, to wash in Thy Most Precious Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony and who will die today. Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying! Amen.
ON EVERY DAY OF THE NOVENA V. O Lord, hear my prayer; R. And let my cry come unto Thee. O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
TUESDAY O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus that was shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in Purgatory, and among them all, particularly that soul which is in the greatest need of our prayers, in order that it may not long be delayed in praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee forever. Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained