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Friday, August 13, 2021

Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Worldliness

(See Character is Destiny for opposing virtue: COURTESY)


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 Worldliness" by Fr. Rick Heilman

This being the finale of my reflections for Let Freedom Ring (LFR), I felt called to write about the amazing "Life of Grace." Almost all those who have been participating in LFR have enlisted in the United States Grace Force. At this writing, the Grace Force is 76,000 strong. The Grace Force adheres to St. Paul's call to get strong: "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that You can take Your stand against the devil's schemes" (Eph 6:10-11).

By choosing to live in God's supernatural grace, we are choosing a life lived beyond the low life of mere worldliness and, instead, we are choosing to live the "higher life" in God's grace, described so well by Archbishop Fulton Sheen:
"Christ's reason for taking upon Himself a human nature was to pay for sin by death on the cross and to bring us a higher life ... This higher life which is divine, distinct from the human, is called grace, because it is gratis or a free gift of God ... Man may live at three different levels: the sensate, the intellectual, and the divine. These may be likened to a three-story house.
 
The sensate level, or the first floor, represents those who deny any other reality except the pleasures that come from the flesh. Their house is rather poorly furnished and is capable of giving intermittent thrills which quickly dry up. The occupant of this first floor is not interested in being told of higher levels of existence; in fact, he may even deny their existence.
 
On the second floor, there is the intellectual level of existence, that of the scientist, the historian, the journalist, the humanist; the man who has brought to a peak all of the powers of human reason and human will. This is a much more comfortable kind of existence, and far more satisfying to the human spirit. Those on the second floor may think their floor is 'a closed universe,' regarding as superstitious those who desire a higher form of life.
 
But there is actually a third floor which is the floor of grace by which the human heart is illumined by truths which reason cannot know; by which the will is strengthened by a power quite beyond all psychological aids, and the heart is entranced with the love which never fails; which gives a peace that cannot be found on the two lower levels ...
 
The world, therefore, is divided into the 'once born' and the 'twice born': between the sons of the old Adam, and the sons of the new Adam, Christ; between the unregenerate and the regenerate. There is a real inequality in the world. There are 'superior' and 'inferior' peoples, but the basis of distinction is not color, race, nationality, or wealth. The superior people of the earth are the supermen, the God-men; the inferior people are those who have been called to that superior state but, as yet, have not embraced it."
Boil everything down, and we see that this is at the heart of the battle today. While we are called to be "Supermen/God-men," the "influencers" of our culture are pulling us down to that base and brute level of existence. These influencers, known as the "ruling class" (elites), are actually the inferior people who dwell on the first two floors, who believe and promote that we are nothing more than another animal species. As I pointed out in a previous reflection, the influencers are the media, Hollywood, TV, politicians, universities, public schools, etc., who relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical narcissism. "If it feels good, just do it." This is the "law of animals."

Add to this, we are emerging from a very grim period of spiritual weakness where most Christians ceased to believe in the supernatural power of God. As a result, Satan and his minions have been able to move almost unabated while, in spiritual terms, we have stood naked on the battlefield with no spiritual armor and no spiritual weapons to combat Satan's evil designs. Thank God, we are witnessing a renaissance of "belief" in the supernatural power of God.

Under the power of supernatural grace, we are called to lift ourselves up, along with the entire world, into the "higher life" of the principals, morals, ethics, values, and virtues of God that raises every society out of darkness and chaos into the light of truth and peace. President Ronald Reagan once famously stated, "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." The Grace Force uses the motto, "Peace through Strength" (in Latin, Per Virtutem Pax). Spiritual warfare is about our resolve to become strong in God's supernatural power; the only power capable of "shining out" the dark and aggressive satanic forces of evil.

Go to Confession frequently. Go to Confession frequently. Go to Confession frequently. And walk humbly with your God. So, pray as though you believe God is right there listening; humbly obey "all" Church teachings; look for opportunities to, selflessly, be a light in others' lives; and BELIEVE in the power of God!

Be in the world, but not of the world. Be Supermen! (or, Superwomen!). Be Saints! Be-lieve!

 
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 worldliness throughout our culture and our Catholic Church. We have fallen into this widespread worldliness 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 worldliness, 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 worldliness or our lack of resolve to lift souls out of worldliness and into the High Life of grace. 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 worldliness. 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 worldliness 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 Sacred Heart 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, etc.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost,
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty,
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased,
Heart of Jesus,  we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings,
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities,
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, .
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, oh Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Christ graciously spare us.
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. 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)
 


ST. HIPPOYTUS -LEFTY DAY-TEA WEEK

 

1 Maccabees, Chapter 3, Verse 22

He will crush them before us; so, do not FEAR them.

 

Judas Maccabee was able to defeat a much larger force because he believed and was confident in God. Are you confident? We must be Confident.

 

As Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said, “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth – that is not living, but existing.” Are you and I merely existing? Or are we living our Christian faith as men fully alive? Recall the famous words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “You were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.” Any greatness that we might merit as Catholic men depends upon this fight for holiness. It is the same fight Jesus Christ fought in the desert and the same fight our Christian forefathers fought in order to hand down the faith. Woe to us if we do not pick up the weapons of the Spirit – offered to us freely – and accept them bravely and gratefully! Courage, confidence, and humble reliance on God’s infinite resources are called for here as we engage. Forward! Into the breach![1]


 

Christians at Rome in Post-Apostolic Times[2]

 

The Saint of today-St. Hippoytus was a priest and a person of some importance in the Church in Rome who in his book, “The Apostolic Traditions”, displays the liturgical life of the Christian at Rome in the first centuries. Of interest is the tradition of the hours.

Divine Office:

Sunrise-Lauds: "In like manner rise and pray at the hour at which the cock crows . . . full of hope look forward to the day of eternal light that will shine upon us eternally after the resurrection from the dead." Motivation for these "hour prayers" of the early Christians was the conviction that daily they were reliving Christ's death and resurrection. Every new day was a day of resurrection, and daily they were raised with Christ on the Cross. It is an example that should spur us on to give the Mass, the Breviary, and the Bible the place of honor in our lives.

6 a.m. Prime: "All the faithful, men and women, upon rising in the morning before beginning work, should wash their hands and pray to God."


9 a.m. Terce: "When you are at home, pray at the third hour and praise God. But if you are away when this hour comes, pray in your heart to God. For at this hour Christ was nailed to the Cross."

12 p.m. Sext: "In a similar way you should pray again at the sixth hour. For at the time when Christ was nailed to the Cross, there came a great darkness. Prayer should therefore be said in imitation of Him who prayed at that hour, viz., Christ before His death."

3 p.m. None: "The ninth hour too should be made perfect by prayer and praise . . . in that hour Christ was pierced by the spear."

6 p.m. Vespers: "Once more ought you to pray before you go to bed."

Matins: "At midnight rise from your bed, wash yourself and pray. If you have a wife, pray together in antiphonal fashion. If she is not yet of the faith, withdraw and pray alone and return again to your place. If you are bound by the bond of marriage duties, do not cease your prayers, for you are not stained thereby. It is necessary that we pray at that hour (i.e., Matins), for at that hour all creation is resting and praising God. Stars, trees, water are as if they were standing still; all the hosts of angels are holding divine services together with the souls of the just. They are praising almighty God at that hour." What an inspiring passage! 

Fitness Friday-Suffering[3]

When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but that skill, cultivated through running, would help me as much, if not more, off the road as it would on it. It’s not just me, and it’s not just running. Ask anyone whose day regularly includes a hard bike ride, sprints in the pool, a complex problem on the climbing wall, or a progressive powerlifting circuit, and they’ll likely tell you the same: A difficult conversation just doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. A tight deadline is not so intimidating. Relationship problems are not so problematic. Maybe it’s that if you’re regularly working out, you’re simply too tired to care. But that’s probably not the case. Research shows that, if anything, physical activity boosts short-term brain function and heightens awareness. And even on days they don’t train — which rules out fatigue as a factor — those who habitually push their bodies tend to confront daily stressors with a stoic demeanor. While the traditional benefits of vigorous exercise — like prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and osteoporosis — are well known and often reported, the most powerful benefit might be the lesson that my coach imparted to me: In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering. Few hone this skill better than professional endurance and adventure athletes. Regardless of sport, the most resounding theme, by far, is that they’ve all learned how to embrace uncomfortable situations:

  Olympic marathoner Des Linden told me that at mile 20 of 26.2, when the inevitable suffering kicks in, through years of practice she’s learned to stay relaxed and in the moment. She repeats the mantra: “calm, calm, calm; relax, relax, relax.”

  World-champion big-wave surfer Nic Lamb says being uncomfortable, and even afraid, is a prerequisite to riding four-story waves. But he also knows it’s “the path to personal development.” He’s learned that while you can pull back, you can almost always push through. “Pushing through is courage. Pulling back is regret,” he says.

  Free-soloist Alex Honnold explains that, “The only way to deal with [pain] is practice. [I] get used to it during training so that when it happens on big climbs, it feels normal.”

  Evelyn Stevens, the women’s record holder for most miles cycled in an hour (29.81 – yes, that’s nuts), says that during her hardest training intervals, “instead of thinking I want these to be over, I try to feel and sit with the pain. Heck, I even try to embrace it.”

  Big-mountain climber Jimmy Chin, the first American to climb up — and then ski down — Mt. Everest’s South Pillar Route, told me an element of fear is there in everything he does, but he’s learned how to manage it: “It’s about sorting out perceived risk from real risk, and then being as rational as possible with what’s left.”

But you don’t need to scale massive vertical pitches or run five-minute miles to reap the benefits. Simply training for your first half marathon or CrossFit competition can also yield huge dividends that carry over into other areas of life. In the words of Kelly Starrett, one of the founding fathers of the CrossFit movement, “Anyone can benefit from cultivating a physical practice.” Science backs him up. A study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that college students who went from not exercising at all to even a modest program (just two to three gym visits per week) reported a decrease in stress, smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption, an increase in healthy eating and maintenance of household chores, and better spending and study habits. In addition to these real-life improvements, after two months of regular exercise, the students also performed better on laboratory tests of self-control. This led the researchers to speculate that exercise had a powerful impact on the students’ “capacity for self-regulation.” In laypeople’s terms, pushing through the discomfort associated with exercise — saying “yes” when their bodies and minds were telling them to say “no” — taught the students to stay cool, calm, and collected in the face of difficulty, whether that meant better managing stress, drinking less, or studying more. For this reason, the author Charles Duhigg, in his 2012 bestseller The Power of Habit, calls exercise a “keystone habit,” or a change in one area life that brings about positive effects in other areas. Duhigg says keystone habits are powerful because “they change our sense of self and our sense of what is possible.” This explains why the charity Back on My Feet uses running to help individuals who are experiencing homelessness improve their situations. Since launching in 2009, Back on My Feet has had over 5,500 runners, 40 percent of whom have gained employment after starting to run with the group and 25 percent of whom have found permanent housing. This is also likely why it’s so common to hear about people who started training for a marathon to help them get over a divorce or even the death of a loved one. Another study, this one published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, evaluated how exercise changes our physiological response to stress. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, in Germany, divided students into two groups at the beginning of the semester and instructed half to run twice a week for 20 weeks. At the end of the 20 weeks, which coincided with a particularly stressful time for the students — exams — the researchers had the students wear heart-rate monitors to measure their heart-rate variability, which is a common indicator of physiological stress (the more variability, the less stress). As you might guess by now, the students who were enrolled in the running program showed significantly greater heart-rate variability. Their bodies literally were not as stressed during exams: They were more comfortable during a generally uncomfortable time. What’s remarkable and encouraging about these studies is that the subjects weren’t exercising at heroic intensities or volumes. They were simply doing something that was physically challenging for them – going from no exercise to some exercise; one need not be an elite athlete or fitness nerd to reap the bulletproofing benefits of exercise. Why does any of this matter? For one, articles that claim prioritizing big fitness goals is a waste of time (exhibit A: “Don’t Run a Marathon) are downright wrong. But far more important than internet banter, perhaps a broader reframing of exercise is in order. Exercise isn’t just about helping out your health down the road, and it’s certainly not just about vanity. What you do in the gym (or on the roads, in the ocean, etc.) makes you a better, higher-performing person outside of it. The truth, cliché as it may sound, is this: When you develop physical fitness, you’re developing life fitness, too.

International Left-Handers Day[4]

 

International Left-Handers Day is a day to bring attention to the struggles which lefties face daily in a right-handed society.  August 13th is observed as International Left-Handers Day.  

 

International Left-Handers Day Facts

 

·         10% of people are left-handed according to a report by Scientific American.

·         Geniuses are more likely to be left-handed - 20% of the top scoring SAT takers are left-handed.

·         In 2013, 31% of Major League Baseball pitchers are left-handed.

·         lefties: Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo da Vinci 

Afternoon Tea Week[5]

Sometimes the wait for dinner is far too long, and lunch passed too many hours ago, and the length of the day is starting to wear at you. When this happens, its time to settle in with a warm cup of tea and some light sandwiches, take some time to appreciate the day, and bolster yourself for the rest of the evening. Afternoon Tea Week taps into the British Tradition of afternoon tea to help bring a bit of elegance and pomp to an otherwise unremarkable time of day. Afternoon Tea Week was established to help secure a tradition that has graced British afternoons since the 1840s. In those days, dinner often wasnt served until 8pm, and lunch wasnt actually a thing, so what was a hungry person to do? Create a new mini meal in the middle of the day of course! Traditionally this meal contains tiny finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and sweet dainties like cakes and pastries to help lift the spirits, bolster energy, and see you through the rest of the day. This simple afternoon meal grew into a social event, especially for those who spent their lives in the upper echelons of the days society. This became even more prominent once Queen Victoria herself took part in this tradition. At that point the concept of the tea reception was born, lavish and fancy afternoon repasts that could host anywhere from a close collection of friends to a couple hundred of societys most important faces. As the name suggests, tea was a central part of this meal, a tradition started by Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford. She often found herself feeling weary or worn down in the middle of the day, and a pot of tea with a snack just seemed to be the best way to take care of it. She soon invited friends to join her for walks in the field, and the snowball that would become Afternoon Tea began.

How to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week

Celebrating Afternoon Tea Week is simple, for the length of a week make a pause for Afternoon Tea a part of your day. Warm tea, a few sweets, and a small repast will help lift your spirits and drive you through the rest of your day. If you really want to go all out you can organize a tea reception, and even go so far as to wear Victorian Costume to honor the history of this holiday. Even if you just have a cup of tea each day, remember Afternoon Tea Week and take a few breaths to Keep Calm, and Carry On.

Daily Devotions

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Operation Purity

·         Rosary




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