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Saturday, August 7, 2021

 

Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Irreverence
(See Character is Destiny for opposing virtue: RIGHTEOUSNESS)


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 Irreverence" by Fr. Rick Heilman

It was on February 2, 1998, that I had the experience of a lifetime. It was my first ever Papal Mass, and this was with Pope John Paul II on the Feast of the Presentation. I went on sabbatical for two months with some priest friends to study in Rome. The priests studying received a beautiful, engraved invitation to the Papal Mass, and we were thrilled to be going.

There we were in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, about to pray with the Vicar of Christ. As Mass began, glorious sacred music filled the Basilica...and my soul. Since it was a Papal Mass there was great attention given to precision, which struck me as "beautiful order," much like is seen with a military honor guard granting the highest respect to a fallen soldier. But it was more than that. While I had always loved the Mass, I felt, maybe for the first time, that we were truly "glorifying" God. On that day, February 2, 1998, I was profoundly changed.

That amazing experience simultaneously left me filled with regret. I began to ask myself, "What have I been doing?" I had spent the first ten years of my priesthood buying into the common (at the time) notion that if we created all kinds of trendy nuances to the Mass, while keeping it as whimsical and entertaining as possible, people would hear about how "cool" and "fun" and "with the times" we were and come running. We were treating the Mass as a commodity that we needed to somehow market to the world. Worse than anything, I realized we were all but throwing out any sense of divinity, any sense of the supernatural. Where in all of this was any sense of awe and wonder in God's presence? Where was the sense of God's majesty? I realized, for the first time, we were gravely sinning in our irreverence before God.

Saint Francis of Assisi said, "Man should tremble, the world should quake, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest." Where was that in my "night club act" or "Broadway musical" entertainment-focused Masses? Irreverence!

I've come to understand that we have, throughout most of the Church, removed the very gateway into the Divine Life. I happen to agree with Pope St. Gregory the Great who, wanting to capture the spiritual dynamism of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, posited the following order: "Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven" ("Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam," II 7,7).

As you can see, the entry point to all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is "Fear of the Lord." What is Fear of the Lord, also known as the Gift of Awe and Wonder? According to Fr. John Hardon, Fear of the Lord "... inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of His help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God. The gift of fear comprises three principal elements: a vivid sense of God's greatness, a lively sorrow for the least faults committed, and a vigilant care in avoiding occasions of sin. It is expressed in prayer of the Psalmist, 'My whole being trembles before you, Your ruling fills me with fear'"(Psalm 119:120).

Fear of the Lord is the entry point; this is the "trigger" that ignites all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without this trigger, we are prone to reduce our faith/religion to merely another organization that has a sense of social responsibility. Jesus is then reduced to a historic figure to emulate. Mass is just a social gathering that many may say (without saying), "it had better have good entertainment if You are going to make me endure this for an hour." So then, why not just throw on our worst recreational attire for Mass, and get in line to grab Jesus like we're reaching for a potato chip? Where is the desire to be filled with the supernatural power of grace?

St. Bernard said, "For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains and regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear."

Fr. John Hardon wrote: "St. Thomas Aquinas believed that man is more than a composite of body and soul, that his is nothing less than elevated to a supernatural order which participates, as far as a creature can, in the very nature of God. Accordingly, a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

Do you see why Satan is winning?! He is in the supernatural realm using supernatural weapons, while we have surrendered ours. We seem to be choosing, instead, an irreverent, secular (anti-supernatural) version of religion. I honestly believe this goes to the very root of our problems. Unless, and until, we see a worldwide movement within our Church to restore reverence in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that assists us in becoming predisposed to receive the gateway Holy Spirit Gift of Awe and Wonder, Satan will continue to have an easy-time with us. Until then, Satan is eating our lunch!

 
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 irreverence throughout our Catholic Church. We have fallen into this widespread irreverence 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 irreverence, 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 irreverence 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 irreverence. 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 irreverence 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 Immaculate Heart of Mary

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 Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.

Heart of Mary, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, like unto the Heart of God, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, united to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, instrument of the Holy Ghost, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, sanctuary of the Divine Trinity, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, tabernacle of God Incarnate, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, immaculate from thy creation, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, full of grace, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, blessed among all hearts, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, throne of glory, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, most humble, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, holocaust of Divine Love, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, fastened to the Cross with Jesus Crucified, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, comfort of the afflicted, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, refuge of sinners, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, hope of the agonizing, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, seat of mercy, Pray for us.

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.

Immaculate Mary, meek and humble of heart,
Make our hearts like unto the Heart of Jesus.

Let Us Pray.
O most merciful God, Who, for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the miserable, wast pleased that the Most Pure Heart of Mary should be most like in charity and pity to the Divine Heart of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, grant that we, who commemorate this sweet and loving Heart, by the merits and intercession of the same Blessed Virgin, may merit to be found like unto the Heart of Jesus, 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)



First Saturday

Ester, Chapter 4D, Verse 13

She replied: “I saw you, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was shaken by FEAR of your majesty.

 

We fear the rich and the powerful, yet we often have no fear of God and continue in our inability to rise above our weaknesses. It is when we like Ester rise above our fears that we can live up to our potential.

 

The Law of the Sacrifice[1]

 

·         Ester is willing to give her life for the people.

·         A leader must be willing to give up to go up.

·         Leaders only do this when their cause becomes more important than their life.

·         Likewise, Jesus a descendent of Ester, called on his staff to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.

·         Christ stated that those who wished to save their lives would lose them and those who gave up their lives would save them.

True leadership places the cause of the people above the instinct for self-preservation.

Holy Father Francis to the People of God[2]

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it”. These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

1. If one member suffers…

In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on, we have come to know the pain of many of the victims. We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity. The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side He stands. Mary’s song is not mistaken and continues quietly to echo throughout history. For the Lord remembers the promise He made to our fathers: “He has scattered the proud in their conceit; He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty” (Lk 1:51-53). We feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite. With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them. I make my own the words of the then Cardinal Ratzinger when, during the Way of the Cross composed for Good Friday 2005, he identified with the cry of pain of so many victims and exclaimed: “How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to [Christ]! How much pride, how much self-complacency! Christ’s betrayal by His disciples, their unworthy reception of His body and blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces His heart. We can only call to Him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us! (cf. Mt 8:25)” (Ninth Station).

2. all suffer together with it

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit. If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history. And this in an environment where conflicts, tensions and above all the victims of every type of abuse can encounter an outstretched hand to protect them and rescue them from their pain (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228). Such solidarity demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person. A solidarity that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption. The latter is “a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, for “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 165. Saint Paul’s exhortation to suffer with those who suffer is the best antidote against all our attempts to repeat the words of Cain: “Am I my brother's keeper?”. I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future. Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does. For as Saint John Paul II liked to say: “If we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he wished to be identified” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49). To see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help. I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.  This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse. It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives. This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people”. Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism. It is always helpful to remember that “in salvation history, the Lord saved one people. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to Himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships presents in the human community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 6). Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within. Without the active participation of all the Church’s members, everything being done to uproot the culture of abuse in our communities will not be successful in generating the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change. The penitential dimension of fasting and prayer will help us as God’s People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion. In this way, we will come up with actions that can generate resources attuned to the Gospel. For “whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).

It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion. Likewise, penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils. May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled.  A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary. A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combating all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience. In this way, we can show clearly our calling to be “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it”, said Saint Paul. By an attitude of prayer and penance, we will become attuned as individuals and as a community to this exhortation, so that we may grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation. Mary chose to stand at the foot of her Son’s cross. She did so unhesitatingly, standing firmly by Jesus’ side. In this way, she reveals the way she lived her entire life. When we experience the desolation caused by these ecclesial wounds, we will do well, with Mary, “to insist more upon prayer”, seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, 319). She, the first of the disciples, teaches all of us as disciples how we are to halt before the sufferings of the innocent, without excuses or cowardice. To look to Mary is to discover the model of a true follower of Christ. May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.

First Saturday-Time to Get Serious About Fatima[3]

The world's gone mad. Take the attacks and outrages perpetrated by men upon their neighbors or the persecutions of the Church in China and North Korea, and the list could go on. But it's pointless to compare tragedies, to try to determine who's most wounded, who is most in pain. Rather, it's time and long past time to apply the solutions we've had all along. I'm talking, of course, about the message of Fatima, specifically Our Lady's calls for the daily Rosary for peace in the world and the Five First Saturday’s devotion.

My fellow Marian Fr. Seraphim Michalenko sometimes tells a story that a priest ministering in Japan shared with him in Rome. This priest was attending an international gathering of Christians from across the world, attended by foreign dignitaries. The ambassador from Japan approached the priest, verified that the priest served in Japan and was a Catholic priest, and then said, "War is your fault." The priest was surprised and asked what the ambassador meant. The ambassador said, "You Catholics, all of you — we do not have peace in the world. It is your fault." The priest said, "Ambassador, why do you blame us?" The ambassador said, "I've read about this. The Lady came to you at Fatima, right? That's what you believe? She told you what to do to secure peace in the world. Well, there's no peace in the world, so obviously you Catholics haven't done it." The priest had to acknowledge that the ambassador was correct, but still tried to protest, saying, "Isn't peace everyone's responsibility?" The ambassador was vehement. "No, she came to you Catholics. Not to Buddhists. Not to Hindus. She came to you, and it is your responsibility."

We've been given the answer. Pray the Rosary daily for peace in the world and invite others to pray with you. At college, there would occasionally be "sit ins for peace." A number of my fellow students, passionately convicted and righteously indignant though they were, would go and sit outside the student center with signs. That was their sit in for peace. It always massively frustrated me because here we were, a Catholic school, armed with a whole host of powerful prayers and devotions, and there they were just sitting. If they'd just bothered to pray the Rosary, their protest would have meant a great deal in this world and the next. Why not arrange for a Rosary for peace at your colleges and universities, if not every day, then at least every Saturday, traditionally set aside as Our Lady's day? Why not revive the tradition of family and neighborhood Rosaries, offered specifically for the intention of peace in the world? What about having a regular Rosary for peace at your parish, maybe even before Mass with the permission of your pastor?

• Make the
Five First Saturdays devotion
Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart, and encourage others to do the same.
• Become invested in
the Brown Scapular.
• Do penance for your sins and on behalf of poor sinners everywhere.

Don't just sit there — the world is in trouble, and we have the answer.

 Daily Devotions

·         Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary



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