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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

 

Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Avarice

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 Avarice" by Fr. James Altman

Dear family, avarice is a synonym of greed. It is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Some distinguish between avarice and greed, essentially implying that avarice is like greed-on-steroids. No matter which word we care to use, both regard an excessive or inordinate desire of gain or wealth; a selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions.

Avarice has a long if uncomplicated history in English. Chaucer in his 14th-century The Parson's Tale compared avarice with covetise, a now obsolete word that means "covetousness" ("Covetise is to covet such things as thou hast not; and avarice is to withhold and keep such things as thou hast, without rightful need"-743), and Shakespeare uses it in Macbeth ("With this there grows / In my most ill-composed affection such / A stanchless avarice that, were I king, / I should cut off the nobles for their lands, / Desire his jewels and this other's house: / And my more-having would be as a sauce / To make me hunger more"-IV.iii.76-82).

As he always seemed to do, the brilliant Shakespeare got it spot-on. "My more-having would be as a sauce to make me hunger more." Remember the life lesson of Adam and Eve, summarized as "Nothing is ever enough." Remember how they had everything, but it wasn't enough? That really is the problem with avarice - nothing ever is enough, but only makes one want more.

Apart from that issue, of course, are the Gospel teachings on what happens when avarice runs amok. Remember the rich man who had a bountiful harvest. "Oh!" says he, "I will tear down my smaller barns and build bigger barns!" Not a good idea. First, it sounds pretty wasteful to tear down perfectly good barns. When we hear about wealthy people buying homes and tearing them down to build bigger ones, don't we suppose those people have never read Jesus' parable? Second, Jesus makes it clear - crystal clear - what Almighty God thinks about that kind of stuff; "You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?" (Luke 12:20). And then Jesus delivers the coup de grace: "Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God" (Luke 12:21). And as if that weren't bad enough, there is the little problem about that camel trying to get through the eye of the needle.

Ok, so we know all that; but, here is something few look in the mirror and contemplate. Yeah, we might not be longing for Aaron Spelling's Hollywood mansion, but we all have it rather good. In fact, many of us tend to live beyond "our means." Here's an example ...

When I was teaching in the high school, I would ask the juniors or seniors, "How much do you think you will make when you get out of college?" The answers ranged from a low of about 40k, to a high of around 80k. The thing is, it did not matter what number with which I started, when we subtracted a mere 1/3 for taxes, and then subtracted the things upon which they themselves said they would spend "their" money - housing (I mentioned to them the hidden extras like furniture, appliances, bedding, towels, laundry soap, homeowners' or renters' insurance), auto (I mentioned to them the hidden extras like auto insurance, gas, oil changes), student-loans, cell phones, cable/internet, pizza on Friday - when we got done, both high and low incomes were at least 10-20% "in the red!" The thing is, the more we make, the more we live in nicer housing, drive fancier newer cars, and get the newest latest iPhones. And then I would bring up "Christmas and birthday gifts" - where their money was spent on someone other than themselves! They thought about it and sure enough, deeper into the red they went. And then - here it comes, dear family - about this point I would say "Hey! What's missing here?! I don't see any almsgiving, no giving back to God for all He has given you. There is nothing here for Church and charity."

Dear family, I wasn't being mean. I only was pointing out the reality that pretty much all of us are infected with an avaricious "living large" mentality. We all live in the biggest barns that the banks will loan us the money to buy. We all tend to drive the best vehicles the lenders will loan us the money to buy. And we all tend to have decent cell phones, cable, and internet. And pretty much none of us are going hungry when the CDC tells us: "During 2011-2014, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 38.3% among women and 34.3% among men."

Dear family, we all suffer from avarice. Whatever level our income might be, we long for more. And what's even worse about all this, is that we even will blow off the 3rd Commandment so - really, how many times have we heard this? - "I'm working or putting in some overtime on Sunday."

As to that last thing, working on Sundays, I also used to ask the high schoolers if they would sell their soul to the devil for a million bucks. "Oh, NO, father," they would say. I would up the ante to ten million dollars. "Oh, NO, father," they would say. Finally, I went all out - "Would you sell your soul to the devil for a billion dollars?! You could have the house, the boat and the car, and still have 999 million to live off the interest!" "Oh, NO, father," they all would say. At that point, I would tell them they were dead wrong - they would sell their souls to work on Sunday for minimum wage at Shopko or the IGA, all because they "needed" money for clothes, cells, car insurance or gas.

This analysis does not apply just to high schoolers. It applies to all adults who - whether they realize it or not - suffer from a level of avarice that takes away not just from the amount of money they should be tithing, but also takes away from the most valuable time we are commanded to give back to God by keeping the Lord's Day holy.

Dear family, I'm not sure how to tell anyone to fix this problem. I cannot give specific advice for anyone because the circumstances differ for each one of us. What I can say is that each one of us, myself included, really needs to ask ourselves, are we giving back to God what is God's? Or are we, because of the deadly sin of avarice, keeping way too much for ourselves?
 

Prayer of Reparation

My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts toward avarice. We are greedy. We recognize our avarice in the many things we own - including all the stuff we bought with borrowed money. At times we justify our avarice so much that we do not see ourselves in the Gospel parables of the man who planned to tear down his barns. At times we do not recognize in ourselves that we are the rich man who will have a harder time making it through the Gates of Heaven than a camel through the eye of a needle. We immerse ourselves in so many temporal goods that we do not even recognize we are living large with what we want, which is way more than what we truly need. We even justify leaving God out of our very budgets because we just cannot afford it! So often we just do not recognize our avarice. We turn to You Lord, in our weakness, and beg Your forgiveness for our avarice, and especially for all the times we have forfeited time with You for time to labor so we may indeed "live large." We love You Lord, and we beg for the wisdom and strength to love You more. 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 avarice. 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 avarice 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)
 


Introduction to Maccabees[1]



The name Maccabee, probably meaning “hammer,” is actually applied in the Books of Maccabees to only one man, Judas, third son of the priest Mattathias and first leader of the revolt against the Seleucid kings who persecuted the Jews. Traditionally the name has come to be extended to the brothers of Judas, his supporters, and even to other Jewish heroes of the period, such as the seven brothers. The two Books of Maccabees contain independent accounts of events that accompanied the attempted suppression of Judaism in Palestine in the second century B.C. The vigorous reaction to this attempt established for a time the religious and political independence of the Jews. First Maccabees was written about 100 B.C., in Hebrew, but the original has not come down to us. Instead, we have an early, pre-Christian, Greek translation full of Hebrew idioms. The author, probably a Palestinian Jew, is unknown. He was familiar with the traditions and sacred books of his people and had access to much reliable information on their recent history (from 175 to 134 B.C.). He may well have played some part in it himself in his youth. His purpose in writing is to record the deliverance of Israel that God worked through the family of Mattathias—especially through his three sons, Judas, Jonathan, and Simon, and his grandson, John Hyrcanus. The writer compares their virtues and their exploits with those of Israel’s ancient heroes, the Judges, Samuel, and David.

The doctrine expressed in the book is the customary belief of Israel. The people of Israel have been specially chosen by the one true God as covenant-partner, and they alone are privileged to know and worship God, their eternal benefactor and unfailing source of help. The people, in turn, must worship the Lord alone and observe exactly the precepts of the law given to them. The rededication of the Jerusalem Temple in the book is the origin of the Jewish feast of Hanukkah. There is no doctrine of individual immortality except in the survival of one’s name and fame, nor does the book express any messianic expectation, though messianic images are applied historically to “the days of Simon”. The author insists on fidelity to the law as the expression of Israel’s love for God. The contest which he describes is a struggle, not simply between Jew and Gentile, but between those who would uphold the law and those, Jews or Gentiles, who would destroy it. His severest condemnation goes, not to the Seleucid politicians, but to the lawless apostates among his own people, adversaries of Judas and his brothers, who are models of faith and loyalty.

 

AUGUST 11 Wednesday

FEAST OF ST. CLARE- Int’l Left-Handers Day

 

1 Maccabees, Chapter 2, Verse 62

Do not FEAR the words of sinners, for their glory ends in corruption and worms.

 

Maccabean wars were fought for religious freedom. Reflect today on our own Declaration of Independence for freedom from the English Crown. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: 

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.  

Prayer[2] 

Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1). We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good. Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties; by your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

St. Clare[3]

The Lady Clare, "shining in name, more shining in life," was born in the town of Assisi about the year 1193. She was eighteen years old when St. Francis, preaching the Lenten sermons at the church of St. George in Assisi, influenced her to change the whole course of her life. Talking with him strengthened her desire to leave all worldly things behind and live for Christ. The following evening, she slipped away from her home and hurried through the woods to the chapel of the Portiuncula, where Francis was then living with his small community. He and his brethren had been at prayers before the altar and met her at the door with lighted tapers in their hands. Before the Blessed Virgin's altar Clare laid off her fine cloak, Francis sheared her hair, and gave her his own penitential habit, a tunic of coarse cloth tied with a cord.

When it was known at home what Clare had done, relatives and friends came to rescue her. She resisted valiantly when they tried to drag her away, clinging to the convent altar so firmly as to pull the cloths half off. Baring her shorn head, she declared that Christ had called her to His service, she would have no other spouse, and the more they continued their persecutions the more steadfast she would become.

Francis had her removed to the nunnery of Sant' Angelo di Panzo, where her sister Agnes, a child of fourteen, joined her. This meant more difficulty for them both, but Agnes' constancy too was victorious, and in spite of her youth Francis gave her the habit. Later he placed them in a small and humble house, adjacent to his beloved church of St. Damian, on the outskirts of Assisi, and in 1215, when Clare was about twenty-two, he appointed her superior and gave her his rule to live by. She was soon joined by her mother and several other women, to the number of sixteen. They had all felt the strong appeal of poverty and sackcloth, and without regret gave up their titles and estates to become Clare's humble disciples.

Within a few years similar convents were founded in the Italian cities of Perugia, Padua, Rome, Venice, Mantua, Bologna, Milan, Siena, and Pisa, and also in various parts of France and Germany. Agnes, daughter of the King of Bohemia, established a nunnery of this order in Prague, and took the habit herself. The "Poor Clare’s," as they came to be known, practiced austerities which until then were unusual among women. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, observed a perpetual abstinence from meat, and spoke only when obliged to do so by necessity or charity. Clare herself considered this silence desirable as a means of avoiding the innumerable sins of the tongue, and for keeping the mind steadily fixed on God. Francis or the bishop of Assisi sometimes had to command her to lie on a mattress and to take a little nourishment every day.

Discretion, came with years, and much later Clare wrote this sound advice to Agnes of Bohemia: "Since our bodies are not of brass and our strength is not the strength of stone, but instead we are weak and subject to corporal infirmities, I implore you vehemently in the Lord to refrain from the exceeding rigor of abstinence which I know you practice, so that living and hoping in the Lord you may offer Him a reasonable service and a sacrifice seasoned with the salt of prudence."

Saint Clare, Virgin, Foundress of the Poor Clare’s.

"When the Saracens were besieging Assisi and were preparing to attack the convent, St. Clare asked to be assisted as far as the entrance, for she was ill. In her hand she carried a vessel containing the blessed Eucharist as she prayed: O Lord, do not deliver over to beasts the souls that praise You! (Ps. 73). Protect Your servants, for You have redeemed them by Your precious Blood. And in the midst of that prayer a voice was heard, saying: Always will I protect you!

The Saracens took to flight."[4]

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 the St. Joseph Universal Man Plan.

·         The Year of St. Joseph

 

Daily Devotions

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 15

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary

 


 

Today is my Grandson Frank Isak’s (Free Laughter) second birthday I ask your prayers. This was the blessing and prophesy I wrote for his naming.

 

This child will be a free man who laughs and is able to get enthusiastic about the endless beauty of this world. He will be a person that is dependable, responsible and teaches others gratitude.

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