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Monday, January 17, 2021

 

MLK-saint Anthony, abbot-full wolf moon

 Sirach, Chapter 19, Verse 10

Let anything you hear die with you; never fear, it will not make you burst!

 

Today might be a good day to make a silent retreat. Shut off the TV, radio and try to obtain silence. In the modern world it is indeed difficult to find silence and when we do we fidget because our mind is so addicted to constant stimulation it drives us crazy and we fidget. Never fear you will not burst.

 

Silence: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46: 10)

 

Here is an excerpt from

 

Ask a Carmelite SisterSins and Faults of the Tongue: To Speak or not to Speak – That is the Question

Dear Sister,

There is a lot of noise around me – constantly. So much chatter. It seems to me that conversations in general are getting more superficial. I’m reminded of the title of one Shakespeare’s plays. It seems to fit what I am trying to say – Much Ado about Nothing. What are your thoughts?

Dear Friend,

Ah! Much Ado About Nothing. Well said!


I hear a longing in your question – a longing for something deeper, restorative and spiritual.  To fulfill this longing, we must all try, even though it is not so easy in today’s culture, to re-discover the healing power of silence. As Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak.”


Each one of my Carmelite Sisters, including myself, is required to make an eight-day silent retreat yearly. When we first entered Carmel, silence was difficult for us. It was new. Many of us spend our first eight-day retreat simply meditating with growing astonishment that anyone could even keep quiet for eight full days, and how were we ever going to get through it?  Of course, throughout the years, we have all come to love it.


There are two kinds of silence – exterior and interior silence. Each complements the other. Each makes the other possible. Both bring you closer to God. We learn to keep still and quiet so that we may pray. It doesn’t take long to realize that the external silence, once achieved, reveals all those interior noises that converge within our minds.  The Carmelite way is a way of profound prayer and we all find out soon enough that our interior thoughts can be very noisy. I’ve heard from people who had tried the hermit way of life, and left it because the silence uncovered so much of their interior noise. As they put it, it uncovered too much.


During one eight-day silent retreat, the retreat master, who happened to be Father Thomas Dubay, SM, spoke about the opposite of silence. He concentrated on speech, on WHAT we CHOOSE to say and WHEN we choose to say it.


I still have my notes from that memorable eight-day retreat. Each point was an eye-opener for me.  You may find this helpful in your quest. So, here are my notes from conferences given by Father Dubay, who divided the topic into two sections:

1.    Obvious Sins of the Tongue

2.    Unrealized Faults of Speech


Obvious Sins of the Tongue“In a multitude of words, sin is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19).


· Detraction – speaking about another persons’ faults (faults that are true) without a good reason (Sirach 21).

· Calumny – which is speaking about a persons’ faults (faults that are not true).

· Bickering – speaking nasty or biting remarks

· Nagging – the constant complaining, scolding or urging about a fault even if it is true; to find fault constantly (Proverbs 21:9).

· Ego-centrism – constantly referring to what I did, what I said, etc. Constantly talking about ME

· Breaking confidences – for there are natural secrets that should not be spread; people have a right to their reputation (Proverbs 11:13)

· Dominating a conversation to prove a point – and most of the time we are unaware we are doing this.

· Salacious talks/jokes – which has to do with speaking impurely (Ephesians 5:3-4).


Unrealized Faults of Speech


1.     Talking can be a big waste of time – when the talking is empty and gossipy (Matt. 12:36)

2.     Neglecting the spiritual in our speaking with others – which is the main business of our lives (Ps. 25:15; Eph. 1: Col. 3:12; Eph. 5:18-20)

3.     Dissipation and draining of our psychic energies – leaving us fatigued, distracted, and unable to do our tasks at hand

4.     Bad example – to our family, friends, co-workers, but especially to our children

5.     Excessive comfort-seeking through words – which includes talking over and over again about one’s hurts

6.     Excusing ourselves – when we should not

7.     Vain discussions – when our time could be better spent (2 Tim. 2:16-17)

8.     Meddling in others’ affairs (2 Thess. 3:11-12)


How to Overcome Sins of the Tongue


9.     Daily prayer.

10.  Frequent Confession and Holy Communion.

11.  Pray for the grace to recognize all of the sins of the tongue — some are obvious, some are subtle.

12.  Pray for the grace to keep silent during discussion of a bad situation.

13.  Pray for the grace to keep silent during discussion of another person.

14.  Just keep silent.


RULE: NEVER pass on derogatory or uncomplimentary information about anyone, unless the Word of God has given you the specific authority and responsibility to do so, and the person you are informing likewise has responsibility in the situation and a need to know the information.


Of course, the reason we have times of silence is so that we may turn our conversation toward God. The silence we are speaking of is a prayerful, expectant waiting silence.  Our world has too much noise in it today, and if we are really honest, each one of us could probably say that our hearts do also. When we do speak, let us be more attentive to what we say, why we are saying it, and how it affects others.


Thank you for your question and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.[1]


In silence today listen to the Lord:

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call. (Eph. 1:18-19)

May the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon you as it did David the King. (1Sm. 16:13)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

IV. OFFENSES AGAINST THE DIGNITY OF MARRIAGE

 

Divorce

 

2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death."

 

2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

 

2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery: If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself.

 

2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

 

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.

 

Catholic Recipe: Saint Antony of the Desert Soup[2]

 

Saint Antony, called the Great, lived in Egypt between A.D. 251 and 356. At age 18, the gospel text "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you have and then follow me" so moved him that he left everything behind and retired to an inaccessible place in the wilderness where he dedicated his life to God in manual work and continual prayer. In his old age, he imparted wisdom to his disciples and encouraged them to lead a monastic life. Because he was the first Christian to retire to a monastic life, he is considered to be the first monk and also the father of all monks. His feast is celebrated on January 17. Try this simple, healthy recipe in honor of Saint Antony the hermit.

 

INGREDIENTS

 

3 tablespoons oil of choice

1 cup barley

1 carrot, finely grated

2 leeks, sliced

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced

Salt to taste

7 cups water

1 bouillon cube, if desired

Chopped mushrooms, if desired

 

DIRECTIONS

 

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the barley, stirring continuously for one minute. Immediately add the carrot, leeks, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and water.

2. Cook the soup over low to medium heat, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until the barley is tender. Add more water if needed. For extra taste, add the bouillon and the mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of simmering. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot.

 

Recipe Source: From a Monastery Kitchen: The Classic Natural Foods Cookbook by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette, Gramercy Books, 1997

 

Martin Luther King[3]


 

We celebrate today the legacy of a man who died and lived to create a culture of justice that ensures the dignity of all men, women and children in America. Our church also recognizes the need for dignity not only for mankind but also in marriage and it is only when we recognize the grandeur of His works that we begin to realize that every man, woman and child is a wonder wroth by His hands.

 

The reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) championed a movement that was based on love and his ideal was to obtain justice by nonviolent means as expressed in this speech.

 

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

 

Character is Destiny[4]

 

According to John McCain a person or nations character determines its destiny. McCain points out in his book Character is Destiny the person who most exemplifies the characteristic of fairness is that of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 

John said of King:

From a jail cell he wrote a letter that is one of the most celebrated documents in American history and summoned his country to the cause of justice. “My Dear Fellow Clergymen,” it began. Recognizing that his correspondents were “men of genuine good will and your criticisms sincerely set forth,” he promised to respond in patient and reasonable terms. They were reasonable terms, and undeniably fair, but patient they were not.

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. . . . Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.

America still struggles internally and externally to arrive at the place Dr. King had summoned us to, that exalted place that had been the highest ambition of our Founding Fathers and the highest value we recommend to the rest of the world; the place where all people are recognized as equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. African Americans recognize the debt they owe Dr. King’s courage, wisdom, and unshakable sense of fairness. But Americans of European descent owe him a greater one. At the cost of his life, he helped save us from a terrible disgrace, the betrayal of our country, and the principles that have ennobled our history. And that is a debt we must happily bear forever.

 

Martin Luther King Facts & Quotes[5]

 

·       Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.  He was 35 years old, which made him the youngest Peace Prize winner at that time.

·       I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

·       Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?

·       Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

·       Hate is too great a burden to bear.

 

Martin Luther King Top Events and Things to Do

 

·       Visit thekingcenter.org to find out about local events and ways you can help promote unity, justice, and fight racism.

·       Become a mentor to an underprivileged person in your community through Big Brothers, or another similar organization.

·       Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  For more info see the Official memorial website.

·       Donate to the United Negro College Fund or other charities that promote college degree attainment by minorities.

·       Watch a movie about MLK. Some popular films include: Our Friend Martin (1999), Selma (2014) and The Witness (2008)

 

Reflect on what Martin would say about the

“Cancel Culture” and “BLM”.

 

Sons of Liberty[6]

 

Today, also Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706. As a founding father of this nation, one wonders would he question if Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are Still Self-Evident Rights? Whether it is self-evident or not, it is the philosophical belief in the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that helped make America both great and good. Thomas Jefferson stated: “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.”

 

Jefferson’s argument is not that the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness originate in government, but that these rights have a divine origin.  Jefferson argued that the job of all governments was to “secure” rights that God had already granted.  In other words, the rights to life and liberty do not come into being with the force of government fiat; life and liberty are pre-political rights already granted by God.  Today, we have lost that concept.  Almost a quarter-millennia later, these rights are no longer considered self-evident, and neither is a Creator.  Once God and the natural law are disassociated from rights—once the idea of justice and goodness are separated from rights—we are left with a political environment in which anything could be considered a right, or nothing could be considered a right.

 

As Pope John Paul II said in Denver, Colorado at World Youth Day in 1993: When the Founding Fathers of this great nation enshrined certain inalienable rights in the Constitution…they did so because they recognized the existence of a ‘law’ – a series of rights and duties – engraved by the Creator on each person’s heart and conscience. In much of contemporary thinking, any reference to a ‘law’ guaranteed by the Creator is absent. There remains only each individual’s choice of this or that objective as convenient or useful in a given set of circumstances. No longer is anything considered intrinsically "good" and "universally binding". Rights are affirmed but, because they are without any reference to an objective truth, they are deprived of any solid basis. Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong, and are at the mercy of those with the power to "create" opinion and impose it on others.

 

Pope John Paul II saw and foresaw, once rights are viewed as mere arbitrary constructs with no relation or reference to our Creator, rights become a mere matter of whimsy—subject no longer to God, but to the fickle winds of public opinion.  Today, we are often told that it is not life and liberty, but their opposites that are self-evident.  We are told that the right to abortion and euthanasia are self-evident, and that religious liberties and liberties of conscience have no validation in law. The founding fathers generally recognized that human laws and rights should reflect each other, largely because they have the same origin.  Just as human law must come from divine law, so do rights ultimately come from God and from justice.  Rights flow from justice, and if a right cannot be traced to justice, it is no right at all.  Once a right, however, is traced to justice—the right to life, for instance—it has the “solid basis” about which Pope Saint John Paul II spoke. 

 

Indeed, as Jefferson noted all those July 4th’s ago, men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  Whether it is self-evident or not, it is the philosophical belief in the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that helped make America both great and good.  Let’s continue to promote and defend all three.

 

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. (Ps. 19:10)

 

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Ps. 19:15)

 

Full Wolf Moon

 

According to the almanac today we are having a Full Wolf Moon; plan to get with your children or grandchildren around a fire and howl a little at the moon having fun together. Also, you could sit down together and listen to the music from Peter and the Wolf. As a child this was one of my favorite record albums that I would make my mother play over and over again much to her distress.


Daily Devotions

 

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Individuals with Mental Illness

·       Monday: Litany of Humility

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Rosary

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