Sirach, Chapter 19, Verse 18-20
18 FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of
acceptance; and wisdom from him obtains love. 19 Knowledge of the Lord’s commandments is
life-giving instruction; those who do what pleases him will harvest the fruit
of the tree of immortality. 20 All wisdom is fear of the Lord;
and in all wisdom, the observance of the Law.
The beginning of wisdom is to accept the precepts of the Church.
The Seven Precepts of the Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists 5 precepts. The last two are included elsewhere in the catechism but are not listed as precepts. And they are equally important. The original seven are listed here for historic educational value.
I. To attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and resting from servile works.
II. To observe the days of abstinence and fasting.
III. To confess our sins to a priest, at least once a year.
IV. To receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist at least once a year during Easter Season.
V. To contribute to the support of the Church.
VI. To obey the laws of the Church concerning Matrimony.
VII. To participate in the Church's mission of Evangelization of Souls. (Missionary Spirit of the Church)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
IV. OFFENSES AGAINST THE DIGNITY OF MARRIAGE
Other offenses against the dignity of marriage
2387 The predicament of a man who, desiring to convert to the Gospel, is obliged to repudiate one or more wives with whom he has shared years of conjugal life, is understandable. However, polygamy is not in accord with the moral law." [Conjugal] communion is radically contradicted by polygamy; this, in fact, directly negates the plan of God which was revealed from the beginning, because it is contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive." The Christian who has previously lived in polygamy has a grave duty in justice to honor the obligations contracted in regard to his former wives and his children.
2388 Incest designates intimate relations between relatives or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them. St. Paul stigmatizes this especially grave offense: "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you for a man is living with his father's wife. In the name of the Lord Jesus you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh." Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality.
2389 Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing.
2390 In a so-called free union, a man and a woman refuse to give juridical and public form to a liaison involving sexual intimacy. The expression "free union" is fallacious: what can "union" mean when the partners make no commitment to one another, each exhibiting a lack of trust in the other, in himself, or in the future? The expression covers a number of different situations: concubinage, rejection of marriage as such, or inability to make long-term commitments. All these situations offend against the dignity of marriage; they destroy the very idea of the family; they weaken the sense of fidelity. They are contrary to the moral law. The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion.
2391 Some today claim a "right to a trial marriage" where there is an intention of getting married later. However firm the purpose of those who engage in premature sexual relations may be, "the fact is that such liaisons can scarcely ensure mutual sincerity and fidelity in a relationship between a man and a woman, nor, especially, can they protect it from inconstancy of desires or whim." Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established. Human love does not tolerate "trial marriages." It demands a total and definitive gift of persons to one another.
January 18-Ice trapped the Endurance
Antarctic explorers like Ernest Shackleton who wrote this famous advertisement for men of courage.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
Loyalty-Sir Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton like so many of his generation were ultimate adventurers – part hero, part daredevil – fighting the elements and the odds, too far from civilization to call for help – laying it all on the line purely for the love of adventure. Shackleton led a doomed expedition to miraculous survival through the sheer force of his motivational leadership. In 1914, he set out with a crew of twenty-eight men on a quest to be the first to travel across the entire Antarctic continent by way of the South Pole. His ship, Endurance, became caught in ice and was crushed. After abandoning the ship, he and his men faced incredible hardship from a variety of brutal Antarctic conditions – from shifting weather to shifting ice, along with the trials of hunger, illness and discouragement – for more than a year.
Yet every man got home safely, when the entire expedition would have perished under weaker leadership. Incredibly, the only casualty was frostbitten toes on one man. He had passion for the adventure of the mission, but he also had passion for the men he led. When he was forced to abandon his doomed ship and realized he would not achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole en route to the other side, he kept his disappointment to himself while he shifted his priorities to the well-being of his men. He said to another leader, F.A. Worsley, “It is a pity [to miss the crossing], but that cannot be helped. It is the men we have to think about. “He put his men above himself.
He understood that the survival of them all might well depend on the quality of his leadership. He also realized that he could provide better leadership if he served as well as led. “Shackleton shared the physical labors as well as the watches…[He] would forego his own rations in order to feed the undernourished or the ill. And he often did so without anyone knowing it…Shackleton always put the needs of his men ahead of his personal comfort, and as a result he saved them all.” He realized that in order to survive they would have to stay healthy – mentally as well as physically.
When we are trying to survive, having fun is the farthest thing from our minds. It may even be seen as trivializing the suffering. But during harsh tribulation it is more important than ever to find something to enjoy. During hard times we need to find a source of joy in order to maintain a healthy perspective. As a leader, Shackleton accepted responsibility for maintaining the spirits as well as the health of his men. Yes, they were brave adventurers just as Shackleton was, well able to take care of themselves. Still, Shackleton knew that as a leader he could provide a unique kind of influence that would be empowering, energizing and uplifting. He continually sought out ways to boost morale. He set aside time for recreation. They improvised various forms of entertainment. Several of the men had chosen books among the possessions they salvaged, and they read aloud to each other. They played soccer on the ice. “Humor…played a role, with Shackleton telling stories or teasing his men. What Shackleton was doing was keeping his men alive inside; by encouraging them to read or sing, he was keeping their spirits from sagging or dwelling on the inhospitalities that in other circumstances might have overwhelmed them.” He Inspired Loyalty.
Shackleton’s passion for his mission and for his men, his passion for leadership, and his passion for motivation were a source of energy and courage during times of severe adversity. These virtues made him a leader that people wanted to follow. Even when his men may not have wanted to do something for themselves, they would do it for him. He inspired this kind of loyalty because he gave it to his men. They respected and trusted him because he respected and trusted them. They took care of him because he took care of them. They put him first because he put them first. He was a wonderful example of what a role model should be.
Shackleton dedicated South, the book he wrote about their extraordinary exploits, “To My Comrades.” In one especially moving passage he observed: “In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that natures renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” Sixty years after they had been rescued, the expedition’s first officer, Lionel Greenstreet, was asked how they had done it, how had they survived such a deadly misadventure. Greenstreet gave a one-word response:
The Ice is Nice and Chee-Chee is Peachy
Over 100 years ago Roald Amundsen on March 7, 1912 announced his success in reaching the Geographic South Pole to the world. This is the story about the construction of the South Pole Station in Antarctica in 1973-4 by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB71), also known as the ICE Battalion, which the author was a member of. The difficulties encountered in the construction of the station were monumental; enduring temperatures reaching 45 degrees below zero with wind chill factors reaching 80 below. This station was comprised of a 52-foot-high geodesic dome, weather balloon launch station and an observation tower for monitoring auroral phenomena. This Battalion was on the ICE for almost five months and worked around the clock to complete the project. This was an amazing fact when you consider that most of the construction was completed in freezing temperatures at a high altitude; for the South Pole is nearly two miles high by construction engineers less than 20 years old. The physical and mental stresses of working in this "frozen desert" took its tolls on these young men. This story chronicles the authors experience in this hostile environment, with bawdy engineers; humorous antics; hard drinking and temporary insanities and the authors faith journey amid the beauty and grandeur of the earth's last frontier: Antarctica. The title of the book is also the motto of the ICE Battalion—it refers to our mission and our R&R (rest and recreation) in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
· Plan winter fun: