Monday of the Third Week of Lent
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS
Isaiah, Chapter 50, verse 10
Who among you FEARS the
LORD, heeds his servant’s voice? Whoever walks in darkness, without any light,
yet trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon their God!
The English Standard
version of the bible states this verse accordingly, “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of
his servant? Let him who walks in
darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”
It has been said the body is an excellent servant but a poor master. When we obey the voice of our servant the body it ultimately leads to our destruction and eventually, we walk in darkness. Yet, when we trust in the Lord and master our bodies from addiction and or lusts of the flesh we thrive. God’s ultimate wish is for us to thrive.
The Lord offers a choice to those who walk in darkness: either trust in the true light or walk in their false light and suffer the consequences.
James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. (Dn. 3:40-42)
FOLLOW ONE MASTER ONLY
What a sad life does he lead who wants both to please the world and to serve God! It is a great mistake to make, my friends. Apart from the fact that you are going to be unhappy all the time, you can never attain the stage at which you will be able to please the world and please God.
Do not look for and do not serve more than one master, and once you have chosen the one you are going to follow, do not leave him. You surely remember what Jesus Christ said to you in the Gospel: you cannot serve God and Mammon; that is to say, you cannot follow the world and the pleasures of the world and Jesus Christ with His Cross. Of course, you would be quite willing to follow God just so far and the world just so far! Let me put it even more clearly: you would like it if your conscience, if your heart, would allow you to go to the altar in the morning and the dance in the evening; to spend part of the day in church and the remainder in the cabarets or other places of amusement; to talk of God at one moment and the next to tell obscene stories or utter calumnies about your neighbor; to do a good turn for your next-door neighbor on one occasion and on some other to do him harm; in other words, to do good and speak well when you are with good people and to do wrong when you are in bad company.
Other Forms of Asceticism
Since Lent recapitulates time spent in the desert, other forms of asceticism have accrued to its observance. Unessential travel and diversion are discouraged. In former times, certain forms of entertainment, such as live theatre and secular music, were banned, as was the holding of court. Weddings were also forbidden in the early Church; even after this changed, the Solemn Nuptial Blessing could not be given during a Lenten wedding. Finally, married couples were once admonished to abstain from conjugal relations during this time (as they were admonished to do during all solemn fasts and feasts). Again, the principle is the same: withdrawal from the preoccupations of the flesh in order to focus on the spirit.
The Church’s Calendar
We often learn our doctrine much more deeply and effectively simply by celebrating the feasts and fasts of the Church.
In fact in Orthodox Judaism the calendar is the catechism of Israel. According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, “On the pinions of time which bear us through life, God has inscribed the eternal words of His soul-inspiring doctrine, making days and weeks, months and years the heralds to proclaim His truths. Nothing would seem more fleeting than these elements of time, but to them God has entrusted the care of His holy things, thereby rendering them more imperishable and more accessible.”
CCC2698. The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. The cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian's life of prayer.
No one knows human nature better than the God who created it. The book of
Genesis tells us that the Lord God made the world in six days and rested on the
seventh. He rested not because he was weary-God does not tire-but because He wanted
to provide a model for human labor and rest. The Church calendar coincides with
the cosmic rhythms of God. The Church calendar reflects this fact: That Christ rose from the dead in payment for
our sins and is the Jewish Messiah that was hoped for.
Stations of the Cross
Though technically only the last
fourteen days of Lent explicitly consider the sufferings of our Lord, the
Stations of the Cross (a.k.a. the Way of the Cross) have long been a popular
Lenten devotion for any or all of the forty days (though they tend to be done
on Fridays). These fourteen scenes from the via dolorosa, the sorrowful path
that Christ took while carrying His cross to Golgotha, help direct one's heart
to the mysterium fidei of our Lord's selfless sacrifice.
Monday of the Third Week of Lent
POUR forth, in Thy mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that, as we abstain from flesh, we may also restrain our senses from hurtful excesses.
EPISTLE, iv. Kings v. 1 15.
In those days: Naaman, general of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria: and he was a valiant man and rich, but a leper. Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited upon Naaman’s wife. And she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet, that is in Samaria: he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath. Then Naaman went into his lord, and told him, saying: Thus, and thus said the girl from the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said to him: Go, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment, and brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman my servant, that thou mayest heal him of his leprosy. And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments, and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and give life, that this man hath sent to me, to heal a man of his leprosy? mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me. And when Eliseus the man of God had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus: and Eliseus sent a messenger to him saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was angry and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing- would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abana and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, arid be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, his servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it : how much rather what he now hath said to thee: Wash, and thou shalt be clean? Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times: according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child, and he was made clean. And returning to the man of God with all his train, he came, and stood before him, and said: In truth, I know there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel.
GOSPEL. Luke iv. 23-30.
At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: Doubtless you will say to Me this similitude: Physician, heal Thyself: as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in Thy own country. And He said: Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the earth. And to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger. And they rose up and thrust Him out of the city: and they brought Him to the brow of the hill, where on their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passes through the midst of them, went His way.
Aids in Battle the Power of the Holy Spirit
In the Holy Spirit we have from God a mighty Ally and Protector, a great Teacher of the Church, a mighty Champion on our behalf. We must not be afraid of the demons, nor of the Devil himself; for more powerful than those is the One who fights for us. But we must open our doors to Him, for He goes about seeking those who are worthy and searching for those on whom He may bestow His gifts. ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
Tutelage of the Holy Spirit
Being baptized in Christ is the only requirement for receiving the Holy Spirit, but to grow in the Spirit there are certain things that are necessary, and these are a few of them.
§ A genuine desire to be holy I always use the word 'holy' to mean living a life pleasing to God in every possible way, not just in those matters you consider expedient; and obeying his commandments to the fullest extent that you are capable of. Holiness has to be your goal and you must be prepared to do whatever it takes to attain it, which includes a total, unwavering commitment. The course is grueling and if you aren't committed, you will crash out in no time.
§ Heartfelt repentance: You have to be genuinely sorry for your sins. It doesn't matter that you might be constrained by sin at this point — part of the Holy Spirit's role is to take away the constraints and free you of sin, which will happen in time — but what is important at this stage is that you be truly sorry for the offences that you have committed against God and be determined never to sin against him anymore.
§ Honesty and courage: Another requirement is honesty, more with ourselves than with anybody else, and the courage to face up to who we really are. Most of us put up facades for public display and have been doing it for so long we have ended up even fooling ourselves. The Holy Spirit is going to rip the masks apart, albeit gently, and reveal things about you that you will not like to see. If you aren't willing to face up to the truth of who you are and be ready to remedy yourself without justification, you aren't going to make much progress.
§ Love for God: A vital requirement is a genuine love for God, translatable into action. Love for God is something that will grow as you grow in him, but what you need is a basic element of it to begin with, because it is only love for God that will help you make a lot of the tough decisions that you will be called to make as you progress through this school. The more love for God that you have, the more you will be prepared to do for him, which will, consequently, make it that much easier for you.
International Day of Forests
International Day of Forests seeks to celebrate forests while providing a platform to raise awareness of the importance of trees. The day also raises awareness of rapid deforestation and educates about the vital role that forests and trees play in sustaining and protecting humans by supplying us with freshwater and oxygen. In fact, forested watersheds and wetlands provide the world with nearly 75% of its accessible freshwater. International Day of Forests was declared in December 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly in an effort to promote the importance of forests to humans and aid in conservation efforts. International Day of Forests is observed annually on March 21st. Since then, International Forest Day has become one of the most influential global events advocating for forest conservation in the world.
International Day of Forests Facts & Quotes
· According to the UN, forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass
· Nearly one-third of the world's largest cities get their drinking water directly from protected forest areas. Forests act as natural filters for water by removing particles from it such as metals and nitrogen.
· According to the UN, approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihood.
International Day of Forests Top Events and Things to Do
· Join the celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day in the Economic and Social Council Chamber of the UN. Every year they host a meet and greet style event in the chamber that the public can join in on.
· Watch a movie that advocates for the protection of forests or showcases their rich biological diversity. Some of our favorites are Planet Earth, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, and Wild.
· Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtags #InternationalDayofForests, #SavetheForests or #IntForestDay.
· Share your favorite photo of a forest or plant with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN by emailing it to email@example.com. The UN will add it to a combined gallery of everyone’s pictures around the world!
· Read a book that is advocating forest conservation. Some of our favorites are: The Sibley Guide to Trees, The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring, and Forest Ecology.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
26 We begin our profession of faith by saying: "I believe" or "We believe". Before expounding the Church's faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy and lived in observance of God's commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what "to believe" means. Faith is man's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. Thus, we shall consider first that search (Chapter One), then the divine Revelation by which God comes to meet man (Chapter Two), and finally the response of faith (Chapter Three).
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 6. The Church Calendar.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.