Monday in the First Week of Lent
SAINTS FILICITY AND PERPETUA-CLEAN MONDAY
You shall not insult the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall FEAR your God. I am the Lord.
Be like your Heavenly Father; God is not a bully. Christ was often confronted by the bullies of his time. When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt. 22:34-40)
The modern world attempts to bully the faithful in abandoning their relationship with the Lord. Saint Pope Pius X was a pope, who resisted the bullying of the modern world by establishing an oath against modernism. The crux of this oath has five main points:
1. I profess that God is the origin and end of all things.
2. I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion.
3. I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ.
4. I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport.
5. I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth.
Salt of the Earth
Christ himself calls his true followers the "salt of the earth." and the "light of the world." These are titles of honor, surely, and of the greatest distinction. Christ is putting his true follower on almost a level with himself. He was the light of the world; he was the salt of the earth. He it was who gave men the knowledge of the true nature of God, as shown by the Incarnation. He it was who gave this life its flavor, who gave this life its meaning, its preservation. By his death and resurrection, he took away the sting of death, and removed its eternal corruption, by the guarantee and promise of a resurrection to an eternal life. This every Christian knows, and this knowledge every Christian helps to bring to those who are ignorant of it, if he lives his life daily and sincerely. The Christian, who does this, is really another Christ; he is continuing his work of salvation during his years on earth. He is the salt, of the earth and the light of the world. How many of us, can truly say that these honorable titles, which Christ gives to his followers, are given to us? In true humility, we can all say that we are far from worthy of any such honorable titles. Yet in all sincerity too, many if not the majority among us, are doing their little bit of Christ's work, in cultivating their own small comer of his vineyard. Those parents, who teach the Christian way of life to their children by word, and especially by example, are spreading the Christian faith. The workmen, whether in office or factory, which shows that they are Christians by their honesty, charity for their fellowmen, their respect for God, and the things of God, in their speech, are spreading their Christian faith. All those who show moderation in their personal expenditures and donate some of their savings to help their brothers, their fellow men who are in need, these are true disciples of Christ and are cooperating with him in bringing God's children back to their Father who is in heaven. Unlike the salt that has lost its flavor, and the light that is kept under the bushel, the Christian who has thus behaved can change his attitude, provided he is aided by God's grace which is never refused. He can become once more what he ought to be--a life-preserver for his neighbor. Life on earth is short. The demands of our Christian life may not always be easy, but we know that if we live up to them, we are other Christs. We are continuing his great work by our own good example to our neighbor, and we are giving glory to God, and are earning for ourselves the eternal light of heaven.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
Monday in the First Week of Lent
EPISTLE. Ezech. xxxiv. 11-16.
THUS, saith the Lord God: Behold I Myself will seek My sheep and will visit them. As the shepherd visiteth his flock in the day when he shall be in the midst of his sheep that were scattered, so will I visit My sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and will gather them out of the countries, and will bring them to their own land: and I will feed them in the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the habitations of the land. I will feed them in the most fruitful pastures, and their pastures shall be in the high mountains of Israel: there shall they rest on the green grass and be fed in fat pastures upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed My sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost: and that which was driven away I will bring again: and I will bind up that which was broken, and I will strengthen that which was weak, and that which was fat and strong I will preserve: and I will feed them in judgment, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. Matt. xxv. 31-46.
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: When the Son of man shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the seat of His majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left. Then shall the King say to them that shall be on His right hand: Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat I was thirsty, and you gave Me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in naked, and you covered Me: sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then shall the just answer Him, saying: Lord, when did we see Thee hungry, and fed Thee; thirsty, and gave Thee drink? and when did we see Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and covered Thee? or when did we see Thee sick or in prison, and came to Thee? And the King answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me. Then He shall say to them also that shall be on His left hand: Depart from Me, yon cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me not to eat I was thirsty, and you gave Me not to drink I was a stranger, and you took Me not in naked, and you covered Me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Then they also shall answer Him, saying: Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to Thee? Then He shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to Me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment, but the just into life everlasting.
Convert us, O God, our salvation; and, that the fast of Lent may benefit us, instruct our minds with heavenly discipline.
· Read: Lent is a special time for those preparing to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). RCIA is a period of learning and discernment for those seeking to become Catholic.
· Reflect; Take time to reflect on your own decision to become a member of the Church.
· Reflect 2: On February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina as the King of Divine Mercy. He asked her to have a picture painted of him as she saw him — clothed in white, with red and white rays of light streaming from his heart. The rays represent the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus on the cross. Under the image are the words, "Jesus, I trust in you." Many people did not believe Faustina at first. The sisters in her own convent thought that Jesus could not possibly have selected her for this great favor. After all, she was an uneducated peasant girl. Her superiors often refused to give her permission to carry out Jesus' requests. Church theologians, too, doubted her word. Jesus told Faustina that he loved her obedience and that his will would be done in the end.
· Pray: Keep the elect, candidates, and their sponsors in your prayers this Lent.
· Act: Download the CRS Rice Bowl App. . . today and try a new way of tracking your Lenten journey, while also receiving daily reflections and meatless recipes.
Preparing for Battle Know Your Weapons
The weapon of Sacred Scripture
· Each time the Devil attacked with the temptation to doubt or disobey God, Jesus quoted Scripture to throw him back.
· Scripture is our sword against Satan!
· We must listen carefully to the scriptural readings in Mass and meditate on them deeply.
· We must read Scripture on our own.
· We must also memorize scriptural texts that we can use against temptation. Then, when the Enemy assaults us, we can imitate Our Lord by the effective counterassault of quoting the word of God.
Martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua
Perpetua was twenty-two, well born, married and the mother of a tiny son still at her breast. Felicitas, an expectant mother, was a slave. They were among five catechumens whose arrest and imprisonment were meant as a warning to the other Christians in Carthage in the year 203. Tormented by her father who was a pagan and wanted her to apostatize, terrified by the darkness and stifling heat of the dungeon where they were imprisoned, Perpetua's greatest suffering nevertheless was for her baby who was with her.
Baptism, however, drove away her fears and with the coming of the Holy Spirit she was at peace and the prison became to her as a palace; in visions she learned the manner of their martyrdom and caught glimpses of what awaits souls in the life after death. Among these was a vision of Purgatory where she saw her little brother Dinocratus suffering.
Dinocratus had died when he was only seven, painfully ulcerated about the face. Perpetua saw him "coming out of a dark place where there were many others," dirtily clad, pale, with the wound still on his face, and he was very hot and thirsty. Near him was a fountain but its brim was higher than he could reach and, though he stood on tiptoe, he could not drink. By this vision she knew he needed her prayers, and she prayed for him night and day. On the day the Christians were put in stocks, she had another vision and saw Dinocratus freed. This time he was clean and finely clothed, on his face was a clean scar and beside him a low fountain reaching only to his waist. On the edge of the fountain was a golden cup ever full of water, and Dinocratus drank. "And when he had drunk, he came away — pleased to play, as children will."
In the meantime, Felicitas was worried for fear her baby would not be born in time for her to die for Christ with her companions. There was a law which forbade throwing even a Christian woman to the wild beasts if she was with child. Three days before they were to go to the arena, they prayed God would permit the birth of her child, and as soon as their prayers were done, her labor began. She gave birth to a little girl who was afterward adopted by her sister.
At last, the scene of their martyrdom and in its Perpetua and Felicity were told to put on the garments of pagan priestesses, the two refused and so were stripped naked, covered with nets, and sent to face assault by a maddened cow said to have been used in insult to their womanhood and their maternity. Strangely enough the audience — screaming for blood though it was — yet was touched by the sight of these two so young and so valiant, and the people shuddered.
Perpetua and Felicitas were called back and clothed in loose robes. Now Perpetua was thrown, her garment rent, and her thigh gored. Regaining her feet, she gathered her tunic over her thigh so in suffering she would not appear immodest and looking about found her fallen hair ornament and repinned her hair least one soon to be a martyr seem to grieve in her glory. Looking for Felicitas, she gave assistance to her and standing together they awaited another attack. But the mob cried, "Enough," and the two were led off to the headsman's block. Catching sight of her brother, Perpetua cried out: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." Felicitas was struck down first then Perpetua — but only after the nervous swordsman had struck her once and failed to sever her head. The second time she guided his sword with her own hands. So brave, and so full of love; perhaps if she were dying now, she would exhort us to be brave and full of love in slightly different words. Perhaps she would cry out, "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our color be a stumbling block to you." Perpetua was white, and Felicitas was black.
Clean Monday-Traditional time for going to confession
Clean Monday, also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is the first day of Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Christian, Saint Thomas Christians of India and Eastern Catholic churches. It is a moveable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday. The common term for this day, "Clean Monday", refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. It is sometimes called "Ash Monday", by analogy with Ash Wednesday (the day when the Western Churches begin Lent). The term is often a misnomer, as only a small subset of Eastern Catholic Churches practices the Imposition of Ashes. The Maronite Catholic Church and The Mar Thoma Nasranis of India-Syro-Malabar Catholic Church are notable amongst the Eastern rite that employs the use of ashes on this day. Liturgically, Clean Monday—and thus Lent itself—begins on the preceding (Sunday) night, at a special service called Forgiveness Vespers, which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love. The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as "Clean Week", and it is customary to go to Confession during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly. The theme of Clean Monday is set by the Old Testament reading appointed to be read at the Sixth Hour (noon) on this day (Isaiah 1:1–20), which says, in part:
Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool (vv. 16–18).
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, a notion which was used symbolically in Ivan Bunin's critically acclaimed story, Pure Monday. The happy, springtime atmosphere of Clean Monday may seem at odds with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control, but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the Orthodox approach to fasting, in accordance with the Gospel lesson (Matthew 6:14–21) read on the morning before, which admonishes:
When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret... (v. 16–18).
In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that "The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..."
Catechism of the Catholic Church
11. The purpose of this catechism is to present an organic and synthetic exposition of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, both on faith and on morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and of the Tradition of the Church as a whole. Its main sources are Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the Liturgy and the Magisterium of the Church. It is intended to serve "as a point of reference for the catechisms or compendiums that are composed in the various countries" (Synod of Bishops 1985, Relacion final II, B, a, 4).
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 20
Monday: Litany of Humility
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.