Saturday in the first week of Lent-Ember Day
Isaiah, Chapter 41, verse 22-23
22 Let them draw near and foretell to us what it is that shall happen! What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may reflect on them and know their outcome; Or declare to us the things to come, 23 tell what is to be in the future, that we may know that you are gods! Do something, good or evil, that will put us in awe and in FEAR.
This verse is Isaiah’s indictment of Babylonian gods that is patterned on a legal trial, in which they are challenged to prove power over events of history and so justify their status as gods. Christ at his coming did show his power as God by his healings and miracles but still the Jews did not believe because their mind was trapped by wrong thinking. If we are to follow Christ we must know His thinking.
Today let us reflect on Christ’s mind given in the gospel.
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person, who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Saturday in the first week of Lent-Ember Day
EPISTLE, i. Thess. v. 14-23.
BRETHREN: We beseech you, rebuke
the unquiet, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient towards
all men. See that none render evil for evil to any man: but ever follow that
which is good towards each other, and towards all men. Always rejoice. Pray
without ceasing. In all things give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not
prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good. From all
appearance of evil refrain yourselves. And may the God of peace Himself
sanctify you in all things: that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be
preserved blameless in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Aids in Battle Demons are not a figment of your imagination
The Devil and other demons would like us to believe that they are outdated, unenlightened superstitions, but the Catholic Church remains firm, clear, and consistent in her teaching about this reality.
· Our heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we may be enabled to escape the snares secretly prepared by our enemy, repel the dreadful attacks he makes on us.
· Never was anyone, conceived been liberated from the Devil’s dominion except by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and humanity, who was conceived without sin, was born and died. He alone by His death overthrew the enemy of the human race, cancelling our sins, and unlocked the entrance to the heavenly kingdom, which the first man by his sin had locked against himself and all his posterity. COUNCIL OF FLORENCE (ECUMENICAL, 1431– 1445), SESSION 2
· Men are separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all who follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God. POPE LEO XIII, HUMANUM GENUS (PAPAL ENCYCLICAL, 1884), 1
· Satan manages to sow in man’s soul the seed of opposition to the one who “from the beginning” would be considered as man’s enemy— and not as Father. Man is challenged to become the adversary of God! The analysis of sin in its original dimension indicates that, through the influence of the “father of lies,” throughout the history of humanity there will be a constant pressure on man to reject God, even to the point of hating Him: “Love of self to the point of contempt for God,” as St. Augustine puts it. POPE JOHN PAUL II, DOMINUM ET VIVIFICANTEM (PAPAL ENCYCLICAL, 1986), 38
Thanks to Fear of the Lord, there is no Fear of Evil
History, in fact, is not alone in the hands of dark powers, chance or human choices. Over the unleashing of evil energies, the vehement irruption of Satan, and the emergence of so many scourges and evils, the Lord rises, supreme arbiter of historical events. He leads history wisely towards the dawn of the new heavens and the new earth, sung in the final part of the book under the image of the new Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21-22).
· It must be reaffirmed, therefore, that God is not indifferent to human events, but penetrates them realizing his "ways," namely his plans and his efficacious "deeds."
· According to our hymn, this divine intervention has a very specific purpose: to be a sign that invites all the peoples of the earth to conversion. Nations must learn to "read" in history a message of God. Humanity's history is not confused and without meaning, nor is it given over, without appeal, to the malfeasance of the arrogant and perverse. There is the possibility to recognize divine action hidden in it. In the pastoral constitution "Gaudium et Spes," Vatican Council II also invites the believer to scrutinize, in the light of the Gospel, the signs of the times to see in them the manifestation of the very action of God (cf. n. 4 and 11). This attitude of faith leads man to recognize the power of God operating in history, and thus to open himself to fear of the name of the Lord. In biblical language, in fact, this "fear" does not coincide with dread, but is the recognition of the mystery of the divine transcendence. Because of this, it is the basis of faith and is joined with love: "the Lord your God requires of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (cf. Deuteronomy 10:12).
· Following this line, in our brief hymn, taken from Revelation, fear and glorification of God are united: "Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name" (15:4)? Thanks to fear of the Lord there is no fear of the evil that rages in history and one takes up again with vigor the journey of life, as the prophet Isaiah declared: "Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: ‘Be strong, fear not!’" (Isaiah 35: 3-4).
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Part Three: The Life of Faith
16 The third part of the catechism presents the ultimate goal of man, created in the image of God: beatitude, and the ways to reach it: by acting correctly and freely, with the help of the law and the grace of God (first section); through an act that fulfills the double commandment of charity, developed in the ten commandments of God (second section).
Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Holy Priests, Consecrated, & ReligiousUnite in the work of the
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 25