Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Isaiah, Chapter 63, verse 17
Why do you make us wander, LORD, from your
ways, and harden our hearts so that we do not FEAR you? Return for the
sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.
This chapter in Isaiah is called the Divine Warrior and Isaiah in this chapter refers to Christ as a warrior. Isaiah laments that we in our weak human nature have turned our hearts away from God and that we have no fear of divine justice. Have we become so enamored with the world and our own lives that when we look into the heavens at night, we only see impressive specks of glittering rocks we call stars and not the love of the creator which made them?
There is an expression, “Attitude is
everything!” and so what should our attitude be and why is Isaiah lamenting
that Israel did not fear God? The
answer lies in our personal attitude toward life. Holy fear is born out of love and is a response to the God the creator;
it is a fear more closely related
to awe. It is the loving fear of
a child that does not want to disappoint a parent and goes to great lengths to
please them. So we should develop this sense of Holy fear doing what is right and good to please the Father. Remembering
that, “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Let us daily ask of our Lord to remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of love thus making the winter brighter and our burdens lighter and bring cheer to the hearts of all we encounter. May we through love be brought to Holy fear enabling us to be careful in the practice of our faith and bring us to a spirit of penitence.
May we with the palmist say, “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved. (Psalm 80)
Prayers of Aspiration
As Lent wears on and we begin to feel the pain of self-denial it may help us to have a battle cry to remember our zeal for real change. This is where having memorized inspiring verses can be like flaming arrows against temptations. Aspirations help us to make our lives into a life of prayer. If prayer is a fire, then prayers of aspiration are like logs we place in the flames during the day. Prayers of Aspiration can help us learn how not to remain prisoners of the past and to believe things can be different. Ideally when we are stopped at traffic lights, placed on hold on the phone or other lines waiting we can use these moments to go through our prayers and fill our mind with prayer rather than with anxieties, worries, temptations, resentments and unwelcome memories.
Start a list of memorized Prayers of Aspiration today.
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Prayer. GRANT, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who are chastised by the fasts we have undertaken, may rejoice with holy devotion; that, our affections being weakened, we may more easily apprehend heavenly things.
EPISTLE, iv. Kings iv. 25-38.
In those days a Sunamite woman came to the man of God to Mount Carmel: and when the man of God saw her coming towards, he said to Giezi his servant: Behold that Sunamitess. Go therefore to meet her, and say to her: Is all well with thee, and with thy husband, and with thy son?
And she answered: Well. And when she came to the man of God to the mount, she caught hold on his feet: and Giezi came to remove her. And the man of God said: Let her alone, for her soul is in anguish, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. And she said to him: Did I ask a son of my lord? did I not say to thee: Do not deceive me?
Then he said to Giezi: Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thy hand, and go. If any man meet thee, salute him not: and if any man salute thee, answer him not: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. But the mother of the child said: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. He arose, therefore, and followed her. But Giezi was gone before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child, and there was no voice nor sense: and he returned to meet him, and told him, saying: The child is not risen. Eliseus therefore went into the house, and behold the child lay dead on his bed; and going in he shut the door upon him, and upon the child, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child: and he put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he bowed himself upon him, and the child’s flesh grew warm. Then he returned and walked in the house, once to and fro: and he went up, and lay upon him: and the child gaped seven times, and opened his eyes. And he called Giezi, and said to him: Call this Sunamitess. And she being called went in to him: and he said: Take up thy son. She came and fell at his feet, and worshipped upon the ground: and took up her son, and went out. And Eliseus returned to Galgal.
GOSPEL. Luke vii. 11-16.
At that time Jesus went into a city that is called Nairn; and there went with Him His disciples, and a great multitude. And when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, He said to her: Weep not. And He came near, and touched the brier. And they that carried it, stood still. And He said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying, A great prophet is risen up among us: and God hath visited His people.
Beloved brothers and sisters, we must strive with all our strength to repel the enemy of our souls, with full attention and vigilance, as he rages and aims his darts against every part of us that can be assaulted and wounded. This is what the Apostle Peter, in his epistle, warns.
· “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pt 5: 8).
· He and his forces circle around each of us and watches. When weaknesses are found, the siege forces break through them and then penetrate to the inside.
· The enemy presents to the eye’s seductive images and easy pleasures, so he can destroy chastity through the sense of sight.
· He tempts the ears with seductive music, so that by hearing these sweet sounds, the soul relaxes its guard and loses strength.
· He provokes the tongue by rebukes.
· He instigates the hand to do evil through exasperating wrong.
· He presents the lure of dishonest gains.
· He promises earthly honors so that he can deprive us of heavenly ones.
· He makes a show of false things, so that he can steal away the true ones. And when he can’t deceive through stealth, he threatens explicitly and openly, holding out the fear of violent persecution to vanquish God’s servants.
· For these reasons, beloved brothers and sisters, the mind ought to stand arrayed and armed against all the Devil’s deceiving snares and open threats, as ever ready to repel as the foe is ever ready to attack.
Rene Descartes born March 31, 1596
Rene Descartes (1596-1650), founder of Analytical Geometry and Modern Philosophy
In the beginning of his Meditations (1641) Descartes wrote:
“I have always been of the opinion that the two questions respecting God and the Soul were the chief of those that ought to be determined by help of Philosophy rather than of Theology; for although to us, the faithful, it be sufficient to hold as matters of faith, that the human soul does not perish with the body, and that God exists, it yet assuredly seems impossible ever to persuade infidels of the reality of any religion, or almost even any moral virtue, unless, first of all, those two things be proved to them by natural reason. And since in this life there are frequently greater rewards held out to vice than to virtue, few would prefer the right to the useful, if they were restrained neither by the fear of God nor the expectation of another life.” (Descartes 1901).
“It is absolutely true that we must believe in God, because it is also taught by the Holy Scriptures. On the other hand, we must believe in the Sacred Scriptures because they come from God.” (Descartes 1950, Letter of Dedication).
“And thus, I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God, insomuch that, before I knew him, I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing. And now that I know him, I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters, as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature.” (Descartes 1901, Meditation V).
Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
68 By love, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. He has thus provided the definitive, superabundant answer to the questions that man asks himself about the meaning and purpose of his life.
69 God has revealed himself to man by gradually communicating his own mystery in deeds and in words.
70 Beyond the witness to himself that God gives in created things, he manifested himself to our first parents, spoke to them and, after the fall, promised them salvation (cf Gen 3:15) and offered them his covenant.
71 God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (cf Gen 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts.
72 God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants. By the covenant God formed his people and revealed his law to them through Moses. Through the prophets, he prepared them to accept the salvation destined for all humanity.
73 God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever. the Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Lush and blooming vistas beckon us to take to the road and to explore. As we itch to go out and travel more in springtime, let us reflect on the mixed blessings. Interconnected communities and beautiful scenery are often coupled with air pollution, consumption of scarce petroleum, congestion, excessive mobility, and noise.
Overview of April
The first fifteen days of the month fall during the season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color violet or purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The remainder of April falls during the Easter season which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored). The month of April is dedicated to The Holy Spirit. The first three days of the month fall during the season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The remainder of April falls during the Easter season which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored).
As our Lenten journey comes to a close, we prepare to follow Christ all the way to the cross and to witness His glorious Resurrection. Hopefully we have sacrificed and prayed so that we are now able to more fully reap the fruits of a well spent Lent. After our solemn commemoration of the last days and death of Our Lord we will spend the remainder of the month of April celebrating. As Spring breaks forth even nature will join us as buds and blooms begin to surface and we spend this month basking in the joy of the Resurrection. We continue throughout the entire month our cry, "Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen."
The Feast of Divine Mercy offers us the opportunity to begin again as though we were newly baptized. The unfathomable mercy of God is made manifest today if we but accept His most gracious offer. Easter is the feast of feasts, the unalloyed joy and gladness of all Christians. This truly is "the day that the Lord has made." From Sunday to Sunday, from year to year, the Easters of this earth will lead us to that blessed day on which Christ has promised that He will come again with glory to take us with Him into the kingdom of His Father.
The saints that we will focus on this month — those who have already shared in the rewards of the Resurrection are: St. Katharine Drexel (March 3), St. Casimir (March 4), Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (March 7), St. John of God (March 8), St. Frances of Rome (March 9), St. Patrick (March 17), St. Cyril of Jerusalem (March 18), St. Joseph (March 19) and St. Toribio de Mogrovejo (March 23).
A Time of New Life
April boasts the most solemn and sublime events of human history: the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the Paschal mystery. Though the way to the Resurrection was the Via Crucis, the Sacrificial Lamb of God is now and forever Christ our Light, the Eternal high priest of the New Covenant. And his sorrowful mother, the Stabat Mater of Good Friday, is now the jubilant Mother of the Regina Caeli.
We the members of Christ’s Mystical Body exalt in the mystery by which we were redeemed. If in Baptism we were buried with Christ, so also will we share in his resurrection. By his death we were reborn; “by his stripes we were healed.” (Is 53:5) Easter, the epicenter of time, is the event that links time and eternity. It is indeed “the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” (Ps 118:24)
April is also:
· Jazz Appreciation Month
· Month of the Military Child
· --April 7-10--Tee up for the granddaddy of all golf tournaments. The 86th Masters Tournament kicks off the first of 4 major championships, with plenty of betting odds. Will Tiger Woods beat out Rory McIlroy for the green jacket? Head to Augusta, GA the first week in April to find out!
· Scarborough Renaissance Festival--April 9-May 1st--Travel back to the 16th century at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. This annual fest in Waxahachie, TX, kicks off the first weekend in April, drawing crowds upwards of 200,000 to view some 200 performances, like this round of jousting and horsemanship.
· --April 18--Show your Boston pride and find something for everyone to enjoy. The annual Boston Marathon kicks off with a fitness expo featuring more than 200 exhibitors, followed by a 5K set to draw an estimated 10,000 participants as well as a relay challenge -- all topped by the grand celebration of city spirit on Patriot’s Day.
· Earth Day at Yosemite--April 22--Celebrate Earth Day in one of America’s most treasured national parks. Timed in conjunction with National Park Week, Yosemite celebrates the planet’s big day with bike rides, junior ranger day walks, and even an Earth Day cake and lemonade, yum!
· --April 27--Enjoy a ride along Amsterdam’s canals, and don your brightest orange, for the Netherlands’ annual King’s Day. The national holiday celebrates the Dutch royal house (and current King Willem-Alexander) with plenty of “orange madness,” in keeping with the Dutch national colors.
· --April 15-24--Get your music fill at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The annual 2-weekend, 3-day fest kicks off in Indio, CA, with more than 150 performances set for 2014. OutKast, Muse and Arcade Fire headline this year’s show.
· --April 29-May 8--Love jazz? Join fellow music lovers at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Held every year since 1970, the annual Jazz Fest, as it’s called, showcases nearly every music genre, from blues to R&B, and everything else in between. It’s all performed across 12 stages during the last weekend in April.
· Apr. 1st-MASS First Friday
· Apr. 2nd-MASS First Saturday
· Apr. 6th MASS First Wednesday
· Apr. 8th MASS Friday of Sorrows
· Apr 11th Monday of Holy Week
· Apr 13th Spy Wednesday
· Apr 14th Maundy Thursday
· Apr 15th Good Friday
· Apr 16th Easter Vigil
· Apr 18th Easter Monday
· Apr 24th Divine Mercy Sunday
· Apr 25th Feast of St. Mark
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 12. Prayers of Aspiration.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.