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 Wednesday before Laetare Sunday

Isaiah, Chapter 51, verse 7

Hear me, you who know justice, you people who have my teaching at heart: Do not FEAR the reproach of others; remain firm at their reviling’s. 

What is God’s justice and what teaching should we have at heart? 

The Old Testament established the seven laws of Noah, or the Noahide Laws which were given by God as binding on all of humanity. Any person who adheres to these is regarded as righteous and is assured a place in the world to come. 

These laws are: 

1.     Do Not Deny God

2.     Do Not Blaspheme God

3.     Do Not Murder

4.     Do Not Engage in Incestuous, Adulterous or Homosexual Relationships.

5.     Do Not Steal

6.     Do Not Eat of a Live Animal

7.     Establish Functioning Courts of Law 

Jesus said to his disciples; “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Mt. 5:17)

 

Good Works[1]

 

Lent is traditionally considered a particularly good time for performing corporal works of mercy (e.g., almsgiving, peacemaking, etc.). The importance of supplementing ascetical denial with active virtues is underscored in the Gospel (Luke 11.14-28), in which a man who has had a demon exorcized from him later becomes repossessed by the demon and seven other unclean spirits. Christ's point seems to be that holy practices such as fasting do indeed remove bad things from one's soul, but this is ultimately to no avail if the soul is not then filled with good things. This understanding is also operative in the Collect for the First Sunday of Lent:

 

O God, who by the yearly Lenten observance dost purify Thy Church, grant to Thy household that what they strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, they may achieve by good works. 

Baptism[2] 



Supernatural Life begins at baptism. Jesus himself spoke of baptism in terms of a strict obligation: “unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” When new believers asked St. Peter, the first pope, what they should do, he declared: “Repent, and be baptized”. It is easy for us to take God’s fatherhood for granted. We say easily, “God is our Father” yet we forget that that during Christ’s time to say that could get you killed. This was why the Jews sought to kill Jesus because he called God his Father. When we are born anew in baptism, we are born not of human parentage but heavenly by what theologians call the “marvelous exchange.” In Jesus, God became what we are so that we might become what HE is. This is why God became man and this is why he gave us baptism. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in you mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:11-14).

Wednesday before Laetare Sunday[3] beginning of Mid-Lent

Prayer. GRANT us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, instructed by wholesome fasting, and abstaining from dangerous vices, we may more easily obtain Thy favor.

EPISTLE. Exodus xx. 12-24.

Thus, saith the Lord God: Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his. And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off, saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God has come to prove you, and that the dread of Him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off. But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was. And the Lord said to Moses: Thus, shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold. You shall make an altar of earth unto Me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace-offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of My name shall be.

GOSPEL. Matt. xv. 1-20.

At that time there came to Jesus from Jerusalem scribes and Pharisees, saying: Why do Thy disciples transgress the traditions of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: Honor thy father and mother; and: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death. But you say: Whosoever shall say to father or mother, the gift whatso ever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee; and he shall not honor his father or his mother: and you have made void the commandment of God for jour tradition. Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoreth Me with their lips: but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men. And having called together the multitudes unto Him, He said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came His disciples, and said to Him: Dost Thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized?

But He answering, said: Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. And Peter answering, said to Him: Expound to us this parable. But He said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.

Mid-Lent Customs[4] 

Mid-Lent, the week from the Wednesday before to the Wednesday after Laetare Sunday, is a note of joy within the context of sorrow. The perfect symbol of this complex emotion is the rose vestments worn on Laetare Sunday instead of penitential purple or exultant white. Rose stands somewhere in between, as a sort of joyous variation of purple. The last day of Mid-Lent is when catechumens would learn the Apostles' Creed for the first time; the days leading up to that great revelation were thus for them a cause for gladness. This spirit eventually permeated to the rest of the community as "a measure of consoling relaxation... so that the faithful might not break down under the severe strains of the Lenten fast but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart" (Pope Innocent III (d. 1216)). 

Mid-Lent customs predominantly involve pre-Christian celebrations concerning the "burial" of winter, where flower decorations and the like betoken the joyous end of the cold and dark. There are also customs involving either matchmaking or announcing the engagements of young couples. In either case, a joyous meal is celebrated during this time. 

In England Laetare Sunday came to be known as "Mothering" Sunday because it was the day that apprentices and students were released from their duties to visit their mother church, i.e., the church in which they had been baptized and brought up. This custom tied into the theme of Mother Jerusalem. 

Our Lady of Victory[5]

Pray for Ukraine, Russia and the World for the Victory of the Holy Spirit

In Hungary today is the feast of Our Lady of Victories, (there are nine separate days in honor of Our Lady of Victory, the main being October 7) Today's feast commemorates the victory in Hungary. On August 6, 1716, Prince Eugene of Savoy defeated a large invading Ottoman army at Peterwardein, Hungary. The victory set the stage for the reconquest of Hungary from the Turks. 

O Mary, merciful Refuge of Sinners and Mother of all mankind! Behold how many souls are lost every hour! Behold how countless millions of those who live in India, in China, and in barbarous regions do not yet know Our Lord Jesus Christ! See, too, how many others are far from the bosom of Mother Church, which is Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman! O Mary ... life of our hearts ... let not the Precious Blood and fruits of Redemption be lost for so many souls! 

Grant that a ray of Heavenly light may shine forth to enlighten those many blinded understandings and to enkindle so many cold hearts. Intercede with thy Divine Son, and obtain grace for all pagans, Jews, heretics, and schismatics in the whole world to receive supernatural light and to enter with joy into the bosom of the true Church. Hear the confident prayer of the Supreme Pontiff that all nations may be united in one faith, that they may know and love Jesus Christ, the blessed fruit of thy womb... And then all men shall love thee also, thou who art the salvation of the world, arbiter and dispenser of the treasures of God ... And, glorifying thee, O Queen of Victories, who, by means of thy Rosary, dost trample upon all heresies, they shall acknowledge that thou givest life to all nations, since there must be a fulfillment of the prophecy: "All generations shall call me blessed." Amen. 

Rosary[6] 

The Rosary is the foremost daily method of meditative prayer used by popes and saints alike. There are many forms of praying the Rosary such as the “The Seven Sorrows” Rosary and recently Pope John Paul II added the luminous mysteries. The Rosary has even been adapted to pray for the United States. Pious Germans have the custom of improvising a mystery-specific insertion for each Hail Mary. For example, while meditating on the annunciation, they pray, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus” (and they insert the words) “who died for our sins” then start again with “Holy Mary...The Rosary works, on a human level, because it engages the five senses. It involves our speech and our hearing. It occupies our mind and incites our emotions. We feel the beads with our fingertips. If we pray before a sacred image or better before the Blessed Sacrament we are transported into the lives of Mary and Jesus. The Rosary works best when we stop working and abandon ourselves like children to the time we are spending with our mother. The best place to pray the Rosary is with the family. Mother Teresa of Calcutta after enduring a vision of Calvary stated that Mary reassured her to: “Fear not. Teach them to say the Rosary—the family Rosary—and all will be well.” To God and to the Blessed Virgin, all our efforts at prayer are precious, when we persevere in praying the Rosary, we become like little children, children of Mary, children of our heavenly Father. 

·       German Rosary

·       Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary

Atheist Day[7] Agnostic Holiday

Christmas. Basant. Diwali. Eid al-Adha. Easter. Yom Kippur. Vesak. Hanukkah. Ramadan. There is no shortage of religious holidays celebrated every year. According to recent studies, there are approximately 7.1 billion people currently living in this world, 31% of whom are Christians, 23% of whom are Muslims, 13% of whom are Hindus, and almost 7% of whom are Buddhists. There are also millions of other people who follow religions such as Judaism, Jainism, and Spiritism. But what about those of us who do not believe in a god or gods? An estimated 2% of the worlds population does not adhere to any religion.

Last Words of famous Atheists[8]

Thomas Hobbs [political philosopher]

·       I say again, if I had the whole world at my disposal, I would give it to live one day. I am about to take a leap into the dark."

 

Thomas Payne [the leading atheistic writer in American colonies

·       "Stay with me, for God's sake; I cannot bear to be left alone, O Lord, help me! O God, what have I done to suffer so much? What will become of me hereafter? "I would give worlds if I had them, that The Age of Reason had never been published. Lord help me! Christ help me! …No, don't leave; stay with me! Send even a child to stay with me; for I am on the edge of Hell here alone. If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one."

 

Voltaire famous anti-Christian atheist:

·       "I am abandoned by God and man; I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months' life." (He said this to Dr. Fochin, who told him it could not be done.) "Then I shall die and go to hell!" (His nurse said: "For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.

 

Napoleon Bonaparte, the French emperor, and who, like Adolf Hitler, brought death to millions to satisfy his greedy, power-mad, selfish ambitions for world conquest:

·       "I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the earth. Such is the fate of him who has been called the great Napoleon. What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ!”

 

In a Newsweek interview with Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of Josef Stalin, she told of her father's death:

·       "My father died a difficult and terrible death. God grants an easy death only to the just. At what seemed the very last moment he suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance, insane or perhaps angry. His left hand was raised, as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse on us all. The gesture was full of menace. The next moment he was dead."

Aids in Battle[9] Words of Warning in Battle

The Enemy is crafty and powerful. Heed these warnings to avoid his ambush.

·       Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the Devil, like a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. 1 Peter 5: 8– 9

·       Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Cor 11: 14

·       But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his guile, so your minds may be corrupted and fall from a pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11: 3

·       Wisdom that is from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, moderate, docile, in harmony with good things, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation. The fruit of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace. Jas 3: 13– 18

·       Be angry and do not sin do not let the sun go down upon your anger; do not give place to the Devil. Eph 4: 26– 27

Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph

The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.

·       Do the St. Joseph Universal Man Plan.

·       Devotion to the 7 Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph


 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE:

THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION ONE

"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"

CHAPTER ONE

MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD

II. Ways of Coming to Know God

31 Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material", can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God".

35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. (so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: An end to the use of contraceptives.

·       54 Day Rosary for Priest’s and Religious Day 31



·       Manhood of the Master-week 5 day 4



·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       30 Days with St. Joseph Day 4

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Iceman’s 40 devotion

·       Universal Man Plan




[2] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 3. Baptism.

[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[5]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2021-03-23

[6] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 35. Rosary.

[9]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.



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