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Monday in the First Passion Week 

1 Daniel, Chapter 13, Verse 1-3

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 who married a very beautiful and GOD-FEARING woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses.

 

Susanna is included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details (cross-examination) of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.[1]

 

In the Old Testament we already find admirable witnesses of fidelity to the holy law of God even to the point of a voluntary acceptance of death. A prime example is the story of Susanna: in reply to the two unjust judges who threatened to have her condemned to death if she refused to yield to their sinful passion, she says: " I am hemmed in on every side. For if I do this thing, it is death for me; and if I do not, I shall not escape your hands. I choose not to do it and to fall into your hands, rather than to sin in the sight of the Lord!" (Dan 13:22-23). Susanna, preferring to "fall innocent" into the hands of the judges, bears witness not only to her faith and trust in God but also to her obedience to the truth and to the absoluteness of the moral order. By her readiness to die a martyr, she proclaims that it is not right to do what God's law qualifies as evil in order to draw some good from it. Susanna chose for herself the "better part": hers was a perfectly clear witness, without any compromise, to the truth about the good and to the God of Israel. By her acts, she revealed the holiness of God.[2]

 In our modern secular world, it is often difficult to find a God-fearing woman and even recognize her. One wonders what the characteristics of a God-fearing woman are. An important thing to remember for all women of real beauty is that love is the inner sense of peacefulness and joy that casts out the outer reflection of beauty. 

God Fearing Woman[3]

These things aren’t things to add to your to-do list. They’re an opportunity to test your heart.  If we have a right ‘fear or understanding of God, then these four characteristics will overflow in our hearts:

1. A woman who fears the Lord isn’t anxious about what’s going to happen in her life.

Firsta woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

Our anxiety reveals what we think about God.

Do we honestly think He’s a sovereign and good Father?  Do we honestly believe He cares about the mundane details of our lives and is working everything out for our good?

If so, it will affect our anxiety about how our kids are going to do in school this Fall or our fears about being single this time next year, or our obsession with how we’re going to pay our bills next month or worry about how we’re going to do in that meeting at work tomorrow.

2. A woman who fears the Lord speaks wisdom and kindness.

Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Proverbs 31, Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

I love this because I’m a big fan of women redeeming passive communication. This verse tells us that if we’re going to be good stewards of our words we have to know and love God.  A right view of Him will affect the way we choose to spend the gift of language He has given us.

3. A woman who fears the Lord is strong.

Proverbs, Verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.”

Think for a second about how you define ‘strength’ Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have.

True strength looks like contentment.

Do you want to know if your fear of the Lord overflows into strength?  Do you envy others?

Threads of discontentment reveal a heart that does not fully grasp the greatness and goodness of our maker.

4. A woman who fears the Lord is for other people, not against them.

A woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others…Proverbs 31, Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.”

Our view of God will play out in our interaction with others.  If we trust that God is for us, it frees us up to be for other people.  We can look out for their interests because we know God is looking out for ours.

All four of these characteristics overflow from a right understanding and relationship with God.

You can’t just get out of your chair and go do these four things to earn the ‘proverbs 31’ merit badge.

If you want to be free of anxiety, if you want to speak kindness and wisdom, if you want to be strong and be for other people, the solution is gloriously complex: fear the Lord.

My hope is that, like me you’ll see this list as a reminder of just how far you have to go in your sanctification.

Let this list remind you of the opportunity you have to grow in your ‘fear’ of the Lord.  Let that opportunity excite you.  There’s more of Him to know.  There’s more of Him to trust.

As we grow in fearing Him we will be transformed – not to the image of some cool Proverbs woman.  We will be transformed into the very image of His Son.

Monday in the First Passion Week[4] 

Prayer. SANCTIFY our fasts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and mercifully grant us the pardon of all our faults. 

EPISTLE. Jonas iii. 1-10. 

In those days: The word of the Lord came to Jonas the prophet the second time, saying: Arise, and go to Nineveh the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonas arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord: now Nineveh was a great city of three days journey. And Jonas began to enter into the city one day s journey: and he cried, and said: Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed. And the men of Nineveh believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least. And the word came to the king of Nineveh: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Nineveh from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen nor sheep, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water. And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from His fierce anger, and we shall not perish? 

And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and our Lord God had mercy on His people. 

Repent and believe: Do the Nineveh 90 

GOSPEL. John vii. 32-39. 

At that time: The rulers and Pharisees sent ministers to apprehend Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while I am with you: and then I go to Him that sent Me. You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither you cannot come. The Jews therefore said among themselves: Whither will He go, that we shall not find Him? will He go unto the dispersed among the gentiles, and teach the gentiles? What is this saying that He hath said: You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, you cannot come? 

And on the last and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in Him. 

Lenten Calendar[5] 

Read: The Servant Songs, Day One: Within the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we encounter four poetic sections known as the Songs of the Suffering Servant. The specific identity of this Servant of the Lord remains the topic of scholarly debate. Perhaps it refers to the prophet Isaiah himself, perhaps the entire nation of Israel, or possibly the promised Messiah. Christian faith sees these prophetic utterances fulfilled in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Lord. Because of the Christian identification of the Suffering Servant with Jesus, the four Servant Songs become a way of encountering the Lord during this Lenten Season. Not only do they give us a sense of the commitment and endurance that characterized his messianic ministry, but they become a way of touching the bruised face of the Messiah, of hearing the resolute determination that sustained him in the midst of trial, and of rejoicing with him in God’s ultimate vindication of his calling and service. The first song introduces God’s Servant who will establish justice upon the earth. 

Reflect: Today we reflect on the first of the four Servant Songs. 

Pray: Take time with the first Servant Song. Read Isaiah 42:1-4.  

Act: In this passage, the prophet Isaiah portrays a servant who pleases God. This servant shows meekness and is one who will never extinguish even the smallest, faintest light of faith. Likewise, the faith of this servant will never grow dim; distant nations will await his teaching and look for the justice that he brings.  

The Mass[6]


 

The Mass was the center of life for the disciples of Jesus, and so it has ever been. The first Christians were Jews, living in a Jewish culture, steeped in Jewish forms of worship. The liturgy of the new covenant had been foreshadowed in the rituals of the old. The Mass is explicitly connected with the Passover meal. There are also parallels between the thank-offering or todah and the Mass.

 

A todah sacrifice would be offered by someone whose life had been delivered from great peril, such as disease or the sword. The redeemed person would show his gratitude to God by gathering his closest friends and family for a todah sacrificial meal. The lamb would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of thanksgiving, such as Psalm 116.[7]

 

The Talmud records the ancient rabbis’ teaching that, when the Messiah has come, “All sacrifices will cease except the todah.” In fact, Greek scriptures rendered the word todah as eucharistia, the word from which we get “Eucharist.”

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE:

THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION ONE

"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"

CHAPTER TWO-GOD COMES TO MEET MAN

Article 2-THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION

II. The Relationship Between Tradition and Sacred Scripture

One common source. . .

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."

"and [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. the first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: An increase of the faithful

·       54 Day Rosary for Priest’s and Religious Day 43



·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Manhood of the Master-week 7 day 2



·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       30Days with St. Joseph Day 16



·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan




[2] IOANNES PAULUS PP. II, VERITATIS SPLENDOR

[3]http://www.fabsharford.com/4-ways-to-tell-if-youre-a-woman-who-fears-the-lord/

[4]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[6] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 4. The Mass.

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