Skip to main content

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Orthodox Easter[1]


 

Orthodox Easter commemorates Jesus' resurrection three days after his crucifixion and death. Following his death, he was removed from the cross and hastily buried in a tomb. On Sunday, it was discovered that Jesus' tomb was empty and angels informed onlookers that Jesus had risen. Throughout the next 40 days, Jesus appears to his apostles and disciples before finally ascending to heaven. Orthodox Easter is the highest and holiest of holidays in the Christian Orthodox faith. Orthodox Easter follows the Julian calendar and must take place after the Jewish Passover. For these reasons, Orthodox Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the vernal equinox and always after Jewish Passover.

 

Orthodox Easter Facts

 

·       Easter is often called Pascha in the Orthodox tradition.   Pascha normally falls either one or five weeks later than the feast as observed by Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar.  However, occasionally the two observances coincide, and on occasion they can be four weeks apart.

·       Eggs represent new life as well as Jesus' tomb.  In some Orthodox church’s eggs are dyed red to symbolize either the blood of Christ or the red cloak Roman soldiers put on Jesus as they tortured him.

·       In the Orthodox tradition, the Easter season lasts for 100 days.  It begins as a time of preparation, 49 days before the holiday.  The proceeding 50 days after Easter is dedicated for strengthening faith in Jesus Christ.


·       The final worship service of Pascha is usually held at noon on Sunday.  Called the Agape Vespers, the service highlights St. Thomas' encounter with the risen Jesus.  Thomas doubted that the resurrection was real until Jesus told him to touch his wounds.  Thomas' story is usually read in a number of languages to emphasize the universal nature of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

 

Orthodox Easter Top Events and Things to Do

 

·       Stay up late and go to an Orthodox vigil service.  Bringing light into the church is a dramatic and joyous occasion.

·       Wear some new clothes to church.  This is an ancient tradition that goes back to the early church when newly baptized persons were given a white gown to wear on Easter.

·       Take an Easter basket to an Orthodox church and have it blessed.  Some Eastern Orthodox Church members put together special baskets with particular items that symbolize different aspects of their faith.  These items often include bread, wine, salt, cheese, ham, and horseradish.

·       Russian Orthodox believers often visit the cemetery on Easter, placing a dyed red egg on each loved one's grave.  The eggs are dyed red because of a tradition that says Roman soldiers put on Jesus' red cloak after he was crucified.  Consider paying homage to your deceased loved ones on Easter.

 Candles[2] 

When the people of Israel offered worship, in the Old Testament they did son amid the flicker of many lights. So important were these lights that the main one, the temple menorah became the most recognizable symbol of Judaism. The Christian church is a temple and as such lights play an important part in worship. In fact, lamps and candles are a symbol of the person of Christ. “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12) At the church’s greatest celebration on the Easter Vigil the priest holds the paschal candle aloft and proclaims, “Christ our light!” three times. The lamp is a symbol of Christ, God’s presence among us. The lighting of votive candles is the “offering” of the faithful.

 

The Use of Candles in the Orthodox Church[3] 



Question: Why do we light candles in the Orthodox Church?

Answer: There are typically two types of candles that Orthodox are familiar with. First there are the genuine pure beeswax candles made from the combs of hives. Secondly, there are the paraffin wax candles made from petroleum. When the Fathers of the Church speak of the Orthodox use of candles, they are referring to the pure beeswax candles and not the latter. Paraffin wax produces carcinogens and soot when burned. In fact, one air quality researcher stated that the soot from a paraffin candle contains many of the same toxins produced by burning diesel fuel. With this information in mind, we can better understand the six symbolic representations of lit candles handed down to us by Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki:

·        As the candle is pure (pure beeswax), so also should our hearts be pure.

·        As the pure candle is supple (as opposed to the paraffin), so also should our souls be supple until we make it straight and firm in the gospel.

·        As the pure candle is derived from the pollen of a flower and has a sweet scent, so also should our souls have the sweet aroma of Divine Grace.

·        As the candle, when it burns, mixes with and feeds the flame, so also, we can struggle to achieve theosis (union with God).

·        As the burning candle illuminates the darkness, so must the light of Christ within us shine before men that God's name be glorified.

·        As the candle gives its own light to illuminate a person in the darkness, so also must the light of the virtues, the light of love and peace, characterize a Christian. The wax that melts symbolizes the flame of our love for our fellow men.

Besides the six symbolic representations above, Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite gives us six different reasons why Orthodox light candles:

1.      To glorify God, who is Light, as we chant in the Doxology: "Glory to God who has shown forth the light..."

2.      To dissolve the darkness of the night and to banish away the fear which is brought on by the darkness.

3.      To manifest the inner joy of our soul.

4.      To bestow honor to the saints of our Faith, imitating the early Christians of the first centuries who lit candles at the tombs of the martyrs.

5.      To symbolize our good works, as the Lord said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in the heavens." The priest also gave us this charge following our baptism.

6.      To have our own sins forgiven and burned away, as well as the sins of those for whom we pray.

For all these reasons cited by our Holy Fathers, let us often light our candles and make sure as much as possible that they be pure candles. We should abstain from all corruption and uncleanness, so that all of the above symbolism is made real in our Christian lives. At one point during the Presanctified Divine Liturgy the liturgist holds a lit candle, and facing the people he proclaims: "The light of Christ shines on all". Christ is "the true light who enlightens and sanctifies all men". Are we worthy recipients of this light? The saints themselves constantly sought after this light. Let us then also imitate the saints and like Saint Gregory Palamas continuously supplicate the Lord in the following words: "Enlighten my darkness".

Question: Is there any other reason why we light our candle in church?


    Answer: Besides the higher spiritual reasons mentioned above for why we light candles, there is another simpler and practical reason: to make a financial offering to the church. When we go to light our candle, we should also give an offering for the various services and expenses of the church. The church gives us the candle as a blessing for our offering and allows us to ignite the flame of the symbolisms mentioned above.

 

Question: Should we light candles outside the church as well?


    Answer: It is good and laudable to light candles at home when we pray, when the priest visits for a house blessing with Holy Water or Holy Unction, and even light a candle when we visit the grave of a loved one.

 

Question: Is there any other purpose to the candle?


    Answer: When we light a candle in the church, we are making an offering to the church or to a particular icon to beautify it and show through physical light the symbolization of the uncreated light of God's house or the saint depicted in the icon. It is also customary for the faithful to offer pure beeswax candles at the Consecration of a new church.



[1]http://www.wincalendar.com/Christian-Orthodox-Easter

[2] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 24. Candles.



Second Sunday after Easter

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY-feast of saint fidelis

 

Revelation, Chapter 1, Verse 17-18

17 When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be AFRAID. I am the first and the last, 18 the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.

 

All have sinned; all are unjust. Have you ever thought “Now comes the reckoning for his blood” as Joseph’s brothers did (OT: coat of many colors)? Yet, the Lord has touched us, and it is important to note that he has touched us with his right hand; signifying power, forgiveness and authority saying, “Do not be afraid”.

 

Saint Pope John Paul II was an example of someone who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and feared no evil. The Lord’s rod and staff sustained him through the nightmare of the Nazis and the Communists. Both were evil empires devoted to the destruction of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all except for the few selected elites.  These empires systematically replaced God with the rule of the chosen ones of the State. People from both the Fatherland and the Motherland sat by and watched the evil grow without taking decisive action, making the adage ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (or women) do nothing.’ Remember to measure our nation and our politics with Gods Rod (Rods were often used in ancient times to measure) and not the political States or the media nor the opinion of the rich and the powerful. Let us be ever ready to speak up for what is righteous using Gods rod, which are His laws of justice and mercy, working tirelessly and remember Saint Pope John Paul II words of encouragement, “I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”

 

Let us also carry with us for the journey the Staff of God which is truth, not worldly truth but Gods truth. “The word of truth, publicly, indeed almost liturgically, proclaimed was the antidote the Rhapsodic Theater sought to apply to the violent lies of the Occupation. The tools for fighting evil included speaking truth to power.” [1]

 

Satan has in the past assailed us by evil governments; is it any wonder that having been unsuccessful; that now the attack comes from within. Let us remember it is Christ who holds the keys to death and the netherworld.

 

Second Sunday after Easter[2]


 

Called Dominica in Albis, or Low Sunday.

 

WHY is this Sunday called Dominica in Albis, (White Sunday)? Because, in the earlier times, those who had been baptized on Holy Saturday on this day laid aside the white garments which they had then received, and put on their necks an, “Agnus Dei” made of white wax, and blessed by the Pope, to remind them continually that they were bound to preserve that innocence unstained. The Church therefore sings, at the Introit of the Mass, as new-born babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia (1 Pet. ii. 2). Rejoice to God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. Ps. Ixxx. 1).

Prayer. Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who have performed the paschal solemnities, may, by Thy grace, preserve them in our life and conduct.

EPISTLE, i. John v. 4-10.

Dearly Beloved: Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. And there are three Who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself.

Explanation. By loving faith in Jesus as the Son of God, we can surely overcome the world, because that faith shows us in God, our Father; in the world to come, our true country; in Jesus, our example; teaching us to love God above all things, to disregard the world, and worldly goods, and to strive for the eternal. That Jesus is the Son of God, St. John shows:

1. By the threefold testimony on earth, of the water at the baptism in Jordan, of the blood at the death on the cross, of the spirit in the miraculous effects wrought in those that believed.

2. By the threefold testimony from heaven of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Aspiration. O Jesus, I believe in Thee, as the Son of the living God! Grant that through this faith I may victoriously combat the flesh, the world, the devil, and every inclination to evil, and obtain everlasting life.

GOSPEL. John xx. 19-31.

At that time: When it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when He had said this, He showed them His hands, and His side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then He saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side: and be not faithless but believing. Thomas answered, and said to Him: My Lord and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in His name.

Why does Jesus so often say, Peace be to you?

To signify that He had restored peace between God and man; to show how men might know His disciples; and how necessary to salvation the preservation of peace is.

Why did God permit Thomas to disbelieve the appearance of Christ to the other disciples?

That we might thereby be strengthened in faith, for as Christ took away all doubt from Thomas, by appearing again, the resurrection of Christ by that means becomes, as St. Gregory says, so much the more credible and certain.

What is it to believe in God?

To receive as immovably certain what God has revealed to us, although we cannot understand it.

What must we, therefore, believe?

All that God has revealed.

Why must we believe all this?

Because God, the infallible truth, has revealed it. This belief is as necessary to salvation as it is reasonable in itself.

How can we certainly know what God has or has not revealed, and which this one true faith is?

Through His Church, which is guided by the Holy Ghost to all truth, and in which Jesus Christ dwells till the end of time.

How can we know the Church of Christ?

By this, that, like the truth, she is one, holy, apostolic, and catholic.

Which is this true Church of Christ?

The Roman Catholic, since she alone possesses the abovementioned marks of the true Church. She alone has preserved unity in faith and in the holy sacraments, and is subordinate to one visible head, the Pope. She alone can trace her derivation from the apostles to the present day, and can demonstrate this origin as well by her doctrine, as by the succession of her popes and bishops. She alone has all the means of salvation, and she alone has produced saints. Finally, she alone embraces all ages, and shines, as St. Augustine says, from one end of the world to the other, in the splendor of one and the same faith, inviting all to her bosom, to bring them to Jesus.

What answer should a Catholic make to objections against the Mass, purgatory, and such like?

He should say, I believe these and the like matters of faith, because God, Who is Truth, has revealed them: I believe that He has thus revealed them, because the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches them to me, has all the marks of the true Church of Christ, guided by God, and cannot therefore deceive me.

Is it sufficient for salvation to have the true faith, and to belong to the true Church?

 

No; we must live according to that faith, that is, we must observe what it commands, avoid what it forbids, and often, particularly in temptation, make an act of faith.

 

Divine Mercy Sunday[3]


 

Reflect what it took to make Christ the gentle shepherd of our souls: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

 

Come to the Feast of Divine Mercy! Calling all Catholics, come to the Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. Did you know that the Lord said that this feast would one day be the “last hope of salvation”? Have you considered what would happen to you if you suddenly died in the state of mortal sin? Did you know that in the 1930’s Our Lord Jesus, Himself requested through St. Faustina that a very special Feast of Divine Mercy be established in His Church and solemnly celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter every year?

 

In the Jubilee Year 2000, after many years of study, Saint Pope John Paul II fulfilled the will of Christ by establishing this special Feast of Divine Mercy in the Catholic Church and gave it the name of Divine Mercy Sunday! By God’s Providence, Saint John Paul II died on this feast in 2005. What is so special about this new Feast of Divine Mercy you might be asking yourself?

 

It is the promise of the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment for any soul that would go to Confession and then receive Jesus in Holy Communion on that very special Feast of Divine Mercy! Why would Jesus offer us something so great at this time?

 

Jesus told St. Faustina that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming and that He would be pouring out His Mercy in very great abundance before He comes again as the Just Judge and as the very last hope of salvation. If you have been away from the practice of your Catholic faith, and if you would like to come back into the, one, true Catholic Church, then this is the most perfect opportunity for you, if you are prepared to repent and turn from sin. Many former fallen-away Catholics have taken advantage of this great Feast of Mercy to get a brand-new start in life and to be totally prepared to stand before the Lord.

 

If you have been away from the Catholic faith and if you have any questions about coming back home, then come in and talk to a priest at any Catholic Church. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that its teachings and practices are the same at all the parishes. You may have concerns, such as: marriage outside of the Church; un-confessed abortions; or other issues that could be preventing you from receiving Holy Communion or you may have questions about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Don’t remain in doubt. Call your local parish office to find out the necessary steps to come back to the Catholic faith. Don’t consider yourself as without hope. Our Lord Jesus wants to pardon completely even the worst sinners possible. Remember, Jesus has come for sinners, not the righteous. Jesus said that even if our sins were as numerous as the grains of sand, they would be lost in His Ocean of Mercy. If you are truly repentant of your sins and are well prepared to confess your sins in the Sacrament of Confession, you’ll experience a tremendous peace. You’ll experience a great weight lifted from you and get a brand-new start in life! Once you have confessed your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then you must continue to practice your faith as a good Catholic. This involves attending Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, supporting your local parish, and confessing your serious sins at least once a year. In Confession, you must be truly sorry for your sins and you must intend to continue to practice your faith.

 

Jesus is in the Confessional

 

One of the most reassuring things Our Lord Jesus revealed to us through Saint Faustina includes the several times when He indicated to her that He is really there in the Confessional when we are making our individual Confessions to the priests. Jesus said that every time we enter the Confessional, that He Himself is there waiting for us, and that He is only hidden by the priest. Jesus said never to analyze what sort of a priest that He is making use of, but for us to reveal our souls to Him and that He will fill us with His peace and light. Some have wondered why Jesus would want us to confess our sins to a priest, but the answer is in the very first instruction that Jesus gave to His Apostles directly after His Resurrection from the dead. On the evening of the Resurrection, Jesus walked through the door of the Upper Room where the Apostles were hiding and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit, what sins you forgive are forgiven them, what sins you retain are retained”. This was the start of Confessions. For sure, that command was not only for the Apostles to be able to forgive sins, and then to be forgotten, but for that power to be passed on to all the ordained priests of today in the Catholic Church. Jesus said that the greater the sinner, the greater the right they have to His mercy! Don’t continue to carry your sins, Jesus forgives!

 

To properly celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy and to receive the forgiveness of all sins and punishment, you must go to Confession to a Catholic priest within 20 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday. Or if you are in the state of very serious or mortal sin, you must always confess them before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, or you will also commit a sacrilege, which is also a very serious sin. If you haven’t been going to Sunday Mass without any good reason, you may be in a state of serious sin and you must confess before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. For more information about the Feast of Divine Mercy and a Confession Guide, go to: http://www.DivineMercySunday.com or call 772-873-4581.

 

Jesus to Sr. Faustina[4]



On one occasion, I heard these words: "My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.

"[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.

"From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy."

Excerpted from Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska.

Things to Do:

STOP and PRAY[5]

At 3:00 o'clock we can pray:

In His Revelations to Blessed Faustina, Jesus asked for special, daily remembrance at three o'clock, the very hour He died for us on the cross:

DIRECTIONS

"At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony: This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion." (Diary, 1320).

At 3:00 o'clock we can pray:

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fountain of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us. (Diary, 1319).

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You. (Diary, 84

Saint Fidelis[6] 

Saint Fidelis became a martyr and was murdered for his faith in 1622, while traveling back to his home church after preaching in Seewis, Switzerland to former Catholics who had converted to Calvinism. Saint Fidelis on the day of his martyrdom preached with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. 

After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Grüsch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!" 

Another sword stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives, and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.

Men Seek Heroes[7]

God has created men by nature and vocation with a natural desire for Himself and men can only find happiness in God.  But men become lost as they seek God due to ignorance and sin.  Realizing real dangers in the world and the God-implanted understanding of the need for salvation, men aspire to heroic deeds and seek courageous heroes to protect and lead them through the challenges of life.  The desire and need for true heroes is perennial in the hearts of men across time and cultures. From an early age, boys naturally seek heroes.  They look up to their fathers, older boys and other men as role models and as defenders/protectors.  Boys are intrigued by the heroic deeds of fictional characters (e.g. Superheroes in movies, TV and books, videogame heroes, sports heroes, etc.).  Boys admire and seek those with heroic virtues. When grown, men continue to seek heroes.  Some continue on with the fictional heroes of youth, trading comic books for the action/superheroes and celebrities in the media.  Most men also look up to heroes in real life.  Many follow and celebrate sports teams and athletes.  Others admire and follow politicians, social activists or business leaders.  Still others look up to and follow real life heroes in the military (Medal of Honor winners), religion (saints) and people who perform extraordinary deeds in the face of tough challenges (911 responders, those who battle life-challenging illnesses).   All men, in some way, desire to be heroes and to associate themselves with heroic leaders.

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

 

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.

44 Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God.

397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

Men fall for false heroes

Many men are confused about the definition and true nature of heroism.  Heroism is confused with celebrity.  Heroism is confused with self-serving athleticism, political opportunists, charlatans who deceive, “anti-heroes” or outright scoundrels.   The meaning of the word “hero” has been dumbed down to the point of being almost meaningless.   Doing an Internet search for websites, news articles or images provides ample evidence of the misuse of the word “hero”.  Heroism is associated with movie stardom, video games (Guitar Hero), relatively routine athletic accomplishments and even a sandwich.  Sadly, many of the real-life men who masquerade as heroes, fail, and fail spectacularly.

The Definition of “Hero”

The word “hero” comes from the Latin, hero, meaning, “defender, protector” and “to save, deliver, preserve, protect.”  Closely related is the word, “Savior” which comes from the Latin, salvatorem, meaning “one who delivers or rescues from peril” or “heals.”  Modern definitions of the word “hero” provide other characteristics of a hero.  A hero: faces danger or adversity with courage; sacrifices self for the greater good of humanity; displays moral excellence”; “is placed high above his fellows.”

Jesus – The True Hero

·       Jesus is infinitely higher above all other heroes – He is the Son of God; there can be no hero that compares.  Heroes come and go, but only Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.  No hero, except Jesus, was anticipated for thousands of years before His birth and remains a hero two millennia after His death (and Resurrection).

·       He physically protects people on earth – He saves the Disciples who are in fear of drowning.  He stands up to the bloodthirsty mob that is going to stone the adulterous woman. He protects the disciples from the violent legion when He is taken in the Garden.  He is the ultimate protector.

·       Jesus is the perfect demonstration of virtue – He demonstrates prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude and charity with perfection that no man has met, or can ever, match.

·       He heals people from sickness, madness and death – Jesus healed the multitudes of every illness and raises them from the dead.

·       He stands for Truth against falsehood – Repeatedly, He confronts the Pharisees and the Sadducees and corrects their falsehoods, despite their collusion to kill Him.  He refuses to yield to Pilate, even as Pilate threatens Him with death.  Jesus is Truth itself.

·       Jesus defeats man’s greatest foe, Satan – There is no greater enemy of man than Satan.  Jesus defeats Satan when tempted in the Wilderness, by casting out demons, and by using the Satan-inspired evil of Judas for the Glory of the Cross and Resurrection (CCC 2853).  He defeats Satan on his home turf (Hell) when Jesus descends to offer His “redemptive works to all men of all times and all places…” (CCC 634).  Only Jesus delivers us from evil.

2853 Victory over the "prince of this world" was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out." "He pursued the woman" but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring." Therefore, the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus," since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

634 "The gospel was preached even to the dead." The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

·       He defeats man’s greatest scourge, Sin – He saves people from sin (CCC 2854).  For example, He tells the sinful woman at Simon the Pharisee’s house, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”.

2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

 

·       Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

·       He sacrifices Himself for others – Jesus makes an infinite sacrifice, for His life is of infinite value and he gives it for the sins of all mankind.  He chooses a horrible death freely, saying, “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

·       He offers salvation for all mankind – His Name means “God saves” (CCC 430) and it is only the name of Jesus that can actually save.  “Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of His cross…” (CCC 517).  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”.  “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

430 Jesus means in Hebrew: "God saves." At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, "will save his people from their sins". In Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.

517 Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life:

- Already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty.

- In his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience.

- In his word which purifies its hearers.

- In his healings and exorcisms by which "he took our infirmities and bore our diseases";

- And in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.

·       He is recognized as a Savior during His life on earth – The Samaritans profess, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS

CHAPTER ONE-I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER

198 Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, The beginning and the end of everything. the Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.

The Week Ahead

 

·       April 25th Monday Feast of St. Mark-Mass

o   Venice or Vegas?

·       April 26th Tuesday Our Lady of Good Counsel

·       April 27th Wednesday-King’s Day in Amsterdam

o   Honor St. Joseph-father of our King-Mass

·       April 28th Thursday

o   Feast of St. Louis De Montfort

·       April 29th Friday-New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

·       April 30th -Saturday Mass

o   Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary

§  The summer magic is the third satanic “solemnity” and occurs on the night between April 30 and May 1. During the year [Satanists] often choose nights when the new moon is inaugurated, because it is particularly dark.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Protection of Life from Conception until natural death.

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Manhood of the Master-week 10 day 1



·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Nineveh 90-Day 10




[1] George Wiegel, Witness to Hope, 1999, p66.

[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[3]http://www.divinemercysunday.com/pdf/2016_Divine_Mercy_Sunday_Ad.pdf

[5]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1055

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thursday, May 27, 2021

  Auxilium Christianorum - Praying for Persecuted Priests Monday, May 24 is the Feast of Mary Mother of the Church. It is also the Feast of  Mary Help of Christians  (Auxilium Christianorum). Please consider joining this Auxilium Christianorum family to pray daily for our holy and courageous persecuted priests. The Church teaches us that it is divided into the  Church Triumphant  (which includes the members of the Church in heaven), the  Church Suffering  (this includes the members of the Church in purgatory), and the  Church Militant  (this refers to those members of the Church who are alive in this world). Because we are part of the Church Militant, we are in a spiritual warfare and this spiritual warfare requires that we recognize, as Saint Paul teaches us "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." ( Ephesians 6:12 ) The me

Monday, August 12, 2019

Judith, Chapter 10, Verse 16 When you stand before him, have no fear in your heart; give him the report you have given us, and he will treat you well.” Judith prepares for war with prayer and by the enhancement of her beauty. She is so strikingly beautiful that in this verse one of the guards of the Assyrian camp advises her to be confident in the presence of Holofernes. Beauty and the Beast [1] After bathing (during a drought) she uses all the human arts available to her to make herself beautiful and captivating: perfumed ointment, hair, clothing and jewelry. She understands the goodness of her body. She knows physical beauty is good and comes from God. She also knows that the power of her beauty comes from within her, from her holiness, from her faithfulness to God. Since both her exterior and interior beauty come from God, her beauty must be devoted to the service of God. God intends to use her beauty as a weapon to liberate the people. She will wield the weapon t

Sunday, November 11, 2018

FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN/VETERANS DAY Acts, Chapter 26, Verse 5-7 5 They have known about me from the start, if they are willing to testify, that I have lived my life as a Pharisee, the strictest party of our religion. 6 But now I am standing trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors. 7 Our twelve tribes hope to attain to that promise as they fervently worship God day and night; and on account of this hope I am accused by Jews, O king. Paul clearly explains that his entire life was in preparation for the hope of Israel, Christ Jesus, who Israel did not recognize as the son of God. Paul states that the prophets and Moses had foretold that the Christ would suffer, and as first to be raised from the dead, he would proclaim light to both God’s people and the Gentiles. The resurrection is God’s promise to Israel. Paul like Christ ultimately was a victim of intolerance. [1] Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost [2] GOSPEL Matthew 13: 24 –

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday after laetare Sunday: end of mid-lent [1] Jeremiah, Chapter 26, verse 19 Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah condemn him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, so that the LORD had a change of heart regarding the evil he had spoken against them? We, however, are about to do great evil against ourselves.” Have you ever been around people who cannot handle the truth! Speaking the truth got Jeremiah in dire straits. Unmoving, the temple officials and elders trashed Jeremiah nonetheless they were too afraid to kill him. Dire Straits [2] ·          At the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, God tells Jeremiah to stand in the court of the temple and speak to all the people and cities of Judah. They're getting another chance to repent. Maybe they'll actually listen this time. ·          If the people don't finally come to their senses, God's going to do the same thing to Jerusalem that he did to Shiloh up

Thirty Days with Mary-Day 26-September 9

    30 Days of Women and Herbs – Frauendreissiger Mugwort   (Artemisia vulgaris) 2 Maccabees, Chapter 15, Verse 8 He urged his men not to  fear  the attack of the Gentiles, but mindful of the help they had received in the past from Heaven, to expect now the victory that would be given them by the Almighty.   As an old, retired military man it was common for us to say while we were loading our magazines with bullets, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition." We knew that without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Optimists see steppingstones where pessimists see stumbling blocks.   Heavenly Intercession [1] "Stretching out his right hand, Jeremiah presented a gold sword to Judas. As he gave it to him, he said 'Accept this holy sword as a gift from God; with it you shall crush your adversaries.' " —2 Maccabees 15:15-16   Nicanor planned to slaughter the Jews on th

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

feast of saint anthony, abbot Sirach, Chapter 22, Verse 16 A wooden beam firmly bonded into a building is not loosened by an earthquake; So the mind firmly resolved after careful deliberation will not be afraid at any time. A prudent mind firmly resolved is undisturbed by violent and conflicting thoughts. Sometimes we all have senseless thoughts and feelings which shake us but faith is a firm anchor for our thoughts. We indeed do have the power within ourselves to choose not to react to impulsive thoughts. Sacredness [1] ·          Holiness consists in friendship with God. If we would be in any sense the friends of God, we must have at least that desire for holiness without which such friendship would be impossible; growth in the knowledge of God is the deepening of this friendship. ·          To know God is to know self and if we know ourselves well, we know have one or two prominent sins that have dogged our life’s path for years, and against these we struggle

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, Verse 21-22 21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the LORD has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD but the word does not come true, it is a word the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him. Even saints at times may have spoken presumptuously. Let us meditate on the words of Padre Pio,  “Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going.”   This is the great beauty of the Holy Spirit for it tells us when even a very holy person speaks not every word they speak comes from God. We error sometimes in this way, making men into gods; but a heart that is filled with the spirit of God is filled with quiet joy and even if the person were to be impriso

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Romans, Chapter 8, verse 14-15 14  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15  For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear , but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” By the sacrifice of Christ, we are the adopted children of God, who feared none, and by whose sufferings and glory we share; by reason of the Holy Spirits presence within us. We are thus giving us a new life and relationship with God. ( Novena to the Holy Spirit ) To some is giving the gift of tongues. To which many years ago (40 to be exact February 1975) at the birth of my first born daughter I had gone to the Gunpowder Inn, in  Bermuda,  to celebrate her birth, with a couple of Native American friends. At the time I was in the Navy Seabees and we worked together. When I had got there, all of the sudden, I got an overwhelming feeling that I needed to speak in tongues to P. Graves and I did. I felt stupid an

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 17 Do not deal unfairly with one another, then; but stand in fear of your God. I, the LORD, am your God. Our loving God wants us free and He demands that we out of love treat each other with love and fairness. In the Jewish calendar God specified that we are to rest one out of seven days but it goes further with a rest after seven weeks ending in a year of Jubilee after the 49 th year called a Shemitah. The Shemitah Year is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel and still observed in contemporary Judaism. When Moses received the Levitical law, God gave the commandment to rest on the seventh day… the Sabbath. Moses also applied the cycles of "seven" to weeks and years . A cycle of seven weeks points to the 50th day, called Pentecost. And a cycle of seven sets of seven years points to the 50th year, the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee is based on letting the land rest

Monday, January 7, 2019

Plough Monday ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS-DISTAFF DAY Psalm 2, verse 11 Serve the LORD with fear ; exult with trembling , accept correction lest he become angry and you perish along the way when his anger suddenly blazes up. Blessed are all who take refuge in him! To fully understand this verse, we must know who the writer is referring to. In verse 10 the writer states “ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear.   Our God is a just God and to “those who have been given much; much is required”; to quote the spider man movie. Kings (and the 1 percent’ers) to be wise must humble themselves. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle then for a rich man to get into heaven. The "Eye of the Needle" has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. [1]   I a