Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Jeremiah, Chapter 10, Verse 2
Thus says the LORD: Do not learn the ways of the nations and have no FEAR of the signs in the heavens, even though the nations fear them.
What are the ways of the nations? The making of idols is the way of nations. Have you been worshiping idols? Think about it. Our idols are expressed in what we love, in what we think, in the things we see, and what we work for.
“Lord, thank you for helping me see more clearly than ever that “what I am” is your gift to me and “what I become” is my gift back to you.” (Poem by Melvin Banggollay)
He did not create us out of necessity; He did not need us. He did not create us out of justice; He owed us nothing. No, it is to His sheer love that we owe our existence. Therefore, we must strive to be humble in accepting our mistakes, to know how to say, “I was wrong.” You have good qualities—great qualities. Are you not a marvel of creation, made in the image of God? You are a masterpiece of His love, wounded, disfigured by sin, but remade by the Redeemer, more beautiful than before—and at what a price! Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil by good. One drowns very quickly in gall. Keep watch, therefore, over your soul; swallow the bitterness, as Jesus swallowed the vinegar on Calvary, and know how to smile at those who cause you pain. Poverty, austerity, fasting, prayer, and the gift of miracles, without love of our brothers, all are pure illusion. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, give me Your Heart to love my neighbor. The doctrine of abandonment, which sees God in everything, will make you marvelously available for this work. This is one of its richest secrets, for it obliges us to renounce, when necessary, our own views and our little personal plans, even our plans for sanctification. This total abandonment is the pinnacle of holiness and love, because it identifies us more perfectly with Jesus, who lived only to do the will of His Father.
Reverence for the Tabernacle
So let us worship God in His tabernacle for His goodness, truth and beauty. When we talk about the tabernacle of the Lord we are talking about the Bless Sacrament were Jesus is really present—body, blood, soul and divinity. Yet, there is another tabernacle which we do not recognize easily. That is our very bodies and those of others when we receive the Eucharist. We need to acknowledge Christ is in others just as we genuflect before the tabernacle. He must be worshipped! According to Church law, the tabernacle, which keeps the consecrated Eucharistic hosts, should be “immoveable, made of solid or opaque material, locked so that the danger of profanation may be entirely avoided.” We also as a tabernacle should be immoveable in our faith, give others solid support and lock our hearts from the love of the world. We should, apart from making our regular attendance at Mass, drop by the church and make a short “visit” to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The visit needn’t be long, just a few minutes to greet Jesus and offer a silent prayer.
April Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament
Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The Church traditionally encouraged the month of April for increased devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. "The Church in the course of the centuries has introduced various forms of this Eucharistic worship which are ever increasing in beauty and helpfulness; as, for example, visits of devotion to the tabernacles, even every day; Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; solemn processions, especially at the time of Eucharistic Congresses, which pass through cities and villages; and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed . . . These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are re-echoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven, which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb 'Who was slain.'" --Pope Pius XII.
ACT OF ADORATION
I adore Thee, 0 Jesus, true God and true Man, here present in the Holy Eucharist, humbly kneeling before Thee and united in spirit with all the faithful on earth and all the blessed in heaven. In deepest gratitude for so great a blessing, I love Thee, my Jesus, with my whole heart, for Thou art all perfect and all worthy of love.
Give me grace nevermore in any way to offend Thee, and grant that I, being refreshed by Thy Eucharistic presence here on earth, may be found worthy to come to the enjoyment with Mary of Thine eternal and ever blessed presence in heaven. Amen.
FAITH IN THE EUCHARIST
O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art really and corporally present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I adore Thee here present from the very depths of my heart, and I worship Thy sacred presence with all possible humility. O my soul, what joy to have Jesus Christ always with us, and to be able to speak to Him, heart to heart, with all confidence. Grant, O Lord, that I, having adored Thy divine Majesty here on earth in this wonderful Sacrament, may be able to adore it eternally in Heaven. Amen.
Believing that Thou, my God, hast in any way revealed to us--grieving for all my sins, offenses and negligence’s--hoping in Thee, O Lord, who wilt never let me be confounded--thanking Thee for this supreme gift, and for all the gifts of Thy goodness--loving Thee, above all in this sacrament of Thy love--adoring Thee in this deepest mystery of Thy condescension: I lay before Thee all the wounds and wants of my poor soul, and ask for all that I need and desire. But I need only Thyself, O Lord; I desire none but Thee--Thy grace, and the grace to use well Thy graces, the possession of Thee by grace in this life, and the possession of Thee forever in the eternal kingdom of Thy glory.
FOR THE PEACE OF CHRIST
O most sacred, most loving heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou sayest, "With desire I have desired." I worship Thee, then, with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O make my heart beat with Thy heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it; but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace. --Cardinal Newman
ACT OF LOVE
I believe Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament, O Jesus. I love Thee and desire Thee. Come into my heart. I embrace Thee, O never leave me. I beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus, may the burning and most sweet power of Thy love absorb my mind, that I may die through love of Thy love, who wast graciously pleased to die through love of my love. --St. Francis of Assisi
ACT OF REPARATION
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, well known in connection with devotion to the Sacred Herat of Jesus, led the way in making reparation to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the coldness and ingratitude of men. This prayer of hers can become our own as we attempt to make amends for our own and others' neglect of the great Sacrament of His love, the Eucharist. O kind and merciful savior, from my heart I earnestly desire to return Thee love for love. My greatest sorrow is that Thou art not loved by men, and, in particular, that my own heart is so cold, so selfish, so ungrateful. Keenly aware of my own weakness and poverty, I trust that Thy own grace will enable me to offer Thee an act of pure love. And I wish to offer Thee this act of love in reparation for the coldness and neglect that are shown to Thee in the sacrament of Thy love by Thy creatures. O Jesus, my supreme good, I love Thee, not for the sake of the reward which Thou hast promised to those who love Thee, but purely for Thyself. I love Thee above all things that can be loved, above all pleasures, and above myself and all that is not Thee, promising in the presence of heaven and earth that I will live and die purely and simply in Thy holy love, and that if to love Thee thus I must endure persecution and suffering I am completely satisfied, and I will ever say with Saint Paul: Nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God." 0 Jesus, supreme master of all hearts, I love Thee, I adore Thee, I praise Thee, I thank Thee, because I am now all Thine own. Rule over me, and transform my soul into the likeness of Thyself, so that it may bless and glorify Thee forever in the abode of the saints. --Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
My Lord, I offer Thee myself in turn as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thou hast died for me, and I in turn make myself over to Thee. I am not my own. Thou hast bought me; I will by my own act and deed complete the purchase. My wish is to be separated from everything of this world; to cleanse myself simply from sin; to put away from me even what is innocent, if used for its own sake, and not for Thine. I put away reputation and honor, and influence, and power, for my praise and strength shall be in Thee. Enable me to carry out what I profess. Amen. --Cardinal Newman
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Prayer. SANCTIFY this fast, O God, and mercifully enlighten the hearts of Thy faithful; and to those whom Thou grantest the grace of devotion mercifully grant, when they pray to Thee, a favorable hearing.
EPISTLE. Leviticus xix. 1, 2, 11-19.
In those days: The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: I am the Lord your God. You shall not steal. You shall not lie, neither shall any man deceive his neighbor. Thou shalt not swear falsely by My name, nor profane the name of thy God. I am the Lord. Thou shalt not calumniate thy neighbor, nor oppress him by violence. The wages of him that has been hired by thee shall not abide with thee until the morning. Thou shalt not speak evil of the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind: but thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, because I am the Lord. Thou shalt not do that which is unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the person of the poor, nor honor the countenance of the mighty. But judge thy neighbor according to justice. Thou shalt not be a detractor nor a whisperer among the people. Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbor. I am the Lord. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, but reprove him openly, lest thou incur sin through him. Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself. I am the Lord. Keep ye My laws, for I am the Lord your God.
GOSPEL. John x. 22-38.
At that time: It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. The Jews therefore came round about Him, and said to Him: How long dost Thou hold our souls in suspense? if Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Jesus answered them: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of My Father, they give testimony of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice: and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them life everlasting, and they shall not perish forever, and no man shall pluck them out of My hand. That which My Father hath given Me, is greater than all: and no man can snatch them out of the hand of My Father. I and the Father are one. The Jews then took up stones to stone Him. Jesus answered them: Many good works I have showed you from My Father; for which of those works do you stone Me?
The Jews answered Him: For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that Thou being a man, makest Thyself God. Jesus answered them: Is it not written in your law: I said, you are gods?
If He called them gods, to whom the word of God was spoken, and the Scripture cannot be broken: do you say of Him, Whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world: Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?
If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though you will not believe Me, believe the works: that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.
The Servant Songs, Day Three: (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.)
In the third song, we learn of the abuse and derision the Servant endured at the hands of his enemies.
Pray: Take time with the third servant song today. Read Isaiah 50:4-11.
Act: Here, the servant knows and declares that his help is with the Lord. He does not allow suffering to cause him to stop trusting in the Lord. Instead, with strength of spirit, the servant declares his faith in God. “The Lord GOD is my help . . . I shall not be put to shame.” Amidst darkness and adversity, because he fears the LORD, the servant walks not by his own light but by the light of God.
Our Heavenly Father desires all three hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to be honored. And so along with devotion to Jesus on First Fridays, and to Mary on First Saturdays, Our Father longs for us to add devotion to St. Joseph on each First Wednesday of the month.
"The Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph have been chosen by the Most Holy Trinity to bring peace to the world." It is at God's request that "special love and honor be given to them" to help us "imitate" their love and their lives, as well as "offer reparation" for the sins committed against them and their love.
The St. Joseph First Wednesday devotion is:
1. Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary - remembering St. Joseph's love, his life, his role and his sufferings
2. Receive Holy Communion - in union with the love St. Joseph had for Jesus the first time and each time he held him - his son, his God and Savior - in his arms.
In the approved apparitions of Our Lady of America, St. Joseph revealed:
· "I am the protector of the Church and the home, as I was the protector of Christ and his Mother while I lived upon earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way.
· Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them.
· Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.
· Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary."
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.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
CHAPTER TWO-GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
Article 2-THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION
96 What Christ entrusted to the apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory.
97 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God" (DV 10) in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches.
98 "The Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes" (DV 8 # 1).
99 Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith, the People of God as a whole never ceases to welcome, to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine Revelation.
100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus