Psalm 85, verse 9-11:
9 I will listen for what God, the LORD, has to say; surely he will speak of peace to his people and to his faithful. May they not turn to foolishness! 10 Near indeed is his salvation for those who FEAR him; glory will dwell in our land. 11 Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.
Christ is drawing near through Mary and the Eucharist. We are to rejoice just as Mary did in her Canticle of Praise when she entered the house of Zechariah.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
The Law of Love
Our Lord Jesus himself clearly taught us the first principles of Catholic morality: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Mt 22:37-40) Love, or charity, is the great commandment of the Lord. Love of God and love of neighbor are the source & summary of Catholic morality. “All the law and the prophets” flow from this starting point. This means that what love requires is the essence of all moral rules, all of the Ten Commandments, and all aspects of morality spoken of by the prophets and even by Christ himself. The only things needed are those things which love makes necessary. It is also important to say that love does, indeed, require many things! In fact, it takes only a few simple steps of logic to deduce the Ten Commandments and most of the rest of Catholic morality from this starting point. Those moral precepts describe the minimum that love requires.
“What do you mean the
Catholic morality’s basic moral code describes the minimum necessary to live in union with Christ. If we fall below that level, then the life of Christ cannot live within us. That’s the meaning of mortal sin: an action which shows God that we refuse his offer to become “children of God” (John 1:12) and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). So, if that’s the minimum, then what’s the maximum that love requires? Again, Jesus provides the answer: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) The maximum, then, is to completely give ourselves for others, even as Christ did for us. To put it more simply: there is no maximum! We’ll always find that we can give more.
Love demands we care about human rights, but we must begin with the protection of the unborn
First Saturday-Time to Get Serious About Fatima
The world's gone mad. Take the attacks and outrages perpetrated by men upon their neighbors or the persecutions of the Church in China and North Korea, and the list could go on. But it's pointless to compare tragedies, to try to determine who's most wounded, who is most in pain. Rather, it's time and long past time to apply the solutions we've had all along. I'm talking, of course, about the message of Fatima, specifically Our Lady's calls for the daily Rosary for peace in the world and the Five First Saturday’s devotion.
My fellow Marian Fr. Seraphim Michalenko sometimes tells a story that a priest ministering in Japan shared with him in Rome. This priest was attending an international gathering of Christians from across the world, attended by foreign dignitaries. The ambassador from Japan approached the priest, verified that the priest served in Japan and was a Catholic priest, and then said, "War is your fault." The priest was surprised and asked what the ambassador meant. The ambassador said, "You Catholics, all of you — we do not have peace in the world. It is your fault." The priest said, "Ambassador, why do you blame us?" The ambassador said, "I've read about this. The Lady came to you at Fatima, right? That's what you believe? She told you what to do to secure peace in the world. Well, there's no peace in the world, so obviously you Catholics haven't done it." The priest had to acknowledge that the ambassador was correct, but still tried to protest, saying, "Isn't peace everyone's responsibility?" The ambassador was vehement. "No, she came to you Catholics. Not to Buddhists. Not to Hindus. She came to you, and it is your responsibility."
We've been given the answer. Pray the
Rosary daily for peace in the world and invite others to pray with you. At
college, there would occasionally be "sit ins for peace." A number of
my fellow students, passionately convicted and righteously indignant though
they were, would go and sit outside the student center with signs. That was
their sit in for peace. It always massively frustrated me because here we were,
a Catholic school, armed with a whole host of powerful prayers and devotions,
and there they were just sitting. If they'd just bothered to pray the Rosary,
their protest would have meant a great deal in this world and the next. Why not
arrange for a Rosary for peace at your colleges and universities, if not every
day, then at least every Saturday, traditionally set aside as Our Lady's day?
Why not revive the tradition of family and neighborhood Rosaries, offered
specifically for the intention of peace in the world? What about having a
regular Rosary for peace at your parish, maybe even before Mass with the
permission of your pastor?
• Make the Five First Saturdays devotion
• Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart, and encourage others to do the same.
• Become invested in the Brown Scapular.
• Do penance for your sins and on behalf of poor sinners everywhere.
Don't just sit there — the world is in trouble, and we have the answer.
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Catholic Activity: Your Child's Spiritual Training
Your child's religious training should begin almost as soon as he is born. Here are basic guidelines for instructing your child before he has reached the age of reason.
At seven to ten months, a baby begins to listen to sounds intently. He does not know what words mean, but he gets an impression from the tone of your voice, your facial expressions, and your gestures. It is not too soon to begin teaching him a prayer. Such a prayer should be as simple as possible, and preferably repetitive — with the same sounds repeated over and over. Sister de Lourdes cites this one:
Thank you, God, for Jimmy, Thank you for Jimmy's bread, Thank you for Jimmy's smile, Bless Jimmy in his bed.
As soon as your child can speak in syllables, you can teach him simple prayers. For example, carry him to a painting or statue depicting the Baby Jesus in His Blessed Mother's arms, and point out to him that the Infant Savior also had a mother who loved Him. Before he reaches his first year, he may be able to enunciate the name of Jesus. He can be encouraged to say good night to the Savior of the painting or statue. When the family eats together, the baby in his high chair will observe that grace is said before and after meals. He will join in the prayers automatically as soon as he is able.
Pictures have a powerful appeal for the one-year-old and two-year-old. You can encourage his interest in religion by showing him paintings of great events in the life of Our Lord. You will find him an interested viewer and listener if you show him pictures of Baby Jesus, and the Holy Family, and of Biblical incidents. He will also be a rapt listener as you narrate the stories which the pictures illustrate. At Christmas time especially, you can impress upon him that this great feast commemorates the birth of the Infant Savior: your telling of the Christmas story can begin to implant a reverence for this great feast that will last throughout his life.
In his third year, your child will probably be ready to learn about the creation by God of the world and everything in it. You will have opportunities to teach him as a matter of course that God made the flowers, the trees, the dog whose back he pats, and every other thing that he sees about him. Express your own appreciation for God's many gifts — the beautiful flowers, the lovely sunset, the water you drink, the food you eat. In this way, he too will recognize that God is a loving Father to Whom we owe gratitude for all things.
By the time he is three, he should be sufficiently advanced mentally to begin practicing simple acts of self-denial. If he is given a piece of candy before dinner, he will probably understand if he is told that he must not eat it until after his meal. This is his first realization that satisfaction of present desires must often be deferred for our own good.
At the age of four, he should be ready to take a more active part in family prayers. In some families, father, mother and children pray together in the evening before the first child goes to bed. His attendance at night prayers will impress the importance of this devotion upon him and enable him to learn the words sooner than he perhaps would ordinarily. Four-year-olds usually do not have a long attention span, however, and the average child may become distracted after a few minutes. The night prayers in which he joins may be kept short at first and gradually lengthened as he grows older.
At this time, your child is old enough to understand certain moral principles: that he must obey his parents because God wishes him to do so; and that lying, stealing and disobedience are not in accordance with God's will. You can teach these principles by giving him the image of God as his Eternal Father. If he has a loving trust in his own father, he will not find it difficult to visualize God as the loving Father of all mankind. He is also ready to learn of his Guardian Angel; many childish fears can be removed if he knows that his Guardian Angel always watches over him, and he will feel secure in new experiences when he knows that he has a protector.
From ages four to six, you can intensify in many different ways the moral training you began earlier. Through family prayer and other devotions, when you read to him, and through little talks when you perform his daily routines with him, you can inculcate the great truths of our religion. In particular, do not overlook opportunities to instill high ideals through reading. Many excellent books recount Bible stories in attractive pictures and text and they stress vividly the importance of practicing virtue in our lives. For example, the story of Adam and Eve can be a means of teaching him why he must obey God and his earthly parents. The story of Abraham may teach him that we must be ready to sacrifice all we possess if God requires it. From the parable told by Jesus of the widow's mite, he can learn that we must always show our gratitude to God; from the parable of the talents, that we must always do our best for His glory.
Many devotions and religious observances can now be made an intimate part of your child's daily life. In Chapter 16, devoted to religious observances in the home, you will find many suggestions to help you make the love of God the greatest fact in your child's existence.
Our Lord taught that the love of God is the first and greatest commandment, but He also said that a second commandment was like it — the commandment that we must love our neighbor as ourself. You probably can best teach this commandment by example. More powerful than your words will be your courteous attitude toward those who visit your home; toward peoples of other races and creeds; toward those less privileged in a spiritual or material sense than yourself. Christ's teaching that all men are brothers under the Fatherhood of God will have greater meaning for your child if he notices that you always treat others with respect.
Before your child is seven, you will probably notice the formation of his conscience. He may show by expressions of guilt or shame when he has done wrong. This development of conscience indicates that you now can appeal to him more and more on the grounds of reason, rather than on the weight of your authority. The seven-year-old normally is sufficiently developed to take responsibility before God for his actions. By the orderly and constructive training you have provided, he should be able to recite his morning and night prayers; he should know the important laws of God and Church — the necessity to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and of abstaining from meat on Friday, for example; and he should be ready to begin preparations for his First Communion.
Obviously, your child's moral training at home does not stop when he enters parochial school. Rather, it continues throughout his lifetime. In the remaining chapters of this book you will find many suggestions to help you meet his continued needs for spiritual guidance. Specific problems you may encounter in his various stages are discussed below.
Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION ONE THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY
CHAPTER ONE THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH
Article 2 THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE CHURCH'S SACRAMENTS
II. The Sacraments of the Church
1117 As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides her "into all truth," has gradually recognized this treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries, has determined its "dispensation." Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.
1118 The sacraments are "of the Church" in the double sense that they are "by her" and "for her." They are "by the Church," for she is the sacrament of Christ's action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are "for the Church" in the sense that "the sacraments make the Church," since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.
1119 Forming "as it were, one mystical person" with Christ the head, the Church acts in the sacraments as "an organically structured priestly community." Through Baptism and Confirmation the Priestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while those of the faithful "who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ."
1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood. The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. the saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person. The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.
1121 The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus