13Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?14 But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be AFRAID or terrified with fear of them, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 16 but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.
Feast of St. Wenceslaus
St. Wenceslaus, duke of Bohemia, was born about the year 907 at Prague, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). His father was killed in battle when he was young, leaving the kingdom to be ruled by his pagan mother. Wenceslaus was educated by his grandmother, Ludmilla, also a saint.
· Throughout his life he preserved his virginity unblemished.
· As duke he was a father to his subjects, generous toward orphans, widows, and the poor.
· On his own shoulders he frequently carried wood to the houses of the needy.
· He often attended the funerals of the poor, ransomed captives, and visited those suffering in prison.
· He was filled with a deep reverence toward the clergy; with his own hands he sowed the wheat for making altar breads and pressed the grapes for the wine used in the Mass.
· During winter he would visit the churches barefoot through snow and ice, frequently leaving behind bloody footprints.
Wenceslaus was eighteen years old when he succeeded his father to the throne. Without regard for the opposition, he worked in close cooperation with the Church to convert his pagan country. He ended the persecution of Christians, built churches and brought back exiled priests. As king he gave an example of a devout life and of great Christian charity, with his people calling him "Good King" of Bohemia. His brother Boleslaus, however, turned to paganism. One day he invited Wenceslaus to his house for a banquet. The next morning, on September 28, 929, as Wenceslaus was on the way to Mass, Boleslaus struck him down at the door of the church. Before he died, Wenceslaus forgave his brother and asked God's mercy for his soul. Although he was killed for political reasons, he is listed as a martyr since the dispute arose over his faith. This king, martyred at the age of twenty-two, is the national hero and patron of the Czech Republic. He is the first Slav to be canonized.
Things to Do
· Learn more about Prague and the Czech Republic and St. Vitus Cathedral, supposedly started by St. Wenceslas in the 10th century as a small chapel to house relics of St. Vitus and where in the 14th century St. John Nepomucene was buried after being executed for refusing to violate the seal of the confessional.
· Teach your children the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas and discuss his life and virtue. If you can find a copy, a wonderful book with music and illustrations is called Good King Wenceslas: A Legend in Music and Pictures by Mary Reed Newland, published by Seabury Press, 1980.
· Read about the Infant Jesus of Prague and pray the chaplet.
· Bake a loaf of bread for dinner and serve wine in honor of St. Wencelaus.
Our mindset connects or disconnects us with others—there are a number of ways we can “see” others from an inward mindset. Traditionally, Arbinger has categorized these three ways of seeing others as obstacles, vehicles or simply irrelevant.
1. When I’m seeing someone as an obstacle, I see them as “in my way”, or as a hindrance to what I’m seeking to accomplish.
2. When I’m seeing someone as a vehicle, I use them to get me what I want, or where I need to go. They might have information or connections that are valuable to me, so I “play nice” until I get what I want.
3. When someone is irrelevant to me, I don’t care about them and likely don’t allow their humanity to impact me in any way.
All three of these labels are ultimately ways that I objectify others. When I’m seeing someone as an obstacle, vehicle or irrelevancy, I’m not seeing them as a human being with needs, concerns, hopes and fears similar to my own. Think of someone who you struggle to see as a person. Perhaps they get on your nerves frequently, or perhaps you avoid them at all costs. This person might be a coworker, a family member, a neighbor—someone with whom you feel your relationship could improve. How do you see this particular person? Are they often an obstacle? A vehicle? Mostly irrelevant? If the person you have in mind feels like an obstacle to you, consider how you might not be receiving their goodness or kindness. If this person feels more like a vehicle to you, contemplate what needs they might have that you’re failing to see? Are you looking to simply “get”, or are you willing to give? For someone you’re seeing as irrelevant, what must it feel like for him or her to feel ignored, barely noticed or hardly cared about? Have you ever been seen as an obstacle, a vehicle or irrelevant? How did it feel? Ponder what underlying qualities you might be missing in the person you’re thinking of. What might the people who love them see in them?
· In the British Isles, Michaelmas is celebrated on September 29. As the Feast of St. Michael within the Catholic church, this date is often associated with the harvest because of its proximity to the autumn equinox. Although it's not a Pagan holiday in the true sense, Michaelmas celebrations often included older aspects of Pagan harvest customs, such as the weaving of corn dolls from the last sheaves of grain.
· Like many other celebrations falling during harvest time, Michaelmas can trace some of its traditions to early Pagan practices in Europe. One of the most popular harvest customs that was adapted by Christians and integrated into the Michaelmas celebration was that of a corn doll. A corn doll is often associated with the period between Lammas, the first grain harvest, and the autumnal equinox.
· By the Middle Ages, Michaelmas soon became recognized as one of the so-called quarter days. The term is derived from a system in the British Isles in which four specific days each year were marked as a time to collect rents, hire new servants, and resolve legal matters. In England and Wales, the original quarter days were Lady Day, Midsummer, Michaelmas, and Christmas—corresponding with the spring equinox, the summer solstice, the autumnal equinox, and the winter solstice, all of which were days of great significance for early Pagans.
· During the medieval period, Michaelmas was considered one of the holy days of obligation for Christians, although that tradition ended in the 1700s. Customs included the preparation of a meal of goose which had been fed on the stubble of the fields following the harvest (called a stubble-goose). There was also a tradition of preparing special larger-than-usual loaves of bread, and St. Michael's bannocks, which was a special kind of oatcake.
· By Michaelmas, the harvest was typically complete, and the next year's farming cycle would begin as landowners saw reeves elected from among the peasants for the following year. The reeve's job was to watch over the work and make sure everyone was doing their share, as well as collecting rents and donations of products. If a holding's rent fell short, it was up to the reeve to make it up—as you can imagine, no one really wanted to be reeve. This was also the time of year when accounts were balanced up, annual dues paid to local guilds, workers were hired on for the next season, and new leases taken for the following year.
· Michaelmas was considered the official beginning of winter, which lasted until Christmas. It was also the time at which winter grains were sown, such as wheat and rye, for harvesting the following year. In a symbolic sense, because Michaelmas is so close to the autumnal equinox, and because it is a day to honor St. Michael's accomplishments, which include slaying a fierce dragon, it is often associated with courage in preparation for the darker half of the year. Michael was the patron saint of sailors, so in some seafaring areas, this day is celebrated with the baking of a special cake from the grains of the final harvest.
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
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
1691 "Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God."
1692 The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God's gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become "children of God," "partakers of the divine nature." Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life "worthy of the gospel of Christ." They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer.
1693 Christ Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father, and always lived in perfect communion with him. Likewise Christ's disciples are invited to live in the sight of the Father "who sees in secret," in order to become "perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."
1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord. Following Christ and united with him, Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love" by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the "mind . . . which is yours in Christ Jesus," and by following his example.
1695 "Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God," "sanctified . . . (and) called to be saints," Christians have become the temple of the Holy Spirit. This "Spirit of the Son" teaches them to pray to the Father and, having become their life, prompts them to act so as to bear "the fruit of the Spirit" by charity in action. Healing the wounds of sin, the Holy Spirit renews us interiorly through a spiritual transformation. He enlightens and strengthens us to live as "children of light" through "all that is good and right and true."
1696 The way of Christ "leads to life"; a contrary way "leads to destruction." The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: "There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference."
1697 Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the
demands of the way of Christ. Catechesis for the "newness of
life" in him should be:
-a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects, and strengthens this life;
-a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;
-a catechesis of the beatitudes, for the way of Christ is summed up in the beatitudes, the only path that leads to the eternal beatitude for which the human heart longs;
-a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, for unless man acknowledges that he is a sinner he cannot know the truth about himself, which is a condition for acting justly; and without the offer of forgiveness he would not be able to bear this truth;
-a catechesis of the human virtues which causes one to grasp the beauty and attraction of right dispositions towards goodness;
-a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, generously inspired by the example of the saints; -a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity set forth in the Decalogue;
-an ecclesial catechesis, for it is through the manifold exchanges of "spiritual goods" in the "communion of saints" that Christian life can grow, develop, and be communicated.
1698 The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life." It is by looking to him in faith that Christ's faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity:
I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. and so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father.
For to me, to live is Christ.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus