NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Start March 12 to December 12

Friday, March 3, 2023




EMBER FRIDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Station "With the Twelve Apostles"

Save Thy servant, o my Lord (gradual).

Today, thirty-eight days before Easter, the Church reads to us the account of the cure of a man sick for thirty-eight years. This miracle occurred at the pool of Bethsaida. The merciful Jesus healed body and soul of the friendless sufferer. A little later, seeing the man in one of the five porches of the temple, the Savior said to him: "Behold thou art made whole; sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee."

Surely, this sick man is a picture of the world, especially of the pagan world, at the time of Christ, a world in a state of utter helplessness, laden with sin, steeped in despair, with no one to help it but Him who is "the expectation of all nations and their Savior."

But is not this poor man also the picture of millions in our own day, who look no longer "for the blessed hope and the coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ"?

In His Church, His other Self, Jesus walks through the five porches, the five continents of the globe, addressing every man: "Wilt thou be made whole?" When will the world hear His voice? When will it realize that Jesus Christ was laid "as chief cornerstone in Sion, elect, precious, and that everyone that believeth in Him shall not be confounded" (1 Pet. 2:6)? When will they turn to Him and cry out: "Deliver me, O Lord, from my necessities; see my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins" (introit)?

In nearly every hamlet of the globe is a divine "Probatica" whose waters are moved by the Holy Spirit. And whosoever descends into it shall find life and be born a new creature "out of water and the Holy Ghost." The face of the earth is dotted with eucharistic altars laden with the "Bread of God which cometh down from heaven and giveth life to the world" (John 6:33). And even though a man, after being made whole, should fall again, even then there is forgiveness. "If the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all My commandments, and do judgment and justice: living he shall live and shall not die" (epistle). God's tribunal in the sacramental of penance is open to every humble and contrite heart.

During this holy season we must learn anew that Christ is the Good Samaritan, our only hope, the chief cornerstone on whom we must build. "Omnia et in onmibus Christus--Christ is all and in all" (Col. 3:11). Such a conviction is apostolic. All the apostles thought and acted in this spirit, except one. This one attempted to build on another foundation, and ended in despair and suicide.

The Church entrusts us today to the holy apostles. In their company we will celebrate the healing mysteries. In their presence we will answer the question of the King of apostles: "Wilt thou be made whole?" I will, Lord, "Save Thy servant, O my God, that trusteth in Thee. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer" (gradual).

Prayer Source: Orate Fratres/Worship: A Review Devoted to the Liturgical Apostolate , The Liturgical Press

First Friday 

Genesis, Chapter 42, Verse 18

On the third day Joseph said to them: “Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-FEARING man.

 

Joseph (coat of many colors) is a God-fearing man, even when he was in prison, he was free because he never esteemed anything above God; never forgetting God’s love and goodness. Knowing that a person becomes as great or small and inferior as the things he loves and values. When a person looks only for worldly satisfactions, they become blind to the gentle loving presence of the creator. One who seeks only pleasure, ease honor or profit is a worldling, that is, he lives only for this life. Gradually he becomes a slave of his earthly desires, so that he cannot even think of God. He will believe in Heaven to late—when he finds its gates forever closed to him.[1]

 

Friday of the First Week of Lent[2]

BE merciful, O Lord, to Thy people, and as Thou makest them devout to Thee, mercifully refresh them with kind assistance.

EPISTLE. Ezech. xviii. 20-28.

Thus, saith the Lord God: The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked do penance for all his sins, which he hath committed, and keep all My commandments, and do judgment and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live. Is it My will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?

But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he had done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die. And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it My way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?

For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, lie shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die. And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment and justice: he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die, saith the Lord Almighty.

GOSPEL. John v. 1-15.

At that time there was a festival-day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered, waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond: and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight-and-thirty years under his infirmity. Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, He saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered Him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me. Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed and walked. And it was the Sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, He said to me: Take up thy bed, and walk. They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee: Take up thy bed, and walk? But he who was healed, knew not who it was. For Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. Afterwards Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. The man went his way and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had made him whole.

Ember Friday[3]



Have you ever heard about the Ember days, observed for most of the history of the Church prior to the late 20th century? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. Like many traditional practices in the Church laden with deep meaning, Ember days have been chucked down the Catholic memory hole. But fear not! This is why God created the Internet: so, we can find all the neat things about Catholicism that are worth knowing and sharing.

Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons that “like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest harmony,” as St. John Chrysostom wrote. These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days,” or Quatuor Tempora, in Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day.

Father Peter Carota at the blog Traditional Catholic Priest offers some additional historical information on Ember days:

The Ember days are true Catholic tradition dating actually dating back to the Apostles, (Pope Leo The Great claims it was instituted by the Apostles).  Pope Callistus (217-222) in the “Liber Pontificalis” has laws ordering all to observe a fast three times a year to counteract the hedonistic and pagan Roman rites praying for:

By the time of Pope Gelasius, (492-496), he already writes about there being four times a years, including Spring.  He also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of Ember week.  This practice was mostly celebrated around Rome, from Pope Gelasius’ time, they began to spread throughout the Church. St. Augustin brought them to England and the Carolingians into Gaul and Germany.  In the eleventh century, Spain adopted them. It was not until Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) that these Ember days were prescribed for the whole Catholic Church as days of fast and abstinence.  He placed these “four mini Lents” consisting of three days; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The purposes of these “mini Lents” were to pray, fast and to thank God for the gifts He gives us through nature.  They follow the four seasons of the year with the beauty and uniqueness of each particular season.   They are here for us to teach us to use, with moderation, what God gives us through nature, and to also share these gifts with the poor.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, because of the changes in Church law, not a whole lot. At least not officially. The mandatory observation of Ember days was excised from Church practice during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI. But as a voluntary practice, there is much that is salutary in observing the Ember days of the Church.

I don’t know about you, but as a typically indulgent American, I’ve never been very good at fasting. Lately, I’ve noticed more and more people are advocating fasting as a counter-measure in today’s troubling times. This is the first year I will be observing these fasts, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m already pretty famished and a bit punchy. But the way I see it, there’s no point in continuing to put off the inevitable penance that I’m going to have to do for being a big, fat sinner. To say nothing about making reparations for the increasingly hostile darkness of a world steeped in its own sins. Fasting isn’t going to get easier at some point in the future when I get “holier.” In fact, I’m guessing the latter isn’t going to happen until I master the former. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where fasting and penance are more needed than right this moment.  We can’t rely on others to do it for us. Gotta cowboy up and put our mortification where our mouth is. What do you say? Who will be hungry with me?!

What Is Lent?[4]

Lent is the penitential season of approximately 40 days set aside by the Church in order for the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. During this holy season, inextricably connected to the Paschal Mystery, the Catechumens prepare for Christian initiation, and current Church members prepare for Easter by a recalling of Baptism and by works of penance, that is, prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Even in the early Church, Lent was the season for prayerful and penitential preparation for the feast of Easter. Though the obligation of penance was originally only imposed on those who had committed public sins and crimes, by medieval times all the faithful voluntarily performed acts of penance to repair for their sins.

Ash Wednesday is the clarion call to “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:15). For the next forty days, the faithful willingly submit to fasting and self-denial in imitation of Our Lord’s forty-day fast in the desert. It is in these dark and still nights, these desert-times, that the soul experiences its greatest growth. There, in the inner arena, the soul battles the world, the flesh and the devil just as Our Lord battled Satan's triple temptation in the desert. His battle was external, for Jesus could not sin; our battle is interior, but with a hope sustained by the knowledge of Christ’s Easter victory over sin and death.

His victory is our renewal, our “spring” — which is the meaning of the Anglo-Saxon word, “lengten” or Lent. In this penitential season we have the opportunity to make an annual spiritual “tune-up”, a 40-day retreat with Our Lord. Have we allowed worldly cares and the “daily drama” to obscure our call to holiness? Have self-love and materialism eroded our relationship with God? Then let us renew our efforts, and through our Lenten observance, discipline the body and master it as we “follow in the footsteps of the poor and crucified Christ” (St. Francis of Assisi). Activity Source: Original Text (JGM & MG) by Jennifer Gregory Miller and Margaret Gregory

Posture and Prayer[5]

 

We are composed of body and soul, “every part of the body is an expressive instrument of the soul. The soul does not inhabit the body as a man inhabits a house, it lives and works in each member, each fiber, and reveals itself in the body’s every line, contour and movement.” Our bodies communicate respect or contempt. By our gestures and the way, we comport ourselves we confirm his presence. We are “ensouled” bodies as much as we are embodied souls. We should always move as the Church directs us: sit, stand, bow, kneel, strike the breast, make the Sign of the Cross, all in due time. The scriptures speak of several postures of prayer: 1) Standing 2) Kneeling 3) bowing 4) prostrating.

 

Standing gives the expression to the prayers of our heart. Standing is a sign of vigilance and action acknowledging that we are the warriors of God, as a soldier on duty. A Knight always stood in the presence of the King or Judge. Standing was a sign of deference and trust. We acknowledge that none of our weapons or self-defenses can repel Him for He alone is all powerful and all knowing. We are vulnerable in His presence. Military officers know that comportment has serious consequences. Soldiers tend to live up, or down to the way they carry themselves. That’s why there are strict rules about how a soldier should stand when at attention. Bad posture is bad for the spine and communicates disrespect for us and others. Standing expresses the filial liberty given us by the risen Christ, who has freed us from the slavery to sin.

 

Bowing or genuflecting is an act of showing recognition of our God. It is adoration. In bowing or genuflecting we show our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar. To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

 

Kneeling is the prayer posture of mothers, rulers, lepers, and Jesus himself. Kneeling is the side of worship that is at rest and is quiet; “I bow my knees before the Father”. (Eph. 3:14) Kneeling expresses the recognition of our humility before the Almighty Lord (Phil 2:10). Kneeling is associated with reverence, submission and obeisance. Kneeling renders a person defenseless and unable to flee and shows a trust in a power beyond the merely human.

 

Sitting-We spend a lot of time in church sitting; by this position we show our receptiveness and our willingness to listen and take the Word of God.

 

In prostration a person lies face down upon the ground. We are connected to the earth from which we came. Prostrations are reserved for most solemn moments, such as the ordination of a bishop or priest. Remember our Lord prostrated Himself in the garden of Gethsemane. The posture indicates the candidate’s inadequacy for the task to which he has been called. Recall our Lord asking the Father to take to cup…but not my will but thine. Our body expresses self-emptying.

 

Worship Him and give Him all your heart, mind, soul and will! 

Grace at Meals[6] 

Part and parcel of the breakdown of a family begins when the family no longer shares a communal meal. The strongest families are those who meet daily for the breaking of the bread and have an established time of the day when everyone is expected to eat together whether that meal is a breakfast, lunch or supper. When we “say grace” before (or after) our meals, we transform our family or lone meals into “sacraments” of God’s banquet. A meal shared in this manner is shared with God himself. In this way every meal, then, is a celebration of God’s creation and his providence. 

Traditional Grace before meals 

“Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen 

First Friday[7]



The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus . . . which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins." To those who show him love and who make reparation for sins, however, our Lord made a great pledge: "I promise you in the unfathomable mercy of my heart that my omnipotent love will procure the grace of final penitence for all those who receive communion on nine successive first Fridays of the month; they will not die in my disfavor, or without having received the sacraments, since my divine heart will be their sure refuge in the last moments of their life."

 

To gain this grace, we must:

 

·       Receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays.

·       Have the intention of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of reaching final perseverance.

·       Offer each Holy Communion as an act of atonement for offenses against the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Considerations

 

The fullness of God is revealed and given to us in Christ, in the love of Christ, in Christ's heart. For it is the heart of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." Were one to lose sight of this great plan of God-the overflow of love in the world through the Incarnation, the Redemption and Pentecost-he could not understand the refinement with which our Lord deals with us. So, when we talk about the heart of Jesus, we stress the certainty of God's love and the truth of his commitment to us. When we recommend devotion to the Sacred Heart, we are recommending that we should give our whole selves to Jesus, to the whole Jesus-our souls, our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions, our joys. That is what true devotion to the heart of Jesus means. It is knowing God and ourselves. It is looking at Jesus and turning to him, letting him encourage and teach and guide us. The only difficulty that could beset this devotion would be our own failure to understand the reality of an incarnate God. But note that God does not say: "In exchange for your own heart, I will give you a will of pure spirit." No, he gives us a heart, a human heart, like Christ's. I don't have one heart for loving God and another for loving people. I love Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and our Lady with the same heart with which I love my parents and my friends. I shall never tire of repeating this. We must be very human, for otherwise we cannot be divine. . .. 

 

If we don't learn from Jesus, we will never love. If, like some people, we were to think that to keep a clean heart, a heart worthy of God, means "not mixing it up, not contaminating it" with human affection, we would become insensitive to other people's pain and sorrow. We would be capable of only an "official charity," something dry and soulless. But ours would not be the true charity of Jesus Christ, which involves affection and human warmth. In saying this, I am not supporting the mistaken theories-pitiful excuses-that misdirect hearts away from God and lead them into occasions of sin and perdition. . 

 

But I have still a further consideration to put before you. We have to fight vigorously to do good, precisely because it is difficult for us to resolve seriously to be just, and there is a long way to go before human relations are inspired by love and not hatred or indifference. We should also be aware that, even if we achieve a reasonable distribution of wealth and a harmonious organization of society, there will still be the suffering of illness, of misunderstanding, of loneliness, of the death of loved ones, of the experience of our own limitations. Faced with the weight of all this, a Christian can find only one genuine answer, a definitive answer: Christ on the cross, a God who suffers and dies, a God who gives us his heart opened by a lance for the love of us all. Our Lord abominates injustice and condemns those who commit it. But he respects the freedom of each individual. He permits injustice to happen because, as a result of original sin, it is part and parcel of the human condition.

 

Yet his heart is full of love for men. Our suffering, our sadness, our anguish, our hunger and thirst for justice . . .

 

he took all these tortures on himself by means of the cross. . .. 

 

Suffering is part of God's plans. This is the truth; however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father's will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him. This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross, Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death. The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight-a fight of peace-against evil, against injustice, against sin.

 

Thus, do we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain our glorious spiritual triumph. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is of great antiquity in the Church. It was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, however, who made this devotion widespread. In 1675, within the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi, our Lord appeared to her and said: "Behold this heart which, notwithstanding the burning love for men with which it is consumed and exhausted, meets with no other return from most Christians than sacrilege, contempt, indifference and ingratitude, even in the sacrament of my love [the Eucharist].

 

But what pierces my heart most deeply is that I am subjected to these insults by persons especially consecrated to my service." The great promise of the Sacred Heart is most consoling: the grace of final perseverance and the joy of having Jesus' heart as our sure refuge and Infinite Ocean of mercy in our last hour. Almighty and everlasting God look upon the heart of your well-beloved Son and upon the praise and satisfaction which he offers to you in the name of all sinners; and grant them pardon when they seek your mercy. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

 

1. Love is revealed to us in the Incarnation, the redemptive journey which Jesus Christ made on our earth, culminating in the supreme sacrifice of the cross. And on the cross, it showed itself through a new sign: "One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water." This water and blood of Jesus speak to us of a self-sacrifice brought to the last extreme:

 

"It is finished"-everything is achieved, for the sake of love. . .

 

2. Let us realize all the richness hidden in the words "the Sacred Heart of Jesus." When we speak of a person's heart, we refer not just to his sentiments, but to the whole person in his loving dealings with others. In order to help us understand divine things, Scripture uses the expression "heart" in its full human meaning, as the summary and source, expression and ultimate basis, of one's thoughts, words and actions. One is worth what one's heart is worth. . . .

 

3. Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for us, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. Men, their happiness and their lives, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up. "Who will not love this heart so wounded?" a contemplative asks in this connection. "Who will not return love for love? Who will not embrace a heart so pure? We, who are made of flesh, will repay love with love. We will embrace our wounded One, whose hands and feet ungodly men have nailed; we will cling to his side and to his heart. Let us pray that we be worthy of linking our heart with his love and of wounding it with a lance, for it is still hard and impenitent. . .."

Meditation of The Sacred Heart of the First Friday[8]

AMONG those who make profession of piety, but few know Jesus Christ and the treasures of His mercy; for this cause they give themselves up imperfectly to His love. Nothing can be more pleasing to the loving heart of Jesus than the childlike and unlimited confidence which we testify towards Him. It is related in the life of St. Gertrude that one day, as she reflected on the extraordinary graces which she had received, she asked herself how the revelations with which she had been favored could be made known to mankind with the greatest profit to their souls. Our Lord vouchsafed her this reply:

It would be good for men to know, and never to forget, that I, their God and Savior, am always present in their behalf before My heavenly Father. This should never be forgotten, that when through human frailty their hearts incline to sin I offer for them my merciful heart; and when they offend God by their works, I present to Him My pierced hands and feet in order to appease the anger of divine justice.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, says the great Apostle, is the mediator between God and man. He is now ascended into heaven in order to aid our prayers by His powerful mediation. Fail not, says the devout Blosius, to offer your good works and pious exercises to the most sweet heart of Jesus, in order that He may purify and perfect them; for His heart, so full of tenderness, takes delight in so divine a work. He is always ready to perfect in you whatever He sees imperfect or defective. Confidence is a key to the heart of Jesus. What may we not obtain from our fellow-creatures by the confidence we place in them? How much more, then, will it not obtain from God? How marvelous will be its effects if united with an absolute dependence on Him!

Thus, when animated by faith, Peter walked on the waters as on dry land; but from the moment that fear entered his mind the waters lost their sustaining power, and his compassionate Master, extending His hand, said to him,

“O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?”

On another occasion also the tempest threatened to ingulf the apostles; but Jesus said to them, having commanded the winds and the sea:

Where is your faith? why are you fearful? have you, then, no faith?

In order to inspire us with a more lively confidence Our Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafed Himself to teach us the prayer which we address to God; so that our heavenly Father, touched by the words of His own Son, might refuse us nothing which we ask in His name; for this He would have us call Him by the sweet name of Father. But as this is not enough, in order to dispel all our diffidence, He carries His condescension even so far as to promise by a solemn oath to be always ready to listen to us.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever ye shall ask I will do.

Timid souls, He would say, I swear to you by Myself, Who am the Way and the eternal Truth; by Myself, Who hate falsehood, and Who will punish perjury with eternal damnation; by Myself, Who can no more lie or deceive than I can cease to be that which I am, I swear promises, to you that I will grant what you ask of Me. These are Thy O my God, says St. Augustine; and who can fear being deceived when he relies on the promises made by uncreated Truth? When an upright man pledges you his word, you would believe that you erred if you showed after this any doubt or fear but if we receive the testimony of man, says St. John, the testimony of God, is it not greater? Our divine Savior holds Himself so honored by this confidence that in a thousand passages in the Gospel He attributes more to the miraculous efficacy of prayer than to His own mercy. Not saying to those who have recourse to Him, it is My goodness and My power; but It is thy faith, thy confidence, which has saved thee. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to St. Gertrude that he who prayed to Him with confidence was sure to obtain his request that He could not do otherwise than listen to his prayers. Whatever may be the grace you request, says Our Lord, be sure of obtaining it, and it will be granted you. This it is which St. John Climachus expresses in a like manner when he says, every prayer offered up with confidence exercises over the heart of God a kind of violence, but a violence which is sweet and pleasing to Him. St. Bernard compares the divine mercy to an abundant spring, and our confidence to the vessel which we make use of in order to draw these saving waters. The larger the vessel the greater the abundance of the grace we shall bring away. Moreover, this is conformable to the prayer of the psalmist, who sues for mercy in proportion to His confidence: Let Thy mercy be upon us, O Lord, according to the hopes we have placed in Thee. God has declared that He will protect and save all those who put their trust in Him. Let them be glad, then, exclaims David; let all those rejoice who hope in Thee, O my God; for they shall be happy for all eternity, and Thou wilt never cease to dwell in them. He elsewhere says, He who places his trust in the Lord shall dwell under the protection of the God of heaven. Yes, Lord, says St. Bernard, it is hope alone which opens to us the treasure of Thy mercies. The efficacy of prayer, says St. Thomas, is drawn from faith which believes in the promises of God, and confidence in the holy promises which He has made to us. We see, in short, in the sacred writings that the Son of God seems to take the faith of those who address themselves to Him as the rule for the help and the graces which He grants them, not only doing what they wish, but in the manner in which they ask it. Grace is attached to confidence; it is a kind of axiom that he who puts his trust in God shall never be confounded. And the wise man defies a contrary example to be cited amongst all the nations of the world. Our souls should be filled with consolations, says St. Ambrose, when we remember that the graces which God grants us are always more abundant than those which we ask; also, that the fulfilment of His promises always exceeds our hopes, as says Ecclesiastes. Let us have, then, a firm confidence, as St. Paul recommends us, since the Lord has promised to protect whosoever hopes in Him; and when obstacles present themselves which seem very difficult to overcome let us say with the Apostle, I can do all things in Him Who strengtheneth me. Who, indeed, was ever lost after having placed his trust in God? But we need not always seek a sensible confidence it will suffice if we earnestly desire it, for true confidence is an utter dependence on God, because He is good, and wishes to help us; because He is powerful, and able to help us; because He is faithful and has promised to help us.

Example. The venerable Mary of the Incarnation relates that it was revealed to her on a certain occasion that the Eternal Father was insensible to her prayer. She sought to know the cause, and an interior voice said to her: Petition Me through the heart of My Son, through which I will hear thee. Address yourselves to the heart of Jesus, the ocean of love and mercy, and He will obtain for you, pious soul, and also for all poor sinners, the most signal graces. Sometime before her death St. Mechtilde earnestly asked of Our Lord an important grace in behalf of a person who had asked her to pray for her. Seized with fear at the sight of the terrible judgments with which the justice of God would visit this soul, she was weeping bitterly, when Our Lord addressed to her these consoling words,

my daughter, teach the person for whom you pray that she must seek all she desires through My heart. There is no heart so hard as not to be softened by the heart of Jesus, nor any soul so disfigured by the leprosy of sin that His love cannot purify, console, and heal.

The Devil and Temptations[9]

There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way.

Freeing My Own Self from the Power of Evil

·       Through his passion, death, and resurrection, Jesus has broken the power of the Evil One. When the influence of evil is perceived in one's own life, it most frequently comes about from personal sin. Family members suffer because of the sin of an individual member of the family. It is through the sacred power that the Lord has placed in his Church that the evil of sin is conquered.

·       Through medicine, psychology and other human means, suffering can often be alleviated. But Jesus in his Church, has given us basic helps that are often neglected.

·       In our day the Sacrament of Reconciliation has fallen into disuse. There exists a power in this sacrament to break the power of the Evil One and sin that is not possible otherwise.

·       Our faith in the Eucharist is weakened. In this sacrament is the power and presence of Jesus Himself. Persons who have actually needed exorcism from the power of the Evil One have been cured by sitting in church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour each day, for one or two months. These were very difficult cases.

·       Our Blessed Mother has been designated by God as the one who crushes the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:1s). The Rosary is a very powerful means of protection and salvation. Many sons and daughters have been saved from the power of sin and the loss of faith through the perseverance of their parents in saying the Holy Rosary.

International Irish Whiskey Day 

Irish Whiskey Day was created by international whiskey writer Stuart McNamara. Although Stuart writes about whiskey (sometimes spelled “whisky”) from all over the world, his Irish upbringing means that he has a special love and respect for Irish Whiskey in particular. This led to him becoming the editor of IrishWhiskey.Com, the Irish Whiskey Trail and the Dublin Whiskey Trail. 

Stuart became concerned at the way that Irish Whiskey was being marketed outside Ireland by irresponsible marketers as a shots type drink. It bothered him that people partook of the precious drink without any recognition of the amazing degree of science, art, history, heritage, nature and culture which is the backbone of every single glass of Irish Whiskey or Uisce Beatha in Irish Gaelic. 

Of particular worry to Stuart was the lack of respect for Irish Whiskey outside of Ireland on that most Irish of days that occurs each year – St Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on the 17th of March.  

So, Stuart created the special day and the very first International Irish Whiskey Day was celebrated more than ten years ago. And the date chosen was particularly significant in relation to many factors.  

History of International Irish Whiskey Day 

The numeral 3 has always been of special importance in Ireland, for a variety of reasons. The symbol of Ireland (the Shamrock) has three leaves. The Irish flag contains three colors (green, white and orange). And there are three types of Irish Whiskey – Single Malt, Single Grain and the uniquely Irish Single Pot Still.  

In keeping with the lucky number 3, Irish Whiskey is also unique in that by tradition, it is triple distilled. Plus, this spirit must be matured for 3 years in order to be considered “whiskey”, adding to the fortuitous nature of the number three.  

And so, the 3rd of March or 3/3 became the obvious choice of date for our annual Irish Whiskey Day. It also is exactly two weeks to the day before St Patrick’s Day which is always on 17 March, making it a perfect time to raise awareness.  

How to Celebrate International Irish Whiskey Day 

Sure, this day is a great time to raise a dram, but there’s much more to it than just drinking!  More options for celebrating this momentous day include:  

Join an Online or Live Event 

Today, Irish Pubs and Whiskey Clubs located all over the world host global online and in-person Irish Whiskey tastings, lectures, talks, visits and other fun and educational Irish Whiskey activities each year on March 3rd.  

The idea of these events is to educate and inform their patrons and members from all over the world on the wonder and joy of Irish Whiskey, just in time to share their newfound Irish Whiskey knowledge and appreciation with their own friends two weeks later on 17 March St. Patrick’s Day. 

In fact, any Pub, Restaurant or Irish Whiskey friendly venue can create a free event and map listing for their March 3rd Irish Whiskey Day Event, no matter where in the world they are located.  

Irish Whiskey Tasting Party 

Grab a few friends with discerning tastes (five to seven is perfect) and invite them to an Irish Whiskey tasting.  

Provide 4-5 varieties of Irish whiskey. Choose from: 

  • Tullamore D.E.W. Original
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Bushmills Original
  • Redbreast 15 year
  • Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey
  • Knappogue Castle Single Malt 16 Year 

It will be necessary to have enough tulip-shaped tasting glasses for each guest to try each type of whiskey. Have a friend bring some along or borrow from a neighbor if there might not be enough on hand.  

Make sure there’s enough room temperature bottled water on hand to dilute the drinks as well as for people to drink between tastings. Also provide a few snacks as a palate cleanser, such as oatcakes or crackers. 

Make sure each guest has a notepad so they can keep track of their findings when tasting. Aficionados will know to use the terms Nose, Taste and Finish. People who are newer to whiskey tasting can simply write down what they think. 

Irish Whiskey in Entertainment 

While Scotch whiskey shows up in many films, Irish Whiskey may be just a bit more discerning. Still, for the person who is paying attention, Irish spirits can often be found making Cameo appearances in various films and shows, which are perfect for watching when celebrating International Irish Whiskey Day, such as: 

  • Mad Men, American drama series (2007-2015). Jameson Irish Whiskey makes an appearance with Don Draper (played by John Hamm), set in the 1960s.
  • Kill the Irishman, a 2011 biographical crime film. Bushmills Irish Whiskey is shown passing through the lips of the main character, Danny Greene (played by Ray Stevenson), a few times throughout the film. 
  • Out of Africa, an epic romantic film (1985). Jameson Irish Whiskey makes a cameo appearance in this film depicting the 1937 autobiographical novel of the same name, by Isak Dinesen. 
  • Blown Away, a 1994 action thriller where Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones are shown tipping back a few drams of Bushmills Irish Whiskey. 

With a growing online audience each year, International Irish Whiskey Day is playing it’s own small part in building a sustainable lifelong tribe of new Irish Whiskey drinkers and aficionados. Join in the celebration! 

 

Fitness Friday

 

Recognizing that God, the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.

 

25 Ways to Re-Create[10]

 

·       Saltwater Fishing-As the title indicates, saltwater fishing takes place out at sea giving fishermen the opportunity to catch large and exotic fishes such as the Marlin. The big drawback to this activity is that you have to have access to a boat (either own, know someone who does, or rent), and own special fishing gear that can handle large catches.

·       Bird Watching- With about 10,000 species of birds and only a handful of people who can claim having seen over 7000 of them, bird watching is become a popular recreation activity. It’s believed that bird watching is an expression of the male hunting instinct while others links it with the male tendency for “systemizing”. Either way, bird watching is a great, safe way to enjoy nature.

·       Skiing- Also known as downhill skiing, Alpine skiing began as a club sport in 1861 at Kiandra in Australia. Today, most alpine skiing occurs at ski resorts with ski lifts that transport skiers up the mountain.

·       Snowboarding-An American born sport that is getting worldwide attention, snowboarding was developed in the 1960’s and became part of the Olympics in 1998. Like any other extreme sport, snowboarding does present risks of injury (especially for new participants), in fact, you are twice as likely to get injured while snowboarding than Alpine skiing.

·       Overnight Backpacking- Not to be confused with backpacking for traveling purposes, overnight backpacking describes a multi-day hike that involves camping. Aside from the health benefits, backpacking allows adventurers to enjoy remote places that are usually un-accessible by any other means.

·       Snowshoeing-Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during winter months while maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. In fact, as of 2006, at least 500 American schools have started offering snowshoe programs in their physical education curriculum to help combat obesity.

·       Skateboarding-Skateboarding appeals to people all over the world. In a 2002 report, it was found that there were 18.5 million skateboarders in the world. 85 percent of those who had used a board in the last year of the poll were under the age of 18.

·       Trail running-An increasingly popular sport, trail runners have increased from 4.5 million to more than 6 million in the United States alone between 2006 and 2012.

·       Snorkeling-If you want to check out an underwater world without the mess of complicated equipment and tanks, snorkeling is for you. Not only is it simpler than scuba diving, but cheaper as well since you are not required to have a license and or permit to dive.

·       Bowhunting- Unlike hunting with a rifle, Bowhunting places the hunter in closer proximity to its prey and is more physical (in that you burn more calories by using a bow rather than firing a gun). This activity entices many new participants; however, it is a controversial sport due to the fact that animals tend to die slowly when struck by an arrow.

·       Cross-Country Skiing-Considered to be one of the most grueling endurance sports out there, cross country skiing promises to test your fitness. If you are looking for a sport that burns the most calories per hour, this is it.

·       Wake Boarding-No waves? No problem. Wake boarding makes up for the lack of waves with a boat by dragging you along. This activity is relatively safe, popular, and will definitely keep you fit if done consistently.

·       Fly Fishing-A perfect activity for enjoying the outdoors, fly fishing requires some technical skill (mainly casting techniques) but these are relatively easy to learn.

·       Sailing-Probably one the most romantic outdoor activity on this list, sailing captivates the imagination and offers participants a chance for a relaxing trip on the seas. The only downfall to this activity is the price of a sailboat.

·       BMX Biking-BMX bicycling is an impressive sport to watch, which is probably why so many people attempt to get into it. If you are thinking of doing the same, be warned, you can’t fear getting hurt as falls, scrapes, and fails are common.

·       Surfing-A challenging sport, surfing definitely requires some skill development. Nevertheless, many people attempt this dynamic sport.

·       Scuba Diving-With the opportunity to experience a rare and stunning encounter with a world outside the norm, it’s not surprising why so many people try out scuba diving. Just be careful as scuba diving can get a bit expensive and certification is required for solo divers.

·       Climbing-The danger factor should be obvious with this one. Nevertheless, climbing appeals to many first-time participants and many more find it to be a great outdoor activity. If you’re thinking about giving this a try, I suggest starting out in an indoor climbing facility.

·       White Water Rafting-With six grades of intensity, white water rafting appeals to veterans and novices alike. With that said, if you want to try rafting for the first time, be sure to stick to the lower grades since white water rafting can be dangerous.

·       Sea Kayaking-Kayaking in the sea will allow you to enjoy an active lifestyle while gliding through open waters. It’s a relatively easy sport to get into and for the most part safe (unlike the next item on our list).

·       White Water Kayaking-A surprisingly popular activity for first time practitioners, white water kayaking is a pretty intense sport. If you’re not careful, you can end up seriously hurt, or worse…dead. Nevertheless, 35% of first-time participants indicate that this is their sport of choice.

·       Adventure Racing-You just never know what you will get with adventure racing. As the name suggest, the ‘adventure’ can consist of swimming, running, climbing, kayaking, etc. There usually is no time limit and some races can even last days.

·       Triathlon Consisting of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines (running, bicycling, and swimming), a triathlon does not require a particular high level of skills per se. However, the training for such an event can be grueling.

·       Windsurfing-An engaging combination of sailing and surfing, windsurfing takes the #2 spot on our list. If you’re itching to try this sport, know that it does take some patience and perseverance to become proficient. You must develop your balance and core stability; acquire a basic understanding of sailing theory; and learn a few techniques.

·       Stand Up Paddling-Stand up paddling (SUP) is the #1 activity for new time users. Similar to surfing in that you stand on a board. In SUP, waves are not required, and you can enjoy a tranquil stroll while enjoying a total body workout. 

Daytona, Florida-Bike Week March 3-12 Rev up for a week of diesel and fun at Daytona Bike Week. The annual motorcycle rally attracts some of the fiercest bikers, clad in leather (and sometimes little else) to celebrate the freedom of the open road.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The Pope

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 17

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Iceman’s 40 devotion

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Operation Purity




[1] Paone, Anthony J., Our Daily Bread, 1954.

[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions

[5] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 10. Posture.

[6] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 14. Grace at Meals.

[8]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[10]http://list25.com/25-most-popular-recreational-activities-for-first-time-participants/



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