Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Genesis, Chapter 31, Verse 53
Laban and Jacob both take oaths here not to war with each other. Nahor was the brother of Abraham and an idol worshiper who used several God’s as a type of insurance policy. Laban here is doing the same mentioning His gods, but Jacob wanted to ensure Laban that there is only one God which he states was the Fear of Isaac. Laban sets up a pillar as a border line for the two to prevent trespassing which leads often to war. War and the taking of life by one another have been with us since Cain slew Abel. Christ the promise of God came to stop the cycle of revenge to change the law of an eye for an eye.
Yet, there are times when one must take up the sword and not stand by to let the evil defile the weak. We are not to tolerate bullies or murderers. God was not pleased with our Nation when we idly watched the slaughter that took place neither in Rwanda nor at our silence while our courts allow the murder of children by abortion and the selling of their body parts.
Ways to live out the gift of fortitude in your life, bestowed upon you by the Holy Spirit at your Confirmation.
- Speak out against evil wherever you find it.
- Take the job in which you can do the best for the spiritual welfare of others.
- Be cheerful at your work; practice the apostolate of smiling; it will cost an effort at times.
- Have a loving solicitude for all with whom you come in contact, especially for those who are friendless.
- Fight down your own evil passions daily with renewed energy.
- Be ready to defend your Faith in word, deed, and association.
- Bring happiness where there is strife.
- Live your Faith; join organizations that promote Catholic Action.
- Advise others what to do in a spiritual difficulty; make sure the advice is correct.
- Stay informed on Catholic news; it will help when explaining the Faith to those outside of the Church.
- Forsake the job rather than Christian principles.
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
EPISTLE. Isaias Iviii. 9-14.
THUS, saith the Lord God: If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which is good for nothing. When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail. And the places that have been desolate for ages shall be built in thee: thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy own will in My holy day, and call the Sabbath delightful, and the holy of the Lord glorious, and glorify Him, while thou dost not thy own ways, and thy own will is not found, to speak a word : then shalt thou be delighted in the Lord, and I will lift thee up above the high places of the earth, and will feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
GOSPEL. Mark vi. 47-56.
At that time: When it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and Jesus alone on the land. And seeing them laboring in rowing (for the wind was against them), and about the fourth watch of the night He cometh to them walking upon the sea, and He would have passed by them. But they seeing Him walking upon the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out. For they all saw Him, and were troubled. And immediately He spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. And He went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased: and they were far more astonished within themselves: for they understood not concerning the loaves; for their heart was blinded. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Genesareth, and set to the shore. And when they were gone out of the ship, immediately they knew Him: and running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard He was. And whithersoever He entered, into towns or into villages or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch but the hem of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole.
May Thy faithful, O Lord, be confirmed by Thy gifts, that, receiving them, they may seek them, and seeking may receive them forever. Through Christ,
Doing Small Things Well
First, while it is true that fasting is not the most important thing in the world, this does not make fasting irrelevant or unimportant. There are, certainly, more urgent things to abstain from than food or drink, such as maliciousness, backbiting, grumbling, etc. But a person is mistaken to conclude that he therefore does not need to fast. He should not believe that he can ignore fasting and instead abstain in more important matters. Rather, fasting and avoiding those other vices go hand in hand. Fasting must accompany efforts to abstain in greater matters. For one thing, fasting teaches a person how to abstain in the first place.
Moreover, it is presumptuous for a person to try to practice the greater virtues without first paying attention to the smaller ones. As Our Lord says, "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much"1 and so can be trusted with greater things. Therefore, if a person wants to be able to abstain in greater matters he must not neglect to abstain in smaller matters, such as through fasting.
Finally, there is a subtle form of pride present in the person who says that because something is not very important, he does not need to do it. Whoever makes such a claim implies that he does only important things. But the average person is rarely called to do very important things. Accordingly, each person is more likely to be judged on how he did the little, everyday things. Even when, rarely, a person is called to do a great work, how often does he fall short? All the more reason, then, for a person to make sure that he at least does the small things well. Furthermore, if he truly loves the Lord, he will gladly do anything—big or small—for him. So, in the end, saying that fasting is not the most important thing is not a good excuse for avoiding it.
What, then, is the reason for fasting? To answer this let us first clarify what fasting entails. It involves more than the occasional fast, such as on Good Friday. To be effective, fasting requires disciplined eating habits all the time. There are certainly days when a person should make a greater effort at abstaining from food and drink. These are what we usually consider days of fasting and they must be practiced regularly. But, still, there are never days when a person is allowed to abandon all restraint. A person must always practice some restraint over his appetites, or those periodic days of fasting are valueless. Always keeping a check on his desires, a person develops good habits, which foster constancy in his interior life. So, in addition to practicing days of fasting on a regular basis, a person should continuously restrain his desires, such as those that incline him to eat too much, to be too concerned with what he eats, or to eat too often.
We might, then speak of the discipline of fasting in order to avoid the impression that fasting is sporadic. The operative principle behind the discipline of fasting is simple: to limit yourself to only what is necessary for your physical and psychological health—no more, no less. St. Augustine puts it concisely when he teaches: "As far as your health allows, keep your bodily appetites in check by fasting and abstinence from food and drink." So, fasting is meant only to keep a person's unnecessary wants in check. A person is not— nor is he permitted—to deny himself what is necessary for his health. The discipline of fasting instead asks a person to check his desires for what is superfluous and not necessary.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION TWO-THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Chapter 2 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Article 8-THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
It was said to the men of old, "You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn."
2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 10
Our Christian Home by Rev. Joseph A. Fischer, Seraphic Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1954