NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

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

Sunday, February 26, 2023



First Sunday of Lent, Called “Invocabit”

GRAND CANYON Established 

Genesis, Chapter 32, Verse 12

Save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau! Otherwise, I FEAR that he will come and strike me down and the mothers with the children.

 

Jacob here was afraid of his brother whom he cheated. What’s interesting is that Jacob was Esau’s twin brother. Twins often think a feel alike so one wonders was Jacob’s fear generated because he assumed Esau would do what He himself would have done. Here is where God takes two imperfect humans and makes them better. God intercedes softening both Esau and Jacob’s heart.

 

Have you ever been so angry; livid at someone or something and then discovered the reason for your anger was directly correlated to a defect in yourself that you had buried and chose to ignore. We all have and then realized that we are not as perfect as we pretend to be. Let us reflect on Paul’s advice to the Ephesians, “Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth. (Eph 4:17-20) By the renewal of our minds we through Christ’s grace check our feelings, moods and prejudices or preferences and strive to maintain the right intensions.

 

Lord, Grant that I may follow Your words in my daily life. Let Your truth teach me, guide me, and protect me and may it deliver me from all evil desires and foolish love. Let me esteem nothing as great, or valuable, or wonderful, except insofar as it makes me better and more pleasing in your eyes. In this way I shall never be a slave of this earth, but shall walk daily towards Heaven in Holy Fear.[1]

 ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[2]

CHAPTER II

DIES CHRISTI

The Day of the Risen Lord
and of the Gift
of the Holy Spirit

The day of the new creation

25. In effect, Sunday is the day above all other days which summons Christians to remember the salvation which was given to them in baptism and which has made them new in Christ. "You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col 2:12; cf. Rom 6:4-6). The liturgy underscores this baptismal dimension of Sunday, both in calling for the celebration of baptisms — as well as at the Easter Vigil — on the day of the week "when the Church commemorates the Lord's Resurrection", and in suggesting as an appropriate penitential rite at the start of Mass the sprinkling of holy water, which recalls the moment of Baptism in which all Christian life is born.

 

First Sunday of Lent, Called “Invocabit”. [3]

THIS, Sunday is called Invocabit from the first word of the Introit. All the Sundays of Lent and those from Easter to Pentecost take their names from the Introits of the Mass. In the Introit of this day, we are told: He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven (Ps. xc. 15, 16, 1).

Prayer of the Church

O God, Who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly observance of Lent, grant to Thy servants that what they endeavor to obtain of Thee by abstinence they may secure by good works.

EPISTLE, Cor. vi. 1-10.

Brethren: We do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain: for He saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee: and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold now is the acceptable time: behold now is the day of salvation; giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watching’s, in fasting’s, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true: as unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things. By this epistle the Church admonishes us to profit by Lent as a season of grace, to spend it in earnestly combating sin and in the diligent performance of good works.

GOSPEL. Matt. iv. 1-11.

At that time: Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming, said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, and set Him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thy self-down; for it is written that He hath given His angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil took Him up into a very high mountain: and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left Him: and behold angels came and ministered to Him.

Our Savior was led by the Holy Ghost into the desert there to prepare by fasting forty days and nights for His holy ministry. Here the tempter approaches and seeks to betray Him. After He had overcome the Evil One’s angels came and ministered to Him: by which we learn that they who overcome temptations enjoy the consolation and assistance of the angels. This should encourage us to combat joyfully to the end.

What is temptation? Temptation is an inducement to transgress the commandments of God. Temptation comes from our own concupiscence (James i. 14) for the flesh lusteth against the spirit (Gal. v.17.)

How does the devil tempt us? He moves the natural concupiscence to such sins as he sees men particularly inclined to, and then deceives and confuses the man’s mind, that he may not see clearly either the temporal loss, or the dishonor and danger of sin. He can, however, do nothing but what God permits. St. Augustine therefore compares him to a chained dog that can hurt only those who put themselves within his reach.

Does God also tempt us? St. James says (i. 13), Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God; for God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man; But He allows us to be tempted, sending us manifold trials.

Does God permit us to be tempted beyond our strength? No; for He combats with us and gives you always as much strength as is required to conquer temptations, and even to gain advantage from them (i. Cor. x. 13).

When do we consent to temptation? When we decide of our own free will to do the evil proposed; as long as we resist, however little, we do not consent.

What are the best means to overcome temptation?

1. Humility and prayer.

2. The consideration of the suffering which follows sin, and of the happiness which awaits those who resist temptation.

3. Invoking the aid of the Blessed Virgin, our guardian angel, and all the saints.

4. Praying devoutly, lead us not into temptation, and calling on the holy name of Jesus.

Lenten Calendar[4]

Read: Todays Gospel tells the story of Jesuss journey into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 

Reflect: Every day, but particularly in Lent, Christians must face a struggle, like the one that Christ underwent in the desert of Judea, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil, and then in Gethsemane, when he rejected the most sever temptation, accepting the Fathers will to the very end.  

It is a spiritual battle waged against sin and finally, against Satan. It is a struggle that involves the whole of the person and demands attentive and constant watchfulness.  (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, March 1, 2006)

Pray: Say something from your heart.

Act: With Jesuss response of One does not live on bread alone in mind, think of what ways you can feed your spiritual life this Lent. Decide to do something during this Lenten season that will nurture your relationship with God. Consider reading one of the Psalms on Saturdays, challenge yourself to fast from speaking any negative or critical word on Fridays, or do an act of generosity on Mondays. 

Christ is the model for our fasting

Christ in the desert, and the kinds of temptations we can expect to encounter.

"Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God".

1. The devil tries to tempt us with the bread of fleshly desire. "Now is the acceptable time" to "ration" our self-indulgence, our worship of physical culture, and to feed our souls with the Divine Word. This temptation calls for the mortification of self.

2. The "pinnacle of the temple", recalls the pride of usurping God's power, of trying to live beyond His reach. We must topple ourselves from the pinnacle of pride and lift ourselves up by prayer to the pinnacle of God Himself.

3. The "kingdoms of the world," are those who covet mere earthly "glory." To offset this temptation there must be almsgiving or devoting one's talents to the service of one's neighbor.

The Epistle exhorts us not to receive "in vain" this plan of personal reformation, first by warning, then by encouraging us in the eternal struggle between Christ and Antichrist.

Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood

Aids in Battle[5] The Power of God’s Word

When Our Lord overcame the Devil in the wilderness, He quoted Scripture. In Scripture, the Devil and his demons go by several names and are portrayed by several vivid images, each one pointing to some important aspect of their nature and activity. To know these names and images is to understand better the kind of opponents we face in spiritual warfare.

·       The Devil, literally, “one who hurls [himself] across” the path of God’s plan; Mt 4: 1.

·       Satan, literally, “adversary, attacker”; Job 1: 6; Mt 4: 10.

·       Beelzebul, the prince of demons, the name of a pagan Canaanite god meaning “the Prince-God”; the Jews interpreted the word as “prince of demons” because they identified false gods with demonic spirits; Mt 12: 24– 27. The form Beelzebub, used in some Bible translations, is a contemptuous adaptation of the name that means “Lord of the flies”; see also Baalzebub as a reference to the Canaanite god in 2 Ki 1: 2– 6.

·       The Serpent, the malicious intruder in the Garden of Eden who led our first parents into sin; Gn 3: 1; Rv 12: 9.

·       Demon, from the ancient Greek term for a lesser deity; St. Paul identified such pagan gods with demonic spirits; 1 Cor 10: 20– 21.

·       Unclean spirit, in the sense of morally unclean or impure; Mt 10: 1.

Devotion to the Trinity[6] 

The Trinity is the sum, substance, subject and object of our prayer. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. One God, who is three persons, is a mystery too deep for anyone to fathom. St. Teresa of Avila had a vision on the Trinity she stated, What was represented to me were three distinct persons, for we can behold and speak to each one. Afterward I reflected that only the Son took human flesh, through which this truth of the Trinity was seen. These persons love, communicate with, and know each other…and this is a very great truth…In all three persons there is no more than one will, one power, and one dominion, in such a way that one cannot do anything without the others.” 

St. John Paul II stated also, “God in his deepest mystery is not a solitude but a family, since he has in himself fatherhood, sonship, and the essence of family, which is love.” We are created for the sake of love. 

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (234) the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the "hierarchy of the truths of faith". The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men "and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin". 

God the Father sent the Son so that we might receive the Spirit. God became what we are, so that we might become what He is. He assumed our nature, so that we might share in His. Heaven is nothing other than the sharing, that communion, and it has begun with our baptism. All the sacraments and all Catholic liturgy are about the Blessed Trinity. We have been taken up into the life of the Trinity, even now. We do not have to wait to live in heaven, Heaven has come to us—though we still await the day of consummation, when we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (Jn. 3:2). Our very nature speaks of the trinity through our Mind, emotions and will. Will to serve!

Eastern Orthodox Church

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, its equivalent, the Sunday before Great Lent, is called "Forgiveness Sunday", "Maslenitsa Sunday", or "Cheesefare Sunday". The latter name comes because this Sunday concludes Maslenitsa, the week in which butter and cheese may be eaten, which are prohibited during Great Lent. The former name derives from the fact that this Sunday is followed by a special Vespers called "Forgiveness Vespers" which opens Great Lent. On this day the Eastern Orthodox Church Christians at the liturgy listen to the Gospel speaking of forgiveness of sins, fasting, and the gathering of treasures in heaven. On this day, all Orthodox Christians ask each other for forgiveness to begin the Great Lent with a good heart, to focus on the spiritual life, to purify the heart from sin in confession, and to meet Easter - the day of the Resurrection of Jesus with a pure heart. This is the last day before Lent when non-lenten food is eaten.

What the Grand Canyon tells us about God[7]

(est. today in 1919) A view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Contemplation always involves knowledge of one’s true scale, of a reality that dwarfs the ego

Many years ago, I was telling my spiritual director that I found it easiest to pray in a beautiful garden, and I was warming to my sense of myself as a contemplative. The wise Dominican asked with disarming candor: “But are you in the garden, or is the garden in you?” It took a long time even to realize what the question meant. I remember another similarly disarming question at the very beginning of my adult search for God. I was an undergraduate and took myself to a Benedictine monastery for a few days’ retreat in Lent. I was captivated by the silence, prayer and retreat from the world, swept up in the chant and the romance of monastic life. What I did not realize was that I was attracted to it as something that would make it less painful to be what I thought I was – something I needed for my religious amour-propre. Thus, many searches for God begin, but one can only search for God because he has already found you. What must happen is that someone else must put a belt around you and lead you where you would rather not go. It is not the intensity of the search, but of the willingness to be led that is ultimately the measure of vocation. Vocation is not finding the garden in you, it is finding yourself in the garden.

Perhaps the wise abbot sensed this. Anyway, I remember being rather discombobulated by his direct manner. As I emoted about the spiritual life, he looked at me carefully and asked: “Is God real to you?” It was like a torpedo below the waterline of all my high-sounding talk about my attraction to the monastic life versus secular priesthood, the script I was busy constructing of an encounter with the living God in which I remained firmly the star. The best answer I could manage was: “I think so.” In the moment of asking I doubted it, or rather I realized suddenly that so much of what I thought was God wasn’t actually God. It was the paraphernalia of God, of religion. (In fact, the moment wasn’t too confounding, for soon there came another answer from deep inside: “He’s real to me in the Blessed Sacrament.” There – perhaps because, as Aquinas put it, “Sight, touch and taste in thee are each deceived” – I couldn’t confuse feeling for the reality.

I realized that I had been given something to work with.) All of this came to mind when I visited the Grand Canyon at the end of my trip to America. What’s the connection? One may grasp what one might call the paraphernalia of the Grand Canyon. It was formed by billions of years of imperceptibly slow change, of almost every possible kind of geological activity: sediment layering, tectonic plates shifting, glaciers melting and rivers carving a gorge a mile and a half deep into solid rock. These are processes that can be mapped and understood, but the result overwhelms the sum and the mind of man. Its astonishing, ancient beauty can only be contemplated – that is, it must act on you, overwhelm your mind with its four-billion-year-old scale, stillness and silence which is in constant change.

Spontaneously, the words of the psalmist rose from my heart at the breathtaking sight: “Before the mountains or the hills were brought forth, you are God, without beginning or end.” Contemplation always involves knowledge of one’s true scale, of a reality that dwarfs the ego. As if this were not enough, as the sun set, the sky above came alive with stars. I have never seen so many or so clearly. They were like the lights of some vast celestial city calling, a million points of light and security like some distant homeland, like the medieval fantasy that the stars were rents in the sky through which one could see the light of heaven. To count them I must be eternal, like God. The psalmist said: “When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and stars which you have made, what is man, that thou art mindful of him?” And the answer comes back that in Jesus Christ the Father has united himself to the heart of every person in such a way that the vastness of the universe becomes an image not of alienation, but of the vastness of a love that was there before the hills were set in order. This love causes even rocks to exude a soft beauty which seems like the desire of the Eternal Hills for the Heart of their maker.

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

I. Living in the Truth

2465 The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His "faithfulness endures to all generations." Since God is "true," the members of his people are called to live in the truth.

2466 In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth. "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth." To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.'"

2467 Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it: "It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth."

2468 Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

2469 "Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another." The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret: it entails honesty and discretion. In justice, "as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth."

2470 The disciple of Christ consents to "live in the truth," that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord's example, abiding in his truth. "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth."

Daily Devotions

·       Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Growth of Catholic Families and Households

·       Devotion of the Seven Sundays: St Joseph-4th Sunday

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan



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

[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[5]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.

[6] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 34. Devotion to the Trinity.

[7]http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/february-27th-2015/what-the-grand-canyon-tells-us-about-god/



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