Genesis, Chapter 38, Verse 11
Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”—for he FEARED that Shelah also might die like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.
Judah feared the his youngest would die like his two brothers who married Tamar and failed to provide for her children from the marriage sending her back to her father; fearing she was cursed causing Judah’s two older son’s deaths. This sordid tale reads like a soap opera.
Tamar is first described as marrying Judah's eldest son, Er. Because of his wickedness, Er was killed by God. By way of a Levirate union, (a marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow) Judah asked his second son, Onan, to provide offspring for Tamar so that the family line might continue. Tikva Frymer-Kensky explains that this could have substantial economic repercussions, with any son born deemed the heir of the deceased Er, and able to claim the firstborn's double share of inheritance. However, if Er was childless, Onan would inherit as the oldest surviving son. Onan spills his seed out on the ground as an act of greed. His actions were deemed wicked by God and so, like his older brother, he died prematurely. At this point, Judah is portrayed as viewing Tamar to be cursed, and is therefore reluctant to give his remaining and youngest son to her. Rather, he told Tamar to wait for Shelah, his son to grow older. However, even after he grew up, Judah did not give Tamar to Shelah in marriage.
At the time Shelah grew up, Judah became a widower. After Judah mourned the death of his wife, he planned on going to Timnah to shear his sheep. Upon hearing this news, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and immediately went to Enaim which was en route to Judah's destination. Upon arriving at Enaim, Judah saw the woman but did not recognize her as Tamar because of the veil she wore over her face. Thinking she was a prostitute; he requested her services. Tamar's plan was to become pregnant by this ruse in order to bear a child in Judah's line, because Judah had not given her to his son Shelah. So she played the part of a prostitute and struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah was able to have a goat sent to Enaim, in order to collect his staff and seal, the woman was nowhere to be found and no one knew of any prostitute in Enaim.
Three months later, Tamar was accused of prostitution on account of her pregnancy. Upon hearing this news, Judah ordered that she be burned to death. Tamar sent the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. Upon recognizing his security deposit, Judah released Tamar from her sentence. Tamar's place in the family and Judah's posterity secured, she gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Their birth is reminiscent of the birth of Rebekah's twin sons. The midwife marks Zerah's hand with a scarlet cord when it emerges from the womb first, but Perez is born first. Perez is identified in the Book of Ruth as the ancestor of King David.
Whew! To Er is human
but to love is divine. It is stuff like this that sometimes makes you want to
go out into the desert and become a hermit.
Thursday First Week of Lent
EPISTLE. Ezech, xviii. 1-9.
IN those days: The word of the Lord came to me, saying: What is the meaning, that you use among you this parable as a proverb in the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, this parable shall be more to you a proverb in Israel. Behold all souls are Mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die. And if a man be just, and do judgment and justice, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel: and hath not defiled his neighbor’s wife, nor come near to a menstruous woman: and hath not wronged any man: but hath restored the pledge to the debtor, hath taken nothing away by violence: hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment: hath not lent upon usury, nor taken any increase: hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, and hath executed true judgment between man and man: hath walked in My commandments, and kept My judgments, to do according to truth : he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. Matt. xv. 21-28.
At that time: Jesus went from thence and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to Him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil. Who answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us. And He answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. But she came and adored Him, saying: Lord, help me. Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs. But she said: Yea, Lord, for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters. Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.
Prayer. Look, O Lord, upon the devotion of Thy people, that we, who are afflicted in body by abstinence, may be refreshed in mind by the fruit of good works.
Read: In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, also called confession, we meet the Lord, who wants to grant forgiveness and the grace to live a renewed life in him. In this sacrament, he prepares us to receive him free from serious sin, with a lively faith, earnest hope, and sacrificial love in the Eucharist. The Church sees confession as so important that she requires that every Catholic go at least once a year.
Pray: If you have anger in your heart towards someone, say a prayer for him or her today as a step towards healing.
Act: Make going to confession a priority during Lent this year.
Blessed Charles the Good-Not Joe the Grifter
Count Charles of Flanders was called "the good" by the people of his kingdom. They named him for what they found him to truly be. He was the son of St. Canute, king of Denmark. Charles was just five years old when his father was murdered in 1086. When Charles grew up, he married a good young woman named Margaret. Charles was a mild and fair ruler. The people trusted him and his laws. He tried to be an example of what he expected the people to be.
Some nobles accused Charles of unjustly favoring the poor over the rich. He answered kindly, "It is because I am so aware of the needs of the poor and the pride of the rich." The poor of his realm were fed daily at his castles.
Charles ordered the abundant planting of crops so that the people would have plenty to eat at reasonable prices. Some wealthy men tried to hoard grain to sell at very high prices. Charles the Good found out and forced them to sell immediately and at fair prices. An influential father and his sons had been reprimanded by Charles for their violent tactics. They joined the little group of enemies who now wanted to kill him.
The count walked every morning barefoot to Mass and arrived early at the Church of St. Donatian. He did this in a spirit of penance. He longed to deepen his own spiritual life with God. His enemies knew that he walked to church and also that he prayed often alone before Mass. Many people who loved Charles feared for his life. They warned him that his walks to St. Donatian could lead to his death. He replied, "We are always in the middle of dangers, but we belong to God." One morning, as he prayed alone before the statue of Mary, his attackers killed him. Charles was martyred in 1127.
—Excerpted from Holy Spirit Interactive
Patronage: counts; Crusaders; diocese of Burges, Belgium
Symbols and Representation: nobleman with a purse and a sword; depicted after his martyrdom in the cathedral; sword
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Read more about Bl. Charles:
- His remains are in the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal or Saint-Salvator Cathedral of Bruges, Flanders, in present-day Belgium.
I went to Bruges with my family when I was stationed in Belgium, I believe I was in this church.
Thursdays are Sacred. Why not made Thursdays Catholic Family Night thus making adequate time for God with the family.
Thursdays are next to Sundays the holiest day of the week. Pope John Paul knew this when he created the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. It was also on Thursday that our Lord instituted the Mass and last celebrated with the apostles. In a week also our Lord Ascended into heaven to intercede for us with the Father. It would be a pious practice to make Thursdays a little special by being in the Lord’s presence and celebrate Mass.
· Reflection on making adequate time for God during Lent.
In seed time the sluggard plows not; when he looks for the harvest it is not there (Proverbs 20:4).
This Lent make time for God. Adequate time. Ordinarily we assign only minutes a day to him. He knocks at the door of our hearts. Like the inhospitable inns of Bethlehem, we seemingly have no welcome. If we let God in, we crowd him into a corner. Yet we need him so badly in every area of life.
It is difficult to find time for family Lenten renewal. Father works overtime and comes home exhausted. Or he has a pressing evening meeting to attend. Mother is exhausted, the children cranky.
Frequently mothers work outside their homes. Finding ten or fifteen minutes a day for Lenten projects or prayer with the family seems an impossibility. I worked when our children were small — and remember. But somehow living the Church Year remained paramount. My mother, fretting over Lenten activities, would say, "How can you cut out Biblical mobiles when your closets look so? And it's almost Easter!" The closet may have been hastily tidied later. Those precious minutes spent with the children are theirs for time and eternity.
Mothers go out to work because they have to as a rule. In certain professions some have time for children and home. A few work to escape.
Mother is happy turning a crank That increases the money in somebody's bank; And I feel satisfaction that mother is free From the sinister task of attending to me.
— G. K. Chesterton, Song for a Crèche
Still others work to give their children "every advantage." A secular writer recently passed judgment on the children now "emerging from school, church, and the station wagon." For him "they face us eloquent with the tormenting discontent of American youth for which everything is being done, to which everything is being given, except a reason for living."
St. Paul and again Pius X have outlined a way of changing this for our children. We are to restore things in Christ. How many Catholics use only part of the Church's spiritual riches! This Lent why not take time to tap for your children the treasuries of its liturgy?
Activity Source: Holy Lent by Eileen O'Callaghan, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1975
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
IV. Respect for the Truth
2488 The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.
2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. the good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. the duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.
2490 The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext. "The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason."
2491 Professional secrets - for example, those of political office holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers - or confidential information given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be divulged without a grave and proportionate reason.
2492 Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve concerning persons' private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom.
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 16
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896