The winds of March point to the power of God's Spirit working in us. We need to listen and respond to the gentle breezes of the Spirit; but will we, or will we be too distracted? The rebirth of spring reminds us of the energy of nature so that we ask ourselves whether we waste or wisely use energy –electricity, oil, gas, etc. Can we and should we continue to use nonrenewable fossil fuels, often with accompanying air pollution, at the rate we do? Or will the environmental ills we cause today call us in the future as a society to use wind and solar energy?
Overview of the Month of March
The entire month of March falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color violet or purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. All saint days that are usually Memorials are shifted to Optional Memorials during the season of Lent.
A Time of Penance and
and there in the stark March landscape, a few plants and trees are beginning to
give evidence of the new life that winter’s frost and chill had concealed from
our eyes. The Church’s vibrant new life has been obscured, too, by the
austerity of the penitential season of Lent. But that life is indisputable, and
it will burgeon forth on Easter as Christ coming forth from his tomb!
this month we will continue our journey to the cross with our acts of
penitence. We will reflect on our mortality ("Remember man thou art
dust") and the shortness of life ("and to dust thou shall
return"). We will heed the call, "Now is the acceptable time, now is
“the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).” Just like Our Lord's earthly life
every moment of our lives is leading up to the last moment—when for eternity we
will either go to God or suffer the fires of hell. During this month we will go
from the suffering of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. We will trade
the purple of penance for the white of victory and resurrection.
not tire of doing our good works and penance but continue with the enthusiasm
of the catechumens on their way to Easter and Baptism. May our Lenten
observance be a joyful journey — and not a forced march.
weeks of Lent progress let us not tire of doing our good works and penance but
continue with the enthusiasm of the catechumens on their way to Easter and
Baptism. May our Lenten observance be a joyful journey — and not a forced
Fallas in Valencia, Spain March 1-19 Enjoy a high-spirited fiesta in Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city.
The annual bash, held in commemoration of Saint Joseph, sees neighborhoods
transformed into lively parties over a boisterous five-day period.
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.
· Holi in India March
8th Celebrate spring with a dash of color. The annual Holi
festival in India inspires revelers to hit the streets, playfully throwing
powdered colors on each other. Once your clothes are doused with all sorts of
hues, you’ll understand why this is called a festival of colors.
Patrick’s Day March 17th
Don your friendliest green for St.
Patrick’s Day. Boston is the place to be, with the city’s official St.
Patrick’s Day Parade drawing anywhere from 600,000 to 1 million people every
Spring Equinox: Stonehenge March
21st Mark the beginning of spring with a celebratory gathering
at Stonehenge. Join the crowds who gather at the mysterious stone structures in
to see the sun rise, ushering in the spring equinox.
· Spring Break in Panama City Beach Slap on your sunscreen and grab your shades for a laid-back spring break on Panama City Beach. This sunny haven on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico beckons with its tagline, “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” You’ll see why once you sink your toes into its unique sugar-white sand.
Mar. 4th FAST Ember
Mar. 5th Second
Sunday of Lent
Mar 7th St. Perpetua/Full
Mar 12th Third
Sunday of Lent
Mar 17th St.
Mar 19th Fourth
Sunday of Lent
Mar 20th Feast of St.
March 20-April 16 National Cherry Blossom
Mar 26th Fifth
Sunday of Lent
Mar 29th Start Novena
to the Holy Face for First Friday
MARCH 1 Ember Wednesday
LA FALLA-FIRST WEDNESDAY
Genesis, Chapter 35, Verse 7
When her labor was most intense,
the midwife said to her, “Do not FEAR,
for now you have another son.”
was the one love of Jacob (Israel). Due to her father, Lot’s, tricks on Jacob,
he was forced to work for her for over 14 years to take Rachel, whom he dearly
loved, as his bride. Rachel was barren and died in childbirth with her two sons
Joseph and Benjamin. She was not afraid because after her long suffering with
barrenness at last she had given birth to two healthy sons; a dying wish. Life
at times can be hard. God does not promise us perfect happiness in this life;
for we are made for heaven and eternal happiness with Him. We are to do our
best, but when our best is not sufficient; surrender it to Him. We must be humble; trusting with great
confidence in Him that we may do His will in good seasons and bad. Pray that we
may not forget this truth and complain as the Israelites did in the desert to
such an extent that Moses cried out to God, “Where can I get
meat to give to all these people? For they are crying to me, ‘Give us meat for
our food.’ I cannot carry this entire people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will
deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need
no longer face my distress.” (Nm 11:13-15)
Moses was despondent here, yet he
did not give up; he gave it up. When things get tough; trust in Him. Knowing
that, “One does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4) In retrospect when we are despondent let us
remember to go to the great Mother of God, Mary for truly on the day of
Christ’s death in some respects she died too-yet she did not fear for “now she had another son”
reflecting her spiritual adoption of all of mankind.
One question that comes up
repeatedly is why are the Ember Days only Wednesday, Friday and Saturday? Is
there any rhyme or reason to these days?
In the days of the early
church, Mass was originally only on Sundays. Gradually other days were added,
the development can be seen in connection with the Roman Station Churches, as I
wrote about last year in Roman Pilgrimage: Station Churches. The Ember Days fall on the days
that had assigned stational churches, originally Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
and Sunday. Station churches for Thursdays were a much later addition and are
not included in the Ember Days.
Unique Character of the
Spring or Lent Ember Days
The Lent Ember Days fall
on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during the first week of Lent. There are
four major intentions of the Quarterly Ember Days, but each set of days has a
different flavor according to the corresponding liturgical season.
The Lent Ember Days were
the last ones added to the liturgical calendar, and they have a slightly
different character than the other three. Since the Lenten season already had
fasting and abstinence, observing Ember Days in Lent only added a little extra
in penance to the already formerly strict laws of Lent.
The focus of the Lenten
of the New Season. The other Ember Days marked thanksgiving
for different harvests, but the Lent Ember Days did not. Instead, this was a
time of consecrating the new spring to God and asking blessing on the upcoming
growing season. This was also a time of thanksgiving for the gift of light.
Instead of harvest offerings on Ember Wednesday, flowers were usually presented
and blessed. The symbol of the Lenten Ember Days is the Paschal and baptismal
candles. (I have not found any evidence, but I conjecture that perhaps the wax
harvest from the honeybee might have been featured during these Lenten Ember
Days? It would seem to be a logical connection.)
of Spiritual Renewal. Holy Mother Church
provides us so many opportunities to redirect, refresh and renew. The Lenten
Ember Days blends with the season of Lent, providing reminders to continue and
persevere in the spirit of conversion and penance.
for Priests. The Church no longer regularly ordains priests
during the Quarterly Ember Days, but this is a special time, particularly Ember
Saturday, to pray for priests and for seminarians, particularly the ones who
are about to be ordained within the year.
the Spirit of the Season. Each set of Ember Days reflect
the season of the Liturgical Year in which they occur. The Lenten season
focuses on our conversion
of our hearts, and also a focus on the supernatural life we receive at
baptism, whether it be as a catechumen or a renewal of baptismal promises.
Wednesday in the First Week of Lent
EPISTLE, m. Kings xix. 3-8.
IN those days came Elias to Bersabee of Juda, and left his servant there, and he went forward one day s journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: It is enough for me, Lord, take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers. And he cast himself down and slept in the shadow of the juniper-tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him and said to him: Arise and eat. He looked and behold there was at his head a hearth-cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb.
GOSPEL. Matt. xii.
At that time, some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Jesus, saying: Master, we would see a sign from Thee. Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so, shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and behold a greater than Solomon here. And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So, shall it be also to this wicked generation. As He was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold His Mother and His brethren stood without, seeking to speak to Him. And one said unto Him: Behold Thy Mother and Thy brethren stand without, seeking Thee. But He answering him that told Him, said: Who is My Mother, and who are My brethren? And stretching forth His hand towards His disciples, He said: Behold My Mother and My brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my father, that is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.
Prayer. Mercifully hear our prayers, we
beseech Thee, O Lord, and against all our adversaries extend the right hand of
Thy majesty. Amen.
What is the Ember-Days?
Days instituted to thank God, each
season of the year, for the benefits received during that season, and to remind
the faithful, each quarter of the year, of the duty of penance; also, to pray
to God for deserving priests, for on those days the ordination of priests
usually takes place. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions)
The Ember Days are four series of Wednesdays,
Fridays, and Saturdays which correspond to the natural seasons of the year.
Autumn brings the September, or Michaelmas, Embertide; winter, the Advent
Embertide; Spring, the Lenten Embertide; and in summer, the Whit Embertide
(named after Whitsunday, the Feast of Pentecost).
The English title for these days,
"Ember," is derived from their Latin name: Quatuor Temporum,
meaning the "Four Times" or "Four Seasons."
Embertides are periods of prayer and fasting, with each day having its own
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday were days of
particularly devotion in the early church: Wednesday, as recalling the betrayal
of our Lord, and Friday in memory of His Passion, Saturday was later added to
these days of prayer and penance as a continuation of Friday, and as far back
as the second century they were set apart as Stational days, that is as days of
special religious service and fasting.
· The Ember Days, although the occasion of their institution is uncertain, are a reminder of these ancient days of devotion. Their purpose is to thank God for the fruits of the earth and other gifts of nature, to teach moderation in their use, and to assist the needy. From the time of Pope Gelasius in the fifth century it has been allowed to confer the diaconate and priesthood on the Saturdays of Ember weeks.
Antiphon: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and
never forget all He hath done for thee.
V. Lord, Thou has been our refuge. R. From generation to generation.
Let us Pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty
God, that as year by year we devoutly keep these holy observances, we may be
pleasing to Thee both in body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Honor of Christ's
Betrayal and Passion
God, Who for the world's Redemption was pleased to be born, circumcised,
rejected by the Jews, betrayed by the kiss of traitor Judas, bound with chains,
led like an innocent lamb to sacrifice, and shamefully presented before Annas,
Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod, accused by false witnesses, beaten with whips,
buffeted, insulted, spat upon, crowned with thorns, smitten with a reed,
blindfolded, stripped of Thy garments, fastened with nails to the cross and
lifted up on high, reputed among thieves, made to drink gall and vinegar and
wounded by a lance; oh, by these most sacred sufferings, which, unworthy as I
am, I thus commemorate, and by Thy holy cross and death, deliver me, Lord, from
the pains of hell, and deign to lead me where Thou didst lead me where Thou
didst lead the penitent thief, who was crucified by Thy side. Who, with the
Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, forever and ever. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc.
Prayer for God's Blessing on
Lord, graciously look down upon Thy servants and upon the work of their hands,
and do Thou, Who givest food to every creature, bless and preserve the fruits
of the earth, that the needy may be filled with good things and that all may
praise the glory of Thy bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Vocations to the
Antiphon. Why stand ye all the day idle, go
ye into my vineyard.
V. Ask the Lord of the harvest.
R. That He send laborers into His vineyard.
Let us Pray God, who willest not the death of
the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live; grant, by the
intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin and of all saints, laborers for Thy
Church, fellow laborers with Christ, to spend and consume themselves for souls.
Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.
Be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book by Charles J.
Callan, OP, S.T.M, P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1961
Preparing for Battle
Know Your Commander and Comrades
Our Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Conqueror of hell and death, calls us to battle alongside Him against the Enemy so that we can have a share in His victory. To fight the good fight, however, we must know not only our adversary and his strategies; we must also know the comrades that our great Commander has given to us. Our comrades in arms are our Lady and the Saints. Just as Eve’s yes to the Enemy’s temptation brought death and the Devil’s domination into the world, so Mary’s yes to God opened the door for the ultimate victory of her Son over Satan.
Whenever the Enemy’s assaults on us seem to multiply, we should call on Mary not just as our Blessed Mother, but as a mighty warrior before whom the demon’s tremble. St. Bonaventure once put it: “Men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.”
We also have the aid of St. Michael and the Angels. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them” (Ps 34: 7).
We also have our fellow Christians. We must not focus so much on heavenly warriors that we forget our earthly comrades-in-arms. Our brother and sister soldiers in the battles of this life need our support, and we need theirs. We should be praying daily with them and for them, spiritual soldiers “vigilant in all perseverance and supplication for all” our fellow combatants (Eph 6: 18). We should be offering them encouragement and counsel when we find them weary or confused, tempted by the Devil’s lies, accusations, doubts, enticements, and provocations. Roman soldiers were taught to fight alongside comrades with their backs toward one another. That way, as they battled the enemy, they were protecting one another’s backs. One man’s sword was another man’s shield. If they didn’t fight in this way, they were exposed to mortal danger. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Wherever a fellow soldier is vulnerable to the Enemy’s onslaught, we must make up the difference with the shield of our faith. This is one important reason why Our Lord established the Church. His grace to conquer the Enemy comes to us through her worship, her sacraments, and her teaching.
Our Heavenly Father desires all three hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to be honored. And so along with devotion to Jesus on First Fridays, and to Mary on First Saturdays, Our Father longs for us to add devotion to St. Joseph on each First Wednesday of the month.
"The Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph have been chosen by the Most Holy Trinity to bring peace to the world." It is at God's request that "special love and honor be given to them" to help us "imitate" their love and their lives, as well as "offer reparation" for the sins committed against them and their love.
The St. Joseph First Wednesday devotion is:
1. Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary - remembering St. Joseph's love, his life, his role and his sufferings
2. Receive Holy Communion - in union with the love St. Joseph had for Jesus the first time and each time he held him - his son, his God and Savior - in his arms.
In the approved
apparitions of Our Lady of America, St. Joseph revealed:
· "I am the protector of the Church and
the home, as I was the protector of Christ and his Mother while I lived upon
earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be
now honored in a special way.
· Let my children honor my most pure heart in a
special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful
Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I
bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them.
· Let them receive Holy Communion in union with
the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I
held Him in my arms.
· Those who honor me in this way will be
consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely
into the presence of Jesus and Mary."
Every Wednesday is
Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has
always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make
Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or
spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass.
You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you
could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family
night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION TWO-THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Chapter 2 “You shall love your neighbor as
Article 8-THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
2475 Christ's disciples have "put on the new man, created
after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." By
"putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and
all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander."
2476 False witness and perjury. When it is made publicly, a
statement contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it
becomes false witness. When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts such as
these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exoneration of the guilty, or
the increased punishment of the accused. They gravely compromise the exercise
of justice and the fairness of judicial decisions.
2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every
attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.
2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to
interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a
favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he
cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. and if the latter
understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not
suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a
correct interpretation so that he may be saved.
2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of
one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and
everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to
respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and
2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery,
adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts
and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice
in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor
friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only
seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate
2481 Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth. So is
irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of
2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the
intention of deceiving." The Lord denounces lying as the work of the
devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the
father of lies."
2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie
is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead into error someone who
has the right to know the truth. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his
neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word
to the Lord.
2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the
truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and
the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial
sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and
2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a
profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known
truth to others. the deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by
saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and
charity. the culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the
risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.
2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does
real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition
of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all
consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among
men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.
2487 Every offense committed against justice and truth entails
the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is
impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly.
If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be
given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also
concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and
sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage
inflicted. It obliges in conscience.
to St. Joseph Day 15
Goffine’s Devout Instructions
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual
Warfare. TAN Books.