Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Exodus, Chapter 1, Verse 21
And because the midwives FEARED God, God built up families for them.
God’s mercy is just like the drops of water which grooves stones to make gorges and canyons; small acts of mercy have a similar effect on the hearts of sinners making them into monoliths of strength. Therefore, they resisted Pharaoh’s decree to kill the children of Israel. Likewise, we must resist the laws that are enacted that defy the law of God.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church addresses the issue of when and how St. Peter's teaching that obedience to God comes before obedience to men applies in the modern Christian's life. Presciently, or perhaps better, prophetically, Pope Benedict XVI foresaw and foresees increasing conflict between American Catholics and a public authority increasingly secularized and increasingly hostile to the moral values of its Catholic citizens. The conflict is caused by the increasing demands of the State to "to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices." The aggressive secularist State wants freedom of religion to be limited to "mere freedom of worship," and not to "freedom of conscience" which extends beyond the realm of the four walls of a Church into the "public square" of social, civil, political, and economic life." Christians may conscientiously object to civil laws if they infringe upon one or more of three things:
(1) the law violates the moral order, that is, the natural moral law.
(2) the law violates fundamental human rights; or
(3) the law violates the teachings of the Gospel, which is to say the teachings of the Church. Laws that trespass against one or more of these three things may not be obeyed, and obedience to them must be refused. In fact, the Christian has both a duty and a right to refuse such a law. And though it may be unrecognized, it is a right that he must exercise regardless of the consequences to him.
The full text of the Compendium on this issue merits quotation:
"Citizens are not obligated in conscience to follow the prescriptions of civil authorities if their precepts are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or to the teachings of the Gospel. Unjust laws pose dramatic problems of conscience for morally upright people:
when they are called to cooperate in morally evil acts they must refuse. Besides being a moral duty, such a refusal is also a basic human right which, precisely as such, civil law itself is obliged to recognize and protect. 'Those who have recourse to conscientious objection must be protected not only from legal penalties but also from any negative effects on the legal, disciplinary, financial and professional plane.'" "It is a grave duty of conscience not to cooperate, not even formally, in practices which, although permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to the Law of God. Such cooperation in fact can never be justified, not by invoking respect for the freedom of others nor by appealing to the fact that it is foreseen and required by civil law. No one can escape the moral responsibility for actions taken, and all will be judged by God himself based on this responsibility (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12)." (Compendium, No. 399)
The right of conscientious objection is not the right of resistance, and the two should be carefully distinguished. Moreover, resistance which can be expressed in "many different concrete ways" should be distinguished from the last and desperate recourse of "armed resistance." The right to resist an oppressive law or an oppressive government is one that is found in the natural law. It is a right which precedes a government, and so is one that is inalienable. Resistance generally is something to be avoided, and it is justified only if there is a "serious" infringement or "repeated" and chronic infringements of the natural moral law, a fundamental human right, or a Gospel precept. "Recognizing that natural law is the basis for and places limits on positive law means admitting that it is legitimate to resist authority should it violate in a serious or repeated manner the essential principles of natural law. Saint Thomas Aquinas writes that 'one is obliged to obey . . . insofar as it is required by the order of justice.' Natural law is therefore the basis of the right to resistance." The right of resistance is not one that necessarily has the overthrow of government in mind. There may be many ways in which resistance may be expressed, and there may be many ends which resistance may have in mind: "There can be many different concrete ways this right may be exercised; there are also many different ends that may be pursued. Resistance to authority is meant to attest to the validity of a different way of looking at things, whether the intent is to achieve partial change, for example, modifying certain laws, or to fight for a radical change in the situation." (Compendium, No. 400)
Resistance in the sense of armed resistance is something which is a last resort. The Church has identified five conditions all of which must be met before armed resistance is morally justified:
"1) there is certain, grave and prolonged violation of fundamental rights,
2) all other means of redress have been exhausted,
3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorders,
4) there is well-founded hope of success; and
5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution."
As the Church observes, armed resistance, even if morally justified, is generally to be avoided, and passive resistance is to be preferred. Armed resistance is often a Pandora's Box which unleashes as much or more evil as it intended to avoid. "Recourse to arms is seen as an extreme remedy for putting an end to a 'manifest, long-standing tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country.' The gravity of the danger that recourse to violence entails today makes it preferable in any case that passive resistance be practiced, which is 'a way more conformable to moral principles and having no less prospects for success.'" (Compendium, No. 401)
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Prayer. MAY heavenly propitiation increase Thy people subject to Thee, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and make them ever servants of Thy commandments.
EPISTLE. Jer. vii. 1-7.
In those days the word of the Lord came to me, saying Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, and proclaim there this word, and say: Hear ye the word of the Lord, all ye men of Juda, that enter in at these gates, to adore the Lord. Thus, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Make your ways and your doings good: and I will dwell with you in this place. Trust not in lying words, saying: The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, it is the temple of the Lord. For if you will order well your ways, and your doings: if you will execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, and walk not after strange gods to your own hurt, I will dwell with you in this place: in the land which I gave to your fathers from the beginning and forever, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. Luke iv. 38-44.
At that time Jesus, rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought Him for her. And standing over her, He commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them. And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers’ diseases brought them to Him. But He laying His hands on every one of them, healed them. And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them He suffered them not to speak, for they knew that He was Christ. And when it was day, going out He went into a desert place, and the multitudes sought Him, and came unto Him: and they stayed Him that He should not depart from them. To whom He said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God: for therefor am I sent. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
Read: The Seven Penitential Psalms, Day Three:
(During times when we wish to express repentance, and especially during Lent, it is customary to pray the seven penitential psalms. The penitential designation of these psalms’ dates back to the seventh century. Prayerfully reciting these psalms will help us to recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow and ask for God’s forgiveness.) Today we will focus on Psalm 38.
Reflect: Read this reflection on Psalm 38—Prayer of an Afflicted Sinner.
Pray: “LORD, do not punish me in your anger, in your wrath do not chastise me!” (Ps 38:2)
In the last 50 years, various minor orders in the church, including porter, exorcist, and the major order of subdeacon simply no longer exist in the Latin Church who no longer felt they were necessary [all of the minor orders and the subdiaconate are still used within the Independent Sacramental Movement]. What is the theology behind these orders and why were they abolished?
As early as the third century, certain roles of service, including deacon, subdeacon, lector, and acolyte, were present in the church. These orders over time became linked to preparation for the priesthood and were divided between “minor orders” (porter, exorcist, lector, and acolyte) and “major orders” (subdeacon, deacon, and priest). Each order was received, and its function performed for a suitable time before a man was ordained to the priesthood.
The roles were varied but served a legitimate purpose in the early church, usually related to the Mass. For instance, the porter was the doorkeeper, responsible for opening and closing the church and guarding the door during the celebration of Mass.
Together the orders constituted ministries of service that developed in the church according to need. Yet over time, many of them lost their function. The orders, especially porter and exorcist, became symbolic. The loss of these functions occasioned a revision of the orders after the Second Vatican Council.
The Ordination of Porters. — This order confers the office of caring for the dignity of the house of God and of maintaining order therein. During the early persecutions it was necessary to indicate to the faithful the time and place of divine service, and to keep the doors of the place of meeting locked against intruders. This was the duty of the “porters” and “messengers of God.” The duties of this office are pointed out by the bishop to be: “To strike the cymbal and ring the bell, to open the church and the sanctuary, and the book of him who preaches.” These duties are symbolic for the still higher duty “of closing to the devil and opening to God, by their word and example, the invisible house of God, namely, the hearts of the faithful.”
The matter of this order is the presenting of the keys of the church to the clerics to be touched by their right hand, and the form is the accompanying admonition: “Conduct yourselves as having to render an account to God for those things which are kept under these keys.”
The bishop then invites all present to pray with him “that these porters may be most diligent in their care of the house of God.”
Although the Ostiariate is no longer a distinct institution in the Church, still for that very reason every pastor ought to be a true ostiary, consumed with zeal for the house of God. He must love the church, frequently visit it, banish from it all uncleanliness, disorder, and irreverence, procure decent vestments and ornaments, and guard against the loss or profanation of anything consecrated to divine service. He must himself be punctual and urge others to punctuality in divine service.
Still greater care must he bestow on the “invisible house of God, the hearts of the faithful,” that they may be closed to the devil and opened to the graces and blessings of God, promoting thus the interior service of God by word and deed.
The Porters of Saint Joseph is a volunteer apostolate with the mission to imitate St. Joseph as the Protector of the Holy Church, Pillar of Families, and Terror of Demons.
We do this by providing a safe environment at our parishes so the faithful can worship God in peace and security. We build teams of faithful men who have felt the call to get involved but have not yet found the opportunity to put their courageous, heroic, masculine heart at the service of their parish, while at the same time, forming a bond of Christian brotherhood with like-minded men.
Fulfill our successor to the apostle’s call to step into the breach and join the Porters of St. Joseph!
SERVING & PROTECTING
“The Porters of St. Joseph are a very active and important ministry for men in our parish. They provide support to the parish and to me as the Pastor in many ways, most especially as security and medical assistance during Masses. Recently we had two instances where members of the parish had medical emergencies during Mass. The Porters of St. Joseph immediately assisted these parishioners, getting them to safety and assessing their need for treatment without a disruption to the congregation or the Mass. The Porters of St. Joseph also provided our parish with a safety assessment and a plan to increase safety on our parish campus. I highly recommend this ministry to any Pastor who would love to mobilize the men of their parish to grow in their spirituality and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, while providing a much needed ministry.” Fr. John Muir // Vicar General // Diocese of Phoenix
ESTABLISH YOUR CHAPTER
Contact us and let us get you everything you’ll need to start a chapter and schedule trainings for your Porters.
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 10-THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
IV. "I Want to See God"
2548 Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. "The promise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude.... In Scripture, to see is to possess.... Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive."
2549 It remains for the holy people to struggle, with grace from on high, to obtain the good things God promises. In order to possess and contemplate God, Christ's faithful mortify their cravings and, with the grace of God, prevail over the seductions of pleasure and power.
2550 On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears them to perfect communion with God:
There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue's reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist.... "I shall be their God and they will be my people...." This is also the meaning of the Apostle's words: "So that God may be all in all." God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all.
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 30
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.