Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent
· I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me. – Psalm 119:8
· Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12
What is your “Egypt”? What is your temptation, your land of (empty) promise? What has placed you under bondage? For some it could be that “dream” job across the country. For others it could be that big house, or luxury car. Chances are, if you find yourself saying something like, “Things would better if I could only…”, then you have an “Egypt” of your own. In most cases your “Egypt” is really just another heap of steaming trouble, bundled in empty hope and wrapped with false promise. God knows that humility, and a sense of self-worth centered in God’s grace and not in “things” and “stuff” is what leads to a heart that is not been made cynical by the disappointments of materialism. A humble and compassionate heart is softer, fertile ground made ready and willing to love. We must find contentment in the immutable, in the unwavering God. Only then will the distractions, the idols, and the daily lies we tell ourselves to feel okay… only then will they start to fall away and we can be fully Present. Being Present means to exist fully in the now, in this moment. Not regretting the past, not worrying about the future, but fully mindful and present in the moment at hand. Then you would be able to give this text your full attention, and not simply a cursory scan. You would find yourself really listening to someone speaking, and not simply waiting for a chance to talk. And most importantly, your find yourself fully enjoying the presence of someone close to you, fully mindful that in an instant they could be gone. Our personal “Egypt” is a always a source of bondage and domination. We find ourselves broken through our pursuit of it, and God forbid, we attain it! Then we realize that its promise and hope were dust and dreams and there is nothing of substance to sustain us. Where do we turn to now? We’ve already spent ourselves trying to attain our own personal “Egypt”? We turn back to God. He is always ready and willing to perform the next personal Exodus out of another personal Egypt. And you will need God’s help, for the wisdom of the world and it’s Pharaohs will rise up to stop you the very moment you start to trust God’s immutable providence for your life: Wake up. Spread the blood of lamb on the lintels of your soul. Ask God for salvation from bondage to your own personal Egypt, and God will act in your life.
Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent
Jesus’ condemnation of religious externalism, hypocrisy and vanity is not meant to correct only the Pharisees of his time. It is also directed at us. We should look into our Lenten practices of piety and works of charity and see whether they are tainted with hypocrisy. During the celebration that follows, Christ, the servant of Yahweh, will increase in us the spirit of human service.
The “phylacteries” mentioned in the gospel were bands of parchment enclosed in small boxes worn on the forehead and left fore-arm where they were fixed by straps. On these bands were inscribed the most important texts of the Law. The “fringes” were the tassels which the Law required to be worn at the four corners of the cloak. By wearing broad phylacteries and long tassels the Pharisees intended to show clearly their fidelity to the Law. —St. Andrew Missal
Prayer. GRANT, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that Thy family, who, afflicting their flesh, abstain from food, by following justice may fast from sin.
EPISTLE. Daniel ix. 15-19.
In those days Daniel prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, Who hast brought forth Thy people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and hast made Thee a name as at this day: we have sinned, we have committed iniquity, Lord, against all Thy justice: let Thy wrath and Thy indignation be turned away, I beseech Thee, from Thy city Jerusalem, and from Thy holy mountain. For by reason of our sins, and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem, and Thy people are a reproach to all that are round about us. Now, therefore, O our God, hear the supplication of Thy servant, and his prayers: and show Thy face upon Thy sanctuary which is desolate, for Thy own sake. Incline, O my God, Thy ear and hear: open Thy eyes, and see our desolation, and the city upon which Thy name is called: for it is not for our justifications that we present our prayers before Thy face, but for the multitude of Thy tender mercies. O Lord hear: O Lord, be appeased: hearken and do: delay not for Thy own sake, O my God: because Thy name is invoked upon Thy city, and upon Thy people.
GOSPEL. John viii. 21-29.
At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: I go, and you shall seek Me, and you shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come. The Jews therefore said: Will He kill Himself, because He said: Whither I go, you cannot come? And He said to them: You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore, I said to you, that you shall die in your sins. For if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sin. They said therefore to Him: Who art Thou? Jesus said to them: The beginning, Who also speak unto you. Many things I have to speak and to judge of you. But He that sent Me is true: and the things I have heard of Him, these same I speak in the world. And they understood not that He called God His Father. Jesus therefore said to them: When you shall have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself, but as the Father hath taught Me, these things I speak: and He that sent Me is with Me, and He hath not left Me alone: for I do always the things that please Him.
Martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua
Perpetua was twenty-two, well born, married and the mother of a tiny son still at her breast. Felicitas, an expectant mother, was a slave. They were among five catechumens whose arrest and imprisonment were meant as a warning to the other Christians in Carthage in the year 203. Tormented by her father who was a pagan and wanted her to apostatize, terrified by the darkness and stifling heat of the dungeon where they were imprisoned, Perpetua's greatest suffering nevertheless was for her baby who was with her.
Baptism, however, drove away her fears and with the coming of the Holy Spirit she was at peace and the prison became to her as a palace; in visions she learned the manner of their martyrdom and caught glimpses of what awaits souls in the life after death. Among these was a vision of Purgatory where she saw her little brother Dinocratus suffering.
Dinocratus had died when he was only seven, painfully ulcerated about the face. Perpetua saw him "coming out of a dark place where there were many others," dirtily clad, pale, with the wound still on his face, and he was very hot and thirsty. Near him was a fountain but its brim was higher than he could reach and, though he stood on tiptoe, he could not drink. By this vision she knew he needed her prayers, and she prayed for him night and day. On the day the Christians were put in stocks, she had another vision and saw Dinocratus freed. This time he was clean and finely clothed, on his face was a clean scar and beside him a low fountain reaching only to his waist. On the edge of the fountain was a golden cup ever full of water, and Dinocratus drank. "And when he had drunk, he came away — pleased to play, as children will."
In the meantime, Felicitas was worried for fear her baby would not be born in time for her to die for Christ with her companions. There was a law which forbade throwing even a Christian woman to the wild beasts if she was with child. Three days before they were to go to the arena, they prayed God would permit the birth of her child, and as soon as their prayers were done, her labor began. She gave birth to a little girl who was afterward adopted by her sister.
At last, the scene of their martyrdom and in its Perpetua and Felicity were told to put on the garments of pagan priestesses, the two refused and so were stripped naked, covered with nets, and sent to face assault by a maddened cow said to have been used in insult to their womanhood and their maternity. Strangely enough the audience — screaming for blood though it was — yet was touched by the sight of these two so young and so valiant, and the people shuddered.
Perpetua and Felicitas were called back and clothed in loose robes. Now Perpetua was thrown, her garment rent, and her thigh gored. Regaining her feet, she gathered her tunic over her thigh so in suffering she would not appear immodest and looking about found her fallen hair ornament and repinned her hair least one soon to be a martyr seem to grieve in her glory. Looking for Felicitas, she gave assistance to her and standing together they awaited another attack. But the mob cried, "Enough," and the two were led off to the headsman's block. Catching sight of her brother, Perpetua cried out: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." Felicitas was struck down first then Perpetua — but only after the nervous swordsman had struck her once and failed to sever her head. The second time she guided his sword with her own hands. So brave, and so full of love; perhaps if she were dying now, she would exhort us to be brave and full of love in slightly different words. Perhaps she would cry out, "Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our color be a stumbling block to you." Perpetua was white, and Felicitas was black.
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 9-THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or
his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is
Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.
2515 Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. the apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit." Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.
2516 Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between "spirit" and "flesh" develops. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle:
For the Apostle it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body which with the spiritual soul constitutes man's nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned with the morally good or bad works, or better, the permanent dispositions - virtues and vices - which are the fruit of submission (in the first case) or of resistance (in the second case) to the saving action of the Holy Spirit. For this reason the Apostle writes: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."
Full Worm Moon
According to the almanac we are having a Full Worm Moon-plan to take your family or grandchildren fishing! Hummingbirds are migrating North now; look for them.
Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 21
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896