Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
AUGUST VON GALEN-WATER DAY
Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the LORD hurried their servants and their livestock off to shelter.
Even Pharaohs servants when they heard the word of God took action. Blessed are we that hear the word of the Lord!
Today we are a community living in the fulfillment of faith in Christ and He asks us to do something unthinkable, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58)
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Mt. 4:19)
Wednesday Of the Fourth Week of Lent
O God, Who grantest to the just the reward of their merits, and to sinners pardon, by means of fasting, have mercy on Thy supplicants, that the confession of our guilt may enable us to receive the forgiveness of our sins. Amen.
EPISTLE. Isaias i. 16-19.
Thus saith the Lord God: Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from My eyes: cease to do perversely, learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. And then come, and accuse Me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool. If you be willing, and will hearken to Me, you shall eat the good things of the land, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. John ix. 1-38.
At that time: Jesus passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth: and His disciples asked Him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of Him that sent Me, whilst it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When He had said these things, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbors, therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat, and begged? Some said: This is he. But others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he. They said therefore to him: How were thy eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him: Where is He? He saith, I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was the Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Again, therefore the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said: This man is not of God, Who keepeth not the Sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of Him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, and asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now seeth, we know not: or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself; he is of age, let him speak for himself. These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess Him to be Christ he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore, did his parents say: He is of age, ask him. They therefore called the man again that had been blind and said to him: Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them: If He be a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. They said then to him: What did He to thee? How did He open thy eyes? He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard: why would you hear it again? will you also become His disciples? They reviled him therefore and said: Be thou His disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence He is. The man answered, and said to them: Why, herein is a wonderful thing that you know not from whence He is, and He hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth His will, him He heareth. From the beginning of the world, it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, He could not do anything. They answered and said to him: Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and when He had found him, He said to him: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered, and said: Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. And he said: I believe, Lord. And falling down he adored.
Aids in Battle Words of Warning in Battle
The Enemy is crafty and powerful. Heed these warnings to avoid his ambush.
· Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the Devil, like a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. 1 Peter 5: 8– 9
· Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Cor 11: 14
· But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his guile, so your minds may be corrupted and fall from a pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11: 3
· Wisdom that is from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, moderate, docile, in harmony with good things, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation. The fruit of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace. Jas 3: 13– 18
· Be angry and do not sin do not let the sun go down upon your anger; do not give place to the Devil. Eph 4: 26– 27
In the summer of 1941, in answer to unwarranted attacks by the National Socialists, Bishop von Galen delivered three admonitory sermons between July and August. He spoke in his old parish Church of St Lambert and in Liebfrauen-Ueberlassen Church, since the diocesan cathedral had been bombed. In his famous speeches, Bishop von Galen spoke out against the State confiscation of Church property and the programmatic euthanasia carried out by the regime. The clarity and incisiveness of his words and the unshakable fidelity of Catholics in the Diocese of Münster embarrassed the Nazi regime, and on 10 October 1943 the bishop’s residence was bombed. Bishop von Galen was forced to take refuge in nearby Borromeo College. From 12 September 1944 on, he could no longer remain in the city of Münster, destroyed by the war; he left for the zone of Sendenhorst. In 1945, Vatican Radio announced that Pope Pius XII was to hold a Consistory and that the Bishop of Münster was also to be present.
T4: The Nazis' Euthanasia Solution
He who is bodily and mentally not sound and deserving may not perpetuate this misfortune in the bodies of his children. — Hitler, Mein Kampf.
Beginning in 1939, the National Socialist regime begin systematically killing disabled children in "specially designated pediatric clinics" via starvation and overdose. By the end of World War II, an estimated 5,000 infants and children had been murdered by the Nazis. The program, code-named T4, was extended to adults beginning in 1940. Physicians working for the T4 program examined medical files (seldom the institutionalized patients themselves) and marked for death disabled and mentally ill adults, in most cases without the knowledge or consent of family members. Those selected for extermination were rounded up, processed, and directed into a facility for a "disinfecting shower." Instead, the victims were gassed to death via carbon monoxide. Their bodies were cremated, and the ashes sent to families with an official death certificate listing a fictitious cause of death.
By 1941 the program had become public knowledge, in part because of the opposition from German clergymen, including Bishop von Galen. Hitler officially halted the adult killings, but the child program continued. In 1942 the adult killings resumed in secret and continued until the end of the war, with an ever-expanding range of victims, including the elderly, hospitalized war victims, and foreign laborers. In all, an estimated 200,000 people were executed as part of the Nazi "mercy killing" agenda.
World Water Day
World Water Day serves to raise awareness about water issues such as sanitation problems and water shortages in many parts of the world. Today, 1 in 10 people lack access to safe and clean water, a problem which has a direct impact on the economy, health of the population and well-being of women and children worldwide. In 1992, World Water Day was proposed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The United Nations General Assembly responded to the proposition in 1993 by declaring March 22 as World Water Day. Each year, the UN-Water agency allocates a theme corresponding to a current or potential challenge for World Water Day.
World Water Day Facts & Quotes
· In developing nations, nearly 80% of illnesses can be linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
· Russia's Lake Baikal and North America's Great Lakes hold about 40% of the world's fresh water supply, the large remainder of the freshwater supply is in the form of icecaps and glaciers.
· According to UNICEF, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 5 in the world.
· You ain't gonna miss your water until your well runs dry. - Bob Marley
World Water Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Don't waste water!!! Make a conscious effort to use less water on World Water Day and on other days. Some ways to reduce water consumption include showers instead of baths, washing full loads of clothing only and turning off the tap while washing dishes and brushing teeth.
· Donate to a charity or organization that supports water issues in developing nations. WaterAid is an organization that works in poor countries to set up and maintain water sources, UNICEF and UNCHR also provide support and relief efforts to improve water sanitation and hygiene globally.
· Volunteer to help clean up trash and other debris along a beach or shore. This garbage and debris pollute the water that we need in our daily lives.
· Watch documentaries about water-related issues such as pollution, contamination and diseases. Our top picks are Troubled Water, The Fight for Water, Flow for the Love of Water, Tapped, Thirst and Dhaka's Cholera Wars.
· Take part in a local World Water Day celebration, such as a film screening or a water conservation event. One of the largest events, the White House Water Summit in Washington DC, will be live streamed.
Ramadan Starts tonight
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, during which, for a period of thirty days, Muslims abstain from eating, and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Muslims do this because it is a pillar of Islam, and obligatory for everyone and the entire month is holy for Muslims so that they can increase their remembrance of life after death. Muslims also abstain from all bad deeds and habits, like smoking, swearing, backbiting, and disrespectfulness. Muslims reflect upon themselves, their religion. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting and abstaining from bad habits teaches Muslim’s self-control, humility, and generosity. Ramadan is a time for charity, family, and good deeds. Muslims fast because they believe it is vital for spiritual health. Unlike the fast of Ashurah, the fasts of Ramadan and salah (praying towards Mecca), fasting helps Muslims maintain spiritual and physical health. The month of Ramadan begins when the new moon of Ramadan is sighted and ends when the new moon of Sha'ban is sighted. Muslims also believe that devils are chained up during Ramadan.
Ramadan Facts & Quotes
· Ramadan comes from the word ramadaa, which means 'sunbaked' in Arabic. This is perhaps a reference to the pangs of hunger Muslims feel when fasting.
· According to Islamic tradition, menstruating women, women who are experiencing bleeding after giving birth, people who are sick (either with short term or long-term illnesses), and travelers are exempt from fasting. Pregnant women also have the option of skipping fasts.
· In Islamic countries, when Ramadan ends and the crescent moon is first seen, people bang drums and give mighty shouts.
· According to Sunnah belief, the Prophet Muhammad once said, there is no conceit in fasting.
· who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves (Quran, 2:183)
Ramadan Top Events and Things to Do
· The fast is usually broken in a family setting, where traditional foods are served. Most Muslims begin their meal with a few dates and a glass of milk because the Prophet Muhammad used to do the same. The high sugar content of the dates sends energy to weary fasting Muslim, while the fiber in the dates and the protein in the milk fills them up and prevents nausea.
· During Ramadan, Muslims congregate every night in the mosque to pray Taraweeh prayers in congregation. In the United States, in between sets of prayers, the Imam gives a brief sermon and encourages people to give to charity.
· In Islamic countries, the end of the fast is signaled by a loud call to the sunset prayer. Most people eat a small meal, pray at the mosque, and then join their families for a large, festive dinner.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE-THE REVELATION OF PRAYER - THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAYER
Article 2-IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME
2598 The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus as Moses approached the burning bush: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray, in order to know how he hears our prayer.
2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin learned to pray in his human heart. He learns to pray from his mother, who kept all the great things the Almighty had done and treasured them in her heart. He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: "I must be in my Father's house." Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men.
2600 The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ's ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father's witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father's plan of love by his Passion. He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter's confession of him as "the Christ of God," and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted. Jesus' prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father.
2601 "He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray."' In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.
2602 Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that "his brethren" experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.
2603 The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes. His exclamation, "Yes, Father!" expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father's "good pleasure," echoing his mother's Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. the whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father.
2604 The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John. Thanksgiving precedes the event: "Father, I thank you for having heard me," which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: "I know that you always hear me," which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus' prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. the Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the "treasure"; in him abides his Son's heart; the gift is given "as well."
The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation. A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.
2605 When the hour had come for him to fulfill the Father's plan of love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of his filial prayer, not only before he freely delivered himself up (“Abba . . . not my will, but yours."), but even in his last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of self are but one: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise", "Woman, behold your son" - "Behold your mother", "I thirst."; "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" "It is finished"; "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" until the "loud cry" as he expires, giving up his spirit.
2606 All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation. the Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the "today" of the Resurrection the Father says: "You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession."
The Letter to the Hebrews expresses in dramatic terms how the prayer of Jesus accomplished the victory of salvation: "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered, and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him."
Jesus teaches us how to pray
2607 When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theological path (the path of faith, hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus' explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers of prayer in his Church.
2608 From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one's brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else. This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.
2609 Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to "seek" and to "knock," since he himself is the door and the way.
2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will." Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: "all things are possible to him who believes." Jesus is as saddened by the "lack of faith" of his own neighbors and the "little faith" of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.
2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying "Lord, Lord," but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father. Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.
2612 In Jesus "the Kingdom of God is at hand." He calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory. In communion with their Master, the disciples' prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.
2613 Three principal
parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:
- the first, "the importunate friend," invites us to urgent prayer: "Knock, and it will be opened to you." To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will "give whatever he needs," and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.
- the second, "the importunate widow," is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. "and yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
- the third parable, "the Pharisee and the tax collector," concerns the humility of the heart that prays. "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" the Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!
2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity. What is new is to "ask in his name." Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life." Faith bears its fruit in love: it means keeping the word and the commandments of Jesus, it means abiding with him in the Father who, in him, so loves us that he abides with us. In this new covenant the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus.
2615 Even more, what the Father gives us when our prayer is united with that of Jesus is "another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth." This new dimension of prayer and of its circumstances is displayed throughout the farewell discourse. In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him: "Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
Jesus hears our prayer
2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, "Have mercy on us, Son of David" or "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: "Your faith has made you well; go in peace."
St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus' prayer: "He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us."
The prayer of the Virgin Mary
2617 Mary's prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father's plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ's conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his Body. In the faith of his humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance he had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made "full of grace" responds by offering her whole being: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." "Fiat": this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God's, because he is wholly ours.
2618 The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith. At Cana, The mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast; this is the sign of another feast - that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride. It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross, that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true "Mother of all the living."
2619 That is why the Canticle of Mary, The Magnificat (Latin) or Megalynei (byzantine) is the song both of the Mother of God and of the Church; the song of the Daughter of Zion and of the new People of God; the song of thanksgiving for the fullness of graces poured out in the economy of salvation and the song of the "poor" whose hope is met by the fulfillment of the promises made to our ancestors, "to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
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.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.