NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Start March 12 to December 12

Friday, April 21, 2023

 


Friday of the Second Week of Easter 

Psalm 27, verse 1:

1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be AFRAID? 

This verse is and should be our declaration of faith.  Let us commit it to memorization and repeat it to ourselves daily or when fear and doubt rears its ugly head within our depths.  Doing this will help us trust the Lord and develop a true relationship of love with the Trinity through prayer.  God will become our sanctuary and we will be able to put away our fears and rest in the arms of God. 

We will no longer have to pretend that we are not afraid for we will trust the Lord with our whole being offering our lives, families, time and treasure with total peace.  We will be able to sleep and awaken easily.  The old Navajo adage will no longer apply to us; you cannot wake a person who is pretending to be asleep; due to our faith in God. 

Through our reliance in Him we will be able to say with King David, “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14).

 

Fitness Friday

 

·       Try the St. Peter Universal Man Plan

 

Friday’s during the season of Easter-Fast or not?

 

It’s well known that Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, and that Ash Wednesday and Good Fridays are fast days, in which we cut back on how much we eat. But what about the rest of the year? Should we be abstaining and fasting on other Fridays? And in particular, what about right now, during the season of Easter? It’s easy to sound legalistic in answering these questions, so let’s begin by laying something of a biblical and spiritual framework:

First, fasting isn’t optional in Christianity. Jesus says that “when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men.” Instead, “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:16-18). So there’s clearly a wrong way to fast (doing it for the acclaim of men), but that’s not an argument against fasting. Notice that Jesus says not “if you fast,” but “when you fast.”

Second, we need fasting. God summarizes the story of Israel by saying that “it was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had fed to the full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me” (Hos. 13:5-6). That’s true of not just Israel, but all of us. When things are going poorly, we realize our weakness and (hopefully) cry out to God for help. When things are going well, on the other hand, it’s easy to buy into the illusion that we can take care of ourselves just fine without God. For this reason, Moses warned that “when you eat and are full, then take heed lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Deut. 6:11-12). Fasting is one of the concrete ways in which we allow ourselves to be shaken out of this forgetfulness and self-delusion.

Third, fasting is a practice of the Church, not just a private devotion. It’s great to decide for personal reasons that you need to fast for a particular period of time. But it would be a mistake to think all Christian fasting is like that. When Jesus says “when you fast,” he doesn’t use the second-person singular, as if it were up to each of us to decide when and where to fast. Instead, he says “you” in the plural, like “when you all fast.” We see concrete instances of local churches calling fasts in places like Acts 13:1-3 and Acts 14:23.

Fourth, fasting on Fridays has always been part of Christianity. It’s easy to think of fasting on Fridays as a modern thing. But it actually goes all the way back to the time of the apostles. A first-century Christian text called the Didache instructs, “Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day and the Preparation.” In other words, one of the ways that Christians were setting themselves apart from groups like the Pharisees was that the Pharisees would fast on Mondays and Thursdays, and Christians would fast on Wednesdays (the fourth day of the week) and Fridays (the day of Preparation). This wasn’t an empty cultural marker, like wearing pink on Wednesdays. It was a reminder of the death of the Lord Jesus on Good Friday, the day of preparation (Mark 15:42; John 19:31). In the modern era, this has taken the form of abstaining from meat on Fridays, rather than a full-fledged fast. But the reasoning is the same. As the NCCB (now USCCB) puts it, “Catholic peoples from time immemorial have set apart Friday for special penitential observance by which they gladly suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday where that tradition has been observed in the holy Catholic Church.”

Fifth, the joy of Easter trumps the fast. St. John the Baptist’s disciples asked Jesus why his own disciples didn’t fast, and he replied, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matt. 9:15). That’s the crux: our fasting shouldn’t interfere with rejoicing in the presence of Jesus. During the Octave of Easter (the eight-day period from Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday), we celebrate the bridegroom returning to us from the grave, so it’s fitting for a time to set all of our fasting and abstaining aside. Likewise, there are certainly particularly important feast days (called solemnities) in which we relax these disciplines in order to highlight the feast.

So where does all of that leave us? The Church’s instructions are clear. Catholics who are able to do so* are required to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent (can. 1251), but we should also treat the entire season of Lent and every Friday throughout the year as penitential (can. 1250). As the USCCB explains, “Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year.” Just as every Sunday is a mini-Easter, every Friday is a mini-Lent, preparing us for Sunday and Easter.

How do we mark that mini-Lent, outside the season of Lent itself? It depends a bit on where you live. In the United Kingdom, Catholics are required to abstain from meat throughout the year. In CanadaIreland, and the United States, you can substitute something else for meat (like alcohol). But as the American bishops explained, the point of this was not to abolish Friday penance, but to urge Catholics to come up with “other forms of penitential witness which may become as much a part of the devout way of life in the future as Friday abstinence from meat.”

All of this is relaxed entirely if “a solemnity should fall on a Friday” (can. 1251). That always includes the first (but only the first) Friday after Easter, since the Universal Norms specify that “the first eight days of Easter Time constitute the Octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord.” For the rest of Easter season, we’re back to Friday penances. Perhaps the best way to understand why is to consider the counsel of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who says in his rules for discernment, “Let him who is in consolation think how he will be in the desolation which will come after, taking new strength for then.” The Fridays of Easter keep our Easter highs from getting so high that we forget the cross, just as the Sundays of Lent keep our Lenten lows from getting so low that we forget the Resurrection.

So this season, let us keep that spirit of Friday penance, without losing an ounce of our Easter joy!

*Those who should not fast or abstain are exempted, including young kids, pregnant/nursing moms, and people who are suffering from illness. Fasting and abstaining from meat should never endanger your health or the health of your child.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

CHAPTER THREE-THE LIFE OF PRAYER

SECTION TWO-THE LORD'S PRAYER

Article 1 "THE SUMMARY OF THE WHOLE GOSPEL"

2761 The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel." "Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, 'Ask and you will receive,' and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord's Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires."

THIS WE BELIEVE

PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Memorare (in time of need)[1]

 REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: For the intercession of the angels and saints

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Nineveh 90-Day 35

·       National Tea Day

·       Operation Purity


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