Introduction to Numbers
The Book of Numbers isn't just some super ancient story with weird laws and tips for which offerings make the most pleasing odor for the Lord. Well, it is all those things. But Numbers is also about one of the most epic road trips ever taken. The story starts out where Exodus left the Israelites—in the middle of the desert after having escaped from slavery in Egypt. Once they set out on the road, the Israelites' story pretty quickly turns to shambles when they start breaking the law. God's law. And then God forces them to wander around in the desert for forty years until all the old sinners have died off.
Why Should I Care?
When the Israelites commit the ultimate sin—doubting God—the Almighty Father breaks out his worst punishment yet. Remember that time you got grounded for the weekend and missed that awesome party? Well, the Israelites got grounded for forty years and weren't allowed to set foot in the Promised Land until half the community had died off. But even though God can dole out consequences with the best of them, it's also clear that he loves his little rugrats to pieces. He sets limits for them because they're his chosen people and he wants them to be the best they can be. Aww. Sniff. Honestly, Israelites, God only sends poisonous snakes to bite you because he loves you. So next time your parents aren't acting as cool as you know they could be, just remember, it could be way worse. At least when you get a little sassy, they don't send you to your room without dinner for the next forty years.
aPRIL 7 Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Numbers, Chapter 12, Verse 5-8
5 Then the LORD came down in a column of cloud, and standing at the entrance of the tent, called, “Aaron and Miriam.” When both came forward, 6 the LORD said: Now listen to my words: If there are prophets among you, in visions I reveal myself to them, in dreams I speak to them; 7 Not so with my servant Moses! Throughout my house he is worthy of trust: 8 face to face I speak to him, plainly and not in riddles. The likeness of the LORD he beholds. Why, then, do you not FEAR to speak against my servant Moses?
Moses was 100 percent for God and God had Moses back; protecting him from the spin (media/backbiters) of his time. Moses was humbled before God, while at the same time confident. Moses lived the Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ most likely prayed every morning Himself and is still prayed by pious Jews today.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.
Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel says of Moses:
God by referring to Moses in terms of “In all My House he is trusted,” we understand that G-d has no reservations at all about Moses’ trustworthiness. G-d has absolutely no qualms about providing Moses with all the information about His business, as it were. Moses was deemed worthy of such immense trust because “The man Moses was the most humble person who ever walked the face of the earth” (Bamidbar 12:3). Relative to G-d, Moses totally nullified himself. He had no ego when it came to the Master of the world. His interests were 100% the interests of the Al-Mighty; consequently, G-d had no reason to withhold any secrets from him. As a result, as R. Moshe Chaim Luzzato writes, every secret of creation was open to him. May we even remotely approach the level of Moses in reducing our egos to the minimum in order to reap the benefits of enjoying G-d’s secrets, and may we, thereby, enjoy the maximum happiness and satisfaction for the rest of our lives – in this world and in the world to come.
Remember to always reverence and respect those who have dedicated their lives to the service of God; for when you do, you do it, for God.
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
WHAT does the Church commemorate on this day?
The death of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, and the Savior of the world, Who on this day was scourged, crowned with thorns, and most cruelly crucified between two thieves; through which bitter and ignominious passion and death He accomplished the redemption of mankind.
LESSON. Exodus xii. 1-11.
In those days: The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first in the months of the year. Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and say to them: On the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbor that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb. And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year: according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the side posts, and on the upper doorposts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire, and unleavened bread with wild lettuce. You shall not eat thereof anything raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire: you shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof. Neither shall there remain anything of it until morning. If there be anything left, you shall burn it with fire. And thus, you shall eat it: you shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste: for it is the Phase (that is the Passage) of the Lord.
After this is read:
THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
According to St. John xviii. and xix.
At that time Jesus went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden into which He entered with His disciples. And Judas also, who betrayed Him, knew the place: because Jesus had often resorted thither together with His disciples. Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers and servants from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth and said to them: Whom seek ye?
They answered Him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am He. And Judas also who betrayed Him, stood with Him. As soon therefore as He had said to them: I am He: they went backward and fell to the ground. Again, therefore He asked them: Whom seek ye?
And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered: I have told you, that I am He. If therefore you seek Me, let these go their way. That the word might be fulfilled which He said: Of them whom Thou hast given Me I have not lost anyone. Then Simon Peter having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?
Then the band, and the tribune, and the servants of the Jews took Jesus, and bound Him: and they led Him away to Annas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiphas, who was the high priest of that year. Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore who was known to the high priest, went out, and spoke to the portress, and brought in Peter. The maid therefore that was portress, saith to Peter: Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples?
He saith: I am not. Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter also standing and warming himself. The high priest therefore asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world: I have always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort: and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why askest Thou Me? ask them who have heard what I have spoken to them: behold they know what things I have said. And when He had said these things, one of the servants standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest Thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil: but if well, why strikest thou Me?
And Annas sent Him bound to Caiphas the high priest. And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of His disciples?
He denied it, and said: I am not One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off, saith to him: Did not I see thee in the garden with Him?
Again, therefore Peter denied, and immediately the cock crew. Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor’s hall. And it was morning: and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch. Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this man?
They answered and said to him: If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee. Pilate therefore said to them: Take Him you and judge Him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which He said signifying what death He should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to Him: Art Thou the king of the Jews?
Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it Thee of Me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew?
Thy own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee up to me. What hast Thou done?
Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king then?
Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice. Pilate said to Him: What is truth?
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in Him. But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the pasch: will you therefore that I release unto you the king of the Jews?
Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. Then, therefore, Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon His head: and they put on Him a purple garment, and they came to Him, and said: Hail, king of the Jews! And they gave Him blows. Pilate, therefore, went forth again, and saith to them: Behold I bring Him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in Him. Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. And he saith to them: Be hold the man. When the chief priests, therefore, and the servants had seen Him, they cried out, saying: Crucify Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith to them: Take Him you and crucify Him; for I find no cause in Him. The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more. And he entered into the hall again, and he said to Jesus: Whence art Thou?
But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to Him: Speakest Thou not to me? knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee?
Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against Me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, lie that hath delivered Me to thee, hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king?
The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar. Then, therefore, he delivered Him to them for to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him forth. And bearing His own cross, He went forth to that place, which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. This title, therefore, many of the Jews did read, because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The king of the Jews; but that He said, I am the king of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written. The soldiers, therefore, when they had crucified Him, took His garments (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part), and also His coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled saying: They have parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His mother, and the disciple standing, whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman! behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they putting a sponge full of vinegar, about hyssop, put it to His mouth. Jesus, therefore, when He had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost. [Here all kneel, and pause a little, to meditate on the redemption of mankind. ~\ Then the Jews (because it was the Parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath-day (for that was a great Sabbath-day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers, therefore, came and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with Him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true, that you also may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. And again, another Scripture saith: They shall look on Him Whom they pierced. And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly lor fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore and took away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, he who at the first came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred-pound weight. They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where He was crucified a garden: and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus; because the sepulcher was nigh at hand.
When the Passion is finished the Priest prays first:
1, for the Church.
2, for the pope.
3, for the bishops, priests, deacons and the body of the faithful.
4, for the civil rulers and the catechumens.
5, for preservation from famine and sickness.
6, for heretics and schismatics.
7, for Jews and heathen.
After the prayers the priest, from the epistle side of the altar, extends towards the people the veiled crucifix, uncovered at the top, and sings with a loud voice, Behold the wood of the cross, whereon hung the Saviour of the world. This elevation of the crucifix refers to Jesus, Who delivers us from everlasting death. After the response of the choir the priest advances to the corner of the altar, uncovers the right arm of the crucifix, and sings in a higher tone than before, Behold the wood of the cross. The choir again answers. Then at the middle of the altar he uncovers the whole crucifix, and, elevating it, sings in a still higher tone, Behold the wood of the cross, to which the answer is given as at first. The covering of the crucifix signifies that the crucified Savior was at first unknown and despised by the world; the gradual uncovering of it represents the gradual propagation of the knowledge and adoration of Jesus among mankind. The uncovered crucifix is then laid upon a cushion in front of the altar, and the priest puts off his shoes and proceeds to kiss the cross, kneeling three times to remind the faithful that Christ crucified, the Fountain of life, the Centre of the Church, is in her midst, and will remain with her to the end of time. When the adoration is ended, the cross is replaced on the middle of the altar, the candles are lighted, and the Blessed Sacrament is brought in procession from the place where it was deposited the day before. There is no Mass said to-day. For there is no consecration either of bread or wine, but the priest receives one of the hosts consecrated the day before.
Why is there no Mass said?
Because to-day the Church directs her attention exclusively to the bloody sacrifice. During the day do for the love of Jesus all the good you can; for example, to the poor, to the sick, to prisoners, to unfortunate but worthy debtors, make the Way of the Cross, visit the holy sepulcher, and meditate upon the passion of Christ. The passion of Christ gives us unusual strength in combat with temptation. On this point St. Augustine says,
In all my adversities I have not found any remedies so powerful as the passion and wounds of Jesus. In them I sleep securely, and rest without fear. To meditate rightly on the passion of Christ consider what Jesus suffered from the Jews, the gentiles, and even His own disciples, who all forsook Him. Then earnestly reflect that He, the Son of God, holiness and innocence itself, suffered not for His own sake, but to deliver mankind from sin, death, and hell, to free them of guilt and punishment, and to convert them from being children of the devil to be children of God. He came into the world, suffered, and died that we might have life. The man who seriously ponders these things must have a heart of stone if he be not moved to hatred of sin and to love of Jesus. But this is not the perfect fruit of meditation on the passion of Jesus. By contemplating His passion, we ought to become like Him. As often, therefore, as you think on the passion of Christ, whether in making the Stations of the Cross, or in reciting the Rosary, or before an image of the suffering Redeemer, endeavor not only to have pity for His sufferings, not only to give Him assurance of your love, but also to impress upon your heart the virtues practiced by Him in His passion, and to imitate them.
Read: Lent is over. The joy of Easter is almost here, but today we still must journey with the Cross. Many of us have chosen to sacrifice something during Lent. However, there are those in the world that do not have that choice; many struggle to put food on the table, give their children an education, take care of ailing parents, and much more. Through our own sacrifices we stand in solidarity with those who struggle as we work to ease their suffering.
Reflect: One thing we can take away from this Lent and from our encounter with the Passion of Christ is that at the heart of every sacrifice is love. When we freely sacrifice something during Lent, the goal is to do it for the love of God. How can we continue to lovingly sacrifice once Lent is over?
One way is to pay attention to the people in your life, while another way is to stand in solidarity with those who suffer while working to ease their burden.
Pray: Pray the Stations of the Cross today.
Act: Attend the Good Friday liturgy in your parish today. (No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday.)
Timeline of Holy Week
· Good Friday: Preparation Day for Passover (Jn 19:14)
· Early in the morning, the Sanhedrin meets, they lead Jesus to Pilate. (Mk 15:1; Mt 27:1-2; Lk 23:1; Jn 18:28)
· Pilate sends Jesus to Herod (Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee) (Lk 23:6-7)
· Herod mocks Jesus and then clothes him in gorgeous apparel, and sends Jesus back to Pilate (Lk 23:6-12)
· Pilate examines Jesus and finds him not guilty of the Jew’s charges against him. Pilate has Jesus flogged and plans to release him. (Lk 23:13-16; Jn 19:1-13)
· Jesus is crowned with thorns. (Jn 19:1-6)
· Jesus is sentenced to death and is crucified at 12:00 noon.
· Jesus dies at 3:00 and is buried in the tomb. (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; Lk 23:44)
Good Friday is the most difficult day of Passion Week. Christ's journey turned treacherous and acutely painful in these final hours leading to his death. According to Scripture, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning. Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After multiple unlawful trials, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment known at the time. Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced him with a crown of thorns. Then Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where, again, he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden cross. Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross. His first words were, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." His last words were, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Then, about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus breathed his last breath and died. By 6 p.m. Friday evening, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus' body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.
Five most Hateful Sins
As this is Good Friday try to see our Lord weighted down with our sins which he carried with him on the way of the cross; that beam was indeed heavy for it was our sins and it tore a great unrecorded wound in his shoulder. I wonder, “What are the five most hateful sins that our Lord bore in that cross?” In an article by Zac Poonen, he proposed that the five most hated sins by our Lord are:
· Hypocrisy: To be a hypocrite is to give others the impression that we are holier than we actually are. It is the same as being false or telling a lie. Jesus pronounced a curse on hypocrites seven times in Mt. 23:13-29. Jesus told the Pharisees that their inner life was ""full of self-indulgence"" (Mt. 23:25) - which meant that they lived only to please themselves. God looks at our hearts. (Sorrowful mystery: agony in the garden)
· Impurity: Impurity enters into our hearts mainly through our eyes and our ears. Anyone who seeks to be pure must therefore be especially careful about what he sees and what he hears. Jesus hated impurity so much that He told His disciples that they should be willing to pluck out their right eye and cut off their right hand rather than sin with those members (Mt. 5:27-29). When do doctors recommend the amputation of the right hand or the surgical removal of an eye? Only when things have become so bad that without the removal of these organs, the whole body would die. This is what we need to understand in relation to sin as well. Sin is so serious that it can imperil our very life. Most believers have not realized this and that is why they are careless in the way they use their tongues and their eyes. (Sorrowful mystery: scourging at the pillar)
· Spiritual Pride: We all know the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who despised others even in his prayer (Lk. 18:9-14)! Jesus hated the pride with which he thought of his spiritual activities and with which he despised makes believers constantly judge other believers. Jesus taught that the greatest person in heaven would be the humblest (Mt. 18:4). The greatest virtue found in heaven is humility. This is why it is the first of the seven virtues (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding and Wisdom) of Mary Christ’s mother. (Sorrowful mystery: crowning of the thorns)
· Indifference to Human Need: Jesus was angry when the leaders of the synagogue did not want Him to heal a man, just because it was the Sabbath day ""He was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need"" (Mk. 3:5 - Living). We are commanded to do good to all men, especially to the children of God (Gal. 6: 10). Jesus taught that those who did nothing to help their brothers who were in need of the basic necessities of life, would be cast out of His presence in the final day (Mt. 25:41-46). Those who do not help their brothers in need cannot possibly have the love of God dwelling in their hearts (1Jn. 3:17). Jesus spoke out strongly on such matters because He hated the attitude that many religious people had who were concerned only with religious activities but not with helping their needy brothers. (Sorrowful mystery: carrying of the cross)
· Unbelief: Bible speaks of an unbelieving heart as an EVIL heart (He. 3: 12) Jesus rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. (See Mt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:17-20; Mk.16:14; Lk.24:25). It seems that He almost never rebuked His disciples for anything else!! Unbelief is an insult to God, because it implies that God does not care or provide for His children even as much as evil fathers on earth care and provide for their children. (Sorrowful mystery: the crucifixion)
Good Friday Service. The sacrifice of the altar is not offered on the day commemorating the sacrifice of the cross, and though communion may be distributed, the faithful are discouraged from receiving it without good reason. Instead, a mournful service is conducted. The priest, vested in black, reads several passages from the Bible, including the Passion account from the Gospel of John. Afterwards, the "Solemn Prayers" or "Collects" are offered on behalf of all classes of men, from the Church to the heathen. This is followed by the veneration of the cross, during which time the dolorous "Reproaches" are chanted. The service concludes with the "Mass of the Presanctified," a solemn communion rite.
Forty Hours' Devotion
It is traditionally believed that the duration of time from Christ's death until His Resurrection is forty hours, from 3 p.m. on Good Friday until 7 a.m. Easter Sunday. As early as the 100s it was customary for some of the faithful to fast and keep vigil during this entire period.
Other Good Friday Customs
If a devotion of forty hours could not be done, many Catholics observed Good Friday as a day of austerity as best they could. Fasting more than was required was common. Attending the Three Hours' Devotion, or Seven Last Words of Christ, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (the hours our Lord hung upon the cross), has also been popular. Liturgically speaking, this is a relatively new observance, begun in Peru in the early 1700s, but it is a very effective one. An older tradition that has lamentably been forgotten, on the other hand, is that of the Holy Sepulcher, a special shrine set up to house either the Blessed Sacrament or a crucifix which the faithful could visit on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Unlike other novenas, where people ask for something from God through the intercession of His Holy Saints, Divine Mercy Novena is intended to be prayed for graces and/or salvation to be given to other people. Jesus asked that this novena be prayed prior to the Feast of Divine Mercy (the Sunday after Easter), beginning on Good Friday. He gave Sr. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said: "These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy." In her diary, Faustina wrote that Jesus told her: "On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."
The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:
All mankind, especially sinners; The souls of priests and religious; All devout and faithful souls; Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him; The souls of separated brethren; The meek and humble souls and the souls of children; The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy; The souls who are detained in purgatory; and The souls who have become lukewarm.
This is prayed along with the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
· First Day - Today bring Me all mankind, especially all sinners.
Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins, but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.
· Second Day - Today Bring Me the Souls of Priests and Religious.
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in us, that we may perform worthy works of mercy, and that all who see us may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company [of chosen souls] in Your vineyard - upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation, and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
· Third Day - Today Bring Me All Devout and Faithful Souls.
Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in the great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.
Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lost the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
· Fourth Day - Today Bring Me The Pagans and Those Who Do Not Know Me.
Most Compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of pagans who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of pagans and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
· Fifth Day - Today Bring to Me the Souls of Heretics and Schismatics.
Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of heretics and schismatics. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of heretics, and schismatics, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your Own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
· Sixth Day - Today Bring Me The Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children.
Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy, and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek and humble souls, and upon the souls of little children, who are enfolded in the abode of the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight you take in them: bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
· Seventh Day - Today Bring Me The Souls Who Especially Venerate and Glorify My Mercy.
Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your Mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident in Your Mercy. These souls are united to Jesus and carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy and their spirit, overflowing with joy, sings a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them, "I Myself will defend as My own glory, during their lifetime, and especially at the hour of their death, those souls who will venerate My fathomless mercy."
· Eighth Day - Today Bring Me The Souls Who Are In the Prison Of Purgatory.
Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of purifying fire, that in that place, too, the power of Your mercy may be praised.
Eternal Father, turn Your most merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded, manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way than through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.
· Ninth Day - Today Bring Me The Souls Who Have Become Lukewarm.
Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love; and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen
Jesus, I trust in You.
The Sign of the Cross
The most basic Christian gesture in prayer is and always will be the Sign of the Cross. (Pope Benedict XVI) “…by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal 6:14) Martyrs made the Sign as they were taken to their deaths.
The Sign of the cross is used in every single liturgy of the Church: sacraments, exorcisms, consecrations, and blessings
1. "The sign of the cross is a symbolic expression of the principal mysteries of Christianity, a confession of the Catholic faith. It reminds us of the Crucified, of the price of our redemption, and of the value of our soul; it enkindles love of God, strengthens hope, and animates us to follow Christ on the way of the Cross. It indicates that in the cross we are to find our honor, our salvation, and our life; that we should prefer the folly and weakness of the cross to all the wisdom and power of the world, that, as disciples of the Crucified, we should combat under the banner of the cross and by this sign triumph over all our enemies."
2. St. Francis de Sales: "We raise the hand first to the forehead, saying, 'In the name of the Father,' to signify that the Father is the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity, of whom the Son is begotten and from whom the Holy Ghost proceeds. Then saying, 'and the Son,' the hand is lowered to the breast, to express that the Son proceeds from the Father, who sent Him down to the womb of the Virgin. Then the hand is moved from the left shoulder or side to the right, while saying, 'and of the Holy Ghost,' thereby signifying that the Holy Ghost, as the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, proceeds from the Father and the Son, that He is the Love that unites both, and that we, through His grace, partake of the fruits of the passion. Accordingly, the sign of the cross is a brief declaration of our faith in the three great mysteries: of our faith in the Blessed Trinity, in the passion of Christ, and in the forgiveness of sin, by which we pass from the left side of curse to the right of blessing."
3. The Sign of the Cross is likened by the Fathers to the true cross of Christ.
4. The Sign of the Cross is source of all blessings and graces, the weapon and armor of our defense against the evil spirit... as sign of Christ's victory over sin, death, and hell.
5. God has imparted to the sign of the cross an efficacy, because of honors and merits of the Crucified. This efficacy is greater if sign of cross made with devout and believing disposition, recollection of mind, devotion of heart, love towards the Crucified.
As Jesus neared the end of His public life, the opposition of the Jewish leaders became more violent and their desire to kill Him more determined. Our Lord, however, continued to teach in the temple, where large crowds came to hear Him. The admiration of the people intensified the hatred of the priests, and they planned to ensnare Jesus in His speech that they might have grounds for condemnation. While His enemies plotted His downfall, Our Lord spent the night in prayer on the Mount of Olives. The contrast between the character of Christ and that of His enemies could not be more pronounced. Yielding to base passion, they were openly seeking the death of the Messiah. Jesus, on the contrary, in the spirit of generous charity, was spending His days in teaching and His nights in prayer. Does our conduct in difficult circumstances resemble that of Christ? When we are unjustly accused, criticized, or condemned, do we calmly continue our work and have recourse to God in prayer? Perhaps we seek vengeance upon those who oppose us by wishing them evil or persuading others to despise and condemn them. Let us leave our reputation in the hands of God and imitate Christ's efforts to benefit those who hated and condemned Him.
"The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?"
Things to Do: If you wish to gain the courage to embrace the small crosses in your life with joy, pray the Stations of the Cross. This is an excellent practice that should not only be confined to Lent but ought to be prayed on Fridays throughout the year. An excellent version with beautiful meditations composed by Pope John Paul II is his Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum. Some recommended versions are: Eucharistic Stations of the Cross, and the more traditional Stations of the Cross written by Saint Alphonsus Liguori can be found in most Catholic bookstores. Here are some guidelines for praying the Stations of the Cross in your home.
Novena for the Poor Souls
O Mother most merciful, pray for the souls in Purgatory!
PRAYER OF ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT O Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory and for sinners everywhere— for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and for those within my family. Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE DYING O Most Merciful Jesus, lover of souls, I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thine Immaculate Mother, to wash in Thy Most Precious Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony and who will die today. Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying! Amen.
ON EVERY DAY OF THE NOVENA V. O Lord, hear my prayer, R. And let my cry come unto Thee. O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
FRIDAY O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Jesus Thy divine Son did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross, especially from His sacred hands and feet, deliver the souls in Purgatory, and particularly that soul for whom I am most bound to pray, in order that I may not be the cause which hinders Thee from admitting it quickly to the possession of Thy glory, where it may praise Thee and bless Thee for evermore. Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus . . . which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins."
To those who show him love and who make reparation for sins, however, our Lord made a great pledge: "I promise you in the unfathomable mercy of my heart that my omnipotent love will procure the grace of final penitence for all those who receive communion on nine successive first Fridays of the month; they will not die in my disfavor, or without having received the sacraments, since my divine heart will be their sure refuge in the last moments of their life."
To gain this grace, we must:
· Receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays.
· Have the intention of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of reaching final perseverance.
· Offer each Holy Communion as an act of atonement for offenses against the Blessed Sacrament.
The fullness of God is revealed and given to us in Christ, in the love of Christ, in Christ's heart. For it is the heart of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." Were one to lose sight of this great plan of God-the overflow of love in the world through the Incarnation, the Redemption and Pentecost-he could not understand the refinement with which our Lord deals with us. So, when we talk about the heart of Jesus, we stress the certainty of God's love and the truth of his commitment to us. When we recommend devotion to the Sacred Heart, we are recommending that we should give our whole selves to Jesus, to the whole Jesus-our souls, our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions, our joys. That is what true devotion to the heart of Jesus means. It is knowing God and ourselves. It is looking at Jesus and turning to him, letting him encourage and teach and guide us. The only difficulty that could beset this devotion would be our own failure to understand the reality of an incarnate God. But note that God does not say: "In exchange for your own heart, I will give you a will of pure spirit." No, he gives us a heart, a human heart, like Christ's. I don't have one heart for loving God and another for loving people. I love Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and our Lady with the same heart with which I love my parents and my friends. I shall never tire of repeating this. We must be very human, for otherwise we cannot be divine. . ..
If we don't learn from Jesus, we will never love. If, like some people, we were to think that to keep a clean heart, a heart worthy of God, means "not mixing it up, not contaminating it" with human affection, we would become insensitive to other people's pain and sorrow. We would be capable of only an "official charity," something dry and soulless. But ours would not be the true charity of Jesus Christ, which involves affection and human warmth. In saying this, I am not supporting the mistaken theories-pitiful excuses-that misdirect hearts away from God and lead them into occasions of sin and perdition. . ..
But I have still a further consideration to put before you. We have to fight vigorously to do good, precisely because it is difficult for us to resolve seriously to be just, and there is a long way to go before human relations are inspired by love and not hatred or indifference. We should also be aware that, even if we achieve a reasonable distribution of wealth and a harmonious organization of society, there will still be the suffering of illness, of misunderstanding, of loneliness, of the death of loved ones, of the experience of our own limitations.
Faced with the weight of all this, a Christian can find only one genuine answer, a definitive answer: Christ on the cross, a God who suffers and dies, a God who gives us his heart opened by a lance for the love of us all. Our Lord abominates injustice and condemns those who commit it. But he respects the freedom of each individual. He permits injustice to happen because, as a result of original sin, it is part and parcel of the human condition. Yet his heart is full of love for men. Our suffering, our sadness, our anguish, our hunger and thirst for justice . . . he took all these tortures on himself by means of the cross. . ..
Suffering is part of God's plans. This is the truth; however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father's will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him.
This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross, Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death. The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight-a fight of peace-against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus, do we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain our glorious spiritual triumph.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is of great antiquity in the Church. It was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, however, who made this devotion widespread. In 1675, within the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi, our Lord appeared to her and said: "Behold this heart which, notwithstanding the burning love for men with which it is consumed and exhausted, meets with no other return from most Christians than sacrilege, contempt, indifference and ingratitude, even in the sacrament of my love [the Eucharist]. But what pierces my heart most deeply is that I am subjected to these insults by persons especially consecrated to my service."
The great promise of the Sacred Heart is most consoling: the grace of final perseverance and the joy of having Jesus' heart as our sure refuge and Infinite Ocean of mercy in our last hour.
Fitness Friday-Start the Universal Man Plan
Recognizing that God the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER THREE-THE LIFE OF PRAYER
2697 Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart "We must remember God more often than we draw breath."1 But we cannot pray "at all times" if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.
2698 The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. the cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian's life of prayer.
2699 The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart's resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. However, Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: vocal meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This vigilance in keeping the Word and dwelling in the presence of God makes these three expressions intense times in the life of prayer.
PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Corporal Works of Mercy
The corporal works of
mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and
feed the hungry
give drink to the thirsty
clothe the naked
shelter the homeless
visit the sick
visit the imprisoned
bury the dead
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 2. The Sign of the Cross.
Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained