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Saturday, April 15, 2023

Introduction to Deuteronomy[1] 

Deuteronomy is narrated, for the most part, by Moses. Yep, that Moses. Some people actually say Moses wrote the book, but most scholars think that the writer(s) were just using Moses the character as a means to get their message across. Attributing the text to a hugely important cultural figure would give it more power, right? Think about if someone today came out with "George Washington's Lost Will." There'd be controversy, but you can bet that book would sell. 

Once you sift through all the nitty-gritty laws and rules, the main message is that the Israelites should worship one god (6:4) in one place (14:25). That god is God, and—even though it's never named in the book—that place is Jerusalem. This message comes along with a retelling of the Exodus story, the tales of the Israelites in the book of Numbers, and the rules and regulations that will help the Israelites recapture their culture's essence.

Moses conveys all this through some pretty rousing and finger-pointing pep talks. Basically, the previous generation of Israelites failed big time, refusing to fight for the Promised Land. But after forty years of desert-wandering, a new generation brings new hope. And if these Israelites obey God, then they'll conquer the Promised Land. The whole book takes place at the Jordan River, while Moses motivates and warns them. Obey and win; disobey and lose—big time.

Why Should I Care?

Deuteronomy is the key to the entire Hebrew Bible. It's the bridge between the stories in Exodus and Numbers, the laws in Leviticus, and the narratives in Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. All of the Bible before Deuteronomy has been, in a narrative sense, leading up to the Israelites entering the Promised Land. They've fought, been enslaved, seen God's fire, messed up, died, and been given the law. Now, in Deuteronomy, they're on the edge of the Promised Land, so close to their goal. But don't get too excited—Moses, their leader, makes them take a really long pause. He wants them to take a deep breath to reflect on where they've been (and think about what's to come). What better way to do that than by retelling the story? And hey, if nothing else, Deuteronomy gives you a really good cram tool if you somehow missed the first four books of the Bible. 

April 15 Saturday in the Octave of Easter 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 17

In rendering judgment, do not consider who a person is; give ear to the lowly and to the great alike, FEARING no one, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too difficult for you bring to me and I will hear it.” 

Deuteronomy is the last of the five books of Moses. The book explains to the Israelites how to make a success of their life. To be a success we must as General Patton said, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” After appointing Elders this was Moses advice to them; fear no one except God. The greatest of our church is that we when we are troubled and don’t know what to do we can always approach Him in prayer and seek the advice of his elders (Mary and the Saints) anywhere we are. If we desire, we may also approach our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and bring any case that is too difficult for Him to hear and He will answer us. Likewise, we may approach a priest in confession or connect with a local parish spiritual director. How great is our God that He does not abandon us? Furthermore, there is a multitude of great Catholic websites and organizations where there are elders of the church who can assist us in our difficult moments. 

Saturday in the Octave of Easter[2]

Acts 4:13-21 +  Mark 16:9-15

I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.

Throughout the Blessed Virgin Mary’s life, humility marked her approach to her Lord.  Humility is not a virtue that one can ever spiritually outgrow.  Whatever graces God gives us, they are given for the unfolding of His plan, which often remains to us a mystery.  Even as we apply these graces in our lives, we must do so with humility, as day by day, another aspect of the mystery of our vocation is shown to us.

Even at the foot of the Cross, Mary prayed in humility.  It was with humility that she rejoiced at the sight of her Son risen from the dead.  Seeing Jesus on that first Easter Sunday, she would not have known exactly how He was preparing His disciples—through the power of the Holy Spirit—to form a Church.  Nor would she have known exactly how Jesus’ words to her from the Cross— “Woman, behold your son”—were about to flower with new meaning, when she became the Mother of the Church on the day of Pentecost.

If you do not already know it by heart, take the opportunity to learn the prayer Regina Caeli, the traditional Marian prayer of Easter:

V.  Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. / R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

V.  Has risen, as he said, alleluia. / R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V.  Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. / R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Divine Mercy Novena[3]

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

Hike for the Lukewarm[4] 

Beatitudes Hike 

During this hike you will be praying the Divine Mercy Prayer, Christ asked that we pray for the lukewarm. 

"Today bring to Me the Souls of persons who have become lukewarm and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."  

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. 

During this hike you will meditate on each of the ways you may have been walking away from God; marking each of the points as you hike stopping multiple times to pray. On the return hike, you will meditate using the walking towards God meditations. Remember every journey away from something is a journey toward something—the first meditations are the seven deadly sins with fear added as an eighth; and you will be meditating on the Beatitudes of Christ on the way back in reverse order. 

Pray the chaplet first or if you wish after you finish the meditation on the deadly sins. This meditation uses synonyms of fear, pride, envy, anger, avarice, sloth, gluttony and lust.  Words are the music of the human heart; different words carry different emotions and meanings.  If a certain word strikes your heart-it is the Lord speaking to you. 

Walking Away from GOD

(Have I been/Shown?) 

1. FEAR:  Terror, Dread, Horror, Fright; Panic, Alarm, Trepidation, Apprehension.

2. PRIDE/HUBRIS:  Arrogant, Conceit, Smugness, Self-importance, Satisfaction, Pleasure, Delight.

3. ENVY:  Jealousy, Desire, Resentment, Spite, Malice, Meanness.

4. WRATH:  Anger, Annoyance, Rage, Fury, Aggravation, Frustration.

5. AVARICE:  Greed, Materialism, Covetousness, Acquisitiveness.

6. SLOTH:  Laziness, Idleness, Sluggishness, Inactivity, Indolence (condition that is slow to develop or be healed and causes no pain-i.e. fail to resist evil) Apathy.

7. GLUTTONY:  Excess, Exclusivity, Overindulgence, Intemperance.

8. LUST:  Yearn, Desire, long for, hanker for, Hunger for, Ache for, Crave.

Walking toward GOD

(Have I failed to be, do or show?) 

8.      CHASTITY (PURITY OF HEART):  Cleanliness, Wholesomeness, Spotlessness, Clarity; Transparency, Knowledge, Honesty, Wisdom. Opposing Deadly Sin: LUST 

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. The clean of heart are those who preserve with care the innocence with which they are invested at holy Baptism, or seek to regain it, when lost, by penance; those who keep their hearts and consciences unspotted from all sinful thoughts, particularly from all unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and acts, and who endeavor in all things to have a pure intention directed to God alone. They shall see God, that is, they shall know Him even here upon earth, for as the eye that is to see must be clean, so only souls that are pure and unstained can behold God. But further, our knowledge is like our hearts; the purer the heart the clearer and greater is the knowledge of God. But in the world above they shall see, know, and possess Him as He is. What blessedness! Strive, therefore, to keep your heart clean. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

7.      TEMPERANCE (POOR IN SPIRIT):  Sacrifice, Give Up, Forgo, Let Go, Surrender, Tithe, Self-Control, Abstention. Opposing Deadly Sin: GLUTTONY

The poor in spirit are: 

·         Those who, like the apostles, readily forsake all earthly things, and for Christ’s sake become poor.

·         Those who, happening to lose their property by misfortune or injustice, suffer the loss patiently, in resignation to the will of God.

·         Those who, like Jesus, are content with their poor and humble position, seek no higher or happier one, and would rather suffer want than enrich themselves by unlawful acts, by fraud or theft.

·         The rich and noble who set not their hearts upon the riches and greatness of the world who use their riches and influence to relieve the misery of the needy and oppressed.

·         Finally, the truly humble, who, convinced of their weakness, their helplessness and misery, think lowly of themselves, and regard themselves but as beggars, who are always in need of the grace of God. To all these, therefore, in whose hearts the world has no place, there is assured, as their inheritance, the kingdom of heaven; here the kingdom of grace there the kingdom of glory. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

6.      DILIGENCE (HUNGER & THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS):  Fairness, Impartiality; Righteousness, Evenhandedness, Fair Dealing, Persistence, Effort, Ethics, Rectitude. Opposing Deadly Sin: SLOTH

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill. Hunger and thirst denote the most ardent longing after those virtues which constitute Christian perfection, such as humility, meekness, the love of God and of our neighbor, penance. Whoever longs for these virtues as the hungry man does for food and drink and prays to God for them with perseverance and earnestness, shall have his fill; that is, he shall be enriched with them, and one day shall be satisfied with eternal Happiness. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

5.      CHARITY (MERCIFUL):  Compassion; Kindness, Pity, Bigheartedness, Clemency, Openhandedness, Forgiveness, Liberality, Understanding, Leniency, Will, Benevolence, Generosity. Opposing Deadly Sin: AVARICE

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. The merciful here spoken of are: 

·         Those who willingly forgive the injuries done to them.

·         Those who have compassion on their poor neighbors, and, according to their ability, sustain them by alms. These shall obtain mercy; that is, God will forgive them their sins and endow them abundantly with the goods of this world and of the world to come. Thus, God deals with us as we deal with others. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

4.      PATIENCE (PEACEMAKERS):  Relations, Mediation, Negotiation—Prevents Destruction, I.E. Stem Cell/Abortion, Sufferance. Opposing Deadly Sin: WRATH

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. By peacemakers we are to understand those who have peace with themselves, that is, a quiet conscience, and who endeavor to maintain peace among others, or to restore it when broken. Such are called the children of God, because they follow God, Who is a God of peace, and Who even gave His only Son to reconcile the world with Him, and to bring down upon earth that peace which the world itself could not give. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

3.      KINDNESS (MOURNING):  Grief, Sorrow; Remembrance, Respect, Loyalty, Integrity. Opposing Deadly Sin: ENVY

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. By them that mourn we are not to understand such as grieve and lament over a death, a misfortune, a loss of worldly goods, or the like; but those who are grieved that God should be in so many ways offended by themselves and by others that His Church should be so heavily oppressed, and thereby so many souls lost that have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. The only evil really to be grieved for is sin, and the tears shed on account of sin are the only tears that are profitable, for they shall be recompensed with everlasting joy. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

2.      HUMILITY (MEEK):  Modesty, Not Assuming, Reverence, Altruism. Opposing Deadly Sin: PRIDE/HUBRIS

Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. That man is meek who does not murmur against God for sending afflictions upon him, who is not angry at men who do him injury, but who rather suppresses impatience, anger, envy, and revenge, nay, who seeks to recompense the evil done him by his neighbor with good. Such a one is greater than he who takes by storm fortified cities (Prov. xvi. 32); he possesses an unfailing fountain of peace, quiet, and cheerfulness; by his meekness prevails over the most hostile minds, is by such means truly a ruler upon earth, and will one day, for his portion, obtain heaven, the land of the living, there to enjoy eternal peace. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896) 

1.      LOVE & COURAGE (FAITH-BE NOT AFRAID):  Affection, Adoration, Friendship, Confidence, Courageous, Trust, Valiant, Reliance, Heroic, Assurance, Bold, Conviction, Daring, Belief, Fearless, Devotion, Plucky, Loyalty. Opposing Deadly Sin: FEAR

Love Brothers and sisters do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it. So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.

Divine Mercy Sunday[5]-Tomorrow-Go to Confession Today

Divine Mercy Sunday is a very special Sunday when the Divine Floodgates from Heaven are wide-opened and Jesus offers us the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment to any soul, who goes to Confession and receives Him in Holy Communion, on that day

 

Our Lord's Divine Mercy Sunday grants forgiveness of all sins and punishment on the Feast of Divine Mercy, Mercy Sunday, mercy for even the most hardened sinners! It is the Sunday of Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy! 

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

CHAPTER THREE-THE LIFE OF PRAYER

Article 2-THE BATTLE OF PRAYER

II. Humble Vigilance of Heart

Facing difficulties in prayer

2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. the bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!'"

2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit." If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart:
"Apart from me, you can do nothing."

2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. the spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. the humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.

THIS WE BELIEVE

PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Morning Offering[6]

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen. 

·       Coachella--April 15-23--Get your music fill at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The annual 2-weekend, 3-day fest kicks off in Indio, CA, with more than 150 performances.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The Families of St. Joseph Porters

·       Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       30 Days with St. Joseph Day 28

·       Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

 

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