While stationed in Mons we were chased by the Doudou
Thousands of bystanders stand with necks craned, cheering on Saint George as he goes into battle with the ferocious dragon in a small circle in the middle of Mons’ Grand-Place. The curious scene is a highlight of the Belgian city’s Doudou festival, an ancient feast of lush parades, fights with wicker monsters, and buckets of crowd participation.
Up in the forested Belgian Ardennes, slightly bizarre folkloric celebrations have long been a part of the annual diet – just think of Binche’s carnival with its white-masked, orange-pelting figures, or Andenne with its bear-filled streets. Local identity and pride in one’s cultural heritage play a major part in these festivities, and they are, in fact, the reason they still exist today, and this is no less true in Mons’ case. The 800-year-old Ducasse de Mons on Trinity Sunday, lovingly dubbed ‘le Doudou’ by locals, is perhaps the most raucous of them all. As Saint George on horseback and a giant wicker dragon make their way to the middle of the main square for their epic brawl, members of the crowd jump forward to try and grab a handful of straw from the mythical beast’s tail. A handful of its hairs, legend has it, will bring brave audience member’s luck.
Before the meticulously choreographed “Battle of the Lumeçon” begins, however, visitors are reminded that the dragon isn’t the only adversity Mons has had to reckon with in its history. Indeed, true fans have started the day’s celebrations off much earlier in the Sainte-Waudru Collegiate Church. Here, the shrine of Sainte Waudru, foundress of the city and miracle worker, is taken out in the morning to meet a temple overflowing with worshippers. Believed to have saved Mons from a sweeping plague in the 14th century, the holy woman’s relics are loaded onto an elaborately decorated wagon called the Car d’Or (“the Golden Cart”).
A whole parade of local
organizations dressed up in medieval garb join the procession, and when the
draft horses pulling the ornate wagon invariably struggle on one particularly
steep alley, the watchful masses never fail to reunite forces and help them up
the slope. Locals especially have a stake in this: superstition has it that if
the cart doesn’t get up in one try, bad things await the city. Meanwhile, the daredevils
who plan on doing some tail-grabbing later have had the opportunity to gain a
little liquid courage at the food and drink stalls lining the parade’s route.
With each victory – getting the cart up the hill, the slaughter of the wicker
dragon – the audience yells out joyously: “Et les Montois ne périront pas!”
(“And the people of Mons will not perish!”). Folklore fans who are longing to
join in know where and when to plan their next trip.
Third Sunday of Easter
1 Peter, Chapter 2, Verse 17
Give honor to all, love the community, FEAR God, honor the king.
We are to be good citizens but God’s citizens first. We are to love our community.
One recent change in the liturgy is in “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed,” Catholics have said this for decades, but due to translation changes those words have been amended to, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This expression of faith makes me think of all those who are under my roof and are under my protection but then I reflect further. I think of all those roofs I am under: the church, my work, my community and family. I am humbled and ask God to bless them all not just myself. We are not alone we are a community of love.
Yes it is true we have the freedom Christ gave us; but to be truly free we must serve and give reverence to God, esteem for everyone and committed love for our fellow Christians. We are to honor those who are under our roof and those whose roof we are under.
To honor someone means we give great attention to them and listen to them when they talk (put down the smart phone). If they make a request or suggestion, we make every effort to do it. It means you give them respect and high esteem; you treat them as being special and of great worth. For indeed they are, did not our Lord die for them. Christ asks us to go the extra mile with them; to accommodate them: out of honor. This is the noble way we are to live.
In the movie Les Misérables (1998 film), Liam Neeson plays, Jean Valjean, a man who was arrested for stealing bread and after 19 years is released on parole.
However, no one is willing to allow him, a convict, to stay the night. Except for Bishop Myriel, who kindly welcomes him into his home. Valjean explains to Myriel that sleeping in a real bed will make him a new man. In the night, Valjean, interrupted by Myriel while stealing his silverware, strikes him and flees. When the police arrest Valjean, Myriel tells them that the silverware was a gift and scolds Valjean for failing to take his candlesticks as well. Myriel then reminds Valjean that he is to become a new man.
Honor the King
“If indeed ‘the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,’ the Church ‘cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.’” So writes Pope Francis, quoting Pope Benedict XVI. Our nation faces many political challenges that demand well-informed moral choices: The ongoing destruction of a million innocent human lives each year by abortion
· Physician-assisted suicide
· The redefinition of marriage
· The excessive consumption of material goods and the destruction of natural resources, harming the environment as well as the poor.
· Deadly attacks on Christians and other religious minorities throughout the world.
· Efforts to narrow the definition and exercise of religious freedom.
· Economic policies that fail to prioritize the needs of poor people, at home and abroad.
· A broken immigration system and a worldwide refugee crisis
· Wars, terror, and violence that threaten every aspect of human life and dignity.
As Catholics, we are part of a community with profound teachings that help us consider challenges in public life, contribute to greater justice and peace for all people, and evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates’ promises and actions in light of the Gospel in order to help build a better world.
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
The Eucharistic Assembly:
Heart of Sunday
The Eucharistic assembly
33. At Sunday Mass, Christians relive with particular intensity the experience of the Apostles on the evening of Easter when the Risen Lord appeared to them as they were gathered together (cf. Jn 20:19). In a sense, the People of God of all times were present in that small nucleus of disciples, the first fruits of the Church. Through their testimony, every generation of believers hears the greeting of Christ, rich with the messianic gift of peace, won by his blood and offered with his Spirit: "Peace be with you!" Christ's return among them "a week later" (Jn 20:26) can be seen as a radical prefiguring of the Christian community's practice of coming together every seven days, on "the Lord's Day" or Sunday, in order to profess faith in his Resurrection and to receive the blessing which he had promised: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (Jn 20:29). This close connection between the appearance of the Risen Lord and the Eucharist is suggested in the Gospel of Luke in the story of the two disciples of Emmaus, whom Christ approached and led to understand the Scriptures and then sat with them at table. They recognized him when he "took the bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them" (24:30). The gestures of Jesus in this account are his gestures at the Last Supper, with the clear allusion to the "breaking of bread", as the Eucharist was called by the first generation of Christians.
Third Sunday of EasterAn exhortation on how Christ's flock is to conduct itself and an oblique allusion to the Ascension.
Easter Patronage of St. Joseph
EPISTLE. Gen. xlix. 23-26.
JOSEPH is a growing son, a growing son and comely to behold: the daughters run to and fro upon the wall. But they that held darts provoked him, and quarreled with him, and envied him. His bow rested upon the strong, and the bands of his arms and his hands were loosed, by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob: thence he came forth a pastor, the stone of Israel. The God of thy father shall be thy helper, and the Almighty shall bless thee with the blessings of heaven above, with the blessings of the deep that lieth beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of thy father are strengthened with the blessings of his fathers: until the desire of the everlasting hills should come; may they be upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the Nazarite among his brethren.
GOSPEL. Luke iii. 21-23.
At that time: It came to pass when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened: and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape as a dove upon Him: and a voice came from heaven: Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased. And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years, being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph.
WHAT WE ARE TO BELIEVE CONCERNING THE EVANGELICAL COUNSELS
In what does the perfection of the Christian life consist?
In the perfection of love (Col. iii. 14). The more a man separates himself from the world, and unites himself with God, the more perfect he will be. We can attain to the perfection of the Christian life by means of certain excellent practices known as the evangelical counsels which Jesus Christ lays before us, and to which He calls us, without directly commanding us to adopt them. So that the difference between the commandments and the evangelical counsels consists in this: that the commandments bind us by an indispensable obligation, but the evangelical counsels do not. The evangelical counsels are:
1. Voluntary poverty. By voluntary poverty is understood a free-will renunciation of the riches and goods of this world in order to follow Jesus Christ in His poverty.
2. Perpetual chastity. By perpetual chastity we understand a free-will, life-long abstinence, not only from everything that is contrary to purity, but also abstinence from marriage, in order to live only for God and His holy service in virginal purity.
3. Entire obedience under a spiritual director. By entire obedience we are to understand a voluntary renunciation of one’s own will in order to follow the will and command of a superior whom one chooses for himself.
In practicing the evangelical counsels there are three points to be observed, in order that they may serve, or help to eternal salvation:
· They must be practiced with a pure intention, seeking thereby nothing else than to please God and to praise His holy name.
· With great humility, in no way giving ourselves preference over others.
· By great fidelity in observing not only what one has vowed, but also what is commanded. Also, one should live diligently and strictly according to the commandments, otherwise the practicing of the evangelical counsels will be of no avail.
The traditional legends have offered a historicized narration of George's encounter with a dragon. The modern legend that follows below is synthesized from early and late hagiographical sources, omitting the more fantastical episodes. Saint George likely was born to a Christian noble family in Syria Palaestina, during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD. He died in Nicomedia in Asia Minor. His father, Gerontios, was from Cappadocia, an officer in the Roman army; his mother, Polychronia, was a native of Lydda. They were both Christians from noble families, so their child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgios, meaning "worker of the land" (i.e., farmer). At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother, Polychronia, died. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste. George then decided to go to Nicomedia and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Military Tribune and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia. On 24 February AD 303, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However, George objected, and with the courage of his faith, approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. But George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money, and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods; he made many offers, but George never accepted. Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian ordered that George be executed for his refusal. Before the execution, George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords during which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians, as well, so they joined George in martyrdom.
St. George, soldier-martyr.
Invoked for protection for domestic animals and against herpetic diseases. Also, patron of soldiers, England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Genoa and Venice. He is pictured striking down a dragon.
St. George is venerated by the Eastern Church among her "great martyrs" and "standard-bearers." He belonged to the Roman army; he was arrested and, probably, beheaded under Diocletian, c. 304. The Latin Church as well as the Greek honors him as patron of armies. He is the patron of England, since 800. Many legends are attached to Saint George. The most famous is the one in The Golden Legend. There was a dragon that lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Not even armies could defeat this creature, and he terrorized flocks and the people. St. George was passing through and upon hearing about a princess was about to be eaten, he went to battle against the serpent, and killed it with one blow with his lance. Then with his great preaching, George converted the people. He distributed his reward to the poor, then left the area.
Troops of Saint George
The Troops of Saint George (TSG) is a fraternal Catholic nonprofit apostolate for priests, men, and young men looking for a life of adventure coupled with virtue. Initially founded in 2013 by Catholic author and professor Dr. Taylor Marshall, we have become a collection of troops that do the following:
· experience reverent and beautiful Masses on mountaintop vistas.
· pray the Rosary with other men around fire pits in the freezing cold.
· catch a Fish Friday meal by fly fishing for trout.
· go to confession with our priests while kneeling on moss in the woods.
· teach our sons archery, rock climbing, marksmanship, fishing, survival skills…and Catholic virtues.
· foster a love for the priesthood and a reverence for the sacrament of Matrimony.
· support our local parish, our priests, our bishops, and community by being available for works of mercy and service.
“The Troops of Saint George apostolate aims to use the outdoors as our canvas and the sacraments as our path to light the way for the formation of Holy Catholic men and boys. Whether called to the vocation of the priesthood, the religious life, or that of Holy fatherhood, our fathers and sons will take a prayerful pilgrimage together to fulfill Christ’s desire for them to grow in virtue and in their Holy Catholic faith as they journey toward heaven.”
Saint George Trinitarian Salute
The Troops of Saint George salute their officers, the flag, banners of the saints and Our Lady, and crucifixes with the “Trinitarian Salute” – three fingers of the right hand (index, middle, ring) out, and with the pinky and thumb joined signifying that the divine nature of Christ is joined to His human nature: fully God and fully man as taught at the Catholic Council of Chalcedon in AD 431.
Prayer Customs: ad orientem
The cadets usually carry a compass with them. Even when they do not, they should be able to find East. Like the early Christians, the Troops of Saint George pray facing the East in response to Gospel according to Saint Matthew 24:27:
“For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appears even into the west: so, shall the coming of the Son of man be.”
The Church believed that Christ’s Second Coming would be revealed “from the east to the west.” The rising sun was an image of the Resurrected Christ.
So, at times of prayer (for example, at the Angelus at noon), the Captain or one of the boys should shout “ad orientem” and the men and boys should turn to face East, unless there is already a suitable image or crucifix erected nearby.
The Role of Proverbs for the Troops of Saint George
Each man or young man among the Troops of Saint George must study the biblical book of Proverbs, since it is the Book of the Bible that instructs men how to become wise and virtuous. There the man will learn why he should resist sexual impurity, alcoholism, quarreling, and financial debt – the chief ways by which men lapse. He will also learn from the Proverbs the riches of knowing God and the blessing of a godly wife and family.
St. George, although a man of courage, like our Christ meekly underwent the torture.
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"
II. The Lord's Prayer
2765 The traditional expression "the Lord's Prayer" - oratio Dominica - means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. the prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is "of the Lord." On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him: he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.
2766 But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically. As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father. Jesus not only gives us the words of our filial prayer; at the same time he gives us the Spirit by whom these words become in us "spirit and life." Even more, the proof and possibility of our filial prayer is that the Father "sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" Since our prayer sets forth our desires before God, it is again the Father, "he who searches the hearts of men," who "knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." The prayer to Our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of the Son and of the Spirit.
PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Prayer after Meals
We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, who livest and reignest forever; and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896