Thursday, May 25, 2023

 

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

ST. MARY MAGDALENE DE PAZZI-ORTHODOX ASCENSION 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 20, Verse 2-3

2 When you are drawing near to battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the army, 3 and say to them, “Hear, O Israel! Today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies. Do not be weakhearted or AFRAID, alarmed or frightened by them. 

We are in a battle with the forces of darkness. Our priest the Pope of our church is saying to us “Do not be afraid”. He is reminding us that the love of God is like a pebble that is dropped on the smooth surface of a pond. When God’s love truly pierces our hearts, as the pebble on the pond, our own love will ripple outward perfectly in symmetry with the universe, embracing everything in its path with His reflected glory. When God’s love truly pierces our hearts, we reflect with sorrow on our sins and transgressions. We as Lord Tennyson acclaimed must develop the mantra: 

“To Strive, To Seek, To Find and not to Yield.” 

We seek to develop within ourselves genuine compunction of the heart. 

Compunction is a deep and lasting sorrow for our sins. It is not a gloomy or depressing sorrow, but an intelligent admission of your sins and a sincere determination to do something about them. It is a realization of how you have failed such a loving God and brings with it a readiness to accept anything that He wills. Compunction opens the way too many blessings and precious graces. Compunction will cause the world to lose its magic attraction. Compunction will help you realize how quickly earthly joys pass away, while eternity goes on forever. By compunction a man begins to attack his faults and to practice the opposite virtues.[1] 

Let us develop within ourselves the virtues of Mary Most Holy: Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Self-Control, and Love.

·        Start May 25 to end on June 27, the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

·        About St. Camillus de Lellis and what he used to say to his spiritual sons about dealing with impure thoughts.

St. Camillus de Lellis was a giant of a man, six feet, six inches tall and big in every way. Named after his mother, he was born to her, heralded by a dream, when she was almost sixty years old. In her dream, Camilla saw her baby, "his breast signed with the cross, and followed by a troop of children similarly signed." During Mass on the 25th of May in the jubilee year of 1550, she began to go into labor and, hastening home, was persuaded by a friend to lie in the stable that her son might be born there as was the Infant Savior. This she did, and at the moment of the Elevation at the High Mass, Camillus was born. His father was so delighted that he leaped about the house like a wild man, and in answer to the protests of the mother he asked how she could object to his dancing for joy, "seeing we have such a big son that we could send him to school this very day!"

As he grew older he became increasingly difficult to manage and finally his disposition was quite beyond control. He ran away from school whenever he felt like it, took to playing cards, was the despair of his mother and, after her death, of his tutor as well. At seventeen he went off to the wars with his father; they both fell sick, his father died and left Camillus an orphan and destitute with only his sword, his dagger and his honorable name for his inheritance — together with his extravagant tastes and his mad passion for gambling. Hobbling home from the wars, humiliated and in pain from horrible sores on his legs, he was overcome by remorse for his sins and vowed to become a Franciscan. This was something he would try to do twice, in vain, for his vocation was not Franciscan, nor was his disposition, intolerable to his companions in the world, one to add to the harmony of a religious community. Repenting, falling back into his quarrelsome, gambling ways, repenting again, he was finally "converted," as he called it, on the feast of the Purification, 1575. Then began the long life of service to God's sick, the gathering together of men who would serve them with him, the forming of a religious congregation called the Ministers of the Sick for this work. He was the spiritual father of many priests and brothers and the spiritual son of St. Philip Neri, his confessor and dear friend.

Well might such a man know how best to put the devil and his temptation to rout. He never forgot, it is said, the advice given him by a Capuchin friar during the days when he struggled so to overcome himself, and all his life he counseled others with the same words. While temptations against chastity seem not to have been St. Camillus' greatest difficulty, his words apply stunningly to such temptations and boys especially will find them to their liking. They are fighting words, from a giant of a saint. In our idiom St. Camillus says, "When the devil tempts you in your thoughts, spit in his eye!"

Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958

St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi[2] Carmelite mystic from Italy

Baptized Caterina, and affectionately known as "The Passion Flower of the Eucharist," St. Mary Magdalene was taught mental prayer, also known as meditation, at the tender age of nine, at the request of her mother. By age 10 she received her First Holy Communion and began experiencing mystical ecstasies. When one experiences ecstasy, one is so filled with the Divine Presence that the faculties of the soul (intellect, will, etc.) are "suspended" and one is utterly filled with the love of God that you might even fall unconscious.

Saint Mary Magdalene's first ecstasy happened at the sight of a beautiful sunset. She was so struck by the beauty of God's creation that she trembled and became speechless. Have you ever spent time just taking in the beauty of God's creation? Especially now that summer is set to begin, take time to put down the cell phone, shut off the television, and go outside and enjoy a gorgeous summer sunset. Take in the grandeur of God's creation and find the Creator of Love in the simplest of things, or rather, let Him find you.

Soon after her first ecstasy and intimately encountering her Beloved, Mary Magdalene made a private vow of virginity to the Lord. When her parents wanted her to marry, as she was their only daughter, she revealed to them her vow to the Lord, and she soon entered a Carmelite monastery. Her great love and devotion to the Eucharist is what led her to enter the Carmel of St. Mary's of the Angels, who had a special dispensation to daily receive Communion, which was almost unheard of at the time. In her first ecstatic experience after entering, her sisters found her weeping before a crucifix and crying out, "O Love, you are neither known nor loved." She experienced within her soul the pain that her Beloved Jesus experiences from the rejection of so many souls on the earth. No doubt her tears, prayers, and penances brought consolation to the wounded heart of Jesus, and you too can console his heart by your prayers and penances. You may or may not have emotional experiences or ecstasies in this lifetime, but your meditation on His passion and your prayers and penances in reparation for those who reject His love can bring great consolation to His heart.

For the majority of her time as a religious, St. Mary Magdalene endured great physical suffering and illness. While experiencing excruciating suffering, our Lord consoled her with His overwhelming presence and love. Mary Magdalene was quite embarrassed by the attention this brought her. Some sisters ridiculed her, and some sisters wished they experienced ecstasy like her. She would say to those sisters that they should be thankful that they are strong enough to advance in holiness without the Lord Jesus having to give extra graces to keep them going. She was convinced of her misery and weakness because Jesus would grant her so many graces while in suffering. That being said, she also endured a five-year period of great dryness and severe temptations against purity and to suicide. She received visions of the souls in Purgatory during her time of purification and also received the sacred stigmata invisibly, as she begged the Lord to keep it hidden. What is at the heart of this lesson is being thankful for whatever season you are in with the Lord in your life. Whether in a time of great consolation or desolation, the key is to persevere in prayer and penance, in gratitude for God and always seeking His will.

Lastly, St. Mary Magdalene was known to have playful, bantering tones with Jesus. One account given was that of Jesus offering her a crown of thorns and a crown of flowers. She always insisted on the crown of thorns, desiring to suffer for Jesus, but He would always insist on giving her the crown of flowers. When He admonished her, "I called and you didn't care," she came back with, "You didn't call loudly enough" and told the Lord to shout His love. I would encourage those of you reading this to grow in your personal relationship with Jesus. Talk with Him throughout your day, make Him your best of friends, because He wants to be! Don't be afraid to "be real" with Him, to share your struggles and emotions, and also thank Him! Get to know Jesus, love Jesus, and ask for St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi's intercession so that her cry, "O Love, you are neither known nor loved," can be changed to, "You are known and loved!"

 

Please pray for the intentions of my youngest son Vincent Michael (Conqueror-Who is like God) whose birthday is today.

 


Apostolic Exhortation[3]

Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling

of The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I. The Graces of Holy Communion

i. Holy Communion changes and transforms us into “Alter Christus.”

40. At the end of Mass, the priest dismisses the faithful with the words, “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” However, the original Latin words of dismissal say: “Ite, missa est”, which literally means “Go, you are sent.”  Every time we leave the threshold of the church after having received the Eucharist, we bring the love of Christ to our daily activities and to every person we meet.

ii. We become “One Body and One Spirit in Christ.”

41. The ultimate effect of the Holy Eucharist is not only the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ for our spiritual nourishment, but the transformation of those who receive Holy Communion into “one body, one spirit in Christ” (III Eucharistic Prayer and 1 Cor 12:12-13). Through this personal relationship with the Risen Jesus in the Eucharist, we experience the self-sacrificing love of Jesus, who invites us to imitate His love and to bring that love to everyone and every situation of our daily life. We can see how the Eucharist changed the lives of the early Christians. Flowing from their Eucharistic experience with the Risen Lord, they lived, in loving communion with one another; they ate together and prayed together in the Temple. They placed their possessions at the feet of the Apostles for the needs of the poor. They were of “one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32).

42. The Eucharist also played a central role in strengthening this communion in the life of the venerable servant of God, Cardinal Francis Nguyen Van Thuan. As coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon, Vietnam, he was arrested on August 15, 1975, soon after South Vietnam fell to the Communist regime. He spent the next 13 years in prison, moving between forced residences, re-education camps, and nine years of solitary confinement. In his book “Testimony of Hope”, he describes how the Eucharist became his hope and light in the darkness of prison camp. With three drops of wine and a drop of water in the palm of his hand, he would secretly celebrate Mass. And those Masses became for him a source of consolation and strength in such a difficult time in his life.

To be continued

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE:

THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION ONE

"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"

Article 1-THE REVELATION OF GOD

I. God Reveals His "Plan of Loving Goodness"

51 "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature."

52 God, who "dwells in unapproachable light", wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son. By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.

53 The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously "by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other" and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: the Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father's pleasure.

Shavuot – The Holiday that Nurtures Our Souls[4]begins at sunset

Shavuot is one of the three major Jewish festivals and comes exactly fifty days after Passover. After being redeemed from Egyptian slavery, the Jews arrived on Mount Sinai and received the Torah from God. This wonderful event took place 3,319 years ago. The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven weeks, 49 days, between Passover and Shavuot during which the Jewish people prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah. During this time period they prepared themselves spiritually and entered into an eternal covenant with God with the giving of the Torah. Shavuot also means “oaths.” With the giving of the Torah, the Jewish people and God exchanged oaths, forming an everlasting covenant, not to forsake one another. Every year on this day we celebrate and renew our acceptance of God’s gift and our eternal bond with Him. There are several interesting customs associated with this holiday. We stay up all night learning Torah, read the Ten Commandments and the book of Ruth, and eat milk products, especially cheesecake. The custom of learning is especially fitting for the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah. The custom of dairy products seems surprising. Among the different explanations given for this custom, one points out that the Hebrew word for milk is chalav. When the numerical value of the letters in this word are added together – 8; 30; 2 – the total is forty. Forty hints to the number of days Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Torah. I would like to present another, perhaps more personal and spiritual reason for this custom. Unlike meat that nourishes the flesh, milk is full of calcium which nourishes the bones. The Hebrew for bones is “Atzmot תמוצע ” which is also the word that means “essence.” This custom hints to the fact that on this holiday we absorb the Torah which nourishes our essence. Additionally, milk is the most basic of foods that a nursing mother shares with her infant. The mother literally gives of her essence and nurtures the essence of the baby. This relationship parallels the personal bond and love that a mother shares with her child. On Shavuot we celebrate the personal relationship that we have with God, when He gives over His essence, the Torah, and we absorb it into the essence of our soul. 

Shavuot Facts[5]

·       On Shavuot, it is customary to adorn the Synagogue and home with flowers and green plants.  This is in memory of the foliage around Mount Sinai

·       On Shavuot, it is customary to eat milk products.  Many Jewish houses, replace the normal meat/chicken dinners with a festivity of milk products, including cheesecake, blintzes, cheeses and ice cream.  This custom commemorates the acts of the children of Israel at Sinai.  Having received the Law, they understood that their dishes were no longer Kosher, having been used for milk and meat together.  They also were in need of teaching on the intricate details of ritual slaughter (Shechitah).  Lacking these, they opted to eat only milk products.

·       It is customary in Orthodox and some traditional communities to partake in Bible/Jewish Law lessons throughout the eve and night of Shavuot.  This is in order to accept the Torah for their generation.  In Jerusalem, many people learn the whole night through until dawn and then walk to the Western Wall at sunrise and pray the morning and festival prayer from around 5-8 am.  Thereafter, they go home for a hearty festive breakfast and then sleep the rest of the morning.

·       The Book of Ruth is read in the Synagogue in the Morning of Shavuot.  Ruth converted to Judaism and it is her descendant, David, who became King in Israel.  The book of Ruth demonstrates that achieving a high level in Judaism, is neither ethnic nor genetic.

·       It is customary to wear new clothes on Shavuot.  In the seven weeks (the Omer) preceding Shavuot, people refrain from purchasing major clothing items.

Shavuot Top Events and Things to Do

·       Visit Mount Sinai (Egypt) or Israel.

·       Read the Book of Exodus, Joshua or Ruth in the Bible.

·       Watch the epic film Moses with Burt Lancaster, available for viewing on Youtube

·       Eat Milk products.

Thursday Feast

 

Thursday is the day of the week that our Lord gave himself up for consumption. Thursday commemorates the last supper. Some theologians believe after Sunday Thursday is the holiest day of the week. We should then try to make this day special by making a visit to the blessed sacrament chapel, Mass or even stopping by the grave of a loved one. Why not plan to count the blessing of the week and thank our Lord. Plan a special meal. Be at Peace. 

May 22, St. Rita of Cascia, Pt. of "impossible" cases[6]

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: The sanctification of the Church Militant.

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Rosary




[1] Paone, Anthony J., S.J. My Daily Bread, Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

[2]https://www.thedivinemercy.org/articles/who-was-st-mary-magdalene-de-pazzi

[5]http://www.wincalendar.com/Shavuot


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