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Last Sunday after Pentecost

 

Job, Chapter 1, Verse 8-9

8 The LORD said to the Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, FEARING God and avoiding evil.” 9 The Satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing?

 

The devil is the author of fear. The opposite of fear is not bravery but love. Christ showed his love for us by breaking the power of the devil by overcoming death.  He showed us His love by sharing our human nature. He asks us in the gospel to love as He loved. ”I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Christ therefore restores Gods original intend to give man life eternal and voiding the death that the devil had brought into the world. The fear of death is a fear based on the false conception that death marks the end of a person’s kindred with God. Jesus deliberately allied himself with us in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest in our behalf; expiating our sins as one who experienced the same tests as we. We usually give in to our sinfulness when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT). To halt sinful behaviors we must practice acts of love so that when we are hungry let us give food to the hungry; when we are angry let us remember to secure justice for the oppressed; when we are lonely let us remember to keep faith with our brethren; and when we are tired let us take up the yoke of Christ; for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. 

Ponder this day if the Lord is calling you to the Priesthood or the religious life.

 

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The Last Sunday of the Church Year[1] 

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, formerly referred to as "Christ the King," was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations. Today's Mass establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 

1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him"; 

2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession. 

3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy”. 

4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion. 

Today's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 

1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings. 

2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places. 

3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever”. 

4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world." —

 

Indeed, we all are called to be fishers of men; the Lord calls all; truly we are not powerless for He gives us his very flesh that we may become Christ to everyone we encounter.

Christ the King as Represented in the Liturgy

The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: The King, radiant, majestic, and divine.

With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation in the Temple, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!

If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ's royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, "Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!" It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, "The royal banners forward go," is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, "Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!" During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King's triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: "Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore" (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ's kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.

We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: "The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore" (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, "The Lord is King". Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning, we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: "To the King of ages be honor and glory." Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus "who lives and reigns forever." Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: "the king's house"), upon the altar as His throne.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Exhortation[2]

The most holy council, then, earnestly entreats all the laity in the Lord to answer gladly, nobly, and promptly the more urgent invitation of Christ in this hour and the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Younger people should feel that this call has been directed to them especially and they should respond to it eagerly and generously. The Lord renews His invitation to all the laity to come closer to Him every day, recognizing that what is His is also their own (Phil. 2:5), to associate themselves with Him in His saving mission. Once again, He sends them into every town and place where He will come (cf. Luke 10:1) so that they may show that they are co-workers in the various forms and modes of the one apostolate of the Church, which must be constantly adapted to the new needs of our times. Ever productive as they should be in the work of the Lord, they know that their labor in Him is not in vain (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).

Things to Do[3]

·         A procession for Christ the King on this feast day, either in the Church or at home is appropriate for this feast. The Blessed Sacrament would be carried, and the procession would end with a prayer of consecration to Christ the King and Benediction. Try to participate if your parish has a Christ the King procession. If not, try having one at home (minus the Blessed Sacrament).

·         Read Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) which shows that secularism is the direct denial of Christ's Kingship.

·         Learn more about secularism - read the Annual Statement of the Bishops of the United States released on November 14, 1947.

·         Being a relatively newer feast on the Liturgical calendar, there are no traditional foods for this day. Suggested ideas: a wonderful family Sunday dinner, and bake a cake shaped as a crown or King Cake or a bread in shape of a crown in honor of Christ the King.

·         A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted; if it is recite publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.

The Ego and the King[4] 

On the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Now see how he takes our nature out of love in His passion; Jesus is alone; the crowds who sang ‘hosanna!’ as he entered Jerusalem just five days previously are now shouting, ‘Crucify him!’  He has been accused unjustly. His mission has all but collapsed. His friends have run away; one of them has sold him, another says that he does not even know him.  And now he stands before the most powerful person in the land on a falsified charge.  This is a really bad day, and it is about to get worse.  He will be flogged; he will walk the way of the Cross ... what happens next is well known to us all.  It is a day which seems, by our normal standards, to be characterized by failure and abandonment.  This is not our usual idea of what happens to a king. What we have here are two worlds, two kingdoms that come face to face as Jesus stands before Pilate. On the one side we have this earthly ruler representing the most successful empire the world had ever seen, a man with economic, political and military power: a successful man, with a reputation. This is someone to be taken seriously. And in Jesus we have God’s world, the Kingdom of God personified, and a completely different set of values where we are not subjects or slaves, but we are now friends. We are not equals; God is the Creator, the maker and author of all, but our relationship with God has been restored. We have a king who rules over an eternal kingdom which, in the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer for this feast, is described as: 

·         a kingdom of truth and life,

·         a kingdom of holiness and grace,

·         a kingdom of justice, love and peace. 

But which world do we value?  Inevitably as Christians we inhabit both of these worlds, we move between them.  We may spend six days a week living in one kingdom, but only one matters, and we know which one, but it is often hard to choose.  Pilate represents one kingdom; Jesus represents the other. In the Nicene Creed there are only two people (apart from Jesus) that are mentioned by name – Pilate and Mary – and again they show this same contrast: Pilate is wealthy, powerful, male, successful, secure, safely married; he has most of the things that many of us desire.  Mary on the other hand, at the Annunciation, is a young woman, pregnant out of wedlock and therefore suspect, and at risk of exclusion from the Jewish community.  

She is one of the anawim, the voiceless, the poor who yearn for good news.  Few of us desire to be like this. We have these two worlds, two kingdoms.  Only one of them is the Kingdom of God; only one of them is true, eternal and universal.  But which do we choose? Which do we hope for?  For which am I ambitious?  If we are honest with ourselves, very often we would rather be Pilate. But it is not about us, it is about Jesus.  He is king, no one else.  To talk of kingship or lordship can evoke images of oppressive or coercive systems, but for Jesus kingship is about humility and service.  

This feast is not to flatter a king with a fragile ego in need of reassurance, but to celebrate in gratitude the love and kindness of someone who is so committed to us that he will not compromise even in the face of the most powerful in the land, and who will not baulk even at death itself.  The image of the Shepherd King may not be an especially rich one for most of us, but it was immensely powerful for the people of Israel, evoking ideas of care and love.  All of this is in contrast to the kingship of power and domination, the reigns of kings that do not have the best interests of everyone at heart.  This is the king who is lord over life and death and all there is. There is plenty of ambition in this world; that is not necessarily a bad thing.  

But Christians are called to be ambitious for the Kingdom, not for ourselves; to seek power not in order to dominate, but to serve.  The only throne that this king found was the cross.  We are not to seek thrones of glory on which we can be admired, and if we do get them then we ought to pray for a very large dose of humility; we are to pray before the Throne of Glory from which we will receive mercy, love and hope. In a world where we are so often encouraged to seek power and success, it can be difficult to accept the truth of this; however, this truth is not a proposition or an idea, but a person to get to know.  ‘Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’, says Jesus – and Pilate does not hear him.  

One of the reasons the Church says that each Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation is because in order to get to know this person, in order to be people of the truth we have to meet him – in the Word and sacrament – and spend time with him, listen to his voice: to find out about the Kingdom of God. This is not easy, and we need the support of each other, the support of the Church.  We, like Jesus, will probably encounter denial or betrayal.  Like Judas and Peter, we may at times betray or deny him; these are risks for us also.  But Christians are future-oriented people, and we are asked to have a vision of a better world, not just in the next life but in this, and to dream of a kingdom in which Christ is the king.  We are people of hope –people who, in the future, can be free from our past and the worst we have done: our spectacular sins – the betrayals, the denials; and our mundane, ordinary and petty ones.  But this hope is fragile and needs to be protected.  

In the Mass for the Feast of Christ the King we are asked to bring our worst to the Lord, to bring our nightmares and our horror.  Our nightmare can be turned into dreams of hope; there is a future, death is not the end, Good Friday is followed by the resurrection.  God will make all things new.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus show us this.  Bring your best and your worst, your dreams and your nightmares to the altar.  We have a king who can cope with that, a king who can cope with us.  Thank God for that.  

ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[5]

CHAPTER I

DIES DOMINI

The Celebration of the Creator's Work

"Shabbat": the Creator's joyful rest

12. In the Creator's plan, there is both a distinction and a close link between the order of creation and the order of salvation. This is emphasized in the Old Testament, when it links the "shabbat" commandment not only with God's mysterious "rest" after the days of creation (cf. Ex 20:8-11), but also with the salvation which he offers to Israel in the liberation from the slavery of Egypt (cf. Dt 5:12-15). The God who rests on the seventh day, rejoicing in his creation, is the same God who reveals his glory in liberating his children from Pharaoh's oppression. Adopting an image dear to the Prophets, one could say that in both cases God reveals himself as the bridegroom before the bride (cf. Hos 2:16-24; Jer 2:2; Is 54:4-8).

As certain elements of the same Jewish tradition suggest,(12) to reach the heart of the "shabbat", of God's "rest", we need to recognize in both the Old and the New Testament the nuptial intensity which marks the relationship between God and his people. Hosea, for instance, puts it thus in this marvellous passage: "I will make for you a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord" (2:18-20).

Last Sunday after Pentecost

 

Prayer.

 

Stir up the wills of Thy faithful, O Lord, we beseech Thee, that, more earnestly seeking after the fruit of good works, they may receive more abundant help from Thy mercy. Amen.

 

EPISTLE. Col. i. 9-14.

 

Brethren : We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding : that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing : being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God : strengthened with all might, according to the power of His glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, giving thanks to God the Father, Who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light : Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love : in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins. This epistle teaches us that we should thank God continually for the infinite grace of calling us to be Christians and members of the Catholic Church. In like manner should we pray, without ceasing, for still greater enlightenment, and greater strength in doing good, until, in our knowledge and in our practice, we attain to likeness with God. 

GOSPEL. Matt. xxiv. 15-35. 

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: When you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth, let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains. And he that is on the house-top, let him not come down to take anything out of his house: and he that is in the field let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the Sabbath. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they shall say to you: Behold, He is in the desert, go ye not out; behold, He is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together. And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be moved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And He shall send His angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. And from the fig-tree learn a parable: when the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So, you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors. Amen, I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. 

Explanation. 

" The abomination of desolation," of which Christ makes mention, is the desecration of the temple, at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, when it was profaned in the most frightful manner, by robbery, murder, conflagration, and the setting up of idols about forty years after the death of Christ. While the Jewish population were perishing, the Christians, following the warning of Christ, fled over the mountains to the city of Pella. Thereby Jesus would indicate how great the danger would be should they be obliged to fly in winter, or on the Sabbath-day, on which they were forbidden to make a journey of more than five hundred paces. False Christs and false prophets," like those here spoken of, according to the testimony of Josephus, were Eleazar, John, and Simon, who appeared at the time of the Jewish war, and, under the pretense of helping the Jews, plunged them into still greater misfortunes. Before the end of the world a false Messias will appear, who is the Antichrist. According to the opinion of the holy fathers, he will be born from among the Jewish people, and is called Antichrist because he will claim to be the redeemer and sanctifier of men and will denounce Christ as an impostor. On account of his malice and cruelty St. Paul calls him the man of sin and the son of perdition (n. Thess. ii. 3), who, out of pride, will sit in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God, and will command all who will not worship him to be put to death. And he will, by his splendor, his promises, his false miracles, succeed so far that not only many Jews (to whom the poor and humble Jesus was too insignificant) will acknowledge him to be the Messias, but even many Christians will deny Christ and adhere to him. Even the elect would be in danger of being deceived by him were it not that for their sake God will shorten those days, as He shortened the days of tribulation at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus now goes on to define the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and says that many of His hearers shall live to see it, which was actually the case. But when the end of the world is to come no one, He says, knoweth; no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone (Matt. xxiv. 36). Let us, therefore, keep ourselves always ready, by a pious life, for the coming of the divine Judge, and with that purpose let us often think on the significant words of Our Lord: " Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." 

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE MOST HOLY FACE OF JESUS

 

"All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, abrilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendour shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)

 

DAILY PREPARATORY PRAYER

 

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary. whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment. We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. (Start novena) 

NINTH DAY


Psalm 51,18-21.


For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn. In your goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on your altar. Sacred Face of our Lord and our God, what words can we do to express our gratitude? How can we speak of our joy? That you have deigned to hear us, that you have chosen to answer us in our hour of need. We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted. We know that you, in your loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of your fullness, the answer to our problems. Mary, our Mother, thank you for your intercession on our behalf. Saint Joseph, thank you for your prayers. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition Pardon and mercy.


Prayer to the Holy Trinity


Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end. Since you have made us after your own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts and all our actions may be always conformed to your most Holy Will, so that after having seen you here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate you face to face, in the perfect possession of you forever in paradise. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary's, one (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine.


(Three times)

 

Act of Consecration


O Lord Jesus, we believe most firmly in You, we love You. You are the Eternal Son of God and the Son Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You are the Lord and Absolute Ruler of all creation. We acknowledge You, therefore, as the Universal Sovereign of all creatures. You are the Lord and Supreme Ruler of all mankind, and we, in acknowledging this Your dominion, consecrate ourselves to You now and forever. Loving Jesus, we place our family under the protection of Your Holy Face, and of Your Virgin Mother, Mary most sorrowful. We promise to be faithful to You for the rest of our lives and to observe with fidelity Your Holy Commandments. We will never deny before men, You and Your Divine rights over us and all mankind. Grant us the grace to never sin again; nevertheless, should we fail, 0 Divine Savior, have mercy on us and restore us to Your grace. Radiate Your Divine Countenance upon us and bless us now and forever. Embrace us at the hour of death in Your Kingdom for all eternity, through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, of all Your Saints who behold You in Heaven, and the just who glorify You on earth. O Jesus, be mindful of us forever and never forsake us; protect our family. O Mother of Sorrows, by the eternal glory which you enjoy in Heaven, through the merits of your bitter anguish in the Sacred Passion of your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace that the Precious Blood shed by Jesus for the redemption of our souls, be not shed for us in vain. We love you, O Mary. Embrace us and bless us, O Mother. Protect us in life and in death. Amen. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. 

Octave of Christ the King[6]

Upon research I have discovered there is no Octave of Christ the King of the Universe. However, I propose to make a retreat; an octave from now through the first Sunday of Advent.

The "eighth day" or octava dies was associated with the weekly Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ every "eighth day", which became a name for Sunday. As circumcision was performed on the "eighth day" after birth, the number 8 became associated also with baptism, and baptismal fonts have from an early date often been octagonal. The practice of octaves was first introduced under Constantine I, when the dedication festivities of the basilicas at Jerusalem and Tyre, Lebanon were observed for eight days. After these one-off occasions, annual liturgical feasts began to be dignified with an octave. The first such feasts were Easter, Pentecost, and, in the East, Epiphany. This occurred in the fourth century and served as a period of time for the newly baptized to take a joyful retreat.

·         I plan to attend Mass daily or via EWTN or the internet

·         Mediate on the virtues of Mary (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding/love and Wisdom. One for each day.

·         Fast doing the Daniel fast (Monday-Saturday).

·         Exercise-Universal Man Plan. 

Humility is a skill you need in this life and the next[7] 

Humbleness, or humility is perhaps an under-rated virtue. It sounds like a very Biblical trait. Indeed, many of the great religious leaders have been described (and celebrated) as humble. 

However, just because humility is old-fashioned does not mean that it is no longer important. 

This page explains more about the meaning of humility, and how it is an important part of developing self-esteem, self-worth, and assertiveness, without aggression or anger. 

What is Humility? 

·         humility, n. the state or quality of being humble: lowliness of mind: modesty. 

·         humble, adj. low: lowly: modest: unpretentious: having a low opinion of oneself. 

Chambers English Dictionary, 1988 edition 

These definitions make humility sound like a very negative quality. But humility, as practiced by the great religious leaders, was not negative. Their opinions of themselves were low only in the sense that they understood that they were not more important than others. They also understood that they were not less important than others, either. Jesus, for example, was not afraid to fight for his right to speak out for others, especially those who were poor and struggling, and he spoke to those in authority in exactly the same way as he spoke to everyone else. 

In other words, humility is not being a ‘doormat’, and allowing people to walk all over you. 

Instead, it is an understanding that every human is equally valuable: a recognition that you are worth no more or less than anyone else. 

Why does humility matter? 

One of the reasons why humility seems old-fashioned is that we are often made to feel that we need to look out for ourselves, because nobody else will do so. 

    “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, you know!” 

This point of view suggests that you need to be aggressive to get what you need in life, which, along with pride, is perhaps the very opposite of humility. 

Our pages on Assertiveness, however, argue that it is more appropriate to be assertive: to be able to stand up for yourself and others, putting your point of view calmly. 

Assertiveness is very definitely compatible with humility: it recognizes that everyone has an equal right to be heard and enables everyone to put their point across. Indeed, it is quite possible to argue that not only is assertiveness compatible with humility, but humility is absolutely essential for developing assertiveness. 

In other words, without a recognition that you are no more or less important than others, it is impossible to recognize that everyone has an equal right to be heard or, indeed, to listen to others openly. 

What about the fit between humility and self-esteem? 

Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. Our definition says that humility is ‘having a low opinion of oneself’, which is clearly closely linked to self-esteem. Being humble, however, does not mean having a poor opinion of yourself, but rather accepting yourself and your many good qualities, as well as your limitations, recognizing that others also have good qualities and are equally valuable. 

Developing Humility 

For many of us, humility is one of the hardest traits to develop, because it has to start from a recognition that you are not always right, and that you do not have all the answers. 

It also requires an acceptance of yourself which many of us find challenging. 

It is relatively easy to be humble when you are at the bottom of the tree, as it were: new in a job, or very junior. The more senior you get, however, the more likely you are to have people looking to you for answers, and the more you find yourself believing that you can help. 

If you are not careful, you can reach senior positions—just the moment at which you most need humility—believing that you are more or less infallible. 

To try to cultivate humility, you may want to try one or more of these activities: 

·         Spend time listening to others. 

·         A key quality of humbleness is to value others and enable them to be heard. Spending time listening to others, and drawing out their feelings and values, enabling them to express themselves, is a very powerful way to start to understand this. 

·         It is important to remember that you are not trying to solve their problems or answer them: just listen and respond to them as a fellow human. 

·         There is more about this in our pages on Listening Skills. 

·         Practice mindfulness and focus on the present. 

·         A key part of mindfulness is accepting what is, rather than judging and commenting on it. An important element of humility is accepting yourself with all your faults, rather than judging yourself for your shortcomings. That doesn’t mean you should not strive to improve, but positively, rather than berating yourself for your negative qualities. 

·         Be grateful for what you have. 

·         In other words, take the time to ‘count your blessings’, and be thankful for them. It is easy to get sucked into a negative spiral of wanting more, whether in yourself, or externally. Taking time to stop, and remember what you have to be grateful for, is a good way to cultivate a humbler, and positive, frame of mind. 

·         Ask for help when you need it. 

    There is, as many of us will ruefully recognize, a form of pride that lies in being able to solve our own problems. Humility, therefore, lies in recognizing when we need help, and being able to ask for it appropriately. 

·             Seek feedback from others on a regular basis. 

    This is, perhaps, particularly important for leaders, but we can all gain from hearing what others think of us. Take time to ask others to provide feedback, anonymously if necessary, and make it clear that you welcome their opinions. Listen to the feedback openly and then be grateful. 

·             Review your actions against the language of pride. 

    Pride and arrogance, which also cover smugness, snobbery, and vanity, are unpleasant words. It can sometimes be hard to avoid feeling a bit proud of ourselves, or vain, or even snobbish. It is often quite pleasant to feel like that, for example, if we have done something good, and everyone is praising us. However, we tend not to call these feelings by name, because the words themselves carry negative connotations. 

   To cultivate humility, review your feelings against the words: ask yourself ‘was that snobbish?’, ‘was I being a bit vain then?’, and be honest about the answers. Recognizing and naming these feelings for what they are is a good step towards humility. 

Looking after your physical and mental health is important. It is, however, not enough. Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs suggests that most of us need more than that. We need to know that we are living our ‘best life’: that we are doing all we can to lead a ‘good life’ that we will not regret later. 

A final thought 

Humility may sound old-fashioned, but that does not mean that a little humbleness is not as important now as ever. 

In an era in which many bemoan the growing ‘selfishness’ and ‘I’ focus of the world, perhaps we should all strive to develop a humbler approach. 

Read more at: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/humility.html 

Advent begins next Sunday-get ready[8]

 

It may seem strange that in a calendar with only one annual cycle of readings, two of the Sundays share virtually the same Gospel; and it may seem stranger still that these two Sundays occur consecutively. The Gospel for the Last Sunday of Pentecost, taken from St. Matthew, contains Christ's twofold description of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the world. That same speech reemerges the following week on the First Sunday of Advent, though in the abridged form that appears in the Gospel of Luke. Why this redundancy?

 

The answer to this question teaches us much about the season of Advent. Advent (from the Latin word for "coming") is generally considered to be the sober yet joyful time of preparation for the Lord's nativity, and rightfully so. This is the beginning of the Church year that corresponds to the ages before Christ, when the world pined away in darkness, waiting for the Messiah. It is also why the closer we come to the Feast of the Nativity, the more we are called by the liturgy to reflect on the events that led up to it, e.g., the Annunciation, the Visitation, and so on. And it is why the season of Advent is marked by an ever-greater urgency in its prayers, begging the Lord to come and tarry not. Yet like the closing Sundays after Pentecost, which strike a predominantly apocalyptic note, the season of Advent also goads us to prepare for the glorious Second Coming of the Lord at the end of time. That is why the last and first Sundays of the liturgical year have the same divine admonition: one is picking up where the other left off. This focus remains throughout Advent, despite the season's increased attention on the Christ Child: in fact, during Advent the traditional Roman Rite frequently speaks of both in the same breath. This double commemoration of the first and second Comings makes sense, since the prophets themselves never distinguished between the two.

 

Yet there is a more profound reason behind the conflation. The Church is teaching us that in order to be ready for the Lord's triumphant return as Judge of the living and the dead, we must prepare as our holy fathers once did for His nativity. The lessons we learn from the season of Advent are to be applied throughout our lives in preparation for our soul's Bridegroom. By liturgically preparing for the Nativity of our Lord, soberly and vigilantly, we prepare ourselves for the Final Judgment.

 

Thus, Advent is a season marked by pious gravitas. Yet it should not be overlooked that it is also a time of restrained joy. The more we are prepared for our Lord's coming, the more we will truly welcome it, moving beyond our well-deserved sense of unworthiness to an exultation in His arrival. In the collect for the Vigil of the Nativity, for example, we read: "Grant that we who now joyfully receive Thine only begotten Son as our Redeemer, may also, without fear, behold Him coming as our Judge."

 

The goal that the Church holds up for us during this important season is to have our hearts so ready for Christ that they will do nothing but leap for joy when we appear before Him. Let us therefore prepare for our Redeemer and our beloved Judge by heeding St. Paul's advice through Advent, casting off the works of darkness, putting on the armor of light, and draping ourselves in the virtues and graces poured forth upon us by almighty God.

 

Advent wreath and calendar[9] 

Many Catholics may be surprised to learn that the Advent wreath actually came from Lutherans living in east Germany. Yet though this custom is relatively recent as far as tradition goes, it has rightly earned a place of prominence among our Advent customs. A simple wreath made of evergreen (yew or fir or laurel) is adorned with four candles equidistant from each other. These candles may be of any color: in some European countries they are all white, though in the U.S. they generally correspond to the liturgical colors of the four Sundays of Advent (three purple and one pink or rose). 

In a dark room, a purple candle is lit on the First Sunday of Advent, another on the Second, the rose candle on the Third Sunday (in commemoration of Gaudete Sunday), and the last purple candle on the Fourth Sunday. Thus, all four candles will be lit for the week before Christmas. 

There is no formal ceremony for the lighting of the wreath or for the prayers that are said around it; there is not even an official Roman formula for blessing the wreath. Catholic families simply pray together for a holy preparation and a holy Christmas, concluding with a traditional Advent hymn. The symbolism of the Advent wreath is simple but effective. The wreath, with its crown-like character, reminds us of the King, while its circular shape betokens the "fulfillment of time" that both Comings bring about. The candles, on the other hand, represent the prophets whose inspired words pierced the darkness under which mankind groaned while waiting for the Messiah; they also represent the elects' hearts burning for Christ.

 

Advent Calendar

 

Another popular Advent custom, also from Germany, creates a similar build-up of anticipation. Advent calendars are colorful pieces of cardboard on which is depicted a many-windowed house. Behind the shutters of each house is a picture or symbol that points to the coming of Christmas. Beginning December 1, the children are allowed to open the shutters of one window per day. Finally, on December 24, the front door of the house is opened, showing the nativity.

 

Jesse Tree[10]

The Jesse Tree dates back to the Middle Ages and came from Europe. Even some ancient cathedrals have Jesse Tree designs in their stained-glass windows. The "tree" is usually a branch or sapling and is decorated with various symbols that remind us of the purpose and promises of God from Creation to the Birth of Jesus Christ. Jesse was the father of King David and God promised David that his Kingdom would last forever. Two centuries after the death of King David, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2) Each Jesse Tree ornament usually consists of a handmade symbol or drawing that represents one of the major stories of the Old Testament along with a brief verse of Scripture from that story.

Jesse Tree Ornaments

If you decide to use one symbol each day during December, there are 24 symbolic ornaments to make for your Jesse Tree, so each family member will need to make several. Making the ornaments is a good project for Sunday afternoons during Advent. To make an ornament, first read the Scripture verses for the day. Then pick out one or two short verses that give the main idea. Copy these verses on the back of the ornament. By this time, you will probably be thinking of various ways to illustrate your Scripture verses. Use lots of creativity in making your ornament! You can use pictures from magazines or old greeting cards. Or draw pictures or symbols yourself. Color them with crayons, pencils, markers or paint. Look around the house for bits and pieces that will make your design beautiful! If you prefer to have a pattern already made, Caryn Talty, at Organic Living for a Healthy Family, has created 26 excellent ornaments which she graciously offers free – both full color and black and white.

Jesse Tree Scriptures (The Symbols Are Only Suggestions)

December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth

December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman

December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite

December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow

December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain

December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush

December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder

December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic

December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes

December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple

December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff

December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star

December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword

December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle

December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart

December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river

On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.

December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book

December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets

December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower

December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains

December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky

December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter

December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host

December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun

Activity Source: Jesse Tree Kit, A by Betsy Walter, Pauline Books and Media, Boston, MA, 1983 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

§  PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY

§  SECTION TWO THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

§  CHAPTER FOUR OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS

§  Article 1 SACRAMENTALS

§  IN BRIEF

1677 Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare men to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.

1678 Among the sacramentals blessings occupy an important place. They include both praise of God for his works and gifts, and the Church's intercession for men that they may be able to use God's gifts according to the spirit of the Gospel.

1679 In addition to the liturgy, Christian life is nourished by various forms of popular piety, rooted in the different cultures. While carefully clarifying them in the light of faith, the Church fosters the forms of popular piety that express an evangelical instinct and a human wisdom and that enrich Christian life. 

Daily Devotions

·         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.

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

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary

 

[10]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=545







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