Monday, February 5, 2024

 Monday Night at the Movies

Frank Borzage, Strange Cargo, 1940


FEAST OF ST. AGATHA-Winter Carnival 

Psalm 115, Verse 11-13

11 Those who FEAR the LORD trust in the LORD, who is their help and shield. 12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us, will bless the house of Israel, will bless the house of Aaron, 13 Will bless those who fear the LORD, small and great alike.

 

Psalm 115 is a response to the enemy taunt, “Where is your God?” This hymn to the glory of Israel’s God ridicules the lifeless idols of the nations, expresses in a litany the trust of the various classes of the people in God, invokes God’s blessing on them as they invoke the divine name, and concludes as it began with praise of God.[1]


 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

FEAST of Saint AGATHA[2]

 

Agatha came from Catania, a city in Sicily. I was stationed there while in the Navy and lived in the small town of Nicolosi which was situated on the Volcano (Etna) near the city of Catania. I was impressed and formed as a young man by the faith and beauty of the people of Sicily.


 

Agatha was born in Sicily and died there a martyr. She belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge - - himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil." Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind.

 

He brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel -- a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, He had her tortured. He refused her any medical care, but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul." Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread. Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna, she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bell makers for an unknown reason -- though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.


 

Prayer: Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen

Things to Do[3]

·         Bake an Agatha loaf! On St. Agatha's feast day people would bake loaves attached to a picture of St. Agatha and prayers for protection from fires. The parish priests would bless the loaves, and people would keep them in their homes in case of a poor harvest and famine. The prayers would then be hung above the main door of each home to invoke St. Agatha's guardianship.

·         Spanish tradition associates this feast day with ancient fertility customs. Young men would visit many farms throughout the countryside, singing songs of praise to St. Agatha and invoking God's blessing upon people, animals, and fields. However, if they did not receive the customary gifts of money or food for their services, they would call down a 'quick old age' upon the ungrateful inhabitants of that farm. Although most of us do not live in such communities where this kind of custom would be practicable or even understood, we can pray to St. Agatha for a greater openness to the transmission of new life in our culture, and actively affirm and support young couples with children whenever possible.

·         St. Agatha is the patron saint against fire. Take this day to establish a fire escape plan for the family and to practice a family fire drill. Also check the smoke detectors, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they are all working. Change the batteries on all the alarms! 

NOVENA TO THE HOLY FACE

DAILY PREPARATORY PRAYER

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.

Second Day

Psalm 51, 5-6a.
My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done.

Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt you so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus. Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Amen.

Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the apostles, Thou who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us, illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations. We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity. May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever. Amen

Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be.
O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

 

February 5 to March 29 (Good Friday)

 

The Very Powerful 54 Day Rosary Novena

 

Seeking Strength, Unity & Protection

 

Unity in Truth

 

Cardinal Robert Sarah recently wrote, "For the time foretold by Saint Paul has come, ‘when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths’ (2 Tim 4:3–4) … Church unity is at stake because there is no unity apart from truth. Jesus told us clearly: ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ (Mt 24:35). Let us trust in His word above any other because ‘you have one master, the Christ’ (Mt 23:10). Church history offers us the testimony of many Christians who preferred to say no to a world of darkness, perversion, and moral decadence, even if it cost them their lives, rather than to lose the treasure that they had discovered in Jesus (see Mt 13:44; Phil 1:21).” -Cardinal Robert Sarah, Catechism of the Spiritual Life.

 

We are engaged in a spiritual battle of historic proportions! We are witnessing an overreach of evil never seen before. It is important to understand Satan’s names: “diabolos” means “he who places division or separation,” and “daio,” the root of “demon,” means “to divide.” We have all seen how these outrageous demonic activities have caused great division in our families and communities.

As Satan seductively coaxes more and more people away from the designs of God, these separated people look back, pointing an accusatory finger at those of us who choose to remain in the will of God, saying, “You are the cause of division because you choose not to join us in the ways of the world!!” We are called “extreme” and “fanatical” when we are simply remaining with our Lord at the foot of the cross.

Yes! We all want UNITY! But, as Cardinal Sarah eloquently states, “There is no unity apart from the truth.” Yet, we wonder if we will ever restore this unity in truth again. What can we do?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “All are called to Holiness…The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.” 

We must call out to God in prayer. We must stay as close to God and His will as possible. We must trust in God’s supernatural power. We must go to Mary to seek her powerful intercession. We must become holy in God’s supernatural strength. And, we must seek God’s supernatural protection during these historic days of persecution against those of us who are simply choosing to unite at the foot of the cross.

Ultimately, this 54 day "Unite at the Foot of the Cross" prayer campaign is about seeking Strength, Unity and Protection:

Strength

President Ronald Reagan once famously stated, “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.” 

St. Paul wrote, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). 

But, how do we get to this place of peace? God has revealed the prescription in so many ways that all boil down to: “When you are well-connected with Me and supernaturally strong, you will find peace.”

The "peace that surpasses all understanding" is what I want for all of us, and why I wrote the Peace Through Strength Prayer Journal. This journal guides us into cultivating the very best ways of the spiritual life; the ways of staying as close as possible to our Lord; the ways of becoming strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Eph. 6:10-12).

I highly recommend using this journal - which was formulated with the guidance of Fr. Chad Ripperger - for this 54 day "Unite at the Foot of the Cross" prayer campaign. You can order your Peace Through Strength Prayer Journal HERE.

 

Unity

 

As I said, this is a historic time. The devil is emboldened like never before.

 

What do we do? UNITE!! Don’t get pulled into the temptation of “in-fighting.” That’s a favorite tactic of the devil. He is the great divider.

 

I am 100% dedicated to UNITING all of us to our Eucharistic Lord and each other. We need to grow our force; our light.

 

The devil is a totalitarian super power right now. We must do the “David thing” and realize that size does not matter. What matters is trust in the power of God, united as an obnoxiously loving family.

 

Protection

 

As it says in Psalm 57 ...

 

Have mercy on me, God, have mercy

for in you my soul has taken refuge.

In the shadow of your wings I take refuge

till the storms of destruction pass by. 

 

There are many prayers and sacramentals, all of which I will get into as we pray together, but the primary way to remain safe and protected is to stay with Him - at the foot of the cross - in fervent love and devotion. Start your day, just right, with the few short prayers that have been revealed to us (these are found in the Peace Through Strength Prayer Journal). Dedication to these revealed prayers are a sign you are not lacking in fervent love of Him; that you want to do it "His way"; that you seek His protection at all times. 

PRAYER AND TRAINING IN HOLINESS!

This 54 day prayer campaign is also a Basic Training in Holiness. Each day, along with praying your rosary and cultivating the very best habits of prayer, holiness trainees will be provided with a 1-2 minute reflection on the qualities of excellence. The first 27 days, trainees will read from passages in scripture, quotes from saints and the catechism on one of the following: Theological Virtues, Cardinal Virtues, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The second 27 days will be excerpts from my very first book entitled, Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ.

The daily reflections for this prayer and training campaign can be found in these two places.

1) You can sign up to receive the 54 Day Rosary prayers with daily reflection in your email. Click Here to Sign Up.

2) You can join the United State Grace Force Facebook group HERE, to receive the reflections each day.You can order the "Peace Through Strength Prayer Journal" at romancatholicgear.com

 

Chill Out at Saranac Lake Winter Carnival


Party Adirondack style. Since its start back in 1897, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has grown into one of the oldest winter carnivals in America. The 10-day event showcases plenty of winter magic, from an ice palace made from blocks of ice to the coronation of a winter carnival king and queen.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

CHAPTER THREE-GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE

Article 3-THE CHURCH, MOTHER AND TEACHER

II. The Precepts of the Church

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. the obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.") requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord. 

The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.

The third precept (“You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.

2043 The fourth precept (“You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.") completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.

The fifth precept (“You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.

Daily Devotions

 

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

·         Carnival: Part Two, the Final Countdown

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary





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