NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Start March 12 to December 12

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

 

Tuesday First Week of Lent

FRANCISCO & JACINTA MARTO

 

Judith, Chapter 11, Verse 17

Your servant is, indeed, a GOD-FEARING woman, serving the God of heaven night and day. Now I will remain with you, my lord; but each night your servant will go out into the valley and pray to God. He will tell me when they have committed their offenses.

 

Holofernes and his servants respond to Judith by marveling at her beauty and at her wisdom. Judith is calm and posed while confronting evil in its lair. She like John the baptizer confronts evil yet in the story of Judith; Holofernes will lose his head, while John for the greater glory of God loses his. 

John is the greatest of the prophets and arguably the least confused and wisest of Christ's disciples, John has the distinction of being the only other person besides the Blessed Virgin and our Lord whose birthday is celebrated by the Church.[1]

Tuesday First Week of Lent[2]

EPISTLE. Isaias Iv. 6-11. 

IN those days Isaias the prophet spoke, saying: Seek ye the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God: for He is bountiful to forgive. For My thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are My ways exalted above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts. And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be, which shall go forth from My mouth : it shall not return to Me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it, saith the Lord Almighty. 

GOSPEL. Matt. xxi. 10-17. 

At that time: When Jesus was come into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved, saying: Who is this? And the people said: This is Jesus the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves: and He saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves. And there came to Him the blind, and the lame in the temple; and He healed them. And the chief priests and scribes seeing the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying: Hosanna to the son of David; were moved with indignation, and said to Him: Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus said to them: Yea, have you never read: Out of the mouth of infants and of suckling’s Thou hast perfected praise? And leaving them, He went out of the city into Bethania, and remained there. 

Prayer. Look down upon Thy family, O Lord, and grant that our minds, which are afflicted by the mortifications of the flesh, may shine in Thy light with the desire of Thee. 

Lenten Calendar 

Read: Lent is a time many often rededicate themselves to prayer. Check out these 9 ways to pray. . . from USCCBs We Are Salt and Light for ideas on how to expand your prayer life this season. 

Pray: Try one of the 9 ways to pray from the article that you have never tried before.   

Act: If you found you liked one of the 9 ways to pray from above to be helpful to you, share your experience with a loved one.  

 

Preparing for Battle[3]

 

Know Your Battle

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. EPHESIANS 6: 10– 13 

The ordinary activity of demons is subtle and occurs within our thought life. They plant ideas within our minds seeking to influence our reason, memory, and imagination— and ultimately, our will. They use various methods to tempt us.

 

  • First, the demons tempt through deception. (The Devil is the father of lies)
  • Second, demons tempt through accusation.
  • Third, the Devil tempts us through doubt as he seeks to diminish our faith. (Don’t hesitate in faith)
  • Fourth, demons tempt us through enticement. (Don’t take the bait)
  • Finally, demons can tempt us through provocation. (Don’t give into vexations)

We should always remember that not all temptations come directly from Satan and his minions. Many of them arise simply from our own weakness and the habits of sin we have developed.

Leadership and fasting[4] 

The practice of fasting that pleases God and goes further than going without food. God does not delight in our denying ourselves but in us turning eyes from ourselves to others and begin to loosen the chains that bind others. God is calling us to live from His values and ethics not ours. Fasting is good in that it redirects our focus and helps us to bring the body back under the control of the mind and spirit, but we must not fast while continuing to harbor destructive thoughts, assumptions and attitudes. Consider what God expects from the “Fasted life.” 

1.      Liberate the oppressed.

2.      Share with the needy

3.      Shelter the homeless

4.      Clothe the naked

5.      Stop judging and accusing others

 

The Practices of a Committed Catholic Man[5]

 

What practices can help us to take up our cross and follow our King?

 

If we think of soldiers who do not remain in strong physical and mental shape and who fail to practice the essential combat arts, we know they will not be ready for battle and will be a danger to themselves and their comrades in arms. The same is true for Catholic men; those who do not prepare and strengthen themselves for spiritual combat are incapable of filling the breach for Christ.

 

While there are many habits and devotions that a Catholic man can form, Bishop Olmstead charges you with keeping these seven basic practices* on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If these practices are not (yet) part of your life, start now!

 

Daily

 

1.      Pray every day. Each Catholic man must start his day with prayer. It is said, “Until you realize that prayer is the most important thing in life, you will never have time for prayer.” Without prayer, a man is like a soldier who lacks food, water, and ammunition. Set aside some time to speak with God first thing each morning. Pray the three prayers essential to the Catholic faith: The Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Pray also at every meal. Before food or drink touches your lips, make the Sign of the Cross, say the “Bless us, O Lord” prayer, and end with the Sign of the Cross. Do this no matter where you are, with whom or how much you are eating. Never be shy or ashamed about praying over meals. Never deny Christ the gratitude that is due to Him. Praying as a Catholic man before every meal is a simple but powerful way to keep strong and fill the breach.

 

2.      Examine your conscience before going to sleep. Take a few moments to review the day, including both your blessings and sins. Give God thanks for blessings and ask forgiveness for sins. Say an Act of Contrition.

 

3.      Go to Mass. Despite the fact that attending weekly Mass is a Precept of the Church, only about one in three Catholic men attend Sunday Mass. For large numbers of Catholic men, their neglect to attend Mass is a grave sin, a sin that puts them in mortal danger. The Mass is a refuge in the Spiritual Battle, where Catholic men meet their King, hear His commands, and become strengthened with the Bread of Life. Every Mass is a miracle where Jesus Christ is fully present, a miracle that is the high point not only of the week, but of our entire lives on Earth. In the Mass, a man gives thanks to God for his many blessings and hears Christ send him again into the world to build the Kingdom of God. Fathers who lead their children to Mass are helping in a very real way to ensure their eternal salvation.

 

4.      Read the Bible. As St. Jerome so clearly tells us, “Ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” When we read God’s word, Jesus is present. Married men read with your wife and your children. If a man’s children see him read the Scriptures, they are more likely to remain in the Faith. My brothers in Christ, this I can assure you: men who read the Bible grow in grace, wisdom, and peace.

 

5.      Keep the Sabbath. From the creation of Adam and Eve, God the Father established a weekly cycle ending with the Sabbath. He gave us the Sabbath to ensure that one day out of seven we will give thanks to God, rest, and be refreshed. In the Ten Commandments, God asserts anew the importance of keeping the Sabbath. With today’s constant barrage of buying and selling and the cacophony of noisy media, the Sabbath is God’s respite from the storm. As Catholic men, you must begin, or deepen, keeping the holiness of the Sabbath. If you are married, you must lead your wives and children to do the same. Dedicate the day to rest and true recreation and avoid work that is not necessary. Spend time with family, attend Mass, and enjoy the gift of the day.

 

Monthly

 

6.      Go to Confession. At the very start of Christ’s public ministry, Jesus calls on all men to repent. Without repentance from sin, there can be no healing or forgiveness, and there will be no Heaven. Large numbers of Catholic men are in grave mortal danger, particularly given the epidemic levels of pornography consumption and the sin of masturbation. My brothers get to Confession now! Our Lord Jesus Christ is a merciful King who will forgive those who humbly confess their sins. He will not forgive those who refuse. Open your soul to the gift of our Lord’s mercy!

 

Confession[6]


 

In the beginning God asks Adam, where are you? Adam had sinned and so he hid from God? After Cain killed Able God asked him, “Where is your brother? Yet again according to catholic tradition Saint Peter was fleeing from crucifixion in Rome at the hands of the government, and along the road outside the city he meets the risen Jesus and this time it is Peter who asks the question in Latin "Quo vadis?" “Where are you going?” to which Jesus replies, "Romam eo iterum crucifigi" ("I am going to Rome to be crucified again"). Peter thereby gains the courage to continue his ministry and returns to the city, to eventually be martyred by being crucified upside-down. Confession is our own turning like Peter around to walk with our Lord: to carry our cross with Him and to suffer with Him if need be. Confession is something you do with your mouth and with your mind, heart and actions. Confession should always be individual, spoken and specific. It is customary for devout Catholics to go to confession frequently and the saints have recommended that we go at least once a month. Yet in recent years some parishes have seen a decline in the number of confessions. It is not that we are having a decline in sin; it is because our hearts have become worldly. Will we have the hearts to see our Lord as He passes us by and even say to Him “Quo Vadis”: have we become so worldly that we have lost a sense of sin? Has our no-fault culture convinced us to keep walking in the opposite direction of our Lord thinking “I’m OK, you’re OK, no matter what choices we have made? Yes, God loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to keep us fat, dumb and happy. We need to experience his forgiveness so that we can heal and grow. “It is better to confess one’s sins than to harden one’s heart.” (Pope St. Clement I)

 

7.      Build fraternity with other Catholic men. Catholic friendship among men has a dramatic impact on their faith lives. Men who have bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men pray more, go to Mass and Confession more frequently, read the Scriptures more often, and are more active in the Faith. Proverbs tells us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). I call on each of our priests and deacons to draw men together in their parishes and to begin to rebuild a vibrant and transforming Catholic fraternity. I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the faith. There is no friendship like having a friend in Christ.

Aids in Battle[7] The Word of God useful for our warfare with evil

These biblical passages provide aids in warfare for those who will ponder and act upon the truths they teach us. Recite them as battle cries in the heat of the conflict. Call on Jesus Christ, our Champion when the battle is fierce, turn your eyes to our victorious commander and place your confidence in Him.

·         To this end the Son of God appeared that He might destroy the works of the Devil. 1 Jn 3: 8

·         Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

·         That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

·         Disarming the Principalities and Powers, He displayed them openly, leading them away in triumph by force of [the Cross]. Col 2: 15

·         Now has come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God.

Preparing for Battle[8] Know Your Weapons 

The weapon of Eucharistic adoration

Outside of Mass, the other great refuge from the Devil and his wiles is prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. St. John Bosco used to tell the boys who were under his care:

·         Listen: There are two things the Devil is deathly afraid of: fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

·         Do you want Our Lord to grant you many graces? Visit him often.

·         Do you want Him to grant you only a few? Visit Him only seldom.

·         Do you want the Devil to attack you? Rarely visit the Blessed Sacrament.

·         Do you want the Devil to flee from you? Visit Jesus often.

·         Do you want to overcome the Devil? Take refuge at Jesus’ feet.

·         Do you want to be overcome by the Devil? Give up visiting Jesus.

·         Visiting the Blessed Sacrament is essential, my dear boys, if you want to overcome the Devil. Therefore, make frequent visits to Jesus. If you do that, the Devil will never prevail against you.

Confession and Holy Communion[9]

One of the Precepts of the Church is to receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion at least once a year, during Lent or Paschaltide. Catholics once dedicated the three days prior to Lent as a special time to go to confession. Shrovetide arose from the desire to prepare for the holy asceticism of the Great Fast. Once Lent begins, however, confession should still be sought out: since Lent is a time for frequent and frank examinations of conscience, confession is a sacrament that should be liberally taken advantage of during this time. 

Guardian Angels[10]

 

Our lives always are better if we work with God rather than against him. To this end God has assigned an angel to protect churches and persons for indeed we are the true temples of God. We should be particularly attentive to our own guardian angels, since they are specifically assigned to our care. Our guardian angels want to help us cooperate with the will of God, and they want to keep us from sin. They help us to comfort others-and they want to keep us safe and from causing harm to others. They are our best friend in that they always want what’s best for us even if it does not coincide with the things, we desire the most and they will undoubtedly help us, especially when we ask them. Learn to ask for what you need. Our angel helps us to answer Gods call for holiness. As we are the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit our angel is charged with protecting our temples and keeping us pure for the presence of God. We must learn to speak to the angels.

 

No evil shall befall you, no affliction come near your tent for he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You can tread upon the asp and the viper, trample the lion and the dragon. (Ps.91:10-13)


Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto[11]



Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after. At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917. Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima Basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima Basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.

Pardon Prayer taught by the Angel of Peace to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia in Fatima during his first apparition in 1916.

Prayer:

My God,
I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee!
I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.
Amen.

This prayer was given by the Angel of Fatima to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.

Prayer:

Oh Most Holy Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
I adore Thee profoundly.
I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity
of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world,
in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and
indifferences by which He is offended.
By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
Amen.

In light of the fact that both Francisco and Jacinta died of influenza let us pray for our lady’s intercession in the coronavirus. 

February 20th Bls. Francisco Marto & Jacinta Marto[12]


Get Ready for Spring in Dallas

Can’t wait for spring? Head to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden to see the largest floral festival in the Southwest which features an explosion of color from more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms, thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION TWO-THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

CHAPTER ONE-YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND

Article 2 THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

III. The Christian Name

2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." In Baptism, the Lord's name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. the patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. the "baptismal name" can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. "Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment."

2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." the baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior's grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties.

2158 God calls each one by name. Everyone's name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.

2159 The name one receives is a name for eternity. In the kingdom, the mysterious and unique character of each person marked with God's name will shine forth in splendor. "To him who conquers . . . I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it." "Then I looked, and Lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads."

Ember Days[13]

One question that comes up repeatedly is why are the Ember Days only Wednesday, Friday and Saturday? Is there any rhyme or reason to these days?

In the days of the early church, Mass was originally only on Sundays. Gradually other days were added, the development can be seen in connection with the Roman Station Churches, as I wrote about last year in Roman Pilgrimage: Station Churches. The Ember Days fall on the days that had assigned stational churches, originally Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Station churches for Thursdays were a much later addition and are not included in the Ember Days.

Unique Character of the Spring or Lent Ember Days

The Lent Ember Days fall on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during the first week of Lent. There are four major intentions of the Quarterly Ember Days, but each set of days has a different flavor according to the corresponding liturgical season.

The Lent Ember Days were the last ones added to the liturgical calendar, and they have a slightly different character than the other three. Since the Lenten season already had fasting and abstinence, observing Ember Days in Lent only added a little extra in penance to the already formerly strict laws of Lent.

The focus of the Lenten Ember Days:

1.      Consecration of the New Season. The other Ember Days marked thanksgiving for different harvests, but the Lent Ember Days did not. Instead, this was a time of consecrating the new spring to God and asking blessing on the upcoming growing season. This was also a time of thanksgiving for the gift of light. Instead of harvest offerings on Ember Wednesday, flowers were usually presented and blessed. The symbol of the Lenten Ember Days is the Paschal and baptismal candles. (I have not found any evidence, but I conjecture that perhaps the wax harvest from the honeybee might have been featured during these Lenten Ember Days? It would seem to be a logical connection.)

2.      Days of Spiritual Renewal. Holy Mother Church provides us so many opportunities to redirect, refresh and renew. The Lenten Ember Days blends with the season of Lent, providing reminders to continue and persevere in the spirit of conversion and penance.

3.      Praying for Priests. The Church no longer regularly ordains priests during the Quarterly Ember Days, but this is a special time, particularly Ember Saturday, to pray for priests and for seminarians, particularly the ones who are about to be ordained within the year.

4.      Reflecting the Spirit of the Season. Each set of Ember Days reflect the season of the Liturgical Year in which they occur. The Lenten season focuses on our conversion of our hearts, and also a focus on the supernatural life we receive at baptism, whether it be as a catechumen or a renewal of baptismal promises.

Daily Devotions

·         Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Reparations for offenses and blasphemies against God and the Blessed Virgin Mary

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion

·         Pray Day 4 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops

·         Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

·         Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 6

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary

       



[2] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[3]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.

[4] Maxwell, John. The Maxwell Leadership Bible.

*Let us be faithful to these practices as Naaman was faithful to wash himself seven times in the Jordan to cleanse himself of leprosy at the instruction of the prophet Elias.

[6] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 28. Confession.

[7]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.

[8]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.

[10] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 5. Guardian Angels

Comments