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Friday, March 15, 2024

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

St. Longinus-Ides of March 

1 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 6

When they saw the great number of the troops, they were very much AFRAID, and many slipped away from the camp, until only eight hundred of them remained.

The rats are the first to leave a sinking ship. You can tell when something is about to fail because large numbers of people begin to leave it.

Death of Judas Maccabee[1]

Judas cleverly negotiated a treaty of alliance with Rome that recognized Judea as an independent state. For the first time since before the Babylonian exile, the Jews had their own sovereign nation. Demetrius feared a Rome-supported Judea might induce another of his inherited enemies, Egypt, to join the alliance and invade his empire through Judea. Basing his actions on reports that the Maccabean army was disbanding, Demetrius dispatched a 24,000-man expedition in the spring of 160 bc. Sure enough, Judas was unable to mobilize more than 3,000 troops. Joining battle at Elasa, about six miles east of Beth Horon, the armies clashed briefly before the Jewish warriors, demoralized by the eight-to-one odds, broke and fled, leaving their peerless commander with just 800 valiant veterans. Leading his small band in a desperate charge on the enemy’s right flank, Judas killed a great number of Seleucids but failed in the crucial objective of killing their commander, General Bacchides. Instead, Judas and his little group of loyalists were wiped out. It had taken the Syrians far too long, but in Bacchides they finally found a leader capable of concocting viable strategy and instilling needed flexibility into Syrian formations. Considering the overpowering numerical advantage the Syrians enjoyed in that April clash, it could be said the Maccabees were drawn into a trap even if they realized it from the beginning, for they could not afford to allow this pagan multitude to rampage unchecked throughout Judea. Confronting it when they did, before they had time to assemble sufficient soldiers, was unavoidable—and fatal.

The Legacy of Judas Maccabeus

For no small reason, Judas was called “the Hammer.” His unparalleled battlefield adaptability, proficiency in exploiting an enemy’s mistakes, ability to fight at night, and effective use of terrain, surprise, and espionage made him the bane of succeeding Seleucid commanders. After Judas’s death, his brothers Jonathan and Simon eventually achieved the Judean dream of religious and political independence. It was the first time in recorded history that a subject people had won a revolutionary war for religious freedom. Because he fought in just one poorly chronicled war, Judas Maccabeus has largely been lost among the giant shadows cast by Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Shaka Zulu, and other great conquerors. Unlike them, Judas was a man of noble motives who fought because he had no other choice. Unfettered by outmoded convention, he taught himself and his followers to fight via methods too subtle to be perceived by their powerful but outmoded adversaries. Today’s high-tech military strategists would be well served to study the humble partisan leader of long ago, who wanted nothing more for himself and his people than to be allowed to live and worship in peace.

Martyrdom[2]

If we look at the modern world, we see nothing but hostility toward the Faith. In the Middle East, Christians are being martyred in the most brutal way. Every day brings a new threat. Persecution is open and the choice is clear: Serve Christ or die. To live and embrace the Faith in such circumstances requires a great deal of holy fearlessness.

Even in the “civilized” West, persecution is no less present, albeit in a different and more subtle form. We are asked by the powers that be to acquiesce, to compromise on the most fundamental moral issues that exist.

·         Things like the nature of marriage

·         The protection of innocent human life in the womb

·         The nature and purpose of human sexuality

Our suffering may be in the form of an angry boss, the loss of a business, or simply persecution with words. While no one is holding a knife to our throat, the choice is just as clear: Serve Christ or suffer. Tragically, there are many bishops and prelates who like the Pharisees—fear the opinion of men more than they fear God. There are many in the hierarchy who would rather make peace with the world and its evil ideologies than suffer with Jesus in obedience to the will of God. As St. Paul said, “I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, [they] live as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). These men will have their reward, but as for us, let us serve Christ. Let us choose always to obey God rather than men, no matter what the cost. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the holy boldness that he gave on the day of Pentecost to the once cowardly St. Peter. Let us strive after the courage of men like St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher, who joyfully chose martyrdom rather than deny the truths of the Faith. Most of all, let us take up our crosses and follow Christ, who said, “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” May the will of God be done. 

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent[3]

 Prayer. 

O God, Who renewest the world by unspeakable mysteries, grant, we beseech Thee, that Thy Church may profit by Thy eternal institutions, and not be deprived of Thy temporal assistance. Amen

 

EPISTLE, Kings xvii. 17-24.

 

In those days the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick, and the sickness was very grievous, so that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elias: What have I to do with thee, thou man of God? art thou come to me that my iniquities should be remembered, and that thou shouldst kill my son? And Elias said to her: Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom and carried him into the upper chamber where he abode and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord my God, hast Thou afflicted also the widow, with whom I am after a sort maintained, so as to kill her son? And he stretched, and measured himself upon the child three times, and cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord my God, let the soul of this child, I beseech Thee, return into his body. And the Lord heard the voice of Elias: and the soul of the child returned into him, and he revived. And Elias took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber to the house below, and delivered him to his mother, and said to her: Behold thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elias: Now, by this I know that thou art a man of God, and the word of the Lord in thy mouth is true.

 

GOSPEL. John xi. 1-45.


 

At that time: There was a certain man sick named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary and of Martha her sister. (And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.) His sisters therefore sent to Him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. And Jesus hearing it, said to them: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God: that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. "When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He still remained in the same place two days: then after that He said to His disciples: Let us go into Judea again. The disciples say to Him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone Thee: and goest Thou thither again? Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walks in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world: but if he walks in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. These things He said, and after that He said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth: but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well. But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that He spoke of the repose of sleep. Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead; and I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe but let us go to him. Thomas, therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with Him. Jesus therefore came and found that he had been four days already in the grave. (Now Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Martha, therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus was come, went to meet Him; but Mary sat at home. Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But now also I know that whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee. Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to Him: I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me although he be dead, shall live and everyone that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die forever. Believest thou this? She saith to Him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, Who art come into this world. And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is come and calleth for thee. She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly and cometh to Him. For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but He was still in that place where Martha had met Him. The Jews, therefore, who were with her in the house and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave, to weep there. When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing Him, she fell down at His feet, and saith to Him: Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Jesus, therefore, when He saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled Himself, and said: Where have you laid him? They said to Him: Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept. The Jews therefore said: Behold how He loved him. Biit some of them said: Could not He that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die? Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the sepulcher: now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it. Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to Him: Lord, by this time he stinketh. for he is now of four days. Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up His eyes said: Father, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the people who stand about have I said it: that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me. When He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding-bands, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him and let him go. Many therefore of the Jews who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in Him.

 

Preparing for Battle[4] Know Your Weapons-fasting.


When God’s people fast, the power of their prayers is increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare.

In response to Daniel’s fasting and prayer, God had sent the Archangel Michael to battle a demonic power (called “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”)

If prayer is a spiritual weapon, fasting is the spiritual whetstone on which it is sharpened.

St. Longinus[5] Roman Catholic Church (pre-1969)

St. Longinus was the Roman centurion who pierced the side of Christ with a lance. He is said to have converted to Christianity after experiencing the darkness after Christ's death.

St. Luke tells us that the centurion "gave praise to God", and exclaimed, "Truly this was an upright man." (Luke 23:47)

What was believed to be the Holy Lance of Longinus, was given to Innocent VIII in 1492.

Things to Do:

·         Read more about the statue of St. Longinus at St. Peter's Basilica.

·         Read the Life of Saint Longinus from the Golden Legend.

Ides of March

In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved.[6]

Caesar could garner so much power, but in the end, he was assassinated. No matter how powerful a person or corporation may be, there will be an end to their reign and their influence. By way of contrast, the Lord is the everlasting God. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who has the power of an endless life. Remembering the frailty and fallenness of all men is a crucial part of gaining wisdom. Solomon captured this so well when he wrote “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10) but “the fear of man is a snare” (29:25). Remembering the fact that no matter how powerful a position a man or woman may hold, God “holds their breath in His hands and owns all their ways” (Dan. 5:23) and that “death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Eccl. 7:2).[7]

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION TWO-THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

CHAPTER TWO-YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

Article 6-THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT

IN BRIEF

2392 "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being" (FC 11).

2393 By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.

2394 Christ is the model of chastity. Every baptized person is called to lead a chaste life, each according to his particular state of life.

2395 Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.

2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.

2397 The covenant which spouses have freely entered into entails faithful love. It imposes on them the obligation to keep their marriage indissoluble.

2398 Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By giving life, spouses participate in God's fatherhood.

2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

2400 Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage.

Fitness Friday-Cardio[8]


 

Recognizing that God, the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.

 

Is interval training more effective than steady-state cardio training for fat loss?

 

·         Exercise combined with diet modifications has been shown to be more effective than either alone for promoting weight loss.

·         Establishing exercise habits during the weight loss phase can help prevent weight regain and yo-yo dieting down the road. One of the most common excuses for lack of exercise is a lack of time.

·         These results show that the type of cardio performed for fat loss (intervals vs. steady state) probably doesn’t matter as much as the number of calories burned in the exercise session. Moreover, the overall amount of fat loss is small.

·         Focus should be placed on how the exercise session impacts other areas of life, such as appetite, food intake, and leisure-time physical activity.

·         Focus should also be placed on whether you can see yourself sticking with your chosen exercise modality for the long-term.

·         Exercise may not be all that for fat loss, but it certainly impacts fitness and health improvement. As such, all forms of exercise should be encouraged despite their relatively minimal contribution to fat loss.

·         Strength training is especially important for developing lean body mass.

·         High-intensity training such as interval endurance training appears to be more effective at reducing inflammation and increasing insulin sensitivity than lower-intensity training such as steady-state cardio. 

Evidence has shown that exercise has additional benefits on health that warrant its inclusion in daily life, such as reducing inflammation and increasing insulin sensitivity. Moreover, high-intensity exercise appears to be more effective than lower intensity exercise at inducing these beneficial changes, which might be one reason to prefer interval training over steady-state even if fat loss would be similar. Ultimately, though, adherence is key. Thus, enjoyment and personal preferences when it comes to exercise are what’s most important 

·         Spring Break in Panama City Beach March 15-31st.

Slap on your sunscreen and grab your shades for a laid-back spring break on Panama City Beach. This sunny haven on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico beckons with its tagline, “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” You’ll see why once you sink your toes into its unique sugar-white sand. 

NIC’s Corner


o   Spring break Arizona.

 


The Arizona Colleen Program began as the Arizona Colleen Pageant, a heritage pageant, in 1983. It is open to single women of Irish ancestry ages of 18 through 28 years old. The winner serves as "Queen" of the Phoenix St. Patrick's Day Parade and Faire.

 

In 2008, programs were added for younger ladies of Irish descent. The Little Miss Shamrock program selects two 6-12 year olds, and the Arizona Outstanding Irish Teen program, retitled the Arizona Irish Lass program in 2010 selects one-two 13-17 year olds.

 

The Colleen and Rose programs are organized by the Phoenix St. Patrick's Day Parade and Faire committee. The Arizona Colleen program seeks to connect not only the Arizona Irish community, but the global Irish diaspora through events and awareness.



Coffee with Christ 

Christ sips his coffee and looks at me and says, “Your salvation is in eating my body and drinking my blood. In receiving you become a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. So, keep your mind and body pure. Strive to not yield to impurities of the mind and body. Make use of the sacrament of confession if you falter. For in repentance and resting on my heart by the reception of my body you will find salvation, a spirit of quietness and strength; trust in me. 

I ask the Lord, what are impurities of the mind and body? 

He answers a pure mind seeks to focus on protecting and preserving Life, Liberty, and Property. The same is with the body in that any action that takes the life, liberty, or the property of another is unjust.”

 Daily Devotions

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

·         Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 29

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Operation Purity





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