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Monday, March 18, 2024

 Monday Night at the Movies

John Ford, The Fugitive, 1947.

Monday in Passiontide (Week before Holy Week) CLEAN MONDAY 

1 Daniel, Chapter 13, Verse 1-3

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 who married a very beautiful and GOD-FEARING woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses.

 

Susanna is included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details (cross-examination) of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.[1]


 

In the Old Testament we already find admirable witnesses of fidelity to the holy law of God even to the point of a voluntary acceptance of death. A prime example is the story of Susanna: in reply to the two unjust judges who threatened to have her condemned to death if she refused to yield to their sinful passion, she says: " I am hemmed in on every side. For if I do this thing, it is death for me; and if I do not, I shall not escape your hands. I choose not to do it and to fall into your hands, rather than to sin in the sight of the Lord!" (Dan 13:22-23). Susanna, preferring to "fall innocent" into the hands of the judges, bears witness not only to her faith and trust in God but also to her obedience to the truth and to the absoluteness of the moral order. By her readiness to die a martyr, she proclaims that it is not right to do what God's law qualifies as evil in order to draw some good from it. Susanna chose for herself the "better part": hers was a perfectly clear witness, without any compromise, to the truth about the good and to the God of Israel. By her acts, she revealed the holiness of God.[2]

 

In our modern secular world, it is often difficult to find a God-fearing woman and even recognize her. One wonders what the characteristics of a God-fearing woman are. An important thing to remember for all women of real beauty is that love is the inner sense of peacefulness and joy that casts out the outer reflection of beauty. 

God Fearing Woman[3]

These things aren’t things to add to your to-do list. They’re an opportunity to test your heart.  If we have a right ‘fear or understanding of God, then these four characteristics will overflow in our hearts:

1. A woman who fears the Lord isn’t anxious about what’s going to happen in her life.

Firsta woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

Our anxiety reveals what we think about God.

Do we honestly think He’s a sovereign and good Father?  Do we honestly believe He cares about the mundane details of our lives and is working everything out for our good?

If so, it will affect our anxiety about how our kids are going to do in school this Fall or our fears about being single this time next year, or our obsession with how we’re going to pay our bills next month or worry about how we’re going to do in that meeting at work tomorrow.

2. A woman who fears the Lord speaks wisdom and kindness.

Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Proverbs 31, Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

I love this because I’m a big fan of women redeeming passive communication. This verse tells us that if we’re going to be good stewards of our words we have to know and love God.  A right view of Him will affect the way we choose to spend the gift of language He has given us.

3. A woman who fears the Lord is strong.

Proverbs, Verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.”

Think for a second about how you define ‘strength’ Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have.

True strength looks like contentment.

Do you want to know if your fear of the Lord overflows into strength?  Do you envy others?

Threads of discontentment reveal a heart that does not fully grasp the greatness and goodness of our maker.

4. A woman who fears the Lord is for other people, not against them.

A woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others…Proverbs 31, Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.”

Our view of God will play out in our interaction with others.  If we trust that God is for us, it frees us up to be for other people.  We can look out for their interests because we know God is looking out for ours.

All four of these characteristics overflow from a right understanding and relationship with God.

You can’t just get out of your chair and go do these four things to earn the ‘proverbs 31’ merit badge.

If you want to be free of anxiety, if you want to speak kindness and wisdom, if you want to be strong and be for other people, the solution is gloriously complex: fear the Lord.

My hope is that, like me you’ll see this list as a reminder of just how far you have to go in your sanctification.

Let this list remind you of the opportunity you have to grow in your ‘fear’ of the Lord.  Let that opportunity excite you.  There’s more of Him to know.  There’s more of Him to trust.

As we grow in fearing Him we will be transformed – not to the image of some cool Proverbs woman.  We will be transformed into the very image of His Son.

Monday in Passiontide[4] 

Prayer. SANCTIFY our fasts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and mercifully grant us the pardon of all our faults. 

EPISTLE. Jonas iii. 1-10. 

In those days: The word of the Lord came to Jonas the prophet the second time, saying: Arise, and go to Nineveh the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonas arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord: now Nineveh was a great city of three days journey. And Jonas began to enter into the city one day s journey: and he cried, and said: Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed. And the men of Nineveh believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least. And the word came to the king of Nineveh: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Nineveh from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen nor sheep, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water. And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from His fierce anger, and we shall not perish? 

And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and our Lord God had mercy on His people. 

Repent and believe: Do the Nineveh 90 

GOSPEL. John vii. 32-39. 

At that time: The rulers and Pharisees sent ministers to apprehend Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while I am with you: and then I go to Him that sent Me. You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither you cannot come. The Jews therefore said among themselves: Whither will He go, that we shall not find Him? will He go unto the dispersed among the gentiles, and teach the gentiles? What is this saying that He hath said: You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, you cannot come? 

And on the last and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in Him. 

Lenten Calendar[5] 

Read: The Servant Songs, Day One: Within the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we encounter four poetic sections known as the Songs of the Suffering Servant. The specific identity of this Servant of the Lord remains the topic of scholarly debate. Perhaps it refers to the prophet Isaiah himself, perhaps the entire nation of Israel, or possibly the promised Messiah. Christian faith sees these prophetic utterances fulfilled in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Lord. Because of the Christian identification of the Suffering Servant with Jesus, the four Servant Songs become a way of encountering the Lord during this Lenten Season. Not only do they give us a sense of the commitment and endurance that characterized his messianic ministry, but they become a way of touching the bruised face of the Messiah, of hearing the resolute determination that sustained him in the midst of trial, and of rejoicing with him in God’s ultimate vindication of his calling and service. The first song introduces God’s Servant who will establish justice upon the earth. 

Reflect: Today we reflect on the first of the four Servant Songs. 

Pray: Take time with the first Servant Song. Read Isaiah 42:1-4.  

Act: In this passage, the prophet Isaiah portrays a servant who pleases God. This servant shows meekness and is one who will never extinguish even the smallest, faintest light of faith. Likewise, the faith of this servant will never grow dim; distant nations will await his teaching and look for the justice that he brings. 

Lenten Calendar[6] 

Read: Yesterday, we read about the corporal works of mercy, and today we will focus on the spiritual works of mercy, which have long been a part of the Christian tradition, appearing in the works of theologians and spiritual writers throughout history. 

Reflect: Forgiving others is difficult at times because we do not have God's limitless mercy and compassion.  But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, relying on him to help us show others the mercy of God. Are there grudges you are holding on to that you should let go of?  

Pray: the Chaplet of Divine Mercy today. 

Act: In practicing one of the spiritual works of mercy, forgiving others, make an effort to go to Confession before Easter.

Aids in Battle[7] When the enemy seeks to discourage.

When dismayed or grieved let these scriptural promises lift up your soul in trust and hope. Listen to our Lords words of encouragement, and consolation.

·         Because children have blood and flesh in common, so He in the same way has shared in these, so that through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is, the Devil; and might deliver them who, throughout their life, were kept in servitude by fear of death. Heb 2: 14– 15

·         Christ has risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also comes resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made to live. But each in his own turn, Christ as first-fruits, then those who are Christ’s, who have believed, at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He does away with all sovereignty, authority, and power. For He must reign until “He has put all things under His feet.” 1 Cor 15: 20– 25

·         You shall not fear them; for it is the LORD your God who fights for you. Dt 3: 22

·         You draw near this day to battle against your enemies: Let not your heart faint; do not fear, or tremble, or be in dread of them; for the LORD your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. Dt 20: 3– 4

·         No evil will befall the man who fears the LORD, but in trial He will deliver him again and again. Sir 33: 1

·         I give them everlasting life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. Jn 10: 28

Clean Monday[8]-Traditional time for going to confession.

Clean Monday, also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is the first day of Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Christian, Saint Thomas Christians of India and Eastern Catholic churches. It is a moveable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday. The common term for this day, "Clean Monday", refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. It is sometimes called "Ash Monday", by analogy with Ash Wednesday (the day when the Western Churches begin Lent). The term is often a misnomer, as only a small subset of Eastern Catholic Churches practices the Imposition of Ashes. The Maronite Catholic Church and The Mar Thoma Nasranis of India-Syro-Malabar Catholic Church are notable amongst the Eastern rite that employs the use of ashes on this day. Liturgically, Clean Monday—and thus Lent itself—begins on the preceding (Sunday) night, at a special service called Forgiveness Vespers, which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love. The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as "Clean Week", and it is customary to go to Confession during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly. The theme of Clean Monday is set by the Old Testament reading appointed to be read at the Sixth Hour (noon) on this day (Isaiah 1:1–20), which says, in part:

Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool (vv. 16–18).

Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, a notion which was used symbolically in Ivan Bunin's critically acclaimed story, Pure Monday. The happy, springtime atmosphere of Clean Monday may seem at odds with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control, but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the Orthodox approach to fasting, in accordance with the Gospel lesson (Matthew 6:14–21) read on the morning before, which admonishes:

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret... (v. 16–18).

In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that "The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..."



 

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 7-THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT

II. Respect for Persons and Their Goods

2407 In economic matters, respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, so as to moderate attachment to this world's goods; the practice of the virtue of justice, to preserve our neighbor's rights and render him what is his due; and the practice of solidarity, in accordance with the golden rule and in keeping with the generosity of the Lord, who "though he was rich, yet for your sake . . . became poor so that by his poverty, you might become rich."

Respect for the goods of others

2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another's property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one's disposal and use the property of others.

2409 Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.

The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation.

2410 Promises must be kept, and contracts strictly observed to the extent that the commitments made in them are morally just. A significant part of economic and social life depends on the honoring of contracts between physical or moral persons - commercial contracts of purchase or sale, rental or labor contracts. All contracts must be agreed to and executed in good faith.

2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons in accordance with a strict respect for their rights. Commutative justice obliges strictly; it requires safeguarding property rights, paying debts, and fulfilling obligations freely contracted. Without commutative justice, no other form of justice is possible.

One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community, and from distributive justice which regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs.

2412 In virtue of commutative justice, reparation for injustice committed requires the restitution of stolen goods to their owner:

Jesus blesses Zacchaeus for his pledge: "If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." Those who, directly or indirectly, have taken possession of the goods of another, are obliged to make restitution of them, or to return the equivalent in kind or in money, if the goods have disappeared, as well as the profit or advantages their owner would have legitimately obtained from them. Likewise, all who in some manner have taken part in a theft or who have knowingly benefited from it - for example, those who ordered it, assisted in it, or received the stolen goods - are obliged to make restitution in proportion to their responsibility and to their share of what was stolen.

2413 Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.

2414 The seventh commandment forbids acts or enterprises that for any reason - selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian - lead to the enslavement of human beings, to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity. It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights to reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit. St. Paul directed a Christian master to treat his Christian slave "no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, . . . both in the flesh and in the Lord."

Respect for the integrity of creation

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.

2416 Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice, if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

St. Joseph-Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Joseph

These words were spoken to Sister on the eve of St. Joseph’s feast day, March 18, 1958:

·         My child, I desire a day to be set aside to honor my fatherhood.

·         The privilege of being chosen by God to be the Virgin-Father of His Son was mine alone, and no honor, excluding that bestowed upon my Holy Spouse, was ever, or will ever, be as sublime or as high as this.

·         The Holy Trinity desires thus to honor me that in my unique fatherhood all fatherhood might be blessed.

·         Dear child, I was king in the little home of Nazareth, for I sheltered within it the Prince of Peace and the Queen of Heaven. To me they looked for protection and sustenance, and I did not fail them.

·         I received from them the deepest love and reverence, for in me they saw Him Whose place I took over them.

·         So, the head of the family must be loved, obeyed, and respected, and in return be a true father and protector to those under his care.

·         In honoring in a special way my fatherhood, you also honor Jesus and Mary. The Divine Trinity has placed into our keeping the peace of the world.

·         The imitation of the Holy Family, my child, of the virtues we practiced in our little home at Nazareth is the way for all souls to that peace which comes from God alone and which none other can give.

St. Joseph appeared to Sister again to explain the First Wednesday devotion God wishes to establish in his honor. Sister states:

His requests were similar to those of Our Lady and the First Saturday. The Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph have been chosen by the Most Holy Trinity to bring peace to the world; hence, their request for special love and honor, also, in particular, reparation and imitation.

These are the words of St. Joseph as recorded on March 30, 1958:

“I am the protector of the Church and the home, as I was the protector of Christ and His Mother while I lived upon earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way.

1.      Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them.

2.      Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.

Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary.

I will come again, little child of my most pure heart. Until then, continue in patience and humility, which is so pleasing to God.”

Christopher’s Corner 

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. 

Liberty Wildlife 

Liberty Wildlife envisions a time when wildlife is recognized as an integral part of our natural world, and a precious natural resource, to be protected and preserved. 

Liberty Wildlife envisions being a permanent community resource, a place to instill compassion and stewardship in young minds and a place to reconnect the public with the beauty and benefits of native wildlife and habitat. 

Liberty Wildlife envisions a time when the community as a whole participates in the safekeeping of the natural world. 

·         National Sloppy Joe Day 

Coffee with Christ

Christ sips his coffee and looks at me and says, “your victory is in obedience to the will of the Father who is all good and desires for you to thrive. Therefore, do not give in to foolish pleasures that appease the flesh but hinder your growth.  Control the desires of the heart. Be patient in your trials and don’t worry nor be afraid for as you carry your cross, I will be there to help you. Be joyful and do not tolerate cruelty and indifference these you must fight. Obey the Holy Spirit which I sent you and receive my body in the eucharist for spiritual nourishment. Don’t seek to be excused if God calls you to some service. 


Daily Devotions

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

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 32

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Monday: Litany of Humility

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

 



[2] IOANNES PAULUS PP. II, VERITATIS SPLENDOR

[3]http://www.fabsharford.com/4-ways-to-tell-if-youre-a-woman-who-fears-the-lord/

[4]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[6]http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/march-21.cfm

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






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