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Monday, March 25, 2024


Nationwide Invitation to Prayer

The USCCB's president and the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities announced a nationwide invitation to prayer.


On March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could impact the widespread accessibility of chemical abortion (abortion pills). Chemical abortions are now the most common form of abortion in the United States.

When

Beginning Monday, March 25 and continuing through June, when a decision is expected.

Learn More

How to Participate

Offer this Prayer to St. Joseph, Defender of Life daily for the end of abortion and for the protection of women and pre-born children.

Monday Night at the Movies


Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ, 2004

This year the feast of the Annunciation will be celebrated on April 8 since the 25th falls During Holy Week.

 

MARCH 25 Monday of Holy Week

TOLKIEN

 

Daniel, Chapter 13, Verse 57

57This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their FEAR, they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your lawlessness. 

The internet is a great tool and benefit to mankind; however, it is also used by evil men; as in this chapter of Daniel; to enslave. Today we see that many on the internet kill the life of men and women by enslaving them. Many of our beautiful youth are caught up in human trafficking and the production of pornography. Daniel in this chapter freed the woman Susanna from powerful men who tried to get her to yield her body to them or be killed. Today let us emulate Daniel in freeing women from this type of slavery by never treating women as an object of desire and by avoiding any and all use of pornography or venues of entertainment that use women as object to fulfill men’s lusts. This could even include our selection of music and TV shows we watch. 

We could also offer our prayers for these women by a monthly fast; thus, giving up a portion of our body to redeem their bodies for the Lord.[1]

 

When I was stationed in Belgium there in the town of Mons was an annual celebration of the killing of a dragon called the Dudu. In one of the local museums, we were shown the large skull of a crocodile (two foot by 5 foot) which was according to the legend to be the Dragon killed by St. George. The lesson here is that if we allow evil to grow like the crocodile it may get so large that we cannot defeat it. The sex industry is a dragon that we must slay. Unfortunately, the dragon only approaches those who feed it. If you are struggling with the dragon stop feeding it and it will die.

 

Help for the Enslaved


 

·         Covenant Eyes

·         Guard Your Eyes

·         Integrity Restored

·         No Fap

Monday of Holy Week

Prayer.

GRANT, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who fail through our infirmity, in so many adversities may be relieved by the passion of Thy Son, making intercession for us.

EPISTLE. Isaias 1. 5-10.

In those days Isaias said: The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist I have not gone back. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me. The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded: therefore, have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded. He is near that justifieth me, who will contend with me? Let us stand together, who is my adversary? let him come near to me. Behold the Lord God is my helper: who is he that shall condemn me?

Lo, they shall all be destroyed as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. Who is there among you that feareth the Lord, that heareth the voice of His servant, that hath walked in darkness, and hath no light? let him hope in the name of the Lord, and lean upon his God.

GOSPEL. John xii. 1-9.

Six days before the Pasch Jesus came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made Him a supper there: and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with Him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray Him, said:

Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?

Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of My burial. For the poor you have always with you: but Me you have not always. A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that He was there: and they came, not for Jesus’s sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.

Meditation—Mary and Judas


Today the liturgy presents two noteworthy characters who play dissimilar roles in the Lord's passion. One fills us with solace and comfort, the other with uneasiness and wholesome fear. Their juxtaposition produces a powerful effect by way of contrast. The two characters are Mary of Bethany and Judas.

Jesus is in the house of Lazarus, at dinner. Mary approaches, anoints the feet of her Savior for His burial and dries them with her hair. Judas resents her action and resolves upon his evil course. These two persons typify man's relation to Christ. He gives His Body to two types of individuals: to Magdalenes to be anointed, to Judases to be kissed; to good persons who repay Him with love and service, to foes who crucify Him. How movingly this is expressed in the Lesson: "I gave My body to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked them. I did not turn away My face from those who cursed and spit upon Me."

The same must hold true of His mystical Body. Down through the ages Christ is enduring an endless round of suffering, giving His body to other Mary’s for anointing and to other Judases to be kissed, beaten, and mistreated. Augustine explains how we can anoint Christ's body:

Anoint Jesus' feet by a life pleasing to God. Follow in His footsteps; if you have an abundance, give it to the poor. In this way you can wipe the feet of the Lord.

The poor are, as it were, the feet of the mystical Christ. By aiding them we can comfort our Lord in His mystical life, where He receives Judas' kisses on all sides-the sins of Christians.

The Gospel account may be understood in a very personal way. In everyone's heart, in my own too, there dwell two souls: a Judas-soul and a Mary-soul. The former is the cause of Jesus' suffering, it is always ready to apostatize, always ready to give the traitor's kiss. Are you full master over this Judas-soul within you? Your Magdalen-soul is a source of comfort to Christ in His sufferings. May the holy season of Lent, which with God's help we are about to bring to a successful conclusion, bring victory over the Judas-soul and strengthen the Magdalen-soul within our breasts.

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

Monday of Holy Week[2]

 

The Gospel for the Mass gives an account of Judas' character, foreshadowing his act of betrayal.

 

Spring Cleaning Just as the Hebrews cleaned and swept the whole house in preparation for the Pasch (Passover), so too is there an ancient custom in Christianity that the first three weekdays of Holy Week be a time for the year's most thorough cleaning. Everything is to be scrubbed and polished, and all work is to be completed by Wednesday evening (in time for Tenebrae).

 

Tenebrae consists of the divine office of Matins and Lauds for Maundy Thursday. It is generally held on the night of "Spy Wednesday" of Holy Week, so-called because it is believed to be the night on which Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord. 

Timeline of Holy Week[3]

 


·         Jesus curses the fig tree. (Mt 21:18-19; Mk 11:12-14) 

·         Jesus cleanses the temple. (Mt 21:10-17; Mk 11:11; Lk 19:45-46; Jn 2:13-25)

·         Parable of the wicked tenants (Mt 21:33-46; Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19)

·         Returns to Bethany at night. 

On Monday[4], Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, He cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God's judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine faith is more than just outward religiosity. True, living faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person's life. When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves." (Luke 19:46) On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

 

Aids in Battle[5] The Devil fears those who pray.

 

My dear brothers and sisters not only is prayer very powerful; even more, it’s of the utmost necessity for overcoming the enemies of our salvation. Look at all the saints: They weren’t content with watching and fighting to overcome the enemies of their salvation and with keeping well away from all that could offer them temptation. They passed their whole lives in prayer, not only the day, but very often the whole night as well. Yes, my dear children, we watch over ourselves and all the motions of our hearts in vain, and in vain we avoid temptation, if we don’t pray. If we don’t continually resort to prayer, all our other ways will be of no use at all to us, and we’ll be overcome. We won’t find any sinner converted without turning to prayer. We won’t find one persevering without depending heavily on prayer. Nor will we ever find a Christian who ends up damned whose downfall didn’t begin with a lack of prayer. We can see, too, how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than when we’re at prayer. He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer. However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he’s certain to have that person for himself. Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, from the moment that we neglect to pray, we move with big steps towards hell. We’ll never return to God if we don’t resort to prayer.

ST. JOHN VIANNEY

 

Holi-Another Pagan Fest[6]


 

Holi is the ancient Hindu Festival of Love and also known as the Festival of Colors.  The origins of Holi lie in ancient Hindu traditions where Holi was celebrated to mark the arrival of spring.  Holi is also related to the legend of Holika, the evil sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu, who tried to burn Hiranyakashipu's son Prahlada.  Prahlada had maintained faith in god (Vishnu), while Hiranyakashipu contended that he was god.  Wearing a cloak that guarded her from fire, Holika lured Prahlada into a fire but the cloak that was guarding Holika flew and protected Prahlada instead.  Because of this Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and love over hate.

 

Holi Facts & Quotes

 

·         The name Holi stems from Holiya, who was the evil sister of a demon god that tried to burn her nephew.  According to ancient Sanskrit scriptures, Holiya died in the fire while her nephew was unharmed.  Since then, on the eve of Holi, a bonfire named Holiya is lit to signify the triumph of good over evil.

·         Central to most Holi festivals are bright colors that are often thrown, sprayed or painted on. For this reason, Holi is often refered to as the Festival of Colors.

·         Traditionally colors were achieved through dyes that were made from turmeric, sandalwood, flower and leaf extracts, and beetroots.  In recent times Synthetic Color dyes are often used during Holi festivals.  These dyes are often toxic or cause allergic reactions.  It's a good idea to rub coconut oil into your skin beforehand, to prevent toxic color dyes from absorbing.

·         Bhang, tea made from cannabis leaves, is frequently served at some Holi celebrations in India and Nepal. Bhang also contains milk, butter and spices (cinnamon or nutmeg).

·         Holi is the day to express love with colors. It is a time to show affection. All the colors that are on you are of love. – Anonymous

Catholics and Holi[7]

With Indians and Hindus celebrating Holi, a spring festival of colors, today, Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona has encouraged the faithful to participate in the celebration, which is meant to promote spiritual and social harmony. Holi is celebrated with everyone throwing brightly dyed powders on each other. It marks the setting aside of differences and grudges in a spirit of reconciliation. Observing the collective celebratory spirit of Holi which integrates joy, enthusiasm and freedom, Bishop Dabre said the day “gives a message of joy and happiness.”

Nevertheless, Bishop Dabre cautioned that “Holi must live the holy joy, and the joy a religion should spread is not without norms or principles but must be coupled with the observance of commandments.” The true joy that emanates from religion must respect the freedom of others; not impose our likes and dislikes on others,” he reflected. Hindus begin the celebration with a Holika bonfire the evening prior to Holi, which relates to the myth upon which the festival is based. However, the throwing of color and water which all Indians participate in is a manifestation of joy and friendship across religious lines.  Bishop Dabre also noted that “religion must be experienced as a liberating experience of freedom, and this is very significant in the context of religious terrorism and extremism in different parts of the world, and in India.”

He lamented the rise of such groups as the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Islamic State, saying that in these cases, “religion has become a cause of fear, terror, injustice and oppression.” In the light of recent persecution and discrimination against Christians in India, Bishop Dabre lamented that “even in our country, in the name of religion unreasonable restriction are imposed on the people; force and pressure is employed to reconvert people and to ban the adoption of a religion of one’s choice … also gruesome crimes are committed against women and people of the so-called low caste. Thus, religion has become a matter of grievous concern. “However, “in such a situation Holi gives an important lesson that religion must spread true joy and freedom,” he added. 

Tolkien Reading Day[8]

Although founded in 2002, the First Tolkien Reading Day wasnt until March 25th, 2003. This is because a journalist from New York enquired as to whether or not there was such an event for Tolkien in January 2002 and the society liked the idea so much, they adopted it although they didnt have time to prepare anything for that year and postponed it. The society chose an important date from the book for the reading day. March 25th is the Downfall of Sauron.

In recent years The Tolkien Society have provided information packs, bookmarks and posters for schools taking part in this event. They have also provided free posters for events held by libraries and the general public taking place near to the event, rather than on the 25th.

Observances

With the popularity of the Lord of The Rings film trilogy firmly influencing the popularity of the books, Tolkien Reading Day was set up with hopes of getting even more people reading and discovering that there is much more to Tolkien than just The Lord of the Rings.

Typical events consist of readings and discussions, but some groups re-enact scenes from the Lord of the Rings books.

Lord of the Rings[9]


 

A battle against evil alone does not make The Lord of the Rings fundamentally Christian and Catholic; and yet there are many ways that it is. 

Here are some of the ways The Lord of the Rings is a Christian myth.

1.      Darkness pervades Middle earth where man, beast and nature are called to an adventure full of peril and hope. Here is how Elijah Wood explains the film's dominant theme: No matter how bad things are, no matter how much evil there is in this world, there is always some good worth fighting for, worth standing up for, and worth some effort in carrying on.

2.      The One Ring illustrates how evil can entice and enslave. Beautiful gold rings are enticing to wear. But when we slip them on our fingers, we announce our devotion and loyalty to their owner.

3.      Gandalf and Saruman, while not analogous, have traits, goals, and experiences similar to those of Jesus and Satan. Gandalf is even tempted in a battle with Saruman not unlike Christ is tempted by Satan in the wilderness.

4.      Evil is parasitic and can only destroy that which was created. Everything that (God) created in Middle-earth (and in our world) is good. It is the perversion and corruption of what was created that is evil. Good can exist on its own. Evil can only live off what is good.

5.      Like all Christians, Frodo is called to risk his life through great peril to save others. Frodo, like us, does not appear to be up to the task. He does not have any obvious talent suited for war. But he is chosen, as we are. We are all necessary for God's grand plan to be fulfilled; and even the most unlikely and disgusting Gollum-like beast in our life is necessary. And when Frodo asks, "What can a little hobbit do?" — Isaiah answers, "A little child will lead them" (11:6).

6.      In the Shire, the Hobbits come naturally to living a beatific life that Christ calls Christians to live by. The Hobbits are the meek that inherit the earth, the merciful who receive mercy, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers. (Mt. 5:3-12)

7.      Like all Christians, Tolkien's characters are called to play roles in a story that is much greater and more important than they are aware. Just as we are not aware of all that has happened before us, so Gandalf, at the end of The Hobbit, says to Bilbo, "You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? "you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"

8.      There is a longing for the return of the king. As Christians long for the return of Christ the King, so the free people of Middle-earth long for their kingdoms to be once more united in peace and justice under the rightful heir. Did I mention that Aragorn looks like Christ?

9.      The Fellowship of the Ring is constituted of different characters with different gifts suited for battling evil — the diversity keeps them united. This is not unlike the diversity of spiritual gifts and temporal talents given to the different members of the Christian community for the unity of the body — so that we might be dependent on each other.

10.  Upon leaving Lorien, each of the Fellowship members are given custom fitted Elvish hooded cloaks not unlike St. Paul's armor in Ephesians 6:10-17. Again, Tolkien disliked allegory; so, the cloaks are not exactly like St. Paul's armor of salvation. But they do have mystical traits of great aid that keep them safe in their battle with evil.

A Catholic Core the Lord of the Rings is also Catholic.

11.  There are sacraments not symbols. For their journey, Galadriel graciously bestows upon the Fellowship — a representation of the church — seven mystical gifts: no mere symbols these, but glimmering reflections of the Church's seven sacraments — the conveying of spiritual grace through temporal rites. And at her Mirror, Galadriel derides the Reformers' taunt of Eucharistic magic in the Mass when she says: "For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same words for the deceits of the enemy."

12.  As grace and creation is experienced through a sacrament, so control and destruction is experienced through an anti-sacrament — the One Ring. The ring that Frodo bears is not symbolic, but rather operates as an anti-sacrament. Dependent on a person's spiritual disposition, a sacrament literally allows grace and life to flow into a person through the physical realm. Likewise, in Middle-earth, the characters' spiritual disposition makes them more or less susceptible to the anti-sacrament power of the ring, which if worn, literally brings evil and destruction upon the bearer.

13.  The protagonists pursue absolutes, rejecting any willingness to compromise or relativize. In Middle earth there is an absoluteness of what is right and wrong. There is no hint of moral relativism that separates the different peoples, races, or creators of the freelands. Aragorn says to Eomer: "Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men."

14.  The protagonists embrace suffering as a requirement of working out their salvation. It isn't enough to simply believe or have faith to be free of the tyranny of evil each of our protagonists must sacrifice and work hard through great peril to secure their salvation and the right ordering of their world.

15.  The Shire, described as the ideal community, reflects the social teachings of Catholicism. The Hobbits benefit from a community structure with little formal organization and less conflict. They work only enough to survive and otherwise enjoy each other's company. There is no jealousy, no greed, and rarely does anyone do anything unexpected. There is a wholeness and graciousness about it that seems to come naturally out of selflessness.

16.  Gandalf, the steward of all things good in the world, reflects the papacy. Gandalf is leader of the free and faithful. He is steward of all things good in the world, but he claims rule over no land. As the Popes of history did with kings and emperors of our world, so Gandalf crowns the king and blesses him to rule with justice and peace.

17.  Middle-earth ideology reflects a corporate moral hierarchy and not individualism. There is no democracy or republic in Middle-earth. There are spiritual leaders like Gandalf, and Kings like Theoden and Elessar with lords and vassals. There is no defense of individualism, no claim of choice, and no justification for an individual to follow his conscience.

18.  There is a mystical Lady, like The Blessed Mother, who responds miraculously to pleas for help. The Lady is named Varda (or in Elvish, Elbereth or star-queen) and although she is never seen, she's is described as holy and queenly; and when her name is invoked — "O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! — as Frodo and Sam do on occasion, miracles follow that protect the quest and defeat the present enemy.

19.  The sign of the cross. At the end of the first movie (and the beginning of the second book) Aragorn kneels beside the mortally wounded Boromir — and as he dies, Aragorn makes a rudimentary sign of the cross touching first his forehead and then his lips. It is a salute to Avatar, the One who created all.

20.  There is a last sharing of cup and bread, not unlike O.T. manna and its fulfillment in The Eucharist.Before the Fellowship departs from Lorien, Galadriel bids each to participate in a farewell ritual and drink from a common cup. More significant is the mystical Elvish food given to the fellowship — lembas or waybread. A small amount of this supernatural nourishment will sustain a traveler for many days.

All of this should make viewing or reading The Lord of the Rings a more interesting and insightful experience for both Christians and Catholics.

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 8-THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT

I. Living in the Truth

2465 The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His "faithfulness endures to all generations." Since God is "true," the members of his people are called to live in the truth.

2466 In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth. "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth." To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.'"

2467 Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it: "It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth."

2468 Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

2469 "Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another." The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret: it entails honesty and discretion. In justice, "as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth."

2470 The disciple of Christ consents to "live in the truth," that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord's example, abiding in his truth. "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth."

Aretha Franklin[10]

Aretha Franklin, born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, became a music legend. Her voice captivated millions, earning her the title “Queen of Soul.”

Personal Note: My sister in September 1970 was a radio station groupie and via her skill in calling in to the station won tickets to an Aretha Franklin concert. I had just gotten my license to drive, and she was too young, so I was forced to go and take her to the concert. I had no clue who Aretha was, and I was totally surprised that we were about the only white people at the concert which made me a little anxious, but I found that despite my being white we were treated with dignity and respect, and we had front row seats. The concert was incredible.

Christopher’s Corner

 

Coffee with Christ 

Christ sips his coffee and looks at me and says, “Do not yield to the temptation to avoid the carrying of your cross for the fruit of righteousness is peace and quietness of soul and confidence. Truth always comes at a cost. Be patient with others who know not the truth and forgive them. Sow goodness. Work for the Kingdom with all your strength. Believe! Hope in all things. Ask and pray so the Holy Spirit can bring you to all righteousness.” 

Full Worm Moon 

According to the almanac we are having a Full Worm Moon-plan to take your family or grandchildren fishing! Hummingbirds are migrating North now; look for them. 

Daily Devotions

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

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         30 Days with St. Joseph Day 6



·         Explore the Wim Hof method

·         Monday: Litany of Humility

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan




[3]https://www.catholicconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/Timeline-of-Holy-Week.pdf

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

[8]https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/tolkien-reading-day/

[9]https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/art/20-ways-the-lord-of-the-rings-is-both-christian-and-catholic.html

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