HISTORY OF LENT AND WHY 40 DAYS

The Catholic TV monthly magazine had an article about the History of Lent. I thought maybe some of you might be interested:

History of Lent-what did fasting used to look like: The Lenten season, preparation for Easter, has been observed from the onset of Christ’s Church, although there have been inconsistencies with duration and practices.  The Council of Nicea, 325AD, established Easter’s fluid date as the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox. In 461 AD, Pope St. Leo established the duration as 40 consecutive days before Easter. Pope Gregory the Great, in the sixth century, added the dispensing of ashes the preceding Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), making Lent 46 days. Sundays were considered feast days and not included in the count. (However, my mother informed us kids that if we gave up Movies for Lent we could not go on Sundays, or it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. Connie)

Initially, all forms of meat, fish and animal products were excluded for the entirety of Lent. People were allowed one meal per day, after 3 pm. In the 1400’s that time was revised to noon. Eventually, a small snack was included to sustain energy. Over time, fish, meat and eventually dairy products were allowed. However, fasting was require all 40 days. It wasn’t until 1966 that fast days were lessened to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday only. (Now, we give up meat on Fridays during Lent, along with Ash Wednesday)

WHY 40 DAYS????The number 40 has ecclesial significance: Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai before receiving the Ten Commandments; Jesus spent 40 days in prayer and fasting prior to beginning his ministry. So, too, we spend 40 days preparing to do God’s work.

WHY  DO WE HAVE PENITENTIAL SEASONS?  (This is a question many Christians ask Catholics, who quite often don’t know the answer) Jesus gave the example of a penitential retreat, spending prayerful time in the desert preparing for His ministry, reflecting on God’s will and determining how He’d freely make that happen. Penitential seasons offer us this same opportunity to withdraw from our routines and evaluate our spiritual progress or regression. We do this through reflection and repentance, which enable us to identify our weaknesses and make reparation to amend our sinful ways. Penitential seasons create time to reflect on our need to make God the focal point of our lives. The result can be spiritually rewarding. (Many Catholics spend extra time in prayer. Go to extra Masses, the Stations of the Cross, and other spiritual reading during Lent)

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT RULES FOR LENT IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

All Catholics, ages 14 and up, are bound by the law of abstinence. Abstinence means refraining from the consumption of meat (land animals) on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. Why Friday? To unite ourselves with Jesus’ sacrifice, made for us on Good Friday.

All Catholics, ages 18-59, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is defined as eating one full, meatless meal on prescribed days. Bits of food can be taken at other traditional meal times though their combined total should not equal a full meal.

Penitential practices, like fasting and abstinence, are intended to refocus our thoughts and intentions toward God. Lent’s 40 days include Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday (the Lenten fast continues until Holy Saturday), not including Sundays. Sundays are optional but encouraged. For health reasons, the infirm, ill, and pregnant or nursing mothers are exempt.

Three other Lenten disciplines are prayer (daily conversation with the Lord) fasting (from behaviors which detract from our relationship with God) and  almsgiving (sharing our resources, ensuring the basic needs of human dignity).

I WILL ADD; many Catholics like to go to the  Stations of the Cross usually on Friday if it is available in their Churches. The Stations of the Cross actually started before the Crusades when Christian were free to go to Jerusalem.  I read where they used to journey from Rome and Europe to Israel to follow the footsteps of Jesus to the Cross. Much like people do now. Then when the Muslims took over the Holy Lands and the Christians could not go there, they started setting up outdoor statues or pictures of what we now call the Passion of Christ. From the Last Supper to the capture in the garden, the whippings and crown of thorns thru the town, past the women, and when he had help carrying the cross and when He was nailed to the cross. Now Catholic Churches have pictures or carvings on the wall that go around the church, 14 stations showing the Passion of Jesus.  People say prayers at each station and they are called the Stations of the Cross.  It follows the story of His Passion in the Bible Gospels. Usually on Good Friday, when possible, the Stations are said at 3PM, the time that Jesus died.

GIVING ALMS: During Lent as with other times of the year, but especially during Lent, we can give up something we spend money on, coffee, candy, movies, whatever, and give that money to the poor. Examples; the Salvation Army, Local Food Cupboards or you can look up Catholic Relief Services (CRS) or Catholic Charities for example, all these organizations help people who are desperate for help.  Catholics have what we call a “Rice Bowl” we put on the table or somewhere in our home where everyone can drop money in, on Easter we put the money in an envelope marked RICE BOWL put it in the collection basket,and the Church sends all the money to Catholic Relief Services to feed the poor in other countries.  You can look up CRS Rice Bowl on line: http://www.crsricebowl.org. To get more information. Catholics have been donating to CRS for many years. They are all over the world helping and teaching the poor how to  feed and support themselves and they are at places of devastation like Haiti helping people to recover and start over.

HOW DO WE RESPOND TO SUFFERING?

When I was young, one of the things Catholics used to say when we had pain or were ill was: “OFFER IT UP”.  I hadn’t heard it for years until a few years ago, when I read or heard someone say, “OFFER UP YOUR PAIN AND SUFFERING AS A PRAYER FOR OTHERS WHO HAVE THE SAME ILLNESSES.” Simply tell Jesus that you are offering your suffering up for someone one else.”  It made sense to me then and still does, at least the pain and suffering I am going through is not wasted if it is used as a prayer.  I remembered this through breast cancer and then later as I went and am still going through heart problems. Did it make the pain and suffering any easier, it still was bad, but at least it served as a prayer.

I have since read and heard this several times in Christian Magazines and the Presence Radio.  I read that you could use suffering as a prayer, not only for other people, but for souls stuck in Purgatory and to help atone for sins being committed in the world and prayer for Peace in the world. Then I came across this article by Rev. Andrew Apostoli, CFR in the SOUL MAGAZINE, a publication of the World Apostolate of Fatima. In one of the chapters he wrote:

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO SUFFERING?

The second time the Angel appeared to Lucia and the other children of Portugal at Fatima he encouraged the children, “Above all, accept and bear with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.” Everyone has suffering of one kind or another in life. This is what Jesus taught in the Gospel to be His disciple, namely, that we must deny ourselves (these are our sacrifices). take up our crosses each day (these are our sufferings, even if just carrying out our daily duties), an follow Me (these are our efforts to imitate Christ each day). (cf Mt 16:24). ………………………………….

HOW DO WE HANDLE SUFFERING?

I has been said that suffering can make a person either better or bitter. It makes us better when we see it as coming from God and are willing to accept it from Him. Many lessons in life come through suffering especially the building of character and the strength of enduring with perseverance.  On the other hand, we know that suffering can make people bitter. This happens when they resent them and refuse to accept them. Many people become angry at God when crosses come their way. They resent it because these sufferings take away their ability to live a happy life according to their own hopes and desires. Yet it is only when we embrace the cross in our hearts that we find the peace that comes in doing God’s will, even in adversity. In our Christian faith the cross is no longer a tragedy; God turned it into a source of blessings and eternal happiness. The Angel would encourage us to accept our sufferings with patience and trust. Abundant fruits will follow!

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Remember folks, offer your pain, disappointments, sufferings, and hurts up to Jesus as a prayer, He has a plan for you. Ask Him to be with you and to give you the strength to make it through the tough times, and be sure to thank him for the good times. Thank Him for the things He has given you and the good people He has put in your life. Be sure to tell Him you love Him, as he love you, no mater what.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK, ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SEASONS

Dedicated to Bishop Ken Untener who was inspired to create the Little Books. There are several short reflections on the infancy narrative of St. Luke, that I enjoyed and think you all will also, food for thought.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL, On Nov. 24, 2013 Pope Francis issued a pastoral exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel) which urged a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to the world. “I INVITE ALL Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day,” wrote Pope Francis in the exhortation, whose publication came at the conclusion of the Year of Faith

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ZECHARIAH AND ELIZABETH go home. I’m not told where this is but later, when Mary visits their home, I learn that it was “a town of Judah” (the same part of the land as Jerusalem) in the “hill country.”

Elizabeth soon learns that she is pregnant, as the angel had promised, and she expresses heer joy at what God has done for her.  PRAYERS of THANKSGIVING are the easiest to say. Every day, even on bad days, I come across all sorts of things that can remind me of God’s goodness–trees, little children, warm water in the shower, the sound of birds, a good burger, the sun, moon, stars, a kindness someone does for me. (and I will add,”the beauty around me after a wet snow storm, when the trees and every bush is covered in white). If I keep my eyes open for them, I can catch lots of things I never really noticed as “gifts” before–things that deserve a simple word of thanks to God.  If I haven’t done it often enough this week, right now might be a good time for a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD

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FINDING JOY AT CHRISTMAS

We often feel Christmas should be a “sugar plum” day with no touch of sadness. We feel we mustn’t let the sad parts of our lives into this special day. Suffering spois it. Let only gladness fill the air.

BUT CONSIDER ANOTHER APPROACH: Instead of avoiding all the sadness and trying to create a Hallmark Christmas, savor the richness of a savior born into a broken world, for broken hearts, to bring healing.

This is the feast of a God who so loved this world-my world-with its better and worse. Let the love of this feast touch the better and the worse, and I’ll find a deep down joy that can bring tears to my eyes. This mixture fits the feast. The event as Bethlehem wasn’t a Disney World experience. It was a time of both bliss and sorrow.

The joy of Christmas is that light overcomes darkness. It’s the good news of the angel to the shepherds: Today a savior has been born for you…for all that is happy in you, and all that is sad in you. Don’t hide the sad feelings. For some, it is the first Christmas with a newborn child or a grandchild. For others, it is the first Christmas without  their mother, father, husband, wife, child, close friend. For all of us it is Christmas celebrated in imperfect lives in an imperfect world.

WHEN WE remember who Jesus was and why he came, we can let him come into our real life, and then experience what it means to have a merry Christmas.

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SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD.

More another time……………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO WE DO WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO?

Consider John the Baptist: He was a fiery preacher who drew great crowds…and then everything fell apart.

Jesus, whom John had hoped would be the promised Messiah, seemed to be moving in a different direction from what John anticipated. Jesus seemed to be “wasting” his time curing people who were crippled and blind and deaf

John was arrested and thrown into jail. If Jesus was the Messiah, something wasn’t working. The Romans were still in control and there had been no great shift in power.

Then there was John’s death, as senseless as a drive by shooting: Killed for the price of a dance, because of a king who got drunk at a party and made a promise to a teenage girl… killed by some guard who grumbled about having to get up late and go chop off the head of someone he didn’t even know.

This does not appear to be the stuff of greatness. But Jesus said that John was one of the greatest who ever lived.

Where did this greatness come from?

John the Baptist tried to do what was given him to do, and do it for God, and do it with God.

And  when my efforts, insignificant as they may seem to be, are connected with God, I AM INVOLVED IN SOMETHING COLOSSAL, SOMETHING GREAT.

From the LITTLE BLUE  BOOK___________________________________

How do you know what God wants you to do? Ask Him. Here is a prayer I say now, every day. I got it from a book by Scott Hann and his wife, HOME TO ROME. Her father taught her to say this prayer and it works for me:

“Lord, let me be what you want me to be, do what you want me to do and go where you want me to go.” I love you.”

And then pay attention to your day, and what God puts before you.

 

SHE PONDERED THESE THINGS IN HER HEART, Christ, King of Each Moment

by Rita A. Simmonds, from Magnificat

In August 2012, my husband, Frank, the father of our two children, was hospitalized for severe pain in his right side. The doctors suspected he had gall stones, so he was denied food and drink for three days while they performed tests o him. The results revealed that he had large tumors on his liver and a small one on his pancreas. He then had to have another, more detailed test, still hungry and thirsty, and in a lot of pain.

That morning we waited for the scan in a very air conditioned hallway for what seemed hours. Frank was lying on a hospital bed in a gown with just a sheet covering him. I was standing beside him, holding his hand. At a certain point, he looked at me with bright eyes and said, “I have everything I need right here, right now.” These words would have been strange and implausible, if not for the overwhelming evidence of a Presence full of certainty and peace that emanated from his face. That hospital bed became a throne where Christ was proclaiming himself King.

We learned from that test that Frank had advanced stage neuroendocrine cancer, but this diagnosis did not defeat us. Why? Because each moment is a gift and the Giver is always there, handing it to us.  Christ’s presence is always present, and is more imposing than any illness. When Frank drew his last breath on January 19, 1015, the instant exploded into eternity.

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A reading from the first Letter of Saint John, 3:1-3

BELOVED: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. (The word of the Lord)

This is from the Catholic Mass reading, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2016.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL IN THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON.

 

WHO WILL PROTECT MY UNBORN CHILDREN??WOULD YOU VOTE FOR PETER????

Criminals and Terrorists have lawyers and the courts. Women who want abortions have the Abortion making money industry and Planned Parenthood. But who helps women afterward? After part of them has been torn out and thrown away? Not Hillary, that’s for sure. Our Christian and Catholic church’s help them with counseling and forgiveness, but wouldn’t it be better to help them before the abortion? And a new start after the baby?  It sounds like that is what Pence did as Governor of his state.
I was listening to Catholic Radio in Maine, THE PRESENCE, Johnette was discussing this election and it’s importance to us Christian Catholics voting in union with the teaching of our Catholic Church, she said,” no, it doesn’t make me angry, it actually makes me sick to my stomach.”
I should explain how important we as Christians should consider this election. Not only for President but also State and National Congress and Governors. But lets look at President first.
In the teaching of the Catholic Church there are 5 non-negotiables.  No. 1 is ABORTION. I will write about the others in another Blog. This is considered a very serious sin.  We are taking the life of one of God’s children. One that He said, “I knew you before you were born.”  A child that has a Soul, made in the image and likeness of God, the instant she/he was conceived.

Now, lets just talk about the two who want to run this country.  Never in the last 50 years or so have 2 people running for election been so different in what they believe on this subject, along with how they want to run this Country. Trump, Pro Life, Hilary, pro abortion and late term abortions. 58 million abortions since 1973 and counting.
LET ME ASK THIS QUESTION BEFORE WE GO ANY FUTHER.  AS CHRISTIANS WE BELIEVE NOTHING HAPPENS WITHOUT THE WILL OF GOD. GOD HATES ABORTION. HE GIVES US TWO PEOPLE WITH TOTALLY DIFFERENT BELIEFS. IF GOD HATES ABORTION, which person do you think he would choose to be President?  What does he see in Trump that we don’t see?
WHAT DID JESUS SEE IN PETER THAT we wouldn’t see?  Peter was a crude, uneducated fisherman. I expect his language was way worse than Trump. Trump is a good family man, his family loves him, his wife dated him off and on for 7 years before she consented to marry him, she loves him. He has friends, one, Conrad Black, “says look beyond the brash, the Donald is well-suited to making deals and being a leader”.  What would you all say about Peter? “He’s not a good man.” He doesn’t respect women? He was crude, stinky, probably dirty, and Jesus chose him to be his first Apostle.  Would you have? What about the crazy, John the Baptist, dirty, uneducated, living in the desert. Would you have sent him ahead of Jesus?

WHAT IF GOD IS GIVING US DONALD TRUMP TO BE PRESIDENT? TO END THE HORRIBLE PAGAN, PRIMITIVE, TRADITION OF KILLING HIS BABIES. WHAT IF THAT IS TRUMP’S DESTINY? What if there are other things going on here that we don’t know about? You all know that if Trump does not win in a landslide, Clinton will win and Partial Birth will continue for another 10 or more years.  Will you let that happen?  It is up to you, think about it. Would you vote for Peter to be the 1st Pope of your Church that is destined to save the world?
Clinton has voted 2 times for Partial Birth Abortion ( when a child is 8 months in the womb, fully formed, that child can be killed, in a horrible way.) She will have the ability to appoint possibly 5 Supreme Court Justices. She has said they will make rulings according to todays ideas. Her list of Liberal Judges will get to rule on everything from if the Little Sisters of the Poor have to pay for Abortion pills in their Health Care, to if Partial Birth Abortion is Legal, or if someone refuses to take part in a Gay Wedding, will they be jailed. They will also decide if we actually have Religious Freedom in this Country or just the Right to go to Church and Worship. Mrs. Clinton says we have the right to worship.  In a Speech Delivered at the Women’s World Summit she said, “LAWS HAVE TO BE BACKED UP WITH RESOURCES AND POLITICAL WILL. AND DEEP-SEATED RELIGIOUS BELIEFS HAVE TO BE CHANGED.”  What about the 2nd Amendment. Will they take all our guns in the end, like they did in Germany? Along with all this, she is truly crooked and under investigation for illegal and dangerous emails, association with the Clinton Foundation and Watergate, back in the 90’s.  Along with the newest, her Campaign paying people to start riots at Trump’s rallies, and the very latest WikiLeaks Video: badmouthing Catholics and Evangelicals, calling us names, and very crude remarks. So it’s clear she will never stand for us. Oh, just a moment ago, the FBI is reopening their investigation because they found more Emails. It never ends with her. Kane, her vice pres., candidate, thinks, the Death Sentence is wrong but Abortion is perfectly OK, totally opposite of what his Catholic Faith teaches. What do either he or Clinton do to help the women who choose abortion. What about after, who helps them to rebuild their lives?
Trump has said that once he spoke to a doctor in detail and has other close friends with experiences with abortion and partial birth abortion, he agreed that it was totally wrong, and he is PRO LIFE. Yes, he is course, sometime rude, and impolite. Certainly not a polished Politician. He definitely believes in saying it like he sees it, not Politically Correct. as Politian’s and the News Media are.  Never has the main stream media worked so hard to destroy a Presidential Candidate. However, he has 5 Constitutional Judges, that will rule on Laws made by Congress and decisions based on the Constitutions as our Founder wrote the Laws. We are a Republic, based on Laws made by our Congress and Signed by our President. Not laws made by Judges of the Supreme Court.  Trump believes immigrants should come into the Country according to our Laws and before we decide which illegal immigrants can stay, we must get ride of the criminals and terrorists that are putting everyone in this Country in danger. He wants to fix the Trade Deals made in the past so the will be more fair to the U.S. and bring back business to this Country. Being a business man, he is most qualified to do this.

Pence, the vice President candidate, is a Christian, Catholic, practices what his church teaches, and is Pro Life, he values life. As Governor, he has helped women who did not actually want an abortion, have their children and put them up for adoption, or raise them, and they also helped the women have a better life.
Then the most crucial difference in the two Presidential Candidates is, Abortion, and especially Partial Birth Abortion. The Law, Roe vs Wade was so much different than what is happening today that the signers would not recognize it.
( 1973 The Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of human life.[1] Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the third trimester of pregnancy.)It wasn’t until 1992 that Planned Parenthood went to court to change the law. Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions, whom Clinton would like to continue supporting with our tax dollars.
SO, AGAIN I ASK YOU, WILL YOU VOTE FOR THE PERSON WHO WILL SAVE GOD’S CHILDREN, AND THE VICE PRESIDENT THAT KNOWS HOW TO HELP THE WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS AND HELP THE WOMEN WHO NEED HELP? ALSO APPOINT JUDGES THAT WILL RULE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, NOT MAKE LAWS THAT TAKE IT AWAY?
WILL YOU TAKE THE CHANCE THAT TRUMP IS NOT GOD’S CHOICE FOR THIS TIME AND PLACE? vote for Clinton or someone else so that Abortion will continue and how many more millions of children will die? You know that a vote for someone else is a vote for Hillary.

 

ONE SOLITARY LIFE

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND PROSPROUS 2015 Sorry it’s been awhile since I blogged, Christmas season got very busy but was very rewarding and a lot of fun,  So here goes.  “FOR UNTO US, A CHILD IS BORN….”

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ONE SOLITARY LIFE

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.  He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.

Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office.  He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college.  He never visited a big city.  He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.  He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away.  He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.  While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.  When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man on earth as much as this One Solitary Life.

________________________________________________________Received from Catholic Radio in Maine, The Presence Radio Network_____

QUESTION:  THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD? OR THE LONGEST RUNNING FAIRY TALE OF ALL TIME?