THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION

I meant to write this Sat. March 25, since that was the Feast of the Annunciation. This is the day we celebrate:  Luke 1:26-38

The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.: Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

CANTICLE OF MARY:  And Mary told Elizabeth  (Luke 1:46-55)

MY SOUL proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the might from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

GLORY TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, and to the HOLY SPIRIT, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen


The Glory Be to the Father is a prayer Catholics say often.  If only we would be as willing to do what God asks without question.   Here is a prayer for that:

Jesus, You became flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pray for me, that I may deny myself and choose God’s will for my life, for I know and believe that He is a good Father and will lead me to salvation. Amen

 

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.

ASH WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, GRACE TO BEGIN

Joel 2:12-18; 2 Cor. 5:20-6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

We begin our Lenten journey today. Ash Wednesday is a day to recognize our smallness before God. “Remember, you are dust, and to dust you wil return.” the priest says as he makes a cross of ashes across our forehead.

In today’s first reading, Joel writes about a day of darkness and gloom, a day of events that are a sign of the coming day of the Lord when those who oppose the Lord’s righteous will shall be punished.

It’s easy to believe that all is right in the world when the sun shines and the flowers bloom. It is likewise easy to be afraid when the sky turns black and threatening.

During Lent, we’re called to repentance, rending “our hearts, not our garments,” as the prophet Joel writes (2:13). We’re called to recognize Jesus as our Merciful Savior. The more we turn our gaze toward the Cross, the more grace we will receive to bear our own crosses.

Ash Wednesday is a day of atonement for us. Turn to Jesus with trust and let Him lead you this Lent.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to glorify Your mercy and lift my heart to You again. Help me to fully surrender to You, knowing that You hold me in the palm of Your hand. Amen

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As we begin the holy season of Lent, we are encouraged by these words of Pope Francis: “During Lent, let us all ask the Lord: Make our hearts like yours. In this way we will receive a heart that is firm and merciful, attentive and generous.. a heart that is not closed, indifferent, or prey to the globalization of indifference.

MAY your living out of Lent be a time of many graces and the joy of being made new in Jesus Christ.  God bless you all.

 

THE UNITED STATES, TRUMP ADMIN, WITCHES AND US.

Some of you may have heard the press being excited again because the witches in Our Country, the U.S., are calling up some kind of bad signs against the Trump Admin, which means they are against us and Our Country.  I would not ordinarily mention this, except when they all get together and call up more EVIL, they are calling up the Devil. When the Devil is called, he comes, which brings more trouble for us and our Country.  They may target Trump, BUT ANYTIME EVIL IS CALLED AGAINST THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, IT IS LEASHED AGAINST US AND OUR COUNTRY.  I put that in caps because it is so important. When Evil is unleashed, it is unleashed against us since it is our Government.

HERE IS WHAT WE CAN DO….PRAY, anytime and all the time. However, Jesus told St. Faustina,about praying at 3 o’clock each day. He called  it the HOUR OF GREAT MERCY. He said, “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This  is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My passion.”   As second time he told St. Faustina, “………In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world – mercy triumphed over justice……………………….”

NOW, you could pray for evil on those witches, but as Jesus said, “They know not what they do.”  SO, we pray, for OUR COUNTRY, FOR OUR CITIZENS, FOR OUR GOVERNMENT AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, FOR OUR CONGRESSMEN/WOMEN, AND WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE SO ANGRY, AND SO FILLED WITH HATE, THAT THEY WILL LEARN TO LOVE AND FOR THEIR CONVERSION.

So folks, that is how we overcome Evil in this Country and the World. If you and I all pray at 3PM every day, are as often as we think of it, say a one line prayer,ASK JESUS for a blanket of protection over our Government and our leaders.  THINK  how powerful that will be against Evil in this country and the world. Remember, it is always 3PM somewhere, so there will be praying almost continually. GOD ALWAYS WINS, AND WE NEED HIM NOW.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARY, MOTHER FOR LIFE

O Mary, Mother of the Life Within, all life we entrust to You: the life of every expectant mother and the child within her womb, the life of every human body, the life of every human soul, the life of every newborn child and the life of all grown olf. You held the Lord to Your own Heart and drew Him so close in. So draw us now in all our needs, O Mother of the Life Within.

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PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF HOPE

O Blessed virgin Mary, mother of grace, hope of the world. Hear us, your children, who cry to you.

Oh Mother of Mercy, have pity on me in my distress. You are all-powerful with your divine Son. He can refuse no request of your immaculate heart. Show yourself at true mother to me by being my advocate before His throne.

Above all I pray, O dearest mother, that through your most powerful intercession my heart may be filled with holy hope, so that in life’s darkest hour I may never fail to trust in God my Savior, but by walking in the way of His commandments I may be united with Him, and with you in the eternal joys of heaven.

Mary, our hope, have pity on us. Hope of the hopeless, pray for us.   (from the Novena to Our Lady of Hope.)

GOD BLESS YOU ALL, PRAY FOR OUR PREGNANT MOTHERS AND THEIR UNBORN CHILDREN, THAT THEY MAY IGNORE THE WORLD, SEEK HELP, AND BRING GOD’S BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN INTO THE WORLD.

 

 

PRO LIFE -MARCH FOR LIFE

FROM CONCEPTION TO NATURAL DEATH IS THE CRY OF EVERY CATHOLIC AND HOPEFULLY EVERY CHRISTIAN.

THE MARCH FOR LIFE ON FRIDAY, JAN 28, 2017 WAS AGAIN VERY SUCCESSFUL AND VERY ENERGETIC. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE ENTIRE 44 YEARS OF THE MARCH, SINCE THE YEAR AFTER ROE VS WADE WAS PASSED THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. SPOKE FROM THE STAGE. I DIDN’T HEAR HOW MANY WERE THERE, IT REALLY DOESN’T MATER, THEY MADE THEIR POINT. AND THERE WERE CHILDREN, TEENS, AND ALL AGES OF ADULTS. THERE ARE MORE EVERY YEARS AND THEY COME FROM EVERYWHERE. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME, THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT ARE PRO LIFE.

A NEW SLOGAN:  ADOPTION NOT ABORTION.

IF ANYONE READING THIS NEEDS HELP OR KNOWS OF SOMEONE THAT NEEDS HELP TELL THEM TO CALL CATHOLIC CHARITIES. They are listed in the phone book. They will have names and addresses of safe places to go for help.  Most neighborhood clinics will have names and addresses.   There are places to get free mammograms. There are places to get free birth control and there are places that will help women to keep their babies, finish school, get a job, or help them put their babies up for adoption. They do not need Planned Parenthood.   I thought the meditation  and prayer below  from the  book: THE MESSAGE OF FATIMA apply.

__________________MEDITATION____________________

JESUS, HAVING CONQUERED LIFE WITH DEATH AND SIN WITH LOVE ,appears to the women and his followers at various times and in various ways to deliver a PRO LIFE MESSAGE that goes beyond what this finite existence is able to contain.  Christ’s power is over life and death in this world and in the next!  LOVE is more powerful than death;  LIFE reaches beyond the grave for those who believe. Suffering has saving power.  Penance, and remission of sins in Christ, saves souls.

———————-PRAYER————————–

OH MARY, MOTHER OF THE LIFE WITHIN,  ALL LIFE WE ENTRUST TO YOU: THE LIFE OF EVERY EXPECTANT MOTHER, AND THE CHILD WITHING HER WOMB, THE LIFE OF EVERY HUMAN BODY, THE LIFE OF EVERY HUMAN SOUL, THE LIFE OF EVERY NEWBORN CHILD AND THE LIFE OF ALL GROWN OLD. YOU HELD THE LORD TO YOUR OWN HEART AND DREW HIM SO CLOSE IN.  SO DRAW US NOW IN ALL OUR NEEDS, OH MOTHER OF THE LIFE WITHIN.

 

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……………………