Delay not your conversion to the Lord

Feast of Saint Polycarp

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Sirach 5:1–8

Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
Say not: “Who can prevail against me?”
or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?”
for God will surely exact the punishment.
Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?”
for the Most High bides his time.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident,
adding sin upon sin.
Say not: “Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
put it not off from day to day.
For suddenly his wrath flames forth;
at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed.
Rely not upon deceitful wealth,
for it will be no help on the day of wrath.

Psalm: 1

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

Gospel: Mark 9:41–50 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

Quotes of the Day

for Everlasting Love may still return
if hope reveals the slightest hint of green
— Dante, The Divine Comedy, Volume II: Purgatory, Canto III. verses 134–135

We are souls who met a violent death,
and we were sinners to our final hour;
but then the light of Heaven lit our minds,
and penitent and pardoning, we left
that life at peace with God, Who left our hearts
with longing for the holy sight of Him.
— Dante, The Divine Comedy, Volume II: Purgatory, Canto V. verses 52–57

When you come to serve the LORD

Feast of Saint Peter Damian

Scripture of the Day: Sirach 2:1–11

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Sanctifying Gifts of the Holy Spirt
continued from yesterday

  • Fear is sovereign respect for God; to dread nothing as much as to offend Him by sin; fear that is the beginning of wisdom (detachment from worldly things)
  • Piety is filial affection for God as our most loving Father. Inspires us to love and to respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, his Blessed Mother, the saints, the Church, the Pope, our parents, superiors, country, and its rulers. Not a burdensome duty: where there is love, there is no labor.

 

To drink from the fountain of Wisdom

From now until Ash Wednesday, we’ll have readings from the book of Sirach. Also called Ecclesiasticus (the Church book), Sirach was used to teach those preparing for baptism or for the newly baptized.

Scripture of the Day: Sirach 1:1–10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

Question of the Day

How are wisdom, counsel, understanding, and knowledge different?

  • Wisdom embodies all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom strengthens faith, fortifies hope, and perfects charity; promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine. Wisdom is seeing through the eyes of God.
  • Knowledge enables us to evaluate created things at their true worth—in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretenses of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God.
  • Understanding helps us grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, by understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. Penetrate truth and be quickened to newness of life. We begin to walk worth of God in all things pleasing to him.
  • Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence; enables us to judge rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Supernatural common sense.
[source: don’t remember what I was reading when I jotted down these notes]

 

To live in freedom

Quote of the Day

To live freely means to rid ourselves of the habits of slaves, just as the people of Israel were called to do at Mt. Sinai. To worship rightly, to honor parents and the sanctity of life, to deal honestly and justly with others — these are the virtues of freedom, the habits of free men and women. That is why God enjoined them in the Ten Commandments — to bind us in order to liberate us for goodness and for love.

That failure to live freedom excellently is what the Catholic Church means by sin. Sin, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, is an “abuse of freedom.” It is a slavish habit that weakens our capacity to love others and to love God. When we come to indulge those bad habits we come to see God as a limitation on our freedom, rather than the source and fulfillment of that freedom. — George Weigel, The Truth of Catholicism: Ten Controversies Explored

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Sirach 15:15–20

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live;
he has set before you fire and water
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.
Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him;
he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly,
to none does he give license to sin.

Gospel: Matthew 5:17–37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife –  unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

Two Minutes to Virtue Mini Homily
Having a Loving Intention

Catechism of the Day: Man’s Freedom

CCC 1731–1733

Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.

As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.”

Questions of the Day

  • What are you choosing?
  • Do you want what God wants?
  • Does death (sin) have dominion over you?
  • Are you looking for or wanting a license?
  • Do you walk in freedom?

In love, destined for adoption

9-days-bwlogoDay 9 Intercession

For God’s peace to fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Scriptures of the Day

Romans 8:14–17

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Ephesians 1:3–6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

Galatians 4:1–7

I mean that as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything, but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Prayers of the Day
From Prayers for the Family by Kevin Nelles

For Motherhood

Loving God, who alone knows and understands the heart of a woman, I lift up in prayer blessed motherhood, the channel of all human life. As our Lord Jesus Christ himself came through the woman, may we acknowledge and honor the exalted gift of motherhood, as mothers love and serve their husbands and children.

Through the intercession of Holy Mary, Mother of God, may all women receive into their hearts the Divine call to motherhood, both natural and spiritual, and find their joy and identity in this calling.

May the prayers of the Blessed Mother be a beacon of light to all women, leading them on the path to discover true beauty, serve with humility, give of their own hearts and bodies, confound the darkness, and blind the evil ones with the light of feminine grace.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Divine Lover and ennobler of all women, who reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

For Fatherhood

Eternal God, originator of Fatherhood, I offer up to you the blessed office of Father. May the men who occupy this dignified place protect and care for their children and wives with valiant honesty, heroic chastity, noble humility, and stern sobriety.

Ignite a fire in the hearts of men, O God, so that they may respond to the Divine call to fatherhood, both natural and spiritual, and model themselves after the holy example of Blessed Joseph, Father of the Universal Church.

Through his intercession, may fathers e strengthened to flee from sin, subdue their flesh, wrestle with the powers of corruption, banish the darkness, and obtain victory over hell and its agents.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, sanctifier of all men, to the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

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That sinners may return

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Day 8 Intercession

For an end to the use of the death penalty in our country.

Question/Quote of the Day

Even if the death penalty were always imposed without error, should we support its use? We teach that killing is wrong by responding with mercy and justice, not more killing. We don’t want a government that kills when society can be protected fully by the bloodless means of life imprisonment. By fostering a spirit of vengeance, which should have no role in the administration of justice, the death penalty contributes to the increasing disrespect for human life in our culture. —  A Catholic Response to the Death Penalty

Scriptures of the Day

Matthew 5:7:
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

James 2:12–13:
So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Psalm 51:3–19
Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.
Behold, I was born in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire true sincerity;
and secretly you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop,* that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will let me hear gladness and joy;
the bones you have crushed will rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;
uphold me with a willing spirit.
I will teach the wicked your ways,
that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God,
and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice.
Lord, you will open my lips;
and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it;
a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.

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Resources

Trust in God’s plan

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Day 7 Intercession

May those who long for a child of their own be filled with trust in God’s loving plan.

Scriptures on Waiting

Psalm 25:1–5

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be disgraced;
do not let my enemies gloat over me.
No one is disgraced who waits for you,
but only those who are treacherous without cause.
Make known to me your ways, LORD;
teach me your paths.
Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 33:20–22

Our soul waits for the LORD,
he is our help and shield
or in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
May your mercy, LORD, be upon us;
as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 130:5–6

I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits
and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord
more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak,

Prayer of Trust in Divine Mercy

Diary of Saint Faustina #949

Let the doubting soul read these considerations on Divine Mercy and become trusting.

Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God,  I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, fountain gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed by any intellect, human or angelic, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, better than the heavens, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word,
I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus,
I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us, and especially for sinners,
I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Host, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the founding of Holy Church, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in our justification through Jesus Christ, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, accompanying us through our whole life, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, endowing us with immortal life, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, accompanying us every moment of our life, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, shielding us from the fire of hell, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the conversion of hardened sinners, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, astonishment for Angels, incomprehensible to Saints, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in all the mysteries of God, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, source of our happiness and joy, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in calling us forth from nothingness to existence, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, crown of all of God’s handiwork, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in which we are all immersed, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, sweet relief for anguished hearts, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, repose of hearts, peace amidst fear, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, delight and ecstasy of holy souls, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, inspiring hope against all hope, I Trust in You.

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Advance with a pure heart

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Day 6 Intercession

May those affected by pornography experience the Lord’s mercy and healing.

Questions of the Day

  • Why is pornography wrong?
  • Are you as concerned about what you put into your mind as you are about what you put into your body?
  • Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Quotes of the Day

From the beginning of creation, God’s beautiful plan for human love was inscribed on the human heart and in the human body. All men and women are created in the image of God and called to love. Jesus fully reveals our identity and vocation and shows us the way of love as a gift of self. The human body speaks a language of gift and communion and has great dignity. It should be treated with the greatest respect. As persons, we are meant to be loved and not used.

The virtue of chastity allows us to gain self-mastery in the area of sexuality. It is opposed to lust (which uses a person) and instead fosters genuine love for the other as a whole person. All of us are called to chastity. In marriage, chastity takes the form of faithful and fruitful love and includes the sexual expression of that love. While sin damages our relationship with God, our own selves, and others, it does not have the last word. Jesus redeemed us and makes it possible for us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit.

Create in me a clean heart

Sexual love is a gift meant for marriage alone. “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 2354). All pornography is immoral and harmful, and can never be justified, including within marriage. Using and/or producing pornography is a sin against chastity and against human dignity. It reduces the body to an erotic stimulant. It harms viewers and does “grave injury” to those involved in its production (CCC, no. 2354).

The sin of pornography needs the Lord’s forgiveness and should be confessed in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Its use is also often linked with other sins, especially masturbation but also adultery and the crime of human trafficking. Pornography objectifies people and brings hurt and pain. It is an illusory substitute for real relationships and intimacy, which in the end bring true joy.

Create in me a clean heart

Prayers of the Day

Saint Thomas’ Prayer for Purity

Dear Jesus, I know that every perfect gift, and especially that of chastity, depends on the power of your Providence. Without you a mere creature can do nothing. Therefore, I beg you to defend by your grace the chastity and purity of my body and soul. And if I have ever imagined or sensed anything that could stain my chastity and purity, blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers, that I may advance with a pure heart in your love and service, offering myself on the most pure altar of your divinity all the days of my life.

For the Intercession of Saint Thomas to Obtain Purity

Chosen Lily of Innocence, pure Saint Thomas, who kept chaste the robe of baptism and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels, I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb, and to Mary, Queen of Virgins. Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I, who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh, may also share your purity, and that after imitating you on earth, I may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.

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Scripture of the Day
Glorify God in Your Body: 1 Corinthians 6:12–20

“Everything is lawful for me, but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful for me,” but I will not let myself be dominated by anything.

“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both the one and the other. The body, however, is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? Of course not!

[Or] do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.”

But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.

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Resources

 

As Christ loved the Church

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Day 5 Intercession

For an end to domestic violence

Prayer for Broken Families (Kevin Nelles)

God our healer, we lift up to you in prayer all families who are divided or broken by human failure.

We ask that you draw forth the pains caused by divorce, infidelity, abandonment, and selfishness, as one draws out a poison, and begin the healing that is needed in the hearts of your people.

May the households of humanity be places of reconciliation, forgiveness, and peace.

Lord, restore broken relationships, inspire forgiveness in the wronged, and heal the restlessness and inner pains of those affected by familial brokenness to pray at all times for your will to be done, both now and in the future.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, by whose own wounds we are healed.

Amen.

Quotes of the Day

From The Biblical Vision of Marriage, Part 4

The view of a woman being subordinate and inferior to man is a result of the fall and a consequence of sin. The Holy Father refers to that as a disturbance of that original relationship between the man and woman….

…Man is not the true and living image of God when he abuses physically, emotionally; when there is an abuse of power; when there is ridicule of women; when he lauds the fact that he is a man over a woman; when he objectifies women. That is not a man living out his true authentic manhood, being made in the image and likeness of God.

From Love and Responsibility: Beyond the Sexual Urge
by
Pope Saint John Paul II

A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.

The person—especially a woman—may be disillusioned by the fact that over time a man’s affection turns out to be only, so to speak, a cover for desire or even for an explicit will to use. Both a woman and a man may be disillusioned by the fact that the values attributed to the beloved person turn out to be fiction. Because of the dissonance between the ideal and the reality, affective love is sometimes not only extinguished but even transformed into affective hatred.

Scripture of the Day
Ephesians 5:21–33:  a most misunderstood and abused scripture passage

Wives and Husbands.

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Questions of the Day

  • Husbands and wives, do you know why God called you together?
  • Does the biblical vision of marriage have anything to offer us today?
  • What does it mean for women to be a female person made in the image of God?
  • What does an authentic feminine presence in the world look like?
  • Is it a sin to divorce a spouse who is physically and emotionally abusive, after many attempts at resolving the behavior in couple’s therapy have failed? Catholic Answer

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Resources

The Disturbing State of Affairs

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Day 4 Intercession

May those near the end of their lives receive medical care
that respects their dignity and protects their lives.

When Doctors Kill

Quotes of the Day

Darkened Consciences, Attacks on Human Dignity, Crimes Against Life

4. Unfortunately, this disturbing state of affairs, far from decreasing, is expanding: with the new prospects opened up by scientific and technological progress there arise new forms of attacks on the dignity of the human being. At the same time a new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and — if possible — even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.

All this is causing a profound change in the way in which life and relationships between people are considered. The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline. Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable. Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defence and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person. In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded. In such a cultural and legislative situation, the serious demographic, social and family problems which weigh upon many of the world’s peoples and which require responsible and effective attention from national and international bodies, are left open to false and deceptive solutions, opposed to the truth and the good of persons and nations.

The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

— Pope Saint John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #4 (1995)

A Call for Cultural Change

98. In a word, we can say that the cultural change which we are calling for demands from everyone the courage to adopt a new lifestyle, consisting in making practical choices — at the personal, family, social and international level — on the basis of a correct scale of values: the primacy of being over having, of the person over things. This renewed life-style involves a passing from indifference to concern for others, from rejection to acceptance of them. Other people are not rivals from whom we must defend ourselves, but brothers and sisters to be supported. They are to be loved for their own sakes, and they enrich us by their very presence.

In this mobilization for a new culture of life no one must feel excluded: everyone has an important role to play. Together with the family, teachers and educators have a particularly valuable contribution to make. Much will depend on them if young people, trained in true freedom, are to be able to preserve for themselves and make known to others new, authentic ideals of life, and if they are to grow in respect for and service to every other person, in the family and in society.

Intellectuals can also do much to build a new culture of human life. A special task falls to Catholic intellectuals, who are called to be present and active in the leading centres where culture is formed, in schools and universities, in places of scientific and technological research, of artistic creativity and of the study of man. Allowing their talents and activity to be nourished by the living force of the Gospel, they ought to place themselves at the service of a new culture of life by offering serious and well documented contributions, capable of commanding general respect and interest by reason of their merit. It was precisely for this purpose that I established the Pontifical Academy for Life, assigning it the task of “studying and providing information and training about the principal problems of law and biomedicine pertaining to the promotion of life, especially in the direct relationship they have with Christian morality and the directives of the Church’s Magisterium”. A specific contribution will also have to come from Universities, particularly from Catholic Universities, and from Centres, Institutes and Committees of Bioethics.

An important and serious responsibility belongs to those involved in the mass media, who are called to ensure that the messages which they so effectively transmit will support the culture of life. They need to present noble models of life and make room for instances of people’s positive and sometimes heroic love for others. With great respect they should also present the positive values of sexuality and human love, and not insist on what defiles and cheapens human dignity. In their interpretation of things, they should refrain from emphasizing anything that suggests or fosters feelings or attitudes of indifference, contempt or rejection in relation to life. With scrupulous concern for factual truth, they are called to combine freedom of information with respect for every person and a profound sense of humanity.

99. In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism” which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination”, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.

— Pope Saint John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #98 (1995)

Scriptures of the Day

New Testament Verses: Romans 12:9–17

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute [you], bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.

Psalm of the Day: 144, Prayer for Victory and Peace

Of David.

I

Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle,
my fingers for war;
My safeguard and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.

II

LORD, what is man that you take notice of him;
the son of man, that you think of him?
Man is but a breath,
his days are like a passing shadow.
LORD, incline your heavens and come down;
touch the mountains and make them smoke.
Flash forth lightning and scatter my foes;
shoot your arrows and rout them.
Reach out your hand from on high;
deliver me from the many waters;
rescue me from the hands of foreign foes.
Their mouths speak untruth;
their right hands are raised in lying oaths.
O God, a new song I will sing to you;
on a ten-stringed lyre I will play for you.
You give victory to kings;
you delivered David your servant.
From the menacing sword deliver me;
rescue me from the hands of foreign foes.
Their mouths speak untruth;
their right hands are raised in lying oaths.

III

May our sons be like plants
well nurtured from their youth,
Our daughters, like carved columns,
shapely as those of the temple.
May our barns be full
with every kind of store.
May our sheep increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
may our oxen be well fattened.
May there be no breach in the walls,
no exile, no outcry in our streets.
Blessed the people so fortunate;
blessed the people whose God is the LORD.

Question of the Day

What role are you called to play in the promotion of the dignity of the human person and protection of innocent life?

Resources

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