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Psalm 87

The Joy of Living in Zion

Of the Korahites. A Psalm. A Song.

On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
    the Lord loves the gates of Zion
    more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
    O city of God.  Selah

Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
    Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia[a]
    ‘This one was born there,’ they say.

And of Zion it shall be said,
    ‘This one and that one were born in it’;
    for the Most High himself will establish it.
The Lord records, as he registers the peoples,
    ‘This one was born there.’  Selah

Singers and dancers alike say,
    ‘All my springs are in you.’

Psalm 88

Prayer for Help in Despondency

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites. To the leader: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

O Lord, God of my salvation,
    when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
    incline your ear to my cry.

For my soul is full of troubles,
    and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
    I am like those who have no help,
like those forsaken among the dead,
    like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
    for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
    in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
    and you overwhelm me with all your waves.  Selah

You have caused my companions to shun me;
    you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
    my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O Lord;
    I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead?
    Do the shades rise up to praise you?  Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
    or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
    or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O Lord, cry out to you;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O Lord, why do you cast me off?
    Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
    I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.[a]
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your dread assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
    from all sides they close in on me.
18 You have caused friend and neighbour to shun me;
    my companions are in darkness.

Here are my thoughts after reading and praying: 

Yes, the Lord loves me.  I question whether the He loves me.  I am in pain, constantly.  How can a good God allow me to be in such extreme pain?  I think, there must be a purpose, but don’t know what.  in my heart I know that Jesus loves me but my brain questions His love for me.  I am sympathetic to those who wonder how an all good, omniscient, and omnipotent God can allow such horrible tragedies, diseases, disasters, and turmoil in this world?  We need to remember that God does not intervene in persons free will decisions.  In going through my pain I have become closer to Christ.  Are these sufferings a wake up call?  God wants us to be closer to Him but these tragedies are odd ways for that to occur.  Yet we do not understand the ways of the Lord.  The Lord calls us to trust Him.  This is hard when going through tough times.  We are called to have faith that God has a plan for each of us and that He will guide and take us to where we need to be. 

 

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Secularism reduces all things to matter and removes God from the equation.  When Satan tempts us and we give in we separate ourselves from God.  There is a bit of the enduring influence of Satan in every person who follows in the example of The Original Sin, by their own will ascribing what they deem to be good and evil.  Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent.  They failed to follow God’s only command, to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Instead of trusting in God’s will Adam and Eve gave into temptation.  When they disobeyed God’s will, bit into the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge they used their wills to decide what was right and wrong. Adam and Eve’s actions showed that they thought they knew better than God.  People today who ignore God’s will and believe it is their prerogative to decide with their own will what is good and bad are following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve.

Father Barron directly quoted an infamous passage in the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey – “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…”, words specifically attributed to Justice Anthony Kennedy,  citing it as a perfect example of persons trying to play God in determining what is ethical or unethical according to their own will.  Does liberty give us the right to do wrongs? Evil?  Participate in moral relativism? Going by the quote above it is reasonable to extrapolate that it is acceptable for each of us to try everything regardless of whether it is moral or immoral just so we are able to experience it, so we are able to feel it.  According to Justice Kennedy his concept of liberty would give us the right to try theft, assault, or murder just to find out what it is like. Huh?  Using our conscience we should be able to know that some things are obviously wrong so there would be no need to experience that which would harm our soul.  It is unethical to harm others in the name of liberty.

After Adam and Eve sinned they felt shame.  In addition to feeling shame it makes sense that they would also feel uncomfortable and exposed. When each of us sins we feel exposed and uncomfortable.  That little voice inside each of us tells us that we did something wrong.  The voice inside then tells us to correct the wrong.  The voice also tells us to avoid committing the same sin in the future.  When Adam and Eve felt uncomfortable and exposed this let them know that they had sinned. We experience the same thing.

 

 

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I found this in a PDF and am passing it on. 

St. John Chrysostom on Keeping a Fast

We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this
good intercession. Therefore, as when the winter is over
and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel
to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and
makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman
sharpens his sickle; and the traveler boldly undertakes a
long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for
the contest.
So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of
spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons;
and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as
sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of
extravagant desires; and as travelers let us set out on the
journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for
the contest.
For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor,
and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveler.
Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on
therefore the whole armour of God.” Hast thou observed
the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a
wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict
naked. If a soldier, it behooves thee to stand in the battle
line armed at all points.
How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and
yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I
will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou
hast become a wrestler. Put on the spiritual armour, and
thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares,
for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the
spiritual armour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with
demons.
Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to
offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is
wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as
on no side to receive a deadly blow.
Cultivate thy soul. Cut away the thorns. Sow the word of
godliness. Propagate and nurse with much care the fair
plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a
husbandman. And Paul will say to thee, “The
husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the
fruits. He too himself practiced this art. Therefore writing
to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos
watered, but God gave the increase.” Sharpen thy sickle,
which thou hast blunted through gluttony–sharpen it by

fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards
heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and
journey on.
And how mayst thou be able to do these things? By
subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For
when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of
gluttony is a great hindrance. Keep down the waves of
inordinate desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts.
Preserve the bark; display much skill, and thou hast
become a pilot. But we shall have the fast for a
groundwork and instructor in all these things.
I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep,
but of real fasting; not merely abstinence from meats; but
from sins too.
For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to
deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according
to a suitable law. “For the wrestler,” it is said, “is not
crowned unless he strive lawfully.” To the end then, that
when we have gone through the labour of fasting, we
forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand
how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct
this business; since that Pharisee also fasted, but
afterwards when down empty, and destitute of the fruit of
fasting.
The Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in
preference to him who had fasted; in order that thou
mayst learn that fasting is unprofitable, except all other
duties follow with it. The Ninevites fasted, and won the
favour of God. The Jews fasted too, and profited nothing,
nay they departed with blame.

Since then the danger in fasting is so great to those who
do not know how they ought to fast, we should learn the
laws of this exercise, in order that we may not “run
uncertainly,” nor “beat the air,” nor while we are fighting
contend with a shadow. Fasting is a medicine; but a
medicine, though it be never so profitable, becomes
frequently useless owing to the unskillfulness of him who
employs it.
For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time when it
should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it; and the
temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of the
country, and the season of the year; and the
corresponding diet; as well as various other particulars;
any of which, if one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that
have been named. Now if, when the body needs healing,
such exactness is required on our part, much more ought
we, when our care is about the soul, and we seek to heal

the distempers of the mind, to look, and to search into
every particular with the utmost accuracy.
I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting,
but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting
consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing
from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only
to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially
disparages it.

Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said
by what kind of works?

If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!

If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him!

If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not!

If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by!

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear,
and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our
bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice.
Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful
spectacles.

Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves
rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy
themselves with strange beauties.

For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is
unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the
whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it
adorns fasting.

For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain
from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to
touch even what is forbidden.

Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by
means of the eyes.

Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in
refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou
shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

 

Fasting is about more than food.  Fasting is about saying no to that which will harm our souls.  Fasting is about doing good works and reconciling relationships.  Lent is a time to grow in our faith. 

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An interview with Cardinal Dolan on “Meet The Press” aired this morning on NBC.  He was asked for thoughts on the University of Missouri football player Michael Sam who had come out as gay recently.  Cardinal Dolan responded “good for him” and “bravo.”  Cardinal Dolan said the Bible says not to judge.  That isn’t necessarily correct.  There is one place in the Bible that says not to judge but you have to take into account the context in which this was said.  We are not to use do not judge broadly so as to attribute it to circumstances it does not apply.  Here are a couple of scripture passages:

John 7: 24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Leviticus 19: 15 “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”

As you can see the two scripture passages above DO NOT condemn judging others.

In response New Catholic at the blog Rorate Caeli wrote this: 

OK, then. Naturally, the Cardinal did not have to say anything at all regarding a specific individual, even if asked. But silence and discretion are one thing, explicitly refusing moral discernment is another, and raising such refusal to the status of “good” and “bravo” is quite noteworthy for a Prince of the Church, because it is in itself a moral judgment, a positive moral judgment.
It is quite easy to see that no moral debate in which the Catholic Church takes part, of any kind and on any level, can ever anymore advance even one inch if the parameters become simply an isolated reading of “not judging” – and much less if “not judging” is elevated to the positive judgment of “good” and “bravo.” Politicians quote a pontiff when casting immoral votes, and what can the Church say, from now on, on any legal matter (that presupposes a moral order)? It can always be used to stop any social debate. What can poor pastors and vicars say regarding any sin, even personally to a parishioner, when the isolated presentation of “no sense of judgment” becomes normative? Or even regarding, for instance, an inclination that our judgmental Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as “objectively disordered” (regardless of the practice or not of the “intrinsically disordered” acts attached to it)?

And if you do not like this post, who are you to judge us?…

[Op-ed update: Cardinal Dolan, in this age, it is keeping the faith that deserves a “Bravo”.]

Bravo New Catholic!  Politicians and laity sure do know how to twist and pervert the words of authority figures in the Church in order to support agendas that are contrary to the faith.  Going by his words it seems that Cardinal Dolan is talking as if he believes the Catechism is wrong when it says homosexual relations are “intrinsically  disordered.”  Yes, we are called to love every human being.  But it is wrong to cheer on a sexual orientation which the Church condemns as “objectively disordered.”  Loving everyone does not mean approving of everything they do.  

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The movie “Son of God” is presently playing in theaters.  This looks to be a good, wholesome movie.  Catholic News Service (CNS) has posted a review of “Son of God”.  Due to prevalent gory violence in the film CNS recommends that only adults view the movie.  It is rated PG-13.  This is the first movie to cover the entire life of Jesus since the 1977 miniseries “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Here is part of the review by CNS:

The screenwriters, led by Nic Young, find an efficient entree into their narrative by entrusting it to an aged St. John the Evangelist (Sebastian Knapp) during his exile on the island of Patmos. This is theologically helpful because the opening lines of the Beloved Disciple’s Gospel, as recited here, describe the Incarnation, a mystery without which all that follows could easily be misconstrued.

Thus Judas (Joe Wredden), Caiaphas the high priest (Adrian Schiller) and Pontius Pilate (Greg Hicks) are all assigned believable motives, while Morgado succeeds in blending messianic vision with very human pain in a thoroughly compelling way — one that accords, moreover, with the scriptural account.

Catholic viewers will also appreciate the unqualified acknowledgement of St. Peter (Darwin Shaw) as the leader of the Apostles as well as scenes highlighting Mary’s (Roma Downey) closeness to her son. And, though the portrayal of the Last Supper seems somewhat noncommittal as to the meaning of the Eucharist, a rough-and-ready celebration of the sacrament is shown to be the chosen moment for the Lord’s first post-Resurrection appearance to the Twelve.

“Son of God” expounds on last year’s miniseries “The Bible.”  Are you Looking forward to seeing the movie?  Yes. I’m not sure whether I’m going to see the “Son of God” in the theater or wait til it comes to Red Box.

 

 

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