NINEVEH 90 - 2017 - Daily Reflections

NINEVEH 90 - 2017 - Daily Reflections
I just posted the daily reflections; for more information on the Nineveh Challenge check out the website below
https://www.nineveh90.com/


DAY 1 -
HOLY MARY, HELP US TO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION!

GOD'S WORD

"So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 4:48)

HEROES' WORDS

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!" -St. Catherine of Siena

 "This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections." -St. Augustine

 "To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." -Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

 "He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows." -St. Gregory of Nissa

"Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation, for no one will do it for us, since even he himself, who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves." -St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

MEDITATION

"All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity." All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (CCC 2013)


Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all. (CCC 2014)

The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes. (CCC 2015)
PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 2 -
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE VIRTUE OF FAITH!
 
GOD'S WORD
 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
HEROES' WORDS

"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." -Attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas

 MEDITATION

The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity (CCC 1813). Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself.

 By faith "man freely commits his entire self to God." For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will. "The righteous shall live by faith." Living faith "work[s] through charity" (CCC 1814). "Our faith must be complete. We completely submit our intellect and will to God. Our faith therefore illuminates our daily life. Our fallen race inherits from its first parents a propensity to sin, but our constant objective must be to live as Holy Mother Church teaches. We seek to live by the theological and cardinal virtues. We consciously avoid the seven capital sins. We go to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day if possible, or every Sunday at minimum. We go to Confession every month if possible, or every year at minimum. We do all this because we have faith that the Catholic Church has Christ's authority to teach us how to prepare for heaven."
PRAY A ROSARY
 
DAY 3 -
HOLY VIRGIN OF VIRGINS, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE VIRTUE OF HOPE!

GOD'S WORD

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)

HEROES' WORDS
"Pray, hope, and don't worry." -St. Pio of Pietrelcina

MEDITATION
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1817). The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity (CCC 1818).


Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus' preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the "hope that does not disappoint." Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul ... that enters ... where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf." Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: "Let us ... put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation." It affords us joy even under trial: "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation." Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire (CCC 1820).
PRAY A ROSARY
 
DAY 4 –
MOTHER OF CHRIST, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE VIRTUE OF LOVE!

GOD'S WORD
Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love." (John 15:9-10)

 HEROES' WORDS

"Love to be real, it must cost - it must hurt - it must empty us of self." -Mother Teresa

"To love God is something greater than to know him." -St. Thomas Aquinas
"It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey." -St. Ignatius of Loyola


MEDITATION

Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God (CCC 1822). Charity: The infused supernatural virtue by which a person loves God above all things for his own sake, and loves others for God's sake. It is a virtue based on divine faith or in belief in God's revealed truth, and is not acquired by mere human effort. It can be conferred only by divine grace. Because it is infused along with sanctifying grace, it is frequently identified with the state of grace. Therefore, a person who has lost the supernatural virtue of charity has lost the state of grace, although he may still possess the virtues of hope and faith. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

 

Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own "to the end," he makes manifest the Father's love, which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus, which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love." And again: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (CCC 1823).


 The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which "binds everything together in perfect harmony"; it is the form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love (CCC 1827).

PRAY A ROSARY


DAY 5 -
MOTHER OF DIVINE GRACE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF PRUDENCE!

GOD'S WORD
"The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps." (Proverbs 14:15)

 HEROES' WORDS
"The prudent man considers things afar off, in so far as they tend to be a help or a hindrance to that which has to be done at the present time." -St. Thomas Aquinas

 MEDITATION
Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good (CCC 1804). Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom's] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage." These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture (CCC 1805).

 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." "Keep sane and sober for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid (CCC 1806).
PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 6 -
MOTHER MOST PURE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF JUSTICE!

GOD'S WORD

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:34-40)

HEROES' WORDS

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld." -St. Augustine

"The source of justice is not vengeance but charity." -St. Bridget of Sweden

"If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you. Especially anticipate the needs of those who are ashamed to beg. To make them ask for alms is to make them buy it." -St. Thomas of Villanova

MEDITATION

Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. (CCC 1807).
PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 7 -
MOTHER MOST CHASTE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF COURAGE!

GOD'S WORD

"Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14)

HEROES' WORDS

"Fortitude is the disposition of soul which enables us to despise all inconveniences and the loss of things not in our power." -St. Augustine

"I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it." -St. Faustina

"Moreover, Christians are born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God willing, the triumph: 'Have confidence; I have overcome the world' (Jn 16:33)." -Pope Leo XIII

"Though the path is plain and smooth for men of good will, he who walks it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty, if he does not have good feet: that is, courage and a persevering spirit." -St. John of the Cross

MEDITATION

Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. "The Lord is my strength and my song." "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (CCC 1808).
PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 8 -
MOTHER INVIOLATE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE VIRTUE OF TEMPERANCE!

GOD'S WORD

"Do you not know that, of those who run in a race, all of them, certainly, are runners, but only one achieves the prize? Similarly, you must run, so that you may achieve. And one who competes in a contest abstains from all things. And they do this, of course, so that they may achieve a corruptible crown. But we do this, so that we may achieve what is incorruptible." (1 Cor 9:24-25)

 HEROES' WORDS

"Temperance is a disposition that restrains our desires for things which it is base to desire." -St. Augustine

"Our body has this defect that, the more it is provided care and comforts, the more needs and desires it finds." -St. Teresa of Avila

 "If you would rise, shun luxury, for luxury lowers and degrades." -St John Chrysostom

MEDITATION

Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart." Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites." In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety." We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world." (CCC 1809)

"To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence)." -St. Augustine
PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 9 -
MOTHER UNDEFILED, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF WISDOM!
 GOD'S WORD

"Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant." (Psalm 25:8-10).

HEROES' WORDS

"Dost thou hold wisdom to be anything other than truth, wherein we behold and embrace the supreme good?" -St. Augustine

 "Let your old age be childlike, and your childhood like old age; that is, so that neither may your wisdom be with pride, nor your humility without wisdom." -St. Augustine

"God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know his holy will, and to do it fully." -St. Ignatius of Loyola

 "We are to love God for himself, because of a twofold reason; nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable." -St. Bernard of Clairvaux



MEDITATION

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. "Let your good spirit lead me on a level path" (Ps 143:10). "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God" (Rom 8:14). (CCC 1831)

The Gift of Wisdom: The first and highest gift of the Holy Spirit. It makes the soul responsive to God in the contemplation of divine things. Where faith is a simple knowledge of the articles of Christian belief, wisdom goes on to a certain divine penetration of the truths themselves. Built into wisdom is the element of love, which inspires contemplative reflection on these divine mysteries, rejoices dwelling on them, and directs the mind to judge all things according to their principles. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)
PRAY A ROSARY
DAY 10 -
MOTHER MOST AMIABLE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING!

GOD'S WORD

"The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." (Psalm 119:130)

"Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints ..." (Ephesians 1:18)

HEROES' WORDS

"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand." -St. Augustine

"Understanding is the sure and clear knowledge of some invisible thing." -St. Bernard

"Thus understanding and love, that is, the knowledge of and delight in the truth, are, as it were, the two arms of the soul, with which it embraces and comprehends with all the saints the length and breath, the height and depth, that is the eternity, the love, the goodness, and the wisdom of God." -St. Bernard

MEDITATION

The Gift of Understanding: The infused gift of the Holy Spirit given to the mind for grasping revealed truths easily and profoundly. It differs from faith because it gives insight into the meaning of what a person believes, whereas faith, as such, merely assents to what God has revealed. This gift produces three principal effects in those who possess it. They are enabled to penetrate to the very core of revealed truths, without ever fully understanding their meaning; they are confirmed in their belief by acquiring great certitude in the revealed word of God; and they are brought to the knowledge of a greater number of truths by drawing numerous conclusions from revealed principles. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 11 -
MOTHER MOST ADMIRABLE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF COUNSEL

GOD'S WORD

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
 "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot." (Romans 8:7)

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

HEROES' WORDS

"Of all human activities, man's listening to God is the supreme act of his reasoning and will." -Pope Paul VI

"Listen and attend with the ear of your heart." -St. Benedict

MEDITATION

The Gift of Counsel: One of the special gifts of the Holy Spirit; it perfects the virtue of prudence. Its function is to enable a person to judge promptly and rightly, as by a sort of supernatural intuition, what should be done, especially in difficult situations. With the gift of counsel, the Holy Spirit speaks, as it were, to the heart and in an instant enlightens a person what to do. It corresponds to the promise made by Christ to his followers, "When they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you" (Mt 10:19). Counsel refers primarily to prudent conduct in one's own case, and only secondarily in favor of others. Enlightened by the Spirit, a person learns what to do in a specific case and what advice to give when consulted or command to make if he is in authority. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 12 -
MOTHER OF GOOD COUNSEL, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF FORTITUDE!


GOD'S WORD
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4)

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)


Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)
 
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

 HEROES' WORDS

"The principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly rather than to attack them" -St. Thomas Aquinas


 MEDITATION

The Gift of Fortitude: One of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; it gives a person a special strength of will. This gift confers an extraordinary readiness to undergo trials for love of God or in fulfillment of the divine will; unusual courage to bear difficulties even for many years; firmness in carrying arduous tasks to their completion; perseverance in a lifetime fidelity to one's vocation in spite of heavy trials or disappointments sent by God; and gladness in being privileged to suffer persecution or humiliation in union with Christ and for the sake of his name. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)



PRAY A ROSARY





DAY 13 -


MOTHER OF OUR CREATOR, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE!


GOD'S WORD

"An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge." (Proverbs 18:15)


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)


HEROES' WORDS

"We judge all things according to the divine truth." -St. Augustine


"A scrap of knowledge about sublime things is worth more than any amount about trivialities." -St. Thomas Aquinas



 "There are some who desire knowledge merely for its own sake; and that is shameful curiosity. And there are others who desire to know, in order that they may themselves be known; and that is vanity, disgraceful too. Others again, desire knowledge in order to acquire money or preferment by it; that too is a discreditable quest. But there are also some who desire knowledge, that they may build up the souls of others with it and that is charity. Others, again, desire it that they may themselves be built up thereby; and that is prudence. Of all these types, only the last two put knowledge to the right use." -St. Bernard



MEDITATION



The Gift of Knowledge: One of the seven infused gifts. By the illuminating action of the Holy Spirit it perfects the virtue of faith. It gives a person the ability to judge everything from a supernatural viewpoint. The object of this gift is the whole spectrum of created things insofar as they lead one to God. Through infused knowledge the faithful can see the providential purpose of whatever enters their lives, and they are able to put creatures to the right use according to God's will for themselves and for others. Sometimes called "the science of the saints," it enables those who have the gift to discern easily and effectively between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations of grace. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary).


 
PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 14 -

MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF PIETY!



GOD'S WORD
"The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out 'Abba, Father!'" (Romans 8:14-15)
HEROES' WORDS
"In so far as divine love beautifies our souls and makes us pleasing to his divine Majesty, it is called grace; in so far as it gives us strength to do good, it is called charity; but when it reaches such a degree of perfection, that it makes us not only do the good, but do so carefully, frequently, and readily, then it is called devotion." -St. Francis de Sales
"Charity and devotion differ no more, the one from the other, than the flame from the fire." -St. Francis de Sales
"Devotion is a certain act of the will by which man gives himself promptly to divine service." -St. Thomas Aquinas

MEDITATION
The Gift of Piety: A special gift of the Holy Spirit; it perfects the virtue of religion, which is the practice of justice toward God. It produces an instinctive filial affection for God and devotion toward those who are specially consecrated to God. As an infused gift of God, it is ready loyalty to God and the things of God, arising not so much from studied effort or acquired habit as from a supernatural communication conferred by the Holy Spirit. This gift enables a person to see in God not only one's sovereign Master but a loving Father, according to the teaching of St. Paul: "Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out 'Abba, Father!'" (Rom 8:14-15). It engenders in the soul a filial respect for God, a generous love toward him, and an affectionate obedience that wants to do what he commands because it loves the one who commands. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)


PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 15 -
VIRGIN MOST PRUDENT, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE GIFT OF FEAR OF THE LORD!

GOD'S WORD
"Serve the Lord in fear, and exult in him with trembling." (Psalm 2:11)
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of holiness is prudence." (Proverbs 9:10)
"His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." (Luke 1:50)
HEROES' WORDS
"For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains, and regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear." -St. Bernard
"We must fear God out of love, not love him out of fear." -St. Francis de Sales
MEDITATION
Gift of Fear: Infused gift of the Holy Spirit that confirms the virtue of hope and inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of his help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God. The gift of fear comprises three principal elements: a vivid sense of God's greatness, a lively sorrow for the least faults committed, and a vigilant care in avoiding occasions of sin. It is expressed in prayer of the Psalmist, "My whole being trembles before you, your ruling fills me with fear" (Ps 119:120). One of its salutary effects is to induce a spirit of deep humility in dealing with others, especially with inferiors, since it makes a person aware that he or she stands constantly before the judgment of God. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 16 -
VIRGIN MOST VENERABLE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF CHARITY!

 GOD'S WORD

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." (1 John 4:16)

 HEROES' WORDS

"Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you." -St. Augustine

 "The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest." -St. Augustine

 Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead." -St. Thomas Aquinas
 
Charity is the form, mover, mother, and root of all virtues." -St. Thomas Aquinas

 MEDITATION

By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit." (CCC 736)

 Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Supernatural works that, according to St. Paul, manifest the presence of the Holy Spirit. The one who performs them recognizes God's presence by the happiness he experiences, and others the divine presence by witnessing these good works (Gal 5:22-23). They are, in other words, identifiable effects of the Holy Spirit. In the Vulgate text they are: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: "Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love." (CCC 1824)

 PRAY A ROSARY


DAY 17 -
VIRGIN MOST RENOWNED, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF JOY

 
GOD'S WORD


"You have made known to me the ways of life; you will fill me with joy by your presence. At your right hand are delights, even to the end." (Psalm 16:11)
 
"His lord said to him: 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Since you have been faithful over a few things, I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" (Matthew 25:21)
 HEROES' WORDS
"Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls." -Mother Teresa
 "Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy." -Mother Teresa
 "We are at Jesus' disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim his work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that's all right, everything is all right. We must say, 'I belong to you. you can do whatever you like.' And this is our strength. This is the joy of the Lord." -Mother Teresa
 "Let the brothers ever avoid appearing gloomy, sad, and clouded, like the hypocrites; but let one ever be found joyous in the Lord, gay, amiable, gracious, as is meet." -St. Francis
 MEDITATION
Fruit of Joy: In spiritual literature, the feeling aroused by the expectation or possession of some good. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Joyful emotions affect the body, but they are essentially in the higher faculties of the soul. Differs from pleasure, which may affect the human spirit but originates in some bodily sensation. Thus joy is possessed by angels and human beings, and its source is the rational will. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)
 PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 18 -
VIRGIN MOST POWERFUL, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF PEACE

GOD'S WORD
"The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." (Psalm 29:11)
 
"But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." (Psalm 37:11)
 
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." (Proverbs 3:1-2)

 "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6)
 
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

 HEROES' WORDS

"But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him." -St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 "Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?" -St. Gerard Majella

"Peace is better than a fortune." -St. Francis de Sales

 MEDITATION

Fruit of Peace: the tranquility of order. Peace is first of all the absence of conflict. But it is also the serenity experienced because there is no conflict. It is the calm that accompanies agreement of human wills, and is the foundation of every well-ordered society. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

PRAY A ROSARY


DAY 19 -

VIRGIN MOST MERCIFUL, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF PATIENCE


GOD'S WORD

"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
`
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)

"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy." (Colossians 1:11)
"My brothers, when you have fallen into various trials, consider everything a joy, knowing that the proving of your faith exercises patience, and patience brings a work to perfection, so that you may be perfect and whole, deficient in nothing." (James 1:2-4)

HEROES' WORDS
"Patience is the companion of wisdom." -St. Augustine

"Patience is the root and guardian of all the virtues." -Pope St. Gregory I
"The virtue of patience is the one which most assures us of perfection." -St. Francis de Sales
 
"If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured." -St. Colette

MEDITATION
Fruit of Patience: A form of the moral virtue of fortitude. It enables one to endure present evils without sadness or resentment in conformity with the will of God. Patience is mainly concerned with bearing the evils caused by another. The three grades of patience are: Lowest: to bear difficulties without interior complaint, Middle: to use hardships to make progress in virtue, Highest: to desire the cross and afflictions for Christ's love, to have something to offer up, and to accept them with spiritual joy. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)


PRAY A ROSARY

DAY 20 -
VIRGIN MOST FAITHFUL, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF KINDNESS

 
GOD'S WORD

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:27-31)

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26)

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:1-5)

HEROES' WORDS

"Be kind to all and severe to thyself." -St. Teresa of Avila

MEDITATION

Fruit of Kindness: One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; the quality of understanding sympathy and concern for those in trouble or need. It is shown in affability of speech, generosity of conduct, and forgiveness of injuries sustained. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

PRAY A ROSARY 

DAY 21 -
MARY, MIRROR OF JUSTICE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF GOODNESS


GOD'S WORD 

"Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

HEROES' WORDS 

"Inasmuch as we exist, we are good." -St. Augustine
"Be a good child, and God will help you." -St. Joan of Arc
 
"To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in oneself; but to recognize always that the evil is one's own doing, and to impute it on one's self." -St. Benedict

MEDITATION 

Fruit of Goodness: In general, whatever is suitable or befitting someone or something. Practically, however, it is that which all things tend toward or desire. The good is the desirable, and therefore the object of the natural (or supernatural) needs or tendencies of a being. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)
 
God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness, and beauty - this is the glory for which God created them. (CCC 319)
Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good. The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie: "The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin ... But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted" (Pope Leo XIII). (CCC 1954)
PRAY A ROSARY
 

DAY 22 -
MARY, SEAT OF WISDOM, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF LONGANIMITY

GOD'S WORD 
"And not only that, but we also find glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation exercises patience, and patience leads to proving, yet truly proving leads to hope." (Romans 4:3-4)
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." (Romans 12:12)
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)
HEROES' WORDS 
"This, in short, is the difference between us and others who know not God, that in misfortune they complain and murmur, while the adversity does not call us away from the truth of virtue and faith, but strengthens us by its suffering." -St. Cyprian
MEDITATION 
Fruit of Longanimity: Extraordinary patience under provocation or trial. Also called long suffering. It is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It includes forbearance, which adds to long suffering the implication of restraint in expressing one's feelings or in demanding punishment or one's due. Longanimity suggests toleration, moved by love and the desire for peace, of something painful that deserves to be rejected or opposed. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)
 
PRAY A ROSARY
DAY 23 –

MARY, CAUSE OF OUR JOY, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF GENTLENESS

 GOD'S WORD 

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29)

 "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

 HEROES' WORDS 

"Nothing appeases an enraged elephant so much as the sight of a little lamb." -St. Francis de Sales

 "When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time." -St. Francis de Sales
 
"He who can preserve gentleness amid pains, and peace amid worry multitude of affairs, is almost perfect." -St. Francis de Sales

MEDITATION
Fruit of Gentleness: Mildness is gentle disposition and behavior. A perfection of love which tempers justice by avoiding unnecessary actions that might provoke anger or resentment. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

PRAY A ROSARY
Choose either:

Rosary of the Day: Sorrowful Mysteries
Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries



DAY 24 -
MARY, SPIRITUAL VESSEL, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF FAITHFULNESS

GOD'S WORD 
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)
 
"For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not of yourselves, for it is a gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)
 
"But the Lord said: 'If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you may say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted, and be transplanted into the sea." And it would obey you.'" (Luke 17:6)

HEROES' WORDS 
"For faith is the beginning and the end is love, and God is the two of them brought into unity. After these comes whatever else makes up a Christian gentleman." -St. Ignatius of Antioch
 
"Faith means battles; if there are no contests, it is because there are none who desire to contend." -St. Ambrose "Faith does not quench desire, but inflames it." -St. Thomas Aquinas
 
"A faint faith is better than a strong heresy." -St. Thomas More
 
"It is not the actual physical exertion that counts toward a man's progress, nor the nature of the task, but the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken." -St. Francis Xavier

MEDITATION 

"Fruit of Faithfulness: Our faith is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. We have faith only if we believe in Christ's entire public revelation. The Catholic faith is faith that Christ instituted a divine institution, a Church blessed with authority to infallibly teach his public revelation. If we accept only doctrines consistent with our own experience we are not accepting them on faith but rather on human analysis."

PRAY A ROSARY
Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Glorious Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries

DAY 25 -
MARY, VESSEL OF HONOR, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF MODESTY

 
GOD'S WORD

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'" (1 Samuel 16:7)

HEROES' WORDS

"The dress of the body should not discredit the good of the soul." St. Cyprian

"The purpose of clothing is to keep warm in winter and to cover your nakedness, not to serve your vanity." St. Cyril of Jerusalem

MEDITATION

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. (CCC 2521)

PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Luminous Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Joyful Mysteries
DAY 26 -
MARY, SINGULAR VESSEL OF DEVOTION, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF CONTINENCE

 
GOD'S WORD 

"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." (Proverbs 25:28)
 
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
 
"But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27)

HEROES' WORDS 
"He who is chaste in flesh should not be proud, for he should know that he owes the gift of continence to another." -Pope St. Clement I
 
"I thought that continence was a matter of our own strength, and I knew that I had not the strength: for in my utter foolishness I did not know the word of your Scripture that none can be continent unless you give it." -St. Augustine
 
"Great are those two gifts, wisdom and continence: wisdom, forsooth, whereby we are formed in the knowledge of God; continence whereby we are not conformed to this world." -St. Augustine

MEDITATION 
Fruit of Self-Control (or Continence): The virtue by which a person controls the unruly movements of sexual desire or other bodily emotions. It is connected with the virtue of temperance. It generally means the chastity to be observed by the unmarried. But it may also refer to the abstinence, in marriage, voluntarily agreed upon by both parties or forced by circumstances to abstain from marital intercourse. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)
 
PRAY A ROSARY
Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Sorrowful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries

DAY 27 -
MARY, MYSTICAL ROSE, PRAY THAT WE RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF CHASTITY

 
GOD'S WORD 
"The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light." (Matthew 6:22)
 
"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are." (1 Corinthians 3:16)
HEROES' WORDS 
"Do not say that you have chaste minds if you have unchaste eyes, because an unchaste eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart." -St. Augustine
"Now, though the era of persecution is gone, yet our peace has its martyrdom, because though we bend not the neck to the sword, yet with a spiritual weapon we slay fleshly desires in our hearts." -Pope St. Gregory I
MEDITATION 
Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift. (CCC 2337)
The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech. (CCC 2338)
Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery, which is training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. (CCC 2339)
PRAY A ROSARY
Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries
DAY 28 -
MARY, TOWER OF DAVID, PRAY FOR US

 
DRAW YOUR STRENGTH FROM THE LORD

"We belong to the Church Militant; and she is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction." - Venerable Pius XII
 
Pope Benedict XVI stated that we are facing a critical moment: "In vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel." The pope warned, "We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today ... The renewal of faith must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time."
In recent decades, we have seen Satan engage the world as never before. In all of human history we have never witnessed evil promoted so effectively while virtue and character and morals are roundly mocked and rejected. Meanwhile, it could be said that the Mystical Body - the Church - has never been so unprepared for and unengaged in the challenging mission of spiritual warfare. It is obvious that Satan's forces are well trained and well organized while ours are clearly not. At the very beginnings of our great nation, Sir Edmund Burke is said to have warned, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Yes, we are being called upon to fight the mother of all wars against powerful evil spirits in the heavenly realm, but we are sure to meet our demise unless we discover these battles cannot be won without first acquiring God's strength and mighty power:
"Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground" (Eph 6:10-12)  (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).


DAY 29 -
MARY, TOWER OF IVORY, PRAY FOR US


SUMMONED TO COURAGE 

A society increasingly disengaged from the Divine Life has no place to go but down. Definitely not progress, but a radical descent away from our greatest potential. "Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered; illegitimacy rates have soared; divorce has skyrocketed; pornography is rampant; drug use has exploded; sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have killed millions; birth control is a way of life; sex outside of wedlock has become the norm; countless children have been permanently damaged - their innocence lost forever - because of the proliferation of broken homes; and sodomy and homosexuality are celebrated openly. America has become the new Babylon" Jeffrey Kuhner, Washington Times).


Summoning us to courage, a popular saying challenges us to fight: "Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be."




St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Mystagogical Catechesis insists, "Just as the Savior, after his baptism and the coming of the Holy Spirit, went forth to vanquish the Enemy (in the wilderness), so you too, after Holy Baptism and Mystical Chrismation, having put on the whole armor of the Holy Spirit, are to resist the power of the Adversary and to vanquish him, saying, 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me' (Phil. 4:13)."





"Let us be filled with confidence," St. John Chrysostom exhorts, "and let us discard everything so as to be able to meet this onslaught. Christ has equipped us with weapons more splendid than gold, more resistant than steel, weapons more fiery than any flame and lighter than the slightest breeze ... These are weapons of a totally new kind, for they have been forged for a previously unheard-of type of combat. I, who am a mere man, find myself called upon to deal blows to demons; I, who am clothed in flesh, find myself at war with incorporeal powers." (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).


PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries

DAY 30 -
MARY, HOUSE OF GOLD, PRAY FOR US

 

SANCTIFY YOURSELF

Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade in 1095 with the primary goal of the Christian re-conquest of the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. So great was the pope's speech in Clermont, France, on that day that the crowd was inspired to cry out: "Deus Vult! Deus Vult!" ("It is the will of God! It is the will of God!"). This became the battle cry of brave and noble knights who sought to recover that holy ground.

In our vastly secularized modern world, the need has never been greater to reclaim the surrendered ground of the sacred. While it was nearly a millennium ago that Pope Urban II challenged would-be warriors to "reclaim the sacred," in our day it was Pope John Paul II, in his January 6, 2000, Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, who made his clarion call for us to put aside all fear and pursue daring apostolic goals which are rooted deeply in prayer. This is a call to return to our first priority, the Universal Call to Holiness: "All Christian faithful ... are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity."

The spiritual devastation of the last few decades compelled Pope John Paul II to draw up his master plan for the new millennium. In his plan, he emphasized the importance of "starting afresh from Christ": "No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person." Thus, he called for pastoral initiatives that would focus on "Training in Holiness" and "Schools of Prayer." St. Francis of Assisi affirms this training in holiness as the fundamental starting point: "Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society."

Pope John Paul II challenges us to consider, "since baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity ... 'Do you wish to become holy?' It means to set before you the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount: 'Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Mt 5:48)." (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Sorrowful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries

DAY 31 -
MARY, ARK OF THE COVENANT, PRAY FOR US



RECON 

Any combat training and tactical planning begins with a process of intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. Recon (reconnaissance) is a military term used to determine the enemy force's disposition and intention, gathering information (or intelligence) about an enemy's composition and capabilities. Dr. Peter Kreeft wrote: "You cannot win a war if you are unwilling to admit we are even at war or you don't know who your enemy is or you don't know what strategy your enemy is using."

We have all witnessed how the dry wind of the enemy's militant secular propaganda campaign has hardened the hearts of so many of our family members, friends, and neighbors. Spiritually speaking, many have crossed into the dry and lifeless valley of the dry bones prophesied in Ezekiel 37. Dead in their sins, with the rigor mortis of indifference hardening their hearts, they are without the breath of the Spirit, destined for eternal damnation, unless some campaign of search and rescue is launched.

So why has the devil been so effective? What is his strategy? To better understand the tactics of the devil, it is important to understand his names: "diabolos" means "he who places division or separation," and "daio," the root of "demon," means "to divide." These names identify the two great tactical campaigns the enemy has deployed, especially in recent decades: 1) Cut us off from our (supernatural) supply lines and 2) Divide and conquer. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

We will look at these two tactics of the devil over the next two days.

PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Glorious Mysteries


DAY 32 -
MARY, GATE OF HEAVEN, PRAY FOR US


 
STATE OF GRACE 

Devil's Tactic #1 - Cut us off from our supply lines

The first major strategy from the father of lies is actually as old as the Garden of Eden itself. It is simply to convince us we do not need God (Gen. 3:5-6), nor do we need his strength and his power (Eph. 6:10).

In modern times, we have witnessed this in the effective campaign of militant secularists who have sought to de-mythologize our faith, a flat out rejection of the supernatural power of God. Once the devil has us convinced that we can challenge him under our own natural power, or simply deny that he even exists, he's cut us off from the only real power capable of defeating him: God's supernatural grace.

More and more common is the modern "secularized" version of religion that sees it reduced to a kind of psychotherapy for self-actualization. Some seminaries seem to focus on training therapeutic practitioners rather than theologians. In other words, instead of seeing Jesus as God with us - a real and ever-present source of supernatural love and grace - he is reduced to a historic figure we simply emulate as a model in our efforts at self-actualization.

Sadly, this secular version of religion has become so prevalent that most people's eyes begin to glaze over at the mere mention of God's supernatural grace as a necessary source of power in our lives. St. Peter warns us to be fortes in fide, strong in faith, because the devil prowls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Pt 5:8-9). Lions size up a herd to find the weakest and easiest target. Once we are detached from God and his supernatural grace, we are powerless to defend ourselves from the tactics of the devil.

Our ancestors and all of the saints knew all about this supernatural power and strength and that being in a state of grace was the armor of God that was to be treasured and protected at all cost. Like the scriptural images for the kingdom of God, this Divine Life in God (state of grace) is the "hidden treasure" and the "pearl of great price" (Mt 13:44-46). (excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Luminous Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries
DAY 33 -
MARY, MORNING STAR, PRAY FOR US 



UNITY IN TRUTH



Devil's Tactic #2 - Divide and Conquer 

The second modern tactic of the devil is actually the very ancient military strategy of "divide and conquer." This strategy is defined as one that separates a force that would be stronger if united. As we said, the devil is roaming around like a lion that sizes up the herd to find the easiest target. He is also watching to see who is separated from the herd. Large, coordinated forces are difficult to defeat. If the enemy can separate us into small units or individuals, he can more easily defeat each one.

"Strike the shepherd and the sheep scatter" (Zec 13:7). There's no doubt that the devil has focused his assault on the religious leaders of our day. While these leaders may have had noble intentions of charity and pastoral sensitivity, the results have been devastating. Decades of lenient, non-confrontational leadership have left the faithful feeble and prone to be "conformed to the pattern of this world" (Rom 12:2). St. Augustine once said, "Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."

The unfortunate laxity of discipline has permitted confusion and strife where there should be clarity and harmony, an authentic unity based on the truth. As a result, the modern trend among those who believe and teach falsehoods that directly contradict the Church's teaching is to consider these pockets of dissent as merely "differing tribes" within the Catholic Church. In this deceptive tribal system, those who believe in and teach all that the Church teaches are then considered extreme among these tribes.

Right or wrong, religious leadership seemed to calculate that it is better to refrain from "charged issues" for fear of offending some or even losing members. However, St. Peter Canisius cautioned: "Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith." (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Sorrowful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries
PRAYERS FOR TRADITIONAL 54 DAY NOVENA

THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY
    34 - MARY, HEALTH OF THE SICK, PRAY FOR USTHIS DAY WE FIGHT 


    Spiritually speaking, the devil is doing all that he can to catch us isolated and unarmed on the battlefield - no spiritual armor, no spiritual weapons, and no comrades in the heavenly realm to fight alongside of us. In other words, the reason evil is promoted so effectively today is because we're ignoring God's offer of supernatural strength and power and ignoring the mightiest of all allied forces: the Communion of Saints.

    C.S. Lewis wrote, "Enemy-occupied territory - that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage." The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us: "This dramatic situation of 'the whole world, which is in the power of the evil one,' (1 Jn 5:19; cf. 1 Pt 5:8) makes man's life a battle: 'the whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield, man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity' (Gaudium et Spes, 37:2)" (CCC 409).

    Are you ready to do battle? In the movie, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Aragorn calls his men to throw down the gauntlet against the forces of evil. Let this call be ours:
    "My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight!" (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).


    We will look at these two tactics of the devil over the next two days.


    PRAY A ROSARY


    Choose either:

    1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
    2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Joyful Mysteries
DAY 35 -
MARY, REFUGE OF SINNERS, PRAY FOR US


CATCH EXCELLENCE

The desire to enter the fight is a desire to enter into a genuine training in holiness, pursuing the goal of becoming one of God's champions. St. Paul put it this way: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize" (1 Cor 9:24-27).
St. Paul talks about a strict training and a desire to run in such a way as to win. The famous Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi, would have heard these words from St. Paul many times in his life, as he went to Mass every day. In fact, he admitted, "I derive my strength from daily Mass and Communion." As Coach Lombardi describes what it takes to be number one, see if you do not recognize a bit of St. Paul in his words:

"And in truth, I've never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn't appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat. I don't say these things because I believe in the 'brute' nature of men or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour - his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear - is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."

Sadly, far too many people have become conditioned to cower when they hear the words, "strive for perfection." In the coddled culture in which we live, the reflex response is, "I will never be perfect." Yet, Coach Lombardi said, "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence." (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).
 
DAY 36 -
MARY, COMFORTER OF THE AFFLICTED, PRAY FOR US



SUPERIOR IDEAL

Among the ways we have just let Coach Vince Lombardi inspire us, let's focus on the most important one: He went to Mass and received Communion every day of his life. Pope John Paul II said the Holy Eucharist "contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ Himself."

Precisely during a time when our culture was becoming disconnected from their True Source, Vince Lombardi remained firmly and wholly connected to his. No matter what Lombardi dedicated himself to, he never abandoned his true self as a child of God and devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. More than anything, he understood the necessity of receiving God's Divine Life, as he brought himself, daily, to the altar of our Lord to receive him - body, blood, soul, and divinity - as the real source of power in his life. This was where his energy, his very life came from. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, "As a man must be born before he can begin to lead his physical life, so he must be born to lead a Divine Life. That birth occurs in the Sacrament of Baptism. To survive, he must be nourished by Divine Life; that is done in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist."

There is no other authentic way to strive for perfection. Lombardi recognized this as the superior ideal that must never be abandoned, but interwoven into all of our pursuits, whether it is as a businessman or parent or professor or coach.

Vince Lombardi lived profoundly by God at the exact time our culture was unraveling and when it was all too easy to abandon God (as it continues to be today). How easy it was (and is) for so many to follow the crowd through the wide gate (Mt 7:13) of the many fads and trends of immorality, self-gratification, and anti-authority in the 1960s and up to today. Lombardi is yet another reminder that the real heroes of every age are those brave souls who courageously accept the challenge of integrity by ignoring the trends of their times while remaining true to themselves, even if it means being a signum cui contradicetur, a sign of contradiction, in the world (Lk 2:34). (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:
  1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries
DAY 37 -
MARY, HELP OF CHRISTIANS, PRAY FOR US



SET THE WORLD ABLAZE
The word "courage" actually derives its meaning from a Latin root word "cor" which means "heart." It means we are never more courageous than when we "have the courage of our convictions," that is, when we live from the heart, remaining true to who we really are. Lombardi was courageous because he simply yielded to his raison d'ĂȘtre, his reason for existence. St. Catherine of Siena put it this way: "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"

Who are we, then, and what is our reason for existence? Sometimes the message escapes us in its simplicity. Jesus said, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike" (Mt 11:25). The Baltimore Catechism states who we are quite plainly: "We were made to the image and likeness of God ... to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in heaven." The spiritual master, Fr. Thomas Merton, wrote: "To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name."

It was on the gridiron in the 1960s that Coach Vince Lombardi, fully grounded in this superior ideal, compelled his men to strive for greatness, never settling for second best. At the very same time, the Church Fathers of the Second Vatican Council were calling upon all of us to engage a spiritual heroism - the universal call to holiness - not settling for a second - or third-rate spiritual life. The challenge is to move "ALL IN" for God and his plan for our life. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).


We will look at these two tactics of the devil over the next two days.


PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:

  1. Rosary of the Day: Sorrowful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Joyful Mysteries
    DAY 38 - MARY, QUEEN OF ANGELS, PRAY FOR US

    LOVE DEMANDS EFFORT 

    Throughout all of salvation history we see such cries as "Let his face shine upon you" (Nm 6:25) and "Do not hide your face from me" (Ps 27:9, 69:17, 102:3). This face-to-face, "look-me-in-the-eye" bonding is essential in understanding the necessity for making a semper fi connection with Christ. This kind of face-to-face encounter with God changes everything as it calls forth, quite literally, a transformation that cannot be undone. It marks a major shift away from a "face-in-the-crowd," "Christian in name only," "do-only-what's-minimally-required" empty religiosity, into a totally dedicated (semper fi) loyalty in love that remains faithful to God, to each other, and to the mission, no matter what.

    Pope John Paul II said, "Real love is demanding. For it was Jesus - our Jesus himself - who said: 'You are my friends if you do what I command you' (Jn 15:14). Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the will of God. It means discipline and sacrifice, but it also means joy and human fulfillment." Mother Teresa said of love: "Love to be real, it must cost - it must hurt - it must empty us of self."

    "We have a tendency to think only about self-protection, safety, and avoidance of trouble," says Bishop Robert Barron, "This tends to be our primary frame of reference. But God thinks relentlessly in terms of love, even when that love entails suffering. So, we ask ourselves, what is our final frame of reference? Is it, 'How do I avoid pain?' or is it, 'How do I love?' So, if I wake up every morning and my basic question is 'How am I going to avoid pain?' then I am going to live my life in a certain way - ultimately, a selfish way. But if when I wake up in the morning I say, 'How do I love today?' then I will live the life of a saint." (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).
    PRAY A ROSARY

    Choose either:
    1. Rosary of the Day: Glorious Mysteries
    2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries

DAY 39 -
MARY, QUEEN OF PROPHETS, PRAY FOR US


ONE THING NECESSARY 

Pope Benedict XVI said, "The heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind ... the Evil One has power in this world, as we experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God."

This brings us to the key to Pope John Paul II's master plan for the new millennium, as he asks us to set aside our disconnected busy-ness, and to start fresh by contemplating the face of Christ. It is clear that the Holy Father was encouraging us to place our emphasis on reconnecting to the Divine Life of God, which is classically referred to as the unum necessarium, the one thing necessary.

The "one thing necessary" constitutes the essential foundation for the interior life and consists in hearing the word of God and living by it (I will serve!). It stems from the story of Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38-42), where we first see that, amazingly, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was sitting right in their living room. Now, Martha remains busy with the good and noble protocol of hospitality while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, her eyes locked on his holy face, peering into his soul, hanging on his every word. Mary is actually in adoration, soaking in everything our Lord wants to give her. I like to say that she is "Mary-nating" - soaking in the gusher of God's graces.

When Martha objects to Mary's lack of activity, Jesus tells Martha that she remains anxious and upset about many things while Mary has chosen the better portion, the "one thing necessary" (unum necessarium). Mary was the one who was making the guest truly feel welcomed while Martha remained detached, going through the motions of the demands of protocol. God is light and love and truth who brings order and meaning and serenity to our lives. While we remain disconnected from our Source, we remain easily agitated and frustrated in our disordered and chaotic existence as we continue to walk in darkness. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).





DAY 40 - MARY, QUEEN OF APOSTLES, PRAY FOR US
DIVINE CONNECTION 

The Gospel story Pope John Paul II sets as the foundation for his new millennium appeal is the "Call of the First Disciples" (Lk 5:1-11). This is the classic scene in which Jesus tells Peter to "Put out into deep water (duc in altum), and let down the nets for a catch." Peter's response is: "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 
They proceed to catch the maximum amount of fish their nets can hold. Peter, filled with awe and wonder once he realizes he is in the presence of divinity, does not feel worthy to be called. But Jesus says, "Do not be afraid, from now on you will be fishers of men."

Why does the Holy Father choose this particular Gospel reading as the basis for his new millennium master plan? Because Peter's words - "We've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything" - could not speak any more directly to the modern tsunami-like wave of secularism rolling across our planet, as well as our endless parade of parish programs that are mostly done as though God were not there (etsi Deus non daretur).

In other words, the story of the great catch is meant to show that when we try to move only under our own natural power without God (we've worked hard), we will flounder in the chaos of darkness (all night) and come up empty (caught nothing) every time. Jesus asks us to get in sync with him (to obey him) and not be afraid to set aside our superficial (man-powered) tendencies, as we enter the depths of a supernatural (God-powered) life.

Everything in the religious order - sacraments, devotions, teaching, scripture, moral discipline, preaching, etc. - is meant to bring us to this deeper state of being, to this Divine Connection. Jesus calls it "abiding" (Jn 15:4). The Latin for this is maneo which means "to remain" or "to stay" or "to endure" (or like the Marine Corps' semper fi). This Divine Connection, this conformity to love, this participation in the Divine Life of God is the very power of the Holy Spirit and is referred to as being in a state of grace. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).


We will look at these two tactics of the devil over the next two days.

PRAY A ROSARY
 
 
 
Choose either:

  1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries

 

DAY 41 -
MARY, QUEEN OF MARTYRS, PRAY FOR US

GOD STRONG 

The U.S. Army ran a very effective "Army Strong" advertising campaign to recruit soldiers. The key message was: "There is strong, and then there is Army Strong." The commercial goes on to say, "It is a strength like none other. It is a physical strength. It is an emotional strength. It is strength of character. It is strength of purpose. The strength to do good today, and the strength to do well tomorrow. The strength to obey, and the strength to command. The strength to build, and the strength to tear down. The strength to get yourself over, and the strength to get over yourself."

These are warrior assets necessary to overcome the enemy. However, recall that our struggle is not against flesh and blood combatants, but against the much stronger and craftier spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm (Eph 6:11). This means it is not enough for you to possess the power of a warrior. You must discover what it means to be supernaturally empowered by God. You are to become not just Army Strong, but God Strong. You must know what it means to be in a state of grace. St. Ignatius of Loyola said, "Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to him and if they were to allow his grace to mold them accordingly."

Fr. John Hardon wrote: "St. Thomas Aquinas believed that man is more than a composite of body and soul, that his is nothing less than elevated to a supernatural order which participates, as far as a creature can, in the very nature of God. Accordingly, a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
 (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

PRAY A ROSARY


Choose either:

  1. Rosary of the Day: Joyful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries
PRAY A ROSARY


Choose either:

  1. Rosary of the Day: Sorrowful Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Joyful Mysteries
PRAY A ROSARY

Choose either:

  1. Rosary of the Day: Luminous Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries


DAY 42 -
MARY, QUEEN OF CONFESSORS, PRAY FOR US


YOU MADE US FOR YOURSELF 


The unfortunate reality is that the modern campaign of militant secular indoctrination has been so severe that fewer remain who believe or trust in God's supernatural power. In spiritual terms, this makes us puny and scrawny rather than strong and powerful mighty warriors ready to confront the powers of darkness in the heavenly realm. With so many modernized Christians ignoring the reality of grace, it is no wonder that evil is thriving in our day.


In speaking of the need for a New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, "the true problem of our times is the 'Crisis of God,' the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity" ... a kind of lukewarmness, going through the motions of one's faith, which ends up collapsing completely. The terrible consequence of this war on the supernatural is seen in the epidemic of spiritual sloth in our times - hearts deadened to the Divine Life of God.

Bishop Robert Barron draws attention to this very real epidemic in our times: "A real concrete statistic around this is that 70 percent of the baptized faithful are staying away from Mass on a regular basis. And we're doing well in comparison with the European countries. Vatican II said the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life ... everything leads to and flows from the Mass. The Eucharist is everything, and 70 percent could care less about it. Yes, there are many reasons around why some do not go to Mass, but I suspect that, for most, they are suffering from spiritual sloth; they could just care less."

Aristotle said, "No one can long remain in sadness without any joy." Depriving oneself of spiritual joy through neglect and sloth leaves one desperate to fill that void with inferior pleasures. Hence, it is no wonder why we see so many people frantically attempting to fill their lives with every kind of activity and distraction possible, desperately trying to avoid the gloom of emptiness. St. Augustine said, "You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).



PRAY A ROSARY


Choose either:

  1. Rosary of the Day: Glorious Mysteries
  2. Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries

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