Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten Journey that will take us through forty days and forty nights of penitence, sacrifice, prayer and almsgiving leading up to the Passion and Death of Our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. Each day during Lent, the DailyCATHOLIC will bring you a special reflection prayer complemented by the Stations of the Cross. Today, we also explain the origins of Ash Wednesday. We will print out the Stations of the Cross in the Ash Wednesday SECTION ONE and each FRIDAY during LENT. The rest of the week we will only print the Lenten Reflection. See LENTEN REFLECTIONS
In the Old Law ashes were generally a symbolic expression of grief, mourning, or repentance. In the Early Church the use of ashes had a like signification and with sackcloth formed part of the public penances. The blessing of ashes is one of the great liturgical rites of the year. It was originally instituted for public penitents, but is now intended for all Christians, as Lent should be a time of penance for all. The ashes used this day are obtained by burning the palms of the previous year. Four ancient prayers are used in blessing them, and, having been sprinkled with holy water and incensed, the priest puts them on the foreheads of the faithful with the words: "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shall return." The ancient prayers of the blessing suggest suitable thoughts for the opening of Lent. They are summarized here:
"Almighty and everlasting God, spare the penitent...
bless these ashes, that they may be a remedy to all who invoke Thy Name...
O God, Who desirest not the death but the conversion of sinners, look kindly upon our human frailty...
and bless these ashes, so that we, who know ourselves to be but ashes..
and that we must return to dust...
may deserve to obtain pardon and the rewards offerened to the penitent."
Grant, O Lord, to Thy faithful people, that they may undertake with fitting piety the venerable solemnities of fasting, and complete them with steadfast devotion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost.
A Plenary Indulgence is attached to this devotion according to article 194 of the Raccolta.
"The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected, and to be raised up on the third day. If anyone wants to be a follower of Mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow Me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for My sake, that man will save it" (Luke 9: 22-24).
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, often I judge others and fail to be understanding or loving. Help me to see the people in my life through Your eyes, not the eyes of Pontius Pilate.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, You embraced Your cross to redeem the world. Help me to embrace the crosses in life-the hardships, struggles, disappointments, and pain. Only by recognizing my own weakness, can I discover Your strength.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, You know how often I fall trying to follow You. Yet, You are always there to life me up. Help me always to trust in Your loving care for me.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, Your mother Mary's grief was surpassed by her love for you. So often You come to me in others and their love gives me new life. Help me to see how often You love me through the people in my life.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, sometimes I am indifferent to the needs of others in my life. I even neglect those whom I love. Help me to see that loving others is the surest way to find You in my life.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, at times I am afraid to reach out to others. I do nothing when I should act; I say nothing when I should speak out. Give me a deeper and more courageous faith. Help me to trust that You are with me.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, failure and disappointment sometimes lead me to despair. I hide behind my pride and self-pity, withdrawing from You and others. Give me the hope I need and help me never to be afraid to begin again.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, Your great compassion for others overwhelms me. I feel petty and selfish when I think of You and the way You love. Help me to pour out my love, that You might fill me with Your Love.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, Your failing strength makes me see how helpless I am. Without You, I can do nothing. Help me to rely on Your strength, to see how much I need You.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, seeing You so cruelly humiliated makes me realize how I cling to my accomplishments, my possessions, my way. Help me to let go of those things in my life that prevent me from growing closer to You and others.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, I can never doubt Your great love for me when I see You crucified. Help me to see Your cross as the great sign of Your love for me.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, Your broken and lifeless body calls me to deeper faith. You chose death, even death on the cross. Help me to see my crosses as ways of loving You.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, seeing Your body taken from the cross reminds me how fearful I am of letting go of my own life. I am frightened when I think of being unimportant, useless, and helpless. Help me to place my life in Your hands.
MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, when I see the great stone sealing Your tomb, I feel alone and abandoned. Even though You sometimes seem distant or absent in my life, help me always to believe in Your closeness and loving presence.
Imprimatur: William Donald Borders, D.D.
Archbishop of Baltimore
August 21, 1984
Today Dr. Frank Joseph pulls no punches in telling it like it truly is. Abortion, partial-birth abortion, third trimester abortions all fall into one category not covered or protected by Roe vs. Wade: Murder. He is appalled how few Catholics recognize this as a direct contradiction to the teachings and doctrines of the Church and by their silence, tacit approval or opposition to pro-life causes, are contributing to satan's agenda. Dr. Joseph points out that few of the politicians today are bold enough to speak out against the atrocities of the procedures used in abortuaries and equates this with America's rapid slide into depravity for it is all talk and no one's willing to walk on behalf of the innocent unborn who are treated with less regard than laboratory animals. For part one of his stark, frank column There's no other term for it: Abortion IS Murder! , see Pro-Life Prescriptions: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!
Now, that it has been established, it is not an abortion, even by definition, when a baby is killed a few seconds before it is born, then what should it be called? It does not take a Philadelphia lawyer to deduce that, since the baby is viable the only answer has got to be, MURDER. There is no other classification.
So, why do we coddle these people who camouflage their killings in sugar coated palatable words, which are lies. Do not words mean anything anymore? Can they change the meaning of words in the dictionary, to suit their deplorable act, so they will not be prosecuted?
If a woman is assaulted and stabbed in the abdomen and her viable baby is killed, but she lives, the perpetrator is charged with murder. But at the same age, if a doctor, stabs the baby in the head, while it is being born, it is not murder. Try to figure that one out.
Have our morals gone that far in the sewer, that we look the other way, when viable babies are tortured and killed and feel excruciating pain, when a pair of scissors are shoved in their heads, then a tube is rammed in the hole and their brains are sucked out with a powerful suction apparatus?
Anesthetics are given to babies at 20 weeks gestation, when surgery is performed on them while still in the uterus. These babies are given NOTHING. The entire body is delivered, but they make sure their killing is done while the baby's head is still in the birth canal, otherwise another three inches and it would be MURDER, in anybody's book.
In California, the Assembly Health Committee rejected a bill that would have required those performing third trimester abortions to offer anesthesia to spare the unborn child any pain. The bill failed by eight votes. Such precautions are taken to keep laboratory animals from experiencing pain, but not unborn children. The liberal democrats would sooner have babies suffer excruciating pain than admit that the unborn baby is a human being and does feel pain. In California alone 3,900 babies are killed yearly in the third trimester.
All these years, why have we let them cloak their hideous act under the catch all umbrella of abortion? Why have we let them make up their own dictionary, as they go along their merry killing way, to avoid prosecution?
I, personally, will NEVER again, use the word partial-birth abortion. I will tell the truth, as defined in the dictionaries and call it for what it is -- PARTIAL-BIRTH MURDER, and I would urge all of you who are reading this to do the same. To do otherwise, you would be a liar and you would be playing into the hands of those, who have allowed satan to govern their every move.
And why the pro-life Republican presidential candidates other than Alan Keyes, don't describe in detail, the procedure of partial-birth murders in their debates, boggles my mind. They have the opportunity and they have the forum. Just imagine if the entire country knew the procedure, of partial-birth murder, which MOST people DO NOT know and when they do -- they are horrified. What a great impact it would have.
Why do our pro-life candidates want to keep it a secret? Is it possible, they don't want to hurt the feelings of Gore and Bradley and make them look like callous and cold-hearted thugs, who would do anything for votes. These hypocrites who are always bragging about their compassion for the downtrodden. Maybe that is it -- pro-life candidates do not want to hurt the pro-abort candidate's compassionate image.
Take Gore -- now here is a man who says he is PROUD to be for a woman, who chooses to kill her unborn baby, even while it is being born and suffers excruciating pain in the process, and who otherwise would have lived. Now, he did not say it, in those truthful words -- he said, "I am PROUD that I am for a woman's right to choose." The sugar coating sounds much better, does it not?
How is it possible that anyone walking the face of this planet could be "PROUD," that he is all for a mother if she chooses to kill her baby? Can anyone tell me -- what is there to be PROUD of? Is it the suffering, or is it the death of a human being that gives them a thrill?
Bradley insists that he is more pro-abortion than Gore. Wow! Is that anything to brag about? In the Democratic party, the killing of unborn babies is a selling point. Bradley says that Gore is a johnny-come-lately in the advocacy of the killing of unborn babies and he boasts that he has always been on the side of a mother if she wants to kill her baby. Bradley says that Gore at one time was pro-life and is now denying it. He also says that Gore will continue to lie if he becomes president.
Bradley was right -- Gore is a liar. Haven't we had enough lying from the White House? When are we going to learn? It is like banging your head against a stone wall and wondering why your headache does not go away.
Next week: Part Two of There's no other term for it: Abortion IS Murder!
Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present the second part of the catechesis on Original Sin as explained in My Catholic Faith and how in the forbidden "apple" the worm of Original Sin was washed away by redemption through Christ's victory of the Cross. For part two in the 126th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
God is not unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam, because original sin does not take away from us anything to which we have a strict right as human beings, but only the free gifts which God in His goodness would have bestowed on us if Adam had not sinned.
All mankind must suffer for the sin of Adam because he was the head and representative of the whole human family. In much the same way, the ruler of a country represents the whole people. He declares war or makes peace, and the people are affected by his acts. When Alfonso XIII of Spain was dethroned, his children lost their right to the throne through no fault of their own. So also the children of a rich man who goes bankrupt lose all the inheritance they hoped for, through no fault of theirs.
We should have shared in Adam's blessings of soul and body without any merit of our own, if he had not sinned. In the same way we share in his guilt. If Adam had not sinned, we would have been born in the state of holiness and grace that had been his.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of her Divine Son Jesus, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception. "And when the angel had come to her, he said, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women'" (Luke 1:28).
From the very first moment of her conception the Blessed Virgin was preserved from all stain of original sin. She was conceived and born without original sin. God, having ordained that Mary was to be the Mother of His Son, could not permit her soul to lack for a single instant all those graces that would make her most pleasing to Him.
Our Blessed Mother's soul was created as pure and spotless as the soul of Eve. Where Eve committed sin and lost her spotlessness, our Mother Mary kept herself pure and spotless to the end of her life. We commemorate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8th.
Saint John the Baptist was cleansed from original sin while he was still in the womb of his mother. He was born free from sin, but he was, like us, conceived in sin.
Tomorrow: Actual Sin part one
On this date 856 years ago in 1144 A.D. Pope Celestine II, the 165th successor of Peter, passed on to his Heavenly reward after a short but rewarding pontificate. He depended greatly on the holy Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who helped settle the internal differences in the Church by ending a series of antipopes placed on the throne illegally by the German Holy Roman Emperors. Celestine also elevated to the cardinalate the future Pope Celestine III, the oldest Pontiff to ever be elected. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Death of Pope Celestine II, 165th successor of Peter. Born in Citta di Castello, his pontificate was only six months. He died after bequeathing to the church in San Florido 56 volumes of his most precious works from his personal library for the 'ransom of his soul.' He had been exiled to his homeland Citta di Castello because of the siege of Roger II of Sicily. With the help of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, he settled the internal differences of the Church. He also tried to end the war between Scotland and England but was not able to obtain peace in Italy because of Roger's agenda against Rome. He also lifted the excommunication his predecessor Pope Innocent II had inflicted on King Louis VII of France.
Birth of Saint John of God in Montemoro Novo, Portugal.
Death of Saint John of God on his 55th birthday in Granada, Spain. This saint and religious founder of the Order of Brother Hospitalers - also the Brothers of St. John of God, is the patron of the sick, nurses and hospitals. He epitomized the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Historical Events in Church Annals for March 8:
Death of Saint Provinus, Bishop of Como, Italy who was a disciple of Saint Ambrose and coadjutor Bishop to Saint Felix whom he followed in 391 as head of the Diocese of Como.
1144 A.D. Death of Pope Celestine II, 165th successor of Peter. Born in Citta di Castello, his pontificate was only six months. He died after bequeathing to the church in San Florido 56 volumes of his most precious works from his personal library for the 'ransom of his soul.' He had been exiled to his homeland Citta di Castello because of the siege of Roger II of Sicily. With the help of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, he settled the internal differences of the Church. He also tried to end the war between Scotland and England but was not able to obtain peace in Italy because of Roger's agenda against Rome. He also lifted the excommunication his predecessor Pope Innocent II had inflicted on King Louis VII of France.
1495 A.D. Birth of Saint John of God in Montemoro Novo, Portugal.
1550 A.D. Death of Saint John of God on his 55th birthday in Granada, Spain. This saint and religious founder of the Order of Brother Hospitalers - also the Brothers of St. John of God, is the patron of the sick, nurses and hospitals. He epitomized the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.