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March 6-8, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 47



Remember the Alamo and Pray! It's "Pray Day!"

     Friday, March 6 signals the one hundred and sixty second anniversary of the climactic battle at the Alamo in which General Santa Ana defeated the brave band of patriots, but it was only temporary for the outswelling of support for the American cause resulted in the Alamo being the rally cry to soundly defeat the Mexican army and bring Texas into the Union. The same for our battles today, while we may lose some of the skirmishes to the horned one, we know if we stay the course others will rally to God's side and Prayer will win out with the battle cry: "Remember Calvary and Pray! Pray! Pray! In this weekend's editorial, entitled "Remember the Alamo" and sound the trumpets, the cavalry is on its way to Calvary!, we focus on WORLD DAY OF PRAYER in conjunction with FIRST FRIDAY, Lent, and the observance of the Alamo's anniversary. Click on this weekend's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

"Remember the Alamo" and sound the trumpets, the cavalry is on its way to Calvary!

      It's time to saddle the horses and mount up! We're about to charge up the "big hill." Friday is a good day to start out because March 6 is not only the FIRST FRIDAY of March and exactly five weeks until ultimate victory, but also the commemoration of two other events. One is the 162nd anniversary of the fall of the Alamo in San Antonio when, after a thirteen day siege in 1836 in which such legendary heroes as Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Sam Houston died with their boots on, prompting the rally cry "Remember the Alamo" which brought Texas into the Union. The second event is the 111th Annual celebration of WORLD DAY OF PRAYER - a global event that reminds all citizens of earth of the time to pray, worship, and strive to build and strengthen relationships between ourselves and God, and each other. For committed Catholics this day is no big deal because we're committed to praying daily - both at Holy Mass and the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and numerous other prayers and novenas. But for others it's a chance to refocus their attention on God. Sadly, many are embarrassed to say they pray, and this day, because of the publicity and the acceptance of it with the "everybody's going to do it" sheep-syndrome, many will make an effort to join in who may never have thought much about the power of prayer or their role in it. Since it is the First Friday it takes on a special significance as Catholics are reminded that we are on the fast track toward the millennium and the Triumph of Blessed Mary's Immaculate Heart which will usher in the new Era of Peace (cf. Apocalypse/Revelation 20) - the New Advent - the Illumination of the Eucharist - the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But before that we must face our "Alamo" - our tribulation, chastisement, call it whatever you want - we're in for a battle before the victory! Currently our "Alamo" is in the forms of horrendous storms from the effects of El Nino and, we believe, sent by God to warn us to straighten up and live right! Sister Mary Lucy Astuto targets this in her column this weekend, When in trouble, turn to God. Our "Alamo" can be the ammoral and immoral atmosphere we must fight through daily as obscenities and sexual innuendoes that would make a sailor blush and which we wouldn't want to explain to our kids, is plastered in papers, magazines, television and radio, not to mention word of mouth. Our "Alamo" can be with our liberal brethren who keep seeking to change Holy Mother Church the way they want rather than the way Jesus Christ mandated through His Vicar on earth (cf. Matthew 16: 16-19). Our "Alamo" can be in the daily drudge of life as we try to balance everything, keeping it all in perspective in relationship to God's Will while striving to suppress our own ego and cravings. That's what Lent is all about, helping us to defend against these temptations and, unlike the brave heroes in San Antonio, we have enough ammunition if we just use it. God has provided us all the ammo we need, no matter the opponent. It begins with Himself in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, confected at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when we receive Him, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity at Holy Communion. It continues with our good deeds and adherence to His Laws and the Laws of His Church, and it is reinforced with devotions such as the Holy Rosary - the most powerful weapon we can use at all times - as our Blessed Mother has bequeathed to us from Saint Dominic on. Praying the Rosary is credited with one of the most landmark victories ever for the Church - the Battle of Lepanto in the Gulf of Corinth in 1571 in which the Holy League under the command of Don Juan of Austria and considered the final battle of the Crusades. It signaled the rise of Christianity and the decline of Turkish power in the Mediterranean. There are countless other accounts of results credited to saying the Rosary, including modern miracles that defy explanation. Consider the thousands who stand across from abortuaries peacefully praying the Rosary as one that Our Lady can take our petitions to the Almighty Father. During Lent it is especially effective and a must in our prayer arsenal. So on Friday, as well as Saturday, Sunday...Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - well, you get the idea - let's take up the Rosary and aim straight.

     If we can do this, throwing in a daily Divine Chaplet and the Stations of the Cross and other prayers of our choice for good measure, then we can be assured of a swift victory. We know that in the end we will be victorious. We've cheated and read the good book. We know the ending! With this kind of crib sheet we should be able to pass the final exam with flying colors. But one has to study and apply the principles to make them work. That's the law of life, the law of God's Will, the gage for being battle-tested. Our sword is prayer and our shield, which we raise high for defending Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, is good works as a result of our faith. With these kind of weapons it is we can make tremendous inroads in the great battle and land enough blows to silence the enemy permanently where he will be chained and cast into hell. The Book of the Apocalypse/Revelation reveals it. Now it is up to us to play out our roles in this great theater directed by God. It is only fitting that WORLD DAY OF PRAYER and the anniversary of the Alamo occur on the same day this year for it's time to dig in, and hold our ground against the legions of hell that storm our fort of grace. We can look to the greatest victim to rally behind - Christ Who died for all of us as He hung on a rough-hewn wooden cross upon a place called Calvary. Now it's time to ride to His rescue for the sake of His Church, for the sake of His grand plan for mankind. Sound the trumpets, the cavalry is on its way to Calvary! God has asked some of us to entrench ourselves on the parapets and take aim at the enemy with the powerful weapons He has provided His troops and His special band of specialists - Mary's little army. Unlike the poor victims 162 years ago, we can be assured help is on the way. So drop to your knees, cry "Remember the Alamo" and sound the trumpets, the cavalry is on its way to Calvary!

Michael Cain, editor

Pray that we can all stand proudly for the faith and promote God's Will throughout the land!

     The strategy suggested by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., head of the Archdiocese of Denver, is sound advice that we can all take to heart and put into practice. We continue with the third of four installments taken from his talk given to the Mile Hi Club last week in Denver and provided by Catholic World News Service. The Archbishop, fast becoming the true spokesman in America for all Holy Mother Church wants to convey to her faithful, shows us how to counter the counterculture by keeping Christ foremost in mind in THE TASK OF EVANGELIZATION IN SECULAR AMERICA. Click on MITERS THAT MATTER
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the third of four parts of the text of an address which Denver's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, delivered to the Mile Hi Congress last week. Although they were originally directed to Catholic educators from Colorado, the archbishop's words have obvious relevance for all Christians. They are reprinted here with permission and brought to you through the Catholic World News Service.]

THE TASK OF EVANGELIZATION IN SECULAR AMERICA
Part Three

     That brings me to my second point. Our culture not only drowns out the voice of God; we push Him completely out of sight. We live in a social environment where every kind of outlandish cartoon character has airtime, where the idea of miracles is eclipsed by flying and morphing super-heroes, but where God is almost completely absent from the context of children's TV. It's such an obvious statement, but we need to re-introduce children to the person of God; God not as a force or an abstract idea or a science-fiction energy field, but as a Father with a plan for our happiness who is intimately involved with our lives, and interested in their eternal outcome.†

      We can love a Father. We cannot know, much less love, a force. The personhood of God, especially in His Trinitarian reality, implies relationship-- not only within the Trinity, but with humanity and all creation.† And every relationship implies mutual rights, responsibilities and purpose, which is exactly what's missing from the lives of so many young people. Encountering the Person of God is exactly like encountering the man or woman who will be your spouse -- it changes everything. It gives you a purpose. It orders everything else about your life. It's why the novelist Francois Mauriac wrote that "Anyone who has truly known God can never be cured of Him."†

      My third concern is the nature of truth. A sense of absolute right and wrong is absent not only from many of today's children-- but much more alarmingly, from many of their parents. As we drift away from our traditional religious moorings, we become more and more relativist in our judgment, and less and less able to understand truth as something permanent and objective-- that unique thing outside ourselves which is the foundation of human character. This is why we get the spectacular nonsense of candidates running for office on a platform of high ideals... and then telling us that their personal moral behavior has nothing to do with their public service, once they're elected.†

      Look at the political environment in Washington these days. It would be laughable, if it weren't so fatal to public trust in our leaders and institutions. In America in 1998, what's "true" is whatever a spin doctor can establish as plausible and defensible. We're becoming a people of alibis instead of principles. And in doing it, we're even less able to understand the deeper, divine truth which takes on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. For many Americans who call themselves Christians, Jesus' words-- "I am the way, the truth and the life"-- have become little more than appealing, but obscure, poetry.†

      My fourth point is the idea of freedom. Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." The truth-- God's truth incarnate in Jesus Christ-- is what makes us free... not 36 different brands of detergent, or a variety of alternative lifestyles. "Choice" is not necessarily freedom, and the idolatry of choice is just another form of slavery; another form of the noise Screwtape talked about.† Once we lose our grip on truth, we inevitably lose our freedom because we no longer have a way of morally ordering our choices.† Our choices become our distractions and our chains.† And that's not what God wants.†

MONDAY: The fourth and final part of this text by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap.


Pray as Jesus taught us at the Last Supper

     In Meditative Lesson 5, we arrive at that sacred time in the upper room in which Jesus Christ gathered His Apostles for the Passover. Little did they yet realize it would be the "Last Supper" and little did they realize the significance of this wondrous occasion in which He would bequeath Himself through the establishment of the Most Holy Eucharist. These inspiring lessons, coinciding with the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, were imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart during Lent of 1995 from Our Lord and His Blessed Mother Click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 5:

THE LAST SUPPER

part one

     I stand upon a street in Jerusalem.† Before me is a house which by its outward appearance is not extraordinary in any way.† The door is of heavy wood and a thick latch holds it in place and provides security for all within.† It is nearly sunset.† Only the last vestiges of sunlight cast any shadows.† Jerusalem is not a clean city, and here in this poorer section the shadows make it appear even dirtier.† A few yards to the right is a small fountain and the water splashes into it, and is the only refreshing sound I hear.

      Our Blessed Mother tells me that it is Thursday - Holy Thursday - and I am before the home where our blessed Lord gave us the Most Holy Eucharist. When She says this I cannot describe the love in her voice, nor the perfect adoration expressed for this great Sacrament.

      I realize that I have pondered her words for some length because I am suddenly within the house that is two-stories, with narrow stairs leading up to a corridor which branches left and right. I turn right, descend two or three stairs and am within a large room - the Passover Supper - which Jesus has already consumed with His apostles.

      I immediately understand that our Blessed Mother is in a separate room down the left corridor, and that there are also several other women in yet another room.

      My attention is drawn instantly to† our Lord.† He has presided over the meal, but it appears to me He has eaten little, while many o the apostles have eaten heartily of the lamb.† The main table is long, very wide, and on each side another table extends down.† But these side sections are not straight, but curved, resembling a horseshoe.

      I move down the narrow stairs into the man body of the room and now I see more clearly our Lord.† His tunic is of snow-white linen and girded about His waist by a scarlet cord.† His mantle is dyed red also, not a scarlet red, but a warmer shade.† Jesus is tall, slender.† His hair is honey-colored and His beard is well-kept, and fairly full.† His cheek-bones are sunken, making His magnificent eyes of blue sparkle like twin beacons. I want to remain transfixed, gazing only at Him, for from Him comes my very life.† John, the apostle, also is transfixed upon his Lord and God, while I notice the other apostles in whispered conversations, each one looking suspiciously at one another.†† Judas Iscariot, who tonight is truly dressed as fits his rank as a man of Kerioth - one learned, of wealthy taste and Temple surroundings - mingles and whispers also with the other apostles.† But it is his eyes which give him away.† And this the other apostles are not looking at, or for.

      It is our Lord who brings order and silence into the room.† The dishes from the Passover meal have been moved away from His place, and now in front of Him is a dish upon which unleavened bread rests, and a cupóa chalice.† It glistens - this chalice - because I notice that around both the base and rim are rows of precious, and semiprecious jewels.† Again, I understand that this is a gift given our Blessed Lord at this, the Last Supper.† The occasion when He, who is about to be sacrificed, gives Himself wholly, miraculously to all who possess the true faith and accept the words of Sacred Scripture.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Two of Lesson 5: THE LAST SUPPER


Pray to God for protection from the elements!

     The fury of El Nino and other natural disasters prompts Sister Mary Lucy Astuto to remind us why God is allowing this all to happen and at this time in our history. She points to the problems afflicting us and reminds us we can do something about it by praying and repenting in her column this weekend titled When in trouble, turn to God. Click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

WHEN IN TROUBLE, TURN TO GOD

     In recent months, disastrous weather has been striking the west coast of our country and parts of other nations, as well.

      As television reports reveal the floods, mud slides, houses falling down hillsides soaked with rain and mud, people and animals rescued from drowning in mud, cars covered and irreparably damaged, houses ripped to shreds from tornadic winds, etc., one understandably asks, "Why?"

      For the Christian who believes that Our Blessed Mother has been appearing in Medjugorje since 1981 as well as many other places around the world, these unhappy occurrences are not a surprise.

      Our Lady has been warning us that the world is offending God extremely and that because of the sinfulness of peoples and their loss of Faith and respect for Godís laws, humankind will be shaken to their core.† Those were not her exact words, but she meant similarly.

      The "punishment" of mankind is nothing new.† One only needs to read Scripture from the beginning to see that manís disobedience to God has brought disaster to himself and others.† Over and over again in salvation history we read how people strayed from God, experienced punishment in some way, returned to God in penance and then with time, strayed again.

      Well, the Church teaches us that our temptations come from three sources: the world, the flesh, and the devil.† And Our Lady herself has informed us many times that satan is very strong and he knows that his time is short and he is working especially hard to make people turn from God to live sinful lives thinking sin will make them happy.

      Though we live in a superb technological age, the reality is that human nature has not changed one iota from the creation of Adam and Eve.† Humans still tend to evil, to thinking that they know better than God, to thinking they donít need God to be happy.†

      God is the Best Parent and sometimes good parents, though they donít want to, must necessarily punish their children for their wrongdoing.† When "reasoning" fails to influence the behavior of children, some form of punishment must be exercised, if parents truly care about the habits their children form and will take into their adulthood.

      As with good human parents, the "last resort" for God is to let "misfortunes" or "tragedies" befall us.† But if He does so, it is not because He is a "mean" God, but rather to make us understand that HE DOES EXIST and in order to be happy in this life and in the next we must respect Him and keep His Commandments.

      There will be more serious natural disasters in our country.† When tragedy or disaster strikes, people readily turn their thoughts to God.† They EXPERIENCE how much they depend on God and how "nature" can completely change the comfortableness of their lives.

      As we view the tragedies on television, let us note that we, too, can be victims and learn from the sufferings of fellow-Americans to turn to God, be converted every day and pray MORE.

      God bless you!


Pray via the great vehicle God has given us: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

     Prayer and sacrifice are the focus of the readings and liturgy this weekend, especially for the Second Sunday of Lent which focuses specifically on this. For all the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignettes on saints commemorated, this weekend, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

FRIDAY, March 6, 1998


March 7, 1998

Saturday, March 7:
Weekday in the First Week of Lent and
Optional commemoration of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs
FIRST SATURDAY

Saints Perpetua and Felicity

     These two women were martyred at Carthage on the northern coast of what is today Libya by the Romans. Though persecution and the slaughter of Christians was terrible in Rome itself, the senseless slaying of Christians was even worse in Africa and Egypt. Though Perpetua's father tried to intercede so that she would not embarass the family, her faith was more important to her than family and she would not renounce her belief in Jesus Christ as her Savior. Her refusal to adhere to the pagan wishes of her father moved servants under her father to join her in her faith, one of which was Felicitas or Felicity as she has come to be known. A covey of wild animals from leopards to bears to wild bulls were unleashed on the helpless Christians in the great arena of Carthage and to the sadistic delight of thousands both Perpetua and Felicitas were gored to death by the bulls. They are commemorated daily in the Canon of the Mass among the mentioned martyrs.

March 8, 1998

SUNDAY, March 8:
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT


March 9, 1998

Monday, March 9:
Weekday in the Second Week of Lent and
Optional commemoration of Saint Frances of Rome, wife, mother and religious founder

Saint Frances of Rome

     Born in Rome in 1384, Saint Frances of Rome was married off by her parents at the age of 12 to Roman nobleman Lorenzo Ponziano. Though Frances had desperately wanted to become a nun, she succumbed to her parents' will and thus it was God's will that she be with her husband for 40 years during which time they never had an argument. Though the couple went through severe financial hardships, Frances always praised God for His providence. Frances had a large family and always felt her household duties were as much a prayer as kneeling in church as she often said, "A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares." After her husband died, she founded the Oblates and became a nun. She had many visions including often where her guardian angel would shine such a bright light that she was able to read her Divine Office at night via the Heavenly light. She promoted the concept of guardian angels and was also given the day she would die, March 9 and true to God's word, He took her home on that day in 1440 at the age of 56.

Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.


March 6-8, 1998 volume 9, no. 47         DAILY CATHOLIC