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Tag Archives: prayer and fasting

CHRISTIAN! DO YOU SEE THEM (HYMN)

– Lent –

You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41).

 

Christian! do you see them

On the holy ground,

How the powers of darkness

Rage your steps around?

Christian! up and smite them,

Counting gain but loss;

In the strength that fills you

From the holy cross.

 

Christian! do you feel them,

How they work within,

Striving, tempting, luring,

Goading into sin?

Christian! never tremble;

Never be downcast;

Gird yourself for battle;

Watch, and pray, and fast.

– St Andrew of Crete, tr. John Mason Neale

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PRAYER: MAY THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE BE PROCLAIMED WITH EVER GREATER LOVE

“On every first Friday to commit as a day of fasting, penance and prayer (e.g. Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Adoration and 40 hours in October) for the intentions of the Universal Church and the Holy Father Pope Francis.

Let us pray

Father in Heaven, you have ordered the Sacrament of Marriage and the gift of life as an image of your Divine Life with the Son in the Holy Spirit. We pray that the teaching of the Church on the true meaning of marriage and human sexuality may be proclaimed with ever greater love, courage and hope in our world and be received in deep gratitude. Amen.

We ask for the intercession of all the Saints in Heaven. Our Lady, Mother of Nazareth – pray for us. Saint Joseph – pray for us. Saint Thomas More – pray for us. St Therese of Lisieux – pray for us. Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin – pray for us.”

(Confraternity of Catholic Clergy)

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Prayers for Today

 

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KNOW YOUR ENEMY – MANUAL FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Aids in Battle

[‘Manual for Spiritual Warfare’, Paul Thigpen PH.D.] is divided into two parts. The first, entitled Preparing for Battle, looks at the Biblical and and theological foundations for the ongoing warfare between humanity and the devil.

Overcoming the Enemy’s attacks in one’s own surroundings

The second, Aids in Battle, offers aids to help believers in this struggle, including scriptural texts and prayers. As Paul Thigpen indicates in his introduction, the ‘primary purpose of this manual… is to help everyday Catholics recognise, resist and overcome the Enemy’s attacks in their own lives and the lIves of those for whom they bear responsibility.’

Keep the Enemy out of the Camp

The chapter headings for the first part include titles such as ‘Know your Enemy’, ‘Know your Commander and Comrades’, and ‘Keep the Enemy out of the Camp’, while the second part focuses on Church teaching, the lives of the saints, and various prayers, and various prayers, devotions and hymns as aids against demonic or diabolical influence.

Prayers and hymns against demonic or diabolical influence

The author begins by stating that belief in the devil and demons is obligatory for Catholics and Christians generally, based on the Scriptural witness, and particularly those accounts of Christ being tempted and casting out evil spirits. We can be tempted by demons, or attacked in more serious ways, such as by infestation, oppression, obsession, or most dangerous of all, possession, which is when an evil spirit takes control of the body of a victim.

We can be tempted by demons or attacked in more serious ways

Paul Thigpen cautions that while lay people can pray some prayers of deliverance, these are different from the solemn exorcisms of the Church, which should only be performed by designated Church exorcists.

Through His Passion, Death and Resurrection Jesus Christ has already defeated the devil

Through his Passion, Death and Resurrection, Christ, the ‘New Adam’ has already defeated the devil, so if we call on him when under any form of diabolical attack, he will always come to our aid. Likewise, Our Lady, the ‘New Eve’, has because of her Immaculate Conception and her obedience to God, great power over the devil and his demonic followers. As St Bonaventure said: ‘Men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers if hell fear the name and protection of Mary. Similarly, we can always call on St Michael and our Guardian Angels for help against the devil.

Prayer is more powerful than all the demons

As the author points out, prayer is the number one weapon in our battle against Satan, and calling on the name of Jesus has been for the saints one of the best ways to defeat demonic attack. On this point, St Bernard of Clairvaux said: ‘However great may be the temptation, if we know how to use the weapon of prayer well, we shall come off as conquerors at last, for prayer is more powerful than all the demons.’ St John Vianney agreed with this saying: ‘We cab see how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than we are at prayer.’

Assisting at Mass; prayer and fasting

Likewise, taking part in worship is important, and particularly the Mass, as is Eucharistic adoration. Fasting, too, has been recommended as a powerful weapon against the devil, and we can fortify ourselves spiritually by daily reading of the Bible.

Sacraments and sacramentals 

In particular, the sacraments are powerful means of protection against the devil, although the power of sacramentals such as the Sign of the Cross, holy water, St Benedict medals, and blessed objects generally, should not be underestimated.

Humility is the only virtue no demon can imitate

Regarding the struggle against the devil, as St John Climacus said, the essential virtue is humility: ‘Humility is the only virtue no demon cab imitate.’ As an example of this, Thigpen includes the following account from the lives of the Desert Fathers:

Learning from the Desert Fathers

Some people brought a demon-possessed man to an old monk to exorcise him. The monk said to the demon, ‘Get out of God’s creature!’

The Demon replied: ‘I’ll go, but first I will ask you a question: Tell me, who are the goats and who are the sheep? (cf. Mt 25:31-46).

The old mab said, ‘The goats are people like me. Who the sheep are, God alone knows.’

At these words, the demon cried out, ‘Look, I must go out of him because of your humility!’

Avoiding any possibility of demonic contamination

We also have to avoid any possibility of demonic contamination through such things as Ouija boards or any form of participation in magic rituals etc., and also keep a careful watch on our thoughts.

Keeping a very careful watch on our thoughts

The second, larger part of the book opens with a chapter on Church teaching about spiritual warfare and provides a series of quotes from various Church documents to emphasise how seriously the Church takes the whole area of demonic activity.

Relevant scripture passages to read during times of temptation

Then there is a whole section on how the Bible deals with the devil and his followers, including appropriate scriptural quotations and passages which will help the reader during times of temptation.

Attempts to play down the influence of the devil

There is also a chapter entitled ‘Help from the Saints,’ which contains many striking quotations, such as this text from Thomas Aquinas: ‘When the Devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it, but because we serve him with our worldliness.’

Apart from the above, the Manual for Spiritual Warfare contains many useful prayers, litanies, and devotions to strengthen us against demonic attack.

A resource in the struggle against the evil which is all around us

At a time when many people, even within the Church, are playing down the influence of the devil, this book is a very valuable resource in the struggle against the evil which is all around us.”

– Donal Anthony Foley, The Catholic Times, 16th January 2015. For subscriptions please contact The Universe Media Group, Allerton House, St Mary’s Parsonage, Manchester M3 2WJ

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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SOME SUGGESTIONS HOW TO MORTIFY THE FLESH AND THE SENSES IN THIS DAY AND AGE (CHRISTIAN MORTIFICATION)

THESE EXERCISES ARE SUGGESTIONS, NOT MANDATORY. SOME FIND THEY REALLY HELP, THOUGH, TO FOCUS MORE ON THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT, THE LOVE OF OUR LORD JESUS, IN OUR DAILY LIVES.

 

• “Suffer peacefully an affront done to you, a disparaging event or incident, or any type of humiliation, for the sake of the Heart of Jesus that was so humiliated for you. Take any ornament off your clothes that is a sign of worldly importance and make a sacrifice for the Sacred Heart.

• Make every effort to correct the vice you are most prone to indulge in, practise the virtue you are most in need of. Mortify your senses [i.e. drink plain water instead of fizzy drink, take coffee without the usual sugar, wash your hands with cold instead of warm water, etc.] to repair the damage you have done to the divine Heart when you have been too free.

• Accept from the hand of God, willingly and with love, the pains and troubles of this day, offering them to the Sacred Heart as the payment for your sins. Meditate for a quarter of an hour on the Passion of Jesus.

• Put on a medal or an image of the Sacred Heart. If you already have this laudable habit, try to carry it with a real, renewed spirit of faith and devotion. Work to spread, as best as you can, medals, images and other items of the Sacred Heart, so that at least one image is received and exhibited in a house where there were none before.

• In order to imitate the zeal and divine glory that are present within the Sacred Heart do not embark on any action without first putting it before the Lord, renewing, as often as these words are long, your pure intention by repeating, “Everything for you my God, everything for you.” Recite the Creed five times during the day, and make five offerings for the conversion of the millions who do not yet know Jesus Christ.

• Fast from food, mortify your stomach, and stay in uncomfortable positions or postures. Say five ‘Our Fathers’, ‘Hail Marys’ and ‘Glory Bes’ in honour of St Margarita Maria Alacoque, that she may obtain for you the spirit of Christian mortification.

• Do not judge or suspect your neighbour. Keep your distance from any shadow of murmuring. Do not give any reason for discord and avoid any type of argument. Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask fervently from His Heart, love for those around you.

• Make allowances for the imperfection of others, and excuse their defects. Bear patiently with those who are annoying or difficult. Perform a good act for those who you dislike or have an innate distaste for.

• Forgive any of your enemies; bless those – through prayer if it cannot be done in any other way – who have offended you. Visit the Sacred Heart, either through an image or the Blessed Sacrament, and ask that all wicked Christians, who have forgotten the ultimate law of love for the enemy, mend their ways.”

– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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