I’m so thankful to be in such a prayerful place for the beginning of Advent. Yes, I certainly miss the Parish and all of our wonderful Parishioners, but the Lord is good, great, kind, and merciful.
Brethren: Understand, for it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we came to believe. The night is far advanced; the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk becomingly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Put forth Your power, O Lord, we beseech You, and come, that with You as our protector we may be rescued from the impending danger of our sins; and with You as our deliverer, may we obtain our salvation.
Collect, from the Mass of the day.
(It’s pretty bad when you’re bald and have a COVID haircut and in need of an actual one. But — it’s #2020. 🤷🏼♂️ Also, the Mass is not auto-loading from Facebook up above so, there’s that, too.)
After a beautiful walk in the glorious countryside yesterday evening, I took a few moments to surf for Election Day spiritual nourishment, and came across these salient Election Day Prayer Points, accompanied by Scripture verses. I tried to stick with Catholic prayers for the Election, but I like these Scriptural points of reflection better. They’re simpler and thought-provoking.
7 Vital Prayer Points:
1. That our nation would turn back to God.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” Ps. 33:12
2. That we would be faithful in praying for leaders and those in authority,
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim. 2:1-2
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Prov. 29:2
3. That we would recognize God’s Sovereignty over all.
It is “God who changes the times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” Dan. 2:21
“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Ps. 33:11
4. That we would recognize the real battle is not fought against what is seen, but what is unseen.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Cor. 10:4
5. That we would not succumb to worry, fear, or defeat.
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Ps. 112:7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7
6. That we would pray for those in authority who are unjustly attacked and accused.
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn…” Is. 54:17
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:1-2
7. That our hope would remain in the Lord.
“Look at the nations and watch– and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Hab. 1:5
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Hab. 3:2
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from Him.” Ps. 62:5
God Bless America
Has anyone ever sung the National Anthem as beautifully and effortlessly as Whitney Houston?
Pornography has never been more mainstream than it is today – we’re the first generation dealing with it at the level we are. Many pretend it doesn’t exist, but it touches almost every life in some way, shape, or form.
Consider the secrets people are capable of keeping, and the following which happen all the time:
Is your spouse and/or are your kids look at porn in secret.
Are they running an affiliate porn site?
Is your wife sexting for money in her free time?
Are your kids filming and running a porn channel on any number of popular porn websites?
Has your sweet, innocent child been exposed to porn by the time he or she is 7? Do they know how to deal with that terrible reality?
Do your kids have virtual reality gear for masturbation and/or interaction with others?
Does a substance use habit accompany hidden pornography habits?
“How do you ethically steer the thoughts and actions of two billion people’s minds every day?”
Tristan Harris, researcher for Google who speaks about the power of multi-billion dollar industries to form society. Porn is a 100 billion dollar a year, worldwide, enterprise and is responsible for some industry standards in video, audio and streaming technology.
Also, many people are getting in on the act with pornography whereas they used to be mere viewers. Cellphones create great and easy videos. Porn sites have affiliate links for everything from dating, to sex toys, to video uploads, to cam chats, to your imagination is the limit. Sexting is now a part-time job for people the world over, as is camming. Camming is, of course, slang for webcamming (or using a webcam for the sexual gratification of others and,) and is now described as a fun and easy source of revenue. Getting paid for sex?
1842, “ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus,” from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos “(one) depicting prostitutes,” from graphein “to write” (see -graphy) + pornē “prostitute,” originally “bought, purchased” (with an original notion, probably of “female slave sold for prostitution”), related to pernanai “to sell” (from PIE *perə-, variant of root *per- (5) “to traffic in, to sell”).
Via the Conquer Series, “Dr. Mahri Irvine, Adjunct Professional Lecturer at American University, said, “I really wish that people who watch porn knew more about that. Because I think they believe that they’re engaging in this activity in a very passive way. And they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m doing it in the privacy of my own home and this is just a video that I’m watching’. And they’re not associating it with the fact that pornography is very often the filmed rape of sex trafficking victims.”
“Noel Bouché, Executive Director of pureHOPE, explained, “While pornographic content includes trafficked victims from around the world, porn consumers aren’t told anything about the performers, including which ones may have been trafficked from an early age. Regular users of internet pornography are likely consuming pornography that includes adult and child victims of sex trafficking.””
The following sites are a few of the many that are arising to help educate our seemingly sexually sophisticated, yet pornographically unsophisticated, generation.
1. Enough is Enough
2. Fight the New Drug
3. Integrity Restored
4. The Conquer Series
Louisiana and PornHub
The popular pornography website PornHub relies on Google Statistics to cull its data. Most visitors only spend about 10 minutes per visit to the massive depository of freely available pornographic material. But all the states whose residents stay the longest—more than 11 minutes per visit—are located in the politically conservative deep South:
Take note of that stat, parents, ladies, and gents.
It’s, of course, easy for anyone to say “Well just stop!” “Just don’t do it!” “Don’t do that!” – but why? Why wouldn’t anyone want to do something that can feel so good and is entirely simple and easy to undertake? Are you’re being too religious and shaming everyone? (Those are common questions asked when the subject is brought up.)
No one is shaming anyone when it comes to porn and masturbation. Pornography is a 100+ billion dollar a year industry that wants people to get hooked, and instead of relying on the science of things, which thankfully more and more are doing, men and women show up at the doorsteps of priests and ministers looking for answers when all too often priests and ministers themselves are getting sucked into the quagmire as well, with few answers to the questions.
The answers lie in the science of sex, the reward centers of the brain, the hormonal responses of relationships. The matters can be complex and the answers aren’t simple. You can’t expect a hormonal people bombarded by sexual imagery and opportunity, and immersed in an entirely new sexual reality, to simply respond as if they’re St. Paul writing to the Romans.
My great friend Gary Leblanc works with men overcoming pornography (and other areas of spiritual import as well, in case your husband, friend, or co-worker is working with him and you’re suddenly concerned he may be overcoming a porn habit you don’t know about.)
Fr. Sean Kilcawley runs the Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and has any number of excellent videos on the subjects of pornography, masturbation, healing relationships, and approaches the matters from the scientific angle, the anthropological angle, and from the simple and holistic viewpoint of Faith, too.
Stay Healthy and Be Well
The world may be going crazy, but it doesn’t mean you have to be. Never let what everyone else is doing guide you into bad habits or poor choices.
Internet pornography is a new phenomenon, and no other generation has had to deal with it so far. We may as well continue to look at the science behind it and continue to make healthy choices. Be a pioneer, learn and grow, you can help many others, in wisdom, as the years go on.
Fidélium, Deus, ómnium Cónditor et Redémptor: animábus famulórum famularúmque tuárum remissiónem cunctórum tríbue peccatórum; ut indulgéntiam, quam semper optavérunt, piis supplicatiónibus consequántur.
O God, Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Your servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that they may obtain by our loving prayers the forgiveness which they have always desired.
The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the faithful on earth can help them by prayers, almsdeeds and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass.
In the early days of Christianity the names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. Later, in the sixth century, it was customary in Benedictine monasteries to hold a commemoration of the deceased members at Whitsuntide. In Spain there was such a day on Saturday before Sexagesima or before Pentecost, at the time of St. Isidore (d. 636). In Germany there existed (according to the testimony of Widukind, Abbot of Corvey, c. 980) a time-honoured ceremony of praying to the dead on 1 October.
This was accepted and sanctified by the Church. St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) ordered the commemoration of all the faithful departed to be held annually in the monasteries of his congregation. Thence it spread among the other congregations of the Benedictines and among the Carthusians. …
A similar concession for the entire world was asked of Pope Leo XIII. He would not grant the favour but ordered a special Requiem on Sunday, 30 September, 1888. In the Greek Rite this commemoration is held on the eve of Sexagesima Sunday, or on the eve of Pentecost. The Armenians celebrate the passover of the dead on the day after Easter.
Not to sperg out here, but the Dies Irae is super popular in contemporary culture, and always has been. Check it out in the following movies. You have to listen diligently in some of these – but it’s there.
Pirates of the Carribean
It’s a Wonderful Life
Lord of the Rings
The Lion King
Star Wars (I’m actually not hearing it here.)
Many In Film Music in General
Last (here at least), and most spectacularly, the Excommunication Scene from Becket.
O God, Lord of mercies, grant to the souls of Your servants and handmaids a lasting place of refreshment, the blessedness of rest and the splendor of Your light.