Saturday, April 25th
Preliminary Notice: Angel Wall Shrine. Many thanks goes out to Peter Edivan for the wonderful job he did in setting up the Angel Wall Shrine. What a beautiful work he has put together. Diane Waller also painted the statue to match up with the statues of Joseph and Mary, on each side of the altar. The angel statue is dedicated for the lost children from the parish. There are more names to be added to the list of names on the panels behind the statue. Any parishioners, or friends, are welcome to submit names of the little ones who have died. We will wait until after the pandemic to bless the shrine. Well done. God bless one and all involved in this beautiful project.
Secondary Notice. Yesterday, Fr. Heisler gave us a heads up for the special celebration of this day that takes place in Rome, Italy every April 25th. The day honors the apparition of the Blessed Mother and St. Michael the Archangel during the plague that hit Rome in 590 AD.
And now the rest of the story. There were two terrible plagues that affected the world in the Sixth Century. In the year 540 a plague broke out all over Europe and beyond. 100 million people died in the plague. In 590 a second plague broke out in Rome and Pope Pelagius succumbed to the Black Death. He was replaced by St. Gregory the Great. Gregory gathered all the Catholics to join in a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Rome praying for the safety of all in Rome. While traversing along the Tiber, near the future site of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Blessed Mother appeared with St. Michael, along with many other angels. Michael sheathed his fiery sword, indicating that no harm would come to the people of Rome. A statue of St. Michael was placed on top of the building holding the tomb of he Emperor Hadrian. Today it is called the Castle of St. Michael. I leave you the website that speaks of Michael’s appearance in Rome (590 AD) as well as Mexico in (1631). It is a great story to share with your families.
Good morning, Good morning,
So there you are sitting at home on a Saturday morning in the fifth week of the Lockdown. You’re Confused. Is it really Saturday and/or is it really the fifth week of the Lockdown. You have finished all the jigsaw puzzles that were stored away in the attic, basement, or garage of your house. You have seen all the reruns on television and lost interest in the social media where closest family and friends can see you in all your glory sans makeup, shower, or hair style. You have updated your diary and still find your life wanting. What will you do today?
On this day I offer an intellectual letter for your consideration. A trivial review from your early years of life. The letter is dedicated to all sinners and potential saints from the parish. Have a nice day. Tomorrow’s letter will be fun day, with stories of the Catholic heritage in the Shenandoah Valley. Please stay tuned.
Gould Rules from the Confessional
In marriage preps I offer the Gould Rules for the Confessional. The couple splits the duty of writing down these notes and they are to take them home and put them in their family Bible (Great Wedding Gift), saving it for their kids and grandkids to see one day.
Thematically if the notes should be discovered in a future generation we pray that the reader/s, will be able to read your writing, and be able to find in the sacramental formation of life two maxims: First, starting with a positive: When you find a Faith standard that is positive look for a Moral standard that is positive and vice versa. Second, hoping for honesty: When you find a Faith problem look for a Moral Problem and vice versa. Let us proceed.
- Virtues attract while vices divide. You are not marrying only for someone’s blue eyes or measurements… Virtues are your strength and they last if you allow them to last. In time they won’t wrinkle, get flabby, or fall out.
- Virtues like vices never travel alone. One is a primary and one is a secondary. This usually applies to the vices. It could apply to virtues if you’re writing a College recommendation for someone and you need to mention several virtues considered outstanding in order to promote the candidate. If, on the other hand, you have a vice you are trying to break and can’t seem to break it than go for the secondary, break it, and come back to the primary.
- Marriage preparation is not simply an intellectual endeavor. It is also a volitional endeavor that focuses on the human will. As a preparation for marriage the couple, as a couple, should give up a certain object they might like. Such as salt, sugar, soda, or chocolate. The more they resist the taste of one of the selected object the greater strength is attained in their character to do the right and avoid the wrong. If at any time in the future they may find themselves weak/wobbly in their marriage, and need to refortify the bonds of the union, they should go back to fasting for either ten, twenty, thirty, or forty days in. Never more than forty as that is the fast of the Lord. They don’t want to do better than the Lord.
- Four reasons why people fail in marriage/priesthood/or staying active in the Church. They are: anger, distraction, indifference, or disappointment. Note well the last reason is a recent development in our culture of entitlement. For example, you may find a spouse go missing with children with physical or emotional problems or in-laws who move in to their quiet domicile. Stress can be destructive in the arena of disappointment.
- Distinction between a flaw and weakness in the future spouse. A flaw might involve habitual lying, drug abuse, excessive drinking, violent personality, serious depression, homosexual tendencies, or addiction to pornography. A weakness can be an immature personality, a goofy sense of humor or an issue of one being a night person and the other a morning person. The danger is to accept one’s weaknesses and be satisfied that at least they don’t have any of the flaws. The weaknesses, left unchecked, by their nature, like a slippery slope, may eventually attain the intensity of flaws.
- The value of marrying a Catholic who goes to Confession at least once a month: they are more humble, (It is very hard to manipulate a humble person. They know their weakness and don’t get flustered and know their strengths and don’t become arrogant), more forgiving, work harder… if the first two factors are in play, and are more creative if the first three factors are in play. Creative people help to make the marriage an adventure rather than something to endure over the distance of time and space.
- Distinction between freedom and liberty. Freedom, from the Anglo Saxon Language means to reach out and be available for someone or something. Liberty hails from the Latin Language and means to withdraw from something. In marriage you may lose some liberties, social distractions, but you gain with the freedom of having the other as yourself. (Please note the Wedding Night story at the end of this report.
- The Irish have a saying about being cursed by the memory. It is hard to let go of past hurts. In scripture there is a call to shake the dust from your feet and move on. The same should be encouraged in the couple with memories, like relatives, and past love interests who are hard to dismiss.
- Four steps in the Death March of suffering relationships: Temptation. Passion (anger, ambition, lust, and greed). Habit. Appetite (things that affect the chemistry of the brain… such as opioids, and pornography).
- Consider the value of the daily examination of conscience. (Introduced by the Jesuits.)
a. Consider what you did right. (Always start with a positive)
b. Consider what I did wrong. (Always be honest.)
c. Consider what you failed to do. (Be honest again.)
d. Promise to do better tomorrow. (Close with a positive.)
- Next have one of the couple write out the Seven Capital Sins: (P,C,L,A,G,E,S)
a. Pride. It is the source of all sins. You can’t perform a sin without it. You make yourself the standard of all moral judgments. Not God or your mother.
b. Covetousness. It is the sin of manipulation and control over another person. You in a sense own them, as an object. Some call it greed but it is much more. It is a game for the intelligent where they can control the room of people in which they stand.
d. Anger. (Note Well. Lust and Anger are the two volcanic sins that can happen in a matter of seconds. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks of “Meekness” when He gives the Sermon on the Mount. Meekness comes from the Greek word, Mopsuetudo, which refers to the hand that trains the wild horses. The couple needs to know how important it is to control the passions of Lust and Anger let they control them.)
f. Envy as opposed to Jealousy. In Jealousy I say the other person does not deserve their good fortune. In envy I say they don’t deserve it but, I do.
g. Sloth. Laziness. This can be as deadly as the two volcanic sins listed above. To counter this it is good to do something unusual once in a while such as bringing a flower home or cooking a special desert
- Four Cardinal Virtues (Story of Agathon and Socrates on the qualities of a good man
1. Have the other member of the couple write down the Four Cardinal Virtues.
a. Prudence. This is the first of all virtuous acts. You can’t perform a virtuous act without prudence. It has three parts: Docility (you sit and watch your environment), and faithful memory (you see things as they are and hold them in the right context.), and the ability to make a decision. This takes place when every young man meets his perspective in-laws. He sees how they treat each other, what they eat, how they decorate their house. Next he remembers everything before asking the girl to marry him.
b. Justice. To treat another as is their due. If you are made in the image of God you deserve to be treated in the image of God.
c.Temperance. This is the strengthening of the personal character. In the art of tempering iron into steel you fire the iron up where the impurities within the metal (polychromies) come to the surface. You next shape the metal. When you put it in the water the polychromies jump off and you have a stronger piece of metal. This very much like going to Confession.
d. Fortitude. There are four parts to this virtue:
1.) Ideal (what is the ideal of their perception of marriage? Is it their parents? Maybe not if they are from broken marriages. The individual needs to have a good father figure, mother figure, husband figure, and wife figure. If not they might go to TV and that is a disaster.
2.) Confidence the couple can attain the ideal.
4.) Perseverance. The Irish have a saying that sometimes in life you need the patience and perseverance that would carry a snail to Jerusalem. You need both together.
Story of Bride and Groom on Wedding Night. The Bride goes to the room and the groom goes to pay the bar-bill. He returns to the Wedding Suite and knocks.
She says, “who is it?”
He says, “it is me.” The door does not open.
He goes away and comes back and knocks again.
She says, “Who is it?”
He says, “It is your husband.” The door does not open.
He goes away a second time. He returns and knocks a third time.
She says, “Who is it”
He says, “It is thyself.” The Door opens.