Amazing fact: Chastity and abstinence has proved to be only 99.999% effective at preventing birth.

The only time chastity and abstinence ever resulted in a birth

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Mary’s virginity

496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”.146 The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:

You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.147

497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility:148 “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee.149 The Church sees here the fulfillment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.”150

498 People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark’s Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus’ virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike;151 so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the “connection of these mysteries with one another”152 in the totality of Christ’s mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: “Mary’s virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord’s death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God’s silence.”153

Mary – “ever-virgin”

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.154 In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.”155 And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary asAeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.156

500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”.158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159

501 Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.”160

Mary’s virginal motherhood in God’s plan

502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.

503 Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. “He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.”161

504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.”162 From his conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.”163 From “his fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace.”164

505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. “How can this be?”165 Participation in the divine life arises “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”.166 The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit’s gift to man. The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God167 is fulfilled perfectly in Mary’s virginal motherhood.

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will.168 It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”169

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.”170

The Six Precepts of the Catholic Church

1.  To respectfully and devoutly assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on all Sundays and Holydays of Obligation.

 2.  To fast and abstain on the days appointed.

 3.  To go to Confession at least once a year during the Easter Season.

 4.  To receive the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist at least once a year during the Easter Season.

 5.  To contribute financially (i.e. give money) to the support of the Catholic Church.

 6. To never violate the laws concerning the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Holy Week: Good Friday

58. On this day, when “Christ our passover was sacrificed,”63 the Church meditates on the passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

59. On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.64

60. Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church, and indeed through abstinence and fasting.65

61. All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick.66 Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells.

62. It is recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches (cf. n. 40).

63. The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o’clock. The time will be chosen which seems most appropriate for pastoral reasons in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example shortly after midday, or in the late evening, however not later than nine o’clock.67

64. The Order for the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (the Liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the cross, and Holy Communion), that stems from an ancient tradition of the Church, should be observed faithfully and religiously, and may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

65. The priest and ministers proceed to the altar in silence and without any singing. If any words of introduction are to be said, they should be pronounced before the ministers enter.

The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of “earthly man,”68 and also the grief and sorrow of the Church.

As the ministers enter the faithful should be standing, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer.

66. The readings are to be read in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the Gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord’s passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed for the previous Sunday (cf. n. 33). After the reading of the passion a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation.69

67. The General Intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient tradition maintaining the full range of intentions so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the passion of Christ, who hung on the cross for the salvation of the whole world. In case of grave public necessity the local Ordinary may permit or prescribe the adding of special intentions.70

In this event the priest is permitted to select from the prayers of the Missal those more appropriate to local circumstances, in such a way however that the series follows the rule for General Intercessions.71

68. For veneration of the cross, let a cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one of the forms for this rite as found in the Roman Missal be followed. The rite should be carried out with the splendor worthy of the mystery of our salvation: both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the cross, and the people’s response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration—the celebrant standing and holding the raised cross.

69. The cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration since the personal adoration of the cross is a most important feature in this celebration; only when necessitated by the large numbers of faithful present should the rite of veneration be made simultaneously by all present.72

Only one cross should be used for the veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. During the veneration of the cross the antiphons, “Reproaches,” and hymns should be sung, so that the history of salvation be commemorated through song.73 Other appropriate songs may also be sung (cf. n. 42).

70. The priest sings the invitation to the Lord’s Prayer which is then sung by all. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The Communion Rite is as described in the Missal.

During the distribution of Communion, Psalm 21 or another suitable song may be sung. When Communion has been distributed the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside of the church.

71. After the celebration, the altar is stripped; the cross remains however, with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord’s cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it, and spend some time in meditation.

72. Devotions such as the “Way of the Cross,” processions of the passion, and commemorations of the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not, for pastoral reasons, to be neglected. The texts and songs used, however, should be adapted to the spirit of the Liturgy of this day. Such devotions should be assigned to a time of day that makes it quite clear that the Liturgical celebration by its very nature far surpasses them in importance.74 

Link

The Stations of the Cross

Friday March 25th Solemnity of the Annunciation: OK to eat meat.

Given tomorrow’s Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the provision of Canon 1251 nullifies the obligation of abstinence from meat.

Link

Lenten Regulations for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois


No meat allowed:
Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
Applies only to those over the age of 14.

Fasting – eating only one full meal per day:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Applies only to those from 18 to 59 years of age.
Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength,
may be taken according to each one’s needs,
but together they should not equal another full meal.
Eating between meals is not permitted on these two days,
but liquids, including water, milk, and fruit juices, are allowed.

When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.

To disregard completely the law of fast and abstinence
is seriously sinful.

The Bottom Line:
Eat only one, meatless meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Abstain from meat (while otherwise, eating normally) on every other Friday, and you should be good to go,
for the next 40 days.

Sundays are not part of Lent. Eat what you want!

Why Do Catholics (like Jesus) Fast and Abstain?


The Church speaks of the three pillars of Lent – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving – because there is a strong connection, or there should be, between the three. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the gifts God has given to us, freeing us to more effectively care for our neighbor, especially those in greater than we. When I was a small boy, my mother would encourage me (it’s probably more accurate to say she required me) during Lent to give up things I would normally buy with my allowance.  The money I saved could and would be used to assist those less fortunate we were.

God gave our first parents, Adam and Eve many gifts and blessings that were in a sense before their nature and, therefore, before our’s too. We know that Adam and Eve possessed Sanctifying Grace, infused with the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity. This is what is meant when you hear the phrase, “Adam and Eve were created in a state of original justice.” They were created for a supernatural end or purpose… to attain heaven and an everlasting communion with God. They were also given certain gifts, called preternatural gifts, that would enable them to continue their “walk with God” – (1) bodily immortality, (2) integrity, and (3) infused knowledge.

But they were also allowed by God to be tempted by the devil, not so that they would sin, but so that they could freely choose to love God who created them freely and in freedom.  Their free will would not have been free at all if there was never an opportunity for them to choose anything other than the Good which is God. If they had chosen God over the serpent, these gifts would have been passed on to us an our inheritance, but we know they sinned and lost these gifts, therefore, we, their descendants, could not receive what they no longer possessed to pass on.

Read part one of this article

Read part two of this article

Cheating on Lenten sacrifice no sin

For those who do sacrifice to get closer to God, what matters is effort, not perfection, said the Rev. Michael Watson of St. Andrew Parish, a Catholic church in Upper Arlington.

“Because we’re prone to human weakness from time to time, it doesn’t mean the end of the world,” he said.

Slipping up is not a sin unless the action you committed is itself a sin, he said.

So if you swore off alcohol and had one cocktail, that’s not a sin. But if you had five and got drunk, you probably committed the sin of immoderation, whether it’s Lent or not.

People who slip sometimes tell the Rev. Jerry Rodenfels of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, as if they have to confess their misdeeds.

He tells them “not to worry. It’s not a sin,” he said. But they still feel bad.

“For those of us who are older, there’s something instilled in us called Catholic guilt,” Rodenfels said, laughing.

Churchgoers also debate whether they can “cheat” on Sundays, because those days technically aren’t included in the 40 days of Lent.

The priests say you can. Sunday is, as Rodenfels called it, a “free” day.

That’s because Sunday is the weekly joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection, said Leo Madden, a professor of theology at Ohio Dominican University.

“It is incompatible for a period of time marked by sacrifice to occur at the same time,” Madden said. “Technically speaking, Sunday is not a day of Lent.”

Read the article