OC 03/11/09 Lenten Wednesday, Catechism 535-540

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You.  I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope,  and do not love You.  Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly,  and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference’s by which He is offended.  And by the infinite merits of his most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

Catechism 535-540
III. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS’ PUBLIC LIFE

The baptism of Jesus

535 Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. [228] John preaches “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. [229] A crowd of sinners [230] – tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes – come to be baptized by him. “Then Jesus appears.” the Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my beloved Son.” [231] This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

536 The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. [232] Already he is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death. [233] Already he is coming to “fulfil all righteousness”, that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. [234] The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son. [235] The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to “rest on him”. [236] Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were opened” [237] – the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed – and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

537 Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. the Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and “walk in newness of life”: [238]

Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him. [239]

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God. [240]

Jesus’ temptations

538 The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. [241] At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time”. [242]

539 The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfils Israel’s vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God’s Servant, totally obedient to the divine will.

In this, Jesus is the devil’s conqueror: he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder. [243] Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.

540 Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. [244] This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” [245] By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

Today on the liturgical calendar:
Lenten Weekday
Blessed Thomas Atkinson
(Western)

one of the 85 Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales
Studied and was ordained at Rheims, France. Returned to England in 1588 to minister to covert Catholics. He travelled by night, hid by day, and served his flock for decades. Betrayed to the authorities, he was arrested along with the family who was hiding him. Martyred for the crime of priesthood. Beatified as one of the 85 Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales.
Born    Menthorpe, North Yorkshire, England
Died    hanged, drawn, and quartered on 11 March 1616 at York, England
Venerated    10 November 1986 by Pope John Paul II
Beatified    22 November 1987 by Pope John Paul II
Canonized    pending; if you have information relevant to the canonization of Blessed Thomas, contact
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
39 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1BX, UNITED KINGDOM Blessed Elias del Socorro Nieves

St. Theodora the Iconodule (Eastern)
St Theodora the Iconodule
Little is known of her early life. Coming from Paphagonia, Theodora descended from an aristocratic Armenian family.

Theophilus’ stepmother, Euphrosyne, selected her as his bride and during their marriage they had seven children, five daughters and two sons. The youngest son would succeed his father as Emperor Michael III.

Theophilus maintained the restored iconoclastic policies initiated by Leo V in 813 after the first period of restoration of  veneration under Empress Irene in the late eighth century. Theodora, however, secretly was a strong believer in veneration of icons. Upon the death of Theophilus in 842, Theodora came to power as the regent for her son Michael and ended the iconoclastic policies of her husband in 843 with the backing of a church council. The proclamation of 843 restoring veneration of icons initiated the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy that has since been celebrated by the Orthodox Church each year on the first Sunday of Lent.

She ably governed the empire, including replenishing the treasury and fending off an attempted invasion by the Bulgarians. As Michael grew older, he came under the influence of his uncle Bardas, who undermined the authority of Theodora. In 855, he finally displaced Theodora from her regency and sent her to the Monastery of St. Euphroyne, where she died around the year 867. In 1460, the Turks gave her relics to the people of Kerkyra (Kephalonia).

To learn more about today’s saint/beati, visit the shownotes and click on the Saint of the Day image. Also visit saints.sqpn.com to view other Saints/beati celebrated today.

Mother of Perpetual Help, we call upon your most powerful name.  Your very name inspires confidence and hope.  May it always be on our lips, especially in time of temptation and at the hour of our death.  Blessed Lady, help us whenever we call on you.  Let us not be content with merely pronouncing your name.  May our daily lives proclaim that you are our Mother and our Perpetual Help.

Numbers 6:24-26
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee; 25 The LORD make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

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