by Fr Richard Heilman | March 19, 2021 12:05 AM
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
At a word from You the devil and his minions flee in terror.
You are the source of all truth. You are the source of all strength.
By the power of your Cross and Resurrection, we beseech You, O Lord
To extend Your saving arm and to send Your holy angels
To defend us as we do battle with Satan and his demonic forces.
Exorcise, we pray, that which oppresses Your Bride, The Church,
So that within ourselves, our families, our parishes, our dioceses, and our nation
We may turn fully back to You in all fidelity and trust.
Lord, we know if You will it, it will be done.
Give us the perseverance for this mission, we pray.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception…pray for us
St. Joseph…pray for us
St. Michael the Archangel…pray for us
(the patron of your parish )… pray for us
(your confirmation saint)…pray for us
“Freedom from Materialism” by Fr. Bill Peckman
Back in 1985, Madonna nearly topped the Billboard 100 singing how she was “a material girl living in a material world.” It seemed apropos for the eighties where herds of free-range yuppies thundered across the fruited plains alerting anyone who could hear them that too much stuff was never enough. Certainly, the USA is one of the wealthiest countries the world has ever seen. Even the bottom 20% of the economic strata in our country consumes more than the bottom 60% of the rest of the developed world. Our suburbs are full of McMansions stuffed with goods. At my worst, I had clothes in my closet that I owned for a couple years and never removed the price tags from. It used to be that the American Dream was about the ability to make something of yourself despite your economic class. Now, the American Dream is the house, the car, the possessions and so on. It can become a garish display.
Materialism comes from a very dark place. It is a godless place. Philosophically, materialism holds that all that is true is made up of material or comes from material interactions. Even the mind is subservient to the material world. In essence, all we have is what is measurable. No god. No heaven. No hell. No devil. Our life ends when we die. There is nothing beyond the grave. Hence, our only true happiness can be found in the accumulation of wealth, power, pleasure, and honor. Life becomes a mad dash of consumption and manipulation. Materialism is like a creeping vine; if not pulled up right away, it will insinuate itself into your life and choke off any fruit a relationship with God might have born.
Many people who consider themselves good Catholics can be functional materialists. A canary in the mineshaft is our attitude to the Day of the Lord, our attitude towards Sundays. If there is anywhere where the effects of materialism (and its twin serpent, secularism) are more greatly felt, it is in how we treat Sunday. In the last forty years Sunday has gone from the Day of the Lord to the hour of the Lord, that is, unless there is something more fun or important to do. Even for one day we cannot put down our material interests to address our spiritual need for prayer, communion, and rest. Apart from school, every other secular enterprise has gobbled up Sunday like a quickly eaten trifle. *ALERT* You are entering the slaughtering of sacred cows’ zone!
Let’s use the following conversation that I have had multiple times with parishioners: “My kid can’t serve because he has a ball tournament this weekend.” “And this tournament is both on Saturday night and SUNDAY MORNING?” “I know, Father, but he did make a commitment to the team. We will try to get to Mass at some time.” Thinking to myself: Hmm. I am sure what God meant by first fruits was really leftovers, but that’s another discussion. Maybe we should talk about their commitment to God being of greater value. “So why is going to this game so important?” “Because he needs extracurriculars to get into a good college?” “Why is that important?” “So he can get a good job.” “Why is that important?” “So he can be successful and make a good salary.” “Why is that important?” “So he can raise a family and live without financial worry.” Me thinking to myself: Hmm, no wonder my homilies on priestly vocations fall on deaf ears; but again, another time. “May I quote Mark 8:6? ‘What does it profit for man to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?’ The third commandment is to keep holy the Sabbath, no? Is teaching your son that a ball game holds greater importance than the Day of the Lord a lesson you wish teach to him?”
Teaching others, especially those placed in our care, that the material world and its prizes are of greater value than one’s relationship with God and His people is a dangerous lesson. It is a contributory factor to the ever-plummeting attendance at Mass. If we will abandon Mass for worldly gain, will we not abandon anything of God to get ahead? The devil will grab his pom-poms and cheer you on that drive!
What Jesus calls for, instead of such an attachment to the material world, is a detachment from the material world. In the Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” If this is the attitude Jesus tells us to have about the necessities of life, how much more does this apply to things like ballgames and other non-essential activities? I am not against sports. I am for right priorities. Faith helps us discern right priorities, considering that which is material, and hence passing, to be of lesser importance to the spiritual.
It is telling that in such a culture abstinence and fasting are seen as little more than misery-making exercises consigned to Lent. Are you aware that we are still not supposed to eat meat on any Friday? Outside of Lent, we can substitute something else. But Friday…all Fridays are days of abstinence. Fasting and abstinence are incredibly good ways of breaking ourselves from materialism.
I challenge you, dear reader, to start breaking apart from materialism with one simple step: make the Day of the Lord a day of rest and worship again. Maybe pick up some fasting and abstinence. We need to find ways to shout boldly our faith, “We need God before anything this world has to offer.”
Prayer of Reparation
My Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts to not see fulfillment in Your goodness. We have chased after earthly goals and trinkets as if they were more important. We have allowed material goals to supplant our relationship with You. We have expected You to be pleased with our neglect and half-heartedness. We have, at times, been a source of scandal for those searching through our sinfulness and rebellion to You. In our fear, we have allowed the ancient foe to advance. We turn to You Lord, in our sorrow and guilt, and beg Your forgiveness for our materialism. We beg for the grace of Your goodness to build up within us what You sought to build up in Your apostles in that tempest-tossed boat. We know, Lord, if You will it, it will be done. Trusting in You, we offer our prayer to You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer of Exorcism
Lord God of heaven and earth, in Your power and goodness, You created all things. You set a path for us to walk on and a way to an eternal relationship. By the strength of Your arm and Word of Your mouth, cast from Your Holy Church every fearful deceit of the devil. Drive from us manifestations of the demonic that oppress us and beckon us to materialism. Still the lying tongue of the devil and his forces so that we may act freely and faithfully to Your will. Send Your holy angels to cast out all influence that the demonic entities in charge of materialism have planted in Your Church. Free us, our families, our parish, our diocese, and our country from all trickery and deceit perpetrated by the devil and his hellish legions. Trusting in Your goodness Lord, we know if You will it, it will be done, in unity with Your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ graciously hear us
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, etc.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost,
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty,
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings,
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities,
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, .
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, oh Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Christ graciously spare us.
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
Make our hearts like unto Thine.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. Amen.
__ Prayer for Freedom from the Devil
__ Daily reflection and prayers
__ Litany of the day
__ Pray a Rosary
__ Divine Mercy Chaplet
__ Spiritual or corporal work of mercy
__ Fast/abstain (according to level)
__ Exercise (according to level/ability)
__ Refrain from conventional media (only 1 hr. of social)
__ Examination of conscience (confession 1x this week)
To see the Goals, Methods and Levels of “Let Freedom Ring,” go HERE.
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