Please fast and pray every Thursday for the renewal of the Catholic Church in America. Please note: The Cybersociety will fast on Fridays beginning January 2013, in accordance with ancient custom.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Psalm 7

God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day (Ps.7:11)

Psalm 7, traditionally the "Prayer of a Man Falsely Accused."

"It is a curious feature of the experience of human living, that the public accusation of the sins or crimes which we have committed is easier to bear, emotionally and spiritually, than the false accusations concerning crimes of which we are innocent....The false accusation is harder to bear, because it brings with it the experience of injustice....Yet it is in the nature of false accusation, that whereas it may deceive and convince our fellow human beings, it cannot deceive God. False accusation never undermines a person's standing in the sight of God." (Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 19). Pray, please, for Father Gordon MacRae, the repose of the soul of Father Charles Engelhardt, OSFS, and all priests falsely accused and unjustly punished.

My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. (Ps. 7:10)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Psalm 6

"In addition to the grace of baptism and to the most precious gift of martyrdom, there are many fruits of repentance by which the expiation of sins is achieved...The burden of sin may be lifted by a loving disposition, for 'love covers a multitude of sins.' (1Pet.4:8). In similar fashion healing is furnished our wounds through the fruit of almsgiving, because 'just as water extinguishes a fire, so almsgiving extinguishes sin.' (Sir 3:30), Likewise, too, forgiveness of sins is obtained by the shedding of tears, for 'every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.' (Psalm 6:6).

"If because of some weakness of the flesh you cannot wipe away your sins by fasting...then redeem them with almsgiving. If you do not have anything to bestow on the poor...certainly you can be cleansed by correcting your behavior. But if you cannot acquire perfection of virtue...exercise a kindly concern for helping others to salvation. If you bemoan your inadequacy for this ministry...cover your sins by a loving disposition. If in this too some frailty of mind has weakened you, beg for healing through the prayers and intercession of holy persons....Forgiveness is also bestowed through the confession of sins....But if you blush to reveal such things to should not cease to confess them in constant supplication to the One from whom they cannot be concealed.

"You see, then, how many opportunities for mercy the clemency of the Savior has disclosed, so that no one who desires salvation should be broken by despair, when he sees so many life-giving remedies at his disposal." (John Cassian (d.circa 430), The Conferences, "Twentieth Conference: On Repentance and Reparation," trans. by Boniface Ramsey, OP)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Psalm 5

"It is necessary for the soul that is going to ascend to the Divine to drive out from itself every sin committed through deeds, as well as whatever sins lie hidden in the soul, escaping the notice of those outside, but bitterly consuming man with most malicious fangs. Whose bones did the Lord scatter? Whom does the Lord abominate? 'The bloodthirsty and the deceitful the Lord abhors' (Psalm. 5:7)"
--St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Christian Mode of Life, tr. by V.W. Callahan.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Psalm 4

"When I was in distress thou hast enlarged me (Ps.4:1). Some translations say "thou hast given me relief." I think an accurate sense would be conveyed by "space" or "breathing room." Cassiodorus (485-580) considers the psalm to be the prayer of the whole Church, so he gives this interesting interpretation: "Distress always enlarges the Church, since simultaneously confessors emerge and martyrs are crowned. The whole crowd of the just is ever increased by tribulations." (Explanation of the Psalms, tr. by P.G. Walsh). He goes on to say, beautifully: "[The Church] is not a ghostly fashioning of our hearts' imagination, like 'fatherland' or 'state' or something without living personality; the Church is the aggregate of all the holy faithful, one soul and one heart, the bride of Christ, the Jerusalem of the age to come."