After coming down the mountain following the Transfiguration, Christ is confronted with a boy possessed by Satan and His disciples who lack faith. At the base of the mountain, a crowd is gathered around Christ’s disciples and are arguing; when they see Christ, they stop arguing and run to Him and are amazed at His shining countenance. A father tells Christ of his demon-possessed son’s torment which includes physical battering, paralysis, burns from falling in the fire and near drownings. The father is discouraged for the disciples have been unable to cast out the demon from the boy.

Finding that His disciples failed to cure the boy, Christ gives an angry rebuke:  “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?”  These are exceptionally strong words which condemn His own disciples who fail to fully believe. When brought to Christ, the demon reacts, dropping the boy to the ground in a fit of agitation. When the father is uncertain about Christ’s power, Christ rebukes and urges him to believe; the father cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” After Christ the demon out, the crowd believes the boy is dead; Christ raises the boy up and he is healed.

The disciples are perplexed as to why they were powerless to cast out the demon. Having already rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith (“O faithless generation…”), Christ reveals that to exorcise this type of demon requires fervent prayer and fasting.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has supernatural awareness of the spiritual realm, including the unseen presence of demons.  Divine King, Christ has absolute dominion over Creation, including Satan and every person; He is a tough leader who expresses His displeasure and rebukes His disciples for their mediocre faith. Divine Physician, full of Divine Mercy, Christ heals both the spiritual and physical maladies of suffering souls.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Every father knows the anguish seeing their child suffer; some know the grueling anguish of caring for a young child with chronic and incurable illness. Marvel at Christ’s mercy and His willingness to perform a miracle that eases the suffering of the boy and his father.

2) Despite the inhuman acts of evil which give ample evidence of the Evil One’s activity on Earth, many people reject the recognition of Satan as superstitious. Reflect on the Church’s teaching about Satan (CCC 391-395; 2850-2854) and pray for Christ to “deliver you from the Evil One.”

3)  When the disciples falter in healing the demon-possessed boy, Christ rebukes them for their lack of faith and urges them to pray and fast. Reflect upon the need to persevere in prayer (CCC 2742-2745) and to fast (CCC 538,1434, 2043) and ask Christ to help you pray daily and fast regularly.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant

Continuing with His powerful declaration of the New Covenant in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ calls for His disciples to a new way of self-giving, even in the face of evil and injustice. Rather than the Old Covenant law of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exod 21:24) which sought to limit legal retribution to equal action, Christ commands His disciples to “offer no resistance to one who is evil”, using particularly humiliating and extreme examples to make His point: accepting a slap to the face was highly insulting; giving up one’s tunic (inner garment) left a man naked; going the extra mile referred to carrying the hated occupying Roman soldier’s pack even father then required by Roman law. Christ commands His disciples to give to the poor.

Rather than the Old Covenant law of loving one’s neighbor and hating one’s enemies, Christ Christ commands His disciples to love everyone. His edict of love has no exceptions even for enemies, including Gentiles, who persecute. Rather than simply not responding to attacks, Christ further requires His disciples not only not to hate one’s persecutors but, even more radical, to pray for them.

Rather than simply issuing new commandments, Christ offers a rationale for why men should take up His call to revolutionary love: God loves all men (sending sun and rain to all) and so sons of God must love likewise; disciples must strive to be more holy than others; disciples must love all men (including Gentiles); disciples must strive for perfection in imitation of the Heavenly Father who is perfection.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ asserts the authority to proclaim the New Covenant which requires a revolutionary kind of love.  Divine King, Christ commands that His disciples aspire to the highest and most demanding of moral standards, that of unconditional love. Divine Teacher, Christ teaches new and difficult ideas with memorable and impactful terms (“turn the other cheek”; “go the extra mile”, etc.).

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Understood in context, the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ are shocking because they overturn thousand year old rules and even men’s standards for “justice” today.  Reflect on Christ’s genius and courage in issuing His world-changing commandments.

2) In opposition to the evil political efforts to divide people into warring factions, Christ calls for Catholic men to reject division.  Reflect on the Catechism’s teaching about “Social Justice” (CCC 1928-1948) and pray for Christ to help you respect the human dignity of all people and to grow in solidarity with all others.

3) In an age of vast government programs for the needy, men grow can complacent to responding to the needs of the poor. Taking up Christ’s call to give to the poor (those who beg), review the Church’s teaching on “Love for the Poor” (CCC 2443-2463) and pray for Christ to help you to more fully give to those in need.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner

After promising that some would not taste death before seeing the Kingdom of God coming into power, Christ leads His “inner circle” (Peter, James, John) up a “high mountain” (traditionally, Mt. Tabor) to witness the Transfiguration (“to change the shape of”). The Transfiguration is a supernatural event of immense significance in which God in the Trinity is made manifest.

Christ is “transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them”; like His Father, Christ is “light from light” with a holiness beyond earthy possiblity and He allows His divinity to be revealed to the Apostles. Christ summons Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) to bear witness that He perfectly fulfills all Law and Prophecy in the New Covenant. Confirming His Divinity, the Holy Spirit appears as a cloud and the Father confirms, “This is My Beloved Son; listen to Him.”

Stunned, confused and frightened because they have encountered God; Peter wants to to make three booths, perhaps to prolong the heavenly experience. Suddenly, after the Father speaks, Jesus remains alone. Christ reconfirms that He will be risen from the dead and that the Apostles are not to disclose His transfiguration until then. The Apostles, struggling to understand, refer to prophesy which claim that Elijah must come before the Messiah. Cryptically, Christ confirms that Elijah has come; later, the Apostles will come to understand that John the Baptist was the new Elijah.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Person of the Trinity, Christ is joined by the Father and the Holy Spirit at the Transfiguration. Son of God, Christ confirms His authority over the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).  Divine King, Christ strengthens Peter, James and John for the coming ordeal of the Crucifixion by revealing His divinity in a physical way. Divine Prophet, Christ predicts His coming Passion and Resurrection and confirms the identity of John the Baptist as the new Elijah.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel that Christ, the greatest leader of men, specially gathers and forms His inner core through the Transfiguration to confirm His Divinity to them and strengthen them for the coming ordeal of the Passion.

2) While for many men the Holy Spirit is mysterious and distant and fleeting (like a cloud!), He continuously draws men to the Father and Christ Jesus. Meditate upon the Holy Spirit (CCC 683-747) and pray for the Spirit to be your daily companion.

3) Living with bodies prone to gravity, disease and age, it is hard to imagine what our resurrected bodies might be like. Review the “Resurrection of the Dead” (CCC 988-1019) and  pray for Christ to help you prepare for your coming resurrection.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead

Stunning the Apostles, Christ has privately confirmed that He is the Messiah, but, contrary the Jewish expectation that the Messiah would be a political savior and ruler, He has revealed that He will be rejected, killed and resurrected from the dead after three days.

Calling a multitude together, Christ lays out a stunning vision of Salvation. He proclaims that men who follow Him “must pick up his cross” and whoever “loses his life” for Christ sake will be saved; Christ has not revealed the Crucifixion to even the disciples and now is calling all men to “pick up their cross” and be prepared to die. Christ’s exhortation to be prepared to die to save one’s life is shocking; Jewish law made it clear that men hung on a tree were cursed (Deut 21:23) and Romans used crucifixion to humiliate (and murder).

Knowing that many will reject the Gospel, Christ forces men to choose, promising to condemn those who might be ashamed of Him. Also stunning, Christ reveals He is the “Son of Man” (a Messianic title) and that He will come “in His Father’s glory with the holy angels”; Christ confirms that His ascension to the Father will occur in the near future (the Apostles will be witnesses to Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man and Messiah, Christ confirms His identity to the multitude. Divine King, Christ calls disciples to courageously turn from the world and pick up their cross and follow Him. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals the future and calls men to repentance. Divine Judge, Christ confirms His role in the judgment and that those who reject Him will be condemned.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Contrary to the false feminized Christ so often promoted today, the True Christ is a courageous man, who picks 12 men as His Apostles and specifically calls men to the Cross.

2) The modern western culture is becoming increasingly confused about sexuality and hostile to masculinity. Rather than capitulating to the sick culture, return the heroic manhood of Christ through self-sacrifice. Grow in understanding about “picking up your cross” (CCC 618, 1435, 1642, 1816, 2427, 2012-2016) and pray for Christ to help you bear the weight of your cross heroically.

3) In the chaotic urgency of living in the world, it is easy to forget about the ultimate reality of Heaven and Hell. Reflect on the reality of the “Last 4 Things” (Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell; CCC 1020-1060) and pray for Christ to help you live each day in joyful preparation.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries

After Feeding the 4000 and performing several healing miracles (healing the deaf mute and the blind man) which prefigure the opening up of the Apostle’s hearts to be able to see and hear the truth, Christ now moves to disclose His Identity. Traveling towards the village of Caesarea Philippi, long a center of the pagan worship of false gods (including Caesar who claimed to be the “son of god”), Christ challenges the Apostles to proclaim their belief.

Asking the Apostles, “Who do people say that I am?”; Christ alludes to His true identity; God reveals Himself by name to Moses by saying “I am” (Exod 3:13-14). They respond, confirming most thought Jesus was great prophet who had returned: John the Baptist, Elijah or another prophet. Christ forces the Apostles to think for themselves: “But who do you say that I am?”. a question that had perplexed Apostles (Mark 4:41). Simon Peter, moved by the Father through the Holy Spirit proclaims, “You are the Messiah.” Christ warns them to not speak of His identity, preferring to reveal Himself according to His own divine plan.

Now that His identity as the Messiah was confirmed, Christ moves disclose the stunning fact that He would be rejected, killed and raised from the dead; this vision is completely at odds with the Jewish hopes for a conquering political Messiah King. Peter, showing his impulsiveness and confusion, seeks to rebuke Christ in private. Christ devastatingly rebukes Peter, likening him to Satan, who opposes the will of God.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Christ is recognized as the long-awaited Messiah and acknowledges that He is the Son of Man. Divine King, Christ forms and leads the Apostles,  viscously rebuking Peter (“Get behind Me, Satan!”) for Peter’s own good. Divine Prophet, Christ predicts the success and persistence of the Catholic Church.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at the many examples of Christ’s mysterious and deliberate plans which prepare men to comprehend His Identity; healing the deaf mute and blind to open the ears and eyes of the Apostles, revealing the Truth of His Divinity in the area where false gods were worshiped, etc.

2) Jesus’ identity as the Messiah is turning point in the Gospels and a turning point in human history; Christ’s impact on the world is beyond measure. Renew your understanding of “The Christ” (CCC 436-440) and pray for Christ to help you continue to grow in awe of Him.

3) Christ’s divine ability to understand the future and His willing acceptance of Passion is startling and mysterious.  Review the Church’s teaching on Christ’s knowledge  (CCC 471-474; 571-573) and pray for Christ to draw you to Himself in the Passion.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently