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Mon. Feb 22
Chair of St. Peter



Dear friends,

God bless you!
We rejoice to pray with you this week as we enjoy the benefits of the Lenten season. We trust that you are fasting and praying with joy!  This morning at Mass we read how after leaving all and following Christ, Matthew held a banquet.  May we too consider the sacrifices of the Christian life to be a cause for celebrating and not murmuring.
Pardon us for sending a light e-mail this week.  I am sending this from Kingston, Jamaica as we are busy working here in the care centers of the Missionaries of the Poor.  Fortunately for us, the Liturgy of the Hours is prayed throughout the day at every center, so we continue to pray with you, lifting up one voice to the Lord.  If you’d like to see pictures from our trip and blog posts from the men with me, please check out the CLAA Missions blog.

While I posted this last week, I think it’s good to send it again.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a very helpful guide titled, "Penitential Practices for Today’s Catholics" which we strongly recommend before Lent arrives.  You can read or print the document here: 


God bless you all,
William & Dania Michael
Classical Liberal Arts Academy

FEBRUARY 21 – 27, 2010

To print your weekly guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, select the correct link below:  



  Weekly Guide to Christian Prayer

The guide should be printed in color on two sides.  Fold the guide in half and tuck it into your prayer book.  Enjoy!


Ch. 9-10 from the Institutes of John Cassian (360-435 AD). 
It should be noted that in his rule, St. Benedict chose Cassian’s Institutes and Conferences as his required readings.  To read all that this great ascetic has to say on fasting and abstinence, go to:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/350705.htm.
"The perfection of abstinence is not to be gathered from calculations of time alone, nor only from the quality of the food; but beyond everything from the judgment of conscience. For each one should impose such a sparing diet on himself as the battle of his bodily struggle may require. The canonical observance of fasts is indeed valuable and by all means to be kept. But unless this is followed by a temperate partaking of food, one will not be able to arrive at the goal of perfection. For the abstinence of prolonged fasts- where repletion of body follows- produces weariness for a time rather than purity and chastity. Perfection of mind indeed depends upon the abstinence of the belly. He has no lasting purity and chastity, who is not contented always to keep to a well-balanced and temperate diet. Fasting, although severe, yet if unnecessary relaxation follows, is rendered useless, and presently leads to the vice of gluttony. A reasonable supply of food partaken of daily with moderation, is better than a severe and long fast at intervals. Excessive fasting has been known not only to undermine the constancy of the mind, but also to weaken the power of prayers through sheer weariness of body.

In order to preserve the mind and body in a perfect condition abstinence from food is not alone sufficient: unless the other virtues of the mind as well are joined to it. And so humility must first be learned by the virtue of obedience, and grinding toil and bodily exhaustion. The possession of money must not only be avoided, but the desire for it must be utterly rooted out. For it is not enough not to possess it-a thing which comes to many as a matter of necessity: but we ought, if by chance it is offered, not even to admit the wish to have it. The madness of anger should be controlled; the downcast look of dejection be overcome; vainglory should be despised, the disdainfulness of pride trampled under foot, and the shifting and wandering thoughts of the mind restrained by continual recollection of God. And the slippery wanderings of our heart should be brought back again to the contemplation of God as often as our crafty enemy, in his endeavour to lead away the mind a captive from this consideration, creeps into the innermost recesses of the heart.

To pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you will need your own prayer book(s).  In buying them, you will have two basic options:  the one volume abridged version, called "Christian Prayer", or the full four volume Liturgy of the Hours set.
The ultimate difference between the two is in the Office of Readings.  If you desire to pray/read the Office of Readings, you will need the 4 volume set.  The Office of Readings includes a complete year’s worth of daily readings from Scripture and the Church Fathers that correspond to the Church calendar. 
However, if you intend only to pray Morning and Evening Prayer or maybe add Midday and/or Night Prayer, you will only need the one volume version.  This edition is so easy to use that our 6 year-old son manages it by himself during our daily prayers.
Most people end up buying Saints’ biographies and Bibles anyway, but tend to have a hard time bringing them all together into a profitable routine of personal devotional reading.  Instead of that, it may be best to buy the four folume set and make the Office of Readings your primary source for daily readings on the saints and the Scriptures.  You can always read more if you find the selections leave you desiring more, but we tend to "bite off more than we can chew" when it comes to starting devotions.  This is why the Office of Readings is so helpful.


Buy your prayer books from the CLAA Bookshop and we’ll ship them in the U.S. for FREE

  LOTH 1-Vol. Christian Prayer ($37.00)

  LOTH 1-Vol. Christian Prayer, Large Print ($38.00) 
  LOTH 4-Vol. Imitation Leather ($149.00) 
  LOTH 4-Vol. Genuine Leather ($175.00) 
  LOTH 4-Vol. Large Print, Imitation Lthr. ($198.00)


Questions?  Contact us at bookshop@classicalliberalarts.com.



The Classical Liberal Arts Academy provides a complete study program like that enjoyed throughout Church history by the saints and beyond Church history by the patriarchs and philosophers of the ancient world.  While some originally thought such a program would be of no interest to modern families, the CLAA has seen close to 600 distance learning students enrolled in our first year!

However, our most important work is not that we do with books and exams.  Mr. Michael is directly involved in the life and works of the Missionaries of the Poor and through that relationship organizes international Catholic missionary projects for students and families.  We work to supply volunteer support to meet needs encountered on the mission field among the poorest of the poor.  Projects include physical care of the poor and dying, construction projects, medical care and–most importantly–evangelization and encouragement.  After all, what the poor lack most are friends–how much better when they are Christians.

If you are interested in learning more about Catholic missions opportunities for adults, students and groups, then come and visit us at CLAA Missions
Questions?  Contact us at missions@classicalliberalarts.com.

The Weekly Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours is a free service provided by the Classical Liberal Arts Academy to promote family and personal prayer.  It is designed for use with the Catholic Publishing Company’s editions of the Liturgy of the Hours.  Please encourage your friends and relatives to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and let them know we’re here to help!  Direct them to the CLAA’s Liturgy of the Hours resource center at: www.classicalliberalarts.com/LOTH.


Yes, you could buy your prayer books from Amazon and save money, but you’d be supporting a company that also sells…anything.  Buy your prayer books directly from the CLAA and support a Catholic organization that shares your values.  We’ll ship anywhere in the US for FREE.

Offer Expires: 02/29/2010

Classical Liberal Arts Academy | 2105 Mt. Pleasant Church Rd. | Monroe | NC | 28112