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Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us...

Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 35-39
35 What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is God’s everlasting love for us. He desires that we seek Him for He never stops seeking us. God created the heavens and the earth in seven days but at Christ resurrection He recreated the heavens and the earth in His blood. This is the new creation in Him, Christ our Lord and all who seek His love and mercy shall receive it.

The day of the Resurrection: the new creation[1]

2174 Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the Sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day Sunday: We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish Sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.

Sunday - fulfillment of the Sabbath

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ: Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.

2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all." Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.
Amoris Lætitia[2] Passionate love, God loves the joy of his children (147-149)
Pope Benedict XVI summed up joy of the church which families conformed in love should mirror “Doesn’t the Church, with all her commandments and prohibitions, turn to bitterness the most precious thing in life? Doesn’t she blow the whistle just when the joy which is the Creator’s gift offers us a happiness which is itself a certain foretaste of the Divine?” He responded that, although there have been exaggerations and deviant forms of asceticism in Christianity, the Church’s official teaching, in fidelity to the Scriptures, did not reject “eros as such, but rather declared war on a warped and destructive form of it, because this counterfeit divinization of eros… actually strips it of divine dignity and dehumanizes it.”

Training in the areas of emotion and instinct is necessary, and at times this requires setting limits. Excess, lack of control or obsession with a single form of pleasure can end up weakening and tainting that very pleasure and damaging family life. A person can certainly channel his passions in a beautiful and healthy way, increasingly pointing them towards altruism and an integrated self-fulfillment that can only enrich interpersonal relationships in the heart of the family. This does not mean renouncing moments of intense enjoyment, but rather integrating them with other moments of generous commitment, patient hope, inevitable weariness and struggle to achieve an ideal. Family life is all this and it deserves to be lived to the fullest. Some currents of spirituality teach that desire has to be eliminated as a path to liberation from pain. Yet we believe that God loves the enjoyment felt by human beings: he created us and “richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim 6:17). Let us be glad when with great love he tells us: “My son, treat yourself well…Do not deprive yourself of a happy day” (Sir 14:11-14). Married couples likewise respond to God’s will when they take up the biblical injunction: “Be joyful in the day of prosperity” (Ec 7:14). What is important is to have the freedom to realize that pleasure can find different expressions at different times of life, in accordance with the needs of mutual love. In this sense, we can appreciate the teachings of some Eastern masters who urge us to expand our consciousness, lest we be imprisoned by one limited experience that can blind us. This expansion of consciousness is not the denial or destruction of desire so much as it’s broadening and perfection.

Shemini Atzeret[3]

Shemini Atzeret (Hebrew: שמיני עצרת), means 'The eighth day break' or 'the eighth day of assembly'.   It is celebrated preceding Simchat Torah and in some regions celebrated together with it.  Services for this holiday often include a Geshem, prayer for rain.

Shemini Atzeret Facts

On Shemini Atzeret there used to be a gathering of all men for a hearing of the Torah at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  Reference to this is made in the Biblical book of Nehemiah (verse 8:18). Shemini Atzeret is observed in Orthodox communities with candle lighting in the evening, Kiddush (sanctification over wine) and two challah breads.  This is representative of all Jewish High Festivals and an evening and morning festive meal.  Two Challah breads are used to commemorate the Sabbath in the wilderness.  During this time Manna (edible substance that God provided for Israelites during time in the desert) fell from Heaven in a double portion on Friday, so that on the Sabbath day, the Israelites, did not need to perform the work of gathering Manna. Often an additional service after the morning service is held in Orthodox Synagogues.  Hallel (Psalms with praise) is recited.  Observant Jews do not work on this day. A popular prayer on Shmini Atzeret is called Yizkor, Remembrance.  It serves to honor dead relatives.  Even one of the happiest Jewish Holidays of the year, dead relatives (parents, siblings, spouses and children) are remembered.  This helps remind that we would not be who we are and where we are without these people.

Shemini Atzeret Top Events and Things to Do

  • ·         Pray for Rain.  Shemini Azeret and Simchat Torah is often accompanied by prayers for the rain.  The holidays are in the autumn, which is a critical period in Israel for harvests.
  • ·         On Shmini Atzeret,  it is customary for Orthodox Jews to spend an 'extra day with God' and postpone their return to work and to mundane tasks.






[2] Pope Francis, Encyclical on Love.
[3] http://www.wincalendar.com/Shmini-Atzeret

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