Judges, Chapter 7, Verse 3
So announce in the hearing of the soldiers, “If anyone is afraid or fearful, let him leave! Let him depart from Mount Gilead!” Twenty-two thousand of the soldiers left, but ten thousand remained.
Fear! Those who are fearful are ruled by their emotions. Gideon knew this emotion well for he was a man afraid. What changed him? It was God! God had changed his fear into hope and love for the reign of God. God had changed his unbelief into resolute iron will.
Saint John Paul II was a sword of Gideon; he reminded us that we too must be unafraid that we must be bold and remember that Gideon did not defeat the Midianites with the sword but with fear.
Gideon needed to lead a night attack against the Midianites and Amalekites. His plan was to have every soldier carry a trumpet and a torch, the latter inside a clay pot, and blow the trumpet and reveal the torch upon command. The racket and the sudden appearance of hundreds of torches would doubtlessly panic the enemy troops, who would have no idea as to how many enemies had come out of nowhere. A night attack, however, involves considerable risk. Even today, only the most skilled soldiers are willing to undertake such a mission. A lot of things can go wrong, and it is very easy to mistake friend for foe in the darkness. There is a good chance of shooting or, in ancient times, stabbing one’s own people unless the operation goes perfectly. Any premature action or loud noise can allow the enemy to draw up his soldiers into formations that can repel an attack. If, for example, one of Gideon’s men dropped his pot by accident during the approach to the enemy camp, the exposed torch would have told the enemy sentries that something was amiss. The job was clearly not one for amateurs, or people who lacked commitment.
The first step was therefore to send away the more than two-thirds of Gideon’s army that was hesitant to fight the enemy. This made eminent sense because fear might easily result in the kind of false move—and it would take only one—that would ruin the operation. Ten thousand soldiers were still, however, ten thousand opportunities for something to go wrong. It wasn’t enough that they were committed and willing to fight; they also had to have the discipline and training necessary to participate in a night attack. As Judges 7.4 through 7.7 continues: “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
“So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
Now those who drank like dogs what do you suppose they had in their hands. Their weapons! They were ready for the battle at any moment. God needs stout hearted men and women. Are you ready?
Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
A special commemoration, one week before Good Friday, of Mary's compassion for (literally, "suffering with") Her innocent son.
Mary in her suffering leads us to her son who gave his all for love of us. Below is an excerpt from my book “Divine Mercy Hikes”.
This trail will take you by the devils kitchen (sinkhole) and the seven sacred pools which are great geological features to reflect on the grace of purgatory and the seven sacraments. While at the seven sacred pools:: Notice that the water must flow from the first pool fill it and then in succession the second pool is filled. Similarly grace fills our life where one virtue will complete us enough to overflow to the next. With this concept in mind we will review the seven sorrows of the Mother of God and emulate the virtue she had in them; seeing that we must be filled with grace from one pool to the other in secession.
O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
While meditating on the first pool ask our Lady to pray to her son to fill us with the grace of Humility.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God. Hail Mary…
After we have filled our spirit with the grace of humility now let us ask our Lady to pray that her son fill us with the grace of Generosity.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety. Hail Mary…
Moving to the third pool let us ask our Lady to ask her son to fill us with the grace of the Gift of Chastity.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge. Hail Mary…
Moving to the fourth pool let us ask our Lady to ask her son to fill us with the grace of Patience.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude. Hail Mary…
Moving to the fifth pool let us ask our Lady to ask her son to fill us with the grace of Temperance.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel. Hail Mary…
Moving to the sixth pool let us ask our Lady to ask her son to fill us with the grace of Understanding and Love.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding. Hail Mary…
Moving to the seventh pool let us ask our Lady to ask her son to fill us with the grace of Wisdom.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom. Hail Mary…
Let Us Pray:
Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns world without end. Amen.