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Saturday, April 22, 2017

1 Samuel, Chapter 20, Verse 21
I will then send my attendant to recover the arrows. If in fact I say to him, ‘Look, the arrow is this side of you; pick it up,’ come, for you are safe. As the LORD lives, there will be nothing to fear.

"The sages characterized the relationship between Jonathan and David in the following Mishnah: “Whenever love depends on some selfish end, when the end passes away, the love passes away; but if it does not depend on some selfish end, it will never pass away. Which love depended on a selfish end? This was the love of Amnon and Tamar. And which did not depend on a selfish end? This was the love of David and Jonathan. (Avot 5:15)" Rabbi Shimon ben Tzemach Duran (Spain, North Africa 14th-15th century) delineated the significance of this mishnah: “Anyone who establishes a friendship for access to power, money, or sexual relations; when these ends are not attainable, the friendship ceases…love that is not dependent on selfish ends is true love of the other person since there is no intended end.” (Magen Avot – abridged and adapted translation)[1]

Loyalty-Sir Ernest Shackleton[2]

Sir Ernest Shackleton like so many of his generation were ultimate adventurers – part hero, part daredevil – fighting the elements and the odds, too far from civilization to call for help – laying it all on the line purely for the love of adventure. Shackleton led a doomed expedition to miraculous survival through the sheer force of his motivational leadership. In 1914, he set out with a crew of twenty-eight men on a quest to be the first to travel across the entire Antarctic continent by way of the South Pole. His ship, Endurance, became caught in ice and was crushed. After abandoning the ship, he and his men faced incredible hardship from a variety of brutal Antarctic conditions – from shifting weather to shifting ice, along with the trials of hunger, illness and discouragement – for more than a year. Yet every man got home safely, when the entire expedition would have perished under weaker leadership. Incredibly, the only casualty was frostbitten toes on one man. He had passion for the adventure of the mission but he also had passion for the men he led. When he was forced to abandon his doomed ship and realized he would not achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole en route to the other side, he kept his disappointment to himself while he shifted his priorities to the well-being of his men. He said to another leader, F.A. Worsley, “It is a pity [to miss the crossing], but that cannot be helped. It is the men we have to think about. “He put his men above himself. He understood that the survival of them all might well depend on the quality of his leadership. He also realized that he could provide better leadership if he served as well as led. “Shackleton shared the physical labors as well as the watches…[He] would forego his own rations in order to feed the undernourished or the ill. And he often did so without anyone knowing it…Shackleton always put the needs of his men ahead of his personal comfort, and as a result he saved them all.” He realized that in order to survive they would have to stay healthy – mentally as well as physically. When we are trying to survive, having fun is the farthest thing from our minds. It may even be seen as trivializing the suffering. But during harsh tribulation it is more important than ever to find something to enjoy. During hard times we need to find a source of joy in order to maintain a healthy perspective. As a leader, Shackleton accepted responsibility for maintaining the spirits as well as the health of his men. Yes, they were brave adventurers just as Shackleton was, well able to take care of themselves. Still, Shackleton knew that as a leader he could provide a unique kind of influence that would be empowering, energizing and uplifting. He continually sought out ways to boost morale. He set aside time for recreation. They improvised various forms of entertainment. Several of the men had chosen books among the possessions they salvaged, and they read aloud to each other. They played soccer on the ice. “Humor…played a role, with Shackleton telling stories or teasing his men. What Shackleton was doing was keeping his men alive inside; by encouraging them to read or sing, he was keeping their spirits from sagging or dwelling on the inhospitalities that in other circumstances might have overwhelmed them.” He Inspired Loyalty. Shackleton’s passion for his mission and for his men, his passion for leadership, and his passion for motivation were a source of energy and courage during times of severe adversity. These virtues made him a leader that people wanted to follow. Even when his men may not have wanted to do something for themselves, they would do it for him. He inspired this kind of loyalty because he gave it to his men. They respected and trusted him because he respected and trusted them. They took care of him because he took care of them. They put him first because he put them first. He was a wonderful example of what a role model should be.

Shackleton dedicated South, the book he wrote about their extraordinary exploits, “To My Comrades.” In one especially moving passage he observed: “In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that natures renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” Sixty years after they had been rescued, the expedition’s first officer, Lionel Greenstreet, was asked how they had done it, how had they survived such a deadly misadventure. Greenstreet gave a one-word response: “Shackleton.”
I have been to Antarctica, and with Shackleton, I can voice I have seen the face of God through the power and majesty of nature. As catholic’s we recognize this same power of God in nature and celebrate it in our Earth Day observations.

Earth Day[3]

Earth Day seeks to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to the protection of the environment.  We face many environmental crises, including global warming, deforestation, endangered wildlife, shortages of potable water and widespread pollution, all which negatively affect our planet’s resources and can have adverse effects on our long-term lifestyle and health. In 1970, a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson was inspired to bring about mass public awareness of environment problems. He heavily promoted the day across the nation in an effort to gather the largest amount of public support possible and ultimately, in the hopes of elevating environmental protection onto the national political agenda. This day in 1970 marked the creation of United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.   Today, Earth Day is celebrated by billions of people around the world and is observed in over 190 countries. Worldwide, Earth Day celebrations utilize educational programs to inform people of ways that can help protect the environment and its natural resources. It is observed annually on April 22nd and is celebrated as International Earth Day.

Earth Day Facts & Quotes

·         During the 2015 UN Conference in Paris, France, participating nations concurred on the need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The countries cooperatively pledged to keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F). In celebration of Earth Day 2016 on April 22nd, the landmark agreement that testifies to this global commitment was signed at the UN Headquarters in New York by 175 participating nations. The history of Earth Day 2017 dates back to 1970 when it was first celebrated in 1970. It was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson to promote ecology and the respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.
·         Energy Star rated LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.  Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
·         In 2013, the US emitted 14.7 trillion pounds (14,700,000,000,000lbs) or 6.6 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents 'Greenhouse Gases'.
·         In the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history. - U.S. EPA, 2009. Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead.
·         We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. - Native American Proverb
Earth Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Organize a group of volunteers to help clean up and restore a green space. Some suggestions include planting trees and adding waste receptacles.
·         Try to go the whole day without creating any garbage, • Try not to use your car for the entire day. Instead, use public transit, walk or ride your bicycle.
·         Change your traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy saving LED or CFL light bulbs.
·         Watch a documentary or movie that touches on an ecological issue. Our favorites are: An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the Burning Season (1993, 2008), Elemental (2012) and The Day after Tomorrow (2004).
·         Read one of many books that relate to environmental issues such as, The World Without Us (Alan Weisman), Hell and High Water (Joseph Romm) and Natural Capitalism (Hawken, Lovins and Lovins)


Meditation “The Power that Regenerates the World”[4]

Earthly history and the workings of the cosmos undoubtedly continue their course and are not identified with the rate at which the Kingdom of Christ develops. In fact, pain, evil, sin, death, yet claim their victims, in spite of the resurrection of Christ. The cycle of one thing succeeding another, the cycle of becoming, is not at a standstill. If it were, history would be at an end! And so facts and events are continually being repeated and give rise to thoughts of an irremediable conflict here on earth between the two kingdoms, or, as St. Augustine said, between the two cities. Think, for example, of the contrast which is to be found in this Holy Year between celebrations of the Redemption on the one hand and on the other hand the offenses against God, the misdeeds committed against man and, at bottom, the challenges to Christ which are continually being launched. This is the most impressive aspect, the most mysterious dimension of the historic dialectic between the forces of good and the forces of evil: the fact that obstacles are raised or indifference is shown to the forces of Redemption let into the world by Christ through his Resurrection as the principle which resolves the conflict between death and life. The world is in need, today as yesterday, for the "new people" to remain in its midst, among the vicissitudes, the conflicts, the variations which not seldom lead to situations which are so difficult, sometimes even dramatic. The world has need of this people which will dedicate itself with humility, courage and perseverance to service of the Redemption and give concrete form, in good Christian conduct, to the regenerating power of Christ's resurrection.
This is the function which Christians have as evangelizers and witnesses to the Resurrection in history.


Daily Devotions/Prayers

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Divine Mercy Novena Today bring to me the souls of the lukewarm.




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