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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sunday, May 21, 2017 Rogation Sunday

Hear now, all you who fear God,
while I declare what he has done for me.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 17, Verse 10
Now the fear of the LORD was upon all the kingdoms of the countries surrounding Judah, so that they did not war against Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat was zealous for God and as a result peace comes to the land. Seek first the Kingdom of God.

Rogation Days[1]

THE Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the Ascension are observed as days of solemn supplication, and are called Rogation Days. These three Rogation days serve also as a preparation for the feast of the ascension, which reminds us that we have the most powerful intercessor in our savior, who is now enthroned at the right hand of the father.

Since 1929 many churches in the United States have observed Rogation Sunday as Rural Life Sunday, or Soil Stewardship Sunday. Services on this day examine the religious aspects of rural life. In 1969 the Roman Catholic Church cancelled the Rogation Days. In their place Church authorities instituted days of prayer for human needs, human works, and the fruits of the earth. Local bishops may now set appropriate dates for these observances in their dioceses.[2]

Making Holy Place and Time with Christ, Our Redeemer[3]

January--Creeks, rivers, and other forms of moving water, including ice, manifest the flow of life itself. A gurgling stream or rushing river, even in midwinter's rest, is the sign that new life is coming forth, even when it is not yet perceptible in a snow-covered landscape. Our life in Christ begins through the saving water of Baptism; since this is so, we have an obligation to protect and save the water. Water pollution is widespread, denying safe drinking water to millions of people.

February--Soil under our feet goes unnoticed, though this first foot of soil is where most living organisms dwell. The health of the fragile skin of our earth is of utmost importance. Humility comes from the Latin word for soil, "humus." From and unto dust is the humbling message to each of us touched by the dust of Ash Wednesday. Soil is rich and fertile but also prone to erosion and pollution. •

March--The winds of March point to the power of God's Spirit working in us. We need to listen and respond to the gentle breezes of the Spirit; but will we, or will we be too distracted? The rebirth of spring reminds us of the energy of nature so that we ask ourselves whether we waste or wisely use energy –electricity, oil, gas, etc. Can we and should we continue to use nonrenewable fossil fuels, often with accompanying air pollution, at the rate we do? Or will the environmental ills we cause today call us in the future as a society to use wind and solar energy?

April--Lush and blooming vistas beckon us to take to the road and to explore. As we itch to go out and travel more in springtime, let us reflect on the mixed blessings. Interconnected communities and beautiful scenery are often coupled with air pollution, consumption of scarce petroleum, congestion, excessive mobility, and noise.

May--Flowers in Mary's month tie us closely to the reawakening earth. The time of Resurrection and expectant Pentecost is one of buds, blossoms, wildflowers, and greening of meadows and lawns. Days lengthen and we welcome the warmth of the sun after the long winter. Jesus is risen and is present in our midst, and so we rise and ascend with him.

June--Wildlife fills our life with joy and refreshment. Songbirds and birds of prey, squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and lightning bugs all carry a message worth discovering in early summer. Do we see and hear them, or do we overlook them, even despise them? Are they simply an annoyance, or do we come to know, love, and even serve these fellow creatures by providing protection and habitat?

July--We may be more aware of community relations in this month of Independence Day, visits, festivals, communal celebrations, and family reunions. Do our community and home exude hospitality and welcome? Are we able to welcome strangers into our community and open our social circles wider? Do we see connections between hospitality to people and to other creatures? Is there a connection between community relations and environmental concerns?

August--We may come to appreciate more deeply the various landforms (mountains, deserts, rock formations, valleys, and plains) during vacation time. They give us bearing, direction, and the geological history of our lives. This is the beginning of awareness of the "here" in our lives. The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord shows us the "hereness" of the risen Lord, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary speaks of God's power to the blessed. While we can choose to extend the Savior's redeeming power to our wounded earth, we also can choose to withdraw from this awesome challenge.

September--Our buildings need to be winterized. Now is the time to think of energy conservation measures, adding caulking and painting, completing needed repairs, composting yard wastes, and protecting garden plants for late fall and winter. Do we regard our abodes as God's dwelling space, a sacred trust and healthy place? Do we cherish the abundance of space and use it properly as good stewards?

October--Trees declare their own sermon in brief autumn's painted landscape. We note their size and type and variety and beauty. Trees serve as symbols of the gift-giving aspects of our lives. Trees provide fruit, wood, climatic modification, wind and sun protection, prevention of soil erosion, and a host of other benefits. This is the time to plant trees and to prepare them for winter. Should we not give more attention to how our lives can bear fruit in Christ and in the protection of our forests?

November--The Thanksgiving meal is a ritual. Whether we are from rural or urban backgrounds, we know the harvest time passes and the year draws to an end. Giving thanks to God is Eucharist, a heavenly banquet and the foretaste of things to come. We are not worthy receivers of this sacrament without the haunting knowledge of the poor nutrition for many in our country and famine in other countries. How can we respond to homelessness and hunger here in our own land and share our bounty with those who are poor in other countries (lands)?

December--We turn our attention indoors with Advent prayers and preparations for the birth of Christ. For most of us, the indoors makes up the part of our environment in which we spend the most time. It is also the most unregulated and can be the most polluted part of the total environment –due to new home cleaning products and tighter ventilation. Consider a simpler home environment, where houseplants purify the air, where fresh air is plentiful, and where chemical products are limited and controlled. The yearly cycle of twelve months can make us more aware of our human environment and should help us as individuals and as a community to conduct a monthly examination of conscience.

Daily Devotions/Prayers

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to St. Rita


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