Saturday, June 24, 2017

NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST


I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works.

Judith, Chapter 11, Verse 17
Your servant is, indeed, a God-fearing woman, serving the God of heaven night and day. Now I will remain with you, my lord; but each night your servant will go out into the valley and pray to God. He will tell me when they have committed their offenses.

Holofernes and his servants respond to Judith by marveling at her beauty and at her wisdom. Judith is calm and posed while confronting evil in its lair. She like John the baptizer confronts evil yet in the story of Judith; Holofernes will lose his head, while John for the greater glory of God loses his.

John is the greatest of the prophets and arguably the least confused and wisest of Christ's disciples, John has the distinction of being the only other person besides the Blessed Virgin and our Lord whose birthday is celebrated by the Church.[1]

Birth of John the Baptist[2]

ST.JOHN could not have had any greater panegyrist than Jesus Christ Himself, Who said: There hath not risen, among them that are born of women [in the natural manner], a greater than John the Baptist (Matt. xi. 11). The Lord made him great, even from his mother s womb, by causing his birth to before told by an angel, by giving him his name, and by sanctifying him while yet in his mother’s womb through the presence of Christ. To escape from the world and its allurements he withdrew to the desert, and there occupied himself only with God and with what concerned his vocation. His food was locusts and wild honey; his clothing a garment of camel s hair, fastened by a leathern girdle; his bed the hard ground. Thus he lived till his thirtieth year, in which, by the command of God, he was to proclaim the coming of the Messias, Whom he himself afterwards baptized and pointed out to men as the Lamb of God. With extraordinary zeal and earnestness he preached the necessity of true penance. For having reproved Herod for living in adultery he was thrown into prison, and finally, at the instigation of Herodias, was beheaded. We celebrate the day of his birth rather than that of his death, as is the case of most saints days, because, while other saints arrive at sanctity only through long and difficult contests, John was already sanctified in his mother’s womb.

End of Ramadan[3]

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان ) is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, during which, for a period of thirty days, Muslims abstain from eating, and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Muslims do this because it is a pillar of Islam, and obligatory for everyone.  In other words, God decreed this entire month holy for Muslims so that they can increase their remembrance of life after death.  Muslims also abstain from all bad deeds and habits, like smoking, swearing, backbiting, and disrespectfulness. Muslims reflect upon themselves, their religion, and the characteristics of God. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting and abstaining from bad habits teaches Muslims self-control, humility, and generosity. Ramadan is a time for charity, family, and good deeds.  Muslims fast because they believe it is vital for spiritual health. Unlike the fast of Ashurah, the fasts of Ramadan are declared mandatory by God because like salah (praying towards Mecca), fasting helps Muslims maintain spiritual and physical health. The month of Ramadan begins when the new moon of Ramadan is sighted and ends when the new moon of Sha'ban is sighted. Muslims also believe that devils are chained up during Ramadan.

Ramadan Facts & Quotes

·         Ramadan comes from the word ramadaa, which means 'sunbaked' in Arabic. This is perhaps a reference to the pangs of hunger Muslims feel when fasting.
·         According to Islamic tradition, menstruating women, women who are experiencing bleeding after giving birth, people who are sick (either with short term or long term illnesses), and travelers are exempt from fasting. Pregnant women also have the option of skipping fasts.
·         In Islamic countries, when Ramadan ends and the crescent moon is first seen, people bang drums and give mighty shouts.
·         According to Sunnah belief, the Prophet Muhammad once said, There is no conceit in fasting.
·         who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves (Quran, 2:183)

Ramadan Top Events and Things to Do

·         The fast is usually broken in a family setting, where traditional foods are served. Most Muslims begin their meal with a few dates and a glass of milk because the Prophet Muhammad used to do the same.  The high sugar content of the dates sends energy to weary fasting Muslim, while the fiber in the dates and the protein in the milk fills them up and prevents nausea.
·         During Ramadan, Muslims congregate every night in the mosque to pray Taraweeh prayers in congregation. In the United States, in between sets of prayers, the Imam gives a brief sermon and encourages people to give to charity.
·         In Islamic countries, the end of the fast is signaled by a loud call to the sunset prayer. Most people eat a small meal, pray at the mosque, and then join their families for a large, festive dinner.

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