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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Be Not Afraid-Summer Edition: Courage for the modern World by [Havermale, Richard]
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Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands.

Judith, Chapter 8, Verse 8
No one had a bad word to say about her, for she feared God greatly.

Think what it would be like if you could hear what others say about you? Would no one have a bad word to say about you? How is Judith described?


·         She was a widow of a successful man “Mannasseh” who died of heat stroke during a barley harvest.
·         During the war she had been a widow for 3 years and 4 months choosing not to remarry.
·         She lived in a tent on the roof of her house and mourned her husband and worshipped.
·         She fasted except for the Holy Days.
·         She was beautiful and very lovely to behold.
·         She maintained her husband’s property which she owned.

Judith, Instrument of Yahwah[2]

War had been declared between God and Nebuchadnezzar, god against God. Each divinity has a an acting human representative. Judith and Holofernes. Judith is a model of Jewish observance. She is a widow whom all knows that she is under the protection of God. She is a strong woman, with the fear of God. Judith counsels the elders of the city Bethulia, that is a mountain stronghold that prevents Holofernes from marching on Jerusalem. The people are thirsty the cisterns are empty all is hopeless and the elders want to quit. Judith challenges their resolve. She scolds the elders for limiting God to human understanding. "You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or grasp the workings of the human mind; how then can you fathom God, who has made all these things, or discern his mind, or understand his plan?” Judith prepares for war with prayer. Her call for action has 3 parts.

1.      They must set an example because the fate of the nation, the temple, and the people depend on them.
2.      They must be grateful to God for this test their affliction is a proof of God’s love for them.
3.      They must remember that God tests those He loves and never doubt his fidelity in the midst of their sufferings.

Judith’s prayer illustrates three principles of Holy War

·         Trust in God. Do not trust in horses or chariots. Trust in armament is the same as trusting in another god-it is idolatry.
·         Power comes from God. Frequently the power of God comes from a chosen person; Moses, David, Jesus, Peter and Judith or Mary Mother of God. The weapons of God are not the same as man. God’s chosen instrument is sometimes weak.
·         Victory belongs to the lowly and vulnerable. The weak have no hope except in the power of God. Judith calls on God to win the victory.

Summer Solstice[3]

The Summer Solstice marks the beginning of the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere.  On this day, the North Pole is tilted towards the Sun at the highest degree of angle. Places in the Northern Hemisphere experience the longest hours of sunlight throughout the year on this day. The history of the Summer Solstice is rooted in both ancient mysticism and nature. This day takes place somewhere around June 20th or 21st each year.

Summer Solstice Facts

·         On the Summer Solstice, the North Pole receives 24 hours of daylight, and the South Pole receives 24 hours of darkness.
·         Solstice comes from the Latin words for "Sun" and "to stop."
·         Many Native American tribes celebrated the Summer Solstice by holding "sun dances".
·         On the summer solstice, the Earth's axis is tilted the most, up to 26° .

Summer Solstice Top Events and Things to Do

·         Host a bonfire to celebrate the arrival of summer.
·         Start the day with the Sun Salutation and some additional yoga exercises.
·         Visit Stonehenge and take the Summer Solstice Tour.
·         Go fishing - it is the longest fishing day of the year.
·         Visit the polar circle and enjoy nearly 24 hours of daylight.

International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day celebrates yoga, an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice. Today, yoga, which originated in India, is one of the world's most popular pastime activities. In September of 2014, India’s Prime Minister proposed the establishment of an International Day of Yoga to promote international peace and cooperation. His request was granted by the United Nations General Assembly in December, 2014 in an effort to highlight the benefits of yoga to physical well-being and to world peace and development.

In a recent homily, Pope Francis reminded listeners that practices like yoga aren't capable of opening our hearts up to God. "You can take a million catechetical courses, a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things. But all of this will never be able to give you. freedom," he explained. While yoga was just one example offered among many, the Holy Father touched on a matter of great debate among faithful Catholics who happen to prefer this kind of exercise.[4]

Can Catholics participate in yoga? The answer is a bit more nuanced than one might think. Catholics should not participate in any of the "spiritual" aspects associated with yoga, but technically can do the actual physical exercises. However, many people who practice yoga caution that it is often difficult, if not impossible, to separate the exercises from the meditations. For example, a common mantra repeated in yoga is "So'ham" that roughly translates to "I am the universal self". This focus on the self is contrary to the focus on God to which we are called. In the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: "Christian prayer... flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual privatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendental God" The Pope tells us that only the Holy Spirit can "move the heart" and make it "docile to the Lord, docile to the freedom of love". If we are seeking a zen-like peace from yoga meditation, then we are seeking peace from the wrong source.

But is it possible to combine exercise and prayer? Founders of SoulCore, a core workout that combines isometric exercises with praying the rosary, say that it is. Deanne Miller and Colleen Scariano explained that their new exercise movement is born from the desire to nourish both body and soul through exercise. Miller explained, "in our physical movement, when tied to prayer-strengthening from the inside-out-we are FULLY ALIVE."

Daily Devotions/Prayers

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to the Sacred Heart

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