ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA-SUMMER SOLSTICE- YOGA DAY
You will not have to fight in this encounter. Take your places, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD; he will be with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed. Tomorrow go out to meet them, and the LORD will be with you.”
This encounter was a battle for the hearts of men who were firm in the faith and hope of salvation. God was with Israel. Those who do not fear the battle know that He is greater, and he empowers his beloved. Let your hearts ascend to Him!
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Today is the feast of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga who demonstrates for us how he was not afraid to lose everything to gain the kingdom. While still young he read the lives of saintly Jesuit missionaries, and he decided to become a Jesuit. His father and some other relatives tried hard to change his mind. It was a fierce battle of wills, but after several years, Aloysius won. With his father's permission, Aloysius gave his large inheritance to his brother and joined the Jesuit order at 17 years of age. The novice director, who was in charge of training Aloysius, told him to cut down on his long hours of prayer and to give up some of his fasting and other penances. Aloysius obeyed willingly. He understood that obedience was better than “doing his own thing.” When Aloysius was 23, a serious epidemic broke out in Rome. Aloysius volunteered at once to help in the hospital. At that time hospitals were not the clean, orderly places with which we are familiar today. It was very easy to catch an illness. That is what happened; Aloysius became very ill. No medicine could help him. Aloysius was not afraid to die. Aloysius shows that young people are not too young to become saints. During his life he had focused on doing what God wanted—serving and loving God and his neighbor.
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.
· 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.
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." www.soulcoreproject.com
· Novena to Sacred Heart Day 2