Friday, August 9, 2019


BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS-HAJJ Begins-Book Lovers Day

Judith, Chapter 5, Verse 23
“We are not afraid of the Israelites,” they said, “for they are a powerless people, incapable of a strong defense.

Such is the mindset of bullies. I remember as a child I got my first lesson in why one should avoid such mentalities. As a child we had a rough and tumble playground and mayhem during recess was the order of the day. As a child during recess one needed to run and make up for all the mind-numbing instructions of our dedicated teachers. One such game was called North and South. In this game we would line up and charge each other and attack. The North I joined, and we all lined up for the melee. Almost as one all at once we started running and they started running as we came closer, I got a little frighten but then I sighted a little guy that looked pretty powerless and came on strong. As I was about to knock him down and trample or tackle him when suddenly he grabbed my wrist and using my weight and energy swung me around three times and then let me fly. I landed hard and crumpled in the dust. Lesson learned don’t be a bully or underestimate the powerless.

Today just like in Judith’s time the Israelites refused to be a refugee and stood their ground; just like the little guy that used my own energy and power to defeat me even though I was twice his size. Israel was different for they knew that if they were faithful to God; ultimately, they would win the war.

Bullying[1]


If you’re being bullied
Speak up Tell someone what’s happening – your parents, an older brother or sister, your grand- parents, teacher, school chaplain, a friend
Chin up Don’t let the bullies see you’re upset. But be careful about taking them on, as you could be injured (or accused of being a bully yourself)
Join up Don’t believe that everyone is against you. It’s not true. Persevere with making your own friends.
If you know someone who’s being bullied
Speak up Don’t let someone suffer because you won’t do the right thing. If you can’t challenge the bully, tell a responsible adult
Link up Talk to your friends about what’s going on. Agree that you won’t stand idly by. Unity is strength
Meet up Show your support for the person being bullied. Include her/him in your activities. Give them a chance.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross[2]



A brilliant philosopher who stopped believing in God when she was fourteen, Edith Stein was so captivated by reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila that she began a spiritual journey that led to her Baptism in 1922. Twelve years later she imitated Teresa by becoming a Carmelite, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), Edith abandoned Judaism in her teens. As a student at the University of Gottingen, she became fascinated by phenomenology, an approach to philosophy. Excelling as a protege of Edmund Husserl, one of the leading phenomenologists, Edith earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1916. 



She continued as a university teacher until 1922 when she moved to a Dominican school in Speyer; her appointment as lecturer at the Educational Institute of Munich ended under pressure from the Nazis. After living in the Cologne Carmel (1934-1938), she moved to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands. The Nazis occupied that country in 1940. In retaliation for being denounced by the Dutch bishops, the Nazis arrested all Dutch Jews who had become Christians. Teresa Benedicta and her sister Rosa, also a Catholic, died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz on August 9, 1942.

Things to Do: In the month of August we celebrate two martyrs of Auschwitz, St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta.


·         We need to pray, hard and often that our world does not return to the inhumanity to man. The acceptance of euthanasia and abortion, embryonic stem cell research, IVF, are the first steps to deciding who can live or who can die.
·         Offer a Mass, say a rosary, offer sacrifices, etc. to end abortion and other sins against mankind.
·         Read about Auschwitz and ponder the modern gas chambers in every state of our Union and resolve to do all that you can to end the killing.


Hajj[3]


The Hajj starts today. Hajj is a holy pilgrimage to Mecca that is obligatory for all Muslims who can afford to go. The 3rd chapter of the Quran, Surah Ale-Imran makes Hajj mandatory.  During this pilgrimage, Muslims try to get closer to God. The Hajj is performed in the last month of the Islamic calendar, Dhul-Hijjah.  All Muslims who can afford to go on the Hajj are required to do so at least once in their life. Muslims believe that the Prophet Abraham built the Ka'aba with his son Ismael. Kaaba is a sacred cube-shaped shrine at the centre Al-Masjid al-Haram mosque, in Mecca (Saudi Arabia).  Muslims walk around the Ka'bah seven times as part of the Hajj.  Muslims face to pray in the direction of the Ka'bah no matter where they are in the world.  It was the first house built solely for the purpose of worshipping God.  To be completed, the Hajj requires a minimum of five days, during which pilgrim’s travel across Arabia to complete various rituals, some of which are optional, but considered highly beneficial.

Hajj Facts

·         According to Sahih Bukhari (one of the six main hadith writings of Sunni Islam), the Prophet Muhammad once said that those who finish the Hajj without committing any obscenity or transgression will have their sins completely wiped away.
·         It is believed that to teach Muslims to remain humble and unified, God mandated the Hajj.  During it, everyone wears the same clothes, prays together, and goes around the Ka'bah together.
·         According to the Saudi Arabian Embassy, the Hajj is the largest gathering of human beings on the Earth.

Hajj Events and Things to Do

·         Visit the mountains of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah in Mecca.  Pilgrims walk between two hills, Safa and Marwa, seven times during the Hajj because they believe that Hagar, the wife of Abraham, did the same when looking for water for her thirsty baby Ismael.  As soon as she finished her seventh run, the Zamzam well sprung out from under baby Ismael's foot.  To this day, pilgrims on the Hajj drink the Zamzam's water, and often take it home with them in large canisters.
·         Visit the tower at Jamrat-al-Aqabah (Saudi Arabia).  After sunset on the day of Arafah, as part of the Hajj, pilgrims throw small pebbles at Jamrat-al-Aqabah.  This is the place where it is believed the Devil stood as he tried to tempt Abraham from carrying out orders from God.  This is act commemorates and symbolizes Abraham's rejecting of the devil.
Understanding Islam: A Guide[4]

Today we are bombarded with conflicting versions of Muslims and Islamin the media. This guide is intended to help all people in the Roman Catholic Church to present Islam accurately and in ways that preserve and promote “together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom” (Nostra Aetate3). In spite of the many conflicts and hostilities that have arisen between Muslims and Christians over the centuries, as Christians we are called to reject violence and to live in fraternal love with all human beings. This document intends to identify some of those beliefs and values that Muslims and Christians have in common, as well as some differences, so as to assist those whom we are teaching to live harmoniously together with understanding and respect and to work for peace more effectively. Understanding Islam and Muslims the name Islam means “submission” and those who submit to God are Muslims. The terms have the same Arabic root as the word for peace, Salam. Muslims believe that peace comes through the submission to the one and only God. Although it is often associated with Muslims alone, the name of God in Arabic, Allah (al-Lah– “the God”), is the same name used by Christians and Jews. When saying the name of Allah, Muslims enerally say: “Subhanahu wa ta’aalaa”, which means “May He be glorified and exalted”. Muslims and Christians share many common beliefs in their worship of a single Creator God who loves creation and who commands that His most cherished creations, human beings, love Him, one another, and His creation. In some ways, however, Muslims and Christians have profoundly different beliefs. Muslims do not believe in the Trinitarian nature of God, nor do they accept that Jesus Christ is God incarnate. They believe, however, that Jesus is one of the five most distinguished Prophets of God sent to mankind. Christians, on the other hand, do not recognize Muhammad as a prophet, and do not accept many aspects of the message he preached, including dietary restrictions, polygamy, and other teachings. For Muslims, Muhammad is the recipient of God’s final revelation, the Qur’an, and the model for all human beings, in much the same way as the Virgin Mary is for many Christians. But Muhammad’s role as prophet, law giver and military leader is more similar to that of Moses in the Old Testament. Muhammad is not worshipped by Muslims –he is recognized by them as the final Prophet, the Seal of the prophets, sent by God and is the object of great reverence and devotion. Christians do not accord Muhammad the same status as the biblical prophets but may regard him as aprophetic figure on such issues as charity and the protection of the poor, widows and orphans.

Book Lovers Day[5]


·         From the scent of a rare first edition book found in an old-time book collection, to a crisp, fresh book at the local supermarket, the very sight of a book can bring back memories. Reading as a child, enjoying the short stories, the long books and the ability to lose yourself in a story so powerful that at the end your asking yourself where to get the next book in the series. This is for the reader in all of us, the celebration of Book Lovers Day!
While the day’s origins may be shrouded in mystery and rumor, the books themselves are not. Started from carving on stone tablets, the book was designed to make portable the writings and drawings of those that could not carry around stone tablets. Originally it was parchment or vellum (calf skin, in case you were wondering) was bound tightly with a wooden cover. Often the wooden cover was tightly wrapped in leather to prevent the wood from getting wet and had clasps or straps to hold it shut. In the more modern age, printing capabilities made books cheaper, and easier, to print. The printing press, the typewriter, and the computer all had an effect on the market of books. But more so than most, is the upsurge in electronic devices that can be used to read on. Computers, tablets, and most cell phones now have the ability to read books, making it that much easier to carry around a small library to enjoy not matter where you are.


How to celebrate Book Lovers Day

In order to truly appreciate Book Lovers Day, one must only find a story and read it. Maybe you wish to dive into the unknown with a good mystery, or see magic in a high fantasy setting, or be enthralled in a steamy romance. The individual genre of your reading is not the big piece of this, just that you do read is. Maybe a visit to your local library is in order? After all public libraries existed even way back in the Middle Ages, but they didn’t really let many folks take books home. The librarians in those days chained books to shelves or desks in order to prevent theft of the carefully hand-written tomes. Many librarians will gladly help you find a title to read, giving a brief explanation on what it is about if they have read it, or giving it a little flip and reading about it quickly in the synopsis. But no matter your preference, if you read it at home with a cup of tea, share a book meeting with friends or go to the library and make use of the wonderful pieces on those shelves, just enjoy your reading, revel in the book and find a way to read during Book Lovers Day!



Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         90 Days for our Nation, Total Consecration-Day 31


Comments