Arbor Day is a celebration of trees and their importance to providing shelter, stabilization for the ground, and beauty to the beholder. While Arbor Day is a US holiday, several other countries have adopted similar observances including Japan, Australia, Korea and Yugoslavia. In 1970, President Richard Nixon declared Arbor Day a federal holiday and it is observed the last Friday in April each year.
Arbor Day Facts & Quotes
· The first Arbor Day was celebrated April 10, 1872 in the State of Nebraska. More than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska as they celebrated the first Arbor Day.
· A single tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.
· Newspaper editor, Julius Sterling Morton began Arbor Day to help bring attention to the importance of trees.
· Since the Yellowstone Fires of 1988, the Arbor Day Foundation has partnered with the US Forest Service. Through this partnership, over 25 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted.
· The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second-best time is now. –Proverb
Arbor Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Plant a tree.
· Visit a nursery and consider buying some plants.
· Australian accent: Crocodile Dundee (1986), The Babadook (2014)
· Organize a neighborhood beautification project.
· Hold a paper drive. Use the recycling proceeds to purchase a special tree.
Friday of the Second Week of Easter
feast of saint Fidelis
Isaiah, Chapter 63, verse 17
Why do you make us wander, LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we do not FEAR you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.
This chapter in Isaiah is called the Divine Warrior and Isaiah in this chapter refers to Christ as a warrior. Isaiah laments that we in our weak human nature have turned our hearts away from God and that we have no fear of divine justice. Have we become so enamored with the world and our own lives that when we look into the heavens at night, we only see impressive specks of glittering rocks we call stars and not the love of the creator which made them?
There is an expression, “Attitude is everything!” and so what should our attitude be and why is Isaiah lamenting that Israel did not fear God? The answer lies in our personal attitude toward life. Holy fear is born out of love and is a response to the God the creator; it is a fear more closely related to awe. It is the loving fear of a child that does not want to disappoint a parent and goes to great lengths to please them. So, we should develop this sense of Holy fear doing what is right and good to please the Father. Remembering that, “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Let us daily ask of our Lord to remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of love thus making the season brighter and our burdens lighter and bring cheer to the hearts of all we encounter. May we through love be brought to Holy fear enabling us to be careful in the practice of our faith and bring us to a spirit of penitence.
Saint Fidelis became a martyr and was murdered for his faith in 1622, while traveling back to his home church after preaching in Seewis, Switzerland to former Catholics who had converted to Calvinism. Saint Fidelis on the day of his martyrdom preached with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Grüsch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!" Another sword stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives, and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.
How shall we deal with truly evil people?
In Judaism, the Amalekites came to represent the archetypal enemy of the Jews. In the Jewish folklore the Amalekites are considered to be the symbol of evil. This concept has been used by some Hassidic rabbis (particularly the Baal Shem Tov) to represent atheism or the rejection of God. Elliot Horowitz and Josef Stern suggest that Amalekites have come to represent an "eternally irreconcilable enemy" that wants to murder Jews, and that Jews in post-biblical times sometimes associate contemporary enemies with Haman or Amalekites, and that some Jews believe that pre-emptive violence is acceptable against such enemies.
The truly wicked are animals as the bible mentions they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Strong men and women whether laity or religious have a duty to protect the flock; they are the shepherds of the church that protect the weaker ones. Who are the Amalekites of our time; how shall we recognize them.
According to Christian Counselor Lesie Vernickthere are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.
· Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention. They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information.
· Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
· Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference. They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance.
· Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust.
· Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse. They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character.
Hmm…sounds like the leaders of the democratic party or Governors of Infanticide US States to me?
I would like to finish with some thoughts of Saint John Paul II on the subject.
I once again address the leaders of nations and all men and women of good will, who recognize the need to build peace in the world…"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (12:21). Evil is never defeated by evil; once that road is taken, rather than defeating evil, one will instead be defeated by evil.
Men Seek Heroes
27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
Men fall for false heroes
The Definition of “Hero”
Jesus – The True Hero
· Jesus is infinitely higher above all other heroes – He is the Son of God; there can be no hero that compares. Heroes come and go, but only Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. No hero, except Jesus, was anticipated for thousands of years before His birth and remains a hero two millennia after His death (and Resurrection).
· He physically protects people on earth – He saves the Disciples who are in fear of drowning. He stands up to the bloodthirsty mob that is going to stone the adulterous woman. He protects the disciples from the violent legion when He is taken in the Garden. He is the ultimate protector.
· Jesus is the perfect demonstration of virtue – He demonstrates prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude and charity with perfection that no man has met, or can ever, match.
· He heals people from sickness, madness and death – Jesus healed the multitudes of every illness and raises them from the dead.
· He stands for Truth against falsehood – Repeatedly, He confronts the Pharisees and the Sadducees and corrects their falsehoods, despite their collusion to kill Him. He refuses to yield to Pilate, even as Pilate threatens Him with death. Jesus is Truth itself.
· Jesus defeats man’s greatest foe, Satan – There is no greater enemy of man than Satan. Jesus defeats Satan when tempted in the Wilderness, by casting out demons, and by using the Satan-inspired evil of Judas for the Glory of the Cross and Resurrection (CCC 2853). He defeats Satan on his home turf (Hell) when Jesus descends to offer His “redemptive works to all men of all times and all places…” (CCC 634). Only Jesus delivers us from evil.
634 "The gospel was preached even to the dead." The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.
· He defeats man’s greatest scourge, Sin – He saves people from sin (CCC 2854). For example, He tells the sinful woman at Simon the Pharisee’s house, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”.
2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
· Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
· He sacrifices Himself for others – Jesus makes an infinite sacrifice, for His life is of infinite value and he gives it for the sins of all mankind. He chooses a horrible death freely, saying, “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
· He offers salvation for all mankind – His Name means “God saves” (CCC 430) and it is only the name of Jesus that can actually save. “Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of His cross…” (CCC 517). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”. “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
517 Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life:
- Already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty.
- In his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience.
- In his word which purifies its hearers.
- In his healings and exorcisms by which "he took our infirmities and bore our diseases";
- And in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.
· He is recognized as a Savior during His life on earth – The Samaritans profess, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”