Friday in the Octave of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
ST. JOSE ESCRIVA-GET OFF DRUGS DAY-CANOE DAY
9 “I am a Hebrew,” he replied; “I FEAR the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10Now the men were seized with great FEAR and said to him, “How could you do such a thing!”—They knew that he was fleeing from the LORD, because he had told them.
In the night and the day that followed the Last Supper, Jesus was betrayed by one of his own. He was delivered over to the authorities in such humiliating powerlessness that even those who thought they loved him fled. He who came to reveal to us the God who is Love, fell into the hands of loveless men. Then, before the eyes of John, the only apostle who was present at the Lord’s execution, and his mother Mary, he died an appalling death. Here at the center of the mystery of our redemption, the full measure of the “marvelous exchange” begins to be unveiled. The Son of God not only became the Son of Man, fulfilling beyond expectation the great hope contained in the psalms and the prophets. Jesus came to be the purifying flame of Love in our midst, unsettling a world that had become comfortable in its estrangement from God. He came to pour his Spirit on us and reconcile us to the Father. When St. Paul tells us that the Son of God “emptied himself”, he does not mention only Jesus’ birth. When the Son of God took on our humanity, his “exchange” with us goes all the way to the end: “Being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. Elsewhere, St. Paul points to the same unfathomable mystery of solidarity with sinners that John the Baptist had glimpsed at the Jordan: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. When we gaze with Mary and John on Christ, who “died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”, we come face to face with all the consequences of the Incarnation. In joining himself to his creation, the Son of God took on all our fate. He took on even the thirst of a world suffering its self-inflicted estrangement from God. Even death. For centuries, the faithful people of Israel thirsted for God like the dry earth. They prayed, “My throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God”. All of humanity thirsted, for by sinning, we had rejected the source of our life. We had defended ourselves against the God who is Love. Yet our suffering in “this time of God’s absence” was as nothing before the terrible cry Mary and John heard at the foot of the cross. “Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), ‘I thirst!’. The tortured, dying man thirsted for water – but also for love. He thirsted for our love, for he had come to espouse mankind to himself. And although he was “true God from true God … consubstantial with the Father,” he thirsted even for God. John could not have imagined such a use – or fulfillment – of the words of the psalms as when the Son of God cried out his thirst to his Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When John heard this, he somehow understood. Those words were written for this day. They were prayed through the centuries so that Jesus might sum up all human thirst for God, all suffering and forsakenness, in himself. These words were handed down from generation to generation so that when the Son used them to express his own thirst, suffering, and forsakenness to his Father, our words would become divine words of unbreakable, unsurpassable love. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” Jesus cried. Finally, “he bowed his head” and handed over the Spirit that bound Father and Son. He made even his death a revelation of the unbreakable communion of Love that is God. When a Roman centurion pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, John, Mary, and the centurion himself saw blood and water – a sign of Christ’s divinity and humanity – gush forth over the parched earth. The covenant was established. It would never be broken. The divine bridegroom had truly loved us “to the end”. Even the centurion, an unbeliever who knew neither the psalms nor the prophets, recognized this radiant humility and saw the glory of this love: “When the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God!’”
St. Josemaria Escriva was born in 1902 at Barbastro Spain. He was ordained in Saragossa in 1925 and by divine inspiration founded Opus Dei which opened a new way for the faithful to sanctify themselves in the midst of the world. He died on June 26, 1975 and was canonized a saint on October 6, 2002.
Things to Do:
· Read a longer biography of St. Josemaria.
· Visit Opus Dei's official US website.
· St. Josemaria Escriva’s teachings stressed the universal call to holiness; in fact, this is the root of his teaching. Vatican II echoed this in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium: “It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society” (no. 40). In a document as far back as 1930, for example, St. Josemaria wrote: “Holiness is not something for some privileged few. God calls everyone; from everyone He waits for Love: from everyone, wherever they may be; from everyone, whatever may be their state in life, profession, or occupation.” See the marble structure of the Universal Call to Holiness at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Read Francis Cardinal George's comments on this teaching.
Work, family life, and the ordinary events of each day are opportunities for drawing close to Christ and making Him known to others. As the Second Vatican Council taught, every baptized person is called to follow Christ closely, by living according to the Gospel and making its teachings known to others. The aim of Opus Dei is to contribute to that evangelizing mission of the Church, by fostering among Christians of all social classes a life fully consistent with their faith, in the middle of the ordinary circumstances of their lives and especially through the sanctification of their work. The following are some of the main features of the spirit of Opus Dei:
· “Divine filiation is the foundation of the spirit of Opus Dei,” said its founder, Saint Josemaría Escrivá. A Christian is a child of God by virtue of baptism. Thus, the formation provided by the Prelature seeks to foster among the Christian faithful a deep awareness of their being children of God, and helps them act accordingly. It fosters confidence in divine providence, simplicity in their dialogue with God, a deep awareness of the dignity of each human being and of the need for fraternity among all people, a truly Christian love for the world and for all human realities created by God, and a sense of calm and optimism.
· Ordinary life. “It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind,” said Saint Josemaría. The family, marriage, work – all of our activities – are opportunities for drawing close to and imitating Jesus, trying to practice charity, patience, humility, diligence, integrity, cheerfulness, and all the other human and Christian virtues.
· Sanctifying work means to work with the spirit of Christ, to work competently and ethically, with the aim of loving God and serving others, and thus to sanctify the world from within, making the Gospel present in all activities whether they be outstanding or humble and hidden. In the eyes of God what matters is the love that is put into work, not its human success.
· Prayer and sacrifice. The formation given by Opus Dei encourages prayer and sacrifice in order to sustain the effort to sanctify one’s ordinary occupations. Thus, members strive to incorporate into their life’s certain practices of Christian piety, such as prayer, daily Mass, sacramental confession, and reading and meditating on the Gospel. Devotion to our Lady occupies an important place in their hearts. Also, in striving to imitate Christ, they try to acquire a spirit of penance by offering up small sacrifices, particularly those that help them fulfill their duties faithfully and make life more pleasant for others, such as renouncing small pleasures, fasting, almsgiving, etc.
· Unity of life. Saint Josemaría explained that Christians working in the world should not live “a kind of double life. On the one hand, an interior life, a life of union with God; and on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life.” On the contrary: “There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God.”
· Freedom. The members of Opus Dei are ordinary citizens who enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same obligations as any other citizen. In their professional, family, political, financial or cultural activities, they act with freedom and personal responsibility, not involving the Church or Opus Dei in their decisions, nor presenting those decisions as the only Catholic solutions. This implies respecting the freedom and the opinions of others.
· Charity. To meet Christ is to find a treasure that one cannot stop sharing. Christians are witnesses to Jesus and spread his message of hope among their companions, with their example and their words. “Side by side with our colleagues, friends and relatives and sharing their interests, we can help them come closer to Christ,” wrote Saint Josemaría. The wish to make others know Christ, which is a direct consequence of charity (that is, love of God above all things and of one’s neighbor as oneself), cannot be separated from the desire to contribute to finding solutions to the material needs and social problems of one’s surroundings.
Today serves to draw awareness to the need for action and cooperation in order to achieve a drug-free world. Illicit drugs and their trafficking pose a large health threat to humanity. Drug problems and dependencies put a great deal of pressure on health care systems and constitute a threat to the safety and well-being of humans all around the globe. Long-term drug abuse has been linked to poor general health, contraction of diseases through needle sharing, trouble with the law, poor self-hygiene and alienation from loved ones, psychological illnesses and death from overdose. In December 1987, the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was designated by the United Nations. It is celebrated annually on June 26, a symbolic day that commemorates the dismantling of the opium trade in Guangdong. The day also serves as an opportunity for Member Nations to reaffirm their support for UN Conventions that attempt to control the world's drug supply.
Facts & Quotes
· The UN estimates that in 2007, the value of the illegal drug trade is 322 billion dollars per year.
· Approximately 51 billion dollars is spent on the war on drugs in the US every year.
· No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions. – Patrick J. Kennedy, American democratic politician and former US representative for Rhode Island.
Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch a movie on the perils of the war on drugs on society, government and the citizens involved. Some suggestions are Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Sicario (2015), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Christiane F (1981) and Blow (2001).
· Spread awareness by using the hashtags #InternationalDayAgainstDrugAbuseandIllicitTrafficking, #saynotodrugs and #warondrugs on social media.
· Read a book on the dangers of drug use and the problems with the war on drugs. Some suggestions are: Smoke and Mirrors, Chasing the Scream, and Drug Wars.
There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace. Sigurd F. Olson
There is a special day for just about every hobby nowadays, and canoeing doesn’t miss out on the fun, with its very own day of aquatic paddling celebration. Canoeing is a fantastic hobby, and along with being environmentally friendly and relaxing, it is also a great form of outdoor exercise that’s suitable for all ages. It is no surprise that canoeing gets its own day of celebration, with so many fans around the world. Canoeing is an easy activity to learn, and with some basic safety gear anyone can hit the water and enjoy this healthy hobby.
The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past, and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfaction. Sigurd F. Olson
Despite the huge popularity of paddling a canoe, Canoe Day began in 2007. Since that time, it has become the highlight of every canoe loving fan each year, and you can find activities in all regions of the world to enjoy paddling with new friends. Canoes have been part of cultures all over the world, from the deep South Pacific to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Used for commerce and hunting, fishing and recreation, the role they’ve played in the cultures of the past and in the world of today cannot be understated. Even better, it’s a great way to get healthy and stay in shape while getting out in to the wild. Going out to sea in a canoe is another unique experience, one that has you above the water, but right down on it where you can enjoy visits from critters like otters and seals.
How to Celebrate
Celebrating Canoe Day is easy! You get out there and become one with your canoe! Explore the great wide open and find adventure and freedom in the steady rhythm of your paddles pushing you along. There are places you can’t get with roads or on foot, only the river will take you there. Get out there and find what the world has to offer, and come back with a sense of wonder and profound peace in your soul.
When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known. Sigurd F. Olson
· Know that you are on a great stage where all heaven and earth are watching you. What message is our life giving?