DAY 33 - MARY, MORNING STAR, PRAY FOR US
UNITY IN TRUTH
Devil's Tactic #2 - Divide and Conquer
PRAY A ROSARY
- Rosary of the Day: Glorious Mysteries
- Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Glorious Mysteries
Those who would like to pray with others via The Telephone Rosary, call 1-951-799-9866 daily at 6 pm Eastern.
Introduction to 1 Corinthians
Paul’s first letter to the church of Corinth provides us with a fuller insight into the life of an early Christian community of the first generation than any other book of the New Testament. Through it we can glimpse both the strengths and the weaknesses of this small group in a great city of the ancient world, men and women who had accepted the good news of Christ and were now trying to realize in their lives the implications of their baptism. Paul, who had founded the community and continued to look after it as a father, responds both to questions addressed to him and to situations of which he had been informed. In doing so, he reveals much about himself, his teaching, and the way in which he conducted his work of apostleship. Some things are puzzling because we have the correspondence only in one direction. Paul established a Christian community in Corinth about the year 51, on his second missionary journey. The city, a commercial crossroads, was a melting pot full of devotees of various pagan cults and marked by a measure of moral depravity not unusual in a great seaport.
While Paul was in Ephesus on his third journey, he received disquieting news about Corinth. The community there was displaying open factionalism, as certain members were identifying themselves exclusively with individual Christian leaders and interpreting Christian teaching as a superior wisdom for the initiated few. The community lacked the decisiveness to take appropriate action against one of its members who was living publicly in an incestuous union. Other members engaged in legal conflicts in pagan courts of law; still others may have participated in religious prostitution or temple sacrifices. The community’s ills were reflected in its liturgy. In the celebration of the Eucharist certain members discriminated against others, drank too freely at the agape, or fellowship meal, and denied Christian social courtesies to the poor among the membership. Charisms such as ecstatic prayer, attributed freely to the impulse of the holy Spirit, were more highly prized than works of charity, and were used at times in a disorderly way. Women appeared at the assembly without the customary head-covering, and perhaps were quarreling over their right to address the assembly. Still other problems with which Paul had to deal concerned matters of conscience discussed among the faithful members of the community: the eating of meat that had been sacrificed to idols, the use of sex in marriage, and the attitude to be taken by the unmarried toward marriage in view of the possible proximity of Christ’s second coming. There was also a doctrinal matter that called for Paul’s attention, for some members of the community, despite their belief in the resurrection of Christ, were denying the possibility of general bodily resurrection. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus about the year 56. The majority of the Corinthian Christians may well have been quite faithful. Paul writes on their behalf to guard against the threats posed to the community by the views and conduct of various minorities. He writes with confidence in the authority of his apostolic mission, and he presumes that the Corinthians, despite their deficiencies, will recognize and accept it. On the other hand, he does not hesitate to exercise his authority as his judgment dictates in each situation, even going so far as to promise a direct confrontation with recalcitrants, should the abuses he scores remain uncorrected. The letter illustrates well the mind and character of Paul. Although he is impelled to insist on his office as founder of the community, he recognizes that he is only one servant of God among many and generously acknowledges the labors of Apollos. He provides us in this letter with many valuable examples of his method of theological reflection and exposition. He always treats the questions at issue on the level of the purity of Christian teaching and conduct. Certain passages of the letter are of the greatest importance for the understanding of early Christian teaching on the Eucharist and on the resurrection of the body.
SEPTEMBER 16 Ember Wednesday
1 Corinthians, chapter 16, verse 10
If Timothy comes, see that he is
without FEAR in your company, for he is doing the work of the Lord just
as I am.
Sometimes God chooses a person to do his work that is not a winner of the popularity contest. Timothy seems to be one of these. Even Christ Himself was disdained when only the 12 remained. Therefore, have courage if you are doing the work of the Lord and you are not winning everyone’s BFF.
Fear binds us
There is so much fear and agony in us. Fear of people, fear of God, and much raw, undefined, free-floating anxiety. I wonder if fear is not our main obstacle to prayer.
When we enter into the presence of God and start to sense that huge reservoir of fear in us, we want to run away into the many distractions that our busy world offers abundantly.
we should not be afraid of our fears. We can confront them, give words to them,
cry out to God, and lead our fears into the presence of the One who says:
“Don’t be afraid, it is I.”
(Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Direction, 58)
term “Ember Days” is derived from the Latin term Quatuor Tempora, which literally means
“four times.” There are four sets of Ember Days each calendar year; three days
each – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Ember Days fall at the start of a new
season and they are ordered as days of fast and abstinence. The significance of
the days of the week are that Wednesday was the day Christ was betrayed, Friday
was the day He was crucified, and Saturday was the day He was entombed.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the purpose of Ember Days, “besides the general one intended
by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach
men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.”
Fall Ember Days
Football games and pumpkin spice beverages and foods return; Autumn is upon us. Sadly, that is what the fall season means to so many people. We have lost contact the actual natural signs of the seasons of the year and turn to manmade expressions as signals for the change of seasons. But a pumpkin spice latte and football game aren’t true signals of the season change, because the specially flavored latte tends to return earlier each year, and added pre-season games blur the true end of summer and beginning of Fall. Once again, I turn to the Church’s Ember Days as an aid to looking at nature and the change of seasons and recognizing them all as a gift from God. Ember Days are a quarterly observance the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of one week of each season that “the Church is accustomed to entreat the Lord for the various needs of humanity, especially for the fruits of the earth and for human labor, and to give thanks to him publicly.” (Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 45).
In addition, the Church provides us two seasons of preparation, Advent and Lent. Both seasons are a time for change of heart and renewal. But naturally the change of seasons seems to tug and encourage us for renewal and change (spring and fall cleaning, anyone?). Although not required, the traditional fasting and abstaining of these days are an external expression of turning our hearts and focusing back to God. Practicing Ember Days is not intended to be a backward-looking movement or living in the past. Ember Days are still a part of the Church’s tradition. There is an unbroken continuum within the Church’s Liturgy. Ember Days may look a bit different than pre-Vatican II (but even before 1962 Maria von Trapp was bemoaning how they were different and disappearing in her contemporary 1955 America), but the Ember Days are still a part of the Church’s living tradition. Ember Days are part of the agrarian heritage of our Faith. The Church recognizes our dependency on God for His gifts of nature. The Liturgy has reflected this connection with nature and God. Before man become so civilized, weather, crops, farm animals and the change of seasons were a part of daily life for everyone. Not everyone lived in rural locations, but there was a recognition of that connection of the land to our life. The agrarian connection also recognized that while man could work the land, he can never control the elements.
Returning to our agricultural roots brings true humility in remembering man’s role on earth as being completely beholden to God. The gift of nature is from God, and man is not and can never be in control of it. While Liturgy always has the balance of the four forms of prayer: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication, our personal prayers tend to lean heavily on the petition form. The Ember Days were a time dedicated to continuing that petition to help us with our needs, especially with harvests, but also stressing on giving gratitude to God for His generous gifts.
The September Ember Days were one of the first Ember Days established, and they are the most prominent of the quarterly days. The Ember Days in September are outside the main liturgical seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter) and are closest to the Fall Equinox. The Church recognized the pattern of change of seasons and bringing in the harvest man needs to give thanks and renew our hearts. The public practice of Ember Days within the diocese or parish is dependent on the local Ordinary, so there are many locations that do not observe Ember Days at all. But that doesn’t mean that Ember Days can’t be observed in small ways in our domestic churches. There are prayers, food, decorations and activities that can easily be incorporated by your family. Even if no extra external activities or food are added, the Ember Days can be a simple three day exercise of remembering to look with wonder at our gifts of nature from God, see the connections in our life, and to use this time to turn our hearts in praise and thanksgiving.
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, are known as "Michaelmas Embertide," and they come near the beginning of Autumn (September, October, November). The Lessons focus on the Old Covenant's Day of Atonement and the fast of the seventh month, but start off with this prophecy from Amos 9:13-15:
Behold the days come, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, and the mountains shall dop sweetness, and every hill shall be tilled. And I will bring back the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the abandoned cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine of them; and shall make gardens and eat the fruits of them; and I will plant them upon their land: and I will no more pluck them out of their land which I have given them; saith the Lord thy God.
Embertides but Whit Embertide, the Lessons end with the story of the three boys
in the fiery furnace, as told by Daniel.
The Gospel readings recount how Jesus exorcised demons from a possessed boy and tells the disciples about fasting to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 9:16-28), forgave Mary Magdalen (Luke 7:36-50), and healed the woman on the sabbath after telling the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-17).
35 Promises of God cont.
“Honor your father and your mother, so
that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus