DAY 32 - MARY, GATE OF HEAVEN, PRAY FOR US
STATE OF GRACE
PRAY A ROSARY
- Rosary of the Day: Glorious Mysteries
- Traditional 54 Day Rotation: Sorrowful Mysteries
OUR LADY OF SORROWS-YOM KIPPUR at sundown
Job, Chapter 3, Verse 25
For what I feared overtakes me; what I dreaded comes upon me.
· God bragging about Job, and Satan, once again, doesn't buy it.
· God gives Satan permission to hurt Job physically, something he wouldn't let him do last time. Just don't kill him.
· Satan's method of choice? Give Job sores from his tippy toes to his noggin.
· Job's wife apparently doesn't find this attractive, because she suggests that he curse God and die. But Job refuses to be disloyal.
· Job's buddies Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad come to visit and chill with him while he rolls around in ash and sackcloth. This is all standard procedure, don't worry.
· Then in this chapter Job cries out that he is in pain, and rues the day he was born—poetically, of course.
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).
Our Lady of Sorrows
We must follow the example of Our Lady of Sorrows and bring our savior to others and undergo the joys with the sorrows. Today would be a good day to contemplate the seven sorrows of our Lady and to pray and honor her for she is our mother too.
This feast is dedicated to the spiritual martyrdom of Mary, Mother of God, and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redeemer, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance. May the numerous tears of the Mother of God be conducive to our salvation; with which tears Thou, O God, art able to wash away the sins of the whole world.
As Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus hung, the sword of sorrow Simeon had foretold pierced her soul. Below are the seven sorrows of Mary:
- The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
- The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
- Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
- Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
- The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
- The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), Our Lady directly revealed the amazing graces granted by her Son for all those who daily and pray seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on her seven dolors and tears:
1. “I will grant peace to their families.”
2. “They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.”
3. “I will console them in their pains, and I will accompany them in their work.”
4. “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”
5. “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
6. “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death—they will see the face of their mother.”
7. “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven, and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.”
Things to Do
Teach your children the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Read more about this devotion. September is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.
· Present different art pieces of Our Lady of Sorrows, or illustration of one of her sorrows, for meditation and discussion. There are so many different pieces from all different eras, countries and mediums. Search words for art titles would be Lamentation, Deposition, Pieta, Dolorosa, Sorrows, etc. Some samples:
o The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin by Albrecht Durer
o Michelangelo's Pieta
o Pieta by Giovanni Bellini
o Vincent Van Gogh's Pieta
o Titian's Mater Dolorosa
o Different artists on the Presentation in the Temple
o Various artists on the Flight into Egypt
· Discuss why Mary is called the Queen of Martyrs.
· Make a heart-shaped cake for dessert, decorated with the swords piercing the heart.
· Think of ways to make reparation to Mary for the sins committed against Our Lord.
· Pray the short prayer or ejaculation, Holy Mother, imprint deeply upon my heart the wounds of the Crucified.
· Read or sing the Stabat Mater, perhaps incorporating it with the Stations of the Cross.
· In Italy, the title of Our Lady of Sorrows is Maria Santissima Addolorata. This devotion began in the 1200s. She is the patron of many Italian cities. In southern Italy there is La Festa della Madonna dei Sette Dolori (the festival of the Seven Sorrows of the Madonna), instituted in 1423, also called Madonna dell’Addolorata Festival. The food connected to this festival is cuccia salata, wheat berries cooked in meat broth and layered with goat or pork.
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the last day to atone our sins of the Ten Days of Repentance, which start on the New Year (Rosh Hashanah). This is a fast mentioned in the Bible and the punishment mentioned for not keeping this fast is excommunication. Jews seek to 'purify their souls' on this day, by abstaining from common pleasures. Yom Kippur is celebrated by most all Jewish denominations. It is a fast day from the eve until the next day nightfall (twenty-five hours). No food or drink is permissible. It is a day on which Jews 'afflict the soul', which includes wearing only non-leather shoes, not combing one's hair and no marital relations. For many Orthodox Jews, most of Yom Kippur is spent in prayer in the Synagogue. Five prayer services are held (as opposed to the normal three daily prayers).
Yom Kippur Facts
· It is customary to eat a festive meal on the Eve of Yom Kippur with round challah bread, a meat meal and sustaining foods. One is not allowed to risk one's life and thus anyone in danger of life from fasting, including the young and sick are not allowed to fast. Yom Kippur is the only Jewish fast observed on a Sabbath, due to its importance.
· It is customary to wear white on the holiday, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that our sins shall be made as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Some people wear a Kittel, the white robe in which the dead are buried.
· Yom Kippur Liturgy in Orthodox and most Traditional communities include Kol Nidre prayer in which Jews annul all their vows and Avinu Malkeinu, 'Our father our King'.
· The last of the Orthodox and traditional five Synagogue services for Yom Kippur is the Neilah service (final 'closing of the gates'). It is considered particularly heart-rendering and people often cry during the service. At the end of the service, a Shofar (ram's horn) is blown and the end of the day is pronounced.
· Jews ask the Lord to be considered both as a child and as a servant. They request from God that as a father of a child, God have mercy as a father does over his child.
On Yom Kippur, I’ll skip my physical workout for a spiritual one instead. In fact, Yom Kippur is all about getting beyond our physical selves, so we can focus solely on doing the difficult, sacred work the High Holidays demand of us, free from the distractions of our bodies and their needs. “When we refrain from indulging our physical appetites for a limited period, in order to devote ourselves for a time more exclusively to demands that rank higher in our hierarchy of values, we are not denying the physical appetites their just place in life; we are simply recognizing the need of putting them in their place.” Although many Jews expect to fast on Yom Kippur, to help ensure we devote ourselves to a most accurate cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul), it is customary to refrain from five specific activities related to our bodies throughout the holiest day of the Jewish year:
1. Eating and drinking: The majority of our lives take place in our physical selves, which require sustenance to function optimally. In an effort to get beyond our corporeal body on this day, we forego food and drink. Of course, you should only do what your body can manage in a healthy way. Those who are sick, pregnant, elderly, or otherwise unable to fast should not do so or should do so only in a modified way.
2. Wearing leather: In an earlier era, leather shoes often were among our most comfortable. If we’re focused on our personal comfort, we can’t also be fully attentive to our spiritual selves. For this reason, you may notice clergy or other worshippers sporting canvas sneakers in lieu of leather shoes on Yom Kippur.
3. Bathing and shaving: Because we are engaging with our souls on this day, cleaning and grooming our bodies can take a backseat on Yom Kippur.
4. Anointing ourselves with oil, cream, cologne, perfume, or other balms and salves for physical pleasure diverts our attention from the spiritual reckoning for which Yom Kippur is intended. Thus, using lotions and the like also is an activity from which we abstain on this sacred day.
5. Sexual relations: For all the reasons noted above, refraining from sexual relations on Yom Kippur turns our attention away from our bodies, centering it instead on our actions and misdeeds of the past year.
By abstaining from these activities for the day, we set ourselves up to truly examine our innermost, intimate beings in a most meaningful way, giving ourselves an opportunity to explore what we can do differently in the coming year to tip the balance toward good. When the sun sets on the Sabbath of Sabbaths, we slowly ease back into our physical selves – returned, revived, refreshed. Mishkan HaNefesh, the new Reform machzor (High Holiday prayer book), eloquently petitions:
May this long day
of fasting and self-denial
inspire acts of creativity, generosity, and joy.
May we go from strength to strength.
Yes, throughout the coming year and beyond, may it be our bodies that feed the hungry, comfort the bereaved, clothe the naked, and bring justice and humanity to the places they are needed most.
35 Promises of God cont.
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My right hand of righteousness.
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.
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Families of St. Joseph’s Porters.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus