Friday in the Octave of Easter
Jeremiah, Chapter 40, Verse 9
Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore an oath to them and their men: “Do not be AFRAID to serve the Chaldeans. Stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, so that everything may go well with you.
Israel has been warned and finally they are captured by the Chaldeans and taken to Babylon. God has promised to bring them back after they have been chastised for not trusting God nor taking actions as He directed. God wants us to take action to ensure the Kingdom is here and now. To do this we must have faith, but we must also prepare for success.
John Maxwell, noted author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Series states that all Christian leaders need to learn the proper balance between faith and preparation or planning.
Law#4-The Law of Navigation: Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. To make it happen, you have to take action. You must do what you know needs doing. You must do it when it needs to be done. Don’t wait. You can make it happen. Knowing how is not the key. Taking action is.
Where should you start?
1. Follow your conscience. What do you feel you should do? What do you want to do?
2. Consider your passion. What do you get excited about? What do you need to do?
3. Consider your natural talents. What are you naturally good at without much effort? What hobbies do you have? What interests do you have?
4. Consider what society needs and values. What do you love to do so much you would do it for free, but people are willing to pay others to do? What do you see others doing that you would like to do?
If you want to find your purpose, you must get on the seldom traveled road to significance filled with setbacks, roadblocks, obstacles, and detours. This road leads to your purpose. You must develop the vision in order to see where you want to be next. Then, you must take the steps to move from where you are to where you want to be. You should always be grateful for where you are and what you have, but you should never be satisfied.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. (Lk. 11:28)
Friday In the Octave of Easter
Easter Friday Meditation
Easter reminds us of these fundamental requirements of the Christian life: the practice of piety and patience. Through piety we live detached from human frailties, in purity of mind and body, in union with Christ. Through patience we succeed in strengthening our character and controlling our temper so as to become more pleasing to the Lord and an example and encouragement to others, in the various contingencies of social life. The Resurrection of the Lord truly represents—and for this reason it is celebrated every year—the renewed resurrection of every one of us to the true Christian life, the perfect Christian life which we must all try to live. "The Resurrection of Christ is the sacrament of new life." My beloved brothers and children! First of all let us look closely at our pattern, Jesus Christ. You see that everything in His life was in preparation for His resurrection. St Augustine says: "In Christ everything was working for His resurrection." Born as a man, He appeared as a man for but a short time. Born of mortal flesh, He experienced all the vicissitudes of mortality. We see Him in His infancy, His boyhood, and His vigorous maturity, in which He died. He could not have risen again if He had not died; He could not have died if He had not been born; He was born, and He died so that He might rise again.
Easter Friday is a favorite day for pilgrimages. 
Pilgrimage was an essential part of Jesus’ religious life. As God was one, so he had only one holy city, Jerusalem, to which he called his people to make pilgrimage: “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God.” These Tri-annual pilgrimages were required at the feast of unleavened bread (Passover), at the feast of the weeks (commemoration of the Torah & the 10 commandments) and the feast of the booths (Sukkoth). Christ by his sacrifice has created a heavenly Jerusalem which is not in a geographic location but is Eucharistic and is located in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church. Jerusalem has still retained an attractive power, because it contained the monuments of the Lord’s passion and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites. A modern Catholic map of the world will offer many possible destinations for pilgrimage. Jerusalem and Rome remain favorites as well as the Marian shrines of Lourdes and Fatima. Also, since the middle ages travelers have also thronged to Santiago de Compostela, the shrine of St. James in Spain. Yet, here is the greatness of our God: we need not go to the far ends of the earth to go on pilgrimage as God lives with us in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and we can always find local shrines to make small pilgrimages. We could also make a pilgrimage to visit with holy people we know, or travel to honor the graves of our ancestors, friends and mentors. A pilgrimage is sacramental: an outward sign of an inward grace. It reminds us that we are wayfarers on earth till we are taken up into heaven.
Holy Catholic pilgrimages for your “bucket list”
Whether you follow in the footsteps of Jesus or the saints, a holy pilgrimage is an opportunity to enrich one's faith.
The holy pilgrimage has been a Christian tradition since the first recorded spiritual journey, in which a bishop named Mileto from Sardis in Asia Minor traveled to the Holy Land in around 160 to visit “the place where [things described in the Bible] were preached and done. “In the 4th century, pilgrimages following the footsteps of Jesus and the apostles became popular after Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, visited Jerusalem, discovered what is thought to have been the True Cross, and built churches over holy sites related to Jesus’ life. To walk the same path as Jesus and his followers, and to see with one’s own eyes the places mentioned in Scripture, was more than just travel, it was meant to hasten an interior journey as well. Rome became a major destination for European pilgrims in the 7th century after the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land limited the number of Christians allowed to visit the holy sites there. The Crusades themselves were considered a form of pilgrimage, and pilgrimages to the Holy land increased in the late Middle Ages, partly due to the guidance of the Franciscan friars who were entrusted with the guardianship of the holy sites.
Today, Christians continue to make pilgrimages to enrich their spiritual lives. Taken in the spirit of prayer, a pilgrimage can be as life-changing today as it was in the time of St. Jerome, who in the 4th century wrote, “We will have a clearer grasp of Scripture after we have gazed with our own eyes on the sites where the events of our salvation unfolded.”
Here’s a glimpse of a few sacred places to complete any Catholic’s “bucket list,” where modern pilgrims can travel to walk the same path as Jesus and his followers, and visit the sites of the miracles and apparitions:
The Holy Land
Pilgrims to the Holy Land and Jerusalem follow in the footsteps of Jesus, from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where Jesus was born to the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where he was laid to rest. For the last 800 years, the Order of St. Francis has had guardianship over these holy sites and is today working to ensure that Christians continue to exist in the birthplace of Christianity. By offering pilgrimages in the Holy Land, they can help fulfill that mission.
· When to visit: The busiest times in Holy Land are during the major Christian and Jewish feasts in spring and fall.
The shrine in Fatima, Portugal, marks the spot where Our Lady of the Rosary appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, between May and October of 1917. Pilgrims from all over the world gather for the torch-lit processions held every day, but especially on pilgrimage days in May and October.
· When to visit: Pilgrim’s travel to Fatima all year round, but the best-attended processions are held on the 13th of May and October.
El Camino de Santiago
The Way of St. James or El Camino de Santiago became a major pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. Tradition tells us that St. James’ remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried. Medieval pilgrims traveled from their homes to what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela, receiving penance for the expiation of sins by undertaking the arduous journey.
Today, the pilgrimage has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, among believers as well as non-believers in search of a retreat from modern life. Pilgrims’ hostels or albergues welcome travelers along the way and can be found along the routes in Spain, France and Portugal.
· When to visit: July and August are the busiest months on the Camino. Pilgrims traveling during April, May, June and September enjoy warm weather without the crowds.
Ireland has a long tradition of holy pilgrimages, dating back to St. Patrick’s fast on what is now known as Croagh Patrick in 441. In the pasts few years, the Pilgrim Paths foundation has been restoring the ancient penitential paths and has so far created five guided walks. After pilgrims get their “passports” stamped after completing each of the five routes, they receive an Irish Pilgrim Paths completion certificate from Ballintubber Abbey in County Mayo.
· When to visit: This
· 8-25 Pilgrim Paths is holding its second annual Irish Pilgrim Journey, offering local guides for the 5 pilgrim paths. Other pilgrimages can be found by tour groups in conjunction with this year’s World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which takes place between August 21 and 26.
European pilgrims headed to Rome along the Via Francigena to follow the paths of the martyred saints and early Christians. Emperor Constantine erected basilicas over the tombs of Peter and Paul, which attracted the faithful from all over Europe.
Today a modern pilgrim would similarly visit St. Peter’s Basilica, attend a papal audience with the successor to St. Peter, take a tour of the Catacombs, the Vatican museums, and the ancient churches of the Eternal City.
· When to visit: Winter is the best time to visit Rome if you want to avoid the crowds. Spring and fall, outside of Easter week, offer mild temperatures without the crowds of summer.
Millions of pilgrim’s flock to southwestern France each year to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is there that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared 18 times in 1858 to a young peasant girl, St. Bernadette Soubirous. In one of her appearances, she told St. Bernadette to drink from the grotto’s spring. Many of the sick and suffering claim to have been miraculously cured by the spring’s healing waters.
· When to visit: The quiet season at Lourdes is between October and March. During peak season, beginning at Easter, there are usually about 25,000 pilgrims a day visiting Lourdes.
Even before Pope John Paul II’s canonization, a spiritual journey to his homeland in Poland had become a popular pilgrimage among Catholics. An itinerary might include a visit to Karol Wojtyla’s childhood home in Wadowice, the shrine of the Black Madonna at Jasna Gora Monastery in Częstochowa, and the beautiful Tatra Mountains where John Paul II skied. Other must-visit sites: The Shrine of Divine Mercy and the martyred St. Maximilian Kolbe’s cell at Auschwitz.
Divine Mercy Novena
Eighth Day - Today Bring Me the Souls Who Are In the Prison Of Purgatory.
Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so, I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of purifying fire, that in that place, too, the power of Your mercy may be praised.
Eternal Father turn Your most merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded, manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way than through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.
Earth Day seeks to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to the protection of the environment. We face many environmental crises, including global warming, deforestation, endangered wildlife, shortages of potable water and widespread pollution, all which negatively affect our planet’s resources and can have adverse effects on our long-term lifestyle and health. In 1970, a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson was inspired to bring about mass public awareness of environment problems. He heavily promoted the day across the nation in an effort to gather the largest amount of public support possible and ultimately, in the hopes of elevating environmental protection onto the national political agenda. This day in 1970 marked the creation of United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by billions of people around the world and is observed in over 190 countries. Worldwide, Earth Day celebrations utilize educational programs to inform people of ways that can help protect the environment and its natural resources. It is observed annually on April 22nd and is celebrated as International Earth Day.
Earth Day Facts & Quotes
· Energy Star rated LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting. Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
· In the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history. - U.S. EPA, 2009. Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead.
· We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. - Native American Proverb
Earth Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Organize a group of volunteers to help clean up and restore a green space. Some suggestions include planting trees and adding waste receptacles.
· Try to go the whole day without creating any garbage, • Try not to use your car for the entire day. Instead, use public transit, walk or ride your bicycle.
· Change your traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy saving LED or CFL light bulbs.
· Watch a documentary or movie that touches on an ecological issue. Our favorites are: An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the Burning Season (1993, 2008), Elemental (2012) and The Day after Tomorrow (2004).
· Read one of many books that relate to environmental issues such as, The World Without Us (Alan Weisman), Hell and High Water (Joseph Romm) and Natural Capitalism (Hawken, Lovins and Lovins)
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’of The Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home
· “Laudato Si’, mi’ Signore” –“Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs”.
· This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”
These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others. Nonetheless, impossible as it may seem, Jesus proposes a different way of doing things: the way of meekness. This is what we see him doing with his disciples. It is what we contemplate on his entrance to Jerusalem: “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey”. Christ says: “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary. But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that “perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults”. Paul speaks of meekness as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. He suggests that, if a wrongful action of one of our brothers or sisters troubles us, we should try to correct them, but “with a spirit of meekness”, since “you too could be tempted”. Even when we defend our faith and convictions, we are to do so “with meekness”. Our enemies too are to be treated “with meekness”. In the Church we have often erred by not embracing this demand of God’s word. Meekness is yet another expression of the interior poverty of those who put their trust in God alone. Indeed, in the Bible the same word – anawim – usually refers both to the poor and to the meek. Someone might object: “If I am that meek, they will think that I am an idiot, a fool or a weakling”. At times they may, but so be it. It is always better to be meek, for then our deepest desires will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, for they will see God’s promises accomplished in their lives. In every situation, the meek put their hope in the Lord, and those who hope for him shall possess the land… and enjoy the fullness of peace. For his part, the Lord trusts in them: “This is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word”.
· Reacting with meekness and humility: that is holiness.
Meditation: The Power that Regenerates the World
Earthly history and the workings of the cosmos undoubtedly continue their course and are not identified with the rate at which the Kingdom of Christ develops. In fact, pain, evil, sin, death, yet claim their victims, in spite of the resurrection of Christ.
The cycle of one thing succeeding another, the cycle of becoming, is not at a standstill. If it were, history would be at an end! And so facts and events are continually being repeated and give rise to thoughts of an irremediable conflict here on earth between the two kingdoms, or, as St. Augustine said, between the two cities. Think, for example, of the contrast which is to be found in this Holy Year between celebration of the Redemption on the one hand and on the other hand the offenses against God, the misdeeds committed against man and, at bottom, the challenges to Christ which are continually being launched.
This is the most impressive aspect, the most mysterious dimension of the historic dialectic between the forces of good and the forces of evil: the fact that obstacles are raised or indifference is shown to the forces of Redemption let into the world by Christ through his Resurrection as the principle which resolves the conflict between death and life.
The world is in need, today as yesterday, for the "new people" to remain in its midst, among the vicissitudes, the conflicts, the variations which not seldom lead to situations which are so difficult, sometimes even dramatic. The world has need of this people which will dedicate itself with humility, courage and perseverance to service of the Redemption and give concrete form, in good Christian conduct, to the regenerating power of Christ's resurrection.
This is the function which Christians have as evangelizers and witnesses to the Resurrection in history.
—Excerpted from Prayers and Devotions from Pope John Paul II, edited by Bishop Peter Canisius, 1984.
Fitness Friday-Start the Universal Man Plan
Recognizing that God the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION ONE "I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
CHAPTER THREE MAN'S RESPONSE TO GOD
Article 2 WE BELIEVE
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary
Under Pontius Pilate He was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered died and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 31. Pilgrimage.