Introduction to Joel
In the two
speeches that make up this book, Joel uses an agricultural crisis to measure
his audience’s knowledge of its God, warn them of a worse disaster if they
ignore his preaching, and express his conviction that all faithful Judahites
would someday enjoy a secure future. Inadequate winter rains and a spring
locust infestation have devastated Judah’s grain fields, vineyards, and
orchards. Because the people carry on with business as usual, unaware that this
crisis is the work of the Lord in their midst, Joel fears that the Lord may
soon deliver a death blow by withholding the rains that normally fall in the
late autumn. However, Joel’s efforts to avert this crisis are successful. The
first speech ends with Joel’s assurance that at the end of the next
agricultural year the people will enjoy a superabundant harvest. The second
speech begins with the prophet’s hope that Judah’s God will one day destroy its
enemies and make Jerusalem secure once and for all. This divine intervention
will create a more inclusive community, cutting across boundaries of gender,
class, and age. The rest of Joel’s second speech uses the imagery of drought
and locusts from the first speech and introduces the metaphor of a grape
harvest and wine making to describe the attack of the Lord’s heavenly army on
Judah’s enemies. In the renewal of Judah’s hillsides by the winter rains, the
prophet sees the revitalization of the people because the Lord dwells with
JUNE 8 Ember Wednesday
MARY MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACES
Chapter 2, Verse 21-22
21 Do not fear, O land! Delight and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things 22Do not FEAR, you animals in the wild, for the wilderness pastures sprout green grass. The trees bear fruit; the fig tree and the vine produce their harvest.
Notice the prophet here acknowledges that God in his power has complete control over nature. They do not fear. They are perfectly happy because nature does not have freewill and cooperates with God living their existence in accordance with their created function. Yet we because we were created in the image and likeness of God we have a choice. To do good or to do evil. Daily we must decide if we are for ourselves and pursue the things of the world or are we going to follow Christ by picking up our cross daily.
Discerning and Living
three aspects were also present at beginning of Jesus’ own mission, when, after
his time of prayer and struggle in the desert, he visited his synagogue of
Nazareth. There, he listened to the word, discerned the content of the mission
entrusted to him by the Father, and proclaimed that he came to accomplish it
Listening: The Lord’s call – let it be said at
the outset – is not as clear-cut as any of those things we can hear, see or
touch in our daily experience. God comes silently and discreetly, without
imposing on our freedom. Thus it can happen that his voice is drowned out by
the many worries and concerns that fill our minds and hearts.
Discerning: When Jesus, in the synagogue of
Nazareth, reads the passage of the prophet Isaiah, he discerns the content of
the mission for which he was sent, and presents it to those who awaited the
Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to
bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim
the year of the Lord’s favour.
Living: Lastly, Jesus announces the newness
of the present hour, which will enthuse many and harden the heart of others.
The fullness of time has come, and he is the Messiah proclaimed by Isaiah and
anointed to liberate prisoners, to restore sight to the blind and to proclaim
the merciful love of God to every creature. Indeed, Jesus says that “today this
Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”.
after Pentecost-Ember Day
Acts v. 12-16.
those days: By the hands of the apostles were many signs - and wonders wrought
among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. But of
the rest no man durst join himself unto them; but the people magnified them.
And the multitude of men and women who believed in the Lord was more increased:
insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on
beds and couches, that when Peter came, his shadow at the least might
overshadow any of them, and they might be delivered from their infirmities. And
there came also together to Jerusalem a multitude out of the neighboring
cities, bringing sick persons, and such as were troubled with unclean spirits,
who were all healed.
John vi. 44-52.
At that time Jesus said to
the multitudes of the Jews: No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me,
draw him, and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the
prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Everyone that hath heard of the
Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me. Not that any man hath
seen the Father, but He Who is of God, He hath seen the Father. Amen, amen, I
say unto you: He that believeth in Me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of
life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread
which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it he may not die. I am
the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he
shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of
What Are Ember Days?
The 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
Wednesday Mediation on Betrayal
Why is the Devil still in action? God is infinitely more powerful than the Devil and his hosts. So why doesn’t God prevent them from their evildoing on planet earth?
We could ask a similar question about why God
doesn’t stop human beings from committing wicked deeds. Evil’s continuing
presence among us is a mystery we can’t fully figure out in this life.
Nevertheless, we can say this much: God allows evil because He’s powerful
enough to bring out of even the greatest evil a much greater good. The
crucifixion of Jesus Christ provides a vivid illustration of this reality. According
to the Gospel, when “Satan entered into Judas,” one of the twelve Apostles, he
went out to betray Jesus (see Lk 22:3–4). So, the worst evil we can imagine—the
torture and murder of God’s innocent Son—occurred through the Devil’s
influence. Yet the triumph of the empty tomb transformed the horror of the
Cross. Satan was thwarted. When Jesus rose from the dead, He displayed God’s
power to bring out of the greatest of evils an even greater good: the world’s
MEDITATIONS ON THE LITURGY FROM THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM FOR EACH OF THE EMBER
DAYS AFTER PENTECOST.
by Monsignor Martin B. Hellriegel, originally published in the journal Orate
Fratres Vol. XVIII, May 14, 1944, No. 7, pp. 299-305, later reprinted in Vine
and Branches, Pio Decimo Press, 1948.
These meditations are attached to
the 1962 Extraordinary Form liturgy. The current lectionary has different
readings and prayers not specific to the Ember Days.
Prayer: EMBER WEDNESDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Station "With St. Mary Major"
All these were persevering with one
mind in prayer with the women, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with the
brethren (Acts 1:14).
What a splendid group! What a
wonderful beginning of the Church! Persevering in prayer, united in mind and
heart, gathered about Mary, the Mother of Jesus and their Mother, such were the
dispositions in the one hundred and twenty disciples of the Lord on the day
when the Holy Ghost began His vivifying and sanctifying works in the Church.
Alleluia! A fertile soil for His seed of light and love; a joyous spectacle for
the Author of joy to find such precious stones for the building of the Temple
of the Church.
Perseverance in prayer, unity of mind
and heart and "station" with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our
Mother, such must be the dispositions in our heart if the mysteries of this
ember Wednesday are to bear fruits for eternity. May the pure spouse of the
Holy Spirit, the golden lamp on which burnt the brightest Pentecostal flame
pray for us, that the Spirit of the Lord may fill our hearts, and enkindle them
with the fire of His love.
In the first lesson St. Peter
shows that the prophet of Joel and the longing of the Old Law are fulfilled:
"I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh...and it shall come to pass that
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Let not
the spirit of perseverance be broken. What God has promised He will keep.
"May the Paraclete enlighten our minds and lead us into all truth, as Thy
Son has promised" (first collect).
The second lesson speaks of
unity of mind and heart, "And they were all with one accord in Solomon's
porch." Fellowship with Christ and with one another was the glory of the
infant Church. "See how they love each other!" Without this bond of
union, Christ the Vine cannot bear fruit; without this Christian fellowship,
the Spirit of unity cannot work; without unity of mind and heart, the temple of
God cannot be built. "Grant that the coming of the Holy Ghost may, by
dwelling in us, make us temple of His glory" (second collect).
"No man can come to Me, except
the Father who hath sent Me, draw him." So today's gospel, Who was drawn
more by the Father and who had herself drawn more than our blessed Mother? She
was "taught of God" (gospel). She is the richest fruit of the
blessed Vine, she is the most perfect temple of the Holy Spirit, she is the
first and noblest member of the Church. Around this all-holy Mother we gather
and keep this ember Wednesday.
Accompany us, O holy Mother, to the
eucharistic Table where we shall "eat the living bread that came down from
heaven" (gospel). May the power of this life-giving bread perfect
in us perseverance in prayer, intensify in us unity of mind and heart, and make
us in a fuller measure thy children, O Mother of Jesus and our Mother!
Prayer Source: Orate Fratres/Worship: A Review
Devoted to the Liturgical Apostolate , The Liturgical Press
Devotions for Holy Communion
ACTS BEFORE COMMUNION.
Act of Faith "
Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills"
(Cant. ii. 8). Ah, my most amiable Savior, over how many, what rough and craggy
mountains hast Thou had to pass in order to come and unite Thyself to me by the
means of this most holy sacrament! Thou, from being God, hadst to become man;
from being immense, to become a babe; from being Lord, to become a servant.
Thou hadst to pass from the bosom of Thy Eternal Father to the womb of a
virgin: from heaven into a stable; from a throne of glory to the gibbet of a
criminal. And on this very morning Thou wilt come from Thy seat in heaven to
dwell in my bosom.
Behold he standeth behind
our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices"
(Cant. ii. 9). Behold, my soul, thy loving Jesus, burning with the same love
with which He loved thee when dying for thee on the cross, is now concealed in
the Most Blessed Sacrament under the sacred species; and what doing? "
Looking through the lattices." As an ardent lover, desirous of seeing His
love corresponded with, from the host, as from within closed lattices, whence
He sees without being seen, He is looking at you, who are this morning about to
feed upon His divine flesh; He observes your thoughts, what it is that you
love, what you desire, what you seek for, and what offerings you are about to
Awake then, my soul, and prepare to receive thy
Jesus; and, in the first place, by faith, say to Him: So then, my beloved
Redeemer, in a few moments Thou art coming to me? O hidden God, unknown to the
greater part of men, I believe, I confess, 1 adore Thee in Thy Most Holy
Sacrament as my Lord and Savior! And in acknowledgment of this truth, I would
willingly lay down my life. Thou comest to enrich me with Thy graces, and to
unite Thyself all to me; how great, then, should be my confidence in this Thy
so loving visit!
Act of Confidence. My soul, expand thy heart.
Thy Jesus can do thee every good, and, indeed, loves thee. Hope thou for great
things from this thy Lord, Who, urged by love, comes all love to thee. Yes, my
dear Jesus, my hope, I trust in Thy goodness, that, in giving Thyself to me
this morning, Thou wilt enkindle in my poor heart the beautiful flame of Thy
pure love, and a real desire to please Thee; so that, from this day forward, I
may never will anything but what Thou wiliest.
Act of Love. Ah, my
God, my God, true and only love of my soul, and what more couldst Thou have
done to be loved by me? To die for me was not enough for Thee, my Lord; Thou
wast pleased to institute this great sacrament in order to give Thyself all to
me, and thus bind and unite thyself heart to heart with so loathsome and
ungrateful a creature as I am. And what is more, Thou Thyself invitest me to
receive Thee, and desirest so much that I should do so! O boundless love,
incomprehensible love, infinite love, a God would give Himself all to me!
My soul, believest thou this? And what doest thou?
what sayest thou? O God, O God, O infinite amiability, only worthy object of
all loves, I love Thee with my whole heart, I love Thee above all things, I
love Thee more than myself, more than my life! Oh, could I but see Thee loved
by all! Oh, could I but cause Thee to be loved by all hearts as much as Thou
deservest! I love Thee, O most amiable God, and I unite my miserable heart in
loving Thee to the hearts of the seraphim, to the heart of the most blessed
Virgin Mary, to the heart of Jesus, Thy most loving and beloved Son. So that, O
Infinite Good, I love Thee with the love with which the saints, with which Mary,
with which Jesus love Thee. And I love Thee only because Thou art worthy of it,
and to give Thee pleasure. Depart, all earthly affections, which are not for
God, depart from my heart. Mother of fair love, most holy Virgin Mary, help me
to love that God Whom thou dost so ardently desire to see loved!
Act of Humility. Then,
my soul, thou art even now about to feed on the most sacred flesh of Jesus! And
art thou worthy? My God, who am I, and who art Thou? I indeed know and confess
Who Thou art Who givest Thyself to me; but dost Thou know what I am, who am
about to receive Thee?
And is it possible, O my Jesus, that Thou, Who art
infinite purity, desirest to come and reside in this soul of mine, which has
been so many times the dwelling of Thy enemy, and soiled with so many sins? I
know, O my Lord, Thy great majesty and my misery; I am ashamed to appear before
Thee. Reverence would induce me to keep at a distance from" Thee; but if I
depart from Thee, O my life, whither shall I go? to whom shall I have recourse?
and what will become of me? No, never will I depart from Thee; nay, even I will
ever draw nearer and nearer to Thee. Thou art satisfied that I should receive
Thee as food, Thou even invitest me to this. I come then, O my amiable Savior,
I come to receive Thee this morning, all humbled and confused at the sight of
my defects; but full of confidence in Thy tender mercy, and in the love which
Thou bearest me.
Act of Contrition. I am indeed grieved, O God
of my soul, for not having loved Thee during the time past; still worse, so far
from loving Thee, and to gratify my own inclinations, I have greatly offended
and outraged Thy infinite goodness: I have turned my back against Thee, I have
despised Thy grace and friendship; in fine, O my God, I was deliberately in the
will to lose Thee. Lord, I am sorry, and grieve for it with my whole heart. I
detest the sins which I have committed, be they great or small, as the greatest
of all my misfortunes, because I have thereby offended Thee, O Infinite
Goodness. I trust that Thou hast already forgiven me; but if Thou hast not yet
pardoned me, oh, do so before I receive Thee: wash with Thy blood this soul of
mine, in which Thou art so soon about to dwell.
Act of Desire. And
now, my soul, the blessed hour has arrived in which Jesus will come and take up
His dwelling in thy poor heart. Behold the King of heaven, behold thy Redeemer
and God, Who is even now coming; prepare thyself to receive Him with love,
invite Him with the ardor of thy desire; come, O my Jesus, come to my soul,
which desires Thee. Before Thou givest Thyself to me, I desire to give Thee,
and I now give Thee, my miserable heart; do Thou accept it, and come quickly to
take possession of it.
Come, my God, hasten; delay
no longer. My only and infinite good, my treasure, my life, my paradise, my
love, my all, my wish is to receive Thee with the love with which the most holy
and loving souls have received Thee; with that with which the most blessed
Virgin Mary received Thee; with their communions I unite this one of mine.
Most holy Virgin and my
Mother Mary, behold, I already approach to receive thy Son. Would that I had
the heart and love with which thou didst communicate! Give me this morning thy
Jesus, as thou didst give Him to the shepherds and to the kings. I intend to
receive Him from thy most pure hands. Tell Him that I am thy servant and thy
client; for He will thus look upon me with a more loving eye, and, now that He
is coming, will press me more closely to Himself.
Feast: Mary, Mediatrix of All
Traditionally, today is the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. All the
graces which flow from the redemption of Jesus Christ are granted to the human
family through the motherly intercession of Mary. Mary mediated Jesus Christ,
the Author of all graces, to the world when she agreed to be the human mother of
God made man (cf. Lk 1:38). And from the cross at Calvary (Jn 19:26) and as the
final gift to humanity, Jesus gives Mary as a spiritual mother to us all:
"Son, behold your mother" (cf. Jn 19:26). For this reason, Vatican II
refers to Mary as a "mother to us in the order of grace " (Lumen
Gentium, n. 62) and several twentieth century popes have officially taught the
doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces, quoting the words of St Bernard:
"It is the will of God that we obtain all favors through Mary." The
Mediatrix performs this task in intimate union with the Holy Spirit, the
Sanctifier, with whom she began the drama of our Lord's Redemption at the
Annunciation (cf. Lk. 1:35).
is our Advocate for people of God, in that she takes the petitions of her
earthly children, especially in times of difficulties, and brings them through
her maternal intercession before her Son and our Lord Jesus.
the Old Testament, the Queen Mother brought the petitioned needs of the people
of Israel to the throne of her son the king (cf. 1 Kings 2:19). Now Mary is the
new Queen Mother and Advocate in the new Kingdom of her Son, who brings the
petitioned needs of the people of God to the throne of her glorious Son, Christ
the King, particularly in our present difficult times.
universal mediation of the Mother of Jesus as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all
graces, and Advocate for the people of God is already contained in the official
and authoritative teachings of the Church's Magisterium. Now, at the summit of
the Marian era, what remains is the final proclamation by the Church of this
final Marian doctrine as Christian dogma revealed by God.
Things to Do:
this article by Fr. William G. Most.
Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Loving and Adoring the
69. Thus far we have stirred up our
amazement at the Eucharistic mystery and have considered the nature of our
total self-gift in response. Now we turn to how we might practically live out
this mystery with greater faith and love for – as we pray at each Mass – “our
good and the good of all His holy Church”? In other words, how concretely might
we “follow the Ark” of the Eucharist into the future God has planned for us?
I. Make every Sunday the “Day of
70. For many of our
contemporaries, Sunday feels like the second half of the two-day weekend. Thus,
time becomes an empty succession of days, without meaning, purpose, or
direction. The consequence of this is not neutral but in fact deeply damaging
to us. If each week has no ultimate purpose (that is, there is no day “for” the
Lord, which means a day of divine worship), then soon we believe that time, history,
and our lives are also meaningless. The result is a kind of slavery to whatever
else we think is more important than the worship of God. Without a shared time
for us all to participate in divine worship, we inevitably fall under bondage
to some good but creaturely fixation. It could be money, success, social
advancement, entertainment, education, politics, or sports, but like the
effects of endless hard labor, the result is spiritual exhaustion and
discouragement. Time is a
gift from God.
71. Therefore, the Church
teaches that Sunday is a “day of protest against the servitude of work and the
worship of money” (CCC 2172). It means Sunday is a sign of a liberated people.
In the Old Covenant, the Sabbath was a weekly experience which recalled
liberation from Egypt for worship in Jerusalem. It announced to both Israel and
her neighbors that she was no longer a slave to Egypt. In the New Covenant,
Sunday is meant to be an experience which announces and renews the freedom of
the New Passover to the world. Sunday is the time to herald to the world that
we are no longer slaves to sin and death. This day is meant to be a weekly gift
from God to His people: a day of freedom, joy, charity and peace. It is the
primary day in which God renews His covenant with us. We might say that the
Risen Jesus chose to celebrate His first Mass on Easter Sunday, the day He rose
from the dead (Lk 24:13-35). Since then, Sunday centers around the celebration of
72. How our world thirsts for
this sign of freedom! But this freedom is not simply freedom from but freedom
for. God commands us to “keep holy” the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8). To “keep holy”
means to set aside for divine worship. It is inadequate to think Sunday is
merely about freedom from work. Yes, it involves freedom from servile work, but
this is so that we are free to participate in the work of our Redemption.
Sharing in the work of the Son of God’s Cross and Resurrection is the work
which gives rest and refreshment. So, Sunday is a day of work because we share
in the liberating work of God in the sacred liturgy. What a cathedral is to a
place, Sunday is to the week: set aside for the “work” of divine worship.
Sunday is not about mere inactivity. In fact, the Mass is the highest form of
activity, for in it we share in the work of our salvation through our
participation in the Eucharist.
To be continued…
Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost? They are the twelve following:
should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy
Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.
Notice I have
placed the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in stairstep fashion so we may
reflect on them seeing that by concentrating on each step of our growth in the
spirit we may progress closer and closer to our heavenly Father. Today we will
be focusing on the second step which is modesty.
of the Catholic Church
ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
TWO I. THE CREEDS
THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
10 "I BELIEVE IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS"
Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins
977 Our Lord tied the
forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: "Go into all the world and
preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will
be saved." Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of
sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our
justification, so that "we too might walk in newness of life."
978 "When we made our
first profession of faith while receiving the holy Baptism that cleansed us,
the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained
in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed
by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate
them.... Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of
nature. On the contrary, we must still combat the movements of concupiscence
that never cease leading us into evil "
979 In this battle against
our inclination towards evil, who could be brave and watchful enough to escape
every wound of sin? "If the Church has the power to forgive sins, then
Baptism cannot be her only means of using the keys of the Kingdom of heaven
received from Jesus Christ. the Church must be able to forgive all penitents
their offenses, even if they should sin until the last moment of their lives."
980 It is through the
sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the
rightly been called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of baptism."
This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen
after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have
not yet been reborn.
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.
the place to visit in June, especially if you’re a fan of the blues. The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues music
festival in the world. Over three days, more than 500,000 people converge on
Grant Park to hear well-renown performers perform on the festival’s five
June 10th Ember
June 12th Trinity
Litany of the Most Precious
Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 , Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896