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 them.
JUNE 8 Ember Wednesday
MARY MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACES
Joel, 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.
Listening, Discerning and Living
These 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 “today”
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”.
Wednesday after Pentecost-Ember Day
EPISTLE. Acts v. 12-16.
IN 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.
GOSPEL. 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 the world.
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 the needy.”
Ember 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 redemption.
THREE MEDITATIONS ON THE LITURGY FROM THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM FOR EACH OF THE EMBER DAYS AFTER PENTECOST.
Written 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 make Him.
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 Graces
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).
Mary 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.
In 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.
The 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:
· Read this article by Fr. William G. Most.
Veneremur 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
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Loving and Adoring the Eucharistic Lord
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 the Lord.”
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 the Mass.
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:
These fruits 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.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Article 10 "I BELIEVE IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS"
I. One 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 Church:
Penance has 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.
· -June 9-12-Chicago is 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 stages.
The Week Ahead
· June 10th Ember Friday
· June 11th Ember Saturday
· June 12th Trinity Sunday
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 , Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896