September 9-11. Top off Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations with the Tai Hang fire dragon dance. This 3-day-long event, held during the Mid-Autumn Festival, carries on a tradition that’s more than 100 years old. In the Hong Kong community of Tai Hang, some 300 performers take to the streets, dancing, waving incense sticks and animating a 220-foot-long dragon.
Call it an excuse to party: Come Sept. 10, 2022, the 3-day Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival begins. In mainland China, the annual festival is the second biggest holiday of the year (right behind the country’s spring festival). Experience Mid-Autumn fun yourself at Chicago’s Moon Festival.
Introduction to 2 Corinthians
Here you have two letters written by Paul of Tarsus. He's one of the superstars of the early church and the guy people think is responsible for almost a third of the writing in the New Testament. If Jesus is taking home the statute for Best Biblical Hero, then Paul definitely has a lock in the Best Supporting category. The guy is A-list all the way. These two letters are just a couple of little theological blockbusters he wrote to the Christian church he founded in Corinth. 1 Corinthians is kind of like A New Hope or The Fellowship of the Ring. It's the first amazing installment in a can't-wait-to-see-how-it-ends series. This first letter's got everything a hit movie does: sex, love, marriage, divorce, conflict, betrayal, anger, and even an occasional discussion of penises. Don't worry, the rating is still G. So, if that was Paul's first box office hit, then 2 Corinthians is like the sequel that's even bigger and better than the original. Corinth: now with higher stakes, more expensive special effects, and bigger explosions (of apostolic anger)! This book also has a little bonus footage in it, because most scholars think that 2 Corinthians is actually two letters combined into one. It's what would happen if someone took Breaking Dawn: Part 1 and Part 2 and edited them into one movie. Corinthians would have fewer longing vampire glances, though. The best part about both of these is that you don't have to wait years between letters to see how it ends. Want to know what happened after that cliffhanger at the end of 1 Corinthians? Just flip the page and find out (spoiler alert: things do not go well). It's kind of like how we'd feel if Peter Jackson had made The Hobbit into one movie instead of three. (Which let's be honest, he should have: the book isn't that long, dude.) So, break out the popcorn, put on your 3-D glasses, and crack open your Bibles to the letters to the Corinthians. On second thought, maybe ditch the 3-D glasses. That might just make you dizzy.
Why Should I Care?
"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Quoting the Hulk (Bruce Banner), but we're also paraphrasing St. Paul the Apostle. What? Didn't think saints ever got mad? Well then, just take a peek at 1 and 2 Corinthians to have your world rocked. He may be a follower of Jesus, but Paul has feelings, too, you know. In these letters, they're mainly anger, jealousy, and frustration. All that good stuff. See, even though he founded the church in Corinth, Paul can't quite keep things under control there. Not only are the Corinthians rebelling left and right, but people keep coming into town telling everyone that Paul is actually a giant green monster that can't be trusted in civilized society. Paul calls these guys the false apostles and, for him, they're worse than a radioactive lab experiment gone wrong. But if the Hulk's super power is unstoppable strength, Paul's is sarcasm-laced letters and near-death experiences. While the false apostles spend most of their time bragging about how amazingly holy and spiritually-gifted they are, Paul puts pen to paper to record all his failures. He writes in his letters about being beaten, chained, tortured, imprisoned, starved, and almost beheaded. See, Paul thinks strength is actually found in weakness. We'd say Christianity has found its anti-hero. So, if you're looking for a guy from the Bible you can relate to—someone who occasionally gets mad and lashes out in letter form (as opposed to stomping buildings)—then, Paul is your biblical superhero. But remember, if make him angry with your unbelieving ways—PAUL SMASH!
SEPTEMBER 10 Saturday
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION-FULL HARVEST MOON
2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 11
since we know the FEAR of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we
are clearly apparent to God, and I hope we are also apparent to your
Paul here is talking
about the judgment seat of Christ. All will be judged on what they accomplished
or failed to accomplish while sojourned here in flesh on earth. Imagine if at
your judgment you discovered that you were using inches and feet as a measuring
tool when all the time God was using the metric system. (The metric system has
been legal in the US since 1866. However, we still don’t understand it.)
According to John Maxwell we may be received into the kingdom, but our rewards
could be different.
Rewards versus Inheritance
1. We are indeed saved by the merits of Christ; but our reward will be based on our service.
2. We are given freely God’s grace; but our reward will be given in proportion to our work.
3. We receive the Kingdom because the Holy Eucharist forms us to the image of Christ; but our reward is based on our life as a servant of Christ.
4. Christ’s blood poured out for us and our baptism gives us a birthright, but our reward is based on our obedience to the eternal spirit.
5. Our faith makes us secure, but our reward is in being faithful to Him, which is still pending.
World Suicide Prevention Day
There’s been a rising epidemic in the US, and that epidemic is suicide. If we don’t know someone who had committed suicide, it’s almost certain that we know someone who has attempted it. Suicide is a problem that affects all age groups, genders, and social strata, and it seems sometimes to be utterly inescapable. World Suicide Prevention Day raises awareness about this tragic issue and works to prevent it through education and support of those who struggle with suicidal ideation every day. It’s a tragic situation, with the death toll coming in at 42,773 people committing suicide each year in the United States alone, and for each one of those 25 people made the attempt. Over the world it’s even greater, an estimated 800,000 people commit suicide each year throughout the world, which is one every 40 seconds. What’s incredible is that just like the US statistic, it’s estimated that 25 times that attempt it, 4 million people over the world every year. There’s something of a ripple down effect that happens as well, those bereaved by the loss of a loved one to suicide are themselves more likely to commit suicide.
Divine Mercy After Suicideby Chris Alar
My grandmother, Mary Alar, was a special lady. My father told many stories about her, including how her family removed her from school in the sixth grade so she could work as a maid to help support them. Then, two days before her wedding day, her fiancé́ was killed in an auto accident. Later, she met my grandfather, but her life was still quite difficult. By 1993, she was suffering greatly — emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It became unbearable for her. At the time, I was finishing college and didn’t even know how much pain my grandmother was enduring. In a shock to me, my grandmother committed suicide on Father’s Day. Ten years later, I told my confessor that I was not “there for her” — even at the funeral. I mean, I was there physically, but not emotionally or spiritually. I was so concerned about my degree, my job, my new home, and my girlfriend, that I don’t even remember praying for her. I told him that this bothered me, because my grandmother had already been judged by God, and I missed my opportunity to pray for her and help her. What I really feared most arose from something I’d heard long ago about the Church teaching that if you commit suicide, you automatically go to hell.
Then the priest did something that changed my life.
He said, “Go home tonight and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the salvation of your grandmother’s soul. This is an incredibly powerful prayer.” I had never heard of the Chaplet. I said, “Huh? Father, she’s already been judged, so it’s too late. She died 10 years ago! She’s in Heaven (I hope) or hell (I hope not). At best, my prayers might relieve some of her time in Purgatory, if she even made it that far, but her eternal fate has already been determined. There is nothing that can be done about that now.” He said, “Look, God is outside of time. There is no past or future for God, but only one big eternal present moment. God sees everything at one instant. From the beginning of time to the end of the world, He sees it all instantaneously without compromising our free will. How do you think that the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived?” I said, “By the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” He said, “Yes, but how could Mary be immaculately conceived by these merits when Jesus hadn’t even been born yet? Because God is outside of time. Your prayers are eternal, and the graces given by God from those prayers, because He is not constrained by space or time, can go in any direction: past, present, or future. Christ’s sacrifice is eternally present before the Father, and so are our prayers if we unite them to the Cross of Christ.”
I sat there shaking my head, saying, “Wow, Father, this is amazing.” But I still wasn’t totally getting it. It sounded too good to be true. He continued, “Think of it this way, Chris. God knew back in 1993 that you would be here today, in 2003, and tonight you would pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for your grandmother’s soul. And since God is so merciful, so loving, He will put those prayers into the hands of Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces, and He will allow those prayers from today to be carried back in Mary’s hands and showered over your grandmother’s soul back in 1993, at the moment of her judgment, to help her.”
He continued, “You see, suicide is a grave sin, and she will need all the help she can get. So, with God’s grace, through your prayers, she may be better able to say ‘yes’ to God.” (That is why John Paul II called each of us “mini co-redeemers” — because we can share in Christ’s act of redemption).
The priest added, “In the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, she records that Jesus visited the despairing soul three times to save it from hell (Diary, 1486), so we can infer that the souls of our loved ones have the chance to repent, say ‘yes’ to Him, and be saved.”
I said, “Father, we’re good here then, because there’s no way my grandmother will not say ‘yes’ to Jesus when she sees Him. This is awesome! Thank you, Father. Have a great day.”
Blinded by sin
He stopped me: “Hold on — there’s a problem. You said she had fallen away from the Church. Do you know if she received the Sacraments?”
“I don’t know,” I replied.
“The problem,” he said, “is your grandmother, for whatever reason, may have turned her back on God. If this is the case, she may not recognize Jesus when He comes.”
“Oh, man,” I said. “I thought all was good, but now I am worried that she could be lost because she might not recognize Jesus, and therefore be unable to say ‘yes’ to Him!”
“You didn’t let me finish,” he said. “She may not recognize Him without your prayers. But with your prayers, she will be given more grace through intercessory prayer allowed by the mercy of God. That is why Mary said at Fatima that there are many souls lost to hell … because there is nobody to pray for them! Your prayers are like a squadron of dive bombers coming in from 2003, to aid in the war being fought for her soul back in 1993. They are coming in on the hands of Mary, back to your grandmother during her personal judgment (again, because God is outside of time). The graces from these Chaplets you pray for her may be enough grace for her to turn around and say ‘yes’ to God when otherwise she wouldn’t be able to.”
The priest went on, “What happens when we sin and turn our backs on God? We put a veil between God and ourselves, blurring our vision of Him. But your prayers can help to lift that veil so that your grandmother may see God more clearly, and she has a much better chance of recognizing God for who He is. But remember, she has to say “yes” — you cannot say “yes” for her. But you can certainly help. This is the whole point of intercessory prayer.”
My confessor continued, “Your grandmother is like a wounded soldier who cannot help herself as she lies on the battlefield, in danger of death. Your prayers come in like a fellow soldier, putting her on your shoulders, and taking her to safety. Now, she still has to cooperate and let you assist her, and she needs to have the will to live. That choice is hers. But your prayers, Chris, can offer her the help at the moment of her judgment to determine if she survives or not — meaning salvation.”
I said, “Father, this is absolutely amazing.”
Hope for those who’ve committed suicide
I said, “I heard that the Church says that those who commit suicide are condemned to hell and lost forever.” He said, “The Church doesn’t teach that.” What does the Church say about suicide? The Catechism tells us:
Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives (2282- 2283; emphasis added).
“So, there is hope!” the priest said. “The Church says that we entrust these people to the mercy of God. So, your prayers even now, 10 years later, can make a difference. And the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is one of the most powerful prayers you can offer for someone in dire need of God’s mercy.”
We then talked about a relative who had died after 20 years in which we all prayed for a conversion — and this person never converted, never came back to the Church. I told the priest that my dad said, “Well, there’s 20 years of prayer wasted.”
Is that true? No! Again, he referenced St. Faustina’s Diary, and this added the final straw to the proverbial camel’s back that was my former life. I was now changed forever.
Saint Faustina wrote:
God’s mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly it seems as if everything were lost. [This is what it looked like for my grandmother.] But it is not so. The soul illuminated by a ray of God’s powerful final grace turns to God in the last moment with such a power of love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment, while outwardly it shows no sign either of repentance or of contrition, because souls [at that stage] no longer react to external things. Oh, how beyond comprehension is God’s mercy! … Although a person is at the point of death, the merciful God gives the soul that interior vivid moment, so that if the soul is willing, it has the possibility of returning to God (Diary, 1698).
Share God’s Mercy
I broke down in disbelief. I said, “Father, we have a God so merciful, so loving, so generous, that He will allow my grandma this chance for salvation? And He will allow me to still help her even though I missed my chance so many years ago?”
He said, “Yes, this is the power of the Chaplet, even for those who have taken their own life or who have died years ago.”
He made it clear that a soul cannot be removed from hell — this is Church teaching. What he was saying, however, is that as part of the Mystical Body of Christ, we can aid in each other’s salvation through our prayers. As Jesus told St. Faustina, “Help Me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners” (Diary, 1032).
I said, “Father, I need to spend the rest of my life spreading this message of God’s Divine Mercy.”
Now, this message is the foundation of my priesthood.
So, if you have ever known someone who appeared to be a lost soul, especially those who committed suicide, don’t give up! There is hope! You can help, and this is all possible because we are members of the Body of Christ.
Pray for the dead!
Therefore, I ask you all to pray for your loved ones who have died, even if they’ve died 10, 20, or 50 years ago. We should never conclude that a soul is definitely lost. As Jesus said to St. Faustina, “There are moments and there are mysteries of the divine mercy over which the heavens are astounded. Let our judgment of souls cease, for God’s mercy upon them is extraordinary” (Diary, 1684).
Jesus, I trust in You!
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
IV. The Celebration of This Sacrament
1572 Given the importance that the ordination of a bishop, a priest, or a deacon has for the life of the particular Church, its celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part. It should take place preferably on Sunday, in the cathedral, with solemnity appropriate to the occasion. All three ordinations of the bishop, of the priest, and of the deacon, follow the same movement. Their proper place is within the Eucharistic liturgy.
1573 The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three degrees consists in the bishop's imposition of hands on the head of the ordinand and in the bishop's specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained.
1574 As in all the sacraments additional rites surround the celebration. Varying greatly among the different liturgical traditions, these rites have in common the expression of the multiple aspects of sacramental grace. Thus in the Latin Church, the initial rites - presentation and election of the ordinand, instruction by the bishop, examination of the candidate, litany of the saints - attest that the choice of the candidate is made in keeping with the practice of the Church and prepare for the solemn act of consecration, after which several rites syrnbolically express and complete the mystery accomplished: for bishop and priest, an anointing with holy chrism, a sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who makes their ministry fruitful; giving the book of the Gospels, the ring, the miter, and the crosier to the bishop as the sign of his apostolic mission to proclaim the Word of God, of his fidelity to the Church, the bride of Christ, and his office as shepherd of the Lord's flock; presentation to the priest of the paten and chalice, "the offering of the holy people" which he is called to present to God; giving the book of the Gospels to the deacon who has just received the mission to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
· 30 DAY TRIBUTE TO MARY 27th ROSE: Assumption of Mary
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
Cash cow is business jargon for a business venture that generates a steady return of profits that far exceed the outlay of cash required to acquire or start it.