Introduction to the First Epistle of John
Intro to Jesus 101
- The letter opens with a speaker…er, multiple speakers, who start declaring all kinds of things. It's mainly stuff about Jesus, but hey, what did you expect?
- The speakers say that, from the beginning, they've been able to hear and see and touch "the word of life." That's just a poetic way of saying that, in addition to being God and all that, Jesus was a flesh and blood human being (source, 1179).
- They also announce that they know all about eternal life and what God revealed to the world in Jesus. Secret knowledge? Bring it on.
- They're saying all this so that everyone can live in harmony with them as one big happy Christian community. Kumbaya, folks.
- Basically, the message they need to deliver is this: God is a light. That'll come in pretty handy when the power goes out.
- If you live your life for God, then you won't ever be in the dark, they say. But don't toss your flashlights yet—it's just a metaphor.
- How do you know you're in the light? Easy. You're part of a community—specifically the same Christian community that the speakers are part of. Hey, God loves joiners.
- And how do you know you're not in the light? Well, one clue is if you say you're not a sinner. That's a bad move because, honey, everyone's a sinner.
- The good news is that if you admit your sins to God, he'll forgive you, and things will be all hunky dory. Hopefully you'll start being a better person, too.
- But if you keep going on about how sinless and perfect you are, you're clearly not tight with God.
- And that's what the speakers have to say.
OCTOBER 7 First Friday
FEAST OF THE HOLY ROSARY
1 John, Chapter 4, Verse 18
There is no FEAR in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
Our Lord showed no fear of the money changers or the priests when He overturned the tables in holy zeal for the statutes of the Lord. Is the Holy Spirit moving you to make a real change today? Are you being called to be holier, stronger, more committed to God and better prepared for the trials and persecution of our world? Consider the message of The Holy League.
Ten Egyptian Plagues for Ten Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
The God of Israel is greater than all other Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Moses was a great prophet, called by God with a very important job to do. As an instrument in the Lord's hand he performed many signs, or "wonders", attempting to convince Pharaoh to allow the Israelites freedom from their bondage of slavery to the Egyptians. These "wonders" are more commonly referred to as "plagues" sent from the God of Israel, as a proof that the "one true God" was far greater than all of the multiple Gods of the Egyptians. These Egyptian Plagues were harsh and varied to correspond to the ancient egyptian gods and goddesses that were prevelant during Moses time in Egypt. The number ten is a significant number in biblical numerology. It represents a fullness of quantity. Ten Egyptian Plagues Means Completely Plagued. Just as the "Ten Commandments" become symbolic of the fullness of the moral law of God, the ten ancient plagues of Egypt represent the fullness of God's expression of justice and judgments, upon those who refuse to repent. Ten times God, through Moses, allows Pharaoh to change his mind, repent, and turn to the one true God, each time increasing the severity of the consequence of the plagues suffered for disobedience to His request. Ten times Pharaoh, because of pride, refuses to be taught by the Lord, and receives "judgments" through the plagues, pronounced upon his head from Moses, the deliverer. The Ten Egyptian Plagues testify of Jesus the Anointed One and His power to save. Moses and Aaron are sent as messengers of the Lord, to Pharaoh, to instruct him to let the children of Israel go "so that they may serve the Lord." It is further stipulated that they must be allowed to travel a three days journey so that they may offer their sacrifices as a means of worship. Pharaoh responds simply, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." Soon however, Pharaoh will find out who this God is, and why he should obey His voice. He will understand His power over all the other Egyptian gods and goddesses.
These ten Egyptian plagues not only demonstrated the power of God to Moses, the children of Israel, the Egyptians, and Pharaoh, but they were of such magnitude that they would be remembered for all generations, throughout the entire world. They again testify, as does both the Old and New Testament alike that salvation, from beginning to end, is only accomplished through Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of our faith." (Heb 12:2)
Corresponding Egyptian God and Goddess to the type of plague:
Hapi- Egyptian God of the Nile This Egyptian God was a water bearer. Egyptian Plague- Water Turned to Blood The first plague that was given to the Egyptians from God was that of turning the water to blood. As Aaron, the spokesman for Moses, touched the "rod" of the Lord to the Nile River it immediately turned to blood, all the fish died, and the river stank. Partially able to duplicate this miracle, the magicians of Pharaoh also turn water into blood, leaving Pharaoh unimpressed with this great wonder from God. Seven days the water throughout all the land of Egypt remained in this state, unsuitable for drinking, the perfect length of time to demonstrate that the Lord was superior to all the other Gods of Egypt.
Heket- Egyptian Goddess of Fertility, Water, Renewal Heket the Egyptian Goddess, had the head of a frog. Egyptian Plague- Frogs coming from the Nile River Still, Pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel go from the presence of Egypt. The second plague that was extended upon Egypt, from the "rod" by Aaron, was that of frogs. The frogs came up from the river and were in their houses, in their food, in their clothing, in every place possible. From the greatest to the least, no one in Egypt escaped the plague of frogs. Pharaoh's magicians were able to bring more frogs in their attempt to imitate the power of God, but only Moses was able to make the frogs go away. This was another attack on a famous Egyptian Goddess, Heket.
Geb- Egyptian God of the Earth the Egyptian God Geb, was over the dust of the earth. Egyptian Plague- Lice from the dust of the earth Still Pharaoh would not concede, even after this display of power from the Lord, or magnificent plague, he would not let them go. At the command of the Lord to Moses, Aaron was told to stretch forth his rod and smite the dust of the earth. When he did the dust became lice throughout all the land, on both people and beasts. The very dust that was referred to in the creation process of man is now used to plague men, as a reminder of his mortality and sin which both lead to death. Finally, the magicians of Pharaoh are humiliated, being unable to compete with this power that was so much greater than themselves and the powers that they had from their Egyptian gods and goddesses, and they profess, "this is the finger of God." This was the last plague that required Aaron's involvement, as the next set of three plagues are issued by the word of Moses himself.
Khepri- Egyptian God of creation, movement of the Sun, rebirth Khepri, the Egyptian god had the head of a fly. Egyptian Plague- Swarms of Flies With the fourth Egyptian plague, which consisted of flies, begins the great miracle ot separation or differentiation. Moses met Pharaoh at the Nile River in the morning and made the demand, speaking on behalf of the Lord, "Let My peole go, that they may serve Me." Again, Pharaoh hardened his heart and disregarded the request, resulting in a pronouncement of swarms of flies. This time, however, only the Egyptians are affected by the judgement, or plague, and the children of Israel remain unscathed. This wonder also moves the Egyptian plagues to a different level, adding destruction as well as discomfort to the consequence of their decisions. Plagued by flies, Pharaoh tried a new tactic and begins bargaining with the Lord, showing his desire to maintain power and authority over God. He tries to dictate the terms and conditions of the offer, telling them they may sacrifice but only "in the land" clearly not complying with the requested "three days journey" that the Lord required. Moses wouldn't budge, and Pharaoh relented allowing them to leave, but telling them not to "go very far." This temporary allowance is made solely to have Moses "intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart", at this point Pharaoh has learned in part who the Lord is and asks for His assistance over the Egyptian gods and goddesses. As soon as the request is granted by the Lord, Pharaoh reneges on his promise and will not let them go, and continues to worship his Egyptian Gods.
Hathor-Egyptian Goddess of Love and Protection Usually this Egyptian Goddess was depicted with the head of a cow. Egyptian Plague- Death of Cattle and Livestock Moses once again demanded of Pharaoh, "Let my people go, that they may serve me", revealing also the next Egytian plague to occur on the condition of continued disobedience to the request. This plague was given with an advanced warning, allowing a period of repentance to occur, which goes unheeded. "Tomorrow" the hand of the Lord would be felt upon all the cattle and livestock, of only the Egyptians, as"grievous murrain." This means that disease and pestilence would fall upon their livestock with so severe a consequence as to cause them to die. This plague affected the Egyptian by creating a huge economic disaster, in areas of food, transportation, military supplies, farming, and economic goods that were produced by these livestock. Still Pharaohs heart remained hard and he would not listen to the Lord but remained faith to the Egytian gods and goddesses.
Isis- Egyptian Goddess of Medicine and Peace Egyptian Plague- Ashes turned to Boils and Sores Unannounced the sixth Egyptian plague is given, for the first time, directly attacking the Egyptian people themselves. Being instructed by the Lord, Moses took ashes from the furnace of affliction, and threw them into the air. As the dust from the ashes blew all over Egypt, it settled on man and beast alike in the form of boils and sores. As with the previous two, throughout the remaining Egyptian plagues the division is drawn between the Egyptians and the children of Israel, as God gives protection to his covenant people. The severity of the judgment of God has now become personal, as it is actually felt by the people themselves. Cleanliness being paramount in the Egyptian society, this plague pronounces the people "unclean." The magicians who have been seen throughout the previous plagues are unable to perform ceremonially rituals to their Egyptian Gods and Goddesses in this unclean state, not allowing them to even stand before Pharaoh; they are seen in the scriptural account no more. It is great to notice the contrast shown as Moses and Aaron are the only ones left standing in front of Pharaoh, with the "One True God" as their support.
Nut- Egyptian Goddess of the Sky Egyptian Plague- Hail rained down in the form of fire Again warning is given before the enactment of the plague takes place. Pharaoh is warned of the impending doom that will be faced if he does not listen to the Lord, and forget his own Egyptian gods and goddesses. Hail of unspeakable size and ability to destroy, would rain down from the sky and turn to fire as it hit the ground. The Lord, in showing Pharaoh that "there is none like Him in the Earth", allows those who are willing to hear His word, and do as He commands, to be saved. A division is now felt between the Egyptians in the form of those "converted" to the Lord, as shown by their obedience and willingness to escape to the protection of their "houses." Similarly we are warned to make our houses a place of refuge from the world today, we have been warned. Interestingly enough, the crops that were destroyed by the hail consisted of flax and barley, which were ripening in the fields. These two particular crops were not the mainstay of their diet but were used more specifically for their clothing and libations. This destruction would make their life uncomfortable, but as far as effecting their food supply, the wheat still survived. This gave the Egyptians still another chance to turn to "the One True God", and forsake their own Egyptian gods and goddesses, thus showing His mercy and grace even yet.
Seth- Egyptian God of Storms and Disorder Egyptian Plague- Locusts sent from the sky Still Pharaoh would not listen to the message of the Lord, still he relys on his own Egyptian gods and goddesses. The eighth plague issued by the Lord had an even greater purpose than all the others, it was to be felt so that Pharaoh would tell even "his sons and son's sons" the mighty things of the Lord, thus teaching even future generations of the power of the "strong hand of God" over all the other Egyptian gods and goddesses. Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh with the same request, "Let my people go so that they may serve me” and pronounced the judgment of locusts if not heeded. This is the second wave of destruction to follow the hail, and whatever crops were left in tact after that display, were now completely consumed by the swarms of locusts that were unleashed from the sky. This wonder definitely affected their life source. By hitting them in their food supply, the Lord displayed the possibility of eminent death if a change of heart did not occur. Yet still, Pharaoh would not listen.
Ra- The Sun God Egyptian Plague- Three Days of Complete Darkness Darkness now fell upon Egypt, unannounced, as a prelude to the future fate to be felt by the Egyptian empire when the message of the Lord was not heeded, and they still turned to their own Egyptian gods and goddesses. Three days of palpable darkness, that was so immense it could be physically felt, covered the land of Egypt. The sun, the most worshipped God in Egypt other than Pharaoh himself, gave no light. The Lord showed that he had control over the sun as a witness that the God of Israel had ultimate power over life and death. The psychological and religious impact would have had a profound influence on the Egyptians at this point. Darkness was a representation of death, judgment and hopelessness. Darkness was a complete absence of light.
Pharaoh- The Ultimate Power of Egypt Egyptian Plague- Death of the Firstborn Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, was worshipped by the Egyptians because he was considered to be the greatest Egyptian God of all. It was believed that he was actually the son of Ra himself, manifest in the flesh. After the plague of darkness felt throughout the land was lifted, Pharaoh resumed his position of "bargaining with the Lord" and offered Moses another "deal." Since virtually all of the Egyptian animals had been consumed by the judgments of the Lord, Pharaoh now consented to the request made, to let the people go, but they must leave their animals behind. This was a totally unacceptable offer, as the animals were to be used as the actual sacrifice to the Lord. The Lord is uncompromising when He has set the terms. Enraged by the refusal, Pharaoh pronounced the last deadly plague to be unleashed upon the land from his very own lips as he warns Moses, "Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die." And Moses said, "Thus saith the Lord, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more." At this point the passive obedience that the children of Israel have shown is now moved to a level of active obedience. They are given strict instructions to follow so that they do not also feel the judgment of this last plague sent by the Lord. These instructions are known as "The Feast of Passover", "The Feast of Unleavened Bread", and "The Law of the Firstborn." In these rituals are displayed the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, and the law of consecration, all necessary requirements to receive ultimate salvation from spiritual death. "Let My people go that they may serve Me" As God's children today we have learned through this great show of power that ultimately it will require "active obedience" to receive salvation from the "One True God."
Looking back over the instructions that were given to Pharaoh to "let my people go that they may serve me", this principle is manifest throughout. Service to the Lord is the requirement of His people, and the blessing for this show of obedience and sacrifice is the ultimate salvation not only from physical death but from spiritual death as well.
Feast of the Holy Rosary
This feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by Pope Clement XI; in perpetual commemoration of a celebrated feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by him due to the double victory gained by the Christians at Lepanto, in 1571, under Pope St. Pius V., and at Belgrade, under Pope Clement XI., through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who had been invoked by saying the Holy Rosary. It is at the same time the principal feast of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Rosary. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII., ordered the Rosary to be recited every day during the month of October in every parish church and cathedral throughout the world, and those of the faithful who cannot be present at this recital he exhorted to say it with their families or in private. The Holy Rosary is a form of prayer in which there is first said the Apostles Creed, and then fifteen decades, each one of which consists of ten Hail Mary’s. Each decade has one Our Father to be said before it and is followed by a meditation upon one mystery of our redemption. It is called the Rosary, or Wreath of Roses, because the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries, aptly symbolized by the leaves, the thorns, the flower, of which the rose consists with the prayers and praises that are blended together compose, as it were, a wreath or crown. It is also called the Psalter, because it contains a hundred and fifty Hail Mary’s, as the Psalter of David contains a hundred and fifty psalms, and because it is used in place of the singing of psalms, as practiced in former times. There are three parts in the Rosary the joyful, the sorrowful, the glorious. The joyful part consists of the five first decades, to which are attached five mysteries of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, through which, full of joy, we speak to Mary of Him: 1. Whom she conceived while a virgin. 2. Whom she bore to Elizabeth. 3. Whom she brought forth while a virgin. 4. Whom she offered to God in the temple. 5. Whom she found Him in the temple. (This is said particularly in Advent.) The sorrowful part, in like manner, contains five decades, in connection with which there are presented for our meditation five mysteries of the passion and death of Jesus: 1. Who for us sweat blood. 2. Who for us was scourged. 3. Who for us was crowned with thorns. 4. Who for us bore the heavy cross. 5. Who for us was crucified. (This is said particularly in Lent.) The glorious part, consisting of the last five decades, reminds us of the glory of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin by five mysteries in which we commemorate Him: 1. Who rose from the dead. 2. Who ascended into heaven. 3. Who sent to us the Holy Ghost. 4. Who received thee, O Virgin, into heaven. 5. Who crowned thee, O Virgin, in heaven. (This part is said particularly at Eastertide.)
How was this prayer introduced into the Church?
St. Dominic had for many years preached against the errors of the Albigenses and other heretics, with such zeal and profound ability that they were often convinced. But nevertheless, the results were unimportant; but few returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church. In this discouraging state of things St. Dominic redoubled his prayers and works of penance, and in particular besought Mary for support and assistance. One day Mary appeared to him and taught him the Rosary. He zealously labored to introduce everywhere this manner of prayer, and from that time preached with such success that in a short period more than one hundred thousand heretics and sinners were converted. The divine origin of the Rosary is testified to by the bull of Gregory XIII of the year 1577.
Is the Rosary a profitable method of prayer?
Yes, for by bringing before the eyes of the spirit the fundamental mysteries of Christianity it supplies us with the strongest motives to love God, to hate sin, to subdue the passions, to condemn the world and its vanity, and to strive after Christian perfection, in order that we may gain those happy mansions which Jesus prepares for us. The Rosary, besides, brings before us living examples Jesus and Mary whom we must follow, and encourages us to good works by pointing to the all-powerful grace procured for us by Jesus, and the all-prevailing intercession of the gracious Mother of God. Let us not be ashamed to carry the beads with us, for otherwise we might be ashamed of being Catholics; let us say the Rosary often every evening as was the custom with Catholics in former times, and we shall find that, as in St. Dominic’s day it was a wholesome check to error, so too in our times it will be, if said aright, a powerful weapon against heresy and unbelief, and will increase faith, piety, and virtue.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”– John 11:25-26
Our Lady of the Rosary
The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God.
Pope Benedict XVI invites all families to pray the Rosary for the intentions of the Pope, the mission of the Church and peace. "It is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound." The Rosary, a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of Sacred Scripture," is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary," said the Pontiff.
Things to Do
· Pray the Rosary, or 5 decades of the Rosary tonight with your family. Continue this practice through October, the month that is especially dedicated to the Rosary.
· Learn the Luminous Mysteries. For families with younger children, it helps to have visual aids for the mysteries. Have a picture to flip at the beginning of each decade for the family Rosary. See the Activities Bar for ideas.
· Read Cardinal Angelo Sodano's homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.
· "The Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God." Read the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy on the Rosary, particularly encouraging the practices of:
1. [T]he recitation of the Rosary could be made more solemn in tone "by introducing those Scriptural passages corresponding with the various mysteries, some parts could be sung, roles could be distributed, and by solemnly opening and closing of prayer."
2. The custom of making an insertion in the recitation of the Hail Mary, which is an ancient one that has not completely disappeared, has often been recommended by the Pastors of the Church since it encourages meditation and the concurrence of mind and lips.
Insertions of this nature would appear particularly suitable for the repetitive and meditative character of the Rosary. It takes the form of a relative clause following the name of Jesus and refers to the mystery being contemplated. The meditation of the Rosary can be helped by the choice of a short clause of a Scriptural and Liturgical nature, fixed for every decade.
· Foods for this feast: Since the origin of this feast came from the Christian fleet defeating the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1570 through the intercession of Mary through the Rosary, why not make a cake in the shape of a ship? See the top bar for a cut-out cake, or make moderations to this Ship Cake. Read more about the Battle of Lepanto for ideas.
· St. Pius V was a very holy Dominican, who wore his scratchy habit underneath his papal robes, and walked around Rome barefoot. He ate just to sustain himself, and fasted frequently. We should use his example and remember to fast and pray the Rosary for the conversion of Islam.
Fitness Friday: Fall Pyramid Workout
60 Second Wall Sit
· Stand with your back pressing against a wall.
· Slide downward into a squat position by moving your feet forward until your knees make a 90-degree angle and your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.
· Hold this move as long as you can.
50 Walking Lunges
· Stand upright, feet together, and take a controlled step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles.
· The back knee should point toward, not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over the ankle.
· Press your right heel into the ground, and push off with your left foot to bring your left leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side. This completes two reps.
40 Calf Raises
· Stand on the edge of a step or aerobics platform.
· The balls of your feet should be firmly planted on the step and your heels should hang over the edge.
· Raise your heels a few inches above the edge of the step so you’re on your tiptoes.
· Hold the position for a moment, then lower your heels below the platform, feeling the stretch in your calf muscles.
· Stand facing forward with your chest up.
· Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also hold your hands at chest level or place them behind your head.
· Bend at your knees and hips, sticking your butt out like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your chest lifted and your spine neutral, and do not let your lower back round.
· Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest lifted. Keep your knees over your ankles and press your weight back into your heels.
· Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. This is one rep.
20 Plie Squats
· Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest.
· Bend your knees, lowering your hips so your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Keep your weight back in your heels and your knees tracking in line with feet.
· Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement. This counts as one rep.
10 Single Leg Deadlifts (each side)
· Stand with all your weight on your right foot, abs engaged and chest lifted.
· Reach your torso forward as you lift your left leg behind you. Reach your arms out to the sides for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor.
· Hold this position for a moment, and reach through your left heel to engage the back of the left leg.
· Moving in one piece, lower your left leg toward the floor as you return to standing upright, resting the left foot lightly on the ground. This completes one rep.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
CHAPTER ONE THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
Article 2-OUR VOCATION TO BEATITUDE
Article 3-MAN'S FREEDOM
1730 God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. "God willed that man should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him."
Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.