Thursday, May 4, 2023

 


Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

NATIONAL PRAYER DAY-ST. FLORIAN-STAR WARS DAY

 

Acts, Chapter 13, verse 16

So, Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said, “Fellow Israelites and you others who are GOD-FEARING, listen.

The Apostle Paul Gestured. Most effective speaker’s gesture. A gesture is defined by The American Heritage College Dictionary as “a motion of the limbs of body made to express thought of to emphasize speech.”  Surely, every gospel preacher should want to emphasize his sermon. Let’s look to see what the Bible teaches about such. As Paul was asked by the rulers of the synagogue, “. . . if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience” (Acts 13:15-16). The apostle Paul knew that gestures can help to enforce the oral expression in gospel preaching. In Jerusalem, “. . . Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying . . .” (Acts 21:40). Paul knew that gestures help communicate ideas and help get and hold attention. It has been said that gesturing is not in keeping with humility. Paul, who gestured, said, “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying-in wait of the Jews” (Acts 20:19). Paul was a humble-gesturing preacher! When the apostle Paul made his defense before King Agrippa, he “. . . stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself” (Acts 26:1). The stretching forth of one’s hand is gesturing. [1]

Paul with his gesturing desires that we really listen.[2]

·       Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest.

·       In a sense, listening is easy — or hearing is easy. It is “hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:2, 5) that accents the achievements of Christ and thus is the channel of grace that starts and sustains the Christian life. 

·       True, sustained, active listening is a great act of faith, and a great means of grace, both for us and for others in the fellowship.

Lessons in Good Listening

1. Good listening requires patience.

·       Avoid: “a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say.”

·       “Poor listening diminishes another person, while good listening invites them to exist and matter.” – TweetShare on Facebook

·       Good listening requires concentration and means we’re in with both ears, and that we hear the other person out till they’re done speaking.

2. Good listening is an act of love.

3. Good listening asks perceptive questions.

Good listening asks perceptive, open-ended questions that don’t tee up yes-no answers, but gently peel the onion and probe beneath the surface. It watches carefully for nonverbal communication but doesn’t interrogate and pry into details the speaker doesn’t want to share, but meekly draws them out and helps point the speaker to fresh perspectives through careful, but genuine, questions.

4. Good listening is ministry.

5. Good listening prepares us to speak well.

“The best ministry you might do today is to listen to someone’s pain all the way to the bottom.” TweetShare on Facebook

6. Good listening reflects our relationship with God. 

National Day of Prayer[3]


 

National Day of Prayer is an annual holiday that serves to encourage Americans to pray, meditate and repent. It is also used to draw awareness to prayer and religious beliefs. The origins of National Day of Prayer date back to 1787. Benjamin Franklin asked President George Washington to open each day with prayer, and to realize that prayer is deeply intertwined in the fabric of the United States.  However, it was not until February 1952 during the Korean War that Reverend Billy Graham petitioned support of Representative Percy Priest to observe a National Day of Prayer. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming National Day of Prayer, to encourage Americans to turn to God in prayer and meditation. National Prayer Day is celebrated every year on the first Thursday of May.

 

National Day of Prayer Facts & Quotes


 

·       According to the Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape Study of 2015, 23% of Americans have indicated that they are not part of any religion.  The survey is based on responses of more than 35,000 Americans.

·       On October 3, 2008, The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sued President George W. Bush and staff to challenge the designation of a National Day of Prayer.  On April 14, 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the National Day of Prayer did not cause harm and a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury.

·       According to the Pew Research Center, more than 55% of Americans pray every day.  60% of older Americans are likely to pray every day, compared to 45% of young Americans.

·       Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. - Mahatma Gandhi, Civil Rights and Freedom Activist

 

National Day of Prayer Top Events and Things to Do

 

·       Attend a religious service at your place of worship on the National Day of Prayer.

·       Offer a prayer for your loved ones and for those who are serving at the frontlines to protect America.

·       Attend a spiritual retreat that appeals to your beliefs.

·       Attend a prayer event on Prayer Day. There are many local events, some religious based, others meditation oriented.

Saint Florian[4] is the patron saint of firefighters, and many things associated with either fire or water. His feast day is celebrated today.

Saint Florian was born in the mid-third century A.D., perhaps around the year 250, somewhere around current-day Austria. He rose through the Roman army ranks to become a commander. Besides his duties to the military, he was charged with leading the firefighting brigade of the day. Florian was a Christian in a time when the Roman emperors were trying to eliminate Christianity throughout their realm. At one point he was ordered to offer up a sacrifice to the Roman gods, something in which he did not believe. Other stories state that he refused to participate in the ongoing persecution of Christians, in which the army had been ordered to participate.

In either case, Florian's beliefs became known. When questioned, he again stated that he was a Christian. The popular method of disposing of Christians in that day was to burn them to death, and it was suggested that Florian suffer the same fate. He, however, stated his intention to "climb to Heaven on the flames" of the funeral pyre being prepared for him. The soldiers decided at that point to dispense with him via another route: he was flogged, then flayed, then a large stone was tied around his neck and he was thrown into the Ennis River to drown. A faithful lady recovered and buried his body, which was later moved to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near current-day Linz, Austria. In 1138 some of St. Florian's relics were given to King Casimir of Poland and the Bishop of Cracow. Since his relics arrived in Poland, he has been regarded as the patron saint of that country. Because of his association with fire, St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters and chimney sweeps and has been invoked for protection from both fire and water. A statue of St. Florian installed at the front of the main firehouse in Vienna, Austria survived a 1945 bombing with barely a scratch.

Please pray the Stations of the Cross for our firefighters from 911 and The Yarnell Hill Firefighters; which were lost in a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona, ignited by lightning on June 28, 2013. On June 30, it overran and killed 19 City of Prescott firefighters, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. It was the third deadliest U.S. wildfire since the 1991 East Bay Hills fire, which killed 25 people; and the 2017 Northern California wildfires, which killed over 40, the deadliest wildland fire for U.S. firefighters since the 1933 Griffith Park Fire, which killed 29; and the deadliest incident of any kind for U.S. firefighters since the September 11, 2001, attacks, which killed 343. It is the sixth-deadliest American firefighter disaster overall and the deadliest wildfire ever in Arizona.


May the Farce Be with You[5] 

May 4th has become commonly known as Star Wars Day. And who could be surprised? The words, “May the 4th” seem to beg the rest of the catchphrase be uttered. Regardless of whether you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek, or if are even a sci-fi aficionado at all, the influence of George Lucas’ Star Wars on pop culture is undeniable. 

The History of Star Wars Day

Star Wars, an epic space opera written and directed by George Lucas, premiered in 1977 and became an almost instant cult classic. Even today, almost 40 years later, Star Wars remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. The franchise it began remains the most successful one of all time, earning over 2.5 billion dollars since the release of the first film. However, the money it’s earned over the years is hardly the most impressive aspect of Star Wars. As famous film critic Roger Ebert put it: “Like The Birth of a Nation and Citizen Kane, Star Wars was a technical watershed that influenced many of the movies that came after.” Star Wars was a real game-changer, beginning a new era of special effect-packed motion pictures bursting with excitement, adventure and imagination that appealed enormously to younger audiences as well as older ones. Many of today’s most acclaimed film directors, such as Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan and James Cameron, cite Star Wars as a great influence on their careers. Star Wars has also had enormous cultural impact on other areas besides filmmaking, including politics–the Reagan Administration’s Strategic Defense Program was mockingly nicknamed “Star Wars”. As recently as 2013, President Barack Obama used the phrase “Jedi mind meld” to describe what some people were expecting him to do on his opposition to make them accept his ideas. “May the Fourth be with you” was first used by Margaret Thatcher’s political party to congratulate her on her election on May 4th, 1979, and the saying quickly caught on. However, the first celebration of May 4th took place much later, at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2001. This first official Star Wars Day’s festivities included a costume contest and a movie marathon. Fans’ favorite parodies of the franchise were also enjoyed, as were some of the most popular mashups and remixes. Since then, Star Wars Day has gained popularity and is celebrated by Star Wars Fans worldwide.

How to Celebrate Star Wars Day

The way you celebrate Star Wars day will depend on how well you know this cultural phenomenon. If you are a longtime fan of the franchise, you might want to get a group of friends together and attend one of the many Star Wars events organized in different parts of the world. Such events range from costume contests to museum exhibits to tours of space centers. And if you’re not feeling up to going out, there’s no reason why a Star Wars Day party organized by you at home should be any less fun. Movie marathons with friends, Star Wars trivia games and even Star Wars themed snacks (Death Star piñata, anyone?) will guarantee this day is full of fun as well as being very educational. “Vadering” another person has also become an extremely popular thing to do on this day, and the photos you take of this are sure to bring a smile to your face for years to come. Because Star Wars itself is such an enormous topic, the ways of celebrating the day dedicated to it are virtually endless. So, choose one, have fun, and May the 4th be with you!

Thursday Feast

 

Thursday is the day of the week that our Lord gave himself up for consumption. Thursday commemorates the last supper. Some theologians believe after Sunday Thursday is the holiest day of the week. We should then try to make this day special by making a visit to the blessed sacrament chapel, Mass or even stopping by the grave of a loved one. Why not plan to count the blessing of the week and thank our Lord. Plan a special meal. Be at Peace.

Feast of the day:

            Drink: Summer Herbal Drinks with Mint and Lemon Balm

            Soup:  Minestrone           

    Main dish: Ethiopian Dinner for the Feast of St. Philip

            Dessert: Grand Marnier Cakes

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION TWO-THE LORD'S PRAYER

Article 3-THE SEVEN PETITIONS

III. "Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven"

2822 Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish." His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

2823 "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ . . . to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will." We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven.

2824 In Christ, and through his human will, the will of the Father has been perfectly fulfilled once for all. Jesus said on entering into this world: "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." Only Jesus can say: "I always do what is pleasing to him." In the prayer of his agony, he consents totally to this will: "not my will, but yours be done." For this reason Jesus "gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." "and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

2825 "Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered." How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience - we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son's, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.

In committing ourselves to [Christ], we can become one spirit with him, and thereby accomplish his will, in such wise that it will be perfect on earth as it is in heaven.

Consider how Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say "thy will be done in me or in us," but "on earth," the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.

2826 By prayer we can discern "what is the will of God" and obtain the endurance to do it. Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing "the will of my Father in heaven."

2827 "If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him." Such is the power of the Church's prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to mean: "in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself"; or "in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father."

THIS WE BELIEVE

PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: An increase of the faithful

·       do a personal eucharistic stations of the cross.

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan




[1]http://www.truthmagazine.com/then-paul-stood-up-and-beckoning-with-his-hand

[2] https://healthyleaders.com/six-lessons-in-good-listening/

[3]https://www.wincalendar.com/National-Day-of-Prayer

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