Introduction to Judges
The Hebrew word translated “Judges” in the English title of the book refers not to specialized judicial officers or magistrates but to leaders in general. According to the biblical narrative these judges led Israel from the end of the conquest of Canaan until the beginning of the monarchy. The period of the Judges, therefore, extended from the death of Joshua until the installation of Saul as Israel’s first king by the prophet Samuel, who was also the last judge.
· The Book of Judges begins with two introductory passages.
o The first (chap. ) gives a description of the situation in Canaan after the Israelite conquest. It emphasizes the continued existence of the indigenous inhabitants of Canaan in many parts of the land because of Israel’s inability to drive them out completely.
o The second passage is a thematic introduction to the period of the Judges, describing a cyclical pattern of infidelity, oppression, “crying out,” and deliverance.
· The main part of the book consists of a series of stories about thirteen leaders whose careers are described in greater or lesser detail. The exploits of six of these—Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson—are related at length, and all are shown to have delivered Israel from oppression or danger. They are customarily called “major judges,” whereas the other six—Shamgar, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon—who appear only in brief notices, are designated “minor judges.” The thirteenth, Abimelech, is included in neither group, since his story is essentially a continuation of that of Gideon and his career is presented as deplorable, a cautionary tale of royal ambition.
· The final section of the book consists of two episodes, one about the migration of the tribe of Dan and the other about an intertribal war directed against the tribe of Benjamin. These stories illustrate the religious and political disorder that prevailed at the time when, as yet, “there was no king in Israel”.
JUNE 21 Wednesday
SUMMER SOLSTICE-YOGA DAY
Judges, Chapter 4, Verse 18
Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside with me; do not be AFRAID.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug.
This story doesn’t turn out well for Mr. Evil “Sisera” as God protects Israel from their enemies via women. We are now in the final stages of God’s covenant that is going to be completed via another woman, the mother of Christ.
· Israel turns away from God again. This time they're conquered by Jabin, the king of Canaan.
· Israel cries unto the Lord. Wait—haven't we seen this episode before?
· Luckily for them, God raises up an awesome judge: Deborah, a prophetess and the only female judge in the book. Girl power!
· Deborah tells Barak, an Israelite general, that God commands him to take 10,000 soldiers from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and attack Jabin's army. She promises that God will give them victory.
· Barak says he'll only go to battle if Deborah comes, and she does, but lets him know that it won't be him who kills Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army—it'll be a woman!
· Barak leads his 10,000 men against Sisera's army, including 900 chariots of iron.
· Barak's army kills every last one of Sisera's men—except for Sisera. He's hiding at his friend Heber's tent. Looks like things are about to get really in-tents.
· Heber's wife, Jael, goes out to meet Sisera, "and said unto him, turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not" (KJV 4:18). If your friend's wife ever says these words to you, run away.
· Sisera tells Jael not to tell anyone he's in the tent. "Sure, Siss. No problem," she says, tucking him into bed with some milk.
· After he drifts off to sleep, Jael "took a nail of the tent, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground" (KJV 4:21).
· And with that, Jabin was defeated. Ladies for the win!
Aids in Battle  pegging the Devil.
The Devil and I do struggle [God said to St. Bridget], in that we both desire souls as bridegrooms desire their brides. For I desire souls in order to give them eternal joy and honor.
· The Devil desires souls to give them eternal horror and sorrow.
· Great courage is required in spiritual warfare. ST. TERESA OF ÁVILA
· Draw near to God, and Satan will flee from you. ST. EPHRAEM THE SYRIAN
· To sin is human, but to persist in sin is devilish. ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA
· Repentance is returning from the unnatural to the natural state, from the Devil to God, through discipline and effort. ST. JOHN THE DAMASCENE
· Hence the Lord has said that he who has faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain by a word of command; that is, he can destroy the Devil’s dominion over us and remove it from its foundation. ST. MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR
· Do not oppose head-on the thoughts that the Enemy sows in your mind. Instead, cut off all conversation with them by prayer to God. ST. ISAAK OF SYRIA
The Summer Solstice marks the beginning of the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the North Pole is tilted towards the Sun at the highest degree of angle. Places in the Northern Hemisphere experience the longest hours of sunlight throughout the year on this day. The history of the Summer Solstice is rooted in both ancient mysticism and nature. This day takes place somewhere around June 20th or 21st each year.
Summer Solstice Facts
· On the Summer Solstice, the North Pole receives 24 hours of daylight, and the South Pole receives 24 hours of darkness.
· Solstice comes from the Latin words for "Sun" and "to stop."
· Many Native American tribes celebrated the Summer Solstice by holding "sun dances".
· On the summer solstice, the Earth's axis is tilted the most, up to 26°.
Summer Solstice Top Events and Things to Do
· Host a bonfire to celebrate the arrival of summer.
· Visit Stonehenge and take the Summer Solstice Tour.
· Go fishing - it is the longest fishing day of the year.
· Visit the polar circle and enjoy nearly 24 hours of daylight.
International Yoga Day
International Yoga Day celebrates yoga, an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice. Today, yoga, which originated in India, is one of the world's most popular pastime activities. In September of 2014, India’s Prime Minister proposed the establishment of an International Day of Yoga to promote international peace and cooperation. His request was granted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2014 in an effort to highlight the benefits of yoga to physical well-being and to world peace and development.
In a recent homily, Pope Francis reminded listeners that practices like yoga aren't capable of opening our hearts up to God. "You can take a million catechetical courses, a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things. But all of this will never be able to give you. freedom," he explained. While yoga was just one example offered among many, the Holy Father touched on a matter of great debate among faithful Catholics who happen to prefer this kind of exercise.
Can Catholics participate in yoga? The answer is a bit more nuanced than one might think. Catholics should not participate in any of the "spiritual" aspects associated with yoga, but technically can do the actual physical exercises. However, many people who practice yoga caution that it is often difficult, if not impossible, to separate the exercises from the meditations. For example, a common mantra repeated in yoga is "So'ham" that roughly translates to "I am the universal self". This focus on the self is contrary to the focus on God to which we are called. In the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: "Christian prayer... flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual privatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendental God" The Pope tells us that only the Holy Spirit can "move the heart" and make it "docile to the Lord, docile to the freedom of love". If we are seeking a zen-like peace from yoga meditation, then we are seeking peace from the wrong source.
But is it possible to combine exercise and prayer? Founders of SoulCore, a core workout that combines isometric exercises with praying the rosary, say that it is. Deanne Miller and Colleen Scariano explained that their new exercise movement is born from the desire to nourish both body and soul through exercise. Miller explained, "in our physical movement, when tied to prayer-strengthening from the inside-out-we are FULLY ALIVE." www.soulcoreproject.com
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO-I. THE CREEDS
185 Whoever says "I believe" says "I pledge myself to what we believe." Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith.
186 From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae normative for all. But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:
This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. and just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.
187 Such syntheses are called "professions of faith" since they summarize the faith that Christians profess. They are called "creeds" on account of what is usually their first word in Latin: credo ("I believe"). They are also called "symbols of faith".
188 The Greek word symbolon meant half of a broken object, for example, a seal presented as a token of recognition. the broken parts were placed together to verify the bearer's identity. the symbol of faith, then, is a sign of recognition and communion between believers. Symbolon also means a gathering, collection or summary. A symbol of faith is a summary of the principal truths of the faith and therefore serves as the first and fundamental point of reference for catechesis.
189 The first "profession of faith" is made during Baptism. the symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since Baptism is given "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", The truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.
190 and so the Creed is divided into three parts: "the first part speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation; the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men; the final part speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification." These are "the three chapters of our [baptismal] seal".
191 "These three parts are distinct although connected with one another. According to a comparison often used by the Fathers, we call them articles. Indeed, just as in our bodily members there are certain articulations which distinguish and separate them, so too in this profession of faith, the name "articles" has justly and rightly been given to the truths we must believe particularly and distinctly." In accordance with an ancient tradition, already attested to by St. Ambrose, it is also customary to reckon the articles of the Creed as twelve, thus symbolizing the fullness of the apostolic faith by the number of the apostles.
192 Through the centuries many professions or symbols of faith have been articulated in response to the needs of the different eras: the creeds of the different apostolic and ancient Churches, e.g., the Quicumque, also called the Athanasian Creed; The professions of faith of certain Councils, such as Toledo, Lateran, Lyons, Trent; or the symbols of certain popes, e.g., the Fides Damasi or the Credo of the People of God of Paul VI.
193 None of the creeds from the
different stages in the Church's life can be considered superseded or
irrelevant. They help us today to attain and deepen the faith of all times by
means of the different summaries made of it.
Among all the creeds, two occupy a special place in the Church's life:
194 The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is "the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith".
195 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed draws its great authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381). It remains common to all the great Churches of both East and West to this day.
196 Our presentation of the faith will follow the Apostles' Creed, which constitutes, as it were, "the oldest Roman catechism". the presentation will be completed however by constant references to the Nicene Creed, which is often more explicit and more detailed.
197 As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the "standard of teaching", let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe:
This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart's meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul.
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.
Protector of the Holy Church
· Always fight with the deep conviction that I am with you. Christians are to fight against all demonic tactics—resist!
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus