SHEMINI ATZERET-GERMAN AMERICAN DAY
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Judith, Chapter 15, Verse 1-2
1 On hearing what had happened, those still in their tents were horrified. 2 Overcome with fear and dread, no one kept ranks any longer. They scattered in all directions, and fled along every path, both through the valley and in the hill country.
Judith even in the midst of the enemy camp demonstrates her piety and continues to keep Jewish dietary laws. When offered rich fair she refuses and continues in prayer. Every morning before dawn she leaves the camp to beseech the Lord. She keeps ritual purification and bathes in the spring of the camp. Judith for three days establishes this routine in the camp. She knows she must kill Holofernes before the 5th day when the rulers of the city promised to surrender. She pushes trust in Yahweh to its limits. On the 4th day she is invited by Holofernes to a banquet. She accepts prepares her weapon, her beauty and sallies forth to battle. The power of her beauty is immediately evident. Holofernes is overcome with desire. He drinks too much and lies drunk on the bed. All the guests depart thinking they are getting jiggy with it. They are alone. She prays and draws Holofernes own sword; asks for strength and strikes severing his head from his body. Judith calmly returns to her routine; wraps the head in a food pouch and goes out of the camp for prayer. She goes home and liberation is proclaimed. Victory now needs action. Judith acting as general hangs the head on the city wall and initiates a fake attack on the camp. The cry is heard in the camp of Holofernes: “A single Hebrew woman has brought disgrace on the house of King Nebuchadnezzar!” The troops are dismayed. They run back to Syria.
Building up the Kingdom
Scripture and the Church teach us that we have three divinely ordained purposes that give our lives meaning:
· Salvation — seeking to save our eternal souls and help save the souls of others (that salvation, the Church teaches, is God's free gift but requires our cooperation through faith in God, obedience to his commandments, and repentance of our grave sins).
· Service — using our God-given talents to build God's kingdom here on earth.
· Sanctity — growing in holiness.
The third of these life goals, sanctity, is central to building Catholic character. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says something that is stunning: "Be thou made perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). St. Gregory put it this way: "The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God." Scripture tells us, "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16). If we want to be like God, our vocation is to love. The essence of love is to sacrifice for the sake of another, as Jesus did. Love is self-gift. What, then, is our goal if we want to develop Catholic character in our children and ourselves? Look to the character of Christ: A life of self-giving.
The high goal of Christ-like character builds on a base of what the Church calls "natural virtues." Among the natural virtues that families and schools should nurture are the four advanced by the ancient Greeks, named in Scripture (Wis 8:7), and adopted by the Church as "the cardinal virtues": prudence, which enables us to judge what we should do; justice, which enables us to respect the rights of others and give them what they are due; fortitude, which enables us to do what is right in the face of difficulties; temperance, which enables us to control our desires and avoid abuse of even legitimate pleasures. These natural virtues are developed through effort and practice, aided by God's grace.
In order to develop a Christ-like character, however, we need more than the natural virtues. We also need the three supernatural, or "theological," virtues: Faith, Hope and Love.
1. Faith in God, which enables us to believe in God and the teachings of his church.
2. Hope in God, which leads us to view eternal life as our most important goal and to place total trust in God.
3. Love of God, which enables us to love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
The three theological virtues are considered supernatural because they come from God and have as their purpose our participation in God's divine life. As the Catechism (1813) teaches, the theological virtues are not separate from the natural virtues; rather, they "are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character." The Catholic writer Peter Kreeft points out, "The Christian is prudent, just, courageous, and self-controlled out of faith in God, hope in God, and love of God." The supernatural virtues, like the natural virtues, grow stronger through our effort and practice, in cooperation with God's grace.
Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Order of the Visitation, at Parayle-Monial, France; one day, when, according to her custom during the octave of Corpus Christi, she was deeply engaged in devotions before the Blessed Sacrament, the divine Savior appeared to her, showed her His Heart burning with love, and said: “Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this sacrament of love. And what is most painful to Me is that they are hearts consecrated to Me. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by communicating on that day and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered.”
The Supreme Lover
The Goodness of God means that God gives us what we need for our perfection, not what we want for our pleasure and sometimes for our destruction. As a sculptor, He sometimes applies the chisel to the marble of our imperfect selves and knocks off huge chunks of selfishness that His image may better stand revealed. Like a musician, whenever He finds the strings too loose on the violin of our personality, He tightens them even though it hurts, that we may better reveal our hidden harmonies. As the Supreme Lover of our soul, He does care how we act and think and speak. What father does not want to be proud of his son?
If the father speaks with authority now and then to his son, it is not because he is a dictator, but because he wants him to be a worthy son. Not even progressive parents, who deny discipline and restraint, are indifferent to the progress of their children. So long as there is love, there is necessarily a desire for the perfecting of the beloved. That is precisely the way God's goodness manifests itself to us. God really loves us and, because He loves us, He is not disinterested. He no more wants you to be unhappy than your own parents want you to be unhappy. God made you not for His happiness, but for yours, and to ask God to be satisfied with most of us as we really are, is to ask that God cease to love. — Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Shemini Atzeret (Hebrew: שמיני עצרת), means 'The eighth day break' or 'the eighth day of assembly'. It is celebrated preceding Simchat Torah and in some regions celebrated together with it. Services for this holiday often include a Geshem, prayer for rain.
Shemini Atzeret Facts
On Shemini Atzeret there used to be a gathering of all men for a hearing of the Torah at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Reference to this is made in the Biblical book of Nehemiah (verse 8:18). Shemini Atzeret is observed in Orthodox communities with candle lighting in the evening, Kiddush (sanctification over wine) and two challah breads. This is representative of all Jewish High Festivals and an evening and morning festive meal. Two Challah breads are used to commemorate the Sabbath in the wilderness. During this time Manna (edible substance that God provided for Israelites during time in the desert) fell from Heaven in a double portion on Friday, so that on the Sabbath day, the Israelites, did not need to perform the work of gathering Manna. Often an additional service after the morning service is held in Orthodox Synagogues. Hallel (Psalms with praise) is recited. Observant Jews do not work on this day. A popular prayer on Shmini Atzeret is called Yizkor, Remembrance. It serves to honor dead relatives. Even one of the happiest Jewish Holidays of the year, dead relatives (parents, siblings, spouses and children) are remembered. This helps remind that we would not be who we are and where we are without these people.
Shemini Atzeret Top Events and Things to Do
· Pray for Rain. Shemini Azeret and Simchat Torah is often accompanied by prayers for the rain. The holidays are in the autumn, which is a critical period in Israel for harvests.
· On Shmini Atzeret, it is customary for Orthodox Jews to spend an 'extra day with God' and postpone their return to work and to mundane tasks.
German American Day
German American Day celebrates German culture and heritage in the United States. This holiday also serves to remember 13 German families from Krefeld, Germany that fled religious oppression in Germany. On October 6th, 1683, these families established Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first distinctly German-American settlement. In the centuries that followed, more than seven million more German-speaking immigrants arrived on the shores of the US and as of 2010, over 20% of the US population claims German ancestry. In 1983, on the 300th anniversary of Germantown, President Ronald Reagan declared October 6th as German American Day. President Reagan officially declared German American Day four years later in 1987. Today, German American Day, a celebration of German culture, identity and heritage, is celebrated annually on October 6th.
German American Day Facts & Quotes
· The current population of Germantown, PA is 26,563 inhabitants.
· Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa are now home to the largest number of German descendants in the US.
· After the Second World War, around 375,000 Germans immigrated to the US. In the 50s and 60s alone, around 786,000 Germans immigrated to the US.
· Albert Einstein was a German immigrant, a Jew who opted to remain in the US when the Nazi party came to power in 1933.
· The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. - Albert Einstein
German American Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Read some popular stories by German writers including Hansel and Gretel, The Trial and The Man Without Qualities.
· Spend some time learning more about the religious oppression in Germany in 1683 in order to further understand why the founding 13 families fled the country and arrived in Philadelphia.
· Enjoy a glass of mulled wine. It is a common drink found at Christmas markets all through Germany.
· Enjoy a German movie. Some of our favorites: Victoria (2015), Land of Mine (2015) and Downfall (2004).
· Learn more about the Nazi Regime from WW2 in order to better understand how the population of German Americans grew so quickly around that time.
15 Qualities You Need to Develop Mental Toughness
Mental toughness is a huge indicator of success.
Here’s how to know if you’ve got it.
When Thomas Edison's factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing $23 million in damage, Edison's response was simple: "Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again." Edison's reaction is the epitome of mental toughness—seeing opportunity and taking action when things look bleak. There are habits you can develop to improve your mental toughness. In fact, the hallmarks of mentally tough people are actually strategies that you can begin using today.
1. Emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental toughness. You cannot be mentally tough without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong negative emotions and do something productive with them. Moments that test your mental toughness are ultimately testing your emotional intelligence (EQ). Unlike your IQ, which is fixed, your EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with understanding and effort. It's no wonder that 90 percent of top performers have high EQs, and that people with high EQs earn $28,000 more annually (on average) than their low-EQ counterparts. Unfortunately, EQ skills are in short supply. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people, and we've found that just 36 percent of these are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.
2. Confidence. "Whether you think you can or think you can't—you're right." —Henry Ford. Mentally tough people subscribe to Ford's notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed. This notion isn't just a motivational tool—it's a fact. A recent study at the University of Melbourne showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than others did. True confidence—as opposed to the false confidence people project to mask their insecurities—has a look all its own. Mentally tough people have an upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because their confidence inspires others and helps them to make things happen.
3. The ability to neutralize toxic people. Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their emotions and don't allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person's standpoint and are able to find common ground and solutions to problems. Even when things completely derail, mentally tough people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.
4. Knowing how to embrace change. Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur. Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you're going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates. You're bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
5. Saying no. Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Mentally tough people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem and foresight to make their no’s clear. When it's time to say no, mentally tough people avoid phrases such as "I don't think I can" or "I'm not certain." They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. The mentally tough also know how to exert self-control by saying no to themselves. They delay gratification and avoid impulsive actions that cause harm.
6. Knowing that fear is the No. 1 source of regret. Mentally tough people know that, when all is said and done, they will lament the chances they didn't take far more than they will their failures. Don't be afraid to take risks. I often hear people say, "What's the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?" Yet, death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you're still alive. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.
7. Embracing failure … Mentally tough people embrace failure because they know that the road to success is paved with it. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure. By revealing when you're on the wrong path, your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed. The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you're feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It's this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box, and to see the solution that you've been missing.
8. … Without dwelling on mistakes. Mentally tough people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you're facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy, which produces positive emotions and improves performance.
Mentally tough people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.
9. Refusing to let anyone limit your joy …When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction is derived from comparing yourself with others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When mentally tough people feel good about something they do, they won't let anyone's opinions or accomplishments take that away from them. While it's impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don't have to compare yourself with others, and you can always take people's opinions with a grain of salt. Mentally tough people know that regardless of what people think of them at any particular moment, one thing is certain—they're never as good or bad as people say they are.
10. … And not limiting the joy of others. Mentally tough people don't pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don't need to take other people down a notch to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself with other people is limiting. Jealousy and resentment suck the life right out of you; they're massive energy-stealers. Mentally tough people don't waste time or energy sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up. Instead of wasting your energy on jealousy, funnel that energy into appreciation. When you celebrate the success of other people, you both benefit.
11. Exercising. A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually, and athletically competent. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, which is key to mental toughness, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.
12. Getting enough sleep. It's difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your mental toughness. When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you're awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you're asleep, so when you don't get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix. Mentally tough people know that their self-control, focus, and memory are all reduced when they don't get enough—or the right kind—of sleep, so they make quality sleep a top priority.
13. Limiting caffeine intake. Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you but not so great when life throws you a curve. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine's long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. Mentally tough people know that too much caffeine is trouble, and they don't let it get the better of them.
14. Not waiting for an apology to forgive. Mentally tough people know that life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never say they're sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today's happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life. The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body and holding on to stress can have devastating consequences (both physically and mentally). When you forgive someone, it doesn't condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.
15. Being relentlessly positive. Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time, and you'll see that it's just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It's easy to think the world is headed downhill fast. And who knows? Maybe it is. But mentally tough people don't worry about that because they don't get caught up in things they can't control. Instead of trying to start a revolution overnight, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power--their attention and their effort.
Bringing it all together.
Mental toughness is not an innate quality bestowed upon a select few. It can be achieved and enjoyed.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE-THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION
Article 3-THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST
II. What is This Sacrament Called?
1328 The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called: Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. the Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim - especially during a meal - God's works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.
1329 The Lord's Supper, because of
its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the
eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in
the heavenly Jerusalem.
The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meat when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, above all at the Last Supper. It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him.
The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church.
1330 The memorial of the Lord's
Passion and Resurrection.
The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering. the terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, "sacrifice of praise," spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.
The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. the Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.
1331 Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta) - the first meaning of the phrase "communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed - the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality, viaticum....
1332 Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.
St. Josemaria Escriva was born in 1902 at Barbastro Spain. He was ordained in Saragossa in 1925 and by divine inspiration founded Opus Dei which opened a new way for the faithful to sanctify themselves in the midst of the world. He died on June 26, 1975, and was canonized a saint on October 6, 2002.
Work, family life, and the ordinary events of each day are opportunities for drawing close to Christ, and making Him known to others. As the Second Vatican Council taught, every baptized person is called to follow Christ closely, by living according to the Gospel and making its teachings known to others. The aim of Opus Dei is to contribute to that evangelizing mission of the Church, by fostering among Christians of all social classes a life fully consistent with their faith, in the middle of the ordinary circumstances of their lives and especially through the sanctification of their work. The following are some of the main features of the spirit of Opus Dei:
· “Divine filiation is the foundation of the spirit of Opus Dei,” said its founder, Saint Josemaría Escrivá. A Christian is a child of God by virtue of baptism. Thus the formation provided by the Prelature seeks to foster among the Christian faithful a deep awareness of their being children of God, and helps them act accordingly. It fosters confidence in divine providence, simplicity in their dialogue with God, a deep awareness of the dignity of each human being and of the need for fraternity among all people, a truly Christian love for the world and for all human realities created by God, and a sense of calm and optimism.
· Ordinary life. “It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind,” said Saint Josemaría. The family, marriage, work – all of our activities – are opportunities for drawing close to and imitating Jesus, trying to practice charity, patience, humility, diligence, integrity, cheerfulness, and all the other human and Christian virtues.
· Sanctifying work means to work with the spirit of Christ, to work competently and ethically, with the aim of loving God and serving others, and thus to sanctify the world from within, making the Gospel present in all activities whether they be outstanding or humble and hidden. In the eyes of God what matters is the love that is put into work, not its human success.
· Prayer and sacrifice. The formation given by Opus Dei encourages prayer and sacrifice in order to sustain the effort to sanctify one’s ordinary occupations. Thus members strive to incorporate into their lives certain practices of Christian piety, such as prayer, daily Mass, sacramental confession, and reading and meditating on the Gospel. Devotion to our Lady occupies an important place in their hearts. Also, in striving to imitate Christ, they try to acquire a spirit of penance by offering up small sacrifices, particularly those that help them fulfill their duties faithfully and make life more pleasant for others, such as renouncing small pleasures, fasting, almsgiving, etc.
· Unity of life. Saint Josemaría explained that Christians working in the world should not live “a kind of double life. On the one hand, an interior life, a life of union with God; and on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life.” On the contrary: “There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God.”
· Freedom. The members of Opus Dei are ordinary citizens who enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same obligations as any other citizen. In their professional, family, political, financial or cultural activities, they act with freedom and personal responsibility, not involving the Church or Opus Dei in their decisions, nor presenting those decisions as the only Catholic solutions. This implies respecting the freedom and the opinions of others.
· Charity. To meet Christ is to find a treasure that one cannot stop sharing. Christians are witnesses to Jesus and spread his message of hope among their companions, with their example and their words. “Side by side with our colleagues, friends and relatives and sharing their interests, we can help them come closer to Christ,” wrote Saint Josemaría. The wish to make others know Christ, which is a direct consequence of charity (that is, love of God above all things and of one’s neighbor as oneself), cannot be separated from the desire to contribute to finding solutions to the material needs and social problems of one’s surroundings.
o –––Brodo Apostolorum
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
The Collegeville Bible Commentary, 1986.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.