"Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make
your reward very great."
Ester, Chapter 4C, Verse 30
Ester has determined here that she must overcome fear and risk death to save her people. To enter the Kings Throne room without, being called by him, was a taboo of the Persian court and to violate it carried an immediate sentence of death. Ester determined that to save her people she must appear to the King and risk death for her people.
Queen Ester and Our Lady of Fatima
Queen Esther is in anguish because Haman, the wicked aide has convinced the King to issue an order to kill all the Jews in his Empire. Haman did this because Mordecai, Esther’s cousin who raised her as a daughter, would not bow down and prostrate himself as Haman passed as the King had ordered. The date set for destruction was the 13th of the month of Adar which corresponds to either our month of February. It is also the very day that the Maccabees liberated Israel after a four-year battle with the Seleucid Empire. Sister Lucia to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared died on this date. Our Lady of Fatima’s first appearance to the three shepherd children was May 13, 1917. Her last appearance was October 13,1917. On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt. He credits Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life.
Queen Esther clothed herself in sackcloth and ashes. She fasted from food and water for three days and asks the Jews to do the same. After the three days, she approached the King without being summoned. She did this even though she was aware that the King could have sentenced her to death for doing so. When the Queen enters into the King’s presence he extends his scepter thus sparing her life. He was so impressed by her courage and beauty that he promised her up to half of his kingdom. Instead, she invites him to two banquets and invites Haman – the man responsible for the order of the genocide of her people. At the second banquet she pleads for her life and the life of her people. The King is horrified by what Haman has done and orders him to be hung on the same gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Persian law did not permit the King to reverse his decree, but he issued another decree that the Jews could defend themselves. Instead of being destroyed, the Jewish people were saved and defeated their enemies in battle. The Jews celebrate this triumph each year as their Feast of Purim. It doesn’t always fall on the same day. In 2013, the Feast falls on February 24th.
Many see Queen Esther as a type of Mary and the Book of Esther as a type of the Apocalypse. A figure type is a person, place, thing or event foreshadowing a New Testament archetype (a perfect model or type). The New Testament archetype is always greater than its Old Testament figure type. For example, Jonah’s time in the belly of the great fish is a type of Jesus in the tomb. Moses is a type of Jesus. The Jewish people were saved through the intercession of Queen Esther, so Mary intercedes for her people today. The Apocalypse foretells a great persecution of Christians at the end of time, but the Book of Revelation speak about the Ark of the Covenant appearing in the sky and the Woman crushing the head of the dragon. (Revelation 12) When the Blessed Mother appeared at Fatima she wore the Star of Esther. In the Old Testament of the Hebrew text, her name was Hádássah - meaning myrtle, a white, five-pointed, star-shaped flower. In the Hebrew text, her name was Hádássah - meaning myrtle, a white, five-pointed, star-shaped flower.
Like Esther, Mary came at Fatima to spare her children from destruction. She asked people to repent of sin, pray the rosary, go to confession, and receive the Eucharist worthily. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady said to the child Lucia: “…I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated. ... In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and an era of peace will be granted to the world.” Had her requests been heeded the world would have been spared the horrors of World War II in which over 50 million people died and countless other wars and persecutions provoked by Communists throughout the world. In 1920, Russia was also the first country to legalize abortion. In 1913, Communist leader Vladimir Lenin demanded “the unconditional annulment of all laws against abortions or against the distribution of medical literature on contraceptive measures.” Great evils threaten our world. Sin increases. So many hearts are hardened. We need to call on Our Lady in prayer. Heed her requests at Fatima and Lourdes. Do penance, do the Five First Saturday devotion by going to confession, receiving the Eucharist, praying the rosary and meditating 15 minutes on the mysteries for five first Saturdays of the month in a row. Queen Esther asked her people to do pray and do penance with her. We must listen to the Blessed Mother today and ask her to intercede with her Son that he might spare us, our nation and our world.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day seeks to raise awareness of mental health illnesses while educating the population and mobilizing efforts to support mental health. Mental health, which includes a person's emotional, psychological and social well-being, has become increasingly important in recent decades as an estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In 1992, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) established World Mental Health Day in an effort to promote education and advocate for mental health sufferers. The Foundation aims to provide further awareness and assistance for those suffering from a wide range of mental disorders in the hopes of saving lives and increasing quality of life for these individuals. World Mental Health Day is celebrated annually on October 10th.
World Mental Health Day Facts & Quotes
· Depression can lead to suicide. More than 800,000 people worldwide take their own lives every year. Compare this to the 200,000 from COVID to get an idea of the problem.
· Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the world for individuals 15 to 44. Suicide rates have increased by 60% over the past 45 years.
· I used to think that the worst thing in like was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone. - Robin Williams, actor who committed suicide in 2014
World Mental Health Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Volunteer your time at an organization that works with child mental health. Depression is a growing concern among children and organizations such as Big Brothers and Sisters of America, Teen Mental Health, NAMI and Children's Mental Health can help you find a local area to help your youth.
· Watch a movie that touches on mental health issues or particular disorders. Some of our favorites are
Bipolar: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
2) Schizophrenia: A Beautiful Mind (2001)
3) OCD: As Good as It Gets (1997)
4) Suicide: The Virgin Suicides (1999)
5) Alzheimer's: Still Alice (2014)
6) Borderline Personality: Girl, Interrupted (1999)
7) Depression: Inside Out (2015)
8) Post Traumatic Stress: Jacob's Ladder (1990)
· Read a book about mental disorders. Some of our picks: The Bell Jar, Thirteen Reasons Why and All the Bright Places
your own mental well-being or that of someone you are close to.
- Are you always sad?
- Do you have suicidal thoughts?
- Do you feel that you have no reason to live?
· Visit a psychologist to discuss any problems that have overwhelmed you lately.
Keys to Healthier Mind Development
Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as the ability to monitor one’s own emotions, as well as those of other people, to discriminate between different emotions, and to label them appropriately. while applying EI, we are guiding our thinking and behavior with an educated focus on healthier mind development.
Emotional quotient (EQ) is a testing measurement of our ability to understand and apply our own minds emotionally. Although a comprehensive ambition, EQ testing is meant to reveal how well we have learned to manage the harmful and helpful effects of emotions for the purpose of facilitating healthful thoughts, communication, and behavior. Researchers now realize that emotional literacy helps to prevent and solve myriad problems that we experience in our personal and professional lives. The more we understand about our mind’s emotional component, the more valuable assets we possess as individuals-namely emotional stability, security, overall intelligence, and physical health, as well as our ability to treat other people and other things in healthier, more meaningful. Emotional intelligence is the secret to building healthier minds, getting the best out of life, and developing a behaviorally safer world. With the emotional state of the world today, emotional intelligence is our strongest hope for an optimistic future.
Epigenetics is a relatively new branch of genetics that has been heralded as the most important biological discovery since DNA. Until recently, it was believed you were stuck with the genes you were born with. But now it’s known that your genes get turned on and off and are expressed to greater or lesser degrees depending on lifestyle factors. Let’s take a look at what epigenetics is, how it works, and what you can do to improve your chances in the health lottery.
What Is Epigenetics?
The “epi” in epigenetics is derived from the Greek word meaning “above” or “over.” Epigenetics is defined as the study of any process that alters gene activity without changing the DNA sequence. More simply, it is the study of gene expression — how external factors turn genes on and off, and up and down. The Human Genome Project has identified 25,000 genes in human DNA. DNA is widely regarded as the code the body uses to build and rebuild itself. But genes themselves need instructions for what to do, and where and when to do it. Epigenetic modifications, also called “tags,” provide the instructions. Several of these tags have been discovered, but the two main ones involve methyl groups (made of carbon and hydrogen) and histones (a type of protein). To imagine how tags work, think of a gene as a lamp. Methyl groups act as an on-off switch that turn a gene on or off. Histones, on the other hand, act like a dimmer switch, regulating gene activity up or down. It’s thought that we have four million of these switches that are triggered by lifestyle and environmental factors.
Lifestyle Factors Affect Your Genes
Dr. Rudolph Tanzi is a professor of neurology at Harvard University Medical School and he states “You are not simply the sum total of the genes you were born with. You are the user and controller of your genes, the author of your biological story. No prospect in self-care is more exciting.” It means that you’re not at the mercy of your genetic makeup at birth. You actually have a great deal of control over your health and your future no matter what genetic hand you have been dealt. The field of epigenetics is in its infancy and there is still much to learn, but so far, the evidence shows that there are many fundamental lifestyle factors that can alter gene expression.
Not surprisingly, diet can affect the health of your DNA. A diet high in refined carbohydrates that promotes high blood glucose attacks your DNA. On the other hand, compounds like sulforaphane (found in broccoli), curcumin (turmeric), epigallocatechin gallate (green tea), and resveratrol (wine) can slow or potentially reverse DNA damage. Inadequate sleep also disrupts genetic activity. A team of researchers that included sleep science and genetics experts examined the influence of sleep on gene function and discovered that just a single week of insufficient sleep altered the activity of over 700 genes. It’s well accepted that physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and mental well-being. Now there’s evidence that physical exercise can positively affect gene expression. A recent study of the brains of elderly mice found 117 genes that were expressed differently in the brains of animals that ran regularly, compared to those that were sedentary. If you are interested in starting a program of fitness try the Iceman’s Universal Man Plan.
Stress, Relationships, And Thoughts
Not only do tangible factors like diet, sleep, and exercise affect your genes, so do intangibles like stress, your relationships with others, and your thoughts. One of the most powerful stress reduction techniques, mindfulness meditation, turns down the expression of pro-inflammatory genes thus reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation is an underlying cause of seven of the top ten leading causes of death including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. You might expect that you’d have to meditate for years to change gene expression sufficiently, but measurable changes have been observed in as little as eight hours of meditation. However, these effects were stronger in experienced meditators than in those new to the practice. Dr. Dawson Church is an award-winning author whose bestselling book, Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, has been hailed as a breakthrough in the field of epigenetics. In his book, Church cites over 400 scientific studies that show how intangibles like the expression of gratitude, acts of kindness, optimism, and mind-body healing techniques like the Emotional Freedom Technique positively affect the expression of genes. And just as in the meditation study, these epigenetic benefits were often experienced immediately. It’s not only positive habits that affect your genes though. So do the bad ones. Substance abuse, addictions, inactivity, malnutrition, and exposure to toxins negatively affect the way your genes express themselves. Researchers have found that emotional factors such as trauma and stress can activate harmful epigenetic changes.
There are numerous diseases thought to have an epigenetic component including asthma, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, immune disorders, kidney disease, glaucoma, muscular dystrophy, and pediatric syndromes as well as many psychiatric disorders including autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In 2008, the U.S. National Institutes of Health committed to investing $190 million into epigenetics research to hopefully find new and better ways to treat these diseases.
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
VI. The Paschal Banquet
1382 The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.
1383 The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. "For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?" asks St. Ambrose. He says elsewhere, "The altar represents the body [of Christ] and the Body of Christ is on the altar." The liturgy expresses this unity of sacrifice and communion in many prayers. Thus the Roman Church prays in its anaphora:
We entreat you, almighty God,
that by the hands of your holy Angel
this offering may be borne to your altar in heaven
in the sight of your divine majesty,
so that as we receive in communion at this altar
the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,
we may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace.
"Take this and eat it, all of you": communion.
1384 The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."
1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.
1386 Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea" ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed."). and in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:
O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas' kiss. But like the good thief I cry, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion each time they participate in the Mass. As the Second Vatican Council says: "That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended."
1389 The Church obliges the faithful "to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days" and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season. But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily.
1390 Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But "the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly." This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites.
The fruits of Holy Communion
1391 Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. the principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."
On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, "Christ is risen!" Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ.
1392 What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh "given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit," preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.
1393 Holy Communion separates us from sin. the body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins." For this reason, the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:
For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.
1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:
Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world.... Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.
1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. the more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin. the Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. the Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.
1396 The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? the bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:"
If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond "Amen" ("yes, it is true!") and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, "the Body of Christ" and respond "Amen." Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true.
1397 The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren:
You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,.... You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal.... God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful.
1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, "O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!" The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return.
1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. "These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy." A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."
1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders." It is for this reason that Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible for the Catholic Church. However, these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory."
1401 When, in the Ordinary's judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions.
Words of Wisdom from a Superman
Although he never planned it that way, Christopher Reeve became a hero for our time. His legacy of determination, commitment, compassion and courage continues to inspire men and women across the globe. Playing the role of Superman in the movies he became, to many of us, “The Man of Steel.” When a riding accident changed his life forever, we cried, and we worried… but somehow knew the super man within would prevail. And he did. The way he lived, and the amazing way he spoke about living, became a powerful source of motivation and inspiration for people living with paralysis and disabilities. His words have touched all our hearts. We share some of our favorite Christopher Reeve quotes.
· What is a Hero? "I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
· Once you choose hope anything is possible.
· "Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool, or you go out in the ocean."
· "If I can laugh, I can live."
"You've got to give more than you take."
Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Actor died on this date 2004