Saturday, November 25, 2023

 

Book of Job Introduction[1]

Ever notice that the guy in front of you always gets the last apple fritter at Starbucks? On a Monday morning? When you skipped dinner the night before? And why does the subway train always leave just as you get through the turnstile? Does it know that you're already running late and it just wants to spite you? Why do you always get stuck in the middle seat on planes, no matter how far in advance you book? And why does the lady next to you always forget to wear deodorant that day? And, why oh why didn't you take the blue pill? The Book of Job deals with these exact issues. Well, not these exact issues, but the millennia-ago versions. If you think about it, these questions really get to the heart of most religious thought. If you believe in a righteous force that governs the universe, then why isn't activity on earth righteous? And didn't God say that the righteous would be rewarded and the wicked punished with fire? So why didn't you get your stinkin' apple fritter? Job is a nice guy who's been doing pretty well for himself out on the ranch—he's got a wife, some kids, and enough sheep to last him a lifetime. Then, suddenly, he loses it all. Does he whine and complain? No. He takes it one step further: he calls out God for letting all this misery happen to a righteous man. Yes, that's right—he calls God's bluff. We know you're ready to read it, so go ahead. And the next time you're asking "why me?" just remember—Job was there first.

Why Should I Care?

Did you know that the Andromeda Galaxy is eventually going to collide with the Milky Way? Pretty nuts. How do we know this? Um, it's obvious: humans know everything. We mean, really. If we know about things that are 2.5 million light years away, there can't be anything we don't know…right? Wrong. Job learns that he can't ask the universe for justice because he doesn't know how the universe works. And as much as we know about the mechanics of the world millennia after Job's time, we still have questions galore. Whether you're a priest or a scientist—or both—you'll agree: we can't know everything. Thanks, Job.

 

NOVEMBER 25 Saturday

ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA

 

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

 

Job, Chapter 1, Verse 1

In the land of Uz there was a blameless and upright man named Job, who FEARED God and avoided evil.

 

Can a man be blameless and upright and yet not be filled with self-pride? Job teaches us that we need to be all in with God.

 

Four Lessons of Job[2]

  1. Believe with all your heart in the absolute sovereignty of God. Pray that God would give you that conviction.
  2. Believe with all your heart that everything he does is right and good. Pray that God will give you that assurance.
  3. Repent of all the times you have questioned God or found fault with him in the way he has treated you. Pray that God would humble you to see these murmurings as sinful.
  4. Be satisfied with the holy will of God and do not murmur.

St. Catherine of Alexandria 

The account of her martyrdom is legendary and defies every attempt to cull out the historical kernel. Old Oriental sources make no mention of her. In the West her cult does not appear before the eleventh century, when the crusaders made it popular. She became the patroness of philosophical faculties; she is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers." The breviary offers the following: 

Catherine, virgin of Alexandria, devoted herself to the pursuit of knowledge; at the age of eighteen, she surpassed all her contemporaries in science. Upon seeing how the Christians were being tortured, she went before Emperor Maximin (311-313), upbraided him for his cruelty, and with convincing reasons demonstrated the need of Christian faith in order to be saved. Astounded by her wisdom, the Emperor ordered her to be kept confined, and having summoned the most learned philosophers, promised them magnificent rewards if they could confound the virgin and turn her from belief in Christ. Far from being successful, a considerable number of the philosophers were inflamed by the sound reasons and persuasiveness of Catherine's speech with such a love for Jesus Christ that they declared themselves willing to offer their lives for the Gospel. 

Then the Emperor attempted to win her by flattery and by promises, but his efforts proved equally fruitless. He ordered her whipped with rods, scourged with leaden nodules, and then left to languish eleven days without food in prison. The Emperor's wife and Porphyrius, general of the army, visited Catherine in prison; her words brought both to Christ and later they too proved their love in blood. Catherine's next torture consisted of being placed upon a wheel with sharp and pointed knives; from her lacerated body prayers ascended to heaven and the infernal machine fell to pieces. Many who witnessed the miracle embraced the faith. Finally, on November 25 Christ's servant was beheaded (307 or 312). By the hands of angels her body was carried to Mt. Sinai, where it was interred in the convent which bears her name. 

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch. 

Patron: Apologists; craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters; spinners; etc.); archivists; attorneys; barristers; dying people; educators; girls; jurists; knife grinders; knife sharpeners; lawyers; librarians; libraries; maidens; mechanics; millers; nurses; old maids; philosophers; potters; preachers; scholars; schoolchildren; scribes; secretaries; spinners; spinsters; stenographers; students; tanners; teachers; theologians; turners; unmarried girls; wheelwrights. 

Things to Do:

  • St. Catherine was invoked by young girls seeking husbands. If you have children, you could use this feast to discuss the qualities of a good spouse. You could bake St. Catherine's wigs and have your discussion as part of the fun (a spoon full of sugar).
  • Read more about St. Catherine.
  • St. Catherine's remains are in St. Katherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai. The Monastery, a 1,600-year-old fortress at the base of Mt. Sinai, is inhabited by Coptic monks (not in union with Rome). Inside the chapel is believed to be the Burning Bush, through which God first appeared to Moses. Read more about the history of the Church of Alexandria and the Council of Chalcedon where the Coptic Church broke from the bark of Peter and pray for the reunion of all Eastern Churches under the Pope.

Small Business Saturday

 

Small Business Saturday serves to support and promote small and local businesses.  Small businesses are an important part of the American economy, providing 66% of all new jobs and accounting for 54% of all US sales.

Small Business Saturday was created by the American Express Corporation.  Small Business Saturday was first held on November 27, 2010 with help from American Express' advertising campaigns to support the day. The following year, in 2011, political figures such as President Obama, voiced their support for Small Business Saturday.  Since then, Small Business Saturday has been observed annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

 

Small Business Saturday Top Events and Things to Do

  • Do your daily or holiday shopping a local or small business to support your community.
  • Watch a movie about entrepreneurship and general business. Building a business from an idea, into a small business and perhaps into something larger is difficult. Our recommendations: The Wolf of Wallstreet, The Pursuit of Happiness, Jerry Maguire, The Social Network and You've Got Mail
  • Participate in Small Business Saturday as a business owner or encourage those you know who own small business to participate.  American Express provides material online to further assist small businesses with business promotion for the day.
  • Take a look on Groupon for some local deals. Groupon always offers deals to small local businesses.
  • Contribute to a local cause and donate to a small non-profit organization within your community. Many of these organizations organize activities for local children or help those in your community who are most in need.
  • Check these small businesses.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

§  PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY

§  SECTION TWO THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

§  CHAPTER FOUR OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS

§  Article 1 SACRAMENTALS

1667 "Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy."

The characteristics of sacramentals

1668 Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man. In accordance with bishops' pastoral decisions, they can also respond to the needs, culture, and special history of the Christian people of a particular region or time. They always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign, such as the laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, or the sprinkling of holy water (which recalls Baptism).

1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a "blessing," and to bless. Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).

1670 Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church's prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. "For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God."

Various forms of sacramentals

1671 Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father "with every spiritual blessing." This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.

1672 Certain blessings have a lasting importance because they consecrate persons to God, or reserve objects and places for liturgical use. Among those blessings which are intended for persons - not to be confused with sacramental ordination - are the blessing of the abbot or abbess of a monastery, the consecration of virgins, the rite of religious profession and the blessing of certain ministries of the Church (readers, acolytes, catechists, etc.). The dedication or blessing of a church or an altar, the blessing of holy oils, vessels, and vestments, bells, etc., can be mentioned as examples of blessings that concern objects.

1673 When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. the solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. the priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.

Popular piety

1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. the religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc.

1675 These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it. They "should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some way derived from it and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any of them."

1676 Pastoral discernment is needed to sustain and support popular piety and, if necessary, to purify and correct the religious sense which underlies these devotions so that the faithful may advance in knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Their exercise is subject to the care and judgment of the bishops and to the general norms of the Church.

At its core the piety of the people is a storehouse of values that offers answers of Christian wisdom to the great questions of life. the Catholic wisdom of the people is capable of fashioning a vital synthesis.... It creatively combines the divine and the human, Christ and Mary, spirit and body, communion and institution, person and community, faith and homeland, intelligence and emotion. This wisdom is a Christian humanism that radically affirms the dignity of every person as a child of God, establishes a basic fraternity, teaches people to encounter nature and understand work, provides reasons for joy and humor even in the midst of a very hard life. For the people this wisdom is also a principle of discernment and an evangelical instinct through which they spontaneously sense when the Gospel is served in the Church and when it is emptied of its content and stifled by other interests.

Daily Devotions/Practice

·         Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The sanctification of the Church Militant.

·         Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary


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