Tuesday, May 28, 2024

 

SAINT BERNARD

Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 17

Do not deal unfairly with one another, then; but stand in FEAR of your God. I, the LORD, am your God. 

Fairness is a word that means physical beauty. In a sense God is asking us to not do those things that mar the physical beauty of another. This means is essence that we need to nourish each other and to give to share with other the gifts we receive from God. This means to respect each person as a person, physically, mentally, and emotionally; to provide for their welfare. One of the greatest ways we can honor our creator is in how we deal fairly with ourselves, our families, our friends, and those who we detest or are our enemies.

Christ gave us the ultimate example of fairness:

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots. (Luke 23:34)

Charity is an act of fairness and justice.

 In which you give the other their due[1]

Traditional Jews give at least ten percent of their income to charity.

·         Traditional Jewish homes commonly have a pushke, a box for collecting coins for the poor, and coins are routinely placed in the box. Jewish youths are continually going from door to door collecting for various worthy causes.

·         A standard mourner's prayer includes a statement that the mourner will make a donation to charity in memory of the deceased.

·         In many ways, charitable donation has taken the place of animal sacrifice in Jewish life: giving to charity is an almost instinctive Jewish response to express thanks to G-d, to ask forgiveness from G-d, or to request a favor from G-d.

·         According to Jewish tradition, the spiritual benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar actually does the giver a favor by giving a person the opportunity to perform tzedakah.

The Meaning of the Word "Tzedakah"

"Tzedakah" is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes.

·         The nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity. The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy.

·         The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness.

·         In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due.

The Obligation of Tzedakah

Giving to the poor is an obligation in Judaism, a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those who are themselves in need.

·         Tzedakah is the highest of all commandments, equal to all of them combined, and that a person who does not perform tzedakah is equivalent to an idol worshipper.

·         This is probably hyperbole, but it illustrates the importance of tzedakah in Jewish thought.

·         Tzedakah is one of the three acts that gain us forgiveness from our sins.

·         The High Holiday liturgy repeatedly states that G-d has inscribed a judgment against all who have sinned, but teshuvah (repentance), tefilah (prayer) and tzedakah can alleviate the decree. See Days of Awe.

·         According to Jewish law, we are required to give one-tenth of our income to the poor.

·         This is generally interpreted as one-tenth of our net income after payment of taxes.

·         Taxes themselves do not fulfill our obligation to give tzedakah, even though a significant portion of tax revenues in America and many other countries are used to provide for the poor and needy.

·         Those who are dependent on public assistance or living on the edge of subsistence may give less, but must still give to the extent they are able; however, no person should give so much that he would become a public burden.

·         The obligation to perform tzedakah can be fulfilled by giving money to the poor, to health care institutions, to synagogues or to educational institutions.

·         It can also be fulfilled by supporting your children beyond the age when you are legally required to, or supporting your parents in their old age.

·         The obligation includes giving to both Jews and gentiles; contrary to popular belief, Jews do not just "take care of our own." Quite the contrary, a study reported in the Jewish Journal indicated that Jewish "mega-donors" (who give more than $10 million a year to charity) found that only 6% of their mega-dollars went to specifically Jewish causes.

·         Judaism acknowledges that many people who ask for charity have no genuine need. In fact, the Talmud suggests that this is a good thing: if all people who asked for charity were in genuine need, we would be subject to punishment (from G-d) for refusing anyone who asked.

·         The existence of frauds diminishes our liability for failing to give to all who ask, because we have some legitimate basis for doubting the beggar's sincerity.

·         It is permissible to investigate the legitimacy of a charity before donating to it.

·         We have an obligation to avoid becoming in need of tzedakah.

·         A person should take any work that is available, even if he thinks it is beneath his dignity, to avoid becoming a public charge.

·         However, if a person is truly in need and has no way to obtain money on his own, he should not feel embarrassed to accept tzedakah.

·         No person should feel too proud to take money from others.

·         It is considered a transgression to refuse tzedakah. One source says that to make yourself suffer by refusing to accept tzedakah is equivalent to shedding your own blood.

Levels of Tzedakah

Certain kinds of tzedakah are considered more meritorious than others. The Talmud describes these different levels of tzedakah, and Rambam organized them into a list. The levels of charity, from the least meritorious to the most meritorious, are:

  1. Giving begrudgingly
  2. Giving less than you should but giving it cheerfully.
  3. Giving after being asked
  4. Giving before being asked
  5. Giving when you do not know the recipient's identity, but the recipient knows your identity.
  6. Giving when you know the recipient's identity, but the recipient doesn't know your identity.
  7. Giving when neither party knows the other's identity.
  8. ENABLING THE RECIPIENT TO BECOME SELF-RELIANT. (If only this was the goal of our politicians rather than steal from those who are self-reliant (work) to give to their supporters).

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION TWO-THE LORD'S PRAYER

Article 3-THE SEVEN PETITIONS

IV. "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

2828 "Give us": the trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. "He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." He gives to all the living "their food in due season." Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness.

2829 "Give us" also expresses the covenant. We are his and he is ours, for our sake. But this "us" also recognizes him as the Father of all men and we pray to him for them all, in solidarity with their needs and sufferings.

2830 "Our bread": the Father who gives us life cannot not but give us the nourishment life requires - all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists on the filial trust that cooperates with our Father's providence. He is not inviting us to idleness, but wants to relieve us from nagging worry and preoccupation. Such is the filial surrender of the children of God:

To those who seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, he has promised to give all else besides. Since everything indeed belongs to God, he who possesses God wants for nothing, if he himself is not found wanting before God.

2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. the drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord's Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.

2832 As leaven in the dough, the newness of the kingdom should make the earth "rise" by the Spirit of Christ. This must be shown by the establishment of justice in personal and social, economic and international relations, without ever forgetting that there are no just structures without people who want to be just.

2833 "Our" bread is the "one" loaf for the "many." In the Beatitudes "poverty" is the virtue of sharing: it calls us to communicate and share both material and spiritual goods, not by coercion but out of love, so that the abundance of some may remedy the needs of others.

2834 "Pray and work." "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you." Even when we have done our work, the food we receive is still a gift from our Father; it is good to ask him for it with thanksgiving, as Christian families do when saying grace at meals.

2835 This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: the Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.

2836 "This day" is also an expression of trust taught us by the Lord, which we would never have presumed to invent. Since it refers above all to his Word and to the Body of his Son, this "today" is not only that of our mortal time, but also the "today" of God.

If you receive the bread each day, each day is today for you. If Christ is yours today, he rises for you every day. How can this be? "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." Therefore, "today" is when Christ rises.

2837 "Daily" (epiousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repetition of "this day," to confirm us in trust "without reservation." Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life, and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence. Taken literally (epi-ousios: "super-essential"), it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us. Finally in this connection, its heavenly meaning is evident: "this day" is the Day of the Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come. For this reason, it is fitting for the Eucharistic liturgy to be celebrated each day.

The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive.... This also is our daily bread: the readings you hear each day in church and the hymns you hear and sing. All these are necessities for our pilgrimage.

The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven.

Apostolic Exhortation[2]

Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling

of The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Part II

II. Faith perceives what our senses fail to grasp.

49. Yet, faith can penetrate through the veil of our senses to help us see that every Holy Mass is truly an encounter with Jesus Christ. When Scripture is proclaimed and preached, it is Christ Himself who is speaking. To receive all these benefits and transforming effects of Holy Communion, faith is the first essential requirement.

50. In the Discourse on the Bread of Life in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of Saint John, many of the disciples reacted to Jesus’ claim by saying, “this teaching is difficult. Who can accept it?” After Jesus watched most of His disciples abandon Him, He turned to the Twelve apostles and asked, “Do you also want to leave?” Peter responded with faith, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:68). This teaching was not any easier for Peter. It would only become fathomable a year later for Peter and the other Apostles during the Last Supper when Jesus would take bread and wine into His hands, and totally change them into Himself as He said, “This is my body: take and eat,” and “This is the chalice of my blood: take and drink.” Peter knew that Jesus had the words of eternal life. He put his whole faith in Jesus’ words. He believed in Jesus’ difficult teaching on the Eucharist precisely because he believed in his Lord and God, basing his entire existence in the words of Jesus.

51. Today, in our own particular situation and circumstance, Jesus also turns to us and asks the same question: “Do you also want to leave?”. Like the disciples in Capernaum, many in our times have wandered spiritually away from Jesus in the Eucharist. Many Catholics have wandered away from the practice of Sunday Mass, focusing more on work, sports, sleep, or entertainment rather than the Lord. There are also those who are physically there but not with their faith. They may come to Mass but do not receive Jesus with faith, love, and reverence because they think that they are only receiving a symbol rather than God Himself who died for them. There are those who physically come to Mass, but their hearts cannot wait to leave Jesus’ presence. Indeed, the Eucharist is hard to believe! Thus, it is important for us to have patience and compassion for those whose faith is weak. Nevertheless, the call to faith is urgent.

To be continued

Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost? They are the twelve following:

1. Charity.

2. Joy.

3. Peace.

4. Patience.

5. Benignity.

6. Goodness.

7. Longsuffering.

8. Mildness.

9. Faith.

10. Modesty.

11. Continency.

12. Chastity.

These fruits should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.

Notice I have placed the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in stairstep fashion so we may reflect on them seeing that by concentrating on each step of our growth in the spirit we may progress closer and closer to our heavenly Father. Today we will be focusing on the eighth step which is Patience.

 

St. Bernard of Montjoux-Patron of Mountaineers[3]

 

Historically today is the feast of St. Bernard of Montjoux, an Italian churchman, founder of the Alpine hospices of Saint Bernard. He is most famous for the hospices he built on the summits of passes over the Alps. Many pilgrims from France and Germany would travel over the Alps on their way to Rome, but it was always a possibility that one would die from freezing along the way. In the 9th century a system of hospices had been attempted but had lapsed long before Bernard's time. Bernard's hospices in the 11th century were placed under the care of clerics and laymen and were well equipped for the reception of all travelers. A now-famous breed of dogs, known for its endurance in high altitude and cold, was named in honor of this saint. Bernard's life has been the focus of many romantic plays and stories. Many of us may remember childhood stories of St. Bernard’s dogs coming to the rescue of stranded or injured victims on Alpine slopes. The dogs almost always seem to have a cask of Brandy attached to their collars and when the victims were revived by a good drink the dogs would lead them to safety.

 

Things to Do

 

·         Read History of the Grand St Bernard pass for background.

·         If you like dogs, you might find this history of the Saint Bernard Dog interesting.

Candace’s Corner

Do the holy face devotion-Day 1-Tomorrow

Fairness is giving animals their due too this is “Responsible Animal Guardian Month”.

In honor of St. Bernard hike a mountain.

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300, Phoenix Mountain Preserve, Phoenix, Arizona, United States | AllTrails.com

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 Hard• Phoenix Mountain Preserve

Check out this 2.3-mile out-and-back trail near Phoenix, Arizona. Generally considered a challenging route. This is a very popular area for hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are October through May. You'll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren't allowed on this trail.

After the hike have a BBQ

·         National Brisket Day

·         National Burger Day!

After dinner have a brady in honor of St. Bernard and his dog.

Daily Devotions

·         Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Binding and suppressing the Devils Evil Works

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion

·         Pray Day 9 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops

·         Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary

 

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