In the past I think I’ve mentioned Scapulars, the brown one is the most common. The scapular comes from the monastic scapular which started as like an apron and is mentioned in the Rule of Benedict, as time has progressed the scapular has become a part of the habit of many monks and nuns. It is typically the outer most layer and goes from shoulder to shoulder and often covers the front and back. This is often described as the yoke of Christ and shows obedience. In the Middle Ages this was made smaller and the oblates (monks and nuns in society wore them), this lead to the development of the third orders where lay faithful would follow the Rule of the order and support them. These individuals would sometimes wear a tertiary habit like a scapular and overtime it became a high honor and great privilege to be granted a small cloth attached by bands which one wore over the torso. This is the basic devotional article which we have today.
The most common of the scapulars is the Brown one of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it is worn by the Carmelites and by a great many of people around the world. The Vatican recognizes many different color scapulars, Brown, White, Blue, Red, Black and there are even some scapulars that combine the other scapulars together into one. As Our Lady of Fatima told the Children “The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable.” This is why it is important, if you don’t wear a scapular it isn’t that bad it is just another devotional aid that people use. If it is at all possible make an effort to try to lead a more spirit filled life, by adding praying the Rosary or wearing a scapular.
This week the readings come from the Prophet Isaiah 66:10-14c; Psalm 66; Paul’s letter to the Galatians 6:14-18 and Luke’s gospel 10:1-12, 17-20.
This week we hear Jesus commission his 70/72 followers to go out saying “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” he continues saying “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” The world is a tough place but we are sent out in pairs now these were the apostles and disciples who were sent out. We should feel like this commissioning is spoken to us as well today as it is the same today as it was back then, the world is like a pack of wolves and we are the sheep. Let us go out proclaiming that the Kingdom is at hand bringing only ourselves and accepting the kindness of other for places to stay and food to eat. This is what the mendicants do to this day, they beg for their daily bread and funding. If we have the resources let us offer some help to some religious order. Let’s be willing to follow this mission and remember what Jesus says in verse 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” This is how we should be approaching the world accepting the help of others and if we don’t get any leave and try someplace else.
“Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service, that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
Today we turn our focus on all those who we often forget about, the priests and the men and women religious. Perhaps we could pray for an increase in religious vocations. These men and women have an important role as many have taken a role in education others in health care. Many of the Saints are religious men and women so we can look to them and those living as examples of how to live our lives.
Stephen Nehmé (March 1889 – 30 August 1938)
Stephen was born Joseph Nehmé in Lebanon and was the youngest of seven children. In 1905 he joined a Maronite monastery and stayed for the rest of his life doing the manual labor in the fields and gardens, as well as in carpentry and construction. When he took his monastic vows he adopted the name Stephen. Stephen used to chant the mantra “God can see me.” In 1951 his body was reported as being incorrupt and in 2010 he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.
Jeanne Jugan or, Sister Mary of the Cross, L.S.P., (October 25, 1792 – August 29, 1879)
Jeanne Jugan is a marvelous saint who cared for the elderly poor. She founded the Little Sister of the Poor and the mission continues all these year later. I’ve gone on about Jugan in the past but the Little Sisters are a begging order and they continue to go out asking for help for the care of the elderly poor. Jugan’s order has grown to one of the largest communities in the world caring for the aged.
As we being the month of September the Eastern Orthodox begins a new Liturgical year.
September 2 officially marks the end of World War II as it is the day that Japan signed terms of surrender although August 14\15 was the date it was formally announced as happening.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, MC, (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997)
Mother Teresa is another Blessed but I think that most people know who she is as she did a lot in service of the poor primarily children. However it is also the International Day of Charity, the UN chose the day primarily because of Mother Teresa, International Day of Charity is to raise awareness and provide a platform for charity related activities around the globe for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations for their own purposes on the local, national, regional and international level. There were rumors earlier this year that in 2016 Teresa was going to be canonized but there hasn’t been official word from the Vatican about this happening, perhaps because it is a whole year away. Hopefully, Teresa will be canonized at least before 2017.
We begin this week by commemorating two horrible thing today is The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition as well as Black Ribbon Day (European Day of Remembrance for Stalinism and Nazism), these were the horrible faults of the past two centuries and we should remember then more than we do. In the United States you can still see some of the problems that have long simmered in regards with slavery in the culture today look at the recent uproar about the Confederate Battle Flag and the whole “Black Lives Matter” movement. The horrors of Communist and Nazi regimes are languishing in congress It had 48 cosponsors and still got no where. it was originally introduced in 2013 but it didn’t go anywhere so it was reintroduced and it basically hasn’t moved since, this is a shame that they can’t get this to move forward since although American were not directly impacted by the Communists or Nazis, however with American being the melting pot or salad as it is there are people from all over who might have been.
Later on in the week we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, sure this is a purely American event as it remembers the passage of the 19th Amendment which granted women the vote in the United States. It would be wonderful if there was more equality for women in the world today as we are currently in the third wave of feminism where the focus has shifted to include the problems of non-white and queer women.
Monica of Hippo (331 – 387)
Monica is the mother of Augustine and is a reminder of the role of the mother on the spiritual development of their children.
Moses the Black (330–405)
I was introduced to Moses the Black through Jason Bach Cartoons. Moses was one of the Desert Fathers. He started life as a robber but by chance he came to the monastery at Sketes and was enthralled by the monks life. From what I’ve read about him Moses was the muscles of the monastery as one time robbers came and Moses fought back and then brought them to the praying monks since it wouldn’t be Christians to hurt these individuals. The robbers repented and joined the monks. Moses is one saint to read up on.
Mariam Baouardy, OCD, or Mary of Jesus Crucified, (5 January 1846 – 26 August 1878)
Mariam is one of the latest canonized Saints in the Church. She was a discalced Carmelite who was a Melkite Greek Catholic, an Eastern Catholic and is only the second Greek Catholic to be canonized. She is another interesting saint that you should read up on as she is known for her service to the poor while refusing forced conversion to Islam, she also had stigmata.
Virginia Dare (16 August 1587-?)
Virginia was the first born colonist in the Roanoke Colony, and that’s about all we definitely know about her. This year is her 428th anniversary of her birth. Being a part of the Lost Colony is about all we really know about all 115 some people who were apart of the expedition. However this might be changing as recently there has been some positive results as they have found some pottery and other artifacts at two location as to possible location the colony moved to. Will we ever really know what happened I doubt it but with all the advances in technology we’ve got to be able to find something more about this. Most scholars tend to believe that the colonists were assimilated into the native population.
National Aviation Day falls on August 19th in the United States and is on Orville Wright’s birthday since the Wright brothers arguably invented the whole industry, although without Glenn Curtiss and his engines I doubt that the industry would be the same.
This week we have another Marian feast the Queenship of Mary is celebrated on August 22. The feast was introduced by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Ad Caeli Regiam, look for that this October. Pius had the feast at the end of Mary but it was moved by Paul VI to the octave of the Assumption in order to emphasize the close bond between Mary’s queenship and her glorification in body and soul next to her Son
Roch or Rocco (lived c. 1348 – 15/16 August 1376/79 although traditionally c. 1295 – 16 August 1327)
Roch has a unique name and that’s the real reason I chose him. Rocco was born in the Kingdom of Majorca and died in back in his hometown or some indicate that he died in Lombardy. Roch’s whole life seems like a cut and paste job of how to become a Saint, his mother was barren until she prayed to Mary. Roch was born with a red cross on his chest which grew with him, and he would fast just like his mother from an early age. Both of his parents died by the time he turned twelve and Roch distributed all his possessions to the poor, like Francis. He came to Italy during he plague and only survived it thanks in part to a dog who would bring Roch bread and lick his wounds. He went back to his home town but was arrested as a spy by his Uncle and Roch died in prison. Roch is an interesting Saint and is the patron of dogs, falsely accused people, is invoked against plague, and some other things too.
I found a radio drama of one of the best science fiction books. If you haven’t read this book it might be that time to get around to reading it or perhaps even just listening to this radio drama. I read this book a couple year ago and it is an interesting book as it looks at the future and the present of the Church, as it is set in the future it does a bit with the world and how it relates with the world. If you want to read more, check out what I had to say about it.
This week there are a bunch of random observances to start off the Summer Solstice happens as well as International Surfing Day, International Yoga Day, World Music Day, Go Skateboarding Day, World Humanist Day, and World Hydrography Day. Talk about a busy day after surfing, skateboarding and doing yoga we need to listen to music and reflect on hydrographers as well as Humanists. These are not even the weirdest of observances this week as there are some stranger oddly more specific days Global Wind Day on June 15 when wind energy is celebrated; World Day to Combat Deforestation and Drought on the 17th; and I think the most bizarre day World Sauntering Day on the 19th when we are encouraged to take it easy, slow down and stop to smell the roses.
Bloomsday is also this week made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses, which takes place on June 16. Ulysses tells of the adventures that Leopold Bloom’s journey on June 16th, This is why it is called Bloomsday, this day has made its way into The Producers at least the musical version as the character Leo Bloom asks when is it going to Leo Bloom’s Day on June 16.
Marina the Monk (died 19 July 750 AD)
This has to be one of the better Saint stories out there. Marina was the daughter of wealthy Christian parents, her mother died while she was young and her father raised Marina. When she got to marrying age her father decided that after Marina was married he would become a monk at the Monastery of Qannoubine in the Kadisha Valley , when Marina heard this she asked why he was going “to save his own soul and destroy mine?” Her father asked her what about you, since you are a woman. At this Marina renounced being a woman and would wear the clothing of a monk. So Marina and her father set off for the Kadisha Valley, where they shared a cell. After ten years her father died and no one knew that she was a woman. Once the Abbot sent Marina and two other monks to do some business which was far from the monastery, so they stayed at an inn that evening. Also staying at the inn was a solider who became infatuated and raped the innkeeper’s daughter, and the solider told the daughter to say that it was Marina who had done it. When the inn keeper found out he went to the Abbot and was furious about what had happened. The Abbot called Marina and reprimanded her severely, when she realized what was happening she started weeping admitted the sin and asked for forgiveness. Marina was told to leave, she didn’t go far as she was at the gates for the next ten year where she raised the innkeeper’s daughter’s child. The monks wore down the abbot and let Marina back into the monastery where hard labor was added to her regular monk duties. Around the age of 40 she became sick and died three days later. When a monk was cleaning and changing her for funeral prayers they discovered that the monk was a woman. The abbot when seeing the body wept bitterly, he then in turn brought the innkeeper who also wept and eventually after Marina was buried the solider and the innkeeper’s daughter came and admitted what had happened, asking for forgiveness and wept as well.
This week there is a cacophony of events on the 25th. Geek Pride Day is a simplification of the event as it honors the original release of Star Wars, is Towel Day, as well as the Glorious 25th of May. Towel Day is the day when fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy carry around towels as they are of utmost importance in the world. It is also the Glorious revolution in the Discworld book by Pratchett. It is a unique day as it seems like everyone is in some sort of geek fandom. It’s a catch all day to honor all of “geek culture” although in recent years it seems that has basically turned into mainstream culture. As if you’ve seen a movie recently it most likely was based on a comic book.
There are two interesting Saints this week was well.
Augustine of Canterbury (first third of the 6th century – probably 26 May 604)
Augustine is the guy who brought Christianity to England. Augustine was a Benedictine prior in Rome who was chosen by Pope Gregory the Great for a mission to make King Aethelberht of Kent who had just married a Christian princess a Christian. Augustine’s mission was successful and Aethelberht converted many others were baptized en mass on Christmas in 597. In Canterbury, Aethelberht donated some land for a monastery and eventually a cathedral was built. This is why the Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Church of England, it was the first place established. Augustine would start two more diocese in England in London and Rochester all of these would eventually become a part of the Church of England. The Catholic Church main cathedral of England is in the Archdiocese of Westminster, roughly the same thing as the Diocese of London.
Quadratus of Athens (d. 129)
Quadratus is from Greece, the Eastern Church count him as one of the 70 apostles and is perhaps the first Apologists at least according to Eusebuis. That’s about all that we known.
Mother Teresa is finally going to be canonized. Mother Teresa and John Paul II are perhaps the most well known holy people in the past 50 years so it is about time that she is named a Saint. Mother Teresa will be canonized sometime in September 2016 about 19 years after she died this is rather quick for sainthood.
Beer: There is a cool video about the Trappist monks in Spencer. The Spencer Trappists are the only monastics in America who brew beer. Beer brewing is one of the long standing traditional things that monks did. In Europe this is huge thing and it is often considered some of the better beer in the world. Typically in American monks would be making fruitcake, fudge, cheese balls or something like that so the Spencer Trappist are really doing a good thing, I’ve read that a Trappist community in California has winery. It this trend continues it would be cool if like the Trappists in Kentucky started distilling. So many of the monastic orders in America are educational that having some monks that make things is pretty cool.