“Liturgical information courtesy of CatholicCulture.org”
Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks were known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."
Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Since the reorganization of the Roman calendar in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council, Ember Days are still retained in principle, but how and when they are to be observed is at the discretion of each country's Episcopal Conference. There is no longer set Mass readings for the Ember Days in the Ordinary Rite.
Another harvest feast is September 29, the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Before the revision of the calendar, this used to be only the feast of St. Michael. In many countries this day was referred to as "Michaelmas" and is celebrated with traditional foods and customs.
By Jennifer Gregory Miller, 2003.
The phenomenon of Christmas and Easter Catholics -- those who attend Mass only on the two greatest holy days of the year -- is often noted with a touch of horror by those who attend Mass every Sunday. Worse yet are those who come to church only to be "carried" (baptism), "married," and "buried."
But while we're often quick to point fingers at others, we tend to forget that proclaiming the Gospel, living the Faith, and believing in the truths that the Catholic Church teaches are the work of a lifetime. Simply showing up doesn't cut it. Pope Benedict reminds us that evangelization is an ongoing process. Some of the areas in which Christianity has been preached the longest are in the most desperate need of hearing the Gospel, and even those who still consider themselves Christians can lose sight of the truths of the Catholic Faith.
In recent years, surveys have shown that many who consider themselves faithful Catholics have begun to see what they receive in the Sacrament of Holy Communion as merely a symbol, and not the actual Body and Blood of Christ. But the entire Catholic sacramental worldview flows from the recognition that being a Christian means becoming part of the Body of Christ. If we regard the Host as mere bread, we have separated ourselves from Christ. As Christ Himself said (John 6:54), "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you."
If being a Christian is no longer a living faith but more like a box that we check on a census form, then we have lost the essence of what it means to be a Christian. While we are still indelibly marked by our baptism and confirmation, we cannot expect those sacraments alone to save us. As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we are called to preach the Gospel of Christ to all nations, but that first requires us to hear it, embrace it, and live it ourselves. As Pope Benedict notes, that is our true identity as Christians; anything less is just a label.
On the first day of the week, the Lord's Day, God assembles the beloved people to hear the word, to reflect upon it, to offer the living sacrifice of praise, and to eat and drink the banquet of the Lord. Then God sends them forth to proclaim this love by their words and actions.
Sunday is the original Christian feast day, following the tradition handed down from the apostles' time, for this was the day of the Lord's resurrection. Today's Christian communities continue this tradition by celebrating every Sunday as the day of the risen Lord.
Ordinary Time begins after the feast of the Baptism of Jesus and ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. During the Sundays of these weeks the readings are remembering the many aspects surrounding the life of Christ.
The Mass admits of limitless levels and layers of understanding. A richness of outward signs points to inward realities of grace; sensible symbols become gateways to the mystical realm. The Church wisely uses externals – words, gestures, and material things we can see, hear and smell – to surround the sacred mysteries that will sanctify her children.
With urgency, therefore, the Magisterium encourages us to participate fully and actively in the liturgical sacrifice: by coming to it with proper dispositions; by offering our lives with the sacrifice of Christ our High priest; by growing in our knowledge and appreciation of the Mass; and by leading our children, through instruction and example, to a deeper understanding and love of the faith and the liturgy.
There are few prayer forms that are as “kid-friendly” as the rosary. While an entire rosary might be too much for some kids, a decade of the rosary can be the perfect length for a short, yet meaningful family prayer time. Holding a sacred object is important to children, and the rosary provides that. Each of the 10 Hail Marys within a decade can be an opportunity to have different children lead by saying the first half of the prayer. Before each bead, family members can take turns offering a specific prayer intention.
Want a fun and simple way to bring the Sunday Mass readings alive? With just a few minutes’ preparation, your family can enjoy fun activities, discussion time and even a creative snack, but best of all, your family will remember the time spent together learning more about God.
Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light.
In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.
So, when you're down and out, and nothing else seems to be working, the prayer to St Jude is here for you.
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