A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Samvatsari (International Forgiveness Day for Jains, Kshama Yachna Divas apology-seeking day, Ahimsa Divas non-violence day, Daya Divas kindness day). Jain festival in Gujarat on the last day of Paryushana (to stay in one place), the holiest festival for the Shwetambara sect of Jainism and a time from 4 September for self-analysis and soul searching that provides a break from routine life to allow reflection, to contemplate ones past conduct in the light of the teachings of Jainism and to make a determination to lead a spiritually cleaner life in the future. Originally a monastic practice, monks are invited to give teachings from the Jain scriptures. Samvatsari is one of the holiest and most important days in the Jain calendar and many Jains observe a complete fast, with the whole day spent in prayers and contemplation. Jains beg forgiveness from all living beings for past faults, whether deliberate or unknowing, and undertake a communal confession, sending letters asking for forgiveness. They also forgive people who have wronged them in the past. On the day of the festival, the poor are given alms, and the picture of a Jina (Tirthankara, Victor, saviour who has succeeded in crossing over life’s stream of rebirths) is ceremoniously carried through the streets. Jains say michhami dukkadam to their friends and family on Samvatsari, meaning ‘I want your forgiveness if I have offended you in any way, consciously or inadvertently, in thought, word, or deed.’ Image: feast-guide.com.
Ganesh Chaturthi (Birthday of Ganesh). Annual Hindu festival beginning on 10 September for an 11-day celebration to 21 September in honour of the birth of Ganesh (गणेश), the god of wisdom, good fortune and new beginnings. This is one of the greatest and most auspicious festivals in India, for the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva, the third god in the Hindu triumvirate, and Parvati and is often referred to as Ganupati. It is celebrated from Chaturthi Tithi, the fourth day of the bright and dark half of the Moon in the lunar month of Bhadrapada (भादों, भाद्रपद, भाद्र, ଭାଦ୍ରବ, ভাদ) the sixth month of the Hindu civil Shaka calendar which begins with the Sun’s entry into Virgo at the 150th degree of the zodiac. Although the festival has significance across India, it is particularly important in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Adherents pray that, as the rains bless the Earth, Lord Ganesha will bless them with never-ending happiness, smiling and chanting Ganapati Bappa Morya! Happy Vinayak Chaturthi 2021! Image: Pixabay, Abhishek Mitra.
St Thomas of Villanova (Tomás García y Martínez) (1488-1555). Roman Catholic Church (Order of St Augustine) Commemoration of the Castilian Spanish professor and friar of the Order of Saint Augustine in Salamanca who was a noted preacher, ascetic and religious writer and who sent the first Augustinian friars to the New World. He became a Councillor of State and reformer Archbishop of Valencia famed for the extent of his care for the poor of his see. Part of the family house still stands, with a coat of arms in the corner beside a family chapel. His Sermon on the Love of God is one of the great examples of sacred Sixteenth-Century oratory. Thomas died in Valencia on 8 September 1555. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church (Order of St Augustine). Feast Day 22 September. Patron of Santolan, Pasig City, Alimodian and Miag-ao Iloilo, Villanova University. Image: mobil.twitter.com.
Prayer As did St Thomas, I will love You, Lord, every way and without setting limits to my love. You set no limits to what You have done for me, You did not measure out Your gifts. I will not measure out my love. I will love You, Lord, with all my strength and with all my powers as much as I am able. Amen