A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Lailat-ul-Qadr (The Night of Power, Honour, Dignity). On the evening before Sunday 27 Ramadan 1442 in the Islamic Hijri Calendar (9 May 2021 CE), the holiest night of the Muslim year starts. The celebration honours the night in 610 CE when the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received his first visit from the angel Jibril (Gabriel) for the revelation of the Qur’an. Muslims believe that the date of this night is kept secret by God, but that they: “May seek the Night of Dignity in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Bukhaari, quoting Aisha, who heard it from the Prophet (PBUH)). For the purposes of communal activities, or for those who can only spend one night in devotions at the mosque, Sunnis favour the 27th day (beginning on the evening of the 26th) whilst the Shi‘a favour the 23rd day of Ramadan. On this night, the Qur’an states: “Lailat-ul-Qadr is better than a thousand months.” (Surah 97:1-5 (see esp. 97:3)). Many Muslims normally spend the last 10 days and nights of Ramadan secluded in the mosque, praying and studying the Qur’an, to ensure that they receive the special benefits promised for their prayers and devotions on Lailat-ul-Qadr. Muslims Looking For Lailat-ul-Qadr on the odd nights (21, 23, 25, 27, 29 Ramadan) in the last ten nights tend to gather at sunset and then spend until dawn in the mosque or some other place of worship. Image: tjramadan.blogspot.com.

St Arsenius (The Deacon, Roman, Great, Arsenius of Scetis and Turah) (c350-c445). Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic Churches Feast Day for much-admired noble Roman Christian imperial tutor who became an anchorite in Egypt and one of the most highly-regarded of the Desert Fathers whose teachings were greatly influential in the development of asceticism and the contemplative life. He had lived lavishly in the imperial palace but felt a growing inclination to renounce the world. He prayed: “O God, teach me how to be saved,” and God’s voice came to him through the Gospel: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Giving all the family riches to the poor, Arsenius left Constantinople and sailed to Alexandria to flee into the wilderness, c400 joining the desert monks at Scetes to live an ascetic life and become famous for his righteousness and wisdom. In 434, he was forced to leave due to raids on the monasteries and hermitages by Mazices (Libyan tribesmen) and relocated to Troe (Τρώη, Tura) near Memphis. He then spent 15 years wandering the desert wilderness before returning to Troe to die. 2 of his writings are extant: Instruction and Advice, a guideline for monastic life (διδασκαλία και παραινεσις), and On the Temptation of the Law, a commentary on the Gospel of Luke (εις τον πειρασθεν νομικος). Many sayings attributed to Arsenius are found in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Apophthegmata Patrum). Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Feast Day 13 Pashons Coptic Orthodox Church. Image: youtube.com.

St Victor the Moor (Victor of Milan, Vittorio, Victor Maurus) (dc303). Lutheran Commemoration and Roman Catholic Feast Day for 3rd-Century Mauritanian who was a Christian from an early age and became a soldier in the Roman Praetorian Guard. During a Christian persecution in Milan, the elderly Victor proclaimed his faith in Christ Jesus and His Blessed Mother Maryam and was starved and ordered to make sacrifices to the Roman gods. Victor said that Christ was his salvation and strength and His Spirit his nourishment. Beaten and stretched on the rack, Victor refused bribes and promotion, called the gods demons and said he would sacrifice himself to Almighty God. He prayed to Yeshua (Ἰησοῦς, Jesus): “Do not allow me, I beg you, to be overcome by those men,” and an angel appeared to enable him to survive more terrible tortures.  Victor was then beheaded outside Milan and left to the wild animals but they guarded his body until he could be buried. Victor’s cause was promoted by St Ambrose, the 4th-Century Bishop of Milan. Gregory of Tours, the 6th-Century Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, claimed miracles above Victor’s grave, where a church was built. In 1576, Victor’s relics were translated to an Olivetan (Order of Our Lady of Mount Olivet) church dedicated to him in Milan. Venerated in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic Churches, Lutheranism. Patron of Asigliano, Balangero, Borghetto, Canale, Caselle Torinese, Ceriano Laghetto, Feletto, Odolengo, Quagliuzzo, Rho, San Vittore Olona, Varese, Verbania. Image: hellenic-art.com.

Prayer God our Father, we come before You to thank You for the gift of our lives, the lives of our family members and those of our friends. Thank you, Lord, for directing, protecting, guiding, guarding, governing and taking care of us through Your abundant Mercies and Grace. Amen