A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Rohini Vrat An important fasting day observed by Jain women for a long, fulfilling life for their husbands and to wish a blessing on immediate family members. The associated deity is Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe. Devotees who celebrate this Vrat (pious observance) rid themselves of all types of sorrow, poverty and obstacles in their lives. Women should observe these days, considered an easy spiritual discipline for learning patience, forbearance and harmony, over 3, 5 or 7 years. In some families, all the members observe the Vrat to enhance the quality of life in families and win the blessings of Vasupujya Bhagwan, the great warrior King who was compassionate and charitable, as was his benevolent Queen who inspired the King in charitable activities. Image: desicomments.com.

The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. One of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter) and always on a Thursday. The Feast commemorates Jesus blessing His Disciples and asking them to wait for the fulfilment of the promise of the Father, that of their being baptised with the Holy Spirit after not many days, a reference to the 20 June Pentecost. Jesus then led them to the Mount of Olives and ascended into heaven, the moment of His last appearance on earth being told in the sentence: “He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight.” Jesus had commissioned the Disciples to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Also, to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them that He would be with them always, even to the end of the world. After Jesus was taken up out of their sight, two angels appeared to the Disciples and one said: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him going into heaven.” The joyous icon of The Ascension of Our Lord is a reminder that Christ continues to be the source of the teaching and message of the Church, blessing and guiding those to whom He has entrusted His work. This Feast of our Lord is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which is conducted on the day of the Feast and preceded by the Matins service. Image: goarch.org.

Prayer O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. Upon fulfilling Your dispensation for our sake, You united the earthly with the heavenly. You were never separate but remained inseparable and cried out to those who love You: “I am with you and no one is against you”. May we always remember Your words. Amen

Birth of Abu Talib (Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib, أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب, ‘Imran, عِمْرَان,’Abd Manaf, عَبْد مَنَاف) (535-c619 CE). Commemoration of well-respected leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula where he was born. He was a brother of Abdullah, the father of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who had died before Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth. When his nephew was 8, despite his poverty, Abu Talib took on the task of raising him lovingly and, as leader of the Banu Hashim, acted as his protector. After Muhammad (PBUH) began preaching the message of Islam, members of the other Qurayshite clans opposed him, but Abu Talib continued his support. Abu Talib died in Mecca about 10 years after the start of Muhammad’s (PBUH) mission, the year being known as the Year of Sorrow for Muhammad (PBUH) because not only did his uncle die, but also his wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, within a month of Abu Talib. After Abu Talib’s death, Muhammad (PBUH) was left unprotected and, with his followers, was persecuted, the early Muslims relocating to Abyssinia and then to Medina to escape from this. Both Sunni and Shi’a Islam question Abu Talib’s acceptance of Islam. Image: rahyafteha.ir.