A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Ascension of our Lord (Ascension Day, Suloqo). Western Churches’ commemoration of the last earthly appearance of the Risen Christ, Who according to Christian belief ascended into heaven in the presence of many witnesses. It is one of the 4 most important dates in the Christian calendar, observed generally by Catholics and Anglicans on the Thursday 40 days after Easter. It marks the end of the Easter season and falls 10 days before Pentecost. As an Ecumenical feast, Ascension Day is one of the 6 holy days where attendance at Mass is mandatory for Roman Catholics and Anglicans. On the day of the feast, Mass is celebrated and the Paschal Candle that was lit on Easter Sunday is extinguished. Liturgies proclaiming the finished work of salvation and the ascension of the glorified Christ into Heaven are recited, followed by evening prayers. At the end of a 7-day devotion, 2 additional days are kept to make a total of 9 days (a novena) in preparation for Pentecost the following day. For many Christians, Ascension Day’s meaning provides a sense of hope that the glorious and triumphant return of Jesus is near. It is a reminder of the ever-present Spirit of God, watching over and protecting them as they spread the light of Jesus’ truth throughout the world. Ascension Day is observed by some Amish, normally as a day for families to visit other communities and ponder the philosophies of Amish life. Image: pinterest.com.

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. Rohini Vrat begins when Rohini Nakshatra, the 4th star of the zodiac, rises in the early morning to rule the major part of Taurus with Venus representing creativity. The associated deity is Lord Bramha, the creator of the universe. There are 12 Rohini Moon fasting days annually and 27 lunar mansion small constellations of stars that the moon travels through each month as it orbits the Earth. 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, the ideal duration being 5 years and 5 months. In some families, all the members observe the Vrat to enhance the quality of life in families and win the blessings of Vasupujya Bhagavan, the great warrior King who was compassionate and charitable, as was his benevolent Queen who inspired the King in charitable activities. This celebration is a month after the beginning of Ramadan, and the date also depends on the sighting of the crescent moon. Image: desicomments.com.

Julian of Norwich (Saint, Blessed, Mother Julian) (1342-1416). Roman Catholic Feast Day for Medieval English theologian, anchorite and mystic, a congenial companion in prayer popularly venerated by Catholics as a holy woman of God. For much of her life, Julian lived in permanent seclusion in her cell attached to St Julian’s Church, Norwich. At 30, Julian had contracted a grave illness, had several visions (shewings) of the Passion of Christ and spent the next 20 years writing down what she had learned from them. The most famous shewing was The Vision of a Little Thing the Quality of a Hazelnut, in which she saw 3 properties: that God made it; that God loved it; and that God kept it. Seeing thus: the Creator; the Keeper; and the Lover, she knew that until she was substantially oned to him she would never have full rest or true bliss. In 1670, her writings were published as the XVI Revelations of Divine Love, shewed to a devout servant of Our Lord, called Mother Juliana, an Anchorete of Norwich: Who lived in the Dayes of King Edward the Third by Serenus de Cressy, a confessor for the English nuns at Cambrai. Since 2013, Norwich’s Julian Week has normally been an annual celebration to present her as a cultural, historical, literary, spiritual and religious figure of international significance. In March 2020, Julian’s relevance to people self-isolating around the world was highlighted, as she had lived in the wake of the Black Death and survived repeated plagues in a chaotic world. Image: catapult.co.