Sunday, July 28, 2019

Why does God let us suffer?

Sunday, July 21, 2019

10 Positive Things That Happen When We Pray

The following comes from Gary Zimak:


Why should I bother to pray?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked yourself this question at least once in your life. Whether it’s motivated by the fact that “God already knows what I need” or by “God doesn’t answer my prayers”, the fact of the matter is that the question does get raised by all of us. Even worse, we sometimes take it a step further and stop praying. In an attempt to highlight the importance of prayer and combat the desire to give it up, here are 10 positive things that happen EVERY time we pray from the heart:
1. We Receive – Without exception, sincere prayer is always effective. Although we don’t always receive what we want, we always get “something”. According to Jesus, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Mt 7:7-8) As we read further, however, He assures us that we’ll only receive good things and will never get something that will hurt us (spiritually). Sometimes this frustrates us because we’re often confused about what we TRULY need. If we look at this from a “glass half full” point of view, even when God says “no” to our requests, we are receiving protection from something that could potentially hurt our chance at salvation!
2. We Follow God’s Will – In the Bible (the inspired word of God), St. Paul writes that we should “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and goes on to say that this is God’s will for us. When we pray, we’re doing exactly what God wants us to do at that moment in time. How often can we say that with certainty about our other activities?
3. We Profess Our Faith – When we pray, we acknowledge our belief in God. While it sounds like a “no brainer”, it really is a significant profession of faith. We’d be foolish to pray to Him if we didn’t believe that He exists or that He can help us. Each time we turn to the Lord in prayer, we’re saying “Lord, I believe in You”.
4. We Imitate Christ – The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that Jesus prayed often, especially before the decisive moments of His mission (CCC 2599 – 2606). Whenever we pray, we imitate Our Lord. Whenever we’re tempted to think that “prayer doesn’t do any good”, thinking about Jesus at prayer should put an end to that baseless line of thinking.
“If He who is without sin prayed, how much more ought sinners to pray?” (St. Cyprian of Carthage)
5. We Enter Into A Relationship With God – In her autobiography, St. Teresa of Avila stated that prayer is “being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing with Him who, as we know, loves us.” According to the Catechism,“prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with His Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 2565)
6. We Increase Our Chances For Salvation - To put it simply, prayer will help you get to Heaven. Far from just “asking for things”, prayer is an expression of love and a relationship with God. When we pray, we show our love for God and express a desire to do His will. How important is that? Here’s what St. Alphonsus Liguori had to say…
“Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned” (St. Alphonsus Liguori)
7. We Obtain What God Wants To Give Us – While there are some gifts that God will give us even if we don’t ask (the grace that moves us to grow closer to Him, for example), there are other gifts that won’t be granted unless we ask. Jesus attests to this with the words of the Lord’s Prayer (which contains several petitions) and with His teaching that the Father will “give good things to those who ask Him.” (Mt 7:11) Further evidence can be seen in St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians when he urges us to let our requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6). By not asking, we deprive ourselves of many good things that God wants us to have.
“God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what He is prepared to give.” (St. Augustine)
8. We Practice Humility – The Bible is filled with verses supporting the virtue of humility:
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)

Every time we pray, we acknowledge that we are dependent on God and that He is almighty. This holds true whether our prayer is one of praise, petition or thanksgiving. It’s difficult to be proud when you’re kneeling in prayer ;-)
9. We Obtain Peace – Praying will bring us peace. According to the Bible:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Prayer = Peace. This is VERY appealing to those of us who are prone to anxiety!
10. We Use Our Time Wisely – Unlike useless activities such as worrying and complaining, prayer is a very good use of our time. Since studies have shown that the brain can’t think about two things simultaneously, time focused on prayer means time not spent worrying or pursuing other destructive tasks. Jesus told us to “ask and we shall receive” (Mt 7:7) and that worrying does no good (Lk 12:25). It makes sense to listen to His advice!
Obviously, the prayer that I’m speaking of above is sincere, “from the heart” dialog with God. “Going though the motions” or babbling rote phrases will not produce the above results. When we truly mean the words we pray, however, we can count on every one of these benefits. Remember this the next time you’re tempted to put off praying, thinking that it will do no good. There is no more productive activity we can do on this earth!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Feast of the Brown Scapular


Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! Let's pray today for all the Carmelites throughout the world and especially for those who are cloistered and praying for the world!

Also, the Church celebrates on this day the feast of the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulæ, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of Saint Benedict as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church, began with the Carmelites. The history of its origin is as follows: During the thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on 16 July 1251, while Saint Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said,

"Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time. Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames."

It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end.

In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must:

1. Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live chastely.

2. Say every day, if possible, seven times, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.

3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha's Story


The following comes from Franciscan Media:

The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and Jean de Lelande were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York.
Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Tekakwitha lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes—Jesuit missionaries—but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. Tekakwitha refused to marry a Mohawk brave, and at 19 finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri–Catherine–on Easter Sunday.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Our Father, Our Healer

The following comes from the In God's Company 2 blog:

Yet, though I stooped to feed My child, they did not know that I was their Healer." -Hosea 11:4

Do you think your heavenly Father wants to heal you? Does He want to heal you completely? Does He want to heal you now? Many people are not sure how to answer these questions. They know that their Father loves them and can heal them. Yet they don't know if or when He will heal them. They know there are many factors in healing, and this makes them unsure if their Father will heal them.We should not let the many factors in healing overshadow the loving, healing, present Fatherhood of God; rather, our Father's love should make us almost forget the complications surrounding healing.

We should be like little children who, when hurt, run to their parents for healing and think of little else.Our heavenly Father is trying to make us so aware of His love that everything else fades into the background. He is drawing us to Him "with human cords, with bands of love" (Hos 11:4). He fosters us "like one who raises an infant to his cheeks" (Hos 11:4). Our Father stoops to feed us and wants to help us more than we want help (Hos 11:4). May we translate all this tender, fatherly love into the assurance that our Father is our Healer.

Prayer: Father, may I expect healing from You now. "Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift." -Mt 10:8

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: Identity Crisis

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The God of the Impossible

The following comes from In God's Company 2:

"Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in My eyes also, says the Lord of hosts?" -Zechariah 8:6

It seemed impossible that the Israelite nation would ever be restored, but "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37). Think of the most impossible situation in your life - a marriage that seems irreconcilable, a terminal illness, long-term compulsive behavior, a dead parish, mental illness, family breakdown, etc. What man considers impossible, the Lord sees as opportunities to manifest His almighty power. 


To strengthen your faith in the God of the impossible:


   * Read and pray God's Word. "Faith comes through hearing, and hearing by God's word" (Rm 10:17)
   * Ask others, including Saint Jude, to pray for you to see the most impossible situations in your life the way God sees them.
   * Go to Confession and repent of giving in to doubt.
   * Praise and thank the Lord for doing the impossible, even before He does it.
   * Share your faith in the God of the impossible by telling others about Him.

God will do more than we can ever ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20). He will do the impossible.

 Father, thank You for the hope that "will not leave us disappointed" (Rm 5:5).

"Whoever welcomes this little child on My account welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes Him Who sent Me; for the least one among you is the greatest." -Lk 9:48

Monday, July 8, 2019

Archbishop Fulton J.Sheen: Have you been tempted more lately?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Mother Teresa: A quote on holiness

"If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of 'darkness,'" she wrote. "I will continually be absent from Heaven—to (light) the light of those in darkness on earth."     Mother Teresa

The Spirit and the Eucharist