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Happy 15th Birthday, Mary & Elizabeth!


 

On this day, 15 years ago, I got to witness a miracle. After being told for several months that our daughters would probably not be born alive, Eileen and I welcomed Mary and Elizabeth Zimak into the world. Although they weren’t due for another 3 months, the doctors felt that delivering them prematurely would give them the best chance for survival. They were right. Today, the girls celebrate their 15th birthday and are completely healthy!

Sometimes I forget the slim odds as the girls were afflicted with Twin-to-Twin transfusion syndrome (a very serious condition that affects identical twins), how Mary only weighed 1.5 pounds when she was born, how Elizabeth was born with congestive heart failure and how they both faced numerous medical issues related to their prematurity. On this day each year, however, I don’t forget. I remember all of the negative comments made by the doctors. I remember how the initial diagnosis shattered the joy of our first pregnancy. I also remember the prayers of many people and the peace that Eileen and I felt in the midst of a full blown crisis.

This Sunday’s Mass Readings feature the story of Bartimaeus the blind beggar. When he called out to Jesus, he was told by the crowd to be silent, but he ignored them. Instead, this desperate man called out again and was healed by the Lord. Two thousand years later, we still encounter many people who will tell us that our faith is unrealistic and that God can’t perform miracles. They’re wrong. He can AND DOES still perform miracles and I have two of them living in my house!

Happy Birthday, Mary and Elizabeth Zimak. Mom and I are so proud of the great young ladies you’ve become. Every person who has ever met you have told us how “sweet” you both are. I always believed that you would help many people if you were allowed to live and you’ve done just that. By being so kind to everyone, you’re imitating Jesus and that’s exactly what we’re all supposed to do. Thank you for bringing so much happiness to Mom and I.

WE LOVE YOU!!!

Recognizing Jesus In The Eucharist

 

And it happened that, while He was with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him… (Luke 24:30-31)

For the second consecutive day, the gospel reading from daily Mass presents a story of someone who was dejected…and shouldn’t have been! Just as we saw yesterday with Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus were sad about the Lord’s death and didn’t realize that He was right beside them! As He did with Mary, Jesus reached out to the men and they finally recognized Him after He “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them”. Do those actions sound familiar?

They should, because that’s exactly what happens at Mass! One of the biggest mistakes that we make is to walk around sad and gloomy, forgetting that the Lord makes Himself available EVERY DAY in the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we are blessed with a privilege that seems too good to be true. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is present to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Instead of suffering and struggling to carry your cross by yourself, turn to Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He is reaching out to us, just as He did to Mary Magdalene and the disciples traveling to Emmaus. In addition to your Sunday obligation, try to attend daily Mass a few extra times each week and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. By doing so, you’ll receive the graces that will help you experience peace and deal with your problems. And if you can’t attend daily Mass, make it a point to stop by your adoration chapel or church and spend some time with Jesus, who is FULLY present in the Blessed Sacrament…

the only thing you have to lose is your gloom and misery!

“Without the Holy Eucharist, there would be no happiness in this world, and life wouldn’t be bearable.” (Saint John Vianney)

The Power of Eucharistic Adoration

While there’s no doubt that we can pray anywhere, there are special graces that can be received by praying before the Blessed Sacrament.  If you’re skeptical (as I once was), I encourage you to try it for yourself.  Try spending some time each week with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and see what happens.  If you can do it for an hour, that would be ideal.  If you can only spend 15 minutes, you will still receive many graces.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen made a holy hour every day of his life and wrote his homilies in Our Lord’s presence.  Numerous Saints and popes throughout the ages spoke of the importance of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  The time I spend in adoration is my refuge from the craziness of my daily life and a tremendous source of blessing.  Why not try it and see what happens in your own life?

Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently wrote an excellent piece about the relationship between Eucharistic adoration and parish vibrancy.  I’d highly recommend that you read it and think about how the power of the Eucharist can transform your life. 

If you have any stories about how Eucharistic adoration has affected your life, I’d love to hear them!

Visiting The Lord…I Finally Get It!

All my sermons are prepared in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  As recreation is most pleasant and profitable in the sun, so homiletic creativity is best nourished before the Eucharist.  The most brilliant ideas come from meeting God face to face.  The Holy Spirit that presided at the Incarnation is the best atmosphere for illumination.  (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

As I sat in the adoration chapel this evening, I felt peaceful and blessed to be in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  I prayed, talked to Him and asked for advice.  Sadly, for years I neglected to visit Him even though the chapel was within walking distance of my house.  I now find myself looking forward to visiting Him each week for adoration.  In fact, I often stop to say “hi” for a few minutes on the way home from work.  The peace I feel being in the Lord’s presence is something that is beyond compare.  While I’m there, I suddenly think of solutions to my problems, get ideas for articles and feel safe….Something truly supernatural takes place in that chapel!

Many holy men and women have written about the importance of visiting Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and I’m starting to see what they mean.  It took me a while, but I finally “get it”! 

Thanks for being patient with me, Lord…I can’t wait to visit you again soon!

Can I Pray For You?

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Tonight at 7 PM Eastern time, I will be at the adoration chapel with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  I would be honored to pray for all of your intentions.  If you have anything specific that you’d like be to present to Jesus, please comment to this post or email me (gary@followingthetruth.com).  I also encourage you to pray along with me (from wherever you are), even if its only for 5 minutes.

We often make the mistake of failing to pray about the problems and issues in our lives, instead choosing to worry about them or to try and solve them without God’s help.  In the above excerpt from his Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul reminds us that the Lord is anxious for us to ask for His help.  Don’t pass up that golden opportunity!

Please tweet, email, like and share this post with your friends, as I’d like to extend the offer of prayer to as many people as possible!

Peace!