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Easing The Suffering Of Jesus…Today!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak reveals some practical ways that we can ease the suffering of Jesus

On this holy and sad day known as Good Friday, we will have many opportunities to reflect on the suffering of Christ. While this is a great idea and something that we all should do, we need to be careful. We often have the tendency to treat Our Lord’s suffering as something that happened two thousand years ago and something that was caused by some really nasty people who are no longer alive. While this line of thinking is partially true, it ignores two very important facts:

1. Ultimately, all sinners are responsible for Jesus’ suffering. That means that we share in the blame.

2. Even though Jesus’ Passion took place two thousand years ago, there is something that we can do to ease His suffering TODAY.

On the night before He died, Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Scripture tells us that “He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground” (Luke 22:44). Why was He suffering so greatly? In his book, Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton Sheen expressed the opinion that Jesus was in agony because He saw all of the sins that were committed in the past and will be committed until the end of time. This means that when we hear of Our Lord’s suffering on the night before He died, we should realize that our sins were a contributing factor to his distress.

On the other hand, since He was God, it follows that Jesus would also be able to see all of the good things that would be performed over the years. Therefore, while He was in the garden, Jesus would have known every time that we turned away from sin or performed an act of kindness. Therefore, we still have the ability to ease His suffering in the Garden.

So what can we do about this? For one thing we can recognize that our sins caused Jesus a great deal of mental and physical pain. This should result in some degree of sorrow and a desire to do better in the future. Secondly, we can do something to ease the Lord’s pain. Here are some steps that we can take:

1. Pray - What did Jesus ask Peter, James and John to do while He was suffering in the garden? He asked them to stay awake and be with Him as He suffered. By praying every day, we do just that.

2. Turn Away From Sin - We should ask the Lord each day for the grace to resist temptation and turn away from sin.

3. Trust - Jesus told St. Faustina, “You will give me great pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of my grace”. Do you trust Him enough to let Him handle your problems?

4. Surrender - The most basic way to surrender to the Lord’s will is to accept everything that happens to you today and not complain. When was the last time you tried this?

5. Show Mercy To Others - “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). In her diary, St. Faustina wrote of three ways that we can show mercy to others:

a. By Deed (Anything we do to alleviate the suffering of another)
b. By Word (Anything we say to alleviate the suffering of another)
c. By Prayer (Praying for one another)

Jesus suffered and died so that you could go to Heaven. By doing some simple things today and in the future, we have the ability to lessen the intense suffering that Jesus experienced because of our sins. Don’t waste the opportunity!

How Can I Be Sure I’m Following Jesus?


 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak offers suggestions for how we can be sure that we are followers of Jesus

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. (Luke 5:27-28)

In today’s gospel, Jesus invites Levi (also known as Matthew) to follow Him. The tax collector then left everything behind and followed the Lord. Lent is a great time to assess just how serious we are about following Jesus. While I certainly claim to be His follower, do my actions support that statement? How can I be sure? Fortunately, Jesus gives us the answer:

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

I guess that means that, if I want to be His follower, I should do what He did. I probably should surrender to the Father’s Will, stop complaining so much about the annoyances of daily life and begin putting the needs of others before my own.

I’ve got some work to do. How about you? Let’s pray for one another.

I Finally Stopped Worrying. Here’s How I Did It…


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak explains how he stopped worrying

I got to thinking the other day and I came to a surprising realization…

I don’t worry anymore!

If you have heard me speak or read my books, you’ll understand why this is a monumental occurrence. It is a well known fact that I have been a severe worrier for most of my life. While I credit my anxiety with drawing me closer to the Lord, the act of worrying was having the opposite effect. The more I would worry, the less I would trust God. Now, despite two years of full time work as a Catholic Evangelist (with no guaranteed salary and literally living month to month), I have found myself in a position that I never thought possible. I don’t worry anymore!

So, what changed? How was I able to finally break free from worrying? The answer will probably surprise you, as it did me. For many years, I tried to stop worrying. I made up my mind many times over the years that I was going to “Let Go, Let God”, “Be Not Afraid” and “Let Not My Heart Be Troubled”. And I failed, and failed again and failed many times after that. It wasn’t until some time not that long ago that I realized that I was trying too hard. I know that it sounds crazy, but the reason that I couldn’t stop worrying is that I was trying too hard not to worry!

Before you think that Gary has officially lost his mind, let me finish the thought. I was trying to stop worrying by using the “mind over matter”, “positive thinking” approach and that’s why I failed. Even though I supplemented this method with a healthy dose of prayer, Bible reading and the Sacraments I couldn’t stop worrying. Then one day the answer dawned on me. I was trying so hard that I wasn’t letting Jesus help me. As is the case with most people who like control, I was so determined to fix the problem on my own that I wouldn’t let anyone, including the Lord, help me. Once I stopped trying so hard and let Jesus do the “heavy lifting”, my worrying decreased dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I still experience fear and concern. These feelings are normal and can even be helpful, as they sometimes let you know that it’s time to take action. Worrying, on the other hand, is a useless and unproductive response to fear. While there are several correct ways to respond to fear, your overall objective should be to draw near to Jesus. He is the ultimate answer to any problem or difficulty that arises in your life.

If you feel that you’re too weak to give up worrying, you’re probably right. I’m in the same category. The good news is that the Lord knows that we’re weak and that we can’t just force ourselves to stop worrying. Instead, He wants us to stop trying to do it on our own and let Him help us. Take it from me, my friends, the easiest way for you to break free from anxiety is by focusing less on giving up worrying and more on Jesus. Doing this has made a huge difference in my life and has finally allowed me to stop worrying.

So where do you start? You start by speaking with Jesus daily and asking Him to take control of your life. Make it a point to read the Bible each day, even for a few minutes. The daily Mass readings are perfect for this. Additionally, receive the sacraments of Holy Communion as often as possible. Finally, turn to the Blessed Mother and ask her to assist you. As you grow closer to the Lord, your worrying will begin to decrease. If you need more assistance, I’m excited to announce that my next book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier’s Guide To Discovering Peace (coming in August 2014 from Liguori Publications) will offer a step by step method for overcoming worry in your life. It’s a book designed for those of us who are weak and can’t do it on our own. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) for more details, including how to pre-order the book. I’ve also developed a new talk, “How To Stop Worrying TODAY” that I’ll be presenting in parishes around the county. Contact me to find out how to invite me to speak at your parish.

Don’t lose hope, my friends. I finally stopped worrying and you can too. Jesus is the answer and He is waiting to help you!

Suffering? 10 Lessons We Can Learn From The Agony In The Garden


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak presents 10 lessons about suffering that we can learn from Jesus and the agony in the garden

Over the course of our lives, it is inevitable that we will experience suffering. It is also inevitable that this suffering will cause us to ask many questions:

Why me?

What should I do?

Is it okay to feel anxious or sad?

Can God help me?

Fortunately for us, the answers to each of these (any many more) questions about suffering can be found by studying Jesus’ actions on the night before He died. Here are 10 lessons that we can learn from the Agony in the Garden.

1. It’s Okay To Be Troubled – Sometimes we think that feeling sad or nervous means that our faith is lacking. We assume that if we trust God, we should always be happy. Not true! While we should avoid worrying, fear and sadness are normal human emotions. Jesus was “sorrowful and troubled” (Mt 26:37), “greatly distressed” (Mk 14:33) and “His sweat became like great drops of blood” (Lk 22:44). It’s perfectly acceptable for you do feel the same way when faced with difficulties in your life.

2. Prayer Matters – While there’s nothing wrong with feeling distressed or sad when facing difficulties, we should never succumb to useless worry. Instead, we should imitate Jesus and PRAY!

3. Ask Your Friends For Help – One thing that makes suffering more intense is the feeling that we’re in it alone. In his agony, Jesus teaches us an important lesson. Ask others for help! Jesus asked Peter, James and John to accompany Him as He prayed in the garden. When we’re in trouble, we should ask people to pray for us. In addition to our earthly friends, we can ask the saints in Heaven and the souls in purgatory to intercede on our behalf. There is never a reason to suffer alone!

4. God Can Do All Things – No matter what you are facing, ALWAYS remember that there is hope. Jesus assures us with the following words, addressed to His Father:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.” (Mark 14:36)

5. It’s Okay To Ask For Relief – Sometimes we’re afraid to ask the Lord to take away our suffering. We shouldn’t be. Jesus did exactly that:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.” (Mt 26:39)

Always feel free to ask the Lord to remove your suffering, but…

6. Thy Will Be Done – We should accept the Lord’s decision. When Jesus prayed that His suffering might pass, He appended the words “but not as I will, but as thou will” to the prayer (Mt 26:39, Mk 14:36, Lk 22:42). Adding this powerful phrase ALWAYS ensures that we are praying in accordance with God’s will, even if His will is unknown to us!

7. Prayer Always Works – We often complain that God doesn’t answer our prayers. What this really means is that He doesn’t answer them in the way we’d like. We have to trust that, when we pray, we’ll always receive what we NEED, not necessarily what we WANT. In His humanity, Jesus prayed that His suffering would be removed (if it be the Father’s will). As it turned out, this was not the Father’s will. It was necessary that Jesus endure suffering so that mankind could be redeemed. In addition, Jesus received something that He didn’t request, but something that helped Him to carry His cross:

“And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him” (Lk 22:43)

8. Don’t Stop Praying – In times of trouble, one of our biggest temptations is to stop praying. If the Lord doesn’t answer fast enough, we often stop praying. Big mistake! In his gospel account, St. Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed three times in the garden “saying the same words” (Mt 26:44). Therefore, it’s perfectly fine for you to continually ask God to heal your cancer or help you find a job!

9. Pray To Avoid Temptation – While He was in the garden, Jesus warned Peter, James and John to pray that they would not enter into temptation (Mt 26:41, Mk 14:38, Lk 22:46). What’s one of the biggest temptations that we can encounter in the midst of suffering? Despair! Without prayer, it’s very easy to give up as we tire of carrying our cross. Take Jesus’ words seriously and keep praying even if you don’t feel like it.

10. Angels Are Real – Do you believe in angels? You should because they are VERY real and can help you! When Jesus was agonizing in the garden, who was sent to strengthen Him? Certainly not Peter, James and John because they were asleep! Instead, an angel was sent to strengthen the Lord (Lk 22:42). Each of us has a guardian angel who watches over us. Remembering that fact during times of trouble can be extremely comforting. If an angel was sent to strengthen the Lord during His incredible agony, couldn’t your angel do the same for you?

As Christians, we are all called to imitate Jesus. There is no better time to do so than during our times of suffering. Not only did Christ suffer much, but He can teach us a great deal about HOW to suffer. Following His example can help us greatly as deal with our daily struggles.

Feeling Depressed and Hopeless? Turn To Saint Jude!


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak discusses his devotion to Saint Jude

One of the blessings granted to me by the Lord is the opportunity to encounter many people who are suffering. While this hardly sounds like a blessing, I consider it an honor because I’m able to share His “Good News” and bring some peace into their lives. Jesus told us repeatedly that we can experience His peace even in the midst of extreme suffering and trials. We often get so battered and worn, however, that we lose sight of this message. When this happens, it’s important to reach out to others and ask them to carry us in prayer. As Catholics, we are blessed by our belief in the Communion of Saints. As a result we can also turn to the saints in heaven and ask them to intercede for us. Throughout the years, St. Jude the Apostle has become known as the patron saint of hopeless causes. Many of you will read this and immediately reply, “that’s me”! If you are tired, weary, depressed and feeling hopeless, I invite you to pray the following prayer. I found it in a Saint Jude prayer booklet and thought it may prove helpful. If you are reading this post, rest assured that you will be in my daily prayers as well. Don’t give up…things WILL get better!

Prayer To St. Jude For The Depressed
St. Jude, friend to those in need, I am weary from grief and anxiety. I am often without joy, without hope, struggling through the dark night of the soul. I turn to you in prayer. Take away this emptiness and the pain of my broken heart. In your compassion, wipe away my tears and carry me to a place of peace. Too long have I been blind to the goodness of God’s world. Help me to take my life one day at a time, one moment at a time, and to be aware of God’s love for me always. Heal me. I yearn to feel, to bathe in light and joy. Envelop me in brightness, and do not hold back. And I promise, if you should see me fit to receive these gifts, I will share them always. Amen.

Jesus Wasn’t Kidding When He Said We’d Be Hated!


 

You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives. (Luke 21:17-19)

I can just about guarantee that as soon as you start mentioning Jesus, someone will get annoyed. Need some proof? Take a look at former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who makes no secret of his love for Jesus. He has been criticized for mentioning the Lord’s name, but remains true to his beliefs. While people will tolerate our religious beliefs to a point, speaking about Christ will eventually cause a negative response in many situations. I’m sure you’ve heard the recommendation that religion is one of two things (politics being the other) that shouldn’t be discussed in the workplace. Why? Because proclaiming the “Good News” of Jesus Christ causes division. When taken seriously, our Catholic Faith can be very challenging. Many individuals aren’t open to the Church’s moral guidelines, choosing to decide for themselves what they will believe. Even the simple act of verbalizing our own religious beliefs (with no hint of preaching) will cause a backlash, especially if it occurs in the workplace.

Although this negative reaction might not feel good, we can’t say we weren’t warned. On several occasions, Jesus mentioned that His followers (that’s us) would be hated. No surprise there…we all have our enemies and we know that some folks don’t like religion. What sometimes catches us off guard, however, is when the hatred comes from an unlikely source. In one of the most challenging passages in all of Scripture, the Lord warns that His teaching will cause division even within families!

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ (Matthew 10:34-36)

This passage absolutely drives people crazy. Isn’t Jesus’ entire mission one of peace and love? What’s with this talk of “the sword” and division within families? Although the Lord is using hyperbole to grab the listeners’ attention, He does mean what He says. If we truly live our lives as followers of Christ, we are going to ruffle some feathers. There is no reason to believe that this will not happen within our families. For instance, your husband may want to practice contraception and you may desire to follow the teaching of the Church. Your children may not see anything wrong with illegally downloading music while you object, knowing that it’s a sin. You may be longing to get married and finally meet someone who is divorced and cannot get married in the Church. In each of these cases, we must make a decision. What choice do we make? The Lord makes it very clear in the following verse:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

Being hated in the name of Jesus (especially by a family member) is not easy, but the reward is great. Our Lord promises that if we persevere, we will be saved. While we are always called to repay hatred with love, we cannot compromise our moral beliefs in order to please another person. Whether we encounter resistance from a known opponent or from a family member, we are expected to respond in the same manner. By persevering and obeying the Lord’s commands, we will achieve eternal life.

Help us to always remain faithful to You, Lord. Even when we encounter opposition from a loved one, may we always have the strength to persevere and never compromise our moral beliefs.

(Excerpted from Liguori Publication’s A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible, Copyright 2012 by Gary Zimak)

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?


 

Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen?

Yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon certainly brings this question to the minds of many people. If God really loves us, why does He allow us to suffer? Why does He permit terrorism, child abuse and natural disasters to occur? While the brutally honest and truthful answer is that “He’s God and He knows what He’s doing”, there are a few specific points that can help us to better understand these tragedies. And, quite frankly, understanding them can often make the difference between moving closer to the Lord or turning our backs on Him.

Free Will – God loves us so much that He gives us the gift of free will. This means that while we are free to do good, we also have the ability to do evil. The person or persons who caused the explosions in Boston chose to commit an evil act. In no way did God cause this to happen. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it. (CCC 311)

Greater Good – In his Letter To The Romans, St. Paul states that “We know that IN EVERYTHING God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine) Not just the good things, but the bad things too. How is it possible that good can result from the mutilation and murder of innocent people? While I don’t claim to understand all of God’s reasons, there are a few obvious ones that stand out. When tragedy occurs, we get to see people helping one another. Every time a tragedy takes place, there are numerous stories of heroism and genuine love of neighbor that emerge. We also see an increase in prayer. Many people who aren’t used to praying suddenly “hit their knees”. We’re also reminded of our mortality and how we’re not really in control of our own destiny.

In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you”, said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.” From the greatest moral evil ever committed – the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men – God, by his grace that “abounded all the more”,brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good. (CCC 312)

Trust – When tragic events occur, we are given an opportunity to trust God. It is during the dark times that we must truly “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). When skies are blue, it’s a lot easier for us to trust than during storms. However, storms often give us the best chance to grow closer to the Lord.

We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face”, will we fully know the ways by which – even through the dramas of evil and sin – God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth. (CCC 314)

An Invitation – When bad things happen, either in our own life or in the lives of others, we are invited to assist God in bringing good out of evil. We can do this by praying. Although the Lord doesn’t need our help, He allows us to help Him through the act of prayer.

Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm. (CCC 2635)

Heaven – As much as we’d like it to be, this world is not perfect. Pain and suffering do exist. Accepting this will cause us to remain calm when these events occur. In addition, it will increase our desire for heaven, where there is NO PAIN AND SUFFERING!

We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ.

Although it’s not easy, it’s crucial for us to keep our eye on the Lord when “bad things” happen. Blaming Him for the suffering, although understandable, is neither accurate or wise. If we truly believe that He loves us, we should strive to see His goodness in everything. Doing so will bring us great peace, even in times of turmoil.

Taking The Passion Personally


 

As we enter into Holy Week, the Church invites us to enter into the experience of Our Lord’s Passion. On Palm Sunday, we’ll listen to the narrative that will detail the events leading up to His agonizing death on Calvary. When we cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” at Mass, we’ll cringe and silently wish that we’d been given another line to proclaim. We’ll hear about how Judas and Peter betrayed the Lord. We’ll have angry thoughts directed toward these “weak” men and wonder just how they could treat Jesus in this way. Once again, Pontius Pilate will get to show us his “Personally, I find nothing against this man, but you can do whatever you want” routine. Finally, the gospel will close with Christ being laid in the tomb. There’s a good chance that we’ll leave Mass with a bad taste in our mouth….at least for a while.

If I’m not careful, however, there’s a good chance that these feelings of sadness can pass before Good Friday rolls around. Why? Possibly because I spent too much time thinking about all of those people who turned against Jesus and murdered Him on the cross. Maybe because I focused on the fact that Pilate was a wimp. Another possibility is that I became distracted with the idea that Christ’s agonizing death was necessary in order to redeem all of mankind. Wait a minute! What could possibly be wrong with any of these things?

While it’s a good idea for me to remember that people conspired against Jesus and that His suffering was necessary in order to bring about the redemption of mankind, I shouldn’t stop there. Why? Because doing that could easily fool me into thinking that the Passion and death of Jesus is all about other people. It’s not! It’s about ME and it’s about YOU. We need to take the Passion of Christ PERSONALLY!

When I’m forced to cry out “Crucify Him” on Palm Sunday, I don’t like it. In reality, however, the Church got the casting right. It’s due to my sins that Our Lord had to suffer and die on the cross. Furthermore, every time I commit another sin I drive the nails more deeply into His bloody hands. And why should I dwell on Judas and Peter’s betrayal when I’ve committed the same offense many times? Pontius Pilate? Sure, he was a coward, but so am I at times. And any talk of redemption should always call to mind the fact that what took place on Calvary 2,000 years ago resulted in the gates of Heaven being opened for Gary Zimak. Provided that I’m willing to cooperate with His grace, our Lord’s great sacrifice could one day result in MY salvation!

As I relive the Lord’s suffering over the course of the next few days, I should take it personally…VERY personally! I was the cause of that suffering and, in spite of that, He loved me so much that He gave me a gift beyond all gifts. All He asks is that I vow to make some changes…to repent of my sins, follow Him and obey His commandments. I hope and pray that you, like me, will come to the same conclusion and take Our Lord’s Passion personally. As a result, we’ll own up to our responsibility for His death and be willing to do whatever is necessary to one day receive the gift of eternal life. Although it might be a bumpy road while we’re here on earth, the end result will be worth it!

“It is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.” (St. Francis of Assisi)

Ten Saints Every Worrier Should Know


 

Although we’d rather not admit it, many of us worry (or are tempted to worry) each day of our lives. One of the reasons that we worry is that we sometimes feel we are facing our problems alone. Once we meet others who are dealing with similar problems, we usually feel better. Even more comforting is when we encounter someone who has survived the issue that is troubling us. As Catholics, much can be gained by studying the lives of the saints. Far from living easy lives, these men and women have struggled with many of the same anxiety producing problems experienced by you and I. Furthermore, we know that they’ve ended up we all want to go – Heaven! Are you anxious or worried? Do you have serious problems in your life? Here are 10 saints that you should get to know. We can learn A LOT from their lives.

1. Saint Dymphna – Many Catholics who are anxious are familiar with Saint Dymphna, the patroness of those afflicted with nervous disorders and anxiety. According to tradition, she was born in Ireland (in the 7th century) to a pagan father and a Christian mother. When Dymphna’s mother died, her distraught father traveled in vain searching for a new wife. Eventually he reached the unimaginable conclusion that he would take Dymphna as his wife! At the urging of a priest, she took flight and was ultimately located and murdered by her father. It’s easy to see the kind of emotional stress that this young girl was under and equally understandable to see why she became known as the patron saint of those who suffer from anxiety. Many miracles are reported to have taken place at her shrine in Belgium, located near the place of her death.

2. Saint Jude Thaddeus – If there’s one saint that Catholics turn to when all looks bleak, it’s Saint Jude Thaddeus. One of the twelve Apostles, he is known as the patron of hopeless cases. Although many are aware of Saint Jude’s reputation for providing assistance when all else fails, there is some confusion as to how he was chosen for that role. One of the most popular theories is that, due to the similarity of his name with that of fellow Apostle Judas, the faithful steered clear of devotion to him. As a result, devotion to him became something of a “lost cause”. He is available and willing to intercede for our most desperate intentions.

3. Saint Rita of Cascia – Born in 1381 in Italy, Saint Rita is known as the patroness of impossible cases. She was married to a man with a violent temper who abused and mistreated her. After eighteen years of marriage, her husband was murdered. One day Rita overheard her two sons plotting to avenge the death of their father. Fearing the loss of their souls, she prayed that her sons would avoid taking revenge on their father’s murderer. Suddenly, both of them took sick and died before any retaliation could take place. Although her prayers were answered in an unlikely manner, they were indeed answered and her sons were prevented from carrying out a grave offense.

4. Saint Padre Pio – With a motto such as “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry”, it’s easy to see why I included Saint Pio in this list. He was a firm believer in God’s providence and understood that worry was useless. Any time that we waste on worrying could be more productively spent in prayer. What should we pray for? One thing could be an increase in the theological virtue of hope, which allows us to believe that “all things work for the good” (Romans 8:28) and that the problems of this life are temporary. One day, along with Saint Pio, it will be possible for us to live in the problem-free paradise known as Heaven!

5. Saint Henry II – While at Monte Cassino in 1021, Saint Henry II (emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) became ill. Tradition has it that Saint Benedict then cured him by prayer. How common are miraculous cures? Maybe more common than we realize! We’re always quick to downplay God’s involvement in our lives, often referring to favorable outcomes as “luck”. In 1997, my wife and I were told that our twin girls would probably not be born alive. Today, Mary and Elizabeth are healthy 15 year old young ladies. Eileen and I (as well as many of the members of the medical staff) know that their survival was a miracle, the fruit of countless prayers. While they were assisted by numerous doctors and nurses, we believe that the Lord worked through these skilled individuals. God can (and does) still perform miracles…let’s give Him the chance!

6. Blessed Julian of Norwich – Although not technically a saint, Blessed Julian of Norwich is greatly revered by many Catholics. Although very little is known about her life, she is famous for a quote that has provided consolation to many throughout the years. Those of us who tend to be anxious sometimes look at the waves crashing around us and fail to see the Lord’s providence. Blessed Julian helps us to regain our focus and recall that God is ultimately in control. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

7. Saint Vincentia Lopez – Canonized in 1975, Saint Vincentia Lopez was the foundress of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate for Domestic Service, a religious congregation dedicated to ministering to working girls. In a letter to her mother, she wrote: “Come and stay with us, and your ills will certainly mend. Imagination plays a large part in them, and here there are so many distractions that you will have no time to think.” I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. One of the best ways to stop worrying is to keep busy. If worry motivates you to do something, then it can be productive. If, on the other hand, all you’re doing is mulling over the bad things that could happen in your life, it’s time to take Saint Vincentia’s advice and get busy.

8. Saint Juan Diego – I decided to include Juan Diego in this list not because of anything that he said or did, but because of what was said to him. In December of 1531, the Blessed Mother appeared several times to this poor Aztec Indian in Mexico. His bishop was skeptical and asked for a sign. On December 11, Mary promised Juan that on the following day she would give him a sign that he could take to the bishop. The next day, his uncle became seriously ill and Saint Juan avoided meeting Mary as she had instructed him to do. Mary appeared to him and said, “Listen and be sure, my dear son, that I will protect you; do not be frightened or grieve, or let your heart be dismayed, however great the illness that you speak of. Am I not here? I, who am your Mother, and is not my help a refuge? Am I not of your kind? Do not be concerned about your uncle’s illness, for he is not going to die. Be assured, he is already well. Is there anything else you need?” Instead of worrying, have you discussed your problems with Mary? Why not? Just as she did with Saint Juan Diego, she is waiting to help you.

9. Pope Saint Leo the Great – Attila the Hun was a ruthless and powerful warrior who conquered many lands, including Austria and Germany. In 452, he set his sights on Italy and proceeded to successfully conquer several cities and was heading toward Rome. Attila boasted that conquering Rome would be his greatest victory. Standing firm in the face of enormous odds, Pope Saint Leo the Great met Attila and his army near Mantua and convinced the tyrant to change his plans and turn back. Rome was spared. According to tradition, when Attila was asked why he backed down so easily, he noted that while the Holy Father spoke, he saw a vision of Saint Peter holding a sword in his hand. This frightened the ruthless Hun and caused him to change his plans.

10. Saint Stephen Harding – Born in England in the 11th century, Saint Stephen Harding was educated at the Sherborne Abbey and eventually became a monk at the Abbey of Molesme in Burgundy. Feeling that the Lord was calling him to found a monastery, he did just that. In 1098, along with twenty other monks, St. Stephen founded a monastery at Citeaux. They lived a simple life, in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict. Eventually, Saint Stephen was elected abbot. As the monks began to die off, they were not being replaced by novices and their numbers began to dwindle. Just as it seemed the monastery would be forced to close, guess who showed up at the door? Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, along with 30 companions who were looking to join a monastery! During the next 8 years, a dozen new houses had to be built in order to house the many new monks who joined the order. This story serves as a reminder that God does provide, although he operates according to His own schedule. Sometimes He allows us to walk in the darkness in order to strengthen our faith. God will never give up on us…don’t make the mistake of giving up on Him!

In addition to being inspired by their lives, these saints can help us in another important way. As residents of Heaven, they can intercede on our behalf and help us to obtain the graces we need to deal with our problems. They have all “been there, done that” and know what it’s like to experience difficulties. They also know what it’s like to live in eternal happiness and are more than willing to do what they can to ensure that we too experience that joy. Don’t make the mistake of facing your problems alone. Turn to your heavenly friends and ask for their help today!

Sometimes The “Healthy” Are The Ones Who Need Healing


 

Even though I’ve never met her personally, I’ve been touched by the plight of Angela Faddis, a young wife and mother who is currently in hospice care as she battles Stage 4 colon cancer. Responding to the plea for prayers by her husband, Chris, I used my website to organize a spiritual bouquet for Angela. To date, over 34,000 Hail Marys have been prayed for her by visitors to my site. Although remaining open to the Will of God, I have been praying for a complete miraculous healing for Angela. While the Lord may still bring about that physical healing, an unexpected phenomenon is taking place. Although Angela has not been healed of her cancer, many people who are praying for her are being healed. What’s interesting is that many of them didn’t even realize that they were sick! Chris Faddis recently posted this on the Support Angela Faddis Facebook fan page:

I’ve heard from several people this week who have begun going back to Church because of Angela’s inspiration. I can’t tell humbling that is as a husband. But I want to just go ahead and encourage anyone else who is reading this page. If you are feeling a tug at your heart to pray more, or go to Mass or Church, or to go to Confession, or to begin seeking forgiveness from someone or to recommit to your relationships… whatever you are being moved to do because of Angela’s journey – PLEASE DO IT! Be not afraid!

You have no idea how much it means for us to know that God is healing other souls through our family’s journey. Angela and I will be praying for all of you who are feeling a tug to get back to Church this weekend, if you need specific prayers, please message us.

Love,
The Faddis’ Family

As Christians, we know that Jesus can heal the sick. We’ve seen many instances of this in the Bible and in our own lives. What we need to learn, however, is who the sick really are. Many times those who are seemingly healthy are the ones most in need of healing. Spiritual sickness is much worse than physical sickness because it can affect our salvation. Although we are saddened when we look at the Faddis family’s situation, much good is coming out of it.

Through her illness, this brave young women is teaching us the value of redemptive suffering. From her bed, she is instructing us in a way that far surpasses anything that can be found in a text book. By accepting his wife’s illness, Chris Faddis is reminding each of us that faith involves looking past the difficulties of life and trusting that the Lord has a better plan. If you want to learn a powerful lesson, please take a few minutes and watch the following video. Let Angela speak directly to you and then listen to singer Tom Booth as he delivers a message that we all need to hear.

This, my friends, is what faith is all about…