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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

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak will be leading a Pray, Hope and Don't Worry at the Malvern Retreat House in 2016

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…

10 Things Jesus Wants You To Know About Worry And Anxiety


 

I know what it’s like to be anxious. Even when I was a young child, I had a tendency to worry. Fortunately, my anxiety proved to be a blessing since it caused me to seek comfort by turning to the Lord. Whenever I give talks about the subject of anxiety, I like to open the Bible and highlight some of Jesus’ comments about the subject. His words are clear and to the point and far more effective than any advice I could give. If you’re a worrier, here are 10 things Jesus wants you to know about anxiety. Some are statements and some are questions, but they are all designed to help you feel His peace.

1. “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matthew 6:34)

2. “Why are you afraid, have you no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

3. “And which of you, by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26)

4. “Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on.” (Matthew 6:25)

5. “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” (Mark 6:50)

6. “Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 28:10)

7. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

8. “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)

9. “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

Hey, wait a minute…that’s only 9…where’s the 10th quote? Good point, but we need to change direction for a minute. In the next quote, Jesus once again tells us not be afraid (in this case, of those who persecute us or threaten us with harm), but He also tells us that we SHOULD be afraid of something. Although we worry about many things, this one is usually not on our list, but it should be. The fear of the evil one (and the threat of eternal damnation) should motivate us to stay close to the Lord and follow His commands. If we do that, we’ll be fine!

10. “Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

There you have it, 10 direct quotes from Jesus about anxiety. Do you feel better? Me too. Keep these handy and refer to them often. When you’re temped to worry, read them over again and see how you feel. As Christians, we shouldn’t have to worry…we have Jesus. He is the ultimate cure for the anxiety in our lives. Please share this list with your fellow “worriers” so that others can experience the Lord’s peace!

WorrierWarrior.com is now live!

 


As promised, my new website devoted EXCLUSIVELY to a Christian remedy for worry and anxiety is now available! If you have a tendency to worry are looking for relief, be sure to visit (and bookmark)…

www.WorrierWarrior.com

While Following The Truth will continue to be my main website, I’ll use the new site to focus on worry and anxiety. The site will be expanded substantially in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to bookmark it and visit often. In addition to informative articles and resources collected from the web, this site will feature my Worrier Warrior blog. Please be sure to share this new site with any of your friends who are worriers.

If you’re ready to rid yourself of all useless worry, simply click on the following picture to visit WorrierWarrior.com!

WorrierWarrior.com - Declaring War on Worry!

Suffering For The Lord

 

I’m pleased to present a “guest blogger”, Robyn Greco. More than just a friend, Robyn is an inspiration to me and so many others. I know you’ll enjoy the powerful story of how she is offering up her suffering as a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Please keep her in your prayers.

The Goodness of God and the Blessing of the Missionaries of Charity

Most people are aware of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her work. If you are not, I would suggest visiting MotherTeresa.org to learn about her life – it’s truly extraordinary. I’ve had a deep love and devotion to Blessed Mother Teresa for many years and I am in love with the way that she loved others just as Jesus did and admire her deep affection for (and obedience to) the Catholic Church. Mother loved people of all faiths, all races, and all stations in life. Everyone to her was the same, just as Jesus loves us all the same. No one is better, no one is less. Because of her love for Jesus and His Church, she created The Missionaries of Charity. In short, after the enormous response to the work of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa created a group called The Sick and Suffering Co-Workers of the Missionaries of Charity. This branch of the order is for people who are not physically capable of becoming a Missionary of Charity due to illness, but still want to be part of the Work, as Mother Teresa always called it…God’s Work.

The responsibility and vow of a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of the Missionaries of Charity is to pray and offer one’s sickness and daily suffering to the Lord for the good of one specific Missionary of Charity anywhere in the world. Each Sick and Suffering Co-Worker is assigned a sister somewhere in the world and, in turn, that specific sister will pray daily for her Sick and Suffering Co-Worker. Mother Teresa always called her own personal Sick and Suffering Co-Worker, “her other self” because she believed that these people were just as important to the Work (and as much a part of the Missionaries of Charity) as are the professed sisters. She relied heavily on the prayers of her “other self”, as it allowed those too ill to become a professed Missionary of Charity the ability to share in the Work and as Mother would say, “Do something beautiful for God”

I have been ill with a disease called Lyme Disease for almost twenty years. I struggle daily with the inability to swallow most solid foods and experience pain (sometimes severe) in all parts of my body, as well as migraine headaches. I have prayed through the years for the Lord to heal me, but thus far a healing has not come. It took me quite some time, but in the last few years (through the mercy of our Lord), I have come to accept God’s Will for my life. I feel, through lots and lots of prayer, that God is asking me to be patient and to continue in my suffering. I know that will sound insane to some, but I believe and know that God uses all human suffering for good. I accept His Will and know that, although I may not know or understand how the Lord is using my suffering, someone is receiving grace because of it.

I have always wanted to be a Missionary of Charity. For many many years, I have followed, listened to, and learned about Blessed Mother Teresa, the Work, and The Missionaries of Charity. I have longed to be part of this wonderful work and to be able to participate in doing “something beautiful for God”, but how could that be? I am married and not of good health. I thought about donating money, but The Missionaries of Charity do not accept donations and I really do not have much to offer. After much prayer and no real answer I figured it was just impossible, so I put it in the back of my thoughts. To my surprise, about two weeks ago I found myself emailing back and forth with a sister located in India (the location of the mother house of the Missionaries of Charity) about Blessed Mother Teresa, her life, the Work and inquired about obtaining a relic. The conversation somehow turned to me and my illness. I am still not sure how this even happened. After that email I didn’t hear anything back from her.

Last week I received another email from this lovely sister and to my absolute surprise, Sister asked me if I would like to become a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of the Missionaries of Charity! My heart skipped a few beats and I felt like I had been reborn. In that very moment the sickness and pain I was feeling didn’t seem to matter…It was as if I was out of my own skin. I didn’t feel it! I believe that I experienced pure joy – a joy that can only come from the Lord Himself. For me, becoming a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker is the most important thing that has ever happened to me in my forty two years. There have been many good things that have happened in my years but nothing comes even close to the joy and peace I feel because of this most abundant, pure blessing that God has given to me.

God has given me tangible proof that my years of sufferings have not gone unnoticed by Him, that He has been with me all the time and will continue to be. He is allowing me to use my suffering for something I have longed to be part of, but had no way of making possible. In His mercy and love, the Father has granted me the privilege to share in the suffering of his Son, our Lord Jesus, on the Cross. By willingly uniting my suffering with Christ’s, I can STILL be happy and peaceful through my pain and sickness. I will still pray and ask for a healing, but my new vocation as a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of the Missionaries of Charity sustains me. If a physical healing never comes, I am already healed in ways that the world will never understand.

The Seven Sorrows Of Mary

 

On today’s episode of Following The Truth, I discussed the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt .
3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
4. Mary meets Jesus Carrying the Cross
5. The Crucifixion
6. Mary Receives the Dead Body of Her Son
7. The Burial of Her Son and Closing of the Tomb.

Here is a link to the book that I mentioned:

Devotion To The Sorrowful Mother (TAN Books)

One Way To Be Sure You’re Following God’s Will…

 

“Do you really believe God loves you? If you do, you know that everything that happens in your life is for your good. And it isn’t always a peaceful experience.” (Mother Angelica)

How do I know what God wants me to do with my life? How can I be sure that I’m following His will?

While this is a concern for anyone who is sincerely trying to follow the Lord, the answer is simpler than you realize. Although there are decisions that must be made in the course of our lives, there is one sure way to be certain that we’re following the will of God. It is to simply accept everything that happens in your life as being God’s will.

That’s it? You bet! This method of discernment is so simple that it often gets overlooked. In addition, it’s one of the most difficult things that we can ever do. Why? Because it involves our accepting illness, poverty, sorrow, loneliness, humiliation and uncertainty as being part of God’s will… and that isn’t easy!

The Bible tells us that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28), but that is often forgotten when we are faced with unexpected challenges. Just for a minute, imagine how peaceful you’d be if you TRULY believed that everything that God permits to happen in your life is in your best interest. In reality, that’s exactly what the Church teaches. It is God’s will that we all end up in Heaven (1 Thes 4:3) and He sometimes allows “bad” things to happen in order to help us arrive at our eternal destination.

In his book, Uniformity With God’s Will, Saint Alphonsus Liguori advises, “Whenever anything disagreeable happens, remember it comes from God and say at once, ‘This comes from God’ and be at peace.” While this advice seems simple, just think of how many times we violate it each day! How often do we complain about flat tires, financial problems, poor health, heavy workloads, tiredness and so many other issues?

Today, why not try to follow God’s will by NOT complaining when unpleasant things happen? Instead, make it a point to thank the Lord for making His will known!

“Whatever good or evil befalls you, be confident that God will convert it all to your good.” (Saint Jane Frances de Chantal)