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Posts Tagged ‘Miracle’

Contact: God@worktoday.org by Barbara Reagan

In 07 Observations on 2013/02/11 at 9:11 AM

In the Holy Scriptures, Our Lord invites all who would hear, both then and now, to “come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.”  He promises that all we need to do is “ask, and you shall receive.”

In the days that our Lord lived among us on this earth, a blind man approached Him, took Him at His word and asked for healing: “Lord, that I might see.”  Our Lord healed Him.

Thirteen years ago, I also took Our Lord at His word.

It was a routine cataract operation.  The first cataract operation had gone well, so there was no reason to expect the second would be any different.  You can imagine how shocking it was when the day after my second cataract surgery, I found that I could not even see the hand in front of my eyes.  The diagnosis: a staph infection.

I was immediately rushed by the head of the three-generation ophthalmological practice to a nearby hospital where two Chinese specialists performed a vitrectomy (a procedure in which they remove all the liquid out of the eyeball until it is totally flat and then refill it with antibiotics).

Then followed three months of daily visits to the doctors . . . with no exceptions.  Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day . . . everyday. Each day with dizzying thoroughness, doctors examined my eye leaving me feeling unbalanced in more ways than one.   At home, I had to put three drops, 5 minutes apart, into my eye around the clock every hour.  That meant I was only able to sleep in 45-minute increments.  Consequently, I lost track of time . . . and reality.  Friends who saw me during those months, tell me my eye looked like a squashed tomato.  The one thing, the only thing, I know for certain is that amidst those unsettling and disorienting days of physical blindness, I was given a spiritual clarity, a spiritual sight, that I had never had before.

My faithful husband was ever at my side for whatever I needed.  At one point the doctors informed him that they thought the infection might progress into my brain.  Realizing the fatal nature of this infection, I appealed to Our Lord for His mercy.  I remembered the stories of Our Lord, the promises of Our Lord, in Holy Scriptures.  My prayers were familiar, confident and submissive:

“Lord, I know that with you there is no time.  So, here I am standing right next to that fellow into whose eyes you are putting clay and spittle.  Please put some in mine.  If it is Your Will to heal me, I will appreciate it, but if it is your will that I be blind, I know you will give me the grace to cope.”

The next visit to the ophthalmologist left the doctors amazed.  My eye showed no signs of a problem or having been infected.  The Chinese doctors were speechless.  One of the American doctors  jumped up from his seat, shook my husband’s hand, saying to us: “Staph infections are the most virulent of all; there is no sign of there ever having been one.  This is a miracle.”

Having moved from California to Charlotte, North Carolina, I visit an ophthalmologist once a year for a check up.  The ophthalmologists here are also amazed.  One doctor said that although my records are the size of a telephone book, there is absolutely no sign that what they describe has ever happened to my eye.  I now have perfect vision in both eyes and do not need glasses to drive or watch TV.  I do, of course, use readers, a common reading companion for many people.

I learned through this harrowing experience to take Our Lord at His Word.  He means what He says.  His Words and His miracles are as fresh and potent today as they were in the time he walked among the people of the Holy Land.  We simply need to believe Him and, in submission to His Love, present our needs to Him.

Eucharist by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2012/04/06 at 11:09 AM

• About an hour north of Rome in the Umbria region of Italy is the very picturesque town of Orvieto. Like so many of the towns of Italy, at the very heart of Orvieto is a beautiful Catholic church.

• And within this beautiful Catholic church in the heart of Orvieto is the famed Corporal of Bolsena. A corporal, you may recall, is the square white cloth, placed on the altar, upon which the Eucharist rests during Mass.

• The Corporal of Bolsena is famous because it is stained with blood from a Eucharistic miracle that occurred in the village of Bolsena in 1263.

• A traveling priest from Germany was passing through that village while on pilgrimage to Rome, and while a pious man, this priest had some serious doubts about transubstantiation and the true presence of our Lord in the Eucharist.

• While offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Bolsena, blood started to seep from the Host just after the priest spoke the words of Consecration. The blood was so profuse that it soon covered his hands and spilled onto the corporal.

• Confused, the priest stopped Mass and then asked to be taken to the nearby city of Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV was staying at the time. Upon hearing the priest’s story, the Holy Father began an investigation to determine the authenticity of the miracle.

• Once the Holy Father ascertained all the facts, he had the corporal brought to Orvieto in a grand procession and placed it in the cathedral where it remains on display to this day.

• For the past couple of weeks, our Gospel reading has come from John 6, which provides much of the Church’s scriptural background for our belief in the Eucharist.

• In today’s Gospel we hear about the Jews who are murmuring against Jesus for saying that He is “the bread that came down from Heaven.”

• They know Jesus, they’ve watched Him grow up, they know His parents. So for them, to hear Jesus say that He has come down from Heaven, and that He is the bread sent by God, is scandalous! How could this be? Is this not Jesus, the Son of Joseph?

• Of course the Jews are relying solely on their physical senses to make this determination that Jesus is nothing more than a carpenter’s son.

• Although they have just witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fish, as well as countless other miracles, they refuse to look upon Jesus with the eyes of faith. Rather, they choose to limit themselves to the myopia and fallibility of human knowledge and experience.

• It is a sad consequence of that Fall that we humans often doubt. Even though God gives us the great gift of faith at our baptism, in our sinfulness, it is not always easy to be strong in faith, especially when our senses cannot confirm or deny a truth for us.

• Yet as Christians it is so very important that learn to rely not solely on our physical senses, which are easily deceived, but on our spiritual senses as well.

• It is so very important that we train ourselves to see with the eyes of faith, for it is only when we walk by faith and not by sight that we can see things as they truly are.

• While every human knows that there are visible realities that we can perceive with our physical senses, as Christians we know that there are also invisible realities that are knowable to us only through faith.

• So for example, while we cannot see it or touch it or drive to it, while it has no attributes that are accessible to our physical senses, as Christians we all know and believe that Heaven truly exists. It is a truth written on our hearts that we believe by faith.

• And much of our Faith is like this! Our belief in the Trinity, the angels, the intercession of the saints, the efficacy of the sacraments, and so on are all things that we cannot prove with our senses, but that we must believe by faith.

• Note well that the lack of empirical evidence doesn’t make these realities any less true. In fact, as Catholics we know by faith that the invisible realities of our faith are more real than the visible realities!

• Central among these matters of faith for us Catholics is our belief in the Eucharist. While our senses cannot perceive any change taking place in the bread and wine as the priest says the words of consecration during Mass, we know by faith that the bread and wine do, indeed, become our Lord’s body and blood.

• And every once in a while, in order to bolster the belief of the faithful, our Lord allows a miracle – like the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena – to occur. Miracles like this remind us that our faith is not a collection of pious myths, but rather that what we believe is believable.

• Yet we cannot depend on these miracles. We must make the choice to believe. And this choosing to believe without any confirmation from our senses is an exercise of faith.

• But keep in mind that faith is not a matter of believing something irrational or illogical. To the contrary, faith is a matter of submitting our intellect and will to God. As Hebrews 11:1 tells us: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

• Thus, true faith is never blind. It’s simply a matter of trusting in our Lord and what He has revealed. It’s a matter of cooperating with the grace that God has given us. Thus, while faith is a supernatural gift from God, it is also something we must choose to exercise.

• At its heart, our faith is rooted in our relationship with Jesus. The stronger our relationship with the Lord, the stronger our faith will be. Thus, faith is not something that God gives to some and not to others; faith is accessible to everyone. But we must be willing to be in relationship with God and to humbly submit ourselves to Him.

• It’s important that we choose to exercise our faith because it is our faith in Jesus that leads us to eternal life. As Jesus tells us today: “whoever believes has eternal life.”

• So, truly, my friends, if you fear that your faith is weak, then look to strengthen your relationship with Christ through prayer and the worthy reception of Holy Communion.

• Several years ago a study revealed that only _ of Catholics really believe in the True Presence in the Eucharist. This is sad not simply because it means that most Catholics have a defect in faith. It’s sad because it means that most Catholics don’t really know our Lord!

• And in failing to believe in the Eucharist, we miss out on graces important to our salvation! The Eucharist strengthens us and prepares us for Heaven. It joins us in closer union with our Lord, and it forgives our venial sins. The Eucharist is how Jesus shows His love for us.

• Every time we come to Mass and are presented with Holy Communion, we respond “Amen!” Amen means: “I believe.” So ask yourself: do I really believe? Do I believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ?

• And if you do believe, then make it a point to act as if you believe. Ask yourself: do I always behave in a manner consistent with my belief in the Eucharist? For example, do I always genuflect when I pass in front of the tabernacle or do I walk by casually with nary a thought to the presence of my Lord?

• When I come to church, do I dress in a manner that shows my understanding that I am in the Lord’s holy presence, or do I just put on what feels comfortable? Am I quiet, reverent and prayerful in church, or do I chat needlessly with those around me?

• Do I take the time to prayerfully prepare myself to receive Holy Communion, making sure I have no un-confessed grave sins before approaching our Lord, or do I receive Holy Communion when I know I shouldn’t because I fear what others might think of me?

• Do I receive the Eucharist with great devotion and recollection, realizing that it is the Lord Himself Who is being placed on my tongue or in my hands? And afterwards do I return to my pew and thank the Lord for the graces He has just given to me?

• I ask you to consider these questions not simply to ensure that everyone is following “the rules.” I ask you to consider these questions because acting in way that is consistent with our beliefs actually strengthens our faith!

• When we respond to the Eucharist in a way that shows that we do believe it to be the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, our faith in the Eucharist grows, and we grow in holiness.

• My friends, it is our greatest privilege as Catholics to receive our Lord’s body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Communion. It is not merely bread and wine that we receive. By faith we know that the Eucharist is truly our Lord made present for our salvation.

• As we consider this great gift, let us pray for a strengthening of our faith in the Eucharist and in all the divine mysteries of our faith, and let us resolve to exercise our faith with great zeal, charity, reverence, and integrity.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC

“Do whatever He tells you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/05/30 at 9:06 AM
In the middle of the rejoicing at the feast in Cana, only Mary notices that they are short of wine. A soul will notice even the smallest details of service if, like her, it is alive with a passion for helping its neighbour, for God. (Furrow, 631)

Our Lady was a guest at one of those noisy country weddings attended by people from many different villages. Mary was the only one who noticed the wine was running out. Don’t these scenes from Christ’s life seem familiar to us? The greatness of God lives at the level of ordinary things. It is natural for a woman, a homemaker, to notice an oversight, to look after the little things that make life pleasant. And this is how Mary acted.

—Do whatever he tells you.

Implete hydrias (John 2:7), fill the jars. And the miracle takes place. Everything is so simple and ordinary. The servants carry out their job. The water is easy to find. And this is the first manifestation of our Lord’s divinity. What is commonplace becomes something extraordinary, something supernatural, when we have the good will to heed what God is asking of us.

Lord, I want to abandon all my concerns into your generous hands. Our Mother—your Mother—will by now have said to you, as at Cana: “They have no wine!…”

If our faith is weak, we should turn to Mary. Because of the miracle at the marriage feast at Cana, which Christ performed at his Mother’s request, his disciples learned to believe in him (John 2:11). Our Mother is always interceding with her Son so that he may attend to our needs and show himself to us, so that we can cry out, “You are the Son of God.”

—Grant me, dear Jesus, the faith I truly desire. My Mother, sweet Lady, Mary most holy, make me really believe! (Holy Rosary, Second Luminous Mystery)