Called To Heal

All Christians are called by God to be part of the healing ministry. We may be shocked by the idea that God will use us for healing. But it is not just for the religious and medical professions. God wants everyone to work for the healing of others.
Our problem is that our understanding of healing is so limited. We think mostly in terms of physical healing and miracles. We think that we aren’t holy enough to perform miracles. The reality is that there are many different kinds of healing.
Father DeGrandis, a priest who travels the country teaching about healing, claims there are five different kinds of healings. These are spiritual, emotional, intellectual, relational and physical. We may not feel qualified to lay hands on people and ask God to heal them physically and in many cases we don’t need to because there are doctors who can heal using the methods of modern medicine.
But who is there to heal the wounds of divisiveness and bitterness, of anger, dissension and hostility that exist right around us? Who else is in the right place to bring Christ’s love into the situation? So often we encounter situations at school, work, and church, in the community or in our families infected with negativity, anger and division.
I heard a message this Memorial Day by the Reverend Steve Brown. He talked about the book of Esther and Mordecai’s belief that God had placed Esther in her role as queen”for such a time as this”. Isn’t it also true that God has placed us in our jobs, communities, parishes and families for such a time as this so that we may work for reconciliation; so that we could work for the healing of relationships?
All of us are called to work for healing, to do what we can to restore relationships and promote unity. We are called to work for reconciliation wherever it is needed. We may not be able to do much about the situation in the Mid East but we are called to do what we can where we are. Reconciliation may be needed among our families, friends, parish or community. Too many of our parishes and communities are infected with negativity and gossip.
We need to remember that Jesus prayed that we would be one. We need to remember that Jesus died for the souls on both sides of any conflict. We need to remember that Jesus commanded us to love one another. We need to remember that our first loyalty is to the service of God.
We serve God. He placed us where we are for a reason and promoting Christian love and unity is part of that reason. We are to reach out with love to others. We are to serve as His hands and feet right where we are. That means we do what we can to promote the healing of relationships even if all we can do is pray.
Prayer is a vital part of our effort to heal. We need to pray for God’s wisdom to know what to say. We need to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so we may recognize the times we are called to act and the times we are called to be silent. We need to continually pray for others to be open to the power of the Holy Spirit and to reconciliation. We need to pray for everyone involved in the situation.
Then we need to look at ourselves and what we say to make sure we aren’t contributing to the negativity. After that we can look for the opportunity to speak of love and forgiveness, to remind people of our responsibility to share the love God has given us, even to share that love with difficult people.
The biggest thing is that we need to be continually aware of our responsibility to bring healing to every situation we can. This is something we have to consciously work out. We can’t leave it to others. We have to do whatever we can in any situation we face even if all we feel we can do is pray.
This is true for all of the different kinds of healing Father DeGrandis talks about. We are called to work for healing in all situations whether it is intellectual, spiritual, emotional, relational or physical. So often we are quick to condemn pro-choice politicians when we are called to pray for their spiritual and intellectual healing. We can pray for them and others while strongly disagreeing with them. Too often we disagree and forget to pray for their spiritual healing.
How different would the world be if all Christians prayed and worked for healing rather than simply condemning?

Lord, grant me the courage, wisdom and grace I need to work for healing. Help me to pray for healing rather than simply condemning. Open our hearts to the power of your love to bring reconciliation to our parishes, communities and families. Amen

“I Tremble When I Recall God Is Just”

There is a quote of Thomas Jefferson that said “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” At the time Jefferson referred to the sin of slavery. Today we must ask ourselves if we should be trembling recalling God’s justice.
There are people who want us to keep our mouths shut and mind our own business. They think we shouldn’t take a stand against abortion or against same-sex marriages or on any moral issues. We’re supposed to look away while our country sinks lower and lower morally. Our politicians seem to have abandoned all sense of right or wrong in their willingness to allow people to make their own choices.
However, those choices have consequences. God did not ignore the sins of Israel forever. He sent prophets to call people back to them but Israel refused to listen. My sixth grade religion book said it simply. When the Israelites followed God, they were successful but when they turned away from God, their enemies gained the upper hand. God withdrew His protection until they returned to Him. Eventually, however both Israel and Judah were conquered and exiled.
We have to stand up for what is right. We can not ignore what is happening in our country, the court’s ruling that same-sex marriages are valid or the number of abortions. It isn’t just their business. It offends God. Therefore it affects us.
We have to take a stand even when we are in the minority. Whether we win or lose politically doesn’t matter. What matters is that we take a stand for righteousness. I keep thinking of the story of Abraham and God talking about Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asked if He would destroy Sodom if there were fifty righteous people. God said He wouldn’t for the sake of the fifty. We have to be those righteous people.
We have to do more. People are being lost. Children are being killed. Others are being corrupted. We have to do everything we can to save children. We can’t abandon our morals when we vote. A brilliant leader going in the wrong direction will only lead us in the wrong direction. We have to do whatever we can to turn this country in the right direction. That means voting, signing petitions, showing up to meetings and speaking out.
It also means praying and praying hard. The fewer people who seem to be on our side the more we have to pray. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to a Hail Mary but do serious praying at least a daily rosary. Over and over Mary has asked people to say the rosary for the conversion of sinners. We need to do that.
Beverly LaHaye in her book entitled Prayer wrote that we need to be specific in our prayers. We shouldn’t pray God bless the president but more like help the president change his mind on________. Help the judges on the California Supreme Court ______.
Help the U.S. Supreme Court make the right ruling in _____________. Help Congress or the state legislature pass the ____________bill.
Pray for abortionists to have a change of heart. Pray for gays to open themselves up to God’s healing power. Pray for our society to change. Pray for the conversion of our nation. You may think it is impossible but Roe of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court Decision that gave woman the right to an abortion is now a pro-life speaker. All things are possible for God but we need to do our part.

Lord, I ask for the courage to stand up for what is right, the wisdom to know how to take a stand and the endurance to keep up the fight. Help me to seriously pray over these issues. Help other Christians to take a stand for righteousness and bring our country back where it belongs. Amen

The Power of Prayer

Today is 9/11/13. I remembered 9/11/2001. About 8:50 I watched from my classroom a small group of women leave church. They had stayed after mass to say the rosary. They always had a long list of people and causes to pray for. One was always for anyone in the parish who needed a prayer. They had done this for years, saying the rosary for anyone who needed a prayer, for jobs and for people who were sick. This was part of their daily routine.
We have no idea of how many people benefitted from these prayers but I know on 9/11/01 there were 6 parishioners working in the World Trade Center. All six came home safe. Never underestimate the power of the Rosary.

A Country Desperately In Need Of Prayer

Today Patriot Day, 9/11/13, hundreds of people attend a memorial mass for the victims of 9/11 in my parish. Many wore red, white and blue or FDNY T-shirts. All showed their patriotism and that is good but what about tomorrow and the next day; where will they be?
It is good to wear the colors or wave the flag but the most patriotic thing we can do is pray for our country. We are a country desperately in need of prayer, serious daily prayer.
Almost any way you look at it this country is worse off than it was 9/10/01. Our military has been drained by two wars. In 2001 the economy was booming and we were cutting taxes because of a budget surplus. In recent years we have been hit by an incredible number of natural disasters, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and floods. Can anyone question if our morals have gotten worse since 2001?
Be a real patriot. Pray for our country. Pray for its conversion. Pray for revival.

It Is Not Enough To Be Pro-life!

Polls reveal that the majority of Americans oppose unrestricted abortion but what good is that?  Does it really make a difference if you claim to be pro-life but do nothing?  For a large part of our history people were philosophically opposed to slavery but it continued until the Civil War because people did nothing for various reasons.

What will we say to God when He asks us why we did nothing?  What will we say to the children whose lives could have been saved?  Wouldn’t you rather meet in heaven those children who lived because you prayed, called a politician, stood in a life chain or joined a pro-life march?

So often people claim to be pro-life but don’t want to impose their views on others.  That is absolutely no reason not to pray for life.  Prayer is the least we can do.  It doesn’t matter if we are homebound, confined to a wheelchair:  we can pray for life.  We can pray for pregnant women to make the right choice, for them to seek real help and guidance.  Say the rosary.  Every year the Diocese of Charleston had a campaign for 40,000 rosaries for Life in conjunction with the 40 Days for Life Campaign beginning September 25.   There are at least a couple hundred thousand Catholics in the diocese.  Why can’t we quadruple that goal?

Sunday October 6th is the Life Chain.  Locally, there are three in HorryCounty; one at St Michael’s, St Andrew’s and outside Wal-Mart in Conway.  Thousands of Catholics will attend mass that weekend. Why can’t we get a thousand to stand for life?  Are the Giants, Redskins or Red Sox really that important?  What will you say to God about that?

We can drive to Charlotte to see the Panthers live.  Many of us spent hours getting to sports events up North or waited in line 4-5 hours for Black Friday Sales but we can’t drive 20 miles to Myrtle Beach and spend an hour standing to life.  What does that say about our priorities?  What will God think?

 

 For information on a life chain near you go to www.lifechain.net.

40daysforlife.com

Where We Went Wrong!

You are weak, too weak to control yourself. You’ll never be able to control your passions. Selfishness is good. That is the modern way. Morality is irrelevant, do what you want. Don’t worry about who gets hurt. Don’t worry about the emotional damage you inflict on your partners. Don’t worry about the consequences. Isn’t that the message our modern society is giving the young? Isn’t this the dominate philosophy in our country? Isn’t this the message we are giving our youth?
Isn’t this the premise that birth control and abortion are based on; that they are necessary because we are incapable of controlling ourselves. We are too weak to wait for marriage, not strong enough to resist temptation. We push condoms and safe sex in junior high schools and fight for the right for children to have abortions without their parents’ knowledge. After all, everybody’s doing it! But what about the generations of children who managed to wait until they were older, the millions who waited for marriage; don’t they prove that it is possible to wait, that it is possible to control yourself that we are capable of much more than Planned Parenthood and its allies believe?
There are 2 conflicting philosophies existing in our society. The popular one perpetuated by the media claims we are no better than intelligent animals, weak and incapable of self –control and self-discipline. It encourages irresponsible sex and calls it responsible. The emotional pain caused by hooking up, the STD’s are not important. Only temporary pleasure and I suspect profit matters. It is okay to kill your own child. After all you need not be inconvenienced by a child. Their life doesn’t matter. I wonder if your life matters to these people except of course as a means of profit.
Contrast that with the philosophy offered by the Church. Rather than appealing to our lowest nature, our selfishness, our weakness, we are called to be better than we thought we could be. We are called to self-discipline, self-control and self-sacrifice. We are not told that we are weak and can’t control ourselves but that with God”all things are possible”. We”can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”. Yes we may be weak, yes we will be tempted but we don’t have to give in. We are not alone.
Where would this country be if the today’s philosophy dominated in 1941? Would we have survived World War II? Would we have emerged victorious from the Cold War? Would we have stood up to Communist Russia and Nazi Germany?
What will our future be like as a nation if we continue to give into our weaknesses; if we never try to become better as a person, stronger in character? Where will we be if we never learn self-control, self-discipline; if we never learn self-sacrifice? Are we capable anymore of the sacrifices of “the greatest generation”?
Do we not see how destructive our modern philosophy is? It not only causes great emotional pain for our youth; physically it contributes to things like cancer, STD’s, Aids, and infertility. It causes the destruction of relationships. It may also lead to the fall of this once great nation.

Empty Your Backpack!

A few years ago I went to the Labor Day Cookout at the local Methodist Church. The pastor, Steve Brown, arrived about 5:15. He wore a backpack and kept it on until he spoke during their praise service about 7:00. As unusual as this might be what was inside was even more unusual, seven bricks.
As he spoke he took out a brick at a time. The first had a piece of paper that said unforgiveness. The others were resentment, anger, hurt, worry and guilt: all things we carry around with us. The seventh was blank to symbolize perhaps the bitterness, fear, doubt, failures, rejections we carry around with us. All of us carry these things with us in our psyche. We hold on to the pain and mistakes of our past. We don’t forget especially the things we do wrong.
We wonder why we’re not happy. How can we be happy if we constantly beat ourselves up over our past mistakes? How can we be happy if we hold onto grudges from twenty, thirty or more years ago? How can we be happy if we hold onto anger? How can we be happy if we insist on worrying about things we can’t control? How can we be happy if we hold onto our failures?
We all do this. How many times have you thought you’d be happy never to see someone again? How many times do we beat ourselves up over something stupid that we did long ago? How many times do we regret our past? How many times do we keep thinking of some sin we committed and confessed long ago? How often do you have to remind yourself that you’ve confessed that sin?
It seems that one of the hardest things we can do is really leave our past behind. No matter how you’ve changed, how hard you tried to do better something always happens to remind you and bring you down. It is as if Satan won’t let you forget. It is part of his control over us. He especially likes to remind us of our sins and failures because then we tend to close off part of ourselves to God. We keep our distance rather than drawing close.
Yet if you read the Diary of St. Faustina He wants us to go to Him in our misery. He calls us to trust in His Mercy. It doesn’t matter how miserable we’ve been His Mercy is greater. We have to trust in His Mercy.
Letting go, truly letting go of our past is one of the most important things we can do in life. Letting go will lift us out of our misery and allow the Lord to truly heal us. This is the kind of healing we need most. It is the healing God wants to give us first. He wants to free us of our resentment and unforgiveness, to heal us of our anger. He wants to remove the guilt that we feel. He wants to make us free to truly love Him. He wants us to totally open ourselves to His love. If we ever totally let go of everything and open ourselves up to his love it will be like taking a shower in Niagara Falls.
The problem is that we don’t let go of the anger. We hang onto our resentment. We think we’re right. We can’t give in. Our pride gets in the way. We can’t forgive. We won’t let go of our past. We shouldn’t have done that. Again our pride gets in the way.
Often the most important person we have to forgive is ourselves. Because of our pride we can’t get over the fact that we are human. We’ve made mistakes and messed up. We will again. That’s part of our humanity. God knows all about it. He made us that way. He doesn’t want our beating ourselves up. He wants our repentance, confession and resolve to do better.
He wants to help us let go. He knows we can’t do this on our own. We have to come to Him and trust in His Mercy.

Jesus, there is so; so much I need to let go of. Help me to let go of all anger, unforgiveness, resentment, fear, guilt and hurt. Help me to let go of my worries. Help me to let go of my pride. Help me to totally open myself up to Your love. Amen