Saturday, 30 June 2018

Walking forward in faith...a story from Mexico

In 1964 Fr Rich Thomas was appointed to El Paso in Texas. Around 1969/1970 he was profoundly touched by God and started charismatic prayer meetings in the parish. During one prayer meeting in 1972 they read the passage in Luke 14:12-14 which says, When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you.

Now when you have a party, invite the poor for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again. The prayer meeting decided that on Christmas day that year, 1972, they would give a Christmas lunch to the poor who lived and worked in the dump in Juarez, which was just across the border in Mexico. The poor people in the dump used to separate the rubbish into various types, cans, bottles, cardboard etc and then sell it to a co-op which would in turn sell it on. They lived in the dump and worked 7 days a week for $5. 

The prayer group had prepared food for 125 people on Christmas Day. When they got to the dump Fr Rich and the group discovered that they had two labour unions . One union could not go into the others area. Eventually Fr Rich got them to come to one area for the food. Three hundred and fifty people turned up so Fr Rich explained that there was not enough food for everyone but they would share what they had. All 350 had enough food, the dump people took some food home and then came back to take more home, they returned and took more home again. There was still lots of food left over, so much that Fr Rich and the prayer group took the leftover food to three orphanages. 

It is not the only time a miracle happened in the dump in Juarez, that miracle of multiplication of food was repeated there many times, e.g. on another occasion when they didn't have enough cartons of milk for everyone when they came to the end of handing out cartons, everyone had a carton of milk. After the miracle on Christmas Day 1972 a beautiful Christian community grew up in the dump and many wonderful events have taken place since then.

A song for David ... a story from Medjugorje

Since 1988, Medjugorje has become a spiritual lifeline to our family. David, our second son, was born April 17, 1981, on Good Friday, a few weeks before the apparitions began in Medjugorje; a significant day, as from them onwards his life would pivot closely around Good Friday. David was born with a hare lip and during the early months and years of his life it became apparent that he had multiple problems, including paralysis affecting his left hand side and, more seriously, a diagnosis of severe aplastic anaemia, a rare bone marrow disease. Children with this disease seldom survived beyond their teenage years, alternating between endless blood transfusions to stabilise their condition to keep them alive in the short term, and then experiencing brief periods of remission.

In 1988 we had returned from Lourdes. My husband Bryan, although an agnostic, travelled to Lourdes with us. He enjoyed his week but spiritually he returned the same, much to my frustration. However, God has his own timing and ways of accomplishing his plan in our lives. I then decided to pray a nine-day novena to Our Lady for Bryan and surrendered him totally into her maternal care. During the novena I came to hear about the apparitions taking place in Medjugorje. Excitedly I shared the information with Bryan and said that I would love to visit the place.A few days later Bryan asked me where exactly Medjugorje was in what was then Yugoslavia and expressed an interest in going there one day. I was totally surprised by this sudden interest and had still not completed the novena I was saying for him. I continued to pray and then decided to book a surprise pilgrimage to Medjugorje for Bryan. I made the arrangements in faith, and then informed him. To my amazement he was delighted and six weeks later I packed his case. Before I shut the suitcase I remembered that I had bought some Rosary beads in Lourdes as a gift for Bryan and had put them in a drawer until I felt it was a suitable time to give them to him. I quickly found the brown wooden beads and placed them on top of his clothes. 

Whilst Bryan was away, our son David had a profound spiritual experience. Because of his poor health he had been allowed to make his First Holy Communion a few months before, at the age of seven. As usual, one evening, at the same time the apparitions took place in St James Church, I lit a candle and placed it in the centre of the kitchen table. I gathered my three children with Hannah, the youngest, on my knee, and began to pray the Rosary with them.I didn't particularly feel in the mood for prayer that evening. I was exhausted at the end of the day and just wanted to put the children to bed. As we began to make the Sign of the Cross, David became rather excitable and seemed absolutely fascinated with the candle. Mummy, mummy, just look at the candle. It's flashing three lights! he exclaimed. We all looked at the candle and it was no different to any other evening it had been lit. We began to pray, and as I glanced up I noticed that David, normally such a fidget, had his eyes gently closed and sat perfectly still without joining in. 

After prayers he continued to sit quietly before eventually opening his eyes. He's gone, he pronounced simply. David, who's gone? I asked. Jesus is gone. After the three flashes of light from the candle, I saw a mist. As the mist cleared, Jesus was standing beside the candle. Do you mean a Child Jesus or a Daddy Jesus, I asked. A Daddy Jesus. He wore a white robe and had wounds on his hands and feet. He then spoke to me and said, You are to pray the Rosary for you are a son of Mary. Jesus then showed me the world of Medjugorje. It was like a moving picture. I saw a church with two high steeples. I then saw Jesus standing beside my daddy. Daddy was wearing a necklace around his neck with a cross. When he comes home he will be leading the Rosary in our family. 

David's prophetic words came true. Bryan had a profound conversion experience in Medjugorje. As he stood listening to Vicka, one of the young visionaries, describe her experiences with the Blessed Mother, he just knew that she was speaking the truth. When he returned home, he was wearing around his neck the brown Rosary beads I had packed in his suitcase. David just pointed to the necklace that he had seen. Bryan was received into the Catholic Church exactly one year later, on the Feast of St Therese of the Child Jesus. Bryan took David to Medjugorje two years later. He was, by this time, quite a sick little boy. He had a wonderful time. He especially loved climbing the big mountain by torchlight. It was the last holiday that David had.

He died from a brain haemorrhage on April 9, 1991. Mummy I don't want to be attached to this drip on my birthday. The Lord heard and answered his prayer. He was in heaven for his tenth birthday. The following year his birthday fell on  Good Friday.

Friday, 29 June 2018

The power of silence ......... a story from Poland

(from St Faustina's diary)

Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity.

The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we should speak. A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence. 

The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God works in a silent soul without hindrance.

Jesus said My daughter, when I was before Herod, I obtained a grace for you; namely, that you would be able to rise above human scorn and follow faithfully in my footsteps. Be silent when they do not want to acknowledge your truth, because it is then that you speak more eloquently.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Setting the prisoners free

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak..."I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

I stopped the lad and asked, "What you got there, son?" "Just some old birds," came the reply. "What are you gonna do with them?" I asked. "Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time." 

"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?" "Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them. "The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?"

"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!" "How much?" the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?" The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's . In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!" "What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked

Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!!"

And what will you do when you get done with them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly. "How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked.

Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!" "How much?" He asked again

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life." Jesus said, "DONE!" Then He paid the price. 

The pastor picked up the cage he opened the door and he walked from the pulpit

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A crown of Roses ... (from the Secret of the Rosary)

The word Rosary means Crown of Roses that is to say that every time people pray the Rosary devoutly they place a crown of 153 red roses and 16 white roses upon the heads of Jesus and Mary. Being heavenly flowers these roses will never fade or lose their exquisite beauty. Our Lady confirmed her approval of the name Rosary in the following way:

The chronicles of St Francis tell of a young friar, who had the praiseworthy habit of praying the Rosary every day before dinner. One day, for some reason or another he did not manage to say it. The refectory bell had already been rung when he asked the superior to allow him to say it before coming to the table, and having obtained his permission he withdrew to his cell to pray.

After he had been gone a long time the Superior sent another Friar to fetch him, and he found him in his room, bathed in a heavenly light facing Our Lady who had two Angels with her. Beautiful roses kept issuing from his mouth at each Hail Mary; the angels took them one by one, placing them on Our Lady's head, and she smilingly accepted them.

Finally two other friars who had been sent to find out what had happened to the first two saw the same lovely scene, and Our Lady did not go away until the whole Rosary had been said.

The rose is the Queen of flowers, and so the Rosary is the rose of all devotions and it is therefore the most important one.

The life of Blessed Hermann (of the Premonstratensian Fathers) tells that at one time when he used to pray the Rosary attentively and devoutly while meditating upon the mysteries Our Lady used to appear to him resplendent in breathtaking majesty and beauty. But as time went on his fervour cooled and he fell into the way of saying the Rosary hurriedly and without giving his full attention. Then one day Our Lady appeared to him again-only this time she was far from beautiful and her face was furrowed and drawn with sadness. Blessed Hermann was appalled at the change in her and then Our Lady explained:  This is how I look to you, Hermann, because in your soul this is how you are treating me; as a woman to be despised and of no importance. Why do you no longer greet me with respect and attention meditating on my mysteries and praising my privileges ?

Monday, 25 June 2018

Prayer changes hearts and minds

My name is Lee and I am a single mother. Four years ago, one year after high school graduation, I discovered I was pregnant. I had always been very much against abortion and had even volunteered at a local crisis pregnancy centre. However, finding myself in this situation, I panicked. Without telling my family members, I decided to have an abortion my reasons being completely selfish. I scheduled an appointment for an abortion, which was a two-day process. The first day consisted of tests and counselling, the second day was the actual "termination of the pregnancy". This appointment was very easy to obtain. I needed no parental approval or medical forms. All they asked of me was two separate money orders

The night before the first appointment, I became very uneasy about my decision. By morning I had completely changed my mind. I found out later that on that same night my mother (who had become suspicious of what I was doing) was intensely praying for protection in my womb! 

After this, I was seriously considering adoption. At five months pregnant I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, and shortly thereafter the Lord made it clear to me that I was to become a mother. Two months later, on February 14, 1992, I gave birth to two beautiful, healthy twin boys. Being a mother has caused a dramatic change in my life. 

I have now thrown aside my sinful lifestyle for the glory of walking with the Lord. I am constantly aware of areas in my life that need changing in order to be an example of Christ to my children. I love being a mother, and I am so thankful to God that he used such precious gifts in order to bring me to my knees. God is sovereign!! Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.

Keep it simple ,,,,,,,,,,Heavenly advice

(from The secret of the Rosary)

Our Lady appeared to St Dominic and said "My son, do not be surprised that your sermons fail to bear the results that you had hoped for. You are trying to cultivate a piece of land which has not had any rain. Now when Almighty God planned to renew the face of the earth He started by sending down rain from heaven-and this was the Angelic Salutation. In this way God made over the world."

"So when you give a sermon urge people to say my Rosary and in this way your words will bear much fruit for souls" St Dominic lost no time in obeying and from then on he exerted great influence by his sermons.

Another time Jesus appeared to him and said "Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying upon your own wisdom and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are working with great humility for the salvation of souls". 

"Many want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of sin at the very outset, failing to realise that before a sick person is given bitter medicine he needs to be prepared by being put in the right frame of mind to really benefit from it ..before doing anything else, ...try to kindle a love of prayer in people's hearts and especially a love of my Angelic Psalter (the Rosary) ."

"If only they would all start saying it and would really persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary"