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Search Me, O God!

March 30 2006 at 7:13 AM
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Word among us 

An Examination of Conscience for Lent

When we look at the Suffering Servant, we see someone who spent time allowing God to form him. We see someone who allowed God to search his heart and purify him of all that kept him from fulfilling his calling. Consequently, he came to grasp God’s intention for his life and for his people. He was able to accept his role in God’s plan. He was even able to embrace his sufferings, because he had caught a glimpse of the glorious outcome God had designed!
We find it a challenge to spend time this Lent examining our consciences. There are so many reasons: We’re too busy to spend so much time looking inward. We have done it so many times before that now it feels like a rote exercise. We’re uncomfortable being under the microscope, trying to uncover all the rules we’ve broken.

But if we let these reasons stop us from spending time with God, we risk missing out on the greatest fruit of Confession: the freedom to reach the fullness of God’s intention for us! As we spend the time contemplating God’s glory and asking the Holy Spirit to search us and examine us, God will form our character. When we see how passionately God loves us, we won’t want to tolerate the sins that keep us from him or his plans for us. Instead, we will find ourselves thinking more like Jesus and choosing to do whatever it takes to follow him.

This Lent, let’s say “Yes, Lord!” to all that God wants to do in our lives. Through the examination of conscience suggested below, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us clear away any obstacles to living fully the life God has planned for us!

Love of God.

Have I loved God above all else, or have I allowed other things —money, popularity, image, success—to motivate me and have primary place in my heart?

Are there areas in my life that I am holding back from God? Secret parts I don’t want to expose to his light and his love?

Have I been faithful in my commitment to prayer and reading Scripture, to nourish my relationship with God?

Have I been faithful in honoring the Lord on the Sabbath?

Have I shown disrespect for God’s name by misusing it in anger or frustration? By hesitating to mention God in appropriate situations? Have I avoided revealing my faith in certain situations?

Love of Neighbor.

Is there anyone of whom I need to ask forgiveness? Is there anyone I need to forgive?

Have I yielded to anger and spoken hurtful or damaging words? Am I praying for those I consider “enemies”?

Do I strive for mercy and compassion, or do I hold others to an unreasonably high standard?

Do I envy others’ lives or material possessions? Have I taken what is not rightfully mine?

Have I cheated or lied? Have I sought to protect my reputation at the expense of others?

Do I gossip? Have I failed to keep a secret that should have been confidential?

Have I engaged in sexual immorality? Have I tried to control my thoughts or given in to fantasies or lust? Have I treated others as objects and not persons valued by God?

Do I love the poor and do what I can to help, even if it means sacrifice on my part?

BY HIS STRIPES, WE ARE HEALED.

 
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Word among us

No matter what we’re going through, Jesus is with us.

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March 31 2006, 3:24 AM 

From Lent to Easter
No matter what we’re going through, Jesus is with us.

A philosopher once said, “The world is full of suffering, but it is also full of people overcoming it.” Suffering is an inescapable part of life. Whether it involves the minor bumps and bruises of daily living or deep traumas like terminal illness, sudden widowhood, or a nasty divorce, suffering touches all of our lives.
We can see the impact that horrible diseases can have on people. We can see how drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive gambling, and other addictions can place crushing burdens on families. We can see how typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters can wipe out whole communities of people. Whenever we hear about calamities like these, we are filled with compassion and sadness for what people are going through.

We see another kind of suffering that comes from broken relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between friends or people at work. These inner wounds can hurt as much as any physical illness. They can even wear on us enough that we begin to feel sick.

Whether our suffering is the result of a physical illness, natural disasters, or inner struggles, one principle remains constant: Jesus sees our suffering. He is filled with compassion for us and is always ready to pour his grace over us. He longs to see us healed and restored.

A Suffering God? While he lived on earth, Jesus was a “man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity” (Isaiah 53:3). But now that he is in heaven, does he still suffer? In a sense, yes. His sorrows no longer concern beatings, thorns, and nails. They are no longer about his inner battles against the devil or temptation. Now, Jesus suffers over us. He suffers over our problems and challenges. He hurts when he sees us hurting. He is always with us, holding us close and even weeping with us when we weep. He is forever offering us the comfort of his presence and strength.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus really has taken up our infirmities and carried our diseases. He really was wounded for our transgressions, and by his bruises, we can be healed (Isaiah 53:3,4). During each day of Lent, the Holy Spirit wants to show us that no infirmity—from the smallest cough to the body completely ravaged by disease—and no ini-quity—from the smallest fib to the gravest of sin—is outside of Jesus’ compassion and concern. No matter what we may face, Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant, wants to come to our aid. What better time than Lent to ask Jesus to come and minister to our sufferings, our wounds, and our sorrows?

Cry Out to the Lord! When Jesus walked the earth, he heard blind men call out, and he had compassion on them (Matthew 20:31). When lepers called out to him, Jesus healed them (Luke 17:1-14). When the father of a demon-possessed boy called out, Jesus had compassion and delivered him (Mark 9:24-27). All these people believed in the power of petition. They asked Jesus for healing because they believed that he had the power to make them whole.

We too must follow this path. Parents need to pray that their children be protected from sin. Husbands and wives need to pray that the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage will protect them so that their love for each other will always supercede whatever family problems or personal challenges they may be facing. Parishioners need to pray that God will bring back those who have left the church. Prayer like this works. We should all feel free to turn to the Lord and ask, seek, and knock—no matter what our need (Matthew 7:8). We should all believe that God our Father will not give us a stone when we ask for bread or a snake when we ask for fish (7:9).

“All Things” Means All Things. Yet just as much as Scripture tells us to pray and intercede, it also encourages us to find joy and contentment whether we are healthy or ill, whether our lives are carefree or marked by struggles. For instance, St. Paul told the Thessalonians: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). James told his readers, “Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy” (James 1:2).

Does it really mean all situations? Even if I have cancer? Yes, all situations. What about if a hurricane demolishes our home? Yes, all situations. Even if my husband or wife decides to leave me? Yes, all situations. What about when a grievous sin is involved? Yes, all situations. As demanding—and even illogical—as this may sound, this is God’s vision and his desire for his people. Why? Because he wants us all to be convinced, just as the Suffering Servant was, that God has a perfect plan. He wants us to be convinced that all things, even sickness and sin, work together for good for those who love him.

So during this time of Lent, let’s try to learn how God wants us to live with this paradox of praying for the Lord’s healing power and at the same time rejoicing in all things. Let’s ask the Spirit to teach us how to expect God to heal us, even as we know that suffering and healing, strength and weakness, are all mysteries that only God fully understands.

For some, the demands of this paradox are simply too great. The physical suffering or the emotional pain is just too burdensome. If that’s the way it is for you, just do the best you can. Jesus knows better than any of us that the ideal is not always possible. He knows your heart. He knows that deep inside, you want to be able to live out the ideal, but you just can’t do it right now. He knows that in many cases you are doing the best you can simply by trying to let the ideal be a guiding light for you, even if you feel far from obtaining it.

In the final analysis, we don’t always know why some people are healed and others are not. We don’t always know why some families stay together while others divide. We don’t always know why some are repeatedly inflicted with illness and others seem to coast through their lives. We simply don’t have all the answers. What we do know is this: In all things God will work for the good (Romans 8:28). He is powerful enough to bring the greatest of goods out of the most painful of evils.

A Silver Lining.In our previous article, we focused on the fourth song of the Suffering Servant. We saw a servant of God who endured intense suffering. We also looked at Jesus and saw the same thing: a marred body, an innocent victim, and a grave injustice. But these verses don’t have to apply only to the Suffering Servant and to Jesus. They can describe many people who are suffering today. How many times have you or someone you love gone through a time of difficulty and had thoughts like, “Why me?” or “I shouldn’t have to endure this” or “It hurts so much, I wish I were dead”?

But there is a silver lining for those who follow Jesus. If you are trying your best to cope with your situation by praying for healing and at the same time trying to rejoice in the Lord, know that you will be exalted and raised up to glory. This approach to suffering always leads to humility; and humility always leads to holiness and intimacy with Jesus. Just as Jesus’ passion gave way to the glory of Easter, your suffering will lead to exaltation as well, both in this life and in the life to come.

Come and Drink. Jesus invites those who are suffering, and all of us, to “Come. . . . Let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift” (Revelation 22:17). “Come to me,” Jesus cries out, “all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus can say these things because he was the perfect Suffering Servant. Having passed through the fires of his own suffering, he has redeemed suffering forever. Having triumphed over sin and having borne the burden of our infirmities, he now reigns in heaven, eager to shower his victory upon any who will follow him.

Yes, we may be called to suffer for our faith. Yes, we may suffer greatly from the pains of life in this world. And yes, we may even suffer because of our own sinfulness. But in each of these situations, we can follow the words of the prophet. We can set our faces like flint, knowing that God is with us and that our cause is in his hands (Isaiah 49:4; 50:7). Every Lent ends with Easter, every death ends in a resurrection, and every challenge has its own triumph. May God bless you this Lent.

 
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Word among us

What Good Is Suffering Anyway?

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April 2 2006, 4:18 AM 


A Good Question to ask during lent

What do Job (Job 42:5), Paul (Acts 9:5), Cornelius (10:44), Lydia (16:14), and the man born blind (John 9:25) have in common? God opened their eyes—all of them spiritually, and some of them even physically.
Lent is a time when God invites us to put more effort and energy into our life with Jesus. It’s a time for us to cry out to Jesus, asking him, “Lord, open my eyes so that I may see your beauty more clearly!”

While we may not have the gift of prophecy like Deutero-Isaiah, it is still true that the Holy Spirit lives in us and wants to open our eyes to God’s love. It is still true that we can come to “see” Jesus and deepen our relationship with him. So as we take a look at the fourth song of the Suffering Servant, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to do just that. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, “who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross”—all for us (Hebrews 12:2).

In this essay, we will look specifically at the first three verses of this song (Isaiah 52:13-15). These few words go a long way in setting the tone and outlining the action for the rest of the song. Verse 13 tells us about a future triumph for the servant; verse 14 focuses on the servant’s present suffering; and verse 15 tells us about the fruit of the servant’s obedience and submission. With these three themes in mind, let’s see how this servant’s suffering points to Jesus and teaches us about our own lives of faith.

Triumph ( Isaiah 52:13).

The song begins by telling us that the Suffering Servant will accomplish his mission. No matter how much he is abused or wounded, he will achieve what he has set out to do. And because of his success, he will be exalted above everyone and everything else in the world.

These opening words highlight a crucial point. They help us to bear the images of physical pain and emotional anguish that we are about to encounter—as well as any suffering we may face in our own lives. Knowing from the start that the servant will indeed triumph is a source of comfort and encouragement for us—a way of telling us at the very start that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The same is true when we think of Jesus. Like the Suffering Servant, he too will “prosper.” He too will be highly exalted. His brutal death was not the last word! In the end, he triumphed and took his seat at the Father’s right hand, victorious over sin and death.

Reflection: It is critical that we believe that Jesus triumphed. Where would we be without this confidence? We would be left to walk this world alone. We would have no promise of resurrection to encourage us or to help give us direction and purpose.

In your prayer this Lent, picture Jesus seated at God’s right hand. See how everyone in heaven is praising him and singing songs to honor him because of his victory. As the angels sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord,” and “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 4:8; 5:12), picture yourself joining in. Give yourself over to the worship of heaven. Let their song of triumph fill your heart with love and gratitude for Jesus.

Jesus’ victory has massive implications for us. We can live in hope, no matter what our situation, because Jesus has sanctified all suffering. Whether we are facing serious hardship or are simply giving up sweets for Lent, we can trust that our suffering is not in vain. It will be blessed by God—maybe in ways we can’t even imagine—just as Jesus was blessed immensely when he gave up his life for us.

Suffering (Isaiah 52:14).

From a promise of ultimate victory, we are next given a quick image of a body disfigured by violence. The song tells us that those who saw the servant’s wounds were astonished and alarmed at the sight. It seems as if the image was more than they could bear.

We have all seen that marred body. Every time we look at a crucifix, we see an image of how Jesus was beaten, scourged, and crowned with thorns. Like those who saw the servant of God, we too might want to turn away from the sight of the cross—or at least not think too much about all the pain that Jesus endured.

In presenting a disfigured servant of God, this song challenged conventional Jewish wisdom. For the ancient Jews, suffering was seen as a curse from God—a punishment for sin. But here, we see an innocent man suffering—and doing so for the sake of others.

Isn’t it ironic? The suffering servant accepted the responsibility for everyone’s sins, yet he was despised and rejected by the very people whose sins he died for. They regarded his punishment as “just,” even though the sins he suffered for were theirs, not his. Somehow, these people could not see the “perversion of justice” that he was subjected to (Isaiah 53:8). Scholars have debated the relationship between God’s perfect love and his perfect justice, between God’s wrath and his mercy. While we may never fully understand these mysteries, we do know that we have all turned against the Lord. We do know that we have all “gone astray,” preferring our own way over God’s. And we do know that God “has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

This is the heart of the gospel. This is the core reason for our Lenten observances. Jesus Christ died for our sins. And in his dying, he suffered physical, mental, and spiritual torment so that we could be set free.

Reflection: Every day this Lent, try to spend some time looking at the bruised and beaten body of Jesus. Confess that he suffered all of this for you—and for everyone in the world—so that we could be reunited with our heavenly Father. Thank Jesus for taking your burdens upon his shoulders. Let the love and mercy of his cross fill your heart so that you can experience a share in Jesus’ victory. Take these thoughts with you when you go to Confession. This sacrament takes what Jesus did for us on the cross and applies it to our own lives. So let Jesus—the Suffering Servant who gave his life for you—wash you clean.

The Fruit of Victory (Isaiah 52:15).

This fourth song began with a statement that the servant’s sufferings would end in triumph. Now in this verse, we have a glimpse of what that triumph has achieved.

Evidently, when the Suffering Servant has fulfilled his mission, he will “startle” the world and take everyone by surprise. This servant, who was once beaten and bruised, will appear in glory and vindication. He will open their eyes and make known to them things that they could not understand previously. Like Job, Paul, and the others we listed at the beginning of this article, their spiritual eyes will be opened. And the vision would leave them speechless.

When he appeared before Pilate, already scourged and crowned with thorns, Jesus must have looked like “one from whom others hide their faces” (Isaiah 53:3). And yet Pilate called out in words that echo down to today, and that will continue to echo until the end of time: “Behold the man!” (John 19:5). Only now, we do not behold Jesus simply as an innocent victim of an unjust execution. We behold him as the Lamb of God who has taken away our sins (1:29). We behold him as the one who has made us right with God and enabled us to know our Father’s love once more. We behold him as one exalted in glory.

Reflection: As you gaze upon the Bread of Life during Mass, ask yourself, “Does Jesus startle me? Am I moved by what I see before me? Do I take this body, which was broken for me, into my body with the hope and confidence that he wants to change me into his image?”

Jesus has been opening people’s eyes since the day he was conceived in Mary’s womb. He has been showing people who he is. He has been showing them why he died. He has been giving them an image of who they can be as they repent, build up their faith, and dedicate their gifts and talents to his glory.

This Lent, Jesus wants to tell us: “Let me open your eyes so that you can see who I am—your Lord and Savior. Let me come into your life. Let me strengthen you in virtue and help you root out every way of sin. Let me form you into my image so that you will enjoy the peace, the joy, and the love that I came to bring.”

Come to the Lord. Every day, but especially during Lent, Jesus invites us to come to him. We don’t need to convince him to love us. All we have to do is turn our faces toward him and look upon him, the one we have pierced. As we do, he will pierce us with his love, his mercy, and his power. 

 
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by Fr. Peter deSousa

Reconciling and Healing in the Family

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April 2 2006, 2:26 PM 


Lent is a special time of reconciliation and healing. Abba Father is watching the road for the return of his prodigal son. He longs to embrace him, cleanse him and reinstate him as his beloved son once more. He wants to celebrate that return with a banquet.

But in order to be reconciled with the Father, we must also be willing to be reconciled with all those we have hurt and who may have hurt us. We have to be as compassionate as our Heavenly Father is compassionate. In fact, the degree to which we will receive forgiveness, depends on the degree to which we are willing to extend forgiveness to others.

This is the favorable time to return to the Father's embrace. We celebrate the sacrifice of His precious son on the cross and the Father wants us all to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, as we come with a contrite and humble heart to accept forgiveness.

So let us hurry to make our peace with God, so that we may have peace of mind and heart and begin a new life of grace. Let us examine how we have behaved towards the members of our family.

How have we taken their love for granted?
How have we ill treated them?
How have we failed to be channels of love and peace to them?
How have we given them bad example?
How have we added to their misery, insecurity and fear?
How have we been lacking in love, respect and acceptance of each one?

Let us humbly ask their pardon without defending or excusing ourselves. "Please forgive me for ....". Let us also be magnanimous in giving forgiveness without acting superior, self-righteous or hurt. Like the Father of the prodigal son, let us be ready to embrace them and celebrate our renewed love.

Just imagine how changed the atmosphere in every home would be, if there was reconciliation and healing. We would hear the sound of laughter and singing instead of cursing, grumbling and anger. Our neighbors would rejoice at the peace and love that dwells among us, instead of what they observe and hear in dysfunctional families. Perhaps they would say again what was said of the early Christians : "See how these Christians love one another"

We are responsible for presenting Christ as the Prince of Peace to our neighbors today. Erecting a statue or taking out a float with banners is insufficient. Let us show by our changed behavior, that we are always willing to forgive unconditionally. The witness of our lives is the greatest way in which we can evangelize others.

Lent is a time of reflecting on the Passion and death of Jesus on the cross and many of us will make the Way of the Cross, fast, do penance or show how much we love Jesus. But to forgive those who hurt us is the greatest way that we can show we are disciples of Jesus. It means giving up the grudges, hurts and desire for revenge to which we cling. In a family, forgiving those who hurt us, is much harder than forgiving a stranger. We have to give up coldness, avoidance and indifference and become friends again.

When we do this, we are open to receive the healing of our bodies and emotions. We remove the block to healing. Christ's grace like a mighty river can flow through us and make us channels of His love and grace to others. Receive love and be life-giving in word and action, as opportunities are given us by the Holy Spirit.

Reconciliation starts with husband and wife. They are the first teachers of their children. Marriage is not a bed of roses. Two spouses may have many differences and may have hurt each other, often. Recall your wedding day and the vows you made to love and respect each other in bad times, sickness and poverty. Be humbly reconciled and allow the water of your marriage to become wine again.

Parents may have failed their children by bad example or by negligence or harshness. Ask their forgiveness and you will be surprised to see how quickly they learn from your example and ask forgiveness from you and from each other. Asking and giving forgiveness is a sign of greatness rather than weakness. Ask Mary the humble handmaid of the Lord to obtain for us a contrite and humble heart.

As a family, together, slowly and prayerfully recite Psalm 103. It reminds us of how loving and merciful God is, slow to get angry and full of constant love.

Easter will truly be a joyful celebration for us, if we are ready to be reconciled with all who have hurt us during this season of Lent. The Sunday following Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy. Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.

Christians may not recite as many prayers as our brothers and sisters of other faiths. But the true sign of being God's precious children is having a forgiving heart and not seeking revenge. Like Jesus on the cross may our favorite prayer be: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" Then we will receive the healing we need and be able to bring his healing love to others as well

 
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Rogers

“I wonder what God is going to tell me today.”

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April 3 2006, 3:06 PM 


I have been a “good” Catholic all my life—a parochial school student, lector, choir member, and religious education teacher. Yet I felt something was missing. Why did I become so anxious whenever a problem came up? Why did I worry about things that were outside my control? I began to ask God to strengthen my faith, come closer to me, and give me peace.
Then one Sunday, during his homily, our pastor challenged us to know the Bible like our Protestant brothers and sisters. I decided to subscribe to The Word Among Us.

The Habit of Prayer. For the first time in many, many years, I scheduled prayer time into my day. I prayed in the morning when I got up, before I read the daily newspaper. Afterward, I’d select a quote that particularly spoke to me and write it at the top of my Daily Planner page for that day. At first, this seemed like an obligation or a homework assignment, but I kept it up. I began to realize that this quiet time with God was something I needed. It was an opportunity to start each day with a message from my Father. Like any child, sometimes I listened, and sometimes his message went over my head.

Throughout the day, as I referred to my “to do” list, I’d reread the Scripture passage I had written down. This helped me get refocused.

This habit of prayer took on new meaning a few months later, when an ultrasound revealed a mass near my pancreas. When I received this news over the phone, I immediately dropped to my knees and started to pray. As I did, a sense of peace came over me and I knew I was not alone.

The next morning’s gospel passage reinforced that sense: “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). This became my mantra whenever I felt afraid. Another morning I read: “I do will it. Be healed” (8:3). I asked God to heal me, and I knew that anything is possible with God.

“God Is Good.” Outside my prayer time, too, I began to sense God’s presence more acutely. One incident in particular impressed me.

Since childhood, I have had a phobia about blood and have never had my blood taken without fainting. I didn’t mention this to my doctor when he said I had to have blood drawn, but I was troubled—and even more so when my husband, who had planned to go with me, was suddenly called away on business. Because my own family lives out of state, I asked his cousin, Mary Jane, to accompany me.

The next day, Mary Jane escorted me to the clinic and stayed with me the whole time, speaking words of encouragement and smoothing my hair as the blood was being drawn. Even so, the nurse was only able to get two vials before I became so nauseous and faint that she had to stop. My shirt was wet with perspiration, my hands were stiff, and my teeth were chattering, when she said, “I hope we got enough.”

As we left the clinic, I felt discouraged that I hadn’t done better. At the same time, I realized that I felt much closer to my cousin, who previously had been more like an acquaintance than a friend. I had revealed my weakness to her, and she revealed her generosity and compassion. When she dropped me off at my house, I kissed and thanked her. To me, she was an angel sent by God.

The doctor called to say that my test results were somewhat abnormal, and I told him about my experience. The results might have been due to stress, he said. He suggested I come to his office so that he could take the blood himself. This time my husband was with me and held my hand. He and the doctor joked with me, and we talked about our recent trip to Italy. In no time it was over, and I hadn’t fainted or gotten sick!

Afterwards our doctor asked, “May I pray with you?”

“Please,” I answered. Right there, with the nurses walking through, he prayed for a good outcome of my upcoming CAT scan. Then he thanked God for the love that he felt between my husband and me.

When we got up to leave, I hugged and thanked him. “God is good,” he said. How amazing that God had given me a doctor who shared his faith with his patients!

God Speaking. In the weeks that followed, God made his presence known through many other people. It was a time of many tests: CAT scan, colonoscopy, endoscopy, lower bowel series, and MRI. On the morning of my CAT scan, I read about the calling of James and John, who would become “fishers of men.” I thought of two deceased members of my family—my father, John, and my brother, James—and took this as a message that they would be with me. I felt strengthened.

During each test, as the nurse gave me an IV, I held onto my rosary and prayed, “Hail Mary, full of grace. . . .” Receiving her motherly comfort, I felt calm and protected. As word got out to my family and friends, I started receiving phone calls that cheered and strengthened me. I had a long conversation with a friend I’d grown up with; we hadn’t spoken in a long time and ended with a promise to stay in touch.

My brother Mark called and prayed with me over the phone. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” he reminded me (Matthew 18:20).

My brother Jack, the joker in the family, called to tease me: “You’ve always been a hypochondriac. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just looking for attention.” I thanked him for making me laugh and “lighten up.” The next morning, as I turned to the Scripture passage for the day, I was surprised to read: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). I thought of Jack’s words and decided I would try to focus on God instead of me.

Answered Prayers. Finally, after all the tests, came the day came for my follow-up visit to the specialist. I wasn’t prepared for her report. “You’re fine,” she said. “You have a small hiatal hernia which is causing acid reflux. I’ll give you a prescription for medication. If you watch your diet, you should be okay.”

Okay? What about that growth near my pancreas? When I asked about it, she seemed puzzled. “The MRI confirmed there was no mass there,” she said. God answered my prayer for healing. More importantly, he answered my prayer for a stronger faith. By developing a regular habit of Scripture and prayer, I received strength and peace during a period when I felt helpless and afraid.

My relationship with God is deeper now. I talk to him more often. Now when I open my Bible in the morning, I say to myself, “I wonder what God is going to tell me today.” And I am a better listener.

Cathleen Rogers is a member of St. Bartholomew Church in Camden, New Jersey.

 
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