Mother Mary

I. Mother Mary in the Gospel

Genealogy

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. (Mt 1:1-16, NIV)

 

The annunciation

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Lk 1:26-38, RSV)

 

The visitation

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Lk 1:39-45, RSV)

 

The magnificat

And Mary said,

My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm,

he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,

he has put down the mighty from their thrones,

and exalted those of low degree;

he has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent empty away.

He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his posterity for ever. (Lk 1:46-55, RSV)

 

Joseph takes Mary as his wife

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child

and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. (Mt 1:18-24, NAB)

 

The birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Lk 2:1-7, NAB)

 

The shepherds

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to those on

whom his favor rests.”

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. (Lk 2:8-20, NAB)

 

The presentation in the temple

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go

in peace, according to your word,

for my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. (Lk 2:22-38, NAB)

 

The wise men

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, “Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “At Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you, Bethlehem,

in the land of Judah,

you are by no means the least

among the leaders of Judah,

for from you will come a leader

who will shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared and sent them on to Bethlehem with the words, “Go and find out all about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.” Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was.The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were given a warning in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way. (Mt 2:1-12, NJB)

 

The escape to Egypt

After they had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.”

So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or less, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. Then were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

A voice is heard in Ramah,

lamenting and weeping bitterly:

it is Rachel weeping for her children,

refusing to be comforted

because they are no more. (Mt 2:13-18, NJB)

 

The return to Nazareth      

After Herod’s death, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:

He will be called a Nazarene. (Mt 2:19-23, NJB)

 

Finding in the Temple

Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man. (Lk 2:41-52, NAB)

 

Cana

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside  and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (Jn 2:1-11, NIV)

 

The rejection of Jesus

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. (Mk 6:1-6, NIV)

 

Jesus’ spiritual family

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Lk 8:19-21, NIV)

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Lk 11:27-28, NIV)

 

This is your mother

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (Jn 19:25-27, NJB)

 

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II. Mother Mary said to the servants

Please examine the gospel passage below and keep these questions at the back of your mind as you read it. In the narrative, how many people received directives from Jesus? Who were they? How many of them did immediately what they were told? What was the final result of their action? Who initiated the proceedings?

 

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (Jn 2:1-11, NIV)

 

Jesus’ answer to his mother meant: “Why do you involve me? What has this got to do with me? My hour has not yet come, has it? Did you not tell me at age twelve when you found me at the temple in Jerusalem that I should stay quietly at home in Nazareth?”

Besides, at the temple in Jerusalem, the teachers who heard the young lad speak were astounded by his answers and his understanding; but there was no indication that he could perform miracles.

Jesus’ order to the six servants: “Fill the jars with water.” To the servants, that must have sounded quite irrational. At what part of the wedding feast did this happen: at the beginning, or the middle, or towards the end? Obviously it was towards the end; otherwise the wine would not have run out. Even the steward retorted to the bridegroom: “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” The water was for ritual-washing at the guests’ arrivals. Nobody else was going to arrive anymore. Why should the jars be filled?

But the servants did everything as Jesus had instructed them, and filled the jars to the brim.

Then they were told to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet to drink. They “had drawn the water” and knew it was water, and it must have seemed rather ridiculous too – get the steward to taste water reserved for washing???

But they did, and the steward did.

The final result: Jesus “revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”

That was the point of the story: Jesus’ glory was revealed when people followed his orders. All those six servants plus the master of the banquet received directives from Jesus and did as they were told, immediately.

When Jesus tells you to do something, do it! Yes, read the gospel, but don’t just stop there. Heed his instructions and act on them. The blessedness of Jesus’ followers is measured by how authentically they live the word of the Lord, not by how much theology they know or how busy they are involved in religious activities, not by how frequently they come up with pious remarks or how nice-sounding are the prayers they say, not by how boisterously they participate at prayer meetings or how impressively they perform rituals in the sight of men, not by how popular they can become or how many famous people they are associated with.

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:28, NIV)

“My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk 8:21, RSV)

 

Now, to answer the fifth question put forth at the outset of this article: Who initiated the proceedings that led to the miracle? Mother Mary! She knew they would draw attention to her glorious Son. That was her vocation; it still is today. Her command will always be:

Do whatever Jesus tells you!

 

Acknowledgments

In this work, the initials RSV indicate that the Scripture quotations are from the REVISED STANDARD VERSION BIBLE, Second Catholic Edition, copyright © 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Any passage designated NJB is an excerpt from THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1998 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

Texts followed by the letters NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

In this work, Scripture excerpts marked NAB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REVISED EDITION copyright © 2011, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

This is my body

This is my BodyJesus said, “This is my Body… This is my Blood” (Mk 14:22, 24).

Similar sayings are in Luke and Matthew, but not in John – where the Last Supper scene describes the washing of the Apostles’ feet. The discourse on Holy Communion in John, however, is found in Chapter Six, starting at verse 35 and intensifying from verse 48 onwards.

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51).

“In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53).

“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (Jn 6:55).

The above are Jesus’ teachings in the synagogue at Capernaum. Below are the reactions from some of his listeners. “After hearing it, many of his followers said, ‘This is intolerable language! How could anyone accept it?’… After this many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more” (Jn 6:60, 66).

Many Christians interpret Jesus’ sayings literally. The disciples in the above Gospel passage certainly did. It was the reason they left him.

While they were walking off, a most astounding thing happened. Jesus did not shout out after them in panic: “Wait. Stop. Please don’t go. I am sorry. I used the wrong words. I was only speaking in symbols. I don’t mean what you think I was saying. You don’t eat me – you eat bread and drink wine.” No! He let them go. He was speaking literally! He meant what he said. This was the sacrament of his limitless love, the food that would lead to life everlasting, and one tangible way he chose to keep his promise: “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20).

He asserted, “Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day” (Jn 6:54).

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person” (Jn 6:56).

“As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me” (Jn 6:57).

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Jesus sometimes identifies himself (or someone else, e.g., John the Baptist or St. Paul identify him) as an entity like the lamb of God, or the good shepherd, or light, love, peace, the resurrection, etc. An example is seen in the gospel according to John where Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). This is different from saying, “I show the way, I proclaim the truth, I give life.” Jesus is telling us that to find the way we have to walk along him, to know the truth we need to know him, to have life we must live in him and let him live in us.

So, when he says, “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:35), what do you think he wants you to do?

 

At Cana in Galilee, the first time a description of Jesus at a banquet was recorded, he changed water into wine. At the upper room in Bethany, the last time a description of Jesus at a banquet on earth was chronicled, Jesus changed wine into his own blood. At Calvary, on the cross, as he died, he was pierced on the side, and his blood poured forth into the world for the redemption of those who wanted it.

At the Last Supper, he had taken a cup and, after giving thanks, he handed it to the disciples saying: “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. From now on, I tell you, I shall never again drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.” (Mt 26:27-29)

If you want to be at the final banquet, the one in Heaven, do as Jesus commanded.

 

(The above Biblical quotations are taken from the New Jerusalem Bible.)

 

 

Ask receive, search find

(A). Internet
“What is blindness? How is it healed?” Do you want to know? On your computer or smart phone just enter the questions into a search engine, like Google, and you will receive answers. If one answer is not good enough, keep asking till you find what you are looking for.

Similarly, if you want to know about other topics, do the same: ask receive, search find.

(B). Jesus
In the Bible, Jesus says: “Ask and you will receive; search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt 7:7; Lk 11:9) Here are some examples.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar on the road asked Him for mercy – the healing of his blindness. The people scolded him and told him to keep quiet. But he persisted by shouting even louder. Jesus stopped, called him over and, hearing his request, said to him: “Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.” At once his sight returned. He followed Jesus, glorifying God. And all the people gave praise to God. (See Lk 18:35–43)

In the region of Tyre and Sidon, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus asking for mercy and deliverance of her daughter from demonic possession. Jesus did not say a word. His disciples went and pleaded with him, but he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” The woman came up to him, knelt low before him and asked again for his help. He replied, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to little dogs.” She humbly replied, “Yes, Lord, but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table.” Jesus answered, “Woman, great is your faith. Let what you ask be granted.” And her daughter was healed from that moment. (See Mt 15:22–28)

One day Jesus was teaching inside a jam-packed house. Some men brought a paralytic in a stretcher, but could not get to him. They persevered by climbing up to the roof, removed some tiles, and lowered the sick man into the room. When Jesus saw their determination and their great faith, he said to the sick man, “Your sins are forgiven.” “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher and go home.” He stood up immediately, took up what he had been lying on, and went home healed, glorifying God. All the people were amazed; filled with awe, they gave glory to God. (See Lk 5:17–26)

At Cana in Galilee, a royal official whose son was severely ill in Capernaum heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea. He made the trip to meet Jesus, and humbly asked him to come and heal his son who was near death. Jesus complained, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Unperturbed, the official continued to beg, “Sir, come down before my son dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said. On the day-long journey back to his house, his slaves came to meet him on the way with the exciting news: the son’s fever had subsided, and he was healed. On enquiring when this took place, the official discovered that it happened at the exact hour when Jesus said: “Go, your son will live.” He and his entire household came to believe. (See Jn 4:46–53)

Before Jesus died on the cross, a thief who had been crucified next to him, ignoring the impertinent criminal crucified on the other side of Jesus, asked of the Lord, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Right away he received the assurance: “Truly, I say to you, this day you will be with me in Paradise.” (See Lk 23:39–43)

What is the difference between (A) and (B)?
The internet answers questions by giving lots of information, independence and self-satisfaction.

Jesus answers requests for favours by giving lots of love and mercy, healing, faith, humility, forgiveness, life, eternal salvation, and fullness of joy.

We started out asking: “What is blindness? How is it healed?” Check the internet, but note that blindness does not always refer to the eye only, but to the heart and the soul as well. In your daily life, examine where you place the balance between (A) and (B). Whatever you need, whomever you ask, give proportionate time to the Lord.

Never forget that Jesus alone can make this promise: “Very truly I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.” (Jn 16:23–24)

A Message to Parents

praying_handIn today’s world, bringing up adolescents can be a harrowing experience. There are so many evils to beware of: immorality, alcoholism, drugs… At the same time, temptations to sin come from many directions: television, magazines, internet, friends…

To help their children, parents need to teach and guide them, especially by their own non-hypocritical examples. They must love them, spend time with them, and pray with them. They should correct and discipline them, but also allow their children some privacy and opportunities for self-expression and maturation, remembering that their offspring do not necessarily become exactly what they plan in the idealism of their minds.

In this chapter we emphasize three points: parents should pray for their children, they should have faith in God, they should not live in fear.

1. PRAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN

A Mother’s Prayer
The prayer of a parent is very powerful. The passage below illustrates how Jesus was moved to perform a miracle for a persistent mother.

And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Mt 15:22-28, RSV)

A Father’s Prayer
The father in the next passage had asked the disciples to help. But when they could not, he persevered by going to Jesus.

As they were rejoining the crowd a man came up to him and went down on his knees before him. “Lord,” he said, “take pity on my son: he is demented and in a wretched state; he is always falling into fire and into water. I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.” In reply, Jesus said, “Faithless and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy, who was cured from that moment. (Mt 17:14-18, NJB)

Pray
What troubles your children? Whatever it is, pray for them. What troubles you concerning your children? Think truthfully, and pray for yourself.

If there is anything you can do, do it with wisdom and affection, and pray. If there is nothing you or anyone else can do, pray.

In another description of the above healing story, when asked by his disciples why they themselves could not cast out the demon from the boy, Jesus answered, “This is the kind that can be driven out only by prayer.” (Mk 9:29, NJB)

2. HAVE FAITH

When you pray, do so with faith. Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you desire.” (Mt 15:28, RSV)

He said to the demented boy’s father (in the other description), “Everything is possible for one who has faith.” (Mk 9:23, NJB)

To the disciples who could not heal the boy, he gave this reason: “Because you have so little faith. In truth I tell you, if your faith is the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mt 17:20, NJB)

By believing in Jesus, the father in the next story obtained his request.

And at Caper’na-um there was an official whose son was ill. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. (Jn 4:46-53, RSV)

The Dying
The concern you have for your sons and daughters may not be physical. Read the above texts again as though they are about your own children, but replacing the maladies mentioned by the ills threatening them.

Read the next story as if it is about your child whom you imagine to be on the road to ruin.

And suddenly there came a man named Jairus, who was president of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with him to come to his house, because he had an only daughter about twelve years old, who was dying…
While he was still speaking, someone arrived from the house of the president of the synagogue to say, “Your daughter has died. Do not trouble the Master any further.” But Jesus heard this, and he spoke to the man, “Do not be afraid, only have faith and she will be saved.”…
They were all crying and mourning for her, but Jesus said, “Stop crying; she is not dead, but asleep.” But they ridiculed him, knowing she was dead. But taking her by the hand himself he spoke to her, “Child, get up.” And her spirit returned and she got up at that very moment. Then he told them to give her something to eat. (Lk 8:41-42, 49-50, 52-55, NJB)

No matter how hopeless the situation appears, entrust your children to Jesus. Entrust yourself to him. And learn from his example. He took the child by the hand with kindness; he spoke with her; he asked her parents to give her something to eat, to nourish her, to care for her, to be attentive and loving towards her, to cherish her.

Trust Jesus’ Saving Mission
Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Mt 18:10-14, RSV)

“The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from my hand. The Father, for what he has given me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal anything from the Father’s hand.” (Jn 10:27-29, NJB)

“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” (Jn 6:37-39, NIV)

3. DO NOT BE AFRAID

Two of the worst enemies of faith are fear, and the devil. In the last story, Jesus said to the father of the little girl, “Do not be afraid, only have faith and she will be saved… She is not dead, but asleep.” (Lk 8:50, 52, NJB)

In another passage of the gospel, he assures everyone: “Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Lk 12:6-7, NJB)

You are very precious in God’s eyes. So are your children. God has not forgotten them. He looks after them – just as he has looked after you from your youth, and will continue doing so because you need him just as much as your children do.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me.” (Jn 14:1, NJB)

When you have done all that you can, place everything else in God’s hands. Let his power be displayed in the healing of your children and you.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” (Jn 9:1-3, RSV)

Young people have their hardships. They are passing through a difficult stage in life. The devil will try to make you treat them like enemies. Do not be misled by him. Scripture says: “Resist him, firm in your faith.” (I Pet 5:9, RSV)

Jesus’ command is to love one another, not hate. Your children are your flesh and blood. If you don’t love them, who will?

Next time the devil attacks by creating a storm in your heart, do not fall for his tricks or react irrationally. Turn to Jesus immediately and ask him to come into the situation.

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” (Lk 8:22-25, RSV)

Go in Peace
It takes a long time for young adults to grow and mature. It takes a long time for parents to grow and mature. Parents have lived more years; they should not use their greater age to browbeat their children, or to create more discord and conflict, but to bring affection and peace to their homes. They should not wait to be grandparents for this to happen. Let them begin now.

Jesus said, “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mk 9:50, RSV)

There may be occasional troubles and pain, but with God’s help all will be well in the end. Through overcoming your trials and difficulties, you will ripen into understanding and loving human beings.

Do whatever is in your power for your children. Go to the parish library or a trustworthy Catholic bookstore to find a suitable book on parenting. Ask those who might be able to lend a hand, for example, an experienced priest. But above all, pray for your children, have faith in God, do not live in fear.

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk 7:50, NIV) Faith will save your family. Faith will bring peace.

A Word to All Youths
The work of bringing up the young is not easy. Parents do not always possess enough knowledge or presence of mind to take the best course of action in every situation. You, sons and daughters, can help by your co-operation and love. Jesus said,

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12, RSV)

He also said, “Honour your father and your mother.” (Mt 19:19, NJB)

You give them the most honour, love, and peace of mind, by leading lives of great goodness.

How to wait

What are you waiting for? A more meaningful life? A better job? A physical healing? The completion of a project? A problem to go away? The conversion of a relative?

holy-familyMary
Most people are obliged to wait for one thing or another. In the gospel you will find many blessed people having to bear their share of waiting. Mary is a prime example. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced:

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”… And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:30-31, 38, RSV)

With her assent, Mary opened herself to much waiting throughout her existence. The carrying of Jesus in her womb for nine months was only the beginning.

Jesus
When Jesus was twelve years old, Joseph and Mary discovered that their son was missing on their return from Jerusalem. After a three-day search, they found him in the temple, asking the learned men questions and answering theirs, astounding them with his intelligence. His mother complained, “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” He replied, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:48-49, NJB)

Jesus yearned to be occupied with God’s affairs; he wanted to get on with the work he felt he had to do; his family could hardly hold him back. Yet, even with his advanced intelligence and understanding, he consented to wait. And for two decades he studied and worked in Nazareth, quietly growing up, and patiently getting ready for his future task.

The Apostles
The apostles waited too, though not for quite as long. Soon after his resurrection, Jesus commanded them to proclaim to all nations repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. But first, he said: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49, NIV)

They were to await the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were not to go out just yet. Not until Pentecost, several days later, were they to begin their mission. It was then that they burst forth in an explosion of power given from on high.

How to Wait
Whatever we are waiting for, we should make the most of the intervening time. Let us gain some skills in this matter from Jesus, his mother, and the apostles.

Learn from Mary
What did Mary do after being told of Jesus’ conception?

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth… Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.
(Lk 1:39-40, 56, NJB)

Instead of staying cooped up in the house, moping, and worrying about her concerns and problems, Mary went immediately to visit her saintly cousin. She went outside, she traveled. She helped in the preparations for the birth of John the Baptist.

In the same manner, while awaiting the arrival of a future event, we should not become totally isolated. Call on good people and friends. Visit them, and invite them to visit you. Go outdoors into the fresh air and open skies. And do not just sit around hoping for things to happen; start something yourself. Join your parish prayer group. Cultivate holy friendships. Do not be miserly with your money. Volunteer some of your time and resources for anyone who may be in need.

Read the first chapter of the Gospel according to Luke and you will discover the special favour Elizabeth and Zechariah enjoyed in the sight of God. One can easily surmise that Mary went to see them also for the purpose of seeking their guidance. We, too, ought sometimes to ask for direction and advice from a wise priest or nun, either in person or from good books or articles they may have written.

Judging also from the Spirit-filled nature of the meeting between Elizabeth and Mary (see Lk 1:39-55), we can speculate that they spent some of their time together in spiritual conversation and prayer. We, too, should daily devote some time to praying and pondering the things of God.

Learn from Jesus
How did Jesus live before taking up his public ministry?

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them… And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man. (Lk 2:51, 52, RSV)

Jesus placed himself under the authority of his father and mother. He lived in obedience. He remained hidden. It was not till about age thirty that he worked his first miracle at a wedding in Cana.

We, too, should be obedient to God our Father, and Mary our mother, by keeping the commands given by God through Jesus in the gospel, and by living the messages that Our Lady has passed on over the centuries through her many apparitions on earth.

As well, like the Holy Family, we should pray together with our children and spouse.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom.” Many of us, as we become older, hardly become any wiser. Day after day we make the same complaints. Week after week we shed the same tears. Month after month we hold on to our hatreds and conflicts, and deal with problems through the same fruitless routine. We moan and groan but seldom learn from our experiences. Jesus, on the other hand, grew in wisdom.

And not only that, he also increased “in favor with God and man.” He became more and more what his Father wanted him to be; he got along better and better with his fellow human beings.

Let us seriously examine how we can improve our way of life, and how we can enrich our relationship with God and neighbour. If we are to mature like Jesus, we should read from the gospel every day.

Learn from the Apostles
After being told to remain in the city until the Holy Spirit came upon them, the apostles “returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Lk 24:52-53, NIV)

They stayed together. They benefited from each other’s company and support. They missed Jesus, but, in a group, they were able to cope. They did not go about carrying sad faces and forlorn hearts. They waited with joy; they praised God; they prayed in the temple.

Let us do the same by staying in community with holy friends. Let us help each other and be joyful. Since worrying and fretting do not make things any better, let us try praising God.

Let us reserve time for prayer, especially at church in the presence of Our Eucharistic Lord, adoring him, listening to him and following his guidance. He may be priming and grooming us for an assignment that only we can be trained to perform.

The Hour of Deliverance
Before Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph had to return to Bethlehem to be counted in the Roman census.

And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son. (Lk 2:6-7, RSV)

Just as the term of Mary’s confinement came to completion, so will ours. The length of our waiting may be indefinite, but it is certainly not infinite. We may have had to wait nine months, or two decades, or a few days, but there will be an end to it all. There will finally be a moment of deliverance, of fulfillment. Then will our hearts overflow with such gratitude and peace.

Do not be impatient. Do not be cast down. Our day will come. It will come soon enough. Like the apostles, let us wait cheerfully and joyfully in prayer, supporting one another, and praising God for his far-sighted providence. Like Jesus, let us wait in obedience, improving ourselves spiritually and in other ways, growing in wisdom and in our relationship with God and with our neighbours. Like Mary, let us wait in doing good, making use of our time for the benefit of others, and getting ourselves refreshed and ready for what is to come.

Someday, like Mary, we too will give birth to Jesus – bringing Christ to those whom God has all along been preparing us to reach out to and lead back to himself.

Be a Shepherd

Jesus the ShepherdWhen he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Mt 9:36-38, RSV)

The prayer for labourers has risen up to the Lord countless numbers of times. Have you ever considered yourself an answer to the prayer?

Who Is a Shepherd?

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
(Jn 21:15-16, NIV)

The person who truly loves Jesus is the one who may be called upon to feed his lambs and tend his sheep. If you love Jesus, you may be asked to shepherd for him. The flock he gives you may not be large. It may be no more than a few relatives or friends. It may be just one member in your family or among your co-workers and acquaintances. It may even be a stranger that you meet by chance. Whoever they are, they may need you.

The Holy Spirit
Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” (Jn 14:15-17, NIV)

For what purpose?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV)

You are to be Jesus’ witness, in more ways than one!

How might you witness for him?

Consider the following.

1. By Genuine Caring

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (Mk 6:34, NIV)

As in the quotation at the beginning of this chapter, we are told that the crowds were “like sheep without a shepherd.” In the first passage, Jesus asks for more labourers. Here he reveals how a shepherd feels and acts. “He had compassion on them.” His heart went out to them. He was moved with pity. He did not despise the people or hide from them, or make excuses to be rid of them. Even though he was very tired, he “began teaching them,” and he taught them “many things.”

We, too, can spend time with people who are lost for lack of direction. By kindness and understanding we can extend the comforting hand of Jesus to them. By showing our concern, we can spread his love and his good news.

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” (Mk 6:35-37, NIV)

Don’t send the people away. Do something for them. Without sinning or falling into temptation, do whatever you can, however little. In the above incident, when the disciples came forward with two fish and five loaves, Jesus built on their initiative and fed over five thousand people. You begin; Jesus will finish.

Youth prayer groups have been formed in many parishes throughout the world. The first steps towards organizing these were often taken by parents who saw the need for such spiritual gatherings for their sons and daughters. They did this voluntarily and without being ordered to do so. Now their young ones have a chance to know the joy of walking with the Lord. Now they have a trustworthy companion in Jesus. Now they do not spend their Saturday nights in undesirable places or with disreputable friends. These parents are examples of concerned shepherds.

Many men and women, boys and girls, fast, and pray the Rosary for the conversion of unbelievers and sinners. These are noble and unselfish ways of helping to save countless numbers of human beings from unnecessary and prolonged darkness and pain. This is caring. This is love. This is another illustration of shepherding.

The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.” (Jn 10:11-13, RSV)

Be like Jesus. Do not run from the problem. Stay and help. Lay down your life for God’s people. The Holy Spirit is in you by virtue of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Use his power and the courage which he has placed in you.

2. By Speaking Out

Picture the scene at the first Christmas.

In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Lk 2:8-11, NJB)

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. (Lk 2:15-18, RSV)

As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Lk 2:19, NJB)

The shepherds were simple peasants. How were they to know if anybody would believe that they saw angels in the middle of the night? Why would anyone take them seriously about the little baby lying in the manger being the almighty Christ for whom all of Israel was waiting? Yet they spoke out boldly. “They made known” the message. This amazed their listeners. It touched them. It made even the Mother of God ponder in her heart. She “treasured” their words.

To bear witness for Jesus, you simply speak out. The angel’s announcement to the shepherds was, “Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.” Do not fear. What you say about Jesus is joyful news. It is good news. It should be shared by all.

Knowledge and Discretion
Of course, you have to be well informed, and discreet. You have to be thoroughly educated in the ways of the Lord. You must not make up your own theology from your limited understanding. You have to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and obtain discernment from an experienced priest. You have to choose the right words at the right moment. You have to be tactful, wise and loving.

The Gospel
Moreover, do not just speak about Jesus. Tell them to carry out what he taught. He said, “And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:20, NIV)

Not everyone will agree with what Jesus says. Not everyone will do all that he asks. But his words may make them wonder and think. Some may be influenced without your being aware of it.

Foul Language
In Medjugorje, many homes used to display a poster which said, “U ovoj kući se ne psuje.” It means, “In this house do not swear.” This demonstrates a silent way of speaking out.

The elimination of foul language helps to control bad temper and anger, and diminishes one’s false sense of self-importance; it can promote gentleness and peace among fellow-workers and family members. It can help bring a Christian atmosphere to places where people come together.

In the Western world, it is not fashionable to place such signs in homes and offices. But if you will begin by not using offensive expressions yourself, it might cause others to follow your example. Let peace begin with you.

To live a certain way is to speak out for that way. Individually, or in a group, let us do something about the evils around us.

Don’t Be Shy
Never feel embarrassed by your loyalty to Jesus.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mk 8:38, RSV)

Acknowledge him by hanging his portrait and crucifix in your home. Make decisions in accordance with his teaching. Go off to pray even if others should ridicule you for it.

What Else You Can Do
The above are only a few simple suggestions. Other things that you are capable of doing will come to mind if you ask the Holy Spirit with sincerity.

Jesus said, “He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them.” (Jn 10:2-4, RSV)

By Baptism and Confirmation, by your love of Jesus and obedience to his commands, by your grounding in, and fidelity to, the teaching of the Church, you have entered through the gate that shepherds go through. You have the potential to be one of them. Develop that potential. A shepherd “leads them out” and “goes before them.” He is a leader. He walks in front. He starts things going where there is a need.

And he leads by showing his Christian compassion and care towards all. He leads by speaking out boldly, knowledgeably, and prudently in word and action at the opportune time.

Am I a saint already?

sun-skyJesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to destruction is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Mt 7:13-14, NJB)

I did not kill anybody, or set fire to someone’s house, or committed adultery. I pray daily and go to church. I read the Bible and other spiritual books. I attend religious conferences and gained deep insights into Scripture and theological studies. I am much better informed on religious matters than my acquaintances. I know all the standard religious rituals and formulary prayers and hymns; I can compose lengthy pious prayers instantaneously. I have been instrumental in organizing numerous devotional events. I donate money to worthy causes, help people who are in need, do multiple voluntary works expertly and say many holy things. Surely I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world, am I not? Surely my friends will speak of me as a saint when I die!

Right?

But have I paid any attention to this teaching of James in the New Testament? “Nobody who fails to keep a tight rein on the tongue can claim to be religious; this is mere self-deception; that person’s religion is worthless.” (Jam 1:26, NJB)

According to just one short paragraph of Jesus’ teaching below, how many times should I have been condemned in the past week alone?

He warns, “You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart. Good people draw good things from their store of goodness; bad people draw bad things from their store of badness. So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word people utter they will answer on Judgement Day, since it is by your words you will be justified, and by your words condemned.” (Mt 12:34-37, NJB)

A person speaking good may be a good person, or may be an evil person pretending to be good. However, a person speaking evil is not a good person pretending to be evil; a person speaking evil is evil! “For the words of the mouth flow out of what fills the heart.” (Lk 6:45, NJB)

Will I not be opening my mouth proudly again to say malicious things against someone whom I consider inferior to me? Will I not continue to think nothing of spreading rumours about the person I envy? Will I not be justifying myself tomorrow for being angry with those who do not agree with my ideas? Do I deem pride, envy and anger – the deadliest three of the seven deadly sins – deadly for others but not for me? Do I not know that angels became devils because of pride? Do I consider myself sinless as long as nobody seems to notice my sins?

God’s Judgment

James writes: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.” (Jam 2:10–13, NIV)

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Rom 2:1–3, NIV)

Jesus cautions: “I have much to say in judgment of you.” (Jn 8:26, NIV)

This is how he speaks to those who have the appearance of good but are not truly so: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Mt 23: 27–28, NIV)

“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Lk 16:15, RSV)

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Mt 23:15, NIV)

Is it time to canonize myself?
Before canonizing myself, I should think about and remember the following.

“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Mt 7:14, NIV)

“When the day comes many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?’ Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!” (Mt 7:22-23, NJB)

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” (Jn 12:46-48, NIV)

“Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!” (Mt 7:24–27, NJB)

“Watch yourselves, or all our work will be lost and you will forfeit your full reward. If anybody does not remain in the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he does not have God with him: only those who remain in what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them.” (2 Jn: 8-9, NJB)

“If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth.” (1 Tim 6:3-5, RSV)

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (Jam 3:14-16, NIV)

 

I had better be extremely careful, therefore; for I may have been invited, I may even have been chosen, and I may be at the gate, but if self-satisfaction sets in, I may be locked out in the end.

Jesus already said: “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Lk 13:24­­­, RSV)

“When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'” (Lk 13:25-27, RSV)

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.” (Lk 14:34-35, NIV)

“Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” (Mk 10:31, NJB)

“What have you got that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why are you boasting as though it were your own?” (1 Cor 4:7, NJB)

Should I crown myself today? Only a foolish person would do that. God alone can make saints – at the moment he chooses, if he opens the door into Heaven for me after a period of sincere self-examination, repentance and conversion on my part.

Repent
In the last book of the Bible God warns me: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked… Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” (Rev 3:14-19, NIV)

John writes in his first epistle: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 Jn 2:1-6, NIV)

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:5-9, NIV)

Love
In Colossians 3:7-9, St. Paul says that I must put away all these things: anger, hot temper, malice, slander, abusive language, and filthy talk. “Stop lying to each other!” he cautions.

In the First Letter to the Corinthians, he demands, “Follow the way of love.” (1 Cor, 14:1, NIV)

In chapter 13 of the same letter, he describes love as the highest theological virtue. Concerning this, I had better look inside my own heart seriously. And I had better not make these mistakes: to merely speak about the well-known passage without putting it into practice, talk, talk, talk, giving advice, reciting the lines and using them to judge others instead of applying them to myself – none give any evidence of saintliness. But, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, if I meditate on the famous verses honestly, sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase, word by word, then change and carry out everything in them — towards everyone and at all times (even when nobody is watching) — then perhaps I will progress in the right direction.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor 13: 1- 7, NIV)

Jesus promised
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (Jn 15:11-14, NIV)

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11:29, NIV)

Guidance from Peter

“God opposes the proud but accords his favour to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5, NJB)

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Pet 2:1-3)

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.'” (1 Pet 3:8-12, NIV)

Guidance from Paul
“Not that I have secured it already, nor yet reached my goal, but I am still pursuing it in the attempt to take hold of the prize for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not reckon myself as having taken hold of it; I can only say that forgetting all that lies behind me, and straining forward to what lies in front, I am racing towards the finishing-point to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. So this is the way in which all of us who are mature should be thinking, and if you are still thinking differently in any way, then God has yet to make this matter clear to you.” (Phil 3:12-15, NJB)

“Work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12, NJB)

Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Entrustment to Mary

holy-family-and-holy-spiritGod the Father
In union with the Holy Spirit, God the Father entrusted his Son to Mary.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.” She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.”
(Lk 1:26-32, NJB)

Jesus
When he was twelve years old, well after the age of reason began for him, Jesus confirmed this entrustment by continuing to live in obedience to Mary and Joseph.

He went down with them then and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people.
(Lk 2:51-52, NJB)

The Disciples
As part of his last will and testament, Jesus also entrusted his disciples to her.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
(Jn 19:25-27, NJB)

In the gospel, when Jesus speaks to or about someone, he is not necessarily speaking to or about that person alone. More often than not, he is addressing or referring to all his followers. For example, at the Last Supper, when he broke the bread and said, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Mt 26:26, NIV), he was not giving the instruction only to the twelve apostles gathered together in the upper room. When he commanded, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:39, NIV), by “neighbor” he meant much more than the person living next door.
In the pronouncement, “Woman, this is your son”, “this” beloved disciple represented all whom Mary would be invited to look after as son or daughter. Similarly, “This is your mother,” was an injunction for all to take Mary as mother.

How?
How do we go about taking Mary as our mother?
The following passage suggests the way.

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
(Lk 8:19-21, NIV)

That is, we become Jesus’ brothers and sisters by listening to God’s word and carrying it out; and by taking Jesus as brother, we automatically have Mary for mother.
Entrustment to Mary is not done simply by saying some form of prayer. We must live and act according to what God says.
And what does he say? In the gospel, he speaks from the mountain of Transfiguration, directing us to Jesus:

This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!
(Lk 9:35, RSV)

Mary’s statement at Cana completes the command:

Do whatever he tells you.
(Jn 2:5, NIV)

What Does Jesus Tell Us?
Here are five examples of Jesus’ sayings taken from the Gospel according to Luke.

At that very moment he rejoiced [in] the holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.”
(Lk 10:21, NAB)

“When you pray, this is what to say: Father, may your name be held holy.”
(Lk 11:2, NJB)

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(Lk 18:14, NIV)

“Blessed are you who are hungry now: you shall have your fill… But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.”
(Lk 6:21, 24, NJB)

And Jesus said to him [Zacchaeus], “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”
(Lk 19:9, NAB)

Jesus’ Wisdom
The wisdom of Jesus may be quite puzzling and offensive. It is woeful to be rich? We are blessed when we hunger? God hides things from the learned but reveals them to the simple? No wonder his kinsfolk did not accept him.

He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
(Mk 6:1-3, NAB)

“Where Did This Man Get All This?”
Although Jesus is fully divine, he is also human in every respect except sin. And as a human being, he had to grow. We see in the gospel that he appeared first as a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, and it took many years for him to become a mature adult. But not only did he grow physically, he also had to develop mentally and spiritually. “Jesus increased in wisdom” (Lk 2:52, NJB). He was not born with all his wisdom; he had to acquire it. As a human being, he would gain true wisdom in the same way that other human beings do – by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Now, the Holy Spirit works in us through many of our experiences; he teaches us through Scripture; he operates via some of the people we come in contact with – friends, acquaintances, teachers, and, perhaps more than all the others, our parents! And Jesus most certainly received much of his wisdom by way of Mary and Joseph, for, as we have seen, he “went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51, NAB).

The Magnificat
To illustrate Mary’s influence on Jesus, let us look at the Magnificat.
Mary said:

1. My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.

2. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown the strength with his arm.

3. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.

4. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.

5. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.
(Lk 1:46-55, RSV)

Jesus and Mary
Let us put the words of Jesus and his mother side by side, so that their similarities can be seen more readily.

1. At that very moment he rejoiced [in] the holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.

2. When you pray, this is what to say: Father, may your name be held holy. [God is holy means, among other things, that he is mighty, merciful, to be feared, full of strength.]

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown the strength with his arm.

3. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.

4. Blessed are you who are hungry now: you shall have your fill… But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.

5. And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.

An Inspired Canticle

Some biblical scholars suggest that the words of the Magnificat were not Mary’s own. Others declare them to be a collection of hymns and sayings from the psalms and elsewhere. Still others maintain that it was not Mary who uttered them, but Elizabeth, her cousin. The evangelist, however, was moved by the Holy Spirit to attribute the song to Mary – showing his readers the sort of person she was, revealing her thoughts and ideals, and the type of wisdom she passed on to Jesus.

Jesus’ Mother
“What kind of wisdom has been given him?… Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?” How could Jesus be wise if he was merely the son of Mary? How could Jesus’ teachings be thought of as wisdom if he had only learned it from his mother? Our answer is this: it is precisely because his mother was Mary, through her perfect co-operation with the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was directed to appreciate this kind of wisdom. It is precisely because his mother was Mary that Jesus was led to learn what he learned. It is precisely because his mother was Mary that Jesus eventually taught this wisdom to his disciples.
On the day Mary presented her son at the temple, a devout man named Simeon, prompted by the Holy Spirit, came up to her and prophesied the following:
“… – and a sword will pierce your soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.”
(Lk 2:35, NJB)
During her time on earth, Mary was not spared the trials and tribulations which accompany the life of a parent. By pondering in her heart all the joys and sorrows that passed her way, she came to understand much about human nature. By teaching her son the wisdom she learned from the Holy Spirit, she indirectly taught the world what was of importance, and what was not.

Your Mother
Entrustment to Mary was not an invention by some pious and sentimental soul. It was commanded by Jesus. He chose the most dramatic moment before his death on the cross to proclaim this integral part of God’s plan. He wanted all to come to Mary as her children; he wanted all to turn to her for guidance and protection; he wanted all to honour her, to cherish her, and to love her.
“This is your mother.” What did the disciple do when he heard Jesus say this? “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” If you hear Jesus saying to you today, “This is your mother,” we hope that you, too, like a true and beloved disciple, will, from that hour, welcome her into your home, and into your heart.

Act of Consecration to Mary
Mother Mary, since Jesus from the cross gave you to me, I take you as my mother. And since Jesus gave me to you, please take me as your child. All that I am and have and do, I entrust entirely to your care.
I make this act of consecration with full knowledge and understanding that it entails commitment to a way of life, a way of life like that of Jesus at Nazareth, a way of life which he commands in the gospel. It is when your children become firmly dedicated to this life, it is when enough of your sons and daughters respond wholeheartedly to your call, it is when they listen to Jesus and do what he says, it is then that your Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will begin to reign throughout the whole of Creation.

Little thoughts along the Way of the Cross

“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Eph 5: 1-2)

sorrowful_carryofthecrossEven if you were the only person on earth who needed redemption, Jesus would have given himself up for you.

Don’t wait until Lent to pray the Way of the Cross. Come close to Jesus daily by spending a few short moments with him in a manner similar to the example below. Ask him to teach you what to think about him, what to learn from him, how you can be like him, in what way you are already following in his footsteps. Thank him.

It is true that this version does not carry with it any plenary indulgence from the Church. If you want, you can pray a version which is attached to an indulgence. How often you do that each year is up to you to count.

Every Catholic church has the fourteen Stations of the Cross displayed prominently on the walls. Why is this?

1st Station
Jesus, at the time when you were condemned and sentenced to death, no Gospel had been compiled and no theological treatises had been written to expound on what you were doing. You faced your sacrifice silently, with no explanation to anyone. Never once did you fight back, or say things like this: “I do so much for humanity, yet many sit around doing nothing for the benefit of others.”

2nd Station
Jesus, you were insulted, beaten, and made to shoulder the cross. The spectators regarded you as a disgraced failure. No matter what people thought, you persisted on your sacred mission. Without telling your foes, you were doing the greatest good for them. You bore no bitterness or hatred. You remained constantly meek and humble of heart. You cared not for prestige.

3rd Station
Jesus, after an all-night ordeal of brutality and torment, you collapsed. You could have used this fall as an excuse to call off the rest of the undertaking; but you got up and pressed onward.

4th Station
Jesus, you said to Mother Mary: “Mother, pray for me. I am the only one who can redeem the world.” She prayed: “Father, have mercy on our Son. Reduce the time of his sufferings by giving them to me also.”

5th Station
Jesus, you accepted help from a stranger. Even though he was only forced into giving you a hand, in return you inspired the evangelists to include in the Bible his name and those of his sons and his village. Lord, how much more will you reward those who do things for you voluntarily!

6th Station
Jesus, you honoured Veronica by giving to her your personal image. Going against the current, and without the slightest concern for her own reputation and safety, she braved the wrath of the soldiers and the crowds. Forever after, whoever is devoted to you with selfless bravery will become more and more your true icon in heart and mind and soul.

7th Station
Jesus, you were whipped and pushed, and fell a second time. You got back on our feet, not because you were coerced, but because of your immense love and desire to save me.

8th Station
Jesus, you always respected women, never taking advantage of them or preying on their sympathy and affection. Even in your own hour of need, you made sure to remind them to take care.
In the four gospels, I have seen how kindly you treated mothers, widows, little girls and women of all ages – sinners and the virtuous alike. You were always so thoughtful and considerate towards each one of them.

9th Station
Jesus, you summoned up your last ounce of energy to complete your mission for my sake. Thank you.

10th Station
Jesus, you submitted yourself to humiliation on my behalf; that is why, time and time again, even when I could have been put me to shame, I wasn’t.
For your love does not apply solely to life after death. Your love is concerned with every situation in my life now. Never should I live in darkness, with a shadow hanging over my head. When I surrender each difficulty into your hands, the light of your aid shines on all seemingly unsolvable problems. Thank you, Lord.

11th Station
Jesus, you endured unbearable pains so that I do not have to suffer overly much. Lord, every time I ask, you deliver me from all tribulations – mental, physical and spiritual. You never fail me. Thank you.

12th Station
Jesus, because of your agony and death on the cross I won’t end up in Hell, nor will I have to stay in Purgatory for very long. Thank you.

13th Station
Jesus, why did you create me? For Heaven, of course! Nothing less! Without consulting me, you fashioned me; was it for suffering or for disaster? Certainly not! You are God, what you do must be for good. It cannot be otherwise. Thank you for creating me and redeeming me from my sins, keeping the door open for me to live in eternal happiness. Thank you for directing me back onto the right path every step of the way.

14th Station
Jesus, with the help of your grace, I resolve not to sin against you anymore. I resolve to live in simplicity and humility, with complete trust in your unsurpassing kindness towards me.

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