Tag Archives: worry

What should we eat?

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On the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

bread-food-healthy-breakfastIn today’s Gospel, Jesus multiplies the fishes and loaves. When the apostles ask Jesus to dismiss the crowds so that they can get something to eat he tells them, “Give them some food yourselves.” He knows what he is going to do, but he wants his apostles to be involved in what is about to happen.

This miracle of Our Lord’s providence often reminds me of the petition in the Lord’s Prayer; “Give us this day our daily bread.” This is not only about bread, it is about all that we need to sustain our life in Him.

In another place he says, “Do not worry and say, what are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear? All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these will be given you.” The most important part of our relationship with God is our total trust in Him. There are a multitude of Scriptures where Jesus says such things as,

“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest,”
“Do not be afraid,”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled,”
“My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you;” and so many more.

These are not empty words. These words are for anyone who will receive them in humility. If we allow the words of Jesus to touch our hearts, they can transform us from sadness to joy. It is a response to the promises of Jesus that creates saints and even martyrs.

It was a response to the promises of Jesus that inspired a woman I visited in the hospital many years ago, to say that she thanked God for the cancer that was bringing an end to her life because it helped save her soul. In her illness, she turned to God and the Church and found peace in her preparation for death.

Jesus tells us, he is the Way, the Truth and the Life because he is the only answer to that which we need the most. Perhaps the most important words of Jesus which we must believe is when he said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”

The mission of Jesus Christ was to be obedient to the will of the Father and to give himself to us. He gave us himself when he was born of the Virgin Mary; he gave us himself when he died on the cross, and he continues to give us himself in the Holy Eucharist. He loves us so much that he longs for us to receive him in this holy sacrament.

A couple weeks ago, I assisted at a Mass for children who were receiving their first Holy Communion. When the child comes forward to receive the Lord for the first time the whole family comes forward with him or her. I was surprised that almost half of the family members that came forward did not receive Communion, but a blessing instead.

I believe the most urgent message of evangelization to the Catholic community is that the Holy Mass is the most important prayer we can pray because the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are made present to us by the power of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the priest who presides and represents Christ himself.offering

Saints have been privileged to witness the presence of the heavenly hosts as Mass is being celebrated. We may not see them, but we will be surrounded by angels and saints during the consecration as bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. What will you do today that will be more important than what we are doing right now? What is more important than receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ?

Of course, Our Lord wants us to be prepared to receive him. First, we must truly believe that we are not just receiving bread and wine, but we are in reality receiving his body and blood. He also wants us to be free of serious sin, which is an obstacle to his love. For this reason he has given us the sacrament of reconciliation in which Jesus himself forgives our sins through his minister the priest. Sin weighs us down and causes us to be unhappy if we do not use the means that God has given us to be reconciled to him.

If you know of anyone who has left the Church because they are divorced and remarried civilly, encourage them to speak with their local pastor. Most marriages can be con-validated. There is nothing that should separate us from this wonderful gift from God if we have the humility to seek His help through the Church. You can learn more about gifts of Catholicism through our weekly series Catholicism Live!. Visit our website for more information or to listen to previous episodes.

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Tips For When Stress, Illness, and Worry Get You Down

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Are you stressed? Worried? In pain?

Our staff receives countless prayer requests: relief from family strife, emotional pain, illness, unemployment… When we find ourselves in these situations, the number-one question we tend to ask is: Why? Why is this happening? Why me? Why them? Why now?

With my worrywart tendencies and chronic pain disorder, I’ve asked those questions hundreds of times. But there’s good news: Every saint experienced great suffering. In fact, I “met” one saint last week who knows all about suffering, and I just found out that her feast day is August 12 in the USA. I think she ‘found’ me in time for this blog!

NOT YOUR AVERAGE JANE?

Jane Frances was twenty when she married Baron Christophe de Chantal. The couple lived in a castle, but their finances were in ruin. (Does this sound like your life yet?) Jane decided to rise to the occasion, bringing the household and budget back under control. Even during this struggle, she won over employees with her good sense of humor. One acquaintance said, “Even stupid jokes were funny when she told them.”

LESSON #1: Suffering can perfect us. Will we let suffering turn us into self-pitying, bitter sourpusses, or will we accept it as an opportunity to grow in holiness? Jane decided the latter, and so can we! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see your suffering as an opportunity rather than a ‘curse.’

Jane realized that she was lucky to live in a castle during financial ruin, while others had nowhere to go. Suffering taught her compassion, since she could relate to the struggles of others. She personally served soup and bread to poor persons who came to the door. Sometimes, a hungry person would turn right around and come back for more food. Why let people get away with this? She answered, “What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?”

Over several years, Jane lost two children and a sister. Suddenly and tragically, Jane’s husband was killed in a hunting accident. Although Christophe immediately forgave the man who shot him, Jane was tortured with grief and unforgiveness. For months, she locked herself away at home with her children. Yet slowly, she realized this suffering could perfect her, and she worked at forgiving the man. First, she greeted him on the street. Then, she invited him to her home. Eventually, she let God’s grace into her heart enough to forgive him.

LESSON #2: Suffering can remind us. Our struggles can help us realize how dependent we are upon God’s graces. Jane’s glimpse of this led her to seek God deeply in prayer and learning. That impressed Bishop (now Saint) Francis de Sales, who became her spiritual director.

When I’m stuck in bed due to muscle pain, I feel like a useless burden. But each day that I live with pain reminds me that God’s grace is stronger than pain. God has gotten me through it. In fact, God and I have gone through it together. Without my chronic pain, I know I wouldn’t remember God as much. I wouldn’t talk to Him as much. So, I am thankful for the reminders.

LESSON #3: Suffering can be a prayer. Our human nature will always find some reason to complain. But with the help of the saints, I’ve learned that my suffering can be a prayer. Jane said, “Suffering borne in the will quietly and patiently is a continual, very powerful prayer before God, regardless of the complaints and anxieties that come from the inferior part of the soul.” It’s not easy to be patient when we suffer, but that experience will draw us closer to Jesus, Mary, and the saints.

Jane knew that people who experienced suffering were capable of being very close to God. With the help of her spiritual director, she began a religious order that welcomed women who were rejected from other religious orders due to sickness or age.

During her life as a nun, Jane had difficulty praying – a spiritual dryness. Still, she knew that this would bring her closer to Christ and the saints.

Christ, who suffered a slow, painful death on the cross; and rejection by his peers, friends, and Jewish leaders…Mary, who experienced confusion at the Annunciation and when Jesus was lost in Jerusalem; who suffered the pain of her young Son’s imprisonment, torture, and death…Joseph, who was at least confused to discover Mary’s pregnancy, perhaps embarrassed to house his pregnant wife in a stable, and toiled in his work as a manual laborer…

Let’s resolve to let suffering perfect and remind us. Let’s pray with our sufferings.