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Tag Archives: disability

CAN A PERSON BE CURED AT LOURDES IF SHE HAS NO FAITH?

Question: Can a person be cured at Lourdes if she has no faith?

Answer: We cannot place bounds or limits on what Our Lady will or will not do. It is her privilege to intercede for and cure a person who has no faith, just as she intercedes for all those who believe in her son Jesus Christ and who, though weak and sinful, persevere in trying to live according to the teaching of Christ and his Church.”

– This article was published in St Martin Magazine’s feature “Question Box”; issue June 2015. For subscriptions please visit http://www.stmartin.ie (external link)

 

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DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL AGAIN? (Jn 5:6)

• “Turn to the Lord for his powerful help.

• Gospel Reading: John 5:1-3, 5-16

• Do you want to be well again? (John 5:6)

• Jesus asked the man who had been sick for thirty eight years what appears to be a self-evident question: ‘Do you want to be well again?’ (John 5:6). We don’t know for sure but perhaps the man had grown so accustomed to his disability that, although prepared to go through the ritual of immersion in the healing pool at Bethzatha, he did not really expect or anticipate that he would actually be healed. Consider, if you will, that the same question is asked of us by the Lord this Lent, ‘Do you want to be well?’ Each of us, whoever we are, because of sin, weaknesses and shortcomings, need God’s healing. We turn to the Lord for his powerful help.

• ‘Lord, help us to understand that the whole point of this life is the healing of the heart’s eye through which God is seen.’ (St Augustine).

• Our Father…, Ten Hail Marys…, Glory be…

• Today my prayer is for… ”
– This short meditation was published in “A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2009” by AlivePublishing. For information about their booklets please visit http://www.alivepublishing.co.uk (external link).

 

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“NO MAN’S CROSS IS LAID UPON HIM FOR HIMSELF ALONE, BUT FOR THE HEALING OF THE WHOLE WORLD”

“Look at this cross, so much bigger than the man whose body will be stretched to fit it. So much higher than the height of the man who will be lifted up above the earth on it and who, being lifted up, will draw all peoples to himself. Christ receives it with joy because he knows that this is the dead weight that must have crushed humankind had he not lifted it from their backs. This is the dead wood which at his touch is transformed to a living tree. At his touch, the hewn tree takes root again, and the roots thrust down into the earth, and the tree breaks into flower…

THE TREE BREAKS INTO FLOWER

Because Christ is to be stretched to the size of the cross, those who love him will grow to the size of it, not only to the size of man’s suffering, which is bigger than man, but to the size of Christ’s love that is bigger than all suffering. Because Christ is to be lifted up on the cross, all those who love him will be lifted up above the world by the world’s sorrow. He, being lifted up, will draw all men to himself.

CHRIST CHANGED SUFFERING TO REDEMPTION

Because Christ has changed death to life, and suffering to redemption, the suffering of those who love him will be a communion between them. All that hidden daily suffering that seems insignificant will be redeeming the world, it will be healing the wounds of the world. The acceptance of pain, of old age, of the fear of death, and of death will be our gift of Christ’s love to one another; our gift of Christ’s life to one another.

JOY AND SUPERNATURAL LIFE

No man’s cross is laid upon him for himself alone, but for the healing of the whole world, for the mutual comforting and sweetening of sorrow, for the giving of joy and supernatural life to one another. For Christ receives our cross that we may receive his. Receiving his cross, the cross of the whole world made his, we receive him. He gives us his hands to take hold of, his power to make it a redeeming thing, a blessed thing, his life to cause it to flower, his heart to enable us to rejoice in accepting our own and one another’s burdens.”
– Caryll Houselander

 

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PRAISE THE LORD! – IF GOD DOES “SEND” SUFFERING, IT IS MORE LIKELY TO BE TO A SAINT THAN TO A SINNER, BECAUSE THE SAINT IS BETTER “QUALIFIED”

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Mat 1:38).

“THE POWER OF PAIN

Pain is one of our great supernatural resources. That statement is out of line with our usual pattern of thought. We are accustomed to viewing pain as an unmitigated evil. For some persons, the existence of pain even is a source of temptation against their religious faith. ‘If God is good,’ they ask, ‘why does He permit suffering, particularly so much innocent suffering?’

‘IF GOD IS GOOD,’ THEY ASK, ‘WHY DOES HE PERMIT SUFFERING?’

Thoughtful people realise that we could not have the world we do have, without suffering. A great amount of suffering is caused by man’s own inhumanity to man. To prevent this, God would have to make man a puppet, with God pulling the strings on each man’s actions. Being no longer free, man would cease to be human.

FREE WILL AND CREATION AS WE KNOW IT

Similarly, to eliminate all pain caused by nature, God would have had a different kind of world. Fire burns. Coal tars initiate cancer. Gravity crushes. Electricity kills. The world could not be our world, as we know it, without pain.

Still, after all possible explanations of pain have been made, there does remain a large element of mystery in this question of suffering. For example, why deadly microbes, why poisonous reptiles?

THERE DOES REMAIN A MYSTERY

It helps a little to remember that God’s plan for the universe encompasses billions of years. Our own world with its pain is but one pinpoint in that vast plan and only one moment in those uncounted eons. How the phenomenon of pain may eventually contribute to God’s over-all design, we must await to discover.

‘GREATER LOVE THAN THIS NO MAN HAS, THAT ONE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS’

The really important truth about pain, for the Christian, is the fact that it does have a meaning in the here and now. In Eden God gave to suffering its value as an atonement for sin. On Calvary Jesus Christ gave to suffering its ultimate nobility as He expressed, in the language of pain, God’s infinite love for man. ‘Greater love than this no man has, that one lay down his life for his friends.’

SHARING THE SUBLIME FRUIT OF SUFFERING

Jesus did not hoard to Himself this sublime fruit of suffering, this ability to make one’s pain count for others. In His scheme of salvation, our Lord has chosen to share with us His redemptive work. Each of us who has been baptised in Christ has the privilege of helping Him to carry His cross. Each of us has the power to atone by our sufferings for the sins of others and to crack the locks on hearts that have been closed to God’s grace.

‘WHO NOW REJOICE IN MY SUFFERINGS FOR YOU, AND FILL UP THAT WHICH IS LACKING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST IN MY FLESH FOR HIS BODY’S SAKE, WHICH IS THE CHURCH’ (Colossians 1:24)

Whatever pain may be our lot, in honesty we must admit, ‘I deserve this for my sins.’ Only an innocent child can truthfully say, ‘I do not deserve to suffer.’ If God’s justice were not tempered with mercy and if we had to pay the full price of our infidelities, we should be living our whole lives in pain.

However, when suffering does come to us, it would be a mistake to conclude, ‘I am being punished for my sins.’ God is not a vindictive God. He may permit us to suffer for our spiritual good and to better assure our eternal happiness, but He does not send suffering to ‘get even’ with us for our offences against Him.

MOST SUFFERING IS THE INEVITABLE RESULT OF LIVING IN THE KIND OF WORLD THAT IS OURS

In fact, it probably is quite rarely that God positively ‘sends’ suffering to anyone. Most suffering, such as disease or accident, is simply the result of natural causes; or, it is the result of the evil will of fellow humans. Most suffering, in other words, is the inevitable result of living in the kind of a world that is ours.

If God does ‘send’ suffering, it is more likely to be to a saint than to a sinner. The saint is better qualified to use suffering unselfishly for the salvation of others.

‘I OFFER THIS CROSS, BELOVED JESUS, IN UNION WITH YOURS’

Suffering comes in all styles and sizes. It may be a simple headache, a slight cold or a minor disappointment. It may be the excruciating agony of cancer or of acute arthritis, or the mental distress of deep despondency or loneliness.

Whatever our particular pain may be, it will be a tragic waste if we refuse or forget to say, ‘I offer this cross, beloved Jesus, in union with Yours. I offer it for my own sins and especially in atonement for the sins of others. Let my suffering bring another soul to You!'”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966 (text within the inverted commas; capital headings added afterwards).

(see also Mt 5:2-12)

 

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PRAYER TO ST GILES

ST GILES, ABBOT; MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 1

St Giles was a very sought after saint in the Middle Ages, and numerous miracles have been ascribed to his intercession. He is particularly invoked against contagious diseases, by women who have trouble breastfeeding, by people suffering from disabilities and against fear. St Giles lived in the 7th century. Originally from Greece, he went to France to live in a cave as a hermit, and was sustained by prayer and the milk of a deer. One day the Gothic king Wamba pursued St Giles’ animal companion as part of his hunting expedition. The deer fled towards St Giles’ cave, and thus the king’s arrow aimed at the deer hit St Giles instead. As compensation, King Wamba gave St Giles a piece of land in the Provence, on which St Giles founded a monastery.

PRAYER:

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that the revered intercession of St Giles
may bring us heavenly aid,
just as his wonderful life
is an example of humility for all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 
 

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“HAIL HOLY QUEEN” – THIS BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE TO MAMA MARY IS ALSO A TRIBUTE TO THE COURAGE OF THE DISABLED YOUNG BOY WHO WROTE IT: HERMANN THE LAME

“Has it ever happened to you that some prayer you have traditionally recited, something that you have read, and which you have enjoyed so much in the past, suddenly takes on a new dimension, and becomes part of your very thinking and praying?

SALVE REGINA

At St Bartholomew’s church, Norbury, London, on the eve of Our Lady’s Nativity, at the end of Mass the celebrant, the deacon and the altar server processed, not to the sacristy as we were expecting, but to the altar of Our Blessed Lady, and there the priest intoned the first words of that lovely hymn, the Salve Regina, which we know as the ‘Hail Holy Queen’. To my surprise and delight most of the congregation followed Father’s lead in exuberantly celebrating Mary in Latin. I fairly frequently slip into St Bartholomew’s for Saturday morning Mass, and never in my experience has the celebrant or the congregation paid such a tribute to Our Blessed Lady in such a lovely way.

THE IRISH CONNECTION

Little did that Saturday morning congregation know that it was a handicapped boy who was responsible for making St Bartholomew’s church reverberate with Mary’s praise. There’s a little bit of Ireland in the German isle of Reichenau. In the eighth century some Irish monks set up cells on the island, and became famed for the beautiful manuscripts they made, just as the monks in Ireland around that same time were composing the Book of Kells, and in Lindisfarne they were producing the incredibly beautiful Lindisfarne Gospel.

ONE DAY HERMANN THE LAME WAS WHEELED TO THE MONASTERY…

One day a handicapped boy, Hermann the Lame, was wheeled to the monastery, and the monks – with their traditional graciousness – took him in as a member of the family. (I like the way he is called in theological books Hermannus Contractus). But Hermann the Lame had no time for self-pity. He took to study as an ordinary youngster takes to football. He became famed for theology, astronomy, history, poetry and music. One of his hymns he composed has become internationally famous. It was Hermann the Lame who composed the Salve Regina. In the Divine Office the antiphon Salve Regina is said by every priest in the Catholic Church twice every day from Trinity Sunday to Advent after Lauds and Compline. There are four antiphons to Our Blessed Lady in the Divine Office, and the Salve Regina is the oldest. It is said that St Bernard was so touched by it that he added the supreme finale, ‘O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria’.

THE MONKS SURROUNDED THE STATUE IN SEMI-DARKNESS…

I have frequently made my annual retreat with the Benedictines at St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, often late in the year when darkness sets in early. The monks’ last liturgical prayer in church is Compline, and Compline ends with the Salve Regina. At the end of the Office all lights were switched off except a flood light shining on Our Blessed Lady. The monks surrounded the statue in semi-darkness. The Abbot intoned Salve Regina, and the monks continued the hymn, and at the end moved silently off to study or to bed.

It is wonderful to think that a tribute to Mary is also a tribute to the courage of a young boy who conquered a crippling disability so magnificently so many years ago.”
– This article by The Late Br. Dennis Robert FSC was published in “The Crusader Magazine” issue June 2013; for donations and subscriptions please contact: All Saints Friary, Redclyffe Road, Manchester M41 7LG

 

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