Posts Tagged ‘Prayers answered’

More awesomeness from Likable Art‘s Cory Heimann.  I want to publicly thank Cory for acting on the impulse to send me this video because I really needed to be confirmed in that message today and I feel blessed and honored to have gotten it when I did.  Thank you Cory!

Our Savior lives!  Happy Easter, dear friends, happy Easter!


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I saw this prayer on the weblog of Sr. Mary Margaret Funk, O.S.B.  I thought it was magnificent.  When we find things that leap out at us at any given moment, we need to take note, stop, reflect, meditate and pray on it.  What is the God trying to tell me?  Where is the Holy Spirit guiding me?  Why this?  Why now?  Why me?

Prayer of Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow

My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask from You.

You and You alone know my needs.

You love me more than I am able to love You.

O Father, grant unto me, Your servant, all which I cannot ask.

For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation;

I dare only to stand in Your presence.

My heart is open to You.

You see my needs of which I myself am unaware.

Behold and lift me up!

In Your presence I stand, awed and silenced by Your will and Your wisdom,

into which my mind cannot penetrate.

To You I offer myself as a sacrifice.

No other desire is mine but to fulfill Your will.

Teach me how to pray.

Do Yourself pray within me.


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Today is Ash Wednesday.  When I was young, this day was one of my least favorite days of the year, competing with Good Friday for awfulness.  The Lenten season was drudgery and pain and meant that I couldn’t eat chocolate or the newly delivered Girl Scout cookies.  I felt bad about Jesus dying.   Forty days dragged on and on.  But God is good and I grew in my faith and my understanding of this liturgical season.  Lent is now my favorite season, and Ash Wednesday one of my favorite days on the Church calendar.

Tonight, something wonderful happened at our parish for our Mass.  It was full of people!  Not just “Sunday morning at 11 am” full, either — it was overflowing, as in Midnight Mass overflowing.  All the seats were taken, we squished in, my family took our usual “no kneeler” pew and every spot was filled.  People lined the back walls and sat on folding chairs in the narthex.   It was very moving.  Fr. Tom watched in awe as more and more people came in.  This, for a Wednesday Mass that is no longer a holy day of obligation.  When we sang the Kyrie Eleison, the sound of so many voices brought tears to my eyes.  Fr. Tom, known for his good homilies, knocked it out of the ballpark with a straightforward challenge to each of us to fast earnestly throughout Lent, to suffer and deny ourselves.  He said, if there is no medical reason why you cannot fast, there is every spiritual reason to do so.  Can you do it?  Will you do it for Jesus?

On the way out of church, I noticed that the little Lenten black books were being snatched up too.

What does this mean?    Is it a reflection on our economy?  on the state of the nation?  Are people scared?  Is it a revival within our parish or the Catholic Church?  I don’t know, and I can’t speculate on that, but there were a lot of souls who needed to be there tonight, and it was a blessed thing to see.  So many souls receiving ashes on their forehead and reminders to turn away from our sins and be faithful to the gospel.

To that I say, “Amen, Amen.”

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God’s amazing plan…

We remember it today, we celebrate it, and hopefully we are awed by it. 

May peace be with you all throughout this year.  May the wonder of God’s creation and Jesus’ incarnation stay with you long past the removal of your Christmas lights.  Please keep me, my family, your pastor, the Church and Pope Benedict in your prayers.  You are in mine.

God bless you.

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I just read a beautiful story of grace, love and conversion and I want to share it with you.  The Diocese of Davenport‘s Catholic Messenger article came to my attention via the Catholic News Agency who reprinted it with permission.

Even a year after her passing, Nancy Graf’s work continues.

Only these days, it’s through her husband.

A formerly inactive Catholic, Bill Graf, 61, now plays the part once played by one of the most active members of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville. Filling Nancy’s spot in various ministries — including the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and parish council — is part therapy, part way to honor the memory of a woman he calls “the definition of a servant leader.”

Her gift for service began to appear to Bill when he was a junior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Nancy Lijewski, then a junior at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and an acquaintance of Bill, was visiting his apartment with friends when she slipped from his sight. Looking for her, he found her at the kitchen sink, washing his dishes.

Soon after, the two started dating. They wed when Bill was a senior, on Jan. 31, 1970.

When they moved to Iowa City in 1975, Nancy began teaching religious education and volunteering for other ministries at St. Thomas More Parish. But Bill, then an information system analyst at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, spent Sunday mornings working or sleeping in.

“I thought it was my duty to work and support my family,” says the father of four. “… I kind of floated away from the church.”

Nancy’s example left an impression on him, though. A researcher at the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice at the University of Iowa School of Social Work, she filled her free time volunteering for St. Thomas More.  What activities would give him purpose during retirement, he wondered as he grew older.

What happened Dec. 7, 2008, ultimately motivated him to make changes. That day, Nancy was returning home from her sister’s house near La Crosse, Wis., where Nancy was finishing her master’s degree in servant leadership at Viterbo University. While driving along U.S. 52 near Decorah in snowy weather, her minivan spun into the left lane and was struck by an oncoming car. When first responders arrived, Bill says, they couldn’t find Nancy’s pulse.

“Right after the accident I felt that a part of me died,” he says. He was plagued by guilt, too, and thoughts of how he might have prevented the tragedy.

But after talking with a friend who’d also lost his wife, Bill realized he had two options: “You can lose hope or you can continue. You can turn to despair or you can turn to the church.” 

In hopes of seeing Nancy again, in heaven, he chose the latter. So a few weeks after the accident, he asked his friend Lee Gullickson, a member of St. Thomas More, to tell him more about what Nancy had been involved in at the parish.

Bill wrote a list of her activities — including the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission, choir, Christian Experience Weekend, baptism preparation, knitting ministry, Church Life and Family Life Commission, and several other groups.

Then he got involved. He joined the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission. He served as a lector. He assisted the steering committee for the parish’s new church. He donated funds for a baptismal font. He gave a witness talk to a stewardship group.

“I told him once that Nancy must be channeling through him,” says Father Walter Helms, St. Thomas More’s pastor.  “… He has done so much for us.”

Bill’s relationship with God has changed, too. “I find myself talking to God more,” asking for strength, he says. “I find it much more personal.”

He recalls talking with Nancy a few years ago about their priorities; she listed God first. “To be honest, I was a little jealous,” he says. “She picked God over me.” But after he took part in the St. Ambrose Stewardship Institute earlier this year, he began to understand her choice.

Bill wishes he could talk about that new insight with Nancy. But he says that because they were “so close” for nearly 40 years, “over time I am realizing that Nancy lives within me, or at least part of her.”

Katie Graf, 25, and Joe Graf, 32, Bill’s two youngest children, say they’re proud of how their dad has responded to tragedy. Besides renewing his faith, he’s become more open, a better listener, Katie says — and their relationship has grown.

But it’s Bill’s growth in faith that answers a request Nancy had long prayed for, Katie notes. “That’s the one thing she really wanted for my dad,” she says. “She is really happy now.”

God works through each of us, everyday.  Do you know that?  Can you feel that?  Let us pray that we allow God to work through us and even more challenging, let us pray that we see God working through the people in our lives, and allow God’s grace to move our hearts back to Him.

See God in your family and friends today.  Allow God to work through them.

Wife’s passing inspires Iowa man’s renewal of faith.

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An absolutely beautiful story of love, sacrifice and the gift of life from The Michigan Catholic.  A must-read!

Such a little girl, such a big miracle

by Jared Field of The Michigan Catholic
Published October 30, 2009

Coping With Grief

Marysville – Glenn and Kim Miller, joined in chorus by a choir of family and friends, prayed without ceasing for their miracle in miniature.

“We prayed all the time,” said Glenn, who lost his 9-month-old baby daughter, Emma, to a rare chromosomal disorder in May. “We prayed for a healthy baby. And, thinking back, I think we actually got a miracle.

“God wanted Emma to come up to heaven with him, so that’s what he did; we prayed enough that he gave us nine and a half months with her.”

After just 26 weeks in the womb, Emma was officially diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome.

The couple recalls the bleak prognosis placed upon their little miracle, and the firestorm of emotions that enveloped them.

“They were telling us she probably wouldn’t be born alive or, if she was, it would just be a few days, or weeks – certainly a short time,” said Glenn, 45.

Kim said that, at the time, she was told that only 10 percent of babies born with the disorder live to see their first birthday and that the majority don’t make it to term. Due to the dire prognosis, the Millers were presented with the option of giving up on their miracle and inducing labor to save the family from further grief.

“That was not an option,” Kim admitted. “We knew this was the baby God chose for us to have. We just left it in God’s hands; in His will … I wasn’t going to change it.”

Even still, Kim didn’t know what God had planned for the future of her family, now six strong.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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I’m like…totally mad at Michael Barber.  I totally did an entire fake interview with him and like, completely didn’t know that he and Kim were expecting another baby!  I’m really bummed.  People will think we don’t know each other!  I might not ever make up another interview with him.  :-P 

All joking aside…congratulations to Michael and Kim Barber and welcome to Matthew Stephen, who really DID hit the lottery to be born into such a sweet family.  Blessings and prayers for all the Barber family!

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Omigosh, I am trying to go to bed but I keep finding delightful things.  This article combines two of my favorite things:  the Faith and hockey.  To let you know just why I’m laughing about this article in joy, let me tell you about a conversation I had with my oldest son so many years ago:


You know…you could be a priest when you grow up.


I would, but I want to be a hockey player when I grow up.


You could be a priest who plays hockey!

See? it could happen.

Catholic bishop takes the Faith onto the ice.

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A sign? Relics of St. Therese Ecumenical Service, Bishop George Stack, Guest Preacher Rt Rev’d Graeme Knowles, Dean Of St Paul’s Cathedral. Oct. 13, 2009

A sign? Relics of St. Therese Ecumenical Service, Bishop George Stack, Guest Preacher Rt Rev’d Graeme Knowles, Dean Of St Paul’s Cathedral. Oct. 13, 2009


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.  As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.  For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.  –Isaiah 55: 8-11

As I read about the pilgrimage of the relics of St. Thérèse across Great Britain, I remember thinking, “Wow, how incredible that such a progression should be allowed in the land of the English Reformation, in a nation which cannot have a Roman Catholic Prime Minister.”  I thought that the crowds coming to see her relics were remarkable and the fact that the relics were on view in the cathedral halls of the Church of England was very…surprising, to say the least.

Now it appears that the Little Flower, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face has been interceding on behalf of our Anglican and Episcopalian brothers and sisters.  And she, via her relics, may have been sent to Great Britain as part of God’s plan, to ease the way for the Traditional Anglican Communion to return to the Mother Church. 

From the Catholic Key Blog:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anglican Bishop Confirms St. Therese is Behind Anglican Ordinariate

Yesterday we conveyed the suspicion of former Episcopal and now Kansas City Catholic priest, Father Ernie Davis, that the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux was behind the Vatican’s move to provide a structure to welcome Anglicans into full communion. Now, the Anglican Catholic Bishop of Canada strongly confirms that thought.

Father Davis, who leads St. Therese Little Flower parish in Kansas City which hosts an Anglican Use community, wrote of the news from the Vatican:

Anglicans and Catholics flocked to visit the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux as they made a very recent pilgrimage to England. Her relics rested on her 2009 feast day at York Minster, the Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of York. When I read about that, I told the people here at St. Therese Little Flower that she was working on something big. In other words, preparations for this Apostolic Constitution have been in process for 170 years, and some of the preparations have been made at levels that are higher than popes.   (emphasis mine)

The Traditional Anglican Communion Bishop of Canada saw the claim and sent an email today to Father Davis with remarkable details of St. Therese’ intercession. Here’s the email:

Dear Father Davis,

Your story about the Anglican Ordinariate and St Therese (which came to me via England this morning) is very interesting. And I can tell you another connexion with her.

I am the Anglican Catholic Bishop of Canada in the TAC. I was present at the Synod of TAC Bishops in Portsmouth England in October 2007 which voted unanimously to ask for full communion, and signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The first full day of the Synod was October 1st, the ‘new’ date of St Therese’s feast, and the actual vote to ask for full communion was taken on October 3rd ‘old’ date of her feast.

I also accompanied the Primate and Bishop Robert Mercer CR to deliver the Letter to the CDF where we had been directed by the Holy Father. My friend Mother Teresa of the Carmel in Edmonton had given me some holy cards with a piece of cloth touched to her relics. Each of us carried one of these cards, and we asked St Therese’s prayers on our venture. We also had similar cards from Poland of the Servant of God John Paul II.

I have continued ‘to bother her’ about a favourable response to our request, and now thanks to the generosity and love of the Holy Father who has taken a personal interest in us for many years, and the prayers of St Therese, something wonderful has come about.

God bless you,

+Peter Wilkinson, OSG
Bishop Ordinary
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada

Father Davis has posted the letter at his blog, which is also on our blog roll. He’s been quiet for a while, working on a book, but I’ll bet it’ll be worth checking in there as things progress.

It would seem that St. Thérèse is fulfilling her desire to be a missionary and her promise to shower the world with roses.  From the St. Thérèse Relics Blog (chronicling the visit across England and Wales), here is what Most Reverend Fernando Millán (Prior General– Order of Carmelites) had to say during the homily at the Farewell Mass at the Friars, Aylesford.  After remarking on the success of the visit in terms of number of pilgrims who attended and reported personal conversions that occurred, he said: 

– The second success is no less important. Many have underlined the ecumenical importance of this visit. Not only Catholics, but also Anglicans, Methodists, Buddhists, and people without religious affiliation… came to visit the relics. There is something so basic, so fundamental, so essential in the message of Therese that many people, no matter what their religious confession, feel she has something to say to them.

Perhaps (among many other elements of her spiritual teaching) we find with Therese that God is not a God of fear, a God of implacable Justice, a God before whom we feel afraid. When Therese listened to talk of the justice of God, instead of being sad and fearful… she was quite happy: “God knows how weak we are!” When Therese was writing this, in France there was still a very strong influence from Jansenism. That was a religious group or movement, with very good people and very committed Christians, who were worried about the level and the quality of religious life in France. They were asking for a greater seriousness, more commitment, and they were always stressing the justice of God and the gravity of sin. That is fine and there is nothing wrong with it. But, Jansenism forgotten the key point, the essential element, the basis of the Gospel and Christian life is not rules, justice, norms for punishment… but that it is about grace, love, mercy and freedom. That is the secret of Therese; that is perhaps also the secret of her success…

If, after this visit we are a little bit closer to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ; if we have been able to forgive somebody; if we have decided to remove form our hearts hatred and prejudice; if we trust more in God, even when we are suffering; if we are ready to feel the love of God in our lives… if only one person has received that message and is willing to live it… the visit has been a great, great success, and we can say that it was worthy to bring the relics of this Carmelite to this country. I am sure that not only one person, but a lot of people today are a little bit closer to God, and so a bit closer to others around them. I am sure that we all have grown these days in faith, in humanity, in tenderness in solidarity


Emphasis mine.

We cannot know in what ways God is acting in the world, we cannot see as He sees but in hindsight, when we view how miraculously events unfold, we can see His Hand.  The convergence of the many known (and the countless unknown) events leading up to the Vatican announcement suggest a larger plan unfolding.  Providence?  We shall have to wait and see.  In the meantime, let us all pray that we the Church and our Holy Father Pope Benedict be guided by the Holy Spirit, that God’s will be done on earth.   We can be assured that God’s word will indeed achieve His Will. 

How awesome is our God! 

Anglican Bishop Confirms St. Therese is Behind Anglican Ordinariate.

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From the Associated Press:

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican announced a stunning decision Tuesday to make it easier for Anglicans to convert, reaching out to those who are disaffected by the election of women and gay bishops to join the Catholic Church‘s conservative ranks.

Pope Benedict XVI approved a new church provision that will allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while maintaining many of their distinctive spiritual and liturgical traditions, including having married priests.

This is surprising and I think good news.  It seems to have caught everyone off guard.  The article has the usual reporting-on-the-Vatican mistakes, as well as the seemingly mandated outlandish conclusions (“By welcoming them in with their own special provision, Benedict has confirmed the increasingly conservative bent of his church.”  Huh?  Come again? making special provisions is loosening, not tightening.)   Oh, and they managed to get in a snarky reference to the Bishop fiasco.  Arrgh.

We can hope that many Anglicans will jump at this chance.  They were coming home before, and this will only make returning home to Rome easier.  Heck, maybe even QEII will come home:  we ‘know’ that she has grown increasingly sympathetic to the Catholic Church while reports are that she is ‘appalled’ at the direction of the church which she nominally leads.  

Oh, how much I would like to see the evil wrought through one man’s lust reversed. 

Pray, brethren, pray!


UPDATEAs usual, Thomas Peters, the American Papist, is all over the news, providing great links to the many important voices weighing in on this fantubulous development.

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