Monday, July 2, 2012

Expecting a Miracle

Friends of Faith:

As we invoke our prayer and song of God Bless America and God Bless Me, what miracle are we expecting God to provide for us and for our country?
A miracle is an unexpected gift given by God. We have all received the first miracle—and that is life itself. He gave us life and our countries forefathers promised us the freedom of religion—the freedom to believe in Jesus and to walk in Jesus’ footsteps as he asks us to walk: to give life as he gave life; to love as he loves; and to forgive as he forgives.

Blessed Pope John Paul II said: “The challenge facing you, dear friends is to increase people’s awareness of the importance of religious freedom for society; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America’s official faith.” Baltimore, Oct 8, 1995
As Pope John Paul II said we must DO something to protect the miracle God has provided.

We must ACT to defend life. We must ACT to defend our freedom to choose God. And we must ACT out the faith we profess.
God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it. Wis 1: 13-15, 2: 23-24

God gave us free will – and that freedom means we can choose what we will believe, what we will honor and how we will practice our faith. Will we CHOOSE LIFE—the very life that he created in his own image?
Will we choose to honor his design and plan for marriage: the union of one man and one woman – God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.*  Genesis 1:28.

God also did not make death. We chose death in the original sin of Adam and Eve. And then God gave us his only son, Jesus, to free us from that sin by His gift of the greatest of miracles: a gift of suffering; a gift of sacrifice, and a gift of redemption—eternal life.
"Your daughter has died; ... he said, "Do not be afraid; just have faith." ..... So he went in and said to them, "Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep." And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child's father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!" The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this. Mk 5: 35-43

Faith is not: “believing if we see”—faith is “believing what we cannot see.” Miracles were not given so that we would have faith; instead they were given to those OF faith.
Currently the USA professes the freedom of religion (many other places in this world are persecuted just for their beliefs). But will we always have that freedom? Many Americans believe we are a “protected nation” built on God—but does God see us that way?

As Americans we have more wealth and more food than any other country. Do we share it, or waste it? Am I doing my job to serve others and giving freely of my gifts, time and talents? Do I serve my spouse, my family, the poor or needy? Or do I complain that I didn’t get enough for myself? What miracle are we expecting God or someone else to do for us?
Do Americans value entertainment more than we value God? We choose to attend and watch movies, sporting events, and concerts by the millions (and worship musicians, athletes and movie stars)—while our church pews grow emptier and emptier.  If we don’t worship God and honor him with our presence; if we don’t put God first, then why would he put us first? Why are we expecting a miracle?

Do our laws reflect a new form of equality—an equality that lets us CHOOSE whether a life is worth living, surviving or even being born; laws which define marriage as something other than one man and one woman (only a man and a woman can multiply). Are we creating laws to protect an equality that God didn’t promise or design?  Are we expecting that God will miraculously change unjust laws?
We are in the final days of the US Catholic Bishops Fortnight for Freedom. These 14 days of prayer, worship and study were brought about partially because of the impending HHS (health and human services) mandate brought about because of the health care bill (that ALL employers will be forced to provide health insurance coverage which guarantees abortion and contraceptives). This forces all employers, from Catholic hospitals to small Christian business owners, to provide health services which violate their religious beliefs.

“O God our Creator, through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society. We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.” (Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty, )

May each of us Go Forth, spread Your good news and BEcome the miracle, instead of expecting to receive a miracle.
And may God continue to bless America with the freedom of religion,


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