Archives for April 2013

Elsewhere: Christian persecution in America

I wonder what our founding fathers and those who fought and died for America would think now. They believed in America’s greatness: through its freedoms, by checks and balances on power and unwavering commitment to strong Judeo-Christian values. They were willing to die for “faith, hope and the American way.”

The sad truth is their heirs have squandered that inheritance. We have embraced socialism maintaining only a facade of democracy. We have surrendered our freedoms without a shot being fired. The constitution has been replaced by whatever the ruling class deigns.

Most Americans falsely believe that our founding documents enshrine a doctrine separating church and state. The Establishment Clause actually prohibits the government from creating a state religion, yet it is establishing a religion of radical secularism. The Free Exercise clause prohibits government meddling in religion, yet it does exactly that by restricting any such exercise in the public sphere. It wasn’t always this way.

Now God is a threat to be managed in the new order. As with past socialist regimes, one approach is to rewrite history or in this case, the Declaration of Independence. Our president habitually omits the words “endowed by their Creator” when quoting it on the source of all truth.

A new tact was unveiled this week – co-opting God. God once again exists (sometimes), but now is called upon to shower His blessings upon those murdering the most defenseless among us. This, done on a scale far exceeding anything the Nazis ever thought of. Our president has jumped from denial of God to unabashed, in-your-face blasphemy.

This heralds a new and more aggressive attack on religious freedom. As Robert Royal explains in his piece yesterday, the direction is doubling down on big government’s prohibition against actually living your faith (as illustrated by the HHS mandates). The new attack demonizes you for simply having your faith. From Royal’s article at The Catholic Thing:

Many things happen in modern societies that render a decent human being all but speechless. So many, in fact, that sometimes it seems the better part simply to let them pass and to move on. That seems to be what has already happened with President Obama’s outrageous speech just three days ago to Planned Parenthood – the first such speech by a sitting president in American history. But it must not be allowed to pass or be forgotten. Not for a moment.

It’s not just the historical precedent that’s worrisome, bad as that is in a country deeply divided over abortion. It’s the way the President of the United States has settled into describing all those Americans – more than half of the population, if recent surveys are to be believed – who call themselves pro-life and act on their belief as threatening “basic rights when it comes to women’s health.” He has used similar language on multiple occasions in defending the HHS mandates.

The president may not regard this as “demonizing opponents,” something he professes to abhor. Way back when the powers at Notre Dame were still innocent enough to invite Obama to receive an honorary degree – which is to say, before the university had to join other institutions, Catholic and not, in a lawsuit to defend themselves from Obamacare – he said:

Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause. . . .the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

It sounded nice, but I myself did not believe he meant it then. And now, it’s even clearer. One slice of American citizens regards the rest of us as the functional equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan. Who else would dream of denying others “basic rights”? By using this sort of inflammatory language and pushing it hard on wedge issues – Obama and others use it increasingly on gay “marriage” as well – he may be gaining brownie points in certain places, but he is sowing discord in the body politic. Remember when there weren’t red states and blue states, only the United States?

The Catholic bishops and anyone else worried over religious liberty should not take this latest development lightly. You can live with a person you think mistaken on one or more issues, who is essentially of good will. You cannot tolerate the Ku Klux Klan.

Read the whole article Coming Soon: The KKKatholic Church.


UPDATE: Some of you gentle readers, may think all of this is “over-the-top”. I respectfully submit for your consideration this breaking news item: Obama administration may court-martial the act of sharing the Christian faith…   INCLUDING CHAPLAINS.

Baltimore Catechism: on the sacrifice of the mass

Lesson 24

262Q. When and where are the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of Christ?
A. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ at the consecration in the Mass.
263Q. What is the Mass?
A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.

The Holy Sacrifice is called Mass probably from the words the priest says at the end when he turns to the people and says, “Ite Missa est”; that is, when he tells them the Holy Sacrifice is over.

*264Q. What is a sacrifice?
A. A sacrifice is the offering of an object by a priest to God alone, and the consuming of it to acknowledge that He is the Creator and Lord of all things.

“Sacrifice.” From the very earliest history of man we find people – for example, Abel, Noe, etc. – offering up sacrifice to God; that is, taking something and offering it to God, and then destroying it to show that they believed God to be the Master of life and death, and the Supreme Lord of all things. These offerings were sometimes plants or fruits, but most frequently animals.

When men lost the knowledge of the true God and began to worship idols of wood and stone, they began or continued to offer sacrifice to these false gods. Very often, too, they sacrificed human beings to please, as they imagined, these gods. They believed there was a god for everything – a god for the ocean, a god for thunder, a god for wind, for war, etc.; and when anything happened that frightened or injured the people, they believed that some of these gods were offended, and offered up sacrifice to pacify them. They had a temple in Rome called the Pantheon, or temple of all the gods, and here they kept the idols of all the gods they could think of or know. At Athens, they were afraid of neglecting any god whom they might thus give offense, and so they had an altar for the unknown god. When St. Paul came to preach, he saw this altar to the unknown god, and told them that was the God he came to preach about. (Acts 17). He preached to them the existence of the true God, and showed them that there is only one God and not many gods.

They did not have these idols of wood and stone in their temples for the same reason that we have images in our churches, because they believed that the idols were really gods, and offered sacrifice to them, whereas we know that our images are the works of men. Near the city of Jerusalem there was a great idol named Molech, to which parents offered their infants in sacrifice. We know, too, from the history of this country that the Indians used to send a beautiful young girl in a white canoe over the falls of Niagara every year, as a sacrifice offered to the god of the falls. Even yet human sacrifices are offered up on savage islands. Sometimes certain animals were selected to be heathen gods. The people who worship idols, animals, or other things of that kind as gods are called pagans, idolaters, or heathens.

The Israelites, who worshipped the true God and offered Him sacrifices because He made known to them by revelation that they should do so, had four kinds of sacrifice. They offered one for sin, another in thanksgiving for benefits received, another as an act of worship, and another to beg God’s blessing. It is just for these four ends or objects we offer up the one Christian sacrifice of the holy Mass. In the beginning the head of the family offered sacrifice – as Noe did when he came out of the Ark – but after God gave His laws to Moses He appointed priests to offer up the sacrifices. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first priest appointed, and after him his descendants were priests. When Our Lord came and instituted a new sacrifice He established the priesthood of the New Law, and appointed His own priests, namely, the Apostles, with St. Peter as their chief, and after them their lawfully appointed successors, the bishops of the world, with the Pope as their chief. The sacrifices of the Old Law were figures of the sacrifice of the New Law, and were to cease at its institution; and when the ancient sacrifices ceased the ancient priesthood was at an end.

265Q. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross.

But how is the Mass a sacrifice? It is a sacrifice because at the Mass the body and blood of Our Lord are offered to His heavenly Father at the consecration, and afterwards consumed by the priest. In offering up the body and blood of Our Lord the bread and wine are consecrated separately, and kept separate on the altar at Mass to signify their separation at Our Lord’s death in the sacrifice of the Cross, when His sacred blood flowed from His body. The Holy Eucharist is also a Sacrament, because it has the three things necessary to constitute a Sacrament; namely, (1) The outward sign – that is, the appearance of bread and wine. (2) The inward grace; for it is Jesus Christ Himself, the Author and Dispenser of all graces. (3) It was instituted by Our Lord.

The Holy Eucharist is therefore both a sacrifice and a Sacrament. It is a sacrifice when offered at Mass, and a Sacrament when we receive it and when it is reserved in the tabernacle.

*266Q. How is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross because the offering and the priest are the same – Christ Our Blessed Lord; and the ends for which the sacrifice of the Mass is offered are the same as those of the sacrifice of the Cross.

On the Cross the offering was the body and blood of Our Lord; the one who offered it was Our Lord; the reason for which He offered it was that He might atone for sin; the one to whom He offered it was His heavenly Father. Now, at Mass it is the same. The object offered is Our Lord’s body and blood, the one suffering is Our Lord Himself, through the priest; it is offered for sin, and it is offered to the heavenly Father. All things are the same, except that the blood of Our Lord is not shed, and Our Lord does not die again.

*267Q. What are the ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered?
A. The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered were: first, to honor and glorify God; second, to thank Him for all the graces bestowed on the whole world; third, to satisfy God’s justice for the sins of men; fourth, to obtain all graces and blessings.
*268Q. Is there any difference between the sacrifice of the Cross and the sacrifice of the Mass?
A. Yes; the manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the Cross Christ really shed His blood and was really slain; in the Mass there is no real shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can die no more; but the sacrifice of the Mass, through the separate consecration of the bread and the wine, represents His death on the Cross.
269Q. How should we assist at Mass?
A. We should assist at Mass with great interior recollection and piety and with every outward mark of respect and devotion.

If you were admitted into the presence of a king or of the Holy Father you would be careful not to show any indifference or disrespect in his presence. You would not be guilty of looking around or of talking idly to those near you. Your eyes would be constantly fixed on the great person present. So should you be at Mass, for there you are admitted into the presence of the King of kings, our divine Lord. Your whole attention, therefore, should be reverently given to Him, and to no other. How displeasing it must be to Him to have some in His presence who care so little for Him and who insult Him without thought or regard! If we acted in the presence of any prince as we sometimes act in the presence of Our Lord on the altar, we should be turned out of his house, with orders not to come again. But Our Lord suffers all patiently and meekly, though He will not allow any of this disrespect to go unpunished in this world or in the next. Knowing this, some holy persons offer up their prayers and Holy Communions in reparation for these insults, and try to atone for all the insults offered to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. They have united in holy society for this purpose, called the Apostleship of Prayer, or League of the Sacred Heart, now established in many parishes. If you do not belong to such a society, you should make such an offering yourself privately.

In the Old Law the people brought to the temple whatever they wished the priests to offer up for them – sometimes a lamb, sometimes a dove, sometimes fruit, etc. The offering or sacrifice was theirs, and they offered it up by the hands of the priests. In the early ages of the Church the Christians brought to the priests the bread and wine to be consecrated and offered up at Mass. Now as the bread and wine used at the Mass must be of a particular kind, namely, wheaten bread and wine of the grape, there was some danger of the people not bringing the proper kind: so instead of the people bringing these things themselves, the priests began to buy them, and the people gave him money for his own support; and thus you have the origin of offering money to the priest for celebrating Mass for your intention. The money is not to pay for the Mass, because you could not buy any sacred thing without committing sin. The priest may use the money also for the candles burned, the vestments and sacred vessels, etc., used at the Mass. To buy a holy thing for money is the sin of simony – so called after Simon, a magician, who tried to bribe the Apostles to give him Confirmation when he was unworthy of it. To buy religious articles before they are blessed is not simony, nor even after they are blessed, if you pay only for the material of which they are made; but if you tried to buy the blessing, it would be simony. When the Holy Mass is offered, the fruits or benefits of it are divided into four classes. The first benefit comes to the priest who celebrates the Mass; the second, to the one for whom he offers the Mass; the third benefit to those who are present at it; and the fourth to all the faithful throughout the world.

*270Q. Which is the best manner of hearing Mass?
A. The best manner of hearing Mass is to offer it to God with the priest for the same purpose for which it is said, to meditate on Christ’s sufferings and death, and to go to Holy Communion.

That is, to offer it up for whatever intention the priest is offering it – for the dead, for the conversion of sinners, for the good of others, etc.; but especially for the four ends of which I have already spoken – to worship God, thank Him, etc. “Christ’s death,” of which it reminds us. “Holy Communion,” if we are in a state of grace, and have prepared to receive Communion.

You should go to Holy Communion as often as possible, and you should try every day to make yourself more worthy of that great Sacrament. Think of it! To receive your God and Saviour into your soul, and to be united with Him, as the word communion means! The early Christians used to go to Communion very frequently. The Church requires us to go to Holy Communion at least once a year, but we should not be satisfied with doing merely what is necessary to avoid mortal sin. Do we try to keep away from persons we love? Then if we really love Our Lord should we not desire to receive Him? All good Catholics should go to Holy Communion at least once a week, on Sunday. Persons wishing to lead truly holy lives should go to Communion more often, or even every day.

When we cannot go really to Communion we can merit God’s grace by making a spiritual Communion. What is a spiritual Communion? It is an earnest desire to receive Communion. You prepare yourself as if you were really going to Communion; you try to imagine yourself going up, receiving the Blessed Sacrament, and returning to your place. Then you thank God for all His blessings to you as you would have done had you received. This is an act of devotion, and one very pleasing to God, as many holy writers tell us.

I cannot leave this lesson on the Holy Eucharist without telling you something of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now so universally practiced and so closely connected with the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. The Church grants many indulgences, and Our Lord Himself promises many rewards to those who honor the Sacred Heart. But what do we mean by the Sacred Heart? We mean the real natural heart of Our Lord, to which His divinity is united as it is to His whole body. But why do we adore this real, natural heart of Our Lord? We adore it because love is said to be in the heart, and we wish to return Our Lord love, and gratitude for the great love He has shown to us in dying for us, and in instituting the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, by which He can remain with us in His sacred humanity. When Our Lord appeared to Saint Margaret Mary He said: “Behold this Heart, that has loved men so ardently, and is so little loved in return.” The first Friday of every month and the whole month of June are dedicated to the Sacred Heart.


I have no comments on this particular lesson. Feel free to leave your own!

Click here to see the Baltimore Catechism portions published to date.
For general info on this series, see my initial post.

Jesus, I trust in You

On the Sunday after Easter, the Universal Church celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy. Especially on this day, we remember God’s amazing love for us all and His desire that we all share in His joy. His mercy easily exceeds our sins and is offered to all who ask for it, are merciful to others and trust in Jesus.

Public revelation – binding on all Christians – of God’s Word ended with the death of the Apostles, closing the deposit of faith. Private revelations, which illuminate more fully (but never change) the definitive and binding public ones, continue. Such gifts are for the people who receive them. In rare circumstances, the Magisterium of the Church recognizes private revelations as authentic calls from Christ or His saints to we His people (the Church Militant).

This is one of those cases. The Divine Mercy revelations were received in 1931 by a young Polish nun named Sister Faustina. She was canonized by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 2000. Later that year, Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted as Jesus had asked of her on 14 different occasions.

My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.

Also revealed to St. Faustina was a prayer known as the Diviner Mercy Chaplet which may be prayed using Rosary beads. Jesus said to her:

“Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy.”

[…]

“When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior.”

The Diviner Mercy Chaplet is prayed as follows:

  1. Start with the Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary and Apostles Creed.
  2. Then on the Our Father beads, pray as follows:  “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
  3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads pray:  “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
  4. Steps 2 and 3 are repeated for all five decades.

  5. Conclude with (3 times):  “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

When praying the Rosary, we meditate on the mysteries of Jesus’ life, passion, death and resurrection. Similarly when praying this chaplet, reflect on Jesus’ mercy. Compared to the Rosary, the DM Chaplet can be prayed in about half the time of one set of Rosary mysteries. It is a particularly good devotion (IMHO) on Friday (first Fridays in particular). It is also integral to the Divine Mercy Novena prayed from Good Friday up to Easter Sunday.

Whereas the Rosary can be prayed counting on your fingers, I recommend using actual Rosary beads for the DM Chaplet since the same prayers are prayed on each decade and you otherwise would lose count. Trust me, I tried!

Most days I am working on my computer at 3pm (the Hour of Mercy), so I have set a little alarm that softly chimes one time. I stop whatever I am doing, clear my head and pray a mini-chaplet (as I call it) – each of the DM Chaplet prayers (#2 thru #4 above) once. This takes about 1 minute and is easily integrated into my daily routine.

What I have written here is but a brief introduction to Divine Mercy. Read more about its beauty, depth and history at these online resources:

Finally…   Jesus revealed a specific, beautiful image of Himself, with his right hand raised in blessing. His left hand is over His heart, from which a pale ray shines representing the Water of righteousness and a red ray shines representing the Blood which is the life of souls.

“I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature ‘Jesus, I trust in You‘.”

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #95)

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly is complete and ready for you. Who is responsible for the development of your children? A case study in revitalizing one parish. May God bless sidewalk abortion counselors. Not peace, but a sword. The Swiss Guard. A quote of the week.

— 1 —

New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #4, April 2013, of New Evangelists Monthly is complete! 86 faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from March. Exactly what topics did our contributing authors write about this month? Lots of great things: a sola fide parable, confession anxiety, non-chaste usage, not worrying, sacramental ropes, TOB books, not lost and found, lived prophecy, truth vs. experience, Fatima lessons, children’s questions, welcome CEOs, I wait for you, parenthood and mercy, studying polarization, why are you still sleeping, a story of infertility, my guardian angel, no greater love, O happy fault, defending, St. Malachy, confession app, why coming out, doubting Thomas, wisdom of age, worthy of agape, transfixed on Francis, Emmaus walk, enter into joy, sic transit, after 3 days, reverse double standards, beautiful sketches, the shroud, St. Patrick, Lenten discipline, a stumbling confession, the bachelor, confession not scary, suicide, children Easter books, Stephen Francis, Good Friday, appreciating priests, the better part, motherhood, forgiveness, marriage and kids, Mike Aquilina, Triduum, in their shoes, modesty, honeymoon, word power, Easter eggs, batman, the resignation, all life matters, miracle of Mass and washing feet.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at NewEvangelists.org.

Read Now

— 2 —

Who is responsible for the development of children? You might say parents. You would be wrong, according to the left. Of course, they usually don’t come right out and say it. Every now and then they mess up and say exactly what they believe.

Parents can not be trusted to teach their children correctly. Left to parents alone, kids are at risk of learning hate-filled Christian values of morality. It takes a village to do the job – a collective (a very socialist word) notion that these are “our children.” So how can “our children” be properly indoctrinated / brainwashed invested in? By the community, and by “community” (to which they properly belong) they mean leftist government.

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

— 3 —

On restoring the Church, the case of St. Peter in Omaha:

This story was spotted by Fr. Z.

— 4 —

May God bless sidewalk abortion counselors. Every one of them.

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

— 5 —

Catholic Answers is publishing a new book by Robert Spencer entitled Not Peace, But A Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity And Islam. This book endeavors to take a fair look at Islam from a faithful Catholic point of view.

— 6 —

The Swiss Guard protects the Holy Father and secures the Vatican. They are rarely the center of attention, but are always on the periphery.

— 7 —

A historical Quote of the Week:

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine [Ephesians 4:14], seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s ego and desires.

Cardinal Ratzinger
(before he became Pope Benedict XVI)

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler to address this blogging need, but is guest hosted this week by Grace at Camp Patton. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen (and Grace) for hosting this project!

Blind Bartimaeus

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

“And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; rise, he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up, and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

This is the story of Jesus healing a blind man. But is that all that it is? Doesn’t it also speak to us of spiritual blindness and the need for healing? Physical blindness in Jesus’ day was nearly a sentence of death. Except for the generosity of family, friends, or even strangers who gave alms to the blind, there was no way for a blind person to survive. There was no “Americans with Disabilities Act” or agencies to provide shelter and food. There was only begging and hoping that someone, anyone, would provide enough to enable the person to survive. While it isn’t specifically addressed in the Bible, I’m sure there were many blind people who starved to death because someone didn’t give them enough to eat and they had no way to get it on their own. Or maybe they fell and broke a bone and died of shock. Or perhaps they wandered in front of a Roman chariot. Any number of reasons could have resulted in their death. But the point is that they were totally dependent on the help of others.

This blind man created enough of a stir that Jesus heard him and called him over. It’s interesting that the people told Bartimaeus that Jesus was calling him and to “take heart” as if he had something to fear from Jesus. After all Bartimaeus was blind, not deaf. He had probably heard Jesus call for him. He obviously had the courage to call for Jesus to help him. Like many others that Jesus healed, Bartimaeus was a determined fellow. In verse 48 we read how people were trying to shut him up and quiet him from calling for Jesus. Don’t bother Jesus, they seemed to say, he has more important things to do. You’d think the people would learn that their definition of important rarely seemed to be the same as Jesus’ definition. How many times in the gospels do we see the people around Jesus trying to shield him from the bother of people trying to come to him for help and healing? They couldn’t seem to understand that Jesus’ definition of important included people coming to him for healing. Whether it was children, the blind and sick, the lepers, the possessed, or anyone else who sought his help out of faith, Jesus welcomed them all. And thank God for our sake he did. If he had not had the time or desire to help the least among his people, what hope would we have for his help? If he would refuse to help a person blind through no fault of their own, why would he ever take the time to help us, who are sick through our own fault and sinfulness”

Looking deeper into this Gospel story I see many parallels to us as sinners. If we look at Bartimaeus’ blindness can’t we also see our blindness to the will of God? Isn’t our vision seriously impaired by the world in which we live? So let’s put ourselves in the place of Bartimaeus for a minute. Here we are, blind in spirit and faith. We too will die without the help of others. Not of starvation or of injury, but of sin. We may not need to rely on alms but we certainly need to rely on the gifts of God! Our eternal survival depends on it. No matter how successful we are in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of God our success is defined differently. Maybe the fact that the friends and followers of Jesus couldn’t seem to figure out his priorities is telling us that we also don’t understand God’s priorities very well. We, like the scribes and Pharisees sometimes want to be legalistic and quote the law, all the while ignoring the intent. We just don’t get it sometimes. Bartimaeus, on the other hand figured it out. He knew that what he needed was Jesus, regardless of what the people were saying. And he kept seeking Jesus until he found him. Once he found him, he didn’t ask for money or status, he just asked to be able to see.

Do we approach Jesus in the same way? Do we simply ask for the ability to see His will for us? Or do we ask for things that we consider important? Do we try to set the priorities of God and then wonder why our prayers aren’t answered? If we are asking for things that aren’t consistent with the will of God, we won’t receive what we ask for. Not because God isn’t answering our prayer, but because he is; and the answer is No! On many occasions Jesus taught that whatever we ask in prayer will be given to us. But too many people want to believe that is a blanket approval of any prayer they offer. Make me rich… make me famous… give me what I want. It doesn’t work that way. In Matthew 21:22 Jesus tells his disciples “And whatever you ask for in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” Again, in John 15:7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” Both of these examples indicate that we must be asking in faith and because we live in Christ and he lives in us. If our prayers aren’t offered in accordance with God’s will, we aren’t praying in the manner Jesus asks of us. Regardless of what we ask we should also pray that it be Gods’ will as well. If not, we aren’t praying in faith and we aren’t living in Christ and he isn’t living is us. We are simply asking for favors. Because our prayers are offered with the expectation that they be according to God’s will, we may not always recognize the answer to our prayers. When we ask for a healing, do we automatically look to a physical healing of the person in this world? Or do we recognize that the death of a pious person is also a healing? That person, though gone from us, is in the presence of their Lord and Savior. What greater healing can there be”

If we are truly calling to Jesus for healing, we too will hear his call to us and we will know we have nothing to fear from Him. It’s when we aren’t hearing his call that we need to worry about what we have to fear. That’s when we are subject to his judgment. And we need to remember that his judgment is righteous. There won’t be any wrongful conviction in His court. We will have only ourselves to blame. Again, we have to be sure that we are looking for God’s will in our life, not what we think God’s will is. Only when this life is over will we truly understand His will for us. Then we will realize that all of our prayers offered in true faith were answered, even though we may not have recognized it at the time.

The final line of the scripture from Mark above is of special significance. “And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” (Mark 10:52) Bartimaeus was not only healed physically, but apparently spiritually as well, for he followed Jesus on the way. We too must follow Jesus on the way. The way he chooses for us, not our expectation of what we may think is the way. Otherwise we too will be as lost and blind as Bartimaeus was before he found Jesus.


The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

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