Jesus healed the withered arm of the man in the temple. That same Jesus also said, "You who believe in Me can do the same miracles I have done and even greater ones" (John 14: 12). But how many people do you know with the faith to believe in the restoration of an arm that practically didn't exist? The Bible says that Jesus caused limbs to grow that weren't there before. You can do the same thing, He said, if you have faith.
During a monthly charismatic Mass, the testimonies that people presented were not too exciting - the healing of a common cold, that sort of thing, things that were not really building up the faith of the community. So the core group agreed to come a half an hour early each month and pray in the sacristy that God would really pour out His miraculous healing power to produce faith-building testimonies.
When it was time for the testimonies at the following meeting, a lady came up to the microphone and thanked everyone for praying. "I told you I was going to the hospital last week for a radical mastectomy because of cancer of the breast. I went in and had the operation. It was very successful and I want to thank you all for praying for me. The doctors are very elated and mystified because the breast was restored and grew back overnight!"
And that was only our first testimony after praying for miracles! A whole series of such testimonies came forth that night. Faith was exploding through the crowd like popcorn popping. The more miracles you witness or hear of , the more your faith grows. The exceptions are those who scorn all miracles. Such persons have anemic faith, if any at all. Some people have just enough faith to believe minor miracles but not faith to believe in major ones like healing of blindness or resuscitation from the dead. God does not actually allow people who have weak faith to see things like that (cf. Luke 10: 21 and 23). I think it is God's way of controlling sensationalism in the charismatic renewal.
Next week: High Octane Healing - part three
No. 1409 to 1413, pages 355-6 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christís Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action.
It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord.
The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: "This is My body which will be given up for you...This is the cup of My blood..."
By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and divinity (cf: Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651)
From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Benziger Brothers, Inc and Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. No. 895-6, page 191
Q: Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?
A: Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist -
Q: Has the Holy Eucharist any other effect?
A: The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation.
During his public audience following the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father invoked the example of the three newly beatified Catholics, and called upon Catholics everywhere to "proclaim the social Gospel" of the Church, giving full voice to the call for service to God and to neighbor.
Vilmos Apor (1892- 1945) was a Hungarian bishop who earned a special reputation for his service to the poor, especially during the months of hardship that came with World War II. He also spoke out against persecution, and as Pope John Paul II noted, "He was not fearful about raising his voice, in accord with evangelical principles, to denounce injustice and abuse against minorities, especially against the Jewish community."
Named bishop of Gyor by Pope Pius XII in 1941, Bishop Apor chose as his motto: "The Cross strengthens the weak and makes the strong gentle." During air raids, he was known for opening his own house to those whose homes had been destroyed. On Holy Saturday, 1945, when Russian troops entering the city came to his episcopal residence and demanded that 100 women be taken from there to their own barracks, he flatly refused. A Russian officer shot and wounded him, and he died three days later.
The president of Hungary, Arpad Goncz, was in Rome for the beatification ceremonies, and met privately with the Pope on Saturday.
Giovanni Battista Scalabrini (1839- 1905) was known as the "apostle of the Catechism" because of his prodigious efforts to organize the religious education of young people and adults alike. But Pope John Paul pointed out that he was also noteworthy for his commitment to helping the poor. Born in a village near the foot of the Italian Alps, he was ordained in 1863, and became the Bishop of Plaisance in 1870. There he reorganized the seminaries and enlivened the process of religious education in all of the diocesan parishes.
At the same time, the Pope observed, Bishop Scalabrini also made a habit of visiting the sick and those in prison frequently. He sold many of his own possessions-- even a pectoral cross that had been a gift from Pope Pius IX-- in order to obtain money to help the poor. He founded an order of missionary nuns to work especially with emigrants, and John Paul II referred to him as the "father of migrants" in recognition for his contribution.
Maria Vicenta de Sainte-Dorothee Chavez Orozco (1867-1949) was born in Mexico, and in 1892-- when she was hospitalized with a serious illness-- she made a firm commitment to dedicate her life to the poor. Recovering, she founded the Congregation of Servants of the Holy Trinity and the Poor in 1902, and was formally named superior of that order in 1913.
In 1914, when an anti-clerical persecution began in Mexico, she refused to discontinue her charitable work among the poor, the aged, and the sick. When the order's hospital was taken over by revolutionary troops, she again refused to leave her station. Eventually she was responsible for establishing 7 hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries.
The new pact, which was signed this morning in Jerusalem at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs, reflects the elaboration of principles first sketched out in the December 1993 agreement which paved the way for formal diplomatic relations between Israel and the Holy See, which began in June 1994. A special commission had been charged with working out the particulars of the agreement. Today, Israeli foreign minister David Levy signed the agreement along with the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.
The new agreement must now be formally ratified by the Israeli Knesset. It is to be followed by a final accord governing the financial and fiscal conduct of the Catholic entities in Israel.
Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, the Catholic entities in the Holy Land enjoyed a "de facto" recognition, but until today that legal recognition was never formally established. While expressing regrets that the negotiations took so long, Vatican officials also voiced their pleasure with the new agreement. The Israeli ambassador to the Vatican agreed that the new accord could be "an important base in the long and continuing process of normalizing relations between the state of Israel and the Holy See."
The agreement makes no reference to the still-troubled question of the status of Jerusalem. The two sides remain far apart on that issue, with the Holy See lobbying in favor of a special agreement which would make Jerusalem an international city, recognized as part of "the religious patrimony of humanity," with all faiths guaranteed free access to their holy places.
Under the terms of the new agreement, the Catholic entities in Israel-- the patriarchates, dioceses, religious institutes, and the Custody of the Holy Land-- will be granted formal recognition as having "juridical personality" under the country's law. As Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls explained, these Catholic entities now may "exercise their proper ecclesial functions freely on Israeli territory, under conditions which are not inferior to those of people born into citizenship in the state." In substance, he continued, the accord "consolidates, confirms, and clarifies" the traditional treatment of the Church.
The signing of the accord closes a curious chapter in the often tense relationship between the Holy See and Israel. The Israeli government had made the decision to approve the new agreement in September, following the conclusion of the work done by the special negotiating commission. However, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inexplicably delayed final approval, at a time when the Israeli government had come under Vatican fire for delays in the overall peace process in the Middle East. The signing today, as both sides implicitly agreed, represents a significant new warming in relations.
"Let us see -- while respecting our differences -- whether we can agree on an approach that holds the promise of more effectively discouraging abortions without infringing on the right of every citizen to be free of government intrusiveness," Wilson said. He advocated rigorous enforcement of statutory rape laws and child support laws as keys to ending abortion, as well as education and support for the traditional family.
Wilson was a candidate for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, but quickly dropped out after he failed to gain support among mainly pro-life conservative groups.