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The Miracle


OK, Simon, let me get this straight. You’ve been a fisherman all of your life, right? You know what you’re doing.

You take your fishing boat out to catch fish and you cast your nets into the water. 

And then you catch a lot of fish.


And that’s a miracle?


Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the [a]people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but [b]I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ [c]feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were [d]James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” (From

I can just see it now.  I’d bet you anything that there were some in Simon Peter’s group of friends who couldn’t understand why this miracle was in fact a miracle. A fisherman casts his nets and catches fish.  Was that really a miracle?

But it was. Sometimes miracles happen that way — in a way in which someone looking in can’t even see the miraculous part of what happened.  This was not just a miracle — it was an incredibly personal one, a gift from Jesus to Simon Peter that only Peter could really understand — so precious and personal that it brought Simon to his knees and melted his heart and changed his life forever.

It was miracle and message and gift and purpose all wrapped up into one.  The fact that some didn’t even understand  that it was a miracle made the message more personal and the gift even more profound.

Only God could have known how much it meant to him — how catching so many fish his nets couldn’t hold them was the ultimate dream of success; how he longed to be like his cousin Andrew and follow holy men like John the Baptist but he knew that that kind of life  didn’t put food on the table—–he was too practical. And yet he longed for that life—-a life that meant more than catching food which is eaten and gone in a day.

And especially now. No one but God knew how he had been working so hard day after day and seeing nothing come of it.  He’d worked all night, had cast his nets into the water over and over and over again until his shoulders ached, his arms trembled and his hands were sore and bleeding, and still he and his crew had caught nothing—-no fish at all.  Only God knew  how discouraged and exhausted and inadequate he felt that his best was not good enough— how no matter how hard he tried he could not provide for their needs.  Only God understood how he had prayed for help and guidance, how he knew something was missing in his life and how he had wanted God to provide, not only food but answers and meaning and purpose and everything that mattered, and how he had not really expected an answer despite his struggle to believe and his fervent desire to have the faith that God heard him.

In that one miracle was a message that answered every question, every prayer, every need.

” Come, follow me,” said Jesus, “and I will provide for you. Your cup will be overflowing.  If you follow Me your life will bring more good to the world than you could ever dream of. You will be a fisherman who is a fisher of men, and you will inspire more than you could ever imagine possible.”


Have you ever experienced a miracle like that in your life?

I have.

For me it was something that happened many years ago, when my children were young and we had very little money.  I would walk down to the library on my lunch hour every day and look through the beautiful books, not just the ones to borrow, but the ones for sale at the “friends of the library” counter.  I remember finding some for sale for 50 cents or a dollar — books that had torn covers or ragged edges but were full of beauty and wisdom and inspiration on the inside. I even felt guilty for purchasing a C.S. Lewis book for 50 cents that had the cover torn off.  “Do you know who this author is?” I asked the lady at the desk.  “Are you sure you want to sell this book for only 50 cents?”

I remember back when I wanted to know Jesus for the first time (or again for the first time) and I asked Him to help me to know Him better—to learn everything I could about Jesus.  Maybe if I could find a book or two about him — St. Augustine’s Confessions, “The Imitation of Christ”, etc.  ? —I listed off at least 6 or 7 books that I wanted to read to know more about Jesus — how the Saints had known Him, how to love Him, how to pray.  I was hungry for wisdom, hungry for Jesus. Maybe I could find a book or two like that at that little bookstore at the library for a price I could afford — even books with torn covers or ragged edges– I didn’t care.  I just wanted to find them someday, or some of them someday, if possible.

It was within a week  of that prayer — perhaps even a day or two afterwards — that I walked into the library and saw them.

There were at least 20 of them—maybe more— lined up in a row on the “friends of the library” sale shelf.   The books I saw contained every single one of the books I had asked for –  prayed for — every one of them — and then some.  All classics, all exquisite books from great writers and saints. They cost a dollar apiece, so that buying the whole set would have cost me about the price of a pizza.

And there were no torn pages or ragged edges—not in one of the books.  In fact, you know how it is when you open a cloth covered book and the binding is so tight that you know it has never been opened before? Those books, all Harvard Classics, were like that. Untouched. Gold-embossed.  And antique.  They were published in  1909 — 1909!  And they were all exquisitely, unbelievably beautiful.

Only God knew what that meant to me.  How I loved the smell and feel and beauty of old books.  How I would rather have a treasure trove of wisdom than of jewels.  How a torn book about Jesus would have been gold to me, and He had provided these books about Himself—many more than I had asked for — and gave them to me lined in gold.

He knew that I had longed to study the great books, the classics, in college, but that I chose a more practical major.  To study wisdom was for the rich– that kind of degree didn’t put food on the table.  And I couldn’t have afforded a great books college anyway — we were too poor for that sort of thing.

And yet here they were, everything I thought was out of my reach was here, right in front of me. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1

It was an overflowing, abundant, beautiful gift, a lavish answer to my prayer,  a personal profound miracle that brought me to my knees and melted my heart and changed my life. 

“Yes, ” Jesus said without saying a word, ” I want you to know Me too….Come follow Me…”


“Sooo……” a friend of mine said…..”Let me get this straight. You went to the library. And you found a lot of books.  Right?

And that’s a miracle???”

File:Bibliothèque Royale de l'Hôtel de Bourvallais 004.JPG

You bet it is!


















Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHO Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church,

We thank You for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI

and the selfless care with which he has led us

as Successor of Peter and Your Vicar on earth.

Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church

on the rock of Peter’s faith

and have never left Your flock untended,

look with love upon us now,

and sustain Your Church in faith hope and charity.

Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundlesslove for us,

a new Pope for Your Church

who will please You by his holiness

and lead us faithfully to You,

Who are the same yesterday, today and forever.


(From the Knights of Columbus)

I found a beautiful ancient prayer that I wanted to share with you today.  It is called “The Lorica of St. Patrick”  and it goes like this:

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

 It occurred to me the other day as I was watching this wonderful movie about Pope John Paul II* that Saints were not just Saints — they were bonifide heroes.  Their lives were spectacularly successful — every story about a Saint is an inspiration, and the impact that they made on the world is unmatched.

Today more than ever we need heroes like that — people who inspire us to be better people — who show us that living a beautiful, incredible life is not impossible.

Our heroes today are good sportsmen or nice performers but oftentimes their lives don’t inspire us. We need inspiration. We need to hear the good stories — the ones about the people who made a difference in the world.  Remember what Samwise Gangee in Lord of the Rings said—that it’s the great stories — stories of courage and strength and of people who did the right thing in the face of danger who inspire you to go on.

From “Lord of the Rings,” here is the quote:**

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for. “

Saints were people who devoted their lives to that good, and their lives shone like a light in the darkness. They were no pushovers. They suffered and sometimes even died to live out the love of Christ in their own lives.  St. Nicholas, who was known for his generosity to the poor, also spent 10 years in prison rather than deny his faith.  His goodness was not just born of gentleness and kindness but of a strength and integrity that is an inspiration. And there are many living saints who suffer in the same way today.

And look also at other recent saints such as Pope John Paul II. He defeated Communism in Europe without a single act of violence.  This great man  lived through the Nazi invasion of Poland and changed the world, not through war or force but through courage in the face of danger, and even more importantly, through love.  He was such an incredible man that his life is an inspiration.

We see so much darkness in the world, but as it says in John 1:5  “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The darkness will never overcome it.


Gandhi once said, ”

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.”

For the living saints who suffer for their Faith, thank you! And for those who have gone before, who have inspired us with lives lived fully and beautifully– we are so grateful!

For those who do not feel close to being saints — who do not feel brave or good or loving, remember that although we all fail at times, we are all called to be saints  — see Romans 1:7 .  It is our destiny, no matter who we are or where we are in the world.

Today is a new day — whomever you are — God’s mercies are renewed every morning:

From Lamentations:

17I have been deprived of peace;

I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18So I say, “My splendor is gone

and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

19I remember my affliction and my wandering,

the bitterness and the gall.

20I well remember them,

and my soul is downcast within me.

21Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope:

22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

23They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”

25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;

26it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord.”

And see Psalm 43:5

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.”

God bless you, whomever you are,  wherever you are in the world and give you the grace and strength to be whom you were called to be — a Saint!


* From

** From

These are the words that caused the Communist party “overseeing” the Catholic Church in China, called the “Patriotic  Association” to see red.  During the courageous Bishop’s ordination, he said this to his congregation amidst great applause:


The Communists were so incensed by Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin’s renunciation of the—let’s face it — Communist — Patriotic Association– and his courageous confirmation of his loyalty to his Church that they captured him and whisked him away to an unknown place.  Bishop Ma’s captors then said that the Bishop voluntarily left and went to Sheshen, but an investigation has revealed that he is not at Sheshen and is nowhere to be found. They subsequently admitted that he has been “detained” — that is, arrested.  The bottom line  is that Bishop Ma is officially missing and has not been heard from since.

and Mystery of China’s Missing Bishop

This good and honorable Bishop may have been tortured or even martyred for his great faith and loyalty to his church.

The people of Hong Kong have loudly protested the  kidnapping and are asking for help from the Vatican and the public.  They want their Bishop to be released and to be returned to them unharmed.


Catholic persecution is not new in China.  The Communist party has severely persecuted Catholics, and Catholic Priests especially,  for years.  The sufferings of faithful Catholics in China is much worse than the western world imagines.


In recent years, Communists have taken a different tack than mere assault on the Church and its people, and have instead tried to take control of the Church.  So began the Patriotic Association, which is not the true Church in China, but consists essentially of atheist Communists trying to direct Catholic worship in China. The Patriotic Association does  not allow true  freedom of worship, but  it is not at all safe to oppose them.  And yet many Chinese Bishops, including Bishop Ma, have spoken the truth regardless of the severe danger to them for being true followers of Christ.

 Jesus said:

Luke 6:22

22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.

Here are some other brave priests who have been tortured for their faithfulness:

Father Chengli in 2011 was sentenced to 3 years hard labor (“re-education” 1984 style) for refusing to join the patriotic association.

Msgr James Lin Xili spent 16 years in labor camps before he died for his faithfulness to his people and his church.

And yet, it is still true today what Tertullian said in the 2nd century of the early Christian martyrs. “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

For in the midst of great persecution, the Chinese Catholic Church is growing exponentially.


Let us pray for all Christians in China, and especially for Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who is suffering for his Faith and for his people.  If you would like to pray the Rosary  for them online together, please visit .  I will be there too!

May God bless China and bless  all of the faithful Catholics who suffer there!

Please pray with us from now until July 4th for Religous Freedom in this country!

From the USCCB site:

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

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.


Prayer Resources

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

For more information, go to

 For Daily Reflections:

Thank you and May God Bless You!!!

Many thanks to all who stood up for religious freedom today at the noon rally!! May God bless you all and may God bless America!!

Here are a few stories about the people who were there:

And here a few more links from Google’s first of many pages covering the many, many rallies all across the country!!! So many wonderful people stood up for freedom today! I am so grateful!!! God bless you all, and God bless America!!!

  1. Stand Up for Religious Freedom” hosts rally in Flint – ABC 12…/stand-up-for-religious-freedom-hosts-rally-in-fli…

    11 minutes ago – ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI”Stand Up for Religious Freedom” hosts rally (06/08/12) – Friday afternoon, hundreds of Flint residents joined in a

  2. Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally held in Little Rock | todaysthv…/At-6-Religious-Freedom-Rally-held-in-Little-…

    Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally held in Little Rock. 5:02 PM, Jun 8, 2012 | comments · Tweet; Share. Facebook · Twitter · Google buzz; · Digg

  3. Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally – WRGT FOX45 – Dayton’s…/top…/wkef_vid_7023.shtml

    Dayton’s News Source :: Top Stories – Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally – DAYTON — Sinclair Community College Friday, June 8 2012, 05:43 PM EDT

  4. June 8 Nationwide ‘Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally’ – Noon…/june-8-nationwide-stand-up-for-religious

    June 8 Nationwide Noon Rally – Stand Up for Religious Freedom! We hope you’ll join us at the Denver State Capitol Rally – west steps.

  5. Events: Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally Today – Word on Fire…/June…/Events-Stand-Up-For-Religious-Freed

    6 hours ago РToday is the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally—or rallies, The Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom is being held today, June 8,

  6. Naples Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally : Naples Photo…stand-religious-freedom…/239012/

    1 hour ago – US 41 near the Pine Ridge Road intersection during the Naples Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally on Friday, June 8, 2012, in Naples.









Please join us today at noon as we stand up for religious freedom!

For rally locations in your city go to

May God bless America!!

Martha, Sit Down




File:Christ in the House of Martha and Mary 1628 Jan Bruegel2 and Rubens.jpg

Dear Martha, I have been here for hours and haven’t seen you all day.  Please, sit down………

You all know the story of Mary and Martha.  Martha is busy cooking the meal and serving the guests when Jesus comes for a visit.  Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening intently to his words.

Here is the story from the Bible:

Luke 10:38-42

New International Version (NIV)

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


So how many of you can relate to Martha?  If we modern women are anything, it is busy.  We work and care for our families as if we didn’t.  We are the “sandwich” generation, caring for kids and husbands and parents and the rest of society in our “free time.”  We multi-task at work and then come home exhausted and  and do the rest of our multi-tasking there.  We never, ever stop.  The work never, ever seems to lighten or go away.  How many of you feel for Martha — know her — are her?

Well, I do know Martha.  I can totally relate.  For so long I have tried to add more prayer to my crazy, insanely busy schedule and it hasn’t worked.  And now I know why.

You can’t add being Mary to the list of things that Martha has to do.  Martha just has to sit down.

It’s so simple and yet so hard to do.

But it’s the only way, especially nowadays when life is too much and we have no time for what is important.

Martha, Martha, sit down.  So maybe people don’t get fed. And maybe this party only comes with the guest speaker–no refreshments no servants, no snacks. But maybe a miracle will happen—someone will pick up the slack. :-) And even if not, maybe all of that stuff really wasn’t necessary to begin with.
I know Martha. I can see it now.  When she heard Jesus was coming over she was ecstatic. She loved having people over, despite the grumbling at all of the work. It was her way of showing love.  She would make something special for him, something incredibly difficult and time consuming, but something equally as delicious.
The crowd? She didn’t expect so many to say they’d come, but she would splurge-take money out of savings, work a little harder and a little longer to get everyone fed. It would be a great party. She could hardly wait.
And then it was the night and the first batch didn’t go as well as she thought it would.  And then there were so many more people than she expected and not enough food.

That special dish she made? It  required special care and timing. In order to cook and serve and keep up with everything, she needed help.
But where was Mary?

People were clamoring for food, the special dish was ready right now and had to be gotten off the fire or it would be ruined. Another dish started overflowing. They were out of plates. The glasses were empty. People were at the door. There was one more ingredient needed on a second special dish–one that she had forgotten to buy.  And this was happening all at once.
And it would be the hottest day of the year!
Help! She needed help. But where was Mary?
Martha held her temper as she saw Mary seated at the feet of Jesus, listening intently. She bit her tongue and whispered quietly to her sister to come away. But Mary was entranced by Jesus–and didn’t respond.

So Martha spoke a little louder.  And Mary finally turned and said, wait a moment.
So Martha  waited a moment.

And just then a guest came up and said to Martha–so when is the food coming? We are all starving out here!
And finally Martha could take it no more.

“Mary, ” she said, a little too loudly, ” I need your help.”
Wait a moment, Mary said again, dreamily.

And that was it.  The final straw.

“Master, ” said Martha.  “Please tell my sister to come and help me in the kitchen!”
Her face was beet red at this point–her anger was hard to disguise. She spoke  too loudly—but she was desperate. Nobody was listening. Doesn’t anyone care how much work there is to do? Doesn’t anyone see that she can’t do it all by herself?
“Martha, Martha,” said Jesus. “You are worried about many things. But what Mary has chosen to do is the better part.”

And this is the time when you say — holy cow.  I can relate to Martha’s frustration.  I don’t get it.  But listen a little longer.
“Martha,”  he was saying, “Stop.  Sit down.  I have been here for hours and haven’t seen you all day. You didn’t have to spend all of that money and all of that time and all of that energy to make a special dinner for me and all of these people. I know you love me. You didn’t have to try to prove it to me this way.

Martha, all of these things are getting in the way of  what is essential, and of our time together. And in the grand scheme of things,  they are not  really all that important.
Martha, sit down. Last week I fed 5,000 with no food and no money and no one to serve anyone. Let go of what is not important and spend your time and energy on what matters.
Martha–dear Martha–let the meal go and join Mary right here.  Martha, sit down.”

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