Friday, December 07, 2007


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Prayer and Devotions

Amazing Faith
by Father Edward McIlmail, LC

Resolution: Try to help someone see a personal situation or a news event in the light of the Gospel; that is, to bring a Christian "spin" into a conversation.

December 7, 2007
Saint Ambrose, bishop, memorial

Matthew 9:27-31
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said. Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done to you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this." But they went out and spread word of him throughout all that land.

Introductory Prayer: Good Jesus, although I am weak, I approach this time of prayer with trust in your mercy and patience. I love you for the many times the light of your spirit has guided me out of darkness. Someday I hope to enter into the light of your presence for all eternity. Let this time of prayer bring me closer to you.

Petition: Lord, grant me a living faith that truly impacts my day-to-day life.

1. Limiting the Lord Before Jesus works his miracle he asks the blind men a pointed question: "Do you believe that I can do this?" Our Lord wants to find out if their request is rooted in belief. In one sense, the answer is obvious. The very fact that they approached Jesus showed their faith in him. Yet, experience teaches us that this can be a difficult question at times. We might suffer from deep guilt or a deep wound from the past and secretly wonder if Christ can really heal us. We might be ashamed even to admit such a fear. What we need is confidence. Christ cares about us and wants to help us. But he also wants us to trust him. Is there an area where, deep down, I fear that Christ can’t help me?

2. Christ's Fiat At the Annunciation, Mary pronounced her famous fiat ("Let it be done to me" according to God's will). Here, her Son seems to spin that phrase around: "Let it be done to you according to your faith." It is the faith of the blind men that opens the way to their healing. The real obstacle to healing is never Christ’s indifference; it is a lack of our faith. Notice how Jesus’ own townspeople limited him: "And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith" (Matthew 13:58). Is Christ waiting for me to show my faith in him in a specific area?

3. Divine Discretion Jesus doesn't want any undue attention because of his miracle. This might strike us as odd. The miracle showed Christ's power and reflected the divine origin of his mission. Wouldn't he desire publicity? Surely it would draw more attention to his message. Our Lord probably wanted to avoid undercutting his mission with the news of the miracle. After all, the heart of his message was not to show off as a miracle worker. It was to proclaim the Kingdom and to call people to repentance. It isn't easy to encourage people to repent. That requires change — and people often don't like change. News about Jesus' miracles might have served only to distract them from what he was really seeking from them: a change of heart, and not mere admiration for a miracle well done. Have I been too distracted with the great things Christ has done in my life? To the extent that I forget he wants me to continue improving?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to keep my eye on what is most important in my relationship with you. May I never reduce my prayer life to a string of requests for personal favors. You want me to draw ever closer to you, to trust in you more, to love you more. Grant me the grace to respond well to that call.

Resolution: I will try to help someone see a personal situation or a news event in the light of the Gospel; that is, to bring a Christian "spin" into a conversation.

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