Tag Archives: miracle

Witness

Today I witnessed a true and undeniable miracle. A few blogs back I wrote about my experience while waiting to enter the baths in Lourdes, France. I was on a pilgrimage and was visiting the famous Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is well known for its healing water that visitors can bathe in. I chose to do it the hopes of receiving some of the healing properties the water possesses, but at the last minute I had a change of heart. A coworker of mine has been struggling with several demons centered around addiction. Before entering the baths I was overcome with the need and desire to pray for her and to enter the baths with the hope that the graces I received would be given to her.

When I returned back to New York the actions of my coworker were unchanged, or so I thought. I continued to lift her up in prayer, but sometimes the rawness of her language made me uncomfortable and I was beginning to wonder if she would ever be open to the healing Mary and the Holy Spirit wanted to give her, until today. Work was slow and I found myself with a lot of free time. Suddenly, this coworker asked if I had time to talk. She had never directly asked me to talk before, so of course I said yes. Evidently, she was dealing with a difficult break-up and she wondered if she had been taken advantage of by this guy she was seeing. After hearing the story it was pretty clear that she had, but that was not the end of the conversation. We talked off and on throughout the rest of the day and she opened up about how she wanted to change her life. She was no longer smoking weed nor seeking out one-night stands and meaningless hook-ups. She was being proactive, making the conscious effort to go to the gym everyday, and cutting ties with bad influences. I was completely awe-stricken. There was an obvious transformation within her.

I dared to go a little deeper and learned her mother is Catholic. Unfortunately, she had negative ties with the Catholic faith because of her mother’s influence. I know there are quite a few crosses that she is carrying and there is much healing that needs to be done. I asked if she knew anything about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; she didn’t. When I came back from France I brought back a keychain of a rose with Saint Thérèse on it and gave it to my coworker in hopes that it might help in the healing I had prayed for while in the baths at Lourdes. I asked her if she still had the keychain and she said she did. I gave her a little overview of who Saint Thérèse was, and why Saint Thérèse might be able to help her in her pursuit of a better life. I saw genuine hope spark in her eyes. It was a spark that I had never seen before, mainly because before she was severely under the influence of marijuana. She had been in the grip of Satan, allowing her addictions to rule over her, but now there was clarity and it was beautiful. Mary had found a way to touch my coworker’s spirit and transform it. I felt so honored to have the privilege of witnessing it. My coworker is proof of the healing power of Our Lady of Lourdes and that our faith and our prayers can inspire miracles in other’s lives. Bring your prayers and intentions to Mary and Jesus and be persistent, for their mercy will not be outdone.

Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: PD-US

Nothing Will Be Wasted

When I saw last Friday’s Gospel reading, I thought, I’m pretty sure I’ve already written a reflection about this story before. Turns out—yepTwice. So I tried to think about what new aspect I could bring to light from this story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. What stood out most to me from John’s version are these words from Jesus:

When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
—John 6:12

Giovanni_Lanfranco_-_Miracle_of_the_Bread_and_Fish_-_WGA12454Jesus has just taken five loaves and two fishes and managed to feed five thousand people. Not only that, but there are leftovers—twelve baskets full of scraps! There is more food left over than there ever was at the beginning. Which leads me to the question: If Jesus can multiply the loaves with such abundance, why does He ask His disciples to go to all the trouble of picking up the crumbs? Why would He need to be economical about saving all the scraps when everyone in the crowd can be satiated by His grace?

This initiative to harvest every single gift that is given us—even the crumbs—is an expression of gratitude, of not taking anything for granted. At the outset, when the disciples were desperate for food, twelve baskets of bread would have seemed a gift. Why wouldn’t it be now? This too is God’s providence, and it should be gratefully received rather than overlooked.

Мадонна с младенцем под яблоней Холст (перев с дерева), масло 87х59 см Между 1520-1526Let us not forget that Jesus started with a few loaves in order to feed the five thousand—He began with a meager offering. He saw, then, in those leftover scraps afterward, the precious raw material for a miracle. We need Jesus to multiply our gifts, but we must begin by doing our own part, offering all that we can, however small it may seem. He will handle the rest.

Only five loaves for five thousand people? A worthy offering. Bread crumbs, broken and scattered around a field? Not to be wasted. Jesus doesn’t overlook the crumbs we give Him; He sees the potential in our offerings. Neither should we overlook the crumbs we receive: the little joys amid a mundane day, the incomplete responses to our prayers, the half-successes as we continue to learn and grow and make mistakes. Our sufferings, too, have value; not one moment of our experience will be wasted. All of it is a gift, to be gathered and given to God.


1. Giovanni Lanfranco, Miracle of the Bread and Fish / PD-US
2. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Virgin and Child under an Apple Tree (detail) / PD-US

Originally posted at Work in Progress: Frassati Reflections.

Politician’s wife healed of cancer – credits Our Lady of Guadalupe

Singapore is a secular state, so it was with pleasant surprise that I read the news on one of our secular sites:

Former Foreign Minister George Yeo and Jennifer Yeo are on their way back to Singapore, after more than six months in Houston, United States.

Jennifer Yeo, who was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive type of nasal cancer called Sinonasal Undifferentiated Carcinoma, has recovered.

She had a full checkup on Jan. 29 and 30 and there is no trace anymore of her cancer. However, she has to be under close surveillance especially in the first two years.

[After treatment] … they prayed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Sept 6.

Back in Houston on Sept 8, which coincidentally was the birthday of the Virgin Mary, Jennifer’s MRI showed the tumor to have melted away.

George Yeo said:

We thank God for His mercy, the Virgin Mary for her intercession and so many relatives, friends and well-wishers for your prayers and support.”

Mr. Yeo was raised in a staunchly Catholic family, and reminisces on his blog:

“I used to hear my mother say the rosary in Teochew but that was a long time ago.”

He has also said:

“[A]s a Christian, I believe in love as the highest virtue in life and the sanctity of the individual.”

Mr. Yeo was one of the first lay Catholics appointed to the Vatican’s Council for the Economy in 2014, after serving as the only Asian member of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See in 2013.

Living in Australia, where secularism is often anti-religious and specifically anti-Christian, it is refreshing to look back on my homeland, where to be secular does not mean to oppose religion, but to give all religions a common space in civic life where they can each freely contribute to the public good, being respected as founts of traditional wisdom which bind communities. It is very heartening to see God and Our Lady exalted on a secular platform. Glory be to God!

Walking on My Knees with Mother Mary

By guest writer Ann Tran.

Last year in August, I went on a pilgrimage to Portugal for the Centennial Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. Often, I struggle to pray with the distractions of daily worries of family, friends and making ends meet, so in going on a pilgrimage I hoped I would be able to leave those worries behind and focus on my spirituality.

In Fatima at the shrine where Mother Mary appeared, there is a long pathway to the shrine where many people pray while walking on their knees. They prayed so fervently and made it look so effortless, so I thought I would give it a go.

One day, before the break of dawn to avoid the crowds, I joined Father Michael and some of the pilgrims to pray walking on our knees. As I observed Father and the pilgrims moving forward, I got on my knees and started praying. They moved swiftly and got further and further away; as for me, I kept lagging behind, and walking on my knees became more and more excruciating, so I had to crawl. Like a snail I kept crawling forward with my head bowed down in shame as I realized I had overestimated myself.

As I continue to claw my way towards the shrine, my body got heavier and heavier. Then I noticed somebody walking beside me on my right-hand side. There was no sound, even though it was still dark I was able to see the tip of a pair of beautiful feet and the bottom of a white, elegant yet simple dress walking silently and subtly next to me. I didn’t dare look up as I felt undeserving, I just couldn’t. At that moment, my whole life flashed in front of my eyes like a montage of all the trials, tribulations, struggles and dark times from childhood to present. In each scene, I was able to see vividly where Mother Mary was standing.

One scene that resonated with me related to a time years ago when I was in my apartment alone heart-broken, curled up in a ball on the floor and crying unceasingly. After that I felt consoled but didn’t recognized what it was back then (I don’t recall ever being hugged by my own mother, so I wouldn’t be able to recognize that feeling of being comforted with a mother’s touch). This time, with the flashback, I could vividly see Mother Mary embracing me at that moment and all the other times when life got burdensome. After the montage was complete, I couldn’t see anybody walking beside me anymore but for the rest of the path, walking on my knees was like walking on clouds all the way to the Chapel where Mass started.

Although I am undeserving, God has been very generous to me and He has answered my prayers throughout my life in His own creative way at just the right time. He answered my prayers by giving me Mother Mary through Jesus’ dying breath on the cross — He said: “Behold, your mother” (John 19:26-27). As I continue living my daily life and especially in times when I needed a mother’s tender touch and love, I turn to praying the rosary and with the “Hail Mary”, her blessings pour out upon me.

How do I know? The feeling of anxiety gets taken from me and is replaced with peace. That is when I know that I’ve had a good heart-to-heart conversation with Mother Mary.  So, when living gets tough, praying the Fatima rosary and singing “Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria”, I can always teleport myself back to the moment when I was walking on my knees with Mother Mary walking beside me silently and subtly, leading me closer to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

___

Original post at PAPA Foundation.

God is interested in your love life

The Wedding Feast at Cana miracle is a manifestation of more than just Christ’s power. The story also allows us to see our Blessed Mother’s intercessory influence, Jesus’ approval of human marriage, and His care for humanity to the point of assisting us even with the more mundane items such as wine at a wedding reception.

I have come to know these truths through personal experience in my life. When I was 22 years old, I was totally head over heels in love with a girl. We began our courtship with a double date to see the movie Bella with Italian food afterwards. She was the star of my evening sky and I could barely take my eyes off her.

At the time, it was the best month of my life. I was always thinking about her.  More so, I had already mentally and emotionally committed to love her for the rest of my life. However, unbeknownst to me, she was not as excited about me as I was about her.

She broke up with me and I was pretty disappointed. Ok, absolutely devastated. I really had thought she was the one. We had a good friendship formed in the months before we went on that first date, so, while I still failed tremendously at guarding my heart, I had plenty of reasons stored up on why I found her to be so special. Moreover, I had thought that God had wanted us to be together and when she ended it, my newly-returned-to-the-faith heart was fairly confused as to what went wrong.

I thought that I was doing everything right, but I would soon see that I needed to mature in my faith. I would learn to truly discern what God wanted for me in my life and how much He was interested in my happiness. Kicking off the lessons, I met with my spiritual director who suggested I pray a novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

By praying the Novena, I would ask the Little Flower to intercede for me and guide me to know whether I should wait for this beautiful woman to come back to me or move on to find someone else. The novena would either finish with a sign, typically a rose for St. Thérèse, or nothing. The sign would signify whether I should wait.

Needless to say I was terrified. Absolutely. I really wanted to wait for her. But, I desired what God wanted more, so I prayed the first day’s prayer. The prayer was beautiful and I enjoyed praying it as it seemed to help even in that situation. However, the next night the internet went out at my parents’ house and I gave up the novena. It was either the next day or the next that my spiritual director convinced me to pick up where I left off.

I did with great hope, but still some trepidation. It was winter, but I started seeing roses each day. However, it was the ninth day that counted. Furthermore, it seemed like the readings at Mass and the sections of the Imitation of Christ that I was reading at the time were speaking to me vividly in my heartache. There was no doubt that God was speaking to me to console and guide me.

I woke up on the ninth day, prayed the prayer for the novena, and committed myself to only do what others asked me to do. This was to help escape confusion of whether I made the sign happen or if it came from God. Honestly, it would have been super easy to just head over to the supermarket flower aisle.

A college friend was staying with us for Christmas break and I found him in the living room on my way to breakfast. He wanted to share with me something that stood out to him in the morning prayer that day. He said it really helped him with what he was going through. He read it to me:

“Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He shall direct your path.” —Proverbs 3:5,6

We talked about it and I shared with him that I found this helpful for my own life. Later, while enjoying my bowl of cereal, I could not take my mind off whether I would see a sign. I specifically had the thought that I would definitely not see it at my parents’ house as I had been living there and had never seen any roses or even rose-like items.

I stood up and walked over to pass a side table and saw something I had never seen before. Whether it had always been there or just placed there that week I could not tell you, but on the table was something I found quite remarkable. A ceramic cross with a rose on each end with the words of Proverbs 3: 5,6 inscribed in the center.

I was blown away. “Was this the sign?” I was not sure, but I had a good feeling. The plan for the day was morning Mass and then assisting a group preparing for a Medical mission to Africa with loading a container with supplies. I wondered if there would be more from God in confirming whether I should wait for this girl.

Needless to say, there was. It was January 2 and even though we were in the bleak midwinter, the statue of Mary in the sanctuary where we celebrated morning Mass was bedecked with roses including a rosary made of roses. I believed this was it. I was amazed by God’s love for me and desire to help me with my love life.

Furthermore, when looking back to this amazing moment in my life several years later, I found out that January 2 is the birthday of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I can now think of the ninth day of my novena as specially chosen by St. Thérèse to show me that it would be God’s will for me to wait. And on that day, January 2, 2008, I set my face like flint toward my coming spring semester with the divinely-affirmed plan to give this woman the time she needed to come back to me.

Truth be told I thought that it would only be a few weeks. She had just begun to study at my small Catholic Liberal arts school in the south and so I was still able to see her and try to be just friends. Very difficult, but I never told her about the novena.

I also never tried to make any moves on her. Somehow, I believed that she would come back to me and I should not pressure her. However, God was so good to me and let us spend time together sharing in grand memories, such as many meals amongst friends in the school cafeteria, going to a 90’s themed party closer to Atlanta where everyone assumed that we were still going out, and even traveling to New York to see Pope Benedict XVI at the Youth Rally. (An extraordinary moment in our lives. Both of us left Georgia without a ticket, yet were provided for in the end).

I was always careful not to come on too strong or express my feelings to her. I knew she needed total freedom to come back to me without my help. It was a long Fall semester, but I truly grew up and closer to God. I also found myself willing to accept His plan whether it did include my lady or not. He helped me to see that I had already had all the love I needed from Him.

And yet He gave me more. It was Monday December 8, 2008, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception when she came to talk to me in the school cafeteria to invite me to help a mutual friend move. Something seemed different that caused me to wonder… was this it? I had lead the Rosary each night in the school chapel at 9:45 pm and she started to show up each night. Sometimes it was just her, me and Jesus.

I would walk her back to her dorm and we would talk, but I still kept my secret. Furthermore, I learned my lesson and kept my heart guarded. It might have been the most mature I have ever been in my life.

The last day of finals was Friday December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. School was over and there was nothing left to do but relax. She and I shared a long conversation about life, school, and God amidst a greater group of friends who were all talking. However, it was as if it was just us, and it was very clear that we liked each other. We were together the whole evening.

That weekend we were at the house of the friend who had just moved and we had another conversation. The friend knew us both fairly well and he encouraged me to share my novena with her. I shared everything, but she did not seem as surprised or shocked as I thought she would. It was I would be surprised after I heard what she told me next.

She told me that she realized she had regained feelings for me back in November, but did not want to hurt a friend of hers who had feelings for me as well. To figure out what to do she prayed a novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. On the 8th day of her novena her friend gave her a medal of St. Thérèse without knowing about the novena or the reason for it being said.

However, it is the 9th day that really blew me away. Just before Mass she was praying on her knees before a statue of Mary in the chapel asking Mary what she should do. Right at the moment she asked Mary to let her know if she should move forward with her feelings, I came in and knelt right beside her. Truly remarkable as that was the first time we had ever knelt before that statue together.

She doubted though, went to her seat and continued her petition. Once again, at the moment she asked Mary to again make it clear, I sat down right next to her. To make this more amazing, this is something that I had never done since she stepped foot on campus. So for maybe 200 Masses, I had never sat near her, but sat right next to her on the ninth day of her novena, right when she asked Mary to make it clear whether she should move forward.

So move forward we did. We started to spend more time together and talk more. It was on January 20, 2009 that we agreed to officially be a thing again. God had kept His promise. And He showed me that whole year that He was truly interested in my love life.

Looking back He was there the whole time. At times it was painful, but I grew up a lot and learned to trust in Him more. Furthermore, I grew closer to Mary and St. Thérèse, learning that I could rely on them as well.

After a year of courtship and a year of engagement, my wife and I married on January 1, the feast of Mary, Mother of God. We have been outrageously blessed with 3 incredible children and cannot even imagine a better life.

The most amazing part about this story is that I am absolutely average. Your normal high school Theology teacher, nothing spectacular about me. I truly believe that God is not only interested in my love life, but everybody’s. Particularly, the love life that He brings. He wants to lead all people to His plan for them and bring them joy.

This is what Jesus did for the couple at Cana. Furthermore, I have known many other people who have been brought to their vocations in a similar way as I was. God is interested in our love lives and will help us with them if we ask.

Where Is Your Soul?

If anything could prove the existence of a soul, it is the utter emptiness of a corpse.
— Mary Doria Russell, Children of God

Death of St. Joseph

When I was little, I asked my father where our souls were in our bodies. He made a gesture in the general area of his liver while trying to explain that souls animate our entire bodies. For quite awhile afterward, I was convinced that the soul was an organ beside the liver.

One evening I was walking through a park with an atheist friend, who is a strong determinist—he doesn’t believe that we have free will, but that all our decisions are formed solely by our genes or environment. He asked, “Wouldn’t you make the same decision again with the same information at hand?”

He is also a complete materialist (in the metaphysical sense). I asked, “What’s the difference between a living person and a corpse?”

He responded: “It’s all neurons. I’m basically a robot.”

At that juncture, I was strongly tempted to hit him over the head or grab him by the shoulders to shake some sense into him.1

Scientists have found that there is actually increased brain activity after death.2 Numerous near-death and out-of-body experiences have been recorded, suggesting that a human maintains consciousness though he may be clinically dead.3

Here’s a fascinating story in the secular press: “The top doctor who swears he saw a glimpse of hell: No-nonsense anaesthetist dismissed patients who said they’d had out-of-body experiences until HE went under the knife.

Many years ago, my maternal grandmother Maria died from an accidental poisoning, and my grandfather left her body lying on their bed for a few days because he was in too much grief to prepare it for burial.

After those days, she awoke, saying that she had found herself in a place of profound peace and overwhelming joy, which she never wanted to leave. But a bearded man approached and told her she had to return to earth, because she had children to look after.

I am rather glad she did come back to this life, because my mother wasn’t born yet!

These words by a scientist who converted from materialistic atheism have stayed with me:

Lewontin and most scientists are true believers in materialism, possessing an absolute faith that matter and its workings will eventually explain everything in the universe. But such a faith has already failed at the most basic level; brain function alone cannot account for the simple experience of seeing, hearing, tasting, or smelling. All human beings, scientists and laypersons, live in the nonmaterial world of the smell of lavender, the deep resonance of a cello, the beauty of a sunset over an ocean, the wonder evoked by the night sky, the elegance of Euclid’s demonstration of the infinitude of prime numbers, the very world that materialism cannot explain. If only matter existed, then we would have no interior life; we would be mindless things like rocks and volcanoes.4

The soul is the form of the body, as Aristotle teaches.5 “The body cannot be the principle that accounts for life, since a body, when deprived of life, is still a body, but not alive.”6 Just as a house becomes a house when materials are constructed according to a certain plan, so does a living thing come into existence when it is ensouled.7 Without the soul, the body crumbles away into dust.

Let us treasure our souls, and take good care of them, just as we care for our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). Our souls are made in the image and likeness of God, that is, in the image and likeness of Love.

Remember, Christian soul, that thou has this day a duty:

God to Glorify, Eternity to Prepare for,

Jesus to Imitate, The Angels and Saints to invoke;

Your Soul to Save, Your Body to Mortify,

Sins to Expiate, Virtues to Acquire,

Hell to avoid, Heaven to Gain,

Time to Profit by, Your neighbors to Edify,

The World to Despise, Devils to Combat,

Passions to Subdue, Death Perhaps to Encounter,

and Judgment to Undergo.8

brooklyn_museum_-_the_soul_of_the_good_thief_lame_du_bon_larron_-_james_tissot

“…there is a case against cannibalism; the aversion from the idea of my eating my next-door neighbour is not a prejudice. … It rests on a sacramental sentiment about the human body, by which the soul soaks the body like a strong savour, and does not merely inhabit it like a hat in a hat-box.”
G. K. Chesterton, “The Moral Collapse of Modern Germany” (February 17, 1917)

You do not possess the Sacred Humanity as you do when you receive Communion; but the Divinity, that essence the Blessed adore in Heaven, is in your soul; there is a wholly adorable intimacy when you realize that; you are never alone again!”
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, around May 27, 1906 (After assuring her mother that her doctrine on the presence of God within us is not something she came up with, but rather what Scripture tells us.)9

“I have found heaven on earth, since heaven is God, and God is in my soul. My mission in heaven will be to draw souls, helping them to go out of themselves to cling to God, with a spontaneous, love-filled action, and to keep them in that great interior silence which enables God to make His mark on them, to transform them into Himself.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (Letter 122)10

Images: The Death of St Joseph, mesa wood carving (via Joy-Sorrow); James Tissot, L’âme du bon Larron (The Soul of the Good Thief).

_

1 Actually, I wanted to kiss him (can robots feel longing for, or aversion to, a kiss?), and I wrote a poem about that, but that’s another story.

2 Ed Yong, “In Dying Brains, Signs of Heightened Consciousness”, National Geographic.

4 George Stanciu, “Atheism: Disproved by Science?”, The Imaginative Conservative.

5 S. Marc Cohen, “Aristotle on the Soul”, Philosophy 320: History of Ancient Philosophy, University of Washington.

6 Joseph M. Magee, Ph. D., “Thomistic Psychology”, Aquinas Online.

7 S. Marc Cohen, “Aristotle on Substance, Matter, and Form”, Philosophy 320: History of Ancient Philosophy, University of Washington.

8The Christian Soul”, Holy Reflections; “Subjects for Daily Meditation”, Preces Latinae.

10 Jean M. Heimann, “Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity”, Catholic Fire.

The One Thing You Need to Know About Fulton Sheen’s Cause

It’s not over.

Earlier this week the Sheen Foundation shared a press release stating that “the seven-member theological commission who advise the Congregation of the Causes of Saints at the Vatican unanimously agreed that a reported miracle should be attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen.”

The alleged miracle involves my son, James Fulton, who was a stillborn and without a pulse for sixty-one minutes. While he was lifeless we asked Fulton Sheen for his prayers, and just as emergency room doctors were prepared to call time of death James came back to life. His body should have shut down from massive organ failure caused by his severe lack of oxygen. He should not be alive today, but he is. When it was evident that he would live, doctors and specialists warned us that he would be severely disabled, but he is not.

The Sheen Foundation’s press release went on to say “Today’s decision by the theologians comes after the March 2014 vote by the team of Vatican medical experts who affirmed that they could find no natural explanation for the child’s healing. With the recommendations of the medical experts and now the theologians, the case will next be reviewed by the cardinals and bishops who advise the Pope on these matters. Finally, the miracle would be presented to Pope Francis.”

If Pope Francis approves the alleged miracle then it will be official: a real miracle.

But at that point the Sheen Foundation will still have to petition the Vatican for Venerable Fulton Sheen to be beatified.   There are three more steps that we need to go through before we could possibly have a miracle and a Blessed Fulton Sheen and as the Foundation has pointed out, “there is no timeline as to when these next steps might move forward.”

Hopefully the bishops and cardinals who sit on the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will approve the alleged miracle this fall when they return to Rome following the summer holiday. Hopefully Pope Francis will approve it very soon afterwards. Hopefully the pope will swiftly approve the beatification. We don’t know; we could be waiting for months or years.

Why do I share all this with you? Because, while I want us all to celebrate this important ruling from the advising theologians, I also want us all to continue to pray for and support this cause. If you believe in Venerable Sheen’s holiness and example – if you believe that he would make a great saint for the Church, leading many to a deep, loving, joyful relationship with Christ – then please continue to hope and pray for the next three steps.

Please continue to raise awareness of Venerable Sheen and his passionate love for our Lord. Please even consider tithing to the Sheen Foundation as they work to promote and further his cause for canonization.

Let’s celebrate: our God is good and has done marvelous things!

And let’s pray: Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.

If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask  You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Fulton Sheen, My Son, an Alleged Miracle, and SUPER Exciting News from Rome

Early this morning I got a secret email, and I did a happy dance.

While I was shopping at Wal-Mart I got a phone call, and I did a fist pump.

Fulton Sheen EvidenceYou probably know already but the seven-member board of medical experts who advise the Congregation of the Causes of Saints at the Vatican unanimously approved my son James Fulton’s alleged healing through the intercession of Fulton Sheen.

I know there’s been some confusion so I want to be really clear:

This is still an ALLEGED miracle. Only the Pope can declare it a miracle.

We’ve still got a little ways to go. The postulator for the cause will now provide the theologians who advise the Congregation of the Causes of Saints with information so they can decide if the healing happened because of Fulton Sheen’s intercession. When they are done, it will be forwarded to the the bishops who sit on the C of the C of S (not the real acronym). Then those bishops will need to decide on it and make their recommendation to the Pope. Pope Francis will have the final say.

There’s still more to do! Please praise God today and celebrate this good and mega-exciting news! Then tomorrow go right back to praying for the cause. You can also financially support the cause if you’d like. For more information check out the official website for the cause here.

And now let’s all do a happy dance. I suggest Pharrell.

I know I should probably have more to say, but it’s just all too exciting. And I’ve got some happy dancing to do! For updates please feel free to check out my personal blog, A Knotted Life.

The official press release from the Archbishop Sheen Foundation is below.

Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation 
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, president 
Monsignor Stanley Deptula, executive director 
419 NE Madison Avenue 
Peoria, Illinois 61603 USA 
309-671-1550 
877-71-SHEEN 
ArchbishopSheenCause.org 

Media Contact: Msgr. Stanley Deptula 
 Msgr_Deptula@cdop.org 
 Office:309-677-7085 
 Mobile: 309-231-5689 
March 6, 2014 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Peoria, IL — The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, received word early Thursday morning that the 7-member board of medical experts who advise the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican unanimously approved a reported miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen. 

The case involved a still born baby born in September 2010. For over an hour the child demonstrated no signs of life as medical professionals attempted every possible life saving procedure, while the child’s parents and loved ones began immediately to seek the intercession of Fulton Sheen. After 61 minutes the baby was restored to full life and made a full recovery. The child, now three years old, continues in good health. 

Today’s decision affirms that the team of Vatican medical experts can find no natural explanation for the 
child’s healing. The case will next be reviewed by a board of theologians. With their approval the case 
could move on to the cardinals and bishops who advise the Pope on these matters. Finally, the miracle 
would be presented to Pope Francis who would then officially affirm that God performed a miracle 
through the intercession of Fulton Sheen. There is no timeline as to when these next steps might move 
forward. 

“Today is a significant step in the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of our beloved Fulton 
Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a Son of the Heartland who went on to change the world. There are many 
more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice,” commented 
Bishop Jenky. 

Fulton Sheen was born May 8, 1895 in El Paso, IL outside of Peoria. His family moved to Peoria so that 
Fulton and his brothers could attend Catholic school. He grew up in the parish of the Cathedral of St. Mary where he was an altar server and later ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria. After advanced 
studies and service as a parish priest in the city of Peoria, Fulton Sheen was a professor of philosophy 
and religion at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In the 1930s he became a popular 
radio personality and later a TV pioneer. His weekly TV program, “Life is Worth Living” eventually 
reached 30 million viewers and won an Emmy award for outstanding TV program. 

From 1950-1966, Bishop Sheen was the national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith 
in the United States, the Church’s primary missionary apostolate. In 1966, he was named Bishop of 
Rochester of New York where he served until his retirement in 1969, when he was named honorary 
Archbishop by Pope Paul VI. Fulton Sheen died at the entrance to his private chapel in his New York City 
apartment on December 9, 1979. 

In September 2002, Bishop Jenky officially opened the cause for the beatification and canonization of 
Fulton Sheen. For six years, the Sheen Foundation, the official promoter of the Cause, gathered 
testimony from around the world and reviewed all of Sheen’s writings, before sending their conclusions 
to the Vatican. In June 2012, Pope Benedict affirmed the investigation that Sheen had lived a life of 
heroic virtue and holiness. Sheen was then titled “Venerable.” 

Pending further review by the theologians and the cardinals who advise the Pope through the 
Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, should Pope Francis validate this proposed miracle, Sheen 
could then be declared “Blessed” in a ceremony that could be celebrated in Peoria, Sheen’s hometown. 
Upon the Holy Father signing the decree for the beatification, an additional miracle would lead to the 
Canonization of Archbishop Sheen, in which he would be declared a “Saint.” 

For more information about Fulton Sheen and the Cause for his canonization, visit: 
ArchbishopSheenCause.org. 

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Miracles Happen!

It’s not often that I recollect a real-life happening upon the great expanse of Internet. That’s the sort of thing I usually prefer to reserve for conversation. But this is a special case, for I – sinful, off-white, American, average-kid-of-little-faith and public-school graduate – experienced a miracle, and I share it with you now so that your faith might increase.

I was in Madrid, Spain, attending the awesome event known as World Youth Day, when, so caught up was I in the spirit of our rich and profound religion, Monday morning found me checking Facebook. Amidst a lack of friend requests and an excess of invitations to play poker, there was a message from my very best friend who I sometimes kiss, Elaine Golden, who draws for VirtuousPlanet.

I recall it here, using my very best literary skills:

The initial reaction to this was ‘woah’, followed by, I have to go to Salamanca. I pulled it up on Google Maps: it was two hours away. Luckily – or rather, accordingly – it was the last day my group was in possession of a rental car, and thus the freedom to up and drive to Salamanca. So I asked the leader of our group if we could go. He said yes, after some slight hesitation over whether we all should go,or just he and I. We left with him and one other.

On drive up, we prayed a rosary. As I was mumbling through ‘thy womb Jesus’, at the word ‘Jesus’ a Very Strange Thing happened. Do you know that feeling of head-heaviness unique to boring homilies? You’re sitting in the pew, looking intent and thoughtful over the priest’s comparison of Jesus to a butterfly, your neck bowed, hands folded, when suddenly your head does a little bob, you black out for a nanosecond, and then you’re back, looking around uncomfortably to see if the lady in the chapel veil to you right of you noticed. Do you know the phenomena of which I speak? Good, because it’s the closest feeling I can associate with, on the word ‘Jesus’, seeing nothing but the bloodied feet of Christ nailed to the cross, and feeling a repulsion, my voice saying “I don’t want to kiss them,” and then being back in the car in time to say ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God…”

On to Salamanca. What a beautiful place, full of peace and cool shade. We parked by the The Church of St. Steven, and walked up. The first thing we came across was an enclave into a small garden, with a door on the wall that looked to lead into some sort of housing. This was not the place. It seems necessary to describe my state of mind at this point; it was not a good one. I felt – first of all – very nervous. Walking was pushing my way through liquid, fear worked against me. But worse than that was the sense of expectation I carried, the sense that I had to find the right thing, the right person, the right room. That I was in charge. It was an enormous pressure, and I must have looked a fool, checking locked doors and walking slowly past Dominicans, making sure they weren’t saying some profound words I needed to hear. I went into the sacristy and washed my hands where countless priests have before me. It was not the place. I walked slowly through the museum. It was not the place. Almost an hour passed like this, full of stress.

Luckily – or thankfully – I became aware of my state of mind. I realized, in somewhat of an exhale, that if God had gone out of his way to give my girlfriend a vision, then his purpose and design could not – and would not – be foiled by my inability to find the right door. I was there for a purpose, and He would see that purpose carried out. So I left the church.

That sounded drastic; I walked out of the church of St. Stephen, and began to walk around it instead. I started repeating the words ‘Jesus, I trust in you’; not in any sort of display of piety, but because I knew that I didn’t trust Him, and had the idea that the vocal repetition of theory could lead to some praxis. I was saying it out loud – the mood was somewhat manic – and I scared some perfectly innocent Salamancians on my walk. But I do remember there was a moment – perhaps from nothing more than self-hypnosis or some mind-over-matter phenomenon – when I really did trust Him. I remember the moment well because I started laughing at myself. Here I was, in a panic over what would happen, when the God of the Universe had ordained my visit. He Who’s Word Is My Existence called me, and I was worried I’d screw it up. (What false power we give ourselves when we try to carry God’s responsibilities.)

It was in looking up from this moment that, having made one full lap around the church, I arrived back where I’d started. I was back at the enclave, the small garden. But now my mind-frame was completely different, and something stayed me there. I looked through the window and saw a priest; always a good sign. He was talking to a man – a boy, really – who caught my eye and opened the locked door. “What are you from?” he said.

“Long story actually…”

“No, what are you from?”

“Oh. America?”

He let me in. The first thing I noticed was that someone was speaking English, which made me want to stay. The next thing I noticed was that it was a girl giving her confession to a priest, which made me want to leave. So, not knowing where I was going, but not wanting to overhear someone’s confession, I stumbled away and to the right. And there was Jesus.

Oh, my brain said.

It was adoration. There were some twenty young Americans in worship, their voices ringing in beautiful harmony in the stone chapel I had walked into. God was laughing. He was laughing because I’d been to adoration before – many times, in fact – and so He called me to Himself in the most strange and wonderful fashion, merely to open my eyes to this truth; that adoration is always strange and wonderful.

Having arrived there the way I did, I could not take the event for granted. I knelt. I had no walls built up around my heart, no inhibitions or self-deception. How could I, when the Lord had taken me by storm, when I had been ambushed by His grace? And what grace! I won’t bother you with the personal confirmations, affirmations, words and songs that were given to me. Suffice to say that I wept throughout.

Then came a series of awesome events. We prayed the rosary; it was the Feast of the Assumption.

A thought came: you know the person to your right.

No I don’t.

You do. Look.

I looked. There was Jackie Francois, a worship leader and speaker I knew, and have helped lead a Diocesan Youth Conference with. She caught my eye, and I jumped, feeling extraordinarily creepy; the look of amazement and wonder on my face must have been flattering or – much more likely – overtly awkward.

Then there was Mass. The homily was on the devotion to our Lady. The priest spoke about the Consecration to Mary by the way of Louis de Montfort. I am consecrated to Mary by that way. He said the consecration would lead its members to strange places. I nodded.

I stayed afterwards. The priest blessed me and for no reason – or rather, in accordance with The Reason – he baptized me in the Holy Spirit. My body jumped within me; there’s no real good way to describe that besides dropping a toaster in your bathtub.

God is still revealing to me the depth and breadth of that experience. But what I ask you to take away from it now is threefold. First of all, be confident that miracles do happen! Secondly, trust God above all things. It is only when we don’t care about receiving miracles that miracles happen. It is only when we resign ourselves to the will of God that we allow God to do amazing things within us. Trust, trust, trust. Even when it just means repeating words to yourself. Even when it comes down to ritual. Always trust. And thirdly, consecrate yourself to Our Lady. She is lovely.