Praying for miracles

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"Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1).

Monday Mission

This is God's hour of power. On Faith-and-Reason Fridays, we focus more on understanding what we believe, using the natural and supernatural gifts given by God, the Holy Spirit, the fountain of all Wisdom. On Prayer 'n' Meditation Mondays (or "Miracle Mondays," we focus more on persevering in faith, using the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, who "comes to us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings" (Rom 8:26).

  • Fr. Mark Illig (RIP, 2011) was the regular Monday priest for "Calling All Catholics."
  • When I prepare for a Monday, I think about prayer and meditation in a special way. Fridays are more or less about understanding the doctrines of the Church. When we pray, we put the teaching of the Church into practice.
  • Prayer puts us in touch with the divine realities revealed through the Magisterium.
  • In meditation, we ruminate on "food for thought," taking the sacred mysteries into our minds and hearts. In the Eastern tradition, this is known as mystagogy.
  • Intercession.
  • Suffering.

Our God works miracles

Christianity is a miracle-based religion: "And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith" (1 Cor 15:14).

God's power has not lessened. The right question is not "What would Jesus do?" but "What is Jesus doing?" Jesus is alive and well. He is doing everything in our own day that He did in His ministry on earth and in the apostolic age. "With God all things are possible" (Mt 19:26).

Our God is a Healing God

"Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. ... These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mk 16:15, 17-18).

"And now, Lord, ... enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus" (Acts 4:30).

Every Mass is a healing Mass: "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

Comfort, comfort My People

"They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Is 40:31).

Our job is to pray

It's God's job to answer our prayers as He pleases.

God looks at the secrets of our hearts. He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He is paying attention to us 24 x 7 x 365. Any words will do--even just a look in God's direction is enough. That's how mothers respond to their children. God is the source of all mothers' love; He is at least as loving as a mother toward us.

We do not have to figure out in advance how God will react to our prayers. All we have to do is pray. What happens next is in God's hands.

Learning by doing

  • Our prayers don't have to be perfect. God is perfect. Our trust is in Him.
    • Our faith is in GOD, not in our faith. That's why faith is always as small as a mustard seed. Our part is next to nothing compared to God's action in inspiring our prayers.
"Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Mt 17:20).
  • Prayer is like pizza: "It doesn't have to be perfect to be good."
  • We can't go wrong by praying. We learned how to walk by walking badly, how to talk by talking badly, and how to ride a bike by riding badly. We can learn how to pray by praying badly.
  • Like Peter, we need to get out of the boat in order to find out whether it is Jesus whom we see walking on the water in the heart of a great storm (Mt 14:22-33).

Letting God act in our prayers

  • The Spirit comes to us in our weakness and empowers us to pray: "For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!'" (Rom 8:15).
  • "Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief" (Mk 9:24).

We are not alone

  • We have a quorum for prayer: "Amen, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt 18:19-20).
  • Some of our listeners have the gift of faith, the gift of miracles, and the gift of intercession. We are praying with them and they are praying with us all through the hour.
  • Some of our listeners have suffered or are suffering just as the caller is suffering. They understand and will pray with compassion.

Thy Will Be Done

In our prayer for healing, our first and last thought must be to seek and find what God wants in this particular situation.

"Thy will, not mine be done" is the Infallible Prayer.

These are not "magic words." Saying the words is not enough. We need to have the mind and the heart of Jesus (Phil 2:2). Praying in His Name means that we want to act in union with Him. This is not something we can accomplish by will-power, apart from the gifts of the Spirit. "God acts; we react" (Tom Rowland).

Keep on praying

  • Parable of the unjust judge: "Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary" (Luke 18:1-9).
  • "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thes 5:16-18).
  • Abide in God. "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God and God in him" (1 Jn 4:16).

Methods of prayer and meditation

  • Use of imagination in prayer.
  • Realize the greatness of GOD: infinite, untiring, not surprised by our misfortunes, not driven by unconscious desires, needs, or brokenness, selflessly attentive, wise, just, beautiful, good true, ever-present, all-powerful, always ready to save. God is great!
  • Practicing the Presence of God.
  • The Jesus Prayer.
  • Forgiveness prayer.
  • Sacrament of the sick.
  • Anointing with oil.
  • Laying on of hands.
  • Pray with other intercessors. "Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them."
  • Pray with the saints.
  • Go on pilgrimage with and for the sick.

Inner Healing

  • When there has been real and repeated injury, healing may require real and repeated acts of forgiveness.
  • Chronic conditions (retardation, autism, mental illness, persistent vegetative state).
    • Addictions--one's own and those of others.
    • Codependency.
  • Watch out for browbeating by the "Angel of Light." Perfectionism breeds depression.
  • Good guilt vs. bad guilt: Good guilt (repentance and amendment) vs. bad guilt (feeling unaccepted and unloved).
  • It is our job to preserve our peace of mind. "Peace be with you."

When God Says "No"

  • God's grace is sufficient for us in our suffering: "Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10).
  • We are like Jesus in His agony in the garden: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will" (Mt 26:39).
We may join our sufferings to those of Jesus, acting as members of the Priesthood of the Faithful. This is the great spirituality of the Morning Offering. "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the church" (Col 1:24).
  • God may be calling us to repent of our sins.
  • We may need to "fast and pray."
  • We can grow in the graces suggested by the Serenity Prayer.
  • There comes a time when we all must die. No saint has escaped the sentence of death by calling upon the Name of the Lord. We can and should pray for healing; we must also pray for the grace of a happy death.

Job's Comforters

Job's three friends told him that good people always get good things; they argued that Job's suffering was a consequence of sin, and they therefore recommended that he should repent and get right with God. They blamed Job for all of his suffering and held God blameless.

Job blamed God for all of his suffering and held himself blameless.

Job was right and his friends were wrong (42:8, 10)! Job's suffering was, in fact, all God's fault, not his. He was chosen to suffer because he was an "upright and blameless man" (Job 1:1).

It is wrong to think that no harm can come to good people. The fact is that God allows innocent people to suffer from others' sins, crimes, and mistakes, as well as from natural evils completely independent of moral evil.

Job was chosen to suffer because he was a good person. Because he did not sin against God in his suffering, he was rewarded with double for everything he had lost (Job 42:10-17).

Bad things do happen to good people. It is all God's fault that this is so. It is He who created a universe in which the innocent can be crushed by natural or moral evil. It is He who will reward all who, like Job and like Jesus, turn to Him in their suffering.

Job's innocent suffering and restoration prefigures Jesus' innocent suffering, death, and Resurrection. "Through the Cross, light dawns."

Rejoice always

Joy evangelizes.

"The joy of the LORD is my strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

"Comfort, comfort my people" (Isaiah 40:1).

"Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint" (Isaiah 40:30-31).

"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love" (Blessed Mother Teresa).

"For the sake of the joy that was set before Him, He endured the Cross, heedless of its shame" (Heb 12:2).

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:4-7).

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy" (Ps 126:5).

The last word is joy.
"And all shall be well again, and all manner of things shall be well again, I know" (Julian of Norwich).

Hidden intentions, big blessings

  • Tiny little crosses: headaches, toothaches, arthritis, acne, and other pains and discomforts of life that people don't want to ask prayers for on the air.
  • Enormous crosses: the lonely, the depressed, the suicidal.
  • Those who are hoping and praying to find a "suitable partner" for life.
  • Those conditions that require us to grow in the life of the virtues: alcoholism, overeating, undereating, codependency, etc.
  • Healing of minds, hearts, and memories from abuse, failure, shameful events.

Fr. Mark Illig (RIP)

Fr. Illig was born on 11 July 1956 and died on 21 December 2011. We miss him terribly, but hope that God will allow him to continue his work of healing through The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio.

"Born and raised in the Western New York area, Fr. Mark Illig graduated with a philosophy degree from the University of Notre Dame where, at Moreau Seminary there, he also completed his seminary studies in theology. He was ordained in 1985 after which he served as Parochial Vicar at three Western New York parishes: St. Stephen’s in Grand Island, St. Benedict’s in Eggertsville and St. Amelia’s in Tonawanda.

"In his last assignment, Fr. Illig helped out at St. Amelia's, served as the part-time chaplain at Carmelite Monastery in Buffalo, and was the Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at Daemen College in Amherst. Outside of his priestly duties, he enjoyed Irish music and lore, reading literature and spiritual themes, coaching basketball at parish schools and as well was a fan of Notre Dame football and Yankees baseball. Also noteworthy is Fr. Illig’s frequent celebration of Healing Masses at his parish following his belief that he was called to a healing and preaching ministry as a priest. He said, 'A priest should be a man of prayer who can enable his people to come to the God he already knows.'"[1]

Inspiration for "Calling All Catholics"

Letter from Fr. Illig to Jim and Joanne Wright
November 15, 2004
I was thinking of having a show played on a regular basis to talk about Healing Prayer and pray for people's intentions.

Questions

  • Does God really answer all prayers?
  • Why are some people healed miraculously and other people not healed?
  • Why does God allow some people to suffer less than others?
  • How can I learn how to work miracles? How can I get more faith?
  • Is sickness a sign of sinfulness?
  • Is it wrong to ask God to heal people? Isn't it better for the sick to suffer?
    • If suffering is good, then we shouldn't pray for God to heal the sick.
    • If suffering is evil, then God should heal everybody instantly when we pray for them.
  • Why does God want us to pray? Doesn't He know what we need already?
  • Why does Jesus tell us to keep on asking for the same thing? Can we change God's mind through prayer?
  • Have you seen any miracles yourself?
  • What is "inner healing"?
  • What is the forgiveness prayer?
  • What is the Jesus Prayer?
  • What is the Infallible Prayer?
  • Why do you associate the Priesthood of the Faithful with praying for miracles?
  • How can people rejoice when they or the people whom they love are suffering?
  • How can we love a God who does not do all of the good things we ask of Him?
  • Why does God work miracles through the intercession of the saints?
  • Why does the Church keep relics of the saints and use them when praying for the sick?
  • What difference does it make to use our imaginations in prayer? If it's imaginary, it's meaningless, isn't it?

Calendar 2014

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Calendar 2015

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References

  1. This quotation is from Pat Murphy's site that is no longer online.

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