Let him who is without sin
During the time of St Francis, living close to Assisi, there was a Priest who was living an immoral life. The Priest had a mistress, and everyone in the village knew of his sin.
One day the people informed St Francis of the facts and told him where to find the Priest. St Francis went immediately to see the Priest; the people followed to see what would happen. St Francis was considered to be a Saint even in his own lifetime, so the villagers expected St Frances to explode upon this priest – maybe even sending a fireball from Heaven to consume him. St Francis went to the home of the Priest and as he was greeted at the door by the Priest, St Francis fell upon his knees and began to kiss the hands of the Priest.
“What are you doing?” questioned the Priest. With tears in his eyes, St Francis replied, “I am kissing the hands that bring Jesus to me”. The Priest was mortified by St Francis’ act of compassion, for he knew that the villagers had told St Francis of his sin. The Priest later confessed his sin, changed his life and led a good and holy life until his death. Sometimes compassion can have a greater effect than punishment.
O God, I hope with complete trust that You will give me, through the merits of Jesus Christ, all the necessary Grace in this world and everlasting life in the world to come, for this is what You have promised and You always keep Your promises. Amen
Prostitute saved from suicide by St Faustina
In Poland a young Prostitute who had given up on life left the town and walked out into the woods in the middle of the night, to take her life. As she stood alone in the cold dark night contemplating suicide a nun came and spoke to her and gave her words or encouragement. The nun told the girl to seek help in the town. The young girl walked back to town and found only one light on – it was the home of the Priest. She knocked on the door and was taken inside, she told the Priest her troubles and what she had intended to do, and about the kind nun who had saved her. The Priest took the girl to the local monastery to be looked after and to find the nun who had saved her. As the two of them entered the hallway, the young girl saw a number of pictures on the wall of different nuns, recognising the one who had saved her she pointed and told the Priest “That’s the one who saved me!” The girl had pointed to a picture of THE LATE St Faustina, a canonised nun who when she was alive had worked in an apostolate that helped prostitutes to leave the profession and begin life anew.
A Miracle of Reconciliation
Fr. Tim Deeter once served as a hospital chaplain, and often spent time with the patients at night when the doctors had left. Amongst those he regularly visited was Helen who had been in a coma for several weeks.
As comatose patients can still hear, Fr. Tim prayed the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be with her each night, and indeed often went on to speak of the happenings that day.
One night he arrived extra late, and there was a large list of people for him to visit. He decided to skip Helen for this night, but when he had finished with the other patients, even though it was really late, his conscience pricked him, (the Holy Spirit) so he decided to pay his usual visit.
The moon was shining in through the window, so Fr. Tim entered without turning on the light. He recited the usual prayers, then he had a feeling that he should do something more for her. He decided to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) even though she was in a coma. He explained in her ear what he intended to do, said the opening prayer and then told her that he was giving her a couple of moments silence during which she could acknowledge her sins in her heart. He then prayed the Act of Contrition inviting her to join him in spirit. He then imparted the absolution.
Just as Fr. Tim concluded the absolution, Helen sat bolt upright in her bed. She reached forward with her arms and with a smile on her face, cried out, “Jesus”.
Taken by surprise, Fr Tim looked at the wall that Helen was staring at. There was a small wooden crucifix on the wall, but nothing else. When he looked back at Helen, she had fallen back on the pillow, dead. Fr Tim believes that there had been something in Helen’s life that had been holding her to this life, and that when released of it through the Sacrament of Reconciliation she was ready to meet Jesus face to face.
Fr Tim says “It was like being in my room, writing at my desk, and suddenly feeling someone is there… I did not see Jesus but I am certain that He was in that room.”
9/11 Who really is in control? God is in control!
A man from Norfolk, VA, called a local radio station to share this on September 11th, 2003,
Two years after the tragedies of 9/11/2001. His name was Robert Matthews. These are his words:
A few weeks before September 11th, my wife and I found out we were going to have our first child. She planned a trip out to California to visit her sister. On our way to the airport, we prayed that God would grant us a safe trip and be with her. Shortly after I said ‘amen’ we both heard a loud pop and the car shook violently. We had blown a tire. I replaced the tyre as quickly as I could, but we still missed her flight. Both very upset, we drove home.
I received a call from my father who was a retired NYFD. He asked what my wife’s flight number was, but I explained that we missed the flight. My father informed me that her flight was the one that crashed into the Southern Tower. I was too shocked to speak. My father also had more news for me; he was going to help. “This is not something I can just sit by for; I have to do something.”
I was concerned for his safety, of course, but more because he had never given his life to Christ. After a brief debate, I knew his mind was made up. Before he got off the phone, he said, “Take good care of my grand-child”. Those were the last words I ever heard my father say; he died while helping in the rescue effort.
My joy that my prayer of safety for my wife had been answered quickly became anger. I was angry at God, at my father and at myself. My son would never know his grandfather, my father had never accepted Christ and I never got to say goodbye. I had gone nearly two years blaming God for taking my father.
Then something happened. About two months ago, I was sitting at home with my wife and my son, when there was a knock on the door. I looked at my wife, but I could tell she wasn’t expecting anyone. I opened the door to a couple with a small child. The man looked at me and asked if my father’s name was Jake Matthews. I told him it was. He quickly grabbed my hand and said, “I never got the chance to meet your father, but it is an honour to meet his son”.
He explained to me that his wife had worked in the World Trade Centre and had been caught inside after the attack. She was pregnant and had been under debris. He then explained that my father had been the one to find his wife and free her. My eyes welled up with tears as I thought of my father giving his life for people like this. He then said, “There is something else you need to know”.
His wife then told me that as my father worked to free her, she talked to him and led him to Christ. I began sobbing at the news. Now I know that when I get to heaven, my father will be standing beside Jesus to welcome me, and that this family would be able to thank him themselves.
When their baby boy was born, they named him Jacob Matthew, in honour of the man who gave his life so that a mother and baby could live.
This story should help us to realise this: God is always in control! We may not see the reason behind things, and we may never know this side of heaven, but God is ALWAYS in control.
A shove in the right direction
Bishop Fulton Sheen tells the story of how when he was working in Soho, London, on Christmas morning very early he opened the church door and a young lady fell in, she had been sleeping against the church door and was almost frozen. “How did you come to be here?” the Bishop asked “I don’t know, Father” said the lady, she had gotten drunk and fallen asleep.
The Bishop told her “men drink because they like it but woman drink because they don’t like something else.” Then he asked her what she ‘didn’t like’. She replied that she didn’t like the 3 men she was dating, they were beginning to realise that she was cheating on them. He asked her name and she told him. Across the street was a large billboard with her picture on. He asked if that was her and she replied “yes, I am the leading lady in that show.” He went in and made her a cup of coffee and asked her to come back in the afternoon as he was about to begin the Mass. She said she would return as long as he promised not to ask her to go to confession. He promised “I will not ask you to go to confession”.
That afternoon she returned and they began to look at some of the church art. As they walked down the side isle they came to the confessional, on passing he pushed her into the box “I did not ask her” he said with a big grin on his face. “I always keep my promises”. The young lady made confession of her sins and returned month after month to receive communion and then she consecrated her entire life to Jesus Christ, she became a nun in London and is to this day. Sometimes a shove in the right direction is just what is needed.
Converted by Our Lady in Prison
In 1981, when I was 26 years old, I was captured by the British Army and thrown into Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast. At the time I was extremely bitter and full of hate, not believing in God at all and very angry at the Catholic church, which I considered to be pro-British. But the years of rage and violence during the ‘Troubles’ had taken their toll on me and I was increasingly suicidal. The only thing that stopped me from killing myself at once was the knowledge that it would bring great pain to my family.
One night, as I entered my cell, I found a newspaper photo of Padre Pio, bearing his stigmata, lying on the floor. I don’t know how it got there as neither myself nor my cell mate were believers. Anyway, as I looked at the marks of the Passion on Padre Pio’s hands, I thought, “The old fool did it with a screwdriver!” But I wondered how he had never gotten blood poisoning and been caught cheating over such a long life.
That night as I was going to sleep, I said in despair, “Padre Pio, go to God, ask Him to prove to me He really exists in the space of one ‘Hail Mary,’ for if He doesn’t I will know for certain that He does not exist and I can go ahead and kill myself.
As soon as I said ‘Hail Mary,’ my eyes flooded with tears in rivers, for there, standing at the end of the bed in great glory, was the Mother of God herself. Extraordinary holiness and beauty, and majesty, and motherliness and love and kindness: indescribable!!
She said ‘Now you believe”. I could only nod and say, “Yes, I believe.”
Then she said, “Faith without love is vain. You must forgive; do you forgive?”
Then I saw before me picture-forms of all whom I had hated, while Mary’s voice gently kept asking me, “Do you forgive…? Do you forgive….? Do you forgive……?” as each one passed before me.
She then said, “Now is there anyone, anyone at all, to whom you bear hate?”
There was no one; I forgave them all; it was as though the weight of the universe was lifted from my soul.
For the first time, Mary smiled, “Now you have faith and now you have love; now you must pray, for prayer is the food of faith. Pray, pray the Rosary,” and she held a set of beads towards me.
But I was embarrassed and said, “I am sorry I have forgotten how to say them.” Then Mary said with great firmness, “I myself will teach you!” This she did. Then she was gone.
Well anyway I cannot tell the joy I felt; it was as though I was reborn. I found it hard to say the rosary at first, but then I came to love it. Eventually, I ended up saying it all the time; the way Mary taught it was not at all as we prayed it as a child. It was slow and thoughtful so meaningful to me, and such a joy to feel truly in the presence of Jesus and Mary while it was being prayed.”
I am certain, that for the rest of my life I will never forget Our Lady’s visit, and always thank Padre Pio, Our Lady, and God for that wonderful night imprison which changed me and saved both my life and my soul.
By Padraig Caughey.