How to Make Sense of Suffering, by Marguerite Duportal, a neat little book that helps us understand why God allows suffering and how to trust in His loving plan, find strength in union with Him, and let faith keep our suffering in perspective. Who doesn't need such guidance! Duportal also discusses suffering as a precious gift and how to let your vocation help you during trials! CLICK HERE



By Michael H. Brown

There are spirits of failure and spirits of distress in our lives and spirits of loneliness and phobias and spirits of just about anything (negative).

Lent is a good time to rid of them.

They inhibit. They slow or even halt spiritual progress. They heap dirt on our inner "treasures."

If you're in a snare -- going around and around, on a treadmill -- if you can't break out of a negative cycle, or are obsessed -- it may be time to look for a hidden cause. Is there an unconfessed sin? Is there an over-attachment? Is there addiction? Is there unforgiveness toward someone (and worst of all, toward God)?

These can hold you down, as can your motivation. Wrong motivation can cause bondage.

Purify your motives. God wants this from you. He wants it urgently. He wants you to do the right thing for the right reason (not just to reap a reward).

When we get rid of self-interest, we get to who we really are. We become free. And we unlock the deepest treasure of the mission we have on earth.

That is one important key. Another has to do with prayer: while purifying your motives, cast away the personal force that may be binding you.

Often this is crucial before there can be a healing. Name what it is that afflicts you. Is it a "spirit of financial bondage"? Is it a "spirit of depression"? Is it a "spirit of failure"?

Cast such spirits away specifically and do so during Mass -- especially while receiving the Precious Blood (or praying Stations of the Cross).

If it's a severe case, do so under the guidance of a priest or with the support of a prayer group.

We all die, yes, but God wants you to have the fullness of years. He wants you whole. He doesn't want you wasting away in depression or discouragement. With God, even suffering is a joy.

The Lord wants to bring forth from you the treasure He buried within and that means dismissing a negative self-image. It means pure motives. It means rising above past failures. Don't let those define who you are! Move from a "safe zone" to a "faith zone." Stretch your faith like a muscle. Here you can find miraculous release from bondage: by not dwelling on past negatives.

Do you define yourself as a "c student"?

Define yourself as an "a" student.

Do you define yourself as ugly?

See yourself as God sees you (which is a person of great beauty).

Define yourself with eyes aimed upward.

Don't lower expectations no matter what goes on and don't let spirits get in the way of what God has planned for you.

When that happens, especially in youth, the focus must be on casting out the spirit of sickness or whatever spirit may be afflicting you. As Scripture indicates, such spirits come in countless ways -- through family lines, through our own darkness, through the course of worldly interactions. The prince of this world is Satan and Jesus came to defeat his works (among them infirmity). That's why we see in Isaiah 53: 4-5 -- in the prophecy of His Coming -- that it says "through His stripes we are healed."

Christ died for our sins and that implies that He also died for our infirmities. He is the Great Healer. Says Matthew 8:17, "He did this to make come true what the prophet Isaiah had said, 'He Himself took our sickness and carried away our diseases.'"

Such is all but ignored in our times, when the secular has pervaded Christianity and quashed the Spirit. Many Church leaders dismiss the idea of supernatural healing! Yet it is time to reflect upon Scripture. "Bless the Lord, O my soul," says Psalms 103:2-3, "and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all they diseases."

Never give up! Persist and the devil will flee from you!

To get healed or unblocked it is crucial to address the issue head on and not to fear. “We know that fear is not from the Lord. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear..." notes 2 Timothy 1:7.

"For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me," says Job 3:25.

Fear attracts the negative. It attracts what you are fearing! It is faith in failure.

When we get rid of fear -- which may be the block -- a whole new world opens before us (a world of brightness, a world of healing).

For some, purgatory is suffered here on earth. There are martyrs. There is redemptive suffering. No doubt about that!

There was Job himself.

Paul suffered a thorn in his side.

Jesus demonstrated that there is suffering on this earth when He told us to carry our own crosses on a daily basis. When He suffered, it was according to the Will (or "cup") of the Father.

But too often it's a simple block, not God's Will, or a wrong motive, and we need to get unblocked -- believing in the power of God no matter what religious "experts" say about the miraculous (and no matter what a doctor may say about an illness) is crucial.

For what occurs in the soul is reflected in our physical lives, which, if it is the Will of God, can be transformed in a flash when we discover that the treasure of life is the Light of Christ within us.

[adapted from The God of Miracles]


[Michael Brown pilgrimage: Medjugorje]

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