The Imitation of Mary, by Abbe Alexander de Rouville. No sooner had the incomparable Imitation of Christ appeared than the faithful began to spontaneously wish for an imitation of Our Lady, and finally, in 1768, a monk pulled together a little powerhouse of meditation on the different mysteries and circumstances of her life, from the Immaculate Conception to her Assumption into Heaven! Click here



The time of God is here. When He sent His Son to the earth, it was to break down any remaining barrier. He turns darkness to light and clouds into rain.

Are there clouds in your life? Look at them as filled with blessings. The bigger your problem, the bigger is the potential for God's intervention. As we all know, even as an Infant, He is vastly larger than the greatest problem.

The clouds above you should be viewed as filled with rain that can nourish, that can sustain growth. We need to remember this as we face the challenges (and excitement) of life.

Blessings build and build and then "rain" upon us.

Now, there are dark clouds that we must pray away. We are not talking about those! They are the result of evil. We're talking about the times in our lives when we fail to see a cloud that was sent with rainfall (and a silver lining).

Too often, we don't appreciate the arrival of a blessing. We see a cloud and it rains and we complain when we get wet -- we feel uncomfortable. It may even make us mad. We tend to think of rain as an inconvenience (or worse). It's a "bad day."

"It is raining at this time, and you say, 'It is not reasonable to go to church in this slush. Why is it raining so much?'" the Blessed Mother said in a locution at Medjugorje. "Do not ever speak like that. You have prayed without ceasing for God to send you rain that makes the earth rich, and so [you should not] turn against the blessing of God."

The same is true with snow: it refurbishes our aquifers, our streams, and our rivers when it melts.

"The wind is my sign," she also allegedly intoned. "When the wind blows, know that I am with you. When it is cold, you want to come to church; you want to offer everything to God."

Of course, there are storms that represent displeasure. There are storms of chastisement. But with many clouds, with most, each drop is a blessing.

These are "clouds of grace." They are clouds of favor. Through faith, they build and build. The darkness holds the potential of favor.

When a problem comes, it often has a grace behind it!

Expand your vision. Look beyond a dilemma. Don't keep looking down; no blessings come from there! Instead, accept life as a test, and transcend sufferings. Ask yourself: what would happen if there was no precipitation?

When we constantly thank God for what He sends -- or is going to send -- and when we use all that He gives us (letting His gifts flow through us to others), He multiplies that grace. He expands those gifts. He grants greater favors than we imagined possible. He wants us to expand our vision beyond the clouds and that's when the "sky" really opens and graces flow like a torrent!

Ask for unprecedented blessings, and they will grow and shower down upon you -- in God's time and in His Way. Let Him surprise you!

In the coming year, vow to ask "big"; vow to thank God;  vow to exercise faith; vow to use His gifts to help others; and vow to see beyond every darkness.

[resources: The God of Miracles]

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