The God of Miracles, by Michael H. Brown, focusing on how God works in our lives, the miracles that are possible, the way we prepare ourselves to receive them, the route to holiness, with stunning examples of the miraculous and a deep sense of encouragement. Does God really heal? Does He really watch over your life? Does He really cause all those fateful happenings and triumphant moments and coincidences that mystify us? A book that will inspire you and bring you up from the "downs" of life and give you hope no matter how hopeless life can seem! This is one of our most popular ever. (below for paper, here Kindle or Nook click here 



In the Catholic walk, we're called to possess an even spirit. We're called to equilibrium. We're called to balance. That was a word the great Venezuelan mystic (and mother, and friend, and now "Servant of God"), Maria Esperanza, always emphasized.

In everything: balance. Maria maintained this herself even through the difficulties of illness that ended up being her ticket to Heaven.

"Maria Esperanza was a person who possessed complete equilibrium," noted a doctor, Dr. Elba Gutierrez Luciani, who tended to her from 1988 to 2004. "Avoiding extremes, she always acted in a manner appropriate to the exigencies of her circumstances."

How often do good people -- people who seek to be holy, who are devout -- get entangled in extremism (including legalism or negativism), which so often stymies the Holy Spirit?

To be balanced is to harmonize our spiritual, emotional, and practical sides.

We are balanced when we have ease of spirit (as did Jesus). We are balanced when we find joy in all circumstances (as did Maria). We are balanced when we emulate the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph and the Apostles. To strain, to bicker, to snipe, means we are not there yet. As Father Timothy E. Byerley of New Jersey reports on a new book, Maria Esperanza and the Grace of Betania, "We can see that one of the virtues most evident in the life of the Servant of God was balance. She epitomized this virtue in every dimension of her person. She reconciled the dichotomies and tensions of her life in an exquisite harmony of human existence. She did this with spontaneity and self-forgetfulness."

Noted Maria herself, "Balance is man's prime basis to settle his steps wherever God places him. Balance is the blessed formula of God to reaffirm our steps in the land of promises. We must be balanced in our friendships, our esteem, our affection, because the work of the Lord depends on this."

Unbalanced soil produces small, unproductive gardens.

The inclination and challenge of life on this planet so often is to go overboard; to paint with a broad brush (and harsh paint); to swiftly categorize. It might be said that earth is a backwash for unbalanced souls; yet only when balanced are prepared for direct Heavenly entry.

Balance comes into play in our emotions, in our interior dialogue, in our reactions, in the proper balance of work and recreation. Seek ease of spirit. Without it, there is dis-ease.

And without recreation -- a rest -- we become too austere; we lose buoyancy; we lose fervency for contemplation (and spontaneous prayer). We become disconnected from the Holy Spirit. Balance is defined as "an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady" and "a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions."

Don't get trapped by routines. Be serious. Be humorous. Be diligent. Be delighted. Be joyous. Worship. Celebrate. Infuse solidarity. Neither ignore recreation nor become too absorbed by it. Be too eager for nothing, but God and Heaven.

"Balance is not the midpoint between sin and virtue, but rather a tendency to live the maximum expression of virtue, according to the conditions and circumstances of the moment, guided by the counsel, wisdom, and right judgment of the Holy Spirit," taught Saint Francis de Sales.

This was the mindset of Maria also.

With balance comes supernatural strength.

[resources: Maria Esperanza and the Grace of Betania and The Bridge To Heaven]

[see also: Michael Brown retreat: Florida]

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