Does Jesus still heal and perform miracles today?
As a child of eight, I remember sitting with my mother watching an appeal on TV that was asking donations for the poor and starving children of Africa. I felt an ache and an almost magnetic pull towards one young boy of a similar age who was shown crying. I felt his eyes burn into mine as a fly landed on his lip and he did not even notice. At the same time, an overwhelming wave of love and sadness swept over me.
I was watching people who were dying from lack of food while I sat comfortably just metres away from a full refrigerator. I could not make sense of the injustice and wondered what I could do. When I asked my mother how I could help, she said we could send money, but I felt compelled to do something personally, directly. That feeling echoed in my heart at various times of my life, but I never really knew what doing something more direct and personal could be. I grew up believing I had a calling in my life, that I existed to bring about change, and that I was born to love, serve and help others. But life always seemed to get in the way of acting on those convictions.
In 2013 I spent time in an English prison. It was there that I encountered the risen Lord in the most life–changing experience of my life. Space does not permit me to elaborate (Refer my bio credited at the end of the article to get the link to the Shalom World TV program “Jesus My Savior” episode where I tell that part of my story), but after that encounter I surrendered my life to him and have been on a most incredible journey ever since.
In 2015, when I met an American religious brother who worked with the poor in Calcutta, India, I finally recognized my opportunity to serve among the poor. Within months I was on a plane headed to India to volunteer with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
As soon as I landed, I looked at the night sky and felt God’s presence. When I sat back in the taxi I immediately thought, ‘I’m home’. Yet here I was in a place I had never been before. When I began my volunteer work, I understood why I felt at home: Home is where the heart is.
I encountered Jesus countless times in the poor and beautiful people of India. Mother Teresa said the Gospel can be described on 5 fingers: ‘you… did… it… to… me’ (Matthew 25:40), and in the poor I regularly saw the eyes of Jesus. From the moment I woke up and prayed each morning to the moment my head hit the pillow at night, I experienced love. Each night before bed I sat on the roof terrace writing in my journal until the very early hours. People wondered how I kept going, why I did not collapse in a heap. There is only one explanation—the fire in my Heart which is The Holy Spirit.
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I often connect with people through the eyes. I connected this way with a disabled young man I cared for who each day invited me to play cards with him. Since he was both mute and lacked the use of his arms and legs, he would point to which cards he wanted me to turn. As the days passed, we communicated more and more even though no words came from his mouth. We communicated through the eyes in the universal language of love.
One day, he asked me to wheel him inside the house and led me to a floor-to-ceiling image of The Divine Mercy. I asked if he loved Jesus and he smiled and nodded. We went into the chapel and as I wheeled him close to the tabernacle, he threw himself out of the wheelchair, face down. Thinking he had fallen I went to help him, but he pushed me away and performed one of the most beautiful acts of worship I have ever witnessed. Using all his strength he pushed himself up onto his knees. I knelt next to him with tears in my eyes. As I led the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be he made noises matching my words perfectly in rhythm and tone. From birth this man had been dealt a life of suffering, rejection, and isolation. His body was crippled, yet he knelt praying and giving thanks to God, radiating light and teaching me how prayer should be done.
Another day, he showed me all his earthly possessions. He opened a small shoe box that contained photographs which he was eager to show me. The photographs were of him when the Missionaries of Charity Brothers first found him and brought him into their home. Another was of his Baptism, one of his First Holy Communion, and another of his Confirmation. He loved showing the photos and I loved seeing them and seeing the pleasure he took in showing them to me.
When the time came for me to return home, I was in floods of tears and found it almost impossible to say goodbye to my new friend. We were next to his bed when he pointed to his pillow. I didn’t understand, but another resident, a child with Down’s syndrome, lifted my friend’s pillow and revealed a set of Rosary beads. My friend grabbed them the best he could with his crippled hand and moved towards me to give them to me. Knowing how little he had, I told him I could not take them. He stared at me with his frowned eyebrows telling me I had to. Reluctantly I held out my hand and he dropped them into my palm. As soon as the Rosary touched me, I felt love go through my body. The Rosary was made from string and plastic, but it was more valuable than gold or precious stones. I kissed him and the Rosary and left absolutely staggered at how much God had blessed me through the beauty and love of this amazing human being. Like the widow in the gospel, he had given out of his extreme poverty.
On 4th September 2016, Mother Teresa was declared a Saint. I had the privilege of being in St Peter’s Square for the Canonisation Mass. Early on the morning after (September 5, her feast day), I decided to visit St John Lateran Basilica before my flight home to thank God for my experience and for Mother Teresa. Early in the morning, I entered the church and found it empty except for two nuns at the front who stood next to a first-class relic of Mother Teresa. I asked if I could touch my new Rosary beads to the relic whilst I prayed. I explained who gave them to me and then thanked her for saying yes.
She returned the Rosary with a holy card of Mother Teresa which read on the back: ‘All for Jesus through Mary’. As I kissed the Rosary, that phrase exploded in my heart. I had been asking Jesus to show me what was most pleasing to Him and this card provided an answer to my prayer. As I prayed in gratitude, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A lady wearing a surgical mask was looking directly into my eyes. “Whatever you are praying for,” she said, “do not be afraid. God is with you”. I immediately stood up and with love erupting from the very core of my being, I kissed the woman.
The woman told me she had cancer. “But the crazy thing is,” she said, “I can’t cure myself”. “That’s true,” I said, “you can’t heal yourself, but God can and for that to happen you must have faith.”
She replied that she had little faith. I told her that was fine because Jesus tells us we only need ‘faith the size of a Mustard seed’ to move mountains (Mark 11:22-25). “If we can move mountains,” I said, “then we can certainly move cancer.” I asked her to repeat with me ‘believe that you have received it and it will be yours.’ (Mark 11:24). As we parted, I gave her a Rosary from Medjugorje and we exchanged phone numbers. In the coming weeks I encouraged her, by email and text, to trust Jesus and continue claiming her healing.
A few weeks passed. One day, just as I was entering the church, she sent me a text asking for prayer before her hospital check-up. Her last exam showed the cancer had spread. As I prayed, I felt reassured by the warmth of the sun shining on me through the stained-glass window. It hardly felt surprising when she delightedly shared her good news. The doctors could not explain it!
Not only was she better, but the cancer had completely disappeared. Later, I remembered something about the moment she tapped me on the shoulder in Rome when I felt that strong urge to kiss her. Moments before that kiss, I had kissed the Rosary beads which had just touched the relic of Mother Teresa. When I explained this to her she was stunned and told me how Mother Teresa had asked her to join her community when they had met years before. Afraid to say yes to that call, the woman wound up marrying instead. But now, in this dramatic healing she was unexpectedly connected—through me, the Sisters in the Rome Basilica, the sacred relic—to the Holy woman whom she had met many years before.
Over and over, my life events have shown me that God answers prayer, that Jesus still heals, and that miracles still happen. We have the intercession of Saints and the power of the Rosary to help us. And that is enough to move mountains.
Dear Jesus, I love You above all things in this world. Help me to see you in those around me, especially my family, and to share the joy of loving You. I want to love You more and more each day. Amen.
©Sean Booth is a Lay Missionary of Charity and has just begun studying a Bachelor of Divinity theology degree at Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, England, UK. He shares his incredible encounter with Jesus through the Shalom World TV program “Jesus My Savior”. To watch the amazing story. visit: https://shalomworld.org/episode/a-prisoner-finds-jesus-seanbooth.
Did you know you have an ever-present father? Read on if you are longing for his love. When you turn back Sixteen years ago I was facilitating a catechist class at Folsom Prison, a maximum security prison in California, preparing some of the inmates for Confirmation. An inmate named Juan, was telling his story. He shared that his biological father had abandoned his family when he was an infant and that his stepfather was aloof and abusive. In so many words, he said that his connectedness to a father of any kind was “messed up”. That might be the reason, he said, why he is drawn to his childhood faith--he is still seeking his father. I said, “Juan, God IS your Father and Jesus invites you to call him ‘Abba’.” “What does ‘Abba’ mean?” he asked. “It means ‘Dad’, ‘Papa.’ Jesus gives you permission to call God ‘Papa’,” I said. With tears welling in his eyes, Juan slowly and reverently recited the Our Father. He said it with such power and conviction that it seemed like he was saying it for the first time. The simplicity of the Lord’s Prayer and our own familiarity with it can mask what a phenomenal breakthrough it was in the history of religion. Jesus doesn’t address God as ‘Judge,’ or ‘Omniscient One,’ or ‘Great Power in the Sky’, or some other title that that would point to God’s transcendence. Instead, Jesus calls God ‘Father’ which evokes a sense of familiarity, reminding us how a child turns towards his or her father, trusting that they are loved by him. Filling the void If some experience their fathers as absent, judgmental, or harsh, it is possible they may project these qualities onto God. If they have grown to expect little of their fathers, they may also expect little or nothing of God. If their father was generally non-communicative, they may project that onto God. But Jesus taught us to call God “Abba” which means “my father” and evokes a sense of intimacy, of warmth, safety, and love. Such an understanding of God as loving parent can be found in the prophet Hosea, who captures this intimate Father-child relationship that Jesus invites us to: When Israel was a child, I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther they went from me, sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, With bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks. (Hosea 11:1-4). What a tender image of our loving God as one “who raises an infant to his cheeks.” That’s the image that melted the heart of a prisoner named Juan and filled his eyes with tears. Many people go through life seeking their father. But Jesus tells us we have a father who loves us more than any earthly parent ever could. We simply have to come before him and with the simplicity of childhood say, “Abba!” Heavenly Father I surrender myself completely into Your hands just like a child, and I trust in Your Divine providence. Each day let me feel those invisible bands of love which draw me close to You. Amen.
In 1926, as the Cristero war began, Mexicans had suffered religious persecution for many years. Churches were confiscated and closed. Religious education and gatherings were banned. Religious and priests were forced into hiding. One night, plainclothes policemen staked out a home where they suspected people were gathering to receive Communion. A man approached and quickly flipped the lapel of his suit jacket, as if to show a lieutenant’s badge. “What’s going on?” he asked. “We think a priest is inside,” they replied. “Wait here while I check,” he commanded. They kept watch as he went in to boldly distribute Holy Communion to the faithful waiting inside. Father Miguel Pro was famous for his impersonations. Using a variety of clever disguises, and often in the dead of night, he bravely ventured out to baptize infants, bless marriages, celebrate Mass, hear confessions, anoint the sick and distribute Holy Communion. On more than one occasion, he penetrated a jail disguised as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to Catholics awaiting execution. Dressed as a stylish businessman, he even frequented the neighbourhoods of his greatest enemies to collect for the poor. Arm in arm with a young lady, or dressed in the rags of a beggar, he cheerfully brought spiritual and material relief to beleaguered Mexican Catholics at the risk of his life. Renowned for his ready wit, he laughed in the face of death, “If I meet any long-faced saints in Heaven, I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance.” After little more than a year of this clandestine ministry, his enemies were desperate to eradicate his influence. Falsely accusing him of an assassination attempt, he was sentenced to death without trial, immediately after capture. President Calles invited world media to witness his execution, expecting Father Pro to break down and deny his faith in front of the firing squad. Instead their photos captured him peacefully forgiving and praying for his executioners, refusing a blindfold and welcoming the bullets with arms outstretched in the form of a cross, shouting, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long Live Christ the King!)
Want to be the best version of you? Take the first step! Missing Link My testimony is not about a powerful conversion, a life changing moment or a miraculous healing. It is a journey of small steps—a journey where I continually stumbled and fell, but God always picked me up and walked with me. I was born and raised Catholic. However, as many people could attest, this does not always amount to much. I participated in the Sacraments and went to Church regularly, but a personal relationship with Jesus was lacking. During my university life, whenever I encountered difficulties, I turned to God for comfort. He was always there for me, but I was not always there for Him. I put God in a compartment and I turned to Him only when I needed. He was certainly a part of my life, since I continued to go to Church on Sundays and pray frequently, but He was not central to my life. My own interests and desires were at the forefront of my mind. I never really paused to think about God’s will. Six months before graduation, my whole world turned upside down. I went through a really deep depression and for a long time, there was only darkness. The despair and hopelessness I felt is hard to convey in words, but I think that many of you reading this will have felt it at some point. When it happens, we go one way or another. We run towards God seeking refuge in Him or run away from Him in anger. Sadly, I chose the latter. I could not understand why God would put me through something so horrific if He loved me. For the best part of a year, I completely isolated myself. I stopped attending Church. I stopped going anywhere at all. I was caught up in feelings of shame and worthlessness. Thoughts like ‘you’re a burden’ and ‘everyone would be so much better off without you’ constantly invaded my head. My mind was like a prison that I just could not escape from. Thankfully, that was not the end of my story. One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose”. This reassures us that, whatever may happen in our lives, God will work it out for our good. It also lovingly reminds us that we have been chosen by Him and we have a purpose through Him. This became evident in my life when I slowly returned to the faith with the help of various people and incidents that God surely orchestrated. Baby Steps This time, it was different. I attended daily Mass and retreats as I truly sought God’s love. However, my mental health struggles kept recurring. There was not any progression or recovery, so my future looked bleak. I was fed up with life constantly. The hope and peace Jesus promised seemed far away. As I said before, there was not a magical moment when things turned around for me as I would have liked. I had to wait for God’s timing. Nevertheless, some small steps helped me progress to a more positive state. My family is my biggest blessing. They have stood by me through the darkest times and I am truly grateful to God for them. About two years ago, we started reading the Bible for thirty minutes daily—something we continue to do. Even though it can be arduous, especially when delving into some of the Old Testament, it is definitely worth persevering. When we appreciate that the Bible is the living Word of God, we realize that there is an answer in there for everything. “Satan’s target is your mind and his weapons are lies. So fill your mind with the Word of God”—Greg Locke. This quote emphasizes how the devil uses lies against us as weapons. My struggles were mainly with my mind and I felt trapped. I wrestled with many sins that kept coming up again and again. The devil told me that I was unloved, broken and worthless when in actual fact, I am a child of God, who is infinitely loved. These are a few affirmations that the Word of God gives each of us: “I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works that He has prepared for me to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) “The Spirit of God, who is greater than the enemy in the world, lives in me.” (1 John 4:4) “I am chosen by God who called me out of the darkness of sin and into the light and life of Christ so I can proclaim the excellence and greatness of who He is.” (1 Peter 2:9) Flawless Love One of my favorite things about the Catholic faith is the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation). Being able to run to Confession and pour out my heart to Jesus has been immensely valuable. Receiving His forgiveness frees us from the guilt and shame which the devil condemns us to. The Holy Spirit helps us realize when we are on the wrong path, needing to repent and turn back to God. As long as we do this, there is nothing to worry about, although we may have to do it over and over again. The further we have strayed from God, the more He rejoices when we come back, just as the father celebrated when the prodigal son returned. This took me a while to realize and I still have not grasped it fully; I do not need to do anything at all to earn God’s love. It is an unconditional gift that He pours out on us. His love is not dependent on me or my flawed self. It is dependent on His nature which is all loving and merciful. Even through my darkest times and yours, this love gives us hope. In the book of the prophet Hosea, God proclaims that He will “transform the Valley of Trouble into a Gateway of Hope” (Hosea 2:15). This beautifully portrays what happened in my life. Through His love, God transformed my troubles into an opportunity to have hope and share that hope with you. Step by Step In hindsight, my pain led me to ultimately get closer to God. He is the only one who has truly been there for me through everything. He is not only the majestic, all powerful God, He is my comforter and friend. I have learned to be more accepting of God’s will and His timing. My life definitely didn’t pan out the way I planned, but that is not a bad thing because God’s ways are higher than my ways. “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Many small factors contributed over time to increasing my faith. It led me to a deeper appreciation and understanding of God. I also truly believe that the power of prayer has helped me survive life’s many challenges. I humbly request that you keep me in your prayers and that we all adopt a mentality of praying for each other. As my testimony shows, we do not necessarily have to do ‘big’ things to get closer to God. Small steps are all it takes. I hope you are able to take a small step towards God today. He is waiting lovingly with open arms. Dear God, I firmly believe and hope in You. Each day I rise up to take one more step closer to You. All I ask is for the grace to know You and love You. Let me be enfolded in Your loving arms. Amen
On August 18, 1996, when Mass concluded in the Church of Santa Maria y Caballito Almagro, a woman reported that a consecrated Host had been abandoned on a dusty candle holder at the back of the Church. Since it was not in a fit condition to be consumed, the priest followed normal protocols by placing the Host in water and storing it in the tabernacle. The following Monday, when the tabernacle was opened, the Host appeared to be suffused with a bloody substance. This was reported to Bishop Jorge Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis, at that time auxiliary bishop and soon to be archbishop of Buenos Aires). The Host was then moved to a secure location where the appearance of the Host continued to change until it was flesh alone. Archbishop Bergoglio led an investigation into the miracle after the host-turned-bloody was miraculously preserved for several years. On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Archbishop’s representatives, a scientist took a sample of the fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. The origin of the sample was not revealed to the scientists. Dr. Frederic Zugiba, a well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist, determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA taken from the heart of a living person who had been tortured. He testified that “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle which is responsible for the contraction of the heart. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”
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