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Jul 16, 2018 1295 0 Dr. John D.
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The Parcel from Heaven

How strong is our relationship with our Father in Heaven? God considers every trouble that we face as His own troubles—do we consider our relationship with God in the same manner? Every first Friday of the month, Saint Francis of Assisi used to spend time alone in the woods, praying from six o’clock in the evening to six o’clock in the morning. Observing this routine, one of his fellow brothers asked him, “How is it that you keep yourself awake and pray through the night?” Saint Francis replied “Why don’t you go to the woods with an empty bag and another bag filled with stones. There, repeat the “Our Father” prayer, and as you repeat the prayer each time, transfer a stone into the empty bag. Do this throughout the night and as dawn approaches, all the stones would have been transferred over to the empty bag. You will not feel sleepy!”

His fellow brother was very happy to hear this, and followed what Saint Francis of Assisi said. As dawn approached he had transferred about three hundred stones into the empty bag. Morning came and he was extremely excited that he did not feel sleepy or weary during his prayers through the night. He went over to Saint Francis to share his experience, to excitedly share the number of times he was able to repeat the Lord’s Prayer. However, when he saw Saint Francis, what he observed touched his heart: there kneeling, was a teary-eyed Saint Francis, gazing towards heaven, praying, with the first stone in his hand and still on the first part of the “Our Father” prayer! At once, the brother realized that the relationship that Saint Francis had with God was a very deep one, nothing like what he had. It was not because Saint Francis was not transferring the stones that he was not tired, instead, it was the deep love that he shared with God that caused him to stay awake!

As the bell for Holy Mass goes off, Saint Francis sets off for Mass without even completing the “Our Father.” This brought his fellow brother to tears. Saint Francis hugged his fellow brother and said, “What we need in our prayer and in our Christian lives are not rituals, but an ardent love for our Heavenly Father. If you have a loving relationship with your father, everything else will fall in place.”

After many years, Saint Francis invited all the Franciscan priests and brothers for a gathering in Assisi. Franciscans all over the world travelled long distances to get to Assisi. He addressed them saying, “Dear fellow brothers, our Father in Heaven is perfectly taking care of every living winged bird and every living sea creature.” Filled with love of the Lord, he kept crying and laughing during his talk. After about three hours of listening to this, one of the brothers shouted, “Stop your speech right now! Don’t you have any concerns for the many Franciscans who have travelled long distances to get here? Have you even thought about whether there is any food for them?” Saint Francis replied, “Sorry! I forgot about planning for food for them.” The fellow brother asked him a second time, “Will their hunger be quenched by just listening to your speech?” Saint Francis lifted up both his hands towards Heaven and cried out, “Lord, I have not planned anything for my fellow brethren. But your Word says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:33).” Impatient and angry, the fellow brother lashed out, “What do you think, are we going to be delivered a parcel from Heaven or what?” But Saint Francis continued with his prayer.

As soon as his prayer was over, there was a huge rumbling sound everywhere. From all sides came many horses and donkeys carrying tons of food! What a surprise! When the people there had heard about this Franciscan gathering, it was a decision that they had secretly taken, to provide food for all the attendees! Food was abundant. Everyone ate until their stomachs were full and there were leftovers. The fellow brother was in complete awe seeing this. He excitedly hugged Saint Francis and said, “This for sure is the sign of your deep relationship with God. The same miracle as the miracle of the multiplication of loaves!”

Whenever you say the Lord’s Prayer, you must ask yourself this question: “Is God my own father to me?” If the answer is “No,” then you must grow towards that relationship. You must have the freedom of addressing God as “My Papa!” With this freedom of being His child, we must seek God’s will for us in our lives. When we seek only the will of God in everything, then God will intervene in our lives. We see in the Bible that Peter is very troubled from not having money to pay his taxes. He carries this heaviness in his heart, and does not even share it with Jesus. The One who knows everything then checks with Peter: “Do you have enough money for taxes with you?” Peter replies “No.” Then Jesus says, “Go and fish. Take the coin from the mouth of the first fish you catch, and pay taxes for you and for me.” When Jesus says, “for you and for me,” He means, “Peter, your pain is also my pain, your needs and pains are also my needs and pains.”

When we are engaged in God’s works, God promises to be with us in all our earthly needs. But we always think about the things we want. In Psalm 23, we read, “The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.” We are not to pursue goodness and mercy, instead, when we follow the Good Shepherd, goodness and mercy will pursue us. When I live for God, He will be very attentive to my needs. “I will honor those who honor me” (1 Samuel 2:30).

Damian Stayne is a reputed Evangelist from England. When he prays, miracles have occurred. He was a satan worshipper when he was in college. When he repented, he made a promise with God: “All these years, I worshipped satan. From today onwards, I will live without hurting You.” He then turned into a “miracle-man” in college. While his friends spent time with girlfriends, Damian spent his time praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The girls could not stand this. They started knocking on his door at night. In spite of tough temptation, Damian was obedient to God and preserved his holiness. Now when he prays, we see miracles.

The miracles that were revealed by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, can also be revealed through us. If we live for God, He will stand for us. Let us pray that we may live for Christ, that we may never cause pain for Jesus, and that we may be transformed to forever respect God in our lives. Amen.

Dr. John D.

© is a renown Catholic preacher and televangelist. Based in India, Dr. John has led retreats around the world for many ministries, including Shalom Media.

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