Reflection for Saturday, August 7, 2021: 18th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Shirley, Nancy
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|As I reviewed the readings for today, especially the gospel, I was struck by the emphasis on FAITH.  I reflected on the many faith stories I have shared over the years (I realized this week that I've been writing reflections for over 17 years!).  It seems that the journey of life is replete with such stories (my own and others) if we just open our hearts to see them.  As is the case lately, I seem to start my reflections and am stymied as to where to go with it.  Some may think I am way off in my thinking, but I feel that my "blocks" are deliberate – a deterrent to getting out a message of Good News. But in my prolonged pondering, a silver lining occurred – I seemed to be bombarded with stories of faith and miracles. |I searched online for how faith is defined and discussed – I found the following that most fit for me:|FAITH means- belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction, faithfulness. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that the Lord is working, even though we cannot see it. Faith knows that no matter what the situation, in our lives or someone else's that the Lord is working in it.|I find that while Faith may not be able to be seen empirically, it is, indeed, evident all around us.  I remember as a very small child having a chain necklace with a small glass ball and inside that glass ball was a mustard seed.  As I recall, it came with a card that said something like If ye have faith like a mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible until ye.  I think my mother explained it to me about the size of a mustard bush/tree all from this tiny seed.  So, having and believing in miracles was ingrained in me . . .  |Since tomorrow marks 60 years of my brother's passing at the age of 20, it was clearly on my mind as I did these readings.  I recall one of his random acts of faith before he entered the military (so about a year before he died) when he went to a Shrine (Our Lady of La Salette) and climbed the steps to Mary on his knees.  It seemed uncharacteristic of him at the time and I often have wondered what motivated him.  I remarked about this once to a close relative and the rather cynical response was what good did it do him, he died!  Perhaps some new-found faith for him that brought him closer to Jesus.  Perhaps in the seconds of his accident when he died, he found comfort in the arms of Mary and Jesus.  I truly believe it made a difference. . .|One of these new faith stories that filled my heart this week as I struggled to write this also involved the death of a very young man.  A tragic sudden death that left a father heart-broken yet because the young man was at a Jesuit university, he (the father) found himself surrounded by Jesuits who provided great comfort.  Not unlike St. Ignatius who we just celebrated at the end of last month, this father found transformation through the tragedy and his life has taken on new meaning and direction.  The young man was an organ donor, and his lungs gave renewed life to a man who then generously donated money for a home by a large medical center that would support families in their struggles and named the home in honor of this young man.  The domino effect of all the good that emerged from the tragedy is ongoing to this day.  FAITH is alive and well as the legacy lives on.|We will not ever be free from tragedy and hurt while we walk this earth, but we will never have to face that hurt alone.  We are always in the arms of our Father and comforted by our loving Mother and the numerous angels on earth.  The ordinary people who cross our lives, share their stories, listen to ours, and together our lives are changed forever . . .|What Faith Can Do by Kutless
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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