St. Joseph Miracle Prayers: Multiplication!
To God be the glory!
Each Wednesday, as we honour St. Joseph in this holy year, we want to also encourage your faith with uplifting stories of what God is doing/has done.
Hallelujah! Years ago, Lee Anne received in prayer, which was confirmed through spiritual direction also, that she would receive another house, which would be called "Mary's House." It would also be a house for people with no place to go. As you know, this has been Lee Anne's call and mandate for a long time...how God brought her from a place with no place to go herself, living through tragedy, and raised her up and gave her a unique ministry to the most hopeless of cases. (more of Lee Anne's testimony here)
We then received revelation from the Lord in prayer, while meditating on the Scriptures, that not only would He give another house, but also that He would multiply houses of prayer and refuge like this one all around the world- places for people with no place to go.
We were going to establish Mary's House in India when we were invited there on mission by Fr. Fernando Suarez- but the heat, the food, were such a difficult transition, that we discerned it was not our call to live permanently in the foreign missions. The priests were going to build a house for us, in actual fact an addition to the school where we would be working, teaching English and praise and worship to the dalit children.
When we came back to Canada, as you know, we struggled through homelessness for nearly three months, when the Lord blessed us miraculously, to be able to purchase what is now Mary's House in Canada, home and headquarters of Heart Two Heart Ministries Inc. But, we are privileged and blessed to announce as well, to the glory of God, that a Mary's House has been established also in India!
In actual fact, this house was Fr. Fernando's gift, donated to a priest friend of his, as a blessing for the priest's family, who were in great need. This priest will be doing the house blessing tomorrow, on the Fr. Fernando's 1st anniversary of death. He is dedicating the building as a house of prayer and refuge, a place for people with no place to go. We will see what God does through this new place of prayer! "I will bring them into my holy mount, and will make them joyful in my house of prayer: their holocausts, and their victims shall please me upon my altar: for my house shall be called the house of prayer, for all nations." (Isaiah 56:7)
You know, this priest, and many priests in India and in the world today (even on Iling Island in Occidental Mindoro, where we stayed in the Philippines on mission), are what could be called modern-day "circuit riders."
Of course, Jesus and the Apostles were the original "circuit-riders;" Jesus traveled from town to town to preach the Gospel, "who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." (Acts 10:38) He preached and taught in the synagogues, in the streets, in the fields...wherever God's people were. Many times, He and the Apostles returned back to the same place that they had preached before...the beginning of a "circuit." They would stay in the houses that were open and hospitable to them. (Luke 10:7) We saw this, too, in the life of Fr. Fernando.
St. Paul took it to another level, as he created a circuit among the Gentile converts. He would stay in a city sometimes for 2 years, teaching and training and lifting up new leaders. He was transferring the anointing that Jesus had given him. Then, if he could not himself return due to travel or because he was imprisoned, he would send someone he trusted completely, such as Timothy, who had learned directly from him, a "spiritual son," back to a place where he had been. If he couldn't do this, or in addition to it, he would also send letters, which make up most of the New Testament we have today.
In the United States, the early Methodists preachers would travel by horseback to outlying villages and settlements. Pioneers lived so far away from each other in the "backwoods," and were not able to access a church, as they were only in the big towns. The preachers would establish a small country chapel, and create one stop on the circuit- sometimes it was someone's home at first, before a chapel was built.
In the underground Church throughout the world, secret circuits have been built, so that the people can have Mass/attend church/ worship together without fear of being executed, or "disappear." This is what happened in Yugoslavia during communism, during the French Revolution, and many other times in Church history. Perhaps it must happen again, because the government does not see worshipping God as an "essential service," and yet God's Word commands it. "And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. "Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25) Priests and pastors will need to arise and shine (Isaiah 60:1) and somehow ensure that the Church stays alive.
There are already modern-day circuit riders in India and other nations- even in many places in Canada and the United States! In some places, one priest is pastor of 7 churches- many times, due to a shortage in vocations to the priesthood, young priests are made pastors in their first 3 years, who then are responsible for traveling to all the outlying parishes...is it not similar to what it once was?
In history, Church attendance always dies when the assumption is made that "people will come," simply because a church building is there. What of the vast majority of people, who either have never heard the Gospel, or simply don't belong to a church community? They will go with the first denomination or group that reaches out to them, and makes them feel at home...
God bless the modern-day circuit riders! They may not ride on horseback, but nevertheless require a motorbike to reach quite remote areas. In India, the Catholics are treated as the lowest of the lowest class, and in many cases, as such, are not allowed to live in the major cities. Instead, they are forced to live in remote villages, where food and water and electricity are much more scarce, in some cases non-existent.
The way that Christians are forced to live in many countries throughout the world is shameful! And yet, they go to great lengths and distances, and through danger and peril of being "reported," or detained, even killed simply for gathering to worship Jesus.
The early Church was told first by the Pharisees, then by the Romans, that they were not allowed by God's Law, and man's law, to gather together to worship God. Did they obey the authority of man, "as Scripture says in Romans 13"? No- because Scripture demands obedience to the government insofar as it is the government's responsibility (to enforce payment of taxes, enact laws for our protection, etc.) Absolutely nowhere in the Bible does it say to be obedient to the government when the say, "do not worship God together."
The early Christians were not content to worship God from the comfort of their own homes alone, or with their household only; rather, their houses became the first Christian churches, where they met in secret to have Mass, to worship God and receive the sacraments. This is what they do in many countries throughout the world!
Is a sickness greater than God? Is there any reason to forsake the gathering of God's people, and the worship He requires in the 4th Commandment to "keep holy the Sabbath"?
Lord, may the circuit riders arise, so that the Gospel may be preached without hindrance! The Church is like a river...it has to flow over and around the stones that the world, the flesh and the devil throw in its way. But Jesus said, "the gates of hell will not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:17-19) Hallelujah!
As we finish the Novena for Healing, in honour of Fr. Fernando Suarez' 1st anniversary of death (Feb. 4th), and as we honour St. Joseph, whom he loved, let us pray for the priests and pastors throughout the world, who lay their lives on the line so that God's people will not starve for His Word and presence. Let us pray that others will have the courage to rise up, and find ways to feed the starving flock. God said,
“'Woe to the shepherds (civil leaders, rulers) who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!' says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, in regard to the shepherds who care for and feed My people: 'You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; hear this, I am about to visit and attend to you for the evil of your deeds,' says the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of My flock...'" (Jeremiah 23:1-3a)
but also promised,
"And I will raise me up a faithful priest, who shall do according to my heart, and my soul, and I will build him a faithful house, and he shall walk all days before my anointed." (1 Samuel 2:35)
Thank You, Jesus that You will provide and take care of Your Church always. Praise to You. Through the care of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, protect and strengthen Your people. You promised that "The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace." (Psalm 29:11) We humbly call upon You to do it again, Lord- release the power and glory of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and renew Your Church today in Jesus' Name. Amen!
Prayer to St. Joseph
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
Show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.