Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good – Mall Miracles

JMJ

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever!

Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν.
(This will make sense)

Psalm 114:7 – 8
Tremble, earth, before the Lord,
before the God of Jacob,
Who turned rock into pools of water,
stone into flowing springs.

I’m a coward.  This is not to mean the kind of holy fear of the Lord described in Psalm 114.  I’m the kind of coward who runs and hides from doing what is good and right and just because of fear of looking ridiculous or being thought less of.  This is especially humiliating to me when I consider what I believe the Lord is asking of me.

Isaiah 62:1
For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
Until her vindication shines for like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

and

Isaiah 42:13-14
The LORD goes for like a hero,
like a warrior He stirs up His ardor;
He shouts out His battle cry,
against His enemies He shows His might:
I have looked away, and kept silence,
I have said nothing, holding myself in;
But now, I cry out as a woman in labor,
gasping and panting.

Zion and Jerusalem are types (things that point forward to something God will fulfill at a point later than themselves) of the Catholic Church.  I have kept silence, not defending or promoting the Church.  Christ and His Church are one:

Ephesians 5:31 – 32
“…and the two shall become one flesh.”  This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.

For this reason, when I choose to not stand up for the Church, I imitate Peter’s denials and the cowardice of the other apostles who fled.  I abandon Jesus.  I abandon Him precisely at a time it is most unfitting to do so.

Psalm 115:1 – 8
Not to us, LORD, not to us,
but to Your Name give glory
because of Your faithfulness and love.
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
whatever God wills is done.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths but do not speak,
eyes but do not see.
They have ears but do not hear,
noses but do not smell.
They have hands but do not feel,
feet but do not walk,
and no sound rises from their throats.
Their makers shall be like them,
all who trust in them.

We live in a culture of death.  Idolatry is all around us.  Self-will, pleasure, power, pride, wealth, sex – this is our culture.  I hear the voice of the Lord say “My beloved, my beloved, come to Me!” but we will not.  He wishes to embrace us in His mercy, to welcome even the most hardened sinner into His rest, but we prefer our dead idols, and following them, we become dead like them.  If we would only follow the living God, we would live like Him.

I never go to the mall.  I would like to put myself up as a model of worldly detachment and saintliness.  In truth, it’s mostly because I’m like Ebeneezer Scrooge (pre-Christmas Eve).  I’m a miser.  However, my brother is not a miser, and he wanted a ride to the mall to go clothes shopping with his Christmas money.  Now back home is 40 minutes from the nearest mall (in Waldorf), so I knew we would probably spend some time there.  I brought some reading material (a Bible), and put on some appropriate clothes (Our Lady of Guadalupe t-shirt and “Catholic: est. 33 A.D. baseball hat).  We get there, and my brother walks into a clothing store.  I begin to walk in with him until the loud music and soft porn posters littering the walls causes me to go and sit on the bench outside.  I begin to read.  On an impulse to stretch my neck or otherwise, I look at the store across the hall from the one my brother was in.  I was horrified.  There were literally stark naked women pressed against each other on a giant poster.  God called me at that moment to evangelize in the mall.  As I said before, though…I’m a coward.

Psalm 116:10-15
I trusted, even when I said:
“I am sorely afflicted,”
and when I said in my alarm:
“No man can be trusted.”
How can I repay the Lord
for His goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the Lord’s name.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfill
before all His people.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of His faithful.

I didn’t trust, and I wasn’t sorely afflicted…by man, anyway.  I did walk around with a heavy heart, knowing that I was avoiding God’s will.  God has been truly good to me.  How can I repay Him?  Not totally, of course, but I can do my best at this by drinking of the same cup that the Lord Jesus drank – that of suffering in obedience to the Father for the sake of others.  What vows have I made to the Lord?  Well…”Do you reject Satan?  And all his works?  And all his empty promises?  Do you believe in God…?”  What is it to truly believe in God?  This is to do His will which we will not understand except that it will mean our death in some form.

Psalm 117
Praise the LORD, all you nations!
Give glory, all you peoples!
The LORD’s love for us is strong;
the LORD is faithful forever.
Hallelujah!

Thanks be to God that God is a loving Father.  As Father, He knows how to spur His children on to do good.  I was lamenting from time to time about wanting to evangelize in the mall, but never going and doing so.  I just so happened to gripe about it around Zack, who just happened to get enamored with the idea.  God places people in our lives to help us.  Eventually Zack and I got around to scheduling a time to go.  Needless to say, I was still pretty nervous, and thought it would probably go badly.  The enemy likes to play on fear.

Psalm 118:4 – 14
Let those who fear the LORD say,
God’s love endures forever.
In danger I called on the LORD;
the LORD answered and set me free.
The LORD is with me as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on my foes.
Better to take refuge in the LORD
than to put one’s trust in mortals.
Better to take refuge in the LORD
than to put one’s trust in princes.
All the nations surrounded me;
in the LORD’s name I crushed them.
They surrounded me on every side;
in the LORD’s name I crushed them.
They surrounded me like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns;
in the LORD’s name I crushed them.
I was hard pressed and falling,
but the LORD came to my help.
The LORD, my strength and might,
came to me as savior.

So I get to the mall, very nervous.  I’m even more so because I beat Zack there by a good 10-15 minutes and some scantily clad women happen to be slowly walking into the mall just before me, causing a moving roadblock.  (Women, please dress modestly.  It’s better for a millstone to be tied around one’s neck and be cast into the sea than to cause another to sin. c.f. Matthew 8:6)  I know I’m entering enemy territory.  Zack shows up and we eat in the food court.  After that, I figure the easiest effective thing to do is to publicly pray a rosary while walking around the mall, so that’s what we do.  Once we finish that, comes the main event, so to speak – looking for people to pray for and over.  I’m a coward.  I don’t like doing this.  Then we happen to pass a 9ish year old girl with a bandaged up knee and walking on crutches.  As I’m the leader we *happen* to pass by her – by about 30 ft.  Did I mention that I’m a coward?  Zack and I look at each other and agree we need to pray over this girl, so we go back.  (It’s a good idea to bring a friend to guilt you into doing the right thing.)  Zack, in possession of much more tact than I, strums up a conversation with the girl and her mother asking if we can pray over her.  They agree.  There we are, in the middle of the mall, on our knees praying over a girl on crutches.  At this point I’m more hoping to just finish up, find out that nothing happened, and get going, never to have to enter a mall again.  Coward.  That God guy, though…He takes even a small stepping out in faith and goes with it.  Zack and I get up and ask l’il Sophie how she’s doing.  After a word of encouragement from her mom, she hands her mom the crutches and puts all her weight on her bandaged knee.  I see a big smile come across her face as she says she feels great.  God healed her.  I’m more than a little surprised, despite having seen God perform miraculous healings before.  Before we walk away, I get to share with Sophie that her name σοφία in Greek means “wisdom,” something I’m not feeling too much in possession of.  Nevertheless, now that family has a concrete thought to bring to mind when the world tempts them to go against our loving God.  Oh, and the knee works now, too.  Also good.  The kingdom is furthered in a small, but significant way.

God has the power to crush all His enemies.  He did this magnificently on the Cross and does so still to this day in a very visible way through healings such as Sophie experienced. He even does this with respect to the guidance of His children, bringing them even out of vain attachments to human respect and prideful lacking in trust of Him.  Truly, with the Lord at our side, to act with wisdom is to boldly trust Him.  In total, we prayed over three groups (Sophie was the only one with an injury).  It was a very blessed evening – one I’ve since gotten to relate to some very secular people at the workplace.

Mark 14:26
Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν.
Then, after singing a hymn [literally “after hymning”], they went out to the Mount of Olives.

The “hymn” they sang were Psalms 114-118.  These speak in a special way of God’s power and love and trusting in God who brings victory out of an apparently hopeless situation.  This is what our Lord sang as he entered into His agony, knowing what was to come ahead.  God has taught me in this to trust Him more, though as the Blessed Mother told St. Faustina, even in joy, remember the Cross.  These victories will not be always painless; they will require at times looking like a fool, losing human respect, losing friends, losing financially, perhaps even losing freedom or losing life.  “But now I cry as a woman in labor” “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent.”  Let us go hymning to bear our cross!  (God help us!)

I would ask you all to pray for me.  The Lord has used this very broken instrument, and done great things despite its nothingness.  Pray that the Lord grant me the courage to do His will, especially when I do not understand it or foresee any good coming from it.  Please pray also for Zack and for those we prayed with, especially Maddie, whose nana had a stroke a couple weeks ago.  Also, as we start to try doing this on something of a regular basis, I would invite you all to participate in this work of evangelization.  If the Lord can conquer my fear, He can conquer yours.

Trust in the Lord.

Psalm 118:29
Give thanks to the LORD, who is good,
whose love endures forever.

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2 thoughts on “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good – Mall Miracles

  1. Wow. For many years (I am 50) I have desired, imagined, almost tasted a world “not far in the future” that would be based off young people (teens,20’s,30’s) leading the world.

    You heard me right. Often we imagine more “mature” adults wielding more world influence.
    They have the money, they have the political connections, and the “expertise”.

    Jesus doesn’t care about that. That’s why he was always a youth- his whole life. It was to show young persons that THIS is the time you are ripest for ministry, when you have the vital energies to love Jesus and his body. The people need you. They need to be loved& prayed over by YOU. Worry? Heck no…laugh!!! Let the pharisees (lawyers & mall owners?) kick you out. The disciples rejoiced upon this treatment ….”and their numbers were added to each day.”

  2. Michael,

    That was a very beautiful post. You are most certainly a man of God- look how many times you matched up with the Apostles!!!! =)

    Seriously, though, I have been super impressed with your love for Christ over the last months and how clearly you want to share Him with others. I wondered also if you would hide in your shell- you seemed to be that “type”- how awful of me to say that! But also necessary today, because I used to be one of those girls. I wish you had been there to talk to me. I probably would have shot you down, made fun of you with my friends, persecuted you, and then later, cried to God that I didn’t listen to you, and that I discouraged one of His faithful servants. I would have prayed for you and resolved to listen the next time someone came along.

    God bless you!!

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