Mark, Chapter 5, Verse 35-36
35 While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 36 Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
This is the message of the gospel: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” All who believe in Christ for their salvation have access to Him at any time. Christ compels us to trust in Him as He did the synagogue official. Through faith the Holy Spirit brings us the gifts of knowledge and understanding. The gift of counsel and we are driven by the spirit to a higher level of prudence. We are docile to the spirits promptings; we have foresight and circumspection and we desire holiness.
DISCERNMENT of Life
How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel, then surely, we will grow in this spiritual endowment.
An urgent need
The gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good. All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping. We can navigate simultaneously on two or more screens and interact at the same time with two or three virtual scenarios. Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend. This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change. Yet that would be to block the working of the Spirit. We are free, with the freedom of Christ. Still, he asks us to examine what is within us – our desires, anxieties, fears and questions – and what takes place all around us – “the signs of the times” – and thus to recognize the paths that lead to complete freedom. “Test everything; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess 5:21).
Always in the light of the Lord
Discernment is necessary not only at extraordinary times, when we need to resolve grave problems and make crucial decisions. It is a means of spiritual combat for helping us to follow the Lord more faithfully. We need it at all times, to help us recognize God’s timetable, lest we fail to heed the promptings of his grace and disregard his invitation to grow. Often discernment is exercised in small and apparently irrelevant things, since greatness of spirit is manifested in simple everyday realities. It involves striving untrammelled for all that is great, better and more beautiful, while at the same time being concerned for the little things, for each day’s responsibilities and commitments. For this reason, I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord, a sincere daily “examination of conscience”. Discernment also enables us to recognize the concrete means that the Lord provides in his mysterious and loving plan, to make us move beyond mere good intentions.
A Supernatural Gift
Certainly, spiritual discernment does not exclude existential, psychological, sociological or moral insights drawn from the human sciences. At the same time, it transcends them. Nor are the Church’s sound norms sufficient. We should always remember that discernment is a grace. Even though it includes reason and prudence, it goes beyond them, for it seeks a glimpse of that unique and mysterious plan that God has for each of us, which takes shape amid so many varied situations and limitations. It involves more than my temporal well-being, my satisfaction at having accomplished something useful, or even my desire for peace of mind. It has to do with the meaning of my life before the Father who knows and loves me, with the real purpose of my life, which nobody knows better than he. Ultimately, discernment leads to the wellspring of undying life: to know the Father, the only true God, and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ. It requires no special abilities, nor is it only for the more intelligent or better educated. The Father readily reveals himself to the lowly. The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, at work, through others and at every moment. Yet we simply cannot do without the silence of prolonged prayer, which enables us better to perceive God’s language, to interpret the real meaning of the inspirations we believe we have received, to calm our anxieties and to see the whole of our existence afresh in his own light. In this way, we allow the birth of a new synthesis that springs from a life inspired by the Spirit.
Nonetheless, it is possible that, even in prayer itself, we could refuse to let ourselves be confronted by the freedom of the Spirit, who acts as he wills. We must remember that prayerful discernment must be born of a readiness to listen to the Lord and to others, and to reality itself, which always challenges us in new ways. Only if we are prepared to listen, do we have the freedom to set aside our own partial or insufficient ideas, our usual habits and ways of seeing things. In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security but lead us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognize it. Naturally, this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel as the ultimate standard, but also to the Magisterium that guards it, as we seek to find in the treasury of the Church whatever is most fruitful for the “today” of salvation. It is not a matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past, since the same solutions are not valid in all circumstances and what was useful in one context may not prove so in another. The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial “today” of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance, so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light.
The Logic of Gift and of the Cross
An essential condition for progress in discernment is a growing understanding of God’s patience and his timetable, which are never our own. God does not pour down fire upon those who are unfaithful or allow the zealous to uproot the tares growing among the wheat. Generosity too is demanded, for “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognizing how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism. This entails a readiness to make sacrifices, even to sacrificing everything. For happiness is a paradox. We experience it most when we accept the mysterious logic that is not of this world: “This is our logic”, says Saint Bonaventure, pointing to the cross. Once we enter into this dynamic, we will not let our consciences be numbed and we will open ourselves generously to discernment. When, in God’s presence, we examine our life’s journey, no areas can be off limits. In all aspects of life, we can continue to grow and offer something greater to God, even in those areas we find most difficult. We need, though, to ask the Holy Spirit to liberate us and to expel the fear that makes us ban him from certain parts of our lives. God asks everything of us, yet he also gives everything to us. He does not want to enter our lives to cripple or diminish them, but to bring them to fulfilment. Discernment, then, is not a solipsistic self-analysis or a form of egotistical introspection, but an authentic process of leaving ourselves behind in order to approach the mystery of God, who helps us to carry out the mission to which he has called us, for the good of our brothers and sisters.
World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day aims to save lives by raising awareness and educating the population about cancer. The day also serves to pressure governments and individuals to take action in order to prevent, treat and control cancers. Cancer is a heterogeneous group of diseases that result from abnormal cell growth and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. On February 4, 2000, World Cancer Day was officially established by the Paris Charter at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris. The Paris Charter sought to promote research for a cure, prevention, services for patients and support from the global community.
World Cancer Day Facts & Quotes
· Breast, lung and prostate cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Approximately 70% of patients with lung cancer die, while only 16% and 14% of patients with breast and prostate cancer suffer the same fate.
· Childhood cancers are not common. Less than 1% of all cancer diagnoses in a given year will be for a child under the age of 15.
· According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Lifestyle changes such as, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active and eating right can prevent certain types of cancer.
· Since cancer knows no boundaries, and individual countries cannot address the challenges of cancer in isolation, a new cooperative approach to research, advocacy, prevention and treatment must be established. - Paris Charter
World Cancer Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch a documentary about cancer and cancer related topics. Some of our favorites are: Understanding Cancer: The Enemy Within, Cancer: The Forbidden Cures and The Quest for the Cures: Cancer.
· Understand the risks of smoking and urge those that you know to quit smoking. Smoking is the cause of 22% of the cancers every year.
· Donate to cancer research organizations. The American Cancer Society accepts donations that help with patient treatment and exhaustive research in the hopes of curing cancer someday.
· Join the fundraising activities to support cancer victims, their families and the continued research efforts to find a cure. Many communities offer Walks for the Cure and other types of fundraising events that can support cancer survivors or those currently in treatment.
· Learn to recognize some of the general signs and symptoms of cancer. Although the signs and symptoms differ from cancer type, these are some of the American Cancer Society's general signs and symptoms:
1) the presence of an obvious mass (a bump)
2) unexplained weight loss
3) loss of appetite
4) frequent fevers
Homemade Soup Day
When the cold winter winds are blowing and snow falls around your feet, nothing takes the chill away like a bowl of homemade soup! You may think that to make a pot of simmering heaven you would need to be highly skilled in the kitchen and have all day free. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! With some well used short cuts and easy, beginner-friendly recipes all over the internet, there is no reason why you can’t impress family and friends alike with a wonderful creation to celebrate Homemade Soup Day! Soup has been warming the stomachs of the masses for nearly 9000 years! It’s about time there was a day devoted to it! Not just any soup mind you. Do not even think about opening a boring, bland can of soup on Homemade Soup Day. It’s all about the fresh, easy, homemade kind of soup! It’s a good thing that it falls in one of the coldest months of the year, near the end of winter (or so we hope the end is near!). Meals and snacks can get a little boring and repetitive when there isn’t the abundance of fresh offerings. Taking some time to put together a pot of soup is a great way to break up the monotony. What are your favorite flavors? There are many easy recipes out there. Make some chicken soup, or tomato, or maybe something more adventurous? That is what today is all about. Experiment and try something new.
How to celebrate Homemade Soup Day
You would think that the how to celebrate part of this day would be simple – just pour a bowl and tuck on in, right? Well, that is part of it but not all of it. If you are new to creating culinary masterpieces you can use this day as a motivation to try something new. Already a kitchen wizard? Use today to gather up some friends and have a tasting of several different homemade soups. Or better yet have a cook off! Each friend shows up with their own homemade masterpiece and you and your friends have a lively night of fun to see whose soup is crowned the winner
Looking for some inspiration? Try this recipe on for size!
· 32 oz Chicken Broth
· 4 c water
· 3 cups bite-size chicken
· 2 t seasoning
· 1/2 of a 12 oz. bag egg-white noodles
· 2c frozen vegetables (corn, peas, etc)
· Salt and pepper
· In large stock pot, add broth, water, chicken, and seasonings. (Add more seasoning to taste, if desired.) Bring to a boil.
· Add egg noodles and continue boiling to cook noodles as directed on package. Soup is ready to serve when noodles are done. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or allow your guests to season their own.
· Set this on the table with a loaf of dark bread and you have a meal worthy of being part of the celebration for Homemade Soup Day!