I have a little plaque at home, which I keep by the computer, of the painting by Bernhard Plockhorst of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. It is one of my favourite depictions of Jesus because it makes me think that he loves animals even though I know he was using sheep as a symbol. Every time I get a prayer request for the animals, I would like to feel able to not only implore Our Lady and my favourite saints to heal the afflicted pets but also to ask our Lord Jesus to step in and alleviate the suffering. I guess I am feeling very distant from the 'God the father' part of the holy Trinity these days as I see and read about so much evil, abuse, torture, misery and disease in this world that it seems impossible to believe that our father in heaven would not put a stop to it rather than let innocents continue to suffer. But this distance is my problem. Hopefully your faith is stronger than mine.
At any rate, I had a desire to post this beautiful painting and to include one of the Bible passages I like concerning Jesus and the sheep using a free computer program I hope you might also find helpful. If you want to read the specific story of the lost sheep, go to Luke, Chapter 15. John 10: 1-18
---• Taken from the free Digital Catholic Bible program for the computer and other devices, with versions in English, Spanish and Latin.
Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.
But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.
This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them.
Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not.
I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.
But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep:
And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.
As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.
And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.
No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
--- • Image source
I started this journal in 2005 with a dedication to St Jude. I knew also I had a great affection for the grace and goodness of Our Lady. Through the years, many people have been drawn to a certain post here
concerning St Francis of Assisi, whose memorial we celebrate today. They come to ask for help for their animals and also to give thanks for aid and comfort received. I especially revere Our Lady, St Anthony, St Martin de Porres, St Jude, St Joseph and St Francis.
Today I ask St Francis to bless all the animals with love and to touch the hearts of humans so that they may take loving care of the innocent creatures who so desperately need it.
St. Francis of Assisi, born in Umbria in 1181, was the founder of the Franciscan Order. He died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45.
**This post comes straight from Facebook from a page you can easily like and follow. I have posted them before. Click on the link under the image to view the mobile version of Mary † Virgin † Mother.
March 5 - Our Lady of Healing (II)Mary † Virgin † Mother
One of these miracles involved a certain man who lived in the county of Kilkenny, whose arm had been withered from birth so that he was unable even to move it. One night, in a dream, it seemed as though the Mother of God appeared to him and suggested that he journey to Waterford and visit her image which was then preserved in St John’s Hospital. The vision promised that if he did so, his arm would be fully restored. On awakening he decided to comply with the suggestion. Later that same day he arrived in Waterford. He first visited the Reverend Nicholas Fagan so that he could tell him the reason for his visit, but the priest suggested that he wait until the next day, when he could celebrate Holy Mass and recommend his cure to God.
The next morning the man and a considerable number of Catholics assembled in the oratory, where Reverend Fagan offered the Holy Sacrifice. At the moment of the Elevation, the man realized that his hand and arm were suddenly and perfectly cured. Not wishing to cause a disturbance at that moment by declaring what had happened, he held his peace until the end of the Mass. He then raised his arm, now as healthy and whole as the other, and proclaimed his cure to all present.
From: STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.R. Cowman
**You may read this devotional online at LightSource.com"And Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered, give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs" (Joshua 15:18, 19).
There are both upper and nether springs. They are springs, not stagnant pools. There are joys and blessings that flow from above through the hottest summer and the most desert land of sorrow and trial. The lands of Achsah were "south lands," lying under a burning sun and often parched with burning heat. But from the hills came the unfailing springs, that cooled, refreshed and fertilized all the land.
There are springs that flow in the low places of life, in the hard places, in the desert places, in the lone places, in the common places, and no matter what may be our situation, we can always find these upper springs.
Abraham found them amid the hills of Canaan. Moses found them among the rocks of Midian. David found them among the ashes of Ziklag when his property was gone, his family captives and his people talked of stoning him, but "David encouraged himself in the Lord."
Habakkuk found them when the fig tree was withered and the fields were brown, but as he drank from them he could sing: "Yet will I rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation."
Isaiah found them in the awful days of Sennacherib's invasion, when the mountains seemed hurled into the midst of the sea, but faith could sing: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved."
The martyrs found them amid the flames, and reformers amid their foes and conflicts, and we can find them all the year if we have the Comforter in our hearts and have learned to say with David: "All my springs are in thee."
How many and how precious these springs, and how much more there is to be possessed of God's own fullness!
--A. B. Simpson
I said: "The desert is so wide!"
I said: "The desert is so bare!
What springs to quench my thirst are there?
Whence shall I from the tempest hide?"
I said: "The desert is so lone!
Nor gentle voice, nor loving face
Will brighten any smallest space."
I paused or ere my moan was done!
I heard a flow of hidden springs;
Before me palms rose green and fair;
The birds were singing; all the air
Did shine and stir with angels' wings!
And One said mildly: "Why, indeed,
Take over-anxious thought for that
The morrow bringeth! See you not
The Father knoweth what you need?"--Selected[Image Source]
By St. Louis Marie de Monfort
From: Mary † Virgin † Mother
at FacebookTO FIND THE GREATEST GRACES OF GOD, WE MUST FIND MARY!
22. This does not mean that one who has discovered Mary through a genuine devotion is exempt from crosses and sufferings. Far from it! One is tried even more than others are, because Mary, as Mother of the living, gives to all her children splinters of the tree of life, which is the Cross of Jesus. But while meting out crosses to them she gives the grace to bear them with patience, and even with joy. In this way, the crosses she sends to those who trust themselves to her are rather like sweetmeats, i.e. “sweetened” crosses rather than “bitter” ones. If from time to time they do taste the bitterness of the chalice from which we must drink to become proven friends of God, the consolation and joy which their Mother sends in the wake of their sorrows creates in them a strong desire to carry even heavier and still more bitter crosses.
**If you have a Facebook account, you can click on, like and follow Mary † Virgin † Mother.
...there am I in the midst of them."
Many times I need prayers for myself, my family, my animals or others in trouble and have no one close to me to ask to pray for our needs. I'm sure many people might be in the same situation for one reason or another. Ordinarily I will ask Our Lady and my favourite saints, Saint Martin de Porres and St Anthony (along with St Joseph and St Jude), to please pray for my animals, my family or myself. I have found something else, however, that I believe is quite a blessing, and that is the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.
"The Rosary Confraternity is a spiritual association (of the Catholic Church), the members of which strive to pray the entire Rosary during the course of each week. They form a union of countless hundreds of thousands of the faithful throughout the world who, along with their own intentions, include the intentions and needs of all its members, while they in turn pray for them." [Source]
The Rosary to me is one of my most solid comforts. Our Lady never abandons me, judges me, criticises me or withholds her love. Even my animals sense her love and kindness. Many times when praying the Rosary, I will touch each of my pets with part of the Rosary beads I am using, and they wait for it much like a benediction. It is the sweetest thing.
By enrolling in the Confraternity, which takes just a minute, you join together with thousands of people the world over, and your prayers all support one another's needs.
If you think you might like to do this, please begin here on the Rosary Center's page
to read and follow the simple instructions. It couldn't be easier.
This little anecdote is from the blog Infallible Catholic
Padre Pio used to tell a story: "One day Our Lord, making the rounds of Paradise, saw some strange faces. He asked Peter: 'Who let these people in?'
Peter: 'There is nothing I can do.'
The Lord: 'But you have the key.'
Peter: 'There is nothing I can do, and you can't do anything either.'
The Lord: 'What do you mean?'
'It's your mother. She has another key. She lets them in.'" --Image from: The Graces of the Rosary