Thursday, July 11, 2013

Be it Food or Faith – Our God Provides

'The more you abandon to God the care of all temporal things the more He will take care to provide for all your wants. But if on the contrary you try to supply all your needs Providence will allow you to continue to do just that, and then it may very well happen that even necessity will be lacking to you. For God will reprove you for your lack of faith in reliance on self.'  - St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle

Gospel Text: (Mt 10:7-15)
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”

“Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey” – What are you crazy!

Divine Providence is a heavily disputed subject even among many of the faithful followers of Christ. So what is Divine Providence? I would say that it is what Jesus talked about when He said: "So do not worry and say,  'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' ...But seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides." (Matthew 6:31,33).

Divine Providence is trusting in God - believing that He would provide what we need when we need it. But we no longer live in a society that depends on God for food and shelter. We are rational beings - people who know that unless we show up to work in the morning everyday, there won't be any food on the table. Even as I grow in my faith, I found it hard to believe in a God who can also be a Provider. And I know that I am not the only one to have this attitude as I find many people with strong faith who simply refuse to believe that God can provide them with everything they need as long as they are willing to follow Him with all their heart. 

Thank goodness the saints think differently and show us the way.

Mother Teresa was a very ordinary person. Neither was she highly educated, nor was she gifted with supreme managerial or people skills. Instead she listened to God, and God provided her with everything she wanted to get the job done.

Here are a few instances from Mother's life where God directly got involved:
There was the time in Calcutta when Mother ran out of food and the next food supply was two days away. She had about seven thousand people expecting to get fed those two days. For some unanticipated reason the government closed down schools for two days, and all the bread that would have been provided for the schoolchildren was sent to Missionaries of Charity. She received just enough bread to serve everybody for two days. On another occasion a sister telephoned from Agra to say that a children's home was desperately needed there. It would have taken about 50,000 rupees to do so and Mother was compelled to tell her that it was impossible at that time due to lack of funds. The phone rang again as soon as she hung up with the sister to inform her that she had been awarded the Magsaysay Award from the Philippines. The award money amounted to some 50,000 rupees. In 1971, Mother Teresa found a house in Southall, England to start a novitiate, but the owner wanted 9,000 Pounds for it. She placed a small miraculous medal in the garden of the property and prayed, then offered 6,000 Pounds for it. Though the offer was significantly lower than the market value, the owner of the property immediately accepted the offer. A problem arose when she tried to bring money from India to buy the house, as banking regulations prevented such a transfer. She set off on a tour of England and spoke at different places, briefly mentioning about her intention to open a novitiate in Southall. She made no appeal for money, however, people still gave her small donations as she travelled. At the end of the tour, the total donations received was counted and it totaled to 5,995 Pounds!

God wanted Mother Teresa to see Jesus in the poorest of the poor in this world. In return for her obedience, God provided her with everything she ever needed. He did the same for the first apostles when they were told by Jesus to go out with “no gold or silver or copper for their belts and no sack for the journey’ in today’s gospel. And he will do the same for us, if only we are obedient to God’s will – Believe it!

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