The Bible is full of stories of God's generosity. But when I am troubled, this passage from Matthew 6: 26-34 (Doauy-Rheims version) is a source of courage.
"Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed?For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.
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One of my favorite stories about God providing for His people is this story of Daniel. I have told this story at least a couple of times to my children. The sheer imagery and suspense and drama makes this a wonderful story to tell.
This chapter of the Book of Daniel tells about the time when the prophet Daniel was again cast into the lions' den. This time, it was because he slew the dragon which was worshipped by the Babylonians. And here is his story and the story of God's providence for him (Daniel 14: 31-392, Duoay-Rheims version)
"And in the den there were seven lions, and they had given to them two carcasses every day, and two sheep: but then they were not given unto them, that they might devour Daniel.Now there was in Judea a prophet calledHabacuc, and he had boiled pottage, and had broken bread in a bowl: and was going into the field, to carry it to the reapers.And the angel of the Lord said to Habacuc: Carry the dinner which thou hast into Babylon to Daniel, who is in the lions' den.And Habacuc said: Lord, I never saw Babylon, nor do I know the den.And the angel of the Lord took him by the top of his head, and carried him by the hair of his head, and set him in Babylon over the den in the force of his spirit.
And Habacuc cried, saying: O Daniel, thou servant of God, take the dinner that God hath sent thee.And Daniel said: Thou hast remembered me, O God, and thou hast not forsaken them that love thee.And Daniel arose and ate. And the angel of the Lord presently set Habacuc again in his own place.And upon the seventh day the king came to bewail Daniel: and he came to the den, and looked in, and behold Daniel was sitting in the midst of the lions.And the king cried out with a loud voice, saying: Great art thou, O Lord the God of Daniel. And he drew him out of the lions' den."
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The lives of the saints are stories of God's providence. As I have been reading from the life of St. Benedict, I will share here a story about the miracle that God made for the saint.
This event happened around 530 A.D., and Italy was facing a severe famine. People came to the monastery daily to beg for food and other provisions. Saint Benedict had instructed the custodian, Brother Michael, to be generous to the visitors and to treat them as Christ Himself. One day, a young man, Agapitus, came and asked for some oil. But Brother Michael could think of nothing but the famine and of the fact that the monastery itself was running low on supplies. There was only a little bottle of oil left for the monastery's use. So, in defiance of an earlier order from St. Benedict, Brother Michael refused Agapitus' request.
Brother Michael was, needless to say, severely reprimanded. But Saint Benedict, recognizing the concern of the brother, prayed in the kitchen, right before the empty barrel of oil -
"Dear Lord, have pity on your servants. Don't let us want for the necessities of life.'
When he got up from his knees after some time, the great barrel was no longer empty. It was even overflowing with oil. (From St. Benedict - The Story of the Father of the Western Monks by Mary Fabyan Windeatt)
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God has been very good to me and to my family. Of course, our very lives are testaments to God's providence. And I truly cannot count the ways that God showed us His generosity and providence. But here are a few -
About seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest son, my husband and I were but newlyweds, we were quite poor. My husband just finished his doctorate and had his first real job. We had also just moved in in our apartment. We had no money to buy things for our baby. I was getting so sad that just weeks before our baby was born, we had nothing for him. I was away from my family and friends who could help me. I was a new immigrant and I had no job. But a few days later, my husband brought me to a gathering in one of the parishioner's house. A baby shower was given me. And we got most of the things that we needed.
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Still related to that pregnancy - I had to choose a doctor for myself. I knew nothing about insurance policies and affiliated hospitals. All I knew was I wanted to give birth in a Catholic hospital and I chose a doctor who was connected to it. Unfortunately, the hospital that I chose was not the preferred hospital of our health insurance so we had to pay some extra amount - $500.00. For us then, that was a fortune. I felt sorry for my husband because he had to shoulder all of my extra expenses. However, after my delivery, the insurance waived that amount and we did not pay any extra out-of-pocket expense for my ceasarian delivery.
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My last story has something to do with a pregnancy again. This time, I was pregnant with our third child. A third child meant that we could no longer fit in a car. We needed to upgrade our family vehicle. We needed to get a van. Once again, we were short of funds. We just bought our house. And the expense of keeping the electricals up to code and all the other maintenance expenses, including the unexpectedly high heating expenses - put a severe strain on our budget. A new car, a van, was just unaffordable. And then we prayed and prayed some more. Our answer came in the form of a car dealership flyer announcing a sale on vans of the previous year's model. We took advantage of this offer. In the end, our new monthly amortization for the new car was just a little more than what we had been paying before.
And before I forget, we planned to buy the new car a month before the baby was born. But the promotion happened two months before my scheduled delivery. Little did we know that our third baby would come out a month early. God's timing was perfect too!
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God does take care of His children. He is Father after all. Years of family life and a simpler lifestyle have taught me to rely more on the kindness of the Father. I have come to regard heaven as a personal bank from which I can draw an allowance when needed. That makes me quite rich, if I may say so. And I can say that our family has never lacked its necessities.
Thanks for visiting Ann. God does provide for our needs - I guess that Is why I have never won in a lottery even when I prayed for it. ) Oops, but I did win once - $400 and that immediately went to a furniture that we ordered before I won. )
Peace of soul comes to those with the right kind of anxiety about attaining perfect happiness, which is God. A soul has anxiety because it final and eternal state is not yet decided, it is still and always at the crossroads of life. This fundamental anxiety cannot be cured by a surrender to passions and instincts; the basic cause of our anxiety is a restlessness within time that comes because we are made for eternity.
If there were anywhere on earth a resting place other than God, we may be very sure that the human soul in its long history would have found it before this. ~ Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen