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 Presentation Of Jesus In The Temple

 Flight Into Egypt

 Jesus, At Twelve Years, Visits The Temple

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 Jesus Calls The Twelve Apostles

 Parables Of Jesus

 Miracles Of Jesus

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Miracles Of Jesus

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

WHO can tell the number of Christ's miracles? He wrought them in the spirit-world, in the heavenly bodies, in men, in the senseless beasts of the field. He summoned angels to wait upon Him, expelled devils, darkened the sun, stayed the storm, calmed the angry billows, changed water into wine, converted sinners, opened the grave and called the dead to life. In every department of nature and in every species of creature Jesus displayed His miraculous power.

We select a few of the miracles related in the Gospels for the edification of the pious reader.

Jesus Changes Water into Wine.

"There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the Mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited and His disciples to the marriage. And the wine failing, the Mother of Jesus saith to Him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is to Me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. His Mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six water-pots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them : Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water: the chief steward calleth the bridegroom and saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine; and when men have well drank, then that which is worse : but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee: and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in (John ii. 1-11.)

Here we may learn the following lessons: First, that Our Saviour does not condemn innocent enjoyment, but rather that He sanctions and sanctifies it by His presence. Secondly, we are reminded that Our Lord should be invited to all our recreations; that is, all our pleasures should be referred to Him, enjoyed in His spirit, and that charity and Christian dignity should not be lost sight of in our various amusements. Thirdly, we learn that Our Lord highly honored marriage by being present at this festival and working there His first miracle. We are taught also that newly-married people should not neglect to invite our blessed Lord to their nuptials, that is, they should marry in His name according to the rules of His Church, and invoke His blessing upon their new state of life. Lastly, we discover that the Blessed Virgin is a true, powerful, and compassionate intercessor for men in their sufferings and wants, and that we should have recourse to her, not only in times of spiritual affliction, but even in temporal needs and distress.

The Storm Appeased.

" And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him, and awaked Him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up He commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey Him?" (Matt. viii. 24-27.)

The ship in which Jesus was with the disciples is, according to St. Augustine, an emblem of the Church, which amid the troubles of a wicked world is, as it were, beaten by the waves of a boisterous sea. Almighty God permits such storms to rise, lest the calm enjoyment of the world might make us forget the heavenly port for which we ought always to steer. Having provided us with a bark wherein to work our passage through this stormy world, He knows how to conduct us safe into port. No shipwreck is to be apprehended by those who seek protection from God by prayer. The more violent the trial, the more earnest ought to be our prayer. If Jesus is with us, what need we fear? If God is for us, what harm can we receive? Our chief apprehension ought to be lest our diffidence in God, or our remissness in prayer, may render us less deserving of Our Saviour's goodness.

The Miracles of Jesus. The Demoniac Cured.

"And they came over the strait of the sea into the country of the Gerasens. And as He went out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the monuments a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling in the tombs, and no man could bind him even with chains : for having been often bound with fetters and chains, he had burst the chains and broken the fetters in pieces, and no one could tame him; and he was always day and night in the monuments and in the mountains, crying and cutting himself with stones. And seeing Jesus afar off, he ran and adored Him: and crying with a loud voice he said: What have I to do with Thee, Jesus the Son of the most high God? I adjure Thee by God that Thou torment me not. For He said unto him : Go out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And He asked him. What is thy name? And he saith to Him: My name is Legion, for we are many. And he besought Him much, that He would not drive him away out of the country. And there was there near the mountain a great herd of swine, feeding. And the spirits besought Him, saying: Send us into the swine, that we may, enter into them. And Jesus immediately gave them leave. And the un. clean spirits going out, entered into the swine; and the herd with great violence was carried headlong into the sea, being about two thousand, and were stifled in the sea. And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the fields. And they went out to see what was done: and they come to Jesus: and they see him that was troubled with the devil sitting clothed, and well in his wits, and they were afraid. And they that had seen it, told them in what manner he had been dealt with who had the devil, and concerning the swine. And they began to pray Him that He would depart from their coast. And when He went up into the ship, he that had been troubled with the devil, began to beseech Him that he might be with Him. And He admitted him not, but saith to him: Go into thy house to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee and hath had mercy on thee. And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis, how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men wondered." (Mark v. 1-20.)

The demoniac, according to the holy Fathers, exhibits a striking figure of those unhappy sinners who, by vice, depart from the fellowship of saints, strip themselves of the robe of sanctifying grace, and, in mortal sin, sit far from those heavenly mansions which Our Saviour purchased for them with His blood. Hurried away by the violence of lawless passions, they run wild in the pursuit of sensual enjoyments, forget their last end, and break every moral and religious tie that tends to restrain them in the desires of their corrupt hearts. Wallowing in the mire of animal delights, and rushing headlong into the gulf of endless perdition, they stand in need of a miracle of grace to free them from their wretched slavery, and restore them to the peace which no man can enjoy as long as he is at variance with God.

The Miracles of Jesus.

Cure of the Centurion's Servant.

"And the servant of a certain centurion, who was dear to him, being sick, was ready to die: and when he had heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the ancients of the Jews, desiring Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him earnestly, saying to Him: He is worthy that Thou shouldst do this favor for him; for he loveth our nation, and he bath built us a synagogue. And Jesus went with them. And when He was now not far from the house, the centurion sent his friends to Hirn, saying: Lord, trouble not Thy-self for I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; for which cause neither did I think myself worthy to come to Thee: but say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers: and I say to one go, and he goeth; and to another come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doth it. Which Jesus hearing, marvelled: and turning about to the multitude that followed Him, He said : Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel. And they who were sent being returned to the house, found the servant whole who had been sick." (Luke vii. 1-10.)

The charitable concern which the centurion showed for his dying servant furnishes the holy Fathers with an opportunity of putting all Christian masters in mind of the care which they are obliged to take of their servants, especially when they are sick; it is a duty which they owe them in charity: to neglect their servants either in their spiritual or their temporal distress is, in the Apostle's language (1 Tim. v. 8), to be worse than infidels. Masters should never forget that they also have a Master in heaven, to whom the poor are as dear as the rich, and who recognizes no difference in persons. If they expect to be mercifully dealt with by God, they should remember to be kind to those whom He has placed in their care.

The Son of the Widow of Hamra.

"And it came to pass afterward that He went into a city that is called Naim, and there went with Him His disciples and a great multitude. And when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only sari of his mother, and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy toward her, He said to her: Weep not. And He came near, and touched the bier. (And they that carried it stood still.) And He said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us, and God hath visited His people." (Luke vii. 11-16.)

The holy Fathers consider the love which this mother bore for her only son as a figure of that tender love which the Church has for her children. With the warmest affection she embraces each in particular, as if he were the only one, and, in the hope of seeing them afterward raised to eternal life, consoles herself amidst the cares and afflictions that must necessarily befall her in this vale of tears. The spiritual death of so many of them is a subject of continual sorrow to her. With a heavy heart she sees her thoughtless children snatched from her arms by unruly passions, and hurried away by a train of sins toward the fathomless abyss. She mourns their misfortune, and implores the pity of her heavenly spouse, that He may raise them again by His powerful grace.

Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

" Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison because of Herodias, his brother's wife. For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her. And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet. But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Where-upon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet be-cause of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and be-headed John in the prison. And his head was brought in a dish, and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it: and came and told Jesus. Which when Jesus heard, He retired from thence by boat, into a desert place apart, and the multitudes having heard of it, followed Him on foot out of the cities. And He coming forth saw a great multitude, and had compassion on them, and healed their sick. And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past: send away the multi, tudes, that going into the towns they may buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said to them: They have no need to go: give you them to eat. They answered Him: We have not here, but five loaves and two fishes. Who said to them : Bring them hither to Me. And when He had commanded the multitudes to sit down upon the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven He blessed, and brake and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. And they did all eat and were filled. And they took up what remained, twelve full baskets of fragments. And the number of them that did eat was five thousand men, besides women and children." (Matt. xiv. 3-21.)

The holy Fathers consider these five thousand men as a figure of those Christians who quit the world, in desire at least, to follow Christ through the desert of this life. In the company of their divine Master they attentively listen to His eternal truths; they seek no earthly comfort, but such as He may will them. They are happy in the presence of their Lord and Saviour; they continue in His service without weariness, and joyfully bear with whatever labors and difficulties they meet. They know He has numbered the hairs of their heads, not one of which falls to the ground without His permission; they remember it is He who feeds the birds of the air, and never abandons those who are serious in their endeavors to serve Him.

Healing of the Ten Lepers.

"And it came to pass, as He was going to Jerusalem, He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain town, there met Him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voices, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Whom when He saw He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God. And he fell upon his face before His feet, giving thanks : and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean? and where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger. And He said to him : Arise, go thy way: for thy faith hath made thee whole." (Luke xvii. 11-I9.)

The reproach of our divine Saviour to the nine lepers for not coming to thank Him for the mercy He had shown them proves how much He is displeased with the vice of ingratitude. No favor from God, say the holy Fathers, ought to be received without the deepest sense of gratitude: gratitude in return for one favor is the surest way to receive another. The nine ungrateful lepers were undoubtedly sensible of the benefit conferred on them, and rejoiced at their cure, but they showed no gratitude: their memory is therefore branded with infamy, so that we may conceive a just horror of ingratitude, which renders us odious to God and man.

The Man Born Blind.

" And Jesus passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth; and His disciples asked Him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of Him that sent Me, whilst it is day : the night cometh when no man can work; as long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. When He had said these things, He spat upon the ground, and made clay of spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe (which is interpreted, Sent). He went, therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbors therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said: This is he. But others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he. They said therefore to him : How were thy eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him: Where is He? He saith: I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was the Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Again, therefore, the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said: This man is not of God, who keepeth not the Sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of Him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight; and asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but how he now seeth, we know not : or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself: he is of age, let him speak for himself. These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess Him to be Christ he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say, He is of age, ask him. They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him : Give glory to God : we know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them: If he be a sinner, I know not; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. They said then to him: What did He to thee? How did He open thy eyes? He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard: why would you hear it again? will you also be-come His disciples? They reviled him therefore and said: Be thou His disciple: but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence He is. The man answered and said to them : Why herein is a wonderful thing that you know not from whence He is, and He bath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth His will, him He heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, He could not do anything. They answered, and said to him: Thou avast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and when He had found him, He said to him : Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered, and said: Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. And he said: I believe, Lord. And falling down, he adored Him." (John ix. 1-38.)

Thrice happy, say the holy Fathers, was the man who, through his corporal blindness, discovered the true Light, which enlightens every man who cometh into this world. He became not only the worshipper, but also the defender of Jesus Christ against His enemies. Undeterred by their threats, he boldly declared the truth, and silenced their captious arguments against it. The Jews cast him out of their synagogue, but Jesus received him amongst His own.

Lazarus Raised to Life.

" Now there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary, and of Martha her sister. (And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.) His sisters therefore sent to Him saying: Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. And Jesus hearing it, said to them : This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. When He had heard therefore that he was sick He still remained in the same place two days; then after that He said to His disciples: Let us go into Judea again. The disciples say to Him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again? Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world: but if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. These things He said, and after that He said to them : Lazarus our friend sleepeth: but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. But Jesus spoke of his death, and they thought that He spoke of the repose of sleep. Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead: and I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe; but let us go to him. Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow-disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with Him. Jesus therefore came: and found that he had been four days already in the grave. (Nov, Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Martha there-fore, as soon as she heard that Jesus was come, went to meet Him: but Mary sat at home. Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died: but now also I know that whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee. Jesus saith to her : Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to Him: I know that He shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live: and every one that liveth and believeth in Me shall not die forever. Believest thou this? She saith to Him : Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world. And when she had said these things, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is come and calleth for thee. She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly and cometh to Him : for Jesus was not yet come into the town, but He was still in that place where Martha had met Him. The Jews, therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave, to weep there. When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing Him, she fell down at His feet, and saith to Him: Lord, if Thou hadst been here my brother had not died. Jesus therefore, when He saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled Himself and said: Where have you laid him? They say to Him: Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept. The Jews there-fore said: Behold how He loved him. But some of them said: Could not He that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die? Jesus therefore again groaning to Himself, cometh to the sepulchre : now it was a cave, and a stone was laid over it. Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha the sister of him that was dead, saith to Him : Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days. Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? They took therefore the stone away: and Jesus lifting up His eyes said: Father, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast heard Me; and I knew that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the people who stand about have I said it: that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me. When He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them : Loose him and let him go. Many therefore of the Jews who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things that Jesus had done. The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said : What do we, for this man doth many miracles? If we let Him alone so, all will believe in Him : and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation. But one of them named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed. From that day therefore they devised to put Him to death." (John xi.

The holy Fathers consider the resurrection of Lazarus as a figure of the spiritual resurrection of a soul from the state of sin. Jesus approaches the sinner by His holy grace; He calls upon him by His holy word; He excites him to a sincere contrition for his past sins; He animates him with a strong purpose of amendment by the infusion of His holy Spirit; He unbinds him by the power which He has given to the ministers of His Church, and bids him lead a new life. Such is the wonderful work which the Saviour of our souls produces in the order of grace. The tears, the sighs, the groans, the prayer of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, indicate the difficulty there is in resuscitating a soul that has been long dead through a habit of mortal sin. But however great the difficulty may be, the sinner, when he considers how powerful and good the Redeemer is, ought never to despair.

What motive had Jesus in performing these, and the other astounding miracles related in the Gospels? They "manifested His glory," and showed Him to be the Son of God. Because Jesus did these miracles before His disciples " they believed in Him." Here we have the utility of miracles, namely, to confirm in our hearts a belief in Christ. How can any unprejudiced and reason-able mind call in question the miracles of our blessed Lord? They were described in the Gospels at a time when many were still living in Judea who had personally known Jesus Christ, and who had been so hostile to Him and to His doctrine, and so ready to deny His miracles, that if their falsity could possibly be proven they would have hastened to contradict this unanimous testimony. Moreover, has not Christ perpetuated in His Church, during all ages, in holy persons, the power of working miracles, as is proved from Church history? In truth, he who doubts Christ's miracles must Iogically doubt every event of early centuries which profane history furnishes.

Well may we be proud, as Christians, that the doctrines of our divine Master are attested by countless undeniable miracles. O Jesus, let me live and die true to Thy comforting revelation.

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