We all need help from God, whether we know it or not. And God is waiting to help us. But God does need people, saints, relics and things to help Him help us.
Holy Water: Last night I called two friends from my last parish who were desperately sick. One, sick with the doctors doing all they could to help her, but to no avail. The other had an operation from the best of doctors but he continued to suffer terribly. I felt terrible for them and worried about them suffering so much. I would pray for them and they would pray too. I kept reminding them to have blind faith and that good would come out of their sickness. I called a friend and had her take exorcised Holy Water over to them and asked them to put it on everyday with great faith. The great news is that they are both so much better. They both are still not perfect, but the difference is huge. You might say they were desperate cases that God helped. Remember when you bless yourself with the exorcised Holy Water you are to say; “By this Holy Water and by Your Precious Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord”.
Relics: I have various relics. My favorites are a sliver of the Holy Cross on which Jesus bled and died for us. Then I have relics of St. Pius V and St. Pius X. I also have one of St. Martin, St. Elizabeth, St. Joseph Morello, St. Peter of Alcantera, St. John Neumann and St. Padre Pio. I have some more second class relics. I take them to the hospital and bless the sick people with them. When I was at Stanford hospital, I blessed many people who got better. The healings are not instantaneous, but most do get better. God works miracles through the dead bodies of His saints.
The other night I lost my keys for the church here (St. Peter help me), the office and the rectory. This was serious. I prayed and searched everywhere. At the same time I told myself to stay calm, pray and have faith. (Of course I prayed to St. Anthony). Then it came to my mind to pray before each relic asking the saint to help me find my keys. I knelt down and prayed. Instantly after this, I took my pants off to go to bed and it came to my mind to shake the pants. Sure enough I heard the keys which I had put into my back pocket when rushing around and not thinking. I went to bed so happy. I will not forget this.
People: You and I are the ones who spread the Gospel. You and I are the ones praying for the sick and suffering. You and I are the ones taking Holy Water or relics to the sick in the hospitals and homes. I, as priest, am offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. God need us to so that He can bring conversions and healing.
Every feast day of the saint that I have a relic of, I take it to Holy Mass and bless all those present kneeling up at the altar rail. Kneeling is very important posture when you are asking God for something. Most liberals hate the idea of kneeling. They say we are people of the resurrection, so we do not kneel except in an act of penance. No. The Bible is full of stories about people prostrating before Jesus begging in prayer for healing or to cast the devil out.
On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, I blessed many people with the relic (splinter) of the True Cross. I have everyone kneel down and receive a blessing in faith that God will do something for them. (This was after we had the wonderful Missa Cantata in honor of this powerful feast day). I blessed all the 300 kids in catechism and their parents.
Afterwards a family told me about sick members of their families. So I went with them to their houses and I blessed the sick with the sliver of the Holy Cross so they might recover. On the way the man told me how he was very evil before. He never went to mass. One day he was in a park and thought about going into a church. The instant he stepped inside, a chill came over him and he felt the devil leave him and he felt very light.
From the traditional Calendar I learn so much about Catholic history and the saints. In reflecting upon the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, I came up with this. The Jews used the extremely powerful Romans to crucify Jesus. The Roman cross destroyed the body of Jesus. 300 years later, Constantine wants to conquer Rome. Jesus appears to him and tells him to conquer in the sign of the cross. “In Hoc Signo Vinces”. (There are two theories; one that it was a chi rho and the other it was a cross). So Constantine obeys and put the sign of the cross on all his standards and shields and ends up conquering, not only Rome, but all of the Roman Empire. So the Roman cross boomeranged on them and destroy their powerful pagan Roman Empire.
It was shortly after this that his mother, St. Helen who would find the true cross. A woman dying from terminal disease was healed upon touching the cross. We find in the Roman Breviary that in the year around 600, King Chosroes of Persia took Jerusalem, slaughtered thousands of Christians and carried of the cross which St. Helen had put upon Mount Calvary. The Emperor Heraclius besought God in prayer and fasting and fought against King Chosroes and miraculously regained the Holy Cross. He carried it to Mount Calvary on his shoulder but could not go on. He was dressed in his royal garments adorned jewels. The Patriarch of Jerusalem told him that Jesus bore the cross in poverty. So the Emperor took off his fancy clothing and bear foot was then able to put the cross back where St. Helen had first put it.
St. Paul talked powerfully about the Holy Cross. In Galatians 2: 19: “With Christ I am nailed to the cross”; in Gal 6: 14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world”.
The Holy Cross is only wood from a tree. But God works powerfully through the wood of the Cross because Jesus was nailed and died on this wood. For this reason it has become a object of respect and worship for Catholics. God continues to bring about healing and conversions through such a horrible instrument of death. “We adore you O Christ and we bless You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world”.
We are so fortunate to have the traditional practices like devotion to Mary and the saints, relics, Holy Water, crucifixes, medals and prayers. We are so BLESSED.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.