A crow lived in the forest and was absolutely satisfied in life. But one day he saw a swan. “This swan is so white,” he thought, “and I am so black. This swan must be the happiest bird in the world.”
He expressed his thoughts to the swan. “Actually,” the swan replied, “I was feeling that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a parrot, which has two colors. I now think the parrot is the happiest bird in creation.” The crow then approached the parrot. The parrot explained, “I lived a very happy life until I saw a peacock. I have only two colors, but the peacock has multiple colors.”
The crow then visited a peacock in the zoo and saw that hundreds of people had gathered to see him. After the people had left, the crow approached the peacock. “Dear peacock,” the crow said, “you are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. I think you are the happiest bird on the planet.”
The peacock replied, “I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happy bird on the planet. But because of my beauty, I am entrapped in this zoo. I have examined the zoo very carefully, and I have realized that the crow is the only bird not kept in a cage. So for past few days I have been thinking that if I were a crow, I could happily roam everywhere.”
That’s our problem too. We make unnecessary comparison with others and become sad. We don’t value what God has given us. This all leads to the vicious cycle of unhappiness. Learn to be happy in what you have instead of looking at what you don’t have. There will always be someone who will have more or less than you have. Person who is satisfied with what he/she has, is the happiest person in the world.
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
Cardinal Francis Eugene George, who will step down in November after 17 years as Archbishop of Chicago, said that he was sorry that some of his public statements caused controversy, but he did not regret his defense of Catholic teaching on moral issues.
Cardinal George told the Chicago Tribune that he was bothered by the realization that homosexuals took offense at his statements in opposition to same-sex unions. But he said:
If I’m to be silenced for fear of hurting someone now, what happens to the conversation? I’m sorry. I don’t want to hurt anybody. But if you say, “Unless you agree with me I’ll be hurt,” well, that’s not a just demand. I’m hurt by that.
The cardinal said that he expected his successor, Archbishop-elect Blaise Cupich, to adopt “a different approach, a different tone.”
Cardinal George, who is suffering from advanced cancer, said that his own future plans would probably be determined by the progress of the disease.
Five decades after Zambia gained its independence, the Church there is looked on with “great respect, and her influence has grown, thanks to her prophetic voice,” said the national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Father Bernard Makadani Zulu told the Fides news agency that the nation now sends missionaries to Europe, South America, and the United States and that Catholic agencies now provide 40% of the nation’s healthcare.
“The Church has taken care of the poor, providing service to more than 200,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 100,000 children orphaned because of the virus,” he said.
According to Vatican statistics, the southern African nation of 14 million is 33% Catholic. 860 priests and 2,021 sisters serve in 316 parishes; there are 567 seminarians.
“Jesus, we want to see a sign from you.”
The scribes and Pharisees wanted proof that God’s power was at work in their world. We want it, too. We ask God to do something and then start looking for evidence that our prayers are being answered. When we intercede for others, we hope that soon we’ll hear good news from them. Our prayer requests are usually accompanied by a desire for proof that God has heard us and cares and is doing something to make life better.
But Jesus said, “An evil and unfaithful age is eager for a sign!” He’s not implying that it’s a sin to want signs. Often, God does give us signs; it’s one of the ways he communicates his will to us. The sin occurs when we distrust him, eager for a sign that would give proof that he loves us and cares – instead of trusting that his goodness and compassion are constant and everlasting.
How many times do we entrust a person or situation over to God and then nothing happens? The problem often seems to get worse, right? Remember this: God never ignores us nor abandons us. The answer to prayer is usually a process. Sadly, because people’s free wills are involved, the process might take years.
While we wait, God invites us to trust him more. He wants us to choose to remember that he does truly care and that he is turning everything into an ultimate good in which we – and others – will benefit. Jesus taught me to think of it this way: Everything is pregnant with God’s activity. It’s impossible for God to be inactive. Some answers to prayer require a lot of incubation time, slowly growing within the womb of God’s love and mercy. And always – always – a new blessing is born from it. Sometimes, it might even be twins! Or triplets!! Or more!!!
The only proof we need that God’s goodness and compassion are constantly making a difference is that Jesus already gave his entire being to us: God became human and died for us. Christ’s resurrection is proof that God has the power and the desire to redeem even the worst situations (the sign of Jonah).
When you ask God for help and then don’t see evidence that anything has changed for the better, does your asking become more intense? Do you start begging and pleading? Yeah, I do too. And when God still doesn’t provide proof, we get frustrated and worried, and then we get angry.
However, we’re not really angry at God. We’re angry at a limited idea of who God is. The “God” we’re mad at is a false god, an incomplete god, a distorted image of the true God.
We need to learn more about who God really is. If Jesus was willing to suffer so painfully and die for us, will he not do everything else that we need from him? If the Father loves us so much that he resurrected Jesus from death so that we could go with him to heaven, will he not also give us every blessing that we need here on earth?
Think of how you feel when you’re pleading with God. This is how God feels, too! Look at today’s first reading. Here, God is the one who’s doing the begging. What is he yearning to receive from us? Only that we do what is right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with him.
Clelia Barbieri was born into a poor family of hemp farmers, Giacinta Nannetti and Giuseppe Barbieri, on February 13th, 1847 in a village called “Budrie” of S. Giovanni in Persiceto in the outskirts of Bologna, Italy and in the Archdiocese of Bologna. Her father Giuseppe died during a cholera when Clelia was only eight years old. Without him, Clelia’s mother, her two sisters and her seventy-five-year-old grandfather were faced with a difficult future.
But Clelia was a great consolation for her mother and assisted her by learning to use the loom and weave hemp. Even at this age Clelia was devout and learned all she could about the Catholic faith from her mother and the parish priest. One day Clelia asked her, “Mother, how can I become a saint?”
Having given herself completely to Jesus, she refused at least two marriage proposals and in prayer she asked God for a spiritual friend who would join her and help her to live fraternally together a life in common. Theodora Beraldi who was six years older than Clelia became that special friend, and inspired by Clelia’s exceptional virtue and piety, she encouraged other girls to join them. During this time, Clelia took private vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience under the guidance of her parish priest and spiritual director, Father Guidi.
Clelia was only twenty years old when she inspired this small group of young ladies of similar religious ideals to join her in the performance of charity and good works. After acquiring a small house near a church in LeBudrie, Italy they began living a community life, but they retained their secular status throughout Clelia’s lifetime. They devoted their energies to the teaching of Christian doctrine, to sewing, to aiding the sick, and to providing all forms of charitable assistance to those in need. One of Clelia’s ideals for her community was that there would be no need for a dowry, so that even the poorest of aspirants might join her Community.
Amidst the founding of her community in 1867 she became very ill with tuberculosis. She became so ill that her family called a priest to give her the last Sacraments, and just as he was about to do so she recovered her senses and said to her family and those gathered “Why are you weeping? Don’t be afraid; the Lord will not take me away this time. He is still expecting more from me.”
Soon after the foundation of the Community, many unusual things began to take place. When there was no food in the house, led by Clelia the community prayed, and moments later the doorbell rang, and a gift of food was given to them.
One day, while standing at the window of the community’s house, she pointed to a nearby field and prophesied, “Do you see that field next to the church? There the new house will rise. I will no longer be here … You will increase in number and will spread out on the plains and in the mountains to work in God’s vineyard. Many will come with carriages and horses…”
All of what Clelia had prophesized to her companions was eventually realized. Clelia died of tuberculosis on July 13, 1870 when she was only 23 years old. Her last words were prophetic: “Be brave because I am going to Paradise; but I shall always remain with you, too; I shall never abandon you!” This prophecy was also realized, since she soon proved her presence by the sounding of her voice. The miraculous phenomenon of her voice first took place during the evening of July 13, 1871, exactly one year after Clelia’s death, while the sisters were at prayer in the chapel. The Sisters declared that:
“Suddenly there was the sound of a high-pitched, harmonious and heavenly voice that accompanied the singing in the choir; at times it sang solo, at other times it harmonized with us in the choir, moving across from right to left; sometimes it passed close by the ears of one or other of the sisters. The joy which it brought filled our hearts with a happiness impossible to put into words. This wasn’t of this world. We lived that day in paradise. From time to time, one had to leave the room … The emotion that we experienced was so strong that it left you breathless until one had to call out: “Enough, dear Lord, enough!”
The voice of St Clelia Barbieri been described as one unlike any of this earth. Always sweet and gentle, it is sometimes accompanied by angelic strains. Numerous witnesses of unquestionable integrity, including her original companions, various superiors and sisters of the order, priests and lay workers in the order’s hospitals have adequately testified that they have heard the voice. Moreover, many witnesses have given sworn testimony before ecclesiastical tribunals who investigated the prodigy prior to Clelia’s solemn beatification on October 27, 1968, and before her canonization by Pope John Paul II on April 9, 1989.