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Saturday, October 4, 2003

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St. Francis of Assisi

Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
Psalm 69:33-35, 36-37
Luke 10:17-24

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the disaster of not learning from disaster

"He Who has brought disaster upon you will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy." —Baruch 4:29

When disaster strikes, an obvious question is: "Why did God let this happen to me?" A possible answer to this question is: Disaster has befallen you because you, your family, or your nation have angered God by falling into the sin of idolatry (Bar 4:6-7). You have made something more important to you than God. The advantage of this answer is that we can repent and do something about the cause of the problem rather than take the role of victim and blame other people for our problems.

Disaster can be a call to repentance (see Lk 13:3, 5) and commitment to the Lord. God can change the worst disasters into "enduring joy" (Bar 4:29) if we "turn now ten times the more to seek Him" (Bar 4:28). After a disaster, we are often naturally traumatized and spiritually paralyzed. However, as sin increases, grace increases all the more (Rm 5:20). After a disaster, we should "grab" the grace of the moment and turn to the Lord with ten times greater zeal. We must "redeem the time" (Eph 5:16, our transl.) and "make the most of the present opportunity, for these are evil days" (Eph 5:16). When we don't learn from disaster, we set the stage for the next disaster. "Turn now ten times the more to seek" the Lord (Bar 4:28).

Prayer:  Father, may I not take the role of victim but of victor.

Promise:  "Do not rejoice so much in the fact that the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven." —Lk 10:20

Praise:  St. Francis turned the disaster of a Church in need of deep restoration into a glorious act of faith and obedience by doing all he could to rebuild that Church.

Reference:  (To help overcome disaster, study the Bible. We have a forty-tape series of teachings on the New Testament. To start, order the audio tapes covering the gospel of Matthew, #700, 701, 702, and 703.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, April 24, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 28, 2003