Giving Credit Where Credit is Due:Miracles do Happen, They just look different than you might think

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me what I did to heal my teeth. I had had severe receding gums, at one point an enormous cavity that felt like a huge chunk of my tooth had come out. 2 HG pregnancies in a row and breastfeeding did a real number on my teeth that had been pretty much perfect before this. I told them the actual steps I took to heal the teeth, but what I forgot and was too afraid to mention was that I was so consumed with fear and hopelessness that I started praying. I was praying daily about my tooth anxiety. I found the patron saint of teeth, St. Apollonia, who I had never heard of, and I bought the most beautiful print I could find of her, which happened to be a holy card. I displayed it in my bathroom and prayed for her intercession every single day.

That was when I started learning about how dangerous modern care is for our teeth. I found out that the way the dentists had taught me to brush was destroying my gums. I learned that the very toothpaste the gave us is destroying our mouths. I learned that half the time my problem was grinding my teeth due to stress. I learned that deficiency in certain vitamins leads to certain issues in the teeth.

I started following the recommendations I found in a book called Cure Tooth Decay, particularly in the chapter on receding gums. My gums healed almost completely, and so did my cavities. It was a miracle. Then, it happened again, because you have to keep up with a routine, and it is hard to do with 2 under 2 when you are constantly playing catch up, and I attributed it to science and myself. It happened again, and I still didn’t give credit where credit was due.

Yet I sit here one more time because I completely failed at my routine last week, and immediately I turn to St. Apollonia, and I keep hearing myself explaining how I fixed my teeth, but I’m afraid to be a fanatic so I just mention the ‘normal’-ish sounding part. She is my mainstay, I turn to her when I am so desperate in fear and pain that I can’t remember what you are supposed to do to fix these things.

That’s how prayer works sometimes. Sometimes it’s not that you get a miracle that just happens, though that happens too, but sometimes your miracle is that you learn something you didn’t know before. Sometimes it’s that you thought you had a problem and you don’t. Sometimes it’s that you find some information you needed to keep going but you couldn’t find.

The Holy Spirit, the most often neglected member of the Holy Trinity, is a powerful partner to have in life. He is beauty, He is truth, He is knowledge. Everything good and beautiful in this life and this world, comes from Him. I call Him “The Muse,” because I believe He works especially in artists. I believe that He reveals what is true, beautiful, good, through His people. He is capable of great things, so great that you might think I’m crazy if I were to list them.

One time when I was in college, I felt called to write letters to some friends I had who were on retreat. I wrote them in the chapel during Adoration, and I remember feeling like I knew every word they were supposed to say. I will never forget a particular one of them. I was writing all of these comforting things about being angry and sad, and I was writing them I was like, “Where is this coming from? He is on retreat, everything should be great!” But I kept writing and writing for 2 pages. Several days later, he came up to me with such sincerity in his eyes, and told me, “I don’t know how you knew. I was having such a hard time, and this was exactly what I needed.”

Another time I was going Christmas shopping with my mom, and we were on our way to the mall talking about a friend of hers that she had no clue what to get. I prayed, and immediately told her to go to Barnes and Noble instead of the mall. She argued with me, but I repeated, “I’m serious, just go!” We walked in and on the first shelf we saw was a Calvin and Hobbes book, I told her to get it, and she wasn’t sure but she did. When we gave it to him, he said “How did you know? I’ve been wanting this forever!”

Sometimes, I am afraid that people will think I am crazy when I talk about this stuff. I even sometimes think I am. Powerful moments of communication with God are not something that is often talked about, and when it is, it seems so fake to me. But He does still talk to us today. He has given us ways to stay in touch with Him so that we are not alone no matter how alone we feel. This is what Scripture and the Eucharist are for. They are for Him to be close to us, so He can talk to us and comfort us, every time we turn to Him.

That doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t feel hopeless. I do. I mean, obviously anyone who knows me knows, I do. This world can be scary, and some seasons in life seem almost unbearable. Some things about my life now, I try to tell myself aren’t as bad as they are, but if I am not constantly on my knees begging for help, I am in tears and the whole world falls apart. It is literally only in Him that we can survive the millions of things that could possibly go wrong in this world. I don’t know why He doesn’t save us from every trial, but He does save us sometimes, if we ask. He can see you in complete despair, and bring you the one ray of light you need to keep going. Sometimes He brings you so much light that you are blinded by it, and sometimes He just brings the feeling that you are not alone, but no matter what He is there, even when you don’t feel Him, and as much as it sucks to not feel Him there, it’s worse when He really isn’t, which is what it feels like if you don’t go to Him.

So go to Him today, with your struggles be they little or big. He wants to hear them, and He wants to help you. He wants you to be close to Him more than anything. He wants to heal your hurting heart, even if it’s hurting too much for you, even if it’s not hurting as much as the other people who are hurting. He wants to heal you, go to Him.

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To My Demon

I see you roll your eyes in shame at me.

You do it every time I slip up.

I see you write my name in your book of let-downs and say, “no mercy,

She’s not worth it.”

I see you.

I see you latch onto the one mistake I made on a day I fought like crazy.

I see you judge me for falling when the entire world pressed in on me.

I see you corner me and laugh when I explode in rage like a trapped circus lion.

You condemn me. You condemn me so much I condemn myself for you.

You condemn me so much that I hear your every word before you say it.

You have trained me to hear your voice in the walls, in the ground, in everything but the air, because the air is Spirit and He lives there.

You can’t get me when I’m outside.

When His air surrounds me, you can’t hold me down.

There is air for me outside.

You can’t condemn me there.

I exist outside of you, outside of your four walls.

I exist more powerfully than you. More powerful than you can control.

You can’t control me.

I do not belong to you.

St. Apollonia, Pray for Us

 

 

Please ask St. Apollonia to Pray for all of us suffering from dental diseases or toothaches.

O Glorious Apollonia, patron saint of dentistry and refuge to all those suffering from diseases of the teeth, I consecrate myself to thee, beseeching thee to number me among thy clients. Assist me by your intercession wit*h God in my daily work and intercede with Him to obtain for me a happy death. Pray that my heart like thine may be inflamed with the love of Jesus and Mary, through Christ our Lord. Amen. O My God, bring me safe through temptation and strengthen me as thou didst our own patron Apollonia, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer to St Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.
Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly –
Healing of the dental issues that plague me and cause me so much anxiety and heartache. Please pray for restoration of good health and strength to my teeth and gums.

  • and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.
    Amen

Prayer to St. Rita
O glorious St. Rita, your pleadings before the divine crucifix have been known to grant favors that many would call the impossible. Lovely St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so devoted in your love for thy crucified Jesus, speak on my behalf for my petition which seems so impossible from my humbled position. (Here mention your request – Healing of the dental issues that plague me and cause me so much anxiety and heartache. Please pray for restoration of good health and strength to my teeth and gums. ). Be propitious, O glorious St. Rita, to my petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy supplicant. Be lavish to me, as thou has been in so many wonderful cases for the greater glory of God. I promise, dear St. Rita, if my petition is granted, to glorify thee, by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus I pray. Amen

You Will Destroy Your Temple and Build it up in Three Days

Monday of Holy Week, 2019

Notre Dame burned today.

I don’t know how much. The news reports are all contradicting each other. There’s one that says it’s a total loss, another says the spire and roof are gone, but the structure is ok. There’s one that says the relics were all saved, another says we don’t know.

I heard about it while it was still burning. Then, I heard it was gone. Then, I heard it wasn’t. I wanted to cry. I prayed.

All day I couldn’t stop thinking of Christ’s promise that He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. I begged Him over and over again.

Rebuild this. Rebuild it.

Bring us your Resurrection in this despair.

The whole world seems to have fallen apart.

Don’t give up on us yet.

It is so dark. There is so much pain. We can’t control anything. It’s all falling apart. Redeem us here in this darkness.

Look at us in all our fear and trembling and hopelessness, save us.

Save us.

Save us.

Save us.

Spare us from your wrath Oh Lord.

If You are to count our sins, Lord “who can stand?”

Have mercy on us. Redeem us Lord. Save us. Bring us to Your resurrection this Easter. Protect us as we walk the last steps to the end, Lord, save us as we walk with You. Protect us, Lord, and heal us, and our wounded world.

God, it seems like everything is wrong in the world lately.

God, It seems like everything is wrong in the world lately. I am afraid at every turn what the next moment will hold. Every time I turn my eyes and see a shadow my stomach contracts in fear at what might be behind. Every time I get on Facebook I find out about somebody new who died. I keep trying to tell myself that you protect your people.but so many of your people are suffering.

There’s this mom with 10 kids and her husband died on a fishing trip, another family lost their dad to a car accident, another lost their baby to a liver cancer, and another, and another, and another.

And then, Notre Dame burned.

“And there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

What is going on?

Have you abandoned us? Are our sins too much now and you have left us at the mercy of those who would destroy?

Were we not grateful enough? Were we too distracted?

Please don’t abandon us.

We love. We love so much. We love with everything in us. We are hurt and scared and we don’t know how to go on but we love so much.

We love you. We love the people we see on the street. We are scared of them sometimes but we love them.

Lord, have mercy on us, we are good.

We are lost but we are good. Help us, protect us. We cannot save ourselves. Have mercy. Have mercy. Have mercy on us.