Pictured Right: Pope Francis receives a bicycle painted in the colors of the Vatican flag from cycling world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia at the end of the General Audience at the Vatican, Jan. 24, 2018.
Early in his priesthood, Manuel (who took the religious name Faustino of the Incarnation) was sent to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, where he encountered illiterate women who had been marginalized because of their gender. Seeing these uneducated women and realizing the lifetime of injustices that had been brought against them, Father Faustino decided to take action. He prayed and sought the guidance of God, but he knew he had to do more, so in 1885 he established the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess, a new religious congregation to educate women.
Why does God remain hidden? For the believer, this question can challenge faith itself. For the non-believer, the question alone can be sufficient to prove the non-existence of God. So how can we begin to approach it in a way that can both deepen our own faith and help us respond to those who do not believe?
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man
or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works
of God might be made visible through him. (Jn 9: 1-3)
In the mid-1990s, a campus minister named Doug Schaupp was struggling with how to awaken faith in students. He and his ministry team at UCLA realized that “students weren’t responding in the same ways they had before. Sharing the truth of Jesus’ Gospel no longer moved people. Our evangelistic labors resonated less, and had less fruit.” 1
During the 1997-1998 school year, 37 students went through conversion experiences. Schaupp’s team responded by doing something unusual. They asked these students to describe their spiritual journeys.
Prayer In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul says, “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself.” (Phil 2:5-7) Why? To save us. Paul encourages us to imitate our Lord. When there’s someone we wish to pray for, we have to be able to go for broke. Oftentimes that includes prayer, fasting and penance.