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What God Has Done

Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There, in their presence, He was transfigured... (Mark 9:2) Second Sunday of Lent

As many have experienced firsthand, cataract surgery is one of those transforming miracles of modern medicine. But it may surprise you to know that the first reported surgical removal of a cataract occurred in Paris in the year 1748! More recently, the famed neuroscientist Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote a story about a man named Virgil who was blind since birth. At about age 50, Virgil underwent cataract surgery to restore his sight. But when the bandages were removed, Dr. Sacks explained, it wasn't like in the movies -- with the patient rejoicing as he or she sees the faces of loved ones for the very first time. Instead, Virgil's first experience of sight was a confusing blur of shapes and colors. And we can only imagine what it must be like to have one's sight restored after a lifetime of blindness. When modern cataract surgical techniques were developed in the 1960s, the experience of many patients who were now seeing for the first time was widely reported. For example, after surgery, one young woman was so overwhelmed by her first glimpse of the world around her that she closed her eyes and kept them shut for days. When, finally, she opened her eyes again, she could only say, over and over again, “Oh God, how beautiful! Oh God!” But not everything was beautiful for these patients. The world turned out to be bigger and more complex than they expected. Unable to judge distances, they reached for things a mile away and stubbed their toes on furniture they perceived only as patches of color. Seeing themselves for the first time in the mirror made many of them unhappy and self-conscious, and as a result some wouldn’t leave their homes. The father of one young woman wrote her surgeon that his daughter had taken to shutting her eyes when she walked around the house, and seemed happier when pretending to be blind again. A fifteen-year-old boy demanded to be taken back to the local home for the blind. “I can’t stand it any more,” he said. “If things don’t change, I’ll tear [...]

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Stories you can use...

We've got a million of them (well, almost).

Attachment, Bondage, Followers, Impact

“They were on the road…then were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive” (Mark 10:32). Enjoying a leisurely Sunday drive on his brand new motor scooter, an elderly man stopped for a traffic light alongside a shiny red sports car. Peering down into the car ’s open window, the old man called out to the driver: “How’s that baby on gas mileage young fella?” “Not so good” answered the driver. “It has a top speed of 240 miles per hour though.” “You’re kidding,” gasped the elderly man. “Can I take a peek inside?” The sports car driver motioned the old man to lean closer. “That sure is a fine looking automobile,” the old man said as he stuck his head through the open window. Just then the light turned green and the young driver waved as he smoked the tires and sped off into the distance. Within seven seconds he accelerated to more than 120 miles per hour! As the young hot-shot glanced up to his rear view mirror, he noticed a small speck in the distance, following him, and growing larger by the second. Slowing a bit to get a better look, the object suddenly flashed past him at an incredible rate of speed. Disbelieving, the young man wondered what could be traveling faster than his turbo-charged sports car! Looking ahead, the young driver saw another speck now moving toward him. Again, the object flew by at blinding speed — and it looked a little like the old guy on the motor scooter! “This can’t be!” the young driver shouted to himself. “That old man couldn’t do a tenth of that speed on his crummy little scooter!” Just then the driver noticed another speck in his rear view mirror following him. A spilt second later he heard a loud BOOM and felt a terrific impact as the object smashed into the rear of his car. The young man jumped out and couldn’t believe his eyes — it was the man on the scooter! The driver leaned over the old man who was lying in a heap on the ground. “Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable until help arrives?” the young man volunteered. The old man looked up and groaned, “You can start by unhooking my suspenders from your side-view mirror!”

God, presence of, Afterlife, Death

“Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). There is a play in which a troubled man spends his whole life tormented by thoughts of God, which leads to feelings of his own inadequacy, and feelings of guilt. Finally, he decides to end it all, to at last put a stop to the voices, and the dreams, and the late night visions and the inner-torment — all haunting reminders of an ever-present God. In the final scene of the play, the man is raving. He grabs a pistol and puts a bullet through his head. Immediately after the explosion, the stage goes totally dark. When the lights go back on, the audience sees the man sprawled out on the stage, pistol next to his body. Behind him sits a white-robed man at a desk. “Gabriel, bring me the file on J.A. Smith,” he says. Then the man lying on the stage struggles to his feet. The man behind the desk speaks to him. “Well, Mr. Smith,” he says, “so much for your theatrics. Now let’s get down to business. We’ve got all the time in the world.” Whereupon, the play ends. For some persons the real hell of life may not be the thought that they are without God, but the realization that they can’t get rid of God. And all of us need to be reminded that our business with God isn’t over until He says it’s over. All of us need to be reminded that because He loves us so much, He will not leave us alone in life and, perhaps to our surprise, He will not leave us alone in death. Whether it be in the day-to- day “little” deaths that come to us all, or the death that comes on the last day of our life, God, our loving Father, just won’t let us be.

God, search for, Contemplation, Meditation, Prayer

“Keep watching and praying” (Matthew 26:41). “In our quest for God we think too much, reflect too much, talk too much,” says the celebrated mystic, Anthony de Mello... “Be silent and contemplate the dance. Just look: a star... a flower... a fading leaf... a bird... a stone - - any fragment of the dance will do. Look!... Smell!... Taste!... Touch! And, hopefully, it won’t be long before you see Him - -The Dancer Himself. “If you really heard a bird sing, if you really saw a tree... you would know. You would know beyond words and concepts. What was that you said? You have heard hundreds of birds sing and seen thousands of trees? But was it the tree you saw, or merely the label? If you look at a tree and see a tree, you haven’t really seen the tree. When you look at a tree and see a miracle - - then, at last, you have seen! Did your heart never fill with wordless wonder when you heard a bird sing? de Mello, A., “The Song of the Bird,” (adapted).

Greed, Priorities, War

Within hours of the first bombs being dropped over Baghdad, the Dow Jones average on the New York Stock Exchange shot up over one hundred points — the largest one-day gain in many years. But did any of you notice on the Eleven-O-Clock News that the traders on the floor of the Exchange were cheering the day’s events as though their favorite football team had just scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl? The country had just gone to war and they were deliriously happy. Apparently, for them that day, war had a positive impact on their bottom line.