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Thursday, January 17, 2002

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St. Anthony

1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalm 44
Mark 1:40-45

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the why-wait

"After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield. When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said, 'Why has the Lord permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines" —1 Samuel 4:2-3

When we suffer tragedy, it is good to ask God: "Why?" Then we must wait on ourselves to receive the Lord's revelation. The defeated Israelites asked the right question but didn't wait. They assumed that they wouldn't get an answer, so they proceeded to fight another battle in which "Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers" (1 Sm 4:10). If we don't stop and wait to hear God, we often make tragedies much worse. So don't just do something, sit there. "For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: by waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies. But this you did not wish" (Is 30:15).

When things are bad, we must not be stampeded into activity and decision-making. Even if we aren't good at hearing God, we have no acceptable alternative. If we act without hearing God, we are not under Jesus' lordship. Rather, we are doing our own thing. This is the very cause of our problems and repeats the pattern which has already brought about our downfall. We can't save ourselves. We must hear the Lord. He is faithful; He will break through our deafness. Stop and wait.

Prayer:  Father, You are my only Hope and the only Hope I need.

Promise:  "He stayed in desert places; yet people kept coming to Him from all sides." —Mk 1:45

Praise:  St. Anthony sold all he had and gave the proceeds to the poor.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, May 30, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2001