8 August, Saturday — Seeking faith in the raging seas of doubt

Aug 8 – Memorial for St. Dominic, priest, religious founder

Dominic (1170-1221) was born of wealthy Spanish nobility, and was the son of Blessed Joan of Aza. Joan had difficulty conceiving and prayed at the shrine of St. Dominic of Silos, who had a tradition of patronage of that problem. When she became pregnant, she named the child in honour of the saint. While pregnant, Joan had a vision that her unborn child was a dog who would set the world on fire with a torch it carried in its mouth. A dog with a torch in its mouth became a symbol for the Order he founded, the Dominicans. At Dominic’s baptism, Joan saw a star shining from his chest, which became another of his symbols in art, and led to his patronage of astronomy.

Dominic was a priest who worked for clerical reform. He had a life-long apostolate among heretics, especially Albigensians, and especially in France. He founded the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) in 1215, a group who lived a simple, austere life. He also founded an order for nuns dedicated to the care of young girls.

At one point, Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission; no matter how much he worked, heresies remained. But he received a vision from Our Lady, who showed him a wreath of roses, representing the rosary. She told him to say the rosary daily, teach it to all who would listen, and eventually the true faith would win out. Dominic is often credited with the invention of the rosary; it actually pre-dates him, but he certainly spread devotion to it, and used it to strengthen his own spiritual life.

Legend says that Dominic received a vision of a beggar who, like Dominic, would do great things for the Faith. Dominic met the beggar the next day. He embraced him and said, “You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.” The beggar was St. Francis of Assisi.

– Patron Saint Index

Hab 1:12–2:4
Mt 17:14–20

…if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move

During a recent difficult period of time in my life when I was in a spiritual crisis for several years, I had many doubts about the Catholic faith as well as the existence of God. I wondered why God made things so difficult for me, and why He did not bother to help me out of the mess. My prayer life was virtually non-existent, even though I was attending Sunday masses. I was facing problems in many aspects – personal relationships with God and my loved ones, education, as well as an identity crisis, and the list went on. Every day there was constant drama, and I almost gave up on asking God to help me because He seemed to me like a cold and distant being, who was not concerned about his overwhelmed daughter. Hopelessness and anger accompanied me everywhere. Hopeless because there seemed to be no way out of these apparently endless difficulties. And frustration against God for not lifting a finger to help me, as well as everyone else who I perceived were annoying me.

But every time I stared into the deep eyes of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour, I felt strangely, a sense of peace and comfort. And at times, I felt sadness. I knew that my heavenly Mother was telling me that Jesus and she were always with me, and that gave me a glimmer of faith to move on in life and to take one baby step at a time in doing the next thing that is right in God’s eyes. Slowly, I began to see God as a spiritual father, in whom I should always trust, even in times of darkness. I may have once felt that He had abandoned me, but I realized that these trying times have built in me patience, perseverance, and a stronger faith in God.

No matter how much doubt you have in God — whether it seems that He is not answering your prayers, or you’re facing so much spiritual warfare and negative things in life such that you’re emotionally, mentally, spiritually or even physically drained — let us never lose faith and hope in God to always stand by our side and cheer us on. Whether or not He eventually pulls us out of these challenges in life, we must continue doing the next right thing and have faith that God has a bigger purpose for us in these difficult moments.

(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to keep to our faith in You in times of trouble. Please help us to remember Your bigger purpose for us in our life. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank You for always being with us and never abandoning us in our challenging times in life. Thank you for helping us to build up our patience, perseverance and faith in You in every difficult situation. Amen.

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