At the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally, Sr. Ann Shields stressed the importance of prayer in difficult situations—and the importance of persevering in prayer, even if things only seem to get worse. She explained, “That means the enemy and God have actively engaged.”
“If any of you are feeling discouraged by something in your family, keep praying,” she said. “The light shines in the darkness, and your prayers and mine, by the grace of God, will be allowed to have an effect.”
Sr. Ann explained that those who have Christ’s light are called to bear “that light to others.”
She encouraged people to pray with confidence, and to trust that even when they don’t know what the Lord is doing, they can say to Him, “I know who You are.”
“I want you to have hope and a growing faith,” she said. “We need to be a channel of God’s light by daily prayer—crying out to God. We need to pray for ourselves and our families. Keep praying, even when you see things going in the opposite direction.
“I think one of the greatest graces God wants to give us an increase of faith. Whatever our level of faith is, God wants to increase it. God wants us to be light in the darkness. Our lives need to more clearly reflect Him . . . which we can do by honest admission of sin and frequent reconciliation.”
David Patterson shared a hopeful story of the Lord’s healing strength and the power of prayer, at the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto, Ontario.
Although David’s mother was Catholic, after his parents divorced, David found himself bitter toward his father, and wanting his dad “to feel his hurt.” He also began to wonder “if people really believed in Jesus.”
In ninth grade, he spent time at his dad’s cottage one summer, and ended up heavily involved in marijuana, alcohol, and partying. When he returned to school in the fall, he fell in with the “wrong crowd,” and continued living a reckless lifestyle through high school and college.
In fact, at one point, David asked a friend why he had headaches when he didn’t drink, and the friend replied, “You’ve got the fangs of the wolf. You’re an alcoholic; welcome to the club.”
Fortunately, David’s mother never stopped praying for his conversion.
When she asked him to attend a Catholic retreat, he reluctantly agreed—simply to get her to leave him alone.
“On the way to the retreat, I was angry,” David explained. “I was yelling at my mom in the parking lot, when I felt a tap on my shoulder, and there was a priest in a cowboy hat. He was loving and patient, and said, ‘Son, I think you should stay. Then, one of the speakers, who was funny, cool, and loved God, said ‘God doesn’t care about your mess. A simple ‘yes’ to God will change your life forever. It’s August 15—you can change your life today.”
David answered “yes” to God that day. He went to confession, where he said, “As I kept unloading, I got a little lighter and a little lighter, and as He gave me absolution, I felt free.”
It was difficult to go back to school, he explained: “My buddies asked what had happened. They said I was joyful. I had to tell my bros I had encountered the living God, and do you think that went well?”
David continued struggling with temptation, particularly to drink and to swear. He persevered by going to confession regularly; after six months, he said, “God set me free,” and he no longer struggled with those temptations.
He later attended another retreat his mom suggested—Lift Jesus Higher—where, during the Eucharistic procession, the Lord put an image on his heart that led David to become a youth minister.
And then, exactly four years after David said “yes” to God, his future wife said “yes” to him, when they became engaged. The couple is now married and expecting their second child.
“The reality is, I was a mess,” said David. “But He took the mess and He turned it into a message.”
We are sharing Bishop Scott McCaig’s talk from the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto, Ontario, in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima today! Bishop Scott McCaig discussed how, “just as dawn reveals exactly where the sun will rise, Mary points us perfectly to Jesus.” His entire talk can be viewed in the above video.
“Mary is the white dawn who leads us to Jesus, the Everlasting Day,” he said.
Bishop Scott clarified that devotions to Mary and the Holy Spirit are not separate: “When the Holy Spirit and Mary come together, you get Jesus. . . . St. Louis deMontfort said, ‘When the Holy Spirit recognizes Mary in a soul, He flies to that soul.”
“Being fully Catholic means being Marian and being filled with the Holy Spirit—just like she is,” he added. “At Christ’s passion, we see her unite her suffering to His for the good of souls. How completely she abandons herself to God, without reserve! At Christ’s death, she is magnanimous, giving up her only treasure, for love of us.”
Bishop Scott also discussed Marian apparitions in modern times—like Fatima. He concluded, “Do you get the impression that someone is trying to get our attention? This whisper from heaven has become a shout!”
“To believers: Sacrifice yourself for sinners. Pray for healing, but if that cup of suffering does not pass you by, use it, don’t waste it,” he added. “We’re the mystical body—it’s through us that the message of beauty, joy and salvation can be communicated to the world.”