In 2008 I had the following dream:
A wise priest was pointing out to me a very important Scripture passage. He called it 4:4. I thought he meant Ephesians, because Ephesians 4 is about unity and I have felt called to reflect on it often, but he said, no, that was not the passage he was referring to although unity is a very important theme. He wanted me to look up this other passage.
Unfortunately, I woke up not knowing which passage he was referring to. One night several weeks later, during adoration, I was given Matthew 4:4 (Jesus) said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”
I wrote this in my journal: As I meditated on this before the Blessed Sacrament, it came to me why this passage was the “very important passage” referred to by the “wise priest” in my dream. I believe that in the not-too-distant future we too will be tempted as Jesus was tempted in the desert. When we are at our most vulnerable point, “bread” will be tantalizingly put before us; perhaps we will be made to accept the “mark of the beast” if we want to purchase necessities. My dear friends, it is crucial that we remember and reflect on how Jesus handled this kind of temptation. We will be given great graces if we imitate him. As you recall, when Jesus had resisted temptation the angels came and ministered to him. If we trust in him and persevere to the end he will not deny us great consolation, strength, and help.
That was more than 10 years ago and seems more relevant today than ever. It has been coming to me more and more how much we need to rely on the Word of God to get us through the days of trial that are here and coming. I recently read about a woman who was infected with COVID-19 and soon became gravely ill. She had a strong prayer team on her side—including herself. She related how through her many hours alone, awake, and suffering, she repeated all the Scripture verses she could remember that had to do with healing. Against all odds she pulled through and she credits her healing to her trust in the Word of God.
Familiarity with the term, “Word of God”, can tempt us to gloss over it, but it is a mistake to do so. The Word of God itself tells us that the Word of God, IS GOD (John 1:1). Also, the Word of God tells us that “all Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Tim 3:16) God has given us his real presence, in a unique way, in the Word, so we know we can trust in it.
I have been watching more videos of Fr. James Blount, charismatic priest with a healing ministry. He is also an exorcist and a passionate priest on fire for the Lord. God be praised! I have learned from him a deeper appreciation for the living Word of God, and how dependable it is.
It is critical to understand this if we are to live well what is here and coming. Already we have had the Bread of Life taken away from us temporarily. May God grant that this not happen again. However, if God allows it, let us remember that our daily bread can also come to us through the Word. Jesus himself quoted the Word when he told the devil, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)
Dear friends, now is the time to become more familiar with Jesus in the Word, and to memorize some key passages, so that as we continue to be tried, we will continue to be sustained. The book of Psalms has so many words of encouragement for us. Not only that, but many of our most familiar hymns are based on the Psalms. If you find memorizing Scripture difficult, then find out which hymns are based on Scripture and memorize those. For example, “Taste and See” is from Psalm 34, and “On Eagles’ Wings” is from Psalm 91. I think we all have more passages memorized than we think, and the Holy Spirit is more than willing to bring some to mind if we call on him. Let the Word be always in our hearts and on our lips.
Our God is a God of wonders and his Word is full of them. Our rationalistic society is out of the habit of turning to God for miracles. Perhaps the reason we do not see miracles more often is because we do not ask, or as Scripture says, we “ask wrongly” (James 4:3). I suppose on a certain level, we have stopped expecting daily miracles, but Fr. James Blount says he sees them every day.
It would be good to go back and read the book of Acts. The very same Spirit who filled the Apostles with holy zeal and gifts of healing, lives in us. Believe it!
So, let us remind ourselves often that the Word of God IS GOD. I found a website that allows one to search for passages on a specific topic, such as healing or trust. It might be good to collect a few to print off and memorize. Some time ago I put together this Prayer of Trust in Hard Times using a compilation Scripture passages. Feel free to print it out or pass it on as you wish.
There are also many hymns that can helps us through tough times. Praise God! Try singing this hymn with all your heart: “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”. Sing it till you mean it!
We have learned over the past few months of deepening crisis that we should take nothing for granted. We are used to a time of plenty, but it is now time to get used to “making do” like so many of our ancestors did—even in spiritual matters. If they take away the Eucharist, we still have the Word. If they burn our bibles, we can still be sustained by what we memorize, and what songs are in our hearts. Let us not forget what Jesus told his disciples, “‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 4:34)
Remember, the Word of God IS GOD, and he is true to his Word. What he says, IS. He is just waiting to be asked. Here are a few verses to get your list started. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section for the good of all.
“There was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Mt 8:2-3)
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom 8:35-37)
“For God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26)
“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)