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Prayer, faith and good health

Can prayer, faith and belief in God make you healthy — physically, as well as spiritually and emotionally? Yes, according to dozens of studies over the past 20 years. In fact, Duke University's Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health reported in 2015 that an analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies "indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health," according to Dr. Harold G. Koenig, center director and among the country's leading authorities on faith and healing.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God give us His spirit to bring Godly power to others

The readings for the Third Sunday of Advent celebrate what the Lord has already done, as an indication of the even greater things He will do in the future.

In the first reading, Isaiah writes: "As the earth brings forth its plants and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all nations."

This allusion to the lushness of the earth's vegetation is a metaphor for the fresh spiritual energy God will pour out upon His people. Both the freshness of the vegetation and the freshness of spiritual rebirth come from the Holy Spirit.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Faithfulness to God ensures stability

This is the last week in Ordinary Time. The first reading each day this week is from the Book of Daniel, and the responsorial psalm for each day is from a hymn in the Book of Daniel. It's as though the Church wants us to learn from the Book of Daniel as we close out the liturgical year.

Daniel is the only "apocalyptic" book in the Old Testament. Two characteristics of apocalyptic books are: 1) they typically came out of times of tribulation, and 2) they addressed current events in symbolic terms.

BEFORE THE CROSS | ‘Praying always’ means doing everything in the presence of God

Quah-kah-ka-num-ad. That's the name the Potawatomi Indians gave to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne: "Woman Who Prays Always."

We celebrate St. Rose Philippine's feast day this week (Nov. 18). We're also reading sequentially through the Gospel of Luke, and the passage that just happens to come up on her feast day tells of Jesus instructing the disciples "about the necessity for them to pray always" (Luke 18:1). Maybe this remarkable coincidence is God's way of trying to get our attention!

DEAR FATHER | Superstitions run counter to how we are supposed to approach God

To answer this, we first must ask 'What is a superstition?'

Superstitions presuppose a supernatural world that interacts with our world. These interactions cause both positive and negative effects on our life. Moreover, through superstitions, we can in some way control these interactions to make them work more favorably for us.

DEAR FATHER | Concept of karma lacks centeredness in God

The basic concept of karma is simple to explain: what we sow in the world through our words and actions is what will be returned to us. So, when we're friendly with others, people will be friendly with us in return. But how this concept is explicated is where the Church concentrates her thoughts.

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