Also in this message, the Blessed Virgin Mary tells us: "Pray with the heart and do not lose hope". It may happen that we lose hope, that we have the impression that God does not hear, as if he withdrew from this world and from his creatures. But can God forget what he has created?
In Our Lady's words, we can feel an indestructible hope in spite of all the menaces of war, catastrophes and dark prognostics that fill the newspapers. Mary tells us that we are also responsible for peace. Peace does not come without our implication. Surely it is more easy to remember God when we are struck by a hardship or a calamity. War threat and threat against life itself awaken us from spiritual sleep and we remember that there is someone who is absolute, almighty and not threatened as we are. This is why we have to find again the foundations and the source of our life, the rock on which we shall build our life and this world, and on which we shall lean. In Holy Father's Apostolic Letter "At the beginning of the new millennium", we can also feel hope in spite of all that does not awaken any hope in a better future. In Jesus Christ, our God lived on this earth and had the body, just as us, walked on the paths of our life. Jesus and Mary were not spared from suffering, cross, sorrows and joys of life. We can either give in to despair or cling to faith. Discouragement or faith. We can lean on God, on the world of God, without any other support, just like St. Peter when he jumped into the water counting on the world of Jesus, who said, " Come!" (cf. Mt 14,29) He believed in Jesus. Faith and hope are vary close, almost identical. This is what Peguy writes: "I am not surprised, says God, that people believe in me. It is enough for them to look at my creatures and they will believe. Love also does not surprise me, because it is a gain for them if they love one another, it us useful for them. But hope, hope amazes me."
Great saints were not tempted directly against faith or against charity. Jesus himself in the garden of Gethsemane was tempted against hope. Little Teresa from Lisieux, on her deathbed, was also tempted against hope when the devil told her: "My dear, do you really think that there is something after death?" The Cure of Ars, who packed several times his luggage to run away from Ars, has not done it because he was losing faith or love, but because he saw no hope at all.
There is one means to make us learn to hope, the same that Jesus used when he was tempted against hope or provoked to be unfaithful from the will of the Father, which was often so rigid: he spent night in prayer. The source of hope is prayer, and prayer demands from us to be awake. In order to practice hope, we have to become permanently available as Mary, who expressed it through her YES to the will of God. Through her yes, God has done great things. A human yes open the door to God so that he may enter into this world and save it. Today also, Mary pronounces this yes through her coming here, inviting us on the path of holiness.
Our Holy Father invites us on the path of holiness. In his letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" (31), he says: "It would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity." In his Speech on the Mountain, Jesus says: "Be perfect as
your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5,48). As if he wanted to tell us: be happy as your heavenly Father is happy. In the words of Mary, our Mother, let us hear the echo of the words of Jesus, and let us allow her to lead us to him.
Medjugorje, March 26, 2003
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