At the beginning of this time of Lent, Mary - our Heavenly Mother - invites us and requests from us: “Open your hearts to my messages”, to my words, to my heart. As a Mother, the Virgin Mary cannot cease calling, cannot cease loving her children. The desire of the encounter with God and with his love must be born within us. Our duty is to desire this encounter more, and it will take place if we desire it seriously, because God takes seriously our desires and our prayers. Without this desire of our heart, all the maternal cries and calls are useless. A mother cannot do otherwise but call, direct, advise what is best for her children.
In one of her messages, she told us: “You, dear children, are not able by yourselves, therefore I am here to help you.” (Message of December 4, 1986) By ourselves, we are not able; by ourselves, we do not know how to open our heart nor do we know why it became closed. She opened her heart to God and gave it to him; this is why she knows best which are the means that can help us. She can teach us best, because she also crossed the ways on which we are still walking. She comes to us because she wants us to be where she is.
Through Mary, Jesus knocks today at the door of our heart: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Ap 3,20)
It is necessary to listen to the voice of God and to pray with Saint Augustin, who asked to hear the Lord knocking on the door of his heart. In this time of grace of Lent, it is necessary in particular to listen to the voice of God who speaks to us through his Word in the Scriptures, through people, events and situations of our life, through small and simple things that happen to us daily. It is important to open the eyes of our heart and of our spirit, to ask the Lord to open them. This is why - in this time - it is necessary to decide to read the Scriptures, to go more often to Mass, to make a concrete decision, to cut the bonds that attach us to evil, to hatred, to idleness, to grumbling and any other iniquity.
Through Mary, God calls us and leads us to fasting, to renouncement, to brotherly love, to prayer, in order to break in us the tendency to count on human power, and in order to attach us to himself. As long as we are governed by vice, sin, covetousness, idleness, human attachments, lack of dignity, it is a sign that we are not yet free, but under the power of the sin.
Penance always implies a renouncement. The renouncement means not to take always what we like, to leave what hurts us, not to offend the other, not to allow to each small desire of our body to be satisfied, not to procure to oneself every comfort. To give up means to become free. The Fathers of the Church teach us: “Do what is contrary to your corrupted human nature”, so that God can make in us his works of peace, of love and of freedom.
Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic
Medjugorje, February 26, 2004
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