Kathleen Martin continues sharing with us crumbs she's gathered from the table of the prayer group that Our Lady formed and lead in Medjugorje (she was speaking here at Notre Dame to a group of students). Having lived in Europe for many years, we began by asking her what she noticed about America since her return:
Coming back from Europe and for the first time seeing news on TV, I was quite amazed to see that there is a lot of talk in the news about war. And in some people's minds it seems to be almost inevitable that we're going to become involved in a war. And that's shocking to me. We are called to want peace. If we see that someone is destroying peace we should realize that it means he is not in the hands of the Lord - he's in the enemy's hands. So he is someone who needs our help - he needs our prayer. He needs our love to limit the danger of his doing harm to himself and harm to others. People that choose evil can be limited if love increases. Evil is driven away by love...
I don’t want to believe what I hear on the T.V. (Thank goodness I don’t have TV!) There are times when I’m in someone’s house and I hear it, and I think, Oh, my goodness, no wonder people are desperate! They don’t know God’s plan. They have no idea what love is. The talk is all of fear and retaliation. And Our Lady once told us, you know, Don’t ever think of war. And don’t ever think of anything negative. Because if you give space to it in your heart (because you think with your heart) then you call it to yourself. Your making war a part of your life, and it will have it’s consequences in your life!
Kathleen shared what she learned about peace from Our Lady in those early days of the prayer group:
One day we were together. We were having a picnic. We were fooling around. We were so happy we were waiting for Her (Our Lady) to come. We were talking among ourselves about what she was doing with us. We were so full! And Our Lady appeared and she said, Yes, my children. This is it! Decide for heaven! Decide to live heaven among yourselves!
Well, I didn’t know we had that choice. I didn’t know that that is what God really offers. And "living heaven" doesn’t mean not embracing the cross, it just means looking at things from a heavenly perspective and not wanting to know sin. Well, that’s hard because we are sinners. Sin is almost our second nature, because we’ve been involved with the world. We’re not 4 or 5 years old, we can't pretend that we don’t know about sin. But Our Lady is different, something inside of her did not want to know sin. Choosing a life without sin is choosing heaven.
Also I discovered that even if we’ve known sin, we can make the decision to make a break, and say, "I really want to start a new life. I would really like to think the way Jesus thought. I’d really like to have the experience Mary had when she held Jesus in her arms. I’d like to be one of the apostles who knew what it meant to see miracles happen. And when Jesus would send me out saying, 'Do it!' I would want to believe in what he said. I would want to show hope to the world. "
And so, Our Lady's path for the prayer group was a path of learning how to substitute love and forgiveness and joy and peace for everything else that was in our hearts. She said "Don't be in a hurry. Don’t be scandalized if you find out you have hate in your heart. You have to learn first how to say I don’t want it. Then you say to your neighbor, 'You know me, help me to realize love, help me to get hate out of my heart. Let me tell you about it so that you can pray with me and I can get over this.' " Through prayer and the help of the prayer group we could overcome hate and be free of it.
That was the joy of the first Christians. We read about that joy. We think that it’s history. But what Our Lady had us understand in the prayer group was that the joy is still present and we can have it. Maybe no one else around us will have it but if we possess this peace and this joy, well then, we will become instruments. When someone’s so full of peace, I can tell you, it’s very difficult for someone else to do evil around that person. They’ll run away. If someone is praising the Lord in their heart it is very hard for someone else to be angry with them. And when the angry ones see them still in peace in spite of the hate, they’ll run away. They’ll see that that person wants to embrace them with love and if they don’t want love, they won’t stick around. So if there’s more people spreading love around themselves because they’re full of it, well then, it makes it more difficult for sin to advance.
What we’re seeing in the world today is sin advancing because no one is consciously fighting it - not fighting it with hate, with arms and weapons of force - but with the weapons of love! If someone is really doing harm, Our Lady taught us how to bless them. Cover them with love. Begin praising the Lord for that person in front of you who is doing all those horrible things because they’re in the clutches of the evil one. They’re not in the hands of Jesus at that moment. They need to be helped. We can be strong enough not to enter into a dialogue with evil. We can't try to convince them. We just smother them with love. And that can be done from the heart. It doesn’t have to be done exteriorly. This is the new way of living that Our Lady calls us to....
Looking at the students Kathleen said:
Now, you're in a wonderful situation because for 4 years you're going to be together. Why not do Our Lady's school? Why not decide to become saints? Why not say "No" to the world and "Yes" to heaven? I’m a witness that you can experience heaven in your heart!
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