The time of Lent we now go through is a time of grace, the Blessed Virgin Mary tells us in her message. The time of grace began with the coming of Jesus Christ. In many preceding messages, Our Lady attracted our attention to this reality within us and around us. Her presence here is a grace and a gift for those who receive Her as the Mother of their lives and the Mother of their peace. Each word of hers and each message is a call of a motherly heart addressing the heart of men.
Also through this message, Mary, our Mother, wants us to become the friends of Jesus: to be strangers no longer, but friends who come to know Him better each day. Also amongst ourselves, we can become true friends for one another only if we are the friends of Jesus. We can be considered believers and Christians, we can go for Sunday Mass, we can go for confession regularly, we can live our faith more or less exteriorly without knowing Jesus and without being His friends. We can never say that we know Jesus enough. We can only seek Him and find Him, because He went first to seek us. According to St John the Apostle: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”(1 Jn 4:10)
A most beautiful experience of the love of God and of His closeness, obtained through prayer by Saint Monica for her son, can be found in St. Augustine’s “Confessions”:
“Late have I loved You, beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you. You were in me and I was outside of myself. You were with me, and I was not with You. You called and you shouted, and You broke my deafness. You sent a lightning, you enlightened and dispersed my blindness. You spread your perfume, I breathed it in, and now I languish after You. I tasted, and I am hungry and thirsty. You touched me and I burn for Your peace. When I shall cling to You with all my being, there will be no more pain nor suffering for me, and my life shall be alive, full of You. Behold, I do not hide my wounds. You are the doctor, I am the ill one. You are merciful, I am miserable. And all my hope is only in Your great mercy, o Lord my God.” We need such experiences of the nearness of God, and Our Lady wants to lead us to these experiences, this nearness and this friendship.
It is necessary to work for conversion. But the conversion is so immense, it is not only depending on us. It is much beyond human power. Evil is stronger than man and wants to paralyse him. This is why we need God. Only Jesus Christ can save us from sin, laziness, selfishness, lies and evil. But it is expected from us to do the decisive step. We can neither change nor convert ourselves, but we can say “yes” to God. We can do a turn around in our lives, we can take the words of Jesus as Gods’ words and not human words. These words have the power to heal, to convert, to save man. Only then will we be able to say with St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”(Ga 2:20).
Thank you, Mary, our Mother, for giving us the means which can lead us to Jesus. May, through your intercession, our hearts discover more and more prayer as a need. May there be more and more of those who will, out of love of God and themselves, discover prayer not as something that has to be done but as something they can do.
Medjugorje, February 26th, 2002
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