Mary, our heavenly Mother, walks with us and accompanies us by her motherly words and messages, through her apparitions, for almost 21 years now. She accompanies our paths through the liturgical time of the Church and through the time in which we live. As Mother of the Church, the travelling Church, she walks with her children. Like ancient Israel, the Church is on its way out of Egyptian slavery - the slavery to devil. It crosses the Red Sea and the desert of trials and sufferings to enter into the Promised Land. Mary, our Mother, was a believer - a traveller; she was progressing on her journey of faith. She was progressing because she knew how to keep all the words and memories in her heart, as a treasure of her life. St. Luke, the Evangelist, writes about this: “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” (Lk 2:51b) Mary, our Mother, our leading star and our precursor, draws today from these souvenirs and from these treasures. In his Encyclical “Redemptoris Mater”, the Holy Father wrote: “Strengthened by the presence of Christ (cf. Mt. 28:20), the Church journeys through time towards the consummation of the ages and goes to meet the Lord who comes. But on this journey… she proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary, who ‘advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and loyally persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross’.”(Redemptoris Mater 2.4) Like all of us, Mary herself had to reflect on what happened around her, what she had to face. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19), and she discovered their meaning only at the Resurrection. To us, like to Mary, the effort of reflecting is not spared, of treasuring and of meditating on the Word of God addressed to us through the Holy Scripture and through people, through events and all that happens in us and around us.
As we did not know that she would appear, we do not know how long she is going to appear, how long she will continue to address her motherly calls to us. Many think that these apparitions have lasted too long. The visionaries usually answer: “For us, it is not long”. It cannot be long, when you are in the presence of a loving person, the one you love. It is difficult indeed to be with someone you do not love, as it is difficult to do a work we do not love. In 1985, the visionaries asked Our Lady: “Why are you with us for such a long time?” She answered with a question: “Are you bored?” Since then, they never asked this question any more. Her motherly love for her children gives her the strength to speak for such a long time and to repeat with such a perseverance almost the same words as St. Paul to the Philippians: “My brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” (Phil 3:1)
It is much safer and easier to live and to grow in faith in Her presence, she who talks to us and comes to us today. Our Mother comes today, God loves us through her today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Today, I can be closer to God through the Virgin Mary, as I can go away from Him. If I do not grow every day in faith, I will step back, and the coming back to God will become much more difficult.
“Today I call you to put prayer in the first place in your life.” There are signs, which show me that God and prayer are not at the first place in my life: difficulties to take time for prayer, distractions, a thousand reasons and excuses (which I find so easily) to postpone the meeting with God in prayer… Prayer is a source of joy and a way to joy, repeats Our Lady today also. On this path, we are not alone. With Her, Loved by God, we can and we have to be joyful on our journey of faith towards the final moment, when we shall comprehend fully the sufferings, the seeking, the crosses and the joys of our life.
As a prayer says: “Mary, people will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how they felt because of you. There are no considerations or doubts that can wipe away the experience of the presence of God.”
Mary, our Mother, I implore you: may your words find a place in the hearts of all those who receive you as their Mother, so that you may lead us to Jesus, the Saviour.
Medjugorje May 26, 2002
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