In her last message, Our Lady entices us to prepare our hearts in the incoming time of lent, which is a time of mercy. She invites us to fast, pray, and make acts of penance, which were always the main features of the lent. In the Old Testament, the penance was reduced mostly to external signs. Today it is mostly so, because during the Lent the faithful renounce food, drinks, sweets and cigarettes, and much less swearing, gossiping and other sins. Christian fast and prayer are the foundation of the collectiveness, because the whole Church is invited to fast, penance and prayer, especially in the time of Christmastide and Lent. Renouncing the material things is only one way of penance for the personal sins. It is the proof that we are ready to renounce something and share with the people living in poverty and squalor.
In our preparation, we must not stop at the external signs. The prophets of the Old Testament saw it clearly and warned the people that the only true change is the change which happens in the heart of men. If we change the heart, we change the whole man. Only such change can lead us to the friendship with God and people. Only in such way, our heart will receive the fruit which will grow into goodness. God created us as free beings and everyday we make decisions. We can choose between the good and the evil. The Queen of Peace invites us to renounce the sin and to choose eternal life. This is the only right choice. Every time we choose the good side, we chose the side of God’s sons and daughters and our life is filled with joy. We live a full life. Life is sin is only survival and suffering, while the life in God brings joy and peace. Here on Earth we can already taste the true joy if we live according to God’s commands, and we will experience the full joy in eternity, when God will wipe the tears from every face. Then, “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21, 4). Jesus is our first role model, example, and teacher of spiritual life. Before his first public appearance, Jesus retired into the desert for 40 days, where he fasted, prayed and prepared for his first public appearance. Moses has spent the same number of days on Sinai, and also Eliah on Horeb. In the quiet and solitude, a man can better hear God, because he is not burdened by any disturbances. To go into the desert, to retire, even for longer period of time if needed, should not be justification for escaping people, obligations or job. It should be a privileged time in which we will be renewed in the vicinity of God, so we can live among the people and witness the Joyful news to them. Jesus is the lord of our life and our hearts. He can do what we cannot, for what we do not have the strength.
Mary, “Mother of Church” and our mother, advocates us before her Son. Her advocating and mediating role she started during her life on Earth – at the wedding in Galilee Cana – and she continues with this role today, celebrated in the heaven. By coming here to Medjugorje, Our Lady wants to help us to unite more forcefully with our Savior and Redeemer. If we answer the call of the Queen of Peace and if we prepare with the fast and prayer for the meeting with Jesus, we will be able to participate in the celebration of Easter with clear heart and joyful soul.
Fra Danko Perutina
Međugorje January 26th 2008
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