Advent has been called the time of grace since the very beginning of Christian tradition, as it is the time when the love of God is particularly efficient in making our faith stronger and inspiring us to be holy. In her last message Our Lady calls us to pray for little Jesus to be born in our hearts in this time of grace. There is also another reason to call the time we live in a time of grace: Our Lady has been near us in a very special way for over 27 years. Throughout all this time she has been teaching us in her school of love. In her last message she calls us again to pray as she often calls us to do so because she knows that we do not pray. We are all making a big mistake, and that is that we think we pray a lot and that we are good. The very moment when we realise and accept that it is not so, our conversion will start. John of Damascus says: «To pray is to lift your heart to the Lord». It means enjoying the closeness to God, His presence, love and peace. In recent times the world has been caught in a turmoil and all the leading countries have been faced with a financial crisis. The man of today is restless. Always in a hurry, but unable to catch up, which makes him feel even more uneasy. He is searching for peace in all the wrong places. Our Lady shows us the way to peace. It is Her Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John he says: «Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.» (John 14:27). Those who have God have everything. Those who have encountered God become carriers of the peace of Christ.
Our Lady calls us to pray without ceasing for this turbulent world without hope. Hope is a theological virtue that makes us desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as the sources of our happiness when we place faith in the promises of Christ and relying not on our own forces, but on the help coming from the grace of the Holy Spirit. „Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful“ (Hebrews 10:23). The Holy Spirit „whom he poured on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life“ (Titus 3:6-7), as we read in the Catechism (cf. CCC 1817). Thanks to hope it is easier for us to deal with everyday problems. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey, as Pope Benedict XVI teaches us in his Encyclical Saved in Hope.
In this short commentary of the message we will remember the eighth death anniversary of the late Fr. Slavko Barbarić. Fr. Slavko was devoted to Our Lady in a true childlike manner. He was tireless in his ministry. He was always ready to offer help to anyone asking for it, either in a spiritual or material way. We will include him in our prayers by thanking the Lord for having given us the chance of knowing him and at the same time learning from him.
Fr. Danko Perutina
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