Our Lady’s Messages — September 2010

Mary’s September messages at Medjugorje. She asks us to find the strength to ask for forgiveness and forgive others. She also asks that we approach Jesus with a humble heart in prayer so that we can hear how He wants us to live.

Message of September 2, 2010 to Mirjana

Dear children. I am beside you because I desire to help you to overcome trials, which this time of purification puts before you. My children, one of those is not to forgive, and not to ask for forgiveness. Every sin offends Love and distances you from it – and Love is my Son. Therefore, my children, if you desire to walk with me towards the peace of God‘s love, you must learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Thank you.

Mary’s central theme in this message is forgiveness.  She phrases it in a very interesting way– as a trial we must overcome.  I like the word “trial” when describing the act of forgiveness, both asking and giving it.  Indeed, asking for forgiveness or forgiving those who have hurt us is challenging and something many of us would like to avoid.  In general, our reluctance to admit our mistakes comes from our prideful human nature.  No one ever wants to think of their behavior as being wrong.  Mary understands that coming before Jesus with a humble heart is not an easy task and that is why She offers Her help.  Mary, in the Fourth Glorious Mystery, was assumed into Heaven and now serves as our guide to find the path of Jesus Christ.  Asking for forgiveness is difficult, but it becomes much easier with the support of the Holy Spirit, Mary, the saints, and the angels.  It is our choice whether we want to face these trials alone.  Personally, I think we should take Mary up on Her offer and ask for Her help to overcome this challenge.

Message, 25. September 2010

Dear children! Today I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing of peace, and I urge you to live your life of faith even more, because you are still weak and are not humble. I urge you, little children, to speak less and to work more on your personal conversion so that your witness may be fruitful. And may your life be unceasing prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Perhaps it is because football season started a few week ago but Mary’s message very much feels like a coach talking to the athletes.  Mary, like a coach, sees a bunch of players that are fumbling on the field and just aren’t playing with any strategy.  She sees us losing by not sticking to the “game plan” of following God’s laws, avoiding sin, and just simply putting God first in our hearts, minds, and actions.  The Church lays down a winning strategy as seen in the Bible, Church doctrine, our priests and other Church leaders, and messages from Mary and the saints.  The plan for eternal happiness is out there, but we first must make room in our lives to hear it and then find the energy to live it.

Fumble Retrieval
Image by The PAW Project via Flickr

This message reminds me of the September 26, 2010 Gospel of Luke where Jesus recites the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk, 16:19-31).  At the end of the story, the rich man goes to Hell because of his uncaring ways towards poor Lazarus.  In Hell, the rich man asks God if he could return to earth and warn his brothers to reform their ways and avoid a similar outcome.  But God responded that they can hear His Word through Moses and the prophets.  We too, have the Church’s teachings freely available to us and yet we so often ignore it.  We know what is good and what is evil and yet too often we unrepentantly choose evil and ignore the good.  Mary’s frustration in Her message is understandable since She sees so many of us walking on a path towards eternal suffering and unhappiness.  She repeatedly tells us how to walk on the road to God’s grace and yet we ignore Her, the Holy Spirit, the saints, and the Church’s teachings.

Let us not be like the rich man and ignore God’s Word which can be found all around us.  May we try to listen more in our prayers in order to receive guidance so that we may transform our lives and imitate Christ.  We should particularly meditate on the Third Luminous Mystery where Jesus asks us all to have a converted heart.

Rosary Meditation — The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery

Today’s rosary meditation focuses on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery — Jesus Carries His Cross. This mystery encapsulates many of the Stations of the Cross. We see Jesus take up the cross, fall repeatedly, meet the mourning women, be stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross. Like the other Sorrowful Mysteries, Jesus carrying His cross teaches us about the nature of suffering and that we are called to love God and do His Will despite any suffering we may encounter in our lives.

Christ fallen while carrying the cross, at St....
Image via Wikipedia

Today’s rosary meditation focuses on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery — Jesus Carries His Cross.  This mystery encapsulates many of the Stations of the Cross.  We see Jesus take up the cross, fall repeatedly, meet the mourning women, be stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross.  Like the other Sorrowful Mysteries, Jesus carrying His cross teaches us about the nature of suffering and that we are called to love God and do His Will despite any suffering we may encounter in our lives.

While carrying the cross, Jesus fell down repeatedly.  His falling is significant since we dedicate three Stations of the Cross to it.  And yet each time Jesus fell He got back up.  But why did Jesus continue to get up and continue suffering at the hands of the Roman soldiers?  He must have known that each time He got up His situation was only going to get worse as He became more tired and beaten and crucifixion was the only thing that awaited Him.  Why didn’t He just give up and die where He lay and avoid the increasing pain and torment?  What pushed Jesus to get back on His feet?

Jesus continued because He understood that the purpose of following God’s Will is not to avoid suffering and find comfort in this life.  Just the opposite, our purpose in life is to follow God’s Will despite the suffering it may bring.  Jesus followed God’s Will out of love for His Father and love for us.  Jesus’ love was greater than the physical pain He felt and that is why He got back up and continued to His crucifixion.  Likewise, God desires us to love Him despite the suffering we may encounter doing so.  We know that part of loving someone is to make sacrifices at times.  And while Jesus taking up His cross is an extreme example of this truth,  this mystery reminds us that we are also called to love God regardless of our earthly situation.

We may think there is a huge difference between the Son of God mustering up the strength to carry on in the face of great suffering versus us finding it in our daily struggles.  It is very common to question God’s plan when “the going gets tough” and we do not get what we want or what we think is fair.  I often come across people on Catholic forums asking, “Why me?”  “Why can’t I find a job?”  “Why can’t I find a good spouse?”  “Why did I get this illness?”  “I pray every day, I go to Mass, I go to Confession, and I don’t commit any mortal sins so why does God make my life so difficult?”  The answer to all these questions lies within this mystery.  Suffering is part of this life while our reward for loving God and doing His Will will be part of the next.  We endure the trials of this life because our faith tells us that we will find comfort and relief in God’s Kingdom.  Unfortunately, this is not the answer many of us want to hear.  We want instant miracles.  We want our problems to disappear.  We would love God to “bail us out” immediately when we pray to Him.  However, we do not see the big picture as God sees it.  What we see as monumental suffering now in this life ultimately amounts to nothing compared to the glory of Heaven that awaits us in the next life.  At the same time, following God’s Will, even in the face of great suffering, will yield tremendous happiness and comforts in Heaven.  And in the end, finding eternal happiness in Heaven is all that really matters, not the momentary suffering and comforts in this world.

We should pray for all those who have “fallen” in life that they find the strength to get back up and follow God’s plan.  We should pray for those who think God has abandoned them when in fact God is right here pushing them to work through their troubles.  We should pray for those who do not follow God’s Will just to reap the comforts of this life at the cost of comforts in the next one.  We should pray for the understanding that we love God most when we follow Him regardless of the earthly consequences.  Finally, we should pray for the faith that all earthly suffering will be relieved when we enter into our true home, God’s kingdom of Heaven.