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2004
                       

2004

Message of January 25, 2004
"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray. Pray, little children, in a special way for all those who have not come to know God’s love. Pray that their hearts may open and draw closer to my heart and the Heart of my Son Jesus, so that we can transform them into people of peace and love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on January 25, 2004 Message:
We again hear the theme of love in this message from our Blessed Mother. “Pray, little children, in a special way for all those who have not come to know God’s love.” What is God’s love? God IS love. (1 John 4.8,16) God’s love is God Himself. Every action of God is an action of love, because God is love. The creation of the world, the universe, of all things is an act of love. The creation of plants and animals is an act of love. The creation of man and woman is an act of love. God’s friendship with man is an act of love. God’s justice is an act of love. God’s mercy is an act of love. Are you lost yet? I know that trying to grasp God’s love can send my mind spinning. God’s love is seeking and searching. God’s love is self-sacrificing. God’s love is merciful and just. God’s love is kind and gracious. God’s love is perfect.

Most people are first exposed to love through their parents and family members. Words, backed by actions, show us love. We say that we love others. Words, backed by actions, show others that we love them. God spoke His love to us through creation. In the opening verses of the Book of Genesis, we hear repeatedly, “Then God said…” God is speaking everything into existence. His words are backed by His actions. Notice the beauty of creation. Look at the intricacies and the organization of all creation. There is plan and order to the finest minutiae of every created thing. When we refused God’s love, He spoke again. Man was banished from the Garden of Eden. But God’s love would not let man walk away from Him forever. So God spoke again: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” (John 1.14a)

And in this message (as well as many messages of our Blessed Mother) we are called to be people of love. We are called to speak our words of love: “Pray, little children, in a special way for all those who have not come to know God’s love.” Our prayers for others are words of love. What greater love could we express for someone else than words of prayers that would assist them in coming to know God and God’s love? And when we pray from the heart for these people, we will be transformed in our love for them. We are praying so that Jesus and Mary will transform them into people of peace and love: ”Pray that their hearts may open and draw closer to my heart and the Heart of my Son Jesus, so that we can transform them into people of peace and love.” But if we pray from the heart for these people, truly desiring them to know God’s love, we will also be transformed into people of peace and love. The peace of Christ will move into the depths of our hearts. We will have this peace no matter the circumstances of our lives. We will love with the heart of Christ. We will grow in our ability to love unconditionally. We will accept people as they are and desire that they fulfill their potential – becoming all that God created them to become.

Once again we hear our heavenly Mother ask us to pray. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Message of February 25, 2004
"Dear children! Also today, as never up to now, I call you to open your hearts to my messages. Little children, be those who draw souls to God and not those who distance them. I am with you and love you all with a special love. This is a time of penance and conversion. From the bottom of my heart, I call you to be mine with all your heart and then you will see that your God is great, because He will give you an abundance of blessings and peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on February 25, 2004 Message:
Okay. I admit it. I am a fan of the “Peanuts” comic strip. I think one of my favorite characters is Linus. The late Charles M. Schulz created Linus as a kind of spiritual presence in the strip. In his Christmas special, Schulz has Linus tell the true meaning of Christmas from the Gospel of Saint Luke. But as I read this month’s message from our Heavenly Mother, I more associate with Charlie Brown, who is often called a “blockhead.” In fits of desperation, as he yet fails to understand or succeed, Charlie Brown will cry out, “A-U-U-U-G-G-H-H-H!” I (I wonder if that is a fulfillment of Romans 8 “In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groaning.”

I groan because I do not know how to open my heart to the message of our Heavenly Mother. I know that I have expressed at other times my frustration at not understanding what “pray from the heart” meant. It seems that everyone has an opinion, but no one has certainty. So what can I do? I can ask for the grace of understanding. I can ask for the grace of perseverance. I can ask for the grace to be faithful to prayer.

“Little children, be those who draw souls to God and not those who distance them.” There are times in my spiritual journey that I am attracted by those who seem to have it all together. “I want to be like Bishop Sheen. I want to be like Father Shamon. I want to be like Mother Theresa. And so on…” However, there are times when I am more attracted by people who struggle and struggle and never give up. RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is the process through which people join the Catholic Church. I would dare say that three out of four people who join the Catholic Church are inspired by people they know who are Catholic. They are inspired by the way these Catholic people are peaceful, how they handle difficult situations, how they do not give up in the midst of suffering, how they strive to forgive, how they pray and go to church. Maybe this is the kind of example that will draw people to Jesus through Mary. Sometimes we can be a Linus. Other times we can be a Charlie Brown. I look up to Linus. I relate to Charlie Brown. I will never be a Bishop Sheen or a Father Shamon or a Mother Theresa. But I can be me. And if I persevere in prayer; if I strive for peace; if I ask God to open my heart to these messages; if I just never give up then maybe someday I will get it. I will have an open heart. I will understand the messages and be able to live them. I will be a man of the Gospels. And maybe by my struggling and never giving up, I will draw all those others who struggle and not distance them from God by pretentious piety. Maybe “A-U-U-U-G-G-H-H-H” is a very appropriate prayer to add to my rosary…

Message of March 25, 2004
"Dear children! Also today, I call you to open yourselves to prayer. Especially now, in this time of grace, open your hearts, little children, and express your love to the Crucified. Only in this way, will you discover peace, and prayer will begin to flow from your heart into the world. Be an example, little children, and an incentive for the good. I am close to you and I love you all. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on March 25, 2004 Message:
“Open yourselves to prayer” – I so very often ask our Lord and His Blessed Mother to please make things simple for me. What does it mean to “open yourselves to prayer”? I am not sure. However, it may be me who complicates the message, and not our Blessed Mother.

What does it me to be open? Unlock (verb), not closed (adjective), begin (v.), exposed (adj.), approachable (adj.), honest (adj.). Our Blessed Mother in her very next sentence tells us to “open our hearts” – to unlock them, to not keep them closed to grace, to begin loving, to expose our woundedness and our brokenness, to make ourselves approachable to grace and mercy, to be honest about ourselves and our relationship with Jesus.

How does a heart get locked? We lock them by sin, by pain, by struggle, by pride, by selfishness, by ignorance, by neglect. “I don’t want to know God. I don’t want God to know me.” Those may not be conscious thoughts, but they are often spoken through our actions and inaction's. We don’t take time for prayer, for scripture, for resting in the Lord. We are locked. We are closed to graces, to blessings, to the Presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We need to begin praying and once we have begun, we need to begin again. Prayer is the lifeblood communication in our relationship with Christ. Just as in our friendships and marriages we need a commitment to communication, so also in our friendship, our relationship with Christ. We begin, many falter, and so need to begin again.

We need to begin praying in the way God wants us to pray, in the way the Blessed Mother instructs us to pray – from the heart, with our hearts, speaking real words of meaning to God.

We cannot be afraid to expose our weaknesses, our defects to God in prayer. We cannot pray as if we have our act together. We need to be vulnerable in prayer. We need to be honest with God about who we truly are. We need to remember that God sees us as we truly are. So why try to hide it? Talk to God about everything – EVERYTHING! Nothing makes us unapproachable to God. God lets no obstacle stand in the way of His love for us – except our wills! Only when we say “NO” is there an obstacle between God and us. God is waiting, patient and compassionate. And so is it possible that this is what Mary could mean when she tells us to “open ourselves to prayer” and “open our hearts” in this month’s message?

Message of April 25, 2004
"Dear children! Also today, I call you to live my messages even more strongly in humility and love so that the Holy Spirit may fill you with His grace and strength. Only in this way will you be witnesses of peace and forgiveness. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on April 25, 2004 Message:
As the Blessed Mother once again calls us to live the messages, she is urging us to do so “…even more strongly in humility and love…” What does “humility” mean? The word humility is often used to signify lowliness or submissiveness as it is derived from the Latin humilitas or, as St. Thomas says, from humus, i.e. the earth which is beneath us. (Catholic Encyclopedia Online) Many of us are used to the first rendering of the word – to be lowly, to undergo self-abasement, to belittle oneself. Let us look at how St. Thomas Aquinas rooted this word: from humus, that is, the earth that is beneath us. To be humble means to be of the earth, of the ground. One definition of humble is to be grounded. To be grounded – to be standing on a firm foundation and to know what makes up that foundation, to know where you come from (your roots) and to know where you are going.

What ground do I stand on? I stand on the Creed – Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed. When was the last time you PRAYED the Creed REFLECTIVELY? We say the Nicene Creed on Sunday and, in most Catholic Churches, it can appear to be a race to the finish. In the new General Instruction to the Roman Missal, Holy Mother Church reminds us of the use of our bodies in worship. We are reminded of when to sit and stand and kneel and bow – and we are called to bow during our profession of faith (The Creed) as we pray the words that tell us that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and became man. Do we remember to bow? Did we know that we are called to bow?

What’s the big deal about bowing? I think it’s connected to being grounded in our faith. Our God (the One, True, Living God) became a human being like us in all things but sin. What does that mean to you? God loves us enough to come into time, to come into human existence, to come into human suffering, to offer us a new and eternal relationship with Him.

The late Christian singer/song writer Rich Mullins put the Creed to music. In another song we hear the words: “If I stand let me stand on the promise that you will pull me through. And if I can’t let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you. And if I sing let me sing of the joy that has born in me these songs. And if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home.” There is a great example of being grounded.

Our Blessed Mother is THE model of the virtue of humility. She knew her lowliness. She was not putting herself down, just comparing herself to God. What am I compared to God? I am a lowly servant, a handmaid. So let it be done to me as you say. Who am I to tell God “no” when He asks something of me? The Blessed Mother is grounded in her faith history. Let us look at the Magnificat – part of her conversation with Elizabeth: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." (Luke 1.46-55) The Blessed Mother looks to God and sees His history of goodness, his faithful in always keeping His promise, and understands the ability to hope because of Who God is and all that He has done. We would do well to “be grounded” in the model of Mary.

The message continues in calling us to live the messages in love. The messages are messages of love. We need to be strong in living the messages in humility and love, for these virtues will open us to the Holy Spirit, in Whom and through Whom the grace of God is enlivened in all of His people: “so that the Holy Spirit may fill you with His grace and strength.”

To know who I am, where I come from and where I am going – and all in the context of God’s profound love for me – this will make me an example of peace and reconciliation for those around me and for the world: “Only in this way will you be witnesses of peace and forgiveness.” And I become a servant of our Heavenly Mother as she serves Christ her Son and our Lord. I become a messenger of the messages, a witness to my faith, a model of the Gospels. Let it be done to me as You say.”

Message of May 25, 2004
"Dear children! Also today, I urge you to consecrate yourselves to my Heart and to the Heart of my Son Jesus. Only in this way will you be mine more each day and you will inspire each other all the more to holiness. In this way joy will rule your hearts and you will be carriers of peace and love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on May 25, 2004 Message:
“Consecrate” - defined - To sanctify, to bless, to set apart, to make holy. “Only in this way will you be mine more each day…” At first glance, this could be a very disturbing message. Mary says she wants us to be hers more each day. We are the Land of the Free. We proclaim liberty for all. I do not want to “belong” to anyone. I am independent. I am my own boss. I want to owe nothing to anyone. That is our American spirit. In terms of political freedom, I couldn’t agree more.

However, spiritual freedom and political freedom are two entirely different worlds. I am NOT spiritually independent. Did I make myself? No, I did not. Do I sustain myself. No, I do not. Can I add even one second to my life? No, I cannot. And this is not a mere philosophical debate. There is not a single human being who can create something from nothing. So, therefore, we are DEPENDENT. If my heart stops beating, what can I do to make it start again? If my brain ceases to function, what can I do to make myself start thinking again? If my lungs refuse to contract and expand, what can I do to make them start working again?

What did I do to expiate my sins? What did I do to pay the price for breaking covenant with God and restoring my right relationship with Him? What did I do to open the gates of heaven for myself and all believers? Nothing, nothing, nothing! I cannot do anything for my own salvation.
From where does faith come? I cannot create or deepen faith within myself. Where does prayer comes from? “…the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groaning…” (Romans 8.26) All is grace. We are no more independent than an infant in its mother’s womb. Yet, we tend to want to live as if this was the truth.

Our blessed Mother is telling us to consecrate ourselves to her. Why? She is the ultimate human experience of holiness, blessedness, being sanctified and set apart by the Father for His will and the building of His kingdom and the complete glory of God. She is model and intercessor in being consecrated to God. So by saying and meaning that we want to be set apart for God, and by allowing Mary to lead and guide us in this way, we have every advantage in receiving these graces from God.

Our Blessed Mother is our Teacher. We commend ourselves into the hands of our teachers when we go to school. We say, even just by our presence there, that we trust our teacher; we believe that our teacher can help us grow in wisdom and knowledge, we hope that what is given to us will help us in some way, shape or form.

We are invited to go to the school of Holiness, under the tutelage of the Prime Teacher, Mary. Consecration to her says that we want what she has to offer. Consecration to her says that we believe that she can help us grow in wisdom, knowledge and holiness. Consecration to her says that we believe she can help us attain the goal of a deeper relationship with her Son, Jesus.

Let us pray about this consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Then let us pray about consecrating ourselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, her Son.

Message of June 25, 2004
"Dear children! Also today, joy is in my heart. I desire to thank you for making my plan realizable. Each of you is important, therefore, little children, pray and rejoice with me for every heart that has converted and become an instrument of peace in the world. Prayer groups are powerful, and through them I can see, little children, that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on June 25, 2004 Message:
There is a sense of uniqueness to the annual anniversary message of our Blessed Mother. “Each of you is important…” Every human being, every child of God has an important role to play in the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation and in the building of His Kingdom. So many times people question their value and worth. So many times people do not understand their meaning in life. So many times people do not understand the meaning of life itself. Yet, in this message, Mary is telling every one of us that each of us is important. Each one of us – not some of us, or most of us, or all of us except for me – but EACH ONE OF US!
There are those who would believe that there are some people better than them. And there are those who would believe that they are better than some people. What an “unlike Christ” concept! Where does God exclude anybody? We see throughout Scripture where people exclude themselves, but we never see where Christ says, “No salvation for you! I will not die to forgive YOUR sins. I will shed my blood for YOU and for ALL so that your sins may be forgiven.”

So we each have our work to do so that every heart will be converted and become an instrument of peace in the world.

Then our Blessed Mother moves us from the individual to the corporate. “Prayer groups are powerful, and through them I can see, little children, that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world.” We do not have to do this work alone. Prayer groups are powerful. They show the working of the Holy Spirit in the world.

When Jesus sent the disciples on mission, he sent them out in pairs. There were two disciples doing the work of the kingdom together. “Wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, I am present.” Prayer groups strengthen us. Prayer groups support us. Prayer groups provide a presence of Christ in the gathering in His Name. Prayer groups challenge us to live what we promise to live.

Saint Paul speaks how the Church is the living body of Christ here on earth. A body is made up of small, individual cells. But when these cells come together as a cohesive unit, they make up a finger or a toe, an eye or a nose. And then when these parts come together, they make up the whole body. They are many different parts comprising many different gifts, but together, they make up the beautiful creation of the body.

If you are currently in prayer group, I urge you to be faithful and to invite another person to join you. If you are not currently in a prayer group, I urge you to prayerfully consider joining one or, perhaps, even help form one. If it is worthy of our Blessed Mother mentioning it in her message, it is definitely worthy of our prayerful consideration. There is power in numbers and strength in unity. May the power of the Holy Spirit in the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ work in and through all prayer groups. Amen.

Message of July 25, 2004
"Dear children! I call you anew: be open to my messages. I desire, little children, to draw you all closer to my Son Jesus; therefore, you pray and fast. Especially I call you to pray for my intentions, so that I can present you to my Son Jesus; for Him to transform and open your hearts to love. When you will have love in the heart, peace will rule in you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on July 25, 2004 Message:
I had heard a story in Medjugorje of a dear Sister who encountered a man (whom we will call Vincent) on pilgrimage to St. James. Sister had seen this man throughout the days of his visit and found him very spiritual and faithful. He seemed very positive and good-natured. However, one day he seemed very sad and discouraged. “Vincent, what is wrong?” “I will be going home soon.” “And what is the problem with that?” “You see, Sister, my wife is not a believer. I have had such a wonderful experience here but when I get home, she will mock me and make fun of me for believing in God and wasting my time in prayer. I will have to hide my faith and will probably lose what God has given me here.” “Oh, Vincent, do not be that way. You will be all right. When you come back to Medjugorje again, you will bring me the news that you faith has grown.” “Oh no, Sister, I will probably never return here. I will never see you again. So please pray for me. I need people to pray for me.” “Yes, Vincent, I will pray for you. But I have a deal for you. Instead praying for your self and your wife, tell the Blessed Virgin that you will pray for her intentions if she will pray for your intentions.” “Yes, Sister, I will do that.” Several months later, as Sister was looking out at the people gathering in St. James and she saw Vincent kneeling and praying. “Vincent, what a wonderful surprise! How good to see you. When did you arrive?” “Oh, Sister, it is so good to be here again and it is good to see you. I just arrived today.” “Vincent, how is your wife? How is your faith? You look so peaceful and calm.” “Sister, it is a miracle. I made a promise to the Blessed Virgin. I told her that I would not pray for my wife or myself. Instead, I would pray for all of her intentions. And in exchange, would she please pray for my wife and for me. Then, when I got home, I would quietly go off to the bedroom to pray the rosary for the Blessed Virgin’s intentions. My wife would ask me, ‘Where are you going? What do you do in the bedroom so quietly all by yourself?’ And I had the courage to tell her that I pray the rosary for the intentions of the Blessed Virgin. My wife would ask me why I bother going to church all the time. I said that it was so I could be close to Jesus and His Mother. One day, my wife asked me if I could teach her to pray the rosary. She now goes to church with me. She asked me when I was going back to Medjugorje. And here I am.”

“Especially I call you to pray for my intentions, so that I can present you to my Son Jesus; for Him to transform and open your hearts to love.” Pray for the intentions of the Blessed Mother. What more powerful intercession can there be than the intercession of the Blessed Mother of Jesus? The Blessed Mother who interceded for a married couple at Cana can intercede for you. So pray for her intentions faithfully every day. Entrust your needs and the needs of your loved ones to her motherly care. She wants to present all of us to Jesus her Son so that he may transform us and open our hearts to love, just as she did for Vincent and his wife. Pray. Be open. Persevere. Hope. Love. Trust. And pray again – for the intentions of the Blessed Mother.

Message of August 25, 2004
"Dear children! I call you all to conversion of heart. Decide, as in the first days of my coming here, for a complete change of your life. In this way, little children, you will have the strength to kneel and to open your hearts before God. God will hear your prayers and answer them. Before God, I intercede for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on August 25, 2004 Message:
“Decide, as in the first days of my coming here, for a complete change of your life.” To decide is to choose, to want, to prefer, to desire. I want a complete change of life. I prefer a complete change of life. I desire a complete change of life. I CHOOSE a complete change of my life.

Our Good and Gracious God has given us such a precious, precious gift. He has given us the gift of free will, that is, the gift of choice. We can choose. I cannot fathom the fullness of this gift. I have the God-given gift and right to make choices. And our Blessed Mother is asking me to choose a complete change of my life.

Now that scares me a little bit. Actually, it scares me a lot. I am comfortable. I am in my set routine. I kind of like things the way they are. Oh, if somebody asks me I could probably find a few things to complain about. And, you know, I have been known to gripe about things even without being asked. And, of course, I have the solution to the problems of others. And even though I pray as Jesus taught us: “Our Father…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” I usually prefer my kingdom and my will, even tough I don’t consciously think of it in that way.

I suppose I could make a few changes. But didn’t Mary say I should want, prefer, desire, choose a COMPLETE change of my life? A complete change is not just a few cosmetic, superficial changes. It is complete – total, whole, full, entire, absolute. What does that mean? Isn’t it sinners who need complete change? I mean, I know that I am a sinner, but not a big sinner. Not like other people I know. I don’t do much wrong. How complete a change does it have to be? Well, in looking at past messages, this change can seem to be a very comprehensive undertaking.

“Pray, pray, pray.” Do I pray as I should? How much time do I spend in prayer? “Pray constantly.” How can I pray constantly? I can have a pray of gratitude on my lips throughout the entire day. God is so very, very good to us all. I could spend the entire day in praise and worship of His goodness to me and to the world. I can have petitions in my mind and heart throughout the day, praying not only for my own needs, but also for the needs of my family and friends, for the needs of my community and country, for the needs of the world and the Church. I could also be speaking words of love and affection to my dear Jesus – Savior and Redeemer of all.

“In this way, little children, you will have the strength to kneel and to open your hearts before God.” When I pray, do I pray from my heart, with my heart? Do I know my own heart? If I do not, how can I pray from my heart to God? Do I open my heart to God? So often I have prayed the words that I thought God wanted to hear. I am learning to pray the truth of my heart and the truth of my life. I am trying to learn how to open my heart before God. It sounds so simple. “Open your heart before God.” It is hard work accomplished only through the grace of Jesus Christ. But I have to ”choose” to ask for the grace and to choose to let the grace work. I have to choose to give God permission to work in me and through me and for me. There are many obstacles to an open heart. So I have to choose to open it or, rather, have it opened for me by God.

A complete change – an open heart – these are scary things. I can be afraid of complete change. I can fear an open heart. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…” [1 John 4.18a] If I am afraid, then I do not possess fully the perfect love that God has for me. I am afraid of letting God change me to be more and more in His image and likeness. I am afraid of losing myself – the old self, the sinful self, the self-reliant self, the “I am my own god” self. I am afraid of opening my heart. I am afraid to love and be loved as God has instructed. For God is love and tells us to love one another as He has first loved us. Fear is not of God. Fear is of the evil one. The message to the Mary, the message to the shepherds, the message to the disciples after the resurrection – “Do not be afraid!”

Can I truly pray with an open heart for a complete change of my life? If not, it is a grace for which we desperately need to ask God. And we do not need to do this alone. “Before God, I intercede for each of you.” Dearest Mother Mary, pray for me, a sinner. Intercede for me before the throne of God. Pray for these graces in my life now and at the hour of my death. Help me in my complete change of life. Help me in opening my heart before God. Amen.

Medjugorje Message of September 25, 2004
Dear Children! Also today, I call you to be love where there is hatred and food where there is hunger. Open your hearts, little children and let your hands be extended and generous so that, through you, every creature may thank God the Creator. Pray, little children, and open your heart to God’s love, but you cannot if you do not pray. Therefore, pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary on September 25, 2004 Message:
For over 22 years, Our Lady has been talking to us about these critical times in which we live and inviting us to respond to her messages! For those of us who have raised children, we know that it sometimes takes that long for them to ‘get the message’ that we have painstakingly tried to impart to them for successful living. Our Lady has invested in us over these long years as we have in our children. What has her steadfast love and fidelity taught us? If we had counted the word ‘pray’ in her messages, the number would probably have exceeded a million! Prayer changes people from within. It is only through our response to her invitation to prayer that we can successfully live out her messages in our world. Prayer opens our hearts to God’s love. It is through prayer that we receive the desire to please her and her Divine Son. If, after all these years of hearing Our Lady’s messages, we are still not praying, then we desperately need to ask for an increase in the gift of Faith. We have been hearing lately in the Sunday Gospels about Faith. A few weeks ago we were told that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed (the smallest of seeds), we could move mountains! Could that possibly mean mountains of doubt and discouragement? The next week we heard the story of the one leper out of ten who returned to thank Jesus for being made clean. His prayer had changed him! Next, we heard about the persistent prayer of the woman seeking justice. The theme is clear in these Gospel readings, Faith saves! Jesus asks the question of all questions, “When I return, will there be any faith left on the earth”? This is not a rhetorical question! It was not meant for another people in another time alone! Jesus asks each one of us whether or not He will find faith in us when he comes.

Our Lady has invested much in us – 22 years of loving and inviting messages! We are well aware of the hatred and the hunger in our world today. Our Lady invites us to respond by “being love” and “food”. She uses the symbol of the extended hands to show us that we are called to be generous and sacrificial in these critical times. Hatred and hungry are a strong diagnosis for our times! We need strong medicine to counteract these diseases. The time to respond to Our Lady’s invitation to be the antidote is NOW! Where there is a need, we are invited to fill it with God’s love. We are invited to bring the food of the Gospel to those who hunger for the truth. We are called to be light in the present day darkness. We must be so changed, through prayer, that we bring love and food – not so much by what we do and say, put by the person we have become. Only then, will the light of Christ shine through us so as to be love where there is hatred and food where there is hunger. Only when prayer so changes us from within, like the thankful leper, that our very being proclaims the greatness of God, will “every creature thank God the Creator through us”. This is a tall order from Our Lady. She tells us it is impossible to respond if we do not pray! When Jesus returns will He find enough faith in us to have responded to His Mother’s invitation of 22 plus years?

Message October 25, 2004
Dear children! This is a time of grace for the family and, therefore, I call you to renew prayer. May Jesus be in the heart of your family. In prayer, learn to love everything that is holy. Imitate the lives of saints so that they may be an incentive and teachers on the way of holiness. May every family become a witness of love in this world without prayer and peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary on October 25, 2004 Message:
Can you imagine what our churches would be like without prayer? What if they were only social gathering places? Without prayer and worship (the greatest of these, the Holy Mass), our churches would not be ‘church’. For the mission of the Church is to bring Jesus to the people and the people to Jesus. Jesus is the heart of our church family. We, as church, are his body. Jesus is our life and the life-breath of the Church! Without prayer, our churches would be lifeless!

Our family is a ‘domestic church’ – a little church. Without prayer, our family life is devoid of true life. The true goal of our family is much the same as our Church – to be Christ for one another, helping one another work out each other’s salvation; thus attaining the crown of eternal life at the end of our journey. Our Lady knows how impossible it would be to attain our family goal without prayer. She knows that so many family members are like ships that pass in the night. Coming and going in a frantic pace. Often, we don’t even share one meal a day together. Our Lady knows that many families trudge their crosses of financial worries, sickness, alcoholism, depression, etc, along their way of the cross – ALONE! She shakes her head in sadness for us. Even her Son, Jesus, had his Simon. ‘Why do they trod this vale of tears alone – without seeking my Son in prayer’? She is a wise Mother and knows how much easier family life would be if we would pray together. Prayer brings Jesus to the heart of the matter. Prayer connects us with the Life and Light of the world. Can you imagine what family life could be like if we would pray together? It is an invitation for Jesus to bring light and life into our often burdened family. When Jesus, the Light, is invited into family life, he bestows on these blessed households his peace – a peace that surpasses understanding. His grace, obtained through prayer, is sufficient to carrying our many burdens. In fact, our trials can become joys when shared with Jesus. When our families bond together through prayer, we discover a secret that the saints before us also discovered – the key to sanctity and joy. Our Lady also sees that our affections today often center around materialism. She knows that our ‘stuff’ will never bring us true and lasting happiness. In her wisdom and love for her children, she wants for us what will bring us true happiness and fulfillment – falling in love with everything that is holy. In her message, Our Lady gives us the remedy for our modern day family life – Pray, invite Jesus to be the heart and soul of our family life. Imitating the saints in this way, we shall also share their reward – eternal life in the company of the Blessed Trinity, Mary and all the saints in unending peace, joy and light. Our Lady is counting on us to become households of love and light, acting us beacons in a darkened and troubled world.

Message of November 25, 2004
Dear children! At this time, I call you all to pray for my intentions. Especially, little children, pray for those who have not yet come to know the love of God and do not seek God the Savior. You, little children, be my extended hands and by your example draw them closer to my Heart and the Heart of my Son. God will reward you with graces and every blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on November 25, 2004 Message:
“At this time, I call you all to pray for my intentions…”. Our Lady spoke these words at a time when the Christian world is on the fringes of Advent – a time of waiting and preparing for the gift of all gifts – the renewal of the birth of the Christ-child in hearts. What better way to prepare than to pray with Our Lady! Her timely request makes me wonder how she must have prayed during her time of waiting and preparing for the birth of her Son. Her immediate needs, such as physical comfort, a place to lay her precious baby, the acceptance and companionship of people, must have been secondary in her prayer. Her priority must surely have been that the will of God be carried out in her life and mission.

Have you ever swapped prayer intentions with Mary? There is such freedom in releasing all of our concerns into the hands of our Mother! After all, that is the premise of being the children who are consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. It is a prerequisite, as her children, that we have aligned ourselves with her mission – that of awakening those who do not already realize the love of God. We are called to become evangelizers in our time – effective witnesses for peace and joy. If that is truly what we have become as Mary’s children, then we are certainly praying for her intentions.

The next line in Our Lady’s message is telling us HOW we should relate to those who do not yet know the love of God nor do they seek Him. How do we accomplish such a task? Certainly not alone! Nor is it by getting up on a soap box. It is not by our admonitions, words of wisdom or criticism. I do not mean that we shouldn’t ‘preach’. We should! But only use words when necessary.

What does the love of God look like, then? Our Lady tells us it looks like the image of our extended hands. The love of God looks like our example when we are serving God through his people. When we convey this image in our broken world, we become what we are. We exude peace and joy. We will be known as God’s own by our love. Only then can we draw the lost and the blind closer to the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Another tall order from Our Lady! However, we are not alone. She is close to us, the Holy Spirit is upon us – leading us onward. Mary reminds us that “we will be rewarded with graces and every blessing”. She, herself, who procures every grace for us from her Son will see to it that we have everything we need, both temporally and spiritually, to accomplish our goal.

Over 2000 years ago, the darkened world lie in wait of its’ Savior – destined to bring salvation to a fallen world through a humble girl. Again, today we are privileged to be called to be co-creators with that ‘humble girl’, our Mother, to bring the gift of all Christmas gifts to the world still dark with sin.

Let us pray with blessed Mother Teresa: “Do you want my hands, my God, to assist all the day those who need assistance? My God, I give you my hands. Do you want my feet to go all the day, each day, towards those who need a friend? Today, my God, I give you my feet. Do you want my voice, my God, so that it speaks all the day to those who need your words of love? My God, I give you my voice today. Do you want my heart, my God, from dawn to the evening, to love without exception? My God, I give you my heart today.”

Message of December 25, 2004
"Dear children! With great joy, also today I carry my Son Jesus in my arms to you; He blesses you and calls you to peace. Pray, little children, and be courageous witnesses of Good News in every situation. Only in this way will God bless you and give you everything you ask of Him in faith. I am with you as long as the Almighty permits me. I intercede for each of you with great love.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on December 25, 2004 Message:
As I write this reflection, we are still basking in the afterglow of the Christmas miracle. The Church gives us a few days to absorb the wonder of the Christmas event (Feast of Epiphany). How can we assimilate it all in just one day? Most of us spend much of the Advent Season ‘busy about many things’ preparing for the celebration with our families.

Our Lady’s message invites us to enter fully into the joy and the mystery of Christmas. If we have spent any time during this Holy Season in reflection before our crèche, we would realize that we are not passive participants in the mystery of Jesus’ birth. WE are the people to whom the angel proclaims the good news of great joy. WE are the people in darkness who have seen a great light. WE are the people who are called to recognize Emmanuel (God-with-us). This is why Our Lady comes to us this December 25, 2004 with “great joy” carrying Jesus in her arms for us!

Did you ever imagine Our Lady putting the Christ child in your arms as you meditate on the third mystery of the Holy Rosary? If so, were you filled with great joy as you looked down into His innocent face? Were you blown away as you realized, in this meditation, that you carry the living God in your arms? (Wonder-Counselor, God-hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace) Yet, that is what we are called to do! We are invited to carry Jesus out of the manger scene and into our individual situations. Our Lady shows us how to bear Jesus into the circumstances of our lives. She exhorts us to PRAY! Why should we pray? Prayer should precede everything that we do in order to be fruitful. Pray to become peaceful people. Pray to become courageous. We need courage to witness the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Good News is counter-cultural. We need courage if we must go against the grain of society. The Good News may make some people uncomfortable. It did in Jesus’ time! So, we must pray. Only through prayer will God bless us and give us everything we ask of Him. If we are not praying, how can we be sensitive to the ways in which God wants to use us? Our Lady is here, for as long as God permits, to help us in the task ahead. She has “great love” for us. Notice the superlative!

The prophets of old foretold that the people in darkness have seen a great light. We are not passive participants in this unfolding salvation story. Having spent much time in meditation of the Birth of Jesus, we are called, by a loving Mother, to bring the Light from the stable to a people still dwelling in a land of gloom – a people still living in darkness. It’s up to us. Open your arms and your hearts this Christmas Season, to accept Our Lady’s child as she offers Him to us.


2005

January 25, 2005 Message
Dear children! “In this time of grace again I call you to prayer. Pray, little children, for unity of Christians, that all may be one heart. Unity will really be among you inasmuch as you will pray and forgive. Do not forget: love will conquer only if you pray, and your heart will open.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on January 25, 2005 Message
If we fully understood the multidimensional meaning of the word ‘grace’, we would stand in wonder and awe at how much God loves and trusts us! From the very beginning of salvation history, God has invited his people to participate in His Divine Plan. God intervenes in our lives. God loves us and calls us. Then, God waits for our loving response to that call. We don’t deserve this love. It’s free! The presence of our God is visible all around us. It is God who takes this initiative to break into our world. We haven’t merited the wonder of God’s presence. That is grace! We respond because ‘amazing grace’ is given to us. Without God, we could do nothing.
Our Lady likes to remind us that we are living in a particular time of God’s favor (or grace). Her call to us challenges us not to take this time for granted. She does not want us to waste this time of grace. Our mother’s presence and her words to us are proof enough of God’s grace bestowed upon this age.
January’s message focuses our attention to the importance of unity among Christians. It is sad enough to think about the factions that separate God’s children around the world: cultures, religions, politics, social classes. Aware of these divisions, we pray for world peace, as we should. But today, Our Lady points us toward our own hearts. Are we inclusive of all our Christian brothers and sisters? Are we even tolerant of our fellow Catholics when we happen to have differing opinions? What about unity within our own families? Is there someone within our own family whom we are having a hard time forgiving? If we find ourselves harboring grudges, we are not united. In fact, our hearts are divided and we will not find peace even within ourselves. Our Lady sees all these divisions among us. She offers a solution: pray and forgive so that unity will be realized.

In John’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ own prayer for unity among believers. “I pray not only for them, (apostles), but also for those who will believe in me through their word, (all Christians) so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” Our Lady invites us, this month, to make Jesus’ prayer for unity our own, so that the whole world will be impacted by our unity and our love. Sin and divisions can be conquered only through love. Pray for this!

February 25, 2005 Message
“Dear children! Today I call you to be my extended hands in this world that puts God in the last place. You, little children, put God in the first place in your life. God will bless you and give you strength to bear witness to Him, the God of love and peace. I am with you and intercede for all of you. Little children, do not forget that I love you with a tender love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on February 25, 2005 Message
This message prompts us to think about ways in which Our Lady would serve God if She were still physically present among us today. Our Lady is a mother. She would be ‘mothering’ us! I can picture Her encouraging her children who have lost heart – either because of sickness, failure or discouragement. She would be teaching those of Her children who still need to know of the great love of Her Son. She would be admonishing those of her children who consistently make bad choices. She would be guiding those of her children who easily get confused and lose their way on the path of life. She would be feeding the poor and listening to the stories of the lonely. In short, she would be tending the physical and spiritual needs of us all! To all of us, she would be solicitous, compassionate and loving. Our Lady is not able to be with us all in a tangible way so she has gotten our attention! She has called us to be her extended hands in this world. She reminds us how very important this charge is for us to carry out in a world that puts God in last place!

How consoling this message has been for us this month! So often, we trudge through our responsibilities each day hoping that we are fulfilling God’s will. We sometimes never really know for sure whether we are doing God’s will or our own. But Our Lady has said in this message that her little children have put God first in their lives. She has complimented us! She not only gave us a gentle pat on the back, put assured us that God will bless us! Sometimes, we get to a point where we wonder if we will have the strength to continually bear witness to God in a world filled with false gods! But Our Lady tells us that we WILL be given strength to continue on in our mission of light! Our God of peace and love will bless us with strength.

Our Lady is so motherly in this message! She reminds us that she is interceding for us and loves us tenderly – with gentleness, compassion and protectiveness. I felt securely wrapped in my mother’s arms when I read this!


March 25, 2005 Message
“Dear children! Today I call you to love. Little children, love each other with God’s love. At every moment, in joy and in sorrow, may love prevail and, in this way, love will begin to reign in your hearts. The risen Jesus will be with you and you will be His witnesses. I will rejoice with you and protect you with my motherly mantle. Especially, little children, I will watch your daily conversion with love.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on March 25, 2005 Message:
In this message, Our Lady raises our hearts and minds to love. Usually when we think about loving and being loved, we equate it with ‘warm and fuzzy’ feelings. Too often, we reduce love to a feeling. However, Our Lady, who has been calling us to prayer for over two decades, is asking us to “love each other with God’s love”. She is appealing to far more than our emotions. What she asks is difficult!

I write this commentary while on retreat. I have been reading about mystical prayer while I’ve been here at Christ the King Retreat House. This book reminds me of where Our Lady has been leading us for so long. She has led us through the stages of prayer. First, She makes sure we are firmly grounded in our learned prayers and spiritual reading, most especially, the Holy Rosary. After we have been imbibed with our ‘Mother’s milk’ in cenacles of prayer for so long, she calls us to an ever-deeper prayer – interior mental prayer or prayer of the heart!

After spending so much time with Mary in prayer, she calls us, in this message, to the ‘perfect prayer’. Having confidence in us as ‘adult pray-ers’, she invites us to become perfect lovers – love that expects nothing in return and yet goes on giving. This is the beginning of mystical prayer. Our Lady is calling her children to be mystics! In asking us to love at every moment, in joy and in sorrow, she is really asking, ‘Do you want to experience the fullness of love that Christ experienced in His Resurrection, and share it with others?’ If we can respond affirmatively, then we must be prepared to share in His self-sacrificial life in His death, too! Our Lady isn’t pampering us in this message! She means business and has confidence that we do too!

During this season of Easter, we have been reading the book of Acts. Like the first disciples, we enjoy the company of our Risen Lord as we continue to bear witness to the Gospel. How effective we are as witnesses will depend on how well we love – perseveringly, selflessly. Our Lady will rejoice with us and protect us with Her motherly mantle. With love, she came among us, trained us in the ways of love by pointing us toward the Source of love. With love, she will guide us to daily conversion. “Love each other with God’s love….” – a formidable task, indeed!

Message of April 25, 2005
“Dear children! Also today, I call you to renew prayer in your families. By prayer and the reading of Sacred Scripture, may the Holy Spirit, who will renew you, enter into your families. In this way, you will become teachers of the faith in your family. By prayer and your love, the world will set out on a better way and love will begin to rule in the world. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on April 25, 2005 message:
A mighty oak tree has it’s beginning with a tiny acorn. Our Lady’s April message reminds me of this reality. Imagine,” love will rule in the world” from the humble beginning of prayer! Do you ever notice that God does wonders with so little! God uses what little we have to offer and makes something wonderful from it.

Again, Our Lady reminds us of the paramount importance of prayer in our families. She doesn’t only call us to prayer, She tells us in no uncertain terms the ramifications of it! Families are domestic churches. Through his Church, God calls us to be evangelists. Within the Church, we find everything we need for transformation and sanctification – not only for ourselves, but for the whole wretched world. Our families are also meant to be the vehicle of transformation.

What transforms, then? Love, of course! How do we get to love? Our Lady tells us. “Renew prayer”! ….especially in our domestic churches…..our families! She also calls us to read Sacred Scripture so that the Holy Spirit will renew us. Sacred Scripture is inspired by God. The words of the Scriptures are alive in the Holy Spirit. It makes perfect sense that we will be renewed by these living words. I don’t believe Our Lady is asking us to just read the Bible as we would any other book. Rather, pray with the Bible. Read only a few verses. Stop. Think. Pray. Let the words flow into your heart. Absorb them. Only in this way do we open ourselves up to the power they contain. If we are renewed in this way, then the Holy Spirit has the open door to enter into our families. Imbued with the Holy Spirit, we become teachers of the faith. Our Lady makes it clear that She is not referring here to head knowledge. She hasn’t asked us to study first. She asks us to pray and absorb the living word first. Only, THEN, will we become teachers of the faith. If we are praying together as family, immersed in the Word of God, love will indeed reign in our homes. How can it not? Love, who is God, will be with us. It MUST begin there. If we miss the boat at home, we’ll never succeed in changing the world. But if we succeed at home within our families, our domestic churches, we hold in our hearts the power, the tools we need to transform our world. “Love will begin to rule in the world”. A mighty oak….from a tiny acorn. A natural progression. Can we do it? We must believe it! We must try it! Peace in the world depends on it.

Message of May 25, 2005
“Dear children! Anew I call you to live my messages in humility. Especially witness them now when we are approaching the anniversary of my apparitions. Little children, be a sign to those who are far from God and His love. I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on May 25, 2005 message:
Our Lady, who is humility enfleshed, asks us, her children, to live in humility. She, as the humble servant of the Lord, is our perfect model of the way to humility. God looked upon her as a humble servant, and this is why all the generations call her blessed. We should have a clear understanding of what it means to walk humbly with the Lord. Humility is not weakness. Rather, it is strength of spirit. Our strength comes not from relying on our own resources; but knowing that it is only in Christ that we can accomplish all things. To be humble does not mean that we are afraid to speak up for what is right. Rather, rejoicing in the Truth, we courageously and lovingly defend our faith. There is a saying that tells us that we should always proclaim the Gospel of Christ by using words only as a last resort! In a world that is growing more and more anti-Christian, Our Lady invites us to be signs of contradiction. We are called to be meek - imbued with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus actually gives praise to the Father because God has revealed to the little ones what He has hidden from the wise and the learned! Our Lady knows that we do not come to God through our intellects; but, rather that the word of God can be understood only in humility. Holiness and humility go hand in hand. If we are to be signs it is only through this path.

The 24th Anniversary is a good time for us to take an annual examination of conscience to ask ourselves if we have been living Our Lady’s messages. Are we praying with our hearts every day, especially the Rosary? Are we reading from the Bible every day? Do we make Mass the center of our lives? Are we going to confession monthly? Are we fasting on Wednesday and Friday? Do we spend time with Our Lord in Adoration? Do we belong to a prayer group? Do we remember to read Matthew 6:24-34 every Thursday as Our Lady has asked? Are we loving and forgiving? Are we a good example to family and friends? What are we doing to help spread Our Lady’s messages?

Our Lady repeatedly asks us to be signs of God’s love in a cold world – not arrogant or flashy signs; but simple, trusting, with childlike hearts. To such belongs the Kingdom of God.

Message of June 25, 2005
Dear Children! Today I thank you for every sacrifice that you have offered for my intentions. I call you, little children, to be my apostles of peace and love in your families and in the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit may enlighten and lead you on the way of holiness. I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on June 25, 2005 message:
A friend of mine once told me that she found such a freedom in carrying her daily burdens through Our Lady. I was all ears! Wouldn’t all of us like to experience freedom instead of the tremendous weight of our crosses? I asked her how she came upon this ‘freedom’. She said, “It is so simple! Just give Our Lady your prayer intentions in exchange for hers!” It’s like a swap!” She, who knows what we really need, will pray the perfect prayer to Her Son on our behalf. And we, in turn, will pray for her intentions.

Mary’s intentions are for the whole of humanity. She wants as many souls to be saved as possible during this time of Divine Mercy. She wants all her children to know that God exists! She wants us all to know the breadth and depth and height of God’s love for everyone. She wants us to remember to what extent God went to save everyone – even the most hardened sinner. Mary’s intentions are that of a mother who is not willing to lose any of her children. She continually invites us, her consecrated ones, to align ourselves with this mission through prayer and sacrifice. In this message, she thanks us for having responded to her invitation. It truly is freeing to pray and sacrifice for Mary’s intentions knowing that she will take perfect care of our needs.

She also calls us to “be apostles of peace and love”. Our Lady is asking us to be pioneers for her cause. She is sending us off into a hostile world to be peacemakers and lovers. She is inviting us to become what we are through faith. She doesn’t want us to just talk about peace and love. She expects us to live peace and love. Just like the song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”. We must begin by letting our light shine, first and foremost, in our families. Then, we are called to transform our world one person at a time. How? By exchanging positive energy for negativity. By exchanging acts of love and kindness for hostility. By not always trying to have the last word, by not retaliating for an injustice done to us.

Our Lady’s messages often call us to be counter-cultural. They invite us to ‘go against the grain’. We cannot do this without prayer and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Every good gift comes from God alone! It is God who calls us, strengthens us and sanctifies us. There is nothing more attractive than holiness. Let us strive to live holy lives through prayer, sacrifice and confidence in our mother’s loving blessing.

Message of July 25, 2005
"Dear children! Also today, I call you to fill your day with short and ardent prayers. When you pray, your heart is open and God loves you with a special love and gives you special graces. Therefore, make good use of this time of grace and devote it to God more than ever up to now. Do novenas of fasting and renunciation so that Satan be far from you and grace be around you. I am near you and intercede before God for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on July 25, 2005 message: (not available)

Message of August 25, 2005
“Dear children! Also today I call you to live my messages. God gave you a gift of this time as a time of grace. Therefore, little children, make good use of every moment and pray, pray, pray. I bless you all and intercede before the Most High for each of you.
Thank you for having responded to my call."


Commentary on August 25, 2005 message: (not available)

Message of September 25, 2005
"Dear children! In love I call you: convert, even though you are far from my heart. Do not forget, I am your mother and I feel pain for each one who is far from my heart; but I do not leave you alone. I believe you can leave the way of sin and decide for holiness.
Thank you for having responded to my call."


Commentary on September 25, 2005 message:
This message aroused in me powerful emotions. Our Lady uses impacting words – love - convert - pain. Let’s ponder ‘love’ for a moment. “God, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me that I might proclaim him….” Gal. 1:15 We have been called through his love (grace). From the very beginning, we were in the mind of God. Our lives are not a random stroke of chance. We form a part of a sovereign plan for eternity. In essence, we are miracles of God’s love. Sometimes I wonder if we truly have a grasp of the dignity which is ours as children of God. Sometimes I fear we suffer from a sort of ‘spiritual amnesia’ and forget who we are as children of the living God. We should tremble in wonder and awe at the thought of the power of love that formed us, called us and while still stuck in the mire of sin, gave all, dying for us. What kind of love is this? Our Lady knows this ‘Love’ intimately. She has come, in the Spirit of Love, to renew the call within us. What is she calling us to do?

First, she lifts the shroud of amnesia from our spiritual eyes and hears. She calls us to conversion echoing the first words of her son to his followers, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Mk 1:15 Let us ponder another word – conversion. Convert! – a powerful word – an action word! My American Heritage College dictionary gives many metaphors for the application of the word to the Christian call - for example, ‘a change from one purpose to another’. What is our purpose in life? Maybe we should ask ourselves this question from time to time – a good reality check. Another good metaphor from the dictionary is, ‘unlawful appropriation of another’s property’. It is good for us to remember whose property we are! We belong to Christ. He purchased us with his blood! Another definition of conversion – ‘exchange of one type of security for another’. Where is our security and trust – in God or yourselves and the things of this world? We are called to be transformed to turn around. Mt.18:3 says it plainly. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”. A child is held up as a model for us because of their complete dependence and trust in their parents. Our Lady always calls us her children. She reminds us that she is our mother. As such, she feels the pain of each one of her children who are far from her heart. Our Lady’s message reminds us in no uncertain terms that her children who have wandered off the beaten path are treading on thin ice!

However, she ends her message in a hopeful tone, as always. She believes in the transforming power of love. Therefore, she believes that her children will “leave the way of sin and decide for holiness”. In love, we have been called. In love, we must respond.

Message of October 25, 2005
"Little children, believe, pray and love, and God will be near you. He will give you the gift of all the graces you seek from Him. I am a gift to you, because, from day to day, God permits me to be with you and to love each of you with immeasurable love. Therefore, little children, in prayer and humility, open your hearts and be witnesses of my presence. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Commentary on October 25, 2005 message:
Incomprehensible peace! The tone of Our Lady’s messages differ from month to month. Some strike me as serious, some have a gentle tone, some are admonishing. As I read this one, I felt wrapped in peace. Did you ever stop to contemplate the relationship between little children and their mothers? Just the mere presence of a loving mother with her children provide a sense of security. Nothing need be spoken for the little children to know that they are in the presence of love. Little children just know that their needs will be provided. Their whole existence revolves around the nourishing care of a loving mother. In this atmosphere of peace, it is easy to “believe, pray and love”! God is always near to us. But when we are docile and loving, like little children, we are more attuned to God’s presence with us.

“He will give you the gift of all the graces you seek from Him”. God longs to give us good things. He waits for us. We, his creation, are his delight. “….and if my people humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven….”2Ch 7:14 We would be happier people if we could just keep before us always God’s loving kindness. God never tires of giving us gifts in the form of graces! When we are heavily laden with the burdens of our day, we sometimes forget to replace them with the yoke of Jesus. He will help us to carry our burdens. Let us remember always who we are as children of God and what amazing help is ours for the asking. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened…..You…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him”. Mt.7:7-8,11

What greater gift can God give than the gift of our Mother and his – Mary! “I am a gift to you, because, from day to day God permits me to be with you and to love you immeasurably”. Read this last sentence again! Read this sentence as many times as it takes for you to be overcome with emotion! Think back to the time when you were a little child in the presence of your parents. Remember the peace and security that was yours back in those days. Picture the face of your earthly mother as you look into her face from the eyes of the child that you were – and still are! Remember the love ….feel it again, if just for a fleeting moment. Who among us would not like to have that experience again – just for a day! We can, in a different way. Mary is with us “from day to day…loving us immeasurably”. How humbled I am right now because I do not deserve such a gift. Now, picture yourself looking up into the face of Our Lady. Her arms are open to you . They enfold around you. As she hugs you, she whispers in your ear, ‘ I love you immeasurably. Open your heart to my love and witness my presence to your lost brothers and sisters’. Can we do anything less?

Message of November 25, 2005
"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes life for you. Little children, at this time, in a special way, I pray before God to give you the gift of faith. Only in faith will you discover the joy of the gift of life that God has given you. Your heart will be joyful thinking of eternity. I am with you and love you with a tender love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on November 25, 2005 message:
In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that he came so that we would have life and have it more abundantly. Jesus gave his all – his life - sacrificed on the Cross so that nothing could ever keep us from enjoying eternal life with God forever. Jesus gave his life so that we would have eternal life – abundant life – the life that never ends. We need to be reminded that we are heirs to a Kingdom – Heaven! We are a royal people – a royal priesthood! It is staggering to come to grips with the reality of our heritage. Sometimes we forget who we really are. Sometimes I wonder if we are really fully aware of where our journey ends. I say this because, too often, we live without joy. We plod through our days as though we are carrying heavy weights upon our shoulders. Where is this joy? Where is this abundant life we have been promised and have a right to expect?? How do we find it?

God has allowed our mother, Mary, to come and be with us so long to help us find and keep the abundant life that Jesus wants us to enjoy. Our Lady begins her message with, “..Also today….” She will never tire of pointing the way to abundant life. She will keep telling us how to get there until it sinks in! Prayer will lead us to abundant life. Prayer will become abundant life for us! Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But it isn’t simple. It takes faith and commitment – faith in what is unseen, yet hoped for and commitment even when we don’t ‘feel’ anything. Prayer is our connection to the other world – eternal life. Prayer is our lifeline to God. If we are not praying than we are not living in the abundant life; that is the God-life – the only life. Without prayer, we are simply existing.

Our Lady calls us to become good at prayer – so good, in fact, that prayer actually becomes life for us. She assures us once again that she prays before God – for us! She asks God to give us the gift of faith. Faith is a great gift. It is the pearl of great price. In Matthew’s gospel, we hear that the Kingdom of God is compared to a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Do we really look at our faith in that light? Do we put this great gift of the Holy Spirit above everything else in our lives? So much so that we would give everything else in our lives away just to preserve this gift of faith? There is so much clutter in our lives. This clutter blocks the light of faith. Too often, our faith is so compromised that it neither provides light for our own soul, nor reflects God’s light to those around us.

Our Lady knows that only when our faith is activated and active will we discover the joy of the gift of life that God has given us. St. James tells us that faith without good works is a dead faith. It all comes down to this, our faith must be synonymous with love. If anyone thinks he/she is religious and does not minister to those in need around them, their religious piety is in vain. Jesus sacrifice of his life is the greatest example of love we will ever know. Our Lady invites us to know this perfect love in our lives intimately. And in knowing it, she calls us to imitate it. It all begins for us with prayer. Prayer will open us to greater faith. God will bless us abundantly with his gifts if we are open. God’s blessed gifts will lead us to abundant life - abundant love. Like the Psalmist, we will live our lives in joy, contemplating God’s goodness and grandeur until we see face to face.

Message of December 25, 2005
"Dear children! Also today, in my arms I bring you little Jesus, the King of Peace, to bless you with His peace. Little children, in a special way today I call you to be my carriers of peace in this peaceless world. God will bless you. Little children, do not forget that I am your mother. I bless you all with a special blessing, with little Jesus in my arms. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on December 25, 2005 message:
When I teach little children about the Rosary, I often use a guided meditation that I wrote a few years ago. In the meditation, we travel back in time to the bustling market place in Bethlehem. We are present with Mary and Joseph in that busy square as they seek a place to sleep amidst the flurry of activity as people gather for the census. We follow as Mary and Joseph depart all the noise and confusion after having been turned away several times because there was no place left for them to stay. We follow the brightest star in the heavens which leads us along a quiet, dusty road to a cave etched in the side of a hill. We wander into the cave, lit with an unusual heavenly glow. It seems that even the animals have an unusual look as they gaze upon the tiny infant lying in the place where they find their food. Mary notices us peering around the stacks of hay. She beckons us to come closer to see her newborn son. We are filled with wonder and awe as we slowly approach the beautiful baby peacefully sleeping in the arms of his mother. Mary lovingly looks at each of us and presents her baby to us carefully placing him into our arms.

As the meditation builds in intensity to the climactic moment when Mary places the little Jesus into the arms of the children, they are noticeably moved. It is as though they are actually present – holding the newborn babe in their arms! Then, I ask them how they felt holding the baby Jesus and looking down into that sweet face. Their reactions vary. Some say they were afraid that they would drop the baby. Some kiss the little baby in their arms. But they all seem to have an experience of the presence of the Christmas gift of the incarnate God who has intimately come to each of them.

Our Lady’s Christmas message has the same tone as my guided meditation. Jesus becomes little so that He is approachable to all of us. Jesus, the King, becomes little so that we will approach him, not in fear, but in wonder and awe, so that he can bless us. The wonderful miracle of Christ’s birth is repeated year after year in our family celebrations and in our Liturgy because we and the world need peace. Mary was the immaculate vessel chosen to bring God into the world that first silent, holy night. She is the vessel who still brings him anew to the world every Christmas. “Also today, in my arms I bring you little Jesus….” She, the Queen of Peace, brings us the King of Peace! Why? Because the world desperately needs peace! Along with Jesus, Our Mother always brings us a special blessing on major feast days. How blessed we are! Her special blessing from God enables us to be “carriers of peace in this peaceless world”.

How can we be carriers of peace in a peaceless world? It means that we must be committed people. We must, like Mary, be “yes” people – yes, more to a person (God) than to a plan. We must be ‘spiritual’ people more than ‘religious’ people. We must be people who focus not so much on external pious religious practice but to the internal place where we journey together with God, and begin to see God’s will not just as a matter of religious practices, but of everything, and of who we choose to become, namely, a disciple: a learner, one on a journey, a person with a mission for the Lord. God will bless us on this journey – with inner peace, with his mother as our guide and companion. With our heavenly mother at our side, we, too, will bear ‘little Jesus’ in our world. We will become carriers of peace. We will be a blessed people – blessed with the peace that the world cannot understand!


2006

January 25, 2006 Message
“Dear children! Also today I call you to be carriers of the Gospel in your families. Do not forget, little children, to read Sacred Scripture. Put it in a visible place and witness with your life that you believe and live the Word of God. I am close to you with my love and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on January 25, 2006 Message
“…..I call you to be carriers of the Gospel….” If all of Our Lady’s messages to us could be encapsulated into one theme, this would be it! Be carriers of the Gospel. Being a carrier of the Gospel means to be a carrier of joy since the Gospel is joy-filled, hope-filled, good news. It is not Our Lady’s intention to have us carry around our leather-bound or paper back Bibles impressing people by reciting memorized verses. Mary’s intention is for us to carry within us the very essence of God’s presence for all to see.

Her call to us is to be people of prayer, people who love, people who sacrifice – placing the needs of others before our own. She calls us to be enlivened by the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. She calls us to be ‘beatitude’ people – gentle of heart, poor in spirit, humble, pure of heart. She has invited us for several years to become people so imbued with the Spirit that the Christ-life within radiates out from us without our having to speak one word. The Gospel is Jesus Christ. Our Lady asks us to carry Jesus Christ to our families and the family of the whole human race. This is the ideal of the Gospel to which we have been called. What a noble, exalted task!

Mary believes we can accomplish this task. Why does she have so much faith in us? Because she brought us up right! She reminds us that in order to respond to her call, we must read Sacred Scripture. We must take the word of God into our heads, assimilate them and allow them to rest upon our hearts – where they will make their home within us. Reading Scripture should become habit for us. Reading the Bible should be as much a part of our lives as eating, drinking, washing. We need God’s Word to thrive on our journey.

We should testify to our faith in the power of God’s divinely inspired Word by putting our Bible in a visible place. We could enthrone the Bible in our home. Put it on a lace-draped table in a prominent place with flowers and a candle. If we do that, I am sure that Our Lady will grace those spots in our homes. It will be a place where we can retreat to and find solace from the hectic pace of our daily lives. It will become a place where we will feel close to her and her special motherly love for us. It will be a place where, through our prayer, Mary will intercede for us to God.

Mary was the first to carry the Gospel, within her womb, her arms, and in her heart. God have her this mission through an Angel. Now, She passes on the mission of carrying the Word, to us. She was faithful to her mission, and so should we be. Our Lady has not come to unveil new truths or to add something new to the Gospels. She has been coming as the Mother desiring us to take God’s word seriously so that we do not think of the Gospels as something abstract, detached from life. The Gospel is not something that happened in the past and finished. The Gospel happens and renews life in every Christian. St. Jerome said: “Who does not know the Scriptures, does not know Christ!” Mary wishes for us to discover her Son, Jesus – his love, his grace and his omnipotence. Let us be led to Jesus through Mary.

February 25, 2006 Message
“Dear Children! In this Lenten time of grace, I call you to open your hearts to the gifts that God desires to give you. Do not be closed, but with prayer and renunciation say ‘yes’ to God and He will give to you in abundance. As in springtime the earth opens to the seed and yields a hundred fold, so also your heavenly Father will give to you in abundance. I am with you and love you, little children, with a tender love.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on February 25, 2006 Message
In this message, Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church and our Mother is preparing us for Lent. Lent isn’t for sissies. Lent is the season of the year that we draw upon our spiritual strength. The Church calls upon us to perform the three rituals of conversion – almsgiving, prayer and fasting. That’s the easy stuff. The tough stuff is the journey into the desert of our inner selves. Jesus went out into the desert to salvage who he really was from the rush of offers he was getting from every imaginable source after his baptism revealed just how special he was. Even the devil was interested in helping him be a terrific and very successful Messiah. Jesus needed time alone, apart from everyone except God. He went to his secret place where he confronted the devil.

We need to go there, too, to know just who we are. Lent is mostly a secret affair. If we give alms, fast and pray, these will only be the outward expression of some deeper honesty we maintain with God in our secret selves. Conversion is first an adjustment of the heart, a turning toward God and away from self-deception. The first sign of a real spiritual life is an honest narrator within, a voice that serves as our wake-up call. God can deal with us when we are real. Giving God this secret space where we are simply ourselves keeps us centered and clear-eyed.

We, too, will find the devil and wild beasts in the desert -- the wild beasts inside us named pride, anger, selfishness, envy. How do we tame these beasts? We pray, so we can learn to depend on God and not on ourselves; we deny ourselves, so that, in our hunger, we might lose our self-centeredness; we share with the poor so we will appreciate how much God has blessed us. The way to tame these beasts is through the practices of Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Our honesty, renunciation and open hearts – in the desert of Lent – will produce for us an abundant harvest. Our Lady uses the beautiful image of nature. “As in springtime the earth opens to the seed and yields a hundred fold.” In our desert, God opens our eyes to the abundance of springtime. In the Eucharist we eat and drink the very presence of God, the scriptures give us the way to follow Christ – what other directions do we need to safely pass from ashes to Easter? In confession, we know God’s mercy and hear God’s promise of forgiveness—how could choirs of Angels make a sweeter sound that the words “I forgive you!” And these gifts of God are just the beginning. After we come to know his suffering and his dying, one day we will know his rising.

March 25, 2006 Message
“Courage, little children! I decided to lead you on the way of holiness. Renounce sin and set out on the way of salvation, the way which my Son has chosen. Through each of your tribulations and sufferings God will find the way of joy for you. Therefore, little children, pray. We are close to you with our love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on March 25, 2006 Message:
Our Lady reminds us that she is at the helm as we travel along our spiritual journey – the “way of holiness – the way of salvation”. She is our leader and guide. She has called us, formed us and equipped us for the journey ahead. Her leadership is not a mission that has been imposed upon her! She tells us that she “decided” to lead us on our way.

When she said ‘yes’ to the angel Gabriel – ‘Be it done to me according to your will’, I wonder if she knew that her motherhood would enfold all believers in Her Son for generations until the end of time! I wonder if she knew the length and breadth of her mission as mother and nurturer. Personally, I do think she had a sense of the mystery and magnitude of her call.

Our Lady tells us in her message that the first signpost along this way that she is leading is renunciation of sin. Every Easter, the Church affords us the opportunity to renew our Baptismal promises, renounce sin and set out anew upon our journey to holiness and wholeness. The journey wends us through tribulations and suffering. We slow down, detour off the path, stumble and fall. All the while, Our Lady continues to encourage us and help us to carry our burdens, setting our feet upon the path once again. She consoles us and prods us along the way “my Son has chosen”.

She warns us that tribulations and suffering will be strewn along our way. However, she also reminds us that it will be through these very hardships that “God will find the way of joy” for us. If we can only trust that joy waits for us on the other side of the dark times of our lives. If we could but understand that prayer brings us the assurance that Jesus and Mary are so close to us with their love.

Some days I wonder as we continue through these last few days of the Easter Season why we do not always keep before us the resurrection vision to help us ride the crest of adversity and change in our lives. After all, the Resurrection of Jesus is the source of our optimism which surpasses anything that could defeat us. The Resurrection of Jesus is the moment in human history that gives life its meaning. Are we living in the freedom of the Resurrection? Sometimes not, I’m afraid.

Perhaps the first word from Our Lady’s March ’06 message gives us the answer. Courage! We need courage just as the disciples needed it to proceed after their Master was crucified. Courage is what they were given when the Holy Spirit descended upon them on Pentecost. As we await the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost once again this year, let us pray for the gift of courage. Our Lady knows how important courage was to the apostles then and is now in order for us to proceed along the way of salvation. We have been commissioned through our Baptism to share in the mission of Christ. Our Lady knows it is not an easy path. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of her messages to the world, let us do so with grateful hearts and “Be brave and steadfast, have no fear or dread, for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you, he will never fail you or forsake you”. Dt. 31:6

Message of April 25, 2006
“Dear Children! Also today I call you to have more trust in me and my Son. He has conquered by His death and resurrection and, through me, calls you to be a part of His joy. You do not see God, little children, but if you pray you will feel His nearness. I am with you and intercede before God for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on April 25, 2006 message:
This message hinges on trust! Everything about us as Christians should hinge on trust. “You do not see God….but if you pray you will feel His nearness….”

It is difficult for us to understand that there exists within and around us a spiritual reality - an eternal presence. Our spirits are contained within the limitations of a body. We are blind to the reality of God’s presence. We cannot see God with our physical eyes. Yet, how can we move forward on our spiritual journey without our faith which tells us that God is near; in fact, nearer to each of us than we can possibly imagine or hope for. Faith, in its very essence, calls us to believe in something or someone unseen, yet hoped for.

However, God knows we need the assurance that our faith is not in vain if we are to grow in it. God seldom asks us to perform difficult feats or take great leaps of faith. God knows our weakness. So, God, in His wisdom, asks us to do ‘little’ things that will yield ‘big’ consequences. He asks us, through His and our Mother, to pray! Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But, for the proud of heart who too often lean on their own strength and understanding, it is difficult to pray. For the prerequisite to good prayer from the heart is humility – the humility to believe that God, who we cannot see, is more real than the physical world that we can see. Another prerequisite to prayer is trust – trust that our words are not lost in the wind; but reach the ‘ears and heart’ of a loving God who loves us to a fault.

Trust! In this message, Our Lady calls us to greater trust. Our Lady once, long ago in the early days of her apparitions, asked us to meditate on a Gospel passage from Matthew’s Gospel (Chapter 6) that would inspire us to greater trust.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…..Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important that they?” If God so clothes the grass of the field which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, ‘O you of little faith’?”…..So do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself….” Mt. 6:25,32
Do we have such trust? Our Lady’s message calls us to greater trust. Let us pray to obtain the great gift of trust. Let us have faith enough in God’s great care for us to make prayer a priority and discipline in our daily lives.

Jesus has indeed conquered death by his resurrection. During this Easter season, we are invited by Our Lady to the wonderful ‘alleluia’ celebration of His victory. Our Lady does not invite us to this celebration as passive guests; rather, we are invited to be a part of His joy. His joy is our joy because Jesus sacrificed his life for us! Alleluia. Let us RSVP without delay. We have nothing to worry about and everything to celebrate! Let us respond with trust through prayer. Let the celebration which began at Easter continue in our hearts!

Message of May 25, 2006
"Dear children! Also today I call you to put into practice and to live my messages that I am giving you. Decide for holiness, little children, and think of heaven. Only in this way, will you have peace in your heart that no one will be able to destroy. Peace is a gift, which God gives you in prayer. Little children, seek and work with all your strength for peace to win in your hearts and in the world.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on May 25, 2006 message: (not available)

Message of June 25, 2006
"Dear children! With great joy in my heart I thank you for all the prayers that, in these days, you offered for my intentions. Know, little children, that you will not regret it, neither you nor your children. God will reward you with great graces and you will merit eternal life. I am near you and thank all those who, through these years, have accepted my messages, have poured them into their life and decided for holiness and peace.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on June 25, 2006 message: (not available)

Message of July 25, 2006
"Dear children! At this time, do not only think of rest for your body but, little children, seek time also for the soul. In silence may the Holy Spirit speak to you and permit Him to convert and change you. I am with you and before God I intercede for each of you.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on July 25, 2006 message:
Mary recalls for us the words of Her Son in this monthly message. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I shall give you rest”.

Whatever happened to Sundays – our ‘day of rest’? Unfortunately, Sunday has become a day when we substitute the work we do from Monday to Saturday for some other type of work. We shop, fix things, build things, clean and cook. In short, we work – just different work! I remember Fr. Shamon once taught on keeping the Sabbath holy. He pointed out that God did not give us the Sabbath primarily for God’s own sake. God gave us Sunday as a day of rest for our sake – because we need it!

We live in a fast-paced pressure cooker of a world. For some of us twenty-four hours in one day is not enough time to accomplish what we have on our agendas; especially if we must fit sleep in our schedules. We know that we need at least eight hours of restful sleep in order to stay healthy. In fact, good sleep heals much of what ails us today. However, often we don’t even sleep well. We have too much on our minds. We can’t even wind down enough to sleep well, much less pray well!

What about vacations? We need them. Unfortunately, we use vacation time to substitute one set of activities for another. We visit busy places with lots to see, hear and do. Our itinerary becomes stressful in itself! When we return, we feel as though we need another week to recover from our vacation.

When I get drop-dead tired and stressed, I think of that expression that was so popular a year or so ago – ‘What would Jesus do’? (WWJD) What did He do? The Gospel tells us that he often went away into the mountain or a place apart from the crowds. Sure, he slept to rejuvenate his body. But more importantly, he prayed – without noises or distractions. He prayed! In the silence! Silence is the key word here. Silence is the real remedy for a weary mind and body. I never experienced this fact so powerfully as on a recent silent retreat. I call it the ‘school of silence’ where I learned many things about myself, priorities, God. I found that God never speaks so loudly than in the silence. I have taken many vacations and been on many retreats along the way; but I have never returned from any of them so rested, so connected, and focused than after having spent one week in God’s school of silence.

Our Lady is a Mother who takes good care of her children. She invites us to true rest. She knows that what tires us the most is a life without order, without moderation. She knows that if our souls do not find rest, we will not be filled with God’s strength. Our Lady knows that true silence is more than just a lack of sounds. It is peaceful. Rest is actually an encounter with our own soul. Rest is not just a break in work. Rest is the work of the heart and soul.

What we learn in times of rest and silence leads us to decide to live differently. We then “permit the Holy Spirit to convert and change us”. We change, not because it is imposed upon us; but because we have experienced the peace that God said is beyond human understanding. We won’t want to lose it. As a matter of fact, we will want to preserve it at all cost.

Mother Mary invites us, her children, to find time for our souls and places of silence so that the Holy Spirit may rest in us all that is tired, heal that which is wounded, strengthen what is weak. Let the Holy Spirit enter our lives so that we may experience true rest and peace, gifts given by God – gifts our Mother intercedes to obtain for each of us. Believe me, when you experience this kind of R & R you will be greedy with it, lest it slip away. Pray for the gift of silence and the grace to harbor it within when the noise of the world threaten to overshadow it.

Message of August 25, 2006
"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray. Only in prayer will you be near to me and my Son and you will see how short this life is. In your heart a desire for Heaven will be born. Joy will begin to rule in your heart and prayer will begin to flow like a river. In your words there will only be thanksgiving to God for having created you and the desire for holiness will become a reality for you.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on August 25, 2006 message:
Our Lady has not given up. She will continue to call us all until she firmly has us planted on the road to Heaven. Her use of words are constant – they do not change. She not only wants us to read her words, let them sink in; but she also wants us to read between the lines, so to speak. She wants us to assimilate her words, understand their deeper meaning. I have noticed how sequential Our Lady’s instructions really are! Let’s take a look at her message in the only sequence that will bring the desired result – which is holiness.

The first step has always been and always will be – PRAYER. We all know how to pray. We know that we pray in many ways. We often recite the prayers we know by heart. We pray heart to heart, by simply contemplating God in the silence. We pray the greatest prayer – the Mass – when we truly participate with all of our senses. Our suffering is our prayer when we connect our suffering to that of Christ’s Passion. We know by now that prayer is our lifeline to God. Without it, we are not connected. We are a limb that has fallen from the tree. We know all of this, so what is the problem? Sometimes, in our humanness, we look upon prayer as an activity that we just don’t have time for. Prayer then becomes a burden. The next time you make excuses not to pray, remember what Mary says about prayer: ONLY IN PRAYER WILL YOU BE NEAR TO ME AND MY SON! Instead of thinking that you should somehow make time to pray; think, I should now go near to Jesus and Mary. Who could consider it burdensome to be near Jesus and Mary? We need to develop a new mindset regarding prayer - Prayer being time to be near our truest loves.

Second, Mary tells us what will begin to happen to us when our prayer truly takes us near to them often. We will begin to see how short this life really is. Jesus and Mary are very real to us. They are timeless. They lived a human life span over 2000 years ago! Yet, with the passage of so many human years, they live still. We will begin to fathom how fast a human life span passes; and how insignificant those few short years are compared to eternity.

Third, When we realize how swiftly time passes, we will begin to contemplate the next life. Heaven will NEVER end. We want this life. It is the purpose for which we were created. A taste for heaven will be born within us. All our thoughts, words and actions will be directed toward this one desire. Everything else we occupy ourselves with will be peripheral.

Fourth, When we develop a desire for Heaven, joy will rule in our hearts. How could it not? Heaven is real – a real state of being. If that were not enough, it is a place where God has prepared a place for us. We know that our souls will one day reunite with our glorified bodies. We will never suffer again in Heaven. Nor will we shed one more tear. Heaven is a place of gold streets, rivers of living water, loved ones, peace. Never again will we be separated from God by sin. Sin will never hold us captive again!

Fifth, Joy and peace and prayer will flow within us like a river. I love the analogy of a river to prayer. Rivers are not stagnate, they are alive, they continually flow toward the source. Our prayer will never again be stagnate. We will be fully connected to our Source in a vibrant relationship with a real, living Person – the Person of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary.

Sixth, Thanksgiving will well up within us like a fountain. We will be humbled and thankful God deemed us worthy to be called His children. “Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should visit me”? “Lord, remember me when you enter into your Kingdom” “This day you shall be with me in Paradise”! Wow! These people – Elizabeth and the good thief – are saints! They were grateful. They were humble. They stayed near their Lord and his Blessed Mother!

Seventh, The desire for holiness will become a reality! What created reality could ever compare to this sequence of truths that Our Lady has given us? No ear has heard, nor eye has seen, nor has it entered into the imagination what God has prepared for those who love Him. Our goal is be become holy. Our Lady will see to it that we attain that goal. Thanks be to God.

Message of September 25, 2006
Dear children! Also today I am with you and call all of you to complete conversion. Decide for God, little children, and you will find in God the peace your heart seeks. Imitate the lives of saints and may they be an example for you; and I will inspire you as long as the Almighty permits me to be with you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on September 25, 2006 message: (not available)


Message of October 25, 2006
"Dear children! Today the Lord permitted me to tell you again that you live in a time of grace. You are not conscious, little children, that God is giving you a great opportunity to convert and to live in peace and love. You are so blind and attached to earthly things and think of earthly life. God sent me to lead you toward eternal life. I, little children, am not tired, although I see that your hearts are heavy and tired for everything that is a grace and a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on October 25, 2006 message: (not available)

Message of November 25, 2006
"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray. Little children, when you pray you are close to God and He gives you the desire for eternity. This is a time when you can speak more about God and do more for God. Therefore, little children, do not resist but permit Him to lead you, to change you and to enter into your life. Do not forget that you are travelers on the way toward eternity. Therefore, little children, permit God to lead you as a shepherd leads his flock. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on November 25, 2006 message:
We have become accustomed to the call to pray three times in a row. “Pray, pray, pray. Although Our Lady repeats herself many times, as does any determined parent, I never tire of her words. Through prayer, I always find deeper levels of meaning. As I read, once again, Her admonition to pray, I thought about the three Persons in the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love. There is a ‘completeness’ in the three. Perhaps there is a unity to “pray, pray, pray”. We should be praying for three main intentions.

First, we should be praying for the whole world. We can make intercession , not only for those who ask us to pray for them, but for those we do not even know - for nations and cultures other than our own. Spiritually, and as a whole, the world seems lost – sunk in values far removed from God – giving rise to wars and sin.

Second, we should be praying for Our Lady’s specific intentions. She is here among us to accomplish her God-given mission. Her mission is one of love. She desires that the world open to God’s love and enjoy the fruits that accompany God’s presence; especially peace. The Book of Genesis tells us that everything God made is good! Our Lady wants to win the whole world back for God. We have been chosen to be ambassadors for Her cause. So, let us remember to pray for the fallen world – all faiths, all nations, all people – even the enemies of God – that ALL may come to know God’s unfathomable love and mercy. One way to pray for Our Lady’s intentions is to offer all of our prayers, works of social justice and love, rosaries to Mary’s prayer. We can unite our prayers and works to Mary’s prayer through our participation in Marian cenacles, attending Mass as often as our schedule permits.

Third, we should be praying for ourselves; especially for ongoing conversion. We should pray for openness to God’s will in our lives. Only when we are open to what God wants for us, can we be used most effectively by God. We should pray that God imbue us with love. The world needs love. Our communities need to see God’s love, our families need to be bound together in love. Love must begin to permeate our own little space, then seep out into the wider circle of our world. In this light, Our Lady’s thrice invitation to pray is complete!

Now, let us talk about the fruits of our prayer. Prayer brings God close. God is as close to us as our very breath. I’ve heard it said before that when we open our mouths in prayer, God’s ear is already on our lips. When we are in God’s presence through prayer, we are safe, peaceful, even joyful. We are in harmony with ourselves, others and God. When prayer becomes our life – we are already living eternity. We are in focus. We have a sense of who we are as God’s children and that our goal is Heaven. When we are in God’s presence through prayer, our desires are rightly ordered. The things of this earth pale in comparison to the things of eternity.

Our Lady reminds us that we face serious matters. The time is now to speak more about God and do more for God. “We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work”. (John 9:4) We, like Christ, are the light of the world and must shine in the darkness of the world while time still exists for us. Now is the acceptable time to prepare. Today is the day to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. We only have the present moment.

Our Lady leads us to hope. Our prayer will permit God to lead us, to change us into the loving, joyful people God intended us to be. This is living life abundantly. When disconnected from God, we don’t really live, we simply exist. Our Lady’s November message reminds us that this world is not our permanent home. “We are travelers on the way toward eternity”. Our home is in God! We have the perfect image of God’s care for us through Jesus, the Good Shepherd. God leads us home as a shepherd leads his flock to pasture. Through Mary’s messages to the world, we have become attuned to the voice of our Shepherd. Let us follow – every moment of our lives. Let us go the distance with Her. She leads us to Jesus, her son and to the green pastures of Heaven, our true home.

Message of December 25, 2006
"Dear children! Also today I bring you the newborn Jesus in my arms. He who is the King of Heaven and earth, He is your peace. Little children, no one can give you peace as He who is the King of Peace. Therefore, adore Him in your hearts, choose Him and you will have joy in Him. He will bless you with His blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary on December 25, 2006 message:
Every Christmas, Our Lady brings her little Jesus to us anew! This Christmas message again we find Her arms filled with gifts for us, her children. Her arms are filled with Jesus, who is the primordial gift (Sacrament). In Jesus, is every gift – offered to us through Mary. The gifts that Jesus brings never grow old. They are ever new – always what we need to grow in holiness and wholeness.

The King of Heaven and earth comes to us with the amazing gift of peace. Yet, we settle for so much less. Our Lady’s Christmas message brings to mind what many people do to the Advent and Christmas Season. We shop, decorate, cook, bake, wrap and clean. We party and we buy, buy, buy! The tempo of our lives quicken as the busyness crowds out spiritual preparation for the greatest miracle and gift known to mankind – the Incarnation – God coming to us in the form of a humble child! Peace incarnate! Peace incomparable!

Christmas is the utmost manifestation of the love of God. The glory of God is manifested through the birth of the Child Jesus who brings us peace. It is the moment when the whole world lay wrapped in the grace of God. God forgives sins and reconciles the world to Himself through the flesh and blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus took on our human nature – flesh and blood – in order to make an acceptable offering to God for our sake. Let the mystery of the Incarnation sink into the very depths of your heart and soul this year. Experience the amazing peace this reality brings. It is Peace that we can see – the glorious face of Jesus. It is Peace that we can feel – in the relationship that we have with God through His Divine Son. We are at peace because we are one with Jesus who is Peace Incarnate!

On this feast of Epiphany, we are reminded, most especially through Our Lady, that God continues to reveal Himself by way of a Star. Our present day Star is Mary. She offers us the simplicity of a child – Her child. Jesus remains with us dressed and hidden in the Eucharist. This is our gift – our Christmas gift, our every day gift – of God’s omnipotent love and peace. Therefore, she says, “Adore Him in your hearts, choose Him, no one can grant you peace as He can, and you will have joy in Him.” As Mary lays Her gift in the mangers of our hearts this Christmas, let us welcome Him, adore Him and choose Him every day of our lives.


2007

January 25, 2007 Message
“Dear Children! Put Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your family and read it. In this way, you will come to know prayer with the heart and your thoughts will be on God. Do not forget that you are passing like a flower in a field, which is visible from afar but disappears in a moment. Little children, leave a sign of goodness and love wherever you pass and God will bless you with an abundance of His blessing.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary on January 25, 2007 Message
Growing in a life lived with God requires immersion in His Word. Our Lady continually calls us to read the Bible. She has repeatedly asked us to “put Sacred Scripture in a visible place”. Enthronement of the Bible in a prominent place in the home is a powerful, visual invitation to prayer. The Bible is God’s message to us. His covenants of love are golden threads of His faithfulness throughout salvation history. Just as Our Lady is speaking to us in the here and now through Her messages to the world, so too, God’s inspired word speaks a personal message to each one of us when we read Scripture passages with open hearts. Our Lady reminds us that we will come to know prayer with the heart by creating a sacred space – a place where we can retreat to, a space conducive to silence and a sense of the holy. Just as we have come to love and appreciate Our Lady’s monthly messages to the world, we must always to grateful to God’s enduring messages to us through His living and active Word.

Mary’s January message reminds us of our mortality. We are just passing through this ‘vale of tears’ on our way to our everlasting home. We are passing like “flowers in a field” – beautiful in their season; but, in a moment – gone. An awareness of the brevity of life gives us perspective. Comparing our lives to the short life-span of a flower helps us to focus on what is really important, on what lasts beyond our short stay on earth. Our Lady tells us what lasts – the signs of goodness and love that we leave along our path. Let us leave the sweet odor of virtue with everyone we encounter along the way.

Our Lady always promises us God’s abundant blessings; but never without first pointing us in the right direction to receive them. She leads us to the Word of God – a lamp for our feet! She desires that we experience joy in meeting God through every verse of Scripture. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God will never pass away. Let us immerse ourselves in the Word that will never pass away.

February 25, 2007 Message
“Dear Children! Open your heart to God’s mercy in this Lenten time. The Heavenly Father desires to deliver each of you from the slavery of sin. Therefore, little children, make good use of this time and through meeting with God in confession, leave sin and decide for holiness. Do this out of love for Jesus, who redeemed you all with His blood that you may be happy and in peace. Do not forget, little children; your freedom is your weakness. Therefore, follow my messages with seriousness. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary on February 25, 2006 Message
The Season of Lent is a gift. It is a time of great outpouring of blessing that God delights in giving us. Lent reminds us we have not yet reached our goal. We are still in the desert. We are not yet safe. Maybe we have become complacent. Maybe we have succumbed to the lure of comfort, power or false gods. The ‘higher things’ that pertain to our immortal souls have given way to worldly preoccupations. We lose our freedom or trade it for a little happiness, pleasure or joy that the lure of sin promises. Lent is a golden opportunity to make things right – adjust priorities, make amends in relationships that have gone sour, pay particular attention to the most important relationship – you and God. The Lenten traditions of the Church – prayer, fasting and almsgiving help us to re-focus, adjust our halos and do as Our Lady asks, “Open your hearts to God’s mercy in this Lenten Season”. It is imperative that we not squander the blessings of Lent. Our Lady tells us “to make good use of this time”. And, she tells us why and how.

Our Heavenly Father desires to deliver each one of us from the slavery of sin. I sometimes wonder if we understand the magnitude of the gift of spiritual freedom. We should appreciate how wonderful is this gift. We all suffer from the inclination to sin. We may be addicted to any one of these: alcohol, drugs, food, sex, spending, gambling. What about additions to the seven capital sins – anger, sloth, envy, etc.? What about addiction to gossip, judging, self-righteousness? When we find ourselves under the ‘influence’, we are in slavery. We are not free to be all that we are called to be as children of God. We are not at peace – with ourselves, neighbor or God. In short, we are miserable. Unfortunately, some, like the elder son in the parable of the Prodigal, don’t even realize that they are enslaved, or how agonizing it really is to ‘come to our senses’ and return to the Father’s house.

Lent is a time for assessment and returning to the Father’s House in confession. It is a time, Our Lady says, “to meet with God, leave sin and decide for holiness”. God awaits our return. God WANTS to free us from bondage. However, something is first required of us. We must leave sin and decide for holiness - not too much to ask to be free. What Mary asks of us to not too much to expect in return for what we have already been given through Jesus’ act of redemption. Let all that we do or have already done this Lent be for love of Jesus who shed every drop of his blood for love of us.

Our Lady wants us to be happy and at peace. She reminds us that freedom is both our greatest gift and could be the greatest source of our weakness. She means that because God gave us free will, we are free to choose evil. We know that God’s grace is sufficient to overcome temptation. We need to remember to call upon God’s grace. Our Lady’s message is a great blessing to us. It is another wake-up call. Her tone seems emphatic as she tells us to “follow my messages with seriousness”. Let us seriously RSVP once again to her call and make very good use of this time.

March 25, 2007 Message
Dear children! I desire to thank you from my heart for your Lenten renunciations. I desire to inspire you to continue to live fasting with an open heart. By fasting and renunciation, little children, you will be stronger in faith. In God you will find true peace through daily prayer. I am with you and I am not tired. I desire to take you all with me to Heaven, therefore, decide daily for holiness.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady teaches us about the value of Lenten renunciation in this message. She thanks us for our Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. She sees that her children, possibly with some struggle, have tried to remain faithful to their Lenten observances. Holy Thursday evening, the culmination of Lent, is fast approaching when all will be back to ‘normal’. The chocolate, ice cream, cigarettes, etc. can come out of the cupboards again! All the extra effort we have put into good deeds and longer prayer time can be slackened - for Lent is almost over. Maybe some of us were in that mindset back on March 25th when Mary spoke these words. Yet, She asks us to continue with our fasts and renunciations! She tells us “to live fasting with an open heart”. As if to say, ‘ you cannot fully understand the value of your renunciations now - a value of infinite worth. So trust me. What I ask of you will have eternal ramifications’. She tells us that through sacrifice “you will be stronger in faith”. In these times, we need to stay strong. Otherwise, the winds of adversity will knock us down and weaken our resolve. None of us can afford to be weakened in our desire for God. We must persevere! How can we do that without adhering to Our Lady’s recommendations ? That is, to take a deeper look at fasting and renunciation.

Fasting and renunciation literally rain down God’s mercy, not only upon us, but upon a fallen world. Blessed Mother Teresa said: “We need to be emptied before God can fill us”. Saint Augustine taught, “God created us without our aid; but he did not choose to save us without our aid.” Through renunciation, we die to sin. Fasting with the heart turns all of our inner being toward God. Through prayer, we acknowledge that everything else depends on God. It is our answer to God’s love.

Our Lady teaches us about gratitude in this message. Gratitude spills out from a heart full of love and thanksgiving. Our Mother has such a full heart. She thanks us for our Lenten sacrifices, even though we can do nothing in and of ourselves. It is God’s Spirit within us that enables us to pray and offer sacrifice. Our response to the Spirit’s promptings is due to God’s amazing grace. It is gift! - Our Gift from God! Yet, Our Lady thanks us! The Giver, God, is grateful that we, the recipients, have accepted the gift! Actually - it is gift given to us by God (Grace) and gift given back to God (our sacrifices). We should be thanking God for the grace of our Lenten renunciations! We should be thanking God for this time of our visitation by Our Lady. She is keeping us focused and is determined that we, all of us, should succeed in winning the race and receiving the crown of righteousness that awaits those who persevere. Our Blessed Mother is filled with joy when we do that which will bring us life!

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.” (Mt.11:28) I have always found this passage to be so comforting. In the days before the Easter Triduum, I found myself growing tired and weary with the many preparations for these most solemn, holy days. After I read the March message, I reflected on Jesus’ words. Jesus sent his mother and ours into the world to help us ‘find rest for our souls’. She leads us to “true peace through daily prayer”. She leads us to “strong faith” through renunciation. She leads us to Heaven by way of her outstretched arms. “I desire to take you all with me to Heaven”. I don’t know about you, but I sure needed to hear those words at a time when I was tired and weary. Let us all recommit ourselves to holiness each day of our lives and thank Our Lady from the bottom of our hearts for not growing tired and weary of us.

 

April 25, 2007 Message
“Dear children! Also today, I again call you to conversion. Open your hearts. This is a time of grace while I am with you, make good use of it. Say, ‘This is the time for my soul’. I am with you and love you with immeasurable love.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”


Conversion! Each day of our lives offers fresh opportunities to turn toward God’s love. Our Lady always reminds us that conversion is not a ‘done deal’ for any of us. Conversion is a ‘process’. The only prerequisite on our part is to have an ‘open heart’. Without open hearts, we will miss opportunities to grow. After I read this message, I reflected on ways that could prevent us from keeping our hearts open. These are just a few reasons why hearts remain closed:· Fear - of change. We are creatures of habit. Often, at first glance, changing the way we do things seems threatening, even wrong. It is wise to remember that God’s ways are not our ways. God sees the whole picture. We see only a tiny speck of the whole. Life is always evolving, ever changing. We are called to trust.· Fear - of letting go. Sometimes we can get so territorial. We want to be in control. We forget that everything is temporary - our families, our possessions, our jobs, our health. It is often very difficult to hold lightly in our hands all these things that we claim as our own.
Our own opinion. Sometimes we can be so opinionated. We forget that we are part of a whole. We are a team - in our families, in our workplaces, communities. We like to talk about our plans. But how well do we really listen? We need to become better listeners. · Being judgmental - We often judge on appearances. We forget that we can never judge someone to be morally evil. No matter what we see on the outside, only God sees the human heart. “This is a time of grace while I am with you”. This time of grace also coincides with a time of blindness, a time of judgment. · Time of grace: God has given us all that we need to overcome. “My grace is sufficient for you”. We have all that we need within the sacramental life of the Church to remain connected. Prayer is our lifeline. Every day provides us with an opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet in our world. Our Lady is here to keep us focused. · Time of blindness: Humanity is meant to climb upward toward God. Instead it descends toward matter (materialism, consumerism, hedonism,etc) We often fail to see God’s autograph everywhere - in creation and in our suffering brothers and sisters. Priorities are all mixed up. What should be the center of life has been pushed to the sides. What should be on the fringes has moved to front and center. · Time of judgment: We are reaping what has been sown. We see the results godless living all around us.

“This is the time for my soul”. Soul-time is silence-time! We need to ‘go Off into the desert’ of our heart and take stock. Within the silence of our soul we will receive every answer to life’s basic questions. Jesus is the answer. Eternal life is the goal. God help us if we fail to “make good use of this time”!

May 25, 2007 Message
Dear Children! “Pray with me to the Holy Spirit for Him to lead you in the search of God’s will on the way of your holiness.  And you, who are far from prayer, convert and, in the silence of your heart, seek salvation for your soul and nurture it with prayer.  I bless you all individually with my motherly blessing.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady speaks these words just before the great Feast of Pentecost.  When we reflect on the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles; we should be reminded that the power of the Holy Spirit descends upon each one of us too.  We receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation.  Occasions of grace along our journey to holiness, are also times when we are renewed with God’s fire power. So, we not only celebrate the Holy Spirit fifty days after Easter, but whenever we are carried along our path to conversion by God’s actual grace.

Our Lady was a key figure in the first Pentecost.  We believe that She was also with the apostles in the cenacle of the upper room as the first disciples and witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection awaited the promised ‘gift’ – the Holy Spirit.  Our Lady is with us, too, as we pray and wait for the continual outpouring of God’s power in our lives so that nothing impede us on our journey to conversion. 

Her message this month invites us to remember Pentecost – then and now – as she prays for us to the Holy Spirit “to lead you in the search of God’s will…”  Then and now the mission of the disciples of Jesus Christ is to become holy by seeking and doing God’s will.  We cannot accomplish this great task alone any more that the first apostles could.  We need the Holy Spirit to help us, to be our Advocate, our Counselor, our Wonder-worker.  We need to be reminded often that we possess God’s own life within us to accomplish what seems impossible.  God is just as real to us as God was to those He first called into mission.  God is unchanging.  God is not confined by time and space.  Our Lady is here to help us and pray for us so that we will always stay connected to the Power that is within us.

Her May message also speaks to those who are far from prayer and thus, far from God.  She leads them into the silence of their own inner being where God can be found.  She invites those who have strayed far from God to enter into the center of their being – to find salvation – to find God.  Once found, Our Lady,who fully knows it’s value, says to guard it like a treasure – ‘ pearl of great worth’. She tells us to “seek it, nurture it….with prayer”.

Our Lady lets us know that we, her children, are all unique.  We are different – at different stages along the path.  We have varied gifts, talents and weaknesses.  As our mother, she knows these differences just as we know uniqueness in our own children.  She loves and cares for each one of us right where we are.  She takes from the treasury of God’s graces just what we, individually, need to grow on our journey.  She blesses us accordingly.  Let us be thankful that we have such a Mother who knows us, loves us and serves us.  We have nothing to fear.

 

June 25, 2007 – Message
“Dear children! Also today, with great joy in my heart, I call you to conversion.  Little children, do not forget that you are all important in this great plan, which God leads through Medjugorje.  God desires to convert the entire world and to call it to salvation and to the way towards Himself, who is the beginning and the end of every being.  In a special way, little children, from the depth of my heart, I call you all to open yourselves to this great grace that God gives you through my presence here.  I desire to thank each of you for the sacrifices and prayers.  I am with you and I bless you all.  Thank you for having responded to my all.”

With this message from Our Lady, we mark off another year that God has allowed Mary to stay with us in this extraordinary way. For 26 years, our Mother has been our guiding star in “this great plan which God leads through Medjugorje.” 

Sometimes, it is easy for us to feel insignificant or unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  We open a newspaper or tune into CNN and soon become overwhelmed with the headlines.  We are inundated with bad news the world over: war, poverty, terrorism, tragedy, sickness….  It seems like there is no reprieve. In the world view, one wonders, “Can I make a difference”?  Too often, we are tempted to think not! But Jesus tells us that ‘whatever we ask for in prayer, believing that we will receive it, our petition will be granted’.  Also, in Matthew 17:20-21 Jesus says, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there, and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you”. 

In this message, Our Lady tells us, “do not forget that you are all important in this great plan, which God leads through Medjugorje”.  We are NOT insignificant in God’s world view!  Our little voices, when raised in prayer with faith and in union with Mary, are, indeed, powerful forces against the lost and indifferent hearts of those people who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. 

We have been in training with Mary for twenty-six years.  What has she taught us…for what have we been trained ?  She has taught us the way that leads to conversion: prayer, especially, prayer from the heart, fasting, monthly confession, staying close to Her Son in the Sacraments of the Church.  She has taught us to get involved with people so as to win them over for Christ.  She has taught us the way of divine love.  We have been trained to be catalysts for the conversion of the whole world.   “God desires to convert the ENTIRE world and to call it to salvation and to the way towards Himself…”  We, Mary’s little children – who make up the heel with which she will crush the head of Satan – are part of this awesome plan.  In fact, we are most important in it!  Humbling, isn’t it?

How can this be?  That is the same question that Mary asked the angel Gabriel when told that she would bear the Christ-child.  It is our question, too.  The answer to both Mary and to us is the same - ‘with God all things are possible’.  Our Lady knows how noble a mission has been entrusted to us.  That is why she calls us ‘from the depth of her heart to open ourselves to this great grace that God gives us through her presence’.  This requires abandonment.  It calls us to let go of our own wills – which often causes us so much misery – and align ourselves with the will of God – which leads to freedom.

Let us thank Our Lady for trusting us, for leading us and for praying for us.  We must not grow faint hearted and tired.  We must, for the sake of the Kingdom of God continue to sacrifice and prayer.  We must not forget that Our Mother is with us in this mission and blesses us.  St. James reminds us, “…the prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up…”  Jas. 5:15.  Could this prayer be ours??  Who can fathom such a wonder!

July 25th 2007 Message
Dear children! Today, on the day of the Patron of your Parish, I call you to imitate the lives of the Saints. May they be, for you, an example and encouragement to a life of holiness. May prayer for you be like the air you breathe in and not a burden. Little children, God will reveal His love to you and you will experience the joy that you are my beloved. God will bless you and give you an abundance of grace. Thank you for having responded to my call." Message of July 25, 2007

I have always been fascinated by the lives of the Saints.  In my younger days, I thought that saints must be superhuman – something akin to angels.  As I read the lives of the saints, I was awestruck at their virtue and holiness.  Never did I think that we ‘normal’ people (who struggle with weakness and sin) could ever be counted among their rank!  As I grew in the Lord, I learned that this thought couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

In fact, we are all called to a life of holiness, as Our Lady often reminds us.  We are all EXPECTED  to become saints of God.  This is our goal.  This is our heritage!  One of my favorite readings, often used at funeral Masses, is taken from the second Letter of Paul to Timothy: “….I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me…..” This is the epitaph of a saint.

 It is important for us to remember that the Saints had the same struggles that we endure – some, even more.  They suffered physical and spiritual maladies.  But, they endured, persevered and ‘made it’!  Our Lady tells us in this message that they now stand as examples, encouragers.  They are still very much connected to us.  To know them by means of their recorded lives inspires us to imitate them.  They  pray for us before the holy presence of our God.  They are holy protectors who help us grow in love of God.  They are constant reminders of the prize at the end of the race – ‘a crown of righteousness’.

“May prayer for you be like the air you breathe in and not a burden”.

A life of holiness is contingent upon allowing prayer to be for us like the air we breathe in and not a burden.  Breathing air into our lungs is not a burden.  It is an unconscious function of our bodies.  We need air to live.  If you have ever been in the presence of someone who struggles for air and requires an oxygen tank for their survival, you would understand how horrible it is not to get enough air.  We wouldn’t take our breathing for granted.  Our Lady uses this metaphor to remind us that we have spiritual bodies that die without the air of prayer.  Without prayer, our lives simply consist of matter – dead stuff!  Prayer is life.  Without prayer, we are dead spiritually.  If we are not praying – DAILY- we are not allowing God’s grace to bless us, heal us, renew us.

God’s love has been revealed to us.  Scripture is God’s self-revelation.  The promised gift of the Holy Spirit is God’s living presence in our lives each and every day.  We can experience God’s love always in this life and forever in eternity.  This is God’s promise to us.  Our Lady faithfully reminds us of this truth, especially at the end of this message.  “God will reveal his love to you and you will experience the joy that you are my beloved”.

We are the beloved  children of God.  We cannot possible grasp the magnitude of our status as heirs to a King!  May Our Lady lead us and reveal the mysteries of faith that are beyond our grasp.  Let us open our hearts and surrender to God through prayer  with Our Lady as our guide.

August 25th 2007 Message

“Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion.  May your life, little children, be a reflection of God’s goodness and not of hatred and unfaithfulness.  Pray, little children, that prayer may become life for you.  In this way, in your life you will discover the peace and joy which God gives to those who have an open heart to His love.  And you who are far from God’s mercy, convert so that God may not become deaf to your prayers and that it may not be too late for you.  Therefore, in this time of grace, convert and put God in the first place in your life.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

This message is all about choices!   The author of the book of Deuteronomy puts in another way:  “..I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.  If you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grown numerous, and the Lord, your God, will bless you…

If, however, you turn your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish…I call heaven and earth today to witness against you.  I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.  Choose life, then, that you….may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.  For that will mean life for you….

Dt. 30:15-20

Our Lady calls us to conversion; which is to make a choice to change, that is, to turn away from all those ‘false gods’ which will lead us down the path to spiritual death.  “May your life be a reflection of God’s goodness….”.  What can we do to make our lives reflect God’s goodness?  A life lived with the attitude of the 8 Beatitudes paint a portrait of spiritual beauty.  Lives that produce the fruits of the Spirit would also reflect God’s goodness:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Next Our Lady leads us to another choice – a choice we must make in order to achieve lives that reflect goodness – the choice to make prayer our very life breathe!  She also tells us what the consequences are from a life lived embued in prayer.  We “will discover the peace and joy which God gives to those who have an open heart to His love”.  Of course, prayer is the key that unlocks the human heart and allows God’s love to enter.

Then, as in the passage from the book of Deuteronomy, comes the more somber side that comes with bad choices.  Our Lady suggests in this message that God will turn a deaf ear to the prayers of those who stubbornly remain far from God’s mercy.  Woe to those for whom God’s mercy may be too late!  This warning is all too familiar !  It reminds me of the Parable of the ten virgins who may be in danger of running out of oil in their lamps as they await the return of the Bridegroom….and the people locked out of the wedding banquet.

We have the Gospels.  We have Our Lady’s messages.  What more do we need to heed the call – the warnings?  God has spoken – loud and clear!  This is the time of grace.  By human standards, we have had amble time.  Have we converted?  Are we making the choices, day by day, moment by moment, that lead to life – eternal life?  Or, are we making sloppy choices, mindless choices, that lead to death – spiritual death?  The time is now to “put God in the first place in our lives”!

September 25th 2007 Message

“Dear children!  Also today I call all of you for your hearts to blaze with more ardent love for the Crucified, and do not forget that, out of love for you, He gave His life so that you may be saved.  Little children, meditate and pray that your heart may be open to God’s love.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

In this message Our Lady calls us to “more ardent love for the Crucified”.  We can look to St. Paul for an image of what “more ardent” love might look like.  In his letter to the

Philippians, Paul suggests that ‘if there is any solace in love it is this: to be of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart and thinking the same thing’ (as the beloved).

And so it is how we should be toward our beloved, Mary’s Son, Jesus Christ.  St. Paul further instructs us, in his letter, not “to do anything out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his or her own interests, but for those of others.  We should have the same attitude as Jesus who “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave….humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross…”

In these instructions, St. Paul takes us to the epitomy of love.  We are called to empty ourselves for the beloved (Jesus).  How can we ‘empty’ ourselves?  This happens whenever we are selfless, when we humble ourselves in service of others, and when we think of others interests rather than our own.  Few of us will be called to die for those we love as Jesus literally died for us on a Cross.  However, we are called daily to ‘die’ to our self-love in many ways.   This is what Our Lady means when she calls for our “hearts to blaze with more ardent love for the Crucified”.  As a means to that end, our Mother calls to remember!  Remember what Jesus did for each and every one of us – even those who do not yet know Him.  He gave his life, his blood, sweat and tears so that we might be saved from the grip of death.

We cannot be all that we are called to be if we do not grasp this reality.  We cannot possibly love God as God deserves to be loved if we do not grasp this sublime truth.  Our Lady calls us, this month, to ponder her Son as the ‘Crucified’ through prayer and meditation.  When we are open to God’s love, nothing is lacking – God is enough!

 

October 25, 2007 Message

“Dear children!  God sent me among you out of love that I may lead you towards the way of salvation.  Many of you opened your hearts and accepted my messages, but many have become lost on this way and have never come to know the God of love with the fullness of heart.  Therefore, I call you to be love and light where there is darkness and sin.  I am with you and bless you all.  Thank you for having responded to my call”.

Our Lady keeps us focused on the mission in this message - her mission and ours.  Her mission is to lead us; ours is to find – ‘the way of salvation’.

  First, it is important that we realize the limitless Love that set this all in motion.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.Jn. 3:16.  God sent his Son out of love to hone the path to salvation.  Out of that same love for the world, God sent His Mother to lead us on this way. 

We, like Thomas, ask “…how can we know the way?”  Jesus replies to us as He did to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through m.”Jn. 14:6 .  Our Lady leads us just as she did the first disciples by telling us “ do whatever my son tells you…” Jn. 2:5

Our Lady is all about Jesus!  She wants all her children to know him, to love him and to serve him as she did.  She wants us all to be happy with Him forever as she is.  Mary is our mother too.  She invites us to know total happiness through knowing, loving and serving Jesus.  Our Lady wants us to know that no matter what we face in this life, nothing will be lacking when we unite our hearts and wills to Jesus.  She desires only to set our feet firmly on the way of salvation, life everlasting in paradise.  To this end, she brings us Jesus and desires only to present each of us to Him.

Our Lady is pleased that “many of you opened your hearts and accepted mymessages”.  Many have responded to her messages.  For this grace, we give thanks to God!  Many have traveled to Medjugorje.  We have heard not just with our ears, but with our hearts.  We have returned to our homes committed to spread Our Lady’s messages; not just with words, but with action.  Cenacles of prayer have been formed around the world.  I believe that these cenacles will be the sparks that ignite a blaze for Our Lord Jesus.

Our Lady’s message is also a reality check!  “many have become lost…have never come to know the God of love…..”.  We cannot give us nor become complacent.  There is work yet to be done.  There are many whose hearts are still hardened.  There are many  who may have set their hands on the plow; but looked back to what was left behind.  There are those upon whom the seed fell; but the soil was shallow.  There are those who are so consumed with the culture of death that they have put God in the last place.  These people are among us – in our own homes, communities, churches.

Therefore, at the end of this message, Our Lady call us to “be love and light where there is darkness and sin”.  We are called to be ‘other Christ’s’  in our homes, workplaces and anywhere and everywhere darkness prevails.  We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ among the sick, the ignorant, the desolate and the lost.  Even when it gets personal, we are called to respond with love.  When we are hurt, we are expected to turn the other cheek.  We are expected to give from our sustenance rather than our excess.  We are expected to be ‘wounded healers’ – to give even when our own well is running dry.  Can we accomplish this mission alone?

Never!

Our Lady sends us on our way with her very own presence beside us and her blessing which extends from the treasury of Heaven.  Graces abound for those of us who will persevere on the way to salvation.  We must respond to her call!

 

November 25, 2007

“Dear children!  Today, when you celebrate Christ, the King of all that is created, I desire for Him to be the King of your lives.  Only through giving, little children, can you comprehend the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross for each of you.    Little children, give time to God that He may transform you and fill you with His grace, so that you may be a grace for others.  For you, little children, I am a gift of grace and love, which comes from God for this peaceless world.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

On the day that Our Lady gave us this message, the Catholic world celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.  The image many people carry of a ‘king’ includes regality, royal robes, honor, etc.  Yet, right after Our Lady introduces her Royal Son as “King of all that is created” she refers to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.  Also, the Gospel that we heard that day begins in the middle of the account of the Passion.  Luke recounts the event by which an inscription is placed over Jesus’ head announcing, “This is the king of the Jews”.  This king, this ruler of all creation whose return we await, and even look forward to, is one who hangs on a cross and is executed.

How, then, are we to understand the concept of Christ as King of all that is created?  Christ’s kingdom is not of this world.  He surpasses and exceeds worldly kings by far by establishing a kingdom of peace, love and forgiveness.  To live at the heart of this kingdom is our ideal – the goal of the spiritual life.  It is the journey that we are all on.  It is our heritage as the baptized of the Lord.  We are all heirs to this kingdom of peace.  The journey is a process – a lifelong process.

Our Lady speaks of giving in this message.  She is leading us to a recognition of the gift of all gifts given to each of us – Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. Through the act of giving, we put ourselves last and the recipient of our gift first.  In essence, we deny ourselves when we give.  To the degree that we give of ourselves, we enter into the mystery of Jesus’ gift to us from the Cross.

In the same vein, Our Lady asks something of us.  “Give time to God that He may transform you and fill you….”  God will never be outdone in generosity!  When we give something to God, we receive far more.  Give time.  Time is a great gift God has allotted each one of us.  We do not know how much time we have on this earth.  But it is best spent fulfilling the purpose for which we were created – to know, love and serve God.  By giving God back some of our time, we acknowledge this great truth.

Giving God our time through prayer, living in the presence of God in the midst of our activities, acknowledging God in the beauty of creation, raising our hearts in praise and thanksgiving for God’s many gifts to us each and every moment – even just a glance God’s way during the course of our day, are all ways of fulfilling Our Lady’s request.

The result of living in God’s presence is transformation.  We become who we already are by nature of our baptism – ‘other Christ’s in the world.  We become carriers of the Good News.  We bring God’s presence to others.  We become bearers of hope and peace in what Our Lady calls a “peaceless” world.   

ur Lady has a plan and we are in it!  She brings us full circle.  We are children of a king.  We are called to enter into the mystery of the great gift given to us – Jesus Christ, by reflecting on His gift given on the Cross.  We are called to become givers by utilizing the gift of time wisely.  We will be transformed and thus, transform our world by faithfully spreading the Kingdom of love, justice and peace.

 

December 25, 2007

“Dear children!  With great joy I bring you the King of Peace for Him to bless you with His blessing.  Adore Him and give time to the Creator for whom your heart yearns.  Do not forget that you are passers-by on this earth and that things can give you small joys, while through my Son, eternal life is given to you.  That is why I am with you, to lead you towards what your heart yearns for.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

“With great joy I bring you the King of Peace”…..Upon the deep darkness of our world, the light of God’s countenance shone that our hearts may exult and sing for joy at the Savior’s coming, with the angels and shepherds, with Mary and Joseph, and with all people of good will who long for peace.  There is no message that could bring us greater joy, peace and hope than this!    On this day, Christmas, Our Lady brings us untold blessing from Heaven.  It is the most beautiful day in the history of humankind, because the King of Peace was born.

Again this month, Our Lady summons us to “give the gift of time to the Creator”.  On this day of gift-giving, Our Lady reminds us to give the Child in the manger a gift.  As we scramble to buy the perfect gift for those on our gift list, stand in endless lines to pay for them, take them home and wrap them, we often forget about the humble gift we should give to the Creator – time.  It seems so simple – the gift of time.  We don’t have to shop for it, pay for it or wrap it.  It’s ours to give whenever we choose.  Yet, we are so busy during this holy season that we barely make time to adore the Gift from Heaven given to each of us.

Our Lady reminds us that we each have a God shaped hole in our heart that can only be filled with God.  Our hearts yearn for God, yet we attempt to fill this hole with everything and anything, especially at Christmas.  Everyone knows that a square peg cannot fit into a round hole.  Yet we try to hammer such a variety of things into our God shaped hole.  We so easily forget that we “are passers-by on this earth”.

We often live our lives in the fast lane.  It’s as though we are riding on a swiftly moving train.  We do not seem to remember where we got on or where we will be getting off.  The truth is that we are swiftly moving through time.  Indeed, we will be getting off.  Our journey will end some day.  Too often, the people, places and things that provide us “small joys” are where we think we want to settle.  Our Lady reminds us that all this is transitory.  Eternal life is the Gift of all gifts.  It is our goal!  We are called to give God time in prayer so that we will come to appreciate this most excellent of gifts.

ur Lady reveals to us the true meaning of Christmas.  The Bethlehem star still shines in the Heavens.  Our Lady is here to lead us to it.  The journey must be made in humility and in truth.  There will be obstacles.  But when we disembark from the ‘train of life’, we will have found Him whom our hearts have yearned.


2008

January 25, 2008

“Dear children!  With the time of Lent, you are approaching a time of grace.  Your heart is like ploughed soil and it is ready to receive the fruit which will grow into what is good.  You, little children, are free to choose good or evil.  Therefore, I call you to pray and fast.  Plant joy and the fruit of joy will grow in your hearts for your good, and others will see it and receive it through your life.  Renounce sin and choose eternal life.  I am with you and intercede for you before my Son.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

This message could be called Our Lady’s ‘warm-up’ message. Mary entices us to prepare our hearts for the Season of Lent which is fast approaching. Lent is our spiritual training camp-a time to flex our spiritual muscles. Our Lady speaks these words to us on the day the Church celebrates the conversion of St. Paul – the model ‘par excellence’ of conversion.  Talk about a drastic and dramatic turn about!

Lent is a wonderful time of grace. The purpose of Lent is, above all else, a preparation to rejoice in God’s love.  I don’t really think we can fully understand what eternal benefits these 40 days offered year after year actually reap for us and the whole world.  I do believe that when we come before the judgment seat of Jesus at the moment of our death, we will know in an instant the Lenten opportunities that we rose to or shirked from.  Indeed, Lent is a time of grace – a time of God’s love welling up like a fountain for all to drink freely.  No wonder we hear of the wonderful life-giving water offered to the woman at the well during this time.  She (and we) would never thirst again when we drink of the water Jesus offers. And the man born blind who was give back his sight so he (and we) can behold our salvation.  Lent is a golden opportunity to be all that we can be.

The metaphor of soil and seed is such good imagery for growth in the spiritual life.  Our Lady says our hearts are “like ploughed soil and it is ready to receive the fruit…”  Our Lady knows this because it is She who has tilled that soil!  She, like a good mother, has made our hearts ready to “receive the fruit which will grow into what is good”.  Even though Our Mother has been with us so long - has guided, instructed, formed us into pliable clay in the potter’s hand; we are still free to choose good or evil.  Again, she calls us to pray and fast.  Pray and fast BECAUSE you are free to choose…  Do we seriously reflect on the responsibility, the danger, the consequences that go along with our freedom to choose?  It is a sobering thought!

We have spread before us ‘life or death’.  With our Lady as our guide, we will choose life.  If we follow her lead, we will “plant joy” and experience the “fruit of joy” in our hearts.  Our Lady reminds us, too, that our lives make a huge statement. The tone of our lives speak louder than what we say.  Do our lives resonate with the fruits of the Spirit?  Do we exude anxiety and negativity in our interactions with others?  Our Lady says, “others will see it and receive it through your life”!  What power we have been given with the gift of our free choice! We will either transform the world with peace or impact it with negative energy.

Our Lady suggests what we should do with our gift of choice.  “Renounce sin and choose eternal life”.  Renunciation and fasting is not a burden; but liberation.  They are only  burdens to those who take it up unwillingly.  Love makes it light and happy.  Let us try to pull ourselves together spiritually and during this time of grace offer the Lord a prayer for each other – not for ourselves, not for our own health, salvation or well-being; but for our sisters and brothers, for those who are dear to our hearts: offer the Lord a prayer for them today, as the Gospel teaches us.  Pray for them, that their way may be blessed, that the Lord may keep them and come to meet them – then all of us will ascend toward the Lord, as if holding on to that prayer.  This is the main thing – the rest will follow – but this is essential to our lives.  Responding to Our Lady’s call in this way will ensure that the fruit of our lives “will grow into what is good” and we will be able to participate in the celebration of Easter with renewed heart and joyful soul.

 

February 25, 2008

“Dear children!  In this time of grace, I call you anew to prayer and renunciation.  May your day be interwoven with little ardent prayers for all those who have not come to know God’s love.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

With this message, Lent is well underway.  We are beginning the third week of this Season of Grace – a good benchmark for assessment.  When you first read this message, it is hoped that you took a few moments to reflect on your Lenten resolve.  Did you begin this time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving strong?  Or, did Ash Wednesday come upon you all too fast and you were not yet focused?  Whatever….it’s ok!  Today is a new day.  Begin “anew”.  Consider each new day a time to begin “anew”!

Do not be discouraged!  Think small.  Remember the mustard seed that reaps big results.   The point is that God gives us another chance to become better people, to start to change.  We are asked to become better in all areas of our lives.  Our Lady provides us with the means that will help us in our fight – prayer and renunciation.  We can all do little things.  Few of us can do big things for the Lord.  Weave “little ardent prayers” throughout the day.  We can all perform the ‘little’ activities that comprise our days with a ‘big’ heart.  We can pray with our hearts throughout our day despite the busyness.  Intersperse little acts of kindness throughout the business of the day.  Offer smiles, hugs, helping hands often.  Most especially, take time to go off even for ten minutes, to a quiet place to pray for “those who have not come to know God’s love”.

If your Lenten resolve has waned by now, jump start it TODAY! 

Perhaps this meditation on the Twelfth Station – Jesus Dies On The Cross – written through the heart of His Mother- will help to get you into the spirit of Holy Week.

‘My children, the pain of death is a cruel one; but for a Mother who loses her child , the cruelest wound pierces her heart!  How can a Mother explain the stab of death as Her child breathes His last – hanging from a cross, covered with wounds, agonizing and dying of pure, unmitigated pain.  My beloved, His death was like a color I had never seen, a melancholic song I had never heard before and would never hear again.  It’s last note struck as His breath expired.  The sword was thrust into my heart as I prayed with Him in silence, His last prayers on earth in his mortal body.  From the cross, He thirsted for you.  He thirsted for the day you would abhor sin to the point of crucifying your flesh for the life of your immortal soul.  He thirsted for the day you would love Him completely.  From the cross, He forgave all of your sins.  With His final prayers to the Father:  “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me”, He takes us to the deepest region of the mystery of suffering.  “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”.  Through this prayer, He showed us that the way of the cross yields the richest fruit – union with the Father.  My children, He showed us that love triumphs in the end.  My crucified Son, with a sword in my heart, I unite with you.  As you give over your Spirit to the Father, I give my life, my broken heart, my continued YES to the Father’s Holy Will.  For you, it is finished.  For me, just begun – as I mother your church on earth .

rayer Response:  O Mother of crucified love, give us the grace to comprehend, even in our limited understanding, the mystery of our redemption, the magnitude of the love of our creator - immolated and offered as a holocaust for His creatures!  Give us the grace, dear Mother, to commit our lives into the Father’s hands.  Help us to say, with you and Jesus, YES to the Father’s will.  Jesus crowned His life with His holy death.  Help us to offer, upon our death, the crown of our lives as we strive to live them as Jesus taught us.  O my crucified Savior, forgive us for we know not what we do.  Amen


Message of March 25, 2008

“Dear Children!  I call you to work on your personal conversion.  You are still far from meeting with God in your heart.  Therefore, spend all the more time in prayer and Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, for Him to change you and to put into your hearts a living faith and a desire for eternal life.  Everything is passing, little children, only God is not passing. I am with you and I encourage you with love.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

We cannot value what we have not freely chosen.  We will choose what we love.  Our Lady reminds us that we are still far from meeting God in our hearts.  What could our mother mean when she invites us to ‘meet God in our hearts’?  I believe she is calling us to be contemplatives.  It is true that we are in the world – busy about many things, for sure.  But Our Lady is leading us to become contemplatives in action.

We have many responsibilities.  For some, 24 hours in a day too often is not enough!  We are burdened with many duties and concerns.  Yet, even though our hands are busy about many things, Mary invites us to live with our hearts in the heavens.  Our Lady desires that, as we proceed along our life’s path, we enjoy abundant life and stay focused on what is most important – on what lasts.  She wants us to encounter God.  She wants us to meet her Son – personally.  She wants that meeting to have such a profound impact on us that we will stay focused and work tirelessly on our personal conversion.

How can we meet God in our hearts, as she asks?  Take time, in the midst of our busy days, and ‘sit at the feet of Him’ who alone has the answers for our questions. Pray….and listen…..to the One who never fails us, who alone can satisfy our deepest longings….the One whom we can always trust.  Our Lady tells us where to go for this tryst with the Lord.  She directs us to “spend all the more time in prayer and Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar”.  This time spent before the Blessed Sacrament will change us!  When we sit in the sun for a time, we notice that our appearance slowly changes.  We get a tan.  When we sit in front of the SON of GOD, we change.  We absorb the free gift of God’s love and we are changed forever. 

Falling in love with God is the only way we will experience  ‘metanoia’ – a total change of perspective and direction – away from the natural tendency of our human nature to an attraction to ‘things above’.  When we experience a personal encounter with the living God, our faith will come alive, and our desire for eternal life will be like an unquenchable thirst.  What else matters?  Of course, all that we have while on this earth is a precious gift from God – our health, our family and friends, our nice things, and should be appreciated and enjoyed.  But all should be held loosely in our hands and our hearts.  Our Lady reminds us that “everything is passing, only God is not passing”.

Our loving Mother encourages us to set our goals on that which lasts and will ultimately lead us to our eternal home. But first, we must meet and fall in love with the living God.  Then, everything else in our lives will be ordered toward the object of our love. Our Lady says to each of us, “I am with you and I encourage you with love”.  Are we not in her shadow?


Message of April 25, 2008

"Dear children! Also today, I call all of you to grow in God's love as a flower which feels the warm rays of spring. In this way, also you, little children, grow in God's love and carry it to all those who are far from God. Seek God's will and do good to those whom God has put on your way, and be light and joy. Thank you for having responded to my call." 04/2008

Spring has sprung!  The miracle of birth surrounds us in this month of new life.  Nature speaks to us most eloquently of God’s love in the springtime. The death of winter is swallowed up in new life.   The warm rays of the sun has attracted the flowers to begin to bloom.  How much we can learn about the Risen life of Christ present to each of us from the new life of Spring!  Just as the beautiful flowers need the warmth of the sun to grow and rise up out of the ground facing the sun; so too, we need to feel the warmth of God’s love to grow strong in our faith.

We need to focus on the first thing Our Lady asks of us in this message.  She tells us to “grow in God’s love”  Why?  We must grow in God’s love so that we can be bearers of God’s love to those who are still far from God.  Many people live without hope.  The most vulnerable, especially, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope.  The dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed.  Those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects.  A hardness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being.  Such tragedies also point to what might have been and what could be, were there other hands – our hands – reaching out.

Our Lady asks us to invite others to join us along the way of goodness and hope.    How can our witness truly free others from the darkness of heart and mind which keeps people far from God?  The answer is found in the kernel of our faith.  We must be an Easter people, sharing in the light of God’s glory through Jesus the light of the world.  Our witness must speak loudly of the truth that God has indeed found a place among us.  Though the inn was full, he entered through the stable, and there were people who saw his light.  They recognized Herod’s dark closed world for what it was, and instead followed the bright guiding star of the night sky.

We who have followed the light of Christ and have grown through the power of God’s love, must be agents of its’ transforming power to those who are still far off.  We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.  Having grown in that love through prayer, silence, study, Liturgy and acts of charity we heed Mary’s plea  to be a catalysts for others.

Also, Our Lady asks us to “seek God’s will” and “do good to those whom God has put on our way”.  God calls us to the hope that never disappoints – Jesus Christ.  God’s will is that we continue to follow that guiding star.  It is the way of selfless love.  It is an awareness of the mystery of God’s presence with us always – especially, through those God has put on our path.  As we walk in the peace of God that the world cannot understand, we are filled with light and joy and our being gives God honor and glory forever.

Message of May 25, 2008

I CALL YOU TO CONVERSION

"Dear children! In this time of grace, when God has permitted me to be with you, little children, I call you anew to conversion. Work on the salvation of the world in a special way while I am with you. God is merciful and gives special graces, therefore, seek them through prayer. I am with you and do not leave you alone. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our spiritual lives run on parallel tracks – prayer and conversion. One is contingent upon the other. These tracks of our lives in Christ must constantly be tended. We simply cannot go about our daily activities leaving these eternal elements to chance. We must always stay alert being careful not to develop an apathetic attitude.  ST. Paul says to the Romans, “…and do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.  For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.  Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly….”  Rm. 13:11-13

“I call you anew to conversion”.  Our Lady never tires of keeping us focused and running as we continue the race to the finish line.  She doesn’t want us to remain stagnant, or worse, lose heart.  So she constantly reminds us that these times in which we are living are special times of grace.  It is an extraordinary time in which the Mother of God is truly with us going about the business of the salvation of the world.  And even more amazing than this – She has commissioned us to help her in this unfathomable work!

Before we get too haughty with this thought, Mary reminds us that without God we can do nothing.  “God is merciful and givesspecial graces”....  Without God’s mercy and grace, we would be powerless to have an effect on the ‘salvation of the world’.  But, because God has chosen us for this work through His Mother, we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”..Phil.4:13.

Special graces need to be sought through prayer.  God wants our love, our will and our cooperation.  But God will not force His love or His will upon us.  We must freely choose to cooperate with God’s plan.  We have been invited to the task; and, ultimately, to the banquet.

We should take off our masks, follow in Jesus’ footsteps consistently without negotiating – expecting God to do our will.  Those of us who have been blessed with having been to Medjugorje have had an encounter with the living God, a prerequisite for a new beginning.  That encounter has changed everything for us and left us with the invitation to conversion.

There are several examples of conversion in the Bible.  Meeting Jesus was the decisive moment when people left everything to follow him.  Something similar happened to the saints, and something similar will happen to us if we search for God’s will in our life through prayer.  It is a life-long process.  For 27 years, Our Lady has been intimately involved with this process in each of our lives.  She will “not leave you alone”.  Stay awake.  Keep moving.  Keep praying.

Message of June 25, 2008

BE JOYFUL CARRIERS OF PEACE AND LOVE

"Dear children! Also today, with great joy in my heart, I call you to follow me and to listen to my messages. Be joyful carriers of peace and love in this peaceless world. I am with you and I bless you all with my Son Jesus, the King of Peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Today we had a great celebration!  We celebrated 27 years of the blessed visitation of Mary, our Mother in Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace.  Mary always gathers people around her Son  We celebrated Mass with Fr. Paul Bonacci presiding and 3 con-celebrants and a Deacon. We began the celebration meditating on the entire Holy Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  There were 5 priests hearing confessions. We ended the celebration with a Healing Service.  What a joyous occasion it was!

Our Lady stands before us as a great gift, as the most beautiful image of the Church.  We, her children, reflect back to her the beautiful image of what the Church can be when we are aligned with God’s will.  We have celebrated the anniversary of the apparitions for several years on June 25th.  On that day, we are indeed living her messages as we gather around her Son at the Eucharistic Table, confessing our sins, fasting, praying.  No wonder Our Lady had “great joy in my heart”.

When we are in alignment with her messages, we are “joyful carriers of peace and love in this peaceless world”… When we live her messages we are at peace.  The terrors around us – moral, economic, social – do not touch our very core.  We remain peaceful at our deepest level despite the surface turmoil.  Our Lady is always with us. She doesn’t come alone!   Her Son, Jesus, the King of Peace, is always with her. 

Mary, Queen of Peace, we are truly humbled!  Who are we that the Mother of Our Lord should visit us!  Amen

 

Message of July 25, 2008

“Dear children!  At this time when you are thinking of physical rest, I call you to conversion.  Pray and work so that your heart yearns for God the Creator who is the true rest of your soul and your body.  May He reveal His face to you and may He give you His peace.  I am with you and intercede before God for each of you.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady once told us to “work on your hearts as you work in your fields.”  We know that the best seed cannot bring fruit in an unprepared soil.   Most of us do not work in fields; but we work in our homes, offices, factories, health care facilities, schools,  various ministries within our Churches.  Wherever our work takes us, we prepare for the task at hand. We acquire the resources necessary to accomplish our work. We have goals and we systematically work toward those goals. We guard against distractions until we successfully accomplish our goal or the completion of the tasks at hand.

“I call you to conversion”.  Our Lady has continually called us to ‘work on our hearts’.  This work is no less systematic and continual.  It is a process. It is a call to be prepared. Every day we are called to arm ourselves with the resources necessary to work toward our goal.  How can we be prepared so that the work of conversion will be a continual growth process toward living the will of God?

Awareness!  In prayer, we should strive to know ourselves; especially our weaknesses.  Our weaknesses, addictions, and worldly attachments impede our growth in the divine life and can become sources of temptations to sin.  Once aware of our stumbling blocks, we are better motivated to resist all that keeps us from living in the fullness of God’s love.  Once aware of what imprisons us and holds us bound to the earth, we will acquire a hunger and thirst for the freedom of the life of grace.

Set small goals and work toward them consciously, consistently and with determination.  Make the choice to pick up your cross daily and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Another dimension of conversion is the positive growth in that we develop the gifts in us that God gave us.  Use it or lose it!  It is very important that conversion not only means turning away from sin but, that is also entails an inner growth.  Peace is the fruit of this inner growth in love, in trust, in mercy and in truth.

Conversion is the work of the heart.  If we are truly responding to our Lady’s call to convert, our “hearts will yearn for God the Creator who is the true rest of your soul and body”.  As St. Augustine said, “our hearts are restless until they rest in thee”. 

The work of our body and the work of our soul are parallel tracks.  We find rest for our weary bodies in sleep and inactivity.  Our souls find rest in God alone.  God is with us to keep our bodies and our souls in perfect harmony.  We are called to make conscious choices to cooperate with His will for our lives.  “May He reveal His face to you and may He give you His peace”.  This is the fruit of work well done – the work of the body and the work of the heart.  Let us pray that our Mother never ceases to light this path for us that leads to peace and true rest of body and soul.  Let us never cease to thank Her for her intercession and her Motherly love.

Message of August 25, 2008

“Dear children!  Also today I call you to personal conversion.  You be those who will convert and, with your life, will witness, love, forgive and bring the joy of the Risen One into this world, where my Son died and where people do not  feel a need to seek Him and to discover Him in their lives.  You adore Him, and may your hope be hope to those hearts who do not have Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

There is a terrible hunger for love.
We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness.
We must have the courage to recognize it.
The poor you may have right in your own family.
Find them.
Love them.  

Mother Teresa’s words capture the essence of Our Lady’s August message.    There is a terrible hunger in the world today.  In this age of modern technology and instant gratification, there is very little fulfillment.  There remains an emptiness that this world cannot fill.  So many people, Our Lady tells us, “ do not feel a need to seek Him and to discover Him in their lives”. So, Mary has enlisted an army of prayer warriors to go forth into this desolate world and find the pain, loneliness, misery and fill the voids within these empty human hearts.  Like any soldier, these warriors first have to be converted totally to the cause of freedom.

Our Lady’s army has been in combat training for 28 years now!  We have been trained in the path of prayer, fasting and in the ways of love.  We have been in ‘heart’ training for a very long time.  We are in the process of transformation.  We are ready, with Our Lady as our General, to go out into the fields of this parched world and represent hope for those hearts that do not have Jesus. Mary wants us now to “bring the joy of the Risen One into this world”.

We have all met people who light up a room by their very presence.  Some people seem to exude peace wherever they go.  They are peacemakers when conflict has shattered relationships.  Some people have the gift to listen compassionately to the stories of the broken-hearted.  Some people have the gift to paint a rainbow of hope for those stricken with illness or the loss of a loved one.  Some people can see the good and dignity in every person and thus, by their very presence, bring love to the unloved.  We are those people!  We are those soldiers “who will convert and, with your life, will witness, love, forgive and bring joy….”  The people living in darkness and sin will see His light and see His face through us – those who have been led along the path of conversion for a quarter of a century now!  Our hope will bring hope to those hearts who do not have Jesus!  As Mother Teresa has said, we must have the courage to “find them, and love them”.  For this purpose we have called and trained.  We must respond to Mary’s call.

Message of September 25, 2008

“Dear children! May your life, anew, be a decision for peace.  Be joyful carriers of peace and do not forget that you live in a time of grace, in which God gives you great graces through my presence.  Do not close yourselves, little children, but make good use of this time and seek the gift of peace and love for your life so that you may become witnesses to others.  I bless you with my monthly blessing.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give it to you”….Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you”…. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”…..Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”  (John 14:27, 20:19,21, 26)

Our Lady invites us to decide for the peace that only Jesus gives.  This is the gift that Jesus gave to those who encountered him after the Resurrection.  Peace is his gift, not the brand the world offers.  The world offers us the illusion of peace – temporary, superficial.  The peace Jesus offers cuts through the testing and the trials.  It touches the very core of us.  It sustains us through suffering and loss.  It lasts and leads us to joy!  Jesus is still offering this gift to those who encounter him today.  But we must make a deliberate decision to receive Jesus’ gift of peace.

Our life is filled with everyday decisions.  We may not even realize that moment to moment, we are making choices that will lead to peace or turmoil, life or death.  In the book of Deuteronomy we are reminded to choose life, heed the voice of the Lord and hold fast to him.  This path is a conscious, deliberate choice.  It is ongoing – a work in progress.

The decision to live the life of the Spirit is a decision to love – God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, peace and joy.  This life in the Spirit is accessible to us because we are temples of the living God…..and because we are living in a time of grace.  I hope that we are acutely aware  - every day – that God offers great graces to us through Our Lady’s special presence among us.  I hope that we are acutely aware that we have been chosen to be her special carriers of peace into this world of turmoil.  If we have forgotten or become apathetic to our special privilege, then we have closed ourselves to so many invitations to grace. Our Lady warns us against this and invites us to make good use of this time.

How should we be making good use of this time?  We have all we need within the sacramental life of our Church and personal prayer to grow in love and holiness.  But we are not on this journey for just ourselves!  We have been called to be witnesses to others. We are called to be Christ’s light.  We are called to be salt for the world…..by becoming who we already are by nature of our baptism.  We are called to be a holy people, set apart from the values of the world.  “Seek the gift of peace…”.  Seek Jesus!  He alone can give this great and authentic gift.  Our Lady also asks us to love our own lives.  When we take the time to pray and befriend silence, we discover our authentic selves.  We have been called and chosen, even with all of our faults, to be disciples of the living God.  God is within us.  When this incomprehensible reality sinks in, we can truly love our lives because God dwells within us.

Our Lady has indeed blessed us by bringing us back to our Way, our Truth and our Life.  It is for us to bless her by witnessing the Way, the Truth and the Life to the world.

 Dear Mother, thank you for having chosen us for such a sublime privilege.

Message of October 25, 2008

“Dear children!  In a special way I call you all to pray for my intentions so that, through your prayers, you may stop Satan’s plan over this world, which is further from God every day, and which puts itself in the place of God and is destroying everything that is beautiful and good in the souls of each of you.  Therefore, little children, arm yourselves with prayer and fasting so that you may be conscious of how much God loves you, and carry out God’s will.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers”.  (Luke 22:31-32)

How powerful is prayer!  Have we gotten the idea yet?  Our Lady calls us in a special way to pray for her intentions.  God’s grand plan is for the head of Satan to be crushed by Mary’s heel.  We are her heel!  It is our prayers joined to hers that will crush Satan.

The world is moving further and further away from God as if held captive in a trance.  The world puts itself in the place of God with laws that govern over matters of life and death.  The world forgets that God is the author of life and only God has sovereignty over it.  The world has become greedy for money and power.  God has been cast aside.  Truth is being replaced with lies. People are buying into these lies.  Many have been deluded.  All that is good and beautiful in souls is being destroyed as Satan laughs and mocks God with every victory.

So, Our Lady is here to mobilize the troops!  She gathers us in like a mother would her children at the early signs of an impending storm.  We find safety within her mantle as she instructs us. ‘ It is time to arm yourselves’, she implores.  Have we forgotten that with prayer and fasting, wars can be suppressed!  We know that the Rosary is the weapon of mass destruction.  It is the chain that will bind Satan.  The Rosary is the gift of all gifts from Our Lady.  Through the Rosary, we literally enter into the mystery of the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery.  Through the Rosary, we experience the tremendous love God has for each of us.  This love will energize us.  We will be filled with the power of the same Spirit that overcame the Apostles on Pentecost.  Love will do this for us and inflame us to carry out God’s will.

We, in America, have just experienced the flashpoint of the election.  We are at a crossroad.  It is time to re-group, align ourselves with the Queen of Peace, arm ourselves with the weapons of prayer and fast with the will and the determination to thwart Satan’s plan to destroy all that is good and beautiful.  What God has created and given as gift must return to Him in its’ pristine form  - good, beautiful and holy.

Dear Mother, thank you for trusting us that we will respond to your call.

Message of November 25, 2008

"Dear children! Also today I call you, in this time of grace, to pray for little Jesus to be born in your heart. May He, who is peace itself, give peace to the entire world through you. Therefore, little children, pray without ceasing for this turbulent world without hope, so that you may become witnesses of peace for all. May hope begin to flow through your hearts as a river of grace. Thank you for having responded to my call."

“Behold a broken world, we pray,
Where want and war increase,
And grant us, Lord, in this our day,
The ancient dream of peace;

Who, in this day and age, cannot identify with the first stanza of this hymn?  Most of us feel the weight of a broken world.  We live in an age where few of us can distinguish between our needs and our wants.  Wars rage around us – battles upon foreign soil, the threat of terrorism is ever present, disputes in our governments, disputes in our communities, our families and our hearts.  Peace seems like an ancient dream – far away – non existent.  Yet, in this message, Our Lady reminds us again that we live in a time of grace

“….In this time of grace I call you to pray for little Jesus to be born in your heart.….”.
Our Lady speaks these words to us at the onset of Advent.  Advent has always been called the time of grace since the very beginning of Christian tradition.  It is a time when we can readily identify with God’s love as we prepare to receive the gift of that love – little Jesus.  It is easy to forget that we are living in a time of great grace because we often look for God’s love in all the wrong places.  We often try to fashion God’s will to ours.  We want health, wealth and all of our hopes and dreams realized.  This scenario looks more like a time of grace than sickness, loss of jobs, stock market impact on our investments.  We want what we want!  Is it any wonder that so few found the humble infant in a cave in Bethlehem?

Finding the infant in today’s world also means to follow his star to an off the beaten track sort of place.  Allowing little Jesus to be born in our hearts will call us to live lives of humility.  It becomes very evident why our Lord tells us to become as little children (Mt. 18:3) and what is involved in it.  It means taking a break from being God ourselves, to let God be God.  Being childlike means to stop trying to run the world and one another’s lives.  This sheds light also on Saint Paul’s words that we must not be conformed to “this turbulent world without hope”.

Any real growth in prayer, in communion with God, leads us into the desert, into the place of wild wide wastes, where we can get no bearings.  We must come out from behind the security of our homemade identity, our self-appointed responsibilities, into the spaciousness of God’s world, where we will gradually recognize true freedom and discover our true responsibilities.  When prayer takes us to this ‘place’, then, and only then, will Our Lady’s humble message make sense to us.

Our Lady shows us the way to peace.  It is her Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Peace is not just the absence of war.  It is not a commodity.  Peace comes from Jesus.  Those who have found Him have found everything!  Those who have encountered God become carriers  and witnesses of the peace of Christ.  Only then can “hope begin to flow through your hearts as a river of grace”.  Peace is not just an “ancient dream” as the hymn above suggests.  Rather, peace is a waking dream because God pitched his tent among us in the form of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Hope becomes, for the Christian, a strange thing because  we hope for what we already possess.  Our glory resides in the Christ whom we possess, and it is so great that it shines through our present life.

Mary knows this and her messages attempt to awaken us to the wonder that is ours!

Message of December 25, 2008

"Dear children! You are running, working, gathering – but without blessing. You are not praying! Today I call you to stop in front of the manger and to meditate on Jesus, Whom I give to you today also, to bless you and to help you to comprehend that, without Him, you have no future. Therefore, little children, surrender your lives into the hands of Jesus, for Him to lead you and protect you from every evil. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.  He asked himself, ‘ What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’  And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:  I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.  There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”  But God said to him, “you fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’  Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”  (Luke 12:16-21)

The rich fool must have spent most of his life running, working and gathering to have such an abundant harvest of stuff!  All this abundance and his work still wasn’t over.  He had to work to build larger barns in which to store everything.  Little did he know that his busy life was about to come to a screeching halt.  God asked, to whom will his life’s work belong?

What a timely message from Our Lady!  For many of us, the days and weeks before Christmas are packed with ‘running, working and gathering’.  The women that I know, like me, have been frantically cleaning, shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking and working outside the home.  This message hit me hard!  By Christmas Eve, I was worn to a frazzle!  For days, I ran past my manger scene dozens of times a day as I worked to check off my many chores.  One evening as I passed this spot that should have been my prayer tryst, I slowed down and knelt before the tiny ceramic figurines.  The baby Jesus seemed to grab my attention:  ‘Hey, slow down…remember me…after all, it’s my birthday…and I don’t need all of this fanfare….I only need your heart!’   I noticed how humble the setting within the manger scene.  I noticed the excess in the setting of my surroundings.  I cried….and asked forgiveness.

When our lives get out of balance like they often do during the Christmas Season, whom do we bless!  Does our busyness give God glory?  Are we a blessing to our family and friends when we are tired and preoccupied?  It is so easy to fall into the snare set before us by the evil one.  It is a sure thing when we substitute work for prayer!

Our Lady calls us to STOP!  - in front of the manger where we are reminded of our nothingness – where simplicity and humility beckon to us.  Stop before the Tabernacle to remember from whence comes our hope.  Stop in the middle of a hectic day to meditate on Jesus who was given to us as the greatest gift of the Father’s love.  Stop after receiving Communion and remember who it is that lives in us. Stop and remember several times a day who it is who blesses us and frees us from the grasp of the evil one.

We, with all of our things born from endless work and nights of sleepless anxiety, have become the poorest of the poor.  Let us pray for the grace to surrender our lives into the hands of Jesus and ask him to lead us and protect us so that we will become rich in spirit.  Let the newly born Jesus bless our whole life and all our noble strivings.

2009

Message of January 25, 2009

"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May prayer be for you like the seed that you will put in my heart, which I will give over to my Son Jesus for you, for the salvation of your souls. I desire, little children, for each of you to fall in love with eternal life which is your future, and for all worldly things to be a help for you to draw you closer to God the Creator. I am with you for this long because you are on the wrong path. Only with my help, little children, you will open your eyes. There are many of those who, by living my messages, comprehend that they are on the way of holiness towards eternity. Thank you for having responded to my call."

“Only with my help, little children, you will open your eyes”.  Well, there we have it!  Herein lies the reason why, Our Lady says, many of us are still on the wrong path.  How can this be when we think we are on the right path!  Too often, we think we can do it on our own strength and with our own limited vision.

Those of us who have raised children can easily get a sense of what Our Lady means.  When young people reach the teen-age years, many of them test their wings.  They often become myoptic, invincible, adventurous.  They get caught up in the sub-culture.  They believe they know more than their parents, especially what is best for them.  After all,  parents come from a different generation and are considered “old-fashioned”. Wonder of all wonders, they ‘fall in love’ – with life, the world and the opposite sex!  Perspectives become distorted.  They need the help of a greater wisdom than their own to re-focus and open their eyes.

Our Lady makes three important points in this January message.  The first, “may prayer be for you like the SEED that you will put in my heart”.  Prayer is not an end unto itself. Prayer is the means to an end – communion with God.  Prayer is the seed that we plant in the heart of Our Lady.  She tends it for us.  She waters it with her grace.  She prunes and shapes it into the perfect prayer that will grow into a perfect flower.  She, then, offers those flowers to her Son on our behalf.  We should entrust our prayer to her and ask for her help to pray in the most effective way. We should rely on her wisdom and not our own. For Mary is wrapped in the wisdom of God, we, in the wisdom of the world.  “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength”. 1 Cor l:25

The second point Our Lady makes in this message comes as a desire for each of us.  “I desire, little children, for each of you to fall in love with eternal life”… Consider the first letter of St. John.  “Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…..the world and its enticement are passing away.  But whoever does the will of God remains forever”.  1John 2:15,17  Our Lady’s desire for us to fall in love with eternal life goes hand in hand with her desire for us NOT to fall in love with the things of this world which are passing away.  However, she does not imply that the things of this world are evil or should be shunned.  Rather, she does imply that everything we have is gift and should be catalysts to help us draw closer to God.  We can do this by being stewards of God’s gifts.  Our time, treasure and talent should be offered generously for those less fortunate than ourselves.

The third and most sobering of Our Lady’s points: “I am with you for this long because you are on the wrong path”.  Just like our children who eventually test their wings, we get out of focus. We need a wisdom beyond our own to help us. Is prayer the most important part of our days or the ‘stuff’ that occupies our life?   “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma”….Ephesians 5:1,2

Our Lady ended by acknowledging those who, by living her messages, have comprehended that they are on the way of holiness towards eternity.  I hope those reading this reflection are counted among their number.

“What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,

And what has not entered the human heart,

What God has prepared for those who love him,”

This God has revealed to us through the Spirit.   1 Cor.2:9-10

 It is my hope that we continue to “fall in love with eternal life” day by day.  This is our future!  There is no other.

Message of February 25, 2009

“Dear children!  In this time of renunciation, prayer and penance, I call you anew: go and confess your sins so that grace may open your hearts, and permit it to change you.  Convert little children, open yourselves to God and to His plan for each of you.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady’s February message - coming to us in the midst of the holy season of Lent - got me thinking about ‘last times’.  There will be a ‘last time’ for everything that we do.  One day, each of us, in the appointed time, will celebrate the important events of our lives for the last time.  I wondered if this Lent, for example, was the last opportunity I would have to make the best Lent possible what would I do differently?  Would I think differently about renunciation, prayer and penance?

First, I would look upon the Lenten disciplines of renunciation, prayer and penance, not so much as difficult sacrifices that I give to God; but as great gifts of grace that God gives to me.  Within that mindset, every renunciation, every prayer, every penance would be a golden opportunity for me to make a return to God, in humble thanksgiving for the love with which God has showered me.   All is gift.  If this be my last Lent, I pray that I might be given the strength and commitment to seize the moment.

Our Lady says, “……Go and confess your sins….” 

Our mother knows what it takes to open our hearts in order for us to allow God to change them.  So she tells us, purposefully,  “Go and confess your sins”.  God does not require us to vocalize our sinfulness before we are forgiven.  God knows what we will do and say before we even sin.  God forgives us before we forgive ourselves!  Mary knows what our psychological needs are before we can get rid of guilt.

First, we have an innate need to ‘get it all out’ to another human being.  “As long as I would not speak, my bones wasted away with my groaning all the day, for day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not.  I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’ and you took away the guilt of my sin” (Ps. 32)  The psalmist expresses an interior need that we all have- to open his or her soul to another.  We need another person to understand what we are feeling, to have compassion.  Then we can face up to the decision we already know we must make.

St. Teresa said that she preferred a wise to a holy confessor!  We all need a confessor who will help us look for causes rather than symptoms.  Our confession needs to go deeper than the conventional laundry lists.  In our examination of conscience, we need to explore our motivations and fears, and the underlying causes of our sinfulness.

Secondly, we have a need to ‘come back’.  The Prodigal Son not only left his father’s table literally; he had left behind what he was taught there.  He had abandoned the spirit of his father’s home.  In the agony of guilt, he felt he didn’t deserve to come back.  But his father insisted on bringing him back to the table, equal, loved, forgiven.  We are in the same boat as the younger son.  The guilt we suffer after having ‘left the father’s table’ for a sinful life or act or attitude would prevent us from waltzing back with no apology.  The purpose, then, of the sacramental action of confession is a sign of God’s welcoming embrace to those who have strayed from home.

Third, we have a need to awaken to the real destructive power of sin oppressing the world.  There is a diminished sense of sin in today’s society.  We abuse our free will.  We must come to a point of confrontation with the truth:  To quote the cartoon character Pogo, “I have met the guilty one and it is me”.  We must come to see that the final sinfulness (way of life) is to deny our sinfulness.  The “sin against the Holy Spirit” is the sin against truth, reality, facts.  It is the blindness that Jesus identifies in the Pharisees.  “Seeing, you do not see, and hearing, you do not understand.”  If we do not recognize our sickness and need for healing, we are in effect rejecting Jesus’ forgiveness.

Our fourth need is to see and hear forgiveness.  Jesus spoke words to the adulteress: “Your sins are forgiven.”  He looked at people.  Sometimes he embraced them.  He assured the converted tax collector Zacchaeus.  “Today salvation has come to your house.”  These people went away with Jesus’ words in their ears, his image of compassion in their minds, his touch on their shoulders.  We, too, have a need to externalize or ritualize or visibly celebrate God’s victory over sin.  We, too, need “body language”.

Our Lady knows, in her great Godly wisdom, that we need to confess our sins not only to heal our own souls, but to help liberate the world from its sinful patterns.  There is a connection between our sinful hearts and a sinful system “out there”.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation heals and transforms not only the penitent but all of society.  It is our moment of truth, a significant step in our ongoing conversion process.  It is facing God with honesty, healthy fear and childlike confidence as sinful human beings and placing our broken lives before God’s healing love.

During this Season of Love, let us listen to our Mother who leads us to the choicest fruit of our Salvation – “Go and confess your sins…..”

Message of March 25, 2009

“Dear children!  In this time of spring, when everything is awakening from the winter sleep, you also awaken your souls with prayer so that they may be ready to receive the light of the risen Jesus.  Little children, may He draw you closer to His Heart so that you may become open to eternal life.  I pray for you and intercede before the Most High for your sincere conversion.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

The theme of this message is AWAKENING…..rising from the dead (of sin)….through prayer.  Our Lady, like St. Paul, reminds us: “And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.  For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.  Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light..”.

Everything about Spring speaks of new life and resurrection: more day light, more sunlight and new life bursting forth from the earth! The first signs of life – the crocus, daffodils and tulips begin to emerge.  Perennials and trees are budding.  The browns and grays of the earth transform into the early green of new life.  The long winter sleep is over; the earth is awakening.  How faithful is our God to the cycle of life!  Mother nature provides all that is needed for the new birth to occur.  Nature’s alarm clock has awakened the earth.

The first mild days of Spring found me out in my garden pruning and cleaning.  As I removed layers of dead leaves so that the first signs of new life could be exposed to the light, I grasped Our Lady’s message more deeply.  “You also awaken your souls with prayer…”  I pondered these questions as I worked:  In what areas am I still asleep to God’s call?  In what ways is God nudging me to grow?  What is dead in me – what sins - prevent the light of the risen Jesus to shine forth and bring new life (conversion)??

Our Lady likens the wakefulness of prayer to spring clean-up!  Through prayer it will be made known to us what needs to be pruned to make room for greater growth and ongoing conversion.  Just as the plants awaken from their sleep and move toward the sun which gives them life, so we must rise up from our sleep of apathy and allow ourselves to be drawn ever more deeply toward the Heart of Christ.  Just as the flowers open to life, so too must we open to eternal life.

On this day, the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady comes to us with an announcement of Her own.  She heralds the good news of our salvation.  The long winter is over.  A new spring-time for the Church is at hand.  ‘Pray, children, that you may comprehend the covenant God has made with you.  Turn with sincerity toward the Most High and He will lead you further on the road to conversion.  I am always with you interceding on your behalf.’

Message of April 25, 2009

“Dear children!  Today I call you all to pray for peace and to witness it in your families so that peace may become the highest treasure on this peaceless earth.  I am your Queen of Peace and your mother.  I desire to lead you on the way of peace, which comes only from God.  Therefore, pray, pray, pray.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady’s Easter message this year is calling us to witness peace!

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you…”  Jesus offers the magnificent fruit of the Resurrection to all believers – PEACE!  We Christians are called to echo Jesus’ peace message and witness peace with our own lives.

Because of Easter, every circumstance of human life can and must be met with a spirit of ‘peace’.  Sickness, unemployment, misunderstanding, conflict within families, natural disaster, the death of a loved one shake us loose from our comfort zone.  It is difficult to maintain our balance when the trials and testing, that are part of our earthly existence, show up on our doorstep.  It is at these times when Jesus stands in our midst and says to us, “Why are you troubled” and why do questions arise in your hearts?”….touch me….peace be with you’.  Belief in the Risen Jesus among us – within us – is the greatest gift of Easter.  It isn’t contingent upon our circumstance; but exists in our will.  Because of Easter, peace is possible despite the storms of life.

This great gift would not be operable in our lives if we were not witnesses.  Our Lady calls us to be ‘witnesses’ of the truths that we profess to believe.  We are to be witnesses … not hear-sayers.  There is a huge difference.  How credible is the one who bases their testimony on hear say??  Not much!  Some mistakenly think that the last eye witness died with the apostles and first disciples.  If this were so the faith would not have spread to the ends of the earth as Jesus commissioned.

It is time for us to ask ourselves whether our faith is based on what we have seen and heard (witnesses) or what we have been told (hear say).  It is time for us to be witnesses – first hand – to the truth of Easter.  It is time to meet Jesus on our own ‘Emmaus’ roads.  It is time for us to put our hands in the side of Jesus and believe!  It is time to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread that we share every week.

It is time to be peace-bearers and light-bearers in this world of turmoil and darkness.

Let us “pray, pray, pray” that Our Lady lead us all to the Heart of Christ where we will hear him say, “Peace be with you”.  Peace comes only from God – there is no other way.  The Queen of Peace has come to show us the way of peace so that we may be authentic witnesses in our families and in our world.  Let us pray also to be able to comprehend the magnitude of this Easter gift and respond to Her call.

Message of May 25, 2009

“Dear children! In this time, I call you all to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon every baptized creature, so that the Holy Spirit may renew you all and lead you on the way of witnessing your faith – you and all those who are far from God and His love. I am with you
and intercede for you before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.”


Before Jesus ascended to the Father, He told his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father” about which he spoke. “..I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7… “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses…..”Acts 1:8

The apostles, along with Mary, who was already ‘full of grace’ from the moment of her Immaculate Conception in the womb of St. Ann, prepared for the gift of the Holy Spirit. From the Ascension to Pentecost, they prayed in anticipation of the ‘gift of the Father’. This time of prayer in that upper room in Jerusalem was the first novena. (9 days of preparatory prayer)

Mary, the Mother of the whole Church, is with us, as She was with the apostles, calling us to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. She is gathered together with us in the ‘upper room’ of Her Immaculate Heart as we await the coming of the fullness of the Kingdom.

In Baptism, each one of us received the Spirit; that is our Pentecost. The Spirit dwells within us as divine life, enabling us to be faithful and true disciples. The Spirit enables us to live with one another in a new way: with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity”. The Spirit propels us to engage with the world in a new way: we “testify” to the ‘mighty acts of God” through the very way that we live. The truth God gives transforms us and, through us, transforms
the world.

Most of us, who have been living our faith, have a good sense of this theology of the Holy Spirit. So, what is Our Lady’s point in this message? We have received the amazing gift of the Spirit at our Baptism. What, then, must we do to open ourselves to this ‘power’ within? Pray! Prayer opens our hearts so that the Spirit of God can operate in our lives. We have the potential for our homes to be ablaze with light due to electricity. But we have to plug into the outlets or we remain in darkness.

God makes all things new! The Holy Spirit comes to re-make us in the image and likeness of God. This charge of love will spill out into our world through acts of service and witness. And the ‘fire’ will spread to “all those who are far from God and His love.”

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. (John 20:23) Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Message of June 25, 2009


“Dear children! Rejoice with me, convert in joy and give thanks to God for the gift of my presence among you. Pray that, in your hearts, God may be in the center of your life and with your life witness, little children, so that every creature may feel God’s love. Be my extended hands for every creature, so that it may draw closer to the God of love. I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

The goal that Our Lady sets before us in this message is to be catalysts for every creature so that they “may draw closer to the God of love”. Let us, for a moment, try to imagine what the world would be like if everyone drew closer to the God of love. The culture of death would be no more. To draw closer to God is to enter the light! Being in the light, every creature would see themselves as God sees them.
Every creature would experience the great and unfathomable love that God has for EACH human being. The beloved of God would no longer fear God, except for the holy fear of reverence.

Love keeps on giving. It cannot be contained. If every living creature experienced the love that God has for them, the law of nature (God’s nature) would enable that love to spill over into the world. The poor would be richer because God’s little children would be filled with the spirit of generosity and compassion. The hungry would be fed, the lonely visited and their burdens be relieved, the imprisoned given hope. The sick would be cared for and their broken spirits healed, the widow consoled, the blind given spiritual sight. Encouragement would be given to the broken hearted. Our world would be transformed if every creature could feel God’s love. We would know something of the pristine state in which God intended for humankind when He breathed life into the first creature. Adam and Eve enjoyed God’s friendship. They walked and talked with God. God lavishly provided them with all they needed. Imagine our world restored to its’ original grace and beauty.

Our Lady challenges us to dream a little in this message. Our task is to make God known. For to know God is to love Him. We are called to preach the Gospel of Love and if necessary to use words. Our Lady says, “Draw every creature to the God of love with your life witness. Pray that, in your hearts, God may be in the center of your life”. Our Lady’s desire for each of us is to enter the garden of paradise within. It is here that we will walk and talk with God as was always intended.

Dream a little! Strip away all the useless and vain distractions. Enter into the light of God’s presence and allow God’s transforming love to re-make us, to anoint us so that we can go out and light our world by being her “extended hands”. If we could but realize the dignity of her call and respond with generosity, allowing Mary to use us so that “every creature may feel God’s love”, we would have cause to rejoice with Her. If we would just allow ourselves to dream awhile with Our Mother and imagine a world imbued in the love of God, we would convert in joy. Our hearts would overflow with gratitude for the gift of Mary, our Mother’s presence among us.

Message of July 25, 2009

“Dear children!  May this time be a time of prayer for you.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

In her messages over these past 29 years, Our Lady has repeatedly referred to her presence among us in this extraordinary manner as “a special time…..a time of grace”.  Our Lady, who is timeless….eternal, broke into human history and defines time for us. 

What is time?  The dictionary has several explanations – “a nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future”…. “a duration”.  This one struck me - “an appointed or fated moment”.  God, in His mercy and great love for humankind, appointed this time - our time - the 21st century, to send His Mother and ours into this world of matter and form.

In every generation, God ordained “an appointed or fated moment” in which to send His chosen prophets to speak his words of love and warning to a fallen world.  It seems that God will not give up on his own!  In this appointed time, God sent the best He had – His Mother!  Yes, this is a special time, a time of amazing grace.  This is a “fated moment” as well.  Our fate is on the line.   The fate of the world is on the line.  All depends on how we respond to this ‘time of grace’.  There is a beginning and there is an end to extraordinary events of these times.  There is a dash between the beginning and the end.  June 25, 1981 - ?????.  How we respond during the ‘dash’ will determine our fate!

We fully know by now what we must be doing.  “decide to surrender everything completely to me”….. “pray that Satan does not entice you….”   “forsake everything and consecrate your time to God”…..  “may your life become a continuous prayer…”  “love God above everything else…”  “accept and live my messages for your own good…”  “renounce that which hinders you from being closer to Jesus…”  “overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things…”   “become apostles of love…” “pray, pray, pray….”

The Book of Ecclesiastes assures us:

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die, A time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant…….A time to weep, and a time to laugh……..a time to seek, and a time to lose;…..A time to keep, and a time to cast away…..A time to rend, and a time to sow;….A time of love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace.”….. “What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.”

God has put the ‘timeless’ into our hearts by sending us Mary, our Mother.  This is the era - a special time of grace -that God has appointed for us to be busy about the task that Our Lady has given us.   She has come into the world to ‘restore what has been displaced’. This is our “time to pray’.  After the dash….will come our ‘time to rejoice’!

Message of August 25, 2009

“Dear children! Today I call you anew to conversion. Little children, you are not holy enough and you do not radiate holiness to others, therefore pray, pray, pray and work on your personal conversion, so that you may be a sign of God’s love to others. I am with you and am leading you towards eternity, for which every heart must yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady again invites us to become aware. She begins her message with ‘today’ – a new day, a new opportunity to take a fresh look at our relationship with God.  God gives us the grace, through Mary, to begin again, to start anew, every day!  Every morning we get another chance: to wake from our sleep, shake off the dust left over from our shortcomings the day before, and begin this new day with prayer.  In prayer, we will see this new day as another opportunity to grow in holiness.

Our Lady continually invites us to convert!  Conversion means to change, to turn around, to grow.  Each and every day we should ask God to enlighten us – to illuminate our heart.  In the Exercises of St. Ignatius, the retreatant makes it a habit to end their day with the Examen – a spiritual self-review.  How do we live out our call to discipleship each and every day?  This is so important.  In our lethargy, we often become ‘comfortable’ with who we are.  Our Lady is here with us to remind us that we “are not holy enough”.  We are not “radiating holiness to others”!  Our Lady is not satisfied with mediocrity.  She does not want us to be either!

How can we “be signs of God’s love to others” if there is a part of our own will that we are still holding on to?  How can we radiate love to others if we are still in spiritual or emotional bondage?  What part of our heart is not yet free and to what are we still held captive?  Is it: our own opinion, money, material things, recognition – the list goes on….

Most of us are like the rich young man in the Gospel.  We’re pretty proud of ourselves!  We have been following Our Lady’s messages for almost three decades, we try our best to keep the 10 commandments, we even think we want to do more – to ‘go the distance’.  Until Jesus and Mary glance back at us and say, “then go sell all that you have and give it to the poor” or, in Our Lady’s words, “work on your personal conversion” (give all of your heart)  For some of us, herein lies the stumbling block!  We’re still holding back!  Is it worry that we’re still holding on to?  Is it possessions?  Whatever, like the rich young man, we turn and walk sadly away….for we have many possessions! (pathologies, baggage)

If our hearts are not yearning for eternal life, then we have miles to go before we sleep!  Where our treasures lie, there is our heart!  Our Lady’s August message sobered me up!  Her words should shake us all up a bit.  Our Lady’s message reminded me in no uncertain terms that I am not holy enough!  How about you?

The good news is that Our Lady, as always, promises to be with us as she exercises our spiritual muscles and trains us in this boot camp of life which will prepare us for eternity.  We cannot settle for mediocrity.  We are called to be holy  - even as God is holy. 

Mirjana’s August 2, 2009 was magnificent.  Her apparition experience can be found on UTube.  As she was conversing with Our Lady, suddenly the crowd gathered around her erupted with emotion and began to clap.  The sun began to spin and emit lovely hues of color.  Many reported varied phenomenon that could be seen coming from the sun – crosses, hearts.  The miracle of the sun that day takes us back to the miracle that occurred at Fatima on October 13, 1917!

Our Lady said,

“I am coming, with my Motherly love, to point out the way by which you are to set out, in order that you may be all the more like my Son; and by that, closer to and more pleasing to God.  Do not refuse my love.  Do not renounce salvation and eternal life for the sake of transience and frivolity of this life.  I am coming to lead you and, as a mother, to caution you.  Come with me.”

Ivan’s Assumption message on August 14th was filled with the grandeur of the occasion.  I can vividly remember being on that same mountain in 1988 for the Feast of the Assumption apparition.  As this year, over 40,000 people gathered on Mount Krizavac to await Our Lady’s visit.  Our Lady came – that year and this – filled with joy because of the huge assembly gathered, blessed them and the sacred objects they held.  She was accompanied by three angels and was dressed in gold.  In 1988, she gave us a special blessing that we were to also pass on to others for the purpose of conversion.

Our Lady said,

Dear children, also today in my great joy, I desire to call you (through this time).  Open yourselves to the Holy Spirit.  Open yourselves, this is a time of grace.  Dear children, may a river of love flow in your hearts.  Pray, pray dear children, together with the Mother.  Thank you, dear children, for also today having responded to my call.”

Message of September 25, 2009

“Dear children, with joy, persistently work on your conversion.  Offer all your joys and sorrows to my Immaculate Heart that I may lead you all to my most beloved Son, so that you may find joy in His Heart.  I am with you to lead you towards eternity.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady invites us to reflect more deeply about what on-going conversion means in our lives.  It may seem like an oxymoron to use the word ‘joy’ with ‘persistent work’.  The word ‘persistently’ may be intimidating to some of us.  When we dedicate ourselves to persistent work, we are single-heartedly devoted to the task.  We run the risk of growing weary before we complete the task or reach our goal.

First of all, joy is not always a warm and fuzzy feeling.  Rather, joy is inner peace “peace that passes all understanding.”  (Phil.4:7)  So, Our Lady is offering us this ‘heavenly peace’ as we persistently work on conversion.  It is not contradictory, then, to work the fields of our heart and be joyful about it; whether joy is experienced as peace or sweet consolation.  We can possess both when we turn our whole heart and soul to God.

Easy for me to say!  I write this reflection while on a silent eight day retreat.  All week long, my attention has been focused on ‘persistent work’ in the area of my conversion.  Taking myself out of the routine of schedules, phone calls, people and detailed tasks, I have been able to be single-hearted and totally focused on my relationship with God.

Another truth that Our Lady wants us to pick up in this message is that working on our on-going conversion can seem both difficult and easy – another oxymoron.  It is both.  Our lives can seem like a constant struggle when we try to live Gospel values.  Daily, we struggle to die to our passions.  We attempt to discipline ourselves and live temperately.  We try as we might to ward off negativity and judgment.  We try, we fall, and we pick ourselves up again.  Hard work!

Conversion becomes easy when we ‘let go and let God’.  This week at Eastern Point, life in Christ has been easy and sweet consolation.  I relaxed my effort and fell into the waiting arms of Jesus and Mary.  I have felt like a sailboat allowing the wind of the spirit to move me moment by moment – rather than a rowboat where I seem to paddle away with my own strength and make very little progress.  Persistent work on our conversion is easy (and joyful) when we let Jesus steer our ship.

Our Lady continually invites us to prayer of the heart as a means to join all of our joys and sorrows to Her Immaculate Heart.  She desires that we be as closely united to her in our common mission as possible.  She offers Her Immaculate Heart as our refuge.  When we are that closely united to her, only then are we able to sense her constant guidance.  She reminds us again and again that it is she who has been given by God the distinct privilege of leading us toward eternity.  It is only for us to take her extended hand and allow her to lead us into the ‘Paradise of the Heart’ where Her Son, Jesus, is always waiting for us.

Message of October 25, 2009

“Dear Children!  Also today I bring you my blessing, I bless you all and I call you to grow on this way, which God has begun through me for your salvation.  Pray, fast and joyfully witness your faith, little children, and may your heart always be filled with prayer.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Our Lady’s message this month is joyful.  She reminds us that she always brings us “blessings”.  Therefore, we can be filled with joy and hope…because she ‘blesses’ us.  We know that Our Lady ‘does whatever Her Son tells her’.  She acts for God.  What she brings us each month comes directly from God because She overflows with grace.  She is filled with God!

Have we ever stopped to wonder what it means to be blessed?   Does it mean financial prosperity, emotional stability, and physical well-being?  Well, those may be external manifestations of God’s blessing, but we all know people who are financially prosperous, emotionally stable, and seem to be in good physical health who do not have a relationship with God.  So, there is a deeper meaning to “being blessed”.

The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she had found favor with God. “Hail, favored (full of grace…blessed) one!  The Lord is with you.” God had blessed her…and now, she blesses us with all that she has and all that she is!  Mary’s very being proclaims the greatness of God.  She passes all that she has on to us, her children.  In the Old Testament, the idea of blessing was also closely related to the question of inheritance, passing blessing from father to son.  Jacob blessed Joseph in Gen. 48:15 and Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Blessed also means ‘happy’.  Our Lady wants everything for us.  She wants us to be happy.  Blessed is a relational word.  The focus is on a relationship with the almighty living God rather than the physical manifestations of being blessed.  Being blessed involves blessings, but the true blessing is the “life-giving” relationship with Jesus.  It is not so much God’s gifts; but His love for us that Our Lady comes to offer us.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins with blessings.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.”  Ephesians l:3   Paul’s letter is not only addressed to the Church of Ephesus, but the worldwide church, the head of which is Christ.  The purpose of which is to be the instrument for making God’s plan of salvation known throughout the universe.

Our Lady comes each month as the herald of the same blessings St. Paul conferred upon the church of Ephesus.  Our Lady desires our growth on the path of salvation, just as St. Paul desired it for the Ephesians.    God has chosen Mary to set us on this path and guide us to eternal life.  She holds up once again the ‘neon’ signposts of prayer and fasting as the means to that end.  When our hearts are filled with prayer, our faith will spill over into the world.  Truly, we will be joyful witnesses of the great gift of our faith.

Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness,

 who stand beside virtue,

 who sit in the seat of truth;

 For their delight is in the Spirit  of Love,

 and in Love’s heart they dwell day and night.   ( Psalm l)

This is what it means to be blessed by Our Mother: blessed are we who walk hand in hand with goodness, who stand beside virtue……Mary, Our Mother!

Message of November 25, 2009

“Dear Children! In this time of grace I call you all to renew prayer in your families.  Prepare yourselves with joy for the coming of Jesus.  Little children, may your hearts be pure and pleasing, so that love and warmth may flow through you into every heart that is far from His love.  Little children, be my extended hands, hands of love for all those who have become lost, who have no more faith and hope. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Reflection:

There can be no greater manner of preparation for the coming of Jesus than to consider the importance of family prayer.  Following are two excerpts that affirm the centrality of the family in society: one from Mother Teresa and the other from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Let us respond to the first part of Our Lady’s November message by welcoming Jesus into the heart of our family by praying these prayers often: parents for their children, spouses for one another and children for their parents.  I am convinced that if we develop the habit of praying within the family – our ‘domestic church’ , the fruits of such prayer will flow out into every heart that is far from His love.  It is prayer that breeds pure and blessing hearts.  It is prayer that breeds hearts filled with love and warmth.  It is prayer that animates our hands, voices and feet to draw close to those who are lost – who have no more faith and hope.  Let us commit to praying the following prayers so that we may begin to be filled with love and thus say ‘ yes’ to Our Lady’s request to “be my extended hands..”

  The Importance of Family Prayer

Be sure to teach the families to pray all together - father, mother and children. For the family that prays together stays together, and if they stay together they will love one another as Jesus loves each one of them...I will be praying that the Lord will bring peace into the world through the love of fathers for their families..

 Mother Teresa

 The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the "domestic church" where God's children learn to pray "as the Church" and to persevere in prayer. For young children in particular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church's living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 2685

God, our Father, I thank you for the gift of
my children and for the privilege and responsibility
of being a parent, for this is my way of holiness.

May I regard each of my children as a sacred pledge
of Your love and a beautiful sign of Your confidence in me.
Help me to pass on to my children our greatest treasures -
faith in Your truths, hope in Your goodness,
love in Your name for all.

I entrust my children to Your loving care.

Banish from our home any bitterness or lack of forgiveness.
Let us have time, deep concern, and a sense of
sacrifice for one another. Teach us never to be ashamed
that we are , in name and in fact, a Catholic family
striving to live in the way of Jesus,
Who is head of our home.

Give us Your Holy Spirit to unite us throughout
this life and let the circle of our family be
unbroken in the Kingdom of Your Son Jesus Christ,
our Lord. Amen.

May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.

Prayer of the children for their parents

O Almighty God, you gave us the commandment to honor our father and mother. In your loving kindness hear my prayer for my parents. Give them long lives and keep them well in body and spirit. Bless their labors; keep them always in your care. Bless them generously for their loving care for me. Grant that, through your grace, I may always be their support and comfort, and that, after our life together on earth, we may experience the joy together praising you forever. Amen.

Message of December 25, 2009

"Dear children! On this joyful day, I bring all of you before my Son, the King of Peace, that He may give you His peace and blessing. Little children, in love share that peace and blessing with others. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

As I drove through our village of Waterloo on Christmas Day, I was struck by the stillness!  Very few cars were on the road.  No one could be seen walking along the sidewalks. Not a restaurant or store that I passed on my way to the Nursing Home was opened for business on Christmas Day!  Christmas Day – a day set apart – a day of joy – a day of stillness…..and, yes….peace!  The frantic shoppers of yesterday, the weary salespeople and waitresses could breathe a sigh of relief and get off their feet.  The magic if Christmas had descended; and for one day, the universal motto of a large percentage of the earth’s population becomes “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men”.

Unfortunately, the cessation of frenzied activity is suspended, not stopped.  On December 26th, the world will get back to its usual not-so-peaceful routine.  Peace is an elusive thing.  Everyone wants peace, yet few seem to actually possess it in any substantive form.  For many, the attraction of the Christmas Season is the momentary fulfillment of that dream, the wonderful moment of “Peace on Earth”.  For one day, it seems possible.

This morning, I received a call from someone who wanted to make an appointment to come and talk to me.  She was tormented in body, mind and spirit because she had so many things on her mind.  She was running in a million directions for many people.  She couldn’t sleep.  She couldn’t focus her mind.  She had lost a sense of perspective and balance!  I didn’t tell the caller this; but I feel that way myself  some days - to a lesser degree! 

After that call, I sat at my desk and pondered: Jesus came into the world, and with Him came the capacity for true, lasting peace.  If that’s true, why does that “peace on earth” that settles on us sometime on Christmas Eve dissipate so quickly?  If Jesus is truly the “Prince of Peace”, then His “Peace” ought to last longer than it usually does for most of us.

What went wrong?  Have we really followed the “Star” to the manger with the wise men?  Have we truly found the Messiah: Jesus Christ who brings us truth and grace.  Many things still preoccupy us, still frightened us and make us unhappy.  It would seem that we have not successfully shifted our attention from ourselves to God.

Most of the world doesn’t experience the “Prince of Peace”.  Instead, many experience an emotional state of rest.  Like most emotions, it’s temporary.  When the tree comes down, the “peace” has gone as well; and the disillusioned world returns to its’ normal peacelessness.

True peace in life will never be found apart from an intimate, ongoing relationship with the “Prince of Peace”, Jesus Christ.  When the Prince of Peace is allowed to control our lives, we can and will experience true peace.  It’s the kind of peace that lasts forever, that carries us through the ups and downs of life, that sustains us through the hardest times, not from the outside in, but from the inside out.

“A light will shine on us this day.  The Lord is borne for us: He shall be called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace, Father of the world to come; and His Kingship will never end”.  (Isaiah 9:2,6, Luke 1:33)

Our Lady is our ‘star’.  She leads us to her Son so that He may give us His peace and blessing; so that, in love, we may be bearers of His peace in our world. 

Hail Holy Mother!  The child to whom you gave birth is the King of Heaven and Earth forever! 

2010

Message of January 25, 2010

“Dear children! May this time be a time of personal prayer for you, so that the seed of faith may grow in your hearts; and may it grow into a joyful witness to others. I am with you and I desire to inspire you all: grow and rejoice in the Lord Who has created you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

It is difficult for me to be ‘inspired’ during the cold, dreary winter months.  I long to feel the sunshine on my face….or even to see the sun more often.  Nature is sleeping in a kind of ‘death’.  Even the wildlife has found a space in which to wait out the winter cold.

Our Lady calls us to make good use of this ‘incubation’ season of winter with “personal prayer”.  Personal prayer nurtures the seed of faith.  Even though we cannot see this seed growing or feel its’ presence within the ground of our hearts, it is there.  This hidden seed is taking root and growing.  As in the winter, all seems dead.  We cannot see life in nature yet.  But the wonder of what is happening beneath the frozen earth would astonish us!

The seed of faith is also growing within us.  We must commit to prayer.  We must persevere, even when it is not palatable.  Just as new life will burst forth from the earth in the Spring; so will our faith burst forth into a “joyful witness” in due season.

A new ‘springtime for the Church’ depends significantly on Our Lady’s prayer warriors.  Prayer is so important that Our Lady once said that even wars can be averted through prayer; especially the Rosary.

Our Lady “desires to inspire” us all!  She used the word “inspire” rather than motivate.  I liked that!  To motivate means to move to action – to accomplish a task.  But to inspire means to move our hearts.  To be inspired means that something within us changes – forever.  An impression is made within us that shapes our thoughts and our desires.  Our Mother wants to do that for each of us!  When we are inspired, we discover a deep joy within.  Let us open to Mary through prayer so that she can impress upon our hearts the beauty of Truth, the beauty of Her precious Son….and how very much He loves each of us.  Only then will we truly become all that we can be and rejoice in the Lord always.

February 25, 2010

"Dear children, In this time of grace, when nature also prepares to give the most beautiful colors of the year, I call you, little children, to open your hearts to God the Creator for Him to transform and mould you in His image, so that all the good which has fallen asleep in your hearts may awaken to a new life and a longing towards eternity. Thank you for having responded to my call. "

Commentary:

There is no greater analogy for the ‘dying and rising’ of our journey through the spiritual life than the movement of nature.  As we continue our journey through the desert of Lent, Our Lady holds before us the beautiful, colorful image of spring.

It never ceases to amaze me to see so many people come to the Churches for ashes on Ash Wednesday.  It isn’t even a holy day of obligation.  Yet, multitudes of Catholics come forth to receive the sign of the cross with ashes.  Could it be that we all have an innate need to acknowledge our mortality and our sinfulness – even if only for one day out of the year?

During Lent, we who are dust entrust ourselves to the healing care of the Lord who promises forgiveness and life to the ‘dust’ he has made and loves.  We begin each Lent begging for “the blessing of forgiveness”.  God longs for us to return to him with our whole heart.  Without such repentance we remain tormented by the question, “Where is our God?”  God has not cast us out of his presence; rather, he desires us to “become the righteousness of God.”  The Father “who is hidden” waits for us to pray, “A clean heart create for me, O God.”  Every Ash Wednesday, this is how the Church, in Her wisdom, sets us on the path that leads us to “The joy of our salvation” so that in every circumstance of our lives, God’s saving Presence will be revealed.

During Lent, we meditate on the law of love by which Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again from the dead.  The Gospel offers a paradox: we must choose to die to self in order to live for God in Christ. Only then will we grow and bear much fruit for the well-being of the world.  “Jesus declares, “whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”  This is sacrifice: handing our imperfect self over to the One who responds by handing us back our true self through his gift of self on the Cross.  The Lord sets before us life and death, and asks us to “choose life” by obediently taking up Christ’s cross of death.  “Without a ‘dying’, without the demise of what is simply our own, there is no communion with God and no redemption”  (Pope Benedict XVI)

As Our Lady speaks the words of this February message to us, let us renew our Lenten disciplines.  That is, dying to our selfishness.  First of all, let us re-commit to prayer so that our hearts will “open to God the Creator”.  If we think we can effect a change by our own efforts, we have fallen prey to the ancient whisper in the Garden: “You shall be like gods.”  It is the Holy Spirit who will transform and mould us into God’s image.  Let us re-commit to fasting.  Fasting deepens our appreciation of and longing for the food we really need.  We fast in order to seek him day after day and to desire more to know his ways.  We fast so that this Lent Christ will become our ALL.  Let us re-commit to almsgiving – not only by giving of our ‘treasure’; but also giving of our talents.  Christ’s disciples see Him in the sick, the lonely, the hungry, the abandoned.  Let us respond in love.

For the remainder of Lent, let us live interiorly more spiritually, exteriorly more gently and lovingly so as to make God better loved, who is the beginning and end of our spiritual lives.  Our Lady is inviting us to respond to this Season of Grace so that “all the good which has fallen asleep in our hearts may awaken to a new live and a longing towards eternity”. 

I end this reflection with gratitude to Mary who gave us Jesus as the most beautiful blossom in God’s garden.  Her ‘yes’ gave us Jesus, the first-fruit of the most brilliant of God’s colorful garden.  We thank Mary for making of her own heart, the cross upon which her Son was crucified.  We turn to Mary, who knows perfectly what it means to die to self, and ask her to show us the way to the new life which beckons us onward.

 

Message, March 25, 2010

“Dear children!  Also today I desire to call you all to be strong in prayer and in the moments when trials attack you.  Live your Christian vocation in joy and humility and witness to everyone.  I am with you and I carry you all before my son, Jesus, and He will be your strength and support.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

As Our Blessed Mother speaks these words to us, the Catholic world  celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation.  We remember Her courage and humility despite her confusion and fear upon hearing the words of the Angel.  We remember her encounter with the Angel Gabriel as though we were present in the very room that they met that blessed day so long ago.
“Hail, favored one!...the Lord is with you.”  (Lk 1:28)
Mary was young when the angel appeared to Her.  She was engaged to Joseph.  She lived in ‘troubled’ times.  She lived in times of expectation.  The chosen people were awaiting the Messiah - the promised One of God who would deliver them from their trials.  Never could she have dreamed that the fulfillment of God’s Plan would depend on your ‘fiat’!

We can learn something very important from the event of the Annunciation. We receive Mary as a perfect model of faith.  “You have found favor with God”, said the Angel.  This proclamation from the Angel tells us a great deal about Mary’s holiness. She must have been a young woman of unwavering faith.  Prayer must have been the high point and priority in her everyday activities.  She must have been obedient and humble.  Charity must have been the hallmark of her existence.
In fear and shock, Mary filtered the words of the angel Gabriel through being.  “How can this be…”, she asks.  Yet, she trusted that the child to be born would be the Son of God.  She trusted that the ‘impossible’ would be made possible by God, who transgresses the boundaries of human limitations.

If Mary were not strong in prayer, how could she have possibly dealt with the trials that would follow in her life after the announcement by Gabriel?  So, today, she calls us to “be strong in prayer and in moments when trials attack…”.  She knows, through experience, that if prayer is not our strength and our shield in these days of unprecedented trials, we cannot endure!

She refers to our life in Christ as a “vocation”.  A vocation implies more than activity and duty.  Our identity comes from our vocation in life.  Through Baptism, we are children of God.  This is our truest identity as we journey through this life.  We are children of the King – heirs to Heaven.  All that God possesses is offered to us!  Imagine!  How can we, like Mary, not bow down in humility and exclaim, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  For he has looked upon his haidmaid’s lowliness.” (Luke 1:46-48)  Like Mary, it is onlythrough prayer,  that we can  take this into our being.  Only through prayer will we come to realize our worth in God’s sight…..and how much God needs us to be his servants to the world.  Like Mary,  our hearts will overflow with love and joy as we begin to realize God’s immense love for us.  The ‘overflow’ will spill out into the world as a witness of faith and our destiny.

Just as Mary carried Jesus for nine months and bore Him to the world; so She carries us to Him.  She assures us that He will be our strength and support as He was for Her.  Our Holy Mother offers each of us all that She has……Her Son, Jesus…..Her love…..Her life of Grace…..forever.

Message, April 25, 2010

“Dear children! At this time, when in a special way you are praying and seeking my intercession, I call you, little children, to pray so that through your prayers I can help you to have all the more hearts be opened to my messages. Pray for my intentions. I am with you and I intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Reflection:

Mary, Mother of the Church and our mother, is walking with us. Her voice echoes through almost 30 years of messages to her children of the world.  She has called us and is awakening us to every aspect of the mission….and a huge mission it is!  She has invited us many times over the years to prayfor her intentions. The Mother knows better than us, because she has already made the way, which we must still cross. She has lived on this earth and she entered into the glory of heaven, which is our goal, the goal that she also desires for us. We will not make a mistake if we put our prayers, our desires and our intentions into her heart and into her hands, because she knows better than us what we need, what is necessary for our families and for the world in which we live. Our Lady is with us so long to help us accept  responsibility for our lives and the lives of others. God desires that we be co-creators of a new and a better world. This is why Mary calls us to pray and to feel the responsibility for all those who did not yet know the love of God, and who do not seek God, the Savior.

Our Lord, God, has made good on an incredible covenant that He made with his chosen people – a promise that has been renewed down through the ages:  “I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts….”   Exekiel 36:25,26   And so it is!  We have become a new creation, through Baptism and share in the mission and inheritance of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Benefactor.

Our part of the covenant is to pledge our WHOLE heart to love of God alone.  Often, we are not faithful to our promise of total fidelity.  We are easily distracted and lured away from our ‘first love’ by Satan who desires to trip us up as we work to live the Gospel message and align ourselves with Mary as her chosen prayer warriors. If the human heart is not filled with the desire and the love of God, it will seek elsewhere, and it will fill its vacuum by other things, by idols. “Be careful lest your heart be so lured away that you serveother gods and worship them”.  Deut. 11:16.

 Through Mary, God is bending towards us, eager to attract us to himself, not by force but by love. Love is the power which attracted Mary to us, her children. Love is giving her strength during all these years. Love is the source through which she is drawing strength, and obtaining the victory in so many hearts.  Love is Her source whereby she is able to help us open our hearts even more like the buds of the beautiful flowers that open with the help of the sun.  Mary is acting as our sun!  She will help us open our hearts completely to God.  The task before each of us is huge.  It requires our whole heart – not half.  Our Mother is with us and deserves our full attention and allegiance. We can help her as She is helping us, with our prayers.  This is what Mary desires.  It is only with hearts wide open can we have any effect on the world.  Transformation and conversion will only come about through love…which has already been poured out into the world through the blood of Jesus.

Love tends towards resemblance. Day after day, we will become what is in front of us, what we have taken as the ideal of our life. In this way, our thoughts, our feelings, our words and our hearts will become similar to the thoughts, the feelings, the words and the heart of Mary and of Jesus. Then only will we be able to bring the others closer to the heart of Mary and of Jesus, or rather, through us, they will be able to attract them to their hearts.

In this season of Easter, we are called to witness to  Love and respond to it – wholeheartedly! “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous deeds….” Psalm 9:2

“….Do you want my heart, my God, from dawn to the evening, to love without exception? My God, I give you my heart today."  Mother Theresa

May 25 2010 Message

"Dear children! God gave you the grace to live and to defend all the good that is in you and around you, and to inspire others to be better and holier; but Satan, too, does not sleep and through modernism diverts you and leads you to his way. Therefore, little children, in the love for my Immaculate Heart, love God above everything and live His commandments. In this way, your life will have meaning and peace will rule on earth. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

In this age of modern technology, computer viruses can be considered analogous to the seductive way that Satan works!  I was an easy target this past week.  My computer defenses were down.  I was not vigilant.  I was tired and weak and wanted a diversion from the normal boring work I was doing.  The stage was set up for a major judgment error.  I fell into the trap the computer demon set up for me.  I clicked on something that appeared to come from my brother.  Bad choice….and thus began a meticulous clean-up that could have ended in the ruin of my computer and my nerves! 

I realized after reading Our Lady’s May message that this situation could stand as an example of all the ways we fall into Satan’s traps to divert us.  We often let our guard down.  We are not always vigilant.  In life, we ‘click’ on the wrong choice.

“Satan…does not sleep…and leads you to his way….”!

From time to time Our Lady reminds us that Satan is alive and well and ‘prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls’.  She reminds us how important it is to stay awake and remain vigilant.

Whenever circumstances in the world and in my life seem to be heading down the wrong path, I turn my heart and my mind to the prayer that Jesus prayed for all believers just before His passion and the time He prayed that Satan would not sift Peter like wheat.

“Holy Father, keep them in your name …, so that they may be one just as we are.  When I was with them, I protected them…and I guarded them and none of them was lost….I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.  Consecrate them in the truth……Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.  I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them andI in them.” John 17

God gave us grace to persevere through the Sacraments. We were infused with the gifts of the Holy Spirit when we were confirmed “to live and to defend all the good that is in you and around you”.  God has given us every good gift to sustain the God-life within us.  Not for our own sakes alone does God endow us with such benefits from on high.  We are commissioned through our Baptism to ‘go out and make disciples of all the nations even to the ends of the earth’.  Our God given gifts are meant to “inspire others to be better and holier”.

The saints are our models of holiness.  We are inspired to continue to fight the good fight through stories of their virtue in the midst of suffering and temptation.  Their faithfulness motivates us to desire goodness and holiness and to continue down the narrow path.  They fought the same spiritual warfare that we are fighting today.

Our Lady’s message this month warns us of the present day spiritual warfare.  She named it “modernism”.  She said modernism will divert us from the way of holiness and lead us on the evil path which is wide and well traveled.  The evil one knows our weaknesses and when we are the most vulnerable to his attacks.  We are called to stay alert.  We are called to stay armed – with prayer, especially the Rosary.  We are called to stay close to Mary who is our constant companion on this treacherous journey.

 Finally, Our Lady calls us to love – love God above all things and live the commandments.  Love is a choice, not a feeling.  We must choose God above all material things, above status and worldly accolades. The ten commandments must be our guide for living. The commandments of love of God and neighbor must be the banner over all that we do.

Our Lady has come to give us a prescription for meaning in our lives and peace in the world.  We may rest assured that under the protection of Our Lady’s mantle of love and the prayer that Jesus said for us right before he died, we have all that we need to be victorious in this warfare.  We are not alone in this battle. But we must remain prayerful and alert against the insidious seduction of the enemy who never sleeps.  The virus of modernism can worm itself into the fabric of our lives in ways that will be difficult to eradicate.  We must not let it gain access to our ‘program’.

Heavenly Mother, protect us under your mantle and lead us to your Son.


June 25 2010 Message to Marija

"Dear children! With joy, I call you all to live my messages with joy; only in this way, little children, will you be able to be closer to my Son. I desire to lead you all only to Him, and in Him you will find true peace and the joy of your heart. I bless you all and love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

Our Lady’s anniversary message this month  invites us to ‘joy’!  She uses the word three times in her message.  She makes the connection between living her messages “ with joy” and being able to be closer to her Son.  When I first heard this message, I wondered why Our Lady added “with joy” when she again invoked us to live out her messages.  It made me think about HOW we are living her messages in our daily lives.  Are we responding to Our Lady’s presence with us for 29 extraordinary years as ‘dutiful children’ by just going through the motions in a rote manner?  Are we practicing our faith on a superficial plane?  Has our response to Mary’s monthly messages become lethargic…..robotic?  Maybe we have become complacent!  Perhaps that is why she added the words “with joy” when calling us to live heaven’s messages.  I asked her, in prayer, how we can live her messages with joy.  She said, “Respond to my call WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART.  Allow your hearts to be expanded by love for Jesus.  Give to Him not the crumbs of your surplus; but the meat of your sustenance.  All that you are is gift from God.  Return it to God as gift.”

We refer to Mary as “the cause of our joy” and she invites us to become the cause of her joy.  Her only desire is that we find true peace and the joy of our hearts in her Merciful Son.  The goal of Our Lady’s messages and apparitions is that all may know, truly know – encounter – Christ!  The words of the message of Our Lady are so simple.  Seen from the surface, they are ordinary, human words; just as Jesus, our God was wrapped in simplicity, smallness and fragile humanity.

We see Jesus each day on our altars, wrapped in ordinary simplicity of the bread.  And it can be true that we do not recognize him.  We can receive Holy Communion without ever encountering the living, risen Christ, who – in the simplicity of the bread – brings us to the power of his resurrection and his love.  All that we need: love, peace, meaning of life, joy – Jesus offers us at Mass.  He continually calls us into union with Himself through the presence of Mary, our Mother, hidden in simple, ordinary, human words. Mary speaks to us in a comprehensible and simple manner.

  When God blesses us with the gift of children, we parents, are committed to lead them on a path that will bring our children to wholeness of life.  We will do everything that is necessary to keep them on the path of life.  When they stray, we are there as sign posts along the way.  We even use words when necessary. 

We are children of Mary, and each child needs a Mother. Her only desire is to bring us closer to God – to wholeness of life – to joy!  She wishes that we will desire above everything that the world tantalizes us with, closeness with Her Son – the One for whom our hearts are longing.  Without this desire, she cannot help us.  That is why this month she invites us to live her messages with our whole heart.

Finally, She blesses us and assures us of her “immeasurable love”.   We are not alone.  Mary is with us, and with the power of her maternal love; calls us to partake of the joy within her own heart.  Let us rejoice in the knowledge of this unfathomable reality!

July 25 2010 Message to Marija

"Dear children! Anew I call you to follow me with joy. I desire to lead all of you to my Son, your Savior. You are not aware that without Him you do not have joy and peace, nor a future or eternal life. Therefore, little children, make good use of this time of joyful prayer and surrender. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

“..You are not aware that without Him you do not have joy…peace…a future…eternal life….”

Almost 30 years of apparitions from our Mother is a great work of God’s love for his children.  By means of this great manifestation of God’s love pouring forth upon the earth through Mary, we are offered all the help we need to surmount the unspeakable sufferings of these last times.  This time of grace occurs at a time in human history when unprecedented evil has been unleashed.  Our society has become blinded by materialism and all the other ‘isms’ that compete with the one true God.  The bold face of evil has been represented in the most heinous act of terrorism in American history – 9/11.  Terrorism, hatred and war lurk around every corner of the globe.  Natural disasters have stripped many from their earthly securities.

The Apparitions of Our Lady are occurring at a time when we should be acutely aware of what life can be without Mary’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without Jesus in our lives, we would have no hope.  We would despair in the midst of acute trials and sufferings.  Without Jesus, there would be no joy, no peace, no future, no eternal life. 

Our Lady is here with us as our beacon.  She is our ‘light house’ in the midst of the storms of life.  The help that she offers us is her Immaculate Heart.  It is like an enclosed garden prepared especially for those of her children who hear her invitations in this time of grace.  She gathers us within the refuge of her Immaculate Heart and showers us with the force and tenderness of her maternal love.

We, her consecrated children, have felt the force and tenderness of Her love.  We have heard her many invitations to follow her.  We know that she desires to lead us all to Her Son, our only hope –Jesus, our Way, our Truth and our Life.

When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, both she and her unborn son, John the Baptist, were filled with joy.  Elizabeth said, ‘who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me’!  Are we not filled with that same joy as Elizabeth?  Who are we that the Mother of our Lord should visit us for the past 30 years?  How should we respond to such a visitation?  Our response should be one of profound humility and with deep commitment to “make good use of this time of joyful prayer and surrender”.

Yesterday, I attended the funeral Mass of a dear friend.  Kathy was also a friend of Our Lady and her messages.  For all the years that I have known her, Kathy lived the messages through a life of gratitude, resignation and service.  During the last week of life she was highly medicated to alleviate the horrific pain of terminal cancer.  She did not communicate during those last few hours.  Much to the amazement of her mother, she opened her eyes and said, “Beautiful.....Beautiful….Beautiful”.  When Kathy’s mother asked her who was beautiful…her last words spoken on this earth were “She is so beautiful”!

Dear Mother, you are Kathy’s “beautiful” one!  Thank you for calling us to know your Son as you know Him.  It is with great joy that we respond to your call.  amen

August 25, 2010 Monthly Message:


“Dear children! With great joy, also today, I desire to call you anew: pray, pray, pray. May this time be a time of personal prayer for you. During the day, find a place where you will pray joyfully in a recollected way. I love you and bless you all. Thank you for having responded to my call.”


COMMENTARY:
“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I shall say it again: rejoice!”  Phil.4:4

Just as St. Paul called the first Christian community in Europe (Philippi) to rejoice in the nearness of the Lord, so does Our Lady call us (her chosen remnant) to rejoice with her as we draw nearer to Her Son, our salvation!

St. Paul tells the Philippians not to have any anxiety at all.  Rather, “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil.4:6,7

Our Lady wants the same for us that St. Paul wanted for that Christian community of Philippi.  Our Lady is already filled with the “great joy” of knowing God intimately.  She desires that we possess that same intimacy with God.

She leads us along this path to intimacy through the way of prayer.  She continually asks us to pray until prayer becomes a joy.  Only through prayer will we experience peace in our hearts and contentment for our souls.  Through prayer we will eventually experience the victory and the joy  of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  In prayer, we have the opportunity to throw all darkness out of our hearts and allow God’s light and God’s love to enter into our hearts and to dwell there forever.

Our Lady is calling us again this month to renew our hearts.  She asks us to open to God and surrender to Him all our difficulties and crosses so God may turn everything into joy.  Mary wishes that our hearts be similar to her heart.  Mary already possesses joy.  She wants it to be born in our hearts too; so that we can carry it out and be witnesses in a joyless world.

We cannot see God as does Mary; but if we pray we will feel His nearness.  We are counted on to be carriers of God’s light and love to all humankind; so that all God’s children may feel and experience true light and love which only comes from God.  We cannot possibly open ourselves to God and to true joy if we are not praying.  In this message, Our Lady calls us to decide from today to consecrate a specific time and place for an encounter with God in silence.

Prayer is joy.  Prayer is what the human heart desires.  Therefore, we must follow Our Lady’s directions so that we will, too, will discover God and His immeasurable power and love within us.

What is joy, but a confident, unwavering trust in the One who holds us in the palm of His hand.  The more grounded we become in trust, the stronger our faith.  We will be unshakeable through the tempests of live and the fruits of this deep peace will be seen on our faces.

Mary has spoken of this immense fruit of prayer many times in the past.  She desires to lead us into the joy of life and to discover the love which only God can give.  God wants nothing else from us but our surrender to His plan.  We are invited yet again to decide seriously for God because everything passes away.  God along does not pass away. 

Let us “pray, pray, pray” that we may discover the greatness and the joy of life which God is giving us through Mary, our ever-faithful Mother.

September 25, 2010 Monthly Message:

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.”

COMMENTARY:

I am reminded of an athlete training for a marathon or the olympics.  Athletes must resolve from the onset to set their sights toward the goal and prepare to stretch themselves - even beyond their expectations in body, mind and spirit.  They must be prepared for the long haul no matter the pain.

Our Lady is preparing us for her marathon; that is, the conversion of souls to Her Son, Jesus, beginning with our own.  She is not about to allow us to slacken in our resolve.  Like a good trainer, she coaches us, cheers us on, applies the pressure of preparation and holds ever before us the goal of salvation and peace.  “I urge you to live your life of faith EVEN MORE!  In that statement, there is a warning regarding complacency.  Complacency will not get us to the goal and certainly not be a good example for those whom we are called to serve.

Our Lady says we are still weak!  If we are not made strong through the diligent practice of our faith; we will never be effective ambassadors of the messages of Our Lady.  Our Lady’s warning in this month’s message reminded me of the Parable of the Sower of the seed in Mark’s Gospel.

Our Lady has come into our world as the ‘Sower’ of the messages.  She warns that if we still are weak of faith  or weak in our resolve to stay the course, we are like the seed that fell on rocky ground.  When we first heard her words, we immediately received it with joy.  But if we are not rooted in the mission, we will endure only for a while.  Like the athlete, we must persevere and practice, practice, practice…..or, in our case, pray, pray, pray.

Our Lady also highlights the importance of humility.  Interior humility is a recognition of the great gifts God has given us and of our utter dependence on him.  Everything we have is gift; most especially Mary’s presence in our world.  When we begin to take our eye off the ‘Trainer’ and rely on our own resources, lofty words or plans…..we are treading on dangerous ground and doomed to fail.

“I urge you to speak less and work more on your personal conversion”.  I write this reflection while on a silent, directed retreat.  For eight wonderful days, I am ‘speaking less’ or not at all so that I can slow down and allow my soul to catch up with my body.  I am convinced that the noise and distractions that make up our days are the culprits to peace.  I realize we all don’t have the luxury of going off for an extended time to be alone with God.  However, we all can make a choice to go off somewhere quiet each day and touch base with God in prayer.  This is not an option for those of us who have been called and formed  to witness and bear much fruit.

As I enjoy the presence of the Lord here at Eastern Point on the shores of the Atlantic where every act, the beauty of nature, the incredible Liturgies, the waves breaking on the rocks is conducive to unceasing prayer; my prayer is that we all stay the course and win the race with Our Lady - our Mother, our truest friend and our unrelenting Coach.

October 25, 2010 Monthly Message

"Dear children! May this time be a time of prayer for you. My call, little children, desires to be for you a call to decide to follow the way of conversion; therefore, pray and seek the intercession of all the saints. May they be for you an example, an incentive and a joy towards eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Commentary:
Prayer opens our hearts to the realm of Eternity where God, the angels and the saints dwell in endless glory.  Our Lady has been inviting us to begin to live in the realm of the Kingdom of God for almost 30 years.  Like any invitation, Our Lady’s requires an R.S.V.P. – a decision to accept her invitation. She says in her October message, “decide to follow the way of conversion.  Conversion means that we decide to ‘turn away from everything in our lives that will bring us to eventual spiritual death.  Conversion means to make a conscious choice to turn toward all that would bring life to our spirit.  We are designed to be in this world – thereby working out our salvation through our human circumstance; but not be of this world – holding all things loosely in our hands (as sand running through an hour glass.

Following the way of conversion is not easy.  The path is narrow and uncluttered.  The road is rugged – much like the climb up Mount Krizevac.  In the early days of the apparitions, before the climb up the mountain was well worn; pilgrims were careful before taking each step. They needed to remain alert and focused before placing their feet upon each rock lest they lose their balance and fall.  Conversion calls for the same focus and awareness before we make choices that will harm us.  Renouncing all the lures of this world which promise comfort and contentment would be impossible unless we set our sights on far greater promises –peace beyond human understanding, deep joy and the ultimate victory that Our Lady’s messages offer us.  We cannot lose sight of our goal!  We must keep the vision of a new springtime for the Church in our hearts.

Mary’s October message reminds us that we have more help than we can possibly imagine as we progress along the path of conversion. She asks us to “seek the intercession of all the saints”.  I am reminded of an experience that I had on a recent retreat. I was reading from ‘Saint Therese of Lisieux: Her Last Conversations’ as I was preparing to attend Mass on her feast day.  In conversation with her beloved sisters, she said, “Oh!  When I am in heaven, I will do very many things, great things….and also, when I am up there, I will follow you very closely!”  As I continued my meditative prayer, I knew in my heart that her sweet promise was meant for all of us – not just the sisters that she was leaving.  So…I invited her to come with me to Mass….and she did!  Her mystical presence with me for the next hour was real.  That experience will stay with me forever!  It also gave me deeper insight into the wondrous mystery of the communion of saints.  There is only a thin veil that separates us from the saints.  In fact, there is no separation whatever for those who are open to their presence among us.

The feast of All Saints proclaims that they are there for us, no matter how much we mess up or go astray.  We are not alone; we are part of a ‘Belonging’.  What Jesus promised the night before he died – “I will not leave you orphans” – finds fulfillment in our friendship with the Saints. When the saints go to join the great “cloud of witnesses’, they continue to exercise from heaven that same desire which set them apart on earth.  The joy of their heaven is to intercede for us.  Through their prayer, they actually apply the merits of their holy lives to our petitions.  By divine design, then, the saints remain special agents of God’s Providence in our lives, and they model how we are to be instruments of redemption for one another.

“One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected.  Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light….Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.”   Pope Benedict XVI

The saints are “our example, an incentive and a joy”.  Our Lady is the Queen of all saints.  We are in good company as we trudge along on the path that has been set before us by our Mother, our coach and guide.  With Mary and all the saints lighting our path, applying their own merits to our efforts, cheering us on and loving us infinitely, how can we lose our way?

All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Medjugorje Message of November 25, 2010

“Dear Children! I look at you and I see in your heart death without hope, restlessness and hunger. There is no prayer or trust in God. That is why the Most High permits me to bring you hope and joy. Open yourselves. Open your hearts to God’s mercy and He will give you everything you need and will fill your hearts with peace, because He is peace and your hope. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Often my position as Pastoral Associate provides me with the same vision as what Our Lady describes in her November message. I meet with families to plan the Funeral Mass for their beloved deceased. It is a time of unspeakable grief for many of them. Many experience the death of a loved one without hope. People that I meet along the path are restless, anxious, and fearful. There is a void….a hunger….a thirst that the world cannot quench in the hearts of people that call me to inquire about the RCIA process. It seems that everywhere I turn there is someone in need of love; someone searching for truth and hope. In our modern, technological age with all the modern conveniences at our finger tips which promise to make life easier and more productive, we are busier than ever. With all the instant gratifications at our disposal, we are hungrier and emptier than ever.

Our Lady looks upon this world and sees our emptiness and hopelessness. She sees that the world has seduced us. Satan has been busy for the past 30 years trying to thwart Our Lady’s Plans. By creating a culture of death, Satan has sifted this age like wheat – testing our resolve and tempting us through our every day affairs. Satan has always wanted to destroy Our Lady’s plans for peace. We are the children that have been called and formed to participate in this spiritual warfare with Mary, our Mother. Because we are hers, Satan wants to destroy us leaving us restless and hungry and without hope.

We have at our finger tips God’s Word – the words of life – words of hope! St. Paul assures us that ‘hope does not disappoint’. Jesus tells us that He has gone to prepare a place for us – that in his Father’s house there are many dwelling places. The Word of God tells us not to worry! Just look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. How wonderfully God has clothed them. He loves us so much more than that, will he not provide that much more for us, the heirs to His kingdom! Jesus tells us through his encounter with the woman at the well that those who know him will never thirst again. In every resurrection appearance, Jesus tells us not to be afraid. He gives us His peace…not as the world gives peace. The peace that he gives, the world will never understand.

We have the Church from which we receive the ‘source and summit’ of life itself. We have Jesus’ promise that the ‘gates of hell’ will never prevail against the Church. We have an unbreakable covenant with the Most High by the very nature of our Baptism. The seal of Baptism binds us to God as ‘his beloved’. We have a share in God’s divine life. We know that the power within us is greater than the power in the world.

We have prayer – the open door to the world beyond this one! Prayer is the direct line to our God. Through prayer we find our peace – who is God! In prayer, we gain a true perspective of the deception that the world offers us. When we pray, we see clearly. In prayer we receive God’s immeasurable love for us and give love back to God.

Yet, we too often allow Satan to gain control over our hearts. Our Lady weeps as she looks upon us and sees in our hearts “death without hope, restlessness and hunger”. She is telling us that if we are not praying with our whole heart, we will not be able to trust God with our whole life!

In God’s great mercy, He allows Mary to remain with us. She is the conduit of hope and joy. She is the Beacon of light that leads us through all the pains of life to the peace that Jesus promised us. She only asks us to open our hearts. When we learn how to pray with the heart, we will discover that we will have everything that we need. We will have found God within. God is enough.

Our Lady’s November message should move us. It is sobering to know that our Mother knows us better than we know ourselves. We should all get down on our knees in gratitude because She is still with us, intimately. Satan is strong and is showing the world his shameful face by which he wants to seduce as many people as possible onto the way of death and sin. Our Lady is stronger and is showing the world her beautiful face by which She wishes to lead every one of her children onto the way of peace and truth – Her Son, Jesus.

Medjugorje Message of December 25, 2010 Message:

“Dear Children!  Today, I and my Son desire to give you an abundance of joy and peace so that each of you may be a joyful carrier and witness of peace and joy in the places where you live.  Little children, be a blessing and be peace.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you; then you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth.”These last words of Jesus were spoken to his disciples just before his Ascension into Heavenly glory.  (…you are to be my witnesses)  After theyheard these words, they prayed (….together they devoted themselves to constant prayer  …  with Mary, the Mother of JesusActs 1:8, 14We just cannot comprehend the mixed bag of emotions that filled the first eye-witnesses of the story of our salvation.  They had yearned for a savior.  They found what their hearts had longed for in Jesus.  They followed him and were taught by him.  Even though they did not understand – they believed in Him.  They witnessed many miracles – even the resurrection of Lazarus.  They were filled with fear and confusion when their Master was arrested and crucified.  They were elated when they walked and talked with him again after the Resurrection.  And they felt lost when he finally disappeared from their sight after the Ascension.  Then the Holy Spirit, the promised ‘Gift’ filled them with wonder and awe and ‘power from on high’ preparing them to be witnesses.Today, Christmas Day 2010,  Mary leads us back to the Gift of God.  It is here at the humble manger  we discover that God came among us through the Incarnation – never to leave us again!  God has remained with us – in the flesh – ever since that humble birth in Bethlehem.  Mary has led us along the path of conversion to show us for whom our restless hearts long – Jesus!  We have been eye-witnesses to many miracles.  (rosaries turned gold, miracles in the sun, amazing healings, locutions, visions and most awe-inspiring of all – dramatic conversions!)  We have been witnesses to all this and more through the miracle of Medjugorje, our modern day Pentecost.  Through it all – personal tragedies, terrorist attacks, the many dyings of daily life, horrific losses and sufferings, we have also been witnesses to the triumph of the human spirit wherein God dwells through sanctifying grace.  When all seems lost, God appears to us daily -in the Eucharist, in the care and love of family and friends, in the human heart.  Love is renewed in each and every Christmas Day.Because Love was born on Christmas Day, we can live in the abundance of joy and peace which are gifts from the Christ-child.  Even through our sadness, illness, grief and confusion we can be carriers and witnesses to what we have seen with our eyes and know in our hearts.  Despite our wounded human natures, we can be a blessing and be peace in the dark, cold corners of our world.  Because love was born on Christmas Day and nothing was ever the same again; we can find peace and joy through our Mother, Mary.  Christmas changed everything for all times.Our Lady knows that we yearn for peace and joy and cannot find it on our own.  She knows that the Christmas Season has become materialistic and hectic for us.  She blesses us with her special motherly blessing at Christmas and tells us, “little children, do not exhaust yourselves in ways that will never satisfy you; in fact, ways that will leave you empty.  It is Jesus that you seek.  It is only Jesus that is your peace and your joy.  Return always to the humility of Bethlehem’s stable in prayer.  You will find me waiting there with you, just as I waited with the first disciples in the upper room, for the Gift of all Gifts – your Lord and Savior - your abundance.  Come, do not delay…”

2011

Medjugorje Message of January 25, 2011

"Dear children! Also today I am with you and I am looking at you and blessing you, and I am not losing hope that this world will change for the good and that peace will reign in the hearts of men. Joy will begin to reign in the world because you have opened yourselves to my call and to God’s love. The Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of those who have said ‘yes’. Therefore I desire to say to you: thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

“…I am not losing hope that this world will change for the good…”

On January 25th, the very same day Our Lady delivered her message to the world, activists in Egypt called for an uprising in their own country, to protest against poverty, unemployment, government corruption and the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for three decades.  On this day which is a national holiday in Egypt to commemorate the police forces, Egyptians take to the streets in large numbers, calling it a “day of rage”!

On this “day of rage”, Our Lady, the Queen of Peace comes from Heaven with a message of hope.  Despite the darkness and gloom of “rage” that is quickly spreading beyond country borders like the black plague, Our Lady is not losing hope that    “….peace will reign in the hearts of men.”

In this present age of economic instability, moral decay, despair and calamity after calamity, Our Lady comes with a message that delivers hope.  “…Joy will begin to reign in the world….”.  She says “you have opened yourself to my call and to God’s love.”  Our Lady’s words would indicate that some, maybe many of her children – her ‘enlightened’ children have finally got the message!  As the world fails to produce the goods – the peace, happiness and stability that we all crave, - more and more people are coming to realize that only in God will we receive our hearts’ content.

Most of the time, I do not trust my own judgment.  I cannot know where I am on the scale of conversion.  I am never sure that I am doing God’s will or trying to conform God’s will to my own.  I sometimes wonder whether I, a selfish, weak human, can really connect to a selfless God of love.  Our Lady’s January message gave me great peace and hope; because I realize more deeply that it is only through Mary that we can open ourselves to the task at hand and open to God.  None of us can accomplish spiritual advancement on our own.  To think otherwise is vanity of vanities.

Our Lady reminds us that “the Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of those who have said ‘yes’.  It is not by our own efforts that we are changing.  We can accomplish nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit driving us.  We can only say ‘yes’ and our fate, our deliverance will be sealed.

On my last eight day silent retreat, I heard Jesus ask me a question.  The first day, “will you accept greater gifts”?  The question left me with fear.  What could this mean – more work or more suffering, I wondered.  The second day, “will you accept greater gifts”?  “Well, I prayed, only through the grace of God, but let me think about it first”.  The third day, “will you accept my greater gifts”?  I did not respond.  Several weeks later, wrapped in the warm embrace of the Blessed Sacrament at a Eucharistic Healing Service in Louisville, Kentucky…..I said “yes”.

This message assures those of us who have said yes that the Holy Spirit is changing us, converting our hearts of stone, bringing us more in line with the will of God.  She assures us that joy will begin to reign in the world because of our ‘yes’.  After I read the January message, I went to my beautiful statue to say ‘thank you’.  I looked at her and she looked at me.  Despite the fact that the world has gone crazy and nothing is stable anymore - I was sure of one thing - that my Mother, my mama, was blessing me and thanking me for having responded to her call!  All will be well with Mary as our guide.

 

Medjugorje Message of February 25, 2011

“Dear Children!  Nature is awakening and on the trees the first buds are seen which will bring most beautiful flowers and fruit.  I desire that you also, little children, work on your conversion and that you be those who witness with their life, so that your example may be a sign and an incentive for conversion to others.  I am with you and before my Son Jesus I intercede for your conversion.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

One of the worst storms of the winter hit much of the Northeast on Friday, February 25th - the day Our Lady gave us this message.  We need Our Lady’s reminder that “nature is awakening”.  The long, dreary winter is coming to an end.  The light of spring is on the horizon!

As I was reflecting on this message and the first fruits of the impending spring – “beautiful flowers and fruit trees”, this week’s Gospel reading came to my mind.
“….do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious ….Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin.  But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you…..so….do not worry….but seek first the Kingdom of God….and all these things will be given you besides…..”Matthew 6: 25-33

Our Lady has asked us again this month to “work on our conversion”  and “witness with our lives”.  What better witness to this world - so heavily laden with worry and anxiety - than to live our lives like little children?  Little children live simply.  Children trust unequivocally; which means that they do not worry about anything.  The beautiful blossoms that we will soon see do not struggle to come into being.  The “first buds” allow nature to unfold according to God’s plan.  The result is the glory of God revealed in his creation.

We, our Lady’s dear children, are the “first buds” of the new springtime that will soon be realized in the Church.  She desires that the beauty within each of us, that She, herself, has nurtured, will blossom into the beautiful flowers and fruits of holiness.  If we cooperate with the operable grace that has been given us, nature will take its’ course in our lives.  Then we will be a “sign and incentive for conversion to others”.

Perhaps, as we prepare for Lent 2011, we might use the above Gospel as an example of what God may be asking of us.  Let go and let God!  Simply stop worrying about things that perish.  Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.  Seek first the kingdom of God.  Simply be!  Let the interior light that we all carry within us since our Baptism…shine for all to see.  Perhaps this is the conversion that Our Lady wants us to embrace this Lent.  As Spring shows us the first signs of new life, notice how beautiful life is when allowed to simply unfold according to God’s Plan. Let us all pray for the grace to surrender our lives into God’s Plan, without struggle, without worry or anxiety.  Let us go into nature and see how nature is awakening and pray that our hearts, too, open to the love of God.  Thank you, dear Mother, for interceding for our conversion!

Medjugorje Message of March 25, 2011

“Dear children!  In a special way today I desire to call you to conversion.  As of today, may new life begin in your heart.  Childen, I desire to see your ‘yes’, and may your life be a joyful living of God’s will at every moment of your life.  In a special way today, I bless you with my motherly blessing of peace, love and unity in my heart and in the heart of my Son Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:   Our Lady’s March 25th message to the world draws us deeper into the mystery of the Annunciation when the Word of the Father became incarnate within her blessed womb.  She expresses her desire today that “life begin in your heart” just like life began in and under her own heart when the Angel Gabriel told her She would conceive and bear a Son.  The Annunciation heralds the beginning of our salvation and the way that leads to our own personal conversion journey.  By Mary’s obedient “Fiat”, the earth has become heaven….and heaven becomes visible through Jesus Christ.   It was Mary’s “yes” that drew back the veil that allowed God’s people to see God’s love made visible.  From the moment of the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, all of life became a joyful living out of God’s holy will.  From that moment, God dwells among His people through Jesus, the Bread from Heaven.  Through Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, our lives are meant to be a joyful living out of God’s will.
   “In Jesus, God has placed, in the midst of barren, despairing mankind, a new beginning which is not a product of human history but a gift from above”  (Pope Benedict XVI).  All that our heart cries out for became flesh in Mary’s womb.  When we repeat the words of the angel by praying the Hail Mary, the Word of God germinates in our soul.   Our faith journey is a constant, deepening encounter with God made present in Mary’s motherhood.
    As baptized and confirmed Christians, we, like Mary, have said “yes” to the invitation to carry on Christ’s mission on earth.  Through the Sacraments of Initiation, we became Christ’s body.  In other words, our lives should reflect his love.  Our Lady told us in this message that she desires to see our yes.  Moment by moment, our faith should be visible through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.  If our faith, hope and love, do not reach beyond mere words, our faith is dead…..and meaningless.
    The hearts of Jesus and Mary are one.  Today she blesses us with a special blessing as she often does on special feast days.  Today she blesses us with the same unity that She and Her Son share.  On this special feast day, Mary blesses us with the peace and love that union with Jesus will bring to our heart.    Let us pray for the grace of  on-going conversion and the fortitude to say yes at every moment to God’s will in our lives.


Medjugorje Message of April 25, 2011

“Dear children! As nature gives the most beautiful colors of the year, I also call you to witness with your life and to help others to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart, so that the flame of love for the Most High may sprout in their hearts. I am with you and I unceasingly pray for you that your life may be a reflection of Heaven here on earth. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

On this Easter Monday, Our Lady calls our attention to the beautiful colors of Spring. Nature is awakening from the death of winter to new life, resplendent with color. All of nature gives witness to the Glory of God by its’ beauty.

Again, we have 50 days to savor the wonder of Easter. We have this time to contemplate the beautiful promise of new life in all its splendor. The fruits of the Holy Spirit have sprouted in the hearts of those who were Baptized and received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. As we watch nature open to a new cycle of life, we celebrate the miracle of the Resurrection and the miracle of our own Baptism. Indeed, the colors of God’s love are also most beautiful this time of year.

However, Our Lady does more than just call our attention to the colors of new life. She invites us to enter into the drama of life; not only our own, but those who need help in awakening to the beauty of God’s promises. Nature in all its beauty gives glory to God. So are we called to give glory to our Creator by fully living out the promises of our baptismal covenant.

“All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal.3:27)

Life is beautiful when lived for God. It is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift back to God. What does God expect of us as baptized Christians? - to be witnesses to what we believe and have just celebrated. Jesus Christ is truly risen! He dwells among us; in fact, lives within us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have Power within us . We have Heaven here on earth!

“I, the Lord, called to you in justice and I will hold you by the hand, and I will make you strong. I will make of you a covenant for the people – a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to release prisoners from captivity, and from the dungeon those who are seated in darkness.” (Is. 42:6-7)

Each Mass reminds us that God made us a covenant. Our Lady asks us to live this covenant right where we are, in our day-to-day lives, among the people that we know. It is our mission to make the people who still live without Christ to feel the presence of God through us. In this way, we are doing what Our Lady asks of us “to witness with your life”. When we take our Baptism promises seriously we will “help others draw closer” to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. When it finally dawns on us that there is no one else to take our place, we will use our gifts to bring God glory! We have been given unique charisms that God wishes us to use “so that the flame of love for the Most High may sprout” in the hearts of those who need to hear the Good News through us.

The beauty of Spring reminds us that God is with us. He is the Lord of Life who triumphed over the grave. The cycle of life in nature reminds us that there will always be life after death. Our Lady invites us, who have been clothed in Christ, to “be a reflection of Heaven here on earth” for those who desperately need to taste and see the beautiful colors of their salvation.

Medjugorje's Message of May 25, 2011

“Dear children! My prayer today is for all of you who seek the grace of conversion. You knock on the door of my heart, but without hope and prayer, in sin, and without the Sacrament of Reconciliation with God. Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness. Only in this way can I help you, hear your prayer and seek intercession before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Our Lady’s May message prompts us to ask ourselves if we really want the grace of conversion. Conversion is going against the grain; it causes a tension between what is and what can be. All change is difficult when we become ‘comfortable’ with our lifestyle – even when it includes sin. Conversion means to change all that is an obstacle to the will of God.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we are told “….If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna….” (Mt. 5:29-30).
This passage in Matthew’s gospel is a pretty radical prescription for conversion! I believe that Our Lady has been with us for 30 years to prepare us for radical reform. She has told us time and time again that this century is under the power of Satan. We have so many forces working against us in the present culture. There are so many obstacles to living the Christian lifestyle today when we have become so spoiled by the ‘disease of affluence’. The Cross is folly in an age with a drive- through, instant gratification mentality. So let us each ask yourselves, Do I really want the grace of conversion?
Our Lady is telling us that we seek conversion without understanding what we seek! “You knock on the door of my heart, but without hope and prayer….”. Faith is weak and prayer takes a back seat to the multitude of other things that are on our agendas. If that weren’t bad enough, we “knock on Our Lady’s heart” begging to be rescued from our burdens in the state of sin without telling God we are sorry and making amends for our
sinful habits! Do we really want the grace of conversion?
The truth is that most of us, if not all, do not want the Cross. When we sin, when we betray, we step outside the cross and its demands. We don’t understand it. If we understood the brokenness of Jesus on the Cross, we would understand that the cross allows us to move beyond any mistake we have ever made. The Cross reveals God’s unconditional love. For those in private hells where no human can enter, Jesus can. There are times in all of our lives when we cannot open the door anymore, but God can come through the locked door of our hearts. The cross allows God to descend into hell – even when we put ourselves there. We don’t always understand that the Cross reveals our vulnerability and is the path to intimacy with God….the path to conversion. Yet, we knock on the door of Our Lady’s heart when we don’t want to look at the cross, when we fight the change that is necessary for conversion. We’d rather be rescued than redeemed!
Our Lady says, “Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness.” Conversion means a turning away from a lifestyle that we may have found comfortable. Conversion is a willingness, even joy, in living the Christian practices of mortification, fasting, penance and prayer. Conversion will not happen by chance. It is a decision – today – tomorrow and always – to struggle against the present tide of affluence, materialism, and instant gratification. Conversion is the dying of self and the rising to the new life to which Our Lady wants to lead us.
Our Lady has no intention of rescuing us. She desires only that we respond to the great gift of our redemption by turning away from sin and remaining faithful to the Gospel. “…. Only in this way can I help you, hear your prayers and seek intercession before the Most High.”

Medjugorje Message of June 25, 2011

“Dear children!  Give thanks with me to the Most High for my presence with you.  My heart is joyful watching the love and joy in the living of my messages.  Many of you have responded, but I wait for and seek all the hearts that have fallen asleep to awaken from the sleep of unbelief.  Little children, draw even closer to my Immaculate Heart so that I can lead all of you toward eternity.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary

“Give thanks….”!  How grateful we are for 30 years of Our Lady’s presence and messages!  After reading this message, I identified with Elizabeth as she proclaimed,
‘…and how does this happen to us that the Mother of our Lord should come to us’? (Luke 1:43)  Our Mothers’ presence for 30 years – a great gift from the Most High-  is the cause of our joy and our gratitude to spill out of our hearts much like  Mary’s own gratitude after the visit from the Angel Gabriel. ‘My soul proclaims the  greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior…for He has looked with mercy on our lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call us blessed.  The Mighty One has done great things for us, and holy is his name….’ (Luke l:46-49)

Like Elizabeth, who among us is not acutely aware of our own lowliness in the face of such an efficacious event as Our Lady’s visitation?  For thirty years, She has continually called, formed, nurtured and protected us.  For thirty years, our Mother has carried us within the womb of Her Immaculate Heart….for such a time as this!

 Her Immaculate Heart – presented to us at Fatima through the visionary Lucia – has become our refuge and the ark of our salvation.  It is in the cradle of her Immaculate Heart that she has gathered all of her children.  It is here in the Garden of her Immaculate Heart that she has planted the seeds and provided the water and the light needed to grow the apostles of these last days.  It is here in the battlefield of Her Immaculate Heart, that she has prepared and armed us for the decisive and conclusive battle with Satan. 

  Who could not be grateful for such privilege.  Indeed, what we have become and will become proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Our on-going conversion happens only because the Most High has looked with mercy on our lowliness.  On that blessed day - when all that is now withheld from the learned and the wise - is revealed, we, Our Lady’s dear children, shall be called blessed!  It will be made known – on that day – that the Mighty One has done great things for us through our Mother Mary.  The glory belongs to God alone!

Who could not be grateful with Mary as she joyfully watches as the seeds of conversion that she has planted within us for thirty years now is coming to fruition as she observes that many have responded to her call.

Even though we have occasion to celebrate these thirty years of apparitions in Medjugorje, Our Lady gives us a reality check in this message.  She is still waiting and seeking “all the hearts that have fallen asleep to awaken from the sleep of unbelief”.  In our day to day living, whether at work, home or play, we are reminded at every turn, that many people we know and love remain asleep to the signs of these times and the urgent call of Mary.  We cannot slacken in our response to Our Lady’s call.  Live the messages – all day, every day – and live them in union with Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  Eternity is just a breath away!

 

Message of July 25, 2011

"Dear children! May this time be for you a time of prayer and silence. Rest your body and spirit, may they be in God’s love. Permit me, little children, to lead you, open your hearts to the Holy Spirit so that all the good that is in you may blossom and bear fruit one hundred fold. Begin and end the day with prayer with the heart. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

The best advice I often receive are  reminders to “rest…take care of yourself….don’t work too hard…..it will be there tomorrow”.  These admonitions usually come from family and good friends – the people who love and know me.  Well-meaning loved ones know me well and realize that I often can get obsessive about work and taking on too much. The stress that comes from being out of balance between work and rest can be harmful emotionally, physically and spiritually.  We need a balance of work and rest.

Our Lady takes advantage of the lazy, hazy days of summer to remind us, her beloved children, to take stock of our interior well being.  She calls us to “prayer and silence”.  Prayer - authentic prayer - leads to silence and silence leads to authentic prayer.  Prayer, in this context, is not simply the recitation of words.  Prayer is a desire that emerges from the heart – our center – where we ‘rest’ in God.  This is the rest Our Mother wants for us – not mindless inactivity that will never provide healing for our drooping spirits.  As the psalmist says, “ Be still before the Lord; wait for God.” (Ps. 37:7)

Jesus, himself, leads us to rest in Matthew’s Gospel, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt. 11:28-30.  Jesus was talking about the Jews obsession with the ‘law’.  He was attempting to lead them to the freedom of the spirit found in His Word – His yoke!  We, too, need to be freed from our own legalism and vanity.  So, our faithful Mother takes us there through prayer and silence.

Silence is more than the absence of noise.  I found this out during my many silent retreats.  It usually takes me a couple of days to relax and settle into a new existence without the phones and demands of my life.  Once I can begin to relax in my own skin, real interior silence can happen.  Silence can become a ‘school’ – a place where you can learn many things about yourself, what is truly important.  The Martha and Mary story in the Gospels point us to what is truly important.  Martha was complaining because she had so much to do while Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what he had to say.  Jesus firmly told Martha that Mary had made the better choice and it would not be taken from her.  Silence is the key that unlocks many mysteries and clarifies the teachings of Jesus.  Silence leads us into the heart of God where we can rest “in God’s love”, as Our Lady has said in this message.

Silence and prayer become possible for us when we take the time to rest.  All that is good and wholesome within us comes to the forefront.  This goodness “blossoms and bears fruit a hundredfold”.  There is nothing more important in this high powered culture in which we live.  Without prayer and silence we will quickly lose our balance.  We will get lost in the maze of busyness.  We will get crushed under the weight of frenzied activity that harms our spirit and robs us of peace.

We can choose to simply take a vacation which often leads us into a different kind of frenzied activity.  Too often we return from such vacations more tired, broke and burdened than when we left!  Or…we can take Our Lady’s July message to heart.  Rather than an expensive vacation this summer, we can take our Mother’s advice to rest in “God’s love”.

Our Lady sees many of us drooping under the heaviness of our responsibilities and visits us in the heat of the summer with a cool, refreshing drink – REST IN THE LORD THROUGH SILENCE AND PRAYER OF THE HEART!

 

Message of August 25, 2011

“Dear children! Today I call you to pray and fast for my intentions, because satan wants to destroy my plan. Here I began with this parish and invited the entire world. Many have responded, but there is an enormous number of those who do not want to hear or accept my call. Therefore, you who have said ‘yes’, be strong and resolute. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:
 Our Lady has been calling us to prayer and fasting for 30 years.  I fear we may have gotten immune to their importance because of the frequency of Her call.  I hope we never forget the power we have at our disposal.  With prayer, Our Lady has already said  wars can be stopped.  Natural disasters can be averted with fasting.  In essence, we can change the course of events upon the earth when we pray and fast!  What power!
 
Our Lady reminds us in this message that satan wants to destroy her plan.  How best might he do that than to convince us that there is no real power in prayer and fasting.  Wouldn’t satan want to lull us to sleep with Our Lady’s urgent words?  Wouldn’t his plan involve making us believe that we have lots of time?  No problem!  Wouldn’t his plan shove prayer and fast to the bottom of our priority list? 

Recently, while I was praying the Rosary, a mental image came to me.  I ‘saw’ a large, plush area like a meadow.  A corale-type fence surrounded this circular space.  Our Lady was portrayed as a silhouette of light in the middle of this meadow.  We, her children were gathered around her.  Beyond the open fence was dense darkness.  There was also another prominent part of the fence – a gate that swung loosely. 

The meaning of this image came to mind.  While we remain in cenacle with our Mother, we are safe.  She is able to protect and nurture us through our prayer and alignment with her messages.  But the gate represents our free will.  Our Lady cannot keep us within the confines of the lush meadow-like space.  We are free to walk through the gate into the dense darkness.  I sensed great danger beyond the fenced area.  Satan was lurking in the darkness waiting to devour whoever came within his path – the path of materialism, addictions, selfishness, idleness, etc.  How happy satan would be to lure us away from the safety of our cenacles of prayer!

Our Lady’s August message tells those of us who said “yes” to remain strong and resolute.  Stay within the gate.  Stay close to her.  Stay out of harms way!

In my prayer, I heard her say:  “My dear ones, prevail in the spirit of prayer when false securities evaporate like the morning dew.  Prevail amidst temptations against faith and love.  Prevail when your lives become burdensome and fatigue threatens to weaken your resolve.”

Pray and fast!  We must never stop believing in the power we have available to us.  We must prevail with Our Lady within the confines of her Immaculate Heart.  This is the only path.  Prayer and fasting are the only ways that we can intercept Satan’s plan of destruction.

Mary will never leave us alone.  She will remain with us until that glorious day of victory!

Message of September 25, 2011

“Dear children! I call you, for this time to be for all of you, a time of witnessing. You, who live in the love of God and have experienced His gifts, witness them with your words and life that they may be for the joy and encouragement to others in faith. I am with you and incessantly intercede before God for all of you that your faith may always be alive and joyful, and in the love of God. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

“..You will receive power when the Holy spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

After Jesus had given his disciples the great commission to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature…..” He left them.  And so, after Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven, the disciples were sent forth from east to west with the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.  Down through the ages, the Gospel spread. Believers were added to the Holy Church established by Christ, first, through eye-witnesses.
After the Holy Spirit descended upon all the baptized with power and gifts from on high, the Spirit witnessed to the saving power of the Paschal Mystery  through the newly confirmed believers. Thus the Church grew through a great cloud of witnesses.  Through their operable gifts which formed virtuous lives, their inspired teachings, their love for one another, and their holy deaths, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has reached every corner of the globe.

In these treacherous times, the privilege of safe-guarding the Gospel and the Church has been given by God to Our Lady.  She comes to the world in Her September message with the solemn reminder that these special times are, for all of us, “ a time of witnessing”.  We, who have been baptized and confirmed in His grace, have been the recipients of the imperishable gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We have been in the presence of Mary, the Queen of Heaven and Earth, for over 30 years.  Called and formed by Her, our commission to witness is renewed through Her.  Our Mother reminds us in this message that we “live in the love of God and have experienced His gifts”. 

We can be witnesses to the love of Christ by recognizing His presence in our lives – in those to whom we give our love and from those who give us their love.  We are witnesses to the love of Christ and must bear witness to the joy He brings us. Our eyes have been opened to the joyful freedom that living in God’s love brings us.  To bear witness to Christ and help others to recognize Him and come to Him, we need - above all - to live with him and stay with Him.  This is what we call prayer.

The call to witness is a call to boldly defend the Truth in an age of relativism.  Many of our young people do not know right from wrong.  The lines have been blurred.  ‘License’ is masked as human rights and freedom.  The rules of life are changed to suit any palate.  People are wandering in dense spiritual darkness. Souls are in danger of eternal death!  Our witness is crucial.  Our words must be sound doctrine and not words that tickle the ears of those who desire an easy path. Our lives must be honest and service- oriented. 

We are called to help those who struggle in life and in faith to find the reason why they should want to be disciples of Christ.  The answer is: because, in communion with Him, we hope to find life - the true, abundant life Jesus wants for us and prayed that we might find.  We want to make Him known to others, to communicate to them in word and action the gift that we have found in him.

We want to show, by example, that the Holy Spirit has implanted the Son of the Father in the womb of our souls, that we might give birth to this Word into the world in union with Mary, the Mother of the Church.  To be a Christian and a disciple, then, means becoming Christ-bearers in the world  in the most radical and literal sense. We do not progress in this mystery alone.  We are in the company of Our Mother, through whom and in whom Jesus is permanently present, not only among the choirs of angels in union with the Father and the Spirit, but also visibly and humanly in his Church and within the landscape of this world – so lost and so graced through her apparitions.

Saint John Vianney says of Mary:  “Your birth, O Blessed Virgin Mary, fills the whole world with a sweet consolation and a holy joy, because of you was born our Jesus, our God, who has taken away from us the curse in which we were plunged by the sin of our first parents, and filled us with all kinds of blessings.”

Mary, may our lives, both in word and in action, bear witness to this remarkable mystery in which we, your children, are entrenched with You, our Advocate, our joy, our light in this vale of tears.  

Message of October 25,2011

“Dear children!  I am looking at you and in your hearts I do not see joy.  Today I desire to give you the joy of the Risen One, that He may lead you and embrace you with His love and tenderness.  I love you and I am praying for your conversion without ceasing before my Son Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Live on in my love.  You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and live in his love.  All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete.”  John 15:9-11

Our Lady says, “I am looking at you….”  She has each one of us in her gaze.   Her gaze has penetrated our hearts.  Her gaze has delved far deeper than the superficial; that is, what we say and what we do.  Her blessed eyes have pierced our hearts to their core and She does not find joy within them.

In my ministry I often come face to face with human misery.  There is no escaping sadness today.  Every day, I encounter the loss of health, loss of loved one through death, unemployment, estrangement within families, depression, loneliness and all sorts of maladies.  Many days, I have felt the weight of these trials upon my own heart and felt totally depleted of joy!

Among the many suffering people I meet, two blessed souls have made an indelible impression in my mind and on my heart.  One was a middle aged nun dying of cancer. I visited Delores in the hospice section of the hospital with Communion.  She barely spoke above a whisper and only opened her eyes slightly when I asked if she could receive Communion.  She was able to receive a tiny piece of the Host.  Cancer and its’ accompanying pain had robbed her of every ounce of energy.  As I stood at her deathbed, I was overcome with the infused knowledge that all I saw before me was sheer joy!  I spontaneously said out loud, “What joy!”.  Delores opened her eyes wide, looked at me and replied, “How could you have known this unless it were revealed to you?”.

Another was an elderly woman in the Nursing Home.  Every Sunday I would go to Carmella’s room with Communion.  She would always be waiting for me with the expectation of a child on Christmas Eve.  Her bed was always neatly made with a crucifix lying on her pillow.  It wasn’t what Carmella said each week, or our prayer time together that captivated me.  It was her face!  It shone with a grace I rarely see visibly.  It was her smile.   It was her joy…..in the midst of human misery!

Dear children!......I do not see joy in your hearts!

Maybe Our Mother does not see joy within us because we are using the wrong tool to measure joy.  We think joy will accompany a life in which everything goes well.  We don’t like pain, suffering and testing!  Therefore, we think the absence of these will produce joy! We are still so attached to acceptance, financial security, wellness, possessions, and relationships.  In short, we would rather be rescued than redeemed, even though Jesus has said, “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps.  Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Our Lady wants to teach us what and Who we will find when we detach from the passing things of this world.  She wants us to know that we will find the “Risen One”.  When we find the Risen Lord, He will “lead us and embrace us with His love and tenderness” – through our losses, pain and persecutions.  Our Lady wants us to know that to encounter the “Risen One” is to find JOY despite the circumstances of our lives.

Joy is not a product of a charmed lifestyle.  Peace is not the absence of pain and trials.  These are worldly by-products and fleeting.  Joy and peace are gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Joy and peace are what I saw on the faces of Delores and Carmella.  These are not of this world; nor can the worldly ever understand how death by cancer can be a joyful union with the suffering Christ.

Our Lady is the eastern, western, southern and northern lights!  She is the luminous sign whose mission it is to lead us to the only true and lasting source of our joy  - Her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.  She is with us, loving us and praying for us through every painful sacrifice and detachment that we must make as these times become increasingly challenging.

It is up to each one of us to continually throw ourselves upon Her motherly and intercessory heart as we pray for the graces of personal, on-going conversion.

“So may God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that through the power of the Holy Spirit, you may have hope in abundance.”  Romans 15:13

DEAR MOTHER MARY, AS YOU UNCEASINGLY PRAY FOR OUR CONVERSION BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD, PLEASE ASK JESUS, AS YOU DID AT THE WEDDING FEAST OF CANA, TO CHANGE THE STAGNANT WATERS OF OUR LIVES INTO THE FRUIT OF THE VINE.  AMEN!

Message of November 25, 2011

Dear Children!  Today I desire to give you hope and joy.  Everything that is around you, little children, leads you towards worldly things but I desire to lead you towards a time of grace, so that through this  time  you may be all the closer to my Son, that He can lead you towards His love and eternal life, for which every heart yearns.  You, little children, pray and may this time for you be one of grace for your soul.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Our Lady reminds us today that every heart yearns for the love of her Son and eternal life.

Our Mother delivered these precious words on the day when the psychological hunger of ‘black Friday’ swept across the nation.  “Everything that is around you, little children, leads you towards worldly things….”

Across this country on Thursday and Friday there were signs that tensions had risen to fever pitch with violence resulting in several instances.  Reports of shopping-related violence came in from Los Angeles to New York.  A volatile mix of desperate retailers and highly competitive marketing has hyped the traditional post-Thanksgiving sales to frenzied levels. Sleep deprived, bargain-obsessed shoppers arrived in darkness only to be met in some cases with pepper-spray and smash and grab looters.  Bloody scenes in aisles, a stabbing outside a store in Sacramento, muggers in dark parking lots were all tell tale signs that the darkness had fallen upon ‘black Friday’.  Satan left his bloody footprints everywhere!  And worst of all, Satan left these frenzied masses hungrier and emptier than ever…..

“But I desire to lead you toward a time of grace…”.  Our Lady comes to remind us, her little children, that we are in this world; but not of this world.  She wants to lead us to encounters with Her Son, the Risen One, our Savior Jesus Christ who lives among us and within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Our Lady desires that we experience heavenly glory in these grace-filled encounters with the living God among us.  We have all tasted another ineffable beauty and have participated in other riches (the Sacramental life of the Church).  We have received another Spirit far removed from the corruptible spirit of this world.  The contrast between worlds is stark!  We consider earthly riches as nothing compared with the life of heavenly immortality that we have tasted.

Our Lady leads us closer to her Son so that He can lead us towards his love and eternal life, the goal of the Christian life to which our hearts so ardently yearn.

What is our participation in our Mother’s endeavor?  It is to pray, to endure trials, to protect the spiritual goods that we already possess through the guidance and direction from our Mother.  It is our calling to stay clear of the psychology of this world that breeds such events as black Friday.  It is to remember our dignity as baptized Christians – that we are indeed a priestly people destined to live in a kingdom beyond this world.  It is to take the garment of salvation that we all received at our Baptism into this Kingdom of eternal life unstained by the corruption of this world.

Let us allow our Lady to gather us together and continue to lead us into this time of grace for our souls.  Let us commit to prayer and cooperate with the gifts She procures for us during these dangerous times. This way is our only hope and joy!

Message of December 25, 2011

"Dear children! Also today, in my arms I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, for Him to give you His peace. Pray, little children, and witness so that in every heart, not human but God's peace may prevail, which no one can destroy. It is that peace in the heart which God gives to those whom He loves. By your baptism you are all, in a special way called and loved, therefore witness and pray that you may be my extended hands to this world which yearns for God and peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."


For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rest.  They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.  His dominion is vast and forever peaceful….”  Isaiah 9:5-6
“ Come let us adore Him, alleluia!”

Every year on December 25th, we celebrate with and through our Mother Mary the Gift of all Gifts….the Gift that keeps on giving – Peace Incarnate.  Figuratively, Our Lady comes to us every Christmas Day with her baby Jesus in Her arms.  The purpose for Her Christmas appearances is not just to give us a sneak peak of Her precious Baby Boy or even to remind us that God has chosen to pitch His tent among humanity for a time.  Her purpose for coming to us on Christmas is to offer us the Gift of all Gifts – Peace Incarnate!  Not just for the day or a month or a year does she offer Her Gift; but for the Eternal Now!  The Gift she carries in Her arms this day is given to us for every moment of every day until we finally meet Christ face to face and possess eternal peace in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Divine light that emanates from the Child in Mary’s arms this day is the only light that will ever overcome the present day darkness.  These are the times in which Satan has no chains.  These are the days in which terrorism, economic doom, and threats of war and violence are not the greatest problem.  There is today a darkness even greater – spiritual depravity!  Where spiritual depravity exits – whether within cultures or individual hearts – peace cannot prevail.

Mary offers us the Light within her arms this day and tells us to take the Light and witness to the Light.  She commissions us to go out into our world with this Light of Peace in our hearts to show the world that its’ false security will not prevail….will not sustain … in the challenging days to come.  “…not human, but God’s peace, may prevail which no one can destroy…” - (not even Satan who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls)

Sometime I don’t think we realize how radically changed we were at our Baptism!  Baptism transformed and fashioned us into the very image of God!  We were chosen and called to Christ’s own mission to be priest, prophet and king!  When we were baptized, the clouds of this world parted and the Holy Spirit descended upon us.  God spoke these words about us, “This is my beloved (son/daughter) on whom My favor rests!”   We were made heirs to the Kingdom of God and given imperishable gifts.  Where else, then, can we go to find a love like that?

The world as we know it has become a vast wasteland, spiritually – a dry and parched desert filled with dead men’s bones!  But Our Lady has gathered us into the lush, green garden of her Heart.  She has nourished us with the Bread of Heaven and enlivened us with the Breath of Heaven.  She has laid Her Infant Son within the stable of each heart – not for just Christmas Day but for the Eternal Now!

The Gift of peace that our Mother offers us is to BE given in return, to be played forward.  She invites us to “be Her extended Hands in this world which yearns for God and peace.”

Thank you, Dear Mother, for bringing us the Father’s Gift of Peace which no one can destroy!

“God’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty.  God’s sign is simplicity…God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us.  This is how he reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendor.  He comes as a baby – defenseless and in need of our help.  He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength.  He takes away our fear of his greatness.  He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child.  He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will – we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love.  God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him and love him…Christmas has become the Feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us.  Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!”  (Pope Benedict XVI)

2012

Message of January 25, 2012  

Dear children! With joy, also today I call you to open your hearts and to listen to my call. Anew, I desire to draw you closer to my Immaculate Heart, where you will find refuge and peace. Open yourselves to prayer, until it becomes a joy for you. Through prayer, the Most High will give you an abundance of grace and you will become my extended hands in this restless world which longs for peace. Little children, with your lives witness faith and pray that faith may grow day by day in your hearts. I am with you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary:

Just as a clenched fist cannot possibly receive anything new; so too, a closed heart cannot receive anything new.  The ego thrives behind the closed doors of hearts.  Vanity and self-seeking act as parasites – infecting the soul.  Opinions can ring so loudly that nothing else can be heard. Today, Our Lady calls us to ‘ open your hearts’….and ‘listen to my call’.  Sounds easy enough but it is not always.  To open our hearts implies achieving a level of self-forgetfulness.  It means that we are not stuck in our own opinions.  To open our hearts also means that we have an attitude of littleness, of trust and of love towards Mary, an attitude which allows us to be able to rest in her.  Sometimes God can remain hidden to us…and silent.  Mary, just as at the miracle of Cana, is always accessible and always willing to be our advocate before the Almighty God.  We know, after all these years with us, that we may place all our trust in her and rest in her alone as the one who carries us and is the maternal source of divine life for us.  When we become that trusting and comfortable with her, we can truly listen with the ears of the heart. She is always, as in this message, offering us Her Immaculate Heart as our resting place and refuge where we can find peace.  There is no peace in the closed hearts where ego resides.  There is no peace in the world.  In many cases, there is no peace within families due to jealousies and differences of opinions.  Mary’s heart is the place God has given us to come away and rest.  It is here in this Sanctuary of Grace that we are invited to contemplate God’s immense love for each of us. Mary’s heart has been transformed by the fullness of charity.  We are welcomed to rest in her wounded heart, in the seven wounds of her heart.  We are invited to experience the mystery of Mary’s maternal care for us.  It is here we learn to become one with Her Son Jesus…and the Cross.  Within Her Immaculate Heart, she freely gives us grace in superabundance - particularly love. Armed with the graces given from this Treasury, we can become Mary’s extended hands in our restless world.  It is only through love that we can be effective servants in this world that longs for peace.  Love is the seed that will break open so that the germination may be accomplished.  Without love, our witness is void…useless…without meaning. Our Mother asks us to pray that faith may grow in our hearts each day so that its’ force will break open those closed doors.  In this way, our witness will be authentic and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit – charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modesty, perseverance – will ripen and scent the air that we breath – giving glory to God and bringing peace to our world.

Message of February 25, 2012

"Dear children! At this time, in a special way I call you: 'pray with the heart'. Little children, you speak much and pray little. Read and meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the words written in it be life for you. I encourage and love you, so that in God you may find your peace and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them.  Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you pray go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret……In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them.” (Matthew 6:5-8.

In the early days of Our Lady’s apparitions, there was a big emphasis put on ‘praying with the heart’.  In fact, Mary mentioned this so often, that Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M. wrote a book (Pray with the Heart!).  In the introduction, Javoc Bubalo says, “this book will teach you, in a simple way, how to love God and your neighbor, without which love, prayer cannot be fruitful.”  The book gives testimony to what it means to “pray without ceasing” – an admonition that St. Paul gave to the Thessalonians.

In Her February message, Our Lady invites us, once again to “pray with the heart”.  To some of us, this type of prayer seems like an exercise in eloquent speech that we just don’t think we possess.  Yet, Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel, “Go to your inner room, close the door…..”  Find a quiet place.  Allow the distractions that burden you to simply float away by acknowledging them and then simply allow them to fade away.  The inner room that Jesus refers to is the chamber of your heart.  Open the door of your heart to the Sacred….then….close it to all outside distractions.  Begin a conversation with the Almighty and with our Mother.  Talk as though you were talking to your earthly father, mother or friend.  Speak with loving confidence, knowing that you are in a safe place where you are loved beyond your understanding.  “Father, I pray to you that I may, at Mary’s intercession, change and become good and pure!” … Mary, thank you for being here to help us to grow and change….. Take me on your lap now and console me.’  Mention the members of your family by name.  Pray especially for the person you may have argued with, who hurt you.  Just let it flow.  For a few moments of your day, you are locked in the inner room of your heart. The world is shut out for those sacred moments.  And the Father who hears the secrets of your deepest self will answer you.

Our Lady tells us that we speak much and pray little.  Most of us lead active lives and interact with people all day.  We talk all day long; yet cannot find any time to talk to the only One who can help us, renew us and love us unconditionally!  When we do give time to prayer, we often think that a multiplicity of words rattled off like a trained parrot constitutes prayer.  If we want to be honest with ourselves, many of us pray very little – really pray!

Our Lady leads us into the Sacred Scriptures this month.  “Read and meditate…and let the words written in it be life to you”.  Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures.  Lectio is the art of letting God, our Divine Friend, speak to us through his inspired Word.  It also involves our response to the Word received – it is a two-way communication.  The Prophet Isaiah wrote: “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear”.  We are gently invited to quiet ourselves, to listen with our hearts to the Lord’s Word for us, and to respond in love.

However and whenever we open ourselves up to prayer, Our Mother encourages us and loves us.  She wants nothing more for us than to find our peace and joy in living.  She knows that we will only find these in God – through prayer of the heart and in His inspired Word.

Thank you, Mother Mary, for being our Light in the darkness.  Thank you for your love, encouragement; and most especially, for never giving up on us, your children.

Message of March 25, 2012

"Dear children! Also today, with joy, I desire to give you my motherly blessing and to call you to prayer. May prayer become a need for you to grow more in holiness every day. Work more on your conversion because you are far away, little children. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

On this Anniversary of the Feast of the Annunciation, our Mother comes to us with joy. She bestows on us her motherly blessing and calls us once again to prayer. As we meditate on the deeper meaning of her message, it is fitting that we also meditate on the sublime truths of the Angel Gabriel’s visit.

St. Luke tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shall conceive in thy womb, and shall bring forth a son; and thou shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." Mary understood that according to the Scriptures, the Messiah would be sent to free her people. She, along with all devout Jews, awaited the coming of the Redeemer with holy anticipation. But, why should she be elected from among women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? Therefore, not doubting the word of the Angel, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"

The angel, to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." He made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and she, who was thought to be barren, is in the sixth month: because nothing shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God, she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."

The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. The Incarnation of Jesus precipitated the founding of a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says, that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.

The event of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of the young virgin Mary is the model, par excellence, of the conversion that She has been forming in each of us for the past 30 years.

In her youthful innocence, She was open to the Will and Plan of God. She trusted God’s plan despite all obstacles and defiance of human reasoning. She trusted through fear and doubt. She became like clay in the Hand of the Potter. Mary believed that her consent was essential to God’s plan of redemption. She believed that God’s Plan was bigger than herself and depended on Her consent. Humbly, she gave over her Fiat.

This event calls us to a reality check within our own hearts. Are we open, through prayer, to God’s enormous plan of salvation coming to the world today through His Mother Mary? Are we ready for the twists and turns and sacrifices that God’s Plan will take in the days, months and years to come? (contained within the secrets give to the visionaries). Do we realize that each and every one of us will be visited, through grace, and asked for our personal cooperation and participation in a Plan that is far bigger than any of us? Our individual part in this Mission may defy human reasoning, like Mary’s role in the Incarnation. It could mean the meager plans that we have made for our lives may go up in smoke. The Mission to which we have been called and formed requires supernatural faith, hope, love and trust. Do we believe that our ‘yes’ is essential to the Plan of God? Will we, imitating our Mother, humbly give over our Fiat in God’s awesome plan of salvation that is unfolding before our very eyes?

In the March 25, 2012 message given to the world, our Mother Mary exhorts us to “work more on our conversion….you are far away, little children”. If this surprises any of us, we should meditate more on Luke’s Annunciation account.

Message of April 25, 2012

"Dear children! Also today I am calling you to prayer, and may your heart, little children, open towards God as a flower opens towards the warmth of the sun. I am with you and I intercede for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
Commentary:

It’s Spring! Our Lady brings us an image of the season – the fresh, new life of a flower. The warmth of the sun causes the flower to open. A flower in full bloom glorifies God, the Creator of all beauty. The flowers need the sun to open. They also need to be rooted in Mother Earth and they need the life-giving waters of the rain.

The flowers opening toward the sun is a perfect analogy of human hearts opening to God, their Creator. Our hearts need to be deeply rooted in the fertile soil of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As told in the Parable of the Sower: “…A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold….” (Matt. 13:4-9)

Since a parable is figurative speech that requires reflection for understanding, only those who are prepared to explore its meaning can come to know it’s nugget of truth. To understand is a gift of the Spirit, granted to those few who are drawn deeper into the mystery of God’s love. The point of the parable of the sower is that, despite all obstacles, the message and mission of Jesus will have enormous success. This parable invites us to examine the soil of our hearts. Is it rich enough to produce abundant fruit? If not, what is lacking? An intimate relationship with the Son?......the nourishment of prayer?

Our Lady’s April message is short and sweet by design. It has only one theme – PRAYER! Because PRAYER is absolutely the only way to open our hearts to Her Divine Son, this message invites us to examine our attitude toward prayer.
We make time for what is important in our lives. How important is prayer?
We give our full attention to what we love. Where does our desire to spend time with God rank on our list of loves?
Obligations do not require open hearts. Is prayer just another obligation?
Initial enthusiasms often die out without commitment. Do emotions dictate when we pray?
Success almost always demands discipline and attention to scheduling. Are we persistent in prayer? Do we make it a scheduled priority in our day?

Our Lady assures us that she is with us and intercedes for us because the enemy of the seed is always prowling around ready to destroy any strides we make toward deepening our prayer lives.

Pope Benedict XVI had some very profound things to say about the importance of prayer:
The saints have taught of the importance of a “profound unity of life between prayer and action, between total love of God and love for the brethren”. “Without daily prayer faithfully lived out,” he cautioned, “our activity becomes empty, it loses its deep soul, it is reduced to mere activism, which in the end leaves us unsatisfied.” He went on to say that the primacy of prayer is our “first and most precious form of service to the flock….”

“If the lungs of prayer and the Word of God fail to nourish the breath of our spiritual life, we risk suffocating in the middle of a thousand daily cares: prayer is the breath of the soul and of life,” And there is another precious reminder that I would like to emphasize: in our relationship with God, in listening to His Word, in conversation with God, even when we find ourselves in the silence of a church or in our room, we are united in the Lord with so many brothers and sisters in faith, like an ensemble of instruments that, though retaining their individuality, offer to God one great symphony of intercession, of thanksgiving and of praise.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

I have never read a more profound or beautiful description of prayer in my life!

Dear Mother Mary, give to all who read this reflection, the blessed grace of a sincere desire to pray so that we, like the flowers in springtime, may give glory to God, our Creator. Amen

Message of May 25, 2012

"Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion and to holiness. God desires to give you joy and peace through prayer but you, little children, are still far away - attached to the earth and to earthly things. Therefore, I call you anew: open your heart and your sight towards God and the things of God - and joy and peace will come to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call."

As the world rapidly moves towards the purifying fires of God’s justice, Our Lady is determined to get her ‘Dear children” ready for the final battle with her adversary – the devil. She is not willing to let the lines blur between those who are on the path of conversion and holiness and those who are far from God.

In my ministry, I work with young parents who present their children to the Church for the Sacrament of Baptism. Although I cannot and do not judge the reasons why they desire Baptism for their children, I sometimes worry that the meaning of the Sacrament is not fully understood. We do not always realize how radical it is to be signed with the sign of the Cross, to be clothed with a white garment, presented with a candle lit from the Paschal Candle, and immersed in the waters of Baptism. It is a radical call to conform oneself into the image of Christ. It is a call to accept His mission. It is a call to a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Baptism is, actually, a new birth. It is a call to be holy as God is holy!

It is time that we ask ourselves in all seriousness what does it means to be a Christian in today’s world? Is our Christianity just another label that we use for identification? Is it a cultural status symbol? Have we conformed ourselves to the ideals of Christianity? If we have, we are not living for this world. We are in this world; but not of it! If we have conformed ourselves to the Person of Christianity, we are servants in the world, pilgrims on a journey. Our sights are set on the goal of eternal life. Our Lady continually calls us to conversion because She will not allow us to be confused about who we are or where we are going. She calls us continually to prayer because she wants us to know how we will become who we are! She invites us to pray, pray, pray because there is no other path to get to where we are going! We are children of God and heirs to His Kingdom. We are Heaven-bound.

If we call ourselves Christian and are still attached to the things of the world, Our Lady tells us that we “are still far away” from our goal. If we are trying to conform ourselves to a world gone mad, then we have no peace or joy. As this world spins out of control, mocking God and His commandments, it is high time that we set our sights on the Way, the Truth and the Life. As our religious liberties are being threatened on all accounts, the Sacrament of Marriage being re-defined in many states, our Catholic service institutions forced to subsidize immorality, prayer prohibited in the public forum, Our Lady calls us to arise from our sleep of apathy and take up the sword of prayer.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be. No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and the world.” Matthew 6: 19-24

This is the hour in which we must open the eyes of our hearts and set our sights on God and the things of God where joy and peace will reign. If we do not – “how great our darkness will be”!

Message of June 25, 2012

"Dear children! With great hope in the heart, also today I call you to prayer. If you pray, little children, you are with me and you are seeking the will of my Son and are living it. Be open and live prayer and, at every moment, may it be for you the savor and joy of your soul. I am with you and I intercede for all of you before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

Our Lady comes to us in June as many Catholics in our Nation are responding to the US Bishops call to defend our First Amendment. Through the initiative (Fortnight for Freedom) many are taking seriously their responsibility to defend our religious freedom through prayer, education and public action. During this time, many Americans have participated in silent processions carrying placards such as “Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!”. Many across the nation have taken seriously the challenge to increase people’s awareness of the importance of religious freedom for society; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America’s official faith. Those who heard the Bishop’s appeal and responded to Fortnight for Freedom were living the prayer. They were in it with their whole heart and soul. These brave souls who represented ‘We the People” took our Bishops seriously …. and, took seriously the words of St. Paul “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galations 5:1
For thirty one years, Mary has been calling for the same type of response: “live my messages; witness them with your life; put them into practice; pour them into life.” We are not expected to carry placard in procession…we carry Our Lady’s messages in our hearts. Our hearts are the placards that others will read. …”With great hope in the heart…..be open and live prayer….” Despite our securities, even our religious freedom, being threatened in today’s culture; we are told to have hope…..not just hope….but GREAT hope. Our wise Mother knows that God’s magnificent power will be made perfect through the weakness of our world. We who have accepted 31 years of Our Mother’s messages must integrate what we know in our head with how we live. We must walk the talk. If we are doing this, then every moment of our lives can be our prayer.
Unfortunately, we sometimes hear one of Our Lady’s messages but fail to assimilate her words into our lives. It is as though we have a seed; but fail to sow it – leaving it in our pocket. If this happens, then we are like the man Jesus is talking about in the Gospel. “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the stream rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:26-27) The same applies to the words of the Virgin Mary to us. Her messages are a gospel told in simple words from a mother’s heart. When we live her words (not only hear them), the houses of our lives are built on the rock.
We are living in disordered times. There is much to fear, too much darkness and too much wickedness among us. Our Lady, who dwells in the glory of Heaven, knows that love, peace and joy are stronger and will never be overcome by the darkness of our world today. Our Mother knows that we can not savor joy in our souls by our own power. That is why she wants us to fall in love with prayer. It is only through prayer that we can seek and know the will of her son. It is only through the graces obtained through prayer that we can live the will of God each day. It is only through prayer and Mary’s intercession that we will ever become fearless witnesses of Jesus. We are called to holiness and to sanctification of our life. Saint Paul reminds us: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thess. 4:3). Only on this way of holiness and conversion can we experience the joy and the truth of the words of the Scripture: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess. 5:16) We are neither alone nor abandoned. Mary, our mother, is with us and she is giving us her motherly blessing and great hope.

Message of July 25, 2012

"Dear children! Today I call you to the 'good'. Be carriers of peace and goodness in this world. Pray that God may give you the strength so that hope and pride may always reign in your heart and life because you are God's children and carriers of His hope to this world that is without joy in the heart, and is without a future, because it does not have its heart open to God who is your salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

Our Lady calls us again in the month of July to the ‘good’. The following passage has always been pivotal for me in all the choices that I am confronted with in my life:
“…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the Lord swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deut.30:19-20)

Every day, we all must make choices. Many of them are choices toward good or evil. Over the last 31 years, Our Lady has given us a ‘road-map’ to follow so that we may be equipped to make good choices:
* Pray – When we pray, we block out the noises that fill our mind and center on Our Lord. Every day, life shifts us out of balance. We need to re-align ourselves, re-focus on God – our only ‘good’. We cannot make good choices unless we have our priorities straight. I do not believe that there is any other way to do that than to stay in constant communication with God.
* Fast - We live in a consumerist society. Just walk into a grocery store…or a restaurant. The choices are endless. The selections are overwhelming! The more that we have – the emptier we seem to be. Fasting helps us to prune ourselves from the overflow of stuff. Fasting helps us to get in touch with the real source of our hunger. We are spiritually hungry. We are in need of spiritual nourishment. Prayer and Fasting will give us the strength to be carriers of Hope in the world that is “without joy”.
* Mass – Holy Mass is the greatest prayer and the perfect thanksgiving. It is our source and our summit. Without the Eucharist, we do not have life within us. We cannot fulfill Our Lady’s request to “be carriers of peace and goodness in the world” without life for our soul – Jesus Christ. Fortified with Jesus’ own Body and Blood, “hope and pride will reign in our heart”.
* Daily Rosary – The rosary is the chain that will break Satan’s power! The Rosary, like no other prayer, opens our hearts “to God who is our salvation”. As we meditate, day after day, on the events of Jesus and Mary’s life that lead us through the Paschal Mystery, our hearts are changed.
* Love People – Love is the greatest force on earth. Not even death can destroy the bonds forged through love. “You will know we are Christians by our love”. The song identifies us as children of God who is the source of love. God, who IS love, calls us THROUGH love - to BE love in the world.

Our Lady tells us in her July 25th message that the world will have no future unless it opens its heart to God. We, Our Lady’s remnant children, must lead the way. We must choose ‘good’, follow Her road-map so that we will be empowered to be carriers of peace, goodness and hope to this world without joy. The future of our world depends on us!

Message of August 25, 2012

“Dear Children! Also today, with hope in the heart, I am praying for you and am thanking the Most High for every one of you who lives my messages with the heart. Give thanks to God’s love that I can love and lead each of you through my Immaculate Heart also toward conversion. Open you hearts and decide for holiness, and hope will give birth to joy in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Our Lady, having been with us for so long, has built a solid foundation upon which we may continue along the path of conversion. She is building within the hearts of each of her children who hear and respond to her messages a strong edifice of the theological virtues of: faith, hope and love. These are the basis upon which our moral life is based. By the power of the Holy Spirit, they guide us to our goal – eternal life forever in Heaven. God instills these virtues in us so that we will behave as His children and become worthy of eternal life. These virtues are a reflection of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit within us.

These virtues should form the backdrop of all the decisions that face us each day of our lives on earth. Our Lady brings to the forefront in this August message the virtue of Hope. Hope draws us towards God. Our daily lives are a series of twists and turns that often lead us away from the things of God and toward the lures of the world. We often make bad decisions and before we know it, we have put our hope in the transient things of the world: money, things, power, people, etc…

Our Lady is reminding us once again in this message to give thanks for God’s all- embracing love. God is love. His Love flows like a torrent upon us and makes all things possible for us. It is only through God’s infinite love that Our Lady is able to lead each of us through Her Immaculate Heart toward conversion. By ourselves, we are unable to love God. Only through grace are we able to love God above all things, to put our hope in Him and to voluntarily make decisions according to what the love of God requires of us. Hope is the virtue that makes us desire the Kingdom of God as our final happiness.

Again Our Mother is asking us to “open your hearts and decide for holiness”…God has implanted in every heart the desire for happiness. Hope is the inspiration that leads us toward that goal, making us pure of heart so that we are oriented towards the Kingdom of God. Hope gives us the strength so that we will not get discouraged and supports us when we feel deserted. It raises us above self-concern and leads us to greater happiness and joy that comes from charity.

Our Mother’s presence with us for 31 years has provided a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. She provides us with the weapons of the Armor of God. She has been our shield in the battle for salvation. “Let us put on the breastplate of faith and love, and
for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1Thess. 5:8) She has reinforced Paul’s message to the early Christians, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” (Romans. 12:12) Mary’s monthly messages, her motherly care for each one of us and her immeasurable love has been for us the expression of the theological virtue of Hope and provided us with the necessary grace for life and growth.

Mary, our beloved Mother, you are the reason for our hope and the cause of our joy. Thank you for loving us and leading us through your Immaculate Heart to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

September 25, 2012

Dear children! When in nature you look at the richness of the colors which the Most High gives to you, open your heart and pray with gratitude for all the good that you have and say: ‘I am here created for eternity’ – and yearn for heavenly things because God loves you with immeasurable love. This is why He also gave me to you to tell you: ‘Only in God is your peace and hope, dear children’. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary:

Our Lady’s reference to the richness and beauty of nature in this lovely season of Fall brings to mind a story. It is about a father and his four sons. He sends his sons into the forest to observe a tree in each of it’s seasons and report back their observations. The first son is sent to observe the tree in the springtime. He comes back to the father to report that the tree is just coming to life – sturdy branches, young buds ready to blossom, beautiful, fresh and vibrant colors. The tree is filled with promise.

The second son is sent into the forest in the summer. He reports that the tree is loaded with fruit. It’s branches are bending from the weight. The tree is in its’ productive stage and will provide food for many. The third son reports on the tree in the Fall. The tree is losing its’ leaves. They are discolored. It looks frail and with every wind, it loses more of it’s life-giving power. The last son is sent to observe the tree in the winter. It is ghastly looking – it has lost all of its’ leaves. Nothing remains but dark limps and the bark is gnarled and torn. The tree is dead! But the son’s last remark has impressed his father. He reports that his observation cannot stand alone – that to know the tree one must have known it in ALL of it’s seasons.

Nature is ablaze with color now. A drive through the hills can take our breath away with the beauty of God’s handiwork! As I sat on my swing the other day, I was attuned to the change of Seasons more than I ever was before. I watched the beautiful colored leaves float to the ground with a new purpose – to blanket the earth from the frosts that would soon come. I thought about the cycle of life – not just the colorful trees – but LIFE in general.

We are born into this world as clay in the potters hand! God forms us and gifts us with so much potential for good. In the prime of our lives, we have the power within us to make our mark upon this world. We are productive and creative and full of energy. Soon our productive years become sedentary. We slow down and take stock. Our energy wanes and we are most content to ‘just be’ – sit back and ‘let it happen’. When sickness and old-age take their toll upon our frail bodies, our main task is to persevere in Faith, Hope and Love – “the greatest of these is love”.

Through the entire cycle of our life – especially when the richness of God’s grace shines forth in the autumn of our lives, we open our hearts and give thanks to the Most High for all the goodness that we possess. We give thanks for life in all its’ stages knowing that we were created for eternity. When the autumn turns to winter we still give thanks. We long for our true home – Heaven. We yearn for the heavenly things that God, in His immeasurable love, longs to bestow upon us when we will finally hear, “Well done…good and faithful servant…..come…inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…”! Only in God is our peace and our hope to which our Mother has been navigating us ever since Jesus gave her to us at the foot of the Cross.

Message of October 25, 2012

"Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
“…..Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition…..”

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines cunning as: 1) skill in deception, guile 2) marked by or given to artful subtlety and deceptiveness; executed with or exhibiting ingenuity.

Satan is skilled in deception. Satan uses artful subtlety to lead us into error and lies. Satan executes his plan of destruction with ingenuity. So, in this message, so close to a decisive election, Our Lady pulls out the big guns with which to arm us and defeat the evil plans so craftily laid out by Satan – FASTING ALONG WITH PRAYER!

Satan is cunning….
This month I learned that the school from which I graduated has incorporated the International Baccalaureate Program as their new curriculum. This organization, based in Switzerland, has as its’ goal the building of a privileged and elite society of global, one world view thinkers. The four programs used as curriculum is crafted to the corruption of young minds aged 3 -19, through manipulation and psychological brainwashing. Teachers are referred to as facilitators. They do not impart knowledge. Their only task is to contribute to indoctrination! The program is the antithesis of the values defined in the American Constitution, Judaism and Christianity. Values taught at home will be “re-learned” through critical thinking. Parents are left in the dark….trusting that they have chosen an elite school for their children. The goal of the 5 essential elements:
Gain knowledge that is of global significance. There is no provision for knowledge of the self which is a universe unto itself where one discovers the living God!
Understanding concepts – an immersion into the world of matter and form. There is no provision for imparting insights into the immortal soul or conscience formation.
Acquiring disciplinary skills with no emphasis on the discipline of the heart.
International mindedness which is atheism at it’s boldest.
Take action conducive to producing militant warriors of the world – the farthest point away from spiritual warriors required to win the real war!
There are currently 3,482 IB schools in 144 countries and 1,056,000 students in the four programs are being exposed to this destructive lie. As if this information alone is not sufficient to expose the craftiness of Satan – the IB emblem is the six-sided pentagram – the most powerful of symbols of the devil!!

Satan is cunning:
A chapel in a presumably Catholic School was decorated for ‘The Day of the Dead’. The well-intentioned Spanish teacher in charge of this abomination wanted to give the décor a flare of the Spanish/Mexican culture. The entire chapel – including the Tabernacle housing the living Lord – was transformed into a bright and deplorable extravaganza of paper flowers, skulls, skeletons, witches and goblins. A rather large scull was placed directly on top of the Tabernacle! The only place where true Life resides was desecrated to epitomize the culture of death in which we currently find ourselves. As if Satan’s cunning was not evident already……his signature basket of apples was placed at the foot of the Tabernacle…

“Satan is cunning and is attracting many hearts to sin and perdition”……
I write this reflection on Election Day. There are still several hours before we will get an indication as to who will lead our Blessed Land for the next four years. Today is not the day to ask the question, ‘Is God still on our side’? Today is the day to ask, “Are we still on God’s side? Time will tell, won’t it?

I don’t like to get into political conversations. However, I have heard so many good people….intelligent people….well informed people…..Catholics….Christian people share their political thoughts lately. “I need affordable health care……I will vote for entitlements…..I will vote for women’s rights…..I personally believe abortion is wrong; but I will not impose my belief’s on others…..I will vote to protect my retirement……today, the American family looks different......it is okay to have loving families with two dads or two moms…..HHS Mandate…what’s that?….well, it doesn’t affect me!

“Dear Mother Mary, I began my day on my knees in prayer for your intentions, because I know that your intentions include our deepest needs which are peace and love. I know that your intention is that we gain back our sight. I know that your intention is for our holiness – a share in God’s life. I know that your intention is for this land that we love so much to return to God in whom we trust. Dear Mary, evil has swept over this land and left in its’ wake a destruction far worse than Hurricane Sandy. But, Mother, because you are with us so long and will remain for as long as it takes…I no longer live within the circumstances in which I find myself; but I live in the Vision of Hope that you bring. Please ask your Son to deliver us from evil and let God’s grace shine upon America once again. Amen

Message of November 25, 2012

"Dear children! In this time of grace, I call all of you to renew prayer. Open yourselves to Holy Confession so that each of you may accept my call with the whole heart. I am with you and I protect you from the ruin of sin, but you must open yourselves to the way of conversion and holiness, that your heart may burn out of love for God. Give Him time and He will give Himself to you and thus, in the will of God you will discover the love and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
We are living in special times. These are times of presence and purification. God is present among us in our Church. God is present in a special way through all who have heard the call to conversion. God is present through the unprecedented apparitions of Mary for over 31 years – leading, and guiding and calling to conversion the lost, the hearts yet to be awakened to God’s love and mercy. God is present in those of us who Mary refers to as her “dear children” – those of us who have heard and are spreading her messages.

God is purifying His Bride, the Church…..through persecution and trials. God is purifying a fallen world through natural disasters, uprisings and distress, wars and rumors of war. God seems to be giving Godless societies over to their wanton excesses. Yes, we are living in special times – “this time of grace”.

Our Lady gives us another roadmap through the present age. “I call you to renew prayer….Open yourselves to Holy Confession”.
* Prayer –
Pray all ways, in every circumstance….pray constantly. Pray the Holy Rosary. Attend daily Mass. Pray in the silence of your room where only the Father can hear you. Pray in supplication and petition for your conversion, for your family, community, the world. Pray without using words – contemplate the majesty and mystery of God. Just ‘be’ in God’s presence. Pray through journaling. Pray through your suffering. Talk to Mary and Jesus in your own words. In the St. Ignatian Exercises, there is a prayer form I am particularly drawn. It is called the triple Colloquay. Invite Mary into your prayer. Talk to her about what is in your heart. Listen to her. Say the Hail Mary then ask her to take you to Her Son. Tell him also what is in your heart in the presence of Mary. Listen. Say a prayer to Jesus. Then ask them both to take you to the Father. Tell your Father in Heaven what you need. Listen and then say the ‘Our Father’. Pray, pray, pray….

* Holy Confession –
“….I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord, and you took away the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32)
We all have an interior need to open our souls to another. We need help to understand what we are feeling and why. We have a need to understand, with St. Paul, why we do that which we do not want to do. We need help in understanding why “the spirit is willing; but the flesh is weak”. We need a confession that goes deeper than the conventional laundry list, and looks for causes rather than symptoms. We need help in exploring our motivations and fears, and the underlying causes on our sinfulness.

We need, like the Prodigal Son, to “come back”. When we are guilty of sin, have become a stranger to the ways in which we were taught, we need to apologize to God and to one another. The purpose of the sacramental action is to be a sign of God’s welcoming embrace to those of us who stray from home.

We need to believe in sin! Today, we suffer from a diminished sense of sin. We need to awaken to the real destructive power of sin that is oppressing our world. It is hard to believe that we can watch the evening news reporting of wars, terrorism, murders, alcohol and drug abuse, promiscuity, persecution and a general lack of morality and respect for human life; yet, continue to think that “nothing is a sin anymore”! The final sinfulness (way of life) is to deny our sinfulness. This is a sin against truth. It is the blindness for which Jesus admonished the Pharisees. If we do not recognize our sickness and need for healing, we are in effect rejecting Jesus’ forgiveness.

We have a need to see and hear forgiveness. Jesus spoke words to the adulteress: “Your sins are forgiven.” He looked at people. Sometimes he embraced them. He assured the converted Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to your house.” These people went away with Jesus’ words in their ears, his image in their minds, and the touch of his hands on their shoulders. We need to externalize or ritualize or visibly celebrate God’s victory over sin.

We also need to recognize that our sin is linked with society’s. If the human heart is not healed and converted, the transformation of unjust social structures cannot take place. We need to confess our wrongs not only to heal or save our own souls, but to help liberate the world from its sinful patterns.

Our Lady is with us – protecting us from the ruin of sin. But we must cooperate with her plan to keep us on the path of conversion and holiness. She wants us to be free from the bondage of sin. She wants freedom for us so that nothing hinders our hearts from opening fully to God’s love, His will for our lives. Our Lady wants us to be free to receive God Himself. In receiving God, we receive abundant life – a love and joy of living we never thought possible.

Message of December 25, 2012

Our Lady came with little Jesus in her arms and she did not give a message, but little Jesus began to speak and said: “I am your peace, live my commandments.” With a sign of the cross, Our Lady and little Jesus blessed us together.

Commentary:
For those of us who, for the past 31 years, have been reading Our Lady’s messages, and making every effort to live them; the December message marks a dramatic shift in emphasis. Mary has appeared to the Medjugorje visionaries every Christmas Day for 31 years, but they never heard Jesus speak before. In 1981, the Infant Jesus made a gesture, but spoke no words to the seers. The only other time something extraordinary happened like this was when the Child Jesus blinked.

Many experienced Medjugorje commentators have started to extrapolate with many personal interpretations about this unexpected message on Christmas Day. Some believe that the Christmas message could have an apocalyptic significance. Some feel that this change heralds the approach of the end of Our Lady’s messages as we have been used to all these years. Whether or not we are entering into a new phase of the Medjugorje phenomenon remains to be seen. Truth is that we do not know….but we can reflect on what Jesus did and said to us on Christmas Day.

What Marija said about the apparition is very relevant in our reflection. “Jesus addressed me as the King of Peace. He was a child but these words were spoken with authority; with a voice that remained strong within me. I heard the voice of Jesus as a child. But it was not the voice of a child of a few hours old. I do not know how to say this. A Jesus who is small, newborn, who addresses us” Marija said. “I was very strongly affected…I cried a lot…I was greatly moved. I am trying to understand what I saw……It moves me that Jesus has blessed us and spoken words for the first time…” Marija told Radio Maria.

Jesus came to us on Christmas Day, through the visionary Marija, with our Queen of Peace to introduce Himself to us as the King of Peace, and to those who do not yet know Him. For further emphasis, He stood up on the Virgin Mary’s lap. He wanted us to not only hear his words but to take notice of Him as we may never have before.

Standing on the lap of His Mother, the King of Peace, tells Marija and the whole world: “I am your peace, live My Commandments”.
Jesus’ words echo His farewell discourse in John’s Gospel when he says: “Peace I leave to you, My own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is My gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27) Also, in the same discourse He says: “If you love Me, you will keep my Commandments” (John 14:15) Jesus tells us further: … “My commandment is this….that you love one another even as I have loved you…” After Jesus spoke these words, He left this planet in body but not in Spirit.

His call and gift to us on Christmas Day is not a new one. But it is big and significant and timely. God is working in a new way with the age-old call to live the Gospel and live peace! Could Little Jesus’ Christmas message be farewell words once again in history??

I wondered how we could possibly celebrate this Christmas with joy, merriment and peace in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. And the Webster murders. We are steeped in Satan’s plot of destruction. I asked myself – in the absence of peace on earth - what is it that we celebrate on December 25th if not God’s intimate presence among us. The Omnipotent God left the realm of glory to pitch his tent among us to save us from ourselves. God becomes one of us so as to suffer with us and guide us through every trial.

God Incarnate comes again on Christmas Day 2012, stands up on His Mother’s lap and reminds us that He is our Peace. He is the reason why we can remain joyful in the midst of the anguish of our age. He came not to remove the cross; rather He and His Holy Mother bless us with a sign of the cross. He came….again…..to offer the world the Holy Gift of Christmas…..Himself…. the true and only Peace. He is the Gift of all Gifts for which Our Lady has been preparing the world for over 31 years.

If this is a “new moment” for the apparitions of Medjugorje, then we say, with Marija, “thank you for this message given in a special way, and we will try to pray harder. This is our yes from our heart and our soul. We say, “We are ready and we are here”…to do “whatever He tells us”.

May your words, Little Jesus, remain as strong within us as they are within your servant Marija!

2013

Message of January 25, 2013

"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
As often as our Mother calls us to prayer, I don’t believe we will ever fully comprehend, while on this earth, its’ power and its’ strength. Prayer is an unbreakable bond between the pray-er and his/her Creator, Sustainer … God. Prayer is our life-breath. Through prayer we come to know God intimately. It is in prayer that we find our way to peace and joy and meaning. Prayer strengthens our faith, and our hope because it is here that we taste that the Lord is good.

St. Peter extends us the same invitation that Our Lady has in her January message.
“Come to Him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God; and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” 1Peter 2:4,5

As we approach Lent 2013, it would be good for us to take inventory. Is our ‘coming to Jesus, the living stone’ in prayer building up a solid, unshakeable spiritual house?
Are we that connected and rooted in prayer? Have we become living stones ourselves; that is, images of Jesus – our corner stone?

All throughout Christian history, Jesus has been rejected by human beings caught up in the spirit of the world – and never so much as in our present age. Our culture has removed prayer, the virgin birth, the ten commandments from view. We find ourselves living in a spiritual culture of death fed by laws that perpetuate evil. Our Jesus is still being mock, scorned, scourged and put to death before our very eyes. License is masquerading as freedom as the Sacrament of marriage is being re-defined across our country.

What can we do about it? We can build up our spiritual houses ( our souls) into mighty fortresses of prayer. We can light up our spiritual houses by the way we live. We can be peacemakers in our world. We can serve the needs of the poor and broken hearted. We can visit the imprisoned and teach the ignorant. We can take every opportunity to forgive those transgressions which are difficult to forgive and love the unlovable. We can become prayer warriors for those who have no one who cares for them. We can worship our God in spirit and in truth. We can become the holy priesthood we were meant to be from the moment of our Baptism. In these ways, we give “witness to the beauty of our faith”.

One final story: On Jan. 22, the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that allowed for abortion in the US, we celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the gift of human life – a gift that so many innocent souls have been deprived. Before the altar, flickered 55 candles in honor of the 55 million babies that have been destroyed over the past 40 years.
I was one of three Eucharistic Ministers serving that day. The presider handed me his chalice containing the precious blood to offer to the congregation. When I looked into the chalice, I noticed that the particle broken off from the large Host had taken the shape of a perfect ‘valentine’ heart. It was less than ½ inch in size. It was floating atop the precious blood in the lower right hand side of the chalice. The last person in my line consumed the heart of Christ along with the last sip of precious blood. This person has been a right to life advocate for most of his life!

I asked Jesus what message did he want to convey by way of the heart in His cup. He replied, “In your hands you hold every beating heart that has been bathed in My Blood”.

The world today needs “living stones”. It needs witnesses to the beauty of the Faith. As Lent 2013 approaches, let us commend ourselves to Mary’s care and guidance. This time of Grace, like sand in an hourglass, is running out.

Message of February 25, 2013

"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and your life will become a simple walk towards God. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. (Ephesians 6:12)

Our Lady’s February message comes to us at a time when the whole world has been stunned by Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. These are days of turmoil and unrest. We are bombarded with news of scandal, speculations, assumptions, and opinions. I have heard many reactions that are leaving people feeling insecure, suspicious, worried and anxious. I have read editorials that have been very supportive of the Pope’s decision to step down at a time when his age and health are sapping him of the strength he needs to lead the Church during these tumultuous times. His decision – some authors say -demonstrates his humility and teaches us the power and necessity of prayer and discernment in our lives. Others write that Benedict’s decision will leave the Church looking weak. Some ask, “ how can a Pope retire before death “? I have read locutions in which Jesus and Mary allegedly give very specific details about the next Pope, his selection and his agenda.

In short, our journeys of life have us wandering in the desert where we are hearing many voices. We cannot trust every voice we hear in the desert. It is the hour for prayer and discernment. Given the strengths and weaknesses of human nature, every day is a spiritual battle between good intentions and evil temptations. One of the most subtle of temptations today is to underestimate this struggle. Spiritual battles are no less real than physical battles. These present days find us vulnerable. We need to suit up with our spiritual armor. Our Lady is reminding us in this message that “sin is pulling you towards worldly things” (and attitudes). Sin gains a giant foothold when we feel weak and vulnerable.

These are times when we must put on the mind of God. We may be led to let go of our own opinions. We may be asked to trust in the Divine plan. That in which we have looked for security may disappoint – human institutions, money, possessions, people.

Last week it all seemed to come crashing down on me – our Holy Father resigned, we do not yet have a Bishop, our business manager gave her two week notice, our youth minister is recovering from major surgery, our Religious Education Director gave her notice and our long time housekeeper gave notice of her retirement. It was surreal. I was searching, in prayer, for the missing puzzle piece that may pull me out of my depression.
I did the only thing I knew how to do – witness my love for the Catholic church. I went to the County Jail for the monthly Communion Service. I had no energy….but I went. Only one young lady came to the service that night. She was beautiful! She had never been baptized and she was searching. I answered her questions and shared my faith. My witness was well received. She knew that God had allowed her this stay in the County Jail to get her attention and turn her around. Our time together that night was delightful. Before she left, she asked me if she could sing me a song. I said “sure”. She bowed her head, closed her eyes and sang from the very depths of her soul. Tears streamed down her face and mine as she sang me a Carrie Underwood song, “Jesus Take the Wheel”.
Her heartfelt song was the missing piece for which I had been seeking that week – total surrender.

Our Lady comes this month to remind us that these unprecedented times in which we are living can easily take us off course as we “struggle and spend our energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in us”…. Prayer is our ONLY answer…..simplicity is the only way to holiness and the things of God.

Mother Mary, give us the desire for prayer, the grace to pray, pray, pray as you have asked of us. Let it be for us a joyful encounter with our God as it is for you. Lead each of us along the simple path towards God. Amen.

Message of March 25, 2013

“Dear children! In this time of grace I call you to take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands and to meditate on His passion and death. May your suffering be united in His suffering and love will win, because He who is love gave Himself out of love to save each of you. Pray, pray, pray until love and peace begin to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:
On the Monday of Holy Week 2013, Jesus’ sorrowful Mother calls us to “take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands….”. By “taking the cross” into our hands, we are NOT just casual observers of the event of the Passion and Death of the Lord. We become participators. By taking the Cross into our hands, we get inside the Passion – not just staying with the external sufferings. By taking the Cross into our hands, we enter into the loneliness, the interior pain of rejection and feeling hated, all the anguish within Jesus. By taking the Cross into our hands, we enter into the deepest agony that humans can experience – the ultimate agony of Jesus on the Cross – abandonment by God! By taking the cross into our hands and our hearts, we realize that Jesus loves me so much that he willingly suffers all of this for my rejection and my sins.

Few of us can take the Cross of Jesus into our hands and hearts to this extent. We look from afar. We see a watered-down version of the true Passion when we look upon most Crucifixes. They are too clean – too unmarred! Mel Gibson’s Passion movie and the recent Bible series portrayed a realistic depiction of Jesus suffering. Every spot on Jesus’ sacred body was stained in blood and torn apart from the razor-edged whips. The long thorns did not just set upon His head, they were driven into His skull. Few people can enter into the intimacy of the physical, emotional and spiritual torture that Jesus endured for our sakes. Few of us can just be with Jesus…and stay with Jesus for the duration. It was true then and is still true today. Only His sorrowful Mother, Mary of Magdala and John, the Beloved, remained intimately connected to His passion.

We, like Peter before the coming of the Holy Spirit, resist the Cross – His and ours. To take the Cross of Jesus into our hands raises a question we do not want to answer. What response ought I make? So we resist the question and we resist the answer. Because the answer lies in how present are we willing to be? Our presence is often more important than our faltering words or awkward actions. So, too, to be with Jesus in His Passion describes our prayer response at this time better than any words or actions. The depth of feeling, love and compassion, which allows us to just be there is the ultimate prayer response.

Our Lady calls us to meditate on the Passion; and, certainly, that we do during Holy Week. Our meditation begins within, but should take us outside of ourselves. Our meditation on the Passion of Christ should take us to the sick, the dying, the poor, homeless, uneducated and hungry. Our meditation on the Passion should give us the strength to bear our Good Friday moments. Our meditation should prompt us to live our mortal lives as a daily walk toward eternal life with Christ who is love. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. (1 Corinthians 13:7) These holy days should pull us into the actions that give life and light to a tired and darkened world.

If our meditation on the Passion has not led us to the foot of the Cross with Mary and John…if we could not or would not “take the Cross into our hands”, then we should pray, pray, pray all the more for the grace of peace and love and freedom. These superb gifts of God can only come from embracing the Cross – His and ours.

Our Lady assures us that “love will win because He who is Love gave Himself out of love to save us”.

St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople (A.D. 400) gave the greatest Easter Sermon. Here are some excerpts:

“Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again, for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of Our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. O death, where is your sting....where is your victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ, having risen from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!”

Message of April 25, 2013

“Dear children! Pray, pray, keep praying until your heart opens in faith as a flower opens to the warm rays of the sun. This is a time of grace which God gives you through my presence but you are far from my heart, therefore, I call you to personal conversion and to family prayer. May Sacred Scripture always be an incentive for you. I bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call. ”

Commentary:
The Season of Spring is the best of the Seasons from which to learn the most compelling spiritual lessons. Our Lady delivers this message as the Christian world continues to celebrate the resurrected life of Jesus Christ during the Easter Season which ends at Pentecost.

The world wakes up from it’s winter sleep. The seeds of new life begin to sprout all around us. Nature is teaming with the miracle of new life. The older I get the more I appreciate the miracle of resurrected life that transform the dead branches of trees and flower bushes. I thought of the Creed that we recite every Sunday at Mass- “….and on the third day, He descended into hell….”. Jesus brought the power of His Resurrection to those who had lived and died….and now awaited their Savior. For centuries, they longed to see His radiant light descend into their netherworld and release them from their bondage.

Jesus resurrected power still descends into the hells of our world, the hell of our hardened and burdened hearts, and the winters of existence. He raises us up so that we can see His light and feel his warmth…just like the new buds of spring feel the warmth of the sun and blossom into new life. How do we experience the new life that the Risen Jesus offers? It is through prayer that we are able to receive new life. It is through prayer that we transition into the new springtime – the time of grace that will change everything for us.

This is the Season, the time of grace, for us, God’s flowers, to open to the Son! Because of Mary’s presence in the world, She reminds us that this time is a time of grace – the season for growing. She also reminds us in this message that we are far from her heart. It would seem that worldly matters are still getting in the way of our prayer life. We may be praying, but then we go back to worrying about things we cannot control. We may be praying, but still run after the false god of material things. We may be praying; but we are still falling into the temptations of pessimism or bitterness that the devil offers every day.

Our Lady once again offers us a suggestion – family prayer and Sacred Scripture. Sacred Scripture is our beacon of light in the culture of death that we are now immersed. The inspired Word of God stands as a banner of truth in a world of illusion. In this culture, we need to be grounded in the truth in order to be set free. These are troubled times for the family. So many factors in our culture undermine the family – our domestic Church. Our Lady is tireless in her request for family prayer, knowing that when her Son is invited into a family, His grace, protection and love immediately surround and support that family.

Mary, we thank you for your presence among us and your motherly blessing. Thank you for never giving up on us and always presenting us with the incentive to conversion. Stay with us.

Message of May 25, 2013

“Dear children! Today I call you to be strong and resolute in faith and prayer, until your prayers are so strong so as to open the Heart of my beloved Son Jesus. Pray little children, pray without ceasing until your heart opens to God’s love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you and I pray for your conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:
On Faith:
“Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matt. 17:20)
Jesus addressed these words to his disciples with an edge of frustration. They had been traveling the country side with Jesus witnessing all that he was accomplishing among the people. On the surface, it would seem, they had the faith and the desire to share his ministry among the sick, possessed and lame. Just before Jesus said these words referring to faith the size of the smallest of seeds, the disciples had failed to heal the boy possessed with a demon. Jesus was strong in His words, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you?” When the disciples asked why they had failed in their attempt to heal the boy, Jesus point blank told them it was because of their little faith.

They saw what Jesus did. They heard what He said. They had enough enthusiasm for the ministry. But something was lacking! Perhaps their faith did not take them beyond their human understanding. Maybe they could not accept the theology of the Cross – no pain/no gain…..or…did not understand the Cross which is a portrait of God’s love beyond all telling! Perhaps they had not set their face like flint toward Jerusalem and the way of the cross. They lacked trust and their faith was not ‘resolute’.

In this message, Our Lady calls us to be strong and resolute in faith and prayer. By now, most of us may be able to say that we have the prayer part down pat. Maybe? But how determined are we to stay the course? How unwavering is our faith in times of trial?

Actually, Our Lady is proposing that it IS possible that our prayers can reach supernatural proportions. Our prayers can be strong enough to literally knock down mountains of obstacles to our goal. She already told us that the Rosary can prevent wars and natural disasters. Now she is telling us that our prayers can be so strong as to fling open the Heart of Her Beloved Son! Our prayers can open the door of Heaven!

It would seem that our prayer punch has not yet reached these proportions. I believe the reason why is hidden in the next sentence: “Pray little children, pray without ceasing until your hearts open to God’s love.” Perhaps we are praying as logical adults; and not like little children whose trust is unwavering. Maybe it is because we pray a little and play a lot; or pray a little and work a lot. Perhaps our prayer lacks the power to move mountains because our hearts are still held captive by so many other gods: addictions, attachments, worries, and on and on… Perhaps we do not yet understand the love of our God!

Like Peter, we sink in the waters of faith when confronted with the unprecedented iniquities and natural disasters of our age. (Gosnell abortion clinic murders, Boston bombing, Oklahoma disaster….) Today is the day when our faith and prayers need to be supernaturally strong and resolute. We cannot walk these waters alone. We need Our Lady as our guide, protector and help. If She were not with us, we would, like Peter, sink!

We must pray for the gift of an unwavering, strong faith and persistent prayer as we continue to journey with Mary through the purification, sanctification of all creation and finally, triumphantly to the unification of all God’s children. I believe the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart alluded to at Fatima is the final covenant God will make with His chosen ones. I believe many on the earth today will live to experience this glorious event.

Mary, intercede for us so that we may be counted among those in the Book of Revelation whose robes have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb….and triumphantly march through the gates of Heaven.

Messsage of June 25, 2013

“Dear children! With joy in the heart I love you all and call you to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart so I can draw you still closer to my Son Jesus, and that He can give you His peace and love, which are nourishment for each one of you. Open yourselves, little children, to prayer – open yourselves to my love. I am your mother and cannot leave you alone in wandering and sin. You are called, little children, to be my children, my beloved children, so I can present you all to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:
First and foremost in every Mother’s Heart is the desire to provide for her children what they need to grow into whole human beings. As her infant is placed beneath her heart at the breast, a mothers’ first responsibility is to provide nourishment for her child. A mother would move heaven and earth to provide the necessary nourishment that her son or daughter needs to thrive. As Fr. Paul said in his homily at the 32nd Medjugorje anniversary Mass on June 25th, sometimes we can over-theologize regarding Mary’s role as Mother. She, like all mothers, is just being a mom!

The farther away we get from a magnetic pull, the less attraction we have to the source. As we wander about with the business of our lives, we can get distracted. Our distractions often pull us away from the Source of Love and our peace. Our Lady is just being our ‘mom’! She is present in these apparitions at Medjugorje with Her Heart exposed. She is calling us in this very palpable manner to Her Immaculate Heart. Like children at the breast of their mother, she is gathering us around her Heart. Why? It is to nourish us – just like we were all nourished by our earthly moms. Like our earthly moms, our Heavenly Mom wants abundant life for each of her children. She is just being a mom!

It is only through prayer that we will discover the depth of Her love for each of us. Let me share a personal discovery of my Mother’s love for me. On my drive home from our grand June 25th celebration commemorating the 32nd anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje, I began to experience pain on the left side of my face. The pain intensified moment by moment. I could barely make it into my house. The pain continued to intensify until I could not stand it. I screamed…my cat ran and hid. I paced and prayed. Rather, I begged for Our Lady’s intercession. I reached for a statue of Our Lady that I brought back from Medjugorje on my first pilgrimage in 1988. Three years after I brought it home, it literally came to life! The lips on that statue moved and a spark came out of Her mouth and landed on the snake at Her feet. My daughter witnessed this miracle. I did not. I continued to pace the hall holding the lips of that statue against my face. “Please help me”, I cried! Immediately…..all trace of the horrific pain was gone. Instantly and completely! I opened myself to prayer that evening with confession, Adoration, Rosary, Mass and Benediction followed by a healing service led by Fr. Paul. I begged for Mary’s help in my pain…..and…..out of Love…..She came and helped me. She was just being a mom!

We need to be as desperate as I was that night in my pain and beg for her help when we wander and fall into sin! She said that she cannot leave us in our misery. She said that in this June 25th message. She will not leave us in our misery. She is just being our mom!

She has called each one of us to be her beloved child. She will move Heaven and earth to nourish us with all the graces we need for conversion. She wants to present us to Her Son. She wants eternal happiness for us. She wants to lead us to the joys of Heaven. Our Mother cannot leave us alone. She is just being a mom! What a mom!


Message of July 25, 2013


“Dear children! With joy in my heart I call all of you to live your faith and to witness it with your heart and by your example in every way. Decide, little children, to be far from sin and temptation and may there be joy and love for holiness in your hearts. I love you, little children, and accompany you with my intercession before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Our Lady speaks to us this month as the eyes of the whole world are focused on the 28th World Youth Festival of Faith in Rio de Janeiro. She invites us to tune in to what Pope Francis is telling the ‘children of the world’ in this Year of Faith. This month Our Lady’s words blend with Pope Francis’ words as they invite all the children of the world – both young and old – to “Bota fe – put on faith”

Pope Francis further expounds on Our Lady’s invitation in the July 25th message to the world. “I call all of you to live your faith and to witness it with your heart and by your example in every way”. “Put on faith”: what does this mean? When we prepare a plate of food and we see that it needs salt, we “put on” salt; when it needs oil, you “put on” oil - “to put on” that is, to place on top of, to pour over. And so it is in our life, dear young friends: if we want it to have real meaning and fulfillment, ….I say to each one of you, “Put on faith”, and your life will take on a new flavor, it will have a compass to show you the way: “put on hope” and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark; but luminous; “put on love’ and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful,…..Put on faith, put on hope, put on love! ….. Put on Christ!” in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust; “put on Christ” and you will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy towards the future; “put on Christ” and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life.” (Pope Francis’ address on Copacabana Beach)

Our Lady also admonishes us in this July message to “decide to be far from sin and temptation”….. St. Francis also asked the youth, “….in whom do we place our trust”? If we are not placing our faith, hope and love in Jesus rather than in material things; then we are at the door of sin and temptation! “We are all tempted to put ourselves at the center, to think that we alone build our lives or that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money, and power can give a momentary thrill – the illusion of being happy; but they end up possessing us and making us always hungry to have more. “Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never be disappointed and will remain far away from sin and temptation.

“…..And may there be joy and love for holiness in your hearts”….

Faith accomplishes a revolution in us because it removes us from the center and restores it to God. Faith immerses us in his love and gives us security, strength, and hope. To all appearances, nothing has changed; yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. Peace, consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits of the Holy Spirit, find a home in our heart, and our very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new, it becomes Jesus’ own way of thinking and acting. It is the way of holiness!

The July message is another call from our mother “to live your faith and to witness it with your heart….” Pope Francis echoed the words of the Blessed Mother on Sunday. “Dear young people: “Put on Christ” in your lives. In these days, Christ awaits you in his word: listen carefully to him and your heart will be warmed by his presence; “Put on Christ: he awaits you in the sacrament of Penance, to heal by his mercy the wounds caused by sin. Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness! He never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy! “Put on Christ”: He is waiting for you in his flesh in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his presence and his sacrifice of love, and in the humanity of the many people who will enrich you with their friendship, encourage you by their witness to the faith, and teach you the language of charity, goodness and service…….be joyful witnesses of his love, courageous witnesses of his Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of his light.

Our Lady assures us “…..I love you, little children, and accompany you with my intercession before the Most High.”. With Mary, may we be disciples and missionaries. Like her, may we say, “yes” to God. She is ever ready to intercede for us to the Most High; so that the hearts of her children, both young and old, may be open to loving Jesus and making others love him. Jesus is waiting for our response, and He is counting on us, Pope Francis is counting on us and Our Lady is counting on us. Amen.

Message of August 25, 2013

“Dear children! Also today, the Most High is giving me the grace to be with you and to lead you towards conversion. Every day I am sowing and am calling you to conversion, that you may be prayer, peace, love - the grain that by dying will give birth a hundredfold. I do not desire for you, dear children, to have to repent for everything that you could have done but did not want to. Therefore, little children, again, with enthusiasm say: ‘I want to be a sign to others.’ Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

“Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy”
Ps. 126:5

Our Lady comes to us in the month of August as a Sower. She reminds us that She sows every day – the seeds of the Gospel. All Mary’s messages have been seeds of conversion that she has sown upon the world for over 30 years. Her many messages have been meant to bear great fruit – prayer, peace, and love.

Jesus sent His Mother as a sower of the seed of truth at a time when the whole world is on the brink of annihilation – just as She predicted at Fatima in 1913.
The parable of the sower could read like this:

“At Jesus’ command, Mary, our Mother, came down from Heaven to be among us as God’s last attempt to reach the hearts of a wayward people. She comes with a treasury of grace. For 33 years, Mary has been sowing seeds of repentance, prayer, fasting, peace, and charity in the soil of human hearts. Some seed has fallen on the path of those who have heard but did not understand. So the evil one came and stole what was sown in those hearts. Some of the seed sown by Our Lady fell on rocky ground. These were the people who received her apparitions and messages with an initial rush of joy. But they had no roots – so their ‘experience’ only lasted a short time. When some tribulation or persecution came because of the controversy regarding the apparitions, they immediately fell away. Some of Her seed fell among thorns. These are the many people who have heard the Blessed Mother’s words and responded to them; but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choked out Her graces and the seed sown bore no fruit. But some seed has fallen on rich soil. Hopefully, those reading this commentary are the ones who hear Her words, and understand them, and indeed bear fruit and yields a hundredfold”.

Have we become the grain that has been dying to self and the world over these last 33 years? Are we dying to sin; especially the sin of pride, greed, avarice, sloth, anger and gluttony? Our eyes should have been opening over the years that Our Lady has been with us. We should be opening like a flower to the spiritual realities of God’s life all around us and dying to the illusions presented to us by the great deceiver. Have we been awakening to the needs of people who live among us in great need? Do we respond to the cries of the poor? When people see us do they see the face of God – mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love? The last little pieces of the ‘me syndrome, instant gratification, and the ‘I’ mentality must die before we can , as Our Lady requests, BECOME prayer, peace and love in the world. The red flags are negativity, complaining, judgementalism and indifference.

Our Lady invites us – always – to spiritual freedom which really is conversion. She even cuts us some slack in the August message. She tells us not to get stuck in the things we could have done but did not. Rather, she wants us to have the humility to acknowledge that we will never be able to help everyone and do everything. Even though we are human and often weak; we can still say “with enthusiasm: I want to be a sign to others” and bear fruit a hundredfold;because the sower of the seed is our tearful Mother who looks upon this distressed world with sadness. But because we are the hearts who have received her grace and responded with love, we will one day, with our Mother, reap with cries of joy!

Message of September 25, 2013

"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your relationship with prayer be a daily one. Prayer works miracles in you and through you, therefore, little children, may prayer be a joy for you. Then your relationship with life will be deeper and more open and you will comprehend that life is a gift for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:

“Do we truly pray? Without an abiding relationship with God, it is difficult to live an authentic and consistent Christian life.” (Pope Francis)

Besides Our Lady, Pope Francis is a perfect example of someone whose life reflects authentic prayer. He daily demonstrates the fruit of his holiness through his actions. What he tweets every day is surely food for our souls; but his actions are even more important than what he tweets. He is authentic. He teaches us by his actions what it means to be an authentic Christian. His words are backed up by how he lives in service to the poor and downtrodden: “Where we find hate and darkness, may we bring love and hope…” Pope Francis tells us to ask the Lord to give us the gentleness to look upon the poor with understanding and love, devoid of human calculation and fear.

Prayer is an encounter with our living God. When we become aware of the shallowness of our own inner experience, we can finally open ourselves in spirit and in truth to the real presence of God within our hearts. Prayer becomes a sacred communion with the Living God within. Authentic prayer can be likened to a Divine Energy that flows in and through us. This God-life animates us to action. It is no longer we who live and move and have our being. It is God who acts in us. This is the fruit of authentic prayer. This is the prayer that works miracles in us and in the world.

This is the abundant life that Jesus prayed that we would all experience - the life of the Spirit moving us to change our world. Authentic prayer is like a light that shines in the darkness. Prayer changes our perspective on what life really means. In prayer we realize why we were created and “our relationship with life will be deeper and more open”.

Our Lady reminds us that no matter how difficult our path of life becomes, we should know that life is a gift. Before our “relationship with life can be deeper and more open” we must comprehend why God gave us the gift of life. What we make of it is our gift back to God. We were born into this world of matter and form so that we could respond to God’s gift of love through our lives lived in service to one another. Even greater is the gift of new life that God bestowed on each one of us through our Baptism. Through Baptism we share in God’s Divine Life. Pope Francis reminds us, “We do not become Christians by ourselves. Faith is above all a gift from God which is given to us in and through the Church.”

Authentic prayer flows from the heart and embraces the whole world. Pope Francis also gave us a ‘Five Finger Prayer’ to help us on our way:

1. The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation”.
2. The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
3. The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
5. And finally, we have our smallest finger. The smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective. And also, you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

So…. prayer is an encounter with God and the vital breath of the believer's soul. God meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His life, but that cannot happen in the fullness that Christ offers without prayer.

Message of October 25, 2013

“Dear children! Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. Prayer works miracles in you and through you. Therefore, little children, in the simplicity of heart seek of the Most High to give you the strength to be God’s children and for Satan not to shake you like the wind shakes the branches. Little children, decide for God anew and seek only His will – and then you will find joy and peace in Him. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Our Lady has been unpacking the meaning of prayer and prayer’s absolute necessity in our lives for over 30 years. She brings us deeper into the power and mystery of prayer in this message.

The first requirement is to “open” ourselves. Letting go and letting God is not as easy as it seems! We hang on tightly to that which we do not want to lose – people, possessions, money, power, fame, health. Through the mix of life we root our security in what we have acquired forgetting the purpose for which God created us. Our hold can be tight. Our control can be firm. It is not easy to loosen our grip on life. Because our life and what we have is all gift from a good God, it seems a paradox that we are told in Scripture:
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life” (John 12:25). Our Lady is helping us “lose our life” in prayer. She desires that we immerse ourselves in prayer so that our loving God who is the giver of all good gifts will transform our lives and make them fit for eternal life. Before this can happen, we must give up control. We must let Jesus take the wheel. We must approach the Lord in prayer with the trust of a little child.

When we release our firm grip on the circumstances of our lives with faith and trust, Jesus assures us that our prayers will be answered. “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea, it will be done. Whatever you ask in prayer with faith, you will receive.” Our Lady reminds us this month that if we have this simplicity of heart, prayer will work miracles in and through us. Prayer remains first and foremost the most important prerequisite of holiness.

I have heard it said that life isn’t for the faint-hearted! The older I get the more I understand the wisdom of this saying. We are besieged by temptations and lures in the world. We are down trodden by all the negative news – terrorism and killings at home and abroad. We are broken-hearted as we must journey with those we love who are sick and dying. We must be ready for the decline of our own health. We are often fearful and anxious, lost and confused. Our Lady reminds us that we need the strength that can only come from the Most High. Through all the triumphs and tragedies of life, Satan is prowling like a roaring lion seeking to destroy God’s children. She reminds us that we are being shaken like the wind shakes the branches. We need to wear prayer like an armor against the wind of Satan.

Scripture, too, reminds us of the battle with which we are engaged. “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers….”(Luke 22 31-32)

Our Lady’s last piece of advice to us this month is an invitation to “decide for God anew and seek only His will”. Our Mother has once again opened up the only path to joy and peace. Her invitation is our challenge to open our hearts to prayer and cling to faith, hope and love as though we were drifting in the ocean with these our life preservers.

 

Message of November 25, 2013

“Dear Children! Today I call all of you to prayer. Open the doors of your heart profoundly to prayer, little children, to prayer with the heart, and then the Most High will be able to act upon your freedom and conversion will begin. Your faith will become firm so that you will be able to say with all your heart: ‘My God, my all’. You will comprehend, little children, that here on earth everything is passing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

Our world relentlessly draws us into noise, activity and complexity. Ever present distractions lure us into stressful living. All the while, our spirits crave greater tranquility. We need quietness to thrive. We need to “get away” for a while to learn the art of silence.
Our Lady is with us, guiding us through our contemporary world, which is hallmarked by cybernetic speed and frenzied activity, where we are bombarded with an information overload. We are consumed with email, texting and an overkill of excessive noise and activity. We are often trapped in a cycle of business, productivity, speed, and material success.
To counteract this age of too many decibels, our Mother Mary presents us with a better way. The way of silence and stillness – the way of prayer of the heart. Our Lady understands the deep need of the human heart. She seeks to place us, with her, on the spiritual path to the “inner desert” of the heart where God awaits us. She fully understands the need for inner silence in our lives.
“Nothing is so like God as silence”. (Meister Eckhart)
“There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak”. (Eccl. 3:7)
“If we really want to pray we must first learn to listen, for in the silence of the heart God speaks”. (T.S. Elliot)

Silence is an absolute prerequisite to prayer of the heart. It is not only necessary for us to thrive, it is necessary for us to be able to make a full response to God in love. Silence gives our spirit room to breathe, room to be and opens the doors of our hearts to “become” what we are meant to be. When we arrive in our inner sanctuary of the heart, we do not have to use words, we are not acting out any of our roles or fulfill any expectations. We are free. When we come before the living God within, unencumbered with the noise of our world, we are detached for a time. It is then that the Spirit can “act upon our freedom and conversion can begin” – as Our Lady says in this message.

We have a need to withdraw from time to time to gain perspective, to look beyond our roles and set aside our duties to get in touch with our truest identity and purpose.
Jesus had such a need: “….He withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by Himself. …. After doing this, He went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening, He was there alone….” (Matthew 14:23)

Our Mother tells us this month the fruit of this profound prayer of the heart:
”Your faith will become firm”…….
Everything else – all the noise, our jobs and titles, our material possessions – will become mere shadows of a greater reality. The love of God will become the most important reality in our lives, to the extent that we will say, with Mary, “My God, my all”…..
Mary shows us that the more God increases in our hearts, everything else will decrease….and “we will comprehend that here on earth everything is passing”.
Let us pray that we will be given the grace to respond to Our Lady this month by heeding the call of the psalmist “Be still and know that I am God” and open wide the doors of our hearts most profoundly!

Message of December 25, 2013

“Dear Children, I am carrying you to the King of Peace that He may give you His peace. You, little children, pray, pray, pray. The fruit of prayer will be seen on the faces of the people who have decided for God and His Kingdom. I, with my Son Jesus, bless you all with a blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

It’s Christmas! Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth….
Mary does not come to us this day empty handed. She never does. But this Christmas there seems to be a role reversal. We expect her to come, radiant with motherly joy, with her newborn babe in her arms. This Christmas, WE, her other children, are in her arms. She is bringing ALL OF US to her Son, the King of Peace!
Jesus told his disciples before his Ascension, “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, I am going away and I will come back to you… I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
Our Lady’s presence among us remains a visible and palpable sign of the assurance of peace that Jesus left his followers over 2000 years ago before He ascended back to Heaven. Over the centuries, Mary has been the bearer of Peace through her many apparitions and because of Her divine maternity for all God’s children bestowed upon Her at the foot of the Cross of Her divine Son. She has identified herself as the Queen of Peace.
The greatest gift of Christmas is Peace. So Mary carries each one of us to the King of Peace so that we may obtain this great, extravagant Christmas gift – much like we carry our children and grand-children to see Santa Claus! She looks upon all of us from her realm of glory. She sees all the frown lines on sad faces. She sees all the wrinkle lines on worried faces. She sees a collage of faces devoid of peace. She also looks with joy upon all the faces that radiate the fruit of prayer. Her heart is gladdened by the sight of all of us “who have decided for God and His Kingdom”. She beholds us all – those of us who have unwrapped the gift of Peace through prayer – and she sees those of us who have not yet unwrapped our greatest gift of all. These are the people who were busy about unwrapping all the other stuff under their trees. The stuff that perishes. These are the people who substitute activity for prayer. These are the people who would rather watch television than pray…or partake in a thousand other things rather than pray. The Queen of Peace and the King of Peace see all these faces. They want the best for us. They want us to have peace – the peace that the world cannot give.
During this Season of Peace, our whole community had to deal with a tragedy. A young man was killed suddenly in a snow mobile accident. We are a small community and so we grieved with the family throughout the wake and funeral. A mother lost her son; yet remained a pillar of strength, light and faith during the dark, despairing hours that followed the accident. In the wake of all the tears, emotions and desperation, I heard her say, “So many do not pray….how can they not know prayer?”
Our Lady told us in this Christmas 2013 message….”the fruit of prayer will be seen on the faces of the people who have decided for God and His Kingdom”. Our Lady must have looked upon Kory’s mom with so much love and pride! She bore this fruit of prayer and was a witness to many in our community of just what prayer can do. Peace – beyond human understanding – shown on her face and the miracle of the Christmas Gift was revealed!

2014

Message of January 25, 2014

“Dear Children! Pray, pray, pray for the radiance of your prayer to have an influence on those whom you meet. Put the Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your families and read it, so that the words of peace may begin to flow in your hearts. I am praying with you and for you, little children, that from day to day you may become still more open to God’s will. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

As I pondered this message for days, I was struck with the most common element of most of Our Lady’s messages to the world over the past 34 years. That is the three-fold invitation to ‘Pray, pray, pray. As I thought about this, I wondered if her repetition to pray three times had a significance. If our Mother had simply said, “Pray for the radiance..”; rather than “pray, pray, pray for the radiance….”, would her message have meant something different? My pondering led me to consider the meaning of numbers in Sacred Scripture.

In the Bible, the number three represents that which is solid, real, substantial, and something in its completeness. This number usually indicates something of importance or significant in God’s plan of salvation by identifying an important event in Salvation History. This number operates as a “sign-post” in Scripture study for the reader to pay attention to the significance of the next event. Could Our Lady’s three-fold invitation to pray be calling us to examine the way in which we pray?


Our Lady has also asked us to honor the Sacred Scripture in our homes. To show that God is at the center of their lives, many families enthrone the Bible, the Word of God, in a visible place in their homes. By placing the Sacred Scriptures in a prominent place decorated with flowers, and art, and by gathering at this spot for daily prayer, families show that God is present and active through his Word.
Enthroning the bible in your home is easy. Simply pick a place where the Bible can be honored. The Bible should be placed where it will be seen regularly, but the location should be apart from the noise and confusion of the family entertainment. Place the Bible, opened to a favorite passage or the readings of the day, on a table or shelf. Decorate the area around the Bible with a cloth, flowers, and/or a candle. When you gather as a family to enthrone the Bible, you can use this prayer or another of your choice:
“We promise to respect the word of God in our midst. We will read and reflect on it as a family of God. May we draw from it inspiration for our decisions, strength for our work, and comfort in times of suffering, Jesus, help us to be faithful to our promise, you who live forever and ever. Amen

The mystery and miracle of Mary’s maternal mediation was given her at the great Feast of the Annunciation. We are her children. She wants us to live each and every day of our lives in the peace of the Resurrection. The Mother of Christ presents herself as the spokeswoman of her Son’s will, pointing out those things which must be done so that the salvific power of the Messiah may be manifested. She remains with us all; opening the eyes of our souls more and more to the Divine Will of her Son.

“Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary, open our hearts fully to the will of God and grant us your peace. Amen

Message of February 25, 2014

“Dear children! you see, hear and feel that in the hearts of many people there is no god. they do not want him, because they are far from prayer and do not have peace. you, little children, pray – live god’s commandments. you be prayer, you who from the very beginning said ‘yes’ to my call. witness god and my presence and do not forget, little children: i am with you and i love you. from day to day i present you all to my son jesus. thank you for having responded to my call.”

Commentary:

“I am sending you as sheep among wolves. So be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. (Matthew 10:16)
We see that in the hearts of many people there is no God! We see images of global uprisings – almost daily now on the world news channels. We see heart wrenching images of brutality – beatings, shootings, animal abuse. We see images of promiscuity on the big screen.

We hear the sound of the silent screams of the innocent victims of abortion and child abuse. We hear the profanity of rage – road rage and anger. We hear the bickering in families: brother against brother, daughter against mother, etc. We hear lies perpetrated by the father of lies.

We feel the corruption that comes from power in government. We feel the hopelessness and the desperation of a world without God. We feel the shallowness of the human person focused solely on the superficial.

Our Lady comes to tell us, “You see, hear and feel that in hearts of many people there is no God”. She sees these Godless hearts as well. But Mary sees so much more. She sees souls falling like leaves off a tree into hell. She sees the legions of demons prowling the earth seeking the ruin of souls. She sees the damnation of those hearts who die in their selfishness. She hears their cries and feels their pains – eternally!

The people that Our Lady is referring are cut off from their Source. They have no life line to God. They do not pray. They do not acknowledge God as the source of all that exists. They do not recognize the Eucharist as Jesus’ great promise to remain with us always – even to the end of time. They do not talk to God because, for them, there is no God. Hearts that do not know God are empty hearts. They are hearts filled with junk – the stuff of life that corrodes, vanishes like the grass. These are the hearts that are filled with illusions and sustained by that which comes to a sudden and abrupt end. They do not know peace. They do not know the Prince of Peace.

Our Lady calls us this month to be the light in their darkness. We, who pray and live God’s commandments; especially the commandment to love are lights. We are like a lamp set upon a mountain top. We are called to shine with the truths of the Gospel. Our Mother asks us to “be prayer”. We are asked to be the communicator of God’s Word. Our Lady has heard our “yes” to her call. We are called to “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks us for a reason for our hope”. (1Peter 3:15)

We have been sent out as sheep among wolves. She does not leave us alone as we witness God with our lives. Mary’s presence remains with us always and Her love for each of us is immeasurable. She presents each one to Her Son every day. She augments this presentation. She takes our humble offerings and makes them something beautiful!
It is for us to remember our mission to be witnesses – lights in the darkness – when we come heart to heart with people who do not know God.

Mary, give us hearts aflame for people who are lost. Let us see Jesus on the Cross thirsting for them. Let us hear Him calling us to feed His sheep and let us feel your presence with us always. Amen

Message of March 25, 2014

"Dear children! I am calling you anew: begin the battle against sin as in the first days, go to confession and decide for holiness. The love of God will begin to flow through you into the world, peace will begin to rule in your hearts and God's blessing will fill you. I am with you and intercede for all of you before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6:10-12)

The Church militant – that is what we are! Some people do not even realize they are in a battle! Yet Our Lady's short; yet powerful message this month reminds us that indeed we are in "the battle against sin". Appropriately, Mary gives us this short and loving message during Lent, the Holy Season that prepares us for the battle in which we are all engaged.

During Lent, we focus our gaze on the Cross. We begin to realize that the crosses we carry throughout our lives are united to the Cross of Christ. Our attention turns to sin because we cannot separate sin from the cross any more than we can separate cause and effect. Our sinfulness is the cause that nailed Jesus on the Cross. Through Jesus' passion and death, He crosses a deep and very dangerous chasm of sin, evil, and death. He invites us to follow Him by carrying our crosses keeping our eyes focused on the will of the Father. Doing so insures us that the abyss will not win. Death will not have the last word!

We need to "decide for holiness". That decision begins with admitting to ourselves that we are sinners in need of forgiveness . Lent is the perfect opportunity to reconcile with God and with one's neighbor. Our decision for holiness leads us to the confessional where we make peace with ourselves, our relatives and neighbor, and our Father in Heaven. With the Prodigal Son we say, "I shall get up and go to my Father and I shall say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son….."
Our Lady reminds us that "the love of God will begin to flow through you into the world".

During Lent, we seek to grow in faithfulness to our covenant with God. The law of the covenant given in Christ is summed up in the two great commandments: love of God and love of neighbor. The test of our love for God is the quality of our love for other people. The measure of our Lenten observance will be our growth in love.

Our Lady leaves us with the splendid rainbow after the storm – "peace will begin to rule in your hearts and God's blessing will fill you". Our tombs of darkness and sin will be overcome by God's peace and blessing. She promises to be with us to intercede for us and to celebrate our Easter, to glorify God with us in our transformation and freedom – our Lenten journey from death of sin to new life in Christ. Alleluia!

Message of April 25, 2014

"Dear Children! Open your hearts to the grace which God is giving you through me, as a flower that opens to the warm rays of the sun. Be prayer and love for all those who are far from God and His love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you before my Son Jesus, and I love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Our Lady brings us an Easter message this month! As she delivers her message, we are just beginning the Easter Season of 50 days to reflect on what the Resurrection of Jesus means in our lives. We are awaiting the resurrection experience taking place in nature as new life begins to spring forth from the earth – a time when all of nature responds to the warmth of the sun that rises in the east every day.

Our Lady's Easter message to her children follows in the next sentence: "Be prayer and love for all those who are far from God and His love". Just as the flowers respond to the rising sun – blooming and spreading the fragrance of new life into the air – so too, we are called to rise out of the lethargy of our winter. Jesus has risen! The warmth of His resurrection gives us life and calls us to bloom as Christians. We open to the warmth of the Risen Son by being prayer and love for those who still remain in the tombs of their darkness and sin.

Notice that Our Lady did not just call us to 'say' prayers and 'do' acts of love for those who are far away from God. She draws us deeper into the mystery of the Resurrection. Our very being must reflect who we are and what we believe. Mary invites us to BE prayer and Be love!

How are we to BE prayer? Certainly not just with our lips. We are called to be fully engaged – body and soul – in the work of salvation. Take a look at Pope Francis. He does not stay hidden away in his apartment to pray for souls. He moves out into the trenches of human misery. He embraces the disabled. He kisses the wounds of those who are beaten down by life. He visits the prisons and washes the feet of the inmates – not to bless and condone what they have done to deserve incarceration; but to bless and affirm the prisoner! Salvation is for all! – says Pope Francis. In showing up on the fringes of society, the Pope BECOMES PRAYER FOR THE LOST.

How are we to BE love for the lost? So few understand love. Too few know love! Love is never controlling or domineering. Love is not opinionated. Love does not shun, insult, belittle or pass judgment on the poor in spirit. Love is the only force that will open the door to Truth. Love is the great power that lifts the soul out of its' comfort zone. Love seeks out the weary, the lost and confused. The power of love heals the sick and the dying of body and soul. Love leads into the trenches of humanity's sickness. Love's scent is often the stench of sin – an illness from which no human being is exempt. Love kisses the lepers open wounds. Love leads into the prisons of addictions and preaches a word of freedom. Love leads to where you do not want to go – to heal, teach, and minister in Jesus' name. Love humbles. It kneels at the feet of all who need washing in the rivers of living waters. Love has a Face – Jesus Christ Crucified! To know love…..to understand love, the ego must be put to death. The ego, that ferocious force that holds the heart captive. Who loves like this? Yet, that is what our Mother has called us do.

Mary and Jesus go before us. They are examples of what it means to be love and prayer at our very essence. They are our teachers who love us immeasurably. Our Lady intercedes for us always. She will never give up on us. How can we fail?

Message of May 25, 2014

"Dear Children! Pray and be aware that without God you are dust. Therefore, turn your thoughts and heart to God and to prayer. Trust in His love. In God's spirit, little children, you are all called to be witnesses. You are precious and I call you, little children, to holiness, to eternal life. Therefore, be aware that this life is passing. I love you and call you to a new life of conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call."

I write this reflection as I am preparing for the Liturgy for the great Feast of Pentecost. Our Lady's May message makes for a fitting prelude to the Feast of Pentecost and what this great event means in each of our lives.

Our Catholic Church can be compared to a magnificent lighthouse. When we have gone adrift, the Light of the Catholic Church guides us back to solid ground. Its' light beams steady and bright to remind us to stay alert…."be aware", as Our Lady tells us. We have everything we need to stay alert. The Liturgies of our Church help us to remember that we are dust and unto dust we shall return and to remain faithful to what we are and where we are going.

The Church doesn't even wait until people are getting older and preparing for the end of human life to remind them of their mission and ultimate goal. When we are baptized, we receive a share of God's own Spirit, we are clothed with a white garment to remind parents to keep this garment unstained and bring that dignity into everlasting life. We are given a lighted candle at our Baptism and told to keep this light burning brightly as we go out to meet him when he comes for us.

I attended a beautiful Catholic wedding this past weekend. On this day when the young couple are so engrossed in the new life they have just begun, the priest reminded them that their goal is the life to come. Their main purpose from this day forward is to be a helper in the salvation of the other.

The seven Sacraments of the Church are ever present reminders of our true purpose and the mission that each of us undertook on the day of our Baptism, our 'birthday' into God's family. Despite the fact that in the vibrancy of youth, when it is dangerous to feel invincible, the Church stands as a Beacon – a witness – to the real nature of matter and form. Yet, we still forget as we get caught up in the treasures of this world that perish.

As we celebrate the birthday of our Church on Pentecost Sunday, it is good to take Our Lady's May message to heart. She reminds us that we have been called to be witnesses to what we know to be true and have seen with the eyes of our heart. She reminds us that apart from God we can do nothing. Apart from God we are nothing but dust.

Message of June 25, 2014

"Dear Children, The Most High is giving me the grace that I can still be with you and to lead you in prayer towards the way of peace. Your heart and soul thirst for peace and love, for God and His joy. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray and in prayer you will discover the wisdom of living. I bless you all and intercede for each of you before my Son Jesus.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"Get wisdom, get understanding! Do not forget or turn aside from the words I utter. Forsake her not, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will safeguard you; The beginning of wisdom is : get wisdom; at the cost of all you have, get understanding. Extol her, and she will exalt you; she will bring you honors if you embrace her; She will put on your head a graceful diadem; a glorious crown will she bestow on you." Proverbs 4:5-9

These verses from the Book of Proverbs speak of the eloquence and efficacy of Wisdom! I wonder if any of us, born with a fallen human nature, would prefer the Wisdom of God over the wisdom of the world without grace from above. Yet, our Lady comes every month for 33 years, to offer us this grace.

So many of us still believe that it is better to be healthy than sick, to have money rather than be poor, to have the security of our things rather than lose everything in a natural disaster. In truth, the same everlasting God who takes care of us in health and wealth also takes care of us in sickness and poverty. Yet, we cling to our worldly securities. We worry about the future leaving us to ponder what role faith and trust have in our everyday experience of life.

This month Mary tells us that God is allowing her to remain with us still. "the Most High is giving me the grace that I can still be with you…" We have a patient God…..He is waiting for us to convert – to have a change of heart – to gain "wisdom of living". Things are not yet as they ought to be! We are not yet who we ought to be! She tells us that "your heart and soul thirst for peace and love, for God and His joy". She delivers this message to us – a culture that has everything. We have the technology that caters to instant gratification. At a click, we can obtain knowledge, material things and answers to our questions. Yet, our Mother comes to remind us – as if we didn't already feel the emptiness in our hearts – that we are still thirsty. The more of what the world offers, the more we want. All that we have is not working for us.

"Your heart and soul thirst for peace and love, for God and His joy"…. Thus, our Mother tells us what we really need and want. She reminds us that our hearts will always be restless in the world of stuff. They will only find rest in God. We need this reminder! And so, She remains with us still to lead and guide us toward that which we yearn – peace, love and joy.

She has told us a million times how to find God – and in finding God – discover peace, love and joy. She will repeat it until we get it! It is through prayer – the prayer of unconditional surrender. We have heard Her say, "Little children, pray, pray, pray…." She does not mean to repeat words, to manipulate God through prayer, to beg and bargain. She means for us to make, "thy will be done" our own. She leads us on the path to surrender and ultimately to "wisdom of living". Wisdom enlarges the heart. Wisdom will lead to freedom. This is what Mary wants for us. She is leading us by the hand. Let us grasp it tightly and not let go. She blesses us, her little children, and intercedes for us always before the Throne of God. Mary, our Mother, give us the grace of Godly wisdom that will lead us to peace, the graceful diadem, a glorious crown that Wisdom will bestow. Amen

Message of July 25, 2014
"Dear Children! You are not aware of the graces that you are living at this time in which the Most High is giving you signs for you to open and convert. Return to God and to prayer, and may prayer begin to reign in your hearts, families and communities, so that the Holy Spirit may lead and inspire you to every day be more open to God's will and to His plan for each of you. I am with you and with the saints and angels intercede for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"…..These days are the time of punishment when all the Scriptures are fulfilled…..There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. …..Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:22,25-28,36)

Our Lady calls our attention to the fact that we are living in times of great graces and signs that the Most High is giving us.

When we tune in to the breaking news casts, we become aware, daily, that all of nature seems to be rebelling. We are inundated with news of wars and rumors of war. We learn of severe weather: unprecedented, billion dollar flooding events, mudslides, raging wild fires due to droughts, quakes around the world, tornadoes in areas that are not normally prone to them. Unusually heavy rainfall, fires and all these natural disasters have overflowed rivers and damaged roads, structures and homes around the world and caused massive evacuations. Currently there are 25 countries and 152 militia-guerrillas, separatist groups and anarchic groups involved in wars around the globe. Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule – scores killed in Gaza City. US says Russia violated historic nuclear missile treaty and calls this a breach of a "very serious matter". Our Lady asks us this month, …."you are not aware…..at this time the Most High is giving you signs"!

How can we not be aware? The signs all around us are meant to open our hearts and convert us…before it is too late! How should we be responding in the wake of such unprecedented signs? Through prayer…..prayer must "reign in your hearts, families and communities". What is usually reigning in hearts, homes and communities? St. Luke exhorts us to be vigilant, "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life…."(Luke 21:36) Many of us become lethargic from our work, our daily stresses. We think about prayer. We make our feeble attempts at prayer. But we are too tired to devote everything to prayer so that prayer "reigns" (becomes most important) in our lives. We become 'drunk' on material things, money, homes, daily tasks, worry and so much more. Is the will of God the most important thing in our lives? Are we too distracted to see the signs that God has promised would precede His second coming?

"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end. Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky." (Luke 21:9-11)

At Kibeho in Rwanda, an alleged seer once asserted that major events would come upon the world. Jesus said to the seer, Segastashya:
"Today this world is full of hatred and you will know that the time of My return is near, that I am on My way. When you hear of and see the wars of religion, know then that I come, for nothing will be able to stop these wars."

In the midst of all this, including persecution and calamity after calamity, the greatest sign of all, the greatest grace of all comes to us through our Mother, Mary. "A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under Her feet and on Her head, a crown of twelve stars" is sent from Heaven to warn, teach, inspire and guide all her children to safety. Where evil abounds, grace prevails through the direction and the love of our Mother.

It is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that the Holy Spirit will be unleashed upon this world to prepare the way for the fulfillment of God's plan – not only for each of us individually; but for the whole world. Our Mother assures us that She, with all the angels and saints, intercedes for us.

It is for us to remain prayerful and vigilant.

"Amen I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away; but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21:32-33)

Message of August 25, 2014

"Dear Children! Pray for my intentions, because Satan wants to destroy my plan which I have here and to steal your peace. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray that God can act through each of you. May your hearts be open to God's will. I love you and bless you with my motherly blessing.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its head were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth". Rev. 12:1-4

Satan has always wanted to "destroy" Mary's plan! Legend has it that Lucifer – the brightest, most beautiful Angel in Heaven could not bear the thought that a Woman, a creature of God, would hold such a prominent place in God's Plan. So, he rebelled. His pride went before his fall. And so, he and a third of the angels who aligned with Lucifer, fell from the skies and became the epitomy of pride, disobedience and sin that would befall mankind from the creation of Adam and Eve until the end of time. And so….the battle of all battles began with the Woman clothed with the sun and her male child, Jesus and all the rest of her children, US!

Mary's plan is God's plan. She tells us this month that the devil wants to destroy God's Plan. It was God's plan that Mary should fulfill the Fatima apparitions through Her work in Medjugorje. It makes sense, then, that Medjugorje is the target of Satan's revenge. He will, and has, tried to discredit the authenticity of Mary's presence and messages. He has pitted bishop against priests in support of the apparitions. He has arranged for banns to be placed on pilgrimages. Satan has thrown up obstacles for the past 33 years.

If Medjugorje is a modern day symbol for the tree of life; then we can be sure the devil will be after the fruits that have been born from the 'tree'! We are those fruits! We are engaged in a spiritual battle to end all battles.. Satan's best work will not be accomplished in Medjugorje. It will be with Her fruits – Mary's children. We are in the front lines of battle. We will be deluged with doubts, anxiety, bitterness and dryness. We will be tempted to give up on the course Our Lady has set us upon. We will be tempted to become lax in our prayer time. We will be tempted to indulge ourselves in the materialistic world. In essence, the dragon is standing before the woman who is giving birth to God's children in order to devour us and steal our peace.

Our Lady reminds us not to fall asleep in the fox hole! Rather, "pray, pray, pray" for Her intentions and allow God to act in us. God can and will only act in us if our hearts are open. A prideful heart cannot open to God's will. It cannot let go of the things that hold it captive. A humble heart will automatically open to God's will because it will always be aware that of itself – it can do nothing. We are just children! Our Lady reminds us that every time she speaks publicly. Children are totally dependent upon their parents. We, too, are totally dependent upon God alone. And so, we must pray and trust as though our very lives depend upon it. Because they do!

"But the Woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of …The serpent, however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. But the earth helped the woman…..Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus." Rev. 12:14-17

Fellow soldiers in Mary's army, we are at war! Let us take up our shields of prayer and humility and march forward in the love and blessing of our Mother, our General, our Protectress, and our Victory.

Message of September 25, 2014

"Dear Children! Also today I call you to also be like the stars, which by their light give light and beauty to others so they may rejoice. Little children, also you be the radiance, beauty, joy and peace – and especially prayer – for all those who are far from my love and the love of my Son Jesus. Little children, witness your faith and prayer in joy, in the joy of faith that is in your hearts; and pray for peace, which is a precious gift from God. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Commentary:
Gazing up at the stars on a clear night never fails to raise my heart and mind to God, the Creator of this vast universe. I never before gave thought to their construct, or life cycle. Rather, I enjoy the stars for their beauty and radiance. In my heart, the Lord reminds me that their light will never be overcome by the darkness.

This month, Our Lady calls us to be like the stars. She asks us to be radiant, beautiful, joyful and peaceful. Before we can be like the stars, I think it is important for us to know a little something about the construct of a star and what actually causes it's luminosity. I read some facts about the stars – interesting, especially when we compare those facts to our own spiritual make-up.

First, a star is a massive luminous sphere of plasma held together by it's own gravity.
* We are bodies of flesh, bone, muscle held together by all the connecting tissue. Gravity keeps us earthbound.

A star releases energy that traverses the stars interior and then radiates to outer space.

* Because of sanctifying grace, our spirits are filled with God-energy that cannot be contained within our bodies. Rather this God-life radiates out to those around us.


The total mass of the star is the principal determinant of it's evolution and eventual fate.


* What is our 'mass'? Is it earthly or is it spiritual? What matters to us? Have we filled our hearts with the love of God….or love of the world? What is our principal activity? Concerns for our physical well being or our eternal well being? Do we pray or are we busy about many things? At our core – are we dense with the grace of the Sacraments, the effects of prayer, the love of God and our fellow human travelers? Is our faith strong enough and visible enough to evolve to the next generation. What will be our eventual fate??

Once the stellar core is sufficiently dense, energy is released.

* Once we are sufficiently rooted in prayer and grace, our effect in the world is transformative. It is then that God will be able to use us to bring the good news out into our world. Once we are grounded in love, we can be what Our Lady asks of us –

Beautiful, radiant, peaceful and joyful.

The star then evolves recycling a portion of it into the interstellar environment where it will contribute to the formation of a new generation of stars.

* If we, Jesus disciples, are ever going to spread the Gospel Message of Love to the next generation of disciples then we must become prayer for those who are far from the love of God. The forming of new stars in the Kingdom depend on us - on our obedience to the Law of God and His Church and on our strict adherence to the voice of Mary in our midst.

The luminosity of the star emanates from its core. Our luminosity also emanates from our core – the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in our hearts.

Mother of God, intercede for this world torn asunder by violence, terrorism, immorality. In the name of political correctness and apathy, we have lost our way and compromised our Christian values. Our country has become the prodigal son. Help us find our way through the thick darkness that has spread everywhere. Send the 'Stars' that you have formed out to those who are far from the love of God. Let their radiance pierce the darkness and restore peace.

Praised be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Amen

Message of October 25, 2014

"Dear children! Pray in this time of grace and seek the intercession of all the saints who are already in the light. From day to day may they be an example and encouragement to you on the way of your conversion. Little children, be aware that your life is short and passing. Therefore, yearn for eternity and keep preparing your hearts in prayer. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you, especially for those who have consecrated themselves to me and to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Commentary:
Our Lady's October message to the world calls us to reflect on the upcoming Solemnity of All Saints. We are all a part of God's grand plan of salvation. We are the Communion of Saints: The Church triumphant in Heaven – The Church suffering in purgatory – The Church militant on earth. We are all one Church united under Christ. Our Lady calls us to be aware of this union by asking us to seek the intercession of all the saints who already bask in the Light of the beatific vision.

This beautiful reminder assures us that we are never alone. If we could just live in this reality life could be easier for all of us. Our Faith would be firmer, our hope would be surer and our love would be undivided. We have 'BFF's' – (best friends forever) who are present to us day to day. Their lives and struggles are our examples. Their difficulties assure us that saints are not born – they are formed through the obstacles, challenges and sufferings of life. Grace helps them to persevere through their way of the Cross. Their lives encourage us; but not only through their stories. They encourage us through actual grace that permits them to be present to us when we call upon them. We have read many stories about the roses that St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus, sends to those who pray her novena. How many items have been found due to the intercession of St. Anthony? St. Jude and St. Rita (the saints attributed to difficult cases) have miraculously interceded in difficult situations. In fact, we have a Saint in Heaven designated for everything that ails us! What more could we ask for?

On this Solemnity of All Saints, we should ask for their help in our individual conversions. We are the Church militant who are engaged in battle. Our battle is with the powers and principalities who comprise the Devil's army. We cannot fight this spiritual battle alone. We need all the help we can get. Who better to call upon than those who have fought the good fight before us…..and won! Every day we fight against temptations from the flesh, the world and the devil. We get weary, discouraged, weak, and sometimes we even succumb to despair. We need the help of the Saints! They are with us in spirit. Ask for their help!

There is nothing that reminds us of our mortality more than when we attend the funeral of a loved one! It is at these times that the pause button on our lives is pressed. Life as usual ceases for a day or so and we are forced to answer the tough questions concerning life and death. Our awareness of the fact that our lives are short and passing hits us hard. This month, as we celebrate the glories of Heaven through the Solemnity of All Saints and remember the poor souls who still suffer purification in purgatory, Our Lady tells us that our lives, too, are passing quickly. We need to be reminded that our journey through life is brief. What is the span of a human life – 70 -90 years – when compared to eternity?

It is so important that we spend the month of November – the month that the Church has designated to remember those who have gone before us – reflecting on the brevity of our own lives. In faith, hope and love we will prepare for that wonderful day on which we yearn to hear, "Come, good and faithful servant, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".

But for now, we are still in the battle, marching toward the victory. For those of us who have consecrated ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we rejoice as we continue on the surest, quickest, easiest path to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Mary, Herself, - our Mother – is our General.

O God, fount of all holiness, make us each walk worthily in our vocation, through the intercession of your Saints, on whom you bestowed a great variety of graces on earth and a single glorious reward in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Message of November 25, 2014

"Dear Children! In a special way, today I am calling you to prayer. Pray, little children, so that you may comprehend who you are and where you need to go. Be carriers of the good news and be people of hope. Be love for all those who are without love. Little children, you will be everything and will achieve everything only if you pray and are open to God's will – to God who desires to lead you towards eternal life. I am with you and intercede for you from day to day before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
In this Thanksgiving message, Our Lady is reminding us of the cause of our hope. We easily forget the great dignity that is ours through the gift and the call of God in Baptism.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time." (1Peter 1:3-5)

We could pray with these verses from Peter's first letter to the early Christian communities for a very long time and still not be fully aware of the immense riches to which we are heirs. Our Lady wants us to be people of hope in these days of dense darkness so she invites us to pray to be able to comprehend this great mystery. Our Mother wants us to be perfectly clear on who we are so that we may know where we need to go.

We wear so many hats these days. Our pace is so hectic that we often forget where we are headed. We have so many titles and so many responsibilities within our little corner of the world. We are spouses, we are parents, we have careers, and we are caretakers. Beneath all those layers, we are children of God. We are heirs to a kingdom.

"But you are a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were "no people" but now you are God's people; you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9)

In Her November message to the world, Mary gives us the greatest reason for which to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. Peter tells the early Christians that they have been chosen. He goes right to the top with the efficacy of God's call! We are royalty, we are holy, we are God's own people. Our Lady wishes us to comprehend this truth so that we can know where we need to go and for what purpose we were chosen. Peter further tells us that we were chosen 'so that we may announce the praises of him who called us'. In other words, our mission is to be carriers of the good news and we are called to be people of hope. We need to be "always ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks us for a reason for our hope". (1Peter 3:15) If we do not have a deep awareness of the anointing that has been conferred upon us we can never accomplish what Our Lady asks of us next – to "be love for all those who are without love". We all know people who "are without love"!! They are miserable people. They make those around them miserable too. To be love in the midst of misery is impossible unless we, through prayer, have learned who we are at our deepest level and know where we need to go as though we have a road map in our hands. Our challenge is to look into the face of the loveless and see human poverty at its' worst. Our challenge is to look upon those stuck in darkness with the heart of God, the compassion of God, the love of God.

We will never be able to break through human misery unless we pray and realize that everything depends on prayer and an openness to God's will. God wishes to give us a Kingdom – an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading – in Heaven, for all eternity. It is ours! Let us begin by taking this question to prayer – WHO AM I WHEN I AM NOT DOING, WHEN ALL HATS ARE OFF, WHEN I AM ALONE IN MY PRAYER CORNER WITH THE LORD?

"All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever." (1 Peter 1:24)

Our Lady intercedes for us as we journey toward eternity and the glory to come for all of God's beloved sons and daughters.

Message of December 25, 2014

Dear Children, Also today in my arms I am carrying my Son Jesus to you and I am asking from Him peace for you and peace among you. Pray to and adore my Son for His peace and joy to enter into your hearts. I am praying for you to be all the more open to prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying, "Your God is King". (Isaiah 52:7)

The prophet Isaiah prophesized that an era of peace would come to God's chosen people. He announced the good news that their bondage would be broken forever and salvation would be theirs. Many years later a star led to the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. Who but God could have devised such a plan! A baby born in poverty, laid in an animal trough on a dark and cold night would be the embodiment of Isaiah's prophecy. Who could know that this little bundle of humanity would be the embodiment of the greatest gift the world would ever receive – the gift of peace? Who would have imagined that this little bundle of poverty was born of kingly heritage – the Son of God – the One and only who would restore peace and bring abundant joy? Who could possible conceive that those who looked upon his Holy Face beheld the Face of God in human flesh?

Every Christmas, Mary carries her child in her arms and presents Him to us. Every Christmas we receive from Mary the greatest gift – Peace! I wonder if we, her blessed children, understand the magnitude of the gift we have received. Do we even understand what the Lord's peace means. Peace is not the absence of war. Peace is not the absence of trials and tribulations. If this were the meaning of peace, we, the church militant, would never know peace on earth. We are called the church militant for a reason -- we are at war. St. Paul reminds us that we are in constant battle with powers and principalities that we cannot see. The devil prowls around like a "roaring lion" seeking to destroy whomever is in his path. Besides the spiritual battle raging around and in us, we see the carnage every night in the news resulting from terrorist attacks. Children are being massacred, police are being targeted for the kill. Families are being torn apart through divorce, drug and alcohol addictions, and fights. Peace ? Where is this peace that the Baby Jesus came to bring?

Look again toward the Baby in the manger. Remember why He came. What was His mission? Let us not make the same mistake that the Old Testament chosen people made. They were looking for a Messiah who would free them from their political enemies. They were looking for magic, for an easier life with no human enemies. But God wanted more for them. He wanted to break their spiritual bondage. God wanted to raise them above their petty legalisms. He wanted them to be free! He wanted them to know an inner joy that could never be possible on a human level. He wanted them to know the Kingdom and for what they were created. He wanted them to understand something of the life to come. He wanted to introduce them to eternal Paradise.

Mary wants us to understand this truth. So she constantly tells us to pray, pray, pray. When our hearts are open to the greater good – the peace that the world cannot understand – we see God in the little bundle of humanity that came one Christmas night. When we pray for this peace, we fulfill Jesus' prayer to the Father on our behalf – "that their joy may be complete".

In summary, I interrupted my writing to attend Mass. Being the Christmas Season, the beautiful lights of Christmas are still visible in our Churches as are the manger scenes beneath the trees. I could not help admire the beauty of the holy family figurines beneath the tree. Baby Jesus, Prince of Peace, being carried in the arms of His mother to us! A few feet away from the Manger was the Altar upon which the same Jesus came to us one hour ago – body, blood, soul and divinity. After Mass, an old friend approached me and shared the news that he had been freed by the mercy and grace of God from an addiction to alcohol. He spoke of the bondage being loosened, the prison door of alcoholism being flung open and the peace and freedom that is now enjoyed.

Peace will never mean the absence of war and turmoil. Peace is not just a state of mind or being. Peace is a Person – the Person of Christ in the Manger and on our altars. The Prince of Peace awaits every opportunity to make straight a path through our troubled world and tormented souls. He waits to calm every storm and suppress every fear. He does this for us through the loving prayers of our Mother, Mary. On my way home from Mass, I sang a verse from the beautiful song of peace, "Peace I leave with you my friends …... Peace that the world cannot give…… Peace I leave with you my friends…..So that your joy be ever full".

2015

Message of January 25, 2015

"Dear children! Also today I call you: live your vocation in prayer. Now, as never before, Satan wants to suffocate man and his soul by his contagious wind of hatred and unrest. In many hearts there is no joy because there is no God or prayer. Hatred and war are growing from day to day. I am calling you, little children, begin anew, with enthusiasm, the walk of holiness and love; since I have come among you because of this. Together let us be love and forgiveness for all those who know and want to love only with a human love and not with that immeasurable love of God to which God calls you. Little children, may hope in a better tomorrow always be in your heart. Thank you for having responded to my call." 01/25/2015

Commentary:
"Live your vocation in prayer"….. Sounds simple, doesn't it? To live our vocation in the midst of a world whose values are often far from God is NOT simple, in fact. To remain true and obedient to Gospel values when those values are counter-cultural is anything but simple. Our Lady listens to the nightly News Stations. She sees with great clarity Satan's hindrances confronting us at every turn in living our vocations in prayer. Mary knows the obstacles that Satan places along our path to discourage us from prayer. Our Heavenly Mother know that without prayer we are on our vocational paths without directions, without light. Without prayer, we are lost in the woods of this fallen world.

"Live your vocation in prayer"…… In every message, Our Lady exhorts us to pray! Sounds easy, doesn't it? We know how to pray. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, He began, "Our Father, who art in Heaven……" He gave us the foundational prayer: 'The Lord's prayer'. We pray it often. He also told us to go off alone – someplace where only the Father can hear us….and pray – speak to our Father in Heaven. We know how to pray. We use the formula: A C T S: we ask for what we need. We tell God we are sorry for our sins and failings – we are contrite. We thank God for our many blessings. We pray for our world and those we hold dear. We are people of prayer. But do we pray constantly? Are we disciplined in the time we spend with God? Are the fruits of prayer evident in our daily lives? Do we buckle under the pressure of adversity? Do we trust in God's providential plan for our lives? Are we still fearful of what we will confront along the path? We still have work to do! Prayer and faithfulness – not so easy, is it?

"Live your vocation in prayer"…….Why? Because Satan wants to suffocate us! In other words, Satan wants to kill us by blocking our airways to God. He wants to stifle and smother our prayer with worries, distractions, negativity and hatred. Negativity, hatred and unrest are contagious. They are passed one from one person to another through contact just like the virus. Poisonous influences are passed on from one mind to the next. The mind is the devil's battlefield.

Our Lady often reminds us that there is no joy among us. The world tries to sell us a bill of goods that counterfeits for joy and happiness. We often take the bait of money, power, fame, materialism. The world will never offer us God or prayer. Therefore, the world will never be able to deliver joy to our hearts. Hatred and war grows in hearts by the day. We are in spiritual, physical and mental turmoil. God's Divine Providence allows Mary to enter our battlefield as our General to guide and lead us through the minefield. We must adhere to Her messages in this decisive time. There is suffering all around us. We are all too often living in dreaded fear of the next shoe to drop. As we proceed through the dense fog of faith, there is a light. Mary holds the Light so that our feet do not stumble.

There is a greater love than the human love to which we are constantly trying to cling. It is the immeasurable love of God. It calls us to be love; that is, to sacrifice our very selves for the good of humanity. It calls us to take the high road of forgiveness when we feel fully justified to hold a grudge or to judge.

We are called to be the Good News in the midst of the bad. We are called to be the light in the darkness of sin, evil and doubt. We are called to bear the Spirit of Jesus Christ to a world in desperate need of salvation. We must never allow Satan to suffocate our spirits or smother our hope for a better tomorrow. We must follow Mary, our Mother, our General, our Love. With her, hope will live eternal with us and its' embers light up our world.

St. Paul tells the Romans: "I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil: then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feel. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."
(Romans 16:19)

Message of February 25, 2015

"Dear Children, In this time of grace I call all of you: pray more and speak less. In prayer seek the will of God and live it according to the Commandments to which God calls you. I am with you and am praying with you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Despite the horrific atrocities playing out all over the world as well as the unprecedented bizarre weather patterns occurring all over, Our Lady comes to remind us that we are still living in a "time of grace". Most of us still enjoy the religious freedom to practice our Catholic Faith and receive daily the precious Body of Christ and enjoy the renewal of His friendship when we fall through the amazing Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our Lady has been talking to us for over 30 years of grace through Her apparitions in Medjugorje – guiding, mothering, loving and praying with us. Have we become too comfortable, too confident in Her presence?

Our Mother comes this month to remind us that she is praying WITH us. She expects that we are utilizing every moment of this "time of grace" to also pray. Of course, we are praying! But notice that Mary tells us to pray more than we speak. Being very much aware of our modern day culture and the technology that most certainly has become a false god, She sees that we are "speaking" more than we are praying. We are glued to our smart phones, we text, we tweet, we talk on facebook, Instagram and every other device known to modern man! These often supercede God's dynamic spiritual technology – Prayer!

In comparison, how much of our precious gift of time do we spend talking to the awesome God of the universe who longs for our time and our communication? This a time we can look forward to each day to express our love and thankfulness to our Heavenly Father for His calling and grace. It is during this special time that we come to our loving spiritual Father to talk about our needs, hopes, fears and concerns for others.

* Are we people of God who are sincere, trusting and open with God?

* Do we recognize the power of God to miraculously intervene in our time of need?

* Are we having genuine conversations with God, not recitations of memorized wish lists?

"All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers"…. (Acts 1:14)

Our ancestors in faith had a vibrant prayer life and were obviously close to God. Some of these people were the same ones who had earlier asked Christ to teach them to pray! Through the power of prayer they developed an intimate relationship with God, and He often responded to their requests in miraculous ways.

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers." (1Peter 3:12)

We have the ability to tap into God's dynamic spiritual technology; but our modern day technology interrupts the flow of God's power. God does not hear those who by choice are actively involved in sin. Sin creates a barrier between ourselves and God in which the working of His Spirit within us is diminished.

Our Lady addresses this barrier of sin between ourselves and God when she says "seek the will of God and live it according to the commandments" as does St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: "Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. The their must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need. No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ." (Ephesians 4:25-32)

Simple as Our Lady's message of February 25th 2015 seems, She is calling us to become Saints with a capital "S". The days remaining in Lent would be a golden opportunity to practice praying more and speaking less. Fasting from our favorite use of technology would be pleasing to God……and our Mother will be praying with us……and for us.


Message of March 25, 2015

Dear Children! Also today the Most High permits me to be with you and to lead you on the way of conversion. Many hearts have shut themselves to grace and have become deaf to my call. You, little children, pray and fight against temptation and all the evil plans which the devil offers you through modernism. Be strong in prayer and with the cross in your hands pray that evil may not use you and may not conquer in you. I am with you and pray for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Let us never fail to be filled with gratitude for our Mother Mary, actively making her presence known to us through her apparitions and messages in Medjugorje. We must be reminded often that this tremendous grace is a gift from the Most High for these dangerous times in which we live. She has been allowed to remain with us and to lead us on the way of conversion as we make our way through the minefields of danger that the devil has planted everywhere in our world.

"In this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him. Paul tells us this, it's not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this. But we're not all convinced of this. The Prince of this world, Satan, doesn't want our holiness, he doesn't want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: 'But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century! But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here…even in the 21st century! And we mustn't be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan." (Pope Francis)

Our Lady echoes the Holy Father's words when she reminds us this month that the devil tries to defeat God's plan through Modernism.

"It must be confessed that these latter days have witnessed a notable increase in the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ, who by acts entirely new and full of deceit, are striving to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ." (Pope Pius X)

Modernism is the most dangerous of all heresies because it destroys any basis for belief in a supernatural world, whereas previous heresies had restricted themselves to denying one or more teachings of the Catholic faith. St. Pius X described Modernism as "the synthesis of all heresies" as it seeks to "lay the axe not to the branches and shoots (of the Catholic Church) but to the very root", that is, to the faith and "its deepest fibers, and once they have struck the axe "they (modernists) proceed to diffuse poison throughout the whole tree, so that there is no part of the Catholic truth which they leave untouched" Modernism poses a threat to our faith, and to our hope of salvation.

It would not be false to call the Modernists the worst enemies of the Church for it is not from without but from within that they plot the destruction of the Church; by mingling in themselves rationalism and Catholicism, which is used to subtly seduce the ignorant in the name of "progress".

Ever since the days of Pope Pius X we have witnessed this struggle between the two camps, that of Tradition, in which the deposit of the faith is preserved and handed over to future generations and that of the Modernists, which marches in the name of progress to destroy all that the Church holds to be sacred, while destroying not only the deposit of the faith but even its very foundations, that is the notion of faith itself.

In our day Modernism has only become more bold and daring as it has now affected the whole Catholic Church to so large an extent that it has been embraced by almost the entire Catholic hierarchy in the name of inclusiveness, freedom, human dignity, progressiveness, rationalism, relativism. These are the key words that serve as the mask to hide the ugly face of Satan.

Our Lady tells us that many hearts have been tricked by these masks and have shut themselves off to the grace God offers us through His Holy and obedient Mother. They have become deaf to her call to conversion because they have been bitten by the snake who offers them lies.

As I write this reflection on Good Friday, 2015, I challenge you with Our Lady's remedy. We must pray and fight against this temptation in and around us with our ONLY solution. The Cross of Jesus Christ is our weapon. On this day when we enter into the very depths of the Passion of Jesus, we must hold the cross in our hands – accepting our crosses in life – and march on with Mary as our guide. We must guard against being carriers of the modernist philosophy to our brothers and sisters. We must not allow this philosophy to enter into our hearts. With the Cross in our hands, let us be ever grateful that our Mother Mary is with us and is praying for us. Only with Her, will we remain confident as we march onto victory!

Message of April 25, 2015

"Dear Children! I am with you also today to lead you to salvation. Your soul is restless because your spirit is weak and tired from all worldly things. You, little children, pray to the Holy Spirit that He may transform you and fill you with His strength of faith and hope, so that you may be firm in this battle against evil. I am with you and intercede for you before my son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
GRACE…..It is grace that has opened us to the gift of Our Mother in our midst. Our Lady leads us on the path to conversion and salvation. If not for grace, we would not be able to follow her lead. We can do nothing on our own. Our Lady refers to us as "children". Children cannot take the initiative to accomplish anything that they do not understand. They need to be led and taught. We are mere children on the spiritual journey. We need a leader. God has sent us the best – His and our Mother.

Mary knows that we are weak. We are often side-tracked on our journey. We lose focus and are easily distracted along the way. This month She observes that our souls are restless because we are tired. Our worldly concerns have worn us down. In this state, we are in danger of getting lost. We may even forget that we are at war. When our defenses are down we are open prey for the enemy. Soldiers need to be alert at all times. They need to be able to anticipate the enemy's next move. We are soldiers in this battle against evil. When weak and tired, we are tempted to let prayer go by the wayside. We are tempted to put worldy concerns ahead of spiritual matters. Being tired and weak puts us in harms way for discouragement and negativity.

Evil has reached new and unprecedented levels. We must realize that the problems in our world are beyond humanity's ability to solve. What is the answer to our current problems? DIVINE MERCY……I was able to go to Stockbridge, MA this year to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. 20,000 people gathered together on Eden Hill beneath a life-sized image of Jesus, Divine Mercy. The flood gates of Heaven were opened and the rays of God's mercy rained down upon the whole world. An extraordinary Baptismal Grace was bestowed on all those who fulfilled the requirements. Divine Mercy is the preparation that will precede the second coming of Christ. Divine Mercy is the remedy for the evil that plagues our world.

Our Lady has called us to pray to the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis has declared a year of mercy for the world. Special graces will be given during this extraordinary year of mercy. Mary calls us to pray for transformation. She is inviting us to pray during this special year of mercy for ourselves to be filled with strength of faith and hope. As the prince of this world strengthens it's grip, we will need supernatural faith and hope. We need to remain firm. Christ has already won the battle.

"Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:21—22)
We are living in the days that try men's souls. We are restless, distracted and fearful. But we are embraced by the Mercy of our loving God who will never abandon us. Our Mother intercedes always before the throne of Grace. We are victors with Christ who redeemed us by His Blood.

"Come Holy Spirit. Come by means of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved Spouse." Amen.

Message of May 25, 2015

Dear Children! Also today I am with you and with joy I call all of you: pray and believe in the power of prayer. Open your hearts, little children, so that God may fill you with His love and you will be a joy to others. Your witness will be powerful and everything you do will be interwoven with God's tenderness. I am with you and I pray for you and your conversion until you put God in the first place. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Our Lady's words to the world month after month are treasures to those of us, Her children, who have followed Her since the beginning of the apparitions in Medjugorje. We cherish her messages and Her presence with us through Her extraordinary apparitions ever since 1981. Each month she repeats her mission among us in this time of Grace. She has come to the earth to reeducate us and to help us convert and recenter our lives back to God. Our Lady's role has always been one of guiding people to Her Son, Jesus. What an amazing opportunity we have in this time of Grace. Our Lady's call to conversion is urgent, and we should respond with all our hearts.

Again this month, Mary reminds us that she is with us. There is a danger in becoming complacent about Her presence; especially when things are going pretty well in our lives. In my own experience, I always believed that She is present. But for the last few months, as I struggled with debilitating pain and loss of mobility, I turned to my Mother on a deeper level, often and pleading with Her to be with me, hold my hand and give me the grace of greater trust. My prayer was different as well. I thought I knew what Mary meant when she called us to open our heart. But that took on new meaning for me when I realized that I was totally reliant on God. My life, my body, mind and spirit were in His Hands. I became totally aware that I was not in control and dependent on God alone.

Our Lady speaks of God's love this month. God is love and wishes to share His life with us. Love is not something we can conjure up ourselves. We are victims of a fallen human nature, so love must be given to us by God. Love is the greatest gift and Our Lady wants to mediate for us so that we may be filled. Through this gift of love, we will light up our world. We will bring this light into the darkness of sin and despair. Our Lady tells us what the fruit of living in Divine Life. We will bring joy to those around us who have no hope. Our witness will be powerful not because of anything we will do; but what God will accomplish through us.

I have come to believe that we must all enter at one time or another the crucible of pain, suffering, detachment and loss to really be able to enter fully into the mystery that is God's love and the life God wants for each of us. Conversion is a life-long process that must include some suffering.

In joy, Our Lady calls us anew to pray and to believe in the power of prayer. Prayer is the key. Prayer is the weapon against our enemies. It is the current whereby we tap into the very power of the Almighty. Jesus has told us, "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you"….."Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you".

Let us ask and seek and knock on the door of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we may be given love – a share in the God-life so that our witness will bear much fruit and may we be a joy to those who live in despair.

Message of June 25th, 2015

"Dear Children! Also today the Most High gives me the grace to be able to love you and to call you to conversion. Little children, may God be your tomorrow and not war and lack of peace; not sorrow but joy and peace must begin to reign in the heart of every person – but without God you will never find peace. Therefore, little children, return to God and to prayer so that your heart may sing with joy. I am with you and I love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
All is grace! Our Lady calls our attention this month to the truth that God has given her the grace to give us these monthly messages. All that we are, all that we have, what we do for the good of humanity, how we respond to God's love, our desire to pray – these are free gifts of God's love. Everything is grace – unmerited free gifts of a loving God. God has given the grace to our Holy Mother to love us and call us to conversion. We, in turn, are offered grace to respond to her call. Without grace we cannot make a return to God for his infinite love. But all things are possible only through and in our Most High God.

We are living through times of great crisis. Daily we read or hear of threats from terrorists, wars fought in the name of religion, murders, natural disasters, crisis within the family. It would seem that evil is reigning. The devil is having his day! Our youth have become victims of a relativist culture. There seems to be no absolute truth anymore. Hearts are divided. Where is peace? Peace is illusive in these times in which we are living.

The Psalmist proclaims, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice". As Christians we have the right and the privilege to live in this joy in the Lord. Yet, we are troubled, anxious and fearful. Where is the joy? Our Lady comes this month to remind us to let God be our tomorrow and not war and lack of peace; not sorrow, but joy and peace. Once again, She shows us the way to joy and peace which is so lacking in our world today. Sorrow is everywhere. Our Lady is trying to help us understand that joy and peace are possible despite the circumstances around us. Peace and joy can reign in our hearts only through God. It is a matter of personal choice. Grace can and will overcome through trials and suffering. This message invites us to look at life through Our Lady's lens. We must choose God to be our tomorrow and our today. We must begin to see every circumstance in our lives as building blocks to God. His grace is sufficient! Prayer is the key – the open door – the way to peace and joy. When we return to God with our whole heart – not half-heartedly – our hearts will sing for joy.

As we begin each day anew, let us diligently try to look at life – our heartaches, pain and suffering within and around us – through the heart of our Holy Mother and remember that she loves us "with immeasurable love". Let us take daily prayer time to contemplate what it means to be loved immeasurably! If we are faithful to this contemplative prayer, joy and peace will flood our souls.

Thank you, Holy Mother, for your immeasurable love! Amen.


Message of July 25, 2015

"Dear Children! With joy I am with you also today and I call all of you, little children, pray, pray, pray so as to comprehend the love which I have for you. My love is stronger than evil, little children, therefore draw closer to God so as to feel my joy in God. Without God, little children, you do not have a future, you do not have hope or salvation; therefore leave evil and choose good. I am with you and, with you, I intercede before God for all of your needs. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"With joy I am with you…."

Our Blessed Mother is our example of a perfect mother who wants what is best for her little children. Every good mom finds joy in just being with her children. In fact, there is no greater joy for a mother than to spend quality time with them leading them to wholeness and happiness. Our Blessed Mother finds joy in us. Her greatest delight is to lead us to our greatest good – conversion and salvation and eternal love.

"Little children, pray, pray, pray so as to comprehend the love which I have for you…."

Mothers are the best friends their children will ever know. A mother's love runs deep. It is unconditional and selfless. Our Lady's love for us is all of this; yet, her love is beyond our comprehension. This is true partly because we are too hard on ourselves. We see all of our imperfections and tendency toward sin. We often feel negative and unlovable. But Our Lady sees our potential to become saints in and through Her Son Jesus. In this message she invites us to contemplate her love for us through prayer. It is only through prayer as we see ourselves through her lens that we can realize the magnitude of her love for us.

"My love is stronger than evil, little children…."

Evil is real…..but love conquers all things. In today's world, evil is not seen for what it is. Many evils are now seen as the right to personal choice and freedom. Relativism has become the modern day "apple" with Satan hiding behind illusions of light. Evil is thus seen as 'good'. The world today does not know pure love. Lust as well as warm and fuzzy feelings are confused for love. We are starving for what is real but have accepted what is false. This present day culture is not conditioned for pure love. We have never really learned to be selfless, compassionate, and temperate in an instant gratification culture. The pure love that is stronger than evil is counter-cultural. Jesus and Mary have shown us pure love. Jesus self-abandonment on the Cross is the supreme example of Pure Love. He opened the gates of Paradise for humanity . His love was strong enough to break the bonds of evil and sin that held humanity bound. Yet, especially in modern society, Jesus has become the "cornerstone that has been rejected". Mary, our co-redemptrix, is our guide to pure love. Her trust and abandonment to God's will is the perfect example of love as we journey to conversion. It is only through pure love that Satan's web will be broken.

"Therefore draw closer to God so as to feel my joy in God…."

Message of August 25, 2015

Dear children! Also today I am calling you to be prayer. May prayer be for you the wings for an encounter with God. The world is in a moment of trial, because it forgot and abandoned God. Therefore you, little children, be those who seek and love God above all. I am with you and I am leading you to my Son, but you must say your 'yes' in the freedom of children of God. I intercede for you and I love you, little children, with an endless love. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary:
"Also today I am calling you to be prayer."

Prayer is the privilege of the presence of God. It is the place where our pride is abandoned, hope it lifted. It is the place where we bring all of our need. Prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of the Father through the Son of God, Jesus our Lord. We pray because we know that God hears us and because we desire to see results. We should pray consistently, trusting God. We should pray for others, trusting God. We should pray always and when our prayers are answered or are not answered remember this: If we knew what the Lord knows, we wouldn't change a thing.

"May prayer be for you the wings for an encounter with God."

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8 Prayer changes us because in prayer we are truly in the presence of God as we lay our complete selves before God – totally dependent on His providence. There is nothing to hide when in prayer. We are reaching into the deepest part of ourselves and admitting our needs and failures. In doing so, our hearts are quieted and pride is stripped away. Prayer is the vehicle or wings whereby we enjoy the presence of God.
"The world is in a moment of trial, because it forgot and abandoned God."

Over the last few years we have lived through an incredible amount of change which has left many people reeling. We have experienced a loss of the sense of security (terrorists attacks, racism crimes), of financial stability (banking crisis, stock market plunges) of employment certainly, of power (the rise of China) and even of our long-term survival (climate change). At the same time we have witnessed a dramatic acceleration in the rate of technology. Through it all, we have wandered farther and farther away from God. God has been forgotten and abandoned through these times of false security and near collapse of our systems.

"Therefore you, little children, be those who seek and love God above all."

Through the immense darkness, Our Lady offers hope for the world. God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah had Abraham found even 10 just men! We, our Lady's little children, are called to be in the category of the 10 just men who can save the world through our faithfulness. We are called to be the few who make up for the many who have abandoned God. We are invited to seek and love God above all in this "moment of trial".

"I am with you and I am leading you to my Son, but you must say your 'yes' in the freedom of children of God."

Freedom is a great gift that carries with it immense responsibility. Freedom gives us the power to choose life or death, God or Satan, Heaven or hell. In the freedom as children of God, He awaits our 'fiat'. We must choose God in a godless society. We must go against the grain of modern culture. We must learn to swim upstream! Thank God we have our Lady to lead us.

"I intercede for you and I love you, little children, with an endless love."

We are indeed blessed. We have a mother who procures for us everything we need for our salvation through Her powerful intercession. Her love for us is unconditional and will never end. For what more can we ask? Thank you, Mother, for your presence, guidance, and love.

Message of September 25, 2015

"Dear children! Also today I am praying to the Holy Spirit to fill your hearts with a strong faith. Prayer and faith will fill your heart with love and joy and you will be a sign for those who are far from God. Little children, encourage each other to prayer with the heart, so that prayer may fulfill your life; and each day, you, little children, will be, above all, witnesses of serving God in adoration and of your neighbor in need. I am with you and intercede for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call. "

Commentary:
Our Lady speaks these words during Pope Francis' historic visit to the United States. Her main points are:

God has indeed visited his people through the person of Pope Francis. His words have been like a heavenly dew falling gently upon the dry and parched soil of American hearts. His homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a fitting commentary on Mary's September message to the world.

"Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice! This command resonates with the desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life. Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for placebos which simply keep us comfortable.

Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum apathy which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb……We ought to ask ourselves: How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take deeper root in our lives? Jesus gives the answer. He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now. Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lives only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away…..The spirit of the world tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy. Faced with this human way of thinking, "we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world" (laudato Si', 229). It is the responsibility to proclaim the message of Jesus. For the source of our joy "is an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father's infinite mercy" (Evangelii Gaudium 24) Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming. This is what the Lord tells us today. He tells us: A Christian finds joy in mission: Go out to people of every nation! A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news! A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!

Jesus sends his disciples out to all nations – to every people. We too were part of all those people of two thousand years ago. Jesus always embraced life as he saw it. In faces of pain, hunger, sickness and sin. In faces of wounds, of thirst, of weariness, doubt and pity. He embraced life as he found it. Jesus said: Go out and tell the good news to everyone. Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should be. Go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father. Go to those who are burdened by pain and failure, who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the folly of a loving Father who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation. Tell them that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person's life. Go out with the ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts.

Mission (witness) is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God's merciful anointing. The holy and faithful people of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of becoming self-enclosed, frozen into elites, clinging to their own security. So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. The people of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One who knelt before his own to wash their feet.

We are the heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women who preferred not to be "shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security…within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving". We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both "good" and "news". Keep moving forward! Continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, keep your heart from growing numb. Forward! Let's keep moving forward!"…. with Mary, our Mother, through prayer and a strong faith as our guiding lamps.

Message of October 25, 2015

"Dear children! Also today, my prayer is for all of you especially for all those who have become hard of heart to my call. You are living in the days of grace and are not conscious of the gifts which God is giving to you through my presence. Little children, decide also today for holiness and take the example of the saints of this time and you will see that holiness is a reality for all of you. Rejoice in the love, little children, that in the eyes of God you are unrepeatable and irreplaceable, because you are God's joy in this world. Witness peace, prayer and love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
In the spiritual life I have always believed that despair and hardness of heart are our greatest enemies and the most effective tool of Satan. Our Lady prays most especially for those who have become hard of heart to her call. In the early days of the apparitions and messages, many came in droves from around the world to hear and see and respond to the miraculous events happening in Medjugorje. People returned to their church communities on fire with zeal for God and His mother. They organized prayer groups, fasted, returned to the Sacrament of Penance, and adhered to the call of each message with hearts aflame! Over the years the flame became just an ember and finally went out completely for too many souls.

What happened? Life happened! It is so easy to turn inward when trials and suffering become part of life for ourselves and our loved ones. We can become easily distracted with material things and every day events, especially the unprecedented happenings in nature and world calamities. Our Lady's voice in our world becomes muffled and finally just a memory. When, in fact, we should be more attuned than ever before to her call as the whole world falls deeper and deeper into the mire of sin and confusion.

She reminds us this month again that we are living in times of great grace. Have we become apathetic to the treasury of gifts that God has allowed our mother to bring to help us through these treacherous times? What are these immeasurable gifts? Mary brings us peace – not the false and temporary peace that we find in the world; but the indescribable inner peace that the world will never give. She leads us on the narrow path to everlasting life. Not only does she point us in the right direction, She remains with us and accompanies each of us on the journey. She protects us from the trickery of Satan. She sustains us with her motherly love. Most especially, through the Holy Rosary, She comforts us and takes the edge off suffering.

As I reflected on this message, I was taken back to my own childhood. I was loved and cared for in every way; but never thought about it. I took it for granted that my parents would always love, protect me, and provide for my every need. When we are children, we think like a child, act like a child. Children blindly trust and take everything for granted! Their every need will be filled. I understand why Our Lady repeatedly calls us "little children". It is so easy to take God's gifts for granted and not consciously thank Him for His many blessings. There comes a time when the child becomes an adult and must choose to respond to the love which nourished and molded its' life.

Our Lady, therefore, continually offers us the opportunity to decide for holiness – the most perfect response to the unconditional love of God. She reminds us that holiness is a reality as exemplified by the example of the saints of this time. A glance back at the lives of these saints – Dorothy Day, St. Padre Pio, Edith Stein, Oscar Romero, St. John Paul II, Mother Theresa – show us the way. They were loyal to the Church. They were committed to the ideal of Gospel non-violence. They attended, celebrated Mass with incredible intensity. They were resigned to suffering. Most importantly, they led ordinary lives. Some of them had colorful pasts when perhaps they, by their own admission, did not always walk with Christ. But God's grace at some point touched their lives and brought them to serve Him in a most extraordinary way. So, what are we called to do as we anticipate the graces necessary for our own conversion? We should busy ourselves with doing good works, mindful always of the poor and suffering people around us. We should dispel fear at all times and submit ourselves to trusting God's holy will.

Most especially, we should bask in the joy of God's love for each of us. Remember each and every day that we "are unrepeatable and irreplaceable"….We are "God's joy" just as every child is the joy of its parents. If we can hold that thought and not allow the distractions of our world deter us, we will "witness peace, prayer and love" as Our Lady has asked in October. If we can daily live in God's immeasurable, unconditional love, we will become saints.

O Mary, our Mother, show us the way!


Message of November 25, 2015

Dear Children! Today I am calling all of you to pray for my intentions. Peace is in danger; therefore, little children, pray and be carriers of peace and hope in this restless world where satan is attacking and tempting in every way. Little children, be firm in prayer and courageous in faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son Jesus for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary:
Praying for our Mother Mary's intentions is a great act of faith and trust. She only wants what is best for us, Her little children, and the whole world. She wants to take all the pressures and crosses in our lives. Mary wants us to give Her our problems so that She can take care of them. We do not know what is best for us in prayer. We often react and focus only on the problem at hand. Our Mother knows much better than we do how to take care of our problems in the best way for the good of our soul. She sees the bigger picture of the plans God has for each of us. She is our Mother whom we can trust implicitly. When we entrust our prayer to Her we are freed from obsessing over a situation and are able to open our hearts to the needs of the whole world. We enlarge our hearts to the dimensions of God's Heart. When we pray for Mary's intentions, our own personal intentions are included in Mary's intentions. She knows our hearts and wants us to trust that She will also take care of our individual needs. That is why consecration to Mary is a generous thing to do – a great act of trust – and She will not be outdone in generosity!

Our Lady's November message comes to the world in the aftermath of another horrific act of terrorism which has claimed many innocent lives. Our world has suffered much at the hands of satan who "is attacking and tempting in every way". "Peace is in danger" through the evil unfolding before our eyes. Horrible and pervasive tragedies are occurring globally through an enemy that is both visible and invisible. We will all agree that satan is involved in all of these evil acts.

Our Lady comes this month to encourage us and to remind us that "greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) So much so is the power within us great that Mary reminds us that it IS possible for us to be peaceful. It IS possible for our faith to be courageous! It IS possible for us to be carriers of peace despite what is happening in the world because we are temples of the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer! Heaven is living in God's presence. The life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of God, so there is a close connection between prayer and Heaven. We must open our mind, heart, and soul to the beauty, truth, and love God offers through Jesus. Prayer helps us do just that to get in shape for Heaven. When we pray as Jesus taught us, we enter God's presence here on earth.

In these times when satan is revealing his destructive agenda, prayer is the only path to being "courageous in faith" as Our Lady asks in this message. We must always remember that we are never alone. Our Mother is with us – interceding for us before Her Son. If there ever was a day to be Mary's consecrated child, it is today!

O Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee! Amen

Message of December 25, 2015

"Dear Children! Also today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you from this embrace. I am giving you His peace and a longing for Heaven. I am praying with you for peace and am calling you to be peace. I am blessing all of you with my motherly blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"Also today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you from this embrace."

Years ago I led a middle school class through a guided meditation back to Bethlehem – the first Christmas. I asked them to close their eyes, get comfortable and get ready to travel back in time to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. So we herded into a time machine and landed in a busy market square in the brisk cold temperature of winter. Night was descending upon us as we took in the scene. The people we saw looked tired from travel. They were scrambling about trying to find lodging for the night. Their animals were tied to posts and hunkered down for the night. They were hungry, cold and tired. Soon the market square emptied out and we were led outside the center of the city. It was very dark and the light that guided us was the light from the heavens. The sky was clear and the stars shown in all their glory; but one was as bright as the moon. We followed its lead. Soon we noticed a brilliant light coming from a cave off the dirt road that we traveled. We walked closer to see what was within the cave. At first, we did not want to be noticed so we hid ourselves behind animals and stacks of hay. We saw a beautiful Lady – Mary holding her baby close to her breast. We saw a man who was so captivated with Mary and Her child that He glowed with pride. We were spellbound as we beheld the holy sight of this blessed family. Soon Mary spotted us trying to hide so that we could take in the beautiful, peaceful event. She motioned with her finger to come closer. Reluctantly we moved closer to Her. As we approached, she beckoned us to open our arms and hold them toward her. In that blessed, unprecedented moment, She placed Her child in our arms.

This was the jist of the meditation. It was meant to be a personal encounter with Mary and the baby Jesus for the children. At the point where Mary placed the Baby Jesus in the arms of the children, I ended the meditation abruptly. All was quiet when I asked each of my students what it felt like to hold Jesus in their arms. One boy stood up and shouted, "Wow, I was holding God in my arms!" Another girl was almost speechless when she answered, "There are no words for what I felt".

Yet, in this December message that is what Mary actually does for each of us! She carries Jesus to us from her embrace. No matter how we frame our Christmas experience, the reality is that She brings us Jesus again and again. Where Jesus is, there is Peace. When we encounter the Prince of Peace, we are left with a longing for Heaven. The Christmas gift for each of us is Peace. The gift of Peace is meant to remain with us long after our Christmas decorations are put away. In fact, a true encounter with the Prince of Peace will transform us. That is what Our Lady means when she calls us to BE peace in the world.

Christmas peace can only be experienced when its' meaning intersects with our lives shaping our values and transforming our lives. It is only when the Christmas story becomes our story that we truly experience Christmas with its promise of the peace that the world will never give.

We thank Mary for her motherly blessing of Peace this Christmas. Help us, Mother Mary, to live peace, to be peace. Stay with us. Show us the way to Eternal Peace with you forever. Amen.

2016

Message of January 25, 2016

"Dear children! Also today I am calling all of you to prayer. You cannot live without prayer, because prayer is a chain which brings you closer to God. Therefore, little children, in humility of heart return to God and to His commandments so that with all of your heart you are able to say: as it is in Heaven so may it be on earth. You, little children, are free to in freedom decide for God or against Him. See where Satan wants to pull you into sin and slavery. Therefore, little children, return to my heart so that I can lead you to my Son Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank you for having responded to my call.

COMMENTARY:
"…..Also today I am calling all of you to prayer."

PRAYER is our lifeline - our connection to the Trinity and to Mary, our mother. There is nothing greater - no other way to connect with and remain in the presence of the sacred. Our Lady has used this one word – PRAYER – a million times in Her call to each of us, Her children. She knows that when this lifeline to God is blocked because of worldly preoccupations for too long – we die, spiritually!

Recently, a member of my family was treated for a blocked artery. The whole family worried about the potential seriousness of this blockage. Arteries are the lifelines that keep our bodies alive. If they are blocked seriously, we die! When we allow worldly priorities to block our commitment to prayer, we are placing our spiritual life in serious danger. "…You cannot live without prayer, because prayer is a chain which brings you closer to God." Do some of us need a stent put into this chain to keep us open to God, the source of our life? Every month Our Lady's message challenges us to renew prayer and our attitude toward prayer. Never forget for a moment the importance of prayer!

"Therefore, little children, in humility of heart return to God and to His commandments…."

Each and every one of us fall from grace. It is the human condition. In humility we must acknowledge our weaknesses and deposit them in the confessional – OFTEN! We are God's prodigal children and God awaits our return with open arms. Every night before we fall asleep we should be doing an examination of our conscience followed by an act of contrition. I can think of no better practice that will help us fall asleep peacefully. "As it is in Heaven so may it be on earth" – a wonderful line to add at the end of our examination prayer.

FREEDOM is a gift from God. With this gift comes great responsibility! Because we are always free to choose good or evil, the gift of freedom is fragile…even frightening. Choose wisely! Every word, every action of ours must speak loudly of our choice for God. We must be mindful of everything we do or say throughout our day; because whether we are aware of it or not…..we choose either good or bad. Satan is always waiting in the wings. Satan never sleeps as he waits to trip us up at every turn. Satan wants nothing more than to enslave us to sin and error. In doing so, we are stripped of the great gift of our freedom. Spiritual freedom is the only path to peace. Let us never surrender this gift!

Jesus is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life". We are invited, always, to keep ourselves aligned to the Heart of our Mother, Mary. She is the quickest, safest and surest way to Her Blessed Son. There are too many pitfalls placed in our path in this relativistic age to go it alone. We need our Mother!

Let us make a new years' resolution to return to the Immaculate Heart of Mary every time we stray so that every choice we make will be for God and so that She can lead us on the only path to our salvation.

Mary, our Mother, lead us always to your Son, Jesus – the Way the Truth and the Life. Amen

Message of February 25, 2016

"Dear children! In this time of grace, I am calling all of you to conversion. Little children, you love little and pray even less. You are lost and do not know what your goal is. Take the cross, look at Jesus and follow Him. He gives Himself to you to the death on the cross, because He loves you. Little children, I am calling you: return to prayer with the heart so as to find hope and the meaning of your existence, in prayer. I am with you and am praying for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

COMMENTARY:
Lent 2016 is a time of grace…… a time for further conversion. Our Lady comes to the world in this message in the middle of Lent to give us another wake-up call! In essence, She calls us anew – wakes us up from the slumber of lethargy. Wake up! Come out of the world for these forty days and enter the desert of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to be able to see your lives clearly and hear the voice of the Lord.

This message reminds us that our means to conversion is love and prayer. The world, as a whole, does not know love. Most people are enslaved by self-love. Our Lady sees from Her vantage point that most trade eternal life for a life of temporal gratification. Love is sacrifice. Today's affluent culture does not know how to sacrifice; therefore, does not really know love. Also, an affluent culture has little need of prayer. Therefore, an affluent, independent culture is lost and has forgotten the goal - which is eternal life.

When asked which is the greatest of all the commandments, Jesus replied, "The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31)

"Take the Cross, look at Jesus and follow Him."

It is compassion that Christ has always wanted from His people. He has wanted them to be with Him, to comfort him just by entering into his suffering with Him. Because His suffering is the expression of His love for His people. Too many people do not see the Face of Jesus shining through the ugliness of people struggling with temptations and addictions. The Face of Jesus is often missed in those who mourn, who have no shelter, who are loaded down with strife. This Lent, Our Lady reminds us to 'take the cross…..look at Jesus in suffering humanity……and follow Him.'

The prophet Hosea tells us that God says, "I am like a verdant cypress tree; because of me you bear fruit!" – an image of the cross. And, "if my people would walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat" – a promise of the Eucharist. We must never forget from where our wealth comes. Because of the Cross of Jesus Christ we find our wealth….our victory in Him. In the Eucharist, we find all that we will ever need. The Cross that Our Lady asks us to take a look at in this message is the only portrait of love. The Cross is the only life giving image of love. The Cross of Jesus gives us hope and demonstrates to us the meaning to our existence. It is love – pure love – everlasting love. It is only through prayer that we will discover the truth of who we are, where we are going and why we were created – to know, love and serve God in the life and to be happy with Him in the next.

Mary, our Mother, teach us how to pray with the heart. Take our hearts and form them into the image of your Son. When we get lost, we rely on you to find us and gather us into the refuge of your Heart where we will be safe. Mary, give us the courage to love as you do. Grant us the graces of conversion and guide us to the Easter of eternal life. Amen.


Message of March 25, 2016

"Dear Children! Today I am carrying my love to you. God permitted me to love you and, out of love, to call you to conversion. You, little children, are poor in love and you still have not comprehended that my son Jesus, out of love, gave His life to save you and to give you eternal life. Therefore pray, little children, pray so that in prayer you may comprehend God's love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

COMMENTARY:
Recall our Blessed Lord's words to John in the Book of Revelation, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." With Good Friday and the Annunciation falling on the same day, these words from Revelation take on a profound significance. In witnessing the Annunciation on the same day as the crucifixion, we have an opportunity to contemplate the fullness of the Incarnation as it is consummated in a single day. It is no mere coincidence that brings these two holy days together.

It is fitting that Our Lady's message to the world on this day speaks of love. The love with which God has for the human race was the unfathomable force that conceived Jesus Incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was Mary's uncompromising love for her God that opened her Immaculate Heart from which flowed Her 'fiat'. It was her great love that "magnified her soul and caused her "spirit to rejoice in God Her Savior". It was her humility that allowed her to know her lowliness. It was Mary's knowledge of God's love for humankind that allowed her the insight into his greatness, His mercy and might. It was through God's love that the "hungry would be filled with good things". And those "good things" would be fulfilled through Her love. The Incarnation is a tremendous act of Love – God's love and Mary's response in love.

The Crucifixion is the greatest love story ever told. This great act of Jesus and the Father's love has nothing to do with warm and fuzzy feelings or emotions. It has nothing to do with our glamorous version of a typical love story – the happily ever after kind! Even though the ending of Jesus' love story leads us to an enduring, eternal happily ever after, the story is bloody and heart wrenching and self-emptying.

The mysteries of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion teach about love. These mysteries represent the supreme examples of love. Our Lady reminds us this month that we are poor in this deep love. In fact, we do not even yet comprehend the magnitude of this love. She also brings out another truth. Love comes from God. God IS love. Mary is the embodiment of God's love which allows her to carry love to us! It was God who first gave Mary love. It was God who "permitted" Mary to love us…..and to call us her "little children". It is through love that Mary wants the ultimate love for us – CONVERSION. It is only through our individual conversion, that we will be able to "comprehend" Jesus' total sacrifice and eternal life.

This year, the Annunciation and the Crucifixion, commemorated on March 25th has given us the full love story. The love of God comes full circle. We celebrate the whole story from the announcement of God made man, becoming human like us so as to save us from the destruction of sin ….. to God's ultimate sacrifice: the defeat of Satan and the opening of the gates of Heaven to us!

Mary, help us to comprehend these great mysteries of God's love. Inspire us to respond to God's immeasurable love through the sacrifice of our lives. Our lives are a gift of God's love – what we do with them is our gift of love to God. Help us, Mother. Amen. Alleluia!

Message of April 25, 2016

"Dear Children! My Immaculate Heart bleeds as I look at you in sin and sinful habits. I am calling you: return to God and to prayer that it may be good for you on earth. God is calling you through me for your hearts to be hope and joy for all those who are far away. May my call be for you a balm for the soul and heart so that you may glorify God, the Creator, who loves you and is calling you to Eternity. Little children, life is short; you, make good use of this time and do what is good. Thank you for having responded to my call."


COMMENTARY:
Mary's Immaculate Heart bleeds as She gazes over the world and addresses us in the April message! Loss of blood characterizes a very serious condition. In the physical realm, the loss of blood cost lives! The loss of blood often times requires a transfusion. This month our mother calls our attention to a very serious problem – one that could also cost lives – spiritual death!

To Her "little children": those of us who read Her words each month and hear them with the ear of our heart, She seems to say, "Look…..my little ones…..look and take heed of what you see." In this year of mercy, Mary calls our attention to "sin and sinful habits". She wants us to take notice that sin is wreaking havoc in our fallen world and causing the death of souls. 'Look, my dear ones at my Immaculate Heart soaked in blood as I must watch my children dying in their sinfulness'.

In this year of mercy, we are called to have 20/20 vision. We become painfully aware of the darkness of sin that has cast its shadow over the whole earth. We are called to be a light in the darkness, not by judging the sinfulness of others; but by addressing our own sinful habits. "How can you say to your brother 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye, while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brothers' eye." Matt. 7:4-5 We need to see clearly in this year of mercy. We must become aware that we, ourselves, need God's infinite mercy. We must identify our 'splinters' or "sinful habits" and lead others to do the same. It is the year for repentance and conversion. The hour is late! The night is upon us and the enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion devouring souls – perhaps – our own!

Mary is our morning star lighting the way toward the path of life – a return to God. We must pray as never before:

• Spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament

• Attend Mass daily

• Recite the full Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Perhaps it is time to get serious about fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays? If we immerse ourselves in this prayer routine, Our Lady will be able to protect us and it will go will for us. God is calling us through Mary. Her Immaculate Heart will be our refuge of hope and joy. Her words of hope are balm for our wounded souls and broken hearts. Her presence in the world today and her messages to the world are the remedy for our fallen world and the way to everlasting peace.

"Life is short…..make good use of the time and do what is good".

Time is our gift from God to accomplish the mission before us. For this purpose we were born – to testify to the Truth in a world of relativism and chaos…to be bearers of light in the world shrouded in darkness of sin and error. We have been called and chosen to evangelize in our little corner of the world. We have been formed and pruned to bring good fruit to the spiritually hungry. Time is running out for each of us. The clocks of our lives are ticking away.

In this year of mercy, preceding a period of justice, we must be sure we are aligned in solidarity with our Mother as we continue to seize every opportunity of grace by bringing good to those in need. We have the power to stop the bleeding. We can be the transfusion of new life so needed to save this fallen world if we respond to our Mother Mary's call.

Mother Mary, please keep us open to the graces that you send us each and every day. Stay with us as we work to stop the bleeding of your Immaculate Heart. amen

Message of May 25, 2016

"Dear Children! My presence is a gift from God for all of you and an encouragement for conversion. Satan is strong and wants to put disorder and unrest in your hearts and thoughts. Therefore, you, little children, pray so that the Holy Spirit may lead you on the real way of joy and peace. I am with you and intercede before my Son for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Mary's real presence with us through the visionaries of Medjugorje for these past 35 years is truly God's gift to the world. She is a gift that keeps on giving!

• Mary brings HOPE in the midst of conflict both global and personal. She is our lifeline in the midst of anxiety and despair.

• MARY brings PEACE to our troubled hearts as we push through our daily struggles and challenges.

• Mary brings us the certitude that we are LOVED despite our failings and weaknesses.

• Mary brings us FORGIVENESS when we fall into temptation.

• Mary brings us the PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE when our earthly pilgrimage is completed.

Indeed, our Mother, Mary, is God's gift that keeps on giving. Fortified in spirit with the gifts of hope, peace, love, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life, we are encouraged to stay the course, trusting in Mary's guidance and protection as we jump the hurdles along the way of our conversion.

"Satan is strong and wants to put disorder and unrest in your hearts and thoughts". Mary reminds us that Satan's battleground is the mind and heart! I have lived this truth in my own life experience for the last few months. I write from personal experience that Satan strikes our minds and hearts aiming at our weakest point as his target. My weakest link was fear. Major surgery was scheduled five months ago …. So… I had way too much time to think and worry about what could go wrong. Fear and anxiety weakened my resolve. Every day in prayer, I would hear Jesus say: "trust….hope will not disappoint"…."I challenge you to rebuke negative thoughts just as I rebuked the tumultuous waves on the sea". Trust and rebuke negativity". Then I heard a story (parable) that carried me through my ordeal of surgery and recovery. This is the parable of faith and trust:

'A world renowned tight rope walker gave a performance before a large crowd of wonder-seeking fans. The bleachers were full. The crowds were not disappointed. The stunts were spectacular and the fans were in awe. When the tight rope walker came down, a woman approached him and marveled at his performance. The tight rope walker turned and looking at the woman asked: Who do you say that I am? The woman hesitated for just a moment and replied: Well, Sir, from what I have heard about you and observed today, I would say that you are the world's greatest tight rope walker. The tight rope walker nodded and said: I am going to perform one more stunt. I will push a wheel barrel across the line. But you should know that the wheel is made of glass and has no ridges. Do you think that I can do this? The woman answered: Yes, Sir, I believe that you can. The tight rope walker smiled at the woman and said: "Good, because you are going to be in the barrel!"

The moral of the parable is this: Many of us reading this commentary believe that they have faith. I believe that I have faith. It is so easy to believe from the bleachers. It is so easy to believe that Jesus did all that the Bible tells us….and to believe all that Jesus Is – both God and man! But when our faith must transition to trust…..when life dumps us in the barrel and we cross the tight rope of life……how do we fare?? This is the goal of conversion!

Prayer will always lead us on the REAL way of joy and peace. We must not settle for a false sense of security. The pleasures and comforts of the world will lead us to a dead end.
We waste too much time on false hope. Pray……Pray……Pray so that the Holy Spirit can work in us…can lead us into the barrels of life. Keep the channels of grace open to the light of God's overflowing gifts which He pours over the world through Mary, our Mother, Guide and Queen. She intercedes always on our behalf before the throne of God.

Amen! Alleluia!

Message of June 25, 2016

Dear Children! Give thanks to God with me for the gift of my being with you. Pray, little children, and live God's commandments that it may be good for you on earth. Today, on this day of grace, I desire to give you my motherly blessing of peace and of my love. I intercede for you with my Son and call you to persevere in prayer so that, with you, I can realize my plans. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Happy 35th anniversary to all of Our Lady's "dear children"! We have had the pleasure of our Mother's presence for all this time – 35 years. She first came on that hot summer day to remind us that "God exists". She revealed to us God's great love for humanity and God's desire that all should be saved. God knew that Satan would have a strong hold on God's chosen people – that there would be grave days ahead for us! We have been given God's greatest gift – the gift of His Mother and ours!

From the Cross, Jesus tenderly established a new relationship between His Mother and His disciples when He said: "Woman, Behold your Son…..Son Behold your Mother". And so from that hour, that hour never to be forgotten, the disciple took her to his own home…and she took on a new maternity. She would be consecrated to all of Her Son's chosen ones until the end of time. And, we, Her "dear children" are consecrated to Her. Jesus, from the Cross, could see through time and eternity. He knew the plans He would have for us during these times. Those plans included sending us His mother and ours to be our guide and teacher.

Mary has led us on the path of conversion through Her many messages over these last 35 years, particularly those that speak of her main themes:

• Prayer, especially the Holy Rosary

• Fasting

• Reading Sacred Scripture

• Confession

• Holy Mass

Our Lady highlights two important directives to us this month. First, She tells us to "live God's commandments" so that it "may be good for you on earth". We have the 10 commandments as our pocket guide to get us through life. Jesus summed up the 10 into the two greatest commandments of love – love of God and love of neighbor. Second, and very important, Mary tells us to "persevere in prayer" so that her plans can be brought to fruition.

Mary has a plan. The plan is God's plan and the reason why She is with us so long. We have been chosen to be key players in this plan of salvation and the defeat of Satan. We, Mary's "dear little children" form a team – the A Team. Together we form Her army of soldiers (prayer warriors) who will – together with our Mother – defeat Satan and arise victorious on the glorious day of judgement.

June 25th is truly a day to rejoice and be glad. We are thankful for the gift of Mary's presence among us. This day we have received the treasure of our Queen and Mother's blessing of peace and love. We are truly gifted and blessed. We are grateful that we have been called, instructed and given the grace to respond to Her call. Indeed, we are a chosen people. Amen.
Alleluia.

Message of August 25, 2016

"Dear Children! Today I desire to share Heavenly joy with you. You, little children, open the door of your heart so that hope, peace and love, which only God gives, may grow in your heart. Little children, you are too bound to the earth and earthly things, that is why Satan is rolling you like the wind rolls the waves of the sea. Therefore, may the chain of your life be prayer with the heart and Adoration of my Son Jesus. Give over your future to Him so that, in Him, you may be joy and an example with your lives to others. Thank you for having responded to my call."

In this message Our Lady shares with the world the 'secret' of heavenly joy in such an eloquent way! "……open the door of your heart so that hope, peace, and love, which only God gives, may grow in your heart…" As I read this, I envisioned a beautifully manicured garden with the loveliest flowers. This garden would have needed to be well tended every day with tender loving care to have produced such perfect blooms. The effort put into the garden is well worth the toil for such marvelous fruit.

Mary's August message is an opportunity to ask ourselves whether or not we tend to the garden of our hearts with such care. Or is this garden overrun with weeds and half-dead blooms? It is within the secret garden of our hearts that the choicest flowers grow – hope, peace, and love which exude the fragrance of Heavenly joy!

What are we doing to help heavenly joy to grow in our hearts?

• Prayer

• Sacraments

• Works of charity

• Meditation o Sacred Scripture

Most especially, do we spend some time every day being silent in the presence of our God? What about time spent in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?
We lead such busy lives. If our bodies aren't "busy about many things", our minds are thinking about many things. …"little children, you are too bound to the earth and earthly things."

"……Behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat; but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail…." (Luke 22:31)
"…….That is why Satan is rolling you like the wind rolls the waves of the sea…" (BVM Aug. 25, 2016)

Jesus warned us in His statement to Peter that Satan is just waiting to destroy His followers. Over 2000 years later, Mary is telling us the same thing. There is a direct connection between Satan's intention to destroy us and being too bound to earthly matters. Will we ever learn? Do we understand what it really means to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ? To remain lukewarm or half-hearted puts ourselves at risk to be targets of the enemy and "sifted like wheat" or "rolled like the waves of the sea".

Our Lady gives us the remedy in this message:

1. "….May the chain of your life be prayer with the heart". Let us look to the Rosary with greater devotion and insight. Let it be for us what it was intended to be – a loving gaze into the events of the life of Jesus and Mary.

2. "Adoration of My Son Jesus"- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is offered in almost every Catholic Church. Let us commit to spend time with Our Lord for the purpose of consoling Him in reparation for the atrocities committed against His Sacred Heart.

This message reminds us of the dangers of this present age. We will not miss the land mines set before us without our Mother Mary's help and direction. We will not be able to reach our destination unless we are grasping her hand tightly. With Mary, we will find joy. She will give us the grace to "give over our future to Her Son". With Mary, and through the graces that she bestows upon us, we will find joy – the most fragrant of flowers blooming within our hearts….and thus, be the example that will lead others to want what we have found.

"Profound joy of the heart is like a magnet that indicates the path of life".
St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Message of September 25, 2016

"Dear Children, Today I am calling you to prayer. May prayer be life to you. Only in this way will your heart be filled with peace and joy. God will be near you and you will feel Him in your heart as a friend. You will speak with Him as with someone whom you know and, little children, you will have a need to witness, because Jesus will be in your heart and you, united in Him. I am with you and love all of you with my motherly love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Once again, this message of Our Lady, as the majority of her messages, begins with a call to prayer. At his moment in history, she has nothing more important and more necessary to ask of us. Mary, our mother, wants us to become filled with peace and joy. She leads us on the only path that leads to life – a path that she highlights month after month with such zeal. Mary is a mother who loves each one of her children and she cannot or will not mislead us. Saint Bernard taught us to pray, "Remember, O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided".

Today we need Her intercession to help us pray as though our very lives depend upon it! We need prayer to be a tangible experience of the power and efficacy of the presence of God. The most powerful prayer is one of thanksgiving which opens the heart to God, beginning by opening the door of our heart to God, through which God can and wants to approach us. What the Virgin Mary recommends to us – what she puts into our hands and wants us to put into our heart, is prayer, which may seem so simple! By pure human logic and intelligence it is difficult to believe that prayer can obtain something so big – God's nearness – the experience of God as friend! To the depth that we speak to Him, we will hear Him speak to our heart "as someone whom we know". Our Lady's language here is very simple; yet not wise in the eyes of the world.

St. Paul says, "For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom, did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength". (1Corin. 1:20-21, 25) Jesus exclaims, "I praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your great pleasure." (Luke 10:21) Truly, only the little ones recognize God and they recognize the motherly presence in Medjugorje. We know from the Gospel that Jesus himself could not help those who approached him full of themselves – with mountains of haughtiness. God finds no space to approach those who are already filled with the world to offer Himself as Savior and friend. Through prayer, we create space for God who is our life, our only hope. Without this space, God is unable to enter our heart.

God waits for our decisions, in order to do everything in our lives himself. God is patient; he waits for us all our life. He waits for us with nothing else but his love, to give us Himself and to enrich us with His mercy and love. He waits for every human heart. He waits for each family to receive Him as a dear guest and friend, to open to Him the door of their houses as Zaccheus did. Then new life happens, a full life in His heart, which becomes grateful, able to forgive and to give witness, as Our Lady pointed out in this message. We can do little with our human powers. It is impossible to become holy with human strength. It is impossible to forgive, to love and to witness to others with our strength alone. Let us allow Mary our Mother, to lead us to Her Son Jesus, so that we may be filled with peace and joy – so that we may become people who see and experience God in our lives and in every person that God has put on our path.

Message of October 25, 2016

"Dear Children! Today I am calling you: pray for peace. Leave selfishness and live the messages which I am giving you. Without them you cannot change your life. By living prayer you will have peace. By living in peace, you will feel the need to witness, because you will discover God whom you now feel to be far away. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray and permit God to enter into your hearts. Return to fasting and confession so as to overcome the evil in you and around you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
All of Our Lady's messages center around four themes – or pillars – of conversion. She speaks to us in very basic language. As our mother she refers to us always as her little children. She has come so that we can re-learn and return to our roots - our roots being the four basic themes of which she so often speaks. Her heart's desire is always to lead us back to the path of our salvation through: 1) prayer 2) peace 3) fast 4) confession (penance)

• Prayer is our life line and starting point. It is the key to the heart of God. Our Lady says "by living prayer you will have peace". The opposite is also true – without prayer we will become lost, confused and frightened in this cold and complex world today. Without an active, ever present connection with our good and merciful God, we can become self-centered, vain and materialistic. We run the risk of becoming jealous and look to be served in life rather than to serve those in need. In short, we will have become engaged in evil tendencies and find no peace.

• Peace is not just the absence of war. It is not simply harmony in families, among friends and community. This type of peace is temporary and can vanish like a vapor. We must remember that we live in a fallen world. When the winds of change blow through life, this temporary peace vanishes! The peace that Our Lady wants for us is unshakeable inner strength and even joy despite circumstances. Our Lady's peace will lead us toward the new evangelization through our ardent desire to give witness to our faith.

• Fasting, confession (and penance) Our Lady again leads us back to our roots of conversion – a turning away from sin, confessing with a firm amendment to make the necessary changes. Confession is a moment of grace which allows us to ask ourselves what it is we need to give up so that we may receive every grace for conversion. By means of confession and penance we allow ourselves to turn from selfishness to service.

Every message of Our Lady is like a concrete step that is building a staircase to Heaven. She is attempting, through her messages, to unite her little children as one body who think the same. She looks upon us, her children, and sees that we are running out of energy and that she holds the keys of restoration and renewal. She sees that our first moments of conversion are wearing off. We live in a fractured society – never so evident as through this year's election process.

Satan has infiltrated our world, families and many hearts. We are now a world devoid of peace! We are unable, without our Mother, to heal and deal with the present problems. Our Lady has come to invigorate us and to lead us through the Bible to Her Son. She has been our bridge to Heaven and to a life of grace. Through her many messages and her abiding presence among us, She has built this luminous bridge to Her Son, Jesus and to eternal peace.

Message of November 25, 2016

Dear children! Also today I am calling you to return to prayer. In this time of grace, God has permitted me to lead you towards holiness and a simple life – that in little things you discover God the Creator; that you fall in love with Him, and that your life be a thanksgiving to the Most High for everything He is giving you. Little children, in love, may your life be a gift for others and God will bless you; but you, witness without interest – out of love for God. I am with you and intercede before my Son for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call".

Commentary:
"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." Luke 10:23-24

This month Our Lady is calling us to holiness through a simple life. She points out that God the Creator can be found in "little things". In most cases, our lives are not simple. They are convoluted, complicated and unsettled! We often look for God in the big bangs of life; when in fact, God is found in the whispers of life and in the silence.

Once again, Mary calls us to "fall in love" with God rather than the fleeting people, places and things of life. Our whole life should be an offering of gratitude to God for all the graces that have been lavished upon us, most especially through Our Lady. It is only when we fall in love with God that our witness will be authentic.

So then, for what should we pray? We should pray for sight – for the truth – for spiritual vision! The ferocity of the recent election and its aftermath of hate demonstrations, the tensions in families, communities, misunderstandings among friends and within churches and the lack of peace within hearts are all indicators that people see their world through very different lenses. These extraordinarily different lenses view life circumstances in starkly different images. The problems we face can best be understood through this mini-parable – the case of the proverbial blind men and the elephant – each with a different piece of the animal and each declaring what an elephant is from his own narrow perspective. The man holding the tail declares an elephant is like a rope while the man holding the trunk insists an elephant is like a hose. "No, no shouts another who has his arms around the elephant's leg, as he swears it is built like a column even though his companion leaning against the elephant's side claims the animal is definitely built like a wall.

Unbeknownst to us, we see things through a particular lens and assume the situation IS as we see it. Meanwhile were there a monitor hooked up to everyone else's brain so that we could see what they see when looking at the same thing, we would be flabbergasted at how different the landscape looks to each of us. Unfortunately, we flare when our lens is challenged. This is true for all of us, especially if we feel personally attacked while our view of reality is being called into question. Is it any wonder that Our Lady's November message calls us to a simple life! Often we are unaware that our perspectives are even lenses, assuming instead that how we see it is "just the way it is".

It is my hope and prayer that we can all look through the same lens (God's lens) as we gaze toward the stable in Bethlehem, preparing once more to celebrate the Christ child who came in the silence of the night as a simple child, who comes to us every day through Sacrament and through one another and the One who will come again at the end of time to smash all the lenses that have served to lead our hearts into bondage.

Let us continue through Advent 2016 as Our Lady has asked: in prayer, in the holiness of a simple life, in thanksgiving and in love for one another.

Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas 2016. "Blessed are we who see…………."

Message of December 25, 2016

Dear Children! With great joy today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, for Him to give you His peace. Open your hearts, little children and be joyful that you can receive it. Heaven is with you and fighting for peace in your hearts, in the families and in the world; and you, little children, help with your prayers for it to be so. I bless you with my Son Jesus and call you not to lose hope and for your gaze and heart to always be directed towards Heaven and eternity. In this way you will be open to God and to His plans. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary:
In every Christmas message Our Lady offers us the greatest gift and the solution to all of our fears and anxieties. It is her Son Jesus. Christmas is the utmost manifestation of the love of God. St. Luke describes that a great heavenly army – the same heavenly army "that is fighting for peace in your hearts" –joined the angels and praised God: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14). With their song the angels express the meaning of what happened, saying that the glory of God is materialized through the birth of the Child bringing peace to people of good will. The biblical expression for peace is close to the expression of grace. The peace granted by God stands for much more than a mere absence of wars and conflicts. It stands for a re-established, peaceful relationship towards God, that is, the realization of our salvation. Justified by faith, we are in peace with God. Peace is identified with the very person of Christ. "For He Himself is our only peace". (Eph. 2:14)

Mary continues to come and bring us Jesus as she did when she came and appeared on Apparition Hill for the first time with the Baby Jesus in Her arms. God has revealed Himself in the simplicity of a child. Jesus remains with us dressed and hidden in the simplicity of the Eucharistic Bread – and it is this simplicity where the omnipotence of God's love and closeness resides. Our Lady comes to invite us once again to open our hearts to this great mystery with JOY and HOPE. It is precisely within this mystery of God's love that will create new life and the transformation of hearts.

Mary is full of grace and full of God. She has empties herself completely in order for God to reside in her fully, and through grace, to reside fully in us. She ceaselessly invites us to adore Him in our hearts, make prayer our life and chose Him at every moment. No one can grant us peace as He can. Only then will joy overflow and our lives will be complete. That our joy may be full and peace be the mantle that enfolds us is our mother's wish for her children – not only on Christmas but every day of our lives.

When Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, He made this earth His home. May Christ now enter your home and heart with His unconditional love. May Christ's teachings be an example and inspiration to all whom you meet along life's way and may you be a beacon of His hope, His love, and His everlasting life. Amen

2017

Message of January 25, 2017

"Dear Children, Today I am calling you to pray for peace: peace in human hearts, peace in the families and peace in the world. Satan is strong and wants to turn all of you against God; and to return you to everything that is human and to destroy in the heart all feelings toward God and the things of God. You, little children, pray and fight against materialism, modernism and egoism which the world offers you. Little children, you decide for holiness and I, with my Son Jesus intercede for you. Thank you for having responded to my call".

Commentary:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household". (Matt. 10:34-36)

The Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis may have been the precursor to the "sword" of God's justice. The world is in a state of turmoil as well as human hearts and families. The recent election in our country has caused an unprecedented upheaval. The sword of God's truth referred to by Jesus in this verse has fallen. Families are divided, human hearts are troubled and countries are ravaged. There is no peace! I have heard it said numerous times lately, "I am afraid".

Our Lady comes this month to remind us that "satan is strong and wants to turn all of you against God". Ever since the election I have heard people with differing social and political viewpoints using Sacred Scripture against each other to justify their opposing opinions. Satan is strong, well versed in Scripture and uses it against us. Satan is a father of lies and uses lies to turn us against God and the truth. In this age of relativism and modernism, people are fighting for their personal rights, their ideologies, and their material possessions. They are fighting so hard for what the world is offering to them and everything human. They have forgotten the things of God. People are so busy demonstrating and fighting for all the wrong things; they have forgotten God, the source of all life.

Our Lady is turning us around and engaging us in another fight: "you, little children, pray and fight against materialism, modernism and egoism". Mary is perseverant. She persists in putting prayer in our hands and hearts month after month. She reminds us "only in this way each of you will discover peace". There is no other way or means to approach God. We pray much less than our soul needs. Our Lady's words show us the way to God, all the positive, good and holy for which human hearts yearn.

We have been given the weapons that will defeat Satan. We must engage our weapons in order to win the war we currently fight – prayer, especially the Rosary, hours spent before the Blessed Sacrament, reception of the Sacraments (especially confession). We must make a conscious decision for holiness and renew this decision every day. We must pray and fight against the temptations offered to us like bait from the world and from human wisdom.

We are neither alone nor abandoned, Mary assures us. She is our intercessor and our advocate. No one who sought her intercession was ever forsaken. Let us entrust ourselves to her. Let us entrust to her our families and our country in order to remain on the path of life. Most important, let us not be afraid because Jesus has overcome the world and so will we if we place ourselves within our Mother's protective mantle.

Message of February 25, 2017

Dear Children! Today I am calling you to profoundly live your faith and to implore the Most High to strengthen it, so that the winds and storms cannot break it. May the roots of your faith be prayer and hope in eternal life. Already now, little children, work on yourselves in this time of grace, wherein God is giving you the grace – through renunciation and the call to conversion – to be people of clear and persevering faith and hope. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Commentary:
In this pre-lent 2017 message, Our Lady uses some pointed and strong words for emphasis! She calls us to live our faith PROFOUNDLY. What does profoundly mean in this context? We are living amidst great turmoil. We are fighting powers and principalities unseen. We cannot be lukewarm in the present spiritual battle in which we are currently engaged. We cannot be lethargic in this warfare. We must live our faith with purpose, determination and certitude that we will reach our goal girded with God's armor and imbued with His grace. There should be no doubt about whether or not we are clothed in the armor of Heaven!

"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day and, having done everything to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in TRUTH, clothed with RIGHTEOUSNESS as a breastplate and your feet shod in readiness for the GOSPEL OF PEACE. In all circumstances hold faith as a shield….taking the HELMET OF SALVATION and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is the WORD OF GOD" (Eph. 6:11-17)

Could this passage from Ephesians encapsulate the meaning of the word PROFOUNDLY that Mary used in describing how we should live our faith in this age?

Our Lady does not matter-of-factly encourage us to pray for strength; She directs us to IMPLORE the Most High for help! Could She mean to beg….be relentless….never tire of throwing ourselves at the mercy of God's grace….IMPLORE! If we are not focused, constant and disciplined, our prayer life will suffer. We may be distracted by the cares of the world. We may succumb to worry and depression – even despair! The "winds and storms" will break us! We are called to be vigilant and totally dedicated to prayer and the things of God. We must rely on "the roots of faith". We must be grounded in "prayer and hope in eternal life".

Our Lady takes this pre-lent opportunity to call us to "work on yourselves in this time of grace". God is again opening the merciful floodgates of Heaven to us this Lent. Let it be for us another wake-up call to renunciation, prayer and conversion. Make no mistake about conversion. Be not complacent because the path to conversion is on-going. No one reading this commentary has arrived at it's fulfillment! Persevere on your path to conversion. Make a plan to "work on yourself" this Lent.

Message of March 25, 2017

Dear Children! In this time of grace, I am calling all of you to open your hearts to God's mercy, to begin a new life through prayer, penance and a decision for holiness. This time of spring moves you to a new life, to a renewal in your thoughts and hearts. Therefore, little children, I am with you to help you to say 'yes' to God and to God's commandments with resoluteness. You are not alone; I am with you through the grace which the Most High gives me for you and your descendants. Thank you for having responded to my call".

Commentary:
MERCY!
"My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere My Mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My Mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it."

(Jesus words to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska – Diary 742)

Our Lady comes to us in March – mid Lent – with a message of hope, renewal and new life. The floodgates of God's mercy open for the whole world in this season of Divine Mercy through penance and prayer. It is a season of grace like no other! Mid Lent is a good time to take stock of our own Lenten observances.

--- Have we been resolute in opening our hearts to God fully?
--- Have we been consistent in our prayer?
--- Do we attend Mass more often than the Sunday observance?
--- Has our Lenten penance reached beyond ourselves to our family and neighbors in need?
--- Have we been faithful to regular – even nightly – examination of conscience?
--- Have we observed the Commandments; especially the Commandment to love God and neighbor?

If we have been faithful along the Lenten path to Easter; then we can be assured of arriving at 'new life' – another spring time along our journey to conversion.
Our Lady reminds us that we cannot achieve any progress along our path to conversion alone. She is always with us through the goodness of God. God allows Mary our Mother to remain with us through all the pitfalls that are strewn along the way. She teaches us to say 'yes' to God just as a mother teaches her child to say 'mama and dada'! Our Lady has reminded us this month the blessings that we receive from on High trickle down through generations. Our descendants will benefit from our faithfulness!!

If you have not already done so, take advantage of the greatest gift of the season of Lent. Go to Church and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Diocese of Rochester observed a day of penance in which our priests heard individual confessions for eight hours. Pray and long to hear these amazing and saving words from Jesus through the priest:
"God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins: through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins present and past in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

No greater act of Mercy exists in this world! Praise God forever and ever. Amen

Message of April 25, 2017

"Dear Children! Love, pray and witness my presence to all those who are far away. By your witness and example you can draw closer the hearts that are far from God and His grace. I am with you and intercede for each of you so that, with love and resoluteness, you may witness and encourage all those who are far from my Immaculate Heart. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
In this Easter Season we are imbued with the stories from the Acts of the Apostles of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus and the apostles' witness to all the things that happened in Jerusalem. The Messiah would have to suffer and die, remain in the tomb for three days and then rise again. We are filled with hope these days from the Gospel accounts of the Risen Lord and the apostles' witness.
Our Lady calls us to be her witnesses today. We cannot witness to something we have not experienced. Our Lady's presence and continual messages to us have had an impact on our lives.

We who have opened our hearts to the tremendous graces that Heaven has poured forth from Mary's Immaculate Heart have been the foundation of our conversion. She has brought us hope and peace. Mary our Mother has brought new meaning into our lives. Our Lady has come to tell us God is real and she has mapped out a sure path to salvation through all the dangers that Satan has strewn in our path in these treacherous times in which we live. We who have followed her instructions over these many years have been changed. We are witnesses to the miracle of her presence. Many of us have been fortunate enough to have been present on the Hill of Apparition in Medjugorje when she came, spoke to us and blessed us.

I can distinctly remember the first time that experience was mine. It was August of 1988, the Feast of the Assumption. Over 40,000 pilgrims were climbing the mountain for the 11:00 PM apparition to Ivan. The young, the old, the disabled were climbing – some carrying statues – some being carried on stretcher, some struggling as they ascended from rock to the next rock. For many the climb seemed effortless. The star studded sky was clear. Shooting stars were visible as many were singing Ave Maria as they climbed. As we ascended higher, my friend told me to stop and look. She was pointing to a "gold statue that was getting bigger and bigger". It was her gift! Donna saw Our Lady coming. I did not….but later in the pilgrimage I would hear her speak to my heart through interior locutions….and this experience would continue for over 12 years.

That brilliant summer night, Our Lady came dressed in gold, preceded by three splashes of bright white light coming from Mount Krizevac amidst shooting stars. She was pleased with the large, silent crowd. Mary gave Ivan a message for us and blessed us with a special blessing that she only gives on special Feasts such as the Assumption and Christmas. The blessing was given to us with a simple instruction: Go back to your communities and pass on this special blessing to those who do not know God. She left us in the silence of a summer night forever changed.

In this Spring message from Heaven, Our Lady tells us how to witness – through love and prayer. We have the same power within us that the apostles had after the Resurrection. We have the power of the Holy Spirit with us through Baptism and Confirmation. As such, we have been given the same commission as the first apostles – to go out into the whole world and spread the Gospel. Our armor should be prayer and our garment should be love. It is through the love of self-giving that the Good News will penetrate hardened hearts.

We are called to go out into this darkened world with the light that we personally witnessed on a hill in Medjugorje. With love and "resoluteness" we must witness and encourage all those who are far from the Immaculate Heart of our Mother, Mary, while there is still time in this period of grace.

Stay with us, Mary, our mother, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary that you renew our strength, so that we will not stop along the way and for this, we need you. It is getting late and death approaches. We fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows of this life. O how we need you, Mother, in this valley of tears. Amen

Message of May 25, 2017

Dear Children, the Most High has permitted me to call you anew to conversion. Little children, open your hearts to the grace to which you are all called. Be witnesses of peace and love in this peaceless world. Your life here on earth is passing. Pray that through prayer you may yearn for Heaven and the things of Heaven and your hearts will see everything differently. You are not alone. I am with you and intercede before my Son Jesus for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
"Our days are like the grass; like flowers of the field we blossom. The wind sweeps over us and we are gone; our place knows us no more." Ps. 103:15,16

By now, after so many years of relishing Our Lady's presence through her apparitions and messages, we know that it is God, the Most High, who wishes to save all of humanity from utter destruction by permitting our Mother to call and guide us along the path of life.

The first step: "open your hearts". Spiritual growth comes from being brave enough to open our hearts. Openness is often provoked by a sudden situation that is disarming and leaves us without much to say. Our closed-minded opinions are disarmed, our fragile securities are disarmed, and our plans, disarmed. Suddenly we are reminded that all things are temporary. There are always lessons to be learned. In short, openness is often provided by an explosion. The heart is a great teacher in this way. It leads us into depths we had no idea existed so far within us, it shows us parts we pretend are not there and waves them in our faces.

Our Lady calls us anew in this message to choose heart over ego. Those who are tapped most fully into their ability to love, radiates this outward. Other people can feel it, and even if not consciously, they are changed because of it. This is how we become witnesses to peace and love in our world. We are impacting each other all the time, in words and wordless interactions, in embraces and acceptance and calculated mistreatments. Our choice is to lead with the heart over the ego when our goal is to follow Our Lady's call to be "witnesses of peace and love".

We need to be reminded over and over again that "your life here on earth is passing". Life on this planet is very temporary. Our homes, our bodies are nothing but tents build upon sand for the journey through the desert of life. Life on earth is the cartoon before the main feature. God's wisdom tells us: "What eye has not seen, and ear has not heart, and what has not entered the human heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him". 1Cor.2:9

For what, then, should our hearts yearn"? We should all be committed, through prayer, to breaking our hearts of stone until they open to the great expanse of God's eternal promises to which Mary, our Mother, calls us anew!

Every day before Mass during morning prayer, I plead:
"Blessed Mother, you know what we need for our further conversion. Please keep us open to all the graces that you will send us today."

Mary, our devoted Mother, we thank you for having responded to God, the Most High's call!

Message of June 25, 2017

Dear Children! Today I desire to thank you for your perseverance and call you to open yourselves to profound prayer. Prayer, little children, is the heart of faith and is hope in eternal life. Therefore, pray with the heart until your heart sings with thanksgiving to God the Creator who gave you life. I am with you, little children, and carry to you my motherly blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
On this day, the 25th of June 2017, we celebrated the 36th anniversary of Our Lady's presence with us through her apparitions in Medjugorje. Year after year, we, the Board of Directors of the Queen of Peace Apostolate, host the anniversary celebration at St. Mary's Church in Waterloo. The celebration begins with the Rosary, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Mass and a healing service. After the death of Fr. Albert J Shamon, Fr. Paul Bonacci has acted as our spiritual director – guiding and leading us as a Board through our journey of faith with our Holy Mother. I will paraphrase some of Fr. Paul's homily on Mary's June message as well as my own insights.

Life can be compared to a journey. We can expect to travel through storms, trials, doubts and disappointments. We can also expect to take a wrong turn every now and then. It is important to remember that the journey does not end with suffering, bad choices, etc. The journey continues unless we stop! Our Lady is with us guiding and teaching us. If we make a wrong turn, Our Lady will lead us back on the path toward eternal life. And so….we persevere! Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, "God does not expect success but faithfulness!

"Prayer is the heart of faith". Prayer – profound prayer – is the fuel that sustains faith. What else do we have to fuel our faith?

* The Sacraments, especially the Eucharist (which means thanksgiving). Jesus gives us himself in the flesh! The Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to begin again every time we fall.

* Our Lady's presence among us – her words, her motherly blessing and her committed love for each of her children.

Profound Prayer is more than a recitation of words. It is unwavering trust as we journey through life with its temptations, trials and the merciless hatred that seems to darken life in these times. Profound prayer is pouring our heart out to God knowing we are heard. It is knowing that we carry within us the Spirit of the living God. Profound prayer grounds our faith. Profound prayer is knowing that we are sustained with the Bread of Life at every Mass. Our hope is not in what this shadow life has to offer. Our hope, rooted in faith, lies in eternal life.

We strive to pray profoundly until our hearts overflow with gratitude for the love of our God who calls us sons and daughters. We pray until our hearts sing with joy knowing that as sons and daughters, we inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. We pray with our hearts so that we will be grateful for the gift of life endowed upon us by our Creator. We persevere along the journey fashioning our lives to be re-gifted back to God.

Mary is with us as we journey through life, blessing us always with her motherly blessing of peace. She fortifies our faith and strengthens our prayer because only the praying heart can hear the Father's requests. With our Mother by our side, we "will always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for our hope." (1 Peter 3:15)

Message of July 25, 2017

"Dear Children, Be prayer and a reflection of God's love for all those who are far from God and God's commandments. Little children, be faithful and determined in conversion and work on yourselves so that, for you, holiness of life may be truth; and encourage each other in the good through prayer, so that your life on earth may be more pleasant. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
First: "Be prayer and a reflection of God's love….encourage each other…"
When our lives are aligned to God we become the conduits of enormous power to complete the work of salvation. In Joyce Landorf Heatherley's book, "Balcony people", two different types of people are exemplified – the evaluators or basement people and the affirmers or balcony people. Evaluators are people who break the spirit by their critical or judgmental evaluations. Affirmers or balcony people are those who bring healing by their encouragement and love. Our Lady's July message is inviting us to be affirmers or balcony people. It is absolutely crucial to the process of conversion and the experience of God's unconditional love to be balcony people for one another. Otherwise we miss one of the main concepts of Holy Scripture – to love one another and to bear one another's burdens.

Second: "Be faithful and determined…..work on yourselves…"

The truth is that holiness of life requires much discipline, faithfulness, determination and strength of will. We must continually "work on ourselves" even to be considered good! Jesus tells the rich young man in Matthew's Gospel : "Good teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life? He answered him , "why do you call me good? There is only One who is good". (Matthew 19:16). Our Lady reminds us this month the level of commitment necessary to achieve holiness of life. Personal conversion is a moment to moment awareness of the enormous love of God and our littleness. Our Mother is with us to help and guide us every step of the way. She showers us with grace day by day.

Finally: "Encourage each other…..so that your life on earth may be more pleasant".

Our Lady expects us to be affirmers or balcony people to one another. Balcony people inspire, lift up, teach, give the down trodden a reason for their hope. Balcony people are doers of the Word not just hearers. Balcony people bear the burdens of their brothers and sisters as in the following:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Basement people or evaluators have a different perspective as in the following anonymous poem:
I was hungry and you formed a humanities club to discuss my hunger.
Thank you.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel to pray for my release.
Nice.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
What good did that do?
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
But I needed you.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the shelter of God's love.
I wish you'd taken me home.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
Why didn't you stay?
You seem so holy, so close to God, But I'm still very hungry, lonely, cold and still in pain.
Does it matter?

Let us all allow Mary's July message to inspire us to commit to becoming balcony people and make life on earth more pleasant for humanity!

Message of August 25, 2017

Dear Children! Today I am calling you to be people of prayer. Pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and a meeting of the Most High. He will transform your hearts and you will become people of love and peace. Do not forget, little children, that Satan is strong and wants to draw you away from prayer. You, do not forget that prayer is the secret key of meeting with God. That is why I am with you to lead you. Do not give up on prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Commentary:
Our Lady once said "Let prayer be like air that you breathe". Over the past three and a half decades that we have had Mary present with us through the Medjugorje visionaries, prayer has been the source and summit of her messages (in and through the Holy Eucharist-our greatest prayer). Our Holy Mother calls us repeatedly to prayer because she knows that when we are weak we are defenseless and easy prey unless prayer be "like the air we breathe". Prayer, then, is a matter of life and death. We would be spiritually dead without prayer. It is our life and the means through which we receive grace and are able to turn our hearts to God.

It is only through prayer that we choose God, the sole purpose of life. When we pray we dispose ourselves in humility and love recognizing our utter dependence on God and our prayer becomes a declaration of our humanity. Our hearts cry out to God, "I need you…I can do nothing without your grace"! It is imperative that we discover prayer of the heart in which the soul opens and surrenders to God through Our Lady. Only through prayer of the heart will we experience the joy of being the beloved of God.

As I reflected on the August message in preparation for this commentary, I thought about prayer: methods, private and communal, contemplation, intercessory, petition, thanksgiving, etc. Much has been written about prayer. We, Our Lady's children, are indeed, people of prayer! I was struck by Our Lady's words: "prayer is the secret key of meeting with God". Secret key! I asked her to let me know what we may be missing. What, Mother, have we not yet learned about prayer? It was a couple days later that She spoke to my heart. Within her words, I believe, Mary revealed to me that "secret key".

I share this locution with you in it's entirety . It is up to you to discover within it your own secret key to the Heart of God.

My precious faithful sons and daughters,

"The Blessed Time of My Triumph is at hand – a reign of victory for the children of God's predilection. These are times of great trial around the world as the adversary is fighting for more leverage over souls. You, my faithful sons and daughters, must endure through personal and global suffering. If you knew My Son as I do, your hearts would rejoice in your communion with His Passion. I am with you to unite your hearts to His Passion so that all will be peace and joy for you as you await the final victory over Satan and the coming of peace upon the world".

In the depths of prayer we will be drawn into communion with Jesus in His Passion where the fruits of this prayer will be peace and joy. Our Lady is leading us to this "secret key" where we will be one with Christ. "Jesus Himself suffers in you and for you…at times Our Lord makes you feel the burden of the Cross so that you can know perfect love". (Padre Pio) Is this your secret key in these times of great global and personal suffering?

Let the Virgin Mary, our Mother, full of grace and Immaculate lead us to the secrets of Our Father's heart and love which He has for all of us. Amen