Upon praying the Akathist, or that prayer dedicated to Mary, Mother of God and Our Beloved Mother to whom we pray standing, I was deeply touched by some acclamations that we rightly address to Mary, the Mother of the Church. The more these beautiful acclamations hit home the more the messages she is lovingly giving to us in Medjugorje became truer and truer in my eyes of faith. In these reflections I want to limit myself to very few of these acclamations which made me click, read, cherish and meditate them.
Rejoice, heavenly ladder by which God came down. Yes! Mary is the ladder thanks to which the Son of God became one of us in his incarnation! I pray for all of you for joy to be born in your hearts so that in joy you too carry the joy I have today. In this Child I bring to you the Savior of the your hearts and the One who calls you to the holiness of life (December 25, 2000). Dear Children, my Son is born, Your Saviour is here with you. What prevents your hearts from receiving him? How many false things there are in your hearts. Purify your hearts with prayer and fasting. Recognize and accept my Son. Only He can give true love and peace. Only He is the way to eternal life (January 2, 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 (December 25, 2006).
In another acclamation of the Akathist, we hail Mary as the dawn that illumines the minds of believers. Here are some Medjugorje messages that support this beautiful and most profound acclamation. May fasting and prayer be your weapon for drawing closer to and coming to know Jesus, my Son. Follow me and my luminous example. I will help you. I am with you (January 2, 2007). 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 (August 25, 2008). Dear children! My Motherly Heart suffers tremendously as I look at my children who persistently put what is human before what is of God, at my children who, despite everything that surrounds them and despite all the signs that are sent to them, think that they can walk without my Son. They cannot! They are walking to eternal perdition. That is why I am gathering you, who are ready to open your heart to me, you who are ready to be apostles of my love, to help me; so that by living God’s love you may be an example to those who do not know it. May fasting and prayer give you strength in that, and I bless you with the Motherly blessing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (March 2, 2011).
In the Akathist Mary is truly a very feared enemy by the demons. Rejoice, wound bitterly lamented by demons. Rejoice, dwelling place of light, dispeller of darkness who has diminished utterly the darkened demons. Rejoice, the downfall of demons. Be together like brothers and sisters. Do not argue. Satan exists! He seeks only to destroy. With regards to you, pray, and persevere in prayer. No one will be able to do anything against you (February 14, 1982). Pray, pray, pray! Do not be discouraged. Be in peace because God gives you the grace to defeat Satan (September 16, 1983). If you would be strong in the faith, Satan would not be able to do anything against you. Begin to walk the path of my messages. Be converted, be converted, be converted (April 5, 1984). Dear children, in these days, Satan wants to destroy all my plans. Pray with me so that his design will not be realized. I will pray to my Son, Jesus, so that He may give you the grace to experience His victory over Satan’s temptations (July 12, 1984). Dear children, these last days, you have experienced the work of Satan. I am with you always. Do not be afraid of these temptations. God watches over you always. I am with you in the least of trials (July 19, 1984). Hand-in-hand with Mary we can win the battle against Satan!
The final acclamation which personally gives me alot of courage is, surely, the following one:
Rejoice, O Lady, never empty font of living water. Mary is the never empty font of living water because she is full of Jesus, Her Son! And it is Him she gives to us! And to Him she leads us to! Now I pray to my Son to forgive the world its sins (November 3, 1981). My Son carried the cross. He has suffered on the cross, and by it, He saved the world. Every day I pray to my Son to forgive the sins of the world (December 31, 1981). I will pray to my Son to put out His mercy on each one (February 23, 1982). My Son Jesus Christ wants, through my intercession, to extend the graces of predilection over you. He rejoices that you are consecrating yourselves to Him (May 17, 1984).
This little journey which God’s grace led me into, through Mary, makes me conclude with Saint Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167): Who will find this strong woman? Thus, this English Cistercian monk, abbot of Rievaulx from 1147 until his demise, a known writer, and considered as saint both by Catholics and Anglicans, wrote in his sermon 39 for the feast of the Annunciation:
Adam had climbed the mountain of pride; the Son of God wanted to descend into the valley of humility. Today He has found a valley to descend into; where is it? Not in you, Eve, mother of our affliction, not in you! But in blessed Mary. She is indeed this valley of Hebron, because of her humility and because of her strength. She is strong, because of her participation in the strength of which it is written: “The Lord is strong and mighty.” She is that strong woman whom Solomon sought: “Who will find a strong woman?”
Eve, though created in paradise, without corruption, defilement, infirmity or pain, proved to be so weak, so infirm! “Who will find this strong woman?” Can she be found in this land of misery, when she could not be found in the bliss of paradise?
Today, God the Father has found this woman, He has found her to sanctify her; the Son has found her to dwell in her; the Holy Spirit has found her to enlighten her; and the angel has found her to greet her thus: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!” Here she is, the strong woman, in whom reflection replaces curiosity; in whom humility excludes all vanity; in whom virginity stands free from all voluptuousness.
Mary, pray for us so that your reflection, humility and purity reign in our lives too as they magnificently reign in yours. Amen.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap