On February 25, 2021, Our Lady has visited us once again. The message she gave to the world revolved around prayer and fasting. Let us have a look at it.
Dear children! God has permitted me to be with you also today, to call you to prayer and fasting. Live this time of grace and be witnesses of hope, because I repeat to you, little children, that with prayer and fasting also wars can be suppressed. Little children, believe and live this time of grace in faith and with faith; and my Immaculate Heart does not leave any of you in peacelessness if you have recourse to me. I intercede for you before the Most High and I pray for peace in your hearts and for hope for the future. Thank you for having responded to my call.
First of all, Mary makes it clear that she is coming to us because the Father wants her to do so. Her visiting us is a visible sign that God, our Father, is truly what St Paul tells us of him in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too (2 Cor 1:3-5).
As a loving mother would exhort her children even Mary is encouraging us to go back to prayer and fasting. If one studies well the messages which the Gospa has been given us at Medjugorje one notices that the phrase prayer and fasting is found to be found frequently. I simply want to mention some examples of them. For instance, in a message given on February 1, 1984, prayer and fasting are considered as a way of thanking the Lord. She said: Above all, thank him through prayer and fasting. By prayer and fasting wars are averted. In the message given on April 25, 1992, Our Lady says: Only by prayer and fasting can war be stopped. The same idea is practically repeated in another message given on January 25, 2001:
Dear children! Today I call you to renew prayer and fasting with even greater enthusiasm until prayer becomes a joy for you. Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil. Once again, I repeat to you: only through prayer and fasting also wars can be stopped – wars of your unbelief and fear for the future. In this message Our Lady teaches us that through fasting we are not afraid of evil! How relevant is her comment for our days where fear has become an existential priority for many, even without knowing it!
Prayer and fasting have the power of purifying our hearts. In a message given to Mirjana at the Cenacolo, on January 2, 2006, Our Lady said: 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. Prayer and fasting make us conscious of the extent God loves us and also give us the strength to carry out his will decisively. In a message she gave on October 25, 2008, she said: Therefore, little children, arm yourselves with prayer and fasting so that you may be conscious of how much God loves you and may carry out God’s will. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Prayer and fasting help us discover our Heavenly Father thanks to Jesus. This point is highlighted in a message given on January 2, 2011. May prayer and fasting open your hearts and help you to discover the Heavenly Father through my Son. In the message of May 2, 2013, Our Lady is teaching us regarding the spiritual abundant good fruits that come out from prayer and fasting. May prayer and fasting strengthen you so that you can live as the Heavenly Father would desire; that you may be my apostles of faith and love; that your life may bless those whom you meet; that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and my Son. In other words, by being faithful to prayer and fasting we are empowered to live according to God’s heart, be living testimonies of faith and love, be of blessing to those with whom we cross our paths and be united with the Father through the Son Jesus.
Prayer and fasting help us grow in humility, accept God’s Word without ifs and buts, and accompany others to let God’s Word lead them in their lives. Prayer and fasting provide the capacity of listening with the heart, humbly submitting oneself, rejecting what puts one off track with God’s Word and year for everything that makes us get closer to God’s Word. In her message of September 2, 2013, Our Lady says: All of you have my motherly love, and I desire to lead all of you to come to know God’s joy. This is why I am calling you. I need humble apostles who, with an open heart, will accept the Word of God and help others to comprehend the meaning of their life along side God’s word. To be able to do this my children, through prayer and fasting, you must learn to listen with the heart and to learn to keep submitting yourselves. You must learn to keep rejecting everything that distances you from God’s word and to yearn only for that which draws you closer to it.
Prayer and fasten facilitates for us the will to believe and follow Mary by loving Her Son Jesus above everything else. Furthermore, prayer and fasten will widen our heart to live Jesus in each and every person we encounter. In her message of August 2, 2014, Our Lady says:
Dear children, the reason that I am with you, my mission, is to help you for ‘good’ to win, even though this does not seem possible to you now. I know that you do not understand many things as I also did not understand everything, everything that my Son explained to me while He was growing up alongside me – but I believed Him and followed Him. I ask this of you also, to believe me and to follow me. However, my children, to follow me means to love my Son above everything, to love Him in every person without making differences. For you to be able to do this, I call you anew to renunciation, prayer and fasting.
According to the Gospa prayer and fasting will render us fruits of the way of faith. We become her flowers and apostles of her love because, wherever we go, we carry the light which will illumine those with whom we meet with love as well as wisdom. On Friday 2 August, 2019, Our Lady told us: But along with prayer and fasting you will be fruits, my flowers, apostles of my love; you will be carriers of light and will illuminate all those around you with love and wisdom. In the message of March 25, 2020, the Gospa says that prayer and fasting put us on the path of salvation. Dear children! I have been with you all these years to lead you on the path of salvation. Return to my Son, return to prayer and fasting. In the message of September 25, 2020 we learn that prayer and fasting transforms us from within and also transform those who are around us. Thus, Our Lady says: Prayer and fasting work miracles in you and around you.
This great richness that emanates from the phrase prayer and fasting, used so frequently by Our Lady, in her short but very powerful catheceses, will surely help us embark on a life of serious prayer and fasting to see God’s prodigies in our lives as well as in the lives of those around us.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap