April’s 25 2021 monthly message to Maria for the world is truly encouraging. It clearly seems that Our Lady is very much in tune of what we are going through. And, as the most caring Mother as she is, is pointed to us ways to be encouraged in order to move on no matter the obstacles that we meet along our way.
“Dear children! Today I am calling you to witness your faith in the colors of spring. May this be a faith of hope and courage. May your faith, little children, not waver in any situation, not even in this time of trial. Go courageously with the risen Christ towards Heaven, which is your goal. I am accompanying you on this way of holiness and am placing all of you in my Immaculate Heart. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
There are many aspects that this message really speak to me. First, I am calling you to witness your faith in the colors of spring. This phrase of the Gospa gives me alot of encouragement to witness to Christ in all life seasons! The Risen Christ, in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, tells you and me blatantly: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). There is no place which is to be left out from the proclamation of Christ!
In his apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis exhorts us:
“We cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but by attraction’” (no.14).
Is there something more attractive than the colors of spring?
Second, as Our Lady precisely says, faith is about hope and courage. In his homily in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Monday, 23 March 2020, Pope Francis said: “Faith, perseverance and courage. In these days, in which it is necessary to pray, to pray more, let us think about whether we pray in this way: with faith that the Lord can intervene, with perseverance and courage. The Lord does not let us down, He does not disappoint. He makes us wait, He takes His time, but He does not disappoint. Faith, perseverance and courage”.
Third, the Gospa is encouraging us to persevere in every trial we have to face. She tells us: May your faith, little children, not waver in any situation, not even in this time of trial. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew: You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt 10:22). Within the same homily mentioned above Pope Francis said:
“Jesus teaches us … perseverance. Some ask, but grace does not come: they do not have this perseverance, because in the end they do not need it, or they do not have faith. And Jesus Himself teaches us the parable of that man who goes to his neighbour at midnight to ask for bread: the perseverance of knocking on the door (see Lk 11: 5-8). Or the widow, with the dishonest judge: she insists and insists and insists: it is perseverance (see Lk 18:1-8). Faith and perseverance go together, because if you have faith, it is sure that the Lord will grant you what you ask. And if the Lord makes you wait, knock, knock, knock: in the end the Lord will give you the grace. But the Lord does not do this to make Himself sought after, or because He says it’s ‘better to wait’, no. He does it for our own good, so that we take it seriously. Take prayer seriously, not like parrots: blah blah blah and nothing more. Jesus Himself rebukes us: “Do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words” (see Mt 6:7-8). No, it is perseverance, there. It is faith”.
Fourth, our life’s goal is heaven accompanied by Christ Her Son and our Elder Brother. She says: Go courageously with the risen Christ towards Heaven, which is your goal. The very last word of Jesus in the Matthean Gospel is the following: lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matt 28:20). In an interesting post on the website Life Teen Blog it is nicely explained in the following way:
“This goal is heaven. The reality of heaven reminds us that there is more to life here on earth, that we have reason to hope for eternal joy. The fact that God created an eternal home with no chaos or hatred for us reveals that He has not forgotten us. It tells us that He longs to be with His creation, His children, forever. We all desire heaven, even if we don’t name it so. I know some people would rather not believe in “mystical things” mainly because of fear, self-doubt of unworthiness, or simply because they are too busy with “reality.” But the fact remains that we were made for heaven. Besides, who doesn’t want to experience rest, peace, hope, joy and the certainty of being loved? I can’t think of anyone”.
But how is this vision achievable? The post in this website goes on to explain: “The #goal of heaven is made real today. Every morning, begin your day by turning to the Lord in prayer, saying: “Lord, help me and others around me to get closer to heaven today.” Find ways to share the way the goodness of the Lord with the people around you, whether it be your family, friends, or even some strangers you might encounter. When faced with a difficult situation, step back and find the most loving response that you can offer. Choose to make heaven a bit more of a reality on earth by creating spaces of rest, peace, joy, and unity in the ways that you are able. We must boldly live out our mission and purpose: to make heaven #goals for us and for those around us. Let’s get started”.
With Mary, Our Mother on our side, who explicitly told us: I am accompanying you on this way of holiness and am placing all of you in my Immaculate Heart, this endeavor is achievable absolutely!
What an encouraging message to embrace in each and every moment of our lives her on earth!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap