Our Lady has come to see us again! She has come on April 25, 2022, with an urgent message: Return to God! Return to prayer! Here is her message:
“Dear children! I am looking at you and I see that you are lost. That is why I am calling all of you: return to God, return to prayer—and the Holy Spirit will fill you with His love which gives joy to the heart. Hope will grow in you, also for a better future, and you will become joyful witnesses of God’s mercy in you and around you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Without prayer we are building on the sand! Jesus told us so well in the Gospel of John when he said: I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples (John 15:1-8).
We are being pruned and consolidated in our faith by the daily hardships we face in our present lives. We are not for this world. Irrespective of the idols we have created of money, prestige and even relationships, when they they take the central place in our lives at the detriment of sidelining God himself, we have to leave everything behind us. So, Our Lady, as a caring Mother, is telling us to resort to prayer to be joyful witnesses of God’s mercy!
The saints help us understand the power of prayer in our lives. Saint Augustine has this to tell us on prayer: “Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” “O, Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there thy cheerful beams.”
St Peter Julian Eymard said: ‘In order to succeed in prayer, it should be done when we first awaken, when our whole being is calm and recollected. We need to make our meditation before anything else.’ As far as possible, you should pray in quiet silent devotion. Try to have a favourite topic of prayer, such as a devotion to the passion of Jesus, the Blessed Sacrament, awareness of the divine presence: go directly to Jesus without too much fuss.’ “Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones. “Ask and you shall receive”, Our Lord said, be yourself good with the Lord.’
St Teresa of Calcutta said concerning prayer:“Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of Containing God’s gift of himself.” “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” “We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature–trees and flowers and grass–grow in silence. See the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.” “Purity is the fruit of prayer.” “When I was crossing into Gaza, I was asked at the checkpost whether I was carrying any weapons. I replied: Oh yes, my prayer books. ‘THE SIMPLE PATH The fruit of silence is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE. The fruit of service is PEACE.” “Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray–feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus.” “Silence is the root of our union with God and with one another. In silence we are filled with the energy of God Himself that makes us do all things in joy. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.”
St. Teresa of Avila has this to tell us about prayer: “Anyone who has the habit of speaking before God’s majesty as if he were speaking to a slave, careless about how he is speaking, and saying whatever comes into his head and whatever he’s learned from saying prayers at other times, in my opinion is not praying. Please, God, may no Christian pray in this way.” “Let him never cease from prayer who has once begun it, be his life ever so wicked; for prayer is the way to amend it, and without prayer such amendment will be much more difficult.”“Vocal prayer . . . must be accompanied by reflection. A prayer in which a person is not aware of Whom he is speaking to, what he is asking, who it is who is asking and of Whom, I don’t call prayer–however much the lips may move.”“One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much, more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer.” “I would never want any prayer that would not make the virtues grow within me.”
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori gives us the following reflections on prayer: “Without prayer we have neither light nor strength to advance in the way which leads to God.” “He who prays most receives most.” “It is not enough to pray only with the tongue: we must, according to the Apostle, pray also with the heart if we wish to receive God’s graces: Praying at all times in the spirit.’”
St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney gives us a comprehensive cathecesis on prayer: “Prayer is the inner bath of love into which the soul plunges itself.” “To pray and love, that is the happiness of man on earth.”“Never forget that it is at the beginning of each day that God has the necessary grace for the day ready for us. He knows exactly what opportunities we shall have to sin, and will give us everything we need if we ask him then. That is why the devil does all he can to prevent us from saying our morning prayers or to make us say them badly.”“Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light.”
“What souls we can convert by our prayers. The one who saves a soul from hell saves this soul and his own as well.”“My little children, your hearts, are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the soul and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” “There are those who lose themselves in prayer, like fish in water, because they are absorbed in God. There is no division in their hearts. How I love those noble souls.”
St Maria Faustina Kowalska gives us the subsequent reflections on prayer: “A soul arms itself by prayer for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer.”
“My daughter…why do you not tell me about everything that concerns you, even the smallest details? Tell Me about everything, and know that this will give Me great joy. I answered, But You know about everything, Lord.” And Jesus replied to me, “Yes I do know; but you should not excuse yourself with the fact that I know, but with childlike simplicity talk to Me about everything, for my ears and heart are inclined towards you, and your words are dear to Me.”
“I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world – mercy triumphed over justice. My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. I claim veneration for My mercy from every creature, but above all from you, since it is to you that I have given the most profound understanding of this mystery.”
“When I immersed myself in prayer and united myself with all the Masses that were being celebrated all over the world at that time, I implored God, for the sake of all these Holy Masses, to have mercy on the world and especially on poor sinners who were dying at that moment. At the same instant, I received an interior answer from God that a thousand souls had received grace through the prayerful mediation I had offered to God. We do not know the number of souls that is ours to save through our prayers and sacrifices; therefore, let us always pray for sinners.”
My holy Capuchin confrere St Padre Pio used to say: “The prayers of the Saints in heaven and of the just on earth are a perfume which never will be lost.”
Let us then return to God! Let us return to prayer! As Our Heavenly Mother Mary has told us in her Medjugorje message of April 25, 2022!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap