How to be joyful witnesses of God’s word and love?
When Our Mother Mary appears in Medjugorje and gives us God’s message, we once more realize the appropriateness of the title: Seat of Wisdom pray for us. Really and truly her messages are impregnated with Heavenly wisdom.
A case in point is the message She gave to us on Monday, July 25, 2022 at Medjugorje. She told us: Dear children! I am with you to lead you on the way of conversion, because, little children, with your lives you can draw many souls closer to my Son. You be joyful witnesses of God’s word and love, and with hope in the heart which conquers every evil. Forgive those who inflict evil on you, and go on the way of holiness. I am leading you to my Son, for Him to be the way, the truth and the life for you. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Mary is the one who leads us on the path of conversion. In his Angelus Address of Sunday, 5 June 2005, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said: The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without a doubt the Heart of Mary, his Immaculate Mother, and for this very reason the liturgy holds them up together for our veneration.
Moreover, St Louis de Montfort, in his book True Devotion to Mary, he said that prayers to Mary are immediately transferred to Jesus.
She is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say “Mary” she says “God.” When St. Elizabeth praised Mary calling her blessed because she had believed, Mary, the faithful echo of God, responded with her canticle, “My soul glorifies the Lord.” What Mary did on that day, she does every day. When we praise her, when we love and honor her, when we present anything to her, then God is praised, honored and loved and receives our gift through Mary and in Mary.
How wise then to pray to Mary everyday: O Mary you who have entered this world without sin obtain for us the grace that we leave this world without sin.
In her message Mary is reminding us that we too can draw other people to Jesus! She tells us in her message: With your lives you can draw many souls closer to my Son. Imagine when we serve with love to others, give a genuine smile to those who need it, and so forth. In other words, doing small things with great love. Pope Francis explains this to us in his apostolic exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world, Gaudete Et Exsultate when he says:
This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures. Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbour and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness. Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness. Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step (no.16).
Then, Our Mother Mary reminds us to be joyful witnesses of God’s word and love! Pope Francis talks frequently about Christian Joy as well as real happiness. For instance, in a tweet of 4 February, 2014, Pope Francis wrote: I cannot imagine a Christian who does not know how to smile. May we joyfully witness to our faith. Jesus gives us life, life in abundance. If we are close to him we will have joy in our hearts and a smile on our face. On January 21, 2014, in his Message for the 29th World Youth Day, Pope Francis said: Evangelization in our time will only take place as the result of contagious joy. Finally, during the Angelus Address of December 15, 2013, Pope Francis said: The Christian message is called the ‘Gospel,’ that is, ‘the good news,’ an announcement of joy for all people; the Church is not a refuge for sad people, the Church is a house of joy.
Another big news that Our Mother Mary is giving to us is that evil is conquered by hope. In his letter to the Romans St Paul enfleshes this hope in doing good to win over evil. He says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21). Immediately, Our Lady gives us an example of this good, that is forgiveness: Forgive those who inflict evil on you, and go on the way of holiness. Here She is clearly paraphrasing what Jesus says about forgiveness: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt 6:14-15).
The concluding line of this message is so beautiful! Our Lady says: I am leading you to my Son, for Him to be the way, the truth and the life for you. In his Testament priests St Pope John Paul II wrote: Ad Jesum per Mariam; may this be our daily program of spiritual and pastoral life! Mary is teaching us that going to Jesus through her is our daily program of being Christians twenty four seven.
O Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother, you know so well the great value of an immortal soul. You know what it means, that every soul has been redeemed by the Blood of your divine Son, you will not then despise my prayer, if I ask from you the conversion of us sinners. You O good merciful Mother, you know our irregular life. Remember, then, that you are the refuge of sinners, remember that God has given you power to bring about the conversion of even the most wretched sinners. All that has been done for our soul, has been unsuccessful; if you do not come to our assistance, we will go from bad to worse. Obtain for us an effectual grace that we may be moved and brought back to God and our duties. You, O most merciful Mother, have converted so many sinners at the intercession of their friends, be then, also moved by our prayer, and bring these unhappy souls to true conversion of heart. O Mary, help; O Mother of Perpetual Help, show that you are the Advocate and Refuge of Sinners. So we hope, so may it be. Amen.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap