Pray, little children, to be open to receive peace

The message of Our Lady of Medjugorje of 25 December 2022 centers on peace. In fact, Christmas is the feast of Peace, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. But let us taste once more the saving beauty of this message:

“Dear children! Today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, that you may be His peace and a reflection of the serenity and joy of Heaven. Pray, little children, to be open to receive peace because many hearts are closed to the call of the light which changes hearts. I am with you and I pray for you to open yourselves to receive the King of Peace, Who fills your hearts with warmth and blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

The first thing which greatly strucks me in this message is the desire of Our Mother Mary that we actively participate in the Peace, who is a Person, Her own Son Jesus! The Bible is so clear about this when it says: In the Letter of St Paul to the Ephesians we encounter this very powerful affirmation: For he [Christ Jesus] is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility (Eph 2:14).

Within a world torn apart by wars and hostilities it is Jesus, and only Jesus, who can make us one people, the family of God Our Father. Our Lady tells us that Jesus is serenity and joy of Heaven. Do we not need this serenity and joy of Heaven, especially in our time where the demons of war are practically devastating many peoples and nations?

Pope Francis was spot on this point in his Urbi et Orbi message on the same day at midday when he said:

Jesus Christ is also the way of peace. By his incarnation, passion, death and resurrection, he has opened the way that leads from a world closed in on itself and oppressed by the dark shadows of enmity and war, to a world that is open and free to live in fraternity and peace. Brothers and sisters, let us follow that road! Yet in order to do so, to be able to walk behind Jesus, we must divest ourselves of the burdens that weigh us down and block our way.

What are those burdens? What is that dead weight? The same negative forces that prevented King Herod and his court from acknowledging and welcoming the birth of Jesus: attachment to power and money, pride, hypocrisy, falsehood. These forces hold us back from going to Bethlehem; they exclude us from the grace of Christmas and they block the entrance to the path of peace. Indeed, we must acknowledge with sorrow that, even as the Prince of Peace is given to us, the icy winds of war continue to buffet humanity.

Our Lady tells us to pray so that our hearts will be opened to receive Jesus’ warmth and blessing. Jesus is the King of Peace because his manifesto is the beatitudes. He told us:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you (Mt 5:3-12).

Let us pray to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), to fill us with His Peace, with Himself, with the Spirit of the Beatitudes. As Pope Francis told us in his weekly catechesis of Wednesday 29 January 2020: The Beatitudes provide the “identity card” of Christians — this is our identity card — because they outline the face of Jesus himself, his style of living.

Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap