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October 4, 2011
St. Francis of Assisi,
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Also today my motherly heart calls you to prayer, to your personal relationship with God the Father, to the joy of prayer in Him. God the Father is not far away from you and He is not unknown to you. He revealed Himself to you through my Son and gave you Life that is my Son. Therefore, my children, do not give in to temptations that want to separate you from God the Father. Pray! Do not attempt to have families and societies without Him. Pray! Pray that your hearts may be flooded with the goodness which comes only from my Son, Who is sincere goodness. Only hearts filled with goodness can comprehend and accept God the Father. I will continue to lead you. In a special way I implore you not to judge your shepherds. My children, are you forgetting that God the Father called them? Pray ! Thank you." (October 2, 2011 Mirjana)
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Our Lady encourages us in this message to pursue a living relationship with God the Father. She calls us her children and as her children she asks us to get to know our Father. We have a Father who loves us, provides for us, watches over us, and longs for us. But we live as though He does not exist. It is for sure that we live in societies and cultures that don't pay any attention to Him, and even deny that He exists. Those cultures wear on us and dissuade us from seeking our Father. They drag us away from Him in so many ways.
It seems true that for many of us, talking about God the Father in public makes us uncomfortable. We don't know who will laugh at us, or think poorly of us if we bring Him up. We are supposed to behave as "reasonable" people, and act accordingly. We are in charge of our lives and are free. So who needs God the Father?
I think this kind of "working" attitude carries over in our spiritual life. We may feel that "needing" a father is a show of weakness or irrationality. And so prayer becomes empty. We are not children approaching our Father/Creator. We don't seem to want to allow ourselves to need God. Our job is to do what God wants of us, and be strong. If we try hard enough, we will please Him and go to heaven. Being weak, like a child, is not going to help.
What is wrong here? Well, the Enlightenment is part of the problem. Slowly but surely, western civilization extracted God from all parts of life, until He became a quaint little idea for old ladies and children. But along with it, I think there is another problem. I think we may be struggling with deep father-wounds in our families, parishes, and larger societies. We have a deep need to be fathered. It is the way we were made by God. He is a Father and He made our families to work through the love and leadership of fathers. He wanted us to function with the love of our fathers, grow in that love, be nurtured and corrected in that love, and find Him through that love. But, through generations of sin and division and pain and weakness, our families have lost sight of true fatherhood, and our characters have been marred by this loss. I am not suggesting that our fathers are all bad. But I think our families have all been wounded, fathers and children alike.
Not understanding or trusting fatherly love has deprived us of a true understanding of God the Father. We don't want to need a father because our need will not be met by a father. It is that simple. We don't want to be defined as children of a father. We want to be safe, independent, and strong. No need for a father here.
When I read Our Lady's message, I felt a deep cry within me. It was a recognition that I do need a deep personal relationship with my Father in heaven. I miss Him. I desire to rest in His embrace, draw close to Him, and be cared for by Him. I want what Our Lady is offering to us!
Interestingly, today when I was working on my computer I came across an advertisement for a new movie. It is called"Courageous" and is produced by Sherwood Baptist Church. This group also did "Fireproof", a movie about marriage. "Courageous" is about several men who begin to realize that they are failing as fathers, and how they discover God's way of fathering. When I watched the trailer, I felt a surge of emotion within me. Seeing men portrayed as fathers desiring to bless their families, and really be good fathers like God is a good father released in me a flood of emotion. I didn't realize how much I need to live in the love of the Father. Fatherhood is healing. Fatherhood is essential for me as a person. I need a Father.
And so Our Lady's message rings true. She knows we need our Father. We were made for Him. We will be so happy when we find Him. I am grateful to Mother Mary for leading us to the Father. Thank you, Mother Mary!
In Jesus and Mary!
P.S.You may want to watch the trailer for "Courageous". It looks good!
P.P.S It occurs to me that St. Francis of Assisi is a perfect example for this message. He was raised by a worldly father who did not understand Francis' love of God and poverty. Francis had to renounce his natural father and abandon himself to God the Father in a public way, in order to follow God. (The story goes that Francis' father was angry with Francis for giving away his clothing goods to the poor. He demanded that Francis come back and work in the family business, so Francis took all his clothes off and gave everything back to his father. The bishop covered Francis' naked body, and took over as spiritual father for Francis. Good image! Francis abandoned himself to God, trusting completely in His providential, fatherly care. He really started something beautiful...the Franciscan order!)