January 17, 2012
St. Anthony, Abbot
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray and fast for peace. As I have already said and now repeat to you, little children, only with prayer and fasting can wars also be stopped. Peace is a precious gift from God. Seek, pray and you will receive it. Speak about peace and carry peace in your hearts. Nurture it like a flower which is in need of water, tenderness and light. Be those who carry peace to others. I am with you and intercede for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 2003)
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How do we nurture peace in our hearts? How do we tend it, like a flower with water, tenderness and light? Here is a convincing answer from Father Jacques Philippe:
And how does one grow in this total confidence in God? Certainly not only by intellectual speculation and theological considerations. They will never withstand the moments of trial. But by a contemplative gaze on Jesus.
To contemplate Jesus Who gives His life for us, nourishes us with "too great a love" that He expresses on the cross; that is what really inspires confidence. Would not the supreme proof of love - Greater love than this no man has than to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13) - untiringly contemplated and captured in a gaze of love and faith, fortify our hearts little by little in an unshakable confidence? What can one fear from a God who manifested His love in so evident a manner? How could He not be for us, completely, entirely and absolutely in our favor; how could He not do all things for us, this God, friend of humankind, Who did not spare His only Son for us, even though we were sinners? And if God is for us, who could be against us (Romans 8:32)? If God is for us, what evil could possibly harm us?
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Thus we see the absolute necessity of contemplation for growing in confidence. Finally, too many people are distressed because they are not contemplatives. They do not take the time to nourish their own hearts and return them to peace by gazing with love on Jesus. In order to resist fear and discouragement, it is necessary that through prayer - through a personal experience of God re-encountered, recognized and loved in prayer - we taste and see how good the Lord is(Psalm 34). The certitudes that the habit of prayer inculcates in us are considerably stronger than those that flow from reasoning, even at the highest level of theology." (Rev. Jacques Philippe. Searching for and Maintaining Peace. St. Paul's Press, 2002. P. 33-34)
Simply said, we nourish peace in our hearts with Jesus. Jesus is our light, our water, our tenderness, our life, our all. To do this, we must contemplate Him in silence and solitude. Today's saint, St. Anthony the Great, lived a very long life of solitude and prayer in the desert. His was a life of contemplation of Christ Jesus, the Lord. And he was famous for his fearlessness and peace. The two go together, contemplation and peace. May St. Anthony pray for us, that we become people of prayer and contemplation, nurturing peace in our hearts and lives, and spreading that peace to others.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
©Mary TV 2012