(c)Mary TV 2011 The Furnace of Intercession at St. James Church
July 23, 2012
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! In this time of grace, I call you to become friends of Jesus. Pray for peace in your hearts and work for your personal conversion. Little children, only in this way will you be able to become witnesses of peace and of the love of Jesus in the world. Open yourselves to prayer so that prayer becomes a need for you. Be converted, little children, and work so that as many souls as possible may come to know Jesus and His love. I am close to you and I bless you all. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 2002)
Since my last reflection, a terrible shooting has occurred in Colorado. A young man entered a packed movie theater and, using heavy firearms, shot and killed 12 people, while injuring 59 others. Who is not stunned by such a senseless act of violence? We are all responding with prayer for the victims and the perpetrator. We are all asking God to send His Holy Spirit to the families and friends, the whole community, to heal and console them all.
It seems that such acts of gratuitous violence have increased in our day. Outbreaks of anger and malice are frequent. The tension in society grows.
And yet, Our Lady tells us over and over again that this is a "time of grace". Tension exists. Fear grows. Violence escalates. But still this is a time of grace.
We know it is so. We have experienced the grace of Medjugorje through Our Lady's messages, her presence, and her love. The message above is a perfect example of Our Lady's guidance in the face of the evils of our day. Our Lady calls us to enter into the peace of Jesus, to convert and become witnesses of that peace so that "as many souls as possible may come to know Jesus and His love." This is God's answer to the sins of our day. It is the same answer He gave 2000 years ago. Jesus is the answer to all our woes.
A friend sent me an excerpt from the writings of Caryll Houselander, in which she talks about justice and what justice looks like in us. When we hear of events like the Colorado shooting, our hearts immediately burn with a desire for "justice". We are tempted to hate the perpetrator, or at least desire his death. We have to fight back such judgments from our hearts because we know that only God understands the heart. But Caryll Houselander describes justice as it really should be in our hearts, and it is a help for me in turning this event into a time of prayer. She writes:
Justice is not vengeance, it is love. In it is included forgiveness; yet there are many who think that forgiveness is injustice!
If it were, Christ would not have commanded us to forgive as often as we are injured, or have made that, for each one of us, the condition of our own forgiveness in His day of judgment.
If we knew the heart of man as God knows it, and the network of interdependence which spreads the responsibility for every sin, not only among countless people, but over many generations, we should not attempt to untwist the skeins of right and wrong. For us, justice is to forgive and to make reparation ourselves for all sin.
We must be just, not because we are judges - for that we are not - but because we are trustees of God's love to the world, and justice is a supreme expression of His love. Justice belongs to God; it is a tender expression of His tenderness and pity. (From "Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross: the Passion of the Infant Christ" by Caryll Houselander)
We who are responding to Our Lady's call are especially well equipped to live out true justice. We have been taught by Our Lady to pray. We have been encouraged by her to love our neighbor, to forgive, to sacrifice and fast for the good of all. She has arranged a powerful time of prayer at St. James Church in Medjugorje in the evening for just such reparation and intercession. Every evening countless thousands of pilgrims join the parish to pray the entire Rosary, reverently attend Holy Mass, and then pray for healing and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, often late into the night. This furnace of prayer is designed to bring the pity and tenderness of God down upon the world. It is Our Lady's way of responding to such evils as the Colorado shooting on July 20.
When we think of the poor soul who committed this crime, we cannot "untwist the skeins of right and wrong". Our entire world is twisted by sin. But our prayers can bring down the pity and tenderness of God, who longs to free us all from the bondage we are in and bring us into His everlasting embrace.
Thank you to all of you who are responding to Our Lady's call. You are doing so much good by living her messages! Thank you!