April 10, 2013
Dear Family of Mary!
"....Again I am warning you, pray for those whom my Son called, whose hands He blessed and whom He gave as a gift to you. Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds. Thank you." (April 2, 2013 Mirjana)
Our Lady has been consistently asking for prayer for our shepherds. In this message she doesn't just ask, she warns us to pray for them. Her request has become intense, even stern. "Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds." What could be prompting such pleas? Surely we do not see into the future, but we already know the spiritual battle that surrounds our priests, bishops, and the Pope.
For instance, we have witnessed a dramatic move in the Papacy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI having renounced the Chair of Peter for the good of the Church. We have received Pope Francis as our new Shepherd. He comes to us in simplicity and humility, bearing now the great cross of the Church and the Truth. We see bishops and priests all over the world being asked to stand up for life, for marriage, for the poor, for religious freedom. Being Catholic has become more and more a matter of personal choice and a mature commitment, as our socio-political environments become more challenging. We look to our shepherds to guide us through these times.
I, for one, feel the pressure of these days as a bit of a dark cloud over my head. I go to Holy Mass with a great hunger to receive Jesus, to hear words of hope and encouragement from the priest, and to be consoled by my fellow Catholics praying alongside me. It was with this heaviness and need that I went to Mass yesterday at Christ the King Parish. I really was feeling weighed down. But as Mass began, out came a "baby" priest!
Fr. Jarrod had just been ordained on Saturday at Notre Dame! I had enjoyed his practice homilies as a deacon at the parish. But now, here he was, newly ordained, and ready to celebrate Mass. I was so happy to see him. And actually, seeing him, so young and strong, taking his place behind the altar, gave me a surge of hope! Here was a young man laying down his life for me, for the parish, for the diocese, for the Church and the world. Here was a young life prepared as a total gift to the faithful. He stood as a sign to hope to me just when I was feeling down.
No wonder Our Lady is asking us to pray for our priests. She wants us to be protected, encouraged, fed, and forgiven by them. She knows how much we need them. And she knows how opposed they are by the world and the enemy. She knows that we need them. And so she asks us to pray for them, actually warns us to pray for them, because our prayers make a difference, our support helps them. In these very important times, they are a big part of Our Lady's plan. They work alongside her to prepare for her triumph.
The hope I received today from Fr. Jarrod helped me to cope with my challenges and struggles. Thank you, Fr. Jarrod, for your "yes" to God. You have helped me with my own "yes". Let's pray, pray, pray, as Mary asks us, for our shepherds. We will receive much more than we give!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2013