Thursday, January 08, 2015

Mary TV Daily Reflection 1/8/2015

 (c)Mary TV 2014 

January 8, 2015

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Today, on this day of grace, I desire for each of your hearts to become a little stable of Bethlehem in which the Savior of the world was born. I am your mother who loves you immeasurably and is concerned for each of you. Therefore, my children, abandon yourselves to the mother, so that she may place each of your hearts and lives before little Jesus; because only in this way, my children, your hearts will be witnesses of God's daily birth in you. Permit God to illuminate your lives with light and your hearts with joy, so that you may daily illuminate the way and be an example of true joy to others who live in darkness and are not open to God and his graces. Thank you for having responded to my call." (December 25, 2014 - Jakov)  

I have transcribed the homily from English Mass yesterday (January 7, 2015) given by Fr. Maximilian from the Oasis of Peace Community. I believe this homily is a powerful help to us as we move into 2015. As Fr. Maximilian says, the first word Jesus uses as he begins his public ministry is conversion. It is the first word we should use every day. It is the most practical thing we can do to set ourselves out on the right path each day! Fr. Maximilian:

The first word which Jesus uses as He inaugurates His Messianic activity is "repent" or in Greek, "metanoia" which means conversion. English has different translations. Conversion is His first invitation, and so it follows in that John the Baptist also started his activity with this word, conversion, to prepare the way for the Lord.

Mary here in Medjugorje said that the most important message that she has given is the message of conversion. What does it mean, conversion? Conversion means "turn to God", simply "turn to God." Martin Buber, a famous Hebrew rabbi said, "The great sin of humanity is that in every moment we can turn to God (convert our lives) but we just don't do it." We just don't do it. We might say, "Yes Lord, I will convert, but not today. Tomorrow for sure but not today." But today is our only moment. We don't have our hands tied at the moment. Time is in the hands of God, but the present moment is given to us. It is our opportunity to turn to God.

Mary said in 1984 in one of her messages, "The sin of humanity is that we are just not interested in God." And she said, "Every human being has a desire to know God and to search for Him should be our joy and delight."

So what does conversion mean? How can we realize it? You might think it is to turn away from the world. But this is true only in part. Because if the world is our big problem, then we start to think that the world is evil and so we must fly away from the world. Now when God created the world, He said, "It is good." The world is good. The problem is not the world or the things of the world. The problem is our relationship to it, our attachment to it. That is the problem. We have to detach from the things of the world in order to turn to God, so that those things do not become idols, taking the place before God or above God.

But the main question of conversion is not even detachment from the things of this world, though that is important, the main thing is that we detach from ourselves. That we empty ourselves of "self". This is the heart of conversion. It is the most difficult thing, because our ego, our "I" uses even the most holy things to aggrandize ourselves. Then we see even in Church that we use our Conservatism, or our Progressivism, and we fight one another. But in the end we have the same problem, we are serving ourselves and not God. The root is the same. These positions are both the same. It is good that we have these tensions, they are healthy. But if they become the main problem, then you understand that the problem is not my position, it is that I have not let God be in the first place in my life. I am just myself.

And so we can use God, and everything in the Church, for one purpose, it is called fundamentalism. So if we truly let God come into our lives, and we truly give Him space and the privilege to have the first Mary said, "Put God in the center of your life." Put God in the first place, and then our tradition would be rooted in Christ, and we would be open to the Spirit.

Now between the Spirit of the Lord and Christ there is no division, though they are two Persons of the Most Holy Trinity, they are one God. And in the midst of these two "polarities" there is all the Kingdom, a lot of space for us, Children of God.

So the most important thing is to get rid of self to live conversion. A holy woman from France once said that Jesus said to her, "But who is your God? You or I? But if I am your God, why don't you think more often of Me than of yourself?" Conversion is to radically choose God before "me" and before anything else.

Conversion is a gift. And this gift we can obtain through prayer. Pray for the gift of conversion. With true prayer we can receive the gift of true conversion of the heart, as Mary says here in Medjugorje. It will be a daily task because she says you cannot say you are converted because your conversion has to become a daily one.

St. John Paul II says about prayer: "Prayer is a relationship between "I" and "You"." As we pray in the beginning we think "I am more important, what I think and say to God." This is true in the beginning. But as we go along, we begin to realize that it is "You" that is more important. Because in God our prayer begins. In the heart of God is our true prayer. Our prayer is always a response.

So, "Convert for the Kingdom of God is at hand." What is the Kingdom? The Kingdom is not the matter of a place, but of a person. Matthew is clear on that, the kingdom is not a place but a person, and that person is Christ Himself. And "is at hand" is not a matter of time, 5 minutes or 10 minutes, the end of Mass, during the is not a matter of time or space, but of a relation. A close intimate relation with Christ.

God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. And so to turn to Him is like a branch which turns to its tree, where it finds in the tree the root of its own being. So it is so close. So prayer should become that relation which should always become more simple, more feeling at home. A branch is truly at home when it is truly on the tree. This is a reality we must grasp. God already lives in our hearts. He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Conversion is actually so simple.

Let's ask for this grace today. Let's live it. Today, after Holy Communion we must take a moment of silence. As Mary said, in her message of the 25th, she wants our hearts to become a little Bethlehem where Jesus can be born, and He wants to be born there every day. We want to deepen His presence within us, so give Him that time. For conversion and prayer, one main question is how much time we give. It is a relation of love, and if you love a person you want to give Him every moment, every free moment, every free minute, to make even the smallest prayer. Because we are in love, and this love of God first of all we received and then we give it to Him, this is the foundation of love for one another. As John tells us in the readings of these days from his first letter.

"Beloved, if God has loved us so much, we should love one another." In our love of God we find the root, the reason and the strength to love one another. It is not automatic. It is always a free decision. It is a decision that we work toward, a decision that is free. We experience the love of God in the Mass, in the Holy Eucharist, in prayer. Then we can ask God for the strength to give this love to one another. Then the kingdom will grow in love.
(Fr. Maximilian, Oasis of Peace. English Mass, January 7, 2015)

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015

PS.  We have changed our schedule of programming a little big.  Silent Prayer will now be streamed at 3:00 pm Medjugorje time (9:00 am EST) and will be 1/2 hour.  We will stream from different locations in Medjugorje!!  Then at 5:00 pm Medjugorje time we will stream the Parish Rosary during the Evening Program, in the church!  This will be a full hour of prayer with the parish!!   

Silent Prayer:  3:00 to 3:30 pm Medjugorje Time (9:00 to 9:30 am EST)
Parish Rosary: 5:00 to 6:00 pm Medjugorje Time (11:00 am to 12:00 pm EST

"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
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