Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mary TV Daily Reflection 1/13/2015

 (c)Mary TV 2014 

January 13, 2015
St. Hilary

Dear Family of Mary!

"...What is asked of you, as I also have done, is to love and to give. My children, if you love, your heart will be a home for my Son and me, and the words of my Son will be the guiding light in your life. My children, I will make use of you, apostles of love, to help all of my children to come to know the truth..." (January 2, 2015)

We have a special gift in these quiet days in Medjugorje, of having Fr. Maximilian preside at the English Mass. His homilies are so fruitful, it feels like we are on retreat! And so I have transcribed his homily for January 12, 2015. While we have this great gift, let's take advantage of it. You may prefer to see and hear Fr. Maximilian give this homily. The Mass is archived on the home page! (Today's English Mass in Medjugorje 011214)

Fr. Maximilian, Homily for January 12, 2015 English Mass in Medjugorje:

It is fitting that for the first day of Ordinary Time that the Liturgy hands us over and invites us to imitate the calling of the first disciples. Now Christianity begins with the fact that we have been chosen. Jesus said, unlike other Rabbis who were chosen by their disciples...A disciples would say "I would like to follow this rabbi," and so he would ask the rabbi and discipleship starts. But Jesus, the master, said "Follow me." Because He said, "It is I who have chosen you, not you who have chosen me." Now He has chosen all of us. Not just some, we are all called. We are called by name. It's a personal relationship that Jesus wants, not just a general for all of, no, no ,no. I call you.

In time past and for long centuries it was thought that there is a special call for some people and there is a general call, which is for everyone, for the faithful to live the commandments. And through that receive salvation. Live the commandments, you are saved. And then, if you want to be perfect, it was thought to be another kind of call. And then Jesus invites to live the evangelical counsels, for some. These few are called to holiness, these few. The others, just for salvation. For centuries it was thought like that. Some monks were called to great holiness, and ordinary people by living the commandments, just won salvation.

Now this is not true, this is wrong, because we are all called to live the spirit of the evangelical counsels in different ways. Because we are all called to perfection. "Be perfect as My heavenly Father is perfect." And then in Luke Jesus says, "Be merciful." Because perfection is in mercy. So at the end of our days we will be judged by our love, by our mercy. And not the type of vocation we received. This is very important. John Paul II said the great dimension of life which is holiness is for everyone, lived in different ways according to our vocation.

And it is essentially following Jesus. There is no other goal than following Jesus. As Hebrews says, there is no other goal than Jesus' great Ascension to the right hand of the Father. But in our lifetime, it will always be a journey. But the journey is already the goal, because Jesus is the journey, He is the way.

But in its essence, what does it mean to be called? Also there, there was a tremendous temptation some time ago. Fortunately it is now leaving the Church, but it was to say that to be a disciple is to follow the doctrine of Jesus. So you do what He said. The temptation was to take Jesus out of the Church. What was important was that we live His teaching. You have to understand that is a temptation. The doctrine is very important, but Benedict XVI , and following him, Pope Francis says continuously and repeats, that the very beginning of Christianity is not the moral codex, it is not a doctrine, it is not the living of the commandments, but is instead the experience of an encounter with a person. That is Christianity.

But can it only then be a human encounter? I encounter Jesus, I get to know Him, I study His life and His thoughts, and we become friends. This is all good, this is all important. It is like doctrine, but it is not enough.

It could also be a great founder like St. Francis. I become a Franciscan, so I study the life of St. Francis, his thoughts, his way of life. Or a great founder, a great saint. I could do that with anyone. Also that is not enough.

As for studying the doctrine. I could study the doctrine of Aristotle, or a great philosopher, or of a mathematician. So here in this case, it is not enough to study the life of a saint, because Jesus wants not that we study His life, but He wants to be our life. He wants to be our thoughts. He wants to be in our actions. He wants to live again through you and me on this earth. This is incredible, only God can ask this.

It is like a tree would say to its branches, "I want to live through you." But don't worry, because we cannot understand the gentleness when Jesus does it. He will never violate our free will. He only wants to be in our free will, respecting our free will. He will not annihilate it. Like when a tree makes its branch grow, the branch is not annihilated, instead it gets to its fulfillment. Jesus is not just an equal person to us, He is our root, our Creator, God and Lord.

And so discipleship in its essence is this. Obviously we follow the doctrine, we become friends, and we study His life, we study the Scriptures, and all this is good and holy and right to do. But it has to go deeper. St. Paul says, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." And this is not for some monks, but it is for everyone. We are all called to live this way of Christianity. It is the very essence of Christianity. We let Jesus live again here on earth.

And so we make a wrong dichotomy between the Christian life and then the other life. So I go to church and I pray two hours, and now, Jesus, I need some rest. No that is not it at all. Because Jesus not only wants to labor in you and through you, He also wants to rest in your resting. We find rest in His resting. I don't know if I made myself understood, but this is important. He wants really that He can find rest in our resting. So if we, after labor, rest in Jesus and say "Jesus I want to rest in Your resting, as You rested 2000 years ago on earth, I want that today again you can do it through me." This resting is more fruitful for the Kingdom than if we build big huge towers without Jesus, just for Him but not with Him, not in Him.

So discipleship, we have to ask Mary that she will grant it to us. We say in the Mass, not only for Him, but with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers all this and makes it possible.   It is not our doing and we will never achieve it truly, we will always be "on the way". St. Paul says, "I have not yet reached there, but forgetting the past, I will strive to go on." So it is always going forward, because also the call is not that Jesus called us one day long ago. That was the first calling, but Jesus calls us each day. And if you think it is each day, that is not enough, Jesus calls us each moment to the unity of life. Each moment He calls us. If we just learn to be attentive, spiritual sensitivity.

The document of the Holy Father, an Encyclical, says that to have this divine instinct, to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who wants to continuously produce the life of Christ in us.   So it is not just one calling long ago, but it is a daily call of every moment. And it is demanding. Take the Cross and follow me every day. But there is nothing sweeter than carrying the Cross with Jesus, to find Jesus Himself carrying the Cross with us.

The beauty of life is not the things we get but is the union with Jesus. We can achieve it each moment if we just learn to listen. So in the spiritual life to listen is much more important than to act, to speak, to do whatever, but anything we do with better let's ask Him to do it in us.

"Jesus, be my thinking. Jesus speak through me. Jesus act through me. Jesus, live in me." We can ask that continuously. And the Holy Spirit will do it, He will form Him. Now the Holy Spirit formed once, Jesus, in His Incarnation, in the womb of Mary. So it was a collaboration with Mary. Again today, the Holy Spirit wants to do it with His spouse. And so we can entrust ourselves totally to Mary. She, with her maternal hands guided by the Holy Spirit, will form Jesus in us. That is the quickest way, the fastest way.

We can do it also alone, we can think, no I will do it alone. And alone we might think will be faster. But together, we go further. It is communion, amongst us here on earth, but communion extends to the Heavenly church. Especially with Mary, our Queen and Mother. She wants to make the design of salvation of the Eternal Father come into fulfilment.

And so now we will receive the Holy Eucharist. I would like that we pause, not for a moment of reflection but of true listening. Not listening to our thoughts but to listen to Him who comes and who is present in us. That we can give Him the space so that He can extend His presence in us. He can enter our thinking, our doing, our working, our sleeping, our everything. Then the Father will be glorified. And we will advance, and bring all humanity, all creation to what the letter to the Hebrews states so wonderfully, to the right hand of the Almighty. It goes further, we can do it consciously. All creation does it with no free will, but we can do it consciously, not as a creation but by doing it to become more and more daughters and sons, coheirs with Christ. What a weight of glory is upon us! And awaits us. Let us really thank the Lord, because we can never really thank enough. And let us try to guess (discover) His presence in every moment of our lives. Amen.

I have never heard discipleship described so well. Thank you, Fr. Maximilian, and thank you to the Mary TV team for recording these English Masses!!

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

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