Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mary TV Daily Reflection 7/16/2015

This is Holy Ground!
(c)Mary TV 2015

July 16, 2015
Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Dear Family of Mary!

To Jelena: "I have come to tell the world that God is truth; He exists."  (June 16, 1983)

Yesterday (July 15, 2015) there was a wonderful homily given by Fr. Walter McNamara, that Denis felt strongly should be transcribed and shared with all of you.  So here it is!  If I could give it a name it would be "Holy Ground".  Fr. Walter uses the readings from that Mass is a very beautiful way to describe Medjugorje and illustrate what God is doing there. (You can hear Fr. Walter deliver this homily in the Daily English Mass window on the homepage - ) 
Fr. Walter McNamara, Homily for English Mass in Medjugorje, July 15, 2015
(First Reading: Exodus 3: 1-6, 9-12; Gospel: Matthew 11: 25-27)

We've all come here to Medjugorje for very different reasons, but like most of us, we are all curious. The group I have come with, about 12 of us, a lot of them are in recovery from addiction. But then when I got here, you could say that we are all in recovery from addiction to sin, from the addiction to human weakness: egoism, pride, selfishness, the roots of all sin. We all have addictions of one kind or another.

We have come to the end of our week. We return tomorrow. And I think I can say for everyone, we return, a very different group from those who arrived here a week ago.

We have come to holy ground. And like Moses perhaps inwardly, we have seen this remarkable sight of Medjugorje. The Burning Bush has been used down the centuries as a symbol of the Blessed Mother's perpetual virginity and her motherhood of Jesus, the Son of God. The bush was burning and not being consumed. Mary brought forth without losing her virginity. And here in this place the bush burns brightly. Mary has come here to draw us here, through the news and the curiosity of wonders of Medjugorje. We have the wonders of Apparition Hill, of Krizevac, the devotions here.

And out of the burning bush came first of all: "Moses, come no nearer, remove the sandals from your feet. The place where you stand is holy ground." And we are challenged here to remove the sandals of the wear and tear of everyday life up to this moment, of the struggles and worries, the bother of living, temptation, etc. and to listen and to attend to and heed the message.  

The first message..."I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob." And this is the message of Medjugorje, repeated during Ivan's talk last week. "I am God." Now this is a shrine to Our Lady. Our Lady is the mother of Jesus, sent by the Father. And Mary is sent by the Father. And the first message is "God exists." Our world is a world that would appear to have reverted to agnosticism, atheism, secularism, call it what you like. There is no place for God in our politics, in our business, in our political correctness. We have set ourselves up in our systems, in our computers, in our programs, in our science, in our medicine...we don't need God anymore. And where has it brought us? The world is in a terrible state as we all know. And we ourselves come from that world. We have come here to be rehabilitated, to find life and to find meaning.

And then it says, "I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing the children of Israel. But I will send you to lead my people out of Egypt." God hears the cry of the broken, the oppressed and the distressed and all who plead to him. And with all our wealth and potential and power, there is more poverty and distress in the world perhaps than ever before. But there is the response of God. There is the grace of God that He has given to us, and that is here. And all of us, myself included, I have experienced conversion here too.

[And from the Gospel] "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to mere children." Bonaventure, the saint who is commemorated today, was a Franciscan Saint of the Friars Minor, a great teacher in his day; a teacher at the University of Paris, a leading university at that time, the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor; and a teacher for the whole Church throughout the centuries. But St. Bonaventure was a seraphic doctor. He learned his wisdom through prayer, from the Cross. He learned true wisdom and then expressed it in his theology.

It is easy to learn theology, like any other science, but to learn the wisdom, to acquire the wisdom, that is something else. And here God has revealed it to the childlike, to mere children. We have all come here as children, broken children, abandoned children, helpless children. We come here to find a Mother, to pick us up and to teach us wisdom. And that wisdom comes not so much from reading all the books, the stores are full of the books, it comes by being on one's knees, like last night in the dark, contemplating the presence of God in the most Blessed Sacrament, in adoration, in prayer.

Medjugorje is a school of prayer. We have prayers all day long, Mass now, Mass in the evening, we have the Rosary, 15 decades of the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross. And Mary emphasizes prayer and prayer groups in all the messages.

Well, the disciples asked the question we all ask, "Lord, teach us how to pray." There are many kinds of prayer, Jesuit meditation, discursive meditation, contemplative prayer...there are many forms and practices of meditation and contemplation. But it all comes down to, first of all, the desire to find God. "Seek and you will find, knock and it will be open to you." Make time and space for God in prayer and God will come to you. And here we are privileged and blessed. There are challenges, but here the time and the space and the atmosphere for prayer is presented to us, handed to us on a platter, so to speak. It's easy. We are all in it and we support one another in prayer. As we return to our old haunts and to others who don't share our faith or our conviction, who haven't seen the blazing bush, so to speak, or heard the call, they think we are crazy.

The first time I came here was 1988, just some years after the visions started. It was a bit different, but the same church. The first evening I sat here (in the sanctuary) in one of the chairs and at the usual time, twenty to seven, there was a pause. The visions took place in the organ gallery in the back, and little Marija went across, and there was silence, and we waited with bated breath, and I didn't see the apparition, but the apparition took place. But then it struck me, twenty to seven, every night, Our Lady comes out like the weatherman on the television on the hour. This sounded a bit crazy to me. Is Our Lady going to come just like the news or the weather forecast, on the dot? That is not the way we are used to in Fatima or Lourdes or Knock or anywhere else. I had a very skeptical state of mind. It just sounded a little bit too good to be true.

And then it came into my mind the words of the Creed, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty..." And who am I to tell God what's too much or too little? To tell God this far, and no farther.  In the Scriptures there's a powerful chapter in Job when Job comes to his senses and God challenges Job: Can you tell the seas when to stop, can you call out the stars in the morning to rise, can you set off the big bang and start the whole thing rolling, can you make the weather and the thunder and the hurricanes and typhoons?  

God is almighty!   God sent His Son, but we haven't listened to Him!  He sent the prophets.  He sent Moses.  And the story of the Israelites, despite the wonders of the story of salvation, they fell into sin, they fell into idolatry.  And God punished them, and it went on and on.   

And He sent His only Son.  The disciples all abandoned Him.  Peter denied Him.  They all ran away.  And he sends the saints down the centuries.   He sends the Church.  He sends Saint Francis and all the great saints.  And now he sends Our Lady.   And one of the messages is: this is the last chance! (One of the messages seems to be.)

So God's ways aren't our ways.  Who knows the mind of the Lord?  

Again, it is to the little children.  "He has revealed them to mere children!"  And then Jesus says "no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."  And Mary is sent by the Son, here, to bring us back to Him - to bring us back to God!  

"The Lord is kind and merciful, compassion and love!  Slow to anger, rich in mercy."   And here in Medjugorje the great gift, one of the greatest gifts here, is the gift of confession.  The gift of forgiveness.  We are all sinners.  Pope Francis was asked who he was, his first answer was:  "I am a sinner."  I came here as a sinner and I come here again as a sinner.  And here we get the grace.  Hearing confessions, I see miracles happening in front of my eyes as souls are raised to God, freed of the oppression of addiction and sin and guilt.  And given the joy, the joy of the prodigal son returning.... 

So we celebrate our trip here. We thank God and we reflect on the wonders and the graces we have all received.  And there's more in store.  Much more.  

Moses was sent.  "I'm sending you out...sending you to lead my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt."  Mary chose these six young people, 16 years old to 11 or 13 or something, Jakov was just a little boy... and the others were teenagers, and sent them to bring her message to the ends of the earth.   Ivan tried to become a priest, it didn't work out.   He gave a wonderful talk last week, I heard him on the radio...better than any theological discourse I've ever heard, on the messages of Our Lady, a witness to the power of Mary.   That power is there for all of us.  

So whether we're starting or finishing, whether we're few or many, we thank God that Mary is here, we thank God for being here, and we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"  We say, "Come Holy Spirit!"  We worship and we adore.   And we leave here trusting not in anything we have, but in the gift of grace, we trust in the power of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the Motherhood of Mary, and we trust in her promise to be with us and to continue to lead us with her maternal love, which is beyond our wildest dreams.   We pray that we may open our hearts and our minds and make space in our lives and our homes, in our daily routines, for Mary and Jesus; for prayer and adoration; and for confession and growth in the love of God and the love of Mary.  This is holy ground!  Come Lord Jesus!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
(c)Mary TV 2015

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