(c) Mateo Ivankovic 2017


June 28, 2017
St. Iranaeus

Dear Family of Mary!

“Dear children! Today, I desire to thank you for your perseverance and call you to open yourselves to profound prayer. Prayer, little children, is the heart of faith and is hope in eternal life. Therefore, pray with the heart until your heart sings with thanksgiving to God the Creator who gave you life. I am with you, little children, and carry to you my motherly blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (June 25, 2017)

Our Lady thanks us for our perseverance in this anniversary message, in the context of prayer. “Today, I desire to thank you for your perseverance and call you to open yourselves to profound prayer.” She thanks us because we are still trying. We are still listening to her messages, still responding to her call in Medjugorje. And most of all we are still praying. She is happy that we persevere.

We may think that our efforts to persevere mean very little when juxtaposed to the world’s events. We are just little people, having limited means and traveling in small social circles. But we would be mistaken to think that our continued struggle to respond to Our Lady’s call is meaningless. It is not!

Our prayer, joined to her prayer, is powerful! And that is why she calls us to “open yourselves to profound prayer.” She knows the miracles that can take place if we pray. And she is calling those miracles forth.

I looked in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for any reference to perseverance, and came across a beautiful passage about perseverance in prayer! It speaks volumes to me about what Our Lady is looking for in our perseverance in prayer. I include it here:

IV. Persevering in Love

2742 “Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.”(33) St. Paul adds, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints.”(34) For “we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing.”(35) This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

2743 It is always possible to pray: the time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.(36) Our time is in the hands of God:

It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.(37) 

2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin. (38) How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?

Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…. For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin. (39) 

Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned(40) 

2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father’s plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”(41) 

He “prays without ceasing” who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.(42)

(33)   1 Thess 5:17;  Eph 5:20. 34  Eph 6:18. (35) Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49: PG 40, 1245C. (36) Cf.  Mt 28:20; Lk 8:24[ETML:XC/]. (37) St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: PG 63, 585. (38) Cf.  Gal 5:16-25. (39) St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4, 5: PG 54, 666. (40) St. Alphonsus Liguori, Del gran Mezzo della preghiera. (41)  Jn 15:16-17.  (42) Origen, De orat. 12: PG 11, 452c.

As St. John Chrysostom says, “Nothing is equal to prayer, for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…” This is what Our Lady sees so clearly and wants us to understand. Together we can make the impossible, possible. We can help to bring about the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

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