(c)Mateo Ivankovic 2018
March 12, 2018
Dear Family of Mary!
July 2, 2007 “Dear children! In the great love of God, I come to you today to lead you on the way of humility and meekness. The first station on that way, my children, is confession. Reject your arrogance and kneel down before my Son. Comprehend, my children, that you have nothing and you can do nothing. The only thing that you have and that you possess is sin. Be cleansed and accept meekness and humility. My Son could have won with strength, but He chose meekness, humility and love. Follow my Son and give me your hands so that, together, we may climb the mountain* and win. Thank you.”
“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
(March 10, 2018 homily by Fr. Maximilian, in Medjugorje)
Two people went up to pray. Now let us see these two people. Let us identify them. One is a tax collector, which is the symbol of sinfulness. It is a sinful person for the Jew. He works for the Romans, the enemy, for his own riches. The other one is a Pharisee, which would be a righteous person, a religious person. Today as a Christian we would say that he went to church every Sunday, even every day. He prays the Rosary, he fasts. He is doing all, you see.
But Jesus gives us the clear understanding that all these practices do not make a person religious. Rather it is an authentic relation to God. And the Pharisee obviously does not have an authentic relation to God, because the center of him is himself. He starts his prayer, “I thank you God…” The tax collector starts his prayer, “Oh God, have mercy on me a sinner…” In that, he is right. He says the truth. He is a sinful person. But he confesses his sin with honesty. And honesty in prayer is so essential that it determines if our prayer comes to God, touches the heart of God or not.
For if God asks us to forgive, seventy times seven, He forgives infinity more. His joy is to forgive. And therefore if we honestly confess our sins, He always forgives, He always justifies us. He went home justified, in his honesty.
But in our prayer we have to look to God. We have to put our prayers before God and not before ourselves as the Pharisee does. And pride in ourselves, it is astonishing how common this is, to put ourselves in the center and to pride ourselves in our talents. One may say “I may not be as rich as the others, I might not be as powerful as the others, but I am more clever, more bright. So there is always the possibility to put ourselves before others, to compare ourselves with others, and to put ourselves above others.
It becomes even, for our Western society, a virtue. Pride becomes a virtue. We are number one! We are the champions! Just look at the Olympic Games. Everything is arranged to beat the others, to be faster.
Erich Fromm, who is a psychologist and philosopher, says it is a pagan attitude, paganism entered into our society, when we again introduced the Olympic games back into our society. And we are all there looking. And if our man runs a millisecond faster than the other, we are all happy. We are strong. We are good.
If you look honestly into it, it is quite naïve. If little children do it, we can understand it. But if adults do it and spend millions on it, it becomes actually embarrassing. Where are we as humanity? Erich Fromm said instead of Olympic Games we should have the Passion Play, which we do together, with singing and dancing, with instruments, all together, praising God. We should put God in the center. But today, man is in the center.
And after original sin, we know how it went with Cain and Abel. When we don’t have God anymore before us, when we hide from God, then we can’t see the face of God anymore in our brothers and sisters. And we become afraid before them. They become our rivals. They are our competition, they become our enemies.
Our future generations will speak about these attitudes we have today, not only the Olympic Games which are still quite innocent, but we reach so far as to create bombs to destroy one another. All this because we don’t put God in the center in our lives. This has incredible repercussions for humanity.
So our first effort should be to put ourselves before God, because there starts humility. The saints as they went before God, never prided themselves with the talents they received. But as God drew them closer to His love, His Heart, they saw all their imperfections. For when the light grows, the dark spots are more clearly seen. And they humbled themselves before God, but not focusing on the dark spots but offering them to God with all humility. Humility is the most important virtue that we in our spiritual life have to develop before God. Because only then He can take us and press us to His Heart, to His bosom. He exalts the humble and humbles the proud.
We should get that lesson, we should ask for that lesson from Mary, today on Saturday. She how felt she was always the least of all, that she may teach us true humility. We should learn to put ourselves last first of all before God, that we may learn (as she says in her messages here) to see the face of Jesus in everyone that we encounter.
This needs a deep relation with God. This needs not just a little prayer in the morning, but hours of prayer every day. So God becomes the most important person in my life. My great love, my joy, that I am looking forward to be with Him. Then we can become that yeast, that true Christianity. Not like these Pharisees who try by themselves to be better, but true Christians who will form society by their simply being. Because they will be a place of God, where God will be present in them and through them. So they will bring whole dough to rise, and bring all of humanity to a new stage of life which will not be any more pride about ourselves and the talents God has given us with His great love, but together we will glorify God, who in His great merciful love has forgiven us all our sins and has raised us up. And raised us up continuously. Each one of us and all humanity wants to raise up to the new life of Christ.
(Fr. Maximilian Dalve – English Mass homily in Medjugorje on Saturday, March 10, 2018)
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Cathy Nolan
PPS. Mike Nolan (https://pilgrim-medj.com/ ) is taking a group to Medjugorje on April 2 – 13, 2018! He has room for more pilgrims and says that the airfares are very reasonable. If you have been receiving nudges to go to Medjugorje, call Mike at 574-335-9952!!