March 2, 2017 – “Dear children! With motherly love I am coming to help you to have more love and that means more faith. I am coming to help you to live with love the words of my Son, so that the world would be different. Therefore, apostles of my love, I am gathering you around myself. Look at me with the heart, speak to me as to a mother about your pains, sufferings and your joys. Ask me to pray to my Son for you. My Son is merciful and just. My motherly heart would desire for you also to be like that. My motherly heart would desire that you, apostles of my love, speak of my Son and of me to all those around you with your life; so that the world would be different; that simplicity and purity would return; that faith and hope would return. Therefore, my children, pray, pray, pray with the heart, pray with love, pray with good works. Pray that everyone would come to know my Son, so that the world would change, that the world would be saved. With love live the words of my Son. Do not judge, instead love one another so that my heart could triumph. Thank you.”
Last week I talked very briefly about love and faith. In the last two messages from Our Lady she calls us to have more faith.
“With motherly love I am coming to help you to have more love and that means more faith…” (3/2/17)
“I am calling you to profoundly live your faith and to implore the Most High to strengthen it, so that winds and storms cannot break it…” (2/25/17)
There is no doubt that we are living in times where our world is like a bone-dry desert that’s thirsting for the cool, crisp waters of faith. Many search and yearn for it, most times unknowingly, but in all the wrong places. The things the world offers us is only temporary, and never lasts.
And even those of us who believe and strive for holiness, even our faith at times may not be as strong as we think. How many times in our lives when faced with difficult and sudden situations did we find ourselves sinking into fear and anxiety, running around like maniacs to deal with the problems ourselves?
Did we give those problems to Jesus? Did we ask for the help of the Blessed Mother? Did we say to the Lord, “You take care of it,” or did we say, “I’ll take care of it.”
If more than once you’ve done the latter, you’re not alone. Many do.
Many times, personally, after spending the day trying to fix a stressful problem, I’m reminded of two specific instances in the Gospel.
In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea, and when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, “Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” It was Peter who answered. “Lord,” he said, “if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink. “Lord,” he cried, “save me!” Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. “You have so little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” [Matthew 14:25-31]
And the second:
Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too. Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” The wind died down, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?” [Mark 4:35-40]
“I am calling you to profoundly live your faith and to implore the Most High to strengthen it, so that winds and storms cannot break it…”
Peter noticed the wind, taking his focus away from Jesus, and started to sink in fear, literally.
When a sudden storm rocked their boat, the Apostles feared for their lives and saw the sleeping Jesus, wondering if He even cared enough to help them.
In both situations, in spite of their fears and doubts, Jesus saved them. And his responses to them all related to faith:
“Do you still have no faith?” “You have so little faith. Why did you doubt?”
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking, “Wow, I’m just like the Apostles,” when reading these two Scripture passages. When the storms and rough winds of life come our way we all can end up acting like the Apostles did.
When we stop trusting in Jesus, we take notice of the dangers and darkness around us, and begin to sink further in our sorrows and worries. Isolating ourselves from His Divine help.
In our hardships, when the Lord seemingly appears to be asleep in the boat, instead of keeping our cool and going to Him with trust, we panic and doubt that He hears our troubles.
Thankfully, He is merciful and He knows how weak we are; how much we need Him. And He takes care of us, giving to us what is needed. But I can’t help sometimes thinking in the aftermath that He sometimes speaks in our hearts like He did to the Apostles saying, “Why didn’t you trust me? Did you not think that I could help you? If you say that you love me, then why did you doubt me?”
Love and trust go hand-in-hand. You can’t really have one without the other.
When a child loves their parents then he/she trusts that they will provide and protect them from harm always.
When a couple decides to marry neither of them makes such a huge commitment unless they both know there is a foundation of love and trust between them. If one of the spouses did not genuinely love the other then trust would be non-existent. Perhaps maybe that’s why there are so many divorces these days.
When we love someone we give ourselves to them, our lives and services. And in turn the other does the same as well. In such a relationship there then is spirit of openness, selflessness; a desire for refinement in oneself even, to become more virtuous for the sake of not ourselves but for the object loved. When we love we think more of the other first, and ourselves last.
I think this is what Our Lady is trying to teach us more in these days.
“With motherly love I am coming to help you to have more love and that means more faith…”
When we love God more, our faith also grows. We entrust ourselves completely to Him. And in that growth of love and faith we begin to renounce the things in our lives that are not compatible with our relationship with the Lord, and seek to practice virtue. We start to think more of what is pleasing to Him then what is convenient for us. And when we do that then our hearts will begin to reflect more brightly our Blessed Lord Jesus.
“My Son is merciful and just. My motherly heart would desire for you also to be like that. My motherly heart would desire that you, apostles of my love, speak of my Son and of me to all those around you with your life; so that the world would be different; that simplicity and purity would return; that faith and hope would return…”
Speak of Jesus and Mary to everyone with our life. With our commitment to love and trust in them more and more each day we will become those living testimonies for the world. And in living with more love and faith in God we will also experience more peace, which is so vital now more than ever!
I also find it pretty worthy to note (which I feel pertains to this reflection) is how in that passage from the Gospel of St. Mark he writes this:
So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them.
They took Him with them. They took Jesus.
I found that most interesting.
The Apostles were the ones following Jesus. Not the other way around. If anyone was to be taking anybody anywhere then it would be Jesus taking the Apostles with Him. After all, Jesus was already sitting in the boat waiting for them.
Still, they took Him with them.
I thought about this for a moment when I realized this:
Do we not take Jesus with us when we leave our homes for work or travel abroad? When we go to Mass? Or even stay home for the evening?
As the Mystical Body of Christ, do we not carry Him in our hearts everywhere always as His baptized children? When we take Communion, do we not become walking Monstrances that carry Him with us when we leave the church?
That little sentence from St. Mark is incredibly significant.
Jesus lives in us, and we carry Him with us everywhere.
If we become more aware of His presence within us then we will be able to love and trust in Him even more! He is never far from us when trouble comes, He is with us! We have nothing to fear!
Let us seek to love the Lord more and more each day, giving Him thanks always. And our faith will strengthen and grow to withstand all the storms of life like a mighty Cedar tree!