April 25, 2017 – “Dear children! Love, pray and witness my presence to all those who are far away. By your witness and example, you can draw closer the hearts that are far from God and His grace. I am with you and intercede for each of you so that, with love and resoluteness, you may witness and encourage all those who are far from my Immaculate Heart. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
I find it to be a difficult thing to correctly anticipate the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje each apparition date. And if you happen to be someone who follows Marian apparitions, like Medjugorje, you might’ve experienced the same sentiment.
In all honesty, in the hours leading up to April 25th, given the current events circling the news feeds, I assumed Our Lady’s next message was going to be one of a call to arms with a weight of great urgency.
Instead there were two things I got out of this short, yet significant message of hers:
Keep calm, and pray on.
Although she doesn’t literally say “stay calm” in this message, it is, however, the vibe I get from it, which counters the opposite vibe that’s been flying around everywhere else lately.
I don’t have to tell you. Whether you’re a news-junkie or not, I’m sure you’re aware of the growing tensions between the nations and peoples in the world. There’s no doubt that it’s got some folks feeling pretty concerned.
Yet Our Lady appears, and tells us instead:
“Love, pray and witness my presence to all those who are far away. By your witness and example, you can draw closer the hearts that are far from God and His grace…”
News propaganda tells us to fear, panic, and prepare for disaster; the Mother of God tells us to love, pray, and be witnesses of her presence. Her presence here is one of hope, and a sign of the love of God. Her presence among us is teaching us to be children of God in a disobedient society without God.
This is what the Lord wants from us in these days; peace, not panic. Trust in Him, not in politicians or man-made weapons. Obedience to His will, not to the will of man. Compassion for others, not indifference. Prayer, not worry.
We can’t be flying off the handle at every difficulty, reacting out of emotion or stress. That’s what the enemy of the soul seeks; discord, division, fear, and disorder; paralyzing our spirituality, blocking the road to holiness, and doubting God’s grace.
We’re called to persevere in goodness, to be reflections of Christ’s light in a dark world, and act as vessels of His grace in order to touch the hearts of others.
Our focus must be the face of Jesus, and following the road He has outlined for us with resoluteness.
In her diary, St. Faustina one day was meditating a lot on her suffering and God’s grace. Faustina struggled much with her lack of health and physical strength, and she pondered at times on how she’d continue her mission. Here’s what she wrote:
As I was conversing with the hidden God, He gave me to see and understand that I should not be reflecting so much and building up fear of the difficulties which I might encounter. Know that I am with you; I bring about the difficulties, and I overcome them; in one instant, I can change a hostile disposition to one which is favorable to this cause.
The Lord permits the difficulties, and He conquers them. He can turn tears of sorrow into ones of utter joy. He sees, He knows, and His grace is sufficient. This should give us great confidence and faith in Our Blessed Lord in all difficulties great and small, national and domestic.
We have nothing to fear. If God is with us, who can be against us?
Like St. Faustina, we are each called on a mission. How we go about these missions is entirely in the hands of God. The Holy Spirit will guide us. In the meantime, Our Lady wants us to continue onward, reassuring us that we are not alone but with her on our journey of prayer, holiness, and practice of virtue.
Becoming victim to fear won’t help much of anyone at all, let alone ourselves.
Jesus and Mary dwell in our hearts, and we must remain there with them.
When a moment of dread or confusion presents itself, stop.
Don’t give it another thought. Don’t go a step further.
Look at the Cross.
Look for the face of Jesus and Mary.
Let their love and mercy envelope your heart.
Trust in this simple and fool-proof fact that is infinitely, and supremely beyond human standards:
You are loved.
You are called by the King and Queen of the Universe for great and beautiful things.
And you are never forsaken.
Keep calm, and Christian on.
You are in good hands.