“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes when you seek me with all your heart you will find me with you says the LORD…” (Jer. 29:11-14)
There was no question…when I saw the word that our Lady gave to the world this month on 1/25/2011 this is the scripture that came to my heart. If you didn’t see her message or had the chance to reflect on it yet, here it is. Can’t you just feel the warmth of her love for us?
“Dear children! Also today I am with you and I am looking at you and blessing you, and I am not losing hope that this world will change for the good and that peace will reign in the hearts of men. Joy will begin to reign in the world because you have opened yourselves to my call and to God’s love. The Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of those who have said ‘yes’. Therefore, I desire to say to you, thank you for having responded to my call.”
The Mother is grateful and is looking at you, and giving her motherly blessing! Praise God, she is grateful!
There is a future, and a future full of hope, if only we seek God with all of our hearts.
This week, we have had a series of articles posted about increasing our devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to avoid being superficial in our prayer life.
On the same day she gave this message to the world, she led me to the following message she gave on 10/31/1988 in my private prayer. Which not only seems to continue with the theme of what I have been writing about this week, but also will tie in all the more her most recent message given above. I will explain further. She said,
“Dear children, (I personalize this word as if she is saying my name) tonight your Mother wants to encourage you to begin prayer with the heart. This prayer is necessary to today’s man for today’s world.
Do not just pray with your lips. Do not pray if you don’t know what to pray. During this period too, dear children, I need your prayers, because I have great plans. I want to collaborate with you. I have repeated that many times in my messages. I need you. Because of that pray, pray with the heart!”
For me personally, I lean toward a contemplative spirituality, because I love the silence of heart and the peace that comes in it. So I was perplexed about this message-and saying in my own heart, dear Blessed Mother, am I not already praying with the heart?
But twice she has repeated in this message in my private prayer to ‘pray with the heart’.
Then I began to understand further that she was not only speaking to me to hear this word, I feel she is speaking to all of us, because of the former reflections the Lord has been leading and teaching us, in this week’s reflection, as if she has more to say to us (again, who knows, I leave this for your discernment).
As a reminder however, I understood fully it that we all need to penetrate more deeply into our prayers, and begin to build a relationship of the heart with God contemplating Jesus.
Therefore this message she has given says as she said before, not to be superficial in your prayer and with her messages, and now not to pray with just your lips. She is calling us to a deeper contemplation, and a deeper level of prayer into a deeper union; not with the lips, but of the heart, and to reflect on the life of Jesus.
Now some of us may be saying, well I already have that….guess what, not enough.
There is always another level of the heart the Lord will take you to. St. Teresa of Avila describes it as the ‘interior castles’ the spiritual journey from room to room in the heart with God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says when we “enter into contemplative prayer, it is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy, we gather up the heart, recollect our whole being with the Holy Spirit, where we abide with the Lord…” (CCC 2711)
That is we are entering into God’s time, which is eternal and present. It is where all time stands still and you are alone with God.
There in the heart, there is nobody else present, but you and the Lord. There are no masks, no pretending, you are there with God in truth as you really are as creature with your Creator, and the Lord is able to love you as you are.
The Catechism also says (2712) “contemplative prayer is the prayer of a child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome love by which he is loved and wants to respond by loving even more. But this love is being poured out by the Holy Spirit in his heart because everything is grace from God…it is the poor humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in even deeper union with His beloved Son…Contemplative prayer is silence, the symbol of the world to come, or a silent love (2716)”
It is the love between the bridegroom and his bride in intimate union. Boy I tell you if you are a romantic, this is the greatest romance anyone could receive, and no human being could reach its perfection. Remember, the world cannot offer this love; because the world is full of noise, chatter and busyness. Only God can give you the love that you need, and this silent hidden divine love must be drawn from the divine lover himself.
Yet I hear the words, contemplative prayer is the prayer of a child of God…isn’t our Lady praying for her children that they will comprehend who they are as “God’s family, God’s children?”
How many times in the gospels to we hear that Jesus went away to pray to His Father?
So as we move forward and contemplate further our Lady’s message; in her words I find most encouraging in this way. She said the Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of hearts in the world, because of those who have said yes to her. Great news! Hearts are changing toward the good.
Our Lady has hope for the future, that this world as we know of now will change for the good, and once more there will be peace established on this earth and in the hearts of men.
The enemy however wants us to believe otherwise. It wants us to believe that darkness is triumphant by what it feeds the world through media, propaganda and such.
But not so says heaven! God sees the heart, and men appear to be tired of “garbage in, garbage out.”
Blessed Mother is able to see us through the heart. These are the hearts of her own children who are devoted to her, who are the ones sacrificing their lives for her in this time of grace. This message is for you dear children of the Mother of God, who encourages you with a profound motherly love; who has come to the world to say with all her heart, ‘thank you for all the hard work and sacrifices you are making for her, in building up the kingdom of God!”
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know I need these encouraging words as one who on the front lines of this spiritual battle. It seems like every time we turn around we have more opportunity for grace to glorify God, because there is always a form of suffering to offer up.
But Blessed Mother is not finished yet my friends. Her words of hope are to encourage us, to work all the more harder for God’s kingdom, and to keep constructing that interior temple. This is a time of building up God’s Kingdom and His palace.
Our dear Mother is putting confidence in us, her children, that is the church, and she is saying to her little children, ‘I know you can do this, keep going…I know it’s hard, but I am with you, I have hope-draw from me for this gift of hope…Keep going, persevere, work towards holiness and peace….”
As I was writing this, I had an image of all of the children of Our Lady and we are in the image of Jesus all on the way of the cross. The weight of the cross seems at times all too heavy to carry for us, and as if being overcome by the weight and the burdens we feel we cannot press on any longer, and we fall many times. We are tired, and feel beaten down, and even asking ourselves is it really worth it? But here comes our Lady in haste when we have fallen down, just like she did for Jesus on the way of the cross. And she said with great encouragement and great hope, ‘Yes! It is worth it my child. Look at what the Father has prepared for you. Hearts are changing; the Holy Spirit is moving, and what you are doing for me is not in vain. You will not regret it my children, keep your eyes on the vision that Jesus had. Keep going my little ones, keep going…’
It is like receiving a fresh drink of water in the dry hot desert, and taking that moments rest before pressing on into the time of Lent where we will soon confront the sins of our nature, and wrestle with them and put them to death, so we can be clothed again once more in a new garment of grace and virtue.
Yes, faithful devotees of Blessed Mother; set your eyes on the triumphant victory of Jesus and draw from the waters and take a drink with Jesus at the well spring of hope and life who said, “If you but knew the gift of God!”
O Lord, send down your fires of Hope! Here the cries of our heart. My soul cries out to you O God. Send down your fires of hope!
“Study therefore to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things, and to turn yourself to things invisible. For they that follow their sensuality defile their conscience, and lose the grace of God…If we would really honor Jesus Christ we must apply ourselves to know Him, to love Him and to follow Him in the practice of every Christian virtue. This is absolutely necessary for salvation as we cannot become true Christians, but by knowing, loving and following Christ. To pretend to please our Blessed Savior by a profound knowledge of His divinity, without endeavoring to follow His example, without living as He lived, would be most dangerously to delude ourselves…” (Imitation of Christ, chpt.1)