Fr. Jozo Zovko - One should die to oneself

Fr. Jozo's Reflection of Our Ladys Medjugorje message of March 25, 2009

Message of March 25, 2009

"Dear children! In this springtime, when everything is awakening from the winter sleep, you, too, should awaken your souls with prayer so that they may be ready to receive the light of the risen Jesus. Little children, may He draw you closer to His Heart so that you may become open to eternal life. I pray for you and intercede before the Most High for your sincere conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call." 

Dear brothers and sisters! Dear members of our big prayer family! We are well into Lent. This Lenten program is also the wish of the Church that is trying to interpret Christ's call and will for conversion and a radical change of life.

 One should die to oneself, one should get out of the old self. It is a dying that is directing us daily to the Risen Lord that we may walk in the light and hope to recognize Him alive, as the apostles did, in his Word and the sacraments through our humble prayer.

The Queen of Peace takes a picture from the nature without fear: the picture of spring. Winter deprived the nature of the appearance of life. Winter allows no vegetation. At the first sight everything is black and dead. All deciduous trees are without signs of life. On the outside no difference between a dead and a living tree can be observed. They are all alike, the same. But it is not so. Living trees are alive in winter conditions as well. This life is hidden to the eye, but it is real.

Springtime reveals this best. After winter months the sun appears and remains longer and longer in our sky with each day. Its warm rays awaken the dormant life in every tree, in every seed. This heliotropism hides in every even the least living grain and its delicate embryo, wakening it and directing it to grow towards the sun. In the heart of each of us hides a longing after God. In our soul there is an irresistible yearning after the Living God. As the nature awakes from the winter sleep, so the Queen of Peace wants us to awaken to a new life. The Resurrected Jesus, our Lord and God, is our sun that we are searching and irresistibly pining for. And we are all looking for him and we all need him. How is it possible to give up the dream?! Is it possible not to wake up and remain in sleep for Easter?! Yes, it can easily happen. This happens to those who in these times are busy hectically watching the Church and censuring it for lack of feeling and
loyalty for others. They do not hear what is being preached to them and what they are called to.

 They dwell on weaknesses or disorganization of the faithful which prevent them from giving more help, especially to the infirm and the poor. And indeed, Our Lady has no words of praise for us. She allows unbelievers to teach us a lesson, reminding us in this way that we are not perfect, that we have not by far responded to her call. A Christian who has ruined his family and his sacramental marriage by his haughtiness, is always on the lookout for somebody else's weakness to show the Church and other Christians that they are no better than him. How to wake up and turn to oneself? This is not possible without true conversion. And again, conversion cannot occur without persistent and humble prayer. That we may wake up in this holy Eastertide, let us watch the pictures of spring. Every bud is an untold life story. Every shoot, every flower is a miraculous sign before our eyes.

Man often tries to make flowers, leaves, fruit and the like by imitating nature. From afar you think it is alive. But when you look closer or touch it with your finger, you see it is an imitation. It is no original. Only God creates and gives life. Only he renews it. So we are responsible for our life. We have been called to bear fruit. We cannot do it without God. It is a grace of God to be a fruitful Christian. It is no imitation of holiness, love, goodness, but a gift of God given to each of us.

Learn from flowers. Learn from the least living creatures and they will teach you. Everything is a miracle and everything speaks of Him – their Creator.

How is it possible to wake up in this springtime permeated by the Easter grace and light? Only through the inner activity. Let us start with prayer.

Let us prepare through prayer for Easter and the meeting with Jesus. These days all churches are full. Every believer is eager to give up his sin. Just think: Sin is our real death. Not a semblance of death. It is indeed our death. Go to confession in contrition, and like the prodigal son decide to return to the father. Who is the prodigal son and who is the father? A sinner is the prodigal son, and the father is the merciful God who is waiting for us. He is not sleeping. He is waiting for us awake. And he always feels compassion and is always sensitive to our tears, our repentance, and our decision to remain faithful to the Father.

Through the sacrament of reconciliation the good Father embraces us, and takes us to his feast. This feast is Holy Mass. Ever since the Lateran Council Easter communion has been a commandment of the Church and our obligation to feed on the food of immortality by God's grace. It is this light that shines from these divine sources. Freed from death and given eternal, immortal life to drink, a Christian receives the light of the Resurrected Jesus. Jesus became man, died and rose from the dead only that all men may be saved.

This truth of salvation and our redemption brings us to his pierced Heart from where we got everything. That fortunate apostle Thomas, after having put his hand into the pierced heart, fell prostrate, confessing repentantly against all unbelief: "My Lord and my God!"

And his new life started from this meeting. This is what happens to each of us when we kneel down in the confessionary and, beating our chest, find his grace and salvation. This is the Easter light and his peace, the truth that never passes, that never devalues, because it is divine. To this grace do I open myself, and it secures eternal life for me. So, my God is alive, risen from the dead, and he is my peace. He is my eternal life. Already here did he plant into our souls this aspiration, this heliotropism after eternity. This is not an empty wish or a phrase of awkward preachers of old, but the truth of his Resurrection.

The Queen of Peace is in prayer for us and our conversion, i.e. our springtime of faith. Let us wake up and continue waking up others and preparing for the meeting with him. Here we have the prudent virgins to teach us. They took both the lamps and the oil, and were awake when the Bridegroom and the guests arrived. And they went in with him to the wedding feast. And the door closed. This is the time when we can wake up our neighbors and help them fill their lamps with oil. Let us turn in this holy and gracious Easter time to the Resurrected and his Mother, and let us recognize him in every brother.

In this month of spring, April, we are going to pray for the following intentions:

For our successful and fruitful Assembly, that the Queen of Peace may instruct us this year, too, how to respond to the call and how to live her messages in a more fruitful way.

For all members of our fraternity – the prayer community of Visitation – that we may truly wake up, that our community may grow not only in numbers but also in holiness.

For the visionaries, parishioners, for all pilgrims, for all priests in Međugorje and those leading the pilgrims, that they may do nothing out of habit, but that they may rather live and preach the grace of Our Lady's apparitions as witnesses.

Dear brothers and sisters! One more message and one more call, one more chance like spring stands before us. Let us be grateful to Our Lady for everything. I ask the Queen of Peace to instruct us in everything, to be close to us, lest nobody should fall off. I pray to the Resurrected Lord to come out into the paths and roads of our life and to liberate us from every fear and illusion, to plant us deep into his Easter truth. At the end I wish each of you a happy and blessed EASTER. With sincere greetings
"Pray! Pray! Pray!" -Our Lady of Medjugorje

No comments: