Apos­tles of love

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

I have al­ways been struck by the great words Je­sus spoke in the Jo­han­nine Gospel: “A new com­mand­ment I give to you, that you love one an­other; even as I have loved you, that you also love one an­other. By this all men will know that you are my dis­ci­ples, if you have love for one an­other” (John 13:34-35).

Dur­ing a re­cent visit to Med­ju­gorje, this Je­sus com­mand­ment came back to life for me. Par­tic­u­larly, of course, through the moth­erly mes­sages Our Lady is con­stantly giv­ing to our shat­tered hu­man­ity. Leaf­ing through the mes­sages, I was re­ally im­pressed about the many times she speaks of the im­por­tance of be­ing apos­tles of love. If we want to be sin­cere, we have to ad­mit that love is sorely needed nowa­days. Suf­fice to look at the dis­as­trous sit­u­a­tions that oc­cur in­ter­na­tion­ally, na­tion­ally, and es­pe­cially, in our per­sonal lives.

In a mes­sage given to one of the seers, Mir­jana Soldo, on 2 March, 2005, the Gospa (Lady) said: “Dear chil­dren, do the same as I do. Come, share love and with your own ex­am­ple give my Son to ev­ery­one.” Is this not a clear-cut re­minder of Je­sus’ word in John 13:34-35 in which He tells us that the oth­ers will recog­nise that you and I are his dis­ci­ples when we love one an­other?

In her mes­sages, the Gospa em­pha­sises that God’s love is much needed, first and fore­most in our fam­i­lies. In a mes­sage given on 25 June 2005, she said: “Dear chil­dren. To­day I thank you for ev­ery sac­ri­fice that you have of­fered for my in­ten­tions. I call you, lit­tle chil­dren, to be my apos­tles of peace and love in your fam­i­lies and in the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit will en­lighten and lead you on the way of ho­li­ness. I am with you and bless you all with my moth­erly bless­ing. Thank you for hav­ing re­sponded to my call.”

The love which fills the heart of Je­sus is the same love which im­bues the heart of His and Our Mother Mary. The Gospa’s heart is greatly pained when it sees peo­ple in­dulge in modern idol­a­try. In other words, when they put what is hu­man be­fore what comes from God him­self. No won­der then that in that ap­pari­tion Our Lady was very sad. That is why the Gospa is en­cour­ag­ing you and me that, through the wit­ness of our lives, we help th­ese peo­ple to put God first in their lives. It is solely by putting God first that their lives are or­dered in God’s saving and sanc­ti­fy­ing grace.

In her 2 March, 2011 mes­sage for the world, given to Mir­jana, She says: “Dear chil­dren, my moth­erly heart suf­fers tremen­dously as I look at my chil­dren who per­sis­tently put what is hu­man be­fore what is of God. I see my chil­dren who, de­spite ev­ery­thing that sur­rounds them and de­spite all the signs that are sent to them, think that they can walk with­out my Son. They can­not! They are walk­ing to eter­nal perdi­tion. That is why I am gath­er­ing you, who are ready to open your heart to me, you who are ready to be apos­tles of my love, to help me; so that by liv­ing God’s love you may be an ex­am­ple to those who do not know it. May fast­ing and prayer give you strength in that and I bless you with moth­erly bless­ing in the name of the Fa­ther and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.”

In her mes­sages, Mary also calls us “apos­tles of His (Je­sus) love and will”. In her 2 June, 2012 mes­sage, the Gospa shows us how we can be­come so.

“Through that salvific love and the Holy Spirit he chose me and I, to­gether with him, am choos­ing you to be apos­tles of his love and will. My chil­dren, the re­spon­si­bil­ity you bear is great. I de­sire that by your ex­am­ple you help sin­ners re­gain their sight, en­rich their poor souls and bring them back into my em­brace. There­fore, pray; pray, fast and con­fess reg­u­larly. If re­ceiv­ing my Son in the Eucharist is the cen­tre of your life, then do not be afraid, you can do ev­ery­thing.”

Our world is crav­ing for apos­tles of Je­sus and Mary’s love! Go to Med­ju­gore and let the Gospa form you into a fer­vent apos­tle of real love. Fr Mario At­tard OFM Cap

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