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On the Word of the Lord and the Message of Our Lady:
A Guide on Living Our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
by Rev. Fr. OMER PRIETO
Dear brothers and sisters,
At the start of Advent, we were told to be “watchful,” a timely invitation to check our conscientiousness and commitment to what “the lord of the house” had left us (Mk. 13: 33-37). This Sunday, we are told to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Mk. 1: 1-8; Is. 40: 1-5, 9-11). This mission of a “messenger” easily relates to the Clergy and Consecrated Persons (to whom this year is dedicated), but not exclusively, because laypeople are likewise called. Given our entire lives to “prepare,” it behooves us to ask ourselves what sort of “messengers” we must be. This entails a profound communion of life with God (Ps. 85:9-14), lived in holiness and devotion (2 Pt. 3:8-14) which makes us true “messengers.” In Her message, Our Lady articulates this mission. Addressing Her priest-sons, in particular, they are called to be “apostles of the second evangelization,” instruments of universal conversion (523 h). They, too, are the “the new heart” of the Church, instruments of its interior renewal (523 k). “By means of you,” She tells Her priest-sons, “My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph” (Message 523) - taken from the book, “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (Mark 1:1-8)
The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. This is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. The Messenger
We might wonder why the Lord would need a “messenger” when He could easily come and get His work done all by Himself. It is not so much Him, but us, who need help. This is what Mark indicates as he cites Isaiah’s prophecy at the start of his gospel. As a backdrop, it recalls Israel’s Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) December 10, 2017 No. 02 2017 - 2018 WEEKLY REFLECTION On the Word of the Lord and the Message of Our Lady A Guide on Living Our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary 2 long years of exile due to infidelities. (This is what the phrase “in the desert” signifies.) In the heat of the Israelites’ punishment comes the “voice” announcing the coming of the Lord, who would bring their suffering to an end. The Lord Himself would send a “messenger” to help them prepare for this great event. Thus, we see John the Baptist in the gospel, fulfilling this prophecy - “in the desert proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Here, the task of the “messenger” is clearly defined. John’s “baptism of repentance” is a preparation for “the forgiveness of sins.” He has no power to forgive sins, but simply calls people to “repentance” through baptism by water. Someone “mightier” than him would baptize in the Holy Spirit “for the forgiveness of sins.”
2. The Message
The only thing asked of us is to repent. But, repentance is more than just being sorry for our sins. It calls us to “make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God.” This means getting rid of our laziness, complacency and self-indulgence that make our lives a spiritual wasteland. It also entails looking at the valleys within us, the deficiency in prayer and virtues that must be filled up. The mountains of our pride and self-righteousness need to be flattened, and the stones of temptation that often cause us to stumble must be removed. As we enter the second week of Advent, let us straighten out our lives, leaving a “highway for our God,” so that everything we do leads us to Him.
3. A Messenger of Communion
All are called to be God’s “messengers:” the clergy, the consecrated persons and the lay people. Seeing how our world has turned into a desert, the demand for our mission becomes urgent more than ever. St. John Paul II once said: “The world lives as if God no longer exists.” This alienation from God has resulted in the erosion of spiritual and moral values in tremendous proportions, both within the family and in society. The need for God’s messengers is great indeed. With this kind of world that we have, what sort of “messengers” should we aim to be? We must be “messengers” who can bring back God to this lost world. For this, we ourselves must be a transparency of His presence, a gaze on God in this world. But, we cannot give what we do not have. To have God in us, we need to be in a profound communion of life with Him. St. Peter tells us what it is like for God to be with us: it is living in holiness and devotion (2 Pt. 3:8-14). Such was John the Baptist in the gospel. He may have looked unusual even in his time “clothed in camel’s hair and eating locusts,” but his appearance belied what was within: a holy and a devoted heart, imbued with God’s life. No wonder he was able to bring people down on their knees in true repentance. He was a messenger of communion.
II. OUR LADY’S MESSAGE: “MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH” (MESSAGE 523)
a. Never have you come in such great numbers from every part of the world, bishops and priests of my Movement, and you are up here on this mountain for a week of a continuous cenacle of prayer and fraternity. You have come, drawn by the voice of your heavenly Mother.
b. I have called you up here. During these days, I am constantly close to each one of you. I unite myself with your prayer. I deepen the bond of your fraternal relationship. I obtain for you the gift of the Holy Spirit, who works profoundly in your life and who brings you to a transformation of heart.
c. How much comfort you give to your heavenly Mother! In you my Heart is glorified because, by means of you, I am able to bring about the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the world, as I have announced to you at Fatima.
d. My Immaculate Heart will triumph over this ailing and materialistic humanity, bent on the mad search for pleasure and comfort, which has built a new civilization without God and has again become pagan, after almost two thousand years since the first announcing of the Gospel.
e. Go and preach the necessity of penance and conversion, of return to the Lord along the way of prayer and repentance, of renunciation of Satan and all his wiles, of evil and the tyranny of the passions.
f. Let this humanity return, like the prodigal son, into the arms of the Heavenly Father, who awaits it with love, so that a new, profound and universal reconciliation may be thus achieved between God and humanity.
g. It is you who must be the instruments of this general return. It is you who must be the apostles of this second evangelization, so strongly requested by my Pope. Thus, by means of you, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
h. My Immaculate Heart will triumph over this, my suffering and divided Church, torn by the evil spirits and possessed, in an increasingly powerful way, by the dark power of Freemasonry. Because of this, errors are being spread about in her, and these are often being taught, spread and accepted midst general apathy and indifference. The lack of faith is spreading. Sins are committed and justified. The ministers of the sanctuary languish in lukewarmness and indifference and are dissipating the treasures, which the Lord has put into their hands.
i. How this most beloved Daughter of mine is suffering! How few are those who listen to the voice of your heavenly Mother and follow it. And these encounter difficulty, misunderstanding, and persecution, often on the part of their own confreres.
j. It is you who must be the instruments of the interior renewal of all the Church, you who are called to be the new heart of the new Church, purified, enlightened and sanctified.
k. For this reason I invite you to be today courageous apostles of faith and unity, of holiness and love. Bend down with me to soothe her great pain, to place balm and comfort on her many open and bleeding wounds. In this way you become for her today expressions of my motherly tenderness, and by means of you, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
l. My Immaculate Heart will triumph over all my poor children, who are carrying the cross of the unspeakable sufferings of these last times of the purification and the great tribulation. How many are those who are far away! How numerous are the victims of my Adversary, who has established in the world today the summit of his diabolical power.
m. Take by the hand those children who have been set on the road to precocious experiences of evil. Support the youth who have been ensnared and seduced by false values which have been proposed to them and who are succumbing under the weight of sins, of impurity and of drugs. Help Christian families to live as little communities of grace and prayer, of communion and love, and snatch them away from the grave danger of division and divorce, of recourse to the means of impeding life, and of the abortions, which are increasing in every part of the world.
n. Go in search of the little sheep, straying along all the roadways of the world. Convert sinners; support the wavering; lead the wandering; heal the sick; comfort the dying. To all, give the grace and the love, the salvation and the life, which my Son Jesus has given to you through his passion and death on the Cross.
o. Thus you become instruments of salvation for all, in these last times, when everything, which I foretold to you, must be accomplished. In this way, by means of you, my Immaculate Heart will, in the end, triumph.
p. Go out from this cenacle with serenity and joy. I have granted to all the grace of a change of heart and a transformation of life. No one is leaving this cenacle the same as they entered.
q. I am the Mother of grace and of purity, of love and of hope, of joy and of peace. Leave in peace, and become, in every part of the world, the instruments of my peace. I am with you, and I will cause you to feel my motherly presence in an extraordinary way. r. With your dear ones, and with the persons who are entrusted to you, I bless you all in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. What is this triumph?
This refers to Our Lady’s message at Fatima on July 13, 1917, after showing the vision of hell to the three children: “You see hell, where the souls of poor sinners go.” The vision foretells the great crisis in the Church and in the world, which Pope Leo XIII foresaw in 1884, warning the Church of a “century conceded to Satan.” This is taking place in our time. To save the world, Our Lady called for consecration to Her Immaculate Heart, in response to the wish of God to establish in the world the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. She confirmed this to Fr. Gobbi (Message 411 l): “The divine Heart of my Son Jesus has entrusted to my Immaculate Heart the last and extreme attempt to lead you all to salvation.” (Here, we see the evolution of the devotions to the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, and the Two Hearts.) With this, She gave this assurance: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” The triumph that Our Lady announced is none other than the greatest triumph of Her Son Jesus, who will return, bringing into the world His glorious reign (604 o-p). This will take place when the present evil, which has suceeded in subduing the world, is finally defeated. Her maternal action through Her Immaculate Heart is the way which leads us to His reign (339 g-h), fulfilling the plan of enmity, of struggle and of victory (254 k) foretold at Gen: 3:15: “You will bite her heel, but she will crush your head.” The triumph of Her Immaculate Heart cannot take place except in the triumph of Her Son Jesus. In the end, the victory will be solely that of Jesus (176 b).
2. The Triumph through Her Maternal Action
The triumph is essentially connected to Her maternal action. She spoke confidently of this to bishops and priests gathered in a weeklong cenacle: “I have called you up here. During these days of your fraternal relationship. I obtain for you the gift of the Holy Spirit, who works profoundly in your life and who brings you to a transformation of heart” (523 b).
3. The Triumph through Her Priest-Sons
Our Lady is equally confident of Her priest-sons. “By means of you, I am able to bring about the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the world, as I have announced to you at Fatima” (523 c). Thus, She reiterates to them about their mission as “instruments of conversion” and as “apostles of the second evangelization” (523 e-g). Likewise, She reminds them of their role in the interior renewal of Church, placing them at the very heart of the Church (523 j). There’s really nothing new in what was said. We have been hearing countless times about this mission. What is new here is our Mother leading and guiding us. Let us follow Her like St. John who was the only one from among the apostles to reach Calvary because he was in Her company. “Thus you become instruments of salvation for all, in these last times, when everything, which I foretold to you, must be accomplished. In this way, by means of you, my Immaculate Heart will, in the end, triumph” (523 o).
God bless you all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
Note: This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy. (Imprimatur: Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998 Abp Francesco Cuccarese, 2007)