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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
Brothers and sisters,
On Sunday, we will celebrate in the Philippines the Feast of the Sto. Nino (Holy Child), whose image is recognized as the icon of Christianity in the country, Asia’s only predominantly Catholic nation. The readings chosen for this Feast invite us to ponder on the childhood of Jesus, which explains why we venerate Him as a child and why we must embrace the child in us.
In her message, Our Lady likewise invites us to contemplate on the mystery of His infancy in order for us to journey along the road of spiritual childhood, which she has traced out for us. We will read Message 258, “I Am Asking You for a Spiritual Childhood,” from the book, “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (Mark 10: 13-16)
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Points for Reflection
Jesus overturned the action of his disciples who prevented the children from coming close to him. He told them: “Let the children come to me.” Here, he did something that can be considered revolutionary. He put the children on a pedestal, quashing the Jewish bias regarding them as useless, inconsequential and a nuisance. Our readings explain why.
Isaiah prophesied in the First Reading (Is. 9: 1-16) that Jesus was once a child, too. His affection for children was reminiscent of a childhood that set his destiny as “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-forever and Prince of Peace.” It’s no wonder that he embraced the children and blessed them. He was not an ordinary child as his dominion was prophesied to be vast and eternal and this gives us the basis for venerating him as the Holy Child.
Paul explains further as he talks about the adoption plan in the Second Reading (Eph. 1:3-6,15-18): “In love, (God) destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will.” Jesus confirmed this plan in the Gospel. After demonstrating his high regard for children, he challenged the people to be like them: “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” For this is what we are meant to be in God’s plan: to live as his adopted children. Paul admonished the Ephesians to be grateful for the “spiritual blessing,” the new life, received through and in Christ with the wish that they may have an intimate experience of God’s love for them.
Jesus explains his challenge for us to live like children: the Kingdom of God belongs to them. He gives us reasons: First, he declares that children who were regarded in Jewish culture as “nobodies” have the right to the kingdom of God. Second, their simplicity and openness are interior dispositions which enable them to receive God’s reign and thereby belong to His Kingdom. No one can enter the Kingdom unless he or she is like them. Finally, children allow themselves to be carried: they are powerless and allow themselves to be led and carried, much like what Jesus wants his disciples to be with respect to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
February 2, 1983
Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus
Points for Reflection
In a set of paradoxes, Our Lady contemplates the ineffable mystery of Jesus’ infancy (258 b-h).
The Infancy shows God’s magnificent humility.
With this ineffable mystery, Our Lady traces out for us the way of spiritual childhood: “Penetrate today into the ineffable mystery of the infancy of my Son Jesus, whom I carried in my arms to the temple of the Lord, if you wish to journey along the road of spiritual childhood I have traced out for you” (258 i). All must travel along this road (258 j).
- Interior littleness, “which robes (us) in the humility and in fragility the Child Jesus” (258 k).
- Candidness of the children, “knowing nothing of egoism and sin, open to love and to giving, expecting everything from the Heavenly Father so as to be able to give everything” (258 l).
- Purity of the children, “firmly shut to the snares of deceit and duplicity, opening like flowers to receive the rays of knowledge, truth and wisdom” (258 m).
- Docility of the little ones, “like fragile clay ready to let (us) be formed with trust and abandonment, molded by the good and the true, and strengthened by pursuing what is good and what is beautiful” (n. 258)
Spiritual childhood is a “necessity,” Our Lady emphasizes, “if you wish to live in a perfect manner
the consecration to my Immaculate Heart. It is only in this way that I can carry you, like my Infant
Jesus, and offer you in the temple of the Lord for the realization of the designs of love and mercy
He has upon you, for the salvation of all my children, scattered throughout the world” (258 o-p).
Viva Sto. Nino! Ave Maria!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
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