Monday, September 21, 2015

Mary TV Daily Reflection 9/21/2015

Fr. Leon at English Mass, 09/21/15

September 21, 2015
St. Matthew
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Also today I am with you in a special way contemplating and living the passion of Jesus in my heart. Little children, open your hearts and give me everything that is in them: joys, sorrows and each, even the smallest pain, that I may offer them to Jesus; so that with His immeasurable love, He may burn and transform your sorrows into the joy of His resurrection. That is why, I now call you in a special way, little children, for your hearts to open to prayer, so that through prayer you may become friends of Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 1999)
Fr. Leon has come to Medjugorje, to be the Shepherd of the English speaking pilgrims.  Welcome, Fr. Leon!!  We are so grateful for your presence in Medjugorje! 
I have transcribed his homily for Sunday, September 20, 2015.  It has valuable insights into how to pray, how to ask, and how to receive!
Fr. Leon- September 20, 2015, English Mass;
Last night at Adoration - I think most of you might have been there- and it started to rain about half way through.  We, the priests, were all safely inside the pavilion, sheltered.  And it wasn't just a feeling of guilt, but seeing everyone being rained upon, I was praying that the rain would cease.  And I said to the Lord, "Look, you want all these people here to adore you, why are you raining on them! Why are you scattering them?"  And it rained harder! (Laughter!)  Then I thought, this is so typical of my prayer life, so I decided to try Our Lady.  And I said, "You intercede, Blessed Mother."  And it stopped raining, or rather it slowed down to that sort of drizzle that in England we call a good summer. (More Laughter!)  So that was an answer to my prayer.
Now I certainly don't believe that God is not to be disturbed and then Our Lady sort of twists His arm, because she is His mother.  Not at all.  God wants us to ask Our Lady.  He wants us to expand our hearts.  He wants us to expand our prayer.  He wants us to ask each other for prayers.  Now isn't that peculiar, because He knows already what we want, and He is more than willing to answer it.  But He still waits for us to expand our hearts and our lives to our brothers and sisters, and also to our brothers and sisters and our Heavenly Mother, in heaven.
Now this isn't exactly what we always want.  We just want a quick answer to our prayers.  Think about what you heard about in the Gospel just now.  (Mk 9:30-37) Jesus tells His disciples of His impending death and they don't like it.  They don't understand, nor do they ask "What do you mean, Lord?"  They don't ask Him that at all.  And St. James tells us (James 3:16-4:3) "You do not have because you do not ask."  And Jesus gives them the opportunity to ask but they don't. 
And this is a wasted opportunity, much like our prayer lives.  We do not receive because we do not ask, and prayer is about being honest with God.  Now you might think, "How can you say that, Father?"  How can you say that I haven't asked?  Well I will say it to you in another way.  Do you have distractions in prayer?  Yes?  Anyone without distractions in prayer?  No, oh, there is one person!  Marvelous!  I'm delighted.  Well you and me both, then! 
Things we are distracted by in prayer...what are we thinking about, what sorts of things?  All kinds of things, trivial, important, distracting?  Those are the things that we should be praying about.  And we don't.  We want to tell God some nice words.  And the really important stuff, important to us, we keep hidden from Him.  Because we don't want to bother Him.  Oh no, we don't want to tell God, "I can't remember if I locked the house before I left for Mass."  "Why should I tell God that I am worried about having to call my sister this afternoon, because the last conversation with her was so awful that I am really dreading talking to her again?"  Why should I tell God things like this?  "Why should I tell God I can't wait till Mass is over so I can go and have my gin and tonic?"  Why should I tell God things like this?
Well, if they matter to me, they matter to God.  They matter, we have to tell Him.  He already knows, so why are we deceiving Him?  When we try to deceive Him we end up deceiving ourselves. 
God does not need our nice words, He wants our truth.  Because that is what He is, Truth.  And only in this way is our prayer purified.  When we see what we really want.  What are we really after when we drown our sorrows in drink or gambling, or in an illicit affair?  What do we want when we think, "I would be better off dead than endure my life as it is now?"  What are we after when we think like that? 
At the heart of all of these thing, all of these bad things is something we perceive as good.  Otherwise we wouldn't do all these things.  St. Thomas Aquinas tells us when we repent of our sins, we only repent of the fact of our sins.  Not of the pleasure we took in them.  Otherwise we would never have done them.  So when we do these things, what are we after?  In that extra drink, or in that affair, or thinking, "Well I might as well be dead."  We are thinking there is something good to be had in this.  Some kind of peace and escape from ourselves. 
Now that is a good thing, the good thing that we want.  But the means we use are evil.  They damage us and they limit us and they make us less than what we are and what we are meant to be.  So it is to this real good thing, the true good thing, the good thing that God always says "Yes" to.  You know, people always say that God always hears our prayers but He sometimes says "No."  But I don't think that is true.  God always hears our prayers, and He always says "Yes".   He always says "Yes" to every single prayer.  To the true good hidden in that prayer.  And that true good is what you and I must find.
What is it that we are after when we pray? 
There was a young boy, when I was a new priest, a few years ago, less than ten years ago.  And he had cancer, and I think we knew that he was dying.  His dad was London Irish. (I shouldn't give away many details to protect their anonymity.)  So an Irish Catholic family. But his mother was very much opposed to the Roman Catholic Church.  She refused to have him baptized.  And while he was in hospital - he was about 10 years old at the time - she summoned some kind of Protestant minister who belonged to a church I had never heard of.  And this woman came and baptized him. 
His grandmother was upset, and she wondered if it was even a valid baptism.  And I said, "Actually I agree with her. So we managed to persuade them.  I talked to the boy for ages, not just about baptism, about Star Wars, actually.  And about Confirmation.  And he decided he wanted to be confirmed.  And so I conditionally baptized him, and confirmed him, and gave him his first Holy Communion. 
Now all along we had been praying for that boy to be healed and saved.  And shortly after he received those sacraments, he very quickly faded and died.  And I wondered how this was an answer to my prayers.  But I had asked the Lord to save this boy, and God did.  He gave him the sacraments, He made him His child without any doubt, and He confirmed him, made him a soldier of Christ.  And He gave him with His Body and Blood, He fed him with the food of eternal life.  And He saved him.  Of course he didn't stay much longer in this life, but these things are not given to us.  We don't know how people turn out.  We don't know what they grow up to be.  That is not given to us.  But what is given to us is the choice for Jesus.  And if we choose that, and we make a good death...that is a life well lived.  That is a great blessing, if we can have that.
I said that God says "Yes" to the true good.  The reason I said that is that St. Augustine said something very shocking which I am going to repeat.  I want you to be shocked, if you are shockable.  He said, "The young man knocking at the door of the brothel is looking for God."  He said, "Caritas" the divine love, so he is looking for God.  Does that shock you?  Well if it shocks you, never mind!  That is true.  But notice, he said the young man knocking at the door of the brothel.  I wonder if he would say that the old man knocking is a sad old guy... (Laughter).   But he says the young man doing this is looking for God, not just for love, but for God.  This is what I mean by the truth hidden in the things we do.  And through prayer it must be purified and come to the surface so we can see what it is that we are actually asking for.  What is it that we are asking for when we ask for the rain to stop during Adoration?  Or when we ask for a young boy who is dying to be healed.  What it is that we ask for in our misery and pain?  What do we really want from God?  Unless it is God Himself, that He will certainly give to us.
Remember also in the Gospel what Jesus did today.  God's "Yes" always includes the Cross.  Because that is the way to life.  Unbounded life, the life of God's "yes" to us!
(Available in "English Mass - Past 7 days" at www.marytv.tv )
Our Lady desires that we give her our slightest pain, our smallest distraction, so that she can lead us to Jesus, where it will be changed into joy!  She wants us to find the truth in all those things that pre-occupy us.  She wants us to find out the real truth we seek, the real good.  She will help us do what Fr. Leon tells us to do!  Let's not hesitate to pray in this way.  It will transform us!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015
PS  Fruit of Medjugorje, a new episode premiers today!!!  8:00 pm EDT!!
"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world." 
Saint John Paul II 
Be connected!

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