Each visionary in Medjugorje is given a specific role by Our Lady. Mirjana’s is focused on unbelievers – those who do not know the love of God. As such, it is the reason why some of the messages given through her on the second of each month since December 2nd, 2004, are different in tone and content from the ones received by Marija for the whole world.
And who are the unbelievers? Atheists? Agnostics? Non-Christians? Those who do not go to church? No! Millions of them know nothing about Medjugorje. They have never heard of Mother Mary’s apparitions. They have no idea she is giving messages. They wouldn’t be on the lookout for what she says because they have no awareness that such records exist, nor would they embark on any search to read her words or listen to them.
Mother Mary cannot be speaking to them. No, not to them, at least not now.
Then who is Our Lady’s audience at present? Who, when in Medjugorje on the second day of the month, wake up early in the morning so as to get to a spot near her apparition site at Cenacolo or the Blue Cross? Who around the world await eagerly the account of her message given through Mirjana over the internet that day? Who read information like the material which is presented here? Who? Who? We, that’s who! We, the ones who are reading this article right now, including, particularly, the one who wrote it! We, the ones who know Medjugorje! We are the ones to whom Our Lady is speaking! We are the ones who must pay attention, and repent, and change!
At the apparitions to Mirjana, Our Lady is often sad and crying. She cries for those of us who continually ignore her warnings, who pay heed only to her words which make us feel happy and above reproach, who hide behind the phrase “accentuate the positive,” who close our hearts to all ‘negative’ exhortations or, worse still, apply them only to others.
Why is Our Lady sad? Is it not because we do not truly love God; is it not because we do not truly love our neighbour?
And is it not because we do not notice our pride, our arrogance, our jealousies, rivalries, hatreds, angers, malice, darkness, wickedness, hot temper, ambition for glory, bullying, deceitful scheming, and delusions about our supposed superiority? Among our holy group are we not the ones who stir up controversies, quarrels, lies, gossips, slanders, suspicions? And set up factions?
[The above words are taken from the following Scriptural passages. Rom 12:3; 16:17. 1 Cor 3:3, 18-20. 2 Cor 12:20. Gal 5:15. Eph 4:14. Col 3:8-9. 1 Tim 6:3-5. Titus 1:16. Jas 1:19-21, 26; 3:14-16. 1 Pet 2:1. 2 Pet 2:1. 1 Jn 2:9, 11.]
Here is Mirjana’s report on June 2nd, 2008: “Our Lady said, ‘Dear children, I am with you by the grace of God to make you great, great in faith and love, all of you, you whose heart has been hard as a stone by sin and guilt.’… As Our Lady was saying ‘you whose heart has been hard as a stone by sin and guilt,’ she was looking at those present to whom this refers with a painful expression and tears in her eyes.”
On December 2nd, 2007, Mirjana gave this description: “Our Lady was very sad. Her eyes were filled with tears throughout the whole time. She said, ‘Dear children, today, while I am looking at your hearts, my heart is filled with pain and shudder. My children, stop for a moment and look into your hearts. Is my Son, your God, truly in the first place? Are his commandments truly the measure of your life? I am warning you again.’… I asked Our Lady painfully not to leave us and not to give up on us. Our Lady painfully smiled to my request and left. This time she did not finish her message with the words ‘Thank you.’”
“‘Dear children. In this holy time full of God’s graces and his love which sends me to you, I implore you not to be with a heart of stone.’… Our Lady’s face during the entire time was one of pain and sorrow.” (01/02/2007)
“My children, do not deceive yourselves with false peace and false joy.” (07/02/2006)
“Many think that they have faith in God and that they know his laws. They try to live according to them, but they do not do what is most important: they do not love him.” (10/02/2006)
Jesus said: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.” (Mt 22:37–38, NJB) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments… Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me… Anyone who loves me will keep my word… Anyone who does not love me does not keep my words. ” (Jn 14:15, 21, 23, 24, NJB)
No doubt, someone will brand as ‘negative’ the writer who singled out the above quotations.
Was John also ‘negative’ when he wrote this in his epistle? “Whoever says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person… Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness… They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” (1 Jn 2:4, 9, 11, NIV)
We hope that nobody dares to accuse Jesus as ‘negative’ because of his remarks below.
“How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites in the passage of scripture: ‘This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments.’” (Mk 7:6–7, NJB)
“You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as upright in people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed in human eyes is loathsome in the sight of God.” (Lk 16:15, NJB)
“You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart. Good people draw good things from their store of goodness; bad people draw bad things from their store of badness. So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word people utter they will answer on Judgement Day, since it is by your words you will be justified, and by your words condemned.” (Mt 12:34–37, NJB)
“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” (Lk 6:26, NIV)
We hope none would stoop so low as to label St. Paul being negative in his writing of the following.
“Though I command languages both human and angelic – if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains – if I am without love, I am nothing. Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned – if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.” (1 Cor 13:1-3, NJB)
“If our gospel seems to be veiled at all, it is so to those who are on the way to destruction, the unbelievers whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world, so that they cannot see shining the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor 4:3-4, NJB)
“Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.” (1 Tim 1:6-7, RSV)
“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed.” (Titus 1:16, RSV)
James, “a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”, in his epistle, shows how to judge the religiosity a person. “Remember this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to human anger… Nobody who fails to keep a tight rein on the tongue can claim to be religious; this is mere self-deception; that person’s religion is worthless.” (Jas 1:19, 26, NJB)
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (Jas 3:13-15, NAB)
Jesus says: “Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch – and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.” (Jn 15:4–6, NJB)
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (Jn 15:9–10, NAB)
Jesus, John, St. Paul, James, and Our Lady, all speak the truth. Let us pay serious heed to them. Let us stop causing Mother Mary more tears of sadness. Let us humble ourselves and admit our arrogance and sins. With faith in our loving Mother’s help and guidance, with our own willingness and cooperation, we can be corrected, and so move quickly forward to becoming holy and fruitful servants of the Lord.
St. Paul tells us: “So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31, NIV)
“For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.” (2 Cor 2:4, NIV)
Mother Mary says: “God is sending me to warn you and to show you the right way. Do not shut your eyes before the truth, my children. Your time is a short time. Do not permit delusions to begin to rule over you.” (11/02/06)
“Reject your arrogance and kneel down before my Son. Understand, my children, that you have nothing and you can do nothing. The only thing that is yours and what you possess is sin. Be cleansed and accept meekness and humility.” (07/02/2007)
“I will help you to triumph over the errors and temptations with my grace. I will teach you love, love which wipes away all sins and makes you perfect, love which gives you the peace of my Son now and forever.” (03/02/2010)
“Dear children, all that my Son – who is the light of love – has done and does, he has done out of love. Also you, my children, when you live in love and love your neighbours, you are doing the will of my Son. Apostles of my love, make yourselves little; open your pure hearts to my Son so that he can work through you.” (05/02/2018)
Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to destruction is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Mt 7:13–14, NJB)
I did not kill anybody, or set fire to someone’s house, or committed adultery. I go to church regularly, read the Bible and other spiritual books daily, and pray a lot. I fast on bread and water twice a week. I have travelled to hallowed places of worship on scores of pilgrimages. I am far better informed on religious matters than my acquaintances. I gain deep insights into Scripture and theological studies by attending conferences; I always understand everything the speakers say, and thoroughly enjoy the programmes from beginning to end. I know all the standard formulary prayers, hymns and rituals; I can compose lengthy pious supplications and meditative thoughts instantaneously. I have been instrumental in organizing numerous devotional events. I donate money to worthy causes, help people who are in need, do multiple voluntary works expertly and say many holy things. Surely I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world, am I not? Surely my friends will speak of me as a saint after I die!
But have I paid any attention to this teaching of James in the New Testament? “Nobody who fails to keep a tight rein on the tongue can claim to be religious; this is mere self-deception; that person’s religion is worthless.” (Jas 1:26, NJB)
According to just one short paragraph of Jesus’ teaching below, how often should I have been condemned in the past week alone?
He warns, “You brood of vipers, how can you say good things when you are evil? For from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt 12:34–37, NAB)
A person speaking good may be a good person, or may be an evil person pretending to be good. However, a person speaking evil is not a good person pretending to be evil; a person speaking evil is evil!
Will I not be opening my mouth proudly again to say malicious things against someone whom I consider inferior to me? Will I not continue to think nothing of spreading rumours about the person I envy? Will I not be justifying myself tomorrow for being angry with those who do not agree with my brilliant observations? Do I deem pride, envy and anger – three of the seven deadly sins – deadly for others but not for me? Do I not know that angels became devils because of pride? Do I consider myself sinless as long as nobody seems to notice my sins?
James writes: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” (Jas 2:10–11, NIV)
No wonder Jesus cautions: “I have much to say in judgment of you.” (Jn 8:26, NIV)
This is how he speaks to those who have the appearance of good but are not truly so: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Mt 23: 27–28, NIV)
“You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as upright in people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed in human eyes is loathsome in the sight of God.” (Lk 16:15, NJB)
“You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Mt 23:15, NIV)
Is it time to canonize myself?
Before canonizing myself, I should think about and remember the following.
“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Mt 7:13, NIV)
“When the day comes many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?’ Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!” (Mt 7:22–23, NJB)
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” (Jn 12:46–48, NIV)
“I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.” (Lk 6:47-49, NAB)
“Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 Jn: 8–9, NIV)
“Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth.” (1 Tim 6:3–5, NAB)
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (Jas 3:14–16, NIV)
Now, should I not examine myself more carefully, therefore, and in a totally honest and truthful way? Otherwise, should I not fear that, even though I may have been invited, I may have been chosen, and I may even be at the gate, in the end I may be locked out if self-satisfaction sets in?
Jesus already said: “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Lk 13:24, RSV)
“When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’” (Lk 13:25–27, RSV)
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.” (Lk 14:34–35, NIV)
“Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” (Mk 10:31, NJB)
“What have you got that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why are you boasting as though it were your own?” (1 Cor 4:7, NJB)
Should I crown myself today? Only a fool would do that. God alone can make saints – at the moment he chooses, if he opens the door into Heaven for me after a period of sincere self-examination, repentance and conversion on my part.
Repent; obey Jesus, the Advocate
In the last book of the Bible, God warns me: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked… Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” (Rev 3:14–19, NIV)
John writes in his first epistle: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 Jn 2:1–6, NIV)
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:5–9, NIV)
Jesus says: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.” (Jn 14:15–17, NAB)
In Colossians 3:7–9, St. Paul says that I must put away all these things: anger, hot temper, malice, slander, abusive language, and filthy talk. “Stop lying to each other!” he cautions.
In the First Letter to the Corinthians, he demands, “Follow the way of love.” (1 Cor, 14:1, NIV)
In chapter 13 of the same letter, he describes love as the highest theological virtue. Concerning this, I had better look inside my own heart seriously. And I had better not make these mistakes: to merely speak about the well-known passage without putting it into practice, giving advice, reciting the lines and using them to judge others instead of applying them to myself – none give any evidence of saintliness. But, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, if I meditate on the famous verses honestly, sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase, word by word, then change and carry out everything in them – towards everyone and at all times (even when nobody is watching) – then perhaps I will progress in the right direction.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor 13: 1– 7, NIV)
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (Jn 15:11–14, NIV)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11:29, NIV)
How many days does it take a person to be justified who sincerely repents from the heart?
Jesus spoke this parable. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other…” (Lk 18:10–14, RSV)
On the day that the humble person acknowledged his sinfulness, he arrived home justified.
Soon afterwards, Jesus travelled through Jericho. “And there was a man named Zacchae’us; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchae’us, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchae’us stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it four-fold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house…’” (Lk 19:2–9, RSV)
‘Today,’ the same day that Zacchaeus responded to Jesus’ invitation, and made haste and came down from his lofty position, and welcomed Jesus joyfully, and reformed his ways, salvation came to him.
On Calvary, two criminals were crucified beside Jesus. “One of the criminals hanging there abused him: ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” (Lk 23:39–43, NJB)
‘Today!’ Again – for those who honestly admit their guilt and look to Jesus for mercy.
How long does it take someone to decide seriously for repentance? Not long! Nobody should spend another day on earth going through life staying as evil as before.
Guidance from St. Peter
“God opposes the proud but accords his favour to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5, NJB)
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (1 Pet 2:1, NIV)
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble… For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.’” (1 Pet 3:8, 10, NIV)
Guidance from St. Paul
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” (Phil 3:12–15, NIV)
“So, my dear friends, you have always been obedient; your obedience must not be limited to times when I am present. Now that I am absent it must be more in evidence, so work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12, NJB)
Jesus, you said: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Lk 5:32, RSV) Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
In your life and in your relationships it is very important to recognize fools and those who proclaim themselves to be wise but are not. If you know how to deal with them you will have greater peace and sympathy.
Take a few moments to think about whether there are people in your family, among your kinfolks, co-workers, acquaintances or friends who behave like fools. Here are some ways to identify them.
“Whoever spreads slander is a fool.” (Pr 10:18, NAB)
“Fools take no delight in understanding,
but only in displaying what they think.” (Pr 18:2, NAB)
“The lips of fools walk into a fight.” (Pr 18:6, NAB)
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Pr 20:3, NIV)
“As dogs return to their vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.” (Pr 26:11, NAB)
How to distinguish the wise or prudent from fools
“The way of fools is right in their own eyes,
but those who listen to advice are the wise.” (Pr 12:15, NAB)
“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” (Pr 12:16, NIV)
“All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.” (Pr 13:16, NIV)
“A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” (Pr 14:3, NIV)
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” (Pr 14:8, NIV)
“The wise person is cautious and turns from evil;
the fool is reckless and gets embroiled.
The quick-tempered make fools of themselves.” (Pr 14:16-17, NAB)
“The crown of the wise is their wisdom, but folly is the garland of fools.” (Pr 14:24, RSV)
“The heart of the wise seeks knowledge, a fool’s mouth feeds on folly.” (Pr 15:14, NJB)
“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” (Pr 28:26, NIV)
“Fools give vent to all their anger;
but the wise, biding their time, control it.” (Pr 29:11, NAB)
How not to handle a fool
“Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Pr 1:7, NIV)
“A single reprimand does more for a discerning person
than a hundred lashes for a fool.” (Pr 17:10, NAB)
“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.” (Pr 17:12, NIV)
“Do not speak in the hearing of fools;
they will despise the wisdom of your words.” (Pr 23:9, NAB)
“Wisdom is too high for a fool.” (Pr 24:7, RSV)
“Snow no more befits the summer, nor rain the harvest-time, than honours befit a fool.” (Pr 26:1, NJB)
“A thorn branch in a drunkard’s hand, such is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” (Pr 26:9, NJB)
“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” (Pr 27:22, NIV)
“If a wise person disputes with a fool,
there is railing and ridicule but no resolution.” (Pr 29:9, NAB)
How to deal with fools
Heed Jesus’ warning: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Mt 5:21-22, NIV)
The book of Proverbs puts it this way: “Whoever mocks the poor reviles their Maker;
whoever rejoices in their misfortune will not go unpunished.” (Pr 17:5, NAB)
In the above quotation, “the poor” are not just those who have few monetary and material possessions, but also those who are less gifted in psychological maturity, or pleasant personalities, or wisdom.
In the following Gospel reading, the “little ones” can also be applied to the same group of individuals. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 18:10, RSV)
Here is what you can do. First, love them. Jesus commands: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12, NJB)
Second, pray for them. You cannot change the hearts of fools by arguments and exhortations, or by shaming and rebuking. It is only by the grace of God that fools can be transformed to abandon their sin of pride and the desire for self-aggrandizement.
Third, rather than fuming with anger while a fool around you rages on and on with endless complaints and jealous boasting, do as these proverbs tell you:
“Do not answer fools according to their folly,
lest you too become like them.” (Pr 26:4, NAB)
“Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” (Pr 14:7, RSV)
This article contains Biblical quotations only. Obey God and he will raise you to the heights of honour.
No revenge; leave vengeance to the Lord
Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.” (Pr 24:29, NIV)
Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. (Pr 20:22, NIV)
For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” (Heb 10:30, RSV)
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated… So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” (Heb 10:32–37, NIV)
Do good; love
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thes 5:15 NIV)
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev 19: 18, NIV)
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also… Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Lk 6:27–29, 36, NIV)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:14, 18–21, NIV)
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Heb 12:14–15, NIV)
When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. (1 Cor 4:12–13, NAB)
Blessed and exalted
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. (1 Pet 3:8–14, NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. (Phil 2: 5–15, NIV)
Do not wait until Lent to pray the Way of the Cross. Come close to Jesus daily by spending a few short moments with him in a manner like the sample below. Ask him to teach you what to think about him, what to learn from him, how you can be like him, in what way you are already following in his footsteps, how you have used his good example to deal with conflicts in your family, in the work-place, with acquaintances, and with those who treat you as an enemy. Share with him your joys, your sorrows, your concerns of the day. Thank him.
It is true that this Way of the Cross version does not carry with it any plenary indulgence from the Church. If you want, you can pray a version to which an indulgence is attached. How often you do that each year is for you to count.
Every Catholic church has the fourteen Stations of the Cross displayed prominently on the walls. Why is this?
Jesus, at the time when you were condemned and sentenced to death, no Gospel had been compiled and no theological treatises had been written to expound on what you were doing. You faced your sacrifice silently, offering no explanation to anyone. Never once did you look for sympathy. You knew what you had to do, and did it for the eternal benefit of all.
Jesus, you were insulted, beaten, and made to shoulder the cross. The spectators regarded you as a disgraced failure. No matter what people thought, you persisted on your sacred mission without telling your foes you were doing the greatest good for them. You bore no bitterness; you did not fight back. You remained constantly meek and humble of heart. You cared not for praise or human recognition.
Jesus, after an all-night ordeal of brutality and torment, you collapsed. You could have used this fall as an excuse to call off the rest of the humiliating undertaking; but you got up and pressed onward.
Jesus, your Mother may have prayed: “Father, our Son’s Passion is excruciatingly agonizing. Please have mercy on him and reduce the time of his suffering by giving the same suffering to me too.”
Jesus, you accepted help from a stranger. Even though he was only forced into giving you a hand, in return you inspired the evangelists to include in the Bible his name and those of his sons and his village. Lord, how much more will you reward those who do things for you voluntarily!
Going against the current, and without the slightest concern for her own safety and reputation, Veronica braved the wrath of the soldiers and the crowds. Jesus, forever after, whoever follows her example of devotedness to you with selfless bravery, will become more and more your true icon in heart and soul and mind.
Jesus, you were whipped and pushed, and fell a second time. You got back on our feet, not because you were coerced, but because of your immense love for me and your desire to save me.
Jesus, you always respected women, never taking advantage of them or preying on their sympathy and affection. Even in your own hour of need, you made sure to remind them to take care.
In the four gospels, I have seen how kindly you treated mothers, widows, little girls and women of all ages – sinners and the virtuous alike. You were always so thoughtful and considerate towards each one of them.
Jesus, you summoned up your last ounce of energy to complete your mission for my sake. Thank you.
Jesus, you submitted yourself to humiliation on my behalf; that is why, time and time again, even when I could have been put me to shame, I wasn’t.
For your love does not apply solely to my life after death. Your love is concerned with every situation in my life now. Never should I live in darkness, with a shadow hanging over my head. When I surrender each difficulty into your hands, the light of your grace shines on all seemingly unsolvable problems. Thank you, Jesus.
And Lord, help me never to embarrass anyone.
Jesus, you endured unbearable pains so that I do not have to suffer overly much. Lord, every time I ask, you deliver me from all tribulations – mental, physical and spiritual. You never fail me. Thank you, Lord.
And Jesus, help me never to harm anybody.
Jesus, you loved me so much that even if I were the only person in the history of the world who needed redemption, you would have died for me. “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20, NIV)
Thank you, Lord, from the bottom of my heart.
Jesus, why did you create me? For Heaven, of course! Nothing less! Without consulting me, you fashioned me; was it for suffering or for disaster? Certainly not! You are God, what you do must be for good. It cannot be otherwise.
Thank you for creating me and redeeming me from my sins, keeping the door open for me to live in eternal happiness. Thank you for directing me back onto the right path every step of the way.
Jesus, with the help of your grace, I resolve not to sin against you anymore. I resolve to live in simplicity and absolute trust in your unparalleled kindness towards me.