Reflection in May 2008
Reflection on the Message of May 25, 2008
I CALL YOU TO CONVERSION
“Dear children! In this time of grace, when God has permitted me to be with you, little children, I call you anew to conversion. Work on the salvation of the world in a special way while I am with you. God is merciful and gives special graces, therefore, seek them through prayer. I am with you and do not leave you alone. Thank you for having responded to my call.” Message of May 25, 2008
In many of her messages Our Lady has reminded us that the time we live in is the time of grace. For the past 27 years, millions of people from all over the world have been coming to Medjugorje, to this spiritual healing place, so that God may heal their hearts and souls. There are several examples of conversion in the Bible, such as is the conversion of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15,11-32), or even a more memorable conversion of St. Paul (Acts 9,1-18), together with many others. Each conversion is a result of an event or an encounter, but not any kind of encounter. I am talking about the encounter with God. Saul was a persecutor of Christians in Jerusalem and the whole of Judea (cf. Acts 8-9). Once he went all the way to Damascus to arrest Christians. At the city gates Saul had the encounter with God, which he would remember all his life. That encounter changed him completely and made him convert. Saul, who had been a prosecutor of Christians, then became a disciple of Jesus and changed his name to Paul. Something similar happened to the apostles, too. A decisive moment for them was their first encounter with Jesus, after which they left everything and went to follow Jesus. Something similar happened to the saints, and something similar will happen to us if we search for God’s will in our life through prayer.
Our Lady calls us anew to conversion, which, in other words, means betterment. The majority of today’s Christians have not seen the Lord in flesh, whereas this encounter is a prerequisite for a new beginning. After such encounter, everything changes, life becomes different and better. One should bear in mind, though, that after the encounter with God our crosses do not disappear. It just becomes easier to carry them. Those who have had the experience of meeting with God, become the salt, cabbage and the light of the world. They become instruments through which God’s love and joy in this world are spread. We are all called to convert and continuously change in our path following Jesus. Conversion is a life-long process. Nobody can say that they have completely converted because there is always something we must improve, primarily on ourselves, not on others. Conversion is following evenly in Jesus’ footsteps every day, without negotiating. Conversion is a permanent task of the whole Church. It is not man-made, it is God’s work.
On our path God helps us and gives us special graces, as Our Lady says. These graces, however, need to be sought through prayer. One should show one’s good will and love towards God who is merciful and kind, as written in Chapter 34 of the Book of Exodus: «The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands …» (Exodus 34,6-7). What we should discard first when we start saying our prayer is any kind of hypocrisy. Before God we must not pretend, lie or appear better. We have to be who we really are. We may be lying to friends or neighbours or keep up appearances, but before God we must take off our masks, as he knows us better than we know ourselves. The path of prayer is just like the path of conversion – long and hard, but no fruit is born without pain and effort. The bond between God and man that was previously broken is re-established through prayer.
Our Lady encourages us and does not leave us all alone on this path. She stands before us as an example of prayer by means of which she takes part in the Father’s intention to embody the Son of God. Together with Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may also say: «I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.» (Luke 1,38). In our prayer, let us think of the people in need, especially those who have lost their lives in the earthquake in China .
Fr. Danko Perutina