October 11, 2006
The pulpit in Medjugorje is often accompanied by more than the priest. The power of Our Lady and the Holy Spirit often elevates the words spoken to provoke thoughts and convict. Our Lady just recently said in Her last monthly message,
September 25, 2006
For years through inspiration we at Caritas have gone through periods in which we pray 3 Hail Mary’s on the hour. In our travels or at functions, we often kneel down and pray even in public. The following homily given Saturday, October 7, 2006 will inspire you to do the same.
In the Love of the Two Hearts,
October 7, 2006
English Homily in St. James Church, Medjugorje
Priest from Ireland
I am here with a group of pilgrims from many different parts of Ireland, but we are all pilgrims. We are all brothers and sisters here. We are all Mary’s children, and thank God for that. I’ve jotted down a few thoughts that were coming to me during the week.
There is an old custom, and an effort is being made to revive it in this present time, and it’s the custom of saying the Three Hail Mary’s. And if you go back in Ireland, and I’m sure other countries, maybe 20 years ago, when you went to confession, unless you had something very bad to tell, the priest would usually let you get away with three Hail Mary’s for penance. At home when we were maybe in need or trying to do something, our parents or somebody else would say to us, say three Hail Mary’s. And there is an effort being made now to revive that. I feel that it’s something worth considering and it’s not to replace our regular prayer, it’s to increase the prayer that’s already there and to enhance it. Simply before or during the day when you find things difficult, stop for a moment and say the three Hail Mary’s, and that will lead you into more prayer. You might say, well three Hail Mary’s, what can that do? Very early here, Our Lady reminded us that even one Hail Mary is a great consolation to Her. We will never know how much good Our Blessed Mother can do with one Hail Mary that we would say, one prayer, well said. It can be the start of a great grace or great blessing. It’s like the young man who had the few loaves and fishes. He was keeping them for himself, for his own use, but when he gave them to the Lord, the Lord blessed them and multiplied them and it became the great miracle of the loaves and fishes. The little we have, when we give it to the Almighty, can become something very special, very great indeed.
It reminds me of a lovely, little humorous story of St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, who was once asked why he became a priest. So he said, “I was reading the Scripture, in the Bible, where God through Samson, that Samson, with God’s hand, slew several thousand Philistines with a jawbone of an ass. So I thought to myself if God can do that with a jawbone of an ass, how much more would he be able to do with a whole ass.” So, he decided to become a priest and a very good priest he was. He was put away into a small place, in Ars in France and he transformed it with very little, simple efforts of prayer, kindness and devotion to the Mass and the Sacraments. And maybe it’s something that we can do as well.
What’s happening here in this Church of St. James is something out of this world. And we all are feeling uplifted during the Mass, the Adoration is an experience not to be missed.
The confessions outside are another great blessing. And we all think, “Oh, if we could only take this home, wouldn’t it be great. If there was something like this in our own churches on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings wouldn’t we uplift people?” How do we do it we wonder? I feel that the way we might be able to do it is just to move out from here. What I feel is happening here is because of what is happening outside around the village in the fields. People like ourselves unashamedly praying, carrying their Rosary beads. There’s nothing different in what is happening here (in St. James Church) and outside of here (in the village streets and fields).
Of course when we go back to our parishes there is the church. We have our churches, we have our faith but when we leave our churches we seem to leave everything else as well, including God. And we’ve drifted a way a little bit in our prayer and as we fall off in prayer, we fall away from God. We have distanced ourselves from God. Our problems have become big because our God has become small. So we need to once again to begin to take the Mass and what is happening in our churches, out into our daily life.
I’m very impressed by people moving among the streets and fields praying in groups. I’m particularly impressed with our young people, turning their Rosary beads and unashamedly being part of all of the spiritual exercises. I’d like to say to all of us when we go back home, let’s not be ashamed of carrying the Rosary beads and let them be seen. There’s nothing wrong going inside a church to visit the Blessed Sacrament, to light a candle, to say a prayer.
Pope Paul VI said people will be more impressed by witness than anything else. And take the late great Pope John Paul II. Was there anyone in the last 50 years that stood out more than he did? Why? Because first of all he was a man of prayer with a deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Remember the last time he was in Lourdes, down at the grotto, crippled with pain. When the prayers were finished he asked his helpers, his aides, to take him out of his wheelchair and he was stooped over to one side. They said, “Your Holiness, you won’t be able to do it.” He said, no I want to do it. And they placed him on the kneeler and he spent a considerable amount of time in prayer to the Blessed Mother. What prayer he said, we will never know. He knew that this would be his last time. When he got up he turned to the people who were in wheelchairs, and to people who were suffering a great deal. He said, “I’m here as one of you. Walk with Mary.” And that’s the point of being here in Medjugorje. We’re walking with Mary and we need to do it when we go back home also. Our own Rosary priest from Ireland, Fr. Peyton, coined the phrase, “the family that prays together, stays together.” Who could not be impressed by Vicka yesterday morning in particular her prayer, her deep prayer, her reverence in prayer, her life in prayer. And this morning we got another beautiful message from Jakov. And one of the very first things he said was the graces of Medjugorje are not just for Medjugorje. They’re for all of us and all our parishes and that should help us go home feeling we’re not alone in trying to bring this message of Our Blessed Mother to a hungry world.
This should be a very precious item for all of us. Have your Rosary beads in your possession. It will protect us. But it’s no good just having it on us. We need to be using it. And when we start using our Rosary beads, in our hands it is the Blessed Mother’s hand in our hand. And just try to remember that as we pray. As we pray the Rosary, Our Lady is praying with us. She is holding our hands as we hold the Rosary beads. When we start to pray like that we will then be led into Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Mass. We won’t just be bumping into Jesus, we will be letting him touch us and when we let Jesus touch us, our lives will be transformed and then people will begin to see Jesus living in us and our faith will come alive in church and out of church.