October 11, 2013 A.D.
Our Lady in Medjugorje has spoken to us many times over the course of these 32 years about God and His infinite mercy. It is part of the reason She is with us. Our Lady said on March 18, 1999:
Bishop John Magee, retired Irish bishop and private secretary to Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II celebrated English Mass today in Medjugorje at the altar of St. James Church. This is his first visit to Medjugorje and he said at the beginning of Mass that his heart is already being filled with joy from being “here” in Medjugorje. He began his homily by stating that he had been the private secretary of Pope Paul VI and one day when he was walking with the Holy Father in the Vatican gardens, Pope Paul asked him, “John, do you want to know what is the secret to my spiritual life?”
Bishop Magee told the pilgrims this morning in St. James Church that Pope Paul often quoted from St. Augustine. Augustine, of course, is the saint whose mother prayed for years that her son would convert and when he did, he became a great saint and doctor of the church. Augustine wrote often of the mercy of God in his own regard and his words found a special place in the life of Giovanni Montini who became Pope Paul VI. Bishop Magee said that if you read the writings of Pope Paul VI, you will see him often quoting St. Augustine because, as Paul VI told Bishop Magee, Augustine was his spiritual father.
So when the Holy Father asked, “John, do you want to know what is the secret to my spiritual life?” he began to explain to him that St. Augustine taught that we are all weak and broken individuals. Every single person carries with them this brokenness. Bishop Magee went on to relay the conversation he had with Pope Paul VI in Mass today, in which the Holy Father spoke of how Augustine saw that our weakness and brokenness was always tempting man towards “miseria” or “misery” but God’s mercy is the remedy for this. What follows is from Bishop Magee’s homily given in Medjugorje today:
“…And he called that miseria, miseria—misery. And God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, to do what? To cover over that miseria and to draw us back into God the Father through His Son and that is the reason why Jesus went to death on a cross so that the action of God might continue, and continue to draw us all back into the Father, to cover over our miseria, our misery, our sinfulness. So, on the one hand you have our sinfulness and on the other hand you have the mercy of God, which in Latin is known by the word misericordia—and misericordia is made up of two words—miseria and cordia, the cor, the heart of God. And when we encounter the heart of God, the love expressed in the person of Jesus Christ covers over all sin. There is no sin that is not covered by the mercy of God. But we must ask for it. Pope Paul VI said you must never presume the mercy of God. You must ask for it. And that is why at the beginning of every Mass we ask for God’s mercy. So this action is going on in you today. There is a tension of love going on and God the Father, through His Son Jesus is covering over your misery, your miseria, my miseria because we are all broken and we need the mercy of God. And so the Holy Father looked at me and said, “John,” he said, “When you are conscious of this action of God going on in your life, what must be your reaction?” I thought for a moment and I was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and I said, “Holy Father, wasn’t Our Lady covered by the mercy of God? She was even prevented from being touched by the miseria, but She received the gift of the misericordia.” He said, “You have understood the secret of my spiritual life.” Because Mary’s reaction was to sing Her Magnificat, sing Her Magnificat. My dear friends, Pope Paul VI told me that every morning when we rise, we must remember this action is going on all the time in each one of us. There is our weakness and we are drawn, satan has his plans, we are drawn back into the miseria, just as St. Augustine was. But through the merits of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are continually being drawn back and this tension of love is going on all the time within. And if we only just open our hearts to receive this misericordia, that mercy, then we can sing with Mary our Magnificat. So, I leave you with this thought every morning. The three M’s. Never, never forget that you are weak and broken and there, except for the grace of God go I, I can fall but never forget the great action of God the Father, through His Son Jesus, is covering us all the time and drawing us towards His Father that is where we are all going. It’s God’s plan. Never forget our weakness, our miseria, never forget the mercy of God, the misericordia, and never forget to sing and live our Magnificat with Mary.
My soul doth magnify the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
For He who is mighty has done great things for me
And Holy is His name.
– Bishop Magee