October 15, 2013 A.D.
Our Lady wants us to be in love with God, to know Him, to know Jesus. Our Lady in Medjugorje said on September 25, 1995:
During a homily in Medjugorje, Bishop Robert Gruss from South Dakota tells how he arrived at his conversion experience, and the relationship God desires to have with us:
“Mary, because of Her great love for Her children, She can and She will lead you and me to a deeper relationship with Her Son. This is Her role as a mother, Her intercession for us continues to bring us the gifts of salvation here and now in this life, in this world. She knows our hearts. She knows our desires. She hears our prayers, She helps us with Her motherly kindness. She invites all of us to entrust the whole of our lives to Her. You know Jesus was very aware of Mary’s role. However, because we heard, He says, “rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it,” observe doesn’t mean notice or watch, but it means action.
“Mary always took the word of God and pondered all of these things in Her heart. That’s why She’s the first and the most perfect disciple. If you and I take the word of God seriously it will truly transform us in ways we cannot imagine. It did me anyway. Allow me for a few minutes to share a little about how I got to this moment in life and why. At least a short version, a very short version, we’ll be here until 5:00 otherwise. I probably was in my late 20’s, trying to make a living flying airplanes. I used to fly airplanes for a living. And this was the very beginning of my flying career and I had no breaks. None. I couldn’t make a decent living. In fact, my checking and savings accounts were depleted, as was my spiritual bank account. Depleted. I was miserable and unhappy. I had this poor relationship with God and the church. So one day, somehow by the grace of God, I went on a search. I went on a search for God and I began to pray everyday. You know in religion class, I grew up in Catholic schools, religious education and all of that, so in every class I always heard, “God loves you, God loves you, God loves you.” Now how many of you have heard that, over and over again, “God loves you”? And I thought to myself, “Really, like what does that really mean?” I know human love, I’ve received it and I’ve given it, but what is God’s love? What is that experience? So I began to pray everyday. What I’ve been told my whole life, love me, I have no idea what that means. “Lord, give me a lived, personal, intimate encounter with that Father.” That began my prayer everyday. And my whole life began to be turned upside down. You know it wasn’t some dramatic, miraculous conversion experience at all. It was a prayer each day and I began to see my life and the meaning of my life in a different way. I began to see the world in a different way. I began to see the church in a different way. I came back to the sacraments and the life of the church. Somehow along the way I got duped in going to a bible study. I said, “I can’t do this. I don’t even know the bible.” But somehow the Lord led me there and it changed everything, it set me down on a path to the priesthood to be honest. And what happened, I began to fall in love with Jesus. I began to fall in love with Jesus and this encounter with God, as I reflected upon His living Word. It was not in a dramatic, miraculous way but just quietly, this quiet way of the Lord changing my heart. You know often times people want the wildest moments, those wild moments, those big experiences of the Lord. But the Lord wants to touch our heart with the quiet, not those magnificent things because if we receive those magnificent things, that’s what we want to hold on to and not the Lord Himself. Often times we want the experience more than we want Jesus and then the experience becomes our idol. But those quiet moments led me to discern my vocation to the priesthood.
So what happened, I quit flying, I quit my job flying, by this time it was a number of years down the road and I had a great flying job, a perfect flying job, flying all over the country, making lots of money. It was great, but I gave that up. I broke up with my girlfriend of two years; I was very close to getting engaged too. And I went into the seminary. And now 20 some years, 24 years later I stand before you, in quite a different role. Amazing, amazing journey, there’s so much more to tell you. But more than anything, God more than anything wants us for Himself, all of us and every part of us, both the sinfulness and the holiness. He never stops looking or seeking after us. He wants to love us into holiness. We can’t get there on our own, only God can love us, Christ Jesus can love us into holiness. He will find us and we will find Him as we hear the word of God. Take it into our hearts as Mary did, ponder it. Not just look at it and observe it. Ponder it. You know often times the world is full of Christians that know about Jesus, but there’s far less who know Him personally and intimately. That’s what He wants. That’s what He wants from every one of us. He wants us to come to know Him personally and intimately. Not about Him but know Him personally. You know there’s a wonderful book by an author Fr. Jean Corbon, it’s called The Well Spring of Worship. He says, there’s a wonderful line in this book that says, “The most fruitful activity of the human person is to be able to receive God.” Isn’t that beautiful. The most fruitful activity of the human person is for us to be able to receive God. It means giving up all of our control and power. It means surrendering everything in faith and in trust and in humility. You know the life of faith; it’s all about intimacy with Jesus. That’s what it’s about. Placing ourselves totally in His hands. It’s not just to seek an experience with Him, but to seek this union. When we come up for Communion, Communion, union with Him, that’s what happens when you come up to receive Him, body, blood, soul and divinity. It’s the most intimate encounter we can possibly have if our hearts are open to that encounter. But if the most fruitful activity of the human person is to receive God, then in our daily lives, prayer and reflection on His word is most important. It’s important because this is what enlightens the heart, the spirit to receive God, this is what enables us and draws us into this love relationship. We will only come to know deeply the love of God when His word is alive in us. As we take it in, He will continue to love us into holiness. That’s why He says in the beginning of this Gospel, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
“Let me conclude with one of my favorite quotes. You know I’ve fallen in love with God over and over and I’m still falling more deeply in love with Him everyday as I seek Him in my life. But one of the former heads of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, in one of my all time favorite books said, “Nothing, nothing is more practical than finding God, that is falling in love with God in a quiet absolute way.” He said, “What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning. It will decide what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends. It will decide what you read, who you know or who you hang around with, what breaks your heart, what amazes you in joy and gratitude.” He says, “Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.” I fell in love and I hope staying in love will decide everything in my life. It gave me my vocation and the direction in which God was calling me. He wants you to fall in love, deeply. Today. Pray for that and Mary can be assured in giving it to you.”
– Most Reverend Robert Gruss from the diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota
Three bishops recently were in Medjugorje and concelebrated Mass together. As seen in the picture above, Bishop Magee, to the left, whose homily “The Three ‘M’s” we published this past Friday, October 11, Archbishop John from India in the center, and to the right, Bishop Gruss whose homily is above. Medjugorje has seen many bishops come to receive the grace Our Lady’s apparitions offer to those who have open hearts, and then return to their dioceses to spread the miracles of Medjugorje.