1. On February 2nd, 2020, Mirjana received her monthly apparition at the Blue Cross. She then conveyed this message:
“Dear children! By the act of the decision and love of God, I am chosen to be the Mother of God and your mother. But also by my will and my immeasurable love for the Heavenly Father and my complete trust in Him, my body was the chalice of the God-man.
I was in the service of truth, love, and salvation, as I am now among you to call you, my children, apostles of my love, to be carriers of truth; to call you to spread His words, the words of salvation, by your will and love for my Son: that with your actions you may show, to all those who have not come to know my Son, His love.
You will find strength in the Eucharist-my Son who feeds you with His Body and strengthens you with His Blood. My children, fold your hands [in prayer] and look at the Cross in silence. In this way, you are drawing faith to be able to transmit it; you are drawing truth to be able to discern; you are drawing love that you may know to love truly. My children, apostles of my love, fold your hands [in prayer], look at the Cross. Only in the Cross is salvation. Thank you.”
The feast of Lourdes (11 February) and St. Bernadette (18 February)
2. In France, February is the month we celebrate the feast of Lourdes (11 February) and St. Bernadette (18 February). This little girl grew up in poverty, lacking the bare essentials in life (see PS1). It’s enough to know that her little brother would scrape wax from candles in the village church to try to fill his empty stomach! People looked down on this family who lived in a sordid cave that was more like a cell. Once, while questioned, Bernadette heartbreakingly uttered: “She (The Lady) spoke to me like a person!” Falsely accused of theft, her father was sent to jail, leaving his wife and children in total poverty.
However, the Soubirous family had the greatest of riches: Theirs was a family united in deep faith, in family prayer that never lost fervor, and for Bernadette, God always came first. The cross planted in her life from childhood onwards, far from bringing her down, strengthened her attachment to Christ whose destiny she shared in many ways. It is true that the cross lived in communion with Jesus can create saints, while the cross lived without Jesus can lead to despair. In her personal diary, Bernadette wrote:
“Jesus, I do not feel my cross when I look at yours!”
How I wish I could say the same thing! Still a long way to go…. Here, Bernadette gives us the best illustration of the word twice repeated by the Blessed Mother in this message above: “Fold your hands in prayer, and look at the cross!” For Bernadette, the cross borne in her childhood developed further at the convent of Nevers where she became Sr., Marie Bernard.
But she did not become a Saint because of the suffering she endured, even less so because she saw Our Lady. No, she became holy because she kept the gaze of her heart fixed upon Jesus, even in the midst of the storms, which made her suffering extraordinarily fruitful. She became holy because she was able to offer to God all the events of her life, and use them to develop the union of her soul with Christ, according to Mary’s school. This union was her immense treasure, her reason for living, her little Heaven hidden from the eyes of others.
Seen through the eyes of the world, her fate was in no way enviable, poor and sick as she was, but she would not have changed places with anyone. The Mother of God did not promise her happiness of this world, but rather of the other world. (The other world referred to here does not mean Heaven, rather it’s the Kingdom that is hidden and already present behind the veil of our earthly realities).
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May Bernadette help us live through the trials and anxieties of today, our eyes focused on the one Savior! It is beautiful that the message of Lourdes begins with the sign of the Cross. Following Mary’s example, Bernadette made the sign of the cross so solemnly that all who saw her do it were deeply touched.
She has the cure for us!
3. Mary’s exhortation to keep our eyes locked on the cross is not unrelated to the wave of distress caused by the coronavirus that has taken over China and surrounding areas in recent weeks. Our Blessed Mother always provides the cure before we develop the disease. Keeping our eyes glued to the cross is a source of healing, peace, and light. From His open heart, Jesus offers us salvation.
Recently, Our Lady told us: “Trials will come… If you are mine, you will win, for your refuge will be the Heart of my Son Jesus.” Our Mother did not hide from us the difficulties that are to come. Even nature is in rebellion against man. The story in Exodus of the Hebrews in the desert helps us to position ourselves correctly in respect to God.
The Hebrew people had turned away from the Living God who had saved them from slavery and shifted toward false gods, the idols of the time. But God loves His people so much that He did not want them to lose the treasure of true faith and become perverted. He allowed snakes to appear that had a fatal bite. That is when Moses intervened, placing a bronze snake on a mast, and all who looked at it were healed.
This image foreshadows the cross of Christ and the salvation offered to men by Jesus when he was nailed to the wood of the cross. “Those who look to Him are radiant” (Psalms 34:5). Let us remember this statement made by so many saints: When we contemplate the wounds of Christ, our own wounds are healed; but when we look at our own wounds, we sink…
“By his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Some countries have decided to eliminate Christ from their borders. They have banned the cross, Christian education is severely sanctioned, believers are persecuted, etc. But what can become of a nation without the Savior? “The world without Jesus has no future,” Mary tells us. Jesus, in His humility, does not force any doors that are closed to Him, He respects our freedom and pulls away. But then, who comes to fill this void? History shows us that man without God, left to himself and to his own strength, cannot go far.
He invents false salvation and seeks happiness in places where it gets lost. He goes so far as to lose simple human common sense by even trampling natural law. We are entitled to interpret this kind of event, the appearance of a virus, as a warning, not in fear, but for the purpose of awakening our conscience and to fall to our knees. Whether the virus spreads or not, it is essential to ask for the grace to know how to discern the signs of our time, and to pray unceasingly. Fewer commentaries and more prayer!
Beware! God does not send an epidemic or a tsunami. God is innocent of evil. We cannot by any measure make him responsible for evil. (See PS2, Sr. Lúcia of Fatima’s words). But if God is not invited to remain with His people if a man believes he can live without Him, then God withdraws, and with Him the protection He wanted to give to those people. Then, in His burning desire to save man, He allows the enemy to do as he wills. Then all kinds of troubles appear, and man ends up crying out to his Savior. God alone can turn evil into good, and turn a terrible ordeal into a blessing.
Today, the weight of suffering is indeed a heavy burden, but when our suffering is united with Christ, it becomes fruitful and redemptive. For this reason, Mary still gives us the key, namely her Son Himself! “In the cross alone is salvation.” Early Christians recognized this: “There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters, the ball is in our court. May today be the day when we begin, or start again, to turn to God and live His Word! The course that history takes and much of what will happen depends on us. We cannot imagine the power of even the simplest of prayers and the least of our little sacrifices offered to God. Heaven will always thank us for the slightest step we take to protect life, to help our brothers in distress and value our own life!
Source: Use of text approved from “Children of Medjugorje” website www.childrenofmedjugorje.com.