Reflection on Our Lady's Message
By Fr. Jozo Zovko, O.F.M.
“Dear children! In this springtime, when everything is awakening from the winter sleep, you, too, should awaken your souls with prayer so that they may be ready to receive the light of the risen Jesus. Little children, may He draw you closer to His Heart so that you may become open to eternal life. I pray for you and intercede before the Most High for your sincere conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Dear brothers and sisters!
Dear members of our big prayer family! We are well into Lent. This Lenten program is also the wish of the Church that is trying to interpret Christ’s call and will for conversion and a radical change of life. One should die to oneself, one should get out of the old self. It is a dying that is directing us daily to the Risen Lord that we may walk in the light and hope to recognize Him alive, as the apostles did, in his Word and the sacraments through our humble prayer.
The Queen of Peace takes a picture from the nature without fear: the picture of spring. Winter deprived the nature of the appearance of life. Winter allows no vegetation. At the first sight everything is black and dead. All deciduous trees are without signs of life. On the outside no difference between a dead and a living tree can be observed. They are all alike, the same. But it is not so. Living trees are alive in winter conditions as well. This life is hidden to the eye, but it is real.
Springtime reveals this best. After winter months the sun appears and remains longer and longer in our sky with each day. Its warm rays awaken the dormant life in every tree, in every seed. This heliotropism hides in every even the least living grain and its delicate embryo, wakening it and directing it to grow towards the sun. In the heart of each of us hides a longing after God. In our soul there is an irresistible yearning after the Living God. As the nature awakes from the winter sleep, so the Queen of Peace wants us to awaken to a new life. The Resurrected Jesus, our Lord and God, is our sun that we are searching and irresistibly pining for. And we are all looking for him and we all need him. How is it possible to give up the dream?! Is it possible not to wake up and remain in sleep for Easter?! Yes, it can easily happen. This happens to those who in these times are busy hectically watching the Church and censuring it for lack of feeling and loyalty for others. They do not hear what is being preached to them and what they are called to. They dwell on weaknesses or disorganization of the faithful which prevent them from giving more help, especially to the infirm and the poor. And indeed, Our Lady has no words of praise for us. She allows unbelievers to teach us a lesson, reminding us in this way that we are not perfect, that we have not by far responded to her call. A Christian who has ruined his family and his sacramental marriage by his haughtiness, is always on the lookout for somebody else’s weakness to show the Church and other Christians that they are no better than him. How to wake up and turn to oneself? This is not possible without true conversion. And again, conversion cannot occur without persistent and humble prayer. That we may wake up in this holy Eastertide, let us watch the pictures of spring. Every bud is an untold life story. Every shoot, every flower is a miraculous sign before our eyes.
Man often tries to make flowers, leaves, fruit and the like by imitating nature. From afar you think it is alive. But when you look closer or touch it with your finger, you see it is an imitation. It is no original. Only God creates and gives life. Only he renews it. So we are responsible for our life. We have been called to bear fruit. We cannot do it without God. It is a grace of God to be a fruitful Christian. It is no imitation of holiness, love, goodness, but a gift of God given to each of us.
Learn from flowers. Learn from the least living creatures and they will teach you. Everything is a miracle and everything speaks of Him – their Creator.
With the brotherly greeting
Yours Fra Jozo