WAYNE'S JANUARY COLUMN
2017: A NEW START TO TRUE PEACE
By Wayne Weible
It’s always a wonderful feeling when we are able to start anew. Whether it’s work or pleasure or daily life, we are rejuvenated with new beginnings. The start of a new year gives us opportunity to improve on present situations and take on new projects. In short, it is a time to commit to new resolutions.
The optimal new start in 2017 for those with strong faith is finding ways to increase that faith. Taking it a step further, those of us who are stalwart followers of the messages of Medjugorje can pledge anew to listen to the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary with ears of our soul and then actively put them to work.
Mary is quick to remind us to listen carefully and to make every effort to fulfill our mission in life according to the desire of her Son, Jesus. Lately, she has mentioned deep concern that we may not be listening and reacting as Jesus requests. An example is contained in the annual message to visionary Jakov given on Christmas day 2016, with this line: “Children I came here as the Queen of Peace and how many times have I called you to pray for peace. But, children, your hearts are restless. Sin is preventing you from opening yourselves completely to grace and peace, which God desires to give you. To live peace, my children, is to first have peace in your hearts and to be surrendered completely to God and to His Will.”
We follow this with words of the December 25th monthly message given to visionary Marija: “Heaven is with you and is fighting for peace in your hearts, in the families and in the world; and you, little children, help with your prayers for it to be so.”
One cannot help but notice the Blessed Virgin’s solution to achieving our basic resolution to increase our faith. It is accepting and living peace.
Over the 35 years and six months of apparitions at Medjugorje, we have been given this solution to our problems over and over again. So, let me state it again in its simplest form: To achieve God’s peace we are to pray, fast and do acts of penance. We are to listen to the “Queen of Peace” as Mary is titled at Medjugorje, as she brings us her messages straight from the throne of God.
We start with prayer. Understand that prayer is conversation with God the Father, His only begotten Son, Jesus; and, with the Holy Spirit. Strip prayer of its stiff, human-created formality and it becomes a personal conversation, an intimate conversation with your Creator. We pray to Mary as our intercessor; we ask each other to be intercessors. We use every possible way to pray in order to accomplish our resolution. And the most powerful, second only to the Holy Mass, is the praying of the Rosary.
There is also the 15 Prayers of St. Bridget of Sweden, found within this issue of the newsletter. The prayers themselves are a very tender meditation on Christ's passion and death. They serve a twofold purpose, a catechetical one and a penitential one. In narrating the sequence of events of Christ's passion and death, they serve as a short summary of the events as outlined in the Gospels. There are also many graces given for those who vow to pray them every day for one year.
Add to prayer the gift of fasting. Mary tells us constantly, that through prayer and fasting, we can stop wars and alter the laws of nature.
Fasting is giving God a gift, a sacrifice, just as Jesus gave us the gift of His sacrifice on the cross. Fasting, especially on just bread and water, is difficult. But accomplishing that difficulty separates you and accelerates your achievement of peace. Mary asks at Medjugorje that we fast twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday. Again, accomplishment of this grace brings you to peace at a faster pace.
Penance is, like fasting, a gift. It is a gift of time to assist others on all levels. It is voluntarily going out of the way to help someone by giving them food, shelter, time and most importantly, sincere care. Penance gives us the opportunity to live our faith without expecting a return. As Scripture states, works without faith is dead; faith without works is dead. That’s paraphrasing the exact chapter and verse but you get the idea.
So, when it comes to making resolutions for this new year of 2017, focus on peace. Real peace, not the annual artificial peace called for at Christmas. It is short-lived. The world pauses briefly in the killing of each other through war. Shortly thereafter, it resumes.
True peace can only be found through faith and the impending acts of faith. We do this and there will be no more war, no more war on the unborn where a mother is constitutionally allowed to murder her baby in the womb. This, of course, is the worst war.
You’ve heard all of this before from me. But, like Our Lady, it bears repeating as often as possible in order to save as many souls as possible. That is my personal desire. My daily prayer is: May the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Medjugorje continue until every possible soul has had a chance to say yes to God.
The peace, grace and love of Jesus be with all of us throughout the coming year.