In the first part of this segment on the Theological Virtue of HOPE, we assimilated Hope with the anchor - the Cross. Today we continue with this imagery, carrying it further with Hope represented by the mast of a ship - a vertical ladder, if you will, reaching toward Heaven.
Several years ago in a message to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart, the Mother of God gave an interior vision by which all might better understand how vital it is to have Hope. In this interior vision, the world was represented as an endless expanse of water upon which floated innumberable rafts composed of three planks only. These three planks represented the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As the vision expanded, it became very clear that upon this clear, glassy-surfaced water most of the rafts were not moving, but rather stagnating in one place, because their mast had been removed and there was therefore, no sail. Only a few, very few, of these rafts, maintained the mast with its sail and these few were headed toward the distant shore.
Beneath the glassy surface of this endless body of water, the interior vision allowed the Hidden Flower to see the great serpent, the evil one himself, the dragon, who lay just beneath the surface. As the individuals, who resided upon these rafts, cast their nets into the water they brought up endless amounts of earthly treasures, spewed forth by the dragon; not only wealth of every conceivable kind, but also every conceivable amount of human pleasure. Every amount of pleasure. Every form of entertainment was represented, spewing forth copiously from the mounth of the great serpent, and the people on the rafts could not get enough. Sex, lust, idleness, laziness, creature-comforts all were there, and these people on their mast-less rafts were not about to move, because they had found their comfort zone, and the mast, which once had stood tall and straight were cast overboard and were now caught inextricably in the serpentís enormous body, so ensnared that, even if these people had desired to move forward, they could not. They were caught, and they were blinded by the mirror-like clear surface of the water and did not see that which lay beneath it.
Then those few, very few rafts, which maintained their masts became more visible, and it was revealed that the mast was truly in the form of the Cross. Upon the outstretched arms of our Divine Savior, there were sails, which represented Faith, and the breeze which constantly moved the sails and directed the boat were filled with Prayer - prayer from the heart. The vertical beam of the Mast was HOPE, upon which Love surrendered itself. It was given to the Hidden Flower to understand from the Holy Spirit that Supernatural Hope is like a ladder which reached from Heaven to Earth, upon which one might climb easily into the Eternal Realm of our true home. For this ladder of Hope to be effective, it must be grasped by our strong faith, and our Love propels us upward. The greater our Hope, the more swiftly does our Love take wings, and the ascent of the Ladder becomes a true flight into the Embrace of Almighty God, Who so loves us as to give us His continual Mercy upon those who truly seek Him and call upon Him.
In so many of our Ladyís messages, she continually holds out Hope to us, as a true grace and gift. She begs us to accept it, to hold fast to it, and to use it by the total surrender of our wills, allowing our HOPE to accept in place of our will the Divine Will of the Triune Divinity.
Mary is the diamond in the crown of God's creation, the creature unstained
by sin, who chose to remain sinless in a sin-filled world, whose purity was
so great that she received the privilege of bearing in her Immaculate womb
the Christ Child, the savior of the World. She has repeatedly said in her
messages to the Hidden Flower: "Why are you afraid? Am I not your mother
who has come to tell you God exists? Do not be afraid, for when you hope
in God with all your heart, you have nothing to fear."
Hope does not exclude one of us from our continual work of offering our
very lives for the fullness of redemption to take place, and to bring about
the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart and the Reign of the Sacred
Heart-the Age of the Divine Will.
No, we cannot grasp these eternal concepts. But we hope in them, and go
forward valiantly, our lives shining examples of the joy, which comes from
loving and serving Jesus, even unto death. For Our Lady has said that not
one nation, not one person on the face of the earth will escape the
persecution of these end times. But over and over she pleads and asks:
"Why do you fear? Of what are you afraid?" Fear is of satan. Hope
destroys fear, and allows God to fill us with His Will, and with His Peace,
and even in the face of the worst persecution we continue to hold fast to
our mast, and our prayers, sacrifices, penances and life-offering which
move our raft home-to God.
As we approach the season of Lent less than a month away, it is important
to realize this is a blessed, holy time for each one of us to re-examine where we
stand in our relationship with God, and with the world. Have we truly detached ourselves
from the world? Or are we still clinging to it in any small way? Have we the courage - hope -
to let go of everything; even to surrendering our cherished ones and placing them with hope into
the hands of Our Immaculate Mother? Or do we cling to mere human love,
which is tarnished and far from the imitation of the Holy Family, which we
should have? Do we cling to our possessions, having for ourselves
excesses, be it in clothing, food, shelter, or entertainment? Do we truly
understand why the Blessed Mother asks us to turn off the TV, radio, and
stereos? Do we truly comprehend why she, the Mother of God, wants us to
put aside the newspapers, magazines and all the proliferation of secular
printed material which comes across our path daily? All of these things
are not of God, because satan, the Prince of Darkness rules them. And
every time we succumb through our human weakness and allow ourselves to be
lulled by the need for relaxation and entertainment, we are at great risk
in tearing down that Holy Mast, which is the Cross, and losing our hope of
reaching the heavenly shore.
It is time for us to give something more of ourselves to
Almighty God as proof to Him of our sincere commitment, and to offer to Him
our true "Fast". For over the past 18 years and counting at Medjugorje,
the Mother of God has asked each of us to fast on bread and water,
particularly on Wednesdays and Fridays. For those who have been given the
grace to do this, Praise God. For those who are struggling to do this and
for those who haven't achieved this at all, keep praying and asking for the
grace to do it. But for each one of us, now we have the golden opportunity
to put HOPE into practice and give up that which still keeps us from
knowing and loving God. We can examine every aspect of our lives and
decide where spiritual remedy is needed. Do we eat too much? Then let us
begin to eat less! Do we entertain ourselves idly watching television?
We often do even when we realize in our conscious mind that what we're watching is offensive to
God. Yet, too often, we just leave the program on, and think we're safe from satan's
snares, not consciously taking note how offensive the programs are. We all need to
get down on our knees and realize that every time that TV, radio or stereo
goes on, we're inviting in the evil one, and how insidiously he works to
make us become so blaze to the messages of these programs, that sooner or
later, we have lost faith, hope and love, and are anchored in satan's trap.
This is the time for us to believe and to HOPE in the Cross of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, and to accept the Cross as the only way of salvation. This coming Lent
should and can be for each one of us, a real conversion of heart whereby we
realize and accept with supernatural joy the road of Calvary, and recognize
that the world has nearly reached the summit of Calvary, and the Passion we
must go through is upon us already, and will culminate in the fulfillment
Lent is the time to grow in strength. If our faith is as strong as an
anchor, then our Hope is the metal of which the anchor is made, and our
love of Jesus nails us to the Cross with Him, begging of the Father to
bring His Justice swiftly by allowing His Mother's Immaculate Heart to
Triumph now, thus mitigating the time of Justice, and saving countless souls.
Hope, therefore, in the Cross, and embrace it willingly. Hope in God and
be unafraid! Hope and fear nothing that the world can throw at us or say
against us, for God alone hears and sees the cries of our hearts, and He
sustains the Hope and grants to us all that we need to keep our raft moving
forward, for Heaven is in sight!
It is our fervent prayer that this upcoming season of Lent will be a holy,
blessed time for each one of us, and if
our anchor of faith is not yet firm, then let's practice the art of the blacksmith who
works unceasingly through the fire of love to mold that anchor in Hope that
"sees" with the eyes of the soul the Heavenly Homeland, where God awaits us
with outstretched arms.
As Our Lady has said over and over, "Pray! Pray! Pray!" Part of that prayer is
putting the wind to our sails of faith, and resolving to make this upcoming Lent one of
growth in Hope, which cannot be shaken or destroyed by the poisonous breath of the
dragon which has coiled itself around the entire globe, squeezing morality, goodness
and decency out of its inhabitants. The great mast of Hope will help break the evil
one's hold and herald a new era of Peace - the Reign of the Sacred Heart in the
Next Installment: The Theological Virtue of Love