DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 26-28, 1998     vol. 9, no. 124

GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns. In this issue, in commemoration of the 17th Anniversary of the Medjugorje Apparition this past Thursday, she brings us the essence of the messages in her column MEDJUGORJE: EVIDENCE OF GOD'S LOVE.

         Her column, along with columns by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. and Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv., provide effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.


Medjugorje: Evidence of God's Love.

          It's been 17 years....17 years of a Mother...Our Heavenly Mother...appearing daily in our world...in Medjugorje...for our sakes...with love...inviting us again and again to conversion, to prayer, to living in faith, to peace and to fasting. It's been 17 years of DAILY visits. 17 X 365 days in a year = 6,205. And actually, it's been more than that number of visits from her, because she has often come more than once a day. It is unprecedented in the course of Church History that God, utilizing Our Lady, has intervened in human existence in such manner. We can make at least three conclusions with utmost certainty. First, that this is indeed a tremendous and powerful sign of God's unfathomable love and care for us. Secondly, it reinforces our Faith that God is keenly aware of what is happening to each one of us. And thirdly, we can conclude that such visitations are very serious and must be taken with great seriousness for we do not know the future, but God certainly does. If God is sending Our Lady for such duration, it is not for fun and games. If God is THIS serious, we are not being smart to think we do not have to take these visitations VERY seriously ourselves.

          At Fatima, Our Lady said that it was getting increasingly more difficult for her to hold back her Son's Hand from punishing humanity for all of its sins. If that were true in 1917 at the time of her apparitions in Fatima, it must be all the more true as we close in on the year 2000. Indeed from personal experience, through the course of my life, I have witnessed the demoralization of our youth, of television, of Hollywood, of the sacredness of the married state, of respect for life in all of its stages, etc. It seems that human beings have lost their sense of good conscience. If that were not so, we would not have a jury acquitting Dr. Kevorkian and States desiring to make laws that permit aid to helping the elderly or those who are suffering to end their lives. We now have physician-assisted suicide legal in Oregon and soon more states. Government is making it easier and conscience-free in obtaining an abortion, and all around the world accepting homosexuality as normal is the norm. What a crazy mixed-up world in which we are living.!!! Where are the Divine Laws whereby people should be pattering their lives? God's Laws are still here, but man'sfaith in them is lost. Too many people want an excuse to commit sin...want an excuse to do whatever they want even if it is evil.

          Oh, I certainly do not mean to imply that every human being on the face of the earth has gone bad. Scripture says: "Where sin abounded, grace did more abound." If we do not hold that, we would be denying the Word of God Himself. Indeed, there are more prayer groups than ever before, more people requesting adoration of Our Lord in the Eucharist and spending time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. As I travel extensively, I meet so many people who are trying to come closer to God. But even these good people (and I hope that I can include myself among them) can and should be doing much more. More than once, Our dear Lady of Medjugorje has said that we are not praying enough; we are not living her messages. She has said that she wishes to help us but cannot, if we don't want it. Oh, brother! Coming from Our Heavenly Mother this reprimand is to be taken so very seriously. It is NOT a joke. God help us! God, please give to all of your children the will to improve. God, please!

          But I do not want this article to focus only on the negative. We DO have to face the reality of what is evil in us and around us. But the most frequently used tool of the evil one is discouragement. No matter how poorly we have cooperated with Our Lady's requests, above all, we must not become discouraged. One of my most favorite sayings, which I learned as a very young Sister is: "There is less shame in falling, than in failing to rise." The only moment that really matters is the present moment. As Our Lady said: "Surrender your entire past to God." SURRENDER! That means don't hold on to the past. It won't save us! It's not a life jacket! God is found in the present moment. Each moment we can begin anew. We can give God our weaknesses...our failings...our lack of strong will.

          While there is life...there is hope! Begin anew and anew and anew. Let's make frequent acts of hope. "O my God, relying on YOUR Infinite Goodness and Promises, I hope to obtain the pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace, and life everlasting, THROUGH THE MERITS OF JESUS CHRIST, my Lord and my Redeemer. Amen. Thank you, dear Mother, for coming to us and for us. He that is Mighty has done great things for you...and us. Amen."

          God bless!


June 26-28, 1998       volume 9, no. 124
GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

DAILY CATHOLIC

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