We are coming to the end of a century which began with confidence in humanity's prospects of almost unlimited progress, but which is now ending in widespread fear and moral confusion. If we want a springtime of the human spirit, we must rediscover the foundations of hope (cf Address to the 50th General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, October 5, 1995, 16-18). Above all, society must learn to embrace one more the great gift of life, to cherish it, to protect it, and to defend it against the culture of death, itself an expression of the great fear that stalks our times. One of your most noble tasks as bishops is to stand firmly on the side of life, encouraging those who defend it and building with them a genuine culture of life.
2. The Second Vatican Council was quite aware of the forces shaping contemporary society when it spoke out clearly in defense of human life against the many threats facing it (cf Gaudium et Spes, 27). The Council also made a priceless contribution to the culture of life by its eloquent presentation of the full meaning of married love (cf ibid, 48-51). Following the lead of the Council and expounding its teaching, Pope Paul VI wrote the prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae, the thirtieth anniversary of which we are celebrating this year, in which he addressed the moral implications of the power to cooperate with the Creator in bringing new life into the world. The Creator has made man and woman to complement one another in love, and their union is no less than a sharing in the creative power of God himself. Conjugal love serves life not only insofar as it generates new life but also because, rightly understood as the total gift of spouses to one another, it shapes the loving and caring context in which new life is wholeheartedly welcomed as a gift of incomparable value.
Thirty years after Humanae Vitae, we see that mistaken ideas about the individual's moral autonomy continue to inflict wounds on the consciences of many people and on the life of society. Paul VI pointed out some of the consequences of separating the unitive aspect of conjugal love from its procreative dimension: a gradual weakening of moral discipline; a trivialization of human sexuality; the demeaning of women; marital infidelity, often leading to broken families; state-sponsored programs of population control based on imposed contraception and sterilization (cf Humanae Vitae, 17). The introduction of legalized abortion and euthanasia, ever increasing recourse to in vitro fertilization, and certain forms of genetic manipulation and embryo experimentation are also closely related in law and public policy, as well as in contemporary culture, to the idea of unlimited dominion over one's body and life.
The teaching of Humanae Vitae honors married love, promotes the dignity of women, and helps couples grow in understanding the truth of their particular path to holiness. It is also a response to contemporary culture's temptation to reduce life to a commodity. As bishops, together with your priests, deacons, seminarians, and other pastoral personnel, you must find the right language and imagery to present this teaching in a comprehensible and compelling way. Marriage-preparation programs should include an honest and complete presentation of the Church's teachings on responsible procreation, and should explain the natural methods of regulating fertility, the legitimacy of which is based on respect for the human meaning of sexual intimacy. Couples who have embraced the teaching of Pope Paul VI have discovered that it is truly a source of profound unity and joy, nourished by their increased mutual understanding and respect; they should be invited to share their experience with engaged couples taking part in marriage-preparation programs.
3. Reflection on a very different anniversary serves to heighten the sense of the urgency of the pro-life task. In the 25 years which have passed since the judicial decision legalizing abortion in your country there has been a widespread mobilization of consciences in support of life. The pro-life movement is one of the most positive aspects of American public life, and the support given it by the bishops is a tribute to your pastoral leadership. Despite the generous efforts of so many, however, the idea that elective abortion is a "right" continues to be asserted. Moreover, there are signs of an almost unimaginable insensitivity to the reality of what actually happens during an abortion, as evidenced in recent events surrounding so-called "partial-birth" abortion. This is a cause for deep concern. A society with a diminished sense of the value of human life at its earliest stages has already opened the door to a culture of death. As pastors, you must make every effort to ensure that there is no dulling of consciences regarding the seriousness of the crime of abortion, a crime which cannot be morally justified by any circumstance, purpose, or law (cf Evangelium Vitae, 62).
Those who would defend life must make alternatives to abortion increasingly visible and available. Your recent pastoral statement, Lights and Shadows, draws attention to the need to support women in crisis pregnancies and to provide counseling services for those who have had an abortion and must cope with its psychological and spiritual effects. Likewise, the unconditional defense of life must always include the message that true healing is possible, through reconciliation with the Body of Christ. In the spirit of the coming Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, American Catholics should be more than ever willing to open their hearts and their homes to "unwanted" and abandoned children, to young people in difficulty, to the handicapped, and to those who have no one to care for them.
Next week: part two.
This, then, is to be our life if we are to be followers of Jesus. This hopefully we are. It means, then, that if we live in THOUGHT, we have a journey to make, from thought to SURRENDER, to a life of obedience to the Will of the Father. We, as Christians, are to unite ourselves to the SURRENDERED state of Jesus, spending our time and energies to leave a life of THOUGHT and gradually take on a life of SURRENDER so that in time and with the help of grace, we can become true followers of Jesus when we follow through on His command that we are to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind and our whole strength. What is love other than the gift of one'' self to the beloved. What am I being asked to do, but to give of my self in total SURRENDER to Jesus, Who in turn, will bring me in that state to the Father.
We are composed of body and soul. It means that there will be no surrender of body until and unless there is first the surrender of the spirit. We have been put on this earth to "know, love and SERVE God, and so to be happy with Him forever in heaven." Serving is of the heart, but knowing WHO to serve, is of the mind. Likewise, we cannot expect to serve God until we are able to love Him; we are not able to love Him until we know Him. The mind, therefore is to be a servant of the will, it is to present to the will, the One Who it is to love and serve.
Total surrender to the Will of God is that which each one of us is to work towards. It does not come right away; it has to be worked on. It comes by way of a process. Nonetheless, in time, to those of good will, a life of total and loving surrender to the Will of God is possible and should become desirable. Impossible, no; difficult, yes. It is the ultimate challenge of life, to bring the mind under the discipline of the will and to bring the will under the Will of the Father. The more often we elicit individual acts of obedience to God, the quicker will we be able to live by the "food" that Jesus lived by.
The fact that the world is kept in thought, stimulated to keep the mind active all the time, making it so that we keep ourselves in thought and not allow ourselves to plunge into will, thus into obedience, is something that we can blame Satan for. It is he who stands to gain most if we keep ourselves in thought and shy away from surrender. Anytime, therefore, we can make an act of obedience to God, as small an act as it may be, we thwart the ploys of Satan, and put ourselves into the court of Jesus, of Our Lady, and ultimately be of help to them both to put Satan under the heel of Jesus, under the heel of Mary.
On this the eve of my feast when by God's power I was assumed into Heaven, I desire to invite all of my children to conversion of heart. I long for each of my children to become living prayers, and to understand that it is only in this way that you will be given the grace of the Holy Spirit to understand, to believe my words.
My dear little children, please listen for I do not desire one of you to perish in the abyss. I am the Mother of God, Queen of Peace. I am the Ark, the New Eve and I am here to guide you. Do you not yet understand that you have already begun to live out the final years, the second sorrowful half of the end times?
Pray! Pray ardently that the Holy Spirit shall come in a swift supernatural moment to bring unity among all my children. How I long to see all my children rejoicing in this holy unity. But it cannot come to you if you are not prepared. My little ones, these next years shall indeed see the fulfillment of all my words. You shall suffer much, but you do not need to fear for I am with you and I bring each of you closer to my Divine Son.
Go to Mass! Receive my Divine Son in the Sacrament of Communion, well-prepared by the Sacrament of Penance. Pray. Offer many prayers for the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, who is truly my beloved son. He is in much danger from evil forces who seek to silence him, because he speaks the Truth. Do not be deceived. The times are grave, the demons of hell are everywhere entrenched. I want you to be my little army. I prepare you with the rosary, which leads you deeper into my Son's Heart.
Oh! Ask the Heavenly Father to permit my Immaculate Heart to Triumph. Pray. Be my little victims, for so many souls are saved by your loving sacrifice.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
My children, as Sacred Scripture tells you, the times yet to come shall be even more deadly for the life of the body as well as the soul. Do you not see the chastising hand of God all around you? Would you be so blind as to believe you shall not have to suffer also, for your country is proud and filled with countless gods which have killed the very life of the One God within you?
Please, my children, take up your rosaries and commit yourselves to a life of ardent prayer from the heart. I ask each family to set aside one-half hour a day when all members shall be joined together. At this time I am asking you to pray. I would love you to say my rosary, for then you shall quickly have your hearts converted. I am pleading with you to bring my Divine Son fully into your homes, that He may reign as King of your dwelling place. I would ask you to come together in groups to pray, read Scripture, share witness. I ask for every parish to have a prayer group and for all shepherds to guard and guide these prayer groups to my Immaculate Heart. I ask this so that all of my children might truly realize my presence among them, and by my presence know how much God loves them. For I have come to be a true mother to all of my little ones. Therefore, I solemnly tell you that in these, the sorrowful years of the end times, I shall make myself known to many. Yes, many shall see me. Many shall hear me, and my words shall call you back to faith, back to God.
Pray and make sacrifice. In the measure of your faithful response lies the moment of my Immaculate Heart's Triumph.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Jesus, I trust in You.