Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel
Welcome to the 1st day of preparation for Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare our hearts as best we can so they can be completely filled with God’s love. Our preparation requires prayer, fasting from sin, and charitable works such as almsgiving.
Like our Parish did at the start of Advent, we will look at Our Lady of Garabandal’s message to help prepare us to receive Jesus with greater love and devotion.
In Oct 1961 Mother Mary gave four young girls a message for the world, saying, “[w]e must make many sacrifices, do much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.”
This message encourages us to pray and visit Jesus frequently, to fast as part of our penance, and to be good to each other i.e., to be charitable and giving. Unfortunately, nobody listened to her so in 1965 Our Lady gave a second message for the Church.
She said, “Before, the cup was filling up. Now, it is overflowing. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask for His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will forgive you ... I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray ... with sincerity... make more sacrifices. Meditate on the passion of Jesus.”
Wow, Mary here and in other places such as Fatima, Akita, La Salatte etc. is saying that bad stuff has happened because we didn’t listen to her message of converting our hearts for Jesus. And as any good Mother, she then asks of us to seek forgiveness and double-up our efforts to pray, fast, give-alms and convert our hearts – so that they may belong only and always to Jesus.
It is because the ‘bad stuff’ is continuing to happen (meaning we still are not listening to Our Lady) I want to tell you a story. ‘One evening, the Blessed Mother told the four girls that She wanted them to go up to where the pine trees were, just outside their village. Although accompanied by a great crowd, no one was able to follow them. It was as if a strong force pushed them back. Shortly after the girls got up to "The Pines" they started crying a very loud lamentation-type of cry. Cries that could be described from sad to somewhat like a type of "terror." It was something terrible. The people were so much impressed by those cries that the following day, the whole town went to Confession and Holy Communion.’ What happened that night is that the children were shown the "conditional" punishment that will come to us if we don’t convert.
So, if we are to receive Jesus with greater love and devotion this Easter we must take Mother Mary’s message very seriously indeed. This Lent I urge this community to heed Our Lady’s and make many sacrifices, do much penance, pray and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, lead good lives. Otherwise, turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.