March 11, 2014 A.D.
After almost six years, Our Lady had guided the parish of Medjugorje to praying three Rosaries a day, to frequent Holy Communion and Confession, which equaled at least three hours daily in prayer. Yet after all of these pious practices, Our Lady said something very unusual. She said in Her first monthly message to the parish and to the world on January 25, 1987:
What had they been doing for the past six years? They had seemingly changed very much in their lives. They had changed many of their habits and their prayer lives. Still Our lady was desiring the village, first of all, and then the world to start living a new life as of today.
There lies a very important statement in the profoundness of these events, an important lesson in the spiritual life. If this lesson is not taken to heart, it will mean that our conversion will come to a standstill or even worse, a decline which heads towards ruin if not reversed.
This lesson unmasks a great error that unfortunately circulates widely among “religious” people of today. There is a trap that we can all fall into, a trap of feeling that by changing prayer lives alone, without also adding our free will decision, that we are truly converting. Yes, prayer and the Sacraments are the source to which we are to go for the strength to change. But, as Our Lady said:
God gives us the graces to change many times, yet we can reject this grace through our own free will decision. We can grow complacent and think that by doing our routine of prayers and going to the Sacraments by habit that we are truly changing. But, we must constantly question ourselves to see if we really are converting. On November 7, 1983, Our Lady said:
Are the sacraments, our devotions, our prayers bringing us to the desired effect God wishes in us? This effect being a real love for our neighbor and our enemies, for a true seeking and following of God’s will, not our own, in our lives. And lastly, a sincere effort to live God’s commandments and all that He reveals to us as truth, for Our Lady states on February 25, 1996:
If we aren’t seeing these changes, if we go to Mass and walk out the doors to gossip with friends, can we say that we are changing? For as Ivan says, “the most important thing in a prayer group is not prayer but love.” Our Lady calls us to read the lives of the saints, to follow their example:
October 25, 1994
In the Call to Conversion,
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