A New Year has begun. All feels brand new but as we have experienced time and again, the new year not only presents new blessings but new challenges as well. I have already concluded that my daily existence is only made possible by the grace of God. All my joys come from God and all my sufferings are overcome by my faith in God, His compassion, and our Blessed Mother’s intercession.
Many of us aspire for a happier new year and what better way to ensure this by walking with the Blessed Mother each day. She embodies all the characteristics of an individual whose definition of happiness is being in the constant light and love of Jesus Christ.
“Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.” -St. Augustine of Hippo
Choosing to walk with the Blessed Mother might be considered taking the road less traveled. It is anything but easy. As soon as our Blessed Mother said yes to God’s call, her life was never the same. From her conception to her Son Jesus’ crucifixion, the Blessed Mother’s fiat was tested. In spite of it all, her resolve remained strong and her faith steadfast. As our Blessed Mother has proven, choosing God above all things is possible. She undoubtedly is a sure guide to lead us to Him.
In message 260 given from the the Blue Book, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Our Blessed Mother calls us to a “Path of Penance”. She invites us to walk with her and to begin our journey to follow the Will of God. Let’s read her message:
March 5, 1983
First Saturday of the Month and of Lent
The Path of Penance
a “Beloved sons, follow me along the path of penance.
b The weapons with which you are to fight my battle are those of prayer and penance. Today I want to show you the path of penance which is to be traversed by each of you.
c The first stage is that of renunciation and self-denial.
d It is necessary to renounce oneself, as well as all disordered attachments, passions, immoderate desires, ambitions. Even in your apostolic labors, you are never to seek success and human approval. Rather have a love for being hidden, for an apostate carried out in silence, in humility, and the daily and faithful fulfillment of our duties.
e In this way you will mortify egoism which constitutes your greatest peril, the easiest and most customary of the snares by which my Adversary attempts to impede your journey.
f Then you will become free interiorly: it will be easy for you to discern in the light the Will of God, and you will find yourselves more suitably disposed to carry it to perfection.
g The second stage is that of carrying one’s cross properly.
h This cross is made up of the difficulties one encounters when one desires to fulfill solely the Will of God, because this involves the task of daily fidelity to the duties of one’s state in life. It is a fidelity in which even the very smallest tasks are performed with perfection. Everything is done in the fulfillness of love; every moment if the day is lived in fulfilling the divine Will.
i How precious, above all for you, my beloved sons, is this second stage of suffering!
j In this you are shaped into the likeness of Jesus Crucified.
k This interior crucifixion will take place each day and in every moment of your priestly day: in moments of prayer, which is so greatly necessary and which must be the center of your life; in the most precious moment of the celebration of the Holy Mass, when with Jesus you too are interiorly immolated for the life of the world; in your fidelity to the priestly duties proper to the ministry of each one; in evangelization, in catechizing, in teaching, in the apostolate of charity; with each person you meet, especially the very poor, the lonely and forsaken, those who feel themselves despised and rejected by all.
l In your priestly apostolate never seek to please yourselves or to procure some personal advantage; give yourselves always with all the inexhaustible force of love, and do not let ingratitude stop you or misunderstandings stand in your way; indifference should not make you hesitate, nor should lack if cooperation cause you to become weary. It is above all in your priestly suffering that souls can be begotten by you to the life of grace and to salvation.
m The third stage is that of following my Son Jesus toward Calvary.
n During his life, how often I found Him turning his glance with desire toward Jerusalem, where He would one day go to be betrayed, arrested, judged by his own, condemned, scourged, crowned with thorns and crucified. How greatly Jesus longed for this moment. He was always journeying toward the consummation of the Pasch of love and immolation of you.
o Therefore, you, my beloved, who are priests, you too are called to follow him each day toward the consummation of your paschal immolation for the salvation of all.
p Never lose courage. Today the voices of condemnation are for you the shouts of those who reject and challenge you. Sins, committed but then justified and no longer atoned for, are for you the painful strokes of the scourge. The errors, which threaten to estrange great numbers of souls from the faith, are for you the crown of thorns. Today, to remain faithful to your calling is to follow the stern path that leads of Calvary.
q The Obstacles found today in staying united and obedient in all things to the Pope, and to the hierarchy united with him, the lack of understanding on the part even of your brothers, the sense of being pushed aside with which you are often overwhelmed are for you the painful falls.
r But, the entrusting of yourselves to my Immaculate Heart by means of your consecration, is today for you the meeting of your Mother, so full of sorrows.
s Together, from now on , let us go forward in perfect imitation of Jesus, who invites us to follow Him in the way of the Cross.
t Some of you will even have to shed your own blood in the decisive moments of this bloody purification.
u Beloved sons, you see now described for you the road you must travel to reach a genuine experience of conversion.
v It is the simple and evangelical road, pointed out to you by my Son Jesus when He told you:”He who wishes to come after Me, let him renounce himself, take up his cross each day, and follow Me.” (Cf.Mt 16:24)
w Along this path, evangelical and sacerdotal, your heavenly Mother wishes to lead you.”
We thank the Blessed Mother for her inspiration and ask her to take our hand and walk with us through another year with anticipation of attaining true happiness that only comes from Jesus, her Son.
Happy New Year!