“Dear children! May this time be an incentive for personal conversion for you. Pray, little children, in solitude to the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in faith and trust in God, that you may be worthy witnesses of the love which God bestows upon you through my presence. Little children, do not permit trials to harden your heart and for prayer to be like a desert. Be a reflection of God’s love and witness the Risen Jesus by your lives. I am with you and I love all of you with my motherly love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
“May this time be an incentive for personal conversion for you.”
The word convert can mean to “turn”. It can also mean to “change”. But I like the idea that to convert means to change direction or to make a turn causing you to go in a new direction.
“Personal conversion” then means that we come to a moment in which we change the direction of our personal life, we choose a new destination, we adjust our sights and we decide to aim at something better. We convert in our hearts, meaning that what we love has changed. We long for something new.
So you can see that “personal conversion” would have to do with deciding to change the aim of one’s life, while letting go of some things we have been aiming at, desiring, working towards, or following.
And of course we know that Our Lady wants us to adjust our sights so that we are clearly focused on Jesus, with the desire to be totally consecrated to Him, living for Him, loving Him, and desiring eternal life with Him. This entails letting go of worldly goals, temporal profit, and yes, sin. Anything that distances us from Jesus must be left behind. This is an opportunity to recalibrate our lives. We can evaluate our choices to be sure they are leading us to Christ. We have the time right now. We have the solitude. We have the longing in our hearts increased by the absence of the Sacraments that we so need. Now is the time!
This is a watershed moment, and we need to take stock of where we are with God, right now. We need to look at the course we have charted for our lives and decide if our goals and our desires are the best ones for our souls now. Where are we going, if we stay the course we have been on? And where should we be going?
“Pray, little children, in solitude to the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in faith and trust in God, that you may be worthy witnesses of the love which God bestows upon you through my presence.”
Prayer is always the first action Our Lady calls us to. Why? Because without prayer we are like ships in the night without a compass or the clarity of the stars to guide us. Prayer is the answer for everything. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
If we are to navigate the uncharted waters ahead of us with any kind of success then we must learn to let prayer be our first lifeline of hope. And prayer in solitude with the Holy Spirit!
What does Our Lady mean by in solitude?
While prayer and worship with others can be a tremendous source of comfort for us, the Scriptures make it clear that it’s in the silence we hear from the Lord and particularly the silence we encounter alone with Him in our inner room.
“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”Matthew 6:6
This is not to say that we cannot hear or receive direction from the Lord while in a group prayer or gathered together in worship, but the emphasis of our prayer life should begin first in our hearts and in solitude, alone, with the Holy Spirit who brings our petitions to Jesus and to the Father and who ultimately communicates to us directly the Divine Will of the Father.
If we look again at this pandemic and what has happened with stores and places of worship being closed in solidarity to prevent the spread of the virus, we might see this time not as a form of persecution but more as an opportunity to recalibrate our prayer life.
Shouldn’t we feel as strong and full of faith praying in the solitude of the desert, like Jesus did during his 40-Days in the Desert, as we are strong and filled with faith in the company of our church fellowships? The answer should be yes!
If anything, this pandemic should be a Wake Up Call to each of us to look again at our practices of piety compared to our life of routine. We need to adjust our expectations of devotion and discipleship and perhaps prepare ourselves for more seasons in the desert, so that if they come more frequently, we are not found lacking in faith and our prayer life does not become dry as a desert but rather a source of strength against the temptations of evil, which still loom over us seeking to devour souls even in the wilderness. We ought to Look Again at this pandemic as an incentive even to prepare our hearts for what’s to come.
“Little children, do not permit trials to harden your heart and for prayer to be like a desert.”
I think we see how easy that could happen just trying to scroll through our Facebook feed or entering a grocery store.
Our Lady is always reminding us to keep our hearts in a state of Grace and Mercy as Apostles of Love. How do we do this?
Our Lady has the answer for us, “Be a reflection of God’s love and witness the Risen Jesus by your lives.”
Let’s pray for the courage to be Jesus to people, especially ones who really despise him. 🙏🏼 Let’s also pray for the strength to live our lives in such a way that people see the Risen Jesus not just Christ Crucified. #ponderthat
What did the Risen Jesus do?
He comforts the afflicted. – Remember the Gardner and the Teacher who affirms Mary crying at the tomb? As soon as he is able, Jesus makes himself present to those he loves the most. He finds ways to reach them in their grief and anxiety and to console their hearts. How might we do the same for those suffering in these times?
He walks with the fearful. – Recall the disciples on the Road to Emmaus who were running away from persecutions in Jerusalem. He even took time to break bread and reveal the Scriptures to them. Are we able to patiently walk with others and hear their petitions, discern their concerns, and offer them a gentle understanding (without sarcasm or condemnation) that revives their hope in the Risen Christ?
He takes away doubt. – Thomas got to put his fingers in his wounds. Are we willing to let others do the same to our wounds to prove our love for them? Doubt usually grows from a root of mistrust. Most people don’t trust the Lord because they have a hard time trusting people, especially people who call themselves Christian and do not walk as a true witness. Do people trust that you love them and you have their best interests at heart? This is what our Lady means when she says, that you may be worthy witnesses of the love which God bestows upon you. Are we witnessing true trust in Jesus that removes all doubt?
He has breakfast on the beach. – This one is my favorite. Even Jesus loves a good meal and fish at that! For breakfast! Recall how he meets the disciples on the shores of Galilee and invites them to breakfast. Sometimes the Risen Jesus looks like a good meal and time spent together on the beach. The Joys of life are as important as the sufferings and should be experienced as they come.
The image of the Risen Jesus does not dismiss the Sufferings of Christ they actually enhance them. The Risen Christ reminds us that there is a reward for all our trials, just as there is a reward for our solitude in prayer. We get to experience true joy on the other side of what we endure. We can safely and lovingly come along side those who are suffering and remind them not only do we mourn with them but we will also rejoice with them when it’s all finished.
Our Lady’s reminder to witness the Risen Jesus to others is the truth of the Scripture, “Weeping May tarry for the night but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:1-5.
May Our Lady guide us in the unity she enjoys now and forever with her espousal to the Holy Spirit as we use this time as an incentive for conversion. Through His graces may she be our spiritual director and spiritual mother. May her mantle be over us, and her love surround us as we convert, choosing Christ as our all in all.
Until the Day Dawns…