March 15, 2019: Lent in Medjugorje
Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who has been living in Medjugorje since Pope Francis appointed him as Apostolic Visitor to the shrine, espoused on the meaning of Lent during his homily in St. James Church today.
Stella Mar Films and Queen of Peace Productions was there to film, thanks to support from the Apostles of Love community, and local guide and translator Miki Musa provided the translation.
See this short video from his homily, and the text from his homily below.
NOTE: The full video of this homily is available for members of the Apostles of Love community.
Homily of Archbishop Henryk Hoser - March 15, 2019
Lent—this blessed and crucial time—is given to us as an opportunity. It is a time of renewal; a time of rejuvenation and conversion in the full sense of the words.
Christian life, among other things, presumes confession of sins and practicing the virtues—that is, the ability to do good. Among the virtues there are three that we call the theological virtues.
What does that mean? It means that their subject is God himself.
The first theological virtue is faith. We believe – as it stands in the Apostolic Creed – that God in three persons (Triune God) exists, that He is the Creator of the world and our Savior. We believe that He established the Church, the universal sacrament of Salvation.
We also believe that God tells the Truth and we trust in Him. We believe that He gave us the Mother – The Blessed Virgin Mary.
The second theological virtue is hope. It derives from the Faith and it means that the promises of God are realized and will be realized. Hope tells us that after this earthly life we will find an eternal abode (dwelling place) in God's presence, in the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.
These two virtues will disappear when we die. Faith will no longer be needed because we will see God the way He is. Hope will cease because the promised life becomes a reality.
The third theological virtue remains. That is love, and love is eternal because God is eternal and God is Love. In our daily life, true love always means both the presence or manifestation of God like rays of light.
Theological virtues reinforce each other like three sisters. In Croatian (as well as in Russian) there are three female names that come from them: Vera (Faith), Nada (Hope) and Ljubica (Love).
How, then, can we grow in this Lent in the theological virtues?
We got the answer at the very beginning of Lent: with the help of prayer, fasting and charity – the good deeds.
Today's liturgy gives us an answer to the question of how to pray.
What does it mean to pray? Out of many possibilities, let us take what St. Theresa of the Child Jesus tells us:
"For me, prayer is heartbreaking (or heartrending, or emotional), a simple look directed toward the heavens, a cry of gratitude and love, in trials as it is in joy."
She comprehended well what the Lord spoke about when He said: In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Mt 6, 7-8).
It may seem strange that the same one who recommends soberness to us in the words of prayer at the same time says that we should pray always without becoming weary.(Lk 18: 1).
In order to attain eternal beatitude, the One who is the true Blessed Life has taught us to pray without many words; we will not be heard because of many words, since we pray to the One who - as the Lord alone says – knows what you need before you ask him (Mt 6, 8).
The Holy Scripture is given to us not only as a school of prayer, but also as a collection of prayers that are well harmonized with the reality of the life of those who pray.
Today, we have heard the prayer of the young Queen Esther, who was in a hostile environment and risked her life to save her people. She said:
"Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand…
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, oh Lord…
O God, whose power is over all, hear the voice of those in despair.
Save us from the power of the wicked.” (Est 4)
And Esther was heard.
Loneliness, abandonment, and immediate or distant danger are the circumstances in which we live every day in today's world. Let us pray together with Esther, let us pray together with Mary.
The Old Testament is full of all kinds of prayers, including 150 psalms, which are a real treasure trove.
There are also the prayers that Jesus himself spoke. One of them we all know; that is the Our Father prayer. It is a true example of a Christian prayer.
There is also Mary's centicle - her Magnificat. She, who is the Queen of heaven and earth, sings forever a song of praise and joy.
And finally, let us pray with endless trust, because "everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened says the Lord. So let us pray patiently and persistently: how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him!" (Mt 7, 8.11)
Thanks to prayer we are never alone, never abandoned, and not sad all the time, but, on the contrary, full of faith, hope and love. Let it be so! Amen.
Timelapse from Cross Mountain in Medjugorje today by Jozo Ivankovic
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