We have come once again to August, the principal month of the summer vacations. Many dream of relaxation and fun of the so-called August holidays. They think about meeting with friends, beautiful walks in the country, in the mountains, visits to the sea or lakes, as also to the pleasant vigorous meal that never ends.
You, instead, that listen to these words of mine, you are steadfast in prayer, and meditate on the mysteries of God. You have chosen the best part, as one day did Mary, Lazarus’ sister, who, instead of worrying herself about the matters of the house, preferred to sit at the feet of Jesus, to contemplate him and to listen to his word. She had not remained with Jesus because she didn’t like to work, but because she had understood that, at that time, his words were much more important and precious, and that, she would not perhaps have been given another occasion to be so near to Him, and to hear his voice.
The figure of Mary doesn’t diminish that of Martha, even though Jesus made her a lovable reproach, saying her: “But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk 10:41-42).
Even if our habits dissuade us, many times, from the reflection on the divine realities, the plea of Jesus in the Gospel is real, when he says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30). And elsewhere: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him” (Jn 14, 23). Jesus loves us immensely, and he continually thinks about us, to each of us particularly, as if we were alone on the earth. Such an invitation however, is not only for consecrated souls, Priests and Nuns, but also to all the laymen, because we are all called to holiness according to the motto of the Bible: “You are holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).
Let’s reflect on this truth, and let us ask oursleves: “Am I holy? Am I as good as God wants me to be?.” Someone could say: “how can we be holy in such a bad and perverse world? It’s impossible!.” No! It is not impossible, because we all can receive God’s Grace through the frequency to the Sacraments. All it takes is approaching God with humility of heart and he will do the rest. He always thinks about us; we instead, during the day, think very little about Him. We often forget even to offer him a word of affection in twenty-four hours; and this is the situation of the greatest part of Christians. They pay attention to all the things of the world, but they never have a thought turned to God. Many then don’t believe in Him anymore, and even despise and curse him. Then we understand how true the complaint that went out from the Heart of Jesus during a dialogue with Saint Marguerite Maria Alacoque, when he said: “Here is that Heart that has loved much men, and from which doesn’t receive but ingratitude and contempt.” In the past, in the Old Testament the Lord was complained with the people of Israel when he said through the Prophet Isaiah: “this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” (Isaiah 29,13). In the Psalm 68 it is written: “I have attended compassion, but in vain; consolatory, but I have not found it” (Psalm 68:21-22).
From the words of the Bible we understand how much that invitation is grieved: “Come to Me all of you!” (Mt 11, 28). Jesus wants all of us to go to Him. Nobody is excluded by his merciful and impassioned love. Unfortunately, so many times, we refuse Him our heart because of our coldness and indifference. He burns of love for us, above all for our eternal salvation. We see it from how much he has suffered in his Passion and Death. Let’s try to reflect on how much he has done to save us: the greatest humiliations he submitted to, the tortures, the slaps, being spit upon, the scourging, crowned with thorns, blows to his body, all the insults. In Psalm 21 it is written, in respect to Jesus: “I am worm and not man, infamy of men, my people refusal. They mock me those that see me, they twist the lips, they shake the head” (Psalm 21:7-8). If a person’s love toward another is measured by the giving of his own life to save her, the love of Jesus has been the greatest, the most true, the most sincere. Let’s pause sometimes to contemplate the Crucifix. Let’s look at those sores. Let’s contemplate them carefully. They have been indeed formed by the nails. They are not just our imagination. Jesus said to a favorite soul: “When a person stops to contemplate me on the cross, I am moved and I turn toward that soul a look of benevolence and pardon.”
Why have a lot of people, also of the world, become holy? Just because they have meditated a lot on the life of Jesus, and above all his sufferings. The Saints thought about Jesus, they meditated on his life, they continually begged him: that’s why they have become like to Him. Their life was absorbed in God. If we will also persevere and meditate more often the life of Jesus, one day He will welcome us with open arms and he will tell us with so much joy: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 25:21). What comforting words will be these, when we will meet Him after our death.
Let’s try to love Jesus so much and think of Him often, and above all to recommend ourselves every day to the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, so that she will introduce us to her Son at the moment of our death.
I greet you, bless You from my heart, and I assure you of my prayers.
Padre Luigi Duilio Graziotti