Loving Reparation for Sin Consoles the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

A Sermon Preached by Rev. Fr. Francisco Radecki, CMRI
(The Fatima Conference, October 10, 2013)

Sin and the Need for Reparation

Although millions today seriously offend God by their wicked lives, apathy, and indifference, there are still faithful souls throughout the world who console Him by a life of sacrificial love and persever­ance in virtue. Imagine the joy the Hearts of Jesus and Mary must feel when They see those who choose God over sin, faithfully observing the Commandments and living lives of charity, purity, and patience, following Jesus’ words: “If you love Me, keep My Commandments.”

When we think of repa­ration, the word repair comes to mind. Cloistered monks and nuns are not the only ones who can repair for the sins of the world; priests, religious and laity can all placate God Who has done so much for us. In appre­ciation, we will receive a special reward and a lenient judgment from Our Lord Who said: “He who acknowledges Me before men, I will acknowledge him before My Father in Heaven.”

Reflections on the Rosary Mysteries

Praying the daily Rosary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima gives us a glimpse into the fathomless depths of joy and sor­row that Jesus and Mary experienced. The Blessed Virgin gave us the Rosary to allow us to penetrate this veil by reflecting on these Mysteries — and they are Mysteries. Each Decade contains both a lesson and a mystery for us to ponder over and from which to learn.

Mary arranged the Rosary in such a way so as to help us parallel this life with the next, via its joys, sorrows, and glory. Life is like a constant roller coaster, going up and down. Since joys and sorrows are found in every state of life in this valley of tears, what can better encourage us than the examples of Our Lord and Our Lady?

Meditation on the Joyful Mysteries inspires us to practice Their virtues: faith, obedience, humility, charity, patience, pov­erty, and resignation, enabling us to more easily walk in Their footsteps. The vocal prayers of the Rosary create a fountain of blessings, including fortitude to do what we must in order to save our immortal souls.

“Mosaic in the Rosary Basilica, Lourdes” by Bobbacon, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sorrowful Mysteries show us what our sins have done, and this reflection will help us to amend. The Agony, Scourging, Crowning with Thorns, Passion, Crucifixion, and our Sorrowful Mother are not mere empty words, but rather vivid reminders of God’s love and of Our Lady’s dolors. The Man of Sorrows and Mater Dolorosa sacrificed Themselves so that you and I and others could merit eternal happiness.

St. Dionysius says that the greatest occu­pation on earth is to work for the salvation of souls. Is this not reason enough for us to spend the rest of our lives consoling Jesus and Mary by a life of virtue and to do all in our power to avoid sin and the occasions of sin, while helping others to do the same?

Mary united herself intimately with Jesus’ Passion by her love and prayers. Therefore, she has been called Co-Redemptrix by popes and saints. We, too, can follow her example and console Him by leading a holy life. Our Lady detests sin and she wants us all, especially her children, to stop offending God Who is already too much offended. Only God can fathom the indescribable anguish and agony our sins and those of all mankind have caused Jesus and Mary.

“Piedad, Monasterio de la Anunciación (Alba de Tormes)” by Anthony van Dyck, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Nowhere is God’s love for us better portrayed than in the crucifix. Nowhere is Mary’s virtue manifested greater than when she stood beneath the Cross. As we meditate on the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery let us take our place beside our Heavenly Mother, asking for grace to renounce sin. A person cannot seriously meditate on the sufferings of Our Lord and continue to be immersed in a life of sin. One will either give up sin or give up prayer. The Sorrowful Mysteries give impetus to serious amendment of life and help one to have the persevering courage to practice virtue in spite of occasional falls.

God knows that we are weak and that we will occasionally fall, yet He expects us to make determined, per­severing efforts to avoid sin and to pray for the help to overcome it with His grace and infinite power. Once we are sorry and ask for forgiveness, we return to the path of vir­tue and regain peace of soul. This consoles Our Lord since so many never ask pardon, but live immersed in sin — totally oblivious of all He has done for them.

One of the best ways to console Jesus and Mary is to avoid falling into sin. Each victory becomes an act of love of God. You and I can do this daily. You don’t have to compound your prayers; merely put your heart into the ones you already say.

The Glorious Mysteries remind us that there is an immeasurable, never-ending reward for those who remain faithful to God. Sadly, many today ignore their eter­nal destiny. Blinded by the empty glamor of the world and yet seeking repose from life’s difficulties, they vainly look for happiness in all the wrong places. St. Augustine rightly says that our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord, for God alone can give inner joy and peace of soul.

Focus on Eternity and Save Your Soul!

Many focus only on the here-and-now; on a long, prosperous life rather than a virtuous one. As a result, they quickly drift away from God, often permanently and with disastrous consequences. Com­pletely oblivious of their spiritual nature, they immerse themselves in temporal occupations, material concerns, sinful pleasures, or self-gratification, leaving no time for God.

“Glories of the Catholic Church: The Catholic Christian Instructed in Defence of His Faith” by John Gilmary Shea, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This reminds me of a visit I made to a dying man several years ago who was wealthy in material goods but destitute in spiritual ones. Having been distant from God for years, all he was able to do was keep repeating: “I’ve got to buy more stock. I’ve got to buy more stock.” He was a success in the eyes of the world but a complete failure in the eyes of God. Tragically, he died a few days later. Where is his immortal soul now? How vividly does this bring to mind the warning of Our Lord: “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his immortal soul?”

Heaven: don’t miss it for the world! By thinking frequently of Heaven, one is drawn to do what is necessary to get there. What greater happiness can there be than to be with God, Mary, and the saints and angels in never-ending bliss? When was the last time you seriously thought about Heaven? What are you doing to get there? Remember: time is short; eternity is forever.

Reparation Means Practicing the Virtues Dearest to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Which brings me back to my earlier point: what can you and I do to repair for the world’s sins and to console Jesus and Mary? We must practice the vir­tues dearest to Their Hearts, be a light to the world, and inspire those around us. People can’t follow good example if it isn’t shown to them. If you were arrested for being a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence? What are the virtues which are so dear to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary? A few of them are outlined below; namely:

Patience: The word patience is from the Latin; meaning, “To Suffer.” I have a parishioner who is paraplegic, yet she devoutly and faithfully attends monthly Sunday Mass. What reparation she makes for the sins of the world. Although shriv­eled up and barely able to use her arms and legs, she is always cheerful. Another parishioner, who is dying of cancer, hides her pain behind a beautiful smile and puts complainers to shame by accepting whatever God sends. Their faith is a living and vibrant one, reflecting inner strength of soul. So many have been inspired by their sterling example!

Purity: Since only the clean of heart will see God, reflect Christian dignity by dressing and acting modestly, using clean language and avoiding pornography like the plague. Make reparation for the sins of so many by being a light to the world via your good example and life of prayer. Mil­lions have been inspired by the examples of Saints like Maria Goretti, as well as Francis and Clare of Assisi.

Faith: Show your belief by your reverence in church, by exemplifying the Catholic Faith in your life, and by keeping your goals supernatural. Reflect on St. Peter of Verona, who during his martyrdom wrote the word Credo (I believe) on the ground with his own blood.

Confidence: Either we trust God or we don’t. We must do what we can and then ask God to help with the rest. Mother Cabrini’s life was a perfect combination of prayer, work, and trust in God. If you want to be successful and truly console Jesus and Mary, follow her example.

Fidelity in little things proves our love for God, since He seldom asks us to accom­plish great ones. I remember asking a child why she wanted to make her First Holy Communion. She simply said: “Because I love Jesus.” What joy that must cause Our Lord! A five-year-old used to cry at church every Sunday because she couldn’t receive Holy Communion. She is now the happiest child in the world upon having made her First Holy Communion because Jesus rests in her heart. When she prays the Rosary, one would think she was an angel. No wonder Jesus said: “Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

“The Life on Earth of Our Blessed Lord – Told in Rhyme, Story, and Picture, for Little Catholic Children (1913)” by Grace Wallace Doonan, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What greater joy can God experience than having a lost soul return to His love? What greater happiness can Mary experi­ence than for one of her children to aban­don a life of sin and return to God’s grace and to her maternal embrace?

When we think of the Blessed Virgin we often contemplate what an amazing life she led. Mary was immaculately conceived, completely sinless, and yet fulfilled the will of God perfectly. She carried Jesus in her womb for nine months, held Him close to her Immaculate Heart, lived with Him for 30 years, followed His public life for three years, and then helped the infant Church until she died peacefully. Then she was taken body and soul to heaven where she reigns forever as Queen. Hers was the most blessed life ever lived by a creature on earth.

It’s hard for the average person to contemplate this since Mary’s life bears little resemblance to his or her own. Yet, there is one aspect of her life that parallels ours: her sorrows, which accompanied her throughout life. Jesus was not just the Son of God and the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity — He was also the Redeemer Who offered His life and the last drop of His Precious Blood to repair for the sins of the world; to redeem us and reopen the gates of Heaven.

Mary experienced betrayal (Judas), disappointment (the absence of most of the Apostles at the Passion), anxiety (at the sufferings Jesus would endure), and also terrible desolation and sorrow. She felt sad that so many would reject God’s graces in spite of all that Jesus suffered for them.

“Christ With the Sacred Heart Venerated by the Church (Wellcome Images)”
by Wellcome Trust, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus and Mary are consoled every time we avoid sin and the occasions of sin. These are tangible proofs of our love for God which demon­strate our fidelity and enable us to choose Him over sinful pleasures and evil. This can be done in numerous ways — turning one’s eyes away from indecent images, dressing modestly, not saying a cruel word when tempted to do so, not spreading or listening to gossip, and so on. Positive steps also include faithful attendance at Sunday Mass, frequenting the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and the daily recitation of the Rosary. These actions repair, in a very real way, for the apathy and coldness of so many while telling Our Lord and Our Lady that we do appreciate all They have done for us.

Souls Are of Infinite Value: Never Give Up on Them

Never give up on anyone; God doesn’t. A former parishioner had abandoned prayer and church to embrace the world. I prayed every day for this individual, reminding her of her obligations to God and herself, and encouraging her to do everything in her power to save her immortal soul. She could not find peace or happiness, yet grace was not completely dormant. Turning back to God can be a long and difficult journey — hers took three years. Since sin can often become habitual, it takes a serious, determined, and concerted effort to replace love of self and the world with love of God; yet the journey back has to begin somewhere.

“Parishioners of the Catholic parish of St. Henry’s Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland, on September 21, 1953” by U.A. Saarinen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This individual ingeniously set an alarm on her cell phone to ring at 3:00 p.m. daily to remind her to pray for strength. Even friends, on hearing the alarm go off, would tell her: “It’s time to pray.” Eventually, she called the rectory to schedule a confession. The rec­tory phone, for some strange reason, would not accept her calls. The devil wasn’t happy and tried to prevent her conversion. The lady then called my cell phone and I told her to come see me immediately.

She briefly gave me a history of what had transpired since our last interaction and while we were walking to the church for confession, her alarm rang. It was 3:00 p.m., the very hour in which Jesus died on the Cross — for her, for you, and for me. This same woman now attends Mass every Sunday, had her home blessed, and is encouraging others to return to God. She loves God and God loves her.

Never give up. Every soul is of infinite value. By helping to save the souls of others, you help to insure the salvation of your own. Remember, help is often only a prayer away.

–Taken from the Reign of Mary Quarterly Magazine, Issue 155

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