Courage, little children…

Courage, little children! I decided to lead you on the way of holiness. Renounce sin and set out on the way of salvation, the way which my Son has chosen. Through each of your tribulations and sufferings God will find the way of joy for you. Therefore, little children, pray. We are close to you with our love. Thank you for having responded to my call. March 25, 2006

There is a prayer well-known to recovering alcoholics called the Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. It has helped many addicts on the road to recovery, the road to salvation.

In this message Our Lady also uses the word courage when she calls us to set out on the way of salvation, chosen by her Son, the road to recovery and the way of holiness. It is, in fact, the Way of the Cross, a difficult journey we that all must undertake in life.

Our Lady knows the way; she has walked the route with Jesus to Calvary. But she promises that through every trial, tribulation and time of suffering, God will find a way of bringing joy to our lives. And she tells us how this will happen – through prayer.

The word courage is representative of the heart. That is why the Serenity Prayer is so powerful in an addict’s recovery programme. God responds to the addict’s plea for courage, for the heart to change and be able to set out on the path of conversion.

At each Station of the Cross, courage is necessary for all of us – in varied measures and for different reasons. Perhaps that is why with this Lenten message Our Lady is offering this special grace to us. She rarely speaks of courage or has used the word in any of her previous messages. But she understands that this is a time of severe agony and suffering for her Son, a time of stress and endurance, of persevering under provocation that will result in public execution in a most brutal fashion.

Our Lady invites us to share with her our own sufferings on this walk with Jesus, this way of holiness. But she makes clear from the start that we should journey with courage, with a loving and fearless heart strengthened by prayer.

† I Jesus is condemned to death…
The courage to remain silent when judged and condemned by those who should know better.

II Jesus receives his cross…
The courage to accept the cross in our lives, with our hands and in our heart.

III Jesus falls for the first time…
The courage to accept our own weaknesses and the failings in others.

IV Jesus meets his Mother…
The courage to support and love the child who suffers, courage to accept the death of one’s child.

V Simon helps Jesus carry the cross…
The courage to reach out to others, courage to shoulder responsibility and courage to share in suffering, courage to let go of resentment when seized and put upon.

VI Veronica wipes the face of Jesus…
The courage to seek God’s face, courage to discard our many masks, courage to witness our love for Jesus, courage to seek Jesus in others.

VII Jesus falls for the second time…
The courage to hold on to the cross, courage to believe in God’s strength, courage to start again.

VIII Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem…
The courage to speak and accept the truth, to be honest with others and ourselves, courage to weep and repent for our sins.

IX Jesus falls for the third time…
The courage to endure, courage to continue with suffering, courage to keep on walking.

X Jesus is stripped of his garments…
The courage to be revealed, courage to stand naked, courage to stand silent in suffering, to forgive those who abuse, and those who value your possessions more than your life.

XI Jesus is nailed to the cross…
The courage to endure pain, courage to forgive those who inflict pain, physical and mental.

XII Jesus dies on the cross…
The courage to trust and surrender in our final agony, courage to accept death.

XIII Jesus is taken down from the cross…
The courage to grieve, courage to weep, courage to forgive, courage to continue to love, to have courage in loneliness.

XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb…
Courage to let go and the courage to say goodbye, the courage to live Heaven on Earth, the courage to live in harmony with the Father’s will, the courage to love.

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