Our Lady helps us to make an examination of conscience


Fire appears frequently in Sacred Scripture as a symbol of God's Love, which purifies men of all their impurities. Love, like fire, never says enough, it has the strength of flames and is kindled in our dealings with God: My heart burned within me, the fire was kindled in my meditation, exclaims the Psalmist.... On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit - divine Love - is poured out on the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire that purify their hearts, inflame them and dispose them for their mission of extending the Kingdom of Christ throughout the world.

Jesus tells us today in the Gospel of the Mass: I have come to bring fire to the earth, and what do I want but that it should burn? In Christ divine love reaches its highest expression: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son6. 6 Jesus willingly lays down his life for us, and no one has greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. That is why he also declares to us his holy impatience until he sees his Baptism fulfilled, his own death on the Cross by which he redeems us and raises us up: I have to be baptized with a baptism, and how I feel urged until it is accomplished!

The Lord wants his love to take hold of our hearts and cause an all-consuming fire. He loves each one of us with a personal and individual love, as if we were the sole object of his charity. At no time has he ceased to love us, to help us, to protect us, to communicate with us; not even in the moments of greatest ingratitude on our part or when we committed the greatest faults and sins, both when we reciprocated his graces and when we turned away from him. The Lord has always shown us his benevolence; now also. God, who is infinite and infinitely simple, does not love us half-heartedly, but with his whole being, he loves us without measure. This mystery of love was realized in an absolutely particular way in his Mother, Holy Mary.

The Virgin, Our Mother, is the mirror in which we should look at ourselves. She lived a normal life, in such a way that her countrymen and relatives could never imagine what was going on in her heart; not even Joseph would have known anything, if God had not manifested it to him. She, the creature whom God loved most, remained in the most complete normality. At the moment of the Annunciation, when the singular way in which she was loved by God was revealed to her, Mary believed and accepted to be the creature that God had predestined from eternity as His Mother. What great faith the Virgin had, to think that in her was the salvation of Israel, much more, without comparison, than at other moments in the history of Israel it was in Judith or in Esther! But she not only believed in the love of absolute divine predilection, but she believed without any limitation.

St. Mary teaches us to believe in the boundless love of God, she helps us now, having her before us, to examine our correspondence to that love, for "it is not right that we should love with lukewarmness a God who loves us so ardently". Is our heart, like Our Lady's, a bonfire of living fire, or only an ember of lukewarmness, of accepted mediocrity?

God loves me, and this is the fundamental aspect of my existence. The rest is of little importance.