One of the most quoted passages from Sacred Scripture is John 3:16. It is very well known and seen in bold print at almost all of the sporting events. Those of faith believe that this is the heart and soul of the good news – “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life.”
This holy proclamation from the Gospel of John clearly reveals the love of God for the salvation of the world. God our Father is the greatest lover. His love is offered to all for the sole purpose of bringing us, His children, to Him in heaven. He came down from heaven so that He could lift us up to heaven through His Son’s passion, death, and resurrection. God has opened the gates of paradise for those who believe in Him. This gift is pure grace, freely given out of love. We cannot earn it, nor can we claim that we deserve it. St. Paul states it best, “In love God destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace, that he granted us in the beloved.” (Eph 1:5-6)
Yes, we have become God’s children by Christ, the ‘beloved,’ and we have gained an inheritance in Christ. One could say ‘heaven is ours for the taking.’ We must respond to God’s invitation, sharing in His heavenly joy, by living a life of obedience and gratitude! Our very life should be ‘full of grace’ because ‘the Lord is with us.’ We must express our oneness with our heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by living the great commandment. St. John states, “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world” (I Jn 4:16b-17). He goes on to stress, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (I Jn 4:19-21)
This gift of salvation came to us through Mary’s cooperation with grace, and in which believers share. Mary, our model of love, encourages all of God’s children, all of her children, to live each moment of each day this call to holy love. We are to love in word and deed. She perfectly understands that our God is the ‘God of love for all ages.’ That is, His love is equally present to each child in the womb of a mother as it is to every elderly person just moments away from dying, and all ages in between. His love is also present for all times. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Thus, His love is a gift, for all people, for all ages!
Knowing this is one thing, accepting it in our hearts is another thing. That is why our Blessed Mother is appearing all over the world. She, the Mother of Love, is begging all of her children to live a life of holy love. She, with her heart united with her Son’s, is calling all of us to respond to this awesome gift of salvation. I have had the privilege to hear her call these past seven years as the pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pinckney, Michigan, through God’s chosen instrument Carolyn (Belprez) Kwiecinski. Being part of a prayer group that gathered on the fourth Tuesday of every month, God used this young lady to speak to His children which He loves so much.
Every month God permitted His holy mother to give to the prayer group, through Carolyn, messages from heaven. As I stated in the previous book Standing In A Miracle, I do not make any judgment on the supernatural origins of Carolyn’s experiences or her messages. As an ordained priest for the Catholic Church, I remain obedient to the Magisterium and the wisdom of Holy Mother Church. The final decision on the messages’ origins is in the hands of the Church hierarchy. However, I also stated that I have seen great fruits of holiness in my life and others through these wonderful messages. They are simple and yet they challenge all of us to a greater holiness and a joyful obedience to God’s will. Basically, all the messages can be summoned up in this simple truth: “We are deeply loved by God and we are to live our lives believing in the power of His love to change the world, starting with our very own lives.”
In closing, I must say I was a bit saddened when these messages came to an end in November 2004. However, I truly realize our Blessed Mother has given us enough food for thought for many ages to come. This heavenly grace will only be brought to completion if we live the messages in our daily lives. Love begets love! May our God, the Love for all ages, bless all of us with a deep adoration for the Holy Eucharistic and a sincere veneration of the Blessed Mother. May John 3:16 be written in our hearts and expressed by our lives. Thus, may we continue to love one another each day so that we all come to share the fullness of God’s love in heaven.
February 2, 2005
The Presentation of the Lord
Fr. Kenneth F. Coughlin
Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church