Reflections on the message of August 25, 1996
Dear children! Listen, because I wish to speak to you and to invite you to have more faith and trust in God, who loves you immeasurably. Little children, you do not know how to live in the grace of God, that is why I call you all anew, to carry the word of God in your heart and in thoughts. Little children, place the Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your family, and read and live it. Teach your children, because if you are not an example to them, children depart into godlessness. Reflect and pray and then God will be born in your heart and your heart will be joyous. Thank you for having for responded to my call.
I hope that you all have had refreshing holidays, but that during your free time you still found time to pray. Again, let us remember the July message before I give you new thoughts about this month's message. There Mary called us to conversion -- conversion that brings us the truth and through which we show the beauty that God has given us. When someone grows in love, in faith and in hope and then shows the fruits of it in his life, then he shows us this beauty that God has given him. Thereby, we will not only stay with words, but rather through our life give witness to God's love. Without prayer, Mary says, we cannot live our conversion, because conversion is a growth process and a constant fight against evil and for goodness. Moreover, she wishes for us to become like children that are open to the love of the Father.
The daily apparitions are still occurring, yet at this moment only Vicka and Mirjana are at home. Jacov is in Italy awaiting his second child. Ivan was in London with me on the weekend of August 24-26. On the 26th we had a large meeting among the Carmelites at Aylesford, and it was already the sixth time that the pilgrims to Medjugorje had met there. We had more than 6,000 people present, and 64 Priests concelebrated at Holy Mass. Then Ivan flew on to Germany from where he will return to the States to participate at several Marian Conferences. Marija is in Italy, and Mirjana will be going there at the beginning of September to attend several prayer meetings. Ivanka is at home and, as always, lives in seclusion. Many pilgrims have been with us throughout the month of August, and, according to the information available to us, the Fall will also be quite lively.
Last month we had a very successful Youth Festival which was attended by more than 4,000 youth. The largest groups were from the Czech and Slovak Republics. The attendance of Sr. Elvira and her Community brought a special liveliness to the affair. Of particular interest were the Eucharistic procession that went through the entire village and took more than three hours, and the performance of 'OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT' that was put on by Sr. Elvira's Community. By way of testimonies, songs, dances and biblical texts, new perspectives were given to the path that led from the darkness of the drug world to a life in the light. Then we also enjoyed an international evening of songs in honor of Mary, where 15 languages were heard. This was Mary's birthday present from all those who participated. Then at 5:00 a.m. on August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, the closing Mass that was celebrated up on Križevac became a very special event for us all. We thank the Lord, along with Mary, for the graces that He gave us during those days.
If we now wish to think about this month's message, we will really find many new impulses for our life. Mary says...
...because she wishes to speak to us. This word is found in the Old Testament 1,100 times and in the New Testament 480 times. In the Jewish religious practices there is the well-known prayer that was prayed four times a day: "Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the door posts of your houses and on your gates." (Deut 6, 4-9) The call "to listen to the word" makes us conscious that God is speaking to us and He expects from us, those who are able to hear, to also listen. God's first word was the creation of nature, then later he shared His spoken word with us through biblical revelation. And most specifically, Jesus is the word of God the Father that became flesh. God speaks and wishes that His word finds open ears and hearts so that good fruit can then come about. But the Prophets often say that the people do not wish to listen and this is always a very strong accusation. (See Jer 7-13; Hos 9-17; Is 65-2) When we now hear the same word from Mary, we should also recognize the will of God who wishes to be known by us. Mary is Queen of Prophets as well as a Prophet herself and therefore God speaks through her.
The real question, with which all of us should occupy ourselves, is: Do we still wish to listen or are we still able to listen, and what either helps or hinders us in doing so. There are different conditions to be able to listen, just as there are different hindrances to listening. Generally, to be able to listen to a word, we should be internally free, be able to love the speaker, be humble and open, and to have inner peace. Every dependency upon oneself or upon material things hinders the ability to listen. If we, for instance, are nervous or do not have peace, we can hardly listen. Pride refuses the speaker, with perhaps similar words as: 'Who are you to tell me this?!' Prayer and fasting, Confession and reading of Scripture, attending Holy Mass -- all these help with the readiness to listen. And it is for the same reason that Mary gave us this message. The word that has been truly heard then sparks the will in the heart to also make it reality, and from it then develops the path of obedience to His word. It would be very important for every one of us to ask daily for the grace to be able to listen to the word of God and then also to be obedient to it! Mary wishes that we listen again...
BECAUSE I WISH TO SPEAK TO YOU AND INVITE YOU TO HAVE MORE FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD, WHO LOVES YOU IMMEASURABLY
Only love is credible and thus it awakens trust. To know the loving God gives the human heart peace and trust, and then the person can live like a child that is open to the love of the Father. Here we again must ask the question of why there are so many Christians who live in fear and distrust rather than in peace and joy. The answer is clear: We are no longer listening to the Good News of the loving God, otherwise we would already have peace and trust. In one message Mary said: "If you knew how much I love you, you would cry with joy!" And if she can speak of her love this way, how then is God's love? Therefore she says...
LITTLE CHILDREN, YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LIVE IN THE GRACE OF GOD
How easily do we lose love, faith, hope and how little do we need to lose our peace and to become nervous?! How easily do Christians slip into the world of alcoholism and drugs? How easily and how often do the families become destroyed? How often do egoism and selfishness send away the love of God and the love of others from our hearts?
THAT IS WHY I CALL YOU ALL ANEW, TO CARRY THE WORD OF GOD IN YOUR HEART AND IN THOUGHTS
Mary teaches us what she lived. Most certainly she prayed daily the prayer: "Listen, O Israel..." and the word of God was her light and her life, her nourishment and her joy. St. Luke tells us that Mary kept the word of God in her heart, and this means to have thought about it and to have formed her life around it. In order to increase our love for the word of God and to strengthen our willingness to listen, Mary again gives us specific advice:
PLACE SACRED SCRIPTURE IN A VISIBLE PLACE IN YOUR FAMILY
Here it concerns very practical reasons. In doing so, our families will have it easier to remember that we are meant to...
READ IT AND LIVE IT
This wish of Mary's also reminds us of "Listen, O Israel..." because Israel should write the word on its door frames and its city gates. The love for the word of God, and therefore for God Himself, will be decided in whether our families also consecrate this wish of Mary's. Mary gives the families much work and many responsibilities.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN, BECAUSE IF YOU ARE NOT AN EXAMPLE TO THEM, CHILDREN DEPART INTO GODLESSNESS
This has been decided for them as their path in faith. Should the good example not be given to them, then Godlessness will threaten. Every day we hear the complaints about the children or the youth, what they do and how they behave. It might be true, but complaining will not help us. The only solution is a very conscious life with the word of God in heart and mind, and the then resulting life, and this is what we should offer to our children. Mary is with us and helps us.
REFLECT AND PRAY AND THEN GOD WILL BE BORN IN YOUR HEART AND YOUR HEART WILL BE JOYOUS
A more beautiful promise than this cannot be made to us! It is worth everything to let God be born in us! Where there is God, there is light and life, truth and joy, friendship and love. There, the human heart is in peace and in joy!
O God, our Father, we thank You that You are speaking to us. Along with Mary, we ask You, in the name of Jesus Christ, give us the grace that we may believe in You, trust in You, and love You with all our hearts. Free our hearts of everything that makes us deaf and blind, and that hinders us from carrying it in heart and mind. Send us Your Holy Spirit and protect us, our families, especially our children and youth from any Godlessness. Give us all peace and joy. Bless our families, our mothers and fathers, and bless all Priests and Catechists, all those responsible in the Press, in films, in radio, in television, so that everyone becomes conscious to give only good examples, and so that every person can find his way to You. O Father, heal those who have, by way of bad examples in their family, lost their faith in You. Heal all those who have become bitter in their sufferings, and who have lost trust. Fill us all with Your graces and keep us in grace, and rather than to lose it, may our graces multiply from day to day, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Fra Slavko, London
August 28, 1996