Reflections on the message of August 25, 1997
Dear children! God gives me this time as a gift to you, so that I may instruct and lead you on the path of salvation. Dear children, now you do not comprehend this grace, but soon a time will come when you will lament for these messages. That is why, little children, live all of the words which I have given you through this time of grace and renew prayer, until prayer becomes a joy for you. Especially, I call all those who have consecrated themselves to my Immaculate Heart to become an example to others. I call all priests and religious brothers and sisters to pray the rosary and to teach others to pray. The rosary, little children, is especially dear to me. Through the rosary open your heart to me and I am able to help you. Thank you for having responded to my call.
I greet you all and again let us remember last month's message in which Mary called us to respond to her invitation to pray. She told us that she wished of us to create a corner in which we can pray personally, and that she wished to lead us to prayer with the heart. That was most certainly a good impulse for us all to create a corner wherever we live in which an atmosphere of prayer exists. This corner should contain a Cross, a Bible, a Rosary, a Madonna, a candle and a kneeler so that we can easily come to prayer. When we have become used to retreating and praying personally, then I hope that the rest of what was said in that message will also have come about -- that is that the emptiness of our hearts will have been filled by God, and that we have experienced that prayer can really become a joy. If we have yet to do this, then we should try to do so.
Vicka, Ivan and Jacov are here at home, Marija is in Italy, Mirjana and her family are in the U.S. where they participated at various meetings and the Marian Conferences of Modesto and Chicago, while Ivanka is living here privately as wife and mother.
We have many pilgrims here at the moment and the stream of pilgrims is always becoming longer and broader. All of August has been especially heavily visited. As you already know, the first week we had the Youth Festival at which more than 5,000 participated. Everything went very well and if one was to emphasize any particular moments, then it was the Eucharistic Procession where a huge number came together and then the evening when Sr. Elvira and her young people put on the Musical based on the story, The Lost Son. That evening we had, according to some estimates, between 10 and 15,000 people here. Then the Festival of International Marian Songs, where 18 languages took part, was also very enjoyable. How Mary is honored in all these different parts of the world was very impressive. Then there was the end of the festival on top of Križevac, and this too was memorable. We began at 5:00 a.m. to pray in preparation for Holy Mass at which 93 Priests concelebrated and, according to estimates, there were about 6 or 7,000 people up there on the mountain. The most numerous, as already in earlier years, were the youth from the Czech Republic, but there were also over 200 from Korea and 170 from Beirut, Lebanon. This was most certainly a very beautiful and grace-filled week for us all and especially so for the young people.
This month's message is somewhat different than most and here we again, sentence by sentence, will reflect on what Mary is telling us. So, after 16 years and 2 months, Our Lady is telling us that...
GOD GIVES ME THIS TIME AS A GIFT TO YOU SO THAT I MAY INSTRUCT AND LEAD YOU ON THE PATH OF SALVATION
Here we immediately think of what the Pope already said in 1987 when he said that these times are Marian times. In the Encyclical, MOTHER OF THE SAVIOR, he speaks about the mother who is a pilgrim and who takes this path with the pilgrimage Church toward the end of this century. He tells us that Mary in these times is living her second Advent. He says that Mary is mother and teacher of Jesus, and thereby she is also our mother and our teacher. Certainly these 16 years and 2 months are a great gift for those who have opened themselves to the message, for all those who experienced a spiritual, mental or physical healing, for all those who have started to pray and to go to Mass, and all those who have received the courage to go to confession know how great the gift of all that Mary teaches is. Very simple. She teaches us, her children, how we should live. Her goal is to bring us all to peace, but the path to peace goes through personal conversion, through a change of relationship toward oneself, toward those in one's own family, in the community, and also through a change of relationship toward the material world. Mary wishes to bring us to the point where we have a relationship with God that is worthy of God. When we think of everything that she has said about prayer, then we can say that she wishes to lead us to prayer of the heart, and this means prayer out of love for God, otherwise we are all in danger that our prayer becomes to egotistic and that we only pray when we need something. Once she told us: "Do not pray according to your needs, but pray seeking God because He loves you." This would be the deepest change of our behavior in prayer. We should begin to pray because we love God and because we like to be with Him. Only then can and are we allowed to ask for everything, and we will also be able to say, "Thy will be done", as well as accepting His will. It is really sad when someone prays and says that he did not get what he wanted and therefore stops to pray. Many Christians have stopped praying at precisely this point because they had not gotten something. But where then does the awareness stay that prayer is foremost a loving presence before God? This is the goal that Mary has before her when she teaches us to pray. She also teaches us to fast. Fasting is very important for the mind, the body and the soul. From fasting we learn to have a new relationship toward our body and toward material things. Through fasting and prayer our heart opens itself to God more easily and becomes freer for what God is telling us, and becomes stronger in doing what God is telling us. Mary also teaches us how to celebrate Holy Mass, for she says "with the heart" so that Mass can become a true meeting with the living Jesus. She teaches us to prepare ourselves for Mass as well as to remain with Him after Mass. Her deepest desire is also that we attend Adoration and that we stay with Him in this way. That is also why she told us that we should fall in love with Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. And when we hear Mary telling us this and allow her to teach us, then we find ourselves on the path to holiness, and exactly this is what her messages that she gives us every month are -- the path to holiness. Whoever follows her will certainly, while still on earth, experience sanctity, inner peace, deep joy, and will have a healthy and holy relationship toward himself, toward the others, towards the material world, and toward God. The meaning of faith in Mary's messages can best be furthermore explained with these words. Faith means to trust and to let oneself be led. The opposite is to resist what God is telling us, or what Mary suggests to us. Then again, through prayer and fasting, through Mass and Confession, through the Rosary and Adoration we will conquer our resistance and allow ourselves to be led. Then Mary says something that we, at this moment, are yet unable to understand. She says something very true with...
NOW YOU DO NOT COMPREHEND THIS GRACE
But does the next statement...
BUT SOON A TIME WILL COME WHEN YOU WILL LAMENT FOR THESE MESSAGES
...mean that she will soon stop with the apparitions? Or that she will soon stop with her messages? We do not know. We should simply continue with her and wait. We should be open. Those who have followed these messages should also realize that they do not understand the grace. This grace or this time of grace is so great that we really find ourselves before a secret of God's love for us. And all those who have followed the messages with their hearts and who have awaited them with joy every month will be sorrowful, but there are also those who do not only understand the grace, but who absolutely reject this time of grace that God has given us through Mary. These certainly understand even less, they do not read the signs of the times well enough, and they will certainly not lament after these messages. But I think that we should again hear the following sentence carefully and in so doing regain a clear understanding of what is the core of everything.
THAT IS WHY, LITTLE CHILDREN, LIVE ALL OF THE WORDS WHICH I HAVE GIVEN YOU THROUGH THIS TIME OF GRACE AND RENEW PRAYER, UNTIL PRAYER BECOMES A JOY FOR YOU
That is what is MOST important. She told us so very much! She showed us so very much, taught us so very much, that we really have something to do. Whoever tries to live the messages, and tries to remain on the path with Mary will in that sense not be so sorrowful that he will be unable to continue. But, these messages should, for those of us who are trying to follow them, give us new impulses to accept with joy what she tells us, and this most especially when it concerns prayer -- prayer that should become a joy for us. When our love for God grows in our hearts, then there will be joy when we pray, for prayer then means to be with God, and being with God is the deepest joy that man can experience here on earth. In this message, as in no other message until now, Mary speaks about specific groups of people. First...
ESPECIALLY I CALL ALL THOSE WHO HAVE CONSECRATED THEMSELVES TO MY IMMACULATE HEART TO BECOME AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS
To consecrate oneself to Mary really means to make a deep decision to be with her, to hear her, and to let oneself be led by her. The Latin word, 'consacratia', comes from two words, 'con sacrare', and these mean to become holy with someone who already is holy; and because 'con' means 'with', it then also means a new community. The consecrated ones should therefore know that through their consecration they have become a community with Mary. This is the path to holiness, for Mary, who found and experienced holiness, knows the path of holiness, and that is why she is able to lead us. Also, 'con sacratia' or consecration also means that man is no longer alone. Sin had separated man from others and from God, consecration creates new community and man is no longer alone. And in this new community man can have peace, joy, security, trust, and with these man can then also grow. Those who have consecrated themselves are those who through their example should assist the others. Their example becomes possible because through their consecration to Mary they should really become new people. Today especially the world awaits people who live in peace, who are free, who are ready to love, who have time for others, who have the courage to serve, who loyally stay on the path, and who do not let themselves be led astray by sin. The consecrated ones are those who always look forward -- forward toward God. The consecrated ones are also those who give their testimonies to others about the new reality. These are the healed and saved people, just as they are also the holy people. It is especially these people who are needed by the world today. Then Mary says...
I CALL ALL PRIESTS, AND RELIGIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO PRAY THE ROSARY AND TO TEACH OTHERS TO PRAY
Certainly when the consecrated ones, when the Priests as well as the religious Brothers and Sisters all decide for prayer, then the whole population will also more easily come to this decision.
THE ROSARY, LITTLE CHILDREN, IS ESPECIALLY DEAR TO ME
We all know this through the history of the Church. It was she who gave it to us. The Rosary is a very simple prayer that is deeply founded in the Bible. In the 15 Mysteries we quite simply have the possibility of being with Jesus and Mary in joy, in sorrow, and in glory. And it is this that must be taught to the people when one prays the Rosary. Sadly for many people the Rosary is only a repetition that can then also become boring. Yet the Rosary is in fact a deep meeting with Jesus and Mary. Whoever prays the Rosary looks at Mary and Jesus how they behave in joy and in sorrow, and then how they move on into glory. This is exactly what every one of us, all people today in fact need. We need to watch them and then change our own behavior according to theirs, and then with this change in our behavior to become an example for all others. Yet the true secret of the Rosary is the love for Jesus and for Mary. When one does not have the love, then the Rosary simply remains a boring repetition. Often in the messages Mary called us to open our hearts, but here she tells us how.
THROUGH THE ROSARY OPEN YOUR HEART TO ME
...and this then becomes the condition so that...
I AM ABLE TO HELP YOU
Those who pray all three Mysteries every day will certainly become more and more open, and will then always experience more and more help. The heart opens itself to God because we who pray the Rosary are looking at Mary and Jesus. They know that when people are doing well, this can lead them to close their hearts. They also know that when people are not doing well, the same thing can occur, and then they remain in distrust and anger toward God for their own suffering. But so that this does not happen, that neither the good nor the bad can close our hearts, we should stay with Mary and with Jesus. In every situation our hearts, just like those of Mary and of Jesus, will then remain open. It still depends on us whether our hearts are open so that we can experience the help. Perhaps it is good to remember that Mary on August 14, 1984, called upon us, through the visionary, Ivan, to pray the whole Rosary. It was during the vigil for Mary's Assumption when Ivan, while preparing to come to Mass, was visited unexpectedly by Mary and she told him that during this time we should all pray the entire Rosary. It was at the same time that Mary told us to fast on two days, Wednesday and Friday, rather than on only one. So what are we then supposed to tell the Priests and the religious? To pray the Rosary and to teach the others to pray, people need something firm. When one repeats over and over again that they need to pray, then many will not know how to begin. But when one says, like Mary did here, and when one through one's own example gives the people an impulse, then it will happen. When the Priest says that he will lead the Rosary before the Mass, then the people will begin to come. It is nothing new when I say that many Priests confirmed that it was only here in Medjugorje that they again started to pray the Rosary, both personally and then also publicly and that an echo came from everywhere. Therefore this message should really again become a new impulse for us to decide in this time to take Mary as our mother and as our teacher, to stay with her on the path to holiness, and that we take the Rosary into our hands and pray it. Even when we do not know what all this signifies, we should just be like children who permit themselves to be led by the mother. And let it then also be this way. Let us pray...
God, our Father, we thank You that You have given this time to Mary, and that she, with Your permission, O Father, leads and teaches us. We thank You for all those people who through these messages have opened their hearts to You. We thank and praise You for all those people who during this time are going on the path to holiness with You. Please bless all those who have through the Medjugorje messages found inner peace. Please send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts that we can come to understand this grace, and that we can live every word that You have told us through Mary. Give us the grace that we can renew prayer and that it becomes a joy for us, also please forgive us for every time that we prayed only because of our own egotistical reasons. Give us the grace that we primarily seek You in prayer because You love us. Give all parents the grace to pray with their children so that the children too will open themselves to prayer and experience joy in prayer. Bless all young people who are seeking You as their good teacher and Master. Bless all the consecrated ones so that they may become examples for all the others. Bless all Priests, all religious Brothers and Sisters, all Catechists that they truly decide for prayer, and so that Your entire Church may become a praying Church. Through the Holy Spirit, open our hearts so that we are prepared to accept Your help. Father, bless all families and all prayer groups, and bless Your entire Church so that we during this time may be able to take the path to holiness with Mary. We thank You, O Father, for Your love that You are showing toward us. Be praised, Our Father, with Your Son, Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fra Slavko, Medjugorje
August 29, 1997