Fr. Slavko's Commentary
Reflection on the Message of January 25, l997
"Dear Children! I invite you to reflect about your future. You are creating a new world without God, only with your own strength and that is why you are dissatisfied and without joy in the heart. This time is my time and that is why, little children, I invite you again to pray. When you find union with God, you will feel hunger for the word of God and your heart, little children, will overflow with joy. You will witness God's love wherever you are. I bless you and I repeat to you that I am with you to help you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
Many heartfelt greetings to all those who will be reading these reflections. Let us first remember the message of Christmas 1996. The main thought and, I believe, the main prayer of that message was clearly that we should think about and pray that the God of love and peace be revealed to us. Once God has given us this grace, then I am sure that we will live all the messages with joy that Mary has given us out of the Gospels. Then we will also with joy put our lives into the reality, according to the Gospels, for eternity. I hope that we have, and will continue to pray for this and then the God of love and peace will reveal Himself to us. Also, we should not forget that since August 2, 1987, Our Lady prays for this grace with Mirjana, in that they pray for those who have yet to experience the love of God.
Regarding the visionaries, at the moment Jacov, Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka and Ivan are in Meugorje. Ivan returned from the USA after several months, and mid-February he will again be traveling to Australia where he will be sharing his testimony with many people about Mary's apparitions and messages. Marija, who is in Italy, is the one to whom Mary started giving the messages and she continues to do so still doing so until today. Already ten years have passed since Mary stopped giving us the Thursday messages, and instead started giving us the monthly messages. The first monthly message was given to us on January 25, 1987. Marija also entrusted us with something that certainly should bring joy to us all. She is pregnant with her third child and, when she recommends herself in prayer, she also prays for all other pregnant women. Mirjana and Ivanka are at home and live their family lives. Mirjana continues to meet with Our Lady on the 2nd of every month. Since August 2, 1987, until January 2, 1997, Mirjana's meeting with Mary has remained something very, very private. Not even her own family has been able to be with her for this. It has always been a private affair. Mirjana always locks herself into her room and starts praying. On January 2, 1997, Mary told her that from then onward those meetings would also be open to others, for until then she never knew at what hour Our Lady was going to be with her. But today she knows it, for on February 2, Mary will be coming to Mirjana at 11 o'clock. This should again be a new impulse for us all to pray on the same day at the same time for the same intention, that being that one prays for those non-believers, or rather for those who have yet to experience the love of God. On January 27, Vicka and I will be flying to South Africa and we will be staying there until February 15. I also ask you all to recommend this trip in your prayers.
Mary has again given us a message this month through Marija, and this message is again a motherly word, a motherly advice or a motherly promise that she is and will remain with us. Very rarely has she invited us in the way she has in this message. Usually she invites us to prayer. This time first she says:
I INVITE YOU TO REFLECT ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
When we have all that Mary has spoken to us about until today in front of our eyes, then one can say that she has always advised us to give the past to the mercy of God, the future to the love and care of God, and to work with all decisiveness in freedom with God in the present. Here for the first time she advises us to think about our future. I believe that we are all aware of the fact that today many, many people speak about the future, and, for that matter, there is nearly a science that calls itself 'futurology'. All that is talked about so very much can be led back to the same question: What is going to be happening to us and to the world? There are almost scientific explanations for an apocalyptic future. When one thinks of all that is happening today, then one can almost expect such things to happen soon. And especially so when one speaks about ecology. About how much dirt and how much poison we are producing, how many weapons, atomic bombs and all possible radiations we have prepared for ourselves, and how much radiation all those nuclear reactors will be spreading? When one considers all these together, then one nearly has a reason to be fearful. On the other hand, we are constantly being called upon by our Church and especially by our present Pope to prepare ourselves for the new millennium, and that we enter third millennium in a renewed way so that we can then live in peace. There is hope, but we must remain very aware that our future is dependent upon our present. That which we do today has great meaning for our future. Exactly this is, I believe, what we people forget the most easily. When we change our present behavior, then we are then also promised a better, safer and more beautiful future. But then again, we should become very aware that we are mere pilgrims here on earth, for one day our pilgrimage will be coming to an end. For every one of us in another way, but no-one will, so to say, survive beyond that time. This too is very important point about which we should often reflect. Because we are pilgrims, there is no value in staying stuck to anything. Everything to which we cling can and will end up hindering us on our path into the future. We see how many people today are stuck to material goods, to money, to power or to thrills. So many that many of them have already become dependent, and have lost any and all inner freedom. No good future can be promised to an enslaved person. The following are my thoughts about this message that I would like to give to you all: Live the presence in freedom, in the freedom with which we cooperate with God. That is the way for us Christians. That is the way of hope. Mary then tells us a very dangerous reality.
YOU ARE CREATING A NEW WORLD WITHOUT GOD, ONLY WITH YOUR OWN STRENGTH
This is what is so dangerous. Everything that we do without God, and also possibly against God, goes against ourselves, against others and against all of nature. That is also the deepest purpose and meaning of sin. The first sin in paradise that Eve committed was really an attempt to form her own life without God, and we all know what that has cost us. But not only the first sin, but all sins are really our attempts to form our own lives with our own strength and thus without God. Here we also come across the secret of evil. How is it possible that a person, who in his own deepest nature carries the so strong wish to be well, can also work against himself and others in not wishing to live within the Commandments of God? That is the deception of sin, and that is the deception of the world. Sin promises us its easy solutions, its own peace and its own satisfaction; but all these are deceptions. Whoever follows the promises of sin ends up destroying of their own life and that of others. At the very foundation of this type of behavior, we will always, in one way or another, find pride. Pride in itself means nothing else but the rejection of the will of God, the rejection of his programs and the attempt to follow ones own will and to create ones own programs. Leaning only on our strengths and figuring only with our own strengths is again what we should have already learned as being only another deception. God has given us talents so that we can cooperate with Him, but when we work against Him and His Commandments, then we lose everything. In this message Mary also tells us that...
THAT IS WHY YOU ARE DISSATISFIED AND WITHOUT JOY IN THE HEART
When we work against God, we are unable to be satisfied and unable to have joy in our hearts. The Christmas message also spoke to us about joy, and we have already thought about that. Yet it is worthwhile to ask oneself again, from where do our dissatisfactions and lack of joy come? The answer is very simple -- from our behavior toward God, toward ourselves, toward other people and toward nature. Once we have been freed of our pride, then we will also be able to live in satisfaction and carry joy in our hearts. Mary again says...
THIS TIME IS MY TIME AND THAT IS WHY ... I INVITE YOU AGAIN TO PRAY.
It has already been years since our Pope, John Paul II, published his encyclical, THE MOTHER OF THE SAVIOR. That encyclical speaks of Marian times, and Mary confirms this. These are her times. God has entrusted these times to her, and since this encyclical, Mary has been on pilgrimage with the pilgrim Church. Just as she was Jesus' mother and teacher, so is she, in a very special way, our mother and teacher in this time. In this light we can again look at Meugorje, for here we truly are having Marian times. How many people have during these 15 years and 7 months found God through her, and then in finding God also found peace, joy, and reconciliation in their lives? How many people have been freed of sin, and now live as children do in the freedom of God? We can never find out completely what God has done in the hearts of people here in Meugorje, but we can only be grateful and continue to follow Mary without becoming tired in prayer, fasting, conversion and faith. This too is the program for this coming year -- the year that has in a special way been consecrated to The Son. And in the times that belong to Mary, she can only want or wish for one thing, and that is that we come to know Jesus. And without prayer it is impossible to come to know, to love and to follow Him. Then Mary speaks about...
WHEN YOU FIND UNION WITH GOD
God is the life, the truth, the way and the light. We are all aware that our deepest of all wishes are all to be found here. We wish to live, for no-one wants to die. We seek for the truth, for no-one seeks for lies. We seek the way, for no-one seeks lack of direction. We want light, for no-one seeks darkness. When we become in union with God, and again this is only through prayer; we will already here on earth be delving into the eternal and immeasurable love, peace and joy. Then also...
YOU WILL FEEL HUNGER FOR THE WORD OF GOD
This is our experience when we love someone. When we do, we yearn for that person. We yearn to be with that person, but if we cannot be with him physically, then we yearn for a letter or a telephone call, and are happy about any sign that reaches us from this person. But in order to feel the hunger for the word of God, then we must also pray for this grace, and our cooperation here means to pray and to put into practice Mary's other messages such as to fast. Through prayer and fasting our hearts will certainly experience true nourishment. Just as we, when we fast come to understand better what it means to have food, so too will we come to understand that God speaks to us and that he has words for us. So, the assignment is very easy to understand. We should empty our hearts and minds of all useless words, and then our souls will come to yearn for God. It is true that we consume far too much useless food for our hearts and for our souls, and that is why it is often very difficult to cooperate with God and to build a new world with Him. St. Paul would say that we should discard the old person in order to put on the new one. Once we are full with the word of God, then Mary promises us that...
YOUR HEART ... WILL OVERFLOW WITH JOY
From this again evolves our most fundamental assignment, that...
YOU WILL WITNESS GOD'S LOVE WHEREVER YOU ARE
A sad face cannot become witness to God's joy. A heart without an inner life cannot be witness to the living God. A heart without love cannot become a witness for God's love. That is why it is a condition to witness God's love for us to be able to carry God's love and joy within our hearts. At the end then Mary says...
I BLESS YOU
She is the mother who speaks for us in front of God, who prays for us, and who defends us. That is the meaning of blessing. She knows us how we are, yet she does not accuse or judge us, but rather, as our mother, speaks on our behalf. That is our chance during this time that belongs to Mary. She then says...
I REPEAT TO YOU THAT I AM WITH YOU TO HELP YOU
This is why this time is the time of grace. And certainly very many people have come to recognize exactly that here in Meugorje, and through these experiences and Mary's helping them, these are the strengths and the dynamics of Medjugorje. I would like to say one more thing about this message from another point of view. In this message Mary is calling upon us to build the new world with, and not without, God. She wishes us to take our strengths that God has given us, and to combine them with God. Only then will we become powerful. Otherwise, with our own strengths alone we are merely condemned to being dissatisfied and without joy. Precisely this is what all parents and all teachers of the young must come to know. Here now all we adults must pose the serious question of what it is that we all want of and from our children. One thing is certain. We all want our children to be happy, and that is one of deepest wishes in people's hearts. Even an unborn child wishes to be happy, and it is happy when its parents accept and expect it with joy and love. This wish and yearning to be happy follows us throughout our entire lives, yet all problems begin where we ought to be good. We want to be happy, but often we do not wish to be good. There are in truth two paths on which we can fulfill this wish. We cannot exist without our wish to be happy, but we can take the wrong methods and wrong paths on which we hope to become happy. Every word, every action, every egoism, every pride which is bound to different forms of dependencies wants precisely that, that we are happy. When someone takes drugs or alcohol, or lives without any morals; in truth, he only wishes to be happy. But these are the dead-end paths, those with sudden ends and no way out. Therefore, in all education it first of all must entail that we help the young to become good. In precisely this point we find the difficulty in all forms of raising the young. If we wish to help people to be good, then we must also teach them to be able to fight, not against the external powers in the world, but rather against that which we all carry within our own hearts. If we wish to become good people, then we must fight against pride, against jealousy, against selfishness, and against dependency on pleasures. This fight is not easy, and in its difficulty actually lasts throughout all our lives. It is good to mention here that the devil and all that is evil are untiring, as Mary herself once said in a message. When we are good and fight for what is good and then become tired, then the devil has already won. To go along the path with Mary means to be called upon by God. This fight to be good and fight for what is good is not without a purpose. The deepest purpose and the deepest wish inside our souls, we all know that that is what we all want. Becoming good and by creating the conditions for becoming happy -- happy in spirit, happy in soul, and happy in body -- are the ingredients for peace. The cooperation with God is our salvation, and our peace. All parents and all teachers, who work with all their strength for the children and young, must also know that that is the most beautiful when it is in cooperation with God the Creator. Good education is always very difficult, but it is the most beautiful work; because we through our efforts are helping to develop the gifts and talents that He has sown into every human heart. So may this message help us throughout this year to build upon our life, upon our family lives, upon our community lives, and upon this Church and this world with God. This will bring all of us satisfaction and joy, it that is worthwhile! Let us pray:
God, our Father, we thank You that You want what is good, and that Your will is our peace. We beg You, send us Your Holy Spirit so that we can think about our future, and that we with the same Spirit can live our lives in such a way that our future becomes Your future. We ask You, free us from all that was created in us without or against You. Forgive us that we so often wanted to form our lives without You. Forgive us that we have given too much trust to our own strengths that are so fragile. We bring to You our dissatisfactions and lack of joy, so that You will turn everything toward the good. With Mary, to whom this time belongs, we ask You that You give us the grace of prayer. Give us the grace that we become in union with You, and that we hunger for Your word. Bless all those who spread Your word in the Church -- the Pope, all Bishops, all Priests, all Cathecists and all Orders -- so that they all hunger for Your word, so that Your word becomes their nourishment and they can then lead the others to You. Fill our hearts with Your joy so that we can witness to Your love. With Mary we ask You to bless and protect us. Give us the grace to become new people, and give our families the grace that they can be healed, be reconciled and become new families. So too we ask the same of You for all Communities, the entire Church and the whole world. May we all work with You so that we are ready to build new times with You. Bless us, O Father, along with Your Son and Holy Spirit. May it be this way. Amen.
Medjugorje; January 28, 1997
Last Modified 01/30/97