Fr. Slavko's Reflections on the message of

MARCH 25, 1996: "Dear Children! I invite you to decide again to love God above all else. In this time when, due to the spirit of consumerism, one forgets what it means to love and to cherish true values, I invite you again, little children, to put God in the first place in your life. Do not let Satan attract you through material things but, little children, decide for God who is freedom and love. Choose life and not death of the soul, little children, and in this time when you meditate upon the suffering and death of Jesus, I invite you to decide for life which blossomed through the Resurrection and that your life may be renewed today through conversion that shall lead you to eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call."

I greet you all wholeheartedly on this Feast of the Annunciation -- the Feast when we remember Mary giving her "yes" to the Lord -- the Feast when Jesus became man through the word. Today was a large Feast for Medjugorje and we have a very large number of pilgrims here from all parts of the world. There are many Italians, many German, English and French speaking pilgrims and then large groups from the Czech Republic, from Poland, one from Hungary, one from Romania and then finally a great number of Croatians. Medjugorje lived this Feast as it had in the best years before the war. We can only be greatful that God through Mary calls and brings together so many people for prayer, for Mass and for Confession..

The four visionaries tell us that they still have the apparitions of Our Lady on a daily basis. Jacov and Vicka are here while Marija is in Italy and she and her two sons should be coming to Medjugorje for Easter. Ivan and his wife and daughter are at the moment in Australia and will be returning at the end of March. Mirjana and Ivanka continue having their annual meetings with Mary and so after 14 years and 9 months we still do not know how long these apparitions will last. Knowing this is not important while again trying every day to understand what God is telling us through Mary.

On March 18, Mirjana had her annual encounter with Our Lady. Many people had come for this occasion and therefore Mirjana decided to wait for the apparition in the tent behind the church. As Mirjana was praying with Our Lady for nonbelievers during her monthly experience on March 2, Our Lady had told Mirjana that she would be appearing at about 2:00 p.m. on March 18. Already at 12:30 there were many people in the tent waiting for the apparition in prayer. At 1:00 p.m. I led the Rosary as preparation for the apparition. Shortly before 2:00p.m. Mirjana told me that she had to start praying and so ended the Rosary and sang Salve Regina. By now Mirjana was already on her knees praying and then the ecstasy occurred. It was very touching to behold her face -- her joy, her smile, then the tears, then again her smile and more tears. The apparition lasted for six minutes and she gave the following message:

"Dear Children! In this message, which I give you through my servant, I desire for you to reflect a long time. My children, great is the love of God. Do not close your eyes, do not close your ears, while I repeat to you: Great is His Love! Hear my call and my supplication which I direct to you, consecrate your heart and make in it the home of the Lord. May He dwell in it forever. My eyes and my heart will be here, even when I will no longer appear. Act in everything as I ask you in leading you to the Lord. Do not reject from yourself the name of God, that you may not be rejected. Accept my messages that you may be accepted. Decide, little children, it is the time of decision. Be of just and innocent heart, that I may lead you to the Father, for this, that I am here, is His great love. Thank you for being here!"

We prayed Glory Be-s for those present and for those who have not yet come to know the love of God. We also spoke of other things, but I cannot speak of them. There was no talk of the secrets. Our Lady blessed all those present and all religious articles. At the beginning of the apparition, Our Lady was joyful and gentle. After that she was sad for a while and in the end again joyful. I, Mirjana, who saw and felt Our Lady's love, call you to truly reflect on and to live the messages!"
Medjugorje-Bijakovici: March 18, 1996

The core of Mary's message through Mirjana is that we should think about it's content -- the love of God and its greatness -- thoroughly and for a long time. She also tells us that when she no longer appears that she will be staying with us. We do not know what this means when it comes to the element of time, but she still tells us "my eyes and my heart" will be here. This not only means being with us here in Medjugorje, but with everyone who, no matter where they find themselves, have accepted her message. It is good, as Mary herself has told us, to read this message often and to reflect upon it. Then everyone of us, in his own way, will come to understand what this means.

I invite you to decide again to love God above all else

This is the first sentence that Our Lady gives us on the Feast of the Annunciation, and also two weeks before Easter. The Feast of the Annunciation in itself means a decision with love for God. Mary did it when she said: "Your will be done." She did not say: "I have understood it." but rather: "I believe, I trust and I love.. Therefore it is quite understandable that on this feast when she had said "yes", that she calls us to making the decision to love God above all else. With her decision, Mary in reality also risked her own life. She was to become a mother without being married, and it was this that she might have paid for with her life. A girl that became pregnant out of wedlock had to be stoned -- that was the custom in Israel. But had it gone that far, even then it would have turned toward the good because Mary loved God above all else. Only through love, can God come to us and remain in our hearts. Only through love, can our heart be prepared for the Annunciation and then for becoming human and this happened because Mary loved God above everything. Jesus was always the center of her life. As a Jewish girl, she awaited the Messiah, and after the Annunciation she certainly understood that she was the chosen Virgin who should give birth to Jesus, to the Messiah, to the Savior. She loved and this was the key that made it possible for Jesus to enter her heart and there become man. In the next sentence....

In this time when, due to the spirit of consumerism, one forgets what it means to love and to Cherish true values...

...Mary touches upon a great problem in the world, and at the same time offers us a solution to it. The spirit of consumerism only knows the material, only knows money and enjoyment; and through this, the spirit of consumerism can also lead to destruction. It really is that through the materialistic spirit we can no longer love and in truth have lost all our values. It already suffices to think about how many people destroy their lives through drugs and alcohol, how many people kill the unborn life, how many people no longer even in the slightest way give value to truth, love, justice and life, but only their money, their success, that which they think and that which they need. Such a situation is really a blindness. When we have forgotten or no longer know what it means to love, when we no longer recognize the true values, then it is said that we are blind. It is for this reason that Mary offers us the solution...

I invite you again, little children, to put God in the first place in your life

On this Feast of the Annunciation we may once again think about what happened in Paradise. Adam and Eve allowed themselves to be misled by the beauty of the apple. They decided to open their hearts to temptation and to close it to God. Whatever happened there to Adam and Eve, they decided against God and therefore God was no longer in the first place in their lives. In allowing themselves to sin and that which now separated them from the others, they had forgotten what it means to love and to trust, and thereby they could no longer cherish true values. To put God in the first place in our life means to decide for life, for love, for mercy, for the light, for the way and for the truth. It is only for our own good to decide for God and to give Him the first place in our life. God does not come to rule, but to serve. he comes to us as bread, as the word, as the truth and as life, but before we can give Him the first place in our life, we must decide to fight against the false Gods and the idols in our lives and in the world.

Do not let Satan attract you through material things

This is not easy because Satan attempts to attract and to speak to us through material things. When someone only thinks about money or about his own eating, drinking and enjoyment, when a person only considers the bodily needs, when someone only lives through his body, he then is attracted to the material and has made of himself a slave of it. he has, if not already destroyed himself, brought himself closer to destruction. Again, that is why Mary tells us to...

Decide for God who is freedom and love

When we open our hearts to the material things of this world, then we must fight, then we are tempted to behave selfishly, unjustly, with envy and destructively. But when we have decided for God, we will possibly even get more out of certain material things, but we will have freedom and peace. The slavery of the soul first of all causes the inner conflicts of the heart, and then in the family, in the Church and in the whole world. Whoever is free is able to love, and whoever loves is free! God can give only this freedom and this love when we allow Him to take the first place in our life. The decision for God who is love and freedom is a huge intention that we may never neglect, because wherever love and freedom are missing, there lack of freedom and hate reigns. neither the one nor the other are worthy of the human being. This is why Mary tells us that when we decide for God we will have within our hearts the deepest human and Christian values -- freedom and love. St. Paul admonishes us in the Letter to the Galatians that we should not make use of freedom for what is bad and evil, but rather to serve in love. Mary as mother calls upon us and says...

Choose life and not the death of the soul

If we decide for God then there will be life because God is life. If we decide knowingly or unknowingly for sin, then we will cause the death of our soul. Life is what the human soul seeks in the deepest core of his soul -- not death. How often do people neglect their soul and their spirit and only have time and energy for the material things -- to have more, to enjoy more and to be stronger. This, however, is always the death of the soul. Our yearning does not want death, rather it wants life. Mary, as mother of the living, tells us very clearly that we choose life and not death: and when we have made this decision, we belong to her and not to death and not to evil. Then we belong to the truth and not to the lie, to peace and not to lack of peace. Naturally during the entire time of her apparitions and her presence among us, she wishes to help us to decide for life. And during this specific time of Lent this is also a renewed impulse for us. Mary reminds us of...

This time when you meditate upon the suffering and death of Jesus

...and this suffering and this death are a call for us...

...To decide for life which blossomed through the resurrection

This is the result of life with God. We decide for life. Jesus suffers and dies so that we decide for the Resurrection, that we decide for life. It is so important that we in the remaining two weeks before Easter think about this. Jesus suffers and dies. He has no fear because He loves us, and where there is love there is no room for fear. Jesus had no fear to suffer or even to die because He loved, because He loved every life of every person so much that He was ready to die for every one of us. So when one knows that someone was willing to die for us, then it is easier for us to decide for life. This call is so very important for everyone and especially so for the youth of the world, for those who suffer in body and soul, for the persecuted and for the sick -- so important because so many decide for death. The Pope calls upon us to accept the culture of life and to overcome the culture of death, and the Resurrection and the Feast of Easter are the best and the only sign that life does not get wasted but that it resurrects -- that it can blossom. Conversion, to which Mary also in this message calls us by saying...

That your life may be renewed today through conversion that shall lead you to eternal life

All that we do serves the same thing -- eternal life. Naturally, if during this Lent we say "yes" and do what Mary requests of us, if we do what Mary tells us, then the Feast of the Annunciation will truly become a real encounter with Jesus. This real encounter with Him will then give us peace, joy and the strength for the constant decision for life, for the decision to help the others to protect life -- the unborn as well as the born. To live life in the light of eternity is the message for all of us. When we know that we live eternally, when we really know with the heart that death does not have the last word, when we can believe that love is stronger than hate, hope stronger than hopelessness and distrust, then we will also decide entirely for this life. Then it will not be difficult for us to convert, to fight for inner freedom, to grow in love, in faith and in trust because all of us wish for eternal life, as well as a taste of it while still here on earth. So in this message Mary called upon us not merely to prepare ourselves for the coming Feast of Easter, but also for eternal life -- for the Eternal Easter! This is for what our soul yearns.

I thank you that you expect and read Mary's message with patience, that you think about it, that you, at the end of the month, will know what God wanted to say to you personally through Mary in this message.

God, our Father, we thank You for Your love and that You love us immeasurably. We know that we are not worthy of it, but Your love is great. We do not wish to close our eyes and ears to it. We ask You, give us the grace and reveal to us Your love. Give us the strength to encounter You in freedom and love, because You are freedom and love. We thank You that You are life and that You wish to help us to decide for life, for life in love and freedom of our soul. Thank You that You wish to give us the strength to forsake the death of the soul. Give us the grace, O Father, that we can, through the suffering and death of your Son, Jesus Christ, come closer to real life. Give us the grace that our life, those in our families, those in the Church and in the whole world, all those who suffer, those who are persecuted or wounded, those who are sick, those who are poor may all blossom. Give us the grace that we convert and that we through our conversion can reach eternal life with the intercession of Mary, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

May God bless everyone with His peace. May God give everyone His Easterly Peace. In thanking You, Jesus, for Your suffering and death, may we also ask You to transform our suffering, all the suffering in our families, among the sick in the whole world, so that all of us can have an idea of what You have prepared for those who love You. Give us the grace that we can prepare ourselves well for the Feast of Easter and that we along with You will reach Eternity, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Fr. Slavko, Medjugorje
March 25, 1996

Last Modified 04/25/96