Fr. Slavko's Reflections on the message of
APRIL 25, 1996 "Dear Children! Today I invite you again to put prayer in the first place in your families. Little children, when God is in the first place, then you will, in all that you do, seek the will of God. In this way your daily conversion will become easier. Little children, seek with humility that which is not in order in your hearts, and you will understand what you have to do. Conversion will become a daily duty that you will do with joy. Little children, I am with you, I bless you and I invite you to become my witnesses by prayer and personal conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call."
I greet and wish you all that easterly joy and peace may rule in your hearts. Since the last message of March, Medjugorje has come alive as in the best months in the years before the war. There are always more and more pilgrims from all over the world and at this moment we have pilgrims from Australia, Korea, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Norway, England, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, Italy, USA, Mauritius, Reunion and even the Easter Islands. So the entire world is represented here in these days. Today on April 25, 1996, Masses were celebrated in ten languages -- Korean, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovakian, Hungarian, German, English, French, Italian and Flemish -- and that is a very full schedule. We can only say; Thank the Lord!
Regarding the visionaries, the daily apparitions are still being given to the four visionaries -- Vicka, Jacov and Ivan who are in Medjugorje and Marija who is living in Italy. Vicka, Jacov, Ivan and Mirjana are very active and speak to the pilgrims daily. Ivan, since he returned from the U.S. and Australia, comes to the church every evening and awaits the apparition in the Chapel of Adoration. Vicka and Jacov as well as Marija have the apparitions at home.
Here, dear reader, I wish to remind you of the message of March 25. In it Mary called upon us to love God above all else and to think about it in depth whether we know how to love and still recognize the true values. She invited us so often to place God in the first place in our hearts with love and freedom. She also invited us to decide for the life rather than the death of the soul. I hope that we have not forgotten her wish and that we have come to know better what it means to love, what our values are -- meaning the true values -- and especially that we have decided for life. Therefore we again wish to ask these questions: Do I really know what it means to love? Did perhaps my pride or my egoism or any selfishness or my dependencies either hinder me from or did people with their behavior possibly distract me from love and the true values? Our measurement should not be the behavior of others, but rather that of Jesus Himself. For the we should really pray.
Today it is exactly 14 years and 10 months since Mary began to appear here, and therefore we still have two months until the 15th Anniversary. In this message Mary again reminded us of her first and fundamental wishes or messages. Again she insists that we again...
PUT PRAYER IN THE FIRST PLACE IN YOUR FAMILIES
Were on to ask oneself why Mary repeats herself so often, then we probably already have the answer to this in this message. Mary does not appear here to reveal something new to us, but rather to show us what we are supposed to do. If she again reminds us in this message of family prayer, then those who are praying in their families can with joy and gratitude say: "Ah, thank God, we are praying." But certainly many families will, through this message, again experience a renewed call and a new impulse to decide to do so. It is sadly true that prayer no longer happens in many Catholic families. When someone says, "everyone is praying for us", often it is the parents who do not pray in the families. But one must really remain realistic and know that when the parents do not organize prayer in the families, then the children will never pray. All parents should know that when they do not bring prayer to their children and do not pray with them, then it is very difficult to expect the children to be able to decide for prayer. To put prayer in the first place means to have room for it at the beginning of the day, during the day as well as in the evening. To place prayer at the first place does not mean not to work any more, but rather to remain very conscious to create time for prayer. In the last message Mary invited us to give God in freedom and love the first place in our hearts, and in this message she tells us that...
WHEN GOD IS IN THE FIRST PLACE, THEN YOU WILL, IN ALL THAT YOU DO, SEEK THE WILL OF GOD
The primary intention and fundamental decision is our prayers and should after all be to seek the will of God -- knowing that God's will is the best for us. God is unable to wish anything but the very, very best for His children. When God is really playing an important role in our life, then we will always seek His will. Still it happens all too easily to us that we become distrustful toward God the Father's will and that we for that reason stop seeking it. But every time this happens then something truly terrible has happened to the person. When a person follows and then acts purely by his own will, then he can only end up in a dead-end of hate, of destruction, of the dependencies in this world and this is always a great loss. A person can only live when he gives God as the light, the truth and the way the first place in his heart. When we then work on this we can begin to start speaking about daily conversion. It is not difficult when a person finds an impulse or a motivation for that which he does. When we have once discovered that God's will is really the best for us, then we will also realize that it is...
IN THIS WAY YOUR DAILY CONVERSION WILL BECOME EASIER
It really is worth it to fight against evil, against sin and to engage oneself for all that is good. This is the deepest meaning of conversion. So with conversion it does not only mean that we free ourselves of all that is evil, but also that we grow. When we again think of the message of March when Our Lady asked of us in freedom and love to open our hearts to God, then we know that conversion is when we know why we are praying and fasting. If we forget that through love and freedom that we can find peace, then prayer, fasting, Mass and Confession will become very difficult for us. The motivation to do so is after all very important. The will of God is the best for us and therefore conversion will become easier, and conversion means to always seek and to accept God's will. Here we may even behave egoistically. Through conversion our Life will, regarding ourselves as well as the others, become easier. When the work upon ourselves becomes difficult, then it probably means that we have forgotten why we should change. Mary then says...
SEEK WITH HUMILITY THAT WHICH IS NOT IN ORDER IN YOUR HEARTS
and it is through humility that....
YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
In this regard humility is perhaps presented to us in a way that we can look at our lives in God's light. Our assignment in this message is very clear. We should look for what is not in order in our lives and to do this, humility will help us. Pride, selfishness, jealousy and all other negative feelings, as well as all the dependencies in this world, those on ourselves, on the material and on others, will all hinder us to see what is not in order in our lives. So to discover what we should change in ourselves is really that which then saves us. It is really sad when we fail to know what is not in order because then we will also not know what we are meant to do. When we here think of the Saints of the Church, then we know that they were all very aware that they had to start fresh every day and that they were meant to change something every day. Conversion, let us repeat, does not only mean to fight against evil and all that is sinful, but also that we work upon continuing to grow. In this way then...
CONVERSION WILL BECOME A DAILY DUTY THAT YOU WILL DO WITH JOY
Certainly it is not always so easy to fight against evil, but when we come to do it very consciously, we also have joy in our hearts. Joy is really the inner strength with which can begin every day anew. If we here think a little more specifically, we can say this. Every day must really end with the evening, so that the next day can begin. If someone hurt us yesterday and we have not forgiven him, then we cannot begin the new day, then we stay behind the barricade of yesterday; but then again when we know why we ought to convert, then we do this duty of daily conversion with joy. It is truly a joy when someone converts, this meaning that he frees himself from evil, from sin and from bad habits and then, as a free person, can love himself, the others, nature and God Himself above all else. It is truly a joy when we can see in ourselves that we are becoming different, better and more joyful people! Mary in this message again tells us...
LITTLE CHILDREN, I AM WITH YOU
The length of these apparitions can so easily lead us to different fantasies. People become tempted to see into the future and this is not good; while the only thing that is important is that we understand what it is that needs to be done today, and that we then do it. Mary is with us in order to help us and...
I BLESS YOU
From its Latin root, this means "bene dicere" or to speak good about someone and to thereby engage oneself for the other. A blessing is not a magical formula, but rather a decision in life to do good for the others as well as for oneself. Mary needs witnesses and she also tells us how...
TO BECOME MY WITNESSES BY PRAYER AND PERSONAL
...experience. Prayer is the most often conveyed message that Mary has until today given us throughout all her many messages. Prayer is the encounter with God -- God who is love and freedom and God who is the way, the life, the light and the truth. When we are in union with Him in prayer, then we will also discover that it is also possible to love and therein to become better in this world. Every conversion is a personal...
We are often tempted to seek only the conversion in others, yet conversion can only be a personal one. Mary is already appearing here for almost 15 years, and yet again she calls us to become her witnesses. A witness is the one who decides to stand against evil, the one who decides to stand against sin and the mentality of the world, and who seeks and then does something different with God's power. Everything that we do, the good and the bad, is not our private matter, but rather everything that we do has social consequences and therein influences the others. For this reason, when we who read this message become aware that our life serves the formation of the family, the community and the Church, then we will go about it with greater courage. When we also have understood that sin and all the bad that we do also destroys the family, the community and the Church, then we will have more strength to decide against everything that is evil in order offer it much resistance. Mary needs witnesses and we can become these witnesses. The love of God should heal and thereby move us that we do everything untiringly in only seeking His will. Mary often told us that she alone can do nothing, but that she needs us, needs our families and needs prayer groups in this time. Only when we love and only when we forgive can we become true witnesses to Mary's presence among us, and this is the core of everything! Here I wish to thank you that you have found an answer to Mary's message in your lives. Everyone who personally begins to pray, begins to convert and begins with family prayer, gives witness to God who is with us.
Father, give us the grace that we may decide for personal prayer and for prayer in the first place in our families. Give all of us the inner freedom and love so that You can have the first place in our hearts, so that we then can then untiringly seek Your will and do everything that You expect of us. Father, give us the strength to convert every day and forgive us that we, discouraged and fearful, have so often stopped on this path. Give us the strength to look at our lives in Your light, and give us the humility that we with humility will discover what is not in order in our hearts. Give us also the strength to do that we know we ought to do. We now especially ask You for the grace that conversion may become a joy for us, that we may never forget why we must change and that we always do something with ourselves with joy. Father, give us the grace that we all may discover with all our hearts that You are truly among us, that Mary is coming to us and is, in Your name, blessing and inviting us to prayer and personal conversion. Give us the strength that we may become good witnesses for You, and we thank You that you are a loving God and that You give each of us the repeated chance to decide for life. Let it be this way, and give us the strength to live in a way that we may become worthy of Mary's words when she says:
THANK YOU FOR HAVING RESPONDED TO MY CALL
Father, send upon us your Holy Spirit so that we from day to day may enter into Your Eucharistic Presence among us more and more. Give us the grace to announce You more and more among the others. O Mary, we thank you that you are here with us and that you are ready to help us to become witnesses of love and thereby witnesses of the Father. Lord Jesus Christ, send us Your Holy Spirit so that we through You and in You may find peace. Amen
Fr. Slavko, Medjugorje
April 25, 1996
Last Modified 04/30/96