Fr. Slavko's Commentary
REFLECTION ON THE MESSAGE OF MAY 25, 1997
Today I invite you to glorify God and for the name of God to be holy in your hearts and in your life. Little children, when you are in the holiness of God He is with you and will give you peace and joy which comes only from God through prayer. That is why, little children, renew prayer in your families and your heart will glorify the holy name of God and Heaven will reign in your heart. I am close to you and I intercede for you before God. Thank you for having responded to my call."
First a warm greeting to those who will be reading this reflection, and let us begin by again remembering what Mary told us in the message of April. There she called upon us to be united with God the Creator so that our life has meaning. Mary also told us why she is with us and that is because God sends her to us out of love so that she may help us to comprehend that without Him there is no future, joy, or eternal salvation. She also called us to leave sin and to accept prayer at all times so that we may, in prayer, come to know the meaning of life, and finally that God gives Himself to him who seeks Him. We must be aware that Mary in that message told us what we also heard so often in the Gospel after Easter, and especially in the one after Ascension Day. Jesus prayed that we may become one with Him, as He is one with the Father, and that all those who believe in Him will also be one among themselves. Our deepest nature seeks God and yearns for Him as children do for their parents. Unity with God is the condition that we then can find the purpose of life, that we have joy and a future, and finally also eternal life. Without God who is our way, our truth and our light, there exists of course no future. That many people live in fear today, all the way into depression, that many, and especially the young, have lost the purpose of life is easily explained in that it is like a cry for God, from darkness a cry for light, from hatred a cry for love, from inner lack of freedom a cry for freedom, and from death a cry for life. It is very important here to ask ourselves again whether we have left sin, for sin separates us from others as well as from God. The reason for sin is pride, and pride means to reject God and His law, to then create a life with one's own regulations and thereby to bring oneself, the others and the entire world into danger. Pride is the rejection of God and humility, which Mary wishes to teach us, is to accept God. Humility means to have the courage to serve and to cooperate with God. When God tells us to forgive, then the humble one will say, "God, You know that it is difficult, but when You ask it of me then I will do it." When God tells us to love, the humble one will say, "God, You know how difficult it is to love in this world, but when You ask it of me I will love everyone, even my worst enemies." The question that we must constantly ask ourselves is what it is that hinders us from seeking God. This, then again, is pride that rejects God, and the humble know that they need God, and they simply look for Him. This is the condition for God to give Himself to us. I hope that we during this time continue to seek God constantly, and that we leave everything that hinders us from doing so.
Vicka, Mirjana, Ivan and Jacov are here in the village. Ivan and his family returned from the US end of April and, like all the others, speaks with pilgrims daily. Ivanka is of course preparing for her annual encounter with Our Lady. Marija is in Italy but sent us this message from Scotland where she had spent a weekend of prayer with many people. All are doing well and in their simplicity are sharing Mary's messages that have come to them now for 15 years and 11 months.
Medjugorje is full of people from all over the world. At the moment we have a group of Orthodox from Romania, then also pilgrims from Hungary, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, all English speaking countries including Canada, and a group of 200 from Brazil, as well as groups from Australia and New Zealand, and a few days ago a group returned home to South Africa. Meugorje lives on and the other day we had three Bishops here from Uganda who, before they left, gave us an interview in which all three told us that Meugorje is an inspiration for prayer, for renewal of faith and that they will return home with new impulses for what they, as Priests, will be saying to their faithful. I would here like to emphasize, concerning our many visitors, that we had one pilgrim here, Dr. Andreas Resch, from Innsbruck, Austria, who has his own Institut for things that happen, so to say, "on the edge", and therefore the mystical, the psychological, the parapsychological and, in general, all paranormal occurrences. He also teaches in Rome at the Alphonsianum. In a discussion about Meugorje and apparitions he told us, "If we accept Lourdes as the town of healing, and Fatima as the town of penance, then we can say, without problems, that Meugorje is the town of inner peace." Regarding the visionaries, he said that the simplicity of the messages, the clarity with which they speak about the apparitions as well as the consistency with which they have, over 15 years and 11 months, spoken about their experiences, all speak for the authenticity of their experiences as visionaries. He also emphasized the worldwide responsibility shown by the Priests and all the pilgrims because so very many impulses have gone out into the world from here. In his recent 15 volume work he also speaks about Meugorje based upon the scientific results. In short, he is entirely positive and sees everything with his scientific eyes and has no problems to accept Meugorje as both a scientist as well as a believer. In this month's message, Mary really expresses the same thoughts that she did in April.
I INVITE YOU TO GLORIFY GOD
This again has to do with seeking God and that God gives Himself to him who looks for Him, but especially in being united with God and in leaving behind all sin. What does the call to glorify God really mean? We can glorify God through our words and our deeds. God placed in us the Divine seeds. We can grow in love, in peace, in faith, in hope, in truth, in honesty, and in goodness, so when we are with Him we can let all these fruits grow in our lives, these fruits after which we all yearn. Because every person expects to be accepted, loved, respected, protected by others, he also expects to stay in simple and true contact with them. These are the fruits that we expect from the others and the others expect the same from us. When we are in contact with God in prayer, then God will give us the grace and the conditions that these seeds in us need so that they will then grow and bear fruit. So every person who loves, has peace and hope, is honest and lives in truth, thinks of others and especially of the small, the poor, the abandoned, does, with every deed, glorify, praise and give honor to God. Especially parents should understand this well. When a child in some particular area brings home good results, then the parents will also be happy and through it also be honored. Every father and mother will become very conscious that that son or daughter is theirs. So through the good that children do, the parents also receive honor, and it is the same way with God. He gave us wonderful gifts and He then is also honored when people see these gifts in us. And Jesus also said that when people see our good deeds they are also glorifying God. But when the child is not doing well, is doing badly, then the parents will not get up and say, "this is our son" or "this is our daughter", and it is the same with God. When we are bad or without love, when we live in hate and destroy one another, then we cannot glorify God. Before we address a very important question concerning Mary's message, I remember very clearly a discussion with a person who had left the Church and who found negative things to say about everyone, about the Bishop, about the Priests, about the Parishioners, and no longer wanted anything at all to do with the Church. When he had expressed all his anger about the Church, I tried to point him toward all that is right and that is good in the Church, but I remained unsuccessful. Then, at one point, I again spoke up and mentioned that he had to accept something and that was that certainly Mother Teresa and her mission were something good in the Church and for the whole world. There he quickly agreed and even said that he believed in God, believed in her love and her work, but that he still couldn't believe in the Church of the others. The question we must pose is what picture of God do we ourselves show? What do people think about the God in whom we believe? Is He a God of love, of mercy, of goodness, of peace, or is He, through our behavior, another and therefore untrue God? When we, through our words and our deeds, show a good and true picture of God, then the others will also more easily find this only true God. St. Paul told us at several points in his letters to do everything here for the glory of God. This means when we eat and drink, when we work or sleep, when we pray or do anything, that everything can be turned into the glory of God. Mary then wishes that...
THE NAME OF GOD TO BE HOLY IN YOUR HEARTS AND IN YOUR LIFE
When we really pray, and when we speak or do good, we are in fact showing that the name of God is holy. But it is also important when Mary says "in our hearts and in our life". Here we can also touch upon another problem, and one that is constantly to be found in the Bible. When God, through the prophets, says that "this people praise me with their lips, but their heart is far from me" or when the prophet says, "you come into the Temple to pray or to bring offerings, yet when you return home, you continue with the same injustice as before", so primarily with a clean and humble heart can God be glorified and His name may become holy. But from there deeds must also come forth with which we glorify God, and of this St. James spoke very clearly. He wanted to see deeds and then, through those, to be able to see that faith was there too, but he rejected faith without deeds. Jesus had the strongest disagreement with those who with their lips gave glory to God, but who in their relationships with the others were not the way that God wanted them to be. The one who prays and fasts but who also judges the others or says that he believes but is not ready to help and to see Jesus in the poor is a Pharisee. Jesus said many sharp words about the Pharisees. It is certainly also true that we find it easier to see what we are supposed to do than to receive the strength to then also do it. St. Paul had the same problem when he said that he felt two laws in his life -- the one that he found to be good but did not follow, and the one that he knew was not good but did follow. "Spare me the poor person, but thank God for the one who saves me in Jesus Christ." When we first of all know that we praise and honor God in our hearts and then try, through our deeds and our relationships with the others, also to honor Him, while remembering clearly our own weaknesses, this is also the way we can rescue ourselves from being Pharisees. But when we stay at the level of our lips, but change nothing in our relationships toward the others, then we are Pharisees. When we attempt to glorify God and to make His name holy among us, then we stay and are in God's holiness in everything that we do. When we remain in contact with Him in this way, and are...
IN THE HOLINESS OF GOD HE IS WITH YOU AND WILL GIVE YOU PEACE AND JOY WHICH COMES ONLY FROM GOD THROUGH PRAYER
Those who believe in God, meaning those who have entrusted their hearts and all their lives to Him, will and, in another way, MUST live in peace. Someone who has too much fear or who has no joy in life at all has the best proof there is that he is not living in God's holiness. This does not, however, mean that we cannot be sad or temporarily lose our peace, but if it concerns a constant lack of an inner peace, then there is something wrong inside of us. Jesus also spoke of the joy that one can have when one is suffering or carrying one's cross. This is most certainly a great lesson for us, but certainly when God says it is possible, then it will be possible. The more a situation in our lives pushes us away from joy, the more we need to pray and to fast, and then we will get the strength to overcome all possible situations with peace and with joy. Mary continues with...
RENEW PRAYER IN YOUR FAMILIES
How often has she called upon us to pray? In these 16 years it has been uncountable times that she has repeated this. Have we personally really begun to pray more? Have we begun to pray more in the families and in the prayer-groups? If yes, then we should consciously thank God for having given us the grace to do so. Yet, if we have not yet begun or have in the meantime again become tired, then it is good to again renew doing so. In these 16 years of Meugorje it is certain that very many people have come to the decision to pray, to fast, to go to Mass and Confession and to read the Bible regularly, and I hope that many will also continue to do so, but there are just as many who have yet to begin and yet others who for any reason might have become tired. The 16th Anniversary that is coming closer to us now will again give us new impulses to renew the life that we had promised, and so we will certainly also glorify God as well as Mary, as the Queen of Peace, who is helping us here. If we do what she asks of us in our families then...
YOUR HEART WILL GLORIFY THE HOLY NAME OF GOD AND...Mary promises us that...
HEAVEN WILL REIGN IN YOUR HEART
Heaven is, of course, the place of God's presence, the place of peace, love and understanding, and the place for which every human heart yearns. I remember when someone once asked Marija what people really did in Heaven. She answered that in Heaven one thanks God with joy for all that He did for us while we did not notice or see what was happening. And for this we need eternity because God's love for us is that great! So a heart in which Heaven reigns means a heart where gratitude exists, and gratitude is a behavior in which we recognize God in all that we have and then very consciously realize that it has come to us out of His love. Then it only follows that we thank Him, and giving thanks is the most wonderful fruit of faith. When we become grateful to God and grateful to the others around us, because people do so much good for us, then we will also have peace. At the end Mary then says...
I AM CLOSE TO YOU AND I INTERCEDE FOR YOU BEFORE GOD
It is said often, and I repeat it here, Mary has not brought us any new messages here in Meugorje, for everything that she has told us during these 16 years is simply out of the Gospels, and from the practices and traditions of the Church. Still there is one new message here in Meugorje and that is simply the extraordinary presence of Our Lady here with us. Without this daily extraordinary presence of Mary's one can simply not explain Meugorje! All the pilgrims who come here are, above all else, coming here due her extraordinary presence. And when they arrive here, they begin to pray, to fast, to go to Mass and to Confession. There is no other impulse for people to come to Meugorje other than this extraordinary presence of Mary's. When we remember what people said who did not accept Mary's presence, then we will think of the Communists who said that it concerned a counter-revolution, and then someone tried to explain it all through drugs or some psychological illness. Then the Franciscans were accused for creating all this out of greed for money, but still one simply cannot explain Meugorje through drugs, illness or money. Rather it is a great grace which God has offered us so that we may return to Him for inner peace, and we should truly thank Him repeatedly for these 16 years. We might suggest that this month should become a month of gratitude toward God for having sent Mary to us. Like she told us in April, "God sends me to you out of love, so that I may help you to comprehend that without Him there is no future or joy and, above all, there is no eternal salvation." Let us pray and express gratitude:
God, our Almighty Father, we all very consciously thank You during this month that You are our God, that You are our Father, that You sent us Your Son to save us, that You sent us Your Spirit so that He may make us holy. We thank You, O Father, for having revealed to us Your holy name, and that You gave us the opportunity to grow in love, in faith, in hope, in goodness, in truth and in peace, and in this way can glorify You. We thank You that You permitted us to live in Your Glory and in Your presence and in so doing have given us Your love and joy. We thank You that You have sent us Mary who untiringly visits us from day to day in Your name, and who prays for us. We thank You that You have made Your presence, through her presence with us, more clear. We ask You for the grace that we may become and then remain one with her and with You, and that nothing may separate us from You. We ask You for the grace that we may glorify Your name in our families, in our Communities and in the entire world. We thank you for every word that You, through Mary, have told us during these 16 years. May we and all those who have come here during these 16 years praise and thank You for her extraordinary presence among us. We thank You for all those who will still come here seeking and then finding You here in Medjugorje through Mary. We thank you for all those who have found inner peace here, and those who have been healed in body and in soul. But please forgive us for when we faltered, for when we became blind or deaf toward Your love and signs of Your love. Open our eyes, open our hearts, and we ask You please to bless the visionaries so that they may do their assignments here in this world according to Your will. Bless this Parish and all the Priests and Sisters who live and work here. Bless all pilgrims and all the Priests who arrive with them, who in turn untiringly hear Confessions and then share their own testimonies. Bless all those who pray in their families and have formed prayer-groups. Bless all those who, through Medjugorje, have decided for the Priesthood or for religious life. Bless, O Father, also those who on the material level have helped the refugees, the injured and the orphans of the war. Bless and accompany us so that we during this time can, along with Mary, glorify You as our God who loves us. We thank You and with Mary, the Queen of Peace, ask You to bless all those who are still against Medjugorje as being a place of peace and so that we may soon become one in Your Spirit that lives and reigns in eternity. Amen.
Meugorje; May 29, 1997
Last Modified 05/31/97