Fr. Slavko's Commentary
Reflection on the Message of August 25, 1998
"Dear Children! Today I invite you to come still closer to me through prayer. Little children, I am your mother, I love you and I desire that each of you be saved and thus be with me in Heaven. That is why, little children, pray, pray, pray until your life becomes prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call."
I greet all those who are following our Lady's messages and as before I want us first to remember the message of July 25. Mary called upon us to meet Jesus through prayer and in this meeting with Him to discover the beauty of God's creatures. I believe we must again emphasize that it here concerns a fruit of prayer when we come discover that which is good and beautiful. God the Father, as we pray in the Creed, creates through Jesus Christ because through Him everything is created. That which God has created is good and beautiful. So in our prayer life with Jesus something -- the good and the beautiful -- has to be discovered. And the same in the lives of the others and in all of nature. Mary does not call us to close our eyes to what is bad but to open our eyes to what is good. Our situation, in general terms, is that TV, newspapers, radio are all filling our ears with bad news and our eyes with pictures of catastrophes, violence, accidents and so forth. Whether we want it or not, consciously or unconsciously, the bad enters our hearts, our souls, and we react badly and fail to see what is good. We ourselves are always in danger of seeing only what is bad and no longer what is good. Remember, for instance, when we are with our friends and we speak about another person. What did we emphasize, the bad or the good? We are all also in danger of remembering what was bad more clearly than what was good. Here, I believe, it is always good that we often pray for the healing of our memories, because the bad that we have experienced can so easily suffocate and even hide that which was good that we constantly remain in that which was bad and thereby stay stuck in it. We all have had experiences with envy such as when we have discovered what is good in others that we do not always react with joy, but rather a need comes up in us to negate, destroy or explain that which is good in another person as being something else. For instance when someone does something good we might have the tendency to say: "Oh, he is making himself big." or "He wishes to be seen or wishes to be praised." With such ideas or words we destroy that which is good. Often it has happened to us that when we have seen something good or something better among the others, that we have not had joy about that which is good but rather become sad, nervous or even aggressive about what is good in the other person. Sometimes it is easier to pray a lot than to see and to recognize something that is good in another person. All conflicts, and especially so within the families, begin where we no longer see what is good but rather seek what is bad and then begin to start speaking and finally touching upon what is bad. The beginning of peace and of being able to live with one another is when we discover what is good in one another and to recognize it even when it is bad. And if someone now thinks that someone with whom he is living has nothing good inside him, then I assure you that something good has remained in him, that he can become good, and that he is waiting for our help. This is what Mary -- Mary who looks at us as our mother -- is teaching us, and that is why we must pray that we may meet and look upon ourselves and all others in the same way that Mary meets us and looks upon us. It is especially important that we go into silence and meet with Jesus there, and the reason that we often do not change speaks for the fact that we have not met with Jesus' love. Here I do not speak of guilt in this matter but rather of the opportunity of doing so, but the condition for a change is the meeting with Jesus. And for this we must also pray.
At the moment Vicka, Jacov, Marija, Ivan, Ivanka are here at home with their families, while Mirjana is in Italy with hers. Of these three, Jacov, Marija and Ivan are having their daily apparitions and Vicka, since mid July, is again experiencing a break in her apparitions until September 7. There are many pilgrims here in Medjugorje at the moment and when we look back we have had many, many more pilgrims this year than last. The amount of pilgrims from East European countries seems to be growing from day to day.
I wish to report quickly on our Youth Prayer Festival that went from July 31 until August 6. We estimate that between 6 and 7,000 youth came for the event and who participated in the whole program, but the evening Masses throughout that week were all attended by between 12 to 15,000 people. All those who spoke with us spoke well and in important ways -- Fr. Andreas Gasparini, Fr. Johannes Buob, Don Cosimo Cavalluzzo, Sr. Elvira, and Fr. Jozo. Three evenings deserve special mention. We had a large Eucharistic Procession with much of the Parish one evening, while on another evening the young men from Sr. Elvira's Community put on a musical spectacle called THE SPIRIT OF GOD TRIUMPHS OVER THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD. They presented everything in a really masterly way and many were deeply touched by their production. And the last evening the youth sang songs in 20 languages in honor of Our Lady. It was very beautiful and enriching to hear how the many nations expressed their piety in their songs.
In this message Mary is once again calling us to prayer. In the first sentence...
TODAY I INVITE YOU TO COME STILL CLOSER TO ME THROUGH PRAYER
...she is addressing a very large subject when it comes to prayer. Prayer is the means with which we come closer to God and to her. Every person has a deep yearning to be near to the one whom he loves and by whom he is loved. The most difficult situation for a person is when he is separated from those who love him, or when something bothers him and it becomes difficult to come closer to those he loves. One thing is clear and that is that Mary is our mother, and her wish and her yearning is to be near to us as every mother would and especially so when we are in difficulties. The problem is in us, whether the yearning for Mary's proximity is alive within us, and whether this yearning moves us or has something else taken the space in our hearts so that we can no longer get through all the valleys and mountains? The deep yearning for a proximity always remains in us, and our heart always wishes to be near to God and near to Mary. One can say this because every heart yearns for peace, for love, for joy, and for trust. Mary is our mother who can give us this peace, love, joy and trust because she is so very close to God. Thank God, many people who have come here to Medjugorje feel this proximity. It then gives them the strength for their lives and gives them the continued wish to pray, to fast, to attend Mass, and to deepen this proximity and thus, as Mary says, to come even closer to her. In this same message she again says...
I AM YOUR MOTHER
One can only understand and explain Medjugorje when one accepts that it is she who is appearing, and by the way she speaks to us and calls upon us. Mary became our mother by way of her great suffering, because from the Cross Jesus told her, "This is your son" and to His friend, the Apostle John, He said, "This is your mother". And with this remark He meant for all of us. Whoever stands firm in suffering knows also how to love. And therefore Mary says...
AND I LOVE YOU
Her love, say the visionaries, is unbelievable. When she is here, when she speaks, when she is praying, when she warns, when she calls it is so loving that one cannot express it with words. I remember when Marija Pavlovic brought us the message in which Our Lady gave us the message: "I love you immeasurably", and the visionary was crying because she was unable to convey the message. The problem was clear, for she could say the words in the name of Mary, "I love you immeasurably", but she was unable to convey this depth of love. But when we follow and then are with Mary and her Son in prayer, then our hearts will most certainly feel this love and through this love be freed of all that is evil, be healed of wounds, and then in a heart that knows that it is loved, peace, trust and security become possible. This then is also the reason that we can come to understand the next words of this message.
I DESIRE THAT EACH OF YOU BE SAVED AND THUS BE WITH ME IN HEAVEN
When one loves someone, one always wishes to be with him, but all of us have had painful experiences in separations, such as in death, the last separation of all. This one as well as all other separations are always connected with fear or also with aggression. But when it comes to death we are completely incapable, we must accept it, but with God it is different, and even when death separates us, it is still not the end. In the Processional in the Holy Mass For The Dead, we sing and pray that life is not taken but changed, and this change is into eternal life. Mary who loves us wishes that we come to be close to her on this path through life so that this proximity and love may be assured in fact for all of eternity. It is good for us people who go along our path through life, with all its dilemmas, sufferings and problems, to remember that everything is temporary and that we are simply on the path to an infinitely big goal -- to live in the Light of God. This then is Heaven, being in proximity to God, being in His love, and never again being fearful of being distant or separated from Him. Hell is precisely the opposite. Hell is a complete separation from God's love and His proximity. Being separated from eternal love, and never again to get the chance to come close to God is what is so terrible about being in Hell. That is why we should ask for the grace that we may stay close to God and that we may then be saved in order to stay with Him throughout eternity. And we sometimes hear the question, and perhaps sometimes only in jest, "What do we do in Heaven?" In Heaven one is together with all those who love you and with all those whom you love, and this is the answer to that question, "What do we do there?" -- one loves and is loved forever. That is why it is good also to pray constantly that this yearning for Heaven stays with us all the time, and that we pray that nothing in our path may distract us from this. At the end of this month's message, Mary again calls us with the three-fold call of...
THAT IS WHY ... PRAY, PRAY, PRAY
We are already accustomed to this call, and in a way in every message she repeats this call, but why do we not respond to it? Why do so many Christians and Christian families no longer pray? This is really a mystery, but one can formulate the answer in general terms. Every person is in great danger of only following earthly goals, and he then says that he has no time left for prayer. When one attaches oneself to this world, and runs only after the material and after enjoyment, then prayer becomes a waste of time. We need this world and the material, and enjoyment too is not forbidden, but nothing in our lives and in this world may remove from us the yearning that we must have for eternal life, for the peace and for the love that is in Heaven. Mary is very clear when she says that we should...
PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, UNTIL YOUR LIFE BECOMES PRAYER
This we can understand when we again realize that prayer is a meeting with God, and that from this meeting with Him we will change. A person who really meets God in prayer will become prayer himself -- his words, his thoughts, his deeds, his entire behavior will become in honor of God. That is what prayer is! Of course we may not take it as though Mary was calling us to pray the Rosary constantly but that our heart and soul may be deep in God and that we then act out of that. Just like St. Paul when he said that whether we drink or eat, sleep or work, that we may do everything in honor of God. In many other messages Mary said that we should give God the first place in our hearts. When God is in the first place, then our lives will become a prayer. So this message is again a motherly call for us to decide for prayer, so that we should know what happens in prayer in that we may come closer to Mary and thereby also nearer to God, and so that we may, in this being close to God, renew our lives in this world, and all this in the hope that all those who have decided for prayer may receive new impulses and that those who have yet to begin to pray may decide to do so now. Let us pray...
God, Our Father, we thank You that You are sending us Mary, and that she in these times is calling, teaching and leading us. Along with Mary, the Queen of Peace, we ask You for the strength of Your Spirit so that we may leave behind all that hinders us from coming closer to You, O Father. We also ask You to open our hearts so that we may feel Mary's love, so that we may always carry within us the yearning for You and for Heaven, and so that we may cooperate in the assignment of Salvation. We, along with Mary, ask You also for those who have become tired, for those who have given themselves to evil, and for those who are in this world only running after the material and after enjoyment, so that within them the yearning for Salvation, for You and for Heaven may now through Your Spirit be reborn, so that they may be able to construct their lives along with Your will. We ask You for the spirit of prayer in all people, in all families, in all communities, in all those who are baptized, and give us the strength so that our lives may become prayer, and that each of us may at every moment become witnesses to Your love and Your strength in this world. This we pray through the intercession of the Queen of Peace and in the name of the Father, the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Last Modified 08/30/98