Reflection on the Message of September 25, 2000
"Dear Children! Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. May prayer become joy for you. Renew prayer in your families and form prayer groups. In this way, you will experience joy in prayer and togetherness. All those who pray and are members of prayer groups are open to God's will in their hearts and joyfully witness God's love. I am with you, I carry all of you in my heart and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."
Again I greet all those who wish to follow Mary's messages and here I really wish for us all to learn everything that Mary wants of us – this meaning that we understand it and then accept it. But again we should first think back about what she told us in August. That message was a bit different than most in that she there gives us a summary of her presence here in Medjugorje. There she told us that wished to share her joy with us, and she even gives us a reason for this joy -- it being that many people have come closer to her -- and that we are carrying the Triumph of the Immaculate in our hearts. She thanks us and with this love gives us the impulse to do even more with the strength of the Holy Spirit for God and for His Kingdom. Then she also assures us of her presence and gives us the motherly blessing. All of us wish for joy and to live in joy, because we are created in a way that we always yearn for joy. This is why in order to understand what she means when she expresses her joy and that she wishes to share it with us, we must become conscious of what joy is meant here. It here concerns the joy of the Gospel about which Jesus speaks. Also when we are suffering, when we are doing badly, even if we were killed because of Jesus, we should be joyful because our names are already written in Heaven. So in order to accept this joy, and to share it with Mary, we must believe deeply in an eternal life – an eternal life of joy, of love and of peace. And we ought to see all of our life in the light of this eternity life. And we must pray for this grace and then believe in it deeply. But it still happens to us so easily that we say "yes, I believe" but then at the same time are not really figuring with eternal life. Then we become stuck in this time and this space, and then the human soul can be suffocated. We are not able to cheat our souls. This means that we cannot fill our soul with other things and then at the same time expect that it remain quiet, joyful and in peace. The joys of this world are brief, respiring and then seek always more and more. The only answer is to open oneself to the eternal love, the eternal joy, and the eternal peace. The other condition is to leave away all sin and all selfishness as Mary told us in July's message, and this means that we must distance ourselves from ourselves, from jealousy, from greed, from all other bad habits and mannerisms that we might have, and to remain free of them, so that we become able to accept this joy that Mary wishes to share with us. Selfishness means that one is addicted to oneself, that one is the center of one's life and that all one does is then adjusted according to oneself. People in such a situation expect God and all the others around them to serve them, and that they themselves become the measurement of everything. When someone lives this way then there is not much space left until he comes into severe conflict with God and with the others because neither God nor the others around him wish and are able to do exactly as he wishes them to do. Then the heart remains sad, aggressive, nervous, empty, and always ready to judge, and with these judgements the people are judged. Often when we say that someone is bad or is a bad person, we should instead say that I am selfish and that is why I am saying that he is bad. Then we have a choice -- either we decide to fight against ourselves, against our own bad habits and decide for the other person, for God and for wishing to live in peace with God and with the other people, or to constantly to fight against the others, and against God where we would be deciding for eternal fighting and coldness from the evil, all the bad around us, all the injuries, and all the wounds that we receive. Those who decide to fight against their own sins and selfishness have begun to be part of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, and Mary sees that there are many of these and that is why she is joyful. And we may hope that all those who hear and will reflect upon that message will daily be carrying this triumph in their hearts so that we all may some day also reach the eternal triumph. Mary thanks us and this means that she sees the good in us and is also expressing it. Then she also gives us an impulse with the strength of the Holy Spirit to do even more for God and for His Kingdom. For us this means that when we see the good in others and in ourselves and start cooperating with this, then the good everywhere will be given more space and will then grow in that we work more for God and for the others. There is something good in every person and that is why the opportunity always exists to work even more for God and for His Kingdom. But when we only see what is bad and then behave negatively and turn the others away, then we are also turning away the Creator of all that is good. Mary does not want us to close our eyes to all that is bad, but rather she wants us to open our eyes to all that is good and then to really decide for that. Only in this way can we enter the Third Millenium with Jesus and Mary. We may never become tired in the fight against all that is bad and for all that is good because we all are Mary's children and at the same time in her school. Mary is THE woman with child about whom God, after the first sin, said that she will be the one who will lead the fight against the serpent, against evil, and that is why nothing remains for us except that we too, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, decide for the good and then also untiringly fight for the good. Mary is with us and without her special presence here we are unable to explain Medjugorje, without her intercession and her prayers Medjugorje remains completely impossible to understand. Through her special presence here, Medjugorje has become a great gift for us and for the whole world, and through this great gift God really wishes to prepare us for the Third Millenium. Then she gives us the motherly blessing and this means that she as our mother, as our teacher, and as our intercessor is herself the blessing for us, and she wants us to be blessed not only by way of an expression but rather that we also become a blessing for the others.
At the moment Vicka is here and she is the one who speaks the most with the pilgrims, while Mirjana and Jacov are also here. Ivanka started again recently to meet with pilgrims after so many years of being silent. It had been her decision since May 1985 to recede into seclusion, but now she is slowly starting to give pilgrims her testimony again. Marija is in Italy with her family and Ivan in the U.S. with his.
This month we have had an enormous number of pilgrims, and at this moment we have about 800 Spanish-speaking pilgrims because the 4th Conference of Spanish-speaking Peace Centers is now here with representatives from about 20 countries. They started this Conference on September 23 and it will go until September 26. Talks are given by the Franciscans as well as by some of the visionaries. These people are all together giving a wonderful witness to their being active and it is being organized by Luis Siman who himself started on his path with Mary to Jesus here in Medjugorje and then remained very active ever since. At the moment there are also about 700 pilgrims from the Czech Republic, also some from Slovakia, from Romania, from Russia, many Italians, many English-speaking pilgrims, and also groups from Lebanon, Brazil, Korea and Australia; and so one can really say that Medjugorje is full of pilgrims, a really good atmosphere prevails and we are all very grateful to God for all that these many people are, through Mary's intercession, receiving from Him.
TODAY I CALL YOU TO OPEN YOURSELVES TO PRAYER. MAY PRAYER BECOME JOY FOR YOU
We are already accustomed to such calls when it concerns prayer because they are made so often. Here one must say only once more that prayer can only under one condition become a joy, and that is that we have true love for God in our hearts. That is why it is so very important that we do not forget to pray with Mary on the 2nd of every month and also every day for the experience of God's love. This is because we know that when we meet someone who loves us and whom we also love, our heart opens itself and this brings us joy. This is also the case when we are suffering, because when a person whom we love visits us there is joy in our heart. And so it must be this way, and even more so, when it here concerns God. God loves us immeassurably and untiringly, and so when He visits us there is true joy in our hearts, and it is really sad when we are not experiencing this joy. God loves us immeassurably and untiringly, and therefore every prayer should also become a joy. It is true that many Christians have not experienced this joy and that is why they are not praying or only a very little and very quickly. And such a prayer can of course never bring us joy because for every true encounter one needs time. At the same time we ought not wait for this joy in order to start praying, but rather we should immediately decide for prayer, and then soon the love for God will be there and through that also the joy.
RENEW PRAYER IN YOUR FAMILIES
This first of all again means that every single person ought to pray, and even when no-one else decides for prayer each one of us can still pray by himself. This is the beginning of all prayer. We may simply not wait for the others and only then become active ourselves. In Mary's school everyone decides for himself and when this becomes the ruling logic then the next step to community prayer can be made. And, in the same way, the first prayer group is the one that happens in the family. This means that the parents will pray with the children and the children with the parents. When we hear this September message we will also automatically come to think of October which is Mary's month as well as the month of the Rosary, but here in Medjugorje every day is Mary's day and every month is also Mary's month, and it has now been this way for 19 years and 3 months because we have been praying all 3 Rosaries in the church and so that all our time becomes Mary's time. But it is also important that this prayer comes into the families and I really hope that all pilgrims will now again begin to organize prayer in their families at home. The prayers for peace, love and reconciliation inside the families is absolutely necessary. If the family is really meant to be a Christian family, then it will pray the Rosary together and also read Holy Scripture together. And how beautiful it is when the family together experiences God's love for them and also comes to understand God's words! Without prayer in the family the children will never be able to grow up in their faith, and here lies the parents' great responsibility in that they are able to find the right place in their families for prayer. We all know how difficult it can become to create this time, and we all know all those excuses all too well. The parents' work, the constant hecticness and even more so the TV, and those many other excuses, none of which are valid reasons for not taking the time for prayer. Finally there exists only one reason that one does not pray in the families, and that is the lacking love in the hearts for God and for our faith. We are very grateful to God for all the families that have again started to pray together because of Mary's presence and her messages here in Medjugorje. Prayer must be a part of all families which wish to be Christian families. If only Sunday Mass is what is considered as family prayer, then this is of course good but at the same time very, very far from sufficient. Many Christians go the Holy Mass on Sundays but still do not pray there, and that is why visiting Mass remains a simple habit that is of course not bad because it is good, but at the same time it will never carry any true fruits because one can and must only prepare oneself for Mass in prayer. Therefore let us all pray that the families may be filled with the love for God so that they all may return to praying inside their families. The families with small children can still pray even when the small cannot yet sit still long enough for a whole Rosary, but they still can for some time. One can expect some quiet time from them but then later also let them play with something, but where they still remain conscious of the fact that one is praying or reading Holy Scripture. This experience is very important for the small children and one may simply never say that small children do not understand, because they understand very, very well what it concerns when their parents and older siblings are together in peace and are praying. And so again, one must simply start praying and then the rest of the family will eventually also open itself to prayer. Mary's call continues…
AND FORM PRAYER GROUPS
Our first prayer group, which we today call Ivan's group and in which the other visionaries participated occasionally, was formed on July 4, 1982. Then there is Jelena's group which Mary called for and led through Jelena's inner voice. Ivan's group meets twice a month on the mountains, but then also sometimes in their houses where Mary has taught them how to pray. Jelena's group also occasionally met inside the Parish Office, and these days it still continues every Tuesday evening and certainly these two groups gave the idea to many pilgrims to do the same at home. They in this way came to understand what this call of Mary's meant and we today know that this example has been followed all over the world because it was most often Medjugorje pilgrims who started such groups. It is most important that one simply begins because we know of many groups that simply started with the Rosary while today many of them have also come to organize hours of Adoration, and in some cases they have even entered other parishes where they got others to also start Adoration again where over the years, for some unknown reasons, they had stopped doing so. And from these groups many fruits have also become evident, such as callings for the Priesthood and also other charisms. It is in fact very easy to form a prayer group, and the core of this is that only one person decides for prayer and then seeks just one other person to join him. I always repeat that we should never say that the others do not wish to pray, but rather that when we have decided to form a prayer group, then we should just ask around to see whether others wish to join us in this decision. If it turns out that the healthy among us do not wish to join, then what we do next is to go to the old or the ill and ask them whether we might be permitted to visit them perhaps once a week in order to pray a Rosary with them. I can very well imagine that the old or the ill would be very happy to have such a visit and might then even request of us to come to do this with them every day. Jesus says that "wherever two or three meet in My name, there I will be among them". And today so many prayer groups that are based upon the Medjugorje messages are reaching around the whole world much like a chain, and with Mary we pray that the programs that God has entrusted her with are today coming to be reality, and most especially that peace may come into all those hearts and that through them peace will finally come to the whole world. Because without prayer this will never be the case. Then Mary says…
IN THIS WAY, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE JOY IN PRAYER AND TOGETHERNESS
Of course, prayer, among much else, is primarily a language and as is the case in any other language, one can only learn it when one practices it with others. Therefore it is important not only to pray the Rosary and to read Holy Scripture in the prayer group, but also to talk openly about our experiences with God in our prayers, and here also to speak about the difficulties that we might be having. And when this trust has been built up, when what is happening in our hearts can be spoken about freely, then the joy and the togetherness will also be realized. And in such atmospheres the charisms will have an opportunity to grow. Prayer groups are necessary so that we come to learn how to pray, but also as an insurance that we will remain on a good path. It is also very important that a Priest be there or at the very least hears occasionally what is going on there so that the individauls as well as the whole group also have the needed protection from a Church authority so that everything there remains on a correct path. That is why Mary says that…
ALL THOSE WHO PRAY AND ARE MEMBERS OF PRAYER GROUPS ARE OPEN TO GOD'S WILL IN THEIR HEARTS AND JOYFULLY WITNESS GOD'S LOVE
It is exactly from this exchange of experiences that we will come to undertsand how the others are opening themselves to God's will and in such a way they will also come to understand themselves more easily what the will of God is for them. It is interesting that all of us can see and understand more easily what God's will is for the others, than it is for ourselves; but they then can help us by way of their own experiences. And in this way our faith can grow as well as our trust in God, in His will, and also in the others, because it is often the case that people who are fearful or distrusting of God's will for them also knowingly or unknowingly make God responsible for all their problems or failures, or when they are suffering say that it must be God's will. We must at all times remain very clear about the fact that God only wants us to be happy and to be in peace, and that everything will eventually turn out for the good. And to speak about this with others means that we become more secure and then one opens oneself more easily to God's will. And once when we have been touched in such a way by God's love for us, then we will also very soon witness joyfully for God's love for us. This witness, that Jesus expects from all Christians when for instance Jesus says that we are the salt and the light for the world, can only be given when we first have received this salt and light from Him. We will only become the salt of the world when we first receive this love from Jesus. Once we are carrying God's love for us in our hearts, then nothing and no-one will be able to hinder us from witnessing God's love to the others with joy, and most especially in the world as it is today in which so many people have lost themselves, are living in sadness, are living in turmoil because they are so far from having experienced God's love for them. Medjugorje has helped so many people in real ways to become joyful witnesses of God's love, and for this we must all be extremely grateful. More and more people are coming here all the time, simply because once people have felt that finally something real is happening somewhere, they will very easily turn into pilrgims – pilgrims being the people who seek God in other people who have special charisms or in towns where God has shown Himself in special ways. Only the love of God which finds space in people will finally save this world, and this love which, as St. Paul says, is also courageous and creative will also show the people who carry it with them how they will be able to help this world and its people who have yet to experience God's love. This is of course Mary's intention, and this is the only real purpose of her apparitions here in Medjugorje. Mary again says…
I AM WITH YOU, I CARRY ALL OF YOU IN MY HEART
…and we have already spoken about this, but only to repeat it here quickly once again, one cannot sensibly explain Medjugorje without accepting Mary's being present here, and we have also spoken already about…
AND I BLESS YOU WITH MY MOTHERLY BLESSING
Everything that Mary does, all her activities as our mother and as our teacher are a blessing for us. So it is she in all her aspects that is the real blessing for us and where it does not merely mean that she is repeating an expression to us. But from her speaking it we should again learn and through our conversion and our new ways of behaving we ourselves should become a real blessing for all those around us. Because it is afterall truly a blessing for us when we meet a real Christian and therefore clear and honest person. Just as it is a joy for parents when they know that their own children meet with other good Christian children and are therefore also helping eachother on their mutual paths. When Mary tells us that she is carrying all of us in her heart, this then is a special expression of her love for and her acceptance of us. When on a human level we say that someone is in our heart or is enclosed in our heart, and as a song says, I have lost the key to it, then all this means the same thing, that you will stay there forever in my heart. About this there is really not so much one can say except to accept it, to be happy about it and to simply believe that Mary is carrying all of us in her heart and for us to also do everything we possibly can to also be able to remain there. Certainly Mary would also tell us that she has lost the key to her heart, that we will remain in her heart forever, because she as our mother will always love us even when we momentarily, for any one of many reasons, might be weak and proud, might be a bit distant from her, she will still be very close to us. So all of us must remain very grateful for all that she is for us, for all that she is telling us, for all that she does for us, and for all this we also wish to pray…
God, our Father, in the name of Your Son Jesus who prayed and who taught His Apostles to pray, we ask You along with Mary, Your most humble servant and our mightiest Intercessor, fill our hearts with love so that we may open our hearts to prayer and that prayer may become a joyful encounter with You. Father, we ask You in the name of Your Son and with Mary, teach us to pray, teach our parents to pray, teach our families to pray, teach the prayer groups to pray, so that we who pray may experience that we are Your children; so that we may in togetherness experience joy in our being brothers and sisters; so that we encounter You, our Father, in prayer; so that we may experience that You are our Father, and so that we may encounter all the others as our brothers and sisters and thereby may, in togetherness, experience the family that we all are. Reveal, O Father, through the Holy Spirit to all Your children, Your holy will, so that we may all become joyful witnesses to Your love in this world. We pray for all those who are baptised but who no longer pray and for those who are praying but who are not encountering You or the others, so that in their hearts they may all open themselves to Your love. We pray, O Father, free this world, free every single person, free every family from all that is evil, and give the whole world Your peace. Mary, we thank You for Your presence here in Medjugorje, we thank You for Your motherly blessing, and most especially we thank You that you are carrying each of us as a mother in Your Immaculate Heart. Bless us, O Mary, every one of us, every family and prayer group, and the whole world, help us and teach us, so that we, with You, may remain on the right path until each of us meets Jesus; in this way prepare each of us to enter the Third Millenium with You and with Your son, Jesus, and to remain constantly with You in order to witness to the others God's love for us. We pray for all those who at this moment are suffering, who are without joy and who are alone, and who therefore closed themselves to God, to His love for them and to the love of the others. Open the hearts of all non-believers, O Mary, so that they too will experience the will of God, that they too may experience that they are in Your heart, so that they too can then remain on the right path with You to Jesus in eternity. So may it be. Amen.
Fra Slavko Barbaric, OFM
Last Modified 10/02/2000