Fr. Slavko's Commentary
Reflection on the message of September 25, 1997
I greet you all and again let us quickly remember the message of August 25, in which Mary told us that this time is a time of grace, but that we do not understand it. She also told us that she came to teach us, and to accompany us on the path to salvation. Let us never forget that the intention of Mary's coming to us is to assist us on the way to peace. All the remaining things that she wishes of us -- to pray all three Rosaries, to fast on two days, to confess monthly, to attend Mass, to attend Adoration, and to read Scripture -- are merely the means on the path to peace. But if we forget that the goal is peace, then it will become very difficult for us to understand why she wishes so much prayer and fasting. Therefore let us think constantly that this path, on which she is accompanying us, is the path to peace. The school of peace is really one that ought to continue throughout our whole life. Mary also said that we should live the words that she has given us in this time, and that prayer should become a joy. We again ask ourselves, can prayer become a joy? Yes, because the mother can never require something from the children that is not possible. But that does not mean that the children do not sometimes consider what the mother is telling them to be impossible. Prayer will become joy when there is love toward God in our hearts. From our own experiences, we all know that when we love someone we will always have joy in being with him, and that will be so, no matter what situations either they or we find ourselves in. Even if we are in pain and must cry, or when we are ill, when we are with a loving person, we will have joy in our hearts. But when we are without love, then it is impossible to be joyful with someone else. In that case the time with such a person is always boring, and we will find all excuses to circumvent having to meet with that person. It is also this way with God and us. If we do not love God, then prayer will always be difficult for us, the time for prayer will always be too long, and we will constantly find new excuses for not praying. And sadly, this is exactly what happens so often among Catholics. This happens either because they do not pray at all or because they pray very little, or because Mass is too long or too boring for them. We should never again say that we have no time for prayer but rather that our love for it is missing. This is neither a judgment nor an accusation, but we should simply be aware of the situation and then react like Mary. Since August 2, 1987, she prays with Mirjana for non-believers and that means for those who have yet to discover the love of God, and in one way or another this means for all of us. So, let us continue to pray that God may give the necessary love to all the consecrated, the Priests, the religious, the parents, the children, and to all the baptized; and out of this, a new relationship to God will then grow.
The visionaries Mirjana, Vicka, Ivan, Jacov and Ivanka are all here in Medjugorje. All the visionaries but Ivanka receive the pilgrims daily. Marija is still in Italy, and she promised to come to Medjugorje in October with her three sons. Beginning of November, Ivan and his wife, Laureen, will be traveling back to the U.S. where he will being staying for several months. While there, he will be attending many Conferences and meetings at which he will be sharing his experiences and what Mary wishes of us.
This September we have many pilgrims. The Feast of the Cross on September 14 was attended very well, and again it became a great Feast Day. Up on Mt. Krizevac for the 11:00 Mass we had up to 50,000 people. At the moment we have larger groups of English speaking pilgrims, French, Italians, Slovaks, Poles, Mexicans and pilgrims from several other countries throughout the world. Everything is continuing and Medjugorje is as alive as ever.
The message again came through Marija Pavlovic Lunetti and it is an extremely important one.
TODAY I INVITE YOU TO COMPREHEND THAT WITHOUT LOVE YOU CANNOT COMPREHEND THAT GOD NEEDS TO BE IN FIRST PLACE IN YOUR LIFE
In how many messages has Mary called us to put God in the first place? If we love God then it will be normal that He will have the first place in our hearts, and it is this way with every loving person. The person whom we love has a good and safe place in our hearts, but when we do not love him, then we wish to be as far away as possible from the person, and we do not let that person have any influence upon us. This is why this message of Mary's is actually asking us: Where is God in my life? Does He have a place in my heart? Or what or who has the first place in my heart? The answer is not difficult. There where my thoughts are the most often and where most of my time is spent, there I will find the answer for what or who is in the first place in my life. This is why it is very important for us all to find out what holds our heart, what reigns over our heart, so that we may then really fight for inner freedom and that God, as our light, our joy, our truth and our love, will then get the first place in our hearts. God comes, we may say, to serve us, and not to reign over us. He serves us and our lives as light, as the way, as the truth and as life itself. Many people today complain that they do not know where to go with their lives, that they do not know why we are alive, that they find themselves in the dark, and all these are certain signs that God has yet to get the first place in their hearts. Then Mary says...
I CALL YOU ALL TO LOVE, NOT WITH A HUMAN BUT WITH GOD'S LOVE
When we think of Jesus' many words in the Gospel, then it is very simple to understand what this means. Jesus said, "When we do good for those who have done us good, when we give to those who have given to us or to those from whom we expect even more, then we are doing nothing." So, human love has its own logic, to repay good with good, but also evil with evil. Seen humanly, when someone has done evil to us, or has behaved unfairly toward us, or has betrayed us, then the wish develops in our hearts to repay that person with the same. Human love does not understand why one should love those who do not love us, and why one should forgive those who have hurt us. There where the logic of human love ends is where the logic of God's love begins. Jesus said, "The Father loves us so, and is so merciful with us that he lets His Son shine over the just and the unjust." He forgives the lost son, takes him up with love, while the older brother of the lost son reacts in a human way, and therefore cannot understand the father's joy or why the lost son has found an open door to the house. Mary wishes us to love with God's love. This means that we should triumph over the human logic in us, that we should open our hearts to the logic of God's love, and live with one another in this way. This is of course also the condition for peace. But Mary also says that...
IN THIS WAY, YOUR LIFE WILL BE MORE BEAUTIFUL
The only thing that can make our lives more beautiful is love. When there is love in our hearts for people, then we feel good, then we feel secure, then we have peace, but all of us also know that when we do not have love then everything becomes far more complicated. Everything becomes heavy, for when the house and space around us are without love then they simply become too tight. Then the fears and distrust arise. Just think of how easily we can solve situations with people whom we love, and how complicated it becomes when we are supposed to resolve something with someone whom we do not love. But, it is also good when we think about it sometimes being difficult for us to love those who love us, but whom we do not love, for especially then does it become very evident how distant we still are from God's love. Mary says that our life will then also be...
WITHOUT AN INTEREST
Love frees our hearts, and makes them capable of dealing independently, of thinking without competition, of having no fear that another will betray us, or that others might be getting more. Love frees the heart of jealousy and generally of other all negative feelings. Love makes man capable of being happy about the good in others and also to be sad with others when they are not doing well. Love makes life and all human relationships in life simply beautiful. This then is also the condition that...
YOU WILL COMPREHEND THAT GOD GIVES HIMSELF TO YOU IN THE SIMPLEST WAY OUT OF LOVE
God's love is a love for us that is without any conditions. That is why God can forgive us, that is why He can be merciful, and that is why we can come to Him at any time. He is not complicated. He is simple. That is why we need not to have any fear of God. Any fear of God has no grounds or justification. God's love has opened the simple way for us to get to Him. God became bread for us, and everyone can come to bread. Bread is simple. God became the word, and everyone can hear the word, as well as accept it. This is the way for God and us, and between God and us, as long as we have love for God in our hearts, the love with which He loves us. That is why it is very important that we really pray for the grace to love. Then Mary says...
LITTLE CHILDREN, SO THAT YOU MAY COMPREHEND MY WORDS WHICH I GIVE YOU OUT OF LOVE, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY
...and notice that she repeats the word 'pray' three times. Certainly she gives these words to us out of love for us, but when we think of the relationship between parents and children, then it can be very difficult for the children to understand the parents when the parents, for instance, do not give the children something that they want, or when the parents deny them something that they demand. It is very difficult for children to believe in their parents' love when it sometimes happens that the parents need to punish them. Every wise father and mother will have the courage to say 'no' to the children in certain situations, and to deny them some things. If one wishes to spoil and ruin a child, then all one has to do is to say 'yes' to every one of their wishes. God is a wise and good Father, and that is why He does not always give us exactly what we want of Him. That is why, because He loves us, he also asks of us all the things, such as to pray, to go to Confession, to attend Mass and to fast. The condition that we can then really live with the others in peace is when...
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCEPT OTHERS WITH LOVE AND FORGIVE ALL WHO HAVE DONE EVIL TO YOU
The problem with human relationships, especially in the families, and the relationship one has toward oneself, is to accept the others the way that they are and oneself the way that one is. Perhaps there is a deep misunderstanding when it comes to this call to accept the others, for we often fear accepting the others the way they are because we then think that they will remain the way that they are. This fear, however, is not good for us. To accept the others with love really means to help the others, to help them to change their lives, and also to help them convert. We all know from experience that we listen to those whom we love, and do not listen to those whom we do not love, and we gladly do what the one whom we love asks of us. We are always ready to do and to offer up anything for those whom we love, and it is here that we often come into conflict with the basic conditions of education. We wish that the others change, and only then do we promise them acceptance, while the others will not change unless they are immediately accepted by us. Here is where we can easily discover the greatness of God's love, and here is where we have the chance to change ourselves. God does not set the condition of, 'be good, and only then will you receive'. We receive so that we can change. On this point one must again emphasize for parents and educators that they must be very careful that those who are good are not simply rewarded and those who are bad simply punished. Instead the reward ought not really to depend on being good, but instead the reward or the love may become something with which the bad child can then begin with something positive. It is here that all parents and educators need great wisdom and love. Love may never be removed but rather one ought, so to say, to invest it. Our love may never seem to others as being given only as a reward, but rather as the condition upon which he can grow. But when our love is only given as a reward, then it is only a human love. Is it here that Mary calls us to love with God's love. The golden rule for every education is exactly this. Love ought to be invested so that the person may grow and develop without fear, and without distrust. This then is also the condition that we can forgive those who have done evil to us. If we respond to their evil with evil, then there is no hope that the relationships among us can improve. But one must be strong on the inside for it is only God's love for us that can make us respond to those who have done evil to us with good. Then even those who have done us evil will become able more easily to come to terms with themselves and then to convert. Then at the end Mary says...
RESPOND WITH PRAYER
Here we must ask ourselves how do we respond when someone has said or done something bad to us, or has behaved badly toward us. Do we respond with bad talk about them, with anger, judgments and accusations concerning them, and then respond with the same as they did to us? Or do we have the courage and inner strength to pray for them? This is the way it ought to be, for this is the way that Jesus behaved on the cross. To all evil words, injuries and humiliations, He always responded only with prayer and repeated offers of reconciliation, and that is why He became the Prince of Peace, and because she simultaneously responded with prayer and reconciliation, Mary also became the Queen of Peace. Such a...
PRAYER IS A FRUIT OF LOVE TOWARDS GOD THE CREATOR
Love makes prayer beautiful and makes it a joy, and this is because prayer means to be with God. Out of this love the real prayer then grows, but then again prayer is a condition for our growth in love. So for this new month, October being also the month of the Rosary, we have a good and important assignment to pray especially for love in order to comprehend. Mary has used this word 'comprehend' repeatedly in this message, but here it does not concern a comprehension inside the head. It concerns a comprehension of the heart, for the heart comprehends when the love is there. A loving heart also comprehends situations and knows what to do even if the mental comprehension is blocked and fails to give us good advice. It is the wisdom of the heart that Mary is here addressing. So may we also grow in this love and wisdom. Let us pray...
God, our Father, we thank You that You are sending us Mary every day, and that she teaches and accompanies us on the path to salvation. We thank You that You have permitted her to be with us for such a long time. We beseech You now, along with Mary, give us the love so that we may comprehend that You ought to be in the first place in our hearts. We ask of You to free our hearts of all false gods, of all false dependencies in this world, of ourselves, of people, and of all material things, so that our hearts may become free for You and that You may then become for us the way, the truth and the light. Especially we ask You, O Father, that we may become capable of loving, not in a human way, but in Your way. Free us of all jealousy, and of all negative thoughts that distract us from living only in Your love, so that our lives, our family relationships, our Church and the whole world may become more beautiful. Free our behavior, our words and our thoughts from all personal interests, so that we may love You as simply as You love us, and so that we can come to love each other simply. Also give us the grace that we come to comprehend the words that Mary gives us out of love, that we may accept the others because You created us and love us, and that we may also forgive one another. We bring to You all those who at this moment withhold themselves or insulate themselves from others and who are therefore remain lonely and deserted. We also bring to You all those who cannot forgive the evil that they did to one another, and especially we bring to You the families where the husbands and wives no longer accept or forgive one another and whose marriages are therefore in danger of divorce. Heal our love, so that our love may be carried by Your love, so that our love may bring us to prayer and that in prayer our love may be strengthened. We ask You, along with Mary, that You bless us and give us peace. Amen.
Last Modified 09/29/97