Reflection on the Message of October 25, 1998
"Dear Children! Today I call you to come closer to my Immaculate Heart. I call you to renew in your families the fervor of the first days when I called you to fasting, prayer and conversion. Little children, you accepted my messages with open hearts, although you did not know what prayer was. Today, I call you to open yourselves completely to me so that I may transform you and lead you to the heart of my son Jesus, so that He can fill you with His love. Only in this way, little children, will you find true peace -- the peace that only God gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
I greet all those who are trying to follow Mary's messages and again we will first look back at what Our Lady told us last month. In it there were three main points about which we should think. Mary called us to live the faith of our fathers and this means for all of us that we first become conscious that we belong to Jesus, that we are part of the Catholic Church, that our fathers too had been pagans with many gods, and that they then accepted the Gospel and through it came to know Jesus who is life, truth and light. In this belief in Jesus our fathers, in spite of their weaknesses and sins, formed their lives around it, and in this belief also formed our country in cooperation with God. Our inheritance, that was formed by way of our fathers' faith, is rich. Our history of faith is rich in the people who really lived their faith, who suffered for their faith, who prayed and who went to confession, who formed their family lives in faith and then in this way passed it on to us. Because of this especially the Priests, the cathecists and the parents are called on to live their faith so that they may pass this faith on to the children and the younger generation. Doing this is especially difficult in this time because right now there are so many different ideologies being offered to the people. It is not always easy to discern everything correctly and to avoid the false paths and the false ideologies, but without becoming fanatics we are called upon very consciously to live our faith in our families. All the excuses that we have found not to live our faith, not to pray and to distance ourselves from our spiritual inheritance -- in so doing staying without the path, the truth and the light -- are why so many people today have lost any reason for life and no longer know who they are. Especially for these people this call to return to the faith of their fathers becomes important. When we do so we will find the path, we will live the truth and we will know who we are. In the September message we were called upon to discover the daily miracles of God's love and the love of people, and that this alone is the condition for peace. We must really practice this and also pray that we see the good in others and in ourselves, that we become grateful for God as well as for man, and that we also express this goodness, while if we only react when someone does something wrong, then we will never be able to find the away to true peace. In order to see the good and to recognize it, and to recognize the good in others, we must remain humble, and it is in this that a true conversion of the heart happens -- a true conversion to which Mary called us in that message. A true conversion of the heart consists of an entirely conscious fight against sin and against all bad habits, and on the other hand an entirely different perspective toward what is good and toward our own spiritual growth. And so we may hope that we can overcome all fatigue and then stay with Mary on her path.
At the moment Vicka, Mirjana and Ivanka are here in Medjugorje, while Jacov and Marija are in Italy, and Ivan is in the United States. The three -- Vicka, Marija and Ivan -- are still having their daily apparitions, while Jacov, once he returned from the US, told us that he cannot yet speak with the pilgrims because he immediately becomes sad when he starts speaking about the topic of apparitions.
This month the pilgrim groups from all continents have again increased. So the church is over-filled every day. Almost at every Mass, whether Czech, German, Slovak, Italian, English, French, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, the church is full. In the evening it is then again full inside, outside and all around the church. In this way Mary is calling her children and, thank God, many are in fact responding. There are also many Priests and especially so from Poland and the English-speaking countries. This month there have, at times, been between 40 and 50 Priests concelebrating at the evening Mass. At the beginning of this month, or more precisely from September 25 until October 2, the Spanish-speaking pilgrims from 18 countries held a Marian Conference here and this entailed some 500 people who all week long thought intensely about Mary's messages and promised in a declaration that they composed that they had firmly decided to remain on Mary's path. Next week, from October 26 until November 1, we will have about 1,000 French here, and because they have holidays this week, they have decided to respond to Mary's messages by all coming here. Besides these we will of course also have many more languages here and we are very grateful to God for every person who is ready to hear Mary's message and to put it into practice in their lives. Mary herself, and we may simply not forget this, is constantly thanking us for our response to her.
We must really stay completely aware that the main messages of peace, conversion, prayer, fasting, and love always stay the same, and that in these monthly messages Mary has repeatedly reminded us by way of various points with which she wishes to help us to remain with her on the path to God. And so in this message she first tells us...
TODAY I CALL YOU TO COME CLOSER TO MY IMMACULATE HEART
This is a motherly call, because every mother carries within her heart the deep yearning to be with her children and to be there for them so that here children can also be there for her. So that we may better understand this wish of Mary's, let us think a bit about Mary's heart. We believe that she was conceived without sin as she told Bernadette in Lourdes when she said that she was the Immaculate Conception. Her heart was obedient toward God, her heart was full of love, trust, hope and faith. Her heart was merciful, and she was also the mother who kept her Son's words in her heart and thought about them a lot. Her heart was full of peace and completely subservient toward God and toward others. That is why she went to visit Elisabeth, that is why she could, out of this peace and love, see at the wedding of Cana that the people had a problem, and her heart inspired her to intercede with Jesus for this family. And when Mary wishes of us to come closer to her, then this also means that our hearts should become more similar to hers. So every opportunity of practicing patience and trust in faith, hope and love and every attempt at forgiving really makes our hearts more similar to hers, and especially so when we are in difficulty or have problems and then remain firm and do not lose faith, hope and love, we are coming closer to her heart -- her heart that also knows suffering and that still remains loyal to Jesus throughout His sufferings. Here it becomes important for us to ask ourselves whether the yearning exists within us to remain close to our mother? This means that we should ask ourselves what hinders us in this yearning, or what suffocates our yearning for being near to her. Every one of us will certainly find something in our lives that distances us from Mary's heart. But in general one can say that whoever wishes to come closer to Mary must dispose of all pride and to practice humility at all times. Whoever wishes to come closer to her heart must dispose of every uncleanness in order to become more similar to her Immaculate Heart. Everything positive that we do brings us closer to her heart, and especially so when we carry in our hearts and reflect upon God's words. This way we will come closer to Mary and in our lives Jesus will then become alive as He did in Mary's life. This way we will also discover what it means when He says that those who do the will of the Father are also His brothers, His sisters and His relatives. The second point is also very important in which Mary reminds us how things happened in this Parish during the first days of the apparitions.
I CALL YOU TO RENEW IN YOUR FAMILIES THE FERVOR OF THE FIRST DAYS WHEN I CALLED YOU TO FASTING, PRAYER AND CONVERSION
There really was a true fervor here -- in the visionaries, in the population, and among those who started to come here. The fervor was great in that the population really started praying, fasting and converting. How beautiful it is today to think of the people, once they had started to believe that Mary was in fact appearing here, who therefore discarded their bad habits. Only the Priests who sat hearing confessions for hours on end can attest to that. There were cases of people who, being members of the Communist Party, discarded their little red books, that were the symbol of their membership, or who even left them up on Apparition Hill. Here we must also think of those many people who, due to the communist ideology, had become atheists and who then announced that they had become believers. All the families were fasting and there was fasting even in the factories. People prayed, and it became visually noticeable that people were changing. The increase of fervor was so great that the Communists reacted very harshly and declared this village as being a Counter Revolution -- something that was acting against the State. During the first questions posed by the visionaries, a Doctor said that the visionaries had invented all this in order to ruin Communism. The Communists then also began with the pressure and locked up some Priests and other people and held the visionaries and their families under constant surveillance and pressure. But there was nothing that could squash or silence the people's response. Repeatedly the story is told that a Policeman, who stopped an old woman who was going by foot to the Apparition Hill, told her that she may not go up there, and she is said to have responded: "My son, who can forbid me to place my foot on a spot where Mary touched the ground?" It was truly unbelievable what was happening here in those first days, weeks, months and years. Without Mary's special presence and God's grace one can simply not explain any of it. Certainly many pilgrims experienced this fervor when they arrived here, but now we have the question how far we still are from being full of fervor about Mary's still being with us. Here we run the risk that we could get too accustomed to this great occurrence and to this enormous grace of Mary's presence here, that we might no longer use it as an impulse, and that people might slip back or become tired. Here we ought to think of St. John's words when in the Book of Revelations he says to one of the seven churches that the initial love had simply cooled off and when he calls for a renewal of that initial love. In this sense, let us think of our first days, of all those who responded with fervor, of all those who had to suffer, and also to pray that all pilgrims will have the strength to follow along with Mary on her path to Jesus. Along with Mary's wish that we remember those first days she says...
YOU ACCEPTED MY MESSAGES WITH OPEN HEARTS, ALTHOUGH YOU DID NOT KNOW WHAT PRAYER WAS
It is true that many people promised to pray although they did not know what prayer meant. In the 17 years and 4 months certainly many people turned into pray-ers, many families again found the time to pray and thousands of prayer-groups throughout the whole world carried this spirit of prayer to others. And this is the most important of all things that has happened due to Medjugorje -- that many people said 'yes' and that they obeyed. Furthermore, this message wishes of us that we conquer any fatigue and that we can remain on Mary's path. Then Mary says...
TODAY I CALL YOU TO OPEN YOURSELVES COMPLETELY TO ME
And then she also says what she wishes to do with us.
SO THAT I MAY TRANSFORM YOU AND LEAD YOU TO THE HEART OF MY SON JESUS
If we come closer to Mary's heart, then we will quite naturally also come closer to Jesus' heart. He said about Himself that He is of humble and mild heart, and He called us to come to Him -- all those who are burdened, all those who are sad, and all those who are tired should come to Him and will, He says, discover peace and joy. Jesus permitted that His heart be opened up on the Cross, and this was a physical sign that He loves us, and that He always remains open for us. Then that is a new call for us to really do everything we can with Mary so that we may be led to His heart, so that we, as Mary tells us, may find peace and love and...
SO THAT HE CAN FILL YOU WITH HIS LOVE
St. Francis often cried before the cross and said: "Love is not loved." Once we have experienced the love of Jesus' heart, then changes in our lives will become possible. We must again ask ourselves, as we did in the beginning of this reflection, what it is that hinders us from accepting a change within us? It is primarily the bad habits, because it is they that make us tired and discourage us from undertaking something new. Every sin deforms the person and soon the person is destroyed, and this is why so many family relationships and relationships in the world are so wounded, damaged and even destroyed completely. It is THERE that we need the changes -- changes of our convictions, changes of our attitudes in prayer and our attitudes toward Mass and Confession. We all need changes wherever love is not strong, wherever hope has been lost, and wherever faith no longer exists. Here it is simply a call that we may have the courage to say 'yes' and to open our hearts to God, and He will then, by way of His Holy Spirit, change us and we will then grow in God's image, because that is God's will, and as it was said about the creation of man, "Man is created after the image of God, and he has been given the gifts that he may grow in the image of God." We have been created with freedom and the abilities to love, to believe and to hope. Jesus, the new man, will also help us to become new men, and experiencing His love is our condition for this new and decisive path with Mary to Jesus. At the end of the message we again hear...
ONLY IN THIS WAY ... WILL YOU FIND TRUE PEACE -- THE PEACE THAT ONLY GOD GIVES YOU
Every time we love we experience true peace, yet every time we hate and do something negative, when we drink too much or take drugs, when we live loosely, when we only seek the material, all these are done in the hope of finding peace, and so there is a true peace that comes from God, and there is a false peace that is hoped for by way of the world. We are all in danger of choosing the easier path, when we wish to have peace at the cost of others we only become the creators of distress and of chaos. The peace of God comes out of love -- love toward ourselves and toward humanity, and only God can give us this true peace. That we may decide for this peace, all we need to do is to constantly request of God, in the name of Jesus, the King of Peace, that He may give it to us. And how many people have destroyed themselves and their families because they were seeking an easy peace? Mary, however, does not tire of calling upon us, and also of praying herself that we may be open for the peace of God and that we may accept this true peace from God. Let us also pray for this...
God, our Father, we thank You that You created Mary -- Mary, Your humble servant, with her clean and humble heart without sin. We thank You that You are giving us the opportunity of becoming similar to her heart. We ask You, give us the grace and cleanse us of everything that distances and separates us from her, so that we in our thoughts, feelings, words and relationships may become an image of her. We especially ask you on behalf of the fathers and mothers and the teachers that their hearts may all become similar to her heart, that they may carry over only goodness, love and mercy to their children and to those that have been entrusted to them. Father, we thank You for the apparitions here in Medjugorje, and for all the people who in the beginning responded with fervor, and we ask You that we may remain loyal on the path and free all those who have become tired of their fatigue. God our Father, open our hearts so that with Mary we may reach Your Son, Jesus, and we ask You for the experience of His love, which is Your love, and fill our hearts with Your true peace. Free us, our families and the whole world of all lack of peace. Lord, bless all the sick who are suffering spiritually, mentally and physically, and transform their suffering into goodness. Through the intercession of Mary, Your humble servant, give us true peace and give us the grace that we may with her become similar to her Son, Jesus, and thereby become witnesses of Your love in this world through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Last Modified 10/30/98