Reflection on the Message of December 25, 1998
"Dear Children! In this Christmas joy I desire to bless you with my blessing. In a special way, little children, I give you the blessing of little Jesus. May He fill you with His peace. Today, little children, you do not have peace and yet you yearn for it. That is why, with my Son Jesus, on this day I call you to pray, pray, pray, because without prayer you do not have joy or peace, or a future. Yearn for peace and seek it, for God is true peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."
It is the Feast of Christmas. Loving greetings to all and a joyful Christmas to all those who are trying to follow Mary's messages. I greet you all and also wish all of you a good beginning of the New Year. Let us first remember the message of November 25 when it was the beginning of Advent. Then Our Lady asked of us to prepare in our hearts for Jesus' coming. She called upon us to go to Confession as the first act of our conversion and for the our decision for holiness. Then She also told us not to push these decisions off until tomorrow, but that we make them today. She encouraged us to remain with Her on this path to holiness, again She repeated, "pray, pray, pray" and to take prayer seriously; and I really hope that all of us tried to make that message reality during this Advent as a preparation for the Great Feast Day of Jesus' birth. Only God can give us the grace that we may prepare ourselves well, yet for this grace too we must really pray. I hope also that we may celebrate Christmas today in the way that Mary wished of us, and had prepared ourselves well for His coming.
During these last weeks there have been an enormous number of Croatian Confessions. The many Confessionals were full for many hours day after day. We also had a Novena on Apparition Hill from December 16 onward. There, we prayed the Rosary and all pilgrims who have come to Medjugorje were in our intentions and we prayed that all of them may remain loyal to Mary on their way to Salvation. Every day there was a good number of people praying with us. At this moment the greatest number of pilgrims are the French-speaking, but for the New Year's we are expecting many more pilgrims -- from Germany, Italy, Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, the USA, England and as far away as Korea. On December 31, we will begin at 10:00 p.m. with prayer, and then Holy Mass will begin at 11:15, so that the Consecration can occur at exactly midnight. It is a reality that the bread becomes Jesus' body and the wine becomes Jesus' blood, but, at the same time, it is also symbolic for the transformation of time so that this change may also become an inner transformation for us and, in another, that Jesus, in His coming, will have transformed us for the New Year. I also hope that many pilgrims at home will be spending their New Year's Night 1998-99 united with us here in prayer -- praying for all of Mary's plans and programs around the whole world. In respect to the visionaries, Vicka was a bit ill these days, but she is doing better again, and she says that she is still having her daily apparitions. Marija is in Italy, and Ivan was here for two weeks in December and then before Christmas he again returned to the USA to his wife and his child. Mirjana and Ivanka are at home as usual. Jakov had the first of his yearly apparitions today. As you certainly know, on September 12, Mary gave Jakov the 10th secret, and told him that She would, as of that day, no longer be appearing to him on a daily basis. Mary also gave him a message today and encouraged him to remain on the path of Jesus, and to be a witness on this path of peace and love for how God works in and through people. Then Mary promised to appear to him yearly, as She is also doing for Mirjana and Ivanka. She chose Christmas Day as being his day of the apparition, and I was permitted to be present at this apparition. Jakov had first prepared himself by going to Holy Confession and then by attending Holy Mass up at Sr. Elvira's Community. Then he, along with his wife, her family and a few friends, started to pray at his house, and then Mary also appeared to him. After the apparition, which began at 11:50 a.m. and lasted 12 minutes, Jakov then wrote:
"Our Lady came joyfully. She greeted me, as always, with, 'Praised be Jesus!' She spoke to me about the secrets and afterwards gave me this message:
Jakov's Message of December 25, 1998
'Dear Children! Today, on the birthday of my Son, my heart is filled with immeasurable joy, love and peace. As your mother, I desire for each of you to feel that same joy, peace and love in the heart. That is why do not be afraid to open your heart and to completely surrender yourself to Jesus, because only in this way can He enter into your heart and fill it with love, peace and joy. I bless you with my motherly blessing.'"
After the apparition Jakov cried for a while. When he relaxed again, he said that he had not cried because Our Lady had been sad, but rather because the apparition had been too short for him. For our visionaries, Mary's apparitions are something very extraordinary, and, for us normal Christians, I dare say, that what they mean to the visionaries is hardly imaginable to us. We can only be thankful that we may even believe that Mary is in fact appearing every day, that it is an enormous grace, and that for Her to appear to some of them only once a year is the same huge grace and the same great help for us. And so I really pray that all of us may open ourselves to Mary's motherly blessing, and that we, in this New Year, may all remain on the path with Our Lady.
When we look at today's message, we will find that Mary is blessing us.
She first says...
IN THIS CHRISTMAS JOY I DESIRE TO BLESS YOU WITH MY BLESSING
...and along with this she adds...
IN A SPECIAL WAY ... I GIVE YOU THE BLESSING OF LITTLE JESUS
We are, of course, already accustomed to hearing that Mary is blessing us, and specifically She has said that She gives us Her "motherly blessing", that She gives us Her "special blessing", that She gives us Her "blessing of peace and love", and also "God's blessing". Several times She has said that She blesses us, and then sometimes She even expressed that we may carry the blessing to others, and this so that all will have peace. So if we wish to think about these blessings, then we can say that the first blessing that Mary gives us is Her own presence here, and this, too, is the significance of "the blessing of little Jesus". Mary, as mother, gave birth to Jesus and His name is Emmanuel -- God with us -- and He is for us. He came to save us and to show us the path of love, peace, light and truth, and to remove us from evil. With sin came the curse, and with Jesus comes the blessing. In Hebrew the word 'blessing' also means a gift, a grace and a peace. In Greek and in Latin this has the significance of saying something good about someone else, or to act good toward someone else. Whoever blesses gives something, and he becomes a new person for someone. It is a new relationship. When God blesses us, then we know that He loves us and that He is with us. When Mary brings us God's blessing, then She is bringing us the same that God brings us through His blessing. When we bless one another, then we are giving something that we have received. So when it concerns blessing, it concerns a new relationship that in Paradise was lost by way of sin. After God created man, He was first in a relationship of friendship with him, for God had given man everything, and man was "blessed"; but man committed a sin in acting disobedient toward God and he thereby lost this friendship. He lost this blessing and God tells the snake and, therefore, Satan that he is "cursed", but the effects of the sin, the curse, also came upon man. So he lost this friendship and no longer could stay in Paradise. A bad relationship, an adverse relationship came about between man and God, between man and man, but also between man and nature because all of nature also turned itself against man. From the biblical tradition we know, for instance, that God blessed Abraham with a special blessing, telling him that through him all humanity will be blessed, and that God will be blessing all those whom he will be blessing; and He tells Abraham that he will become a blessing for all others. Noah, too, is blessed in a special way, and this blessing will be passed onto his sons so that they, too, may renew the world with a new spirit. When Mary went to Elisabeth, Elisabeth greets Her as "blessed among women", and when Zachariah opens his mouth he blesses God. In this blessing, we say, the eschatological dimension is to found, and this means that the one who blesses is preparing the way for the Messiah. This is because everyone who blesses is taking upon himself to bring goodness into his relationship toward God, toward himself, toward the others and toward nature, as God had planned it -- all the relationships that had become lost due to sin. St. Paul, in the letter to Ephesus, says that all of us who are blessed by Jesus are blessed in a spiritual way. Jesus Himself blesses the bread before He multiplies it, and also before He gave us the Eucharist, He blessed the bread, blessed the wine and prayed over them. Jesus blesses His Apostles before His Resurrection, as He also gave them the assignment to bless, as well as becoming a blessing for the others. Every time when they healed the sick, spread God's word, forgave sins, or expelled demons, all they did was bring about more blessings. It is also so important to understand that all of us are blessed with God's blessing and with Jesus' blessing, and that in this way we may also become a blessing for all others. It is especially important for us to know that we are freed of sins' curses, and that we, as of now, may ourselves no longer curse. But it actually happens to us so very easily that we curse one another. A blessing is the way out of death into life, the way out of distress into peace, the way out of sorrow into joy, and the way out of darkness into light. Cursing means everything in the other direction. Whoever curses brings the others away from life into death, away from light into darkness, and away from community with someone into being isolated from someone. Especially all parents must become conscious that they are blessed, and that they must also become a blessing for their children. When the parents love, when they live with one another in peace, when they reconcile, all this, one can say, is a fight for blessings and at the same time they will become a blessing for the children. How hard it is in families where no-one loves, where no-one has understanding for one another! One says that the curse is there and that they are cursed people who can no longer live in love, peace and trust with one another. Mary's being with us, and all that She says and does, should really also become an example for us so that we may open ourselves to the blessing and that our acts may also become acts of blessing. Mary tells us that Jesus...
MAY .. FILL YOU WITH HIS PEACE
Peace is the very first fruit of Jesus' blessing, because when He, through His Presence and through His miraculous power, speaks His blessing over us, all distress leaves us and peace comes to us. And because Jesus is so near to us throughout the Feast of Christmas, joy and love and the ability for us to forgive and to reconcile with one another is also near to us. Mary then says...
TODAY ... YOU DO NOT HAVE PEACE AND YET YOU YEARN FOR IT
Why do we not have any peace? God did everything so that we may have peace, and Jesus came to us as peace and has blessed us with His Peace because He forgives us and He loves us. So we do not have this peace only because we do not open ourselves to it, and because we so easily seek peace on the wrong paths. It can be said that because we want the simple peace, we listen to the wrong prophets. There is no such thing as a simple peace. Peace will only come when we really begin to engage ourselves to become good people and begin to fight against any pride, envy, and all dependencies. These are still the terrible fruits of the curse that is upon us, but the deep yearning for peace cannot be satisfied by any simple peace. That is why we can say, thank Heaven that the yearning for the true peace cannot be stilled and that we cannot, so to say, be tricked by any false peace simply because distress then still remains with us and, therefore, we eventually become consequential about it. Someone who sinks into alcohol, into drugs, into an immoral way of life, into the lie, into the constant wish to gather more and more of the material world around him will never find true peace, because our soul simply does not allow itself to be betrayed. That is why, in the deeper sense, man always remains one who yearns for true peace, and this goes for every human being and for all the world. From our own experience, we know of many people who have tried every imaginable way to acquire peace but who, at the end, have remained always discouraged and alone, and then finally they came around to opening themselves to true peace. Here in Medjugorje, God, in this sense, really blessed because they have come and converted. The whole process of conversion begins at Confession when the Priest, in God's name, speaks the words of absolution and the person is freed from the curse of the sin, and the heart then opens itself to peace and joy. Mary continues with the same threefold, "pray, pray, pray" and then tells what happens when we do not.
THAT IS WHY, WITH MY SON JESUS, ON THIS DAY I CALL YOU TO PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, BECAUSE WITHOUT PRAYER YOU DO NOT HAVE JOY OR PEACE, OR A FUTURE
No person wishes to be without joy, peace or a future. The fear that lives in a person is simply because he lacks this joy, because he cannot find peace, and because he does not believe in the future. Then how can he have faith? How can he have joy and a trust in the future, if he keeps carrying the curse of sin and its resulting effects upon himself? That is why, in this message, we can say that prayer is an encounter with God, and the time that we remain with Him and allow ourselves to be blessed by Him and freed from the curse of sin. When we do this, joy and peace come to us immediately, and also immediately we have a future. The effects of sin are really a destruction of ourselves, of the others, of the Church and of all of nature, yet the blessing is stronger, light is stronger, and love is stronger because a person's yearning for peace always remains, the soul cannot be betrayed, and this then is also our hope. Mary encourages us with Her plea to always...
YEARN FOR PEACE AND SEEK IT, FOR GOD IS TRUE PEACE
Man will always yearn for true peace and will eventually also find God, and every time that we assist someone on his way to God, then we have become a blessing for him. In this message, with these thoughts, we are also beginning the New Year -- the New Year that we have also consecrated to God the Father. We have by now expressed so many good wishes and this is good, but to be able to bless and to become a blessing for others, words alone do not suffice. To be able to bless, one really needs all of the person -- the word, the act, and all that we do. All our wishes can become truth only when we decide to accept and to open ourselves to this blessing and, in Mary's sense, to become a blessing for others. Here in Medjugorje, we are all in Mary's school and in this New Year we should again become completely conscious of this decision to listen to Her, and most especially so because it is the year of the Heavenly Father. God the Father blessed us because He created us, because He loves us, because He sent His Son to us, because He is merciful, and because He freed us from the curse. Let us all behave the way Mary is desiring of us, and let all of us open ourselves to God the Father in this next year, and let us create new relationships with ourselves, with the others, with the Church and with all of nature. Only in this way, will we be able to overcome all the evil in the world. Sin is very active and also very strong, but the good is still stronger, all we have to do is work courageously for it. And for this I invite all of us now to pray...
God, our Heavenly Father, we thank You today for Your blessings, and, at the end of this year, we thank and bless You especially for all the good that You have given us during this last year. We bring before You all of the curse that still remains in us, all the sins, and everything that is negative, and we ask You to free us, so that we, during this next year, can also remain completely free in our peace and love for You, so that we may also love ourselves, all the others, and also all of nature. We ask You, please give us the strength, that we may all become a blessing for the others, that the fathers and mothers may become a blessing for their children, and that the children may become a blessing for their parents. We ask you on behalf of all those responsible in the Church and throughout the whole world that they may become a blessing for those for whom they are responsible. We also ask You on behalf of all those whom we have cursed through our words, our lack of love, our pride, our envy, our jealousy, our being enslaved by the things of this world, and our wrong relationships. Bless them, O Father, and heal and free them of all the effects of our curses, so that we may meet one another in love and in an inner freedom, and so that we, through Your Son, O Heavenly Father, may build a new world in Your Spirit. This we ask You in the name of Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent us, along with Mary, the Queen of Peace. Amen.
fra Slavko, Medjugorje
Last Modified 12/30/98