"Dear children! Do not forget that you are here on earth on the way to eternity and that your home is in Heaven. That is why, little children, be open to God’s love and leave egoism and sin. May your joy be only in discovering God in daily prayer. That is why, make good use of this time and pray, pray, pray; and God is near to you in prayer and through prayer.Thank you for having responded to my call." Message of July 25, 2000
FEARS AND FEAR OF GOD
“The world is full of fears since we lost the fear of God. Hundreds and thousands of fears – fears of oneself, of the other, of the world, of the future, make us sick. The only one free from fear is the one who has the fear of God.” (Klaus Hemmerle)
With the progress that is taking place in many areas of human life, and the ever increasing insignificance of a sense of the religious in the life of those who acknowledge themselves believers, it was expected that the feeling of fear would diminish – more so even disappear. However, it has been shown that the greater the attachment and dependence on material security, the greater also are the kinds of different fears. Such a condition curtails real freedom and becomes the driving power for conflict and manipulation. The fear of God about which the Bible speaks, is the least fear. It is really speaking about confidence. And confidence is a sign that man cannot be sufficient unto himself, but that he needs someone else.
The believer finds that o t h e r in God and that which we call fear of God is in reality faith.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION
On the feast of Assumption August 15th in the parish of Medjugorje there were about ten thousand visiting pilgrims from all continents. Among them, by all means, must be emphasized the great number of Croatian pilgrims who from all different parts of our homeland came bare-foot on pilgrimage to Mary Queen of Peace. The feast itself was preceded by a prayer novena during which a large number of the faithful gathered for the evening prayer program and the sacrament of reconciliation. Because of the variety of language groups holy masses were celebrated in nine languages during the course of the day. And over and above that variety of languages the pilgrims were bonded by prayer and petitions directed to Mary, mostly by prayer for the peace that we need so much. The festive evening mass, together with 52 concelebrants, was presided at by Fra Bozo Vuleta who in his inspired sermon proclaimed, “. . .that by the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven God made possible for us a view from Heaven to earth, a view on transience. Thus we can see our own life through Her eyes, Her heart, and feel the beauty of submission to the will of God that we have to bear throughout life. . .”
As we already wrote in Bulletin No. 147 June 26th, an International Donors’ Conference was held in Medjugorje at which the following was adopted
The international conference of representatives of humanitarian organizations and of individuals inspired by the messages of Medjugorje was held in Medjugorje June 26, 2000. About 250 participants from 16 countries and the priests who work in Medjugorje took part in this conference.
Listening to what has been done through these ten years for displaced persons and refugees, the destitute and the infirm, invalids of war, war orphans and other needy people, we became more conscious that we must thank God through Mary Queen of Peace for the experiences of deepened faith and for the aid that we afforded to the imperiled people in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina during and after the war.
We also became more aware that there is still much need on various sides and therefore we decided, according to our capacities, to continue to do good, to broaden the areas of our activities, stirring others also to do the same, confident that we are doing to Jesus whatever we do to one of his least brethren (Mt 25:40).
The presence of representatives from the Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox confessions shows that our help was not limited only to those “in the household of faith” (Gal 6:9). Therefore, we decisively reject all accusations that were expressed in various media about individuals and associations abusing humanitarian work.
We invoke the intercession of the Queen of Peace on all and invite men of good will to join us in helping our brother in need.
In Medjugorje, June 16, 2000
VISIT OF BELGIAN BISHOP
In mid July the bishop of the Belgian city Namour, Msgr. Leonard Andre - Mutien made a three day visit to Medjugorje. On that occasion Fr. Slavko Barbaric spoke with Bishop Leonard Mutine for Glas Mira. We present here a part of that conversation:
Bishop Mutien: “I met Medjugorje through my seminarians. When I was rector of the school of theology at St. Paul in Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982 and 1983, some of my students of theology went to Medjugorje. That was at the very beginning of the apparitions. I had never heard it spoken of before. Some students of theology came to me seeking permission to go to Medjugorje during their vacation. I knew nothing about it and I asked them if there existed a position of the Church on Medjugorje. They told me no, that it had only begun a few years earlier, and that the Virgin seemed to be appearing there. They gave me an article to read and I told them, “Go and see, go and see!” They spoke to me several times about it and in 1984 I decided myself to go and see. Four of us priests came with the students of theology to Medjugorje in June1984. I must say that what I saw in the parish church in 1984, that folk piety, the manner in which the rosary was prayed, the Eucharist celebrated, the meeting that I had with the visionaries two times during the “apparitions” in the sacristy – all that seemed to me very positive, especially the manner in which they prayed here.
Glas Mira: How many times have you already come to Medjugorje?
Bishop Mutien: This is my second time. The first time, then, I came in 1984. I kept a very positive impression about what I saw here. Later I kept informed. I read the books of Fr. Laurentin, not all, but a few. I read some articles, and , accordingly, took an interest. Especially while I was a professor at Louvain, I saw among the students some who had been to Medjugorje and who there had discovered prayer, confession, Eucharist, fasting, and I remember that in the theologate I began fasting Fridays quite regularly, following the example of some of my students of theology or other students who I met at the university and who had fasted after pilgrimage to Medjugorje. When I became a bishop I met some believers of my diocese who fasted every Friday, who discovered the sacraments, thanks to their encounter with Medjugorje. I established the fact that regularly among the students of theology there were those who experienced conversion and received a vocation, thanks to Medjugorje. Now I have thirty students of theology, among whom there are some who have undergone a spiritual experience here which has marked their vocation. Such fruits are of interest to me. I know that from false premises according to logic we can draw exact conclusions. But still, the fact that so many positive discoveries take place, just with thanks to Medjugorje, is positive evidence in favor of Medjugorje. Accordingly, I continued to inform myself and said that some day I would be able also to return to Medjugorje. In the year 2000 I thought I might be able to take advantage of the Jubilee for a short pilgrimage. The fact that at the present time in France and in Belgium there exists much opposition to the Medjugorje events, books which criticize Medjugorje, moved me to come and see with my own eyes. I do not wish to judge things, situations, and persons from a distance, only from books. I would rather take a little more personal look. After I informed the bishop of Mostar about my coming, I came here as a pilgrim to pray, but also personally to convince myself, and I must say that what I see in the parish church on the pastoral level seems very good: praying the rosary, the Eucharist, adoration, solid devotion, balanced piety, cultivated devotion. As far as the Medjugorje events are concerned, it is not up to me to decide about that. It up to the local bishop, the bishops of Bosnia-Hercegovina, after a detailed study of the situation, to formulate a judgment about the authenticity or non-authenticity of the apparitions. That is not my business! In every case, I will accept the official judgment of the Church.
Glas Mira: Why does the Church hesitate when good fruits are visible?
Bishop Mutien: I think that the Church in her wisdom with these kind of phenomena wishes first to investigate the facts, and only then the fruits. I think that is the rule that Cardinal Seper already formulated when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. First the facts are studied, and only then the fruits. Investigating the fruits is not enough. The facts have to be investigated, but the abundance of positive fruits is in itself a positive evidence, even if it seems to me that there are, as in every human affair, also negative fruits. Wherever there are people, there are also human moments, sometimes far too human. As also among the twelve apostles. . .
Glas Mira: From where does the opposition come?
Bishop Mutien: I understand why questions are asked about the phenomena of Medjugorje and why there exist objections against the apparitions in Medjugorje. I understand why, for example, questions like these are asked: the multitude of apparitions, the fact that in some manner they are foreseen, known for a certain day. I understand why there is opposition. Personally there are not many a priori thoughts about what the Most Blessed Virgin would need, or what she would not need to do. I prefer to accept things, even if they disturb my personal ideas, but I understand why questions are asked and I believe that, according to what I have been able to see, there are in this phenomenon of Medjugorje essential things, but there are also parasites. I believe there exists that which is fundamental, but also accidentals. One is more positive, and the other is more negative. In Lourdes the testimony of Bernadette impressed me very much, I would say 100% pure. It seems to me that here there were parasites surrounding the central events. I understand why questions are asked. I keep informed also on the questions that the opponents of Medjugorje are asking. One has to hear them, and therefore I read the book of Joachim Boufflet from beginning to end. It is written in a polemical tone which does not seem to me to be in place, but there are real questions which are asked and which one day have to receive a clear and historically established answer. Accordingly, I accept those questions, but I wish to stay open to the event. I know bishop friends whose rule of behavior is to say: “Look out, if we are open to the events of Medjugorje, we can perhaps encourage something that is not authentic.” There exists a risk. I am more sensitive to the opposite risk and say: “Just the same, it is possible that Heaven has spoken to people at that place and I do not wish to take the risk of a priori being closed to that grace.” Two risks exist: the risk that we are being deceived in Medjugorje and the risk that we are bypassing a gift of grace.
Glas Mira: A gift from Heaven?
Bishop Mutien: My desire is that those who have the grace and the competence for that, the local bishop, the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina, a theological and investigative commission, continue to study this phenomenon, to formulate one day the judgment of the Church about what has happened here. Until then, between the two risks, I prefer to take the risk of being open rather than the risk of a priori being closed to the grace of God which can be operating in this place. Accordingly, therefore, I take the position of openness and prudence.
Glas Mira: We Franciscans, awaiting the final judgment, are placing ourselves at the service of the persons who come here. The bishop considers us “disobedient” because of the “apparitions”, but we do not have a big choice: if people come here, we have to serve them. . .
Bishop Mutien: As far as I can see, your pastoral work in the parish church is not based on the apparitions as such. It seems to me that there is not a lot of mention of the apparitions when Holy Eucharist and the sacraments are being celebrated. From time to time I even hear: “All the fruits of Medjugorje come simply from the fact that the Eucharist is celebrated, that there is adoration of the Eucharist, that there is confession, that there is prayer. The fruits, accordingly, if there are some, do not come from the alleged apparitions but from the sacraments of the Church.” I hear this from time to time.
Glas Mira: Some say: “Where there is prayer, there is grace and miracles.”
Bishop Mutien: That logic does not seem to me completely correct. It is true that there where there is prayer, Eucharist, confessions, fruits do come. But there are many other places in the world where there is prayer, where there is confession, where Eucharist is celebrated, but there are not the same kind of evident fruits!
Glas Mira: You, then, think that this dimension can be attributed to the apparitions?
Bishop Mutien: I believe that it is an indication which has to be studied, an indication that leads to consideration. I regularly meet young people who think about the priesthood or who have had a profound experience of conversion coming here, much more so than in relation to other places and that makes me question. I cannot accept without reservation that the fruits of Medjugorje are connected only with the living of the sacraments. They are also lived in other places. Here there exists something that presents a special question. It is not up to me to pronounce about the reality of these fundamentals, but there is a question that cannot be avoided.
Glas Mira: Finally, is it your wish to give some message here to the world?
Bishop Mutien: I think that on the spiritual plane we are living in a period that demands urgency. I am convinced, as is also Pope John Paul II, that the time of the Jubilee is a time of special grace, as John Paul II has said several times, that is preparing a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church. That which I am expecting from Medjugorje is that it contribute to the preparation of that new outpouring of the Holy Spirit which the Church and world need. Therefore I think that it is more useful to concentrate on the most fundamental, as you are doing here in this parish: to concentrate on the Eucharist which is the source of Christian life, and for the rest I think we need to cultivate the grace of peace and seek for the discernment in connection with Medjugorje to be done in the best possible climate, for the good of the Church.
Glas Mira: We will pray for you. Bless us! Thanks!”
VIDEO TAPES OF THE YOUTH PRAYER FESTIVAL
In recent days many are looking for video tapes of the recent youth prayer festival. It is possible to get them in person at the Information Office of the shrine, but not by mail.
FRAMA OF HERCEGOVINA IN ROME
About 200 young Frama members (Franciscan Youth) made pilgrimage to Rome in the middle of August on the occasion of the Jubilee Year for the International Youth Meeting with the Holy Father. The Frama of Medjugorje was led by Fr. Branko Rados. May the Queen of Peace accompany them and all youth on this important pilgrimage, so that they become and remain a part of the young generation dedicated to God and to the Church.
VISIT OF STATE OFFICIALS
In recent days Medjugorje was visited by the Vice President of Croatia, Dr. Goran Granic who was interested in the events of this shrine.
Not long ago Medjugorje was visited by the family of the President of Bolivia: his wife and daughter, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren. On that occasion Mrs. Yolanda de Banzer proclaimed: “I fervently desired to come to Medjugorje. After several attempts it seemed to me that it would also remain an unfulfilled wish. Now it is fulfilled and I am exceedingly happy.” Her stay in Europe began with a meeting with the Holy Father and ended with pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima and Banneaux.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 08/23/2000