M E D I T A T I O N
LIVING BY FAITH
Would we say that our walk through this life was easy or hard? It's a question which we're fairly familiar with. We undergo different experiences on a day-to-day level and we ask ourselves how they strike us in their entirety.
To the question above, those who live by faith will simply reply: our journey is an easy one. I suppose there are two possible reasons for this reply. Either they are blinded by their faith or they are enabled to see farther, thanks to their confidence in God. Personally I'm inclined to agree more with the second. Those who believe see so much farther and deeper. That's why they will declare that the walk of life is not that difficult. The truth is that they'll experience hardships just as anyone else does, but won't fall under the weight of them. Instead they see them as the condition which will carry them nearer to their true home, their heavenly abode.
If man wants to maintain this "ease" in life, he must believe and remain faithful to God. Every lack of faith is a taking of life's burdens onto our own frail shoulders. For this reason the Queen of Peace unceasingly speaks of being faithful to God . The means are: prayer, conversion, fasting, penance, the realization of peace, reading the Scriptures, adoring Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary These things will create a guard against the deceptions of this world. Then, we won't be blinded from recognizing God and His work in our lives.
Even at that, faithfulness is like life: easy and hard. It depends on us
fra Miljenko Stojic
N E W S
THE CELEBRATION OF THE FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE CROSS
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross was solemnly celebrated this year too on Mt. Krizevac on Sunday September 14th. In the presence of over fifty thousand foreign and local pilgrims, the holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Zoran Senjak, guardian of the Franciscan seminary in Zagreb. Just as in former years, rivers of pilgrims were pouring into Medjugorje throughout the night. Many of them had come hundreds of kilometers hiking, some of them barefoot.
Krizevac doesn't attract the pilgrims so much for it's natural beauty or for some sort of importance attached to the cross that's built on it, but moreover because of the various signs and lights that pilgrims have claimed to see at the beginning of the apparitions there. Naturally these are linked to the apparitions of Our Lady and to the Medjugorje message- "Peace between man and God and among mankind". They understood that the road to that peace inevitably meets up with the cross.
Fr. Ivan Landeka announced this when greeting the pilgrims saying " that the cross was erected to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of Jesus' s passion and death, and that we are gathered in prayer underneath that cross in these years if Our Lord preparing for the third millennium"
THE MEMORIAL MASS FOR MOTHER TERESA
On the eve of her funeral (13th September), a mass was celebrated in memory of Mother Teresa in the Church of Medjugorje. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Ljudevit Rupcic who, while speaking about her, made reference to her expressed wish to come to Medjugorje. He saw it as an effective recognition of the authenticity of what is happening here. We are referring to when Mother Teresa last year was in hospital at Birla in Calcutta, and was visited by the Croatian delegate to India Mr. Stambuk. On behalf of the Croatian people and the President of the Rep. Of Croatia Mr. Franjo Tudman, Cardinal Kuharic and himself, he wished Mother Teresa a speedy recovery and good health. Mr. Stambuk told Mother Teresa of the mass which was celebrated for her recovery at the national shrine of Marija Bistrica by Cardinal Kuharic, and how the Croatian people remember her in their prayers. Mother Teresa thanked him for all the good wishes and prayers and expressed her sadness at not having yet visited Medjugorje. She also spoke about Fr. Ante Gabrica a Croatian missionary priest buried in the vicinity of Calcutta, referring to him as a saintly man. She recommended to Croatian families to pray together in the family, because, she said, "the family which prays together stays together."
MEDJUGORJE, A GIFT FROM GOD
Soon after the apparitions of the Queen of Peace began at Medjugorje, it came to the attention of the public that the Diocesan and Franciscan priests of the Mostar diocese did not agree on all issues. This quarrel had in fact broken out over one hundred years beforehand, and sadly, still continues today. At a local level, this discrepancy would not have been intensified had Mostar not been an area of intersecting cultures, faiths and civilizations. At a world-wide level, it wouldn't have been so controversial had Our Lady not appeared in one of it's parishes! Undoubtedly this argument affects the stance of the local Church and the Church in the whole of Croatia as regards Our Lady's apparitions. It is important to mention here that in the initial months of the apparitions the local Bishop, Pavao Zanic believed in the authenticity of Our Lady's apparitions and due to reasons, known only to himself, he altered his stance. Wishing to protect Episcopal comradeship, the bishops of the Church of Croatia have refrained from making public statements. Many other Church dignitaries have followed their example. However there have also been some significant exceptions.
In the Croatian weekly newspaper "Globus" from the 5th of Sept. 1997 (pages 14-16) many questions were addressed to Prof. Albert Rebic, priest and lecturer in Sacred Scripture in the Catholic Theological University in Zagreb up to 1996. By Church permission he became head administrator of the Office for the exiled and the ostracized, (i.e. part of the Croatian Government). He is the author of many books and leaflets. He is presently compiling a most significant issue on the public face of the Church in Croatia. Here we have not printed the article from "Globus", in it's entirety, but rather singled out the questions which have to do with Medjugorje.
What can Kaptol do to finally resolve the case of the Hercegovinian Franciscans? Do you think that it's possible to change the relationship of the official structure of the church towards Medjugorje?
"I will tell you what I think personally: In Herzegovina, both parties ought to have more of the Spirit of God. The Franciscans have to realize that through history they have done an infinite work for that people. The Franciscans preserved the Catholic faith, and even preserved Croatia in Herzegovina.. They were with the people for centuries. The people called them "uncles" and indeed they still do. They make up part of the Herzegovinian family. Why dismantle that? Especially dismantle it with force, with decrees, punishments and threats? This, believe me, is not the Spirit of Jesus Christ, nor in the Spirit of His Gospel.
And if you are asking me about Medjugorje, my answer is that Medjugorje is a gift from God. It's a gift of God to our people living in Herzegovina. I don't want to get into the truth or the falsehood of the apparitions. On that regard I have my own theological conclusions, just as I have about Fatima, Lourdes, and all such shrines. But Medjugorje is God's realization. I was there on a few occasions, especially as a Government official during the tough times of the war in Mostar. Medjugorje is a spiritual oasis. There, one experiences the closeness of God as on Sinai. That's something special. It's something which you cannot feel for example neither in Lourdes nor in Fatima. That's why so many come here from all over the world. And why do some of our priests and bishops look on that with a critical eye? Because it's in the sphere of the Franciscan Fathers? That's very sad! I saw the Spirit of God at work there: Masses, confessions prayer, penance every day, all day, from early morning to late at night. To whom can this be wrong that people pray in this way, they confess, they sing and are happy, their souls are healed.
I think that some bishops do not understand that "rank" by the church's understanding does not mean we should rule over and command, but moreover, it emphasizes how important it is to serve, to love and to help. That's the true understanding of rank or status within the Church and it's also the true understanding of the Episcopal position. A bishop must co-ordinate, love serve, respect the dignity of every man, whether Diocesan or Franciscan."
I don't think that we can remain deaf to these prophetic words. They are the fruit of meditating upon and experiencing that which the Queen of Peace said and continues to say in Medjugorje. Lets decide therefore to pray for unity in the Church where Medjugorje is situated, so that united with the whole Church in Croatia they are even more capable to respond to Our Lady's call. In that way one of the main obstacles to Our Lady's work would be removed.
THE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS OF FATHER SLAVKO
In response to an invitation by a friend and pilgrim of Medjugorje, Fr. Slavko together with the visionary Mirjana Soldo visited the United States from the 22nd to the 24th of August 1997. He participated in the prayer group in Modest, California. In that town, every weekend Medjugorje pilgrims gather for prayer. When possible, sometimes even the Medjugorje priests can visit them. At the meeting entitled "Do whatever he tells you" about 2,000 of the faithful participated. On the road from Los Angeles to Modest Fr. Slavko had two other prayer encounters at Bakersfield.
The seventh annual meeting with the Carmelites in Aylesford was held on the 25th of August. Fr. Slavko talked to those present about Our Lady's messages of peace in the world, and Jelena Vasilj spoke about her own experiences. About 6,000 of the faithful took part at the encounter together with at least 30 priests.
Published by : INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira
(Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace),
88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: 00387 88 651 444.
Director: fra Miljenko Stojic.
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Last Modified 09/24/97